Furia

Author : Yamile Saied Méndez 

Publisher : Algonquin Young Readers

Genre : Contemporary, YA

Pages : 368

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In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

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” Lies have short legs. “

This has been my very first #Ownvoicesread and to be honest, I absolutely loved this one. Camilia is the heroine of the story and I adore her so much.

“I loved the bit about leaving a part of ourselves in every book we read. How we collect the fragmented souls of those who found the story first. That’s beautiful.”

Set up in the town of Rosario in Argentina, the protagonist of the story, Camila lived with a set of conservative parents and a footballer brother. All her life she was overshadowed by her brother’s achievements and her talent of playing soccer was never known to her family. She was living a double life – an obedient daughter at home and a fiery footballer at the field. Determined towards her goal of playing soccer at national level, she was focused on achieving it at any costs.

“I wanted so much more than Diego’s love or money could give me.”

The entry of the love of her life Diego, made her heart throb but on the other hand she was losing her focus on the game. Since she was hell bent on living up to her dreams, she was ready to leave every and anything for her football.

But till when would she be playing secretly? Would she get acknowledged for her talent by her family? Will the love of her life support her towards achieving her goal?

“In my barrio, most of the people didn’t know my name or even that I existed. To them, I was only Pablo’s sister, or Andrés and the seamstress’s daughter—my mom, too, was nameless. But I was determined to leave my mark. And with the Sudamericano, I would have my chance.”

The perfect book that you need to read if you’re searching for a story with a strong and courageous protagonist. The title is so apt, Furia – the name given to Camilia by her football team because of her fiery skills. I’m absolutely in love with her and her determination towards her life goals. Belonging to a family of a strict mother and an abusive father, she was ready to fight for her rights. So many girls could’ve related to Camilia’s situation and it would be a delight if more girls could come out as Camilia.

“Fame and money eat good hearts like rust eats metal. Even the strongest perish, mi amor.”

Written beautifully, I loved how the author brought in the Argentinian touch to the story by adding phrases and words from Spanish. The side characters were equally good. I loved Diego and his love for Camilia. Also the set up was so realistic with relatable characters. Everyone had their flaws. The emotions of characters are so very well portrayed, that nothing felt unreal. The writing style kept me hooked. The language used by the author is easy and understandable . The narration is smooth and the book is well paced.

Definitely recommended!

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Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular


*I received this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.*

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Blog Tour: The Next Innings

SYNOPSIS

Rama Ramani’s The Next Innings is a suspense fiction novel that
employs the stream-of-consciousness technique at times. It
interleaves time and life of a set of people, with various twists
and turns. The primary plot is setup with Vishwanathan, a life
coach, living in Chennai and a young couple, Jagan and
Lakshmi, moving to San Francisco. What happens when their
lives intersect forms the crux of the plot.
Vishwanathan lives in Maaya’s Presence with his humanoid
assistant, Corlexa, and his dog, Future. There is a hidden room
in the mid-flight landing which has a spiral stairway. Maaya’s
Presence is a state-of-the-art apartment complex circular in
shape and built with glass.
Simple love stories can carry profound meanings too. Two
Indians, Lakshmi, an educator, and Jagan, an IT engineer,
bump into each other in a bus. Unknown to them, their lives are
about to take on new, unexpected directions as they fall in love
and move to San Francisco after marriage.
Cricket is fused into the storyline via the character of Sandhiya Rajalakshmi. Sandhiya achieves
her dream and takes Indian Women’s cricket to great heights and also leads a local Women’s
Premier League team, the Chennai Wolverines. She works together with Thala, who joins the
team as a head coach as his next innings.
“As an English teacher, I had the pleasure of teaching Rama in high school. I’m not
surprised at his ability to manage a potent mix of cricket (a sport that he loves dearly)
the impressions of powerful women who have left a lasting impact on him and
entertainment,” says Chitra Sundarraman, Retired High School Principal.
“The Next Innings is an amazing handling of a simple love story with a profound
meaning. The storyline uses concepts from technology, which made this into an
engaging story, keeping the momentum and making it thought-provoking,” says Rama
Narayanaswamy, Retired Head of Calibre Academy & Volunteer at the Sathya Sai
Super Speciality hospital.
Sudharshan is a young man who is trying to find his passion in life. He is a doting brother, who
has a conflicted relationship with his dad. There is an element of youth brashness in him,
putting him in tough situations, but eventually finding his calling in life.
The storyline is a potpourri of emotions – dreams, optimism, challenges, and love. The metamessage of the novel is for everyone.
“The gripping storyline feels like time-traveling with the main characters. It all
appears to be like “Maya.” The portrayal of strong women characters who are
determined to make a mark in their chosen field, be it cricket or education, is
fascinating, ” says Lakshmi Balakrishnan, Educationist & Entrepreneur
“An interesting story that is very close to my heart – the protagonist is named after my
grandmother, Mrs. Rajalakshmi, the former Dean and Director of the Padma Seshadri
group of schools. I am confident that this story will evoke interesting memories from
Indian cricket, which we all will appreciate more today,” says Madhuvanthii, Actor &
State Executive Committee Member BJP Tamilnadu
The narration keeps the reader keenly engaged and ends with a question:
What would you do in challenging times?
“The Next Innings” is set to debut on September 14, 2020 on Kindle.

