Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
93 Pages

Well, what should I say about this wonderful book?! That I absolutely loved it.. will be the use of the same boring words over and over again :)
I remember Little Veens had this as one of her chapters in her school classes. Big Veens had totally forgotten about it :)! She was reminded of it by her lovely friend Bethany :)
I picked up the eBook to read, and was so Surprised to remember Scrooge :) ! As I was browsing I found a lovely audio book of the same :)! I have not heard any audio books yet ... so I went ahead to hear it... and the experience was lovely!

It is one of those little tales which has a lot of things packed in it! Christmas time is the time, you would love to read it :)

So, if you have NOT! you better read it :) It is a classic in true sense of the word. Love it!
5 on 5 :)
PS - Want the eBook?! Mail me :)

PS - this is a re-post from the archives :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sam's Quest for the Crimson Crystal
by Ben Furman
192 pages
Published on April 16, 2007 by Black Hawk Press

First of all, thanks to Anna of Diary of an Eccentric for hosting a lovely giveaway where I won this book, and thanks to Ben Furman for sending me signed copy! I was really looking forward to reading this cute book... and I did! And I am glad that I did!

Samantha Mae Costa is one of those normal kids with glasses and asthma, and she is your super-hero! Yes, and you will love her because she was there in you and me when we were kids ;)! Sam's parents are archaeologists who are always on trips to different places and are most interested in looking for the lost City of Atlantis ,and before one of these trips, they leave Sam at her Granpa's farm. She wants this holiday not to be boring.. but to find some adventure... when she and her beloved dog Patch meet Prince "Buzz" Buznor from the Innerworld. He has been looking for Sam, for she is the only one who can find the Crimson Crystal and save the Innerworld from an attack by the Zogs of the Bottomworld who were suppressed by the Awokians [ people of the Innerworld]! Sam finding herself in this unusual world, is very nervous about her responsibilities to the whole new world :)
How Sam, Buzz and Patch find the Crimson Crystal and how the hell does Sam realize her powers ... is for you to read!
This is an interesting tale and the best part is that it is a fast paced book for our teens :) And it is fun to read book! Sam is you normal girl, and it is heartening to feel there is one in you and me too! To believe in yourself and your intuition and think of good and move forward is what makes you a hero in your own lives!
Sam understood herself! And we had he most enjoyable read!
You have teens/kids at your place?! Give them this gift this festive season :) and I am sure they will love it :)
A definite 4 on 5!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

King's Fool By Maragaret Campbell Barnes

King's Fool, A Notorious King, the six wives anf the one Man who Knows their Secrets By Margaret Campbell Barnes Published By SourceBooks Landmark 290Pages. Publishing on April 1st, 2009. First of all, many thanks to Renne from to send me a book of my favorite genre, Historical Fiction :) to review. From the back cover,
When country lad Will Somers lands himself the plum position of jester to the mercurial King Henry VIII, he has no idea that he has just been handed the front-row seat to history.

