The story takes through the lives of Sarah, Miriam, and Beth right from their college days. They have spentRead my full review at Musings Over Nothing
The story takes through the lives of Sarah, Miriam, and Beth right from their college days. They have spent their lives together for decades, all through their happiness, heartbreaks, the ups and the downs, even when they had lived physically far from each other. Now the ladies are in their fifties, and their careers and domestic lives are changing. Would their friendship sustain through these storms?
The book alternates between the voices of Sarah, Miriam, and Beth in the first person throughout. Sarah lives with her boyfriend Kevin who wouldn't commit or even let her in on his life, which seemed convenient for her. She finds out something huge about Kevin and his son and Kevin did not even feel it was important to inform her. And the changes at work makes it impossible for her continue shying away from commitments.
Miriam has had her heart broken once, and she wonders about all the men that she had turned down. She is more than settled with the idea that she is never going to meet the right one. Beth seemingly has it all, until she finds her husband cheated on her. To make her life more fragile the love of her life, the one that got away is back. The group has a second chance in life. Should they trade their old lives?
The idea that college friends can stay together well into their fifties is highly romantic. The dynamics among them does not change and if anything, it has become better with age. Though the ladies are all at different points of their life and have chosen different paths, there is no judging and an unwavering support through it all.
Second Acts makes it a point to let us know that 50s are not something to be dreaded about. Lives still go on and about, and exciting things do happen. Though there were too many details and the book as such was tad bit lengthy, I continued through it. I would not call the book an un-put-down-able, and it took a lot more than usual to complete the book. On the whole, I was not disappointed at all, thanks to the realistic plot and engaging writing.
The characters were well developed, and even the minor characters had depth. I found a part of myself among all the three leads, and I kept rooting for Miriam the most. She was just too cool. Several themes like grief over death, lost love, hurt by a loved one, despair over unrequited love, unexpected changes were all dealt with such flair that the reader would feel them.
Second Acts could be your summer read, the one that you wanna read when you miss your friends in real life or the one you read during your daily commute. If you are up to reading a woman's fiction with realistic writing this weekend, you should watch out for Second Acts.
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author and Edelweiss for the Advance Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review....more
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author and Netgalley for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest revRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author and Netgalley for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Growing in a family that is inclined very much towards arts and crafts, I have always believed I had to have a creative vein. Even when my several attempts on arts have proved otherwise, I hold on to the hope that some day I would find some art form that I might be good at. So I requested the book that promised to teach step by step instructions to draw these cutest doodles with the so much to lose. Yeah Kawaii literally means cute.
First of, the whole book was DAMN CUTE (I know I am overusing the term). The step by step instruction made it even for a craft challenged person to follow, though there were a few redundant steps. Hey who cares, they look adorable. The book teaches to draw day to day items like food and drinks, holiday things and even monsters. I personally loved the monsters (That doesn't mean I draw them any better).
The entire book may have been for a younger generation but that would not stop you (adult, I mean) from enjoying it all the same. This can surely be a great gift to young and adults alike. I can already think of at least 2-3 people who would enjoy this. I can't stop gushing over this overtly adorable book. Grab Kawaii Doodle Class already, I say....more
Maddy lives in a laid back, picturesque village. She has made friends with a few, yet believes she will beRead my full review at Musings Over Nothing
Maddy lives in a laid back, picturesque village. She has made friends with a few, yet believes she will be considered an outsider whatever she does. She wishes that she blends into their life without arousing any suspicion to escape from her past. Will the reality catch up with her fake life?
Enters Dan, her new boss who disapproves everything she does - her ethics, her job, and her lifestyle. The attraction seems mutual, but Dan would not take anything less than what he bargains for. When things finally smoothen for them, her luck runs out. Her ex and everything else that she has been running away for years have finally leaped on her. Can she survive this setback? Would running away again solve her problems? What would her self-righteous boyfriend be able to handle her truths? Read Parallel Lies to know more.
The story travels at a slow pace, but the writing grows on you. It takes about a 100 pages for the story to move, and we get to meet the other characters. Though we primarily hear the story from Maddy's POV we get to hear Dan's view a few times, which help us understand Maddy's history and character better.
I love how Maddy's character developed throughout, from someone who was struggling to fit into her fake life to someone who has realized what she wants in life and lets her past go. I liked how she helps Kourtney to move ahead in her life, and the other minor characters like Diane and Chris are nicely etched.
I didn't care much for the parts of Dan's POV in the second person, and thankfully they were few and short. Parallel Lies is surely a Happily Ever After kind of story, yet it offers many variations from the heart-wrenching ones that we often get to read. It involves action, mystery, drama, and pinch (or more) of romance - a perfect combination for a summer read....more
Meet Vidyut, a young and powerful businessman who is a jack of all trades, who lives with the love of hisRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing
Meet Vidyut, a young and powerful businessman who is a jack of all trades, who lives with the love of his life Damini. His perfect life is disturbed by a call from his great grandfather from Varanasi, who seems to be in his death bed. Vidyut leaves to a place which holds several secrets not only concerning his life but the entire human race. Unbeknownst to him, several events that were set off all over the world once he starts to his journey from Delhi.
