Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Apr 9, 2014

Reviews A to Z – Buy them a gift from Happily Unmarried

When I have to buy a gift for a brother, buddy, a colleague, a batchmate I often think of in terms of buying something for their house (read wives or moms). However, there is a whole bunch of world out there which does not live in a house that can accommodate anything delicate (read they are bachelors/live alone)

Now – birthday parties, farewell gift, secret santa, house warming (which is most often, since they are usually thrown out after every 11 months), etc. although there aren’t many occasions, but gifting options for single men are scarce. I guess by now I can relate to all you girls and boys who ever went out shopping.

I have roamed around malls, aimlessly looking at wallets (not right choice), bags (too expensive), perfume (too personal), clothes (imperfect size) for hours whenever I have had to buy a gift for this special category of people. Until recently when I found this store named Happily Unmarried.

Happily unmarried is a funky store which makes pretty much everything that a single guy can need (you can include some of girl’s necessities too). Apparel, bar accessories, stationary, home stuff, etc. are designed out of either waste or to look like waste, perfect to go with a house which is more than half waste.

For example – for my sister’s boyfriend I bought a set of four coffee mugs with some funny prints. For my brother, I bought a welcome mat. For another friend I bought an ashtray. So yes I am pretty much a regular shopper there.

An ashtray
Coffee mugs

Well! My experience with this store has been quite good. Even though I have not used anything from them, a little of merchandising background in me can vouch for good quality.

They have a few stores around Delhi and have tied up with several stores across India. Also, they have their own webstore. You can check it out at - 

A big thumbs up for the store.

Linking it to UBC and A to Z challenge.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of April here.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Are you a member of a library? How is your experience?

Apr 8, 2014

Reviews A to Z – Five reasons for Goodreads

Yesterday I shared about a library that helped me read when I didn’t have enough money to regularly buy books. There is another website which now helps me plan my reading list. It is Goodreads.

My reasons to like it are pretty simple.

1. Challenge – I absolutely love Goodreads reading challenge. It gives me the push that I need.

2. Reviews – Most book reviews at Goodreads is genuine and not paid. I have come across several negative reviews for certain bestsellers. It helps me form an opinion of my own.

3. To-read shelf – It reminds me of a website I earlier used. Shelfari. This helps me remember my books to buy when I log in to flipkart or walk in to the book store.

4. Recommendation – GoodReads recommends a wide spectrum of books based on read or wish list. It’s software detects the genre and recommends similar books. A good thing is that if I rate a book below three, it doesn’t include it in recommendation list.

5. App – Lastly I love the mobile app by Goodreads. It is light and quick. It is like my own list of books with me at all points.

My experience with Goodreads is thumbs up :)

Linking it to UBC and A to Z challenge.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of April here.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Apr 7, 2014

Reviews A to Z - Friends of Books

Those were the just out of college days when pocket was empty for a bigger half of the month. Buying a book was a luxury that I could not afford on regular basis.  Also, buying books wasn’t this easy also. The Flipkarts’ and Amazons’ of this world weren’t present. Libraries weren’t an easy option too. They were either too far, or too expensive (a library had an annual membership fee of Rs.3000, I never had that much money to spare at one go).

In one of those days I discovered an online library called Friends of Books. It sounded pretty interesting. I made an account and selected ten books that I wanted to read. I selected my package, which was about Rs. 750 for six months and asked them to deliver the book. In next five days, I had two books out of my selection at my place. I read them at leisure and once I was done, went back to the website and asked for next books. The courier guy came with next set of two books and collected the ones I had read already.

The system was smooth and without glitch. The book collection is average with almost all popular bestsellers available. Book delivery took not more than seven days and payment was in cash to the courier guy. The company later changed the terms, and I could pay my subscription online.

Very soon, they came up with a bookstore for used books. Even today it is one of my favorite spots for buying used books. One, the books they sell or lend comes in good condition. There are no torn pages, rarely dog eared, not marked or underlined, many time plastic covered, yellowed pages yes, but many hard bounds too. After all, if you get a good hard bound, who minds yellowing of pages?

