Reviews

Elixir by Sinjini Sengupta

Elixir by Sinjini Sengupta

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Fiction, Drama
Imprint: Readomania
ISBN: 9789385854545

Sinjini Sengupta is a poetess, columnist and a short story writer. By profession, she is an actuary. Her debut novel Elixir is based on mental health.

Manisha is an actuary in an MNC. She is married to Amit who is working hard for his startup. Theirs is an arranged marriage with no love, and no understanding from Amit’s end. Manisha feels lonely as her husband doesn’t give her any attention, and whenever she tries to tell him anything, he ignores her. Amit always takes his mother’s side though he knows his wife is right. In his ignorance towards his wife, he doesn’t notice that she is suddenly happy with her life and suddenly screws up at her job for which she was always praised. Her strange behavior catches his attention and bothers him. This even takes them on the verge of divorce. But what is this strange but seemingly normal life of Manisha that is troubling people around her? Read Elixir to get your answer. Or rather rush through it. Why? I will tell you.

As mentioned above, Elixir is a novel about mental health. But reading it will give readers a mental illness. Author has used “you see” so many times that it starts to get on the nerves. Every character talks like that as if there is no difference between one another. The writing or terrible editing has left too many commas for the readers making the narration unreadable. The narration is incorrigible. Even after three chapters can’t understand what Manisha is doing. Maybe that is what the author wants to convey; not let the readers understand the story. So much of description that cannot be understood has killed my imagination and made me turn to Facebook often. The author’s attempted sophisticated description about everything is suffocating. To top it all, Manisha is always wondering whether it will rain today or not. She has a reason, but this wondering is overdone, left me wondering why I am reading it. I understand that Sengupta was describing Manisha’s loneliness. But in that attempt, she makes the reader feel lonely with her book. The experience of reading this book was truly traumatic.

Read Elixir by Sinjini Sengupta if you have nothing better to read. Oops, you can’t read until the last three chapters. Till then, you ought to rush to keep your sanity.

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Mohanaswamy by Vasudhendra

ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ – ಲೇಖಕರು ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರ (Mohanaswamy by Vasudhendra)

ವಿಮರ್ಶಕರು ಶ್ವೇತಾ ಏಚ್ ಎಸ್

ಶೈಲಿ: ವಸ್ತುಭೂತವಾದ ವಿಷಯ, ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆಗಳು, LGBTQ.
ಮುದ್ರೆ: ಚಂದ ಪುಸ್ತಕ
ISBN: 9789384908249

ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸಾಫ್ಟ್ವೇರ್ ಎಂಜಿನಿಯರ್ ಆಗಿದ್ದರೂ ಅವರ ಕನ್ನಡ ಪ್ರೇಮ ಅವರಲ್ಲಿನ ಒಬ್ಬ ಕುಶಲ ಬರಹಗಾರನನ್ನು ಹೂರಹಾಕಿದೆ. ಇವರ ಕೃತಿಗಳು ಪ್ರಮುಖವಾಗಿ ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆಗಳು ಹಾಗು ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳಾಗಿವೆ. ಕಾದಂಬರಿ ಕೂಡ ರಚಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.   “ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ” ಏಕೆ ವಿಶೇಷವೆಂದರೆ, ಅದು ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತ ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಲೋಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿಗೆ ಸಲಿಂಗಕಾಮಿಯ ಪಾತ್ರದ ಸುತ್ತ ನಾಭೀಕರಿಸಿರುವ ಒಂದು ಕೃತಿ. ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕವು ಲೇಖಕರ ಸ್ವಯಂ ಬಹಿರಂಗಬಡಿಸುವಿಕೆ ಎಂದೂ ನಂಬಲಾಗಿದೆ.

ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಹನ್ನೊಂದು ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆಗಳು ಹಾಗು ಒಂದು ಪದ್ಯವನ್ನೊಳಗೊಂಡಿದೆ. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಆರು ಕಥೆಗಳು ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಕುರಿತಾಗಿದ್ದು ಮಿಕ್ಕವು ಬೇರೆ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನಿರೂಪಿಸುತ್ತವೆ. ‘ತುತ್ತತುದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೊಟ್ಟಮೊದಲು’ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಪರಿಚಯಾತ್ಮಕ ಕಥೆಯಾಗಿದ್ದು ಲಿಂಗ ಬದಲಾವಣೆಯ ನಂತರದ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ತನ್ನ ಸತತ ನೋವಿನ ಸೆಲೆಯನ್ನು, ಅಪರಾಧಿ ಮನೋಭಾವನೆಯನ್ನು ಮುಂದಿಡುತ್ತದೆ. ‘ಕಗ್ಗಂಟು’ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯು ತನ್ನ ಪ್ರೇಯಸಿಯನ್ನು ಕಳೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಹಾಗು ಒಂದು ಹುಡುಗಿಯ ಒಡನಾಟದ ಬಗ್ಗೆಯಾಗಿದೆ.  ‘ಕಾಶಿವೀರರು’ ಬಾಲ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯು ಹೇಗೆ ಅವನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತನಿಂದ ಹಣಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಬೆದರಿಸಲ್ಪಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ಎಂಬುದಾಗಿದೆ.  ‘ಒಲ್ಲದ ತಾಂಬೂಲ’ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಅಂತರಂಗದ ತುಡಿತ, ತಾನೂ ಕೂಡ ಎಲ್ಲರಂತೆ ಭಾವನೆಗಳಿರುವ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಮನುಷ್ಯ ಎಂಬುದರ ಕುರಿತಾಗಿದೆ. ‘ಕಿಲಿಮಂಜಾರೊ’ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ ತನ್ನನ್ನು ತಾನು ಕಂಡುಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದಾಗಿದೆ. ‘ತಗಣಿ’ಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ಗೆಳೆಯ ಶಂಕರೇಗೌಡ (ಒಬ್ಬ ಟ್ರ್ಯಾನ್ಸ್ಜೆಂಡರ್), ಆತನಿಗೆ ಏನಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂಬುದಾಗಿದೆ. ‘ದುರ್ಭಿಕ್ಷ ಕಾಲ’ ಈ ನಿರ್ದಯಿ ಕಾರ್ಪೊರೇಟ್ ಜಗತ್ತಿನಲ್ಲಿ ದೇವಿಕಾ ಹಾಗು ವಿನಾಯಕರ ಸರಳ ಸಾಧಾರಣ ಜೀವನದ ಏರಿಳಿತಗಳನ್ನು ಚಿತ್ರಿಸಿದೆ.  ‘ಭಗವಂತ ಭಕ್ತ ಮತ್ತು ರಕ್ತ’ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕತೆಯ ಧರ್ಮಾಚರಣೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ನೋಟ ಬೀರುತ್ತದೆ . ‘ಪೂರ್ಣಾಹುತಿ’ಯಲ್ಲಿ ಟೆಕ್ನಾಲಜಿ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಜಾಲತಾಣದ ನ್ಯೂನತೆ ಹಾಗು ಮೂರ್ಖತನದ ನೈಜ ಚಿತ್ರಣ ರೂಪಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ‘ದ್ರೌಪದಮ್ಮನ ಕತ್ತಿ’ ಪಂಚ ಪತಿಯರ ಪತ್ನಿಯಾದ ದ್ರೌಪದಿಯ ಮಾನಸಿಕ ಗದ್ದಲವನ್ನು ಸಾರುವ ಕಥೆಯಾಗಿದೆ. ‘ಇವತ್ತು ಬೇರೆ’ ಸಂಬಂಧಗಳ ಬಾಧ್ಯತೆ, ಅದರ ಮಿತಿ ಹಾಗು ಅನುಮತಿಗಳ ಕಥೆ ಹೇಳುತ್ತದೆ.

“ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ” ಹಲವು ಪಾತ್ರಗಳ ಜೀವನದ ಕುರಿತು ಹೊಸ ಹೊರನೋಟ ಸೂಸುವ ಒಂದು ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ವ್ಯಾಖ್ಯಾನವಾಗಿದೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳು ನಮ್ಮ ದೈನಂದಿನ ಜೀವನದ ಒಂದು ಭಾಗ. ಲೇಖಕ ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರರವರು ತಮ್ಮ ಕೃತಿ ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿಯಲ್ಲಿನ ಸಣ್ಣಕಥೆಗಳ ಮೂಲಕ LGBTQ ಗೆ ಸೇರಿದ ಜನರು ಎಲ್ಲರಂತೆ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯ ಮನುಷ್ಯರು ಅವರ ಭಾವನೆ, ಮಿಡಿತಗಳು ಅವರ ಲಿಂಗದ ಮೇಲೆ ಪ್ರಭಾವಿತ ಪ್ರೇರಣೆಗಳಷ್ಟೇ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಲಿಚ್ಛಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.  ಮೋಹನಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಪಾತ್ರವು LGBTQ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಹೇಳಿದರೆ ಮಿಕ್ಕ ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆಗಳ ಪಾತ್ರಗಳು ಆಧುನಿಕತೆ ಎಂಬುದು ನಮ್ಮ ಜೀವನವನ್ನು ಸುಧಾರಿಸುವ ಬದಲು ಹೇಗೆ ಸರ್ವವ್ಯಾಪಿಯಾಗಿ ಹಾಳುಮಾಡುವತ್ತ ಸಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ ಎಂದು ನಿದರ್ಶಿಸುತ್ತವೆ.   ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಹೊಸ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಕ್ಕೆ ಮುನ್ನುಡಿ ಬರೆದ ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರರಿಗೆ ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳು. ಕನ್ನಡ ಓದಲು ಬರುವ ಎಲ್ಲರು ಓದಲೇಬೇಕಾದ ಕೃತಿ ಇದು.

ವಿಮರ್ಶೆಯನ್ನು ಕನ್ನಡಕ್ಕೆ ಅನುವಧಿಸಿದವರು ಜಗದೀಶ್ ಟ್ ಸ್
Book review is translated into Kannada by Jagadeesh T S

Given below is the English translation of the book review given above.

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Nonfiction, Short Stories, LGBTQ
Imprint: Chanda Pustaka
ISBN: 9789384908249

Vasudhendra is a software engineer turned writer who professes his love for his mother tongue Kannada. Though he has written a novel, a major part of his works include short stories and essays. The reason why Mohanaswamy is special, especially in Kannada literature, is because it is a foremost work in modern times to be prominently focussed on a gay character. It is also said that this book was a coming-out-of-closet for the author himself.

Mohanaswamy consists of eleven short stories and a poem. Out of which six short stories are about Mohanaswamy, and remaining have different lead characters. Thutthatudiyali Motthamodalu is the introductory story about Mohanaswamy and tells you about the constant nagging guilt of being gay in this society. Kaggantu is about how Mohanaswamy loses his lover and partner to a girl. Kashiveeraru shows you how Mohanaswamy gets blackmailed by a childhood friend for money. Ollada Tambula tells you about how Mohanaswamy too is a normal human being and has needs and feelings like everybody. Kilimanjaro is about Mohanaswamy finding himself. Tagani shows you what happens to Mohanaswamy’s friend, Shankaregowda, a transgender. Durbhiksha Kaala is a glimpse into the seemingly simple lives of Devika and Vinayaka in this ruthless corporate world. Bhagawantha, Bhakta Matthu Rakhta is about facade of being religious. Poornahuti paints a candid picture of the downside of technology, social media and stupidity. Draupadammana Kathi is a take on Draupadi’s turmoil of having five husbands. Ivatthu Bere tells you about the limits and grants of obligations of relationships.

Mohanaswamy is a fresh outlook into the lives of various characters. People like these characters are part of our daily life. Through Mohanaswamy’s short stories, Vasudhendra shows readers that people belonging to LGBTQ are also humans, but only with exchanged emotions, feelings and genders. If Mohanaswamy, a character, tells you about LGBTQ, then the characters in the other short stories take you on a journey of showing how modern life has ruined everything for us instead of making things better. Kudos to Vasudhendra for such a bold initiative in Kannada literature. A must read for all people who can read Kannada.

Detroit: From Boom to Bust and Back Again by In60Learning

Detroit: From Boom to Bust and Back Again by In60Learning

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: History, Nonfiction
Imprint: In60Learning
ISBN: 9781977060990

In60Learning is a new publishing brand that produces concise historical and biographical that can be read or listened to in sixty minutes. Their concept is based on the intention to make large works of literature be readable to all people who don’t have much reading time. You can find their learning list here. One of their published works is Detroit: From Boom to Bust and back Again.

