Monday, November 30, 2009

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and Key
By Sarah Dessen
Published in 2008
Paperback, 432 pages 
4.5 on 5!!

Ruby can take care of herself.

She's used to counting on no one and answering to nobody. But all of that changes when her mother vanishes and Ruby is sent to live with her older sister, Cora. Now Ruby's got her own room in a fabulous new house, she's going to private school, and -- for the first time -- feeling as if she has a future. Plus, there's an adorable and sweet boy next door, Nate. Everything should be perfect. So why is Ruby so wary? And why is Nate keeping her at a distance? Ruby soon comes to realize that sometimes, in order to save yourself, you've got to reach out to someone else.

Hmm.. I liked Sarah Dessen's Just Listen and when Shona offered me her copy of Lock and Key, I would be dumb t say no, right?! Exactly! So I got the book, and started it with in no time. I have noticed that you know you will finish a book in record time, when you start reading it and keep on going back to it, even when you have more pressing matters on hand. This book held my interest from start till end. I cannot say it was dry at any time! The story of Ruby and her family is Real and painful. Somehow, I never felt any pity for her and I was so happy seeing her taking those baby steps, making the mistakes, but still making that progress, taking that outstretched hand and taking those steps towards knowing what family is really about.

Abandaoned by her mother few months before her 18th birthday, Ruby is sure she can take care of herself and live alone unnoticed till she turns 18. But after sometime, her nosy landlords find her and then she is sent to live with her sister, Cora whom she has not seen in 10 long years! This story is about Ruby, it is about family, it is about 2 sisters and it is about how sometimes you need to just talk and trust in your family and sometimes you have to give something to recieve something too.

I absolutely loved this one. It has no great surprises, it is just a fantastic story with just too many beautful quotes! I so wish, that I had marked all of them as I read but I didn't mark them **sigh**

What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there, regardless. It wasn’t just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger —we had many families over time. Our family of origin, the family we created, as well as the groups you moved through while all of this was happening: friends, lovers, sometimes even strangers. None of them were perfect, and we couldn’t expect them to be. You couldn’t make any one person your world. The trick was to take what each could give you and build a world from it.
- pg. 330

It is fast paced, it is deeply moving and an emotional read. It has some great, "real" characters and I am sure you will love them as well.
I really do hope, you give this one a try. Highly Reccomended!

Also check out - 
All through this month, enter for a chance to win a Kindle by simply linking your review on Book Review Wednesdays on Cym Lowell's Blog!

Wassup on Monday?!

A huge thanks to J.Kaye for hosting this which helps me chart out my progress and get depressed at no progress and exhilarated at a little :D!

This past week I completed Heidi! Wow that was a fantastic read! I loved this Children-lit totally!

I am yet to finish Along came a Spider and The Remains of the Day. The latter of the two has not been opened since the day I read the 20th page **sigh**!
This coming week is going to be busy. We have some relative visiting us and then there is a music program by our Aunt here... and loads of other stuff planned this week! And then the super good news-- my mom is going to visit us on 12th and is going to stay with us for a week... now that's what I am looking forward to the most! I miss her SO MUCH!
What else?! I am making slow progress with Jane Eyre, that's great don't you think!? :-)

My secret Santa is Gautami, and she sent me 2 books and I am so Excited about them...

Shona gave me 2 wonderful eBooks [ I am surely going to finish my YA challenge with these YAY!!] ..

So I am looking forward to reading these in the coming week!
And then I received,

from Pratima. This one I won at a giveaway on her blog! Ain't that great :-)
So in terms of recieveing books, I had a faboulous week.

oh! I almost forgot... I got invited to Google Wave by Shona.. and oh my, isn't it great out there...
I find this much better than Twitter though :)

I hope all of my US friends had a faboulous Thanksgiving weekend with their loved ones! Personally I love the idea of Thanksgiving... there is always so much to be thankful for! Mostly for this life and my family and the love that I enjoy everyday :)! And ofcourse for you all! Thank you :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Published in 1880

Hardcover, 288 pages
5 on 5!