EXCERPTS

Sandhiya Rajalakshmi

Her decision showed immediate results. Within a year, the ICC awarded the World’s
best team award on Jan 16th, 2033. Indian women were the #1 in Test cricket, ODI and
T20 cricket. The world was at their feet, the press was going gaga on their success.
Sandhiya was on a tear, and her leadership style was showing great results. The coach of
the Men’s cricket team invited her to give a pep talk.
She continued to lead her team through another two years, but during her third year,
she started to have thoughts about the succession play. Sandhiya was 33 years old and
still in the prime of her career. She had a lot of power in personnel decisions and over a
billion fans who followed her everywhere.
“Appa, when I took over the team, we had to start from scratch. The board decided to
award the captaincy and the previous captain retired. I want to change that”, goes
Sandhiya.
“What do you have in mind?” Vishwanathan.
“I have read about great leadership with Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul
Dravid playing for MS Dhoni. MSD did the same thing for Virat and that kind of
leadership was transformative for Men’s cricket. They may have a slump now, but I am
sure they will rebound. I want to change that pattern for Women’s cricket; this is a team
sport, and for the captain to think that she is ultimate is just lame.”
“You have really valid points. Life is no different and is a team sport. No one lasts
forever and our children are our next innings. I am glad to see your line of thinking for
the captaincy.”
“Vihaan has been getting more and more contracts abroad and is unable to travel due to
my schedule and workload. Giving up the captaincy, and mentoring the right captain,
gives me to take off for a few months and focus on Nathan. This has put more pressure
on all of us”
She hugs her dad.
She calls her team together and discloses the captaincy succession plan. She tells them
that the current vice-captain, Sania will become the captain and Sheetal will be her vicecaptain. She asks other team members to congratulate the new leaders and chat with her
in private if there are questions or concerns. Then, she goes to the coach and lets him
know about the decision.
On March 27th, 2035, she dials into the board meeting, and the board members want to
discuss her decision.
“Sandhiya, don’t act in a rash manner. If you carry on for a few more years, your records
will be unbreakable as a captain, and your legacy will be secured.”
“Thank you for thinking about my legacy. I don’t care about my legacy. If this team
raises the bar and Sania turns out to be a better captain than me, and after she retires if
Sheetal turns out to be better than Sania, that will be our legacy. That is the team
mindset and legacy we are striving for.”
“Don’t forget, we gave you the captaincy and vouched for it. When we want you to
continue for a few more years, you will stay. There will be no questions around that. We
don’t want to deal with the Press, especially when the team is leading the world
rankings.”, goes another board member.
“Looks like you don’t understand. Have you ever lifted a cricket bat and smelt the new
ball when it whizzes past your ear? Have you watched a cricket game standing and
shouting like a true fan in the stadium? Have you ever added value to the team
selections and picked the right talent? Stuffing yourself from the lunch buffet and
passing standard statements in a board meeting means nothing to me. When my team
and I decide, that decision has been made”, Sandhiya disconnects the call.

