31 October 2014

Review #50: Shanghai Love by Layne Wong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eric Michael Leventhal, a literary consultant and holistic educator on the island of Maui, Hawaii, has once quoted a remarkable line about the holistic approach of treatment:

“A healer's power stems not from any special ability, but from maintaining the courage and awareness to embody and express the universal healing power that every human being naturally possesses.”
And this defines the real definition of Chinese Herbal Healing Methods!

Layne Wong, an American author, has bring out the whole wide world of Chinese herbal medicinal practice, in her debut book, Shanghai Love, which is not only a love-story set up amidst of Hitler's raging war in Germany and the Japanese's wrath in Shanghai, but also delves into the exotic dimension of herbal healing methods in those oriental periods, in the late 1930s in the provinces and in the very core of the city, Shanghai.

Review #49: Chasing Tomorrow by Tilly Baghshawe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Usually, when people get to the end of a chapter, they close the book and go to sleep. I deliberately write a book so when the reader gets to the end of the chapter, he or she must turn one more page."
------ Sidney Sheldon, the late American author who has over 300 million books in print.

The world's most notable crime author, Sheldon's legacy is now taken up another best-selling author, Tilly Bagshawe, who has held the position quite remarkably. This time, she writes another sequel to another greatest creation of Sheldon, If Tomorrow Comes, named, Chasing Tomorrow. Well, in one word- the book is thrilling and intriguing but if you are a die-hard fan of Sheldon, then Bagshawe's novel will not intrigue you that much, it might leave you with a frown on your fact at the end of the book!

Chasing Tomorrow begins right where If Tomorrow Comes ended- right in the middle of a plane journey, but in a different era. Tracy is going to rob the worlds most notorious and one of the richest man Pier. But wait! That's not the real story, for so many years, Tracy and her partner-n-crime, Jeff had been a con-artist. And now they are all set to get married. Finally they both found their one true love. But it seems Tracy's fantasy of a being a married woman is not turning out to be that well mostly because when a twenty-something girl is crushing on Tracy's most handsome husband, Jeff. That sounds like a regular marriage drama!

30 October 2014

Review #48: Little Exiles by Robert Dinsdale

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Everyone must come out of his Exile in his own way.”

---Martin Buber, an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher

Robert Dinsdale, one of my favorite English authors, has woven a spectacular tale about illegal immigration of little children to Australia with or without the consent of their guardians, in his book, Little Exiles .

In Leeds in the year of 1948, a eight year old’s father doesn't return home, weeks later, that same boy is sent off to Chapeltown Boy’s Home of the Children’s Crusade by his mother and all the while the boy believed that it's just a short matter of time until he return backs to his own home with his mother and his twin elder sisters. But fate had stored something else for him. Two months later, that same boy along with his few friends that he managed to make in his two-months stay at the Children’s Crusade, are also on the same ship which is destined to reach the land of red-earth- Australia. Thus begins the story/journey of the little boy named Jon Heather, who happened to be forcefully sent off to an exile in an unknown land. He along with his friends, George and Pete, they fall, survive, and learn to accept their new lives in Australia. Read it to have a first-hand experience of a true, raw and very Kiwi tale which is packed with only adventures.

29 October 2014

Review #47: The K Street Affair by Mari Passananti

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lena is the new age heroine/spy, who is firm, brave and determined on her mission. The K Street Affair by Mari Passananti is a thoroughly gripping literally from its first page, since the book opens with a terrorist attack in several Washington DC metros. The book takes you from the inner lives of the most powerful men in DC to the darkest alleys in Russia, and the whole journey is more like a ride on a roller coaster.

Lena works in a law firm and the client list includes some of the most powerful men in the United States, a Russian oil tycoon, a government lobbyist and a soon-to-be Saudi prince. There is a underground bombing attack on several metro stations of DC, following which 2 FBI agents approach Lena and asks her to spy on her boss who is covering up those powerful clients, who are believed to be behind those bombing attacks. As a result, determined, Lena takes up the offer and gets down on her mission. But she soon finds out that there is a bigger political picture behind those attacks. Taking a dark path, will always end you up in trouble, similarly, Lena gets kidnapped and was captivated in Moscow. Will she free herself from the grips of the Russian mafia and what has she led herself into? For all those answers, you need to read the book!

Review #46: The Mill River Redemption by Darcie Chan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wow, now that definitely hit me like a bad joke! All throughout the book, I got a feeling that this book is going to win over my heart and will be one of my favorite books. But alas the ending turns out to be such a joke! I almost laughed. Surprisingly, the complex ending didn't make me feel emotional at all.

But unfortunately, the book failed to spark up any interest in me! Last4-5 chapters were a complete disaster to such a great plot. When I started reading the book, I was so overwhelmed that immediately, I feel for the book, but it started to drag near the end, and the end totally left me disappointed.

It's about two sisters who are estranged due to a stupid circumstance or rather say due to unfortunate fate. And their mother, their only living parent is trying every end to patch them up, even if she had to kill herself.

28 October 2014

Review #45: Mother Island by Bethan Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mother's love is the strongest energy known to man.

Bethan Roberts, an English author, has penned an incredibly intriguing tale about the power of a mother's love, in her book, Mother Island. This is a story that evokes the power, capacity and the strength of a mother's love for her own flesh and blood. A young woman's irrevocable love and obsession for her brother turns her into a psychologically traumatized woman, who then embarks on a darker path in order to restore her love for her brother as well as her life all those years ago, which fell apart!

Maggie, a. k. a, Gee-Gee, is in her early thirties, working her time as a full-time nanny, an Oxford drop-out, who is still in the process to find her soul. Nula, the glamorous cousin to Maggie, is a mother of a 2year old son, Samuel, who works in the media industry. These two characters come across each other's paths long back when they were in their teens. Back then, Maggie used to live with her parents and her 2yers older brother, Joe, in a secluded island in Wales, named, Anglesey. When Nula came to stay with her family, Maggie's innocent and happy life fell apart and her dreams got shattered. When she grew up, she never have been able to let go of her past since she was constantly trying to make right of her past mistakes. Thus Samuel, a little, chubby, cute and sweet 2year old boy, has to face the wrath of Maggie's past grievances, thus uprooting him from his home and detaching him from his mother and taking him into her un-forgiven past.

Review #44: Wreaking by James Scudamore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“When you're the only sane person, you look like the only insane person.”
-----Criss Jami, an American author

And that's probably what I was feeling about myself while reading this extraordinarily unique novel of James Scudamore, called Wreaking, which is based on the lives and past of three hermetical characters revolving around a desolate and forgotten psychiatric hospital, named Wreaking on the English coast. An eerie and creepy tale, at the same time, an enthralling and captivating tale which will pull you into its very psychotic core and leave you with a claustrophobic feeling into the preposterous and freakish world of three deranged characters.