In the book, there is a description of Detroit’s history as a city. A nondescript place gets chosen to be a hub for automotive industry. It shoots to fame for being the place to be for anyone looking for a job. But the ill-managed finances and doom of automotive industry scores bad with the desirability of the city’s state of living. Followed by drug mafia and racism, the city finds itself moving towards irrecoverable breakdown. But the city recuperates, not as expected, but in a different manner and intention. A micro history of the city Detroit is worth reading.

Detroit, the book, tells the reader a lot about why the city is the way it is, enough to be read in sixty minutes. It would have been better if more of racism could have been explained. Even the expansion of KKK is not given. But overall, Detroit deserves your sixty minutes.

Birds of Prey by Archana Sarat

Birds of Prey by Archana Sarat

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Crime Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Imprint: Readomania
ISBN: 9789385854200

Birds of Prey is a debut novel of Archana Sarat, a chartered accountant turned writer. She is also a poetess. Her works have appeared in various magazines and anthologies.

Anton Pinto is a police officer turned tour guide in Goa. His colleague and friend, Rajesh, comes seeking his help in a case of disappearing men. Anton, who had quit his risky job for the sake of his wife and daughter, because he almost died in his last case, reluctantly agrees to help his friend and goes to Mumbai where the new case is filed. All three men, who have disappeared so far, have gone missing in the same way by following an old limping lady. Who the lady is? Nobody knows. When the dead bodies of these three men turn up in a forest area in a sack, case intensifies. At the same time another man goes missing in the same way. Anton goes looking for a common link between all these men. That’s when he comes across Swarna whose peculiar behaviour arouses his curiosity. But is Swarna the culprit or someone else? Why are men missing in the same way? What is the common link between all these men? Will Anton succeed in stopping more men from going missing? You have to read Birds of Prey by Archana Sarat to get your answers.

Apart from few editorial mistakes, Birds of Prey is an outstanding crime thriller by an Indian author. Archana Sarat couldn’t have gotten any better debut than this. The narration is superb. Superb is an understatement. Archana’s vivid narration incites such emotions that sometimes you feel nauseated and sometimes high on adrenaline. I had to go to work, so took about three days to finish this book. But my boyfriend couldn’t resist finishing the book, so took a day off and finished reading Birds of Prey in a day. This book is a definite recommendation. Don’t forget to read it as soon as possible.

The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance by Niranjan Navalgund

The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance by Niranjan Navalgund

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Children, Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy.
Imprint: Readomania
ISBN: 9789385854156

The Lively Library & Unlikely Romance is an appreciable debut novella by Niranjan Navalgund, an author and a chess player from India.

Nayan, an arbiter in the chess tournaments, is now looking after a library that his father has left behind. It was Nayan’s father’s last wish to reopen the library which was very special for him. Why was it special for his father? Nayan doesn’t know. In absence of humans in the immediate surroundings, the books of the library come to life. They have their own world in which they are equipped with all the counterparts of human world. These books fall in love and get married too. Like humans, they too face curses. And they have their own gods too. Pakshi and Helmine are the cursed divine entities of this lively library. While the books are going about their day-to-day lives, they get to know of an upcoming danger. What is that danger? How did they get to know about it? What will they do to protect themselves from this unknown danger? Read the Lively Library & Unlikely Romance to decode the codes of this book world.

For a novella, The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance does good with the brief descriptions and scenes. But as a reader, I felt that the concept of this book, though beautiful, got wasted without the elaboration into grandeur. This concept honestly had such potential. A grand fantasy world got shrunk to a tiny segment. The author could have built on each chapter with more details to cater to the imagination of the readers. I am disheartened by the shortness of this life of the lively library. The calculations in between the narration distracts the flow. And the curses could have been explained in detail too. It is such a loss to the readers! Nevertheless, whatever is narrated is enough to give you a peek into the lively library as the book also has illustrations to aid to your imagination.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Zombie romance, Classic retelling
Imprint: Quirk Classics
ISBN: 1594743347

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith is a classic retelling, in a lesser unknow subgenre zombie romance, of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The author has written several books in other lesser known genres. Another of his famous work is Abraham Lincoln: The Vampire Slayer. You can read our reviews of Pride and Prejudice’s graphic novel and illustrated book by clicking on the options.

