Saturday, November 30, 2019

Book Review - The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi

When I had compared my yearly, quarterly & monthly book read logs, I realized that compared to 2017, year on year I was/am reading fewer books. From 70+ in 2017, I am around 40-45 books now. At the same time guilt of not able to read kept increasing, to cover the lost/missed pages I needed an option.

Around that time I came upon a mail by "Kelvyn Fernandes" about his book "The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi Volume I: Homecoming". I had little time and about to decline a request when I saw the audiobook available. So I took that as a sign from stars and downloaded the first chapter. I gave a try during my morning cycling time. I liked the experience so much that after coming back I downloaded all chapters and also worked around audiobooks from other authors. I know I am mixing up my first audiobook experience with this book's review but I cannot separate them as both are linked.

Coming to the actual story, it is about two characters Peter and Fi. The first one is a magician and the later one is from the mystical beast clan. The story started when Peter for his magician qualification took a quest. On the way or I would say to reach his goal he went through various situations. Fi was an orphan raised by Peter. She joined him in his quest in return for the promise that Peter would take her to her hometown. Description & adventure are filled with the fantasy world and its creature. Read the book to know more.

Though written for middle grade, it can give satisfaction fantasy readers as well. There are parts in books which brings smile to your face and there are parts (like condition of prisoner, punishment to people around city wall, attack on Phi's village) will make you feel emotional. The story is divided into multiple short ones, side characters of each stories are well thought of keeping Jack & Phi as mains.

The book is written with simple language for the targeted audience. The plot is simple. Voice artist has done a good job. He has maintained the difference between different characters which has given uniqueness to the narration. Overall a good book/story. I will give 3.75 out of 5 to this book.

Book Link - Amazon & Goodreads

Monday, November 25, 2019

Book Review of Vineet Bajpai's Latest Book - Mastaan: The Fallen Patriot of Delhi

I have recently read the Harappa series by Vineet Bajpai. I was completely fascinated by his writing style. He got placed in my favorite Indian author. Just like Amish Tripathi or Ashwin Sanghi Vineet has brought a gripping tale in and around Hindu Mythology & other conspiracy theories. When I first saw the cover release of Masaan, a thought occurred to me how a Mythology-action style would blend in historical action. But the job was nicely done.

Book Blurb
An imperial monster masquerades as a mercantile company. From gunpowder to opium, the East India Company uses every weapon to bring an entire sub-continent to its knees. Even Tipu, the fearsome Tiger of Mysore, falls prey to British military might.

As a century of deceit and cruelty unfolds - the oppressed thirst for retribution.
Delhi is the first to drown in blood, as a violent sepoy uprising engulfs all of Hindustan. The seat of the crumbling Mughal empire emerges as the epicenter of the ghadar.
An unforgettable poet laments the destruction of his beloved city and a senile Badshah’s eyes gleam with unreal hope, as both sides of the Laal Qila witness terrifying bloodshed and historical battles.
And amidst all the cannon-roars, brutal duels, intoxicated mushairas, ravishing courtesans, haunted treasures and bloody battles – unfolds the immortal love-story of the magnificent Mastaan & the beautiful Fay.
Did one man really change the course of history’s greatest war for freedom?
The story started with the mysterious death of Tipu Sultan and curse related to his treasure. Then it switched to Mastaan and his troops. Working under the East India Company's infantry, Mastaan was a hero of his region. Known as Bandookbaaz, Mastaan was true to the name given, can alone take down a gang of thugs easily. He was loyal to company Bahadur (East India Company) till he came face-to-face with atrocities of the company done on India. Things became bitter when his cousin Mangal Pandey was hung for revolting against his senior. But at the same time, Fay, the sister of his superior took his heart. How would he maintain his revolt along with his love life? What was the relation of Mastaan's story with Tipu's treasure & its curse? Do read to know these facts.