PS: And you are the only sane individual among this set of insane characters.

Past: Jasper Scriven, an ex-teacher and a victim of lung disease, lives in the dilapidated mental asylum, Wreaking, in the south of England, which he bought with his dead wife's money, intending to turn it into a private school. Flash forward to the present: But now his dream seems lost and forgotten just like the crumbling and shabby corridors of Wreaking and he collects case histories about the patients once resided in Wreaking and pens them down to incorporate a book of his own. Apart from recollecting the case histories, Jasper ponders upon the lives of individuals, especially, his estranged daughter, Cleo.

Review #43: Crystal Ships by Richard G. Sharp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While reading Crystal Ships by Richard Sharp, it reminded me of a spectacular quote of Oscar Wilde,
“America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.”

And Richard Sharp has strikingly captured that era in American history which influences the whole world to change along with America's drastic effects.

A sweeping saga of American idealism and disillusionment, Richard Sharp’s exquisite Crystal Ships traces the lives of seven friends through two decades of violence, hope, and cultural change
Sharp spins an epic tale that starts back in the heady days of the Kennedy administration, when Camelot appeared as a shining beacon of hope for all Americans. But as the years tick on, riots, assassinations, drugs, gender conflicts, and the Vietnam War come crashing into the country’s consciousness.

27 October 2014

Review #42: The Way Back to Happiness by Elizabeth Bass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dr. Steve Maraboli, who is a life-changing Speaker, bestselling Author, and Behavioral Science Academic in the US, has quoted remarkably, about how people should let go of certain grudges in their life, as;

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”

Elizabeth Bass, an American author, has marvelously crafted a profound tale about love, loss, and forgiveness, in her book called, The Way Back to Happiness . Although it is a fiction, but still the story sounded quite realistic to me, and tells me do we ever follow the noble words of what Dr. Steve Maraboli has said about forgiveness? Do we ever let go of our past? And most important, we find it hard to forgive ourselves in the first place, because we are masters in feeling ourselves guilty for our whole lifetime. Elizabeth Bass, the author, has skillfully explained the road to forgiveness, which is happened to be so less traveled by us.

Review #41: Life is Sweet by Elizabeth Bass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Romance novels are birthday cake and life is often peanut butter and jelly. I think everyone should have lots of delicious romance novels lying around for those times when the peanut butter of life gets stuck to the roof of your mouth.”

-Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Yes once in a while, we do need a birthday cake kind of novel to ease off our mind which gets often heavy while reading those impressionistic and articulate literary novels. Life is Sweet by Elizabeth Bass has all the ingredients to be your perfect birthday cake. Melodramatic- check, cheesy characters- check, predictable ending making us all teary eyed- check, over-the-top chemistry- check, girl problems- check.

“If you wait for a cake to be given to you so you will be happy- then you will be happy when someone gives you a cake. But if you buy a cake (or bake one) for yourself so you will be happy, you have found the way of happiness.” -C. Joy Bell C, author and also known for her cake-love.
That's what Rebecca Hudson used to do- bake cupcakes, whenever life threw her lemons. Rebecca Hudson is former TV star, who is now the owner of a bakery, and her cupcakes are quite popular in her town, Leesburg. She had a great set of girl-friends and a very friendly ex-husband and sometimes, occasionally she used to get bugged by her fans. One fine day she sees a man, who is old enough to be her father, across her bakery, who happens to be homeless and penniless. Feeling sympathetic,

Review #40: Little Beauty by Alison Jameson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is hard to tell about the extent of a mother's love, at what length and at what level she can go to protect her own children.
Joanne Harris, an acclaimed British author, famous for writing the award-winning novel Chocolat has been found quoting these remarkable lines about a "mother and her love":

“Children are knives, my mother once said. They don’t mean to, but they cut. And yet we cling to them, don’t we, we clasp them until the blood flows.”

Laura Quinn is another woman, who had to give up the one thing, that made her feel loved for once in her life, but still she held on to hope that one day....one day... she will again be loved.

Laura is Alison Jameson's protagonist in her new novel, Little Beauty, which opens the door to the expanse of a mother's indefinite love for her own flesh and blood. Oh no, you can't exactly call, Laura selfish, all she wanted was a small piece of happiness in her already so gloomy and lonely life. But in the end she couldn't hold to her piece of happiness, but she never regretted her life and never felt left out in this big, complicated world. Because in the end, even after losing everything, she was felt loved on her last breath.

Review #39: Thirst by Kerry Hudson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You rarely come across those authors who have the ability to pull you into his/her story so easily and blend us among one of his/her characters so casually. Kerry Hudson is definitely one such author who knows how to make her readers believe that her naive protagonist who is a full-grown adult woman having a dream and goal of her own, has easily been sweet-talked to work in the flesh-trade in London. I believed it and I loved the way Kerry Hudson has put the spotlight into the situation, well, it's easily evident that she has that power and talent to make her readers look into the deepest bottom of the Devil's Sinkhole.

Kerry Hudson's new book, Thirst is a heart-touching love-story set-up amidst of the dark and dangerous flesh-trade of immigrants at Clapham in London to the behind the windows of the posh stores located in the Bond Street of London. And an intelligent author like Kerry Hudson, demands a lot of your attention focused in to the book. Well it was not hard to blend into the story and but it requires quite a lot of effort to read the words!

Review #38: Sweet Nothings by Janis Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bauvard, the author, has once said about desserts as;

“Love is the cake under the icing. The immature lick it clean and throw the rest away; adults scrape off the top and eat it dry.”

Janis Thomas, an American author has crafted an incredibly delicious tale about a mid-aged woman who's life turns upside down when her husband of eighteen years, in her new book, Sweet Nothings. Yeah that woman's life terribly goes wrong after her husband leaves her, but she makes it up by changing herself and the approach of facing her problem- now, that's what we call bravery!

Ruby is a 43-year old woman with two kids- a 16-year old daughter and a 14-year old son, and also she runs a bakery of her own. One fine morning, Ruby's husband, Walter, leaves her for another 40-year old woman from his office, named Cheryl. Feeling devastated, Ruby, moves on with her life and to support her two children, she takes up a job as a baking instructor, and also gets a complete makeover. Eventually she develops a crush on her family mortgage broker named Jacob Salt, who according to her was the Baked Alaska in her already des-serted life. But Ruby never had a crush on anybody else even when she met her husband, or never had any idea how to flirt with another man apart from her husband, or neither had the slightest idea of how to "kiss" someone else abruptly and impulsively. With all these overwhelming feelings, Ruby is once again discovering her new-found freedom and her blissful period of "being single again".