For me Friends of Books is a wonderful library that delivers. I’d rate their service a 4 out of 5.

Linking it to UBC and A to Z challenge.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of April here.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Are you a member of a library? How is your experience?

Apr 5, 2014

Reviews A to Z - Dine out at Ego-obsession

Recently I had a sister’s night out at Ego Obsession in New Friends Colony market in Delhi. It is a well-known place among dilliwallas. It is quite old and it is famous for its own kind of Italian.

It wasn’t the first time I went there and hopefully not last. I sort of like that place. The ambience is warm and cozy. One can easily get comfortable in dim lights and classics English songs. It reminds me of diners that they showed in old Italian movies.

Their menu is a wide one. It is one of the few places in Delhi which serves Rosti – something I absolutely love.  Before I proceed I would like to clarify that Yes, Rosti is not Italian, but I am not saying this place is authentic Italian. I am not an expert to comment on tastes of authentic Italian, but to me, whatever they serve is excellent.
This isn't a plate of my Rosti, but I found this similar looking pic on Wikipedia.

On our last visit, we ordered a Cannelloni, Pizza and Rosti.

The service time is good, especially when the place is not over crowded.   If you happen to visit often, you will realize that there are many others like you. The place has a fan following of its own.

It is indeed a good option to dine out in Delhi.

P.S. Zomato rates it 3.8. Therefore, if you believe in this website, I know you will look out for a chance to try it.


Linking it to UBC and A to Z challenge.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of April here.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Apr 4, 2014

Reviews A to Z – The Devil wears Prada

I am not a big fan of movie adaptions of a famous book. One of the few movies that I like even after having read the book is Devil wears Prada.

Maybe it has to do with my love for Meryl Streep or it has to do with a wonderful acting of Anne Hathaway. But to me Devil wears Prada as a movie is a better version of the book.

The Devil wears Prada is a story of a naive young woman comes to New York and scores a job as the assistant to one of the city's biggest magazine editors, the ruthless and cynical Miranda Priestly.

Of course you can’t see the pencil skirts and high heels of the movie in the book, neither can you shabby hairstyle and out of shape bag of Andy. However, the movie depicts exactly what your mind forms when you read of the ramp, the lunch and the meetings.

I especially love the scene where she goes shopping selecting clothes from samples that came from best designers. The fashion student in me goes OOOH over the labels and designers.

To spill out a secret, I saw this movie twice and took a note of brand names that were dropped in during the movie. It was one of my first to hear of Alexander McQueen.  

It is one of it kinds in the category of Comedy and Drama.

It is a good 3.5/5 for me.


Linking it to UBC and A to Z challenge.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of April here.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Sep 30, 2013

Day 30 – Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

For this special day (special because it is the last day of my 30 day project), I searched and searched for a special book and delayed the post by another two days (the 30 day project turned out to be a 50 day project) but in the end my Goodreads list came handy.

Persepolis is the only book I hadn’t reviewed amongst the Top rated books on Goodreads shelf. Also, it is different than any other book that I have read/reviewed.

Persepolis is a memoir of Marjane Satrapi in form of comic-strips when she narrates her growing up years in Iran. It beautifully describes growing up in Iranian Revolution with simple yet powerful strips.
It describes the culture, the child’s views on emperors and impact of war and politics on human life.

Why I love Persepolis is because it managed to tell us so much in so little words. It is engrossing and funny, yet sad and thoughtful. It is one of the best sad stories written light heartedly. I love Persepolis because it is one of a kind. I love it because the comic strips re amazingly cute and powerful.

Persepolis is a must read. 5 out of 5 stars to this book.

Sep 26, 2013

Day 29 – The timekeeper by Mitch Albom

“Time and tide wait for none”. A phrase that we have often heard.

Mitch Albom’s latest book – “The Time keeper” is the wonderful reminder for the saying that goes on for generation.

In this story the man who first counted time is punished for counting the most precious gift. At the end of his punishment, he can relieve himself by teaching two people true meaning of his choice. And then begins his quest to save a young girl who wants to end her life and an old man who wants to live forever.

