Saturday, May 22, 2021

Review- The Woman Who Saved My Life by Himanshu Goel

 The Woman Who Saved My Life on Goodreads

Release date: May 11th 2021


Having previously read Himanshu Goel’s A Rational Boy in Love, I was quite looking forward to reading more from the writer. I had found his A Rational Boy in Love to be simple yet profound and relatable yet otherworldly all at once. His latest, The Woman Who Saved My Life was just as lovely as his previous work- if not more, and that consistency itself is worth applauding.

Not an unique story by any means, The Woman Who Saved My Life is told in a manner that’s quite unique and intriguing. Using poetry to tell an entire story is quite a feat that the young writer has nailed brilliantly. This is the book that gives you a warm and cozy feeling. In spite of taking up the delicate topic of suicide, the book leaves you feeling content, with a ray of hope.

Within barely 150 pages that would take an average reader hardly an hour or so to finish the book, Himanshu Goel has managed to pack in emotions, nostalgia, dreams, love and hope in this lovely read. And all this with words that are not just easy to follow but absolutely astounding to read, The Woman Who Saved My Life is a great read.

Definitely a promising young writer, Himanshu Goel’s poetry has managed to find a place in my heart and hopefully the next that’s to come from him will be just as superb.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Himanshu Goel in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Review- The Panipuri Crimes by SB Akshobhya


The young and driven Sagar Bansal leads a team of six on the path of a digital adventure. His plan is to put the humble cane-panipuri vendor, found in every other street in a metropolitan city, on a digital platform.
As they gear up to launch an app to sell panipuri, the cloud of risk looms large. All five entrepreneurs who earlier ventured into the business had died in road accidents. But all that is overlooked and forgotten in the excitement of the team reaching the verge of a VC funding.
Is the death of all five entrepreneurs a coincidence? Can Sagar and his team overcome the odds? Why are the ordinary vendors dying one after another like a pack of cards?
The Panipuri Crimes is a thrilling story weaving together the world of entrepreneurship and struggle, love and other demons, and the murky world of crime.

Release date: April 12th 2021
Published by: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Page numbers: 208


An interesting title for a murder mystery, The Panipuri Crimes combines two things that I’m not too fond of. It did sound like it would be a good read, as it’s the story of a bunch of young engineers who wish to put the panipuri we find on every street on a digital platform. The interesting fact is that everyone before them who had tried to do something similar was murdered under mysterious circumstances.

I found it difficult to relate to a bunch of things in The Panipuri Crimes, from the plot to the language to the characters. It took me a while to understand what was going on but barely a few pages to know who the person behind the crimes could be and still, I feel confused after reading the book which is why I don’t think I can explain exactly what I read. The language for me, was unnecessarily complicated. Had either the plot or the language been much simpler, I would have actually found the book to be engrossing. Coming to the characters, while each one stood out in their own way, I could not relate to any of them and I didn’t find them particularly interesting. There were too many of them and it lead to even more confusion, as if the plot’s confusion wasn’t enough.

I think the problem here is that I don’t have an engineering and corporate background so almost everything was a blur for me. As a reader, I want to know about things that I’m not aware of, not run away from them. Had everything in this book been broken down and portrayed in more relatable terms, I would have enjoyed it. I bet there are readers out there who will thoroughly enjoy this book, but it clearly didn’t do anything for me.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Srishti Publishers and Distributors in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Review- Ithalar Tea Party by Akshath Jaganmohan


On 11 August 1950, Constable Selvam and the other policemen from the quaint little town of Ithalar in the Nilgiris, find the dead body of Anderson Quill, the owner of the English Ithalar Tea Estate.
The workers of the estate are acting mysteriously. They do not seem to care that their wages would be disturbed by the death of the unheired owner of the estate.
Selvam searches the history of the estate and finds the numerous enemies Anderson Quill had, making the case more difficult by the hour.
The killer, too, works tirelessly to give Selvam clues to get caught. Nobody knows why.
But the biggest mystery is yet to be revealed. Selvam hears one name which gives him the creeps, repeatedly. Velavan

Release date: January 4th 2021
Published by: Readen Publishing
Page numbers: 240


Not super inclined towards picking up murder mysteries, the sole reason I decided to give Ithalar Tea Party a go is because it’s written by a 13 year old and because I hope that, somewhere, via The Readdicts, readers are able to know about this gem of a book.

I have no idea when was the last time I finished reading a book in a day. This book was truly unputdownable. I was hooked right from the first chapter and couldn’t wait at all to see what would happen next. Written in the simplest yet most detailed and meticulous manner that doesn’t get boring even once, this book is fast paced, action packed and truly engrossing.

When the owner of the Ithalar Tea Estate, Anderson Quill, is found dead in his house, inspector Selvam sets out on a mission to find the killer which ends up being one awesome adventure full of mystery and amazing storytelling.

Author Akshath Jaganmohan’s writing is so mature that it had me in awe throughout. Had I not known anything about him, I would never have guessed that it’s written by someone so young. The thorough background information and attention to detail is worth applauding and makes the book extremely interesting.