What happens when a little orphan girl is forced to live with her cold and frightening grandfather? The heartwarming answer has engaged children for more than a century, both on the page and on the screen. Johanna Spyri’s beloved story offers youngsters an endearing and intelligent heroine, a cast of unique and memorable characters, and a fascinating portrait of a small Alpine village.

I cannot believe that I never knew about this book when I was a kid. I cannot believe I waited so long before I finally read it. This innocent little tale is full of messages that are relevant even today . I wish I was a kid again and the innocence and the untainted love were my weapons as well. Oh! I cannot tell you how much I loved this tale. I am sure I will read this to my little one someday. I am so buying this book for my kids to savour.

Highly recommended, if you have not already read it :)

Saturday Quotes!

A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick -- a couple of thousand words to take you around the universe or break your heart.
—Neil Gaiman

Friday, November 27, 2009

Short Story 13: On the Weekends Sometimes by Ben Greenman

On the Weekends Sometimes by Ben Greenman
Available ONLINE - posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009.
My Rating: 4 on 5!

In this story Boyd has a good friend Pathos, who is married to Anne. Boyd like Anne. Boyd is single and tries hard not to show his feelings in front of Anne, which becomes increasingly difficult as the marriage of Anne and Pathos is already on the rocks.
This was a good read. It was entertaining, I like reading about such situations! The best thing about this story is the way in which the story is told; there are lot of dialogues and that makes it a very easy read and makes the reader to stick around till the end. What happens in the end, is for you to find out!

I read this one for 100 shots of shorts challenge, he is hosting! Join in the challenge here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Short Story 12: Curious Case of Benjamin Button by by F Scott Fitzgerald

Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Available online to read.
My Rating - 5 on 5!

This is the story on which the Oscar nominated movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt was made.

This is a little different from the movie adaptation , I am really glad about that, or else I would have lost my interest in it very soon. But I can see, how the idea was taken from this story.
I actually liked reading this one a lot. Narrated from Benjamin's point of view, this story really shows how the poor little thing would have felt and acted in the 1860s. How the society would react to such a baby! It was a good read and I really enjoyed. The basic story is known to many because of the movie and I really liked the movie too! The movie was made to suit today's audience.

Thanks to Rob, for the link and the review, which lead me to read this one for 100 shots of shorts challenge, he is hosting! Join in the challenge here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Album Cover Attractions!

Since the day I started doing this post, I have never felt a dearth of covers and mostly I would end up with more than one cover in my post... but unfortunately this week, I have been struggling :(

It is not because I didn't find any, but because I just didn't LOVE any to showcase here. So this week, it is the cover of an album I saw at Barnes & Nobles site that has my attention -

You can guess, the sweet "little" dog on the cover is the reason for this selection :D

What covers are you attracted this week!?
Thanks Marcia for hosting this!

PS - Actually, at the site you can listen to the songs in this album as well :)

And here is how I sin...

After getting my b*tt virtually kicked by Sheree, I have decided that it is really no use contemplating if I will ever finish this year's challenges, so I have made the plunge and joined this one AGAIN this year [ although I am NOT YET FINISHED with YA-09, I keep telling myself that I will :D ]!!
Although I must admit that I really have a new found love and respect for the YA genre! THANK YOU J. Kaye :-) :-)

However I think this doesn't warrant me to think too highly of myself, so I am in for the same level like last year :-)

There are four levels to this challenge for you guys, who get to 100 books or so each year [ **envious**] :

--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.

--Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.

--Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.

--Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

Challenge begins January 1st through December, 2010.

Click on this link to take you to J.Kaye's blog to sign up for the challenge. Now, go ahead! There is really no way you can keep yourself AWAY from this one... so just go ahead and JOIN :-P

Monday, November 23, 2009

True Believer By Nicholas Sparks

True Believer
By Nicholas Sparks
Published by May 31st 2005 by Time Warner Book Group
Paperback, 434 pages
3.5 on 5!


