Snakes In The Meadows

Author: Ayaz Kohli

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Genre: Fiction

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Snakes In The Meadows is a narrative of the onset of militancy and resilience of people, of the hilly village of Pathri Aali, Jammu & Kashmir. The book shows the lack of recognition and ignorance of authorities towards the village and its people, resulting into militants’ power, cruelty and torture, turning like heaven like meadows into prison of hell.

Along with the protagonists, Aslam and Ashwar, the story centers zillion other characters.  The misery and atrocities put up by the militants is horrific. The clashes between the militants, Indian Army and the villagers worsen the situation. The women are raped, children molested and men beaten, everyone is shaken from inside. The notorious militant groups lure the teenagers into their trap with money and when they decline, are murdered brutally. This circus continues and as the population of male sex fall the women are left to fend for themselves, and yet there are hopeful to stand against the demons.

NUTs and BOLTs

  • The author has amalgamated many stories, each having an independent storyline, yet bound together to present a single message.
  • The author hints at the challenges and fright of the people residing in such remote areas. The lack of response of government on the important aspects of Kashmir, because of which the people have to wage a battle to defend and protect themselves.
  • The various subplots and shift in narrative makes the plot a bit confusing.
  • The plots are a mix of the tales of different families in the village, there happy-go-lucky-times and that of militants (Mujahideen) and Pakistani terrorism activities. The author has made an effort to maintain a balance.
  • Despite being fictional, the characters succeed in catching the hold of readers’ empathy.
  • The book is captive to arose numerable emotions like love, courage, bravery, disgust, hatred, and humanity.
  • The cover page earns +1.

(Book received as a review copy from Half Baked Beans Publishing)

A Shine of Rainbows

Author: a condensation of the book by Lillian Beckwith

Publisher: Hutchinson

Genre: Fiction, Cultural – Scotland

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

It is a story of Mairi, the devoted, kindly mother; Sandy the taciturn father and Thomas, the orphan, set on a Scottish island.

Mairi and Sandy is a loving couple living a Croft’s life on the island of Corrie. Mairi who has lost babies, foster Thomas from an orphanage. Sandy is disappointed by the boy’s timidity and physical weakness. Mairi seeks to nurture Thomas, he blossoms, growing stronger and confident. He learns and loves the island life, helping his foster parents with the tough island chores. Sandy observes the change and acceptance in Thomas, yet fails to connect with him, until life gives them lemons.

The tale is predictable, sweet, charming, emotional, simple with extraordinary natural beauty to appeal to any reader.

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Illustrated By: Liz Moyes

Reader Digest Condensed Books – Collector’s Library Edition.

Bones Never Lie

Author: Kathy Reichs

Publisher: Arrow Books 

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Anique Pormerleau, who eluded capture while on the spree in the 80’s and 90’s, is suspected for the recent killings in the US. The detectives then Dr. Brennan and Andrew Ryan are summoned to the Cold Case Unit – Charlotte. Teaming them is Slidell from CMPD, agent Tinker from SBI and many other specialists and experts. They work a solution around multiple numbers of similar murders where the victims are young girls. As the investigation picks up pace – they are frustrated with lack of evidence, suspects keep turning dead, there is friction between certain detectives.

NUTs and BOLTs

  • The technical terminologies relating to the forensic anthropology is overdosed towards the climax.
  • A single one-liner at the end of every chapter, keeps the reader guessing.
  • A highlight of the book is Dr. Brennan’s mother. Her moments in the story give a unique perspective and often time provides comic relief.
  • A reader unfamiliar with the series will absorb the flavor from page one.

80C12A67-07CB-4C94-81DA-EE518BF2199C They say a daughter becomes some variation of her mother. A different reading of an old script. A new interpretation of an existing character.


Author: Jane Austen

Publisher: Amazon Classic (Kindle Version)

Genre: Classic, Fiction, Romance

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Frederick aka Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot first fell in love when she was nigh teen, but he had no money, and her family objected, persuaded her to refuse him.

You are never sure of a good impression being durable, everbody may sway it. Let those who would be happy be firm.

The Elliot’s are a respected, landowning family at Kellynch, with three daughters. The youngest is married to a wealthy man, Charles Mangrove. The lavish overspend has brought the Elliot’s into a great debt, to which they decide to relocate themselves to a house in Bath, leaving their mansion to well-mannered Navy people.

Prior to moving to Bath with her father and sister, Anne visits her younger sister’s place at Uppercross. Anne finds the Musgrove family absolutely delightful and marvels the bustling household.

A recent and regular visitor at Uppercross is Captain Wentworth, a friend to Mr. Musgrove. Shortly, the Musgrove family and Captain make a trip to Lyme to their friend’s place. There Anne meets a good-looking gentleman, later to be known as Mr. Elliot, one of his cousins.

After Christmas, Anne joins her family in Bath. She is then formally introduced to her cousin, she reacquaints herself with an old school friend who makes her learn a hidden past, and the Crofts arrive with news of two engagement. Anne is overjoyed to know that Captain Wentworth is not promised to Lousia!