We are told of the happenings in the Harappan civilization of the ancient past -the past that sees the effects of treachery and blood thirst. What is the relationship between modern day Vidyut and the fallen civilization? Only one man tell it all, his great grandfather who is running out of time and the strong and treacherous enemies are at bay. Read Harappa - Curse of the Blood River to find out more.
First of the premise is intriguing making us wonder if our school history text books were in fact, nothing but an elaborate ruse? Following the pattern laid by the likes of Dan Brown, Ashwin Sanghi and the new comer Luke Gracias, the story alternates between the past and present and the author does that with quite the flair.
I had known the book was the first of the series of four books, but I had not realized until I came to it, that it ends in a cliffhanger and it doesn't answer many of the questions. This might be disconcerting to some of the readers, including me. There were few scenes in the middle that were clichéd and could have been very well done without.
The rich history and the strong story line related to Harappan civilization is well executed. The author makes us ponder where does the line between mythology and history lie. The dialogues were kinda off-putting especially the modern day's, where no one uses that many slangs (yaa, yaar etc) in real life. And the writing gets kinda repetitive after a while. Yet, none of these reduce the pace set by the author until the very last.
The introduction kinda gave away the entire plot, at least the plot of the first book. And then there is a prologue which piqued the interest but again once we have read the introduction there is very little suspense to keep up. There are a few misgivings how long does it take for a person to narrate a simple tale. But if we do overlook such logical reasoning, I would not be surprised if the Harappa - Curse of the Blood River ends up to be a best seller. ...more
Tara Johnson is a hard working woman who fights hard to win her place in the male dominated executive rooRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing
Tara Johnson is a hard working woman who fights hard to win her place in the male dominated executive room. She has no personal life other than visiting her ailing mother because her work consumes her entire day. She takes joy and pride in making her work place better for the other women there, the support she didn't have when she started.
Her work life is still not an easy place, even though she is one of the top executives of a Fortune 500 company, thanks to her nemesis Richard Boyd. They started together fresh out of college and the past fifteen years have done little to ease the competition between them. Their boss John believes their rivalry brings the best out of them, thus helping the company and begins their final race towards their ultimate prize - the Managing Director position.
Everything changes when Tara finds herself attracted to her subordinate Aidan, who is every woman's fantasy. How does this love change Tara's life? Does she realize that work place romances are not as easy as it seems before it is too late? You should grab The Corner Office to know what find the answers.
I requested the book looking for an easy read with the plot about interoffice romance with a dark twist. But it proved to be more than I bargained for and it is not your typical love triangle. The plot has a steady pace, and the intimate scenes are refreshingly well written. I finished it in about three hours which is my new best.
I liked the premise and the ending which is what we were rooting for. I loved everything about the book except its lead characters. I know what I said sounds confusing. Let me explain.
I tried so hard to like Tara. She is hard working. She is at the top. She has her priorities. She treats other women with respect and encourages them. And yet I failed to like her at all.
Was it because she talks so much about work life balance, while she didn't have any? Was it because she talks about sexual harassment and then suffers abuses and threats from an ex silently? Or is it about her work place romance? Well, on the whole, I gave up. I don't like Tara, the lead.
Though two of the lead characters have been trying to beat each other for more than a decade, there is a very little back-story to support that, except that Tara had turned Richard down when he asked her out. And he is supposed to be a playboy, and you are supposed to dislike him. Because he is a serial womanizer; he does not respect others privacy.
But the problem I had with disliking him was that all these reasons were what Tara tells us. There is not one instance, (okay there is one scene - the very first one) that he behaves like a creep. And given the history of Tara's men (man), I lost the trust on her calling him creep. SoI ended up liking Richard, not in a mushy way but in a 'thank God he is not what Tara presumed to be' way.
Despite all these, I kinda liked the undertone of the story that spoke about feminism and women empowerment, without making it preachy. If you want to read an interoffice romance with just a perfect dose of violence, flirty and steamy scenes, The Corner Office should be your pick. ...more
Read the full review at Musings Over Nothing Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The storyRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The story begins with DI Eleanor Raven undergoing a psychiatric evaluation to she certify that she was fit enough to get back into her groove. She and her partner Laurence Whitefoot are called in to attend a domestic hostage situation that involves an army veteran, where they find a human hand. What they find in the autopsy reports is more than they bargained for, and to make matters worse for them the military is stopping them from digging deeper.
Soon the city has another weird case where dead carcasses of dogs are strung in a boiler room. And add a few more dead bodies, and the Toronto DI Raven has too many things on her plate. Are they all interconnected or is it just her mind that plays tricks on her? Her visits to her psychiatrists are becoming more and more upsetting, and she begins to be wary of him as well. As the body count keeps increasing, her ability is questioned, and it is a race against time.