Jagan Lakshmi

Her decision showed immediate results. Within a year, the ICC awarded the World’s
best team award on Jan 16th, 2033. Indian women were the #1 in Test cricket, ODI and
T20 cricket. The world was at their feet, the press was going gaga on their success.
Sandhiya was on a tear, and her leadership style was showing great results. The coach of
the Men’s cricket team invited her to give a pep talk.
She continued to lead her team through another two years, but during her third year,
she started to have thoughts about the succession play. Sandhiya was 33 years old and
still in the prime of her career. She had a lot of power in personnel decisions and over a
billion fans who followed her everywhere.
“Appa, when I took over the team, we had to start from scratch. The board decided to
award the captaincy and the previous captain retired. I want to change that”, goes
Sandhiya.
“What do you have in mind?” Vishwanathan.
“I have read about great leadership with Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul
Dravid playing for MS Dhoni. MSD did the same thing for Virat and that kind of
leadership was transformative for Men’s cricket. They may have a slump now, but I am
sure they will rebound. I want to change that pattern for Women’s cricket; this is a team
sport, and for the captain to think that she is ultimate is just lame.”
“You have really valid points. Life is no different and is a team sport. No one lasts
forever and our children are our next innings. I am glad to see your line of thinking for
the captaincy.”
“Vihaan has been getting more and more contracts abroad and is unable to travel due to
my schedule and workload. Giving up the captaincy, and mentoring the right captain,
gives me to take off for a few months and focus on Nathan. This has put more pressure
on all of us”
She hugs her dad.
She calls her team together and discloses the captaincy succession plan. She tells them
that the current vice-captain, Sania will become the captain and Sheetal will be her vicecaptain. She asks other team members to congratulate the new leaders and chat with her
in private if there are questions or concerns. Then, she goes to the coach and lets him
know about the decision.
On March 27th, 2035, she dials into the board meeting, and the board members want to
discuss her decision.
“Sandhiya, don’t act in a rash manner. If you carry on for a few more years, your records
will be unbreakable as a captain, and your legacy will be secured.”
“Thank you for thinking about my legacy. I don’t care about my legacy. If this team
raises the bar and Sania turns out to be a better captain than me, and after she retires if
Sheetal turns out to be better than Sania, that will be our legacy. That is the team
mindset and legacy we are striving for.”
“Don’t forget, we gave you the captaincy and vouched for it. When we want you to
continue for a few more years, you will stay. There will be no questions around that. We
don’t want to deal with the Press, especially when the team is leading the world
rankings.”, goes another board member.
“Looks like you don’t understand. Have you ever lifted a cricket bat and smelt the new
ball when it whizzes past your ear? Have you watched a cricket game standing and
shouting like a true fan in the stadium? Have you ever added value to the team
selections and picked the right talent? Stuffing yourself from the lunch buffet and
passing standard statements in a board meeting means nothing to me. When my team
and I decide, that decision has been made”, Sandhiya disconnects the call.

THE AUTHOR

Author Instagram: instagram.com/rrsubr

Author Website: http://ramaramani.com

The Fault In Our Stars

Author : John Green

Publisher : Penguin Books

Genre : Fiction

Pages : 313

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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Beyond Wonderland Regular

The book that melted a million hearts doesn’t require a review now but I still wanted to pour out my feelings and how this book has become very special to me.

“ The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture.”

The story follows the journey of Hazel, who was terminally ill with a tumor and wasn’t too happy with her life until the entry of Augustus Waters. She met him at a Cancer support group and they instantly struck a chord. Hazel loved reading and was obsessed with one book ‘ An imperial affiction’ which was left incomplete by it’s author. Augustus took on himself to reveal the end of the story to her by taking her to the author himself. But life took a turn when Hazel got the shock of her life after returning from Paris.

