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.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

100 in 1001 Days

I am getting big time Envious of you all, who read around 100 books a year and more! And some who read 250 [ read S. Krishna LOL!!]. So, just to feel BETTER for the time being ;) -- I am going to read 100 books in 1001 days :-)! When u say 1001 days, this doesn't really sound too far :) and it gives me a feel-good-feeling [ and that it is 2.7 years, does not need to the remembered :D ]

SO I start on 1st Dec, 2008 to - July 28ish 2011 [ OK don't look at the dates! they are too far :(] i don't even know, where I will be then :( :'( **deep sorrow**
But that's ok - we will anyways try YES!

So thanks 3M, for the challenge :)!!

I will update my list here ok?! :-)
  1. Drinkwater by Eric Hopkins
  2. Jumble Pie by Melanie Lynne Hauser
  3. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by Steig Larsson
  5. Standoff by Sandra Brown
  6. King's Fool by Margaret Campbell Barnes
  7. Sam's Quest for the Crimson Crystal by Ben Furman
  8. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  9. Secret Vampire by L.J. Smith
  10. Between the Tides
  11. The Suburban Dragon By Garasamo Maccagnone
  12. The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
  13. Sam's Letter to Jeniffer by James Patterson
  14. When I was a Soldier
  15. Just Listen
  16. Twilight
  17. Memoirs of a Geisha
  18. Mosaic
  19. Deception Point
  20. Dull Boy
  21. arry Potter and the Deathly hallows
  22. The Girl who played with Fire
  23. Nerititi
  24. Footsteps in the Dark
  25. Cleopatra's Daughter
  26. A Thousand Splendid Suns
  27. Things Fall Apart
  28. Soul Catcher
  29. Family Plots
  30. The Lost symbol
  31. The Piligrims
  32. True Believer
  33. Lock and Key
  34. Heidi **

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The God of Small Thing's by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small things by Arundhati Roy is the 1997 Man Booker Prize Winner. I have taken so long to finish this book, and I would WANT to say I hate this book~! But I think I like it :)

From the Blurb -

In her first novel, award-winning Indian screenwriter Arundhati Roy conjures a whoosh of wordplay that rises from the pages like a brilliant jazz improvisation. The God of Small Things is nominally the story of young twins Rahel and Estha and the rest of their family, but the book feels like a million stories spinning out indefinitely; it is the product of a genius child-mind that takes everything in and transforms it in alchemy of poetry. The God of Small Things is at once exotic and familiar to the Western reader, written in English that's completely new and invigorated by the Asian Indian influences of culture and language.

I wouldn't say this tale is a simple one for a normal reader like me! But it definitely is an sophisticated novel, which requires a lot of effort from the reader! The way story weaves around past and present of Estha and Rahel [the twins] is fantastic, it is an effortless effort [:)]
I felt sad for Velayutha , his love for Ammu was so heart-warming, and his love for Estha and Rahel was so amazing! The characterization is flawless, and their flaws remind you that this book is written on very real people. I felt sad when Rahel always remembered, that she was loved a little less. And I can remember, feeling the same when I was a kid [:)] though in very different circumstances. The prose is beautiful! There are some that you want to sit and re-read and capture their meaning again and again!

It is after all so easy to shatter a story. To break a chain of thought. To ruin a fragment of a dream being carried around carefully like a piece of porcelain.

To let it be, and to travel with it, as Velutha did, is much the harder thing to do!

[Page 190]

You would understand this prose better when you read the chain of events, but still this prose has a life of its own, I felt it true for me!

If he touched her, he couldn't talk to her, if he loved her he couldn't leave, if he spoke he couldn't listen, if he fought he couldn't win.
[Page 330]

I also liked the way Rahel and Estha, became comrades and such imaginary stuff! It is so original! The way Rahel kills the red ants, and how Sophie Mol, tells her to leave one so that it can feel “lonely”. I like the way there are so many delicate storied weaved and how effortlessly we come back to the original story of Estha and Rahel, that we don’t get lost in them!

No doubt this book is a master piece, but my only problem was that it didn’t hold my attention for a long time, which took me longer than usual to reach the ending point! The ending according to me is perfect, there was no other place for Rahel and Estha, except for each other. I hated Baby Kochamma with a passion, that no other character has generated in me for a long time now. The last chapter is beautiful, every sentence is knit with an expertise that I don't think I have read in a long time. The emotions are so raw, and the feelings are audible and it is plain breath-taking.

And another fun thing, that relates me to this book-

- my native place [ where I was born] is in Kottayam [ the big city mentioned in this book]

- my pet-name is Ammu [ in this the mother of Estha and Rahel]

- and my Dad calls me Ammukutty [ the way Ammu is called in this book by Velutha ]

So these are the reasons why this book is all the more special!

- It was the book for October at Book Blogs[travel the world (from a comfy chair)], though I am finishing it in Nov [sorry!]

- My 2nd book from the Man Booker List

- My book for the 1% Reading challenge!

- My book for the A-Z challenge as well!