The only way for to solve the murders is to do what she has been fighting against. Re-visit the demons from the past. Will she be able to conquer her inner conflicts and find the killer on time? Spoiler: she does. Read on The Cold Room to find out more.
The Cold Room is the third part of the The Eleanor Raven Series. I have not read the previous works, yet the book worked its charm on me even as a standalone. The writing is tight and makes sure that you would not want to skim down any line. Though there were quite a few cliches, they did not hamper my interest in the story.
I didn't find any character likable at all, especially DI Raven. I found her too annoying and reckless for my taste. The other characters, which were too many, were not developed to their potential. But that is understandable given the pace that book was set in. And of course, they might have been already dealt with in the previous parts.
I liked that the author doesn't dumb it down for the readers by explaining every clue and boring them to death. She understands that the readers of this genre would be able to catch up with her thread of thoughts without too many explanations. That being said, wait to be surprised at the end.
You might have read quite a number of thrillers and DI stories. While the premise of this book may not surprise you, the crisp writing and the killer storyline would. If you are looking to read a fast paced thriller that would keep you reading through the midnight, The Cold Room could be very well your choice....more
Stillhouse Lake is fast paced and is definitely not your breezy summer read. It is intense and has twists aRead my full review at Musings Over Nothing
Stillhouse Lake is fast paced and is definitely not your breezy summer read. It is intense and has twists are well placed that would keep you hooked until the last page. The reader is as confused as Gwen about people she could trust and things she should stay away from. The book talks a lot about the dark side of the Internet and it is terrifying that all the threats and abuses she and her kids have been facing are possible in today's world.
There are a few plot holes that I am trying hard not to nitpick, but the whole premise works only on those flimsy grounds. For instance, Gina had been married for ten years and she has never been into her husband's garage, where he had been hiding, raping, abusing and killing several girls. Gina trusts someone (spoiler) who had been against her from the beginning. And this baffles me: is it even possible in this real life that there are thousands of people who want to kill a family when they were not even related to the murders, especially in this self-absorbed world where we talk about any social issue only until the next one crops up?
The creepy serial killer angle works great, but no other characters are likable. Usually I like women protagonists who are stong and fight back, but Gwen did nothing of that sort, except being so predictable and stupid. The book ends with a cliffhanger which may or not work for you. Though much has been said about Stillhouse Lake ending with a cliffhanger in the book world, the book works well as the first installment in a series to come and as a standalone too. I didn't mind that some questions have not been answered.
While the plot and premise are refreshingly new, the writing leaves a bad aftertaste in your mouth. If keeping the story moving was all that was aimed at, well the author succeeded. There are girls tortured and killed, kids kidnapped and one character is sent to death row and yet I am thinking about the bad writing. Yes that was the level of connection I had to the characters. I was fed up with her badly written monologue that repeated in every chapter. The author commits more than once the cardinal sin of telling but not showing. She tells the reader what to see, what to feel rather than letting us learn by action or context. It irritated the crap out of me.
Despite all these misgivings I was not able to put the book down until the last page. So if you are looking a fast paced thriller like The Girl on the Train this is your poison, pick it right away....more
The story follows two little 'mixed race' girls who grow up in the not so rich part of London Tracey, theRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing
The story follows two little 'mixed race' girls who grow up in the not so rich part of London Tracey, the dancer, and our unnamed narrator. Tracey stands out in everything they do together - she is confident, rebelling and imaginative and a better dancer of the two, while the narrator is a good student and hopes to get out of the neighborhood. Her mother's upbringing makes sure she realizes that only hard work pays, while Tracey's home-life is almost ungoverned.
She joins as an assistant to the super star singer Aimee and travels worldwide as her works demands. She loves the job as she shuttles between the UK and a downtrodden country in the West Africa where Aimee was building a girls school. She feels alienated in the Africa as much as she does in London.
Our narrator is quite taken with strong characters right from her childhood while she is happy being invisible in the backdrop. She doesn't have any talent like Tracey or an ambition like her mother or the drive like Aimee. This makes her a less compelling character to love or remember.
How do the friends gravitate towards each other when things go south? How long could she live in the shadows of others or if she did, would she happy? Read Swing Time to know more.
The story oscillates among various time frames and places and does a brilliant job in weaving a quite fascinating tale. Though there are a few parts of the story that might have been little dragging and I admit to skimming a bit here and there, the author's literary skill makes it all worth the while.
I found Swing Time to be a solid piece of social commentary, rather than a piece of fiction that talks about two friends, which is what it is primarily. Zadie deals a variety of themes like different races and the privileges that come with them, parenthood and the importance of family, poverty and classes, that add up succinctly into the coming of age tale.
I particularly liked the thread of dichotomies between the haves and have nots, coloured and uncoloured, the Americans and the British, the talented and privileged and the ones that aren't, that ran throughout the novel. This is the first time I am reading Zadie Smith. I am not entirely in love with the book, but I am ready to read more of hers, like White Teeth and On Beauty that everyone has been raving so far.