With a seat near the throne and an ear to the floor, Somers witnesses firsthand the dizzying power struggles and sly scheming that marked the reign of the fiery Tudor King. Somers watches the rise and fall of some of the most enigmatic women in history, including the tragic Katherine of Aragon, the doomed Anne Boleyn and Mary Tudor, who confided in the jester as she made the best of the fragile life of a princess whom everyne wished was a prince...
History is my favorite, but I am illiterate as far as I can see and I am making up for it, by reading Historical Fiction. To begin with, this story is narrated by Will Somers, who was born in Shropshire. Will's mother died when he was 4 years old due to the plague that infected those parts of the world and his dad was a teacher. He was not attached to his dad, but he was brought up well-versed in Latin and with an interest in music[ which was attributed to his mother's lineage]. Will as a young man goes about to work for his Uncle Tobias where, with favorable luck he meets his first and beloved master Richard Fermor. Fermor takes him to Easton Neston where Will is employed as a clerk, meets some of the most warmest people and where he lays for the first time his eyes on the very beautiful Joanna, the youngest of Fermor's kids. Joanna being the kind-hearted soul helps him gain a kind of visibility in front of his masters, and soon Will is running around doing important work for the master and his beautiful daughter. Fermor in one of his visits to London takes Wills along to meet the Cardinal. And there in London Will and his master see the King himself, the tall atheletic Tudor, King Henry VIII. The King is playing the last round and the tension grows up, but in the end the King wins the game. In the excitememnt that follows and to the wide cry of support for the King, Will unconsciously jumps out and imitates Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Herediatry Earl Marshal of England! The King notices him instantly, and the fun-loing Tudor laughs and says,
"By the Holy Rood, Will Somers, I like you for a witty, impudent knave! By your master's leave, who brought you here, we will keep you as our jester"
And thus WIll Somers becomes the King's Fool, his jester, his companion, his confidant, his friend... and served him for 20 long years! Will Somer's saw the rise and fall of the King's 6 wives , their influences on the King, and the thoughts of the commoners and the Court of the King about them and the King's passion for a legitimate son! His cruelty, but undeniable kindness. His weaknesses and his strength. Will got the King's undisputable love, and was most loyal to the King himself! Will Somers knew all of the 6 Queens, but loved only one - Queen Katherine, King's first and the most loved wife! His love and affection for Princess Mary, daughter of Queen Katherine and the King is heart-warming. His affection and loyality for the King, despite some of his cruelties is also a great thing to see. There is so much packed in this small book, that you will have a royal ride in and around the lavish court life at the times of the most popular King Henry VIII! The author does an absolutely fantastic job is sketching out each and ery person in the book, the queens are mentioned beautifully in the order they seeked the King's attention. Not just the Queen's, but the other men who ruled the country under the King, Wolsey, then Thomas Cranmer.; their dominance have been etched beautifully. The cruelty of Thomas Cranmer, had me in so much vengenece against him! The ties and issues with neighboring countries, the plague in London, the trade, the way the common men lived and their issues and much more! In the end, you have no harsh or hard feelings about the King himself, inspite of the cruel killings of 2 Queens he orders! Inspite of letting Cranmer have his way and inspit of him being so driven to marry for just a son, inspit of him marrying milady Anne of Cleves and then making him his sister! Inspite of everything you just love the King, for more reasons than I can put here! It is a must-read for anyone who would love to know about King Henry VIII and his rule. To know about that era in the history. A definite 5 on 5!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Standoff by Sandra Brown

Tiel McCoy is a hardworking Journalist, who will do anything to get a news worth all the TRPs and get them rolling. She finally[ after great pushing from her boss] decides to go on a vacation to New Mexico. On the way she hears a news-bulletin about the kidnapping of Sabra, the daughter of a Fort Worth's richest power-players Dendy. She immediately calls up her boss, who hints that the girl has runaway with her boyfriend rather than been kidnapped. Her boss, Gully also tells her that the boyfriend [Ronnie's ] father lives nearby to where she is now.
Tiel McCoy immediately decides to interview the father, but on route she loses her way at Rojo Flats. She enters a store to call Gully up and to refresh when a young boy and his pregnant girlfriend barge in to demand money and gasoline. What happens later, is for you to read an find out!

This is the basic plot. Well, it is an OK romantic suspense thriller [ if I am right about the sub-genre]. I got this book from one of my friends, she didn't recommend it of course but I picked it up for my suspense-thriller challenge[ and it was free to take-away :)].
Well first things first, I hate journos like Tiel. I hate journos who are not sensitive to people in trauma and go on asking stupid questions and going on showing hateful scenes of a mom grieving her son's death. I always thought, there should always be a limit to such things. So Tiel McCoy was obviously not my fav character. This book is a bit boring of course and sometimes tiring too. It is just 200 odd pages, that's an advantage.
Maybe I read "The Girl with Dragon Tattoo" just a while back is the reason why I thought it lacked the "page-turner" thingy that these kind of novels have!
If you have not read this author before, I suggest not to read this one first. But I would definitely give another book a try.
2 on 5 is my rating!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dewey's Books!

In Dewey's honor, everyone is doing this challenge.

Of course I am going mad, so I thought Why NOT! At least I will have recommendations this time, from a genuinly awesome blogger :-)
So, here we go!

Click here for the main page.
There are two ways to join this challenge:

1. Pick one book from each of the 6 years that Dewey has archives of. You can access her archives by clicking on the archive link in the sidebar of her website. It’s a dropdown menu. For instance, you would read one book that she reviewed in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 for a total of six books.

2. The other option is to read 5 books that Dewey reviewed. These can be from any year and I’m guessing that each of us has at least 5 books on our TBR list because of Dewey!