Review #37: Mad About You by Sinéad Moriarty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Emma and James Hamilton are one of those couple who are very much going through their mid-life crisis, but fortunately, no matter how bad the storm gets, they won't let their ship sink to the bottom of the ocean. Their spirit and determination to keep their broken ship afloat amidst of all the wild tsunami in the ocean is remarkable and it gives us a lesson to make it work and hold on to each other even in the worst peroid of our lives. James's elder brother, Henry, thinks that we are not entitled to the terms of husband and wife in our marriages, instead there is no wife or husband, there is just one thing called friend-Marriage is friendship between two friends- a man and a woman and they always trust and love each other till death makes them apart.

Sinéad Moriarty, a bestselling Irish author, in her ninth novel, Mad About You, has spun a tale about the imperfections of a marriage.

Emma and James move from Ireland to London for James's new job as a coach of a rugby team. James and Emma have two kids, Yuri, adoptive son and Lara, biological daughter. Soon Emma bags a job as a make-up artist at her sister, Bab's TV show. James goes on to prove himself on his team after his fiasco in Ireland, thereby almost getting no time to spend with his wife and kids. Emma leans on a nanny, named Claire, to help her juggle her long work-hours and her kids. Eventually James and Emma drift apart in their marriage, but when James started getting sex texts and sex toys, Emma started to question James loyalty and her trust slowly starts to fade away. Their marriage almost falls apart while James and Emma try to unravel the identity of this stalker.

Review #36: A Changing Marriage by Susan Kietzman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading A Changing Marriage by Susan Kietzman, I can't stop myself from quoting Mignon McLaughlin's famous words about "marriage", who was an American journalist and author.

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."

Hopefully if Karen Spears and Bob Parsons had followed this quote blindly, then their marriage wouldn't have been called A Changing Marriage in Susan Kietzman's new book.

Karen Spears and Bob Parsons fell in love in the first time when they were in college and soon they become the most happening and most envious couple in the whole campus due to their honesty and true love for each other. Bob proposed on his very last year in the college and thus after Karen's graduation they get married in their hometown and began their new life together. However after the birth of their two children and Bob's constant urge to climb the corporate ladder made them drift apart from each other. And eventually they forgot about all the vows they had written down for each other on their marriage day, and finally they forgot to love each other at all. Read this book for sure to find out how they survive in their failing marriage or whether they survive it at all.

24 October 2014

Review #35: The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We often catch ourselves day-dreaming of that idyllic life up in some quiet countryside, spending our days either by farming in the gardens or reading by the brook- an ideal getaway away from the bustling of the city life! An English author, named, Rosy Thornton, has once again allowed us to think about our guilty pleasure of getting away from our bustling life once and for all. The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton is a poignant combination of happy solitude away in some French countryside up in the mountains to sad, and monotonous life away in England. Also Thornton's magnificent tapestry of silk and love have managed to spin this tale into something rich and highly remarkable.

Review #34: Alarm Girl by Hannah Vincent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Being in Africa is like being on a different planet, not just a different country,’
---Indigo, Alarm Girl

Hannah Vincent, an English writer's debut book, Alarm Girl is not only an emotional roller coaster ride but also a poignant tale which instantly grips you with the pain and sorrow seen through the young eyes of Indigo.

For 11-year old Indigo and her older brother, Robin being in South Africa is more like being on whole new different planet. After their mother's sudden death, Indigo and Robin are more like orphaned even though they are survived by their father who happens to live in South Africa for his tourism business. Living with their maternal grandparents in England was quite suitable for Indigo and Robin, but living with their father over the Christmas break in a different country sounds difficult for both of them. Moreover, their father looks quite posh and has kept his mouth shut with the mystery behind his wife's sudden death, which Indigo finds it hard and suspicious of his father's intentions. Not recognizing her own father is fine for Indigo, but not getting the proper answers behind her mother's mysterious death bothers her the most. Indigo finds solace in her father's pet, Tonyhog- which is a domesticated bush pig. And together with Zami, who used to work in their garden, Indigo tends the pig with care and love and eventually a sweet, innocent friendship blossomed between them.

22 October 2014

Review #33: Incitement by David Graham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The American Nobel Laureate economist, Milton Friedman, has quoted about Drug War as:

“See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true.”

According to Wikipedia, A drug cartel is a criminal organization developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises.

David Graham, an English modern-day author, has brain-stormed his readers with his new thriller book, Incitement , which puts the spotlight on drug wars, drug cartels and illegal drug trading.

And reading this book, I come to this notion that I can easily agree with Milton Friedman's true words that basically it is the government who are trying to protect their drug cartels, and also to create panic among drug addicts by creating the tiff between the ruling drug lords, and to hike up the prices of drug by dethroning the drug lords.

Review #32: Carnival of Hope by George Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author Walter Mosley has said in his book Devil in a Blue Dress,
"The law is made by the rich people so that the poor people can't get ahead.."

Similarly, a modern day author, George Hamilton has vividly captured this saying in his book Carnival of Hope, with Brazil as the back-drop. He has managed to open our eyes to the dreadful ugly conditions faced by the people of the northern-east part of Brazil. These people are termed as Nordestinos. The authorities do not allow the people to read and excel, because they fear that the people might revolt against them. And these people live under the most pathetic conditions that we can ever imagine. These people have no means of entertainment or education, but still they lived united and never lost any hope. These people used to look forward to a carnival in Rio, which held once in a year. Many thought that this carnival can be their getaway from their pain and sorrow- A Carnival of Hope.

The story revolves around a teenage boy named, Tomas who is in love a girl named, Thereza. They both used to live in the shanties and to support his family, Tomas used to teach the people of this village in secret, since reading and writing was banned from his village. But Thereza's mother never approved of their relationship especially, Tomas. She used to think that Thereza's beauty can attract a rich suitor, thereby alleviating them from their poverty. Eventually Thereza was sold off to a rich man, who then sold her off in Rio. Thereza believes that the carnival in Rio is her only get away from the painful and torturous conditions of her life. But she had no idea the fate of the winners of this carnival is very dark and are controlled by some vicious people. And in return, we experience a very beautiful love-story, amidst of all corruption, politics and pain.

Review #31: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within--not without." ~ Poirot

Hercule Poirot returns to life, 38years after being killed off by his creator, Agatha Christie in Curtain, in Sophie Hannah's new book, The Monogram Murders, who is the bestselling writer of contemporary psychological crime thrillers.

That short-height, Belgian man with a moustache, who trusts in his gray cells more than what he is made to believe in, is back with a fresh new adventure in London. But unfortunately, Poirot's new leash of life simple left me disappointed. I was jumping with joy, when I got the opportunity to read this book, but unfortunately it failed my excitement and anticipation.