Swing Time is not your typical summer reads. It has little hard to get into and harder to stick to especially in the middle. If you love reading prose that promises you insights about the society and the world as a whole accompanied by beautiful and strong writing - Swing Time should be your pick....more
Book Review: When Dimple Met RishiDo you know what is the overused word that I have been dreading to hear or read about a book? Nerds. Thanks to JohnBook Review: When Dimple Met RishiDo you know what is the overused word that I have been dreading to hear or read about a book? Nerds. Thanks to John Green, Chetan Bhagat and the likes, I am pushed to cringe physically when someone describes themselves as nerds. So when every book blogger I adore went crazy reviewing about the new YA on the block with two Indian leads who are nerds, I was not sure I would like the end of that melodrama. Still, I had to try it, right? Read more to find out what I feel about When Dimple Met Rishi. Book Name: When Dimple Met Rishi: The laugh-out-loud YA romcom Author: Sandhya Menon Genre: Fiction - YA Characters: Dimple Shah, Rishi and Ashish Patel, Celia
Dimple Shah has ambitious plans for her life and has been accepted to Stanford. She wants to attend a coding camp that might give her a chance to work with her role model. But her parents have other plans for her. Rishi Patel, her parents' choice of the groom for Dimple, arrives at the Insomnia Camp to spend time with her. Dimple ambushed by her parents hates Rishi even before she gets a chance to know him. Does her opinion about Rishi changes after she knows him better?
Rishi is the perfect first born son for his Indian parents, who follows his dad's footsteps into computer engineering. He falls for the girl his parents chose for him and agrees to woo her at the summer program she has enlisted to. Does this arranged marriage situation end up well for his hopelessly romantic self? Does he realize what makes him happy, than just being the model son? You have to read the When Dimple Met Rishi to find out more.
Dimple and Rishi are so opposite in their beliefs and value systems, though their origin and culture are the same. While she is a rebel and wants to shine out in the world for herself before she could think of marriage, Rishi stays true to his roots and wants to fulfill his parents' desires. They are both perfect for each other and fight hard to keep on their courses despite the fact that they were falling for each other. Oh, by the way, I totally adored the other duo (Ashish and Celia) in the story, and I am more than excited to know that there might be a follow up on their stories too.
When Dimple Met Rishi is a cute YA contemporary that would make you grin in all the right places. This short read is what one needs one a bored afternoon to lift you from your slump. Yes, there are some stereotyping towards Indians. And even as an Indian from a similar background, I could not believe these kids were just eighteen. I mean I was never that serious even then. I actually pegged Rishi to be in his late 20s or early 30s, before I had read further. You know I had already another Rishi with whom I had the same problem.
There are a few Hindi slangs but not too many to be turn-offish and the writing is so fluid and breezy that I read the book in less than three hours. Is When Dimple Met Rishi worth all the commotion it has created by the Twittersphere and the great reviews found online? I would say a YES! If you are in the mood for a YA/romcom this season your choice is right here.
Read full review at Musings Over Nothing Written in the 1980s and still, it has not lost its relevance may reason out why the book is called a classic.Read full review at Musings Over Nothing Written in the 1980s and still, it has not lost its relevance may reason out why the book is called a classic. If anything, The handmaid's tale has become more and more pertinent today, given the current world scenario. I hail from a nation where rape seems to the screaming weekly headline, where feminism is more or less a topic for the keyboard warriors and reservation and rationing are the only ways to go by.
Incidentally, I live in a country which believes in 'respecting' women, 'saving' them from men, yet are not allowed to make decisions about their unborn fetus. There are nations where women are not even allowed to drive or make a visit to the mall without a proper chaperon. Let us not forget the wall that our dear Mr. Trump has promised to build to protect us from the immigrants and the religious terrorism he is raging against.
You guessed it right, every one of these actions is a fragment of imagination that Margret Atwood takes us through in her novel. And you know what? Somehow we are all conditioned to living and adapting to these rules, that we no longer think that we are complying with them but accepting them as the way of life. Yes, I no longer feel The Handmaid's Tale is a far-fetched work of fiction.
The Handmaid's Tale might be a little hard to get into, yet once you are into it, you can not stop it. I started reading the book and heard the rest of it when I was out and about living my life because I could not put it down. The narration is not linear, there are places where you might be confused, especially at the initial parts, but it will grow on you. And oh, I loved the emphasis thrown on the importance of the written and spoken word in creating a new world, as any bibliophile would.
And my dear grammar nazis, yes there are a lot of commas, quotes and other generic rules that are broken, but somehow it works. In fact they make it better. (Mother Earth can swallow me). There are too many seemingly simple lines that make them powerful quotes for that very reason. The ambiguous ending works so well that I cannot stop pondering over. I am yet to watch Hulu's take on the book as a TV series, but it is on my to-do list.
