Book Review: Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman

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Before the beginning there was nothing – no Earth, no Heavens, no stars, no sky. Only the mist world, and the fire world, always burning.

I am a big fan of mythology. The stories tell us of a time gone by and of heroes and villains with powers unimaginable. The stories tell us about life and death and of adventures into the unknown. I have a fair knowledge of Greek and Egyptian mythology but I knew nothing of Norse. The only thing I heard of Norse Mythology was from Marvel’s Thor, and that too not much of it.

I was browsing through Instagram and came across a giveaway for the book. I hadn’t really read any of Neil Gaiman’s books before but this one interested me. I needed this book and I didn’t have the patience to wait for the giveaway so I logged onto Amazon and put the book in my wishlist. It remained there for a month or so before I decided to purchase it and don’t I wish I did it sooner.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is a collection of short stories. Each story is as enjoyable as the next and I found it very hard to put the book down, even for a second. I don’t remember when was the last time I read a book that I enjoyed so much and even while I write this review my mind keeps going back to a particular story that I loved. He captures your imagination and every single word brings our heroes to life. The stories will make you laugh, will make you wonder and maybe even cry. You watch the story of creation unfold before your eyes and you shiver when Ragnarok approaches.

The book is 283 pages long and isn’t a heavy read. In fact, it is so enjoyable you will be surprised as to where did the time go when you read. It is a refreshing read and is perfect for the time when you are stuck between books or when you don’t feel like reading something heavy and deep. I wouldn’t recommend reading this to young children because as with all mythology, this too contains violent and adult themes. You can read it to them if you want to, but be prepared for a lot of questions once you are done.

My edition is the Bloomsbury India 2018 edition. I love the gold on white cover and the Mjollnir really gives a minimalist but attractive look to the book. The font size is comfortable to the eye.

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a bestselling and award-winning author from England. He is best known for his works in Science Fiction and Fantasy. His works include American God’s, Coraline, The Graveyard Book and Stardust.

 

 

 

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Book Review: Kane and Abel – Jeffrey Archer

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Born on the same day on opposite ends of the earth. William Lowell Kane and Abel Rosnovski, one the son of a rich New York Banker, the other, a poor polish immigrant. Their lives destined to cross in the fight for supreme  power.

Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel follows the lives of William Kane and Abel Rosnovski (earlier know as Wladek Koskiewicz) right from their birth till their death. The book is set over a time period of sixty years, it takes us through both the World War’s and the Great Depression. Each chapter alternates between their stories. Its the story about two different men, born into completely different situations, and how their paths cross during their lifetime. It is a story about two ambitious men and their fight for supremacy.

Kane and Abel is not one of those books that you can rush though, you have to take your time and understand what the author has written. Jeffery Archer has written this novel in such a wonderful way that while reading we tend to feel with the characters. We laugh, cry, hate and love with the characters. This is a book that can capture the mind of the readers, I found it hard to take a break from this book. Even once I stopped reading, the story kept playing in my mind. It holds the interest of the reader right from the first page to the last. This truly is a masterpiece.

Kane and Abel is a classic. Jeffery Archer has discussed human emotions such as sheer determination, hatred, love, anger and ambition in the book. These are the emotions that we feel day to day and can easily relate to it.

The main characters that you shall meet are:
1) Abel Rosnovski : Formerly know as Wladek Koskiewicz, Abel is the son of a Polish Baron. Caught up during the First World War, he is sent to a labor camp in Siberia when he is just twelve years old. After escaping from the camp he then makes his way to America where he makes is fortune. He shares a mutual hatred with William Lowell Kane.

2) William Lowell Kane : William Kane is the son of a wealthy Boston banker. Since he was a child he was brought up to take over the bank from his father. He is determined to to prove himself in the banking field. He shares a mutual hatred with Abel Rosnovski.

Being a total of 550 pages, it is a long read, especially for those who have just started reading. The book ends in a surprising revelation that will play on your mind again and again. Though it may take you a long time to complete this book, its completely worth it. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.It is a must read.

 

Book Review: The Hobbit – JRR Tolkein

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This is the story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying thins altogether unexpected.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkein is a fantastic tale of adventure and friendship. Written as a prequel to the Lord Of the Ring series, the book follows the story of one Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit who seems very comfortable in his easy life at the Shire. It takes us on a journey through MiddleEarth. With Goblins, Wizards, Trolls, Elves and Dragons the book is a fantasy favourite and has all the elements for a wonderful story. And yes, you can read this before or even after you read the LOTR series. It doesn’t make a difference. I read it before I read LOTR since I do not have the books but I know what is on my Christmas list this year.

A mere 389 pages the book is a light read as compared to the 1000+ paged novels I am used to reading yet it took me quite some time to finish the book. The Hobbit isn’t one of those books which you can read at a stretch. Not for me at least. I found myself stopping every ten pages to just go over what I read in my mind. An entertaining tale that you will find hard to put down.

