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Book Review: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

I am writing the review of this book Haroun and the Sea of Stories pretty late for I was still thinking how exactly to pen down my thoughts for this book. It had taken me months to complete this book (goodreads tells me I started reading it on May 28, 2018). And you know, I only picked it up because of its glowing reviews after I discussed in my reading group about not liking any Salman Rushdie book till date. In retrospect, I think it took time for I was yet to get accustomed to its characters (read character names) for this was unlike any other book I had read. In fact I do not even remember reading any Indian book for children in the recent past (other than what I had read when I was myself a kid – champak, nandan, nanhe samrat).

I finally got around to completing it on Mahabaleshwar trip in Oct ’18, my first touristy trip with baby and there I was stuck with bad signal, no kindle/ hardcopy books and only this book to keep me company. Now, I am glad it was that way for once I really got in the pace of reading the book, I loved it. I really really loved it. The character names (Princess Batcheat, Prince Bolo, Gup city, Chup city, General Kitab, Butt, Khattam-shud, the list goes on and on) were in Hindi, so non-Hindi speaking people may find it a little non-relatable but the meaning of each word as a name is mentioned at the book end.

This book is a perfect Indian fairytale in current times with an allegory to censorship and curtailing freedom of speech and thus, making it have so many undercurrents. But for a kid, who cares. It’s an out and out fun read and to tell as a story to them. Even if you do not remember the entire book, or you do not have a copy at hand, but you have read it earlier, you can make lines up here and there and it will still sound fantastic. Now, that is how new stories are born out of old ones – imagination is the key.

As for few lines from this book, here it is:

A figure of speech is a shifty thing; it can be twisted or it can be straight.

The Pages of Gup, now that they had talked through everything so fully, fought hard, remained united, support each other when required to do so, and in general looked like a force with a common purpose. All those arguments and debates, all that openness, had created powerful bonds of friendship between them.

Nothing comes from nothing, Thieflet; no story comes from nowhere; new stories are born from old–it is the new combinations that make them new.

By the way, happy children’s day to all.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Set in an exotic Eastern landscape peopled by magicians and fantastic talking animals, Salman Rushdie’s classic children’s novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories inhabits the same imaginative space as Gulliver’s Travels, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. In this captivating adaptation for the stage, Haroun sets out on an adventure to restore the poisoned source of the sea of stories. On the way, he encounters many foes, all intent on draining the sea of all its storytelling powers. 

About the author:
Salman Rushdie is the author of thirteen novels: Grimus, Midnight’s Children (which was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence, Luka and the Fire of Life, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, and his newest novel, The Golden House. He is also the author of a book of stories and non-fiction.

A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Salman Rushdie has received, among other honours, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers’ Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, the Crossword Book Award in India, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the London International Writers’ Award, the James Joyce award of University College Dublin, the St Louis Literary Prize, the Carl Sandburg Prize of the Chicago Public Library, and a U.S. National Arts Award. He holds honorary doctorates and fellowships at six European and six American universities, is an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T, and University Distinguished Professor at Emory University. Currently, Rushdie is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

His books have been translated into over forty languages. He has adapted Midnight’s Children for the stage. It was performed in London and New York by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2004, an opera based upon Haroun and the Sea of Stories was premiered by the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center.

Website: salmanrushdie.com
Twitter: @SalmanRushdie

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Khalifa Brothers #1)
Author: Salman Rushdie
Pages: 224
Publication Year: 1990

Book Review: The BFG by Roald Dahl

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The BFG by Roald Dahl

So right now I am on a roll for reading Roald Dahl books – first it was Matilda, then Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and then this The BFG. As I started reading this book, I did not like it even a bit which surprised me for these 3 books are supposed to be very popular. But after a few pages, I realized this is written for kids and not for adults. And from then onwards, I started liking it. The words are so garbled together that somehow I literally had to make up my own meaning. And I am sure once my son grows up to that extent where he likes me reading stories to him, he will like it for one of his favorite toys is currently dinosaur and I can already imagine correlating those giants with dinosaur and Sophie with him.

Check some of the lines from this book and similar kind abound aplenty in the book:

Don’t gobblefunk around with words.

Meanings is not important, said the BFG. I cannot be right all the time. Quite often I is left instead of right.

Is it ever occurring to you that a human bean who is fifty is spending about twenty years sleeping fast?