As a science journalist with a regular column in Scientific American, Jeremy Marsh specializes in debunking the supernatural. A born skeptic, he travels to the small town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, determined to find the real cause behind the ghostly apparitions that appear in the towns cemetery. What he doesn't plan on, however, is falling hopelessly in love with Lexie Darnell, granddaughter of the town psychic. Now, if the young lovers are to have any kind of future at all, Jeremy must make a difficult choice: return to the life he knows, or do something hes never done before, take a giant leap of faith.
Well, the story stem is very much what is described in the blurb above. I remember when I was reading this book, I was basically skeptical. I am not sure, what made me buy this one, but it has been there in my pile for a while. Well it is a cozy, easy read. Lot of romance, lot of skepticism and then lot of light moments in which I just smiled. I actually liked the conversations a lot.
Well, I don't see this one as remarkable but yet I liked it. If you are in for a light, romantic day; you might want to give this a try.
Between, if you have read more from Sparks, I would like to take suggestions before tottering off to buy another one.


Monday Blues!

A huge thanks to J.Kaye for hosting this which helps me chart out my progress and get depressed at no progress and exhilarated at a little :D!

Apart from having a bad week [ in comparison to last week ], I am still feeling GOOD!

For one thing I am done with Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen. And I LOVED it. This one has to be my fav among the 2 Dessen books I have read. Review to come in this week :)
This week in my reading kitty are -

Along came a Spider is a psychological thriller, and I just realized that I am not enjoying it anymore... **SIGH**!

As I finished a classic last week, I remembered about Jane Eyre that I had started some months back. It is an eBook and I am going to employ the same method that girls reading Moby Dick are applying, a few pages everyday...
The point is I really like this one and I think I like it much more than Persuasion, but the sheer size sometimes makes me LAZY and I dump the idea of finishing it... but not this time. I am determined and I will read it! Wish me luck, friends!

So how was your week?! Read any good ones?! oh! Did I tell you I LOVED Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen?! I just thought I will mention it again, and ohhh! YES thank you SHONA for the eBook!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Short Story 11: Broken Crockery by Lisa Blower

Broken Crockery by Lisa Blower was selected as the winner for Summer Short Story Competition at
I am not really sure how to review this one. It was warm, full of thoughts and had lot of Margaret Thatcher thrashing through out.
The narrator is a small girl whose Nan [ grand mom] tripped and fell and broke an arm. Her mom tells her that she is in hospital with Margaret Thatcher. All through the story, the little girl remembers things that Nan had told her about the lives then and about how she loathed Margaret Thatcher.

I kind of liked this sweet story with a sad but appropriate ending. This one had a message in it.

I read this as a part of the 100 Shots of Shorts Challenge hosted by Rob.

Win a KINDLE 2

Want to win a KINDLE II?
Head over to Bibliofreak's blog, where you can enter by Dec 18th, 2009 to win this GIFT!
Yes, International Entrants can enter too!!

So go enter! YAY!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Piligrims by Mark Shelley

The Pilgrims
By Mark Shelley
Published August 13th 2008 by Hesperus Press Ltd
Paperback, 112 pages
4 on 5!


In the title story, a knight living alone in his isolated mountain fortress shows hospitality toward two pilgrims who appear from the mountains seeking shelter. Entreated to tell them of his sorrow, the knight unburdens himself and relates a tragic tale of love and loss. Resigned to the bitter fate that life has dealt him, the knight is unaware of the true nature of the two young people’s pilgrimage, until a revelation transforms his understanding of his past and reveals the possibility of a new future. Four other short stories by Shelley are also included: "The Dream," "The False Rhyme," "The Invisible Girl," and "The Mourner."

A HUGE THANK YOU goes to the Challenge Host of 09 for 09' challenge Isabel. I won this in the giveaway there! And I got all the goodies that you see in the pic on the right! YAY!
It is really awesome to win surprise goodies at giveaways :-)!