And the rules:

1. Choose either option 1 or 2 from above.

2. Commit to read your books (either 5 or 6 depending on which option you choose) throughout 2009. The challenge will end on December 31, 2009 but we’ll go ahead and unofficially start it right away! We’ll officially start it on January 1st, 2009.

3. Check back to the challenge blog that we’ve created, Dewey’s Books, often as I’ll put up Mr. Linky’s for reviews and I’ll mention prize giveaways!
Option 2 is the one I think I will do! I will read 5 from the list below!
I have gone through her archives till Aug, 2006 - and here is my list so far [ i will add upto this books as and when I go back to her blog ok?]

  1. Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
  2. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  3. The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
  4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  5. Property by Valerie Martin
  6. Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
  7. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
  8. Saturday by Ian McEwan
  9. The World According to Garp BY John Irving
  10. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  11. Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
  12. Kindred by Octavia Butler
  13. The Little Women by Katharine Weber
  14. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  15. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  16. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  17. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The above list of books are my fav recommendations from Dewey, and so they will remain for me to choose my next books!
But I have decided on the 5 books I am going to read! [ this list might change :)]

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Atonement by Ian Ewan
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

This book, 500 odd pages! I don't know WHY I picked it up! [ S. Krishna's review and was available at an amazing price as well ], but 500 pages, I didn't think I would be able to complete it, over this month at least. But yesterday, I slept at 4 AM. Just because I wanted to know, who killed Harriet Vanger!

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family's remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after handing in the manuscripts for what will be his legacy. 100,000 first printing. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

When the story started, I had no clue what was in store! But then when the main protagonist Blomkvist meets Henrik Vanger; the story is a roller-coaster ride. How the heck do you think, can one person find out about a person who is been missing for 40 years!
Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo is a very interesting character. She has so many issues, despite of which she has some enviable talents as well. She helps Blomkvist in his investigation. Salander specializes in digging out information, she is the best researcher in whole of Sweden.

All characters, everything about this book is awesome! It is awesome the way the story unfolds, bit by bit! I really like Blomkvist and Salander's team! I really like Henrik Vanger too. The Swedish names are a bit troublesome, though you would usually wouldn't need to remember them at all.
Awesome Book, a page-turner [even if it is a BIG book :)]
I am SURE, you will enjoy this thriller/mystery!
Damn! I read it in the night, and I don't know it gave me creeps, reading it. of course there is no ghosts, but still.
Anyone waiting for the next in this millennium trilogy? I am most definitely waiting. It is available for pre-order :)! Go ahead and order your copy at amazon, I have to wait :( !

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Little Prince by Antonie de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince is my first graphic novel, which I picked up because I found a free eBook. I have read a graphic short story and loved it, and so I thought I would love this too.
As it started off, I thought it was for kids, but then it being in the 1001 list of books, kept me moving forward[ mind you, i am talking about the first page here :D ]. I was pleasantly surprised when I read this sentence,
I drew the inside of the boaconstrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly.They always need to have things explained.
I was like so true! This narration is done by a small boy, 6 year old. His point of view of "grown-ups" is so interesting. There are many a passages I read and stopped to just ponder over it. It was so true. Maybe because the narration was done by a small boy, is what amazed me more, or the amount of light this small boy threw upon the grown-up stereotypical behavior is what amazed me, I can't say. But whatever it was, it really did keep me hooked to this simple but thought-provoking book till I finished it.
On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress,in a great demonstration. But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said. Grown-ups are like that...
If you were to say to the grown-ups : “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”
And many more many many more!
And that it was written some where in 1960's is just unbelievable. It is amazing to say the least. I wish you all pick it up and read. It is just 78 pages, but so rich and profound, that you will want to re-read it again!

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.

It is an AWESOME book. If any of you wants the eBook, comment with your mail IDs and I would be happy to send it to you.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. [Pg. 60]

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Jumble Pie by Melanie Lynne Hauser

Jumble Pie is an interesting tale of friendship of two very different girls Emily and Juliet. How there friendship starts, how it grows, how it withers and how it restarts.

Emily Meredith, who talked at 9 months, Longfellow Elementary School Spelling Bee Champion for three years in a row, the youngest champion, ever, then the youngest editor of the Ravenwood Rooster ever, then graduate at the top of our class and get a scholarship to a fancy-schmancy college.

But Juliet Montague, she is just an average confused person.
Em, is so sure of what she wants! and Jules, she knows only to follow Em.
They meet the first time, and make a pie in Home Ec classes. They makes Jumble Pie... which they make thereafter at their every meeting, every special day. Jumble Pie, for Em is a symbol of their friendship, a metaphor!