Seth Grahame-Smith is a smart boy. He didn’t have to write much. All he had to do was include ninja lifestyle descriptions, zombies and a few fights here and there without changing the Goddess Jane Austen’s original. Sorry, Seth actually kills Charlotte Lucas in his version. How and when? It is for you to find out by reading this book.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has been personally gratifying at so many levels to a Pride and Prejudice fan like me. I have three instances where I kind of appreciated Seth for his version. First, there is an instance when Mr. Bennet actually asks Mrs. Bennet to shut up, which I had been wondering why it didn’t happen since the time I first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Anyway, if Mrs. Bennet shuts up, how will the show go on? So, she gets to be herself. Second, Elizabeth kicks Darcy’s ass for separating Jane and Bingley, and for insulting her family while he professes his love for her during her stay at Mr. Collins and Charlotte’s house. The usually slight rudeness in the original had not gone down well with me. Thirs, Darcy kicking some zombie-asses on the beautiful grounds of Pemberley to help Elizabeth when she single-handedly tries to fight a herd of zombies without any ninja weapon. What an entry to the scene! Absolutely heroic and saving-damsel-in distress kind. Well, it is satiating enough.

Apart from the minor inclusions and modifications to the storyline, rest is same as the original version. Nobody would read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies until they have read the original. So, if the original is good or bad, then the same applies to this version as well. You won’t lose anything by giving this a read.

The Queens of Hastinapur by Sharath Komarraju

Queens of Hastinapur by Sharath Komarraju (Hastinapur, #3)

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Mythology
Imprint: Harper Collins, India
ISBN: 9789352773138

The Queens of Hastinapur is third in the Hastinapur series. First two were Winds of Hastinapur and Rise of Hastinapur. Hastinapur series is a retelling of Mahabharath. This retelling shows how humane and materialistic the characters of the epic saga are compared to their depictions in the original and other versions.

Gandhari is striving to secure her chance to be the queen and the future queen-mother of Hastinapur. Pritha is striving to secure her place in the heart of her husband, the king of Hastinapur, Pandu, who has taken Madri as his second wife. The gods on Mount Meru are striving to resist the flourishing of Hastinapur to prevent the great empire, under the aegis of Devavrata, invading their abode on the holy mountain. Devaki is striving to keep her new-born alive so that he can grow up to kill his uncle Kamsa. King Kamsa is striving to keep his kingdom Mathura safe by coming into an alliance with King Jarasandha. The gods on Mount Meru have to now strive to keep themselves safe from the strong alliance of Kamsa and Jarasandha because Kamsa will definitely try to avenge the theft of the black stone magic by the gods from his kingdom. Jahnavi, Ganga’s apprentice, sent by the gods to Mathura, along with Kubera and Nishantha, gets caught by Kamsa and they all strive to get out out of the prison. What happens to all these women who are striving in this game of power? What happens to the men whose lives are entangled with the lives of these women? Ganga continues to tell you the epic story of Mahabharath.

Since the Queens of Hastinapur is third in the Hastinapur series, you need to read the first two books too to understand what is happening. After watching B R Chopra’s Mahabharath on television, this fresh retelling that shows each character in a different angle is welcoming. But, compared to the first two books, the Queens of Hastinapur’s narration seems pale, especially the part of Jahnavi, Kubera and Nishantha. Rest of the book’s narration is tolerable.

Hoping that the birth and upbringing of Krishna will not make women suffer more, hoping that the fourth book in the Hastinapur series will have a better narration than the third one, do give the Queens of Hastinapur a read.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Illustrated by Alice Pattullo)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Illustrated by Alice Pattullo)

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Classic, Drama, Illustrated version
ISBN: 978163159076
Imprint: Rockport Publishers, USA.

To read about Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and its graphic novel version, click here. To get a review of the illustrated version by Alice Pattullo with Rockport Publishers, read on.

To misinterpret a classic is one thing and to ruin the enjoyment of a classic is another. And Rockport Publishers have succeeded in ruining the pleasure of reading this illustrated version of theirs by gaudy illustrations by Alice Pattullo and horrible editing and spelling mistakes. Did the publishers not have an in-house editor or could they not hire one? Here is a list, but non exhaustive, of mistakes that can easily be found in the book:

  • Keep keep instead of keep
  • Me instead of my
  • Combinationa
  • Coining instead of coming
  • Ouly instead of only

Don’t waste your money on this illustrated version of Pride and Prejudice. The illustrations will haunt you. Not worth feeling bad about a classic as great as this work by Jane Austen.