Now to the book review :-)
Mark Shelley is more famous for Frankenstein, ah yes, now you remember :). This one however is no where like Frankenstein, as the blurb suggests it is a collection of 4 very short stories. This classic comes with a forward written by Kamila Shamsie, which I found really encouraging and good. I have tried in recent past unsuccessfully to read many classics, and I for the same reasons was scared to pick this one. The only encouraging thing I felt about the book was that it was ONLY 112 pages. Well, I must also say that Kamila's forward was good and she really did push me to read it :-)
The 1st story "The Pilgrims" has a widowed father bringing up a beautiful daughter. The daughter however chooses to elope with her father's enemies son. Which brings immense sorrow to both the father and the daughter. The daughter lives her life in deep pain and the only thing that keeps her going is the slight hope that her father will forgive and accept her family on day.
The 2nd story "The Dream" is the story of a Constance who has lost her Father and Brother to a bloody battle, in which the enemies was her beloved's army. She blames herself and there courtship for what really happened to her family.
The 3rd story "The False Rhyme" is the shortest of them all. I actually have to say I really liked this one. I thought it was clever and a suspense was knit and brilliantly executed in 4 pages! In this the Queen and her brother make a bet in which the Queen has to find her most faithful and favorite maids of honor, whose husband was punished by the Queen's brother and soon after she eloped with a handsome guy. They try everything to find her so as to extract an explanation to such unvirtuous act on her end.
The 4th story "The Invisible Girl" was the story of love between an orphan girl and a boy who were both bought up by the boy's father. I really don't want to say more, in fear of giving away. But what stuck me most in this has to be the father's thinking. I really felt pity for him.
The 5th story "The Mourner" was really touching. I really felt bad for the main protagonist. I am not going to give you any details simply because I have no idea how to surmise it here without giving anything away!

In the forward Kamila Shamsie, actually tells us a lot about Mark Shelley and how each of the stories are her own stories. I really loved this book. The stories are predictable but the writing is excellent and the portrayal of the unrelenting love that a woman's heart has is very touching. The pain surely comes from the love that a women has, don't you think?!

Highly Recommended for all classic lovers.

Cover Attractions!

I have no idea why I really like this cover! Maybethe blue, the is unique and I like the cover a lot.

About the book -
If there’s one point that Jamie McClintock and Nate Goddard can agree upon, it’s that love is overrated. Jamie doesn’t have time for it. Nate doesn’t need it. And they certainly don’t want it from each other.

Jamie, a struggling free-spirited artist, is a devoted single mother who hasn’t been in a serious relationship since her boyfriend abandoned her after their son was born. Nate, a charismatic jet-setting salesman, is widowed and estranged from his father and five-year-old son, Christopher. Jamie would rather glue glitter to pinecones than go out on a date. Nate spends most of his nights wooing his clients. Then one afternoon Nate’s father drops dead of a heart attack. In that moment, their highly guarded worlds collide.

When Nate shows up at his childhood home to settle the estate and reclaim his son, he discovers that Jamie has been living in the Connecticut farmhouse as his father’s roommate. Mistrustful of each other’s motives, Nate and Jamie bicker about everything from children’s nicknames to Jamie’s fashion choices to Nate’s home renovation methods. It doesn’t help that Christopher prefers Jamie to his absentee father.

But after the funeral, Nate and Jamie begin to see each other in a more forgiving light. Nate, traveling to sales conferences all over the country with a sullen Christopher in tow, learns he can’t breeze his way through single parenthood. Jamie, who has moved back in with her sister, wonders at the wisdom of her unconventional choices as a woman with a child to support. And both begin to realize they don’t know as much about love as they thought. Still wounded by past heartbreak and sorrow, can they learn to trust each other and open their hearts?

Well, I want to keep my post by theme, but today I really found 2 covers of the same book that I loved. These covers definitely want me to read it...

About the Book - Thirty-four-year-old Manhattan accountant Cat Connelly has always lived life on the safe side. But after her little sister gets married, Cat wonders if she has condemned herself to a life of boredom by playing by the rules. She decides to take a chance for once, accepting an invitation to spend a month with an old flame in Italy. But her reunion with the slick and gorgeous Francesco is short-lived, and she finds herself suddenly alone in Rome. Now, she must see if she has the courage to live outside the lines for the first time - and to face a past she never understood. It will take an unexpected friendship with a fiery Italian waitress, a whirlwind Vespa tour of the Eternal City with a handsome stranger, and a surprise encounter with an old acquaintance to show Cat that life doesn't always work out the way you expect, but sometimes you have to have fall in order to fly.

No guesses, I love the cover with the girl and boy on the scooter! That's the one, I feel in love with.
And on further snooping around, I found that this one has been made into a movie too. Hmmm! And here is the movie poster ~~

umm!! Ok! Here is my theme, body parts ;) :) :D
Thank You Marcia, for hosting this event!