You is getting nosier than a parker.

Many may discuss merits and demerits of this book – the yays and nos. But why, let kids be kids for a while without the pros and cons of dealing with adult life.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda!

The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants–rather than the BFG–she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

About the author:
Roald Dahl was a spy, an ace fighter pilot, a chocolate historian and a medical inventor. Later he became a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940’s with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world’s bestselling authors.

He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe BFG, and a treasury of original, evergreen, and beloved children’s books. He remains for many the world’s No. 1 storyteller. He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending. Many were originally written for American magazines such as Ladies Home JournalHarper’sPlayboy and The New Yorker, then subsequently collected by Dahl into anthologies, gaining world-wide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories and they have appeared in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death. His stories also brought him three Edgar Awards.

13th September is celebrated as Roald Dahl Day worldwide.

Website: roalddahl.com
Twitter: @roald_dahl

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: The BFG
Author: Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
Pages: 208
Publication Year: 1982

Book Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Right now, if you find my blog skewed towards children’s books, it is because I am exploring this genre in the best way possible so that I can tell my yet-to-be-grown-up son stories in future, some from the book and some where I will combine many stories together to form a new one. Ok, so there are at least a few years more where my son can start demanding the same. But all things aside, once I have started reading these books, it has kept on fueling me with a happy feeling and that is much needed to keep me sane till I join back to work post maternity leave. Two more months of paid leave left and thus, you will see many more new and interesting books coming up in my blog space.

Few days back, I read Matilda and was so enamored with the writing of Roald Dahl that I immediately picked up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and glad I did. This book reading was such a scrumptious sumptuous journey for me to read names of different varieties of chocolates – eatable marshmallow pillows, lickable wallpaper for nurseries, square sweets that look round, hot ice creams for cold days; ah, so so interesting – the ones which I want to have right now (telling you aside in a soft whisper, I am a big foodie and juusssttt lovveee chocolates; even my current weight will confirm you this that I cannot keep myself away from food for even half an hour, what with staying at home for last few months especially contributing to this factor; what it’s 6 months already. Oops).

Well, the book is a little dark in showcasing the fact that the kids who do not listen to elders’ advice or the parents who give in to all demands of their kids should think again and that it may only lead to their downfall. Willy Wonka in this case is the bad (you can say mad also) person like Miss Trunchbull in Matilda but who is still loved by the kids since he owns the world’s best chocolate factory. The book also introduces the kid readers to poverty (read destitute); in case you have not yet found a way to tell yours such, this book is a good starting point to discuss with the kids. And you know it draws so much parallel with the real adult world – non humans working in factories, marketing done just right to entice buyers where only a few handful will be the winners, etc etc. But all these points aside, the writing is much funny and enjoyable; sample below lines:

Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasn’t been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night.

Or, the preachy ones:

Is she the only one at fault? For though she’s spoiled, and dreadfully so, A girl can’t spoil herself, you know. Who spoiled her, then? Ah, who indeed? Who pandered to her every need? Who turned her into such a brat? Who are the culprits? Who did that? Alas! You needn’t look so far To find out who these sinners are. They are (and this is very sad) Her loving parents, MUM and DAD.

And then the poems that Oompa-Loompa sings, they are such a tittle-tattle. And here my review comes to an end, for otherwise I will keep on blabbering for pages and pages!

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

About the author:
Roald Dahl was a spy, an ace fighter pilot, a chocolate historian and a medical inventor. Later he became a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940’s with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world’s bestselling authors.

He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe BFG, and a treasury of original, evergreen, and beloved children’s books. He remains for many the world’s No. 1 storyteller. He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending. Many were originally written for American magazines such as Ladies Home JournalHarper’sPlayboy and The New Yorker, then subsequently collected by Dahl into anthologies, gaining world-wide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories and they have appeared in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death. His stories also brought him three Edgar Awards.

13th September is celebrated as Roald Dahl Day worldwide.

Website: roalddahl.com
Twitter: @roald_dahl

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Author: Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
Pages: 176
Publication Year: 1964

Book Review: Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson

Have we not all heard so many stories which involves 3 close friends (seen movies as well)? Ms. Bixby’s Last Day is one such book that takes a spin on friendship but dedicated to their teacher Ms. Bixby suffering from cancer who have touched their lives in a very unique way. Like you know, where this is the teacher you want to dedicate your every Teacher’s Day to year after year.