You can not read The Handmaid's Taleas a breeze through the weekend read. You can not unsee once you have been to the Republic of Gilead and not relate it to the real world. If you are one of those who gets offended by the term 'feminism,' read the book with an open mind. Given the current state of chaos, we live in you will relate to it....more
The story is fast paced and absolutely un-put-down-able. I loved the clever storyline that kept us on toes tilRead full review at Musings Over Nothing
The story is fast paced and absolutely un-put-down-able. I loved the clever storyline that kept us on toes till the very end. Each side of the tape talks about a reason that triggered her to die, according to her. The book and the series, both alternate between the voices of Hannah and Clay, which works very well. The series was honest to the book and the audiobook was better even (yeah I did try the audio book as well). There are some changes made to the series, which for me made better sense. But the climax in the book seemed more plausible than in the Netflix series understandably.
At some low point, most of us would have had thought 'who would be sorry , if I were dead right now?'. Hannah takes it a little further and takes that action. For me, she is not likable, relate-able or even tolerable. I was feeling that it was like Mean girls part 2, all the way through, except we knew Mean Girls would have a good (sorta) ending. Yes people were mean to her. Boys were particularly mean to her. Friends moved on. Shit happens. That is how life is. Though I agree all these reasons could have snowballed her towards her suicide, it was her choice. I agree that every action that people unwittingly commit, might affect others, but that does not make you responsible for their reactions. No, I do not justify their actions, nor do I appreciate Hannah vilifying everyone else. In fact almost every one of the characters had an own issue to cope up in their lives, and they have their own mechanisms. Some work, some did not. Sadly Hannah's didn't work and still seems a glamorous way out. The question the story poses is not 'who killed Hannah?' more of 'how do we avoid another death', though it does not come of quite that way.
While 13RW boasts about talking about suicide among teens, the taboo, I am not sure if it does any justice to it. Just alienation at the school cannot drive one to commit suicide, without discussing the depressed feeling part. It still confounds me why is it so hard to say depression or mental illness. I have not found even a mention of it in the book or the series. I don't get how talking against suicide, bullying and rape is encouraged and even glamorous, while depression is not. Again that topic is for another day. Oh well, that disappointed me.
I liked the pace and writing, but I simply hate the hype around it. In short the two problems I faced with 13RW were: 1) The characters are not just flawed, they are not deep. 2) It does not talk about the relevant issues, that it boasts of. The message sent across is wrong and poorly researched. There are several loopholes in the story, but I don't even want to go into that.
Bottom line: Pick it up if only books with suicide and rape are okay for you. Read once if you wanna know what the hype is all about, If you don't, you are missing nothing anyway....more
Very far from the bests of Agatha Christie, A Caribbean Mystery has a pleasant change of the ambiance from the cold England and the usual local bodiesVery far from the bests of Agatha Christie, A Caribbean Mystery has a pleasant change of the ambiance from the cold England and the usual local bodies that Miss Marple talks about. Though it is a quick read and I normally like Christie's book, this one was too plain to my liking. I had to stop at different places, despite the colorful characters. I did not even bother to try to guess the murderer.
As usual I loved the repartee of Miss Marple with one of the characters, here Mr Rafiel, an old business tycoon, who is simply rude and too blunt for anyone. Quite a contrast to our Miss Marple, who is genteel and soft spoken. Well, that is the only part of the story that kept me going, and unfortunately it was not long enough.
Bottom-line: Worth a quick read, if you like Miss Marple series.
The novel alternates between different point of views and time-lines, which works pretty well. The pace ofRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing
The novel alternates between different point of views and time-lines, which works pretty well. The pace of narration is consistent and doesn't slacken a bit. The storyline might seem too familiar and the climax quite a bit overused, but the real strength of the novel is the vivid description of the scenario and the terror that engulfs the McAlistair family. The author makes it look like we are almost watching a movie, a scary one at that. Realising the story uses a famous character from Stephen King's novel creates a thrill that only a fan would understand.
I am no scaredy cat in general, and the nightmares are something I have to accept as a part of the life of a horror addict. But just as I started reading Forsaken by J D Barker, I realised it was going to be much harder because it involves a pregnant woman and it somehow made queasy. Thankfully, the writer did not take us down that road.
Despite all these strengths, I took a day more than usual to finish. Why? I couldn't get to understand the characters, much less like them. I would have liked to have known the characters better and deeper, I felt they were pretty one dimensional. There was just a small part (less than a chapter) to explain the witch's effect on the young girl, which could have been a tad longer and stronger. It might just be me, but I couldn't help imagining 'the minions' from the 'Despicable' movies instead of the creepy, evil witch worshipers. My bad but I just could not.
For someone who is eagerly awaiting the release of the movie 'IT' and is gathering her wits to read the book, Forsaken acted as the right place to start. With an obvious and expected influence from Stephen King, Barker could be an author I might have to watch out. If you wanna read quick, fast, creepy thriller, I recommend Forsaken by J D Barker....more
What would you do if you witness a murder that no one seems to believe about? Give up? Mrs Elspeth McGillicuddRead full review at Musings Over Nothing
What would you do if you witness a murder that no one seems to believe about? Give up? Mrs Elspeth McGillicuddy doesn't. On her return journey after her Christmas purchase by train the 4:50 from Paddington, she witnesses a man strangling a woman on the train that passes hers. She reaches to the concerned authorities but realises that no one is taking her word seriously. Lucky for her, she stays with her friend Miss Jane Marple, an old busybody who not just knows the right people to talk to, but also believes earnestly in her friend that she decides to solve the case on her own.