What's your favorite cover this week?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Short Story 10: The ruin of Grant Lowery by Audrey Niffenegger

The ruin of Grant Lowery by Audrey Niffenegger is a short story about Grant Lowery who meets 3 out-of-place looking women in a bar. He has had a couple of beers and gives in when one of them asks him to help him win a bet. There bet is that Grant will allow one of them to stay with him for an year to study humans especially males.

The lady tried again. "You see, we are fairies and we are trying to perfect our knowledge of humans, men in particular, and we want to study one up close. You are very pretty..." (This was true. Grant was 25 years old and had all the thick, wavy hair, straight, white teeth and unshaven charm of youth.) "And we thought if you liked one of us, we might be able to study you."
And then, he really does select one of them. He keeps on reminding himself that if he were in his mind, he would have not done it. Anyway this one was a excellent read. I loved it. A tale set in the modern times. It made me laugh, which I suppose is not the emotion that this piece hoped to generate. Of course I felt immensely sorry for Grant, but then I really liked this short piece. Wish there was MORE!

Go read it here!                      

Gautami's Review                                   

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Updates!

Wow! Last week was terrific for me!
I finished ~~

ok, technically I finished The Lost Symbol, a week before...but I am doing this to make me feel really good :-D
Now that's the BEST you can expect from me and I am scared that the phase may not last at all.. psst!, that's ok though ;)

Well right now, I am slowly reading,

Lock and Key [eBook] courtesy Shona, she is such a sweetheart and well 'Remains of the Day', has been there in the pile for a while. Now not reading a Booker guy, was making feel a little sad, you see. ;-)

So what have you guys got on your piles?

Head over to J.Kaye's to see what she and the others are upto!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Short Story 9: Hair by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Thanks to Gautami, for the link to many short stories.
This one is available online to read.

This short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a fairy tale of sorts.

In this story, because of foolery of the father, the family looses a huge fortune to Mr. Lugardson, who was thought as a friend. Even the former friends deserted them. The mother was sad that her once beautiful long perm were now ragged. She couldn't afford all the things that she required to keep them the way they used to be and started wearing a headscarf all the time. The daughter however went ahead and cut off her sad hair and in place of it grew out beautiful, fluffy mane that she untangled every morning.
The tale is all about a fairy Godmother who suddenly started talking to the daughter through her hair and how she helped them get back what was rightfully theirs.
This is a feel good story and I actually liked it.

Hope you like it too.

Gautami's Review

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)
By Dan Brown
Published September 15th, 2009
HardCover, 509 Pages


Vehicles move through the murky night, carrying highly secret material. And that clandestine material will only be available -- after midnight – to those who have signed non-disclosure notices. The plot of the new Dan Brown novel? No, it’s actually how reviewers such as myself obtained our copies of the much-anticipated The Lost Symbol, the follow-up to The Da Vinci Code. And as we read it in (literally) the cold light of dawn, we wonder: is it likely to match the earlier book’s all-conquering, phenomenal success?
Firstly, it should be noted that The Lost Symbol has incorporated all the elements that so transfixed readers in the Da Vinci Code; complex, mystifying plot (with the reader set quite as many challenges as the protagonist); breathless, helter-skelter pace (James Patterson's patented technique of keeping readers hooked by ending chapters with a tantalizingly unresolved situation is very much part of Dan Brown’s armory). And, of course, the winning central character, resourceful symbologist Robert Langton is back, risking his life to crack a dangerous mystery involving the Freemasons (replacing the controversial trappings of the Catholic Church and homicidal monks of the last book). And while Dan Brown will never win any prizes for literary elegance, his prose is always succinctly at the service of delivering a thoroughly involving thriller narrative in vividly evoked locales (here, Washington DC, colorfully conjured).
Robert Langdon flies to Washington after an urgent invitation to speak in the Capitol building. The invitation appears to have come from a friend with copper-bottomed Masonic connections, Peter Solomon. But Langdon has been tricked: Solomon has, in fact, been kidnapped, and (echoing the grisly opening of the last book) a macabre mutilation plunges Langdon into a tortuous quest: his friend’s severed hand lies in the Capitol building, positioned to point to a George Washington portrait – one that shows the father of his country as a pagan deity. The ruthless criminal nemesis here is another terrifying figure in Brown’s gallery of grotesques: Mal’akh, a powerfully built eunuch with a body festooned with tattoos. Mal’akh is seeking a Masonic pyramid that possesses a formidable supernatural power, and a pulse-pounding hunt is afoot, with Langdon stalled rather than aided by the CIA.