Now coming to the story, the book begins at the Shire where we are introduced to Bilbo Baggins, a wealthy well mannered hobbit who enjoys blowing smoke rings from his pipe. Absolutely content with his routine life until Gandalf the Grey turns up at his doorstep with thirteen dwarves. The story then goes on to tell us about their journey to the Lonely Mountain where they face off with Smaug.

Lets us talk about my favourite characters now shall we?

  1. Bilbo Baggins – Cultured and well mannered, this hobbit enjoys his carefree life until he meets with Gandalf who takes him on an adventure he never forgets.
  2. Gandalf – Also known as Gandalf the Grey, he is the all powerful wizard who encourages Bilbo to go on an adventure with the dwarves to Lonely Mountain. My favourite character in the series, because who doesn’t like a great wizard?
  3. Thorin Oakenshield- Leader of the dwarf company that set out to take back the Lonely Mountain from Smaug. Serious about his work. Warms up to Bilbo by the time we reach the end of the story.

Now I know almost all of you have seen the Hollywood motion picture. So you may ask why should you read the book if you have already seen the movie. My answer to that is, you can never ever fully know and understand a story by just watching the movie. Read the book. Only then will you know how much they have added or left out. And that really irritates me. Why when you adapt a book into a movie, why do they leave so many things out or add so many things in? All for the sake of movie drama! Anyway, I loved the book and the movie too but I wouldn’t suggest people to quit reading the book just because they saw the movie.

The Hobbit is a perfect fantasy read. Good for anybody. Read it to your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. Introduce them to the classic that is JRR Tolkien and join Bilbo on his fantastic adventure.

 

Liebster Award

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Hi everyone! Last month I was nominated for two blogger awards, The Mystery Blogger Award and The Liebster Award. With work and everything else I was too busy to participate so couldn’t put this up back then and I kept pushing it forward, but not anymore.

Thank you Amy Ross for nominating me, you can check out her blog here . Give her a follow if you already haven’t. Blogger Awards are a way for us to get to know each other. It is a form of appreciation from one blogger to another and a way for us to connect.

So here’s how it works –

* The rules:

Acknowledge the blog that gave you the award – send them love!

Answer 11 Questions that the blogger gives you

Give 11 random facts about yourself

Nominate 11 blogs and notify them that you dig them

Give them 11 Questions to answer

* Amy’s questions:

1. If you had a time machine to travel to the future or the past, which one would you choose and why?

I wouldn’t go anywhere. Knowing the future is scary, and going back to the past will always disrupt the timeline (Back to the Future, Doctor Who and Timeline show us just how bad interfering with the past is)

2. What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

“Not to care what the world thinks. Be who you are”

3. What drives you to continue with your blog?

Opening up my stats and seeing that my writing is being read all over the globe. Knowing that my voice is being heard.

4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?

I shall be very cliche and say “Graduating”. Not many get the chance or the opportunity and I am so thankful that I did.

5. What genre of music are you into?

A bit of everything? One minute I can be jamming to classic rock and the next will be a Disney soundtrack.

6. Where was the last place you travelled/visited?

Adlabs Imagica. It’s like the Indian version of Disneyland and it is AMAZING!

7. A favourite quote you go by?

Is it okay to say I do not have a favourite quote?

8. What’s your favourite and worst social media platform?

Favourite is Twitter. Worst is a tie between Pinterest and Snapchat. I just don’t understand either of them.

9. Have you ticked anything off your bucket list if you have one?

Yes, quite a few. Graduate college, get a job, start a blog…

10. Do you have any hidden talents?

Yes I do. They are so deeply hidden that even I do not know what they are yet (lol)

11. What’s one country you would love to visit?

England. The history intrigues me.

* 11 random facts about me are

  1. I have a brother.
  2. I am a twin.
  3. I am obsessed with Disney!!
  4. I first got my glasses in 2nd grade.
  5. My favourite color is purple but I don’t own any clothing in that color.
  6. I used to play the piano as a kid.
  7. The first book I ever read was one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. I finished it in a day.
  8. I am a very quiet person, but very talkative if I get a topic to talk about.
  9. I had a black cocker spaniel as a kid.
  10. I currently own 2 fish. A betta and a Platty.
  11. I love hot beverages, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, I do not have a preference.

