Book Review: Tabish Khair’s “Jihadi Jane”

Happy Monday(?) Everyone!Over the weekend, I read Jihadi Jane by Tabish Khair, and I might have a new favorite! 
The story involves Ameena and Jamilla, two orthodox Muslim girls in England, feeling utterly out of place and alien. This overwhelming situation of feeling like an outsider in their homes,the courage and passion for Islam and the fight against Western ideologies, made them leave everything behind, and start afresh. Start afresh in Syria, to fight the battle in ways their religion permitted, as wives of Jihadis, and maybe more. 

 

Soon, it dawns on them, the excessive fundamental Islam crafted by Hejjiye, Hasan and the rest is not what Allah intended. They began missing the festivals that had currently been pruned and made bleak; they missed the scope for debate and the freedom of thought and choice, they missed the outside; this is not what they had signed up for. Suddenly, the thought of feeling different and the racial abuse did not seem hellacious. 
There occurs then, a turn of events that Jamilla could not have fathomed. Was Ameena, a girl she fondly remembers as the girl smoking a cigarette in school capable of such a sacrifice?
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED EVERY BIT OF THIS BOOK! The writing style, the structure and the characters were wonderful! 

It is truly a page turner. 

I resonate with the ideology that no faith propagates the massacre of innocent individuals. Hate will only give rise to more hate, and one can only terminate this cycle, by terminating this wrong comprehension of Islam. These propagandas are only a product of one’s interpretation and personal views, and cannot be displayed as principles of the religion itself. 

And yes, I have a new favorite! I’d rate this a 5/5! 

Do let me know what your thoughts are! 

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James Russell’s “The Mason Jar”

Don’t get me wrong, but I believed that this book would make me cringe with all the romance and the cheesiness. But I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the book! 
It was a short and sweet tale between two individuals, deeply in love, but separated by fate. The time and distance between the two failed to put out their love for one another. Finn, crushed by the separation sets out to rejuvenate, and writes a book on his treasured time with Emily. As life would have it, their love rekindled after several years, this time stronger. 
I loved the book! My favorite part would have to be the letters shared between Finn and his Grandad. They were inspiring, and left me wiser. I loved the plot and the structure. The writing style was beautiful. 
I for one, found the ending quite cliched. The ending I believed could’ve been tweaked to include something different or maybe their reunion could’ve been longer and more dramatic. 
The book, otherwise is a wonderful read! 

I’d rate it a 4/5!

Book Review- Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’

I have a test tomorrow, and I am not even remotely near the end of my syllabus. But since it is imperative that I do everything other than studying for my test,and then have breakdowns and stress out later, I decided to write my book review on Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’.
The story revolves around the impeccable bond that siblings share, a brother and his sister in particular. However, circumstances don’t allow them much time together and they are separated. They finally reunite, now old and having faced their share of struggles, but with their bond as strong as ever. 

I was disappointed with this book. I’m a huge fan of Khaled Hosseini, but this book didn’t match that standard. I fell in love with the plot of the book, but I found the story too stretched-out. I also wasn’t a fan of the structure of the story. 

The storyline introduced chapters discussing new characters, who were in ways related to Abdullah and Pari. But I personally didn’t find that very interesting and saw it more as a deviation from the main plot. I was getting restless by the page to read about Abdullah and Pari’s life and their reunion. 

The book otherwise is a good read! The language and characters were great! I particularly, loved the story of Nila Wahdati, a strong and an unconventional Afghan, who captured me with her wit and personality. 

I was expecting to be in love with this book, but that was not the case. I’d rate the book a 3/5.

Book Review: Sunetra Choudhury’s ‘Behind Bars’

Hi Everyone! Hope the week’s been going great! 
My choices of genre are usually towards fiction, this time I decided to venture into the tales of the real world. The book I chose was ‘Behind Bars’ by Sunetra Choudhary.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It comprised of prison tales of the  who’s who. The writing style was beautiful, gets you etched on the pages! The accounts were documented in the most detailed and wonderful manner. 