Poirot runs into a woman in a coffee parlor who confides in him that her life is in danger and that he should not look for the killer, when three guests are murdered in the most posh and reputable hotel in London. And all three were murdered in the similar fashion- poisoned to death and a monogram signed as "PIJ" is put between their lips. Scotland Yard investigator, Catchpool and Poirot jumps into the scene and starts building the puzzle which left everyone shocked and scared to death. Who is this woman in the coffee shop? And why continuously Poirot's mind is bugging with this mysterious woman's whereabouts? Will she be the fourth one to be murdered?

21 October 2014

Review #30: Rose Blossom by Renee Travis

Rose Blossom by Renee Travis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While reading Rose Blossom by Renee Travis, please shut all your thoughts and opinions about Twilight series aside, because the author, has profoundly mentioned that she has penned down this story, even before Stephanie Meyer's Twilight has got published. So out of respect, Please Do Not Compare This Book to Twilight Series. It was a mere coincidence that both the stories are quite similar. Let's talk about Rose blossom; it's very beautiful, romantic and quite scary too!

A 17year old girl, Rhodanthe Watson, was diagnosed with a rare heart disease and a quite deadly one too at a very tender age. The doctors have already chalked out her life-plans for her and her over-protective mother makes sure, that Rhodanthe follows through all very strict rules and regulations, thereby making Rhodanthe's life boring and miserable. But in her senior year, she develops a crush for a very mysterious guy named, Julian. And instantaneously, all of a sudden, her dream comes true, when Julian asks her out, followed by the Homecoming Dance. Slowly, Rho got a feeling that Julian is mysterious as well as different and soon her doubt becomes a reality. Along with her boyfriend, she decides to change herself. But her plan gets messy and scary, when she got abducted by a jealous lover! Read it to find out more.

Review #29: New Sight by Jo Schneider

New Sight by Jo Schneider

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Magic when remains uncontrolled, can lead to grave destructions, even sometimes loss of mind! 16year old Lysandra Blake in the novel, New Sight by Jo Schneider, thought that she has gone crazy, when she started acting strange!

Thanks to the author, Jo Schneider, for providing me with a copy of her new novel, in return for an honest review.

Lys was spending her days in a mental institution owing to the fact that she always had this urge to rip off people's eyes, but with a sudden appearance of a new doctor, Mason, made her think otherwise. He convinced that in his institution people like her are treated and also she was not crazy, instead she was reacting to a drug. But when Lys arrives in that institution, she gets the real picture and figures out that she had magical powers and she never knew how to control it. Next we find those captives are running for their lives from one location to another, trying to escape from Mason and the plot becomes completely adrenaline-rushing and thrilling.

The author has opened a whole new dimension about the theory of magic. She has presented a set of rules and regulations and all the logical explanations behind the magical abilities, which were quite easy to understand. The characterization was quite strong, but we were not fed with the back-stories of so many important characters, so it got quite dull at times to read it.

Review #28: Counting to D by Kate Scott

Counting to D by Kate Scott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Dyslexia is the affliction of a frozen genius.”
----Stephen Richards, author, film director, self-help expert

From Albert Einstein to Leonardo da Vinci to Muhammad Ali to Agatha Christie to Henry Ford, each one of them was a remarkable genius in their own field, but unfortunately they were all a victim of Dyslexia. I sometimes wonder how they all got through their high schools.

Kate Scott, another victim of Dyslexia, is an American author, who had penned down this tale of a young girl named Sam, a dyslexic girl, in her new book Counting to D, and shows us how she copes with her Dyslexia among her peers at such a tender age.

Thanks to the author, Kate Scott, for providing me with a copy of her book, in return for an honest and biased review.

Samantha Wilson, a math’s prodigy, is the smartest and intelligent girl among her peers ...but she is also illiterate. Sam was diagnosed with Dyslexia at a very tender age, but that didn't make her any less smart. Due to her mom's new job, she had to move to Oregon with her, leaving behind her only two good friends, Arden and Gabby. In Oregon, she decides to keep her diagnosis as a secret, thereby joining up with the coolest and smartest kids club, called the Brain Trust. But along her struggle to keep up her grades high, she makes some good friends like Eli, Kaitlyn and aah, her crush, Nate, of course, he's another prodigy kid.

20 October 2014

Review #27: Dark Winter: The Wicca Circle by John Hennessy

Dark Winter: The Wicca Circle by John Hennessy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Arthur William "Art" Bell, an American broadcaster and author, who was one of the founders and the original host of the paranormal-themed radio program, Coast to Coast AM, has once said,

"I do believe in the paranormal, and that there are things our brains just can't understand."

Till date I've read quite a few paranormal genre books, but I never got scared this much. And surprisingly, even though it was fiction, just like Art Bell, I believed the story, that my dear friend and a very talented author, John Hennessy, has crafted out in his new book called, Dark Winter: The Wicca Circle (Dark Winter #1). And remarkably, John has invented a whole new paranormal world, which sounded quite genuine and real to me. I loved every bit of it.

Thank you John for giving me an opportunity to read your book.

The story is not that so unusual or unique, a simple normal teenager, who wakes up one day to find out that she's not normal and that she has a very special power within herself and as well as the mirror that she inherited from her Nan, and as usual we know that with great power comes great responsibility, so she, along with her few close friends, buckle up to save their world from the evil forces, simultaneously, fighting with her inner demons.

Review #26: Stormling by John Hennessy

Stormling by John Hennessy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stormling is the first book in the Mordana Chronicles, authored by John Hennessy, who is not only a talented and skilled author but also a dear friend. I got accustomed with his work after reading the remarkable and sinister series called the Dark Winter series. After reading Stormling, I swear that I will have to read whatever this author pens down, who has not only an wide imaginative mind but also has quite exquisite taste of drawing his characters which are equally unique, dark and glorious.

Many thanks to the author, John Hennessy, for giving me this opportunity to read and review his book.

My words fall short for appreciating his ingenuous style of narration and unfolding of the tale in Stormling. No I'm not going to compare with any other author, instead his books made me believe in so many tiny little details of the world, and how to bring out appreciation. His characters open a world which makes the impossible sound possible and make us believe the aura of John's make-believe world. This book is not only long but also demands a lot of attention. And with the burst of myriad of unusual characters, John has not only added the glitter with spunk to his tale but also made it incredibly engaging.

Review #25: Who Killed 'Tom Jones'? by Gale Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gale Martin is an American, award winning author, and this is my first time to read any Gale Martin authored book. Before reading the book, WHO KILLED 'TOM JONES'? , I had no idea that Gale Martin is such a brilliant author, from her style of penning down a love-story with a mystery to unveiling that mystery and the whole drama that goes in and out around the mystery is so stirring as well as remarkable, that you'll be wanting to read this book not once, but twice, thrice and so on!