Secrets of Zynpagua - Search of Soulmates by Ilika Ranjan

Secrets of Zynpagua: Search of Soulmates by Ilika Ranjan (Secrets of Zynpagua #2)

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Children, Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction.
Imprint: Partridge India
ISBN: 9781482886672

Secrets of Zynpagua: Search of Soulmates is the second book in the Secrets of Zynpagua series by Ilika Ranjan. The first book, Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess, garnered great reviews and the third book, Secrets of Zynpagua: Birth of Mystery Child, is out now and is up for grabs. Ilika Ranjan is not only a children’s book author. Her first book was a fiction about corporate life called “Puppet on the Fast Track.”

Search of Soulmates starts with Anika, the princess of Zynpagua, getting a premonition that Zynpagua is going to be under a threat again soon. Her premonition turns true when Drudan, the evil scientist, returns with the support of magic of a mermaid to rule of Zynpagua and also rule over the Earth. The demon planets help the evil to reduce the goodness blessed by the good planets and everything falls into place for Drudan and his mermaid. But Anika, with the equipped with the teachings of Venus, fights Drudan, mermaid and their army of evil people and disgusting sea worms, with the support of her mother Sussaina, brother Vivian, Lady Carol – the queen of kingdom of clouds, her grandson Leo, a snake Romeo and a tortoise Mootu along with a flock of magical rainbow birds and peregrine falcons. Femina, who was turned into stone, comes back to life thanks to Anika’s uncle Frederick. To know how an eleven year old princess Anika fights evil, how Femina comes to life and whether they win or lose, read Secrets of Zynpagua: Search of Soulmates.

Secrets of Zynpagua: Search of Soulmates is a good sequel to the first book, but needs heavy editing to be done. Apart from that, the story is good enough to cater to children’s imagination. It is a good progress in the Indian scenario for children’s books. It is also an attempt to have both religion and science in one place. Children will definitely enjoy this second book in the series.

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Chick lit, Romance, Drama.
Imprint: St. Martin’s Griffin, New York.
ISBN: 978-0-312-32119-2

Though Emily Giffin has written many novels, her more famous work is Something Borrowed. It was not only a bestseller, but all was made into a major movie with minor changes to the storyline and characters.

Rachel has turned thirty and is still single contrary to her dreams and hopes of being settled by this age with someone who loves her and whom she loves in return. Her best friend Darcy is getting married in a few months. The fiancé is Rachel’s classmate and friend Dexter. In inebriated state and in absence of Darcy, Dexter and Rachel have sex and try to forget it later only to find out that they both like each other. Rachel is surprised to find out Dexter has always liked her but was discouraged by her own indifferent and casual behaviour towards him. Now that they both know the truth and love each other, the only obstacle in the path is Darcy who wants everything her way and likes to put up a show for everything everywhere. Dexter hinders from breaking the engagement but also doesn’t leave Rachel to be on her own. On consultation and persuasion of her good friends Hillary and Ethan, Rachel decides to leave Dexter to be his coward self and goes to meet Ethan in London as she is also fed up of being Darcy’s sidekick since childhood. What does Dexter do now? Does Rachel’s life change in London? Does Darcy turn out to be a better person or stay the shallow ever? Read the book to catch up on the lives of these friends.

Something Borrowed dwells on the ethics of friendship, moral dilemma and seeking happiness for self. It does feel dragged at places but it can be justified as it helps in showing the reader the mindset of Rachel. Since the story is both in book and movie forms, the comparison can be made. There are minor changes in the movie compared to the book. For example, in the book Darcy is dark haired and is wearing a red dress for Rachel’s birthday party, but in the movie she is blonde and is wearing a white dress. In the movie, the characters Hillary and Ethan are merged in one character that is Ethan. In the book Ethan is already in London as the story begins, but in the movie he moves to London later. Nevertheless, both book and movie are good. But for the first time, being a reader, I felt the movie was better than the book. Go for either of the forms of storytelling. You will like Something Borrowed.