“Sometimes people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them. “

With a perfect blend of emotions, humour and motivation, this book just melted my heart. I was crying throughout the second part of the book. I actually realized so many things, had a new perspective to things, learnt how to be happy in small moments of life and most importantly how privileged I’m. The characters were too good. The pure love between Hazel and Augustus touched me. I actually am short of words of describing how emotionally drained I was after completing this book.

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you , and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we are all doomed and that there’ll come a day when all our labour has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I’m in love with you.”

Also, this book is special in a way that one of our actors, Late Sushant Singh Rajput acted in the Hindi remake of the film- TFIOS. It was his last film and before watching the film, I wanted to read the book.

Beautifully written and expressed. Definitely recommended.

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Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular
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COVER REVEAL & INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!!

Today I’m excited to participate in the cover reveal of Blood and Honor by Miranda Lyn! For fans of adventure, battle toughened fae, budding romance, and glory-destined heroines comes the first novel in the Fae Rising trilogy. Releases on January 4th, 2021!


THE COVER!


Title: Blood and Honor

Author: Miranda Lyn
Series: Fae Rising #1

Publishing Date: January 4th, 2021
Cover Design: Tairelei (https://www.instagram.com/tairelei/)
Genres: New Adult Fantasy

Preorder: Fae Rising’s Website | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add on Goodreads!

In the land of fae, you’re either the hunter or the hunted.

Ara, a high fae in the Court of Marsh, was trained since birth to kill. When it comes down to it, can she sever the tendrils of her morality and do it? After being taken prisoner by the sea queen, she manages an escape riddled with questions, only to arrive home to absolute heartbreak. Discovering everything she knew to be a lie, she sets out on a dangerous journey to learn the truth of her upbringing. But when the hunters begin to come for her, she realizes she isn’t the only one that will need her lethal skills.

Meanwhile, Temir, a lesser fae in the vicious Court of Wind, hates no one more than himself. Gifted with the magic of healing and therefore protected from the prejudices befallen the rest of the lesser fae, he is smothered beneath the firm hand of the northern king. But when he makes a discovery that could change the world, he must decide, produce the serum and convince the one he is falling in love with to run away with him and his beloved mentor or let fear suppress him into defeat.

One high fae. One lesser fae. One goal. Find a way to fight back.

For fans of adventure, battle toughened fae, budding romance, and glory-destined heroines comes the first novel in the Fae Rising trilogy. If you enjoy authors like Holly Black and Sarah J Maas, you won’t want to miss the beginning of this thrilling adventure.

About the cover & pre-order campaign!

The cover was designed by Tairelei (https://www.instagram.com/tairelei/).

We really wanted something that would pop, but also something true to the story and through the series covers I think we accomplished that beautifully. The entire series will be releasing in 2021 with the second book, Chaos and Destiny releasing March 4th and the final book in the trilogy, Fate and Flame releasing late April.

However, you can read the first chapter of Blood and Honor RIGHT NOW by subscribing to www.faerising.com!

-IF you preorder and fill out the form on Miranda Lyn’s website, you’ll get a free signed bookmark: https://www.faerising.com/preorder-blood-and-honor

You can pre-order the ebook here

You can pre-order the hardback edition here

International Cover Reveal Giveaway!


Head over to my Instagram account to enter the cover reveal giveaway where ONE reader will win a physical preorder of BLOOD AND HONOR, and 3 other readers will win eARCs to be sent in November! (And check the hashtag #BloodandHonorCoverReveal to get in more entries!)

About Miranda Lyn:

Blood and Honor is the debut new adult high fantasy fae novel for Miranda Lyn. She grew up smack dab in the middle of the United States with nothing to do but dream up stories of fantastical creatures and powerful heroines. Now married with three children of her own, an idea sparked a buried passion within her to follow a dream and teach her children that anything is possible if you’re willing to work hard for it.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Hosted by:

The Great Gatsby

Author : F. Scott Fitzgerald

Publisher : Vintage Classics

Genre : Classic, Fiction

Pages : 232

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The world and his mistress are at Jay Gatsby’s party. But Gatsby stands apart from the crowd, isolated by a secret longing. In between sips of champagne his guests speculate about their mysterious host. Some say he’s a bootlegger. Others swear he was a German spy during the war. They lean in and whisper ‘he killed a man once’. Just where is Gatsby from and what is the obsession that drives him?