The good parts of the book
  • Gripping storytelling
  • Focus on storyline & characters
  • Wonderful linking of historical events
  • Easy language usage
  • Good for any age group
  • Nice cover
I have to wait for the next part though, that's the only sad part. Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Concept - 4.5/5
  3. Character - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4.25/5
Book links - Amazon, Flipkart & Goodreads

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Book Review - The Warrior God: Ayyappa of Sabarimalai

I have read 3 books by Preetha Rajah Kanan. Her words remind you of those religious stories told to you by your grandparents. Stories that are short but full of spiritually and divinity with a touch of asura / danava / rakshasa / bad people. The stories of victory of good over bad. Same way Preetha delivers a collection of short stories dedicated to deity(s). These stories are usually connected with famous places or incidents related to Hindu mythology or history.

Book Blurb
Suddenly, the silence of the jungle was shattered by the crash of branches. The prince froze. Some large animal threshed through the thick undergrowth. Manikanthan silently followed the trail of destruction. He emerged from the jungle onto the banks of the Azhutha.

There before him stood a huge she-buffalo, muscles rippling as she lapped the water. It was none other than the wicked Mahishi.
Sensing the intruder in her domain, Mahishi raised her head. A young boy stood by the forest edge. He held a bow in his hand; a sword hung in the scabbard by his side.
The asura and the boy stood motionless, locking eyes.
The Warrior God: Ayyappa of Sabarimalai depicts the epic confrontation between good and evil. Mahishi, the buffalo-headed asura princess, wreaks vengeance on the devas for killing her brother, the mighty Mahishasura. She subjugates the gods and unleashes a reign of terror on the three worlds.
A series of divine events culminate in the birth of Mahishi’s nemesis, Hariharaputra – the son of Shiva and Vishnu, later known as Ayyappa. The baby, raised on earth as a prince of the Pandalam dynasty, awaits his tryst with destiny.
Here is the story of Sabarimalai, where legend and history meld into one tidal wave of devotion. Discover why five crore pilgrims annually ford rivers and trek through forests and hills to pay homage to Ayyappa.
This time she is back with Ayyappa Swami that is what we call in our place. This book is dedicated to "The Warrior God: Ayyappa of Sabarimalai", a god born out of love locks of Shiva & Mohini (female incarnation of Lord Vishnu). If the parents' duo is so strong then what else you expect from their kid. After the death of the mighty Mahisashura demon, her sister Mahisha had spread havoc. Devas & Manavas were praying God to release them from clutches of that cruel demoness. One of the major reasons behind Lord Ayyappa's birth was to bring down Mahisha and bring back peace. The stories in the book cover how god was born to how he defeated mighty Demoness along with other great deeds by Ayyappa swami. 

Good points
  1. Easy to read the language
  2. Simple & straight narration style
  3. You can give it to your kids to know our religious root
  4. The richness of mythological & historical values book covers
A nice read for any age. Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Overall - 4/5
Book Links - Amazon, Goodreads

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Thoughtfully Written Poems - Wake Up Oh! Indian Wake Up Please - Book Review

When I first checked the cover of "Wake Up Oh! Indian Wake Up Please" I thought the book would be based on the political situation in India. But the blurb of the book made it clear, from the blurb I got to know that the book is dedicated to the ground issues that India faces India. It took me not more than 3 days to finish this book. 

