Alcohol: My Bookish confession 1

olThe first day of A to Z challenge, and I am all geared up. When I first sat one fine morning 5 days ago to think about what I want to write, there were no doubts in my mind about some letters. A was one of them.

A= Alcohol

Now, I know alcohol is not really related to reading or writing (except for the few authors who claim to write better when drunk), but for me, it kind of is. I am a teetotaller. I am from a family where I did not see anyone taking alcohol. I did see the people drinking and weaving their way around drunk in the movies, but they were just there. One thing that was always told to me was that alcohol is a vice: can affect the physical and emotional health badly, can impair decision and so on (lessons of childhood).

Fast forward the time, and let us come to the time when I started reading.

My stint with the adult reading started with historical romances where the “sherry” was ever-present during the dinners, drinking port was the manly things to do, and Scottish whiskey tested the true mettle of the manhood. I was amused and chalked it off to European culture. Then came American novels where again the bars and pubs were the hangout zone, and beer was the best friend of the characters. I soon forayed into YA and new adult where again the forbidden alcohol and fake IDs made the way. Even fantasy novels had their own version of alcoholic drinks.

The Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese, Italian, European, and American TV series have similar situations.

I was just flabbergasted. What world is this where people cannot hangout without really drinking alcohol? What world is this where the alcohol defines the “coolness quotient”?  What world is this where there is a brew that people relies on to”forget their sorrows”?

A= Alcohol= Bookish Confession 1

I did encounter the people who liked to partake alcohol during my college days. I was a party to a few of the people who forayed into their first sip of alcohol and told me that it tasted bitter. I have been party to the drunk calls, drunk confessions, drunk “amnesia”, and so on. Still, I do not get the fascination of the alcohol. I still feel that the books and stories glorify the alcohol. They showcase that the alcohol means friendship, being cool, finding the love,  while that may not be the true picture. They all showcase the world where the alcohol is the staple drink everywhere while it is not so.

I have been told that I feel this way mostly because I am living in a cave where the light or “alcohol” never reaches. But truly that is not the case. There is a bar that I can see from one of the windows of my house. I am a working woman who has to attend some of the office parties (I hate them– too many formalities and show for my taste). I know alcohol exist, and there are people who enjoy it in healthy (and unhealthy) manner too.

But still, somewhere deep down, I feel that this is not the part of my world. And probably that is why I will never be a good writer. I have written about the characters who partake alcohol, but it is all on the surface. I will never scratch that surface and reach to the heart which desires the drink so badly. I will never enter the world where the characters need to be drunk to confess their heart or to forget their sorrows. I might create the world and paintings of such people, but they will forever be away from me because I do not need to be drunk to experience the life in any of the forms.

I read the books and scenes of bars/pubs/dinner parties/solo drink sessions and all. But I am never the character in that scene. I do associate myself with the characters in the books: I can see myself in the victims, heroes, villains, heroines, and even animals. I just never cannot see myself in the shoes of the person taking the alcohol.

This is my first confession, a weird one probably, but the bookish confession nevertheless. (And no, I never felt the compulsion to take alcohol. I cannot even take carbonated drinks because they taste bitter to me.)

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FrostBite by Joshua Bader

Frostbite (Modern Knights #1)

 

Books’ Name: FrostBite

Author’s Name: Joshua Bader

Publisher: City Owl Press

Buy from Amazon

 

Colin Fisher is a young man with a lot of problems on his plate: a dying father, a dead car doubling as a home, and a mysteriously disappeared fiancée. You’d think with a magical inclination he’d be able to turn it all around, but not so much.

Yet his bad luck appears to be on the way out when the CEO of a multinational corporation offers him a job. It’s a sweet gig as a personal wizard with a fat paycheck. It just has one catch. The paranoid CEO isn’t a mere hypochondriac, he’s been hexed with an authentic ancient curse.

Now Colin is the only thing standing between his new boss and a frozen bundle of fangs, claws, and rage. If he can’t stop the cannibal ice demon in time to save his new boss, it’ll be back to living out of his dead car. That is, if he even survives the battle.

 

Frostbite was a netgalley book—and a very interesting one at that. I was attracted to the book because of its blurb. I mean how cool it is to have one’s personal wizard? If I had one, I would make him/her do all the work of cleaning, washing etc. (Okay, I do have a maid for all that), but a personal wizard will be far more interesting. So, I wanted to see what does the personal wizard do in the book.

But in reality, this story is more than the story of a personal wizard. The story is fast-paced and quite interesting journey of a vagabond wizard to the realization of why he became the wizard. The story has a lot of world-building which happens along with the story as we discover the new world with the Wizard Colin Fisher himself.

What I liked

Fast-Pace: The story is written in quite a fast pace. This fast pace keeps the readers engaged throughout the story. You won’t feel that the story is dragging too much.

World-Building: Very few books are able to make the reader believe the world they are building is possible. This story truly does establish that belief and hence it made the book more interesting for me.

Magic: The interesting way the magic is used made me smile in the book. It is creative and innovative.

What I disliked

Unanswered questions/underutilized characters: There are some characters which just touch and go like the lake faerie. I wish there was more to these characters and their roles in the story Probably the reason for these characters are in the coming novel, but for now they feel underutilized and fillers (which one doesn’t notice because of the pace of the story, but I still wanted to know why they were in the story like what is their long-term purpose.)