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Persuaded by my friend I picked this book up. Also I’m not a big fan of classics so it was a challenge for me to explore a new genre.

” Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

The story narrated by Nick Carraway, takes us on to the journey of Jay Gatsby – a rich wealthy American who was popular for his extravagant parties. Mr. Gatsby was portrayed as a mysterious man, who was called a bootlegger by some and a murderer by others, but no one really knew who he was in reality. But through Nick we got to know about his doomed life and his tragic love. But then through Nick, Jay was able to find his long lost love, but the question is will he be able to win her this time?

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” 

To be honest, I found this book to be over hyped. I’m not into classics much but I did like this book but I’m not going gaga over it ( if you know what I mean ). The characters were absolutely amazingly described, which I loved.

Nick the narrator I presume of him to be biased towards Gatsby and showed him to be a perfect character, ignoring most of his flaws. I was liking his bond with Jordan Baker but then I realised that she was a careless and insensitive character, who was always about herself.

Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin also Gatsby’s long lost love was the most irritating and shallow character for me. She married Tom just because she wanted to enjoy the luxuries in life. Tom was a bastard who was cheating on his wife but Daisy didn’t really gave heed to it.

“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”

Talking about the narration, it was different from my usual reads, too much flowery and poetic at times. I felt bad for Gatsby at times but then I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I won’t say it’s the best book I’ve ever read but definitely a good one.

Recommended!

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Beyond Wonderland Regular


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Afsaane

Author : Ameya Bondre

Genre : Short Stories

Publisher: Blue Rose Publishers

Pages : 208

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A sky-blue paper bird glued to a mirror. A handmade book on music to be gifted. A pair of mud-brown tea cups without handles. A shelf to hoard dying memories. A little home tucked away in a remote village. A haunting voice after boarding an empty bus… The images on the cover belong to people whose stories are packed in this book: A man who meets his lost friend in a new world. A seeker who resists everyone to reach an unwanted place. Lovers that separate, only to find some hope. A failed artist who finds another voice. A new entrant in a home who creates turmoil. A cheated girl who makes a desperate call. A shattered man who pegs on a sudden dreamy trip. With eleven stories of unrequited love, hope, acceptance, heart breaks or just needs, ‘Afsaane’ will tug at your heartstrings and open windows to people that experience unusual situations in far too usual lives. 

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I’ve always been a fan of short stories especially the ones with some life lessons. Afsaane is a collection of 11 short stories which will intrigue you and keep you hooked.

The stories are of different genres and each story is about 10 pages which makes it easy for the reader to read the book. The stories focuses on different emotions of – grief, happiness, family drama friendships, pain, freedom,etc. Each story forces you to ponder on your thoughts, feelings, emotions as you go through it. My favorites were – “Distances” and “A Healthy Home” . The stories were full of turns and twists.

I absolutely enjoyed reading this one. I was able to connect myself with the characters and I was actually hooked to the book. It’s a short read and an absolute beauty. The language is easy and simple and the stories were amazing.

Definitely Recommended!

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Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

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A Ladder Of Panties

Author : Sandeep Jayaram 

Genre : Fiction

Pages : 250

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Don’t pull down if it don’t pull you up!

That’s just how it goes on the ladder. Girls, chicks, fillies, women, MILFs, cougars; Srinivas Ramachandran will take them all. To get a leg up. Okay, not all. Only the ones with bucks and clout! Mohina Sethi was one of his earliest hit-and-run victims.

Twenty years later, they meet in Munnar.

Sri has his head full. His is a story that begins with a bathtub on the rooftop, the goddess of trifling matters and a white plastic bag.

Mohina has her hands full. For starters, her tale features a meagre bust-line, a marriage on the bounce and a nineteen-year-old who’s had an abortion.