In this wonderful book, Mitch Albom once again has managed to make us introspect, subtly reminded us to not be obsessed with the world and time and live each day beautifully.

In his race against time, the father of time presents us with an engrossing story that leaves us grasping for more.

Another bestseller by my favorite author, The Time Keeper is a must read for the young and the olds. A sure gift for your loved ones. I rate the book 4.5 out of 5.

Sep 25, 2013

Day 28 – Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

As the last days of this project come closer, I bring to you more of those books from my bookshelf which are kept under a section called special. It maybe the content, narration, my relation to the book or some XYZ random reason…but these books are the ones about which I can launch into an explanation as soon as someone pick them up.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is also a book from the same list. It is one of the most engrossing romance/thriller novels I have ever read.

The book was released in 2001 and has won several prizes including the Orange Prize for fiction.

It revolves around the people held as hostages in Vice Presidential house while they were at a party. In this group of people there is a Chairman of large Japanese company and an American singer.

The story is short but detailed, and as a reader I had no problem visualizing the author’s imagination. It is a love story, but not entirely. It is a thriller but not brutal. It has romance but not girly.

It is a very neutral, very beautiful book that concludes without you having to make an effort to try to finish it. My rating – 4 out of 5.

Sep 24, 2013

Day 27 – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

One should not judge a book by its cover, but when the cover itself is so captivating, one can’t help picking up the book for synopsis.

I got this book from someone and a look made me want to read it. A fantasy fiction, the only that I liked ever.

The book starts with – “The circus arrives without warning.
No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

I must say that the book that starts with that sort of anticipation, grabs your attention in first two pages.

A wonderful book written in a spell casting prose, it leads you to a dream world of your own. The book is magical, in writing and in plot and I often wondered at the magnitude of author’s imagination.

It is a must read book. I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5.

Sep 23, 2013

Day 26 - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Here comes another guest post for my project 30 days 30 books (which has now become 60 days 30 books, and is coming to an end with Thanks to wonderful guest bloggers who helpfully contributed to complete the project)

Nikhil shares with us a review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury on his blog called “Aficionado”. In his post he says – “I am so glad that I finally read Fahrenheit 451. FYI I read this book sometime back & had this review scribbled down minutes after I finished the book but never got a chance to post it .But now today’s the day. No more delay.”

In addition to the above he praises the book with - “Writing is crisp though. This book never feels as if you are reading a classic(in a “doesn’t bore you” sense) because it is so fresh & way ahead of its time that anybody who prefers staying away from classics can also give it a try.”

A little introduction to the guest – In his new yet notable blog Nikhil is doing wonderful job of writing about books and movies he’d like to read/view or has read/seen. He has his opinions and he puts them across gently. His blog carries a lot of pictures of the book/movie he is talking about.
Introducing his blog he says – “A little insight to things that i feel is worth sharing/reading or let say "Worthwhile reading" as we call it. A Slice of everything is what you tend to find...”

Coming back to the book – Had I not come across this review I would have completely missed out reviewing a wonderful book that I read years ago. One of my first classics, I highly recommend this book to all who think that the classics is not their choice.

Sep 22, 2013

Day 25 –Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Devakaruni

Is it wrong to have really high expectation from an author who has delivered some excellent books one after another?

My case of reading Oleander Girl was of high expectations not met. Having read the Palace of Illusion, I was expecting magic in this book too.

Frankly speaking, the book in itself is beautifully written. Each character is well built up, layers and layers of complicated personality wonderfully explained. Confusions, misunderstanding, fear, love, weaknesses beautifully portrayed, displaying the author’s strength in building characters. However, the story is not what could keep one from keeping the book down.

Adventures of the protagonists or the problems of the characters around her, none of the stories were really gripping. Incidents over incidents make it very sad until the last fifty pages. There are hardly any moments when you can smile while reading.

Though I liked reading the book but it wasn’t something that will really stay with me. It could have been more engrossing than it was.

A good book for weekend reading if you don’t let the problems of protagonists affect your mood. A 3 out of 5 for this.