My husband purchased this for me on the day it released and since then I have been reading this at a snail-pace. Thanks is due to him, it was a surprise gift and something I liked. It is kind of difficult to surmise my thoughts on this one, so I am going to first talk about things I love about this one, I am however taking for granted that you by now, know the spine of the story and that my favorite Robert Langdon features in this one.
This books is mostly about Masons and Freemasonry. I had NO CLUE, about who the masons were and what this was all about, so this book in a way was VERY informative on that aspect. Washington, oh MY! I literally saw EVERYTHING and got my husband to promise me that some day we will surely visit all the buildings mentioned in this one. The suspense and thriller part of it worked for me, Brown kept me guessing as to what would happen next and I was surprised at what really comes about as the climax.I really like all the concepts, Neotic Science and the philosophical aspect of this book. The thing it discusses and all that. Though I surely felt, Langdon was a bit too skeptic in this one and not the one brewing all the answers as was the case with the previous ones. I must say, I really loved Peter Solomon and detested Mal'akh...arggh! I am not sure if I really love Katherine's character, but I sure like her...
Now the things I really didn't like,  it was tad bit long. Sometimes these same philosophies got a bit too LONG and boring. It took all my will to not skip them, seriously. I felt the chapters were bit too small, the sense of accomplishment that I mostly feel was never there until I finished with the book.

The book moves fast through the mystery aspect though. To be true, I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed Angels and Daemons, which is my favorite Brown book.

There are MANY quotes in this book that are note-worthy, but this one has to be my favorite -

-pg. 488

The quote above is supposed to be the preface of the revered Masonic Bible and talks about ancient spiritual texts - the most studied books on earth. And as the author rightly says, the least understood.

I am really torn between rating it a 3.5 or 4. I think I will go with 3.75 :-D

I would love to see Langdon in action again though, I really like him. I am sure this will make a good movie, which my husband is waiting for. We are Tom Hanks lovers ;-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cover Attractions

Today my theme has to be KITCHENS :) :)
There are 2 covers that I am featuring.. I very much want to read both of them, but am a little partial towards the 1st one :)

Blurb ~~

When Nora Banks goes to answer the doorbell very early one November 1st, she thinks it must be a group of teen pranksters still out trick-or-treating. But it’s no prank—it’s the Feds, who have come to arrest her husband Evan for a white collar crime. Nora’s enviable, privileged life in the eighteenth-century house she’d quit her job to renovate to museum-quality perfection, is upended in an instant.
The Bedford wives close ranks against Nora and her children. Nora’s only support comes from her children’s nanny Beatriz. The two women bond to raise the boys as smoothly as possible while Nora goes back to work. Baking has always been her biggest passion, so she launches a business of her own, the Summer Kitchen. Tempted by the offer of an affair with one of the local husbands and thwarted by an alpha wife who actively tries to shut down her business, Nora has to reach into reserves she didn’t know she had to support her family and change her way of thinking about life, family, money, and romance.

oh! Totally accidentally I hit on this cover too..


With her adopted son missing and the rest of her family increasingly estranged, Sandra Kaye Darden is drawn to the little pink house where her Uncle Poppy once provided security. What begins for Sandra as a simple painting project, meant to prepare the house for sale, becomes a secret venture that eventually changes everything.

Cass Blue is having trouble keeping food on the table since she ditched foster care. When Sandra Kaye shows up with lunch one day, Cass has no way of knowing that the meeting will lead to the creation of a place of refuge that could reunite a divided community.

In this moving story of second chances, two unlikely allies realize their ability to make a difference...and the power of what becomes known as the Summer Kitchen to nourish the soul.