Going out of her mind, Mohina agrees to hear him out. Twenty days on—in his tale—Sri has landed up at a party… wearing a garland of blue sanitary pads.

Reality stands on its head when a man climbs higher by reaching lower.

Beyond Wonderland Regular

“He’s the doggy. Not me! I’m… Mohina Sethi was merely a rung. Something you stepped on. There was this ladder, you see. But that tale is still to…”

Mohina was upset about her daughter’s abrupt abortion and was living her life in a mess when she stumbled upon her past – Sri. Srinivas Ramachandran was a part of her younger days and she had been a victim of many of his flings. But meeting him again, reminisced her memories.

Sri asked her to listen to his side of the story, and then the tale of panties began.Set up in the streets of Mumbai, the story revolved around Sri and his various adventures and relationships. From his teenage life to adulthood, we experience all of his glamorous life. It was full of horny parties, girls and kinky stuff but what shaped him was the 8 girls he had fallen in love with.

But what makes the story interesting is the unpredictable end. You need to dive into the story to know about it.

“Reality stands on its head when a man climbs higher by reaching lower.”

Written in an unusual and quirky way I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. The story was character driven and the author portrayed the protagonist Sri in a very well manner. He was humorous and witty and was just like the generation today- falling in love all the time. The setting of a middle class family felt so relatable at times since I’ve seen Mumbai life myself.

Also, a WARNING for all the readers, If you are going to pick this book just engross yourself and don’t let anything distract you. Because If you’ll leave even a single line unread, you’ll regret that later since each and every line has some hidden context in it. The language used by the author is not so simple. The narration is smooth and the book is well paced.

Definitely Recommended!

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Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

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Hunted By The Sky

Author : Tanaz Bhathena

Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux ; Penguin India

Genre : Fantasy

Pages : 384

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Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India. 

Beyond Wonderland Regular

I don’t know where to start from. This book has my heart, my body, my soul – in short my everything. It feels so good reading about a fantasy world which is Indian themed. I’m in love with it and can’t wait for the sequel to come. So far this has been my best read of 2020.

“Every heart holds a warrior. Some are born, some are made, while some choose to never take up arms. What you are and who you will become will be entirely up to you.”

The story is set up in the beautiful magical kingdom of Ambar,where a prophecy – stating a marked warrior will be the reason for the king’s death, made by one of the high priests of the kingdom changed everything. The people with marked bodies were disappearing from the kingdom and were killed ruthlessly.

“Mind finally settles on two people: the major who killed my parents, and the king who started it all. Major Shayla. King Lohar.”

Gulnaz or Gul, was a girl having a star marked on her arm which made her parents go into hiding every now and then in order to protect her. But destiny had other plans, Gul’s parents were ruthlessly killed by Major Shayla, King Lohar’s main soldier. Their mission to find Gul failed when she escaped without their knowing.

“Power comes in many shapes and forms. You keep doubting yourself, Gul. That’s your biggest weakness. When you don’t, you can take down men twice your size.”

Seeing her parents getting murdered, Gul’s only motive to live was- revenge. She was given refuge by the Sisters of the Golden Lotus, who trained her in order to fight her future wars. She accidentally met Cavas on the night of the moon festival and never did they think that they were bound to be together for a common mission.

“It was the first thing Papa taught me on the job: Never do something just because it’s convenient.”

Gul entered the Ambar fort with the help of Cavas , leading her closer to her revenge but not every plan was executed perfectly. Exploring new secrets everyday, she was caught in the web of conspiracies and she hardly had any ways to fulfill her only mission.

Would she be able to take her revenge?

“Our regrets are scars we live with, day in and day out.”

I’m a big fantasy lover and this is now one of my favourite books. The story is woven so intricately, explaining each and every thing in detail – neither too much nor too less but just perfect. The characters are well thought of and I absolutely loved each of their personalities and how they were all bound together.

One thing which I loved was how fierce and strong the women characters were portrayed in the story. Of-course my favourite was Gul, she was so natural with everything. The twists and turns and the magical secrets kept me engaged throughout. The plot was amazing, the narration was smooth and well paced. The language was easy and understandable . Reading this book was so refreshing for me, I hardly got hold of the time since it kept me hooked till the last page.