The book is so so well written with the perspectives of all three friends – Topher, Stephen and Christopher. It shares their musings and thought processes, funny at many points but you know the story moves forward in tandem. With each character, you come to know their background while the pace of the book is kept “just” perfect. Another good thing about the book is that it has kept the perfect mix of story, background and dialogues in its narration. But remember, it is not a sad book but a way to move ahead in life and that a single moment or an appreciation can change you for good- the teacher that made you be positive and hope for the best.

The Bixbyism in the book reminded me of the quotes in Wonder. What!! You have not read Wonder, go go pick it up right now, it is a book by R. J. Palacio and while you are at it, pick up Auggie & Me next. So back to this book on which this review is about, here are some of the lines:

We all have moments when we think nobody really sees us. When we feel like we have to act out or be somebody else just to get noticed. But somebody notices, Topher. Somebody sees. Somebody out there probably thinks you’re the greatest thing in the whole world. Don’t ever think you’re not good enough.

Live every day as if it were your last. That’s a Bixbyism for sure, though even she would tell you that it’s impossible. It’s just way too much to ask most of the time. I’ve experienced one last day in my life, and it was enough to hold me for a while. The truth is—the whole truth is—that it’s not the last day that matters most. It’s the ones in between, the ones you get the chance to look back on. They’re the carnation days. They may not stand out the most at first, but they stay with you the longest.

In fact you know, I wanted to highlight so many lines from this book while reading it on my Kindle, but I had got so involved in the story that most times, I forgot to do the same.

I came across this book as a recommendation for Teacher’s Day and it was true that! So, gift this book as an inspiration for some kid you know, or even if not (you are too lazy, you do not know anyone such, or you are a miser), get a Kindle one for yourself.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The good ones. The not-so-good ones. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard. The ones you’ll never remember, and the ones you want to forget. But Ms. Bixby is none of these. She’s the sort of teacher who makes you feel like the indignity of school is worthwhile. Who makes the idea of growing up less terrifying. Who you never want to disappoint. What Ms. Bixby is, is one of a kind.

Topher, Brand, and Steve know this better than anyone. And so when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she is very sick and won’t be able to finish the school year, they come up with a plan. Through the three very different stories they tell, we begin to understand just what Ms. Bixby means to Topher, Brand, and Steve—and what they are willing to go to such great lengths to tell her.

John David Anderson, the acclaimed author of Sidekicked, returns with a story of three kids, a very special teacher, and one day that none of them will ever forget.

About the author:
John David Anderson is the author of several critically-acclaimed novels for young peopleHe lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. 

The author of Standard Hero Behavior, Sidekicked, Minion The Dungeoneers and Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Anderson is a firm believer in wearing the same pair of jeans for three days in a row (four in the winter) and the power of writing to solve 73% of the world’s problems. 

Website: johndavidanderson.org
Twitter: @anderson_author

Rating: 10/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: Ms. Bixby’s Last Day
Author: John David Anderson
Pages: 320
Publication Year: 2016

 

Book Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Matilda by Roald Dahl

Confession time: I had never read any Roald Dahl before this book. Ya ya, you may tell me I do not belong to this earth and how I grew up without reading these. It is not that I had not heard of Roald Dahl but only as part of the reading group community of children which I joined just a year back. Quite recent, no? So, if you know any kid or even not if you yourself had not read any Roald Dahl, you must must pick at least one book of his. Just imagine the impact this one book had on me, the one which I read last month.

Matilda, the name of the protagonist as well, is a fantasy book for children, not very very young but a little grown up, I guess aged around 8; just ensure that you give the right message while reading this book with them. This is the story of a child prodigy and who does ‘shararat‘ (gets naughty) when people do wrong in her eyes (well the description is from the eyes of the girl herself and the adults do seem petty). I mean as adults, it is an eye-opener to see the qualities of a kid and not dismiss their thoughts and actions as mere child-like. And the kid loves reading even though she does not have friends, which makes it seem like the story of my school-life. See the quote from the book:

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives.

The book is an out-and-out fun read; I totally loved it, but may be others may not like it to such an extent for Matilda will herself seem to be un-respectful. I even liked the ending happy happy (no no, no spoilers ahead).

And for the next few reads, those are going to be children books only, the next one in tow is Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she’s knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she’s a super-nerd and the teacher’s pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda’s world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there’s the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Miss (“The”) Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.