So, do you like my covers by theme posts now! I was INSPIRED by you, who told me, my theme last week was SHOES :-)
Thank you Marcia, for hosting this :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Short Story Review ReCap

One of Gautami's post reminded me that I used to read short stories last year.
In this post, I am posting the reviews that I had posted last year on my deleted blog. If you are interested, you may as well read some of these stories :-)
Short Story 1: The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is the Story of this week at Narrative Magazine.
This story as the title suggests is an hour in the main protagonists Mrs. Mallard's life. Mrs Mallard who is suffering from heart disease, hears about her husbands death, after which the story beautifully expresses the one hour she spends agonizing about death. Her mixed feelings and then the belief that death will eventually give her the liberation that she seeks and then the unexpected twist.
I want to share with you an excerpt, which is about how she saw death as a liberation and that totally touched me -
There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.
It is truly a touching story, a very quick read also.  I recommend it highly :)


Read about The Ghost by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Gautami's Tripathy's blog the first time, and had bookmarked it too. So today I read it at last!

This short story is based after the time of the war between Nigeria and Biafra. 
It is about Prof. James Nwoye, who has gone to the University for his pension, which has been due for awhile now. There he meets  Ikenna Okoro, who was thought to be dead during the war. He first
 thinks, that he is a ghost, but later on realizes he is alive and had migrated to Sweden during the war. He was one of those who had not remained true the Biafran cause, he thought.

This story, gives you a sneak peek in to the lives of people like Prof. James Nwoye, who taught at the university - during the pre-war phase, then hoe their lives c
hanged during the war and then the consequences of the war! How for them, death during war, was just like death due to some accidents. About their lives that were destroyed by the war and their after-maths. How 'fake-drugs' didn't kill people but left them be killed by illness. 

This story is about his life in a nut-shell, about his dead daughter and wife. About his living daughter who is worried for her father, who stays alone in Biafra. 

And this story is about James's dead wife Ebre, who visits him weekly, to moisturize away the dryness of his soul with Nivea. 


Short Story 3: Mallard and May by Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern's first novel PS, I Love You was one of the biggest-selling debut books of 2004 and a number one bestseller. Her successive novels are Where Rainbows EndIf You Could See Me Now and A Place Called Here. PS, I Love You, starring Hilary Swank, is now a major motion picture.


Mallard and May are impossibly in love with each other and have just got back to Ireland after a winter spent at their holiday home in South Africa. Things can't possibly get any better than this. They both decide to spend a day at a beach-resort before heading back home. It is here that they both meet-up some enthusiastic French lads from the flight, who Mallard is suspicious about.  The French boys, come to Ireland every year for their holidays and end up telling them about what happened to them last summer, when they were here visiting. May and Mallard are very upset listening to it and plan to return to their home immediately. What happens to them after that is for you to read and know.
Ceclia has an amazing way to put forth 'love in words'. Yup! right! I mean it. The way the main characters love each other is so amazing. the pictorial details are amazing, but the story was kind of predictable. 
It has a sad ending.
You can read the story at Women and home.
I would recommend it to all romance-story lovers for a light and fast read, especially with a cup of steaming sugary tea :-)

Short Story 4: Don't Stop now by Al Riske

Alright! Thanks to Gautami AGAIN, she got me to read this one too :-)
I found her review really funny, and as it was a really short 'story', I thought, I will give it a try :-)

Don't Stop now, is a story based in 1972. It is about 2 17-year olds. The story is narrated by the boy who is with Leslie on a date. It is a very simple but cute story, about 2 'kids' making out on a lake-side. There silly talks and there silly little -nothings. It is about a girl who is so sure about herself and a boy who is not sure about the next moment. 
Of a girl who means what she says and about a boy who is certain, he will forget what he said. 
It is about them wishing to go on to the next step of their juvenile relationship :-).
They both are just 17, and they don't want to stop now :-)
I can't write anything more, as there is no "story" as such, but it is still interesting reading a boy's perspective.
It made me smile, and I hope it makes you too :o)
Read Don't Stop now by Al Riske @ Hobart


Short Story 5: Looters by Laura Jamison
Looters by Laura Jamison is the Story of the week at Narrative Magazine.

The story is about the friendship between Denise and Gwen. They were both trying to be journalists when they met each other in 1989. After which they became roommates.  They had lot in common but were totally different people altogether.