Although this is a very sad novel, I would say I felt good after the ending was over. There were no questions left unanswered... there was no story left half-heartedly told.

Even though it is a beautiful book, I reiterate the problem I had was to concentrate on it. Though I must admit, that I got really interested in the book when I had reached half-way through it.

I give it a 4 on 5 [ coz it is not a fast read]

Nalle? [ means see you tommorrow here? ]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Like Water for Chocolate – A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances and Home Remedies is a mystical tale, that I enjoyed thoroughly. Being always greedy for good food, my taste buds never slept, after I started reading this amazing tale. It is so ‘fairy-talish’ and yet so real. I loved Tita, and was amazed at the speed with which the story accelerated each month.

I must say that the end was amazing, nothing that I did expected at all.

There have been mixed reaction to this novel, but I completely adored it. I had half a mind to test these recipes, or the Home remedies; but there were so many things I didn’t understand that I would not dare try. J

I would want to share this small excerpt that I found on Wiki about Laura Esquivel and her extremely amazing book –

The novel, taking place in nineteenth century Mexico, shows the importance of the kitchen in Esquivel's life. Esquivel believes that the kitchen is the most important part of the house and characterizes it as a source of knowledge and understanding that brings pleasure. The "title refers to a colloquial phrase used by the Spanish that means an extremity of feeling. It refers to a boiling point in terms of anger, passion and sexuality." The idea for the book came to Esquivel "while she was cooking the recipes of her mother and grandmother." Reportedly, "Esquivel used an episode from her own family to write her book. She had a great-aunt named Tita, who was forbidden to wed. Tita never did anything but care for her own mother. Soon after her mother died, so did Tita.

Isn’t it a mystical story?! I never knew about so many things – related to kitchen. It is amazing, that I really enjoyed the peek-a-boo into Mexican ranch life of the nineteenth century.

If you enjoy something mystical, love cooking, have problem in keeping your taste-buds from becoming watery and are emotional about love and women who don’t seem to get their love … then this book is for you … as much as it is for me.

Loved it totally.And hope you too love it, for my sakes. :-)

Thanks to 'travel the world (from a comfy chair)'; otherwise I would have never ended up reading it anyways :-)

Thanks Bethany :) for this wonderful book, just in time - for some mystical romance :)

Buy this book Via

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni – Halevy

The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni – Halevy is a riveting tale of a determined, highly respected leader and prophetess Deborah.

This novel is set in ancient Israel in the twelfth to the mid eleventh centuries BCE. In this gripping tale, Deborah is a very powerful woman who judged the people of Israel. People from far and wide would come to Deborah to seek judgment and counsel. Deborah was married to Lapidoth, and could hear God’s voice too. Her prophecies were highly revered and mostly came true too. She more than often set out to tell people the wishes of God and to tell them to mend their ways or else the wrath from Heaven would be unbearable.

On one such day, Deborah has a vision, and understands that she has to have a war against the neighboring Canannites, who have been terrorizing the people of Israel and looting them and killing many as well. She summons Barak, the mightiest of all and asks him to launch a war against them. Despite all the odds, they succeed. From the destroyed royal family of the Cannanites, Barak brings back 2 princesses Asherah, the most beautiful of the beauties and Nogah, the illegitimate daughter of the King.. And thus starts a gripping tale of love, disappointment and hatred.

The story weaves around Deborah, but at no point in the novel, do we feel that she is the only person. She is extremely powerful, but never uses her power for anything that’s against Torah rules. She is very humble and generous all throughout but nevertheless not perfect and I really found that aspect of her drawing. Barak on the other hand is one man, who is powerful, intelligent and a womanizer but extremely noble in his heart. He never forces his way with women, but women are drawn to him so much that they feel it a great reward to be with him.

I would love to say that I am in love with Barak’s character, but Nogah is the one who got all my love and anticipation. She is the quite powerhouse of knowledge and love and I identified with her so much too. And for being her aide, I really liked Uriel also.

Being totally clueless about this chapter in the Bible, I was truly amazed at the in depth knowledge about this period of time, that this book bestowed on me. It was fast-paced, well-written and Eva has done full justice to all her characters. I would love to tell you all about each and every character and more about them, but I would like you all to read and ravish and understand.

I give it 5 on 5. And I am thankful that I read this amazing tale that has given me a taste for historical fiction. I am all ready to pick up other titles by Eva herself.

A HUGE thanks to Dar for hosting the giveaway!

And another HUGE thanks to Eva for sending me my signed copy!

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

I won [YAY!] a SIGNED copy of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin at Alea's Pop Culture Junkie. Joshua Henkin sent it to me with a message on it. And I was VERY EXCITED that I got my FIRST prize!

Everyone has written so many reviews about this book, and I am sure MY review won't count much :-) But -- You can't stop me from writing one can you!?

