PAPER MOON BY REHANA MUNIR

Genre– Contemporary Fiction

Rating– 3.5/5

Fiza lives with her mother in Mumbai. She is studying Literature from the most prestigious institute of Mumbai; St. Xavier’s. Fiza’s life is regular. Nothing exciting or out of the ordinary episodes occur in her life.

Just when she is started planning something for her future, she receives a phone call from her estrange father’s best friends. She is informed that her father, who left her years back, is dead and has left a small amount of money in her name. He requests her to open a bookshop out of that money. Within a few days the blueprint of her plans is changed to something new. She is now surrounded by books, décor and a beautiful bookshop, PAPER MOON.

Throughout her journey to nurture her bookshop, she faces breakup, old secrets, loses best friend and meets some amazing new ones.

As mentioned in the synopsis the book surely delivers all the three elements; books, Bombay and romance. 90s kids are going to love this book as this will give you some nostalgic hit. I secretly wish to own a bookshop and be surrounded by books! *sighs*

Though it is an interesting light read, it loses its charm in the middle as some not-so-exciting or important events are mentioned. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

By- Annice Dominic

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Rating ⭐⭐⭐/5

Tamara Goodwin is a spoilt teenager who has everything that a teenager ever wished for. But with the blink of an eye everything is stolen away from her. Her father commits suicide and she and her mother is forced to sell it all and move to countryside.

✨As if that was not enough, her mother was dragged into depression and suspiciously was unable to get out of bed and was sleeping most of the time. Frustrated with her life in village and with her uncle and aunt, Tamara was always in search of an escape.

✨And then comes a travelling library and she finds a blank diary or rather the diary finds her. This is no ordinary diary as it writes itself about the future.
Tamara has done many mistakes and she tries her best to rectify it at the same time wants to discover the suspicious acts going around.

✨Cecelia Ahren is known for her writing with the dash of magic. This book is no different as it has a magical element as a diary that writes itself about the future. Though I loved the premise of the story but this book somehow couldn’t keep me hooked. I have to drag myself for the first 100 pages as it was way too boring and the suspense that building up was not that strong to hold my attention and after a while I didn’t bother to know it.

✨I loved the plot of this book and if it would have been a short story, maybe then it would be an interesting one as this story didn’t need that many unnecessary twists and characters.
Cecelia is one of my favourite authors, but this book didn’t give me what I was expecting from her writing.

By : Annice Dominic

LALLAN SWEETS by Srishti Chaudhary

Ratings ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It’s the year 1995 in Siyaka, a small fictional town.
Taru, an ambitious girl who wants her Ultimate Mathematics Tuition empire to grow. She also works with Lalaji at their family owned Sweet shop, Lallan Sweets.
Lallan Sweets is known for its Ladoos as Lalaji puts some ‘magic ingredient’ in them which no one knows except Lalaji.

Taru lives in a joined family with his mom, uncle, aunty and two cousins Mohit and Rohit.
As any family business is inherited to the next generation, Taru and her cousins secretly wished they inherit it.
But to everyone’s surprise, Lalaji decides that the shop will not be inherited, they will rather have to earn it.

And from here begins Taru’s journey to follow the trail set by Lalaji across the country in search of the ‘magic ingredient’.
Taru never thought she would be out of Siyaka and here she was dodging police, getting pushed out of a moving car and balancing pots in search of the pious ‘magic ingredient’.

This novel is written in simple straight language and thus is great for beginners. If you are looking for a light read, just go for it.
90s kids will definitely be able to connect with this book as there are instances and mentioning of certain elements which belong to that era.

Though it is a story of an adventurous trail, the end was pretty much predictable from the start.
Some of the explanations were repeated or rather explained too much where it could have been avoided .
Other than these the story was a fun read.
Oh! Did I forget to mention there is a sweet love story too in it?

By: Annice Dominic

THE FORTY RULES OF LOVE by Elif Shafak

Rating- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Ella, a typical house wife, married for 20 years and a mother of three. She is a practical woman who had shoved her dreams somewhere back with all her responsibility. Just when she though nothing exciting can occur in her life she is been handed a novel to review “SWEET BLASPHEMY.”

Little did Ella know that her life will never be the same. She and the author, Aziz starts exchanging letter, and maybe more than that. As the novel proceeds, Ella learn a lot about love and also about herself.