It was true that they had a lot in common, but really Denise grew toward and around Gwen, like a vine seeking the sun and finding, on its way, a dependably lovely stake to curl around
Gwen came from an affluent family, and even when she worked for the newspapers part-time for no money, her parents filled her bank account with enough to live lavishly. She was a fun-person who always went ahead and talked to 'weird' people about 'weird' things. On the other hand, Denise had to struggle, struggle a lot for herself. And so Denise kind of started believing -

If she could just imitate Gwen’s ways—act like someone who expected nothing but laughs and gifts from the world—maybe she could fool fate.
Of course like every other friendship, there too had problems. And this is a story about how relationships start to dwindle. How problem's, that were never problem's before start to rock the cozy boat of angelic perception. 

It is a good story, I really identified with Gwen and Denise's relationship a lot. It reminded me off, my younger days too.  I hope you guys get around reading this one; because it is as if you tread those roads of friendships that you would want to not remember, but eventually you feel good about it too, it might have happened to you too, as it has happened to me. 
And like Denise, I too wonder sometimes, if I would have done anything differently, but it is now too late to care!

I actually like Laura Jamison's style. It held my attention [ which has a very short-span] and I wanted to see, what happens next all the time. It is a good story, come read it here!


Short Story 6: Outside Elko by Porter Fox

Outside Elko by Porter Fox is the Story of the Week at Narratives Magazine.
I have not read any short stories, this month and felt really sad not doing it, and this one appealed to me too, and thus I went ahead and read it.

Outside Elko starts off with a very casual conversation between 2 friends Bill and Ted. The conversation between the two was something that was really nice. One liners and sometimes one word answers, just like me and my best-friend would talk if there was something wrong.

It is just a day that's sketched in this very short short-story, but it is interesting how it teached us the very important lessons of one life,

Time and Tide waits for no one.
It has a very sad ending. I would like to tell you more about the 2 of them and more about the story, but I would like you to read and see, as I don't want to take away the freshness of knowing nothing and liking it. But for the most part of it, you are aware in a very strange way of the sadness thats going to engulf you.

But still the ending is somewhat different.
I know I am sounding so confusing, but it is, trust me like that!

I will give it a 3 on 5. 


Short Story 7: Narcissa by Hilary Mantle

Before going in for a review of this tale, tells you this [be warned!]

Once upon a time ...

... there were frog princes, ugly sisters and dark, moral messages. And now? We challenged three writers to come up with fairy tales fit for the 21st century

I read Narcissa by Hilary Mantle because I read a review of this short story by Gautami at her blog Short Story Reviews! Gautami reviews all kind of short-stories, and you will be amazed at the weirdness of her selection. And that's most definitely the reason I read her reviews :)

And this fairy-tale was no exception. You will feel as if I am copying Gautami's review [ I am really sorry! ] but you will be amazed at the starting of this story -

In the days when all the priests were dead, and most people walked around with their heads tucked under their arms for safety's sake, there was a princess for whom nothing was ever good enough.
It is totally a weird story, but once you are done with it, and really start thinking about it; you will know that it is much more than that. In the no-named princess, I see me... and I am sure you will see you! You see the face you want to see in the mirror of your life and seldom see the real you! In all the faces you put up, you forget to look for your own soul, which is trapped somewhere inside a cupboard, the key to which is also inside you. And recognizing it yourself forms the crux of our own life stories.

It is pretty philosophical, yet so true!


Short Story 8: Harvest, POSTCARDS FROM ITALY By Steven Rydman
Harvest, POSTCARDS FROM ITALY By Steven Rydman
Narrative Magazine Story of the Week

This short story is written as a bunch of postcards that Billy sends to his mom from Italy after he has moved there. It is so lovely. He through his letters tells his mom, about his life, the people and the harvest season in Italy. It is a beautiful very short piece.
It is ironic that his mom thinks it is a petty job to have as she doesn't tell the other family members as to what Billy is doing in Italy.

It is so short but packed with so much emotions!
The best part is the quotes from W. Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. I really didn't kow about this book, but now I am definitely going to try it out :)
The lines that are quoted in the short story and are very apt for the story lines -

“For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

It is a very beautiful short story, and I think you all should read it :)!
4 on 5!