NUTs and BOLTs

  • The first half of the book has an autumnal feel, when Anne’s hopes and she herself is disregarded and mistreated by almost everyone around her. Then the slow, gradual return of joy and hope is seen in Anne’s life.
  • The writing is simple and quite. Even the declaration of love is done in a subdued form.
  • Austen has created the pain-in-ass characters with great perception.

C20AA531-D0F8-4D06-976D-EEE604D7FB63 (1)

Yes. We certainly do not forget you as soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quite, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Author: Gail Honeyman

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Contemporary

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I allow my mind to wonder. I’ve found this to be very effective way of passing time; you take a situation or person and start to imagine nice things that might happen. You can make anything happen, anything at all, inside a daydream.

Eleanor works all week, goes home on a Friday night, heats a pizza, drinks two bottles of vodka and speaks to nobody until Monday morning comes around. Her life is clear, orderly and completely empty. She is thirty, slightly odd, scuttles away from communal enterprises, rarely says a word that isn’t about the matter in hand, and without a home life.

One night, after work, she and a coworker, Raymond whom just she met happen to leave office at the same time. Walking down they see a man in need of an ambulance. This incident ends up tying the three together and, Eleanor earns a friendship, a relation she haven’t experienced in all these thirty years.

Meanwhile she also ends up finding him, the man she is meant to be with. In order to make him notice her, she grows strong, bold, confident and weak at the same time.

NUTs and BOLTs

  • Eleanor has had a tragic past. A past that has left a scar covering half her face. The reader doesn’t find out exactly what happened until the final pages, even though it feels that the answer is about to come on the next page.
  • There are hints that the central relationship will eventually lead to romance, but the book is only about ELEANOR.
  • Eleanor is an off-the-wall character, just enough to be an absolute delight.
  • Eleanor’s behavior is more the result of circumstances that will.
  • Raymond’s friendship and gentle prying inspires the most change in Eleanor – her outlook on life and interaction with people.
  • The author balances the heavy with humor and hope.
  • When things don’t work on plan, everyone is forced to stare down at the truth. To succumb to the reality that everyone has problems and no feeling is insurmountable.

Beauty, from the moment you possess it, is already slipping away, ephemeral. That must be difficult. Always having to prove that there’s more to you, wanting people to see beneath the surface, to be loved for yourself, and not your stunning body, sparkling eyes or thick, lustrous hair.



Author: Ahmed Faiyaz

Publisher: Rupa Publications


Ratings: ⭐️⭐️.5

Kalim, an ailing Indian publisher business is in a dying situation. Akshay Saxena is sent to India to help shore up the value of Kalim. He finds himself in a job where he has to do the impossible. The new owner wants at least five bestsellers in the coming year, failing which the business would be wound up. To top it, he is given a crew of has-been and misfits working for him.

NUTs and BOLTs

  • The book is about the nauces that goes around while getting a book published.
  • The story shows the backstory of how the books we hold hit the shelves.
  • It’s hard to keep track of the characters as many of them are introduced back to back.
  • The plot is really fast paced. Before the reader can grasp one part, the plot has already moved ahead.
  • The writing is good, that immediately sucks the reader in.
  • Akshay also publishes books written by politicians, actors and businessmen whose books would have been made just by publicity anyway. Roshan Khan is one of the actors’ Akshay works with, and is unnecessarily all over the book. Irritating, heck of a character he is. (i had to mention about this character, because i hated him all throughout the book) 😡

The Night Train at Deoli

Author: Ruskin Bond

Publisher: Penguin India

Genre: Short Stories, India Cultural/Literature

Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Night Train at Deoli is a compilation of Bond’s work. The tales are set in Mussorie, Dehradun and Shimla, where Ruskin Bond has spent a considerable part of his life. Like all his tales, these also show his love for nature, hills and people living there.

The book begins with the story of a school boy meeting a white sari-clad-stranger woman, and she taking care of him in a very simple gesture. ‘The Photograph’ is a story of where a grandson looks for similarities between the little girl in the photograph, in his hand, and the grandmother’s current state. A revenge murder is planned by a nephew of the aunt in ‘Chachi’s Funeral’. It was expected to be a short murder mystery but the author had something more spectacular on mind. ‘The Man Who was Kipling?’ is a thought provoking story about the Indian writing. ‘The Eyes Have It’ is narrated by a blind man. It is a flirtatious conversation between two train passengers. ‘The Boy Who Broke the Bank’ is a valuable lesson to inefficient employers. ‘The Thief’ is a story of a thief’s conscience aided by the desire to learn. ‘The Kitemaker’ is a story of a kite maker reminiscing his old days of making kites and kite festival. ‘Panther’s Moon’ and ‘The Leopard’ have almost the same plot. ‘Sita and The River’ is a story of young girl who has lived all her life in a secluded island with her grandparents, and how one day a disastrous flood changes her life. ‘Love is a Sad Song’ is a story of a 30 years old man falling in love with a teenage girl. It was the most absurd story of the book. ‘The Night Train at Deoli’ is a story of man seeing a girl on the Deoli platform every time the train passes by, bringing in a urge to meet her. Does he get to meet her?

NUTs and BOLTs

  • The backdrop of every story is capable enough to yearn the reader for a day at that beautiful, mesmerizing place described.
  • Ought to say, a story or two are absurd. The plots for some stories are almost same. There is a lot repetition is terms of description of places.