The ending is entirely unexpected, as with most of the Agatha Christie's. Miss Marple appears too little in the story, to my liking. In fact, she arrives only to stitch the bits and pieces of everyone's part into a meaningful whodunnit. Lucy plays her stand-in for the most part of the story and does more than what is expected of her. There are funny parts that worked only for her like the one where all the Crackenthorpes men were trying to make some proposition to her. Another thing I love about the story is how easy the young ones have it there, you know amidst murders and all. In fact the elders considered it even healthy for the kids to go look for clues about the murderer, and it goes as far as one of the elders is ready to prepare a fake clue just to keep them occupied. Maybe it was just the period they lived in, but the presence of these kids did liven up the book by a bit.
Though 4:50 from Paddington is definitely not my favorite Agatha Christie, it was a pleasure re-reading just for the childhood memories. The story ran too long and too slow in parts. The ending was unexpected, but it failed to make the reader wonder how he had missed the glaring clue at the end after it was solved. I love whodunnits that make me feel that surprised that 'oh the murderer was just among them, all along. How did I miss that?' Well, 4:50 from Paddington did not do that. Oops, I have said enough, no more spoilers.
Bottom-line: Best read during a train journey....more
The pace of the story and writing is racy enough to hold the attention of the reader, despite the length oRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing
The pace of the story and writing is racy enough to hold the attention of the reader, despite the length of the novel and complex twists in the story. The plot never sags at any point and keeps the grip on the reader until the very last moment. The beginning of the novel intrigued, especially the Kolkatta stadium débâcle and Shantanu trying to kill himself too soon into the story. The novel as such is event based and all the characters are as equally treated as the main protagonists. In fact I ended up falling in love with a non protagonist, John. For example, John's support to different players at different times was much more likeable because his plight and decisions were understandable even though there were not too many explicit dialogues about them.
The story alternates between several time-lines and causes confusion at many places, especially at the beginning. A mention of the time period at the beginning of the chapters might have helped. There are too many characters and too many story lines that ran parallel but without a time-line it is difficult to be sure if they were indeed running parallel. There are places where the novel might seem to be single dimensional in terms of character building. It is quite hard to believe that the guy who kills for a profession could or would kill himself for a girl whose existence he is not sure about. His reason to die is not very strong, for lack of show of his remorse towards his profession or despair on losing his girl or mixture of both.
Despite there being so many characters, and a twist at every chapter end to lead on the reader, the fact that the whole story stayed put together in one piece speaks loud about the clarity of the theme in the author's mind. He knows to keep the suspense till the end, despite a very filmy finish and epilogue, which might work for the target audience. There are very few loopholes in the story, and those maybe only due to the aforementioned time line confusion. It is not an easy read but surely will reach the targeted YA and movie lovers alike. ...more
Ove is a mean, grumpy and opinionated old man, who looks forward to the day he would join his late wife, SonjaRead full review at Musings Over Nothing
Ove is a mean, grumpy and opinionated old man, who looks forward to the day he would join his late wife, Sonja. He even attempts to take his life to end his misery. He does not take well to the modern life and hates people. His life turns around when his new neighbor backs his trailer straight into his garden. Despite his apparent displeasure and cantankerous behavior, he seems to be forever helping his pesky neighbors and a cat that would not get out of his way.
The story alternates between his current life which doesn't seem to be in short of amusing incidents and a life that had lived before he lost everything he loved. Ove reminded me of those 'get off my lawn' characters, who hate everything around them, yet have a sense of civic duty and moral obligation to be right. What happens to this grumpy old man when he unwillingly meets his messy neighbors, forms the rest of the story.
A man called Ove is one of the heartwarming books that would bring a smile to your cold heart. I could not help grinning at the instances when his neighbors took it upon themselves to become his friends when he took elaborate measures to avoid them. One can understand his becoming a misanthrope when life kept kicking him down relentlessly, but again he has been 'an old man' for ages. I loved that Ove and Sonja seemed made for each other, - she outgoing and cheerful and him wary and bitter.
I know the book has been receiving raving reviews for a while now, and I am probably too late to join the party, but here I am. Don't we all love a bittersweet tale that makes you feel mushy every time you read it? If yes, read A man called Ove, right away....more
Disclaimer: Thanks to the B00k R3vi3ws for the free copy of the book.
It had been so long that I read about Jews and their customs and this story set in Israel was a welcome change. And added to that the party visits India, my place of birth making it doubly pleasurable to read and understand how things work with authorities here. Kudos to the author for keeping the photographic jargon pretty simple to layman, yet the descriptive language and the writing style was a little hard to get used to. The murders and their modi operandi were interesting, and I could not guess the murderers until the very end. I found the narration part of Hagit very annoying and her desire to please her partner Shemesh seemed too filmy for my taste. The last chapter which was supposed to be the one that solves the 'whodunnit' was too long and one could even get away reading it instead of the entire novel.
Looking for a book that takes you across countries on a murder chase? Go grab Optimal Exposure by Dan Rogel. ...more
I loved the smaller quirkier characters like Meena, the quintessential Afghan sister who hated the imposinRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing
I loved the smaller quirkier characters like Meena, the quintessential Afghan sister who hated the imposing Taliban and was forever searching for a beautiful bride for his brother. Or Delphine, Mumtaz's mother in law, who turned from a dissatisfied mother in law to a friend who could confide in her daughter in law.
I love reading about the Taliban and their rigid society set up in their war-torn country. Though there is very less about them in the book, their teachings and their 'rationale' to aid people to understand the need for their ideas, have never stopped amusing me. I, like Mohsin, could not help but try to reason it out yet fail miserably. Personal rantings aside, I liked the way that the author had handled the reasonings of the Mullah and thereby Taliban for every one of their teaching.
Though the book is a tad bit lengthy and the plot line predictable, the author held my attention with tales from the culture rich Afghan. The author did not dwell much about the history of Afghan and made up for it with the down to earth stories from the Taliban's Afghan. The characters were likeable and their actions believable, but I felt there could have been more to characters other than Mohsin.
If you want to have a quick and easy dig into the Afghan tales, grab this up right away!...more
Disclaimer: Thanks to Edelweiss for the Advance Review Copy of the book.
The story revolves around Rebecca Flowers, President of Movingup! Senior Moving Consultant and Reed Stewart, a pro golfer set at Bloomville, Indiana. The duo part after a prom date gone awry, one that involves EMTs, cops and a judge, none other than the father of Reed, Judge Richard P. Stewart, who cuts him off from the family. But when the Judge Richard and his wife Connie have their senile moments and others are confused how to handle them or their wrath, they engage Becky, with much opposition from their family moments. What happens when the star-struck lovers meet as adults and each having their partners from the rest of the story.
To be fair this is a chick lit and the story is not really too difficult to predict, but the premise is new, about a senior moving consultant and her occupation. As it goes with the premise, there are several other characters and their relationship tangles which make the typical love story more interesting.
The length and pace of the entire story are steady and apt for the storyline; I was able to finish the 400 pages in lesser than 3 hours. The only issue some might find with the book is the narrative style, as few might not like the entire story through only digital communications, devoid of any actual conversations between any of the characters. While I liked the group chats between Reed, Marshall and Carly and even between Becky and Nicole, it became quite tiresome to read a whole lot of them.
The boy is back is the fourth book in the Boy series. The story does continue from the events that happened ten years ago, and it works well as a stand alone even when I haven't read the series earlier. Catch this funny, light and breezy chick lit if you like the Princess Dairies from the same author. Would be perfect travel companion if you read this genre....more
Read the full review at Musings Over Nothing The anthology has 20 tales taken from our daily life, of commoners that we come across in our routine daysRead the full review at Musings Over Nothing The anthology has 20 tales taken from our daily life, of commoners that we come across in our routine days woven with such intricate emotions that you would complete reading the whole book in a night's time. There is no set theme for the stories and it has stories from all walks of life. For instance, Magpie of Memories narrates the woeful tale of a trans-gender while it leaves you smiling at the consequences of small misunderstandings with the Stain of Love.
The characters are from the extremes and would leave you wondering if they were aimed to be so. While Charlattan talking about a wife's stand on her husband's lecherous way, you have The Cursed Existence to talk about the disparity against females and honour killing.
I loved the way the way the stories are arranged that takes you through mixed emotions back and forth. I liked the tone in which all the stories were set, though there were places better editing could have helped. Grab the book if you want to have a quick read....more
The writing alternates between the diary entries and narrations of the the main characters and their motRead the full review at : Musings Over Nothing
The writing alternates between the diary entries and narrations of the the main characters and their mother . It took me a while to get into the story because of the variations in the voices and these changeovers were too soon for my taste. But once I got into the plot after about 30 pages, I did not drop the book even once for the next two hours. The story thrusts upon the reader mystery after mystery and holds the same suspense and thrill till the last page. More than once I changed my guess on the guiltier person, and the plot thickened even after I completed about 80% of the book, which is highly commendable.
I felt the book could have had some dates to help the reader to form a timeline of the events in his mind, especially since these were diary entries. Though the author had the clarity regarding her plot, there were some untied knots or rather some knots needed better explanation. I wish there had been a clearer narration of what happened on the fateful, yet all I received was biased view from both the sides. Okay, now I am just nitpicking, the last chapter or epilogue could have been done away with and a slightly open ended narration could have let the reader's imagination run riot.