Book Blurb
A collection of easy to read understand, book of inspirational poetry on India that you can enjoy, mull over, reflecting the everyday reality and solutions. Not long ago, it took blood, sweat, tears & countless sacrifices to achieve freedom enabling us to manage our own affairs. But, haphazard planning, gross mismanagement, lack of genuine accountability, corruption, cronyism, nepotism, lack of a uniform education system, bending rules, and the bribing, have become a part of our everyday reality. This is endured silently by the faceless millions and are slowly & steadily becoming the accepted norm. Introspection without justifications and the ability to swallow one’s pride and pretensions can help one comprehend our reality of today, and also realize that it is possible to cure our present state of affairs. Here is a sample of book of inspirational poetry Garbage bins are not maintained With litter, scattered all around Civic sense we seem to have lost Because most, to it, are blind. We must re-educate our people The only way to achieve our goal We must do it ourselves Our efforts are required, not dole. Will we remain as one? To rebuild and fix our land And maintain what we rebuild To be proud of where we stand.
"Wake Up Oh! Indian Wake Up Please" is a collection of poems that inspire, involve the reader with it's use of simple words elegantly written. Each dedicated to a major issue affecting India. Covered issues: poverty, education, sanitation, communal violence, poverty, corruption, politics, transportation, infrastructure, employment, etc. Forty poems, each start with a depiction of the current condition of the said topic, followed by an appeal by the author to the general public to become aware of the situation. The poems aim to raise awareness and patriotism from children to adults.

Frankly speaking, we all are aware of these situations, but we are so used to them that we take it as just part of our life. We understand the gravity of the situation when it happens with us like in case of corruption, violence, etc. Sometimes we see the stark contrast between our culture and other countries' when we visit them, in terms of infrastructure, sanitation, cleanliness, etc. It is not that we don't have a system for it, but stakeholders are not active. Even we don't consider ourselves as active participants. We always think such things won't matter, and that's what the author has pointed out. Readout poems yourself to get the feel.

Coming to the working style, it is plain and to the point. Language usage is simple. The author has concentrated on message delivery than impressing readers by flaunting words.

I would give 4.25 out of 5 for this wonderful work.

Book links - Amazon & Goodreads

Friday, November 8, 2019

Healthy Dog, Happy You: Secrets to a Thriving Life with Your Best Companion by Dr Juliet Decaestecker

Neither my family nor I have ever taken any pet under shelter and we do not believe in adopting and caging one. But that doesn’t mean I cannot read a book on how to raise a healthy pet if my kid decides to take one in the future. When Dr. Juliet Decaesteckere to two reasons, attractive cover and proper blurb of the book.

Book Blurb
India, a land of over 1.3 billion people is also home to many dogs and pet parents. After three years of being in India and having travelled all over the world, Dr. Juliet Decaestecker believes that creating awareness is key to prevent disease. India can be an ideal place to raise dogs, if you apply Dr. Juliet’s 5 secrets, as the country has a rich history, culture, food and medicine. With her expertise in both Traditional medicines and allopathy, this integrative veterinarian discusses good practices that will help you raise healthy and happy dogs
As Dr. Juliet has worked as a Vet for more than 15 years with multiple specialties she has seen the dog’s world with a completely new perspective. You might have come across people who treat various ailments without medicines but by changing daily diet or lifestyle. Dr. Juliet is the same kind of practitioner who believes in Naturopathy & lifestyle habits than medicine. Each chapter or topic she has covered in the book will be a real eye-opener for owners. Let me give you an example, I have heard that if you are pure vegetarian and want to feed your pets only veg food don’t adopt one. The author has mentioned the same with proper reasoning. On top of it, she has also shared that the way we avoid our kids to have excessive packaged foods, we should follow it for dogs. The chapter that touched me is about street dogs, since our childhood, we have been taught to stay away from street dogs to avoid bites. The author has explained possible scientific reasons for both sided behavior. (As I had been bitten by a dog in past, the explanation seems logical to me). The book not just discussed dietary & lifestyle habits, it has also discussed the way pets can be beneficial to their owners, by making bond on physical, mental & psychological level.

The book shows the author’s authority or knowledge of the subject. Her experience as a vet & a dog owner is really visible when she has discussed various topics with proper real-life examples & scientific background. Pictures that she has shared from her life (related to dogs) make reading lively. Her writing style is simple & straight. Though the book falls under self-help, you won't feel bored while reading it. If I being non-pet lover can read the book with great interest then I believe pet lover/parents may find it helpful.

  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 4/5
  3. Overall - 3.75/5
Book can be found at Amazon - Paperback  & Kindle
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads