Thursday, August 28, 2014

Read Review: The Letters

The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monnniger
Hardcover, 199 pages
Published 2008 by Bantam

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
Is there any mystery greater than those we love the most?  

In this remarkable collaboration, New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger combine their unique talents to create a powerfully moving novel of an estranged husband and wife through a series of searching, intimate letters. By way of a correspondence so achingly real you’ll forget it’s fiction, they trace the history of a love affair and of a family before, and after, the moment that changed the course of two people’s journey forever.

Sam and Hadley West are both trying in their own ways to survive after the unthinkable loss of their only son in Alaska. For Sam, a sports journalist, acceptance means an arduous trek by dogsled across the bleak and beautiful arctic wilderness to find the place where Paul died. For Hadley, it means renting a benignly haunted, salt-soaked cottage off the Maine coast where she begins to paint again.

Now, at opposite ends of the country, waiting for their divorce to be finalized, they begin to exchange letters by post, missives filled with longing and truths they’ve never before voiced, as they recall their marriage—its magic moments and its challenges—and begin to rediscover the reasons they fell in love in the first place.

As Sam risks his life to reach the remote crash site, Hadley begins an equally hazardous inner journey to a rendezvous with the mad grief of a mother’s heart. At the place where all else is lost, they will meet again….

MY THOUGHTS:
My sister picked up this book randomly at a bookstore one day. I borrowed it from her. And I really loved it.

Two authors have co-written this novel, and yet it is seamless. It is a mature story about an estranged couple who are moving towards rediscovering each other all over again. Loss of their only child changes everything they had together, love and happiness.

In a modern era of gadgets, age old means of communication through letters become therapeutic to accept their son's tragic death and pick up the broken pieces of their marriage.

Lovely novel. Lovely writing. I recommend it to anyone who is interested to read a mature adult love story.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WWW Wedesday #15 (27th August 2014)


http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/Hi folks!

As most of you already know, WWW Wednesday is a weekly reading event hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, you just have to answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

 My answers to the above questions are:

What are you currently reading? I am reading "The Letters" by Luanne Rice Joseph Monninger. I borrowed it from my sister. I am also trying to read "Complete Chanakya Neeti" side by side, which was gifted by my brother-in-law.

What did you recently finish reading? I just finished reading is "The Mountain of Light" by Indu Sundaresan and "Private India" by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson.  You can read my reviews at  Read Review: The Mountain of Light and Book Review #15: Private India.

What do you think you'll read next? I haven't planned yet. I am supposed to receive a couple of books for review also. So let's see.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own WWW Wednesdays post, or share your answers in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

See you again on a Wednesday. Till then Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Read Review: The Mountain of Light

The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan
Paperback, 352 pages
Published 2013 by HarperCollins India

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
As empires rose and fell and mighty kings jostled for power, its glittering radiance never dimmed. It is the “Mountain of Light” - the Kohinoor diamond - and its facets reflect a sweeping story of love, adventure, conquest and betrayal.

Legend has it that Lord Krishna gave the Kohinoor to a devotee as a reward for his meditations. But the first recorded mention of the diamond is in the memoirs of Emperor Babur, who received it from a Hindu raja he had defeated. It then slipped out of India and was possessed briefly by the Shah of Persia – who gave it its name – and the king of Afghanistan, Shah Shuja, who surrendered the Kohinoor to Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab Empire as a reward for helping him regain his kingdom. Here begins The Mountain of Light.

The novel takes us through the sprawling gardens of nineteenth century Lahore to the palaces of the six-year-old prince Dalip Singh who, on his father’s death, loses his empire and the Kohinoor to the British. The diamond is secreted out of India once more and, at the age of sixteen, the boy king follows it to London, where he is feted and petted until he realizes that nothing can replace the loss of his lands and his diamond – which now belong to the Queen of England.


MY THOUGHTS:
I had loved the author's Taj trilogy. And I love the way she weaves the story around historical facts. My sister gifted me this book for my birthday this year.

Unlike other novels, the central character of this book is an object and not a person. It is the Kohinoor diamond. So the story moves ahead as the Kohinoor changes hands. For the same reason I felt that as I warmed towards the characters, they had to be left behind because the Kohinoor has moved. 

The only character who was like a thread in the storyline was Dalip Singh, the son of Maharajah Ranjit Singh. He is mentioned as an infant, as the child king and the story ends with him. So he is almost a constant character.

The author writes so beautifully that I feel as if I am transported back in time. The way she describes the sights, smells and sounds, I feel as if I am right there in the story, experiencing them.At the end of the book, the author tells the reader what are the facts and what is fiction. This is what I really like about the author. She gives the reader information on the subject so that we don't take fiction as facts.

I liked the book. But frankly I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the Taj trilogy. Nevertheless, lovers of historical fiction would surely like this book.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book Review #15: Private India


Name: Private India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
No. of Pages: 470
Genre: Fiction/Thriller
Publisher: Arrow Books (www.randomhouse.co.uk)
Price: Rs. 350/-
Published in: 2014
 
The blurb of the book says: In Mumbai seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses. For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it's a race against time to stop the killer striking again. In a city of over thirteen million, hed have his work cut out at the best of times but this case has him battling Mumbai's biggest ganglord and a godman who isn't all he seems and then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens.

About the authors:
Ashwin Sanghi is an entrepreneur by profession but writing historical fiction is his passion and hobby. He self-published his first novel, The Rozabal Line in 2007 under his pseudonym, Shawn Haigins. It was subsequently acquired by Westland in 2009 and went on to become a national bestseller. His second novel, Chanakya's Chant remained on AC Nielsen's india Top 10 for over two years, won the Vodafone Crossword Popular Choice Award and UTV acquired movie rights. His latest thriller, The Krishna Key, was released in August 2012 and went straight to number 1 in the charts. Further information on www.ashwinsanghi.com

James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past decade - the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Detective Michael Bennett novels and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son.

James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James is a founding partner of Booktrust's Children's Reading Fund in the UK. In 2010, he was voted Author of the Year at the Children's Choice Book Awards in New York. More on www.jamespatterson.co.uk
MY THOUGHTS:
Cover: The cover reflects the 'Private' series, spelling mystery and thrill.

Writing: The writing style is lucid, yet engaging and expressive.

Story:  The plot involves serial killings of unconnected women using a simple weapon of yellow scarf and uncanny props are left at the death scene. Private is a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe run by former CIA agent Jack Morgan. Santosh Wagh (ex-agent of RAW), the head of Private India, have his own personal demons to fight and yet has to solve the mystery behind the murders. Then there is ex-best friend Rupesh who is a cop, a godman and a ganglord who are somehow involved. Apart from Santosh, the investigation team consists of Nisha (an ex-cop), the forensic expert Mubeen and the techie geek Hari.

I received this book from Blogadda in exchange of a honest review. I was supposed to read it and post a review within a week of receiving the book. This is the first Private series book that I have read. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. The mystery unravels gradually at a good pace and I was kept hooked throughout. The plot is in Mumbai. The serial train bomb blasts  which took place in the city few years back also gets a place in the story. Other than that the ISI and Mujahideen are also a part of the plot. Other then my reading time, I was turning the pages between my mundane chores. I was eager to learn what connected the killings, the relation between the victims, why the yellow scarf was used and what is the significance of the strange items left at the murder scene.

At the end of the novel, there is also an extract of the story behind Private; why and how 'Private' came into being.

I give "Private India" 4 stars on a scale of 5. I now look forward to reading more of the Private series.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

WWW Wednesday #14 (6th August 2014)

I am back for WWW Wednesday after a month's gap. July had been a busy month as it was the month of Ramadan. Hopefully I shall be regular now.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly reading event hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, you just have to answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


My answers to the above questions are:

What are you currently reading? I am reading "The Mountain of Light" by Indu Sundaresan. It was a gift from my sister on my birthday last month. She knows that I love the Indu's writing.

What did you recently finish reading? I last finished reading is "God Explained In A Taxi Ride" by Paul Arden. The book was lying around in the house and it caught my eye. You can read my review at Read Review: God Explained In a Taxi Ride. 
 
What do you think you'll read next? I received four books on my birthday last month. Plus I have few more books yet to be read. I am expecting a couple more for reviewing. So I am really confused what should I pick up next!

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own WWW Wednesdays post, or share your answers in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!
See you again on a Wednesday. Till then Happy Reading!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Read Review: God Explained in a Taxi Ride

 God Explained in a Taxi Ride by Paul Arden
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Penguin (first published 2007)

My Rating: 5 out of 5 star

Blurb:Since the beginning of mankind, more thought has gone into the understanding of God than any other subject under the sun ... this little book explains once and for all

This is a punchy, humorous, and probing look at the nature of religious belief, by the author of the massively successful "Whatever You Think Think the Opposite". In a series of brilliant visual episodes, Paul Arden investigates the questions that have persisted since our earliest days. As ever, he is a master of compression, getting us to scratch our heads as he examines our relationship to the divine.

My Thoughts:
I think this is an amazing book. All you need to enjoy this little book is an open mind and a sense of humour. The book consists of simple illustrations with a few or very few words on each page. The author has kept it simple and has touched the very basic reasons of conflicts of our world. His statements and thoughts are quirky and punchline material.

I leave you with a few lines from the book:

“Religion is a light bulb, created by man to help him to see in the dark.”

"Believing in God does not make you a religious person. It makes you a spiritual person."

"Most religions are different ways of saying the same things. but we hear things differently because we all speak different languages."

I think this book is surely a cool one to read and possess.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Read Review: Dying To Be Me

Dying To Be Me:My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani
Paperback, 191 pages
Published in 2012 by Hay House

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Blurb: In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system—began shutting down. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was able to be released from the hospital within weeks . . . without a trace of cancer in her body!

     Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish her career and find true love, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge.

     As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, she had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she had been a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself . . . and that there are miracles in the Universe that she had never even imagined.

     In Dying to Be Me, Anita freely shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, “being love,” and the true magnificence of each and every human being!

This is a book that definitely makes the case that we
are spiritual beings having a human experience . . . and that we are all One!

My Thoughts:
This is a difficult book to  review. I have always been curious and mystified by NDEs (Near Death Experience). I browsed through several books on the topic and decided to pick this one. The author who was suffering from terminal cancer had a NDE and when she revived her cancer was miraculously gone, all of it. She has put her experience, realizations and message in this book.

The author has described her NDE as vividly as written words allow. She maintains that each one of us is a thread in the universal cosmic tapestry. That each of us is a magnificent creature whose actions makes up the ultimate picture in this tapestry. She says that it was her negative energy that caused her illness. And when her experience of NDE converted her entire being into positivity, the cancer vanished.

The book gives courage to those who fear death as well as the difficulties in life. It is thoroughly spiritual and no emphasis is given on religion. I have seen critics expressing mismatch between the author's experience and religious belief. I have read and heard about other NDEs which vary from the author's narrative, and involves heaven and God. I believe God shows whatever He wants to. But like NDEs, this narrative also tells us that there is greater force at work and there is a much larger purpose to our existence.

At times, the narration becomes a little monotonous. But that is understandable as NDE is a huge concept and experience to be expressed in words. I have drawn several amazing things from the book to my life, like if I am okay, everything else around me will be okay and vice-versa.

I would like to recommend this book to those have a bent towards spirituality, those who fear death or life and anyone who wants to know about a NDE. This is definitely a book for keeps.

You can check out my post "NDE-A Glimpse of the Afterlife?" if you are interested.