Sep 18, 2013

Day 24 – Those pricey Thakur Girls reviewed by Elizabeth

This 30 days 30 books project seems to have as many books that I haven’t read as I have. Of course thanks to my fellow bloggers who have happily contributed their reviews for the blog.

Today, I bring the review of “Those pricey Thakur Girls” by Anuj Chauhan reviewed by Elizabeth on her blog “The bookish reviews”.

Elizabeth is one of my favorite bloggers when it comes to referring to blogs for searching for books. Her blog is a wonderful collection. She is a wonderful blogger. Her reviews are straight from heart.
She says what she means.

Reviewing this book, she says – “Anuja Chauhan has included just everything to make a funny read. She is not bothered about what is totally appropriate for that 1980-1990s era, but she just want to ensure that the readers do enjoy every bit of it. I should just conclude that this is a book by an Indian author that I enjoyed thoroughly for its humor content.”

Make sure you read her blog and the entire review.

By the way have you blogged for a cause? Share with us here.

Sep 17, 2013

Day 23 – The Krishna’s Key by Ashwin Sanghi

I got this book on the basis of a review I read at couple of blogs. I spent a good part of today morning to find those reviews. After finding the two out of three reviews that I read for the book before I bought, I hereby share their reviews with you.

A review was written by a blogger whom I have already mentioned when I shared his review of The cuckoo’s calling. Yes! Its Rupertt Wind.

He says, “Setting aside these two disappointments the novel is really good and can be easily ranked as one of the few very good Indian authored book that I have read in the last couple of years. I would suggest that the any one who can get your hands one just grab it. Aside from a few glitches I pointed out, the story is fabulous, gripping and very well researched.

Second review was actually stark opposite. It was by one of my favorite bloggers – Suresh Chandrashekaran.

He concludes – “Thus, for me, it is a grave disappointment to read such a book when I was looking forward to reading a decent fantasy/thriller. After a gripping start the book degenerates into a series of lectures with just enough action thrown in every now and then to get the book to a close.
Ashwin Sanghi, however, is a pleasant surprise in the English he uses since his usage of Hinglish is sparing and restricted mostly to the dialogues of his characters. If he had intended to write a workable novel with all these theories in place, he should have opted for a longer size for the book and paid more attention to his characters.
All in all, it may be an interesting book if you like speculative theories about the myths of the past and you do not read the book expecting it to be a great thriller or fantasy.

Even though they are different, I partially agree to both the reviews. I think authors like Ashwin Sanghi bring a good change to contemporary Indian writing with their thorough researches, and decent English. I liked the book in general with a slight disappointment at the sudden end. I rate the book a 3 out of 5.

Do you want to blog for a cause?

Sep 16, 2013

Day 22 – The Sicilian by Mario Puzo

If one has read “The Godfather” the number of times I have, i.e. to a point when you know the next dialogue by Don Corleone, you must read The Sicilian.

The year is 1950. Michael Corleone is nearing the end of his exile in Sicily. The Godfather has commanded Michael to bring a young Sicilian bandit named Salvatore Guiliano back with him to America. But Guiliano is a man entwined in a bloody web of violence and vendettas. In Sicily, Guiliano is a modern day Robin Hood who has defied corruption--and defied the Cosa Nostra. Now, in the land of mist-shrouded mountains and ancient ruins, Michael Corleone's fate is entwined with the dangerous legend of Salvatore Guiliano: warrior, lover, and the ultimate Siciliano.

In this book of love, hatred, betrayal and of course the mafia wars, Mario Puzo has weaved the same magic. Although not as famous as The Godfather, this book is equally gripping. It is as thrilling as it could be, ending each page with a new fold of mystery that one wants unravel. It is a book that cannot be easily kept down.

Critics claim that no work of Puzo could match up to the legendry book, but I humbly put in my point by saying that The Sicilian is the closest.

Let me know what you think of the book if you have read it. I rate the book a full 5 on 5.

Sep 13, 2013

Day 21 – We need to talk about Kevin

For the Day 21 of my project 30 days 30 books, I choose to write about an exceptionally gripping book by Lionel Shriver – We need to talk about Kevin.