An excerpt from the description -

It is 1987, and Julian Wainwright, aspiring writer and Waspy son of New York City old money, meets beautiful, Jewish Mia Mendelsohn in the laundry room at Graymont College. So begins a love affair that, spurred on by family tragedy, will take Julian and Mia across the country and back, through several college towns, spanning twenty years.
Matrimony is a very quiet book; I had feared that I would not like this book because I thought I essentially knew the ending. But I was proved wrong. Trust me the ending is not the deal here, the whole plot, the characters everything is. And I would love to tell you that I was so shocked at what happened towards the middle of the story. But they moved on Julian and Mia and so did their problems.

The characters were outlined with graceful beauty. The turn on events had no effect on the characters, they were essentially sublime all throughout the novel. They reacted with the same intensity as expected but that infuriated me sometimes; I wanted more emotion, more anger maybe more [:-)].

When Mia wanted to ask her mother - 'Who will take care of me' - I had tears in my eyes.

I laughed out loud at Cooper - the little adorable nuisance and I can swear my beau wore goggles while cutting onions too [if you have read the book, you know what I am referring too].

I loved the fact that no one was perfect in this novel, and there was not one scene I would say had come out of the sky. I am not from the culture showcased in the book, but I identified with it so much.

I also loved the fact that, even being a rich-kid, Julian didn't have the best of lives. He had his ups and downs. And he took his own time to get it right, and when he did, he didn't change with it.

I think my review is a lot personal :o) But I read every book like that. So, if you guys want a light read, and a fast read and also something that’s real as well as enjoyable - go for this one.

Thanks Alea - for the giveaway

Thanks Joshua for sending me the book. I loved it :-)

PS - I would want to hate Carter - but then I like him now :D --- that’s NOT a spoiler ok?

PPS - I love the cover of the book.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Road of lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

The book came to me on 15th. I was sitting there, talking with 'the guy', when it arrived. And he as usual asked me, how many books did I order for this month. And I went into defensive mode,instantly. What else can you expect from me, right?!

The book-cover was beautiful. On the cover page Somaly sat there, thinking, looking towards her future maybe. As the fortune-teller told her -
' the black one - she will have the three flags' - power, honour and money. 'She will travel in plane andshe will be a leader in the family'. She will help you.'
This is the first memoir I have read. I don't know, why I chose it. Maybe I wanted an author from another part of the world for my Orbis Terrarum CHallenge! But I never thought, it will this different. I sometimes, never read reviews about certain books. And this was one of them. I knew, what it was about. But never knew, how intense it could be.

As you all might already know, Somaly is from Cambodia, and now a Cambodian heroine. She was abandoned at birth by her parents and was looked after by her Grandmother until she disappeared.She was taken into the care of a man she called Grandfather, but was treated no better than a upaid servant. Raped at 12 and forced to marry at 15, Somaly was then sold to a brothel. After years of abuse she managed to escape.

She was the 'lucky' one. Somaly in 1997, co-founded AFESIP to combat trafficking in women and children for sexual slavery...rape.
It's still happening constantly, today, tonight. My story doesn't matter, except that it stands for the hundreds' of girls stories too, and there stories is why I don't sleep at night. They haunt me.
Somaly talks about herself, what she went through in a tone, that doesn't demand sympathy. She just never uses emotions/feelings to state her experiences, and in itself touches you. You can't believe this is actually happening to someone out there! Kids aged 5-6 yrs a\old are sold off by there own kin. And these people live with the money, the girls earn through prostitution. In men, it is highly believed that sex with a virgin, will cure them off many diseases, including AIDS. But these little girls, get them faster. The little girls vagina are sewn back and they are sold again. If you are a virgin, you should cry and bleed. and these little girls cried and bled. They were beaten, punished and what not. It is too cruel to even say!

Leading a normal life is not possible for them. Even Somaly, has nightmares that don't let her sleep.
But I couldn't take the image of the sex-related violence out of my mind. There was nothing I could do to annihilate my past. Coming back to life, to some kind of innocence, felt impossible. I didn't know where my youth was, where to dig to look, if not for happiness, at least for some kind of peace.

It is the evil done to me, that propels me on. Is there any other way to exercise it?

I wish you guys would actually buy this book and read! I want you to read it and feel, as I did! I feel suddenly so overwhelmed. I can't imagine there plights. Today AFESIP is trying hard to save thousands of girls in Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia [ south-east Asia] where women - trafficking is the highest and is worth 500 million dollars, roughly the amount of money that the government allocates for Cambodia.

If buying this book, payes even for one girl's one day food; I am glad I did something, even if it is a mere nothing.
What else can we do?!
On Oct 15th on Bethany's blog [B&B Ex Libris], there was this post that touched a chord. And something to the same effect, was also there in Somaly's book,

The French seemed to eat vast quantities of everything, but especially meat. I could hardly believe, how much they put inside themselves everyday.
I was overcome by it all; the succession of dishes, the abundance and the fact that people left food on their plates[...] We could fees whole families in Cambodia just with these left-overs.
It is not just French who eat and waste,we do too! And it is not just food, it is things. How much do we buy and waste?!
I don't understand how to pass this message over to you all, but all I wish, is that everyone reads this book once! and feel the sheer sense of helplessness for this hideous injustice happening all over!

And that's all I got to say. Please help in the most-little way you can! At least by being aware of this.