Overall opinion

It is an interesting book which sets the stage for the coming sequel. You won’t find the main story incomplete in this part of the book, but it leaves the readers with enough thirst to wait for the next part and see what exactly is going to happen. It is like you have decided to enter a dungeon and this is the first room, and you are really curious to know what was the reason author pulled you in this dungeon.

Definitely a must-read for the fans who enjoy such fantasy.

My ratings:

Four Stars

Wheat, Not White– A Book Club Review

Only Wheat Not White 
by 
Varsha Dixit 
 

It feels weird to be in a reading slump– to not be able to concentrate on reading, forget about writing. I attribute all this to change of city. I don’t know why but everything makes me feel like I am an alien here, a foreigner (I am not! I am in the same country and in a city where there are many good things happening). I spent my time moping around over the fact and listening to foreign-travel songs. And then I realized how stupid I was being.

I was not going to pick up this book. When the mail for the book came, I passed it on. But then Rubina said that she can personally guarantee that the book is well-edited and well-written. I needed something to come out of my stupid mood swings, and hence I picked up this book. Before I write the summary for the book and elaborate its beauty, let me tell you it was a perfect book to get out of the slump– not too heavy–a beautifully written romance.

The Blurb

What if the one you completely love is the one you simply can’t! Twenty-six-year-old Eila Sood moves to America to mend fences with her estranged older sister, Sheela. Eila and the rest of the family in India had cut off ties with Sheela after she married Steve Jacobs, ‘out of caste, and out of color’. Elia soon realizes that Sheela’s marriage is on the rocks. To help pay Sheela’s household bills, Eila takes a second job at an afternoon strip club. When she crosses paths with the owner, the handsome Brett Wright or ‘blue-eyed ogre’ as Elia calls him, he both infuriates and fascinates her. Brett turns out to be her reluctant and unquestionably sarcastic knight in shining armor. As Eila and Brett spend more time together their desire for each other builds. However, when Brett discovers the true reason for Eila’s refusal he storms out of her life, accusing her of being a prejudiced coward. Will Eila find the courage to break stereotypes and embrace her love? Will Brett find solace in the arms of his ex-girlfriend Cate? Will Sheela and Steve divorce? All of these questions and more are answered in Varsha Dixit’s latest and humorous and steamy love story.
The book is the story about Eila who has traveled to US in order to act as a peacemaker between her parents and her sister .  Her sister, Sheela, married a white man which had severed her ties to the family. Eila has come to US in order to help Sheila reconcile with her parents. But all is not well in US. Sheela’s married life is not the same, and Eila ends up (working in a strip club) falling in love with an American. The story is how both Sheela and Eila comes to term with the fact that the color does not decide the person, but the nature does.

Although the book is mentioned as a steamy romance, it is just a love story. I did not find much “steam” into it, so don’t be afraid of diving into the book because of that.

What I liked:

A perfect blend of American-ness and Indian-ness:  I think this is the biggest weakness of the Indian novel. The novels either end up losing the Indian values and beauty while writing in English, or everything is so much explained that a reader gets bored reading about all the things they know. This novel did nothing of the sorts.  The story had perfect balance between the two cultures. She neither ignored the American culture, nor did the author explained or justified the Indian culture. That probably was the biggest USP for me.

Romance: The story kept true to the nature of the characters and has a romance which made me “feel” the love being developed along with the feeling the connection in first sight. It is not a racy novel, but then there still that aroma of romance and “touchy” feels to make one realize that we are reading about a different culture.

What I did not like

Some Plot Points: There is a point which indicates that the company that hired Eila is reducing the number of hours, and I was left wondering what kind of company hires a person and reduces their hours instantly. Probably that is how recession was in US, because my industry never saw such drastic effect in a day. In our case, it was the slow buildup of the recession things, and there were no recruitment at all. But that as a plot point rankled me a bit.

Overall Opinion:

It definitely is a book worth reading. Beautiful language, amazing chemistry and interesting weaving of the two cultures adds to the beauty of the story. A perfect read!

Four Stars

Thoughts after reading the book:

The subject of an Indian women falling in love in a foreign country with a white man has intrigued me quite a lot. This has nothing to do with the color and even the country, but more about the openness of the culture. I know there are many Indian women and girls who are forward and are open in dating, but till date there is a section of female population of the country who truly are quite subdued when it comes to the sexual desires or simply dating.

And when it comes to western culture, men are perceived as someone who are quite promiscuous (I know this is not true in every case, but still the perceptions are not always true).

It makes me wonder about the courage it will take for these women to shed their inhibitions and date such western men. Same way, it will take huge amount of understanding on the male’s part as well to fight with the preconceived notion of the women. And the signals– I think it will be so difficult for them to translate those signals as well for both males and females.

I have seen this problem occurring in case when both male and female are from the same country, but the female has lived in a reserved environment.

And when families are involved– it turns into a battle on both the fronts. The book did justice to this fact, but I was left wondering for a long time how difficult it is to shed the inhibitions and to trust someone. I probably won’t have that courage(but then I have not even fallen in love with such a person yet!) Probably that is why it is said that the love transcends boundary. Having that kind of affair and developing that kind of trust will be too difficult.

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