If you’ve been following me on social media – at least since 2021 – you’ll know that I found one of my absolute favorite series of all time that year. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve gone on adventures, I’ve smiled in understanding, I’ve experienced the characters’ pain – everything – as I read the fantasy series, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. There’s footage of me crying like a baby and there was more that I didn’t add to that video where I was even hiccupping because I was crying so hard. Sabaa Tahir has that quality in her writing where she makes you feel a world of emotions. And call me a masochist or whatever, but I am someone who loves books that make me emotional.
Sometimes you read about a character so wonderful, so enigmatic, that their charm drips off the pages and into your mind and heart. One such was this book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. There’s so much I want to say about her here, in written format too, but a year and a half after having read the book for the first time, I find myself at a loss for words. It’s a paradox, really. A side-effect of the aura the book exudes.
There are many science fiction stories that talk about how humanity is at its end and how one man (yes, more often than not, it’s a man) has to save it by going on an interplanetary or intergalactic quest of sorts. I haven’t yet read a book in which the futuristic setting of a science fiction novel is treated as normal, as we would treat a story set in current times. That’s probably because I’m not usually that big on science fiction, although things are slowly changing in the best way possible. One of the reasons behind this shift is a short novella called Steven Johnson and the Mission 1 by Yashesh Rathod.
Religion can be a tricky path to navigate, because the more you discover, the more you tend to become confused as to which is the right one. But there is no right one. Just one that you feel most comfortable and at home in, which helps you grow and makes you a better person as much as it pulls devotion out of you. So what do we do when we are this confused? Should we flit from religion to religion? Or should we randomly choose a religion based on how many tenets of it we like? Or can we get the best of all worlds?
Ishwar Joshi Awalgaonkar answers these questions in his second book, ‘Nectar of all World Religions’.
The moment we say ‘influencer’ in this time and age, social media comes to mind. Book influencers, beauty influencers, travel influencers, food influencers – so many types that exist on the vast space of the Internet! The primary job of these people is to influence others to buy the thing that they are showing off. But what if influencing could be an actual superpower? What if Influencers exist, actually influencing people’s willpowers and making the tide turn in their favor? Author Abhaidev takes this ‘what if’ and turns it into a gripping thriller called The Influencer: Speed Must Have a Limit that will keep your attention from start to finish.
Historical fantasy is a genre that can be very tricky to write. There’s so much to get right: historical events around the setting of the novel, people’s behaviors around the time, customs and traditions, accepted norms, and so much more. If done right, you’ll have a well-written, informative, entertaining book on your hands. But if even one thing goes wrong in this recipe, the end result could be a jarring complexity that could confuse you to no end.
Yashesh Rathod’s Frank Carter: The Complete Saga is a historical fantasy that, living up to its genre, has a fantastical premise, replete with time travel and the supernatural.
There are some books which you hear the names of and you think, okay, this is going to be one delicious, lip-smacking book about some delicious, lip-smacking food. Instead, it turns out to be about something else altogether – a headily intriguing mix of the sweetness of the little joys in life, the bitterness of harsh reality, the sourness of anger, the saltiness of sorrow, the bland taste of helplessness, that spicy tang of enthusiastic motivation – and it fills you up with not only emotions, but also with the reiterated knowledge that the world is way more complicated and intricately connected than we think it is. And Hot Stew is one such book.
Oh hello, hello! I’m quite a few days late in posting this wrap up for January, but better late than never, right? That’s what I tell myself and until there’s something else that I come across that will assuage my guilt for being absent here, that’s how it’s going to be. XD
I read 10 books in January – far fewer than what I wanted to. What’s more, I started and ended the month with disappointments. Not a big fan of constantly doing this but all the other books, I loved, so I guess I can’t really complain. 😀
I discovered Suanne Laqueur in 2018, when I requested an ARC of A Charm of Finches, the second in the Venery series. And boy, oh, boy, how I fell in love with that book and the characters! Javier, Alex, and Val became so close to my heart, I don’t even know where to start! But I realized that it was the second in the series a tad bit too late, just as I realized that you could read it on its own too. Reading the first one only gave you extra insight into the minds of the characters. When I saw that the third in this series, A Scarcity of Condors, was available for request, I immediately snapped it up. And what a wise decision it was!