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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two mini reviews -The Amber Room - Steve Berry and Shiva's Arms by

My computer troubles still do not seem to end! I tried to upload the cover of this book and failed!!!

The Amber Room has been around for a longtime though I just read it. A sort of historical fiction thriller would be the best way I could describe the book. It revolves around a Nazi scheme of robbing/hiding antiquities - one of which is the famous Amber Room. The only people knowledgeable about its whereabouts are Karol (now an American citizen) and Chapaeva still living in his native land. Both are determined not to even think of the Amber Room's existence as so many have died in their search for this. At the same time you get a group of seven billionaires whose one job it seems is collecting antiques of every kind for their personal pleasure and in a seemingly one upmanship of getting more than you! This is the basic bones of the story.

Add to this a romantic reunion, a couple of unsolved and seemingly unrelated murders, a transatlantic chase covering several countries and you have a thriller which was very interesting.

The next book is Shiva's Arms by Cheryll Snell. This was a win from Bookloverreview and was a light read. The story deals with a traditional Tamilian boy from India who marries an American girl. The difficulties of dealing with extended families is the main theme of the book for me because there is no idea of personal space or privacy in such large extended families. The idea is so alien to them because it is the family and saving face for the family that is important. The individual works for the family good and also to better the position of those within the family. Alice the American wife seems to bend over backwards to comply with all the requests of this Indian family and especially the mother in law who until the very end gives her daughter in law a very tough time.

I do hope people who read this book do not think that the situation is absolutely typical of an Indian family because I doubt that it is so!!! Family ties (and more importantly absolute obedience to a patriarch or matriarch of a family) may be more important in Asia than in the West, but I doubt that it is so rigidly marked as it was in this book. The fact that most people think that the West is paved in gold is old hat now and I doubt that unless in a very rural area, that people would still hold on to that view.

Reading as an Asian (and just a hop and a skip away from Tamilnadu) for me the book was a very lighthearted read. Thank you Joanne for sending the book on to me.

By the way I am leaving for Chennai this afternoon and looking forward to shopping -amongst other things books head my list!


  1. Both of these seem like books I might enjoy. Thanks for the reviews. Have fun shopping today!

  2. Thanks for mentioning my book. I'm glad you appreciated the lighter side of it.
    It was not meant to represent any significant percentage of poly-cultural families; I just wanted to have characters ambivalent enough to dramatize all the upheavals of immigration and finding a place to call home.

    Have fun on your trip!

  3. I enjoyed The Amber Room as well. For Shiva's Arms, I found the main problem to be a lack of communication for all involved!

    Great reviews.

  4. Is it Tamilian and not Tamil? well, you learn something new every day...

  5. The person referred to is a Tamilian, the language is Tamil. I think thats how it is.

  6. I enjoyed The Amber Room too. His earlier books seem to focus more on the history and the newer ones more on the thriller. But a series that is good entertainment.

    Book shopping!! Let us know what you end up with!

  7. Those both sound like great books! :)