Ellie Overton, a 28year old woman, working as a receptionist in a retirement home, has a huge crush on the pop-singer, Tom Jones. In order to spark-up her love-life, Ellie attends the local Tom Jones festival to find prospects for herself. But on the second day of the festival, one of the Tom Jones look-like contestant gets murdered, and unfortunately, the man named, Evan, whom she has started liking happen to be one of the suspects and the handsome police detective, Mary Levy, jumps into the scene to solve the mystery, but it seems he is more drawn to Ellie. So will Ellie and the residents of the retirement home b able to solve this murder mystery?

Review #24: The Good Life by Susan Kietzman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An Albanian born, American author, Besa Kosova has quoted about money as:

“Money can't buy happiness, but it certainly is a stress reliever.”

Certainly for 40-something, Ann Barons, "money" was a stress-reliever, but was not an object for gaining happiness in her life. But for Ann Barons "money" acted as a cushion to all her problems and sadness. In Susan Kietzman, an American author's, debut novel, The Good Life, the author has put the limelight on the having a good life with or without money and material possessions, where, Ann Barons, her protagonist is put on a position where she has to choose between money and love.

Ann Barons has everything- a wealthy and good-looking husband, Mike, two teenagers, Nate and Lauren, who can literally take care of themselves without involving Ann, a 24*7 house help, a million dollar house in the upscale location of the town. And among Ann's many talents, Ann loved redecorating her million dollar house most of the time by hiring some celebrity decorators and throwing charity events and charity dinners at her home and loved wasting her time and body by working out. She was a work-out freak, even at 40-something age, Ann had an unbelievable figure of size 2. It definitely sounds like Ann had indeed a good life, until her Alzheimer-stricken father and mother comes to live with the Barons. Everything falls apart for Ann. Ann's mother; Eileen takes over the control of Ann's very own kitchen to winning away the hearts of Ann's kids in an instant with her talent of cooking exotic and mouth-watering dishes. Ann was beginning to feel left out from the small cocoon of happiness that was starting to bloom in the very core of her house. To drown her sorrows, Ann started drinking and made herself more shut out from her very own family. But will Ann be successful in getting back the life she is most fond of? Will Eileen be successful in getting some sense into Ann's head?

Review #23: The Affair by Gill Paul

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald's remarkable words:

“A love affair is like a short story--it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning was easy, the middle might drag, invaded by commonplace, but the end, instead of being decisive and well knit with that element of revelatory surprise as a well-written story should be, it usually dissipated in a succession of messy and humiliating anticlimaxes.”

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's affair was one of the world’s most notorious and most talked about affair in its history. We fell with them, we cried with them, we resented with them, we hated with them, we envied with them, we burned with jealousy with them, we felt everything whatever La Taylor and Richard was feeling, because their affair was strikingly caught behind every paparazzi’s lenses to present to the world and theirs was the affair which shake each and everyone in this planet.

Gill Paul, an English historical fiction writer, has penned her new novel, The Affair based on real-life incidents and events during the year 1963 on the very sets of Cleopatra movie, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison and Richard Burton, in Rome. It's not only a love story, but also involves around a dark-mystery and the underworld of Italian drug-mafias.

Review #21: Still Photo by Kim Harnes

Still Photo by Kim Harnes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kim Harnes, an American author's debut psychological novel named, Still Photo is all about darkness and photographs, which not only awes your mind but will also send chill up your spine, and as suggested by the author, Kim Harnes, that you must specifically read this book with your lights on! My favorite quote from the book,

“Within us all lurks something dark.
The opposite of what we portray ourselves to be."

I'd like to take a moment to thank the author, for giving me this opportunity to read and review her debut book.

This is a story about a young teenager named Jess Waterford. Her life changes forever when her abusive mother left her seven years ago, without uttering a single word and that made her wonder what happened to her mom. And eventually Jess concealed her pain by taking up photography and cocooned in the world of her baseball champion boyfriend, Brody Campbell. But when her photographs turns out to be bizarre and strange, things around her went uphill, like her boyfriend started having nose bleeds and his health started deteriorating, making Jess realize that it has something got to do with Jess's photographs. But Jess was determined to put all those bizarre pictures together and to get an idea about it, thus letting her see the picture of her murdered mom with the murderer and hence a journey begins in Jess's life to search this murderer.

Review #20: Expecting by Ann Lewis Hamilton

Expecting by Ann Lewis Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rita Rudner, an American comedian, writer and actress, has been quoted as saying:

"Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside. "

Ann Lewis Hamilton, an American author, has penned down a life-changing story of a husband and a wife when they took the road to being parents for the first time in her debut novel, Expecting . This is a no extra-ordinary tale of a young couple's plight, but yet so deeply moving with a slight flicker of humor in the air!

I can't thank enough to the author, Ann Lewis Hamilton, for sending over me a copy of her novel, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Laurie and Alan- a not so quite young couple, but have finally decided to become parents. In the beginning everything turned out to be beautiful and positive, even they decorated their baby's room. But suddenly, Laurie has a miscarriage and things overturn not only in their household but also between their marriage. The thin string of hope that held together Laurie and Alan's marriage started to fall apart, when Laurie has a miscarriage for the second time. When all the doors of expectations close upon their faces, Laurie and Alan choose to go for artificial insemination in a fertility treatment center. And from their very first moment in that fertility clinic, things started to look positive for one more time. And Laurie and Alan's joys knew no bound, when Laurie finally became pregnant. But the news, of Laurie being inseminated by Donor #296's Sperm instead of Alan's, from her doctor shatters their dream and Alan falls more out of his marriage. Who is this Donor #296? Laurie's heart goes out for the baby conceived mistakenly, and eventually Alan started to feel more like a stranger in his own house and life. Read this book to uncover the mystery behind Donor #296's identity? And also what becomes of Laurie and Alan’s marriage?

18 October 2014

Never Judge a Book By it's Movie!

Haven't we heard this thing over and over again? And in reply, we say: "Who says we are judging the book by it's movie, all we are saying that the book looks good in the big screen!" :-P On a very lazy Sunday morning, who doesn't like to curl up with a paperback novel and in the afternoon to lay down in front of your laptop, watching the latest movie in town. And you feel over-the-moon, when you first hear that your favorite novel is going to be adapted in a movie.

I love watching movies, and I'll admit that I re-read the novel before the movie comes out, since I know some way or the other, the actors may not be able to convey the whole story with right amount of emotions or be able to portray the protagonists with enough empathy as per the book- and that's the hard-core truth! They literally can't..