A tale that takes the reader back in time, keeps them on the edge of their seat, perfectly balances narratives from two different times simultaneously, has some pretty good and well developed characters, is easy to follow and packed with immaculate cultural and historical references, I would highly encourage you to pick up Ithalar Tea Party as it’s a super duper great read.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Akshath Jaganmohan in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Review- If I Hadn't Met You by Shalini Ranjan


“I am Ambika. No one can hear me because…” there was a brief, hectic silence, “I am dead… have been dead for the past eighteen years.”
Dead! No. No way!
It was one thing to suspect it. It was completely another thing to hear it from her.
Beautiful and witty, Tisha Mathur finds her life turn upside down on her eighteenth birthday when she interrupts a havan intended to bring peace to the soul of Ambika. Now, awakened from a slumber of eighteen years, Ambika is back in the real world. And if Tisha wants her normal life back, she only needs to do two things-
1. Help Ambika find her wedding chain that she claims to have never taken apart.
2. Go on a date with Rudra Singh Shekhawat - who Ambika thinks looks like Dev Anand.
What starts as a simple hunt of a lost chain quickly catapults into a somersault as Tisha realizes that someone doesn’t want her asking questions about Ambika… and a horrifying discovery that Ambika might not have committed suicide as is the general belief.

Release date: March 24th 2021
Page numbers: 112


The sole reason why I decided to read author Shalini Ranjan’s If I Hadn’t Met You is because it’s a short story, and what an intriguing one it ended up being! The book starts with the untimely deaths of Ambika and her husband which lead to many questions that take a backseat because of a series of other events that are intertwined and interesting.

As someone who has read many books, I sometimes find it easy to figure out where a story is headed but with this, there was so much that I didn’t see coming. This had me on the edge of my seat throughout the course of this story that’s short but packed with action, romance and drama. The author’s writing was easy to follow and the language used is crisp yet simple so even young readers would be able to devour the book.

Starting on a mysterious note and ending on a satisfying one with heaps of engrossing stuff happening in between the two, If I Hadn’t Met You is a great read for when you’re in the mood for something fast paced, engrossing, creepy and fun. If you enjoy reading short stories, you won’t regret picking this one up!

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Shalini Ranjan in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Review- The THC: Under a Gibbous Moon by Manoj V Jain


"Now look at the person in the mirror and tell her that you love her."
Sanjaneka stared and stared, unable to utter the simple words aloud.
Why is Sanjaneka unable to love herself? What past is she running away from?
How does an Uber ride help Samar to save his marriage?
Why does the dull moonlight of a gibbous moon trouble Varun so much?
Three lives. One Utopian centre.
The Total Holistic Centre (The THC) welcomes the broken and those looking for closure through its doors and works its magic to return them to the world fulfilled. This is the story of these three troubled souls who seek solace at the centre, indulge in its unusual treatment and find the cures to their ailments in surprising places.
A book on loss, longing and changing circumstances, The THC dives into uncomfortable topics that are usually swept under the rug: fragile relationships, deteriorating marriages, addictions, impotence, and the delicate bond between fathers and sons.
Welcome to the THC

Release date: October 23rd 2016
Published by: Notion Press, Inc.
Page numbers: 204


Although this is the eighth book by author Manoj V Jain that I have read, The THC: Under a Gibbous Moon is the second book he had written. Had I read this book immediately after his first one, I probably would have appreciated it more, but this reverse order helped me realise how far he has come as an author. His work just keeps getting better and better.

The THC is the story of three people who meet at The Holistic Centre while undergoing different treatments and forming a bond that is pure and simply peaceful. The THC itself seemed like something straight out of one’s dream where the air is fresh, the food is simple, nature is all around... truly an ideal destination to heal from all that our protagonists have been through in life which, like any book by the author, was put down in a manner that was relatable, raw and real.

The journey of self discovery and human relations along the way are two themes that Manoj V Jain does really well. Add to that, language that’s easy to follow and understand, characters whose stories are engrossing and endings that leave you feeling content, and you have a great read that is bound to keep you entertained, contemplate and just have a great reading experience overall, which is exactly what The THC did.

The story of Samar, Sanjenaka and Varun, this one stood out for me most because of its portrayal of the father son relationship and a marvellously done homosexual relationship.

Review- Strange Girls by Azzurra Nox


For fans of American Horror Story, Shirley Jackson, and Creepshow.

You know them. Those girls that aren't quite like everyone else. Those girls who stand out in the crowd. Those girls that dare to be different. Those girls are dangerous.

In Strange Girls, twenty-one authors dare to tackle what makes the girls in this collection different. Vampires, selkies, murderous mermaids, succubus, and possessed dolls take center stage in these short stories that are sure to invoke feelings of quiet terror and uneasiness in the reader. Following the successful debut of Women in Horror anthology with My American Nightmare, Strange Girls is the sophomore effort to showcase these talented women in a genre that is often dominated by the male gaze.

Dare to take a walk on the dark side.