She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.

About the author:
Roald Dahl was a spy, an ace fighter pilot, a chocolate historian and a medical inventor. Later he became a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940’s with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world’s bestselling authors.

He was also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe BFG, and a treasury of original, evergreen, and beloved children’s books. He remains for many the world’s No. 1 storyteller. He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending. Many were originally written for American magazines such as Ladies Home JournalHarper’sPlayboy and The New Yorker, then subsequently collected by Dahl into anthologies, gaining world-wide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories and they have appeared in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death. His stories also brought him three Edgar Awards.

13th September is celebrated as Roald Dahl Day worldwide.

Website: roalddahl.com
Twitter: @roald_dahl

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Children Book
Book Name: Matilda
Author: Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
Pages: 240
Publication Year: 1988

Book Review: Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J.Palacio

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Auggie & Me Three Wonder Stories by R.J.Palacio

I guess most people would have read the book or seen the movie Wonder starring Julia Roberts. Or, if not, at least would have heard of the same. Still no? Then please head over a book stall or wherever you can find the book or the movie; it is a must must read/ watch. I had read the book Wonder after seeing the trailer of that movie which was a work-in-progress then. Since then, I had seen the movie and was left wanting for more. Till now, I was making do with books similar to this book. However, you know just two days back, I found three separate Wonder stories collectively know as Auggie & Me and you can imagine my happiness.

Though many may feel that this book is not as good as Wonder, but still it will cater to all those who wanted to know more about the side characters, and R.J.Palacio answered the inquisitiveness through the perspectives and narration by characters Julian (the bad guy in the previous book), Charlotte (one of the three welcome buddies of Auggie when he had joined school) and Christopher (Auggie’s friend who had moved to different place and is just mentioned as a name in the previous book). And Auggie, as you can understand, is a side character in these tales. If you want me to select the best of the lot, it is Shingaling narrated by Charlotte; there is so much depth shown in her character.

And like Wonder, it has some good lines:

Every person’s story weaves in and out of someone else’s story.

And when good friends need us, we do what we can to help them, right? We can’t just be friends when it’s convenient. Good friendships are worth a little extra effort!

One of the things I miss the most about being a little kid is that when you’re little, all the movies you watch have happy endings. Dorothy goes back to Kansas. Charlie gets the chocolate factory. Edmund redeems himself. I like that. I like happy endings. But, as you get older, you start seeing that sometimes stories don’t have happy endings. Sometimes they even have sad endings. Of course, that makes for more interesting storytelling, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. But it’s also kind of scary.

I knew it would be the way it had been after the sleepover. Like we had taken a secret trip together. A voyage that no one else knew about. And when we returned from our journey, we each went back to our own homes. Some friendships are like that. Maybe even the best friendships are like that. The connections are always there. They’re just invisible to the eye.

One mistake does not define you.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Maybe he knew it and maybe he didn’t, but for someone like me, words like that are worth all the medals in the world.

Sometimes it’s good to start over.

Oh, I can just go on and on… I loved this book as much as Wonder to be truthful since it showed we, without any special quality to distinguish, can be the main characters too. So after you as a reader are done with Wonder, go ahead with these as well – a must read for children and adults like.

Book blurb:
Wonder tells the story of Auggie Pullman: an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, whose first year at school changed the lives and the perspectives of everyone around him.

Auggie & Me is a new side to the Wonder story: three new chapters from three different characters – bully Julian, oldest friend Christopher and classmate Charlotte – giving an insight into how Auggie has touched their own lives. Thought-provoking, surprising, infuriating, heartbreaking and heartwarming, Auggie & Me is a must-read for the thousands of readers who loved Wonder.

About the author:
R.J. Palacio lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write that novel had finally come. Wonder is her first novel. Since then, she has written several books – Auggie & Me (combined The Julian Chapter, Pluto: A Wonder Story, and Shingaling: A Wonder Story), 365 Days of Wonder, and We’re All Wonders.

Raquel J. Palacio / R. J. Palacio is a pseudonym of: Raquel Jaramillo.