There may have been places that made me feel the writing could have better but hey the making-me-sit-on-the-edge-of-my-seat plot makes up for everything else. Also be warned of the explicit contents like gory violence and rape, scenes related to pedophilia, ritualism and BDSM and mildly abusive language involved. The first book that I could relate this book to is the Gone Girl, though the plots and the writing are nothing similar. If you liked the Gone Girl and you are in the look out for your next psychological thriller, then here is your next book. ...more
Read full review at Musings Over Nothing The story begins with Sister Benedictine's suicide leaving a group of monks on a trail in Spain. Siobhan watchRead full review at Musings Over Nothing The story begins with Sister Benedictine's suicide leaving a group of monks on a trail in Spain. Siobhan watches the story on the television to realize that it was her mother who went missing six years ago. She begins her journey to the isolated convent her mother seemed to have belonged to in a quest to search answers for her questions. She is tailed by the mysterious monks when she finds her mother's confession and a mysterious key. What she learns leaves her confused about her mother's sanity and makes her start doubting her loyalty to her family. Whom would you choose to believe and trust - your mother who abandoned you six years ago or the person whom you have loved and protected until that moment?
The book takes us through two parallel stories from different realms, her mother's story leading to the suicide and the daughter who is trying to solve the mystery behind her mother's disappearance and the subsequent public death. Denise's story and her deal with the Devil had me engrossed and sleep defied me until I completed it. Of course, as always I rooted for the so called bad guy, the Devil and was waiting for him to get his share back. There are quite some graphic scenes of violence, so a word of caution for the faint hearted.
I loved that Lucas's storyline never dropped its momentum anywhere in the story. But I did find a difference in the writing between Denise's and Siobhan's stories, may be it was intentional - or not. The ending seemed to be a little bit hastened and cluttered though that did not affect the reading experience much. I repeat, I can't wait for the sequel. Even though the book did not leave a cliffhanger, there are too many answered questions.
If you like historical fiction/thriller, grab The Devil's Prayer already....more
The story set in an 'end of the world' scenario is built around a mother Constance, her daughter Stella (whoRead full review at: Musings Over Nothing
The story set in an 'end of the world' scenario is built around a mother Constance, her daughter Stella (who was her son until a short while ago) and Dylan a young man who has just moved into their neighbourhood. Dylan still grieving the death of his mom and his grandmother, leaves the Babylon movie theatre which was his world until now. He is attracted to Constance, a quirky cool mom who is frowned upon by their mini society for having been in just two relationships in the past 20 years. She is also very protective about her daughter/son Stella, who is being bullied by her former friends.
If you are on the lookout for a complete Doomsday SciFi, then this is not the book for you. Ice Age is a mere backdrop of this well spun story on humans and relationship. In fact, there are inconsistencies in the science and beliefs that we have about ice ages, but those flaws are ignorable for it has some eccentric and interesting characters that make up for it. The characters and the premise are absolutely off the world.
Even with the story moving at a glacial place and that I couldn't relate much to the characters, the poetic writing made me sit through the 300 pages. It handles several difficult themes like coming of age, gender confusion, monogamy, Transgender issues, bullying etc that makes the end-of-the-world seem much less important, intentionally or otherwise.
Bottomline: Read this book if you are interested in the themes like gender confusion, monogamy, Transgender issues, bullying, ignore the slow pace and indulge yourselves in the depth of the writing.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Random House (publisher) free of cost in return for an honest review. ...more
I liked the protagonist, even if he was the typical south Indian guy and did not do anything that is impressioRead full review at Musings Over Nothing
I liked the protagonist, even if he was the typical south Indian guy and did not do anything that is impressionable. Yeah the kind of guy we usually friendzone at the first instant - the kind of guy we run to when we have an issue. I liked him, but neither do I approve nor would want someone to do the things he does, for me - so yes I feel obviously like Sinduja. (I will get to that later).
I can not say the same thing about Chilakamma, oops Sravani. Having met enough number of Sravani's in my life, all I can feel is nothing towards her owing to the one dimensional focus of the story.
I loved Sinduja, she seemed my kind of girl; someone I could be friends with, and cursed the author for never giving her her dues, apart from the long 'marketing dialogues' (using Sravani's words) on their sibling love and everything else. What is the deal with her and Vinod?
I understand the stale state of relationship between Jai and his family, but it is really odd to see him being so attentive to Sravani, Sailu and their family and even Viji and then completely leaving his family out of the picture. Is there something I am missing about his character?
I loved the writing style of the author. There were too many instances in the story that made me feel as this is as real as it can get. I somehow predicted the end was not going to be something that I was rooting for, but I was okay with the ending as it made sense.
I loved the beginning of the novel in terms of the language. I did not even have to wait for something to happen, because I was reeling among the words. The critic in me wanted to go past the mundane trek itinerary, which had nothing to do with the story at all, but the English lover wanted to stay.
There were too many conversations between Jai and Sravani - I mean too much to even care for. I don't want a peep into someone else's diary, especially if it was not going to contribute to the pace of the story. The pace of the story wavers between slow - accelerated - then a bit drag and all of a sudden at a jet speed and there we are at the end. But having said that, I couldn't put the book down even when the pace was slow.
Bottom line: If you love a simple, no nonsense love story with beautiful language this could be your pick. ...more