Stories in the Anthology:

24 Hour Diner by Charlotte Platt
Sideshow by Jude Reid
The Doll's House by Alyson Faye
Blood by Red Claire
Self-Portrait with Pears by Rachel Bolton
Personal Demons by Angelique Fawns
Friends with Benefits by E.F. Schraeder
Night Terrors by Angela Sylvaine
The Girl Who Never Stopped Bleeding by Sam Lauren
Leda and the Fly by Marnie Azzarelli
Jenny's Bobo by Hillary Lyon
Extinguishing Fireflies by Rebecca Rowland
The Eyes of the Dead by Danielle R. Bailey
My Mirror Wife by Ash Tudor
Patterns of Faerytales by Azzurra Nox
Campfire Tales: The Bloody Rings by Emma Johnson-Rivard
Cracked by Regan Moore
Angel of Death by Phoebe Jane Johnson
Her Garden Grows by Maxine Kollar
Revival by Madison Estes
A Song Only She Can Hear by Wondra Vanian
Tribal Influence by Erica Ruhe

Release date: February 18th 2020
Published by: Twisted Wing Productions
Page numbers: 344


An anthology of twenty two short stories by women writers, Strange Girls is an excellent collection that it is just the right amount of spine-chilling, without leaving you feeling overly terrified. While an horror anthology, the stories cover up a variety of topics, some of them being fantasy, paranormal and science fiction, with an element of horror. Each story is unique and engrossing in its own way.

Since the association of dolls with horror intrigues me in general, I had an alarming (in a pleasing way) time reading Alyson Faye’s The Doll’s House and Regan Moore’s Cracked. Being an ardent admirer of Azzurra Nox who has put this collection together, I loved her story titled Patterns of Faerytales, as well. Not a big fan of science fiction, but because these were short stories done in a meticulous and simple manner, I liked reading Night Terrors by Angela Sylvaine and Tribal Influence by Erica Ruhe as well. Jude Reid’s Sideshow, Charlotte Plat’s 24 Hour Diner, Angelique Fawns’s Personal Demons, Danielle R. Railey’s The Eyes of the Dead, Hillary Lyon’s Jenny’s Bobo, Rebecca Rowland’s Extinguishing Fireflies are some more honourable mentions that were superbly done.

It goes without saying that the other stories were just as brilliant and I truly had a delightful time reading, exploring and imagining each one. A short stories collection exclusively by women writers that is all about women power, Strange Girls isn’t so much about strange girls as it is about the dangerous and dire consequences of just being a girl, which I found inspiring and unputdownable. Put down in the most astounding manner, each story from this collection is simply incredible.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Azzurra Nox in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Review- Us Three by Mia Kerick

 Us Three on Goodreads


A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

In his junior year at a public high school, sweet, bright Casey Minton’s biggest worry isn’t being gay. Keeping from being too badly bullied by his so-called friends, a group of girls called the Queen Bees, is more pressing. Nate De Marco has no friends, his tough home life having taken its toll on his reputation, but he’s determined to get through high school. Zander Zane’s story is different: he’s popular, a jock. Zander knows he’s gay, but fellow students don’t, and he’d like to keep it that way.

No one expects much when these three are grouped together for a class project, yet in the process the boys discover each other’s talents and traits, and a new bond forms. But what if Nate, Zander, and Casey fall in love—each with the other and all three together? Not only gay but also a threesome, for them high school becomes infinitely more complicated and maybe even dangerous. To survive and keep their love alive, they must find their individual strengths and courage and stand together, honest and united. If they can do that, they might prevail against the Queen Bees and a student body frightened into silence—and even against their own crippling fears.

Release date: April 3rd 2014
Published by: Harmony Ink Press
Page numbers: 180


This wasn’t the first book by Mia Kerick that I read. I have read quite a few of the author’s books in the past which I really enjoyed, that’s why I keep going back for more. Mia very generously offered to gift me a copy of Us Three, and honestly, this book helped me get out of a reading slump, which is awesome.

Something I have read about in Mia’s It Could HappenUs Three is the story of three guys Nate, Casey and Zander (such beautiful names, eh?), who are in love with each other. It might sound weird, but trust me, Mia’s storytelling and character building make it hard to toss it aside as bizarre. The story is honestly amazing and everything about the three being together just feels right. As a reader, I found myself rooting for all three precious boys, individually and together.

Coming to the characters, Mia has done a remarkable job in not just making each character unique and loveable in their own ways, but also lending them a voice which is true to its character. I swear I could tell you whose pov it is from without any mention of the person because that’s how different and stellar each one was and I developed an emotional connect with each. This happens rarely but I couldn’t help but love all three of them.

An intriguing and engrossing read, there’s so much more I could say about Us Three, but honestly, I’d rather you pick up the book and find out for yourself how beautiful it is. From broken homes to loving families to bullying to standing up for and doing what’s right and so much more, Mia has nailed it with this one. I’m so glad and grateful that I got to read this gem that’s gonna stay with me for a long time to come.