A huge thank you to Random Things Tours, Ilana Estelle and Red Door Press for having me as a part of this tour.
Living with cerebral palsy is enormously difficult. But what if you never knew you had it?
This is the incredible story of Ilana Estelle.
Born the second of premature twins, an hour apart, from a young age Ilana knew she was different, but for all the wrong reasons. A child of the 60s, Ilana experienced first-hand the way that disability was, at the time, so often brushed under the carpet, not spoken about. Her constant physical and mental struggles made her feel isolated, alone, frustrated, and misunderstood. It took 46 years for her to find out why.
Part memoir, part motivational guide, Cerebral Palsy: My story is Ilana’s open and honest journey from an angry, confused child, knowing something was wrong, not knowing what was wrong, what her disability was, or that there was a diagnosis – to the ‘real’ her – a courageous woman using her experiences and lessons to create inspiring messages about mental and physical health, resilience and change.
What is it like having a birth defect and not knowing anything about it? Why should we always aspire to be normal? How do we live in a society that condemns a disability which is not even the person’s fault? These are teh various questions asked and answered during the course of this book.
‘Cerebral Palsy: A Story’ is the real life experience of Ilana Estelle’s fight against, mostly society, also a disease which she didn’t know she had for more than 40 years in her life. She talks about how she as a person fought through prejudice and ableists, without even knowing what she was fighting for.
One thing I really admired about the author was her resilience and the way she coped with the feeling that something was wrong with her body, and then later dealing with a defect that shows its signs differently for each person.
Writing wise, it was very hard book to follow; mostly because incidents from her life kept repeating and jumping from one part of the timeline to another. So, I had to course this book over a long period of time.
Rating – 3.5/5
About the author:
Ilana was born with a disability she didn’t know she had until the age of 46, when through her medical notes she discovered she had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2.
That discovery turned out to be a unique and life-changing experienced that has forced Ilana to stand back and look at her life experiences differently. On her late diagnosis, Ilana set up her website The CP Diary and uses her experiences to explore her emotional and physical health, with inspiring messages advocating resilience and change.
Ilana likes to spend her days writing and blogging about anything that contributes to her health and wellbeing. She is an animal advocate and is passionate about environmental issues. When she is not writing, or tending to her blog, Ilana enjoys days out exploring the Yorkshire countryside.
Ilana lives with her husband and their much-loved cat, in Yorkshire. Her grown up son and daughter both live in London.
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A huge thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours, Dana Swift and Delacorte Press for having me as a part of this tour.
The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to bemarried, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect forfans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.
Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.
Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.
Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But afteryears of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.
Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move forcontrol, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.
Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put theirtrust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..?Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.
“My world is cast in firelight. The sky is one large glob of darkness painted in bleeding red”
How would you write a fantasy story set in South Asia? Would it involve politics, stereotypes and propaganda? Or would you take it as it is; as a young adult novel? This story is definitely a proud member of the latter category.
‘Cast in Firelight’ is a fantasy story based on kingdoms, their rivalries, differences, and most importantly, magic. It revolves around Jatin and Adraa, two teenagers from different kingdoms, arranged to be married since they were kids, but they obviously turn out to become enemies and then into lovers. Coincidence? Definitely. A classic enemies to lovers trope.
One concept I really liked about the book was the representation. We would usually expect #ownvoices authors for #ownvoices books, what with stereotypes and issues of racism coming into the picture, but Dana Swift did complete justice to the community. Being an Indian, I can definitely say that the story and writing didn’t involve a single offensive line, which is rare, and I’m thankful to the author for that.
Hidden feminism, sisterhood and young love are what make this book worth a read. I did get lost a bit in the middle, and the characters are hard to track, but otherwise it’s a commendable book.
Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Miami, Florida.
You can connect with her through:
Giveaway (US only):
One person will win a finished copy of Cast in Firelight. The giveaway ends on January 25th.