The debate on nature and nurture is ongoing for several generations. However, little has been concluded on the same.

Bringing that debate alive again, Eva (narrator) talks about story of her almost 18 year old son who is under custody for a school massacre.

Throughout the book Eva is writing letter to her husband describing the relationship they were in to birth of her Kevin’s and Celia, all the way ending at the incident of massacre.

In this gripping book, each page brings a suspense and thrill that stopped me from keeping the book down. The story is fast and travels well over the eighteen years of Kevin's life. It is a book that stays with you for long time after you have read it once.

This was my first book by Lionel Shriver and it made me read two more books by her.

In 2011, the book was adapted into a movie with same title. I am yet to see it. I rate the book a 5 on 5 for being the rarest kind of fiction.

Aug 29, 2013

Day 17 – “Keys” Book Review by Nandiki Deka

In my previous post there was a mistake, there isn’t just one angel, there are many. Another one, Nandini Deka has agreed to share some of her review with us too.

Nandini Deka is a professional musician and an author based out of Mumbai in India. She has a wonderful blog named Nandini Speaks.

Under her blog “Nandini reviews” she has several interesting reviews. I choose to share her latest review. Review of “Keys”. I haven’t read this book. Keys by Santosh Joshi is a non-fiction published in 2013 by Santosh Joshi Foundation.

The book summary is as follows – “You will realize that no matter what experiences you had in the past or what your present circumstances are, you still have immense potential to achieve your life goals. It is never too late to begin. This book introduces the HLP principle which will launch you towards them. It will help you heal and resolve your past memories which are pulling you back most of the time. It will encourage you to find your true calling and work towards it. It will also motivate you to plan your journey towards the ultimate destination, your dreams. KEYS is for all those who have lost their true self in today’s rat race, those who have faced failures or gone through traumas, those in search of their purpose and those looking for inspiration to excel in life. This book is an opportunity to become the change you wish to see in yourself.

Read Nandini’s review of the book here -

Read Day 16 review of Man's search for meaning here

Aug 28, 2013

Day 16 – “Man’s Search for meaning” Book Review by Jini Fernandez

I was almost on the verge of giving up my project after 15th day while I planned to write 30 reviews under my project 30 days 30 books.

But this world still has it’s set of angels. I just got one. Jini Fernandez, stumbled upon my blog for the first time and was more than kind to share some of her reviews with me and other readers here.

I pick Jini’s review of “Man’s search for meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl because that one made me want to read this book as soon as possible.

A straight from heart review, crisp and informative, Jini presents the book to us. I have never come across the book but in her words “No wonder the book is popular. And its popularity made me browse it in a jiffy.”

Her review of this book has given me a to-read book on my shelf, I hope you like it too. Read the full review of “Man’s Search for Meaning” here -

Read Day 15 review of Chanakya's Chant here

Aug 27, 2013

Day 15 – Chanakya’s chant by Ashwin Sanghi

We have read, seen and understood Chanakya’s political lessons for generations. Aspiring kings and kingpins want to follow his principles and lessons. But that was more than 2300 years ago. We do not have the arthveda or Chanakya.

Think of comparing Chanakya’s notes with modern day politics – read Ashwin Sanghi’s “Chanakya’s Chant”.

Aug 25, 2013

Day 14 - The fault in our stars by John Green

Although I am once again three days late with my project 30 days 30 books and already running out of suggestions for reviews, I am hoping that I’ll be able to finally complete the project on 30th day.

For Day 14 of my project, I am reviewing a book that I just read. “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green was published in 2012.

Aug 21, 2013

Day 13 - Calvin and Hobbes - Reviewing the best comic strips ever

Did you read Calvin and Hobbes ever? Well! I have. And not only read it but read it like bible. I have read Calvin and Hobbes at least five times and can still read more. That’s why I decided to bring you my review of C&H for Day 13 of my project 30 days 30 books.

Over 3000 comic strips illustrated daily by genius Bill Watterson which revolved around the craziest eight year old “Calvin” and his stuffed tiger “Hobbes”.