* I nominate the below blogs to take part in the Liebster Award

Steph Loves

Everything Eden

Rebecca Jayne

Reflections and Rambling

Perpetual Fangirl

The NChanting Whisphers

Sierra Leone Girl

Nonchalant Diva

Personal Opinions of a Fangirl

The Non-Alcoholic Student

OctobersLallu

*Now my questions to you are

  1. What is your favourite kind of food?
  2. What is the top spot on your travel bucket list and why?
  3. Is there any kind of adventure sport that you want to try?
  4. What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it to someone?
  5. What movie that isn’t released yet are you most looking forward to?
  6. Are you currently watching any TV show? Which one is it?
  7. If you could be in any profession, what would you be and why?
  8. How close are you to completing you next goal? What is it?
  9. If you could live in any city in the world where would you live?
  10. Do you have a pet? If not, would you want to have one and what kind?
  11. Why did you start your blog?

So that is for my entry for the Liebster Award. Don’t forget to tag me in your post so I can read your entries. Hope to read your answers soon!

 

Serenity

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She tossed and turned in her bed. Moving from side to side in a sad attempt to fall asleep.

It must be past midnight she thought to herself out loud. Through her bedroom curtain she could make out the faint image of the moon. The brilliant, beautiful orb shone down in full glory that night. She got up and walked to her window to open the curtains. Instantly her room was flooded in light.

Opening the window slightly, she stepped onto her balcony. The cold from the tiles crept up her legs and a chill wind blew around her. Pulling her blanket tightly around she sat on the chair that she kept.

It was beautiful.

Looking down she could make out the ever so slight figures of late night workers returning home from a hard day. She saw the party-goers all dressed up getting in a cab. Were they returning or leaving? She would never know. In the distance she could hear a lone dog howling at the moon. Gradually another joined in and then another. They sang their sad song in unison and then it stopped just as it had started. There was a light fog. She could see it around the lamppost in the garden. It cast an eerie glow around the light. The wind blew again. This time taking the clouds with it. She looked up and saw the night sky. The stars shone bright.

“This is beautiful” she thought. The peace and calm relaxed her. Maybe it wasn’t so bad being awake. Maybe she needed this to calm her down. She glanced at the clock. It was 1:30 in the morning. She had to get to sleep.

She climbed back into bed and within seconds she was asleep.

 

Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

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A story told through the eyes of a young girl as she watches her father defend a black man charged with the rape of a white woman.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic tale written by Harper Lee. Set in the 1930’s, this book tells us the story of the sleepy little town of Maycomb. The entire story is told through the eyes of young Scout Finch.

Harper Lee has a written a story in which all of us readers would get to know the mindset of the general population of America during the 1930’s. There is racial intolerance towards the blacks and class in the whites. We get to know the prejudice between a black man and whites. This story also tells us about growing up. We get a look into the feelings and thoughts of a child towards the events happening around her.

The story is written beautifully. While reading it you feel Maycomb come alive in your mind. You can feel with the characters, laugh when they laugh and cry when they cry. This book is not exactly a heavy read and even beginners will enjoy reading it. A total of 309 pages, this book is perfect for new readers.

Lets take a look at the main characters.

1) Jean Louise (Scout) Finch : The narrator of the story, Scout lives in Maycomb with her father and brother. The story begins with her starting school, where she is told off for knowing too much already. She is loved by her father and looks up to her elder brother Jem.

2) Jem Finch : The eldest child of Atticus Finch, he is Scouts elder brother. He looks out for his younger sister. An aspiring lawyer, Jem idolizes his father.

3) Atticus Finch : Atticus Finch is the father of Jem and Scout Finch. He is the lawyer chosen to defend Tom Robinson, a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. This leads to the family being taunted and ignored by the rest of the town. He advises his children on every situation in life.

 

Dawn

She moved silently and as quietly as she could as she ran down the streets towards the railway station. Why was she late? She could have sworn that she woke up on time. The streets were isolated. There was no living thing in site except for the lone street dog scavenging for its next meal.

Why was she late? There couldn’t have been a more inconvenient time to have to travel on her own. It was too early for her. The sun hadn’t risen and none of the birds were awake yet. Morning shift is great, as long as you have someone to travel with. The train would leave in a fifteen minutes and she better be at the station when it does. The foggy darkness loomed around her and she couldn’t wait to reach the safety of the railway station.

She pulled her hoodie tightly around her, desperately trying to hide her feminine body underneath. Darkness is no woman’s best friend. Darkness is where the wolves hide waiting for their prey and she felt like a sheep wandering through. Fear made her quicken her step. But with each step closer her fear faded.

By now it had gotten a little brighter. Its funny how within a few minutes the sky can change hues. Move from a black to a faint greyish blue. How within a few minutes from being surrounded by complete isolation you enter civilization as the dawn approaches. How within a few minutes her fear melted away along with the blackness of the night.  The empty lanes were now filling up with people. People just like her heading off to work on that winters morning.

She could hear the faint call of the vendors as they opened up their shops. School buses zoomed past her along with the cabs and rikshaws. Birds flew over her head. Dogs barked in the distance. Dawn had brought life with it.

She had reached her platform just as soon as the train pulled into the station and so had her day begun.