Twitter: @rjpalacio
Website: rjpalacio.com
Email: rjpalaciowebmail@gmail.com

Rating: 10/10
Genre: Young Adult, Children Book
Book Name: Auggie & Me (combined The Julian Chapter, Pluto: A Wonder Story, and Shingaling: A Wonder Story)
Author: R.J.Palacio
Pages: 303
Publication Year: 2015

Book Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Two months back, if you remember, I had for the first time read Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz (click here to read review of the first book Stormbreaker in its series). Now, it was time for me to go back even more in time (as in childhood fantasies) and read Percy Jackson which the author started by telling these stories to his kid. Hey, I too wish to do the same once my son grows up to that age, all the time hoping that he too would like books and stories like me.

The writing style, plot, characters, fantasy world, I mean I found everything perfect in this book The Lightning Thief. I wish that I should have discovered it while I was crazy with Harry Potter and it used to take a year for the next book to be released. Oops, I just remembered this book was released when I had joined college. But no one is too grown up, right? I am still reading these kind of books and why not? For I have to start building up good book repositories for my son. Just kidding, he is not even four months old.

So, back to the book, the language is kept simple for a 8+ old kid, but the flow is streamlined in such a way as to make it easy for even parents to read to smaller kids. Check out few of the quotes below (which are like quotations that can be put on walls as well):

Knowing too much of your future is never a good thing.

Where’s the glory in repeating what others have done?

Suspecting and knowing are not the same.

In fact, there is an illustrated version also available for this book as well as movie adaptation is there. So what you waiting for. Grab at least one for your kid. Or for yourself. You will love it 🙂

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

About the author:
Rick Riordan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty novels for young readers, including the Percy Jackson series, the Kane Chronicles, the Magnus Chase series and the Trials of Apollo. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.

While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre – the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children’s fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.

Today, eighty-six million copies of his books are in print in the United States, and rights have been sold into more than 37 countries.

Website: rickriordan.com
Twitter: @camphalfblood

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: The Lightning Thief
(Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 375
Publication Year: 2005

Book Review: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Book Review | Ethereal Jinxed | Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

If you are my blog follower, you must be aware that I am following through the list of similar books to the famous Wonder (Julia Roberts stars in the movie with the same name). Click here to check out this list. The earlier book reviewed was Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper and the next in line, the review for which is being written below is Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.

As per Wikipedia, Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s, is a developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It is a story told through the eyes of a 11-year old girl and hence some portions of the story are repetitive, but which makes it highly impressive. The book helps in realizing the behavior patterns of Asperger’s and that such disabilities should not be made fun of. The book does not only talk of disability, but of overcoming loss and of overcoming prejudices (in the book, for relative of an anti-social person which can be extended to prejudices of caste, creed, color and so on).

The dialogues and quotes are worth memorizing, and even you as a reader could relate to it. For example, sample this (and this is my the favorite part):

Sometimes I read the same books over and over and over. What’s great about books is that the stuff inside doesn’t change. People say you can’t judge a book by its cover but that’s not true because it says right on the cover what’s inside. And no matter how many times you read that book the words and pictures don’t change. You can open and close books a million times and they stay the same. They look the same. They say the same words. The charts and pictures are the same colors. Books are not like people. Books are safe.

The character sketch of Caitlin, the protagonist is supposed to be accurate for the author herself has a kid having Asperger’s. By the end of the book, we can correlate with the struggle parents have of raising such kids; let’s not add more to their concern by educating our children to be empathetic and kind.This should be one of the must-read books of kids/ adults of 10+ age.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful. Kathryn Erskine has written a must-read gem, one of the most moving novels of the year.

About the author:
Kathryn Erskine spent many years as a lawyer before realizing that she’d rather write things that people might actually enjoy reading. 

She grew up mostly overseas and attended eight different schools, her favorite being the Hogwarts-type castle in Scotland. The faculty, of course, did not consist of wizards, although… how did the headmistress know that it was the wee redhead who led the campaign to free the mice from the biology lab? 

Erskine draws on her childhood and her second childhood through her children for her stories. She still loves to travel but nowadays most trips tend to be local, such as basketball and tennis courts, occasional emergency room visits, and the natural food store for very healthy organic chocolate with life saving flavonoids.