There were a number of times I shuddered at the thought of the events I read about. From sleeping on a block of concrete every night to their legs being forcefully stretched to an obtuse till they leaked blood, the stories are multi-farious. It depicts how your worth and your stay in prison is wholly determined by your monetary strength. Everything from edible food to getting away from the hostile inmates, is to be paid for in cash. Lest, you want your bad days to turn worse. 

But these monstrosities aren’t the only issues the book deals with. 

It speaks about the breaking of some relationships and the birth of a couple more. There is an unusual sense of bonding in prisons. They’re all in this together. They develop interests in subjects and areas they would otherwise not be involved in. They understand the frustration, fear, and the pain of the other, like no one outside would. 

I wouldn’t want to say more, except that it was an excellent read and that I highly recommend it! 

I’d rate this book a 4.5 on 5!

Have a lovely Thursday! 
Lots and lots of love,

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review: Wilbur Smith’s Desert God

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re summer’s going well! I can’t believe summer break’s almost over *sniffs back a tear*

I recently  read the Desert God by Wilbur Smith. It’s a Historical Novel set up in the early ages in the Middle East. I tried experimenting with a new genre and here’s my review!

I loved the book! It was a favorable shift from philosophy and chic flics to adventure. The story just gave me Game of thrones vibes throughout! So yes, the book gets gory at places, but I was normalized thanks to the Game of Thrones series. 

Lord Taita, a man possessing impeccable strength and intelligence, plots to bring his kingdom to victory and peace by means of a meticulous plan against the Hyksos. They face innumerable challenges during its execution, including the princesses budding love for their warriors. Which path will Taita choose? Will Taita and his warriors’ resilience and bravery bring them glory?

the details in the story were absolutely incredible! It really did take me to a different world. The royal lives aren’t always rosy. They possess everything and nothing. The gold and silver they don aren’t a measure of happiness. 
I absolutely loved the characters in the book. Their personalities were well laid out, each so different and wonderful. My favorite would be Zaras, one of the lead commanders. His loyalty towards his duty and responsibilities, even where his life’s desires were snatched away, were commendable. 

Although the book was a tad bit heavy with the words, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure novel!

I’d rate this book a 4/5!

If you’ve read the book, let me know what you think of it!
Lots and lots of love,

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review-Savi Sharma’s ‘This is Not your Story’

Hi guys! I am currently gulping down some watermelon attempting to rejuvenate my senses from this unbearable heat. I just finished reading ‘This is Not your Story’ by Savi Sharma, a sequel to her ‘Everyone has a Story’, and here’s my take on it!
I personally liked the book way better than the first one. It was wonderfully baroque, and I loved the characters. The plot was neat and I liked how it was laid out, with the characters giving their perspective to the incidents that had followed. 

The characters, Kasturi, Anubhav, Shaurya and Miraya held a charm of their own with characteristics so diverse, but bound by their broken pasts. They held each other and attempted to re-write their stories, knowing well by now that their future is in their hands and settling for a future half-heartedly would be unjust to their potential and dreams. This is a story of how each of them succeed in life and love, all from supporting and believing in one another. How fear is a bigger obstacle than the task itself, and how you’re half way there once you overcome your fear and board the journey to your dreams.

I would rate this book a 3.5 on 5! 
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review- Savi Sharma’s Everyone has a Story

Hi Everyone! So, clearly I’ve been having a lot of time on my hands lately. I just finished another book! It’s Savi Sharma’s Everyone Has a Story.Here’s my review. 