Has love changed over the centuries? Or the essence it still the same and we have stopped looking at it in the same way.
This is a novel within a novel.
You will find yourself time travelling between two different eras. This is the story of Shams the Tabriz. If I have to describe this man in few words they would be, the man who made Rumi-The Rumi as the world knows him today.

It is about love and kindness and companionship. About how a saint or an artist is never appreciated in his time but centuries after.
We all know Rumi, but how is became the best poet we have ever seen, we don’t know the story.

I don’t know about others, but I definitely searched more about Shams of Tabriz after reading this novel.

This will make you look at love in a totally different light; the way it should be looked at. How one person is able to change your life and make you turn 360°. That there is a purpose of everyone in your life and visa versa.

I would highly recommend this to all the Rumi fans and anyone who would love to know deeper meaning of live and life.

THE STATIONERY SHOP BY MARJAN KAMLI

Genre- Historical fiction/Romance

Rating- 4/5

Look at love
How it tangles
With the one fallen in love
Look at spirit
How it fuses with earth
Giving it new life

Roya, a teenage girl who loves to visit the local stationery shop.  Mr. Fakhri the owner of the stationery shop keeps all the work of famous Persian  poets like Rumi, Hafez and translated work of famous English writers.

That fateful Tuesday when Roya was touring the shelves of the stationery shop and was reading one of her favorites; Rumi, she met Bahman Aslan. Mr. Fakhri said about him that he is the boy who would change the world. Roya didn’t know by then that he will actually be the boy who would change the world, her entire world.

They met, fell in love and were engaged. There tooka turn of events and they both decided to elope. Oh! Young love! As decided to meet at a square Roya waited for Bahman but found her in the midst of a political riot that took place on that square. Mr. Fakhri came for her but before he could say anything to her, he was shot dead.  Her beloved stationery shop was burned to ashes and Bahman did not turn up on the square. That was the day young Roya lost everything; Mr.Fakhri, the stationery shop, Bahman, smile and hope. That was 1953.

The Iran that Roya and her family rooted for was changing and this forced Roya’s father to send his both daughters abroad to study, to become next Helen Keller or Marie Curie.

60 years later. When Roya is seventy seven years old and married, she discovers that Bahman is in US. Roya is crowded by so many questions, the flashbacks and need for the closure.

This book is about family, Rumi’s poem, politics, class, love, heartbreaks and secrets. There are events that will pop up when you would least expect them. There are incidents when you will close the book and question everything. You will learn about Iranian culture and festivals.

The characters (even small ones) will stick by you long after you have finished this book. You are in for a ride.

But the biggest question that will keep you going will be, Why did Bahman did not turn up that day on the square?

A cozy and a thoughtful read.

by- Annice Dominic

A BURNING by Megha Majumdar

Debutante Novel of MEGHA MAJUMDAR

Genre: Political Fiction
Rating- 3.8/5

“This is how my life is going forward- some insult in my face, some sweet in my mouth.”- Lovely

Jivan,  PT Sir and Lovely. The characters divided by religious backgrounds, gender and life purpose.

Jivan is a Muslim girl from slums who is a responsible daughter. One Facebook comment taking a jab on the government regarding terrorist attack and she landed in jail.

Lovely a transgender driven by the fire in her belly to become an A Lister actress fights the general notion of belonging to a ‘different’ gender. She learns English from Jivan.

PT sir is a simple family man with an income to list himself in a lower middle class family. He is driven by his spirit to do something for the country lands himself with a political party. He is the sports sir in the same school where Jivan studied.

That’s how their life intersected.

In this cautionary tale Majumdar took a risk by writing from the vantage points of three main characters. This novel will make you think twice before you post anything on the social media. It will hit you hard with the fact that in this contemporary India  people with particular religion pay huge cost.

And above all, the very base on which this novel stands-POLITICS, can be brutal.

Apart from the main characters, other characters were like fireflies  blinking in the dark night, important to give different perspectives.
Aruni Maa, Jivan’s parents, Americandi, Mr. Denath these are the characters that played pivotal role if moulding the main ccharacters.

Megha Majumdar did a great job in her debutante novel by writing about the reality of different aspects of the society. Her writing is raw and is for the mass. She used lucid language which can easily connect the reader with the characters’ life.

I would give this a 3.8 stars as a debut novel of the writer. Looking forward to read more from her.