Em's feeling for Jules are beautifully expressed in these lines -
But whatever it was I had done it, I had made Juliet safe and happy, at least for a little while. And I know that I want to do it again, forever. I want to protect this sad little person from something, I’m not sure what. I want to make her happy. I’ve never felt that way before about another person. And I’m not sure why, but I’m a little scared of it. And also, a little proud [Pg. 57]
These lines I found really touching. This shows how Emily felt about Juliet!

But then, as these 2 ladies grow into their years, many things change. There outlook to "what they want from life" changes. Jules and Em both change a little bit. For Em, there Jumble Pie is still a metaphor. Like Em helped Jules out in high school, she wants Jules to do the same... the only thing is that Jules has other priorities and Em is jealous of Jules achievements. Her happiness is infectious to her!
There are some really thoughtful paras that I would like you to read -
All I meant is that the important thing isn’t whether or not you’re happy this minute. But whether or not you open yourself up to the possibility of happiness[Pg. 189]
Emily's thoughts are very profound to say the least! I like the way she thinks about words in these lines -

Words used to be my refuge; they took me to other worlds, they protected me from the ordinary. But somewhere along the way they also deceived me. I found out that words can hurt when used in the wrong way. And by the wrong person. Pg. 209
It is a very good book.
I really liked it!
And if you want to read it, it is available free for download! Yep! All you have to do is to goto and give your mail ID there. And the author will send you the PDF in the mail :)
It is a cute little story, you feel so sad for Em and in some ways for Jules too. In some way for their friendship.

But all in all, it is an Enjoyable read!

Monday, December 01, 2008

I won Drinkwater by Eric Hopkins at MiniBookExpo. Actually I asked for 2 books, and I got one :-) which is pretty awesome ;)!

So from the back cover -

Drinkwater was originally an English word given to someone who abstains from drinking alcohol. As a family name it represents sobriety, dignity and self-control. Nineteen-year-old Amber Drinkwater knows that when life presents hardships, a responsible person meets them fairly, with a clear head and the willingness to work. Her plans to start a new life in Toronto with her brother Guy are interrupted when their uncle fails to meet them at the train station, but she resolves to abide until he turns up, and when it seems their caretaker is gone for good, she accepts it as an unexpected but timely call to independence and adult responsibility. The sprawling city of Toronto represents a shining opportunity for Amber to prove herself through an old code of grim endurance and bold resignation, but she will find her simple work ethic is no match for its modern towers, dark streets and disjointed neighborhoods.

Amber is 19 year old and her brother Guy [yep that's the name] come to Toronto after a misfortune to study and live with their uncle Ian. But Uncle Ian doesn't come to pick them up at the station and neither does he pick up the calls that Amber incessantly makes. After a detour to his place, that Amber has visited just once previously, they find out that he is left his apartment and abandoned them for good. Amber has always wanted independence and the responsibilities of being a young adult, and having Guy there with her was just a coincidence.

Let me first tell you, that not being from the culture, I didn’t understand a lot of terms, but it was not that bad that I didn’t understand anything at all. Amber wants to be responsible and get both their lives sorted out, but her main problem is, she can’t and would not ask for help. She is one of those typical 19 year old's, who want the freedom, the fun of making your own choices; just that all the choices go wrong, very wrong. The novel successfully depicts the confusion of a 19 yr old girl, who is left alone with a brother in an unknown city with limited cash flow. One other thing, was the language and the depiction of the surroundings and the work-culture, when you First join; that was good too. Amber talks about architecture. That is interesting as I have never viewed any building with this kind of passion. Apparently she comes to Toronto to learn Architecture.

I felt really- really bad for Guy. In his sister’s pursuit of setting things right, Guy is totally neglected. Initially he believes his big sister would make things right, which fails and it gets frustrating for him. Now all he gets is a "Shut Up" on any logical question he asks Amber. I feel really sad for him. Being younger sibling doesn't mean you should not be heard. The ending is sad and is an open one.

I totally couldn't understand Amber's attitude. The first thing she should have done was to call up Janelle [the social worker]. Sometimes, you just want to shake her up and tell her to go freaking call the social-worker, and when she does the last time, it is all gone so wrong.

It is an YA fiction novel. I give it 3 on 5 Stars.