I’m completely convinced right now that I have been living under a rock. How did I not know about this amazing, mind blowing, perfect book! And it’s a movie too! Seriously though, I should attend a class to keep up on all the good things in the world.
Words cannot sum up how I feel about this book. So powerful, so sad and yet so awesome! This felt like the perfect time to read this book, considering that it was released two years ago. I might not be an expert on the racism issues in the west, but I’m pretty familiar with the casteism and ‘hindutva’ issues here.
‘The Hate U Give’ revolves around Starr Carter, a bright sprightly girl of sixteen who faced two brutal incidents in her life, which is two more than what most of us would encounter! Anyway, the story is her journey of pushing and standing against the so-called ‘well wishers’ while rediscovering herself and the people around her.
Starr’s story is real. I know for a fact through social media and the news that her life is being lived by many young boys and girls in America.
It’s very rare for me to relate fiction to reality, especially when it’s a young adult book. But this one made me feel things and I’ll never know how ill recover from this.
The most relatable aspect of the story was the reference to 2pac, Kendrick Lamar and Oprah. I learnt about the Black Panthers (Chadwick Boseman RIP) and Malcolm X. I understood (very mildly) how one’s actions doesn’t always have to be accounted for.
I listened to the audiobook and it completely took me by surprise on how one can bring a book to life like this. It was so powerful and very verbal! I love the narrator!
Add this to your list of ‘must read in a lifetime’ books peeps because it describes everything a huge community whose been oppressed for centuries goes through.
“Sometimes politeness has more ferocity than rudeness. Let them have their spite; soon they will eat their words”
What do you think of match fixing? Does it bother you? Or do you let it pass since the game is enjoyable even with it? I remember my favorite IPL team CSK being reprimanded because the owner decided to match fix. Chennai didn’t have a team for 3 years because of it. As a sportsperson it was a huge fall and a downdose of ethics.
‘The Fixer’ is a medley of family politics, betting, the mafia, unethical maneuvers, and most importantly, cricket. It opens up a completely different world which involves much more than what the sport entails. Rich businessmen? Check. Blackmail? Check. Fornication? Double check.
Written in a third world language, the book in fact shows the reality that happens behind the scenes. Mind games and betrayals made the book very interesting and at one point, you wouldn’t even expect the outcome.
This book would be a favorite for people who loved ‘The White Tiger’, as both are set in the same premise but with different stories. Simple writing and colloquial language makes it a much easier read.
Book – The City of Tears (Burning Chambers series #2)
Author – Kate Mosse
Publisher – Pan MacMillan
France has been in unwavering instability ever since the French revolution and the conquering of the Bastille. This is more so because of religious conflicts within the same religion (which is very ironic); in this case between the Catholic ‘pure’ Christians and the Protestant ‘impure’ Christians. Here, this conflict take solace not only in France, but in the neighboring countries of Belgium and Netherlands.
‘The City of Tears’ is the second book of the Burning Chambers series, and though I haven’t read the first book, this one was highly entertaining and I was under the conviction of it being a standalone.
The story revolves around a family whose members were separated or killed and how they were indirectly caught up in many situations that came to shape France’s future.
The writing was impeccable and highly understandable, considering it being a historical fiction. Written from multiple POVs, the story was covered from every side, though I still have a lot of questions and queries on many exchanges and incidents.
The city of tears here refers to Amsterdam, and the events of this story unfolds here and in Paris. The way these two cities were described from the 16th century POV was highly amazing, and the imagery was appalling.
Narrated by Hattie Morahan this book was a long but almost perfect listen.
Thank you Netgalley and MacMillan Audio for the ALC!
“This type of bird used to sing for us as we walked for months and months to get to the battlefields” “Does it have a name, uncle?” “Sơn ca” “A splendid name. Sơn ca means the mountain sings”
Book – The Mountains Sing
Author – Nguyen Phan Que Mai
Publisher – Bloomsbury
This book destroyed me. It brought in the harsh reality that most of us, if not I, face; that life doesn’t always have to be good, and it doesn’t have to end well. There’s no guarantee. Even if there was, who would provide it?