The story revolves around 4 characters, Nisha, Kabir, Vivaan and Meera. Meera, a budding story teller is in search of a tale that would move souls and have an impact on readers. She dreams about the time she would read her story to avid readers like herself, while attentively listening to the authors presenting their work in the cafe. Kabir an employee at the cafe and a friend of Meera is a source of motivation and encouragement for Meera’s dream. Nisha, a long-lost customer at the cafe, guarding her own dark secrets, ends up being one of her best friends. She finally comes across Vivaan, assistant bank manager of Citibank, igniting an idea for a plot. In her sessions at the Cafe, she attempts to decrypt Vivaan. Amidst these interactions, stories and events unfold, revealing information and struggles of each of the characters. As she pens her growing relation with Vivaan, she realizes that there are certain people who leave a mark on you, freeing you from the mental boundaries and encouraging you to grow and work persistently towards your goals. 
I wasn’t quite impressed with the storyline. I found the plot quite stretched out and there were elements that were amiss. Although there were attempts at humour, I found them weak. The philosophical aspect was nothing out of the ordinary. There will be some people that will bring out the best in you, and will make you do things that you may have never imagined. This wasn’t anything new, or untold. I’d hoped I would maybe grab something about life, love and friends that i’d never come across before. I found the story quite ordinary, but not completely disappointing. 
I’d rate the book a 2.5 on 5.
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda

Book Review-Nicholas Sparks’ Two by Two

It’s been terribly long. A month maybe? I got done with my papers around 10 days ago, and finally have time for some guilt-free binging on TV Shows and books. Anyone else re-watching FRIENDS for the third time? 
I just finished reading Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks, two nights ago. Anyone who sits around me in class would’ve seen me clutching onto this book for over two months. I was just immersed in assignments or maybe it was a reader’s block. Anyway, I managed to get through and here is a book review! 
If you’re the kind that has no control over their tears, you’d better have a tissue box(es) close by or make a strategic choice for your reading spot. I don’t usually cry, but this book had me holding back tears. Although Sparks is all about Romance, this book was more than that. It revolves around the bond between the protagonist Russel, with Marge, his sister; London, his daughter; Vivian, his ex-wife and Emily, his re-kindled love and the roles they play as Russel goes through life’s challenges. It was beautifully written with every page leaving you fixated on the story. The book was centered around the father-daughter relation, decrypting the soft corner for his daughter in his sturdy exteriors. And how London, his six year old was the primary reason he kept going through the abyss of chaos and confusion. 

I personally loved the manner the book touches on the relation between an elder sister and her brother and how it was portrayed. Amidst all the taunting and fights, there lies an unbreakable bond. 
This book was a gift from a friend, and I am so thankful for it! Thank you so much Yazad!
I would rate the book a 4.5 on 5 and definitely recommend this to anyone ready for an emotional rollercoaster. 

Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review: “Colorful Notions”, Mohit Goyal

Currently basking in my laziness on my bed. It’s 11.43 am. Don’t get me wrong, I am a morning person. I wake up at 6 am everyday, weekends included. But this is what happens when everyone’s gone back home for Holi and you decide to stay back and are now bored out of your mind. Having completed my morning checklist, and in a desperate attempt to do something productive, I realized how I’ve slacked here. So, here I am with a book review! 

Colorful Notions by Mohit Goyal. Three Youngsters on a mission to cover the territory of India by road. And quite obviously things weren’t hunky-dory during the trip, or the book wouldn’t have been half as good. 

The characters have distinct personalities, each with a charm of their  own. Their choice of destinations provides them with an experience like no other. From being fear-stricken before tigers in Jim Corbett and haunted forts to attending rave parties in Goa and being robbed of all valuables including their ride home , they’ve done it all! A particular favorite of mine was the Biriyani Challenge in Hyderabad, since I could totally see myself doing it. It naturally got me feeling hungry and decided my lunch for today. Hopefully, the Biriyani from Moti Mahal satiates my hunger.

As the journey goes, we see relationships put to test. There are plots wherein life’s guilty pleasures take over rational minds to destroy the purest of relationships. How it’s important to understand that no one has it all. Their meeting with Dalai Lama’s pupils teaches us how gratitude and fresh perspective towards life makes battling issues so much simpler. 

The story ends on a beautiful note, with the characters attaining contentment, relationships being renewed  and embarking on yet another beautiful adventure of life. This time with clear purposes and a de-cluttered soul. 

A great read. 

Rating- 3

A very happy Holi to all! 

Lots and lots of love,

themysticalpanda