This whole new trend is changing the fate of a book in respect to its popularity among its readers. What pains me the most, when people say stuffs like,
"A: Harry Potter movie is so awesome- so enchanting! 
B: Have you read the book yet?
A: Who reads the books! Watching the movie is similar to reading what's in the book.."

And people like "A" like to call themselves a die-hard Harry Potter fan! And I like to call them "Ignorant!" End of story!

  But right now, I'd like to highlight the differences between a book and its movie adaption:

  • Ooh! I liked Shailene Woodley's character, I really feel like her!

Seriously! Unfortunately, people like these can't even remember what was Shailene Woodley's character's name. Hazel and Beatrice- RIP! When I read The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent series, I got to know Hazel and Beatrice so personally that I can literally transform myself like them. I got to know about their personal choices, like which brand of perfume she liked to wear and which were the guys she found the cutest in Dauntless, etc, and honestly these details are never ever incorporated in the movie. And there's no point in getting connected with these characters, without knowing about what they like and what they don't like. So that's one reason why you should probably place an order of the paperback copy of The Fault in Our Stars and the Divergent series.

  • Gosh, I could almost feel my heart beating when Four looked at her like that!

Well for this point- which I call "Touched me Emotionally!" , I'd like to relate this with the book called Fifty Shades of Grey. Before that I'd like to congratulate the author, E.L.James for her hard work and for creating a whole new revolution of BDSM. Since it's not an adult blog, I'd rather not involve myself in the glory details of BDSM. While I was reading Fifty Shades, I could hear my heart beating faster and louder, I mean literally, if my pulse rate was checked at that time, people around me would have freaked out! Then when I eventually got comfortable with the book, I literally felt myself turned on page-after-page. But honestly, and I can almost swear that the movie can never turn me on and so as Four's way of looking can never make your heartbeat go faster. That's what you get when you read the book- the naked, raw emotions which not only touch you emotionally but will also let you know the main character so deeply. The emotions when written down in a piece of paper, bares your soul to its reader, but when you try to express it with your mouth, they simply loses it's core meaning and it's ability to make the reader feel the same. My suggestion would be- go ahead and pick the paper back copy of Fifty Shades of Grey from your local bookstore before it hits the screen.
  • I've never been to Amsterdam. Thanks to the movie The Fault in Our Stars, I got a slice of Amsterdam! 

 Meaning which you have already started packing your bags and calling all the travel agents in town to plan your Fall Trip to Amsterdam. No I'm not saying anything, but all I can say is that a movie has the ability to increase the tourism of a particular state or country or even continent.
You and I will both agree that books can take you places without even actually setting foot in a particular place. And so I don't need to explain the whys and hows of a book's ability to tele-port you to a particular time and destination. Honestly, The Great Gatsby movie was a total crap, but if you have read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, then you could have tele-ported yourself back to the eighties when flapper dresses and funky head gears were so in. When I read the book, I literally felt glitter on my skin and felt very drunk on Gatsby's lavish parties, and also I felt like there was a second person living with Nick Carraway's little cottage in the West Egg of New York and my friends, that second person happen to be me. So again my suggestion would be to pick up the paperback copy of The Great Gatsby which will not only take you many exotic places but will also take you back in time.

Gosh! I feel like I can go on forever! See the point is books have that ability to revisit some old memories and let you have some new memories, and clearly the movies can't give you that! Books make you feel very deeply and also after you've read the book, then you can honestly and very strikingly judge the movie from the book and thus you are qualified to give a rating to the movie as well as to the book!

This week I'd suggest all you guys to order the paperback copy of The Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn from any online retailer or can pick up from your local store, before The Gone Girl hits the screen this week in India, which stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and our very-favorite, Neil Patrick Harris.

17 October 2014

Review #19: The Violet Hour by Katherine Hill

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Katherine Owen, an international best-selling author has quoted about infidelity as:

“There are all kinds of ways for a relationship to be tested, even broken, some, irrevocably; it’s the endings we’re unprepared for.”

Katherine Hill, an American author, who's debut book, The Violet Hour, focuses on the subject of infidelity and mid-life crisis in a couple's married life. Honestly, after reading the book, I felt like, OMG! What the hell! The synopsis says something, whereas the story speaks about something else. Reading the synopsis, it sounded like, it’s about the story of an adult man and woman, who after taking the road to divorce, how their life unfolds, instead, the whole book, takes us on a roller-coaster ride of every past events occurred in the lives of the primary characters, surrounding the funeral of the woman's father.

Cassandra and Abe Green are married for a very long time and also they got married while they were very young. On a sailing trip over the San Francisco Bay, Cassandra confesses about her extra-marital affair to Abe, hearing which Abe jumps off their yacht in the middle of the bay away from his wife and blissful married life. Soon the story fast forwards to 8years in the future and focuses on Elizabeth, who is Cassandra and Abe's daughter who is a Harvard medical graduate and is in a relationship with a wanna-be actor, Kyle, who are visiting Elizabeth's grandfather's 80th birthday in Washington. But soon, her grandfather dies by falling off from a ladder and the whole focus of the book shifts to the funeral and this event changed the course of each and every one's life attending the funeral. Abe, a doctor, also gets close to his wife, with whom he was on no-talking terms, Elizabeth grows cold over her boyfriend, Kyle, Cassandra gets to know herself more better, who happen to be quite promiscuous woman, even when she was young.

Review #18: The Measures Between Us by Ethan Hauser

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well while reading, The Measures Between Us by an American author, Ethan Hauser, who works as an editor in the NY Times, I had to keep my mind open. Looking at the reviews on Good reads, my mind easily drew the conclusion that the book is going to be pathetic. But while down to 140-150 pages, my mind started to open up and I cursed myself so much for not opening up my mind more broadly from the beginning. I'd like to describe the book in just one word- it's insanely terrific, bloody raw, and to feel that, guys you need to give a lot of your patience and heart into it!

Have you ever wondered that too much rain causes pain? Sounds rhyming!
Ethan Hauser has shed light into the minds of those humans who share their life with a river, which floods up during the monsoons. Hence, a flooding river around a small town in Boston and a young woman named Cynthia are the key players of this plot and all the other character's lives and emotions are centered on these two. Sounds strange! But basically this is a book which highlights people suffering from depression and mental turmoil caused due to a river's rage in the monsoons and also due to the turmoil inside their soul.

Now while reading this book about depression, I can't stop myself from quoting from John Green's The Fault in Our Stars:

"Depression is a side effect of dying."

And Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the American poet has quoted about depression as:

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”

Cynthia was actually sad, but she made it look like all bright, and colorful and okay. Henry a psychology professor is in too much love with his beautiful wife, Lucinda, but somewhere in his heart he wants to get appreciated and for that he is already traveling the dark path in his marriage. Vincent is the father and a woodwork professor who is still confused as to how to handle her only daughter, Cynthia's sadness and gloominess and moodiness, and is also on the line to lose his job. Mary the mother who had always been so distant to Cynthia is now finding it more difficult to keep her heart and mind at peace while understanding Cynthia's inner turmoil. Jack, who is an intern working under Henry and is obsessed about investigating and studying about climate changes and the river's behavior along with the emotions of those who residing beside the river and is dying to ask so many questions to Cynthia. Lucy, Henry's wife, is pregnant with their first child and she is facing her inner demons which she is scared to let them out and eventually goes distant from Henry, often wishing if she could end up like Cynthia in a mental institute.

Well the above is the blurb, you might be thinking, where's the story, where's the flow of a typical novel? But no, this is not your regular novel. You can say, this book is more of a study of certain characters who are everyday fighting with themselves to balance both their heart and mind equally.

Yeah, I know sounds boring when there is no story. Well, frankly speaking there is no continuous story to fall for, this is what you get in this book- a through characteristic study of individuals who are suffering from "depression" of their own, a study about growing close and growing distant, a study about relationships those matter the most.

There are two couples- one is suffering with their daughter's mental illness and sadness and pain, and the other is getting ready to welcome a new child simultaneously facing their own nervousness and confusion.

The characters are sinister, and somewhat disparate in their own. It is a different book so you need to see it from a different angle, it can't be compared to your everyday novel. Hence, I'd like to applause for the author for pulling the chords of uniqueness in his book so skillfully and brilliantly. And frankly, this book might not bring out myriad of emotions but it enlightens us with its aura and grandeur and helps us learn about pain and grief and about finding yourself distant from so many things and so many loved ones. I hats off to the author for letting me see through the raw and nipping emotions of these characters. Only thing that left me disappointed is that the author had left so many mysteries unsolved! As they say: "Left to your Imagination!"

Verdict: Without a strong plot, the book cannot win any hearts at all!

Courtesy: I'd like to immensely thank the author, Ethan Hauser, for giving me this opportunity to read and review his book. 

Author Info:
Ethan Hauser received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His fiction has been published in Esquire, Playboy and New Stories From the South: The Year’s Best, and he was a finalist for the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award. He lives in New York and is a former editor at New York Times, where his journalism also appears.
Visit him here

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Review #17: Bon Voyage by Juliet M. Sampson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Travelling around the world does make you a great storyteller, the world has ever seen. I think Juliet M. Sampson, is definitely one of them. Bon Voyage is a personal travelogue of a girl named, Amanda goes for a tour with the Go Hikey tour all over the Europe, starting from Brussels and wrapping up with the finale stop, Paris. This book is not any love story, that will stop your breath for a moment, but it’s just a journey and those words of the author, will make you fall in love with the book, instantly.

Amanda, an Aussie girl, has planned to escape her bitter heart-break with her long time boyfriend, by signing up with the Go Hikey tour in Europe. Along her tour, she meets different kinds of people from all over the world, who were also a part of GoHikey tour. Amanda befriends with another Aussie girl, Carly. They stick together till the very end. Dave was their tour guide and along with the coach driver Maui. They started their journey from London to Paris, the very last stop.

Juliet's writing is flawless and captivating with an eloquent narrative style and the way she have unfolded the story with great intricacy and vividity, it makes it easier for her readers to get easily lost into the story. The prose is very fast thus offering an engaging storyline. Moreover, she have layered her plot with emotions and heart-touching moments and not to mention about those WOW moments, which left me completely breathless. Yes, I can definitely say that this is a story where self-discovery is the central theme and that which took me on an Euro-tour through Amanda's journey. The landscape and the descriptions of each cities and states are very vividly portrayed through the storyline, that easily transports the readers into the paradise. And yes, I was glued till the very last page of the book. This is a must-read book!

Firstly Juliet has created some kind of magic in this book, starting from London; you'll be filled with complete anticipation. As Go Hikey tour goes from one destination to another, you'll always feel what will happen now, meaning this book will always keep you glued to it’s pages. Although there is not much story to the plot, but those breath-taking descriptions of each city will bound to keep you hooked. Each chapter represent a different new city. Author's words and descriptions about her journey give you a more vivid image of the cities.

In fact there is lot to learn from this book, as Hilarie Belloc says: We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. Similarly, Amanda was trying to escape her bitter past, but this journey had made her found her inner self, her freedom, to see things in a more wide and different perspective, to trust. Indeed it was a journey of a life-time, opening your eyes about so many things.

The climax to the book was perfect just like a fairytale, a day to lose yourself in Paris.
Paris Photography, Eiffel Tower
Go ahead, read this book and lose yourself in the beauty of Europe.

Verdict: Do read this and lose yourself in a day-tour in and around in European cities!

Courtesy: A huge heart-felt thanks to the author-cum-dear friend, Juliet M. Sampson for sending me over a copy of her book, in return for an honest review.

Author Info: 
Juliet M Sampson is the author of best-seller Behind the Mask. Being a teacher she has always loved to share stories. Her second novel is Bon Voyage! Juliet was inspired to write this novel as she travelled the world visiting over twenty-one countries. She is currently writing her third novel.
Visit her here

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Review #16: Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jeffrey Stepakoff, an American television writer, producer, and author, has captured the definition of any particular “scent" in his remarkable words, as;

“A good fragrance is really a powerful cocktail of memories and emotion.”

Julie Cohen, the English author has crafted a beautiful tale about scents and fragrances triggering any particular memory in her new novel, Where Love Lies. I'm pretty sure that while reading the book, you too are going to get engulfed by the beauty of this tale and also get lost in the beautiful fragrance underlying in this tale.

Felicity, a children's book author, is married to her husband, Quinn for just a year and within her 1 year of marriage, Felicity's mind remains always clouded by doubt and uncertainty about Quinn, love and marriage. Quinn wants Felicity to try for a baby, but her mind is clogged with her book's protagonist's next adventure and with the idea of love. But suddenly, Felicity and only Felicity can smell the fragrance of frangipani flowers wherever she went, but when she consulted her GP, he confirms it to be due to her migraine pains and that particular smell is related to a man that Felicity once loved almost 10 years ago. As Felicity falls one more for that beautiful man from her past, her marriage to Quinn seems so bleak and uncertain. Will Felicity hold onto the smell of frangipani flowers? Will Felicity come to term with a simple smell that's almost haunting her marriage?

Review #15: Dear Thing by Julie Cohen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cheryl Rae Tiegs, an American model, actress, designer, author, and entrepreneur, has once said,
"But when I would see the surrogate, my first instinct, my first reaction would be jealousy, because she was doing what I wanted to do."