‘The Mountains Sing’ is one of the best novels I’ve read, or listened to. Why did it have to be so heartbreaking? 🥺 I swear it took me a long time to get my head around it, but I don’t think I will ever recover from the blow this book gave me.
The story revolves around the Vietnam War (second Indo-Chinese war) that lasted for 20 years in the real world. I remember reading about this in school; Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and their conflicts, how the Americans intervened (like they always do) and the ‘glorious’ Ho Chi Minh trail. It brings into light different stories of individuals belonging to the same family and of those around them.
I really liked how the author kept the stories moving, not around one person, but many, which makes it wholesome. Everyone is a protagonist here, with no antagonists. But most importantly, this book shows how one always gets back to family, no matter what.
But, I really hoped for a happy ending, which did not happen. The story is full of suffering and throws a spotlight on human nature. But then, it is not so different from the present, where human nature is nowhere near kind. I pitied myself and the world when this came to my realization.
I stan every single character in the story, especially the grandmother, who reminded me of mine who succumbed after a long struggle with cancer last year. They were more alike than I thought they would be, and that’s when it hit me, thus book is real life. Living in a warless world, we often take things for granted, not realizing the long struggles generations before us endured. We often blame them for making our world more unsafe than it was in their times, but honestly, they lived in a devastating world, one that not even our imaginations could fathom.
The main reason why I even listen to audiobooks is so that I can multi-task. But this heart wrenching book did not let me do that. I had to sit down and listen to the book while staring into a blank space. With every passing chapter, my heart grew heavier and my stomach knottier. Dear author, you created a masterpiece, and I can’t thank you enough for that.
SPECIAL shout out to the narrator for the flawless and beautiful narration! The emotions were way to real and gave me a 100x more in-depth experience! (especially, in the crying scenes, the tone of desperation and longing brought real tears to my eyes)
“Where once a great city stood, ruins would come to be, and as a traveller wrote dejectedly, the whole place was finally ’emptie’ with nothing dwelling there ‘but Tygres and other wild beasts'”
Book – Rebel Sultans
Author – Manu S Pillai
Publisher – Juggernaut Publications
In Rebel Sultans, Manu S Pillai narrates the story of the Deccan from the close of the thirteenth century to the dawn of the eighteenth. Packed with riveting tales and compelling characters, the book takes us front he age of Alauddin Khilji to the ascent of Shivaji. We witness the dramatic rise and fall of the Vijayanagar empire, even as we negotiate intrigues at the court of Bahmani kings and the rebel sultans who overthrew them. From Chand Bibi, a valorous queen stabbed to death, and Ibrahim II of Bijapur, a Muslim prince who venerated Hindu gods, to Malik Ambar, the Ethiopian warlord, and Krishnadeva Raya on Vijayanagar’s diamond Throne – they all appear in these pages as we journey through one of the most arresting sweeps of Indian history.
Lets talk about history. My dad has always told me that the reason we learn history is so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes that our ancestors did (which is pretty much what every teacher of mine said). Yet I can’t help but notice, that history repeats itself over and over again. So there are two possibilities: either we haven’t actually learnt anything from it, or some damage has been prevented.
Now let’s talk about the book.
‘Rebel Sultans’ is a brief account of history spread over seven centuries fitted into 200+ pages. Just like the book describes; ‘from Khilji to Shivaji’. It focuses on Deccan rulers and their ‘interactions’ with the sultans in Delhi, thus distinguishing it from most other books on history. You might ask: isn’t that just like every history textbook we read? Well, yes and no. This book tries to get some humor into the gruesome acts of war, which I felt was like standing in a battlefield and laughing while an elephant was charging towards me. But I’m don’t denying that it did make the book a fun read. Another aspect I loved about the book was that it humanizes our kings of yore by expressing their pride and ego.
