The Cast #BookReview

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Author : Danielle Steel

Publisher : Pan Macmillan India

Genre : Women’s Fiction, Contemporary

Source : Publisher

Rating : 4.5 Stars

Summary : The Cast is an irresistible celebration of the strength of women, finding the courage to persevere in life’s drama of heartbreak and joy, by the world’s favourite storyteller, Danielle Steel. Kait Whittier has built her magazine column into a hugely respected read followed by fans across the country. She loves her work and adores her grown children, treasuring the time they spend together. But after two marriages, she prefers to avoid the complications and uncertainties of a new love. Then, after a chance meeting with television producer Zack Winter, everything changes. Inspired by the true story of her own grandmother, Kait creates the storyline for a TV series. Within weeks, Kait is plunged into a colourful, star-studded world of actors and industry pros who will bring her vision to life, from the reclusive grand dame to LA’s hottest bad boy actor. As secrets are shared and revelations come to light, friendships deepen. But in the midst of this charmed year, Kait is forced to confront the greatest challenge a mother could ever know and this unforgettable cast becomes more important to her than she ever could have imagined.

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Bookish Snacks : Caramel Popcorn

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Who doesn’t love a good snack when reading. Be it a hot, indulgent cup of cocoa while reading a book set in a cold place or a bowl of caramel popcorn when reading a casual but exciting book there is something everyone prefers.

One of mine is this simple Caramel Popcorn made with Coconut sugar and coconut oil. Takes about five minutes and isn’t as sticky as stuff made with regular sugar.

I normally make this when I’m watching a movie or when I’m reading a book that doesn’t require my complete concentration. I never make it when I’m reading a borrowed book btw, sticky fingers and all.

Read on to know how I make this.

What you need :

2 tbsp coconut sugar

1 tbsp powdered jaggery (can sub cane sugar)

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/4th cup popcorn kernels

Pinch of salt

Pinch of chilli powder (optional)

Directions :

Place a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Add the oil and the sugars. Mix well. Once it gets hot add the corn and cover once it starts popping, shaking it constantly. Be careful of spatters please.

Once done, take it off the heat and immediately move it to the bowl. Sprinkle salt and chilli powder on top (if using).

That’s it! Your snack is ready. This method was something a friend showed me as a way to eat caramel popcorn but to use less sugar.

PS if this post doesn’t interest you please don’t worry. This isn’t a regular feature. Just one where I share a recipe I found for my bookish snacks once every few months. It’ll mostly be on instagram but I couldn’t resist since I loved the pic so much. Lol.

What do you think?

Bird Box #BookReview

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Author : Josh Malerman

Publisher : Harper Voyager

Genre : Horror, Dystopian

Source : Gift

Rating : 5 stars

Summary : Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?
Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page

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The Girl In The Tower #BookReview

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Author : Katherine Arden

Publisher : Del Ray Books

Genre : Fantasy

Source : Own Copy

Rating : 4 Stars

Summary : For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: Marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: Magic the court of the grand prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse. Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior’s training, recognises this ‘boy’ as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical.

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The Conquerer #BookReview

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Author : Adithya Iyengar

Publisher : Hachette India

Genre : Historical Fiction

Source : Publisher

Rating : 3 Stars

Summary : Kingdoms are built by men. Legacies are built by emperors. It is 1025 ad. The mighty chola empire that controls much of southern bharatvarsha is helmed by emperor rajendra chola i – a man as enigmatic as his kingdom is renowned. Known for his might and vision, he has now set his sights upon the southern seas, governed by the powerful srivijaya empire. But his victories also bring forth stories of those affected by his ambition. Of an unnamed princess forced to fend for herself among enemies after everything she has ever known is destroyed by the ravaging chola forces. Of maharaja sangrama, captive in an alien land, who is torn between his enmity tempered by an unusual friendship with the elusive rajendra chola and his fierce determination to return to his kingdom. Told through the eyes of a prisoner of war and a princess without a kingdom, the conqueror is a magnificent narrative – of war and conquest, of loss and death, of kingship and legacy.

 


MY REVIEW

The book is something that intrigued me because it isn’t often that you come across a book about a south Indian ruler, let alone one that doesn’t show them as a dark, hairy and uncivilised people. The Chola kingdom, despite it’s patriarchal nature, was one of the most celebrated periods here in the south and it is about time someone wrote a book about it that suited modern audiences and didn’t bore our boots off. And if you are looking for the same you will find this book satisfactory.

The story starts off with an invasion. The Cholas attack the lands of Maharaja Sangrama and take him captive. His wife, the queen, the daughter and their help flee but they find their path to be worse, much worse. Bought and sold like slaves despite cries that they are royal till they finally land up in the palace of a king in a faraway land where one of them is spotted for her intelligence and beauty. Soon she becomes a confidante and more. This is the part that the story gets interesting and so I shall stop telling you what is going to happen. Needless to say it was well done.


WHAT I LIKED

The women in this book are well written. I wouldn’t say they were perfect but it was such a pleasure to see a book, written by a male author, mainly about a male character, give credit to it’s female characters. The Chola clan, of course, do not have any important positions for women but the narrator’s daughter is a wonderfully written character who is enjoyable to read about. Apart from this I loved the unity of some siblings here. It comes as a pleasant change from constantly reading about rival siblings.

The relationship between the kings, both ruling and captive, was very well written. The narrator ruined it a bit for me but if you manage to see beyond that it is very differently done. A friendship of sort develops between them leaving both the captive and us, the reader, in the lurch about what this relationship really is. Who holds the power and what is going to happen.


WHAT I DISLIKED

The narrator. Why tell the tale of a heroic king and his ilk through the eyes of a failed king who cannot stop talking about his greatness when in fact he is a prisoner of the former. If this was a tactic to make the reader amused, I wasn’t amused. It put me off reading the rest of it and honestly it was a bit of an effort to get past the boring pages to the interesting part.


IN CONCLUSION

If you are aching for a book about south India this will fit the bill.


Available for purchase on Amazon India and Flipkart.