Twitter: @kathyerskine
Website: kathyerskine.com
Facebook: @kathryn.erskine
Email: kathy@kathrynerskine.com

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Young Adult, Children Book
Book Name: Mockingbird
Author: Kathryn Erskine
Pages: 235
Publication Year: 2010

Book Review: Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1) by Anthony Horowitz

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1) by Anthony Horowitz

Why is it expected of an adult to read only serious adult-like stuff? What if someone had missed many good books in their growing years because it was not famously written in newspapers, magazines, basically which had flooded the market or their school library did not stock them? Simple, just read these whenever you get to know. You will love it 🙂

So while I had read Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Harry Potter series, I had missed out on Artemis Fowl (review of one of its book posted here) and Alex Rider ones. I do not exactly remember how I came upon Alex Rider Stormbreaker but it was there on my Kindle and since I was bored with a book I was reading (name of that book is shhh since I do not know I am going to even complete it; why to waste precious time when there are so many books to choose from. Of course this is completely my view, some are fanatic about completing any book they start off), the cover image looked enticing and glad I was!

So even if the storyline seems unreal, hey, we are reading fiction after all and that too written for the kids, the protagonist Alex being a teenage spy forced into saving a world destruction like situation while thinking on his feet makes him someone teenagers would want to be. Tell me are not we fascinated with superheroes and James Bond, so why deny kids their own superstar! Read it, gift it and recommend it especially for your/ friends’ kids post 10 years of age. Remember to enjoy reading every time you pick a book and only this should be the motto.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

They told him his uncle died in an accident. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, they said. But when fourteen-year-old Alex finds his uncle’s windshield riddled with bullet holes, he knows it was no accident. What he doesn’t know yet is that his uncle was killed while on a top-secret mission. But he is about to, and once he does, there is no turning back. Finding himself in the middle of terrorists, Alex must outsmart the people who want him dead. The government has given him the technology, but only he can provide the courage. Should he fail, every child in England will be murdered in cold blood.

About the author:
Anthony Horowitz is one of the most prolific and successful writers working in the UK – and is unique for working across so many media. Anthony is a born polymath; juggling writing books, TV series, films, plays and journalism. He was awarded an OBE for his services to literature in January 2014.

Anthony has written over 40 books including the bestselling teen spy series Alex Rider, which he adapted into a movie that was released worldwide in 2006. The Alex Rider series is estimated to have sold 19 million copies worldwide. He is also an acclaimed writer for adults and was commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate and Orion Books to write two new Sherlock Holmes novels.

Website: anthonyhorowitz.com
Twitter: @anthonyhorowitz

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1)
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Pages: 256
Publication Year: 2000

Book Review: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Book Review | Ethereal Jinxed | Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

I had read Wonder almost a year back when Julia Roberts starrer movie trailer was released. Oh by the way, most times I read book first and then see the movie like Namesake, The Girl in the Train etc barring only a few exceptions like Raazi (book name Calling Sehmat). But you ask me how I came to pick this book. Go on, ask ask. So it so happened that I came across a list by bookbub for those who liked Wonder and this book Out of My Mind was numbered 1. Click here to check out this list. You must keep watching my blog for more books out of this list.

Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a set of neurological conditions that affect movement. It is the most common form of childhood disability and as such, we should make kids aware of them so as not to make fun of such affected children or adults alike. The way Sharon deals with this sensitive issue is amazing and so natural. The characters are flawed, just as in a real life situation, which makes it a delight still heartbreaking to read, but more so the latter. You cannot stop empathizing with Melody the protagonist  (hampered with all kinds of movements) and as a reader, would want to lessen her burden of non-communication. I cried in a few scenes. However, without me giving anything away, let me tell you this is not a sad story and you will feel like a character seeing Melody from your own eyes. It is the story of Melody, her family, her so-called friends and other disabled kids – a story which you should read again and again to the kids you know to make them aware of such disability without being preachy because you know some things done unknowingly can affect others for years.

Oh, and I am eagerly waiting to see the movie adaptation, in case in future it releases.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom – the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it – somehow.

In this breakthrough story, reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.

About the author:
Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Awards, and is a New York Times bestselling author, with Out of my Mind staying on the list for almost two years.

Actively involved in encouraging and motivating all teachers and their students as well, she has worked all over the United States, as well as in Russia, Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Bermuda, and Guam, spreading the word about the power of accomplished teaching and excellence in education.

Twitter: @sharonmdraper
Website: sharondraper.com
Facebook: @sharonmdraperofficial

Rating: 10/10

 

Genre: Young Adult, Children Book
Book Name: Out of My Mind
Author: Sharon M. Draper
Pages: 295
Publication Year: 2010
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