This is not a light read! But it has the potential to make serial history haters actually like the subject.
Winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva purashkar award
“They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What a lie!”
Book – Furia
Author – Yamile Saied Mendez
Audio book publisher – Dreamstone Audio
There are only two things I know about Argentina: the country is crazy about football and Messi plays for Argentina in FIFA. So reading this book was a whole new experience for me, almost like stepping into a new world! There are a lot of things I learned in this book about this South American country, but I’m not going to talk about that. I’d rather talk about the main character of this book, Camila, known better by her title ‘Furia’; an average heroine having her own character flaws but rose up to break a cycle of infidelity and injustice.
Furia is a footballer, sister, daughter, girlfriend, teacher, student, and most importantly, an idol. Her character arc in this story goes from an ignorant and dependent damsel to a knowledgeable and iconic woman. Standing up against an abusive father is one thing, but breaking society’s standards by playing a game considered a man’s privilege in a country where female abuse is commonplace, is another. Throughout the story, we can see how she worked hard to hold on to what she loves, which is very rare. She showed resilience.
Listening to this book has been a privilege for me, because more than representing feminism, it represented woman empowerment (yes, they’re two different concepts, but similar in some aspects). Another reason why I loved this book is that I was a sportsperson myself, and I understood her struggles on a different level, more relatable. It was very well written, and it’s also a Reese’s Book Club YA pick, and it deserves to be! Highly recommended!
Thank you Netgalley and Dreamstone Audio for the ALC!
People in positions of power are usually the ones most damaged by the system. The ‘system’ here refers not to the set of rules and regulations put forward by our leaders but that put down by society. The irony here is that we form the society. But we never take it up to us to change society with time; we’d rather go on with the flow, living in the past.
‘The Once and Future Witches’ is a book on feminism, magic, fear of the unknown, and the consequences of blind faith. All of these issues are summed up in a work of fiction, but when raised in real life, it is struck down as propaganda. The story revolves around three sisters, Bella, Agnes, and June, separated in childhood and brought together by a spiritual force to revive the lost way of Avalon, the original craft of witchery. Furthermore, this story is set in Salem in the 19th century, when there were people glorified to be called “witch hunters”.
The best part about this book is that there were many tales we heard as kids incorporated in it, and the possible history behind them explained; connecting all the folklore together and gives a feeling that the world finally makes sense. The worst part, the book was too long and stretched out. Out of the five parts of the book, the first two were very exhausting to read, but later on, it became very interesting.
I loved this book and I’m sure that you will love it too!
Kindle Unlimited has been a boon to all us e-book readers; the ability to get many anticipated reads for a very cheap price! I myself got a 3 months subscription for Rs.199 during the Great Indian Festival!
The only ill effect of this: there are maaaannyyyy books! You end up choosing the wrong books to read and thus, lose the actual benefits of this membership! But not to worry! I’m going to present 15 book recommendations available for free from Kindle Unlimited!
The Shiva Trilogy by Amish
‘The Shiva Trilogy’ is a series which acquired lots of love and acclaim due to its writing style and story.
The Immortals of Meluha:
1900 BC. In what modern Indians mistakenly call the Indus Valley Civilisation. The inhabitants of that period called it the land of Meluha a near perfect empire created many centuries earlier by Lord Ram, one of the greatest monarchs that ever lived. This once proud empire and its Suryavanshi rulers face severe perils as its primary river, the revered Saraswati, is slowly drying to extinction. They also face devastating terrorist attacks from the east, the land of the Chandravanshis. To make matters worse, the Chandravanshis appear to have allied with the Nagas, an ostracised and sinister race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills!
The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient legend: When evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it appears that your enemies have triumphed, a hero will emerge.