Dear Thing by Julie Cohen, is a tale about a mother who no longer wants to be a mother and another mother who is desperately trying to be a 'mother' for the first time. Their paths cross when one becomes the surrogate of the other, owing to the fact that, they both loved the same man.

An enticing tale about love, trust, motherhood, and the very less discussed topics of these times- surrogacy! When couples, who are trying to be parents for the first time, fail in IVF methods and they don't want to go through all those hectic and long procedures of adoption, then they opt the surrogacy option, i.e. taking the help of another women's womb to reproduce your own flesh and blood and with the help of artificial insemination, the sperms and eggs of the wanna-be parents couples, are planted on that other woman's womb.

Julie Cohen, the author, has given us a thorough insight into the world of surrogate mothers, and how they try to not to get attached with the baby and in order of not getting way too attached with the baby, they sometimes start addressing the baby as 'Thing' and how strongly they balance their own emotions with that of the baby's parents.

Review #14: All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As quoted by the Chinese Communist revolutionary leader and the founding father of the People's Republic of China, Mao Tse Tung, commonly called Chairman Mao,

"In class society, everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class."

Well no wonder why the middle-class Chinese families in the 1930s were so keen on becoming the 'face' of the society or, rather say a class society, thus leading to animosity between the poor and rich and the rich used to treat the poor like the untouchables. The rich used to get scared whether if their children befriend someone so poor, that they might lose their 'face' in the society. It's so astounding to see that this type of narrow-mindedness existed in those people and thus giving birth to seed of the Chinese revolution. Not only that, it was shameful to give birth to daughters in the rich family and how they were given away to the poor farmers.

Well it was so fascinating to gather these kinds of knowledge and especially more captivating and alluring to read about a young girl's life journey during those hard times. A very notable author-cum-award-winning-director/producer-of-5-feature-films-cum-editor-cum-lawyer, Duncan Jepson has remarkably got into the skin of a young Chinese girl living in Shanghai, in his novel, All the Flowers in Shanghai, to narrate her journey from the beautiful gardens to the lavish cage of marriage to the dreadful village outside Shanghai. After reading this book, I learnt that by writing this novel, Duncan has certainly paid tribute to his loving mother as well as to his homeland and the people of his homeland. And as said by the American leader/politician/author, James E. Faust,

Review #13: The Way Inn by Will Wiles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Physical illusions are phenomenal illusions which occur before light enters the eye, such as a mirage, a rainbow... Physiological illusions are the effects on the eyes or brain of prolonged stimulation of a specific type: brightness, tilt, color, movement... Visual cognitive illusions interact with different levels of perceptual processing, and inbuilt assumptions or ‘knowledge’ becomes misdirected. When we experience a visual cognitive illusion, the perceptual error remains compelling even when we are fully aware of its nature.

Now that's the definition of Optical Illusion- all about light, mind and eyes! A trick played over and over again, but unfortunately our brain fails to register it!

Will Wiles, an architecture as well as an author, has mastered his architectural skills to build his massive and grand chain of hospitality hotels in his new book, called The Way Inn. Also he managed to create a quite a deal of visual perception on his reader's minds via his protagonist, Neil Double.

Review #12: The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Venice, Tuscany, Cagliari, Tyrrhenian sea, and all that gorgeous little islands of Italy, will completely wrap you up in its aura and beauty and its serenity, in the book called, The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding, a French author. The Echoes of Love, will echo that kind of love which is dark, brooding, yet pure and unbreakable!!

Venetia Aston-Montagu, an English woman, who was named after her Godmother's love for Venice and surprisingly, Venetia, ended up living in Venice, pursuing her dream of restoring delicate historical art pieces. Venetia is a delicate and sensitive woman, who have closed the windows of her heart tightly years ago, due to her broken heart and now she is scared of meeting men and getting too serious with them, because, that might again break her heart.

Paolo Barone, a not-so-handsome, but a very brooding man, who is his is lat 30s. He has quite a reputation as a incantatore di donne, womanizer. He too had lost his heart, mind and soul to the love of his life, in an accident. But when he woke up from his coma, he lost his wife and all her memories, from his heart as well as from his mind. So he lived his life without attaching any strings to his heart and home.

Review #11: Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison McQueen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison McQueen, I can't stop myself from quoting Rumi, the Persian poet's remarkable words,

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and right doing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

If I've to express the book, Under the Jewelled Sky in few short words, then I would say:
Painful, raw and deeply moving!

Let's move back to the time when India has got the power to overthrow the highly acclaimed British Empire from their land- the year is 1947! A sweet, innocent and pure love story blossoms between an English girl and an Indian servant boy inside a hugely lavish palace in Jaipur on the very day on India's independence.
Fast forward to 10years later, when we see that English girl Sophie getting married to a diplomat and settling back in New Delhi- the country which makes her heart skip a beat, to a country where she hid all her sweet memories in her closet of past dreams and hopes. Sophie's doctor father lives in Ooty and knows all about her fragile heart, but will she be able to keep her heart in place to make it work with her new husband? Has Sophie's heart stopped aching from the previous pain? Will the past haunt her upon her arrival to the country which made her feel the passion of a first love?

Review #10: The City of Palaces by Sujata Massey

The City of Palaces by Sujata Massey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always feel so ecstatic and proud whenever I get to read books about my own old city- Kolkata-a city where I was born, a city which I call 'Home'. Well I was born in Calcutta and grew up in Kolkata. The Nawabs and the British coined Calcutta as "The City of Palaces". But this proverb changed during the reign of Queen Victoria, and thus Calcutta changed to the sprawling, bustling capital of India. Dennison Berwick has quoted in his book, A Walk along the Ganges:

"There is poverty; there is squalor in so many places in our country (India). It is our disgrace. At least in Calcutta we have also culture and poetry."

And as Dominique Lapierre, the author of the book City of Joy has quoted:

"Calcutta produced more writers than Paris and Rome combined, more literary reviews than London and New York, more cinemas than New Delhi, and more publishers than the rest of the country."

I found another great author named Sujata Massey, a British author having Bengali roots, and when I stumbled upon her book named The City o Palaces, I never imagined that book will be so overwhelming and remarkable. I can bet that people of my city will go crazy over this book. Especially, given the fact that still to this day, Bengalis love to spin the tale of their old Calcutta during the British era to their grandsons and daughters. Being a Bengali, I had also the privilege to inherit such tales about the British era from my grandparents. And reading this book, I felt nostalgic, about all those old stories that my grandparents used to share with me.

I cannot thank enough to Penguin India and especially the author, Sujata Massey, for giving me this golden opportunity to read and review her new novel, The City of Palaces.

This book is about a journey of a young girl to her womanhood which is so profound and striking that it's going to melt your heart and soul and will make your heart fall badly for the city as well as for this young woman.