By: Annice Dominic

… This Too Shall Pass

I know you are hurting. I know you have tried solitude, drugs and even laughter to numb the screeching pain.

I know you are anxious and paranoid and breaking silently.

I know you are stuck and not only within these four walls but also in your mind; the worst place to be trapped in.

And I am here to tell you, ‘it’s okay!’ It’s okay to feel vulnerable. That’s a part of being human. It’s scary but worth it. We all have been there and we have different ways of dealing with things.

I want to tell you to just hold on a little bit longer. Just to see one more sunrise, one more rainbow, one more heartbreak.

Don’t be hard on yourself. This too shall pass; just grasp tightly to that one person, one song, one book and you will be just fine.

  • a. dom

MY SINGLE FRIEND BY JANE COSTELLO

Genre – Romantic comedy

Rating– 4 / 5

Lucy and Henry are best friends since childhood and now roommates. Henry is a studious, spectacles-wearing nerd and Lucy is smart and creative and independent woman.

They both are opposites with only one thing in common; they both don’t have a substantial love life. Forget great, not even mentionable love life. Henry is drab, surrounded by books and hence SINGLE whereas Lucy pretends to be someone else while dating and hence, ends up heartbroken and SINGLE.

One fine day Lucy with her other two girls friends decided to give Henry a makeover; just for fun. This project unleashes the real Henry; sexy, smart and funny. Lucy is astonished as well as confused about her feelings for Henry, her best friend! Is the Henry she knew changed? Who is he and what will happen to their friendship?

MY SINGLE FRIEND has every element that a chick-flicks and rom-coms MUST have. It is funny and I found myself laughing out loud at many instances. More than Lucy, I like the characters of Dominique and Henry. It’s a fast read and page turner and you will enjoy every bit of it.

Girls are surely to fall in love with the nerdy Henry-before the makeover. It’s a light read which I prefer picking up after and intense read. I will suggest girls to read this if you are into chick-flicks also guys who secretly love them.

By- Annice Dominic

THE SCARECROW BY MICHAEL CONNLLEY

Genre – Crime Mystery

Rating– 3.5 / 5

Jack McEvoy is a famous crime reporter and a bestselling author of the novel that he investigated himself. Unfortunately this was almost a decade ago and he is about to get laid from the newspaper he is working with due to technology invasion and budget cut.

Before leaving the job he has two weeks to train his replacement Angela keeping his pride in the back seat. He decides to take control of his otherwise boring life and write a killer new novel.

In the course of the investigation of a young drug dealer who was falsely charged of the murder of a bar dancer, Jack stumbles upon something bigger and grave. He is now chasing the serial killer of the women with special body type.

First thing first, this is not The Poet so comparing it would be a waste. (I did this and did affect my ratings) The read was gripping and it tore open the sad reality of the print media after the arrival of the blog culture. There was a time I was terrified of the fact that how easily your every move could be tracked. It’s like they know when you breathe in and when you breathe out.

Unlike other thriller stories, the readers were aware who the killer was right from the very beginning and we read through his POV.

Though the ending was already known to us but still it could have been dramatically climatic. Right from the start where the characters were described, I could tell the story line. Faithful readers of Connlley would definitely agree that this was his not so “Michael Connlley” work. But again, it’s difficult to rise every time to the bar he has set for himself.

by- Annice Dominic

KNOTS AND CROSSES BY IAN RANKIN

Genre – Crime Mystery

Rating– 3.5 / 5

Publisher– Orion

Detective John Rebus is a detective in Edinburg. His ordinary neighbourhood city is suddenly terrorised by serial killings of young girls. He is put on this case. In the meantime, he is receiving anonymous cryptic letters which he fails to understand.

Failed marriage and cold relationship at the work place made Rebus vulnerable to many things. Once a part of Britain’s SAS, Rebus hides underneath a lot which he suffers every night.

As the terrifying killings proceeds, Rebus realises that the killing has something to do with the letters but he could never connect that the answer lies in his past from which he was trying to run from years.

This is the first book in the Rebus’ series. For me the best part is the character revelation of the antagonist. He is sharp, sly and what I think makes a man most dangerous; calm. Though the book is the foundation of the series, it’s a fast read and easily lets the reader connect to the characters.

Though to me the mystery was extremely detached from the solution and slightly towards the not-so-believable side but as a debut novel for the series its quite appalling and I would definitely read others in the Rebus series.

By- Annice Dominic