Is the rough-hewn Tibetan immigrant Shiva, really that hero? And does he want to be that hero at all? Drawn suddenly to his destiny, by duty as well as by love, will Shiva lead the Suryavanshi vengeance and destroy evil?
Goodreads – 4.09/5
The Secret of the Nagas:
Today, He is a God.
4000 years ago, He was just a man.
The hunt is on. The sinister Naga warrior has killed his friend Brahaspati and now stalks his wife Sati. Shiva, the Tibetan immigrant who is the prophesied destroyer of evil, will not rest till he finds his demonic adversary. His vengeance and the path to evil will lead him to the door of the Nagas, the serpent people. Of that he is certain.
The evidence of the malevolent rise of evil is everywhere. A kingdom is dying as it is held to ransom for a miracle drug. A crown prince is murdered. The Vasudevs Shivas philosopher guides betray his unquestioning faith as they take the aid of the dark side. Even the perfect empire, Meluha is riddled with a terrible secret in Maika, the city of births. Unknown to Shiva, a master puppeteer is playing a grand game.
In a journey that will take him across the length and breadth of ancient India, Shiva searches for the truth in a land of deadly mysteries only to find that nothing is what it seems.
Goodreads – 4.06/5
The Oath of the Vayuputhras
ONLY A GOD CAN STOP IT.
Shiva is gathering his forces. He reaches the Naga capital, Panchavati, and Evil is finally revealed. The Neelkanth prepares for a holy war against his true enemy, a man whose name instils dread in the fiercest of warriors.
India convulses under the onslaught of a series of brutal battles. It’s a war for the very soul of the nation. Many will die. But Shiva must not fail, no matter what the cost. In his desperation, he reaches out to the ones who have never offered any help to him: the Vayuputras.
Will he succeed? And what will be the real cost of battling Evil? To India? And to Shiva’s soul?
Goodreads – 3.78/5
2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”
Goodreads – 3.86/5
3. The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.
Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.
But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.
Goodreads – 3.82/5
4. A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa
The harrowing true story of one man’s life in—and subsequent escape from—North Korea, one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes.
Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian.
In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life. A River in Darkness is not only a shocking portrait of life inside the country but a testament to the dignity—and indomitable nature—of the human spirit.
Goodreads – 4.26/5
5. The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen
In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.
Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.
Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history—and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now…
Goodreads – 3.96/5
6. Dream Beyond Shadows by Kartikeya Ladha
If you are holding this book, there’s a chance you may be at a crossroads in your life, as once the author of this book was. Feeling stuck and overwhelmed by society’s pressures, how can we learn, in today’s fast paced and results driven world, to truly dream beyond shadows? Having touched the hearts of readers across the globe, Dream Beyond Shadows has now been published in its second edition, to celebrate the raw and compelling art of storytelling inscribed in its pages. The book chronicles a turning point in the author’s life, a moment when he decided to turn against the current of his life and move in the opposite direction of social expectations and his own conditioned fears.
Goodreads – 4.3/5
7. The Rudest Book Ever by Shwetabh Gangwar
Shwetabh Gangwar is a professional problem-solver—and he’s ace at it. For the past five years, people from all over the world have contacted him with their troubles and he’s worked these out for them.
In the process, he has picked up on a simple pattern: people need a set of principles and perspectives to protect them from all the unnecessary bullshit they go through. Codes to live by, essentially.
But be warned: Gangwar has no desire to spare your feelings. What you will find in this straight-forward, straight-talking, no-craps-given guide, is:
How to deal with rejections of all kinds
How to change your perceptions of people so you don’t end up screwed
Why a society that sees people as ‘good and bad’ is dumb
How the search for happiness screws us over
How seeking approval and acceptance kills our individuality
The truth about social media influencers
Why we should be taught ‘how to think’, instead of ‘what to think’
Laying out clear principles, YouTube megastar Gangwar shows you how to deal with the shit that has happened to you, is happening to you and will happen to you.
