Author: Soumya

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day! Today is the 74th Independence Day of India. On Independence Day, there is flag hoisting in schools and all government establishments. As a kid, I used to go to school and be involved in some marching or drill activity. Patriotic speeches were given by students and teachers. After that we were given some sweets and dispersed for the day. After coming home, I used to watch the Independence Day celebrations broadcasted from Red Fort where the Prime Minister addressed the nation and there was a parade after the speech. All the States in the country had a float and I used to wait for the float of my State, Andhra Pradesh (Telangana now). This year the Independence Day celebrations will be different due to Covid-19, with social distancing norms in place. India has a roadmap ready for the production and distribution of three Covid-19 vaccines that are at various stages of testing. The mantra of India is Atma-nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and ‘vocal for local.’ Wishing a bright, self-reliant, healthy and prosperous …

The Tears of Monterini

Happy Publication Month to The Tears of Monterini by Amanda Weinberg (@amandaweinbergauthor). The Tears of Monterini is a historical women’s fiction set in the fictional town of Monterini, Italy. The novel is set in in time period of 1921-1946, when Mussolini rose and fell from power in Italy. The novel is about two families of different faiths, a Jew and a Catholic, but with friendship lasting for six generations. Yacobo is Jewish and has a book store and Angelo is a contadino, who is a winemaker. Yacobo’s daughter, Bella falls in love with Angelo’s son, Rico. Their love is forbidden in the eyes of the society and due to condemnation of Jews, as Hilter rose to power. The peaceful town of Monterini is torn apart, as the villagers decide what to do with the Jews in the village. No Jew was safe in that tumultuous time and the small town of Monterini was not an exception. I loved the descriptions about the town of Monterini and the various residents of the town. The reader follows …

Kiki Mcadoo and the graveyard ballerinas

Happy publication month to Kiki Mcadoo and the Graveyard Ballerinas by Colette Sewall. Kiki and her sister, Alison are ballerinas in training. They go to Mount Faylinn, a ballet school in Summer. Mount Faylinn is surrounded by a magical forest, a lake and a forbidden forest beyond the lake. Kiki meets Oliver at the school who introduces her to fairies of the forest and also takes her to darker parts of the forest. While Kiki struggles to perfect her ballet poses, she faces a new problem. Her sister is at the right age to be influenced by the darker forces of the forest. Will Kiki be able to save her sister? I loved the mystery surrounding the non-human characters in the book. This book also highlights the love between sisters and the sacrifices they make for one another. The unique plot of this book, which involved ballet, fairies, ghosts and alchemy made it difficult to put it down. A great read that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Thank you to @netgalley …

Different Like Me

Happy publication month to Different like me written by Xochitl Dixon (@xochitl.e.dixon) and illustrated by Bonnie Lui (@superbonart). We are all unique in our differences. We are dark and fair and all colors in between. We follow different religions of faith and speak different languages. We belong to different countries. Some speak with their hands, see with sticks and can move only in a wheelchair. Despite our differences we share the same feelings of hope, despair and yearn to be cared and loved by others. In this book, a group of diverse children are walking with a balloon to a surprise destination. As they make their journey, they make new friends and explore the differences, similarities and learn how to overcome a hurdle together. This picturebook touches on the most important concept that even though children look different but we are all human and have to look after one another. I loved the colorful illustrations and the fish balloon is a ‘cool’ character with interesting emotions. Thanks to @netgalley and @ourdailybread for the ARC.

Dodge#4 State Park

Last weekend, we went to Dodge #4 state park. The beach was crowded but there was almost no one in a few locations along the trail. My family spent some time in the nature, surrounded by tall trees and enjoyed the fresh air outside. We are surrounded by parks in Michigan and I am thankful for that. My husband said that he wants to be among people but away from them. In this Covid-19 situation Michigan provides that opportunity with its beautiful state parks.

The Book of Selkie

Happy Book Publication Year to The Book of Selkie by Briana Corr Scott. The Book of Selkie is a children’s picturebook which introduces a selkie to children. Selfies are faerie people who live part their lives as a seal. The selkies are seals that can shed their coat and land and transforms into humans. They live part of their life on land. In simple text, this book explains the yearning of a selkie to be on land and also return to the sea. This book talks about a typical ‘selkie’ day. With soothing illustrations, this book is appropriate to teach young children about Scottish and Irish legends of selkie. Thank you to @netgalley and @nimbuspub for the ARC.

Hope and Freckles

Happy Book Publication Year to Hope and Freckles Fleeing to a Better Forest by Bill Kiley and illustrated by Mary Manning. Hope and Freckles are a baby and a mother deer who live in the Olden Forest. The Olden Forest was becoming dangerous for Hope and Freckles. The summers were hotter, there was less food and water and the persistent threat for life from other carnivores and hunters. Hope, Freckles and other deer walk to the Big Pine Forest to take refuge but the guards don’t let them in because the Forest had enough white-tailed deer. When they plead to let them in, they separate Hope and Freckles. Freckles is taken to another family and Hope lives in a fenced area waiting for her child. Will Hope see Freckles again? This book explains with animal characters and eye-catching images, the immigration scenario in United States and other countries. It is a good book to teach children why people take refuge, why they are denied entry to a new country and also their suffering when children …

Catching Fireflies

Happy publication day to Catching Fireflies by Celina and Leo Lagnado. In this book, a monster wants to enjoy nature by trapping elements of nature, but it does not work as it expects. The monster learns an important lesson regarding nature. Catching Fireflies would be a good book for toddlers. It has simple pictures and short sentences. Thank you to @netgalley for the ARC.

Notes to Self

Notes to Self by Emilie Pine was a good non-fiction read. The book is the outcome of the author writing notes to herself in tough situations. These include taking care of an elderly alcoholic father with health problems, difficulty in getting pregnant, about the female body and the periods, her parents’ divorce, and the rebellious teens. There is also a chapter about how women are treated at work and how their value is diminished by talking about their cuteness rather than talent. I loved the honesty of the author. I myself had the same thoughts regarding my body and how the society perceives female body. I saw both my past and future in this book. This book is a good read for all women. Even though it was non-fiction, it is surprisingly fast-paced. Thank you to NetGalley for ARC.

For the Love of Books

For the Love of Books by Graham Tarrant is a book that will appeal to non-fiction book lovers.⠀ ⠀ This book is a biography of books and writers. The first chapter starts with how first books were made, the invention of the printing press, and the world’s first library. A few chapters that caught my interest were feuds between famous writers such as Lord Byron vs. John Keats and the addiction of writers. I learned that Stephen King was a drug addict and alcoholic in the 1980s. King does not have a recollection of working on a few books that became bestsellers. Other topics of interest were about the working style of different writers, how authors met their end if writers shaped their characters after a real-life person, and many more.⠀ ⠀ The book is also peppered with facts and book recommendations for various categories. The book was written in an academic thesis style which made me skim quickly through the book. The book will be an interesting read for non-fiction book lovers.