Book Review, Indian authors

The Rise of Sivagami: Book 1 of Baahubali – Before the Beginning by Anand Neelakantan

‘Why did Kattappa kill Baahubai?’, the most asked question in these 2 years, only begins 911wBYUAMAL.__BG0,0,0,0_FMpng_AC_UL320_SR208,320_
to gauge the wide public interest in the Baahubali franchise. While the answer to this question might evade us till the end April this year, when Baahubali 2 -The Conclusion releases, clues to it might be hidden in plain sight within the pages of The Rise of Sivagami, written by Anand Neelakantan. SS Rajamouli and Anand Neelakantan were well ahead of their game in marketing Baahubali franchise and the book by releasing Chapter 2: Kattappa ahead of the book release to pique interest. The book was up for pre-ordering on Amazon and it hit the stands on 15th of March, 2107. I caught hold of a digital copy from the Kindle store on the D-day.

The very first few pages into the book told me that it will need more than my Anand-Neelakantancursory attention. All the main characters are listed with their brief description before the story begins. This gives you an insight into what is in store for you. It also gives you a sense of the magnitude of the plot. This fictional political drama focuses on Sivagami’s story. How from young orphan she turned into the powerful bureaucrat she seems in the first movie of the franchise. The characters seem well thought out and by the end of the book you see a lot of them evolve into full bloom. The plot twists and turns tend to shock at times and sometimes get predictable. But, this book only starts to lay a ground for the plot twists and turns that could be possible in a story of this magnitude.

Anand Neelakantan had announced his arrival with his book Asura: The Tale of the Vanquished. And, in true Anand Neelakantan style, there are no black and white characters here either; every character has a gray shade, with the exception of Kattappa and Mahadeva. But, Neelakantan, a fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire series himself, assures us that the plot will only thicken as the series proceeds.

Verdict: If you have enjoyed Baahubali, the movie and the mini-series on Amazon Prime, then you are definitely going to love and enjoy it. This book serves in thickening the plot and getting you further immersed into the world of Mahishmati. 

 

Continue reading “The Rise of Sivagami: Book 1 of Baahubali – Before the Beginning by Anand Neelakantan”

Gadgets, Skincare

We all scream suncreen

Hello dear Sunshine,

We love you, we really do! But like all good relationships, ours is a love-hate one. While we love you we have to protect ourselves from your heat, your wrath.

Love,

Girl who uses sunscreen

This post goes out to all those who, love the sun or not, have to get their asses out in the heat and slog like a log. That makes all of us, right?That doesn’t mean we can’t look our best. We neither want to tan into a crisp not want the harmful UV, UVA,B,C,D… and what not rays to rip that glow off our skin and make us look older than we are. And, most importantly, we don’t want skin cancer.

There are different things you need to consider before getting yourself a sunscreen that best suits your needs.

  1. How long do you spend outdoors?
  2. Do you wear make-up over sunscreen?
  3. What is your skin type-dry, oily, sensitive, or combination?

Dermatologists advise that we use sunscreen atleast 20mins before you get out into the sun. It is also advised that you reapply your sunscreen every 30-60mins. But who has that time, no? So, here are my favorite sunscreens for this summer. The ones I swear by no matter what.
First in the list,

  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 50+ with helioplex broad spectrum uva-uvb
    • It’s one of the most matte sunscreens in the list. If you hate greasy 71MkLfA0mfL._SL1500_sunscreens that make your skin shine with oil this one is for you. It’s perfect to wear under your everyday make-up.The only con I find in this is that it leaves a white film on your face. But, again, if you are wearing make-up you can mix this with your foundation and voila! It retails for Rs.499 for 88mL.
  • Lotus Herbals Safe Sun UV SCREEN MatteGel PA+++ SPF 50 UVA UVB
    • lotus_herbal_sunscreenThis is my favorite and the one I’m using now. The gel base makes it easy to apply and re-apply making it one that you can carry around. It takes about a minute to settle on your skin and then it’s matte. This one gives a slight supple moisture to your skin which is perfect or the day time. It retails for Rs.395 for 100gms.
  • Biotique Bio Sandlewood Ultra Soothing Face Lotion SPF 75+biotique
    • This is a heavy-duty sunscreen with SPF75+, perfect if you spend a lot of time outdoors. It gives you a moisture boost with sun protection which is again good if you tend to lose moisture throughout the day. It retails for Rs.200/-for 50mL.
  • Kara Sunscreen Wipes with Plum and Aloe Vera
    • kara sunscreenAnything with Aloe vera is a beauty in itself. Plum is rich in anti-oxidants and that, again, is good for your skin. These are handy sunscreen top-ups for your handbag. I always leave these in my bags for quick touchups in the summer.It’s a must-have. You get 10 wipes for Rs.80/-

 

Regularly using a sunscreen that you like is the best way to enjoy these sunny days without compromise. So have your share of fun with protection.

All the brands listed here are available in India and I’ve linked it with their respective Nykaa and Amazon links if you want to purchase them. (PS.this isn’t a sponsored post.) Let me know if you have any other favorites in the comments section.

Lots of love!

Book haul

Amazon discount on Kindle edition: Feb 2017

Amazon is a book lovers’ friend and here’s why. Amazon is selling a few books for Kindle users at a throw-away price of Rs.39. Here’s how to make the most of it. (If you would rather go through the entire list by yourself then click here.) 

Although the site claims that the discount changes hourly not much has changed in the past two days. The following are the books I bought, followed by the ones you might be interested in.