A refreshing, easy-to-read, and relatable guide, The Rudest Book Ever will make you rethink everything you’ve been taught.
Goodreads – 4.04/5
8. Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah
In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.
After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.
The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.
Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?
Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.
Goodreads – 4.11/5
9. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.
The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.
As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?
Goodreads – 4.31/5
10. The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
This acclaimed autobiography presents a fascinating portrait of one of the great spiritual figures of our time. With engaging candor, eloquence, and wit, Paramahansa Yogananda narrates the inspiring chronicle of his life: the experiences of his remarkable childhood, encounters with many saints and sages during his youthful search throughout India for an illumined teacher, ten years of training in the hermitage of a revered yoga master, and the thirty years that he lived and taught in America. Also recorded here are his meetings with Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Luther Burbank, the Catholic stigmatist Therese Neumann, and other celebrated spiritual personalities of East and West.
Autobiography of a Yogi is at once a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. The author clearly explains the subtle but definite laws behind both the ordinary events of everyday life and the extraordinary events commonly termed miracles. His absorbing life story thus becomes the background for a penetrating and unforgettable look at the ultimate mysteries of human existence.
Considered a modern spiritual classic, the book has been translated into more than twenty languages and is widely used as a text and reference work in colleges and universities. A perennial bestseller since it was first published sixty years ago, Autobiography of a Yogi has found its way into the hearts of millions of readers around the world.
Goodreads – 4.21/5
11. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.
Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.
In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.
Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.
Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.
Goodreads – 4.4/5
12. Verity by Colleen Hoover
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.
A standalone romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.
Goodreads – 4.32/5
13. The Paradoxical Prime Minister by Shashi Tharoor
Narendra Modi can be certainly described as Napoleonic in his single-minded pursuit of power and his belief in his own destiny from a very young age. Many of his admirers point to his visionary speeches, his soaring ambition, and his unshakable faith in his own and India’s destiny, as evidence that he has the special qualities that the iconic French leader possessed. However, while Napoleon is remembered, despite all his shortcomings, for his brilliant foresight and belief in, and implementations of, many of the ideas that are fundamental to the world today – among them religious tolerance, property rights and equality before the law – the same cannot be said of Narendra Modi. His speeches have been compelling, but he has been unable to implement his ideas. At the same time, he has failed to prevent or stop forces that have undermined India’s prospects. On his watch, forces of bigotry, communalism and division have been unleashed that have set India back decades and make it difficult to rate him positively on practically any quality that defines a great statesman and ruler.
Goodreads – 3.69/5
14. The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi
‘When it’s a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.’
The trajectories of Arvind and Arbaaz, both ‘businessmen’ of a kind whose lives are unwillingly intertwined, ricochet off one another while they play out their sinister and murderous plots of personal and professional one-upmanship, all the while breaking every rule in the book.
Both are unaware that what they seek and fight over is the very obstacle in realising an ancient secret that dates back to a time long forgotten.
And yet, at the heart of it all, there lies tenderness… and pathos… and blood… and rare moments of an almost exalted happiness. So, can it be that a man is both sinner and saint, victor and victim, black and white?
Ashwin Sanghi, master storyteller and spinner of yarns, weaves together threads of the past and present, fact and fiction, history and mythology, business and politics, love and hatred while dangling you ceaselessly over the cliff with this chilling multi-layered narrative, keeping you guessing till a totally unguessable end.
And you’re left wondering whether it’s a matter of faith… or fate?
Goodreads – 3.7/5
15. The Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
International bestseller by one of Turkey’s most beloved authors…
As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life.
But when the Nazis invade France and begin rounding up Jews, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing—not war, not politics, not even religion—can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety. Together, they must traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in a desperate bid for freedom. From Ankara to Paris, Cairo, and Berlin, Last Train to Istanbul is an uplifting tale of love and adventure.
Goodreads – 3.86/5
And that’s it! Happy reading! If you feel like there are more books to be added to this list, comment down below!