I’ll definitely recommend this book to everyone.

Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular

*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

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Once There Was Me

Author : Bobby Sachdeva

Publisher : Pan Macmillan India

Genre : Fiction

Pages : 427

Beyond Wonderland Regular

Caught in the web of communal violence repeatedly, Bobby Sachdeva stares at his burning house set afire by the bloodthirsty mob of the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi. As a fourteen-year-old, his world turns upside down, exactly at the age his father had escaped from Pakistan during the Partition of India. Recovering from the trauma, Bobby rebuilds his business and journeys across the US and China, experiencing a life unhindered by religious animosity . Having experienced both sides of religion- of immersion and detachment – he starts questioning the role of religion in our lives. Based on his vision of an emergent India, Bobby finally submits a PIL in the Supreme court for religious shrines to distribute their excess income for the downtrodden. What happens next as religious hardliners turn against him?

Beyond Wonderland Regular

Being a Punjabi myself, I could somewhat feel the pain of the author and of his tragic past. I had heard of stories about the Blue star operation which started in Punjab, killing innocent people. I was shook and very much emotionally connected to this book from the beginning.

” That neighbour said that only the women left the house in the morning.

This statement broke Papa’s heart. One of our own neighbours, with whom we had lived in harmony for so many years, had betrayed us.”

The book follows the journey of the author himself. It’s a non fiction but since some of the names are changed, the genre of the book is written as fiction. We are taken to the tragic past of Bobby, where he witnessed some of the gruesome moments of his life. The anti-Sikh riots were at peak after the death of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which led to the death of many innocent people. Even Bobby’s house wasn’t spared, it was burnt down and the whole family had to move from Delhi to Amritsar in order to save their lives.

Once in Amritsar, Bobby still had to face religion based barriers, he was surprised when he got to know that there was discrimination based on different castes also within the religion. He went to US in order to get free of all the religious bonding because he was an atheist. But due to some situations he had to come back to his family. Once in India, he was married to Jasmina and they were living happily but destiny had different plans. He lost so much in his life because of the religious issues in India that he finally submitted a PIL in the Supreme court asking for all the temples to help the needy with their collected funds instead of fooling people. But these things didn’t go well with the hardliners.

What happened with him after he submitted the PIL? Was it accepted by the court?

” People imitate other people. When one person comes forward to help, many others follow suit. It is the first helping hand that is often difficult to find.”

I enjoyed reading this book. The story got me emotional. I have always been afraid of wars and fights and riots, and imagining this happening with a person felt really bad. It was not just a story but author’s life written into a book, which spoke of how religion has divided us.

I loved the characters, especially Jasmina, Bobby’s wife – she was so sweet and caring and a perfect mother, daughter and a sister. Also the humour element in the book was good too. The language used by the author is simple and understandable. The narration is smooth and the book is well paced. Also, I felt that the second part of the story was a bit too dragged, and I somewhat felt bored while reading the last chapters. Because of which I skimmed a few chapters.

But overall It was a good book.

Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

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The Day Before Today: Lockdown Stories

Author : Gayatri Gill

Publisher : Amazon

Genre : Short Stories

Edition : Kindle

Beyond Wonderland Regular

The Day Before Today is a collection of short stories which are based on the experiences of different people during the lockdown period. The author has penned down some stories which are based on true events and others which she heard or experienced in her surroundings. Some stories were spooky and some were refreshing but my favorite one was the Peach one.

Since we all are stuck in our homes due to the pandemic for more than 5 months now, we all are experiencing some or the other emotion everyday – sometimes good and sometimes bad, so somewhat I felt stories to be relatable. The emotions were beautifully penned down. I found myself confused at times because I felt that there were stories connected but there was no mention as such. But overall it was a refreshing read.

The author’s writing style is simple and understandable. The book is well paced and an enjoyable read.

Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular
Beyond Wonderland Regular


*I received this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.*

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