  1. An Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar with Poonam Saxena
    • Because Bollywood spice do you no harm when it’s not burning a hole through your pocket. Also, I started reading it and it has me hooked on like his TV show, Koffee with Karan.
  2. The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
    • Because the paperback is priced at Rs.414 and the Kindle edition at Rs. 39. You do the math! Besides the novel has people raving about the language, satire, and political relevance.
  3. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
    • Apart from the Kindle edition the only available print of this book is a hardcover priced at Rs.1867. I’ve been eyeing this book long enough to snatch the deal.
  4. Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik
    • Every single penny spent on this book is worth your while. This book is going to change the way you look at the epic, Mahabharata. So, if this price drop isn’t a reason enough for you to buy it then I don’t know what is.
  5. Mrs.Funnybones: She’s just like You and a lot like Me by Twinkle Khanna
  6. Last Mughal by William Dalrymple
    • A massive book on the last few years of Indian Mughal history of by a historian of such repute should not be missed by a history-buff. Especially when the price is as low as Rs.39.
  7. The Great Derangement: Climate change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh
    • This is a small book of 176 pages and the only noteworthy non-fiction essay in this haul. And, it’s by Amitav Ghosh.
  8. Playing It My Way: My Autobiography by Sachin Tendulkar
    • This one is for the sports enthusiasts and because, well, Sachin!
  9. Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored by Rishi Kapoor with Meena Iyer
    • Though it hasn’t created ripples in the literary world, like the Karan Johar one did, it could be worth a shot given the controversies Mr.Kapoor creates on Twitter. Again, Bollywood spice in such little price. (Look! It rhymed!)
  10. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    • The only classic on the discount list with worldwide acceptance.

That’s my list of the Kindle editions worth your time currently available on Amazon for Rs.39. Go grab the offer and let me know what you feel.

ciao!

Gadgets

Kindle the reader in you.

I have, more than often, heard bibliophiles speak at length about the lure of paper. Let me start by saying that this post would never have happened if I held my love of paper higher than my love of reading, because this is about my e-reader: Kindle Paperwhite.

Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Paperwhite 2013

Before I start ranting about how much I love this piece of technology and why, let me add a disclaimer that I’m biased about my ereader for the emotional value it holds, as it is a gift from someone I hold high in regard. But apart from that, for all practical purposes this isn’t for those who can’t let go of their love for the aroma of a book, new or old, or for those who have to hold their book in their own hands to read it. This is for those who, for all practical purposes, love reading and reading alone. This is for the ‘on-the-go’ person who loves reading thick paperbacks and hates dog-ear marked book or fumbling with a bookmark, yet is forced to use the bookmark because it helps maintain the aesthetics of the book( I get paranoid when someone mishandles my book. I can go to great lengths to keep them looking fresh).

 It’s a 6″, rectangular slab of bliss that’s a staple in my handbag right now. It makes reading all those big, bulky paperbacks a piece of cake, more so, because now carrying them is easier than before. Gone are those days when I’d choose small books to read on-the-go, and big ones to read at home, simply because I didn’t want to carry around those huge paperbacks. And this then put me behind my reading schedule because I ended up finishing only the small ones and the big books just kept lagged thereby causing me to lose interest in them over a period of time.

A girl has to read what she has to read. And I for one, like to keep a healthy mix across genres. I like my share of Elizabeth Gilbert, James Patterson, Sylvia Day and George R R Martin all the same. And I hate it when people preen and crane their necks to catch the cover of the books I read to judged me by the cover. Enter Kindle Paperwhite-now people don’t have to know what I’m reading, not unless of course I blog about it.

By this point of time you probably have guessed that I’m touchy when it comes to my books. So after intrusive comments on my reading choices, the next thing I hate is to lend my books. (Yes, that’s a not-so-subtle hint to all my friends.) Almost every time I’ve lent my books they have either never returned, or have returned doggy-eared, stained, scarred or, worse still, with missing pages.So come on, let’s all face it. We can’t trust anyone with those precious little things. But now since Kindle Paperwhite happened to me I don’t have to part with my precious’ as technically all of them are stored in it can’t be parted with.

If you still aren’t convinced of getting yourself an e-reader,last but not the least here is a YouTube video that I came across while I was doing my market research on what to buy. I will never try this at home. I strongly recommend you don’t either. Hence the video.

My Kindle Paperwhite cover
My Kindle Paperwhite cover

Up to this point it’s pretty clear that I’m biased towards my Kindle, But I’m not. Though I love the e-ink technology which gives me a nearly paper-like feel and just the adequate amount of side-lighting, there are a couple of things I would like for Amazon to improve on. I would love for them to introduce colour atleast to give the book art some appeal. I also wished they revised some of their payment options. I live in India and I don’t own a credit card. But amazon.in does not allow me to make debit card payments for digital books. It’s frustrating, especially when I have one of those book pangs and just HAVE TO read a particular book immediately. (Irrespective I still love my Kindle, but in case you want options you may want to consider Kobo ereader, or read this.)

Now, time for the final note. If and when you buy an ereader don’t shy away from buying it a cover. You get quite an option on Amazon itself, but there are plenty other options available outside. You may check eBay, staples or mobilefun in India. But I choose a fun, creative and organic cloth cover from Runa. (Here is the link if you are interested.)But there  Following are a few things you need keep in mind before you take the plunge into buying an e-reader.

Formats compatiable with Kindle: pdf,mobi,sdr,azw,prc and txt (compatiability chart of other e-readers)

 

Pros

  • Easy to carry; lightweight.
  • You can read in any light, even in no light- all thanks to the sidelight.
  • Perfect for sudden book cravings. Just go online and buy a book and voila: the book reaches your device.
  • Enables discreet reading. Nobody can judge you by the covers of the books you read.
  • A drop or two does no harm to it
  • Last but not the least, you no longer have to share books because you can’t.

Cons

  • The print is in black & white.
  • It may hang from time to time. (Just plug it to charge and then try to switch it off/on.)
  • You may purchase your books only from the Amazon website, and you need a credit card for all online purchases.