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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Blogger Hop 1st April to 4th April.

This meme sponsored by helps us get in contact with like minded and sometimes very different bloggers. Please go visit Jennifer's blog and follow the links. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added!

This weeks question:
Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?"

It is April Fool's day also in Sri Lanka. The only jokes we played were those we did whilst in school. Sending someone to the Principal was the height of excitement in those days!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review - Kate Atkinson's Started Early Took My Dog

I read Kate Atkinson's When will there be good news and could not wait to finish it - all of one evening so my expectations were very high with this one! It started slowly and for me it was disconcerting as it seemed disjointed if that is an adequate description. It seemed bits of a jigsaw puzzle which I could not seem to fit at all.

It was after over 80 pages into the read that I got into the swing of it and began to enjoy the story. Though Jackson Brodie the sleuth in the book which is part of a series, it does not matter reading one of them as they seem to stand alone as each story is not connected at all to the other.

Without trying to give out very much of the book the story is set in several parts and in different time frames. Jackson comes out of retirement to find out the birth parents of Hope who is now settled in New Zealand happily, and is just mildly curious about her original family. In trying to uncover this story - the real story begins. We have unsolved murders, prostitution, corruption in the police to add spice to the story.

The other part of this story is that Yorkshire also had its fair share of serial killers. Although prostitutes were the main victims, several other girls also fell victim to this killer. What is the connection between Hope's story and the serial killer victims.

This was the complicated part and where the book gets complex and interesting at the same time. Apart from the actual crime, the people in the book are funny, absolutely down to earth and real and you can visualise each character as they play their part in the story. A very good

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review - The Emperor - Cynthia Harrod- Eagles

It is 1795 and Napoleon is just beginning his meteoric rise to power and control over the whole of Europe. More than control he seems to have frightened the whole of Europe into believing that he could just walk in and take over.

It is also leading to a slackening of the morals of the period. We find James and Mary Ann in a loveless marriage - James bitterly angry, frustrated and desperate that he is in this circle of marriage from which he cannot get out, whilst the love of his life Heloise is on the periphery of his life. Mary Ann angry that however much she puts into this marriage she will always be second best for James - not second best but actually third best once her daughter Fanny is born. You get Lucy - James's sister married to her "best friend" almost a brother sister relationship and expecting the marriage to succeed. Lucy has strange ideas about marriage, sex, children - and believes that all of them should be compartmentalized and boxed up neatly, until she falls head over heels in love with Captain Weston and throws caution and society rules to the winds and is very surprised when her husband shows that he does care what people think.

The story follows the family - Mary with her Captain aboard the ship even during battle, giving birth to baby Africa and dying later of child bed fever. The fact that life does go on, the next generation of children being born Hippolyta and Africa, Fanny and surprisingly Henry, Sophie and Flaminia, Rosamund and Roland will take the story on to its next level.

It also emphasizes that in reality however great the tragedy that befalls a family, very few families will die out. Life is a continuous circle and the next story may be even better than this.

I am enjoying my reads of the Morland family - not everyone is a Morland here but they are all linked to this family. I also like the snippets of how people lived, ate, drank and entertained during the time and how difficult it was to be a housewife or rather a mistress of a big house - the responsibilities were heavy and endless.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mailbox Monday 27th March 2011

Mailbox Monday is a meme which was originally hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page. It is now on tour and this month's host is I'm booking it. Please go and have a look and link up with this meme and tell fellow bloggers what came into your house this week.

Here is my mailbox. Again it is all historical fiction - all from a second hand book sale. Though I have not got the whole series, I am finding that the books are a sort of stand alone as well though it is part of a series so that it is not difficult if you do not have the entire lot to read. Each book has one main figure which is a stand out to the others who are in the periphery as it were. All descriptions of each book are from the author's web site.

Begins: 1874

Period: High Victorian; women's right

Venetia is on the brink of marrying Lord Hazelmere when she discovers he does not mean to allow her to continue training as a doctor. She calls the wedding off, and from being the talk of the Season becomes the scandal of the year. Estranged from family and friends, she needs all her determination to continue the fight. At Morland place George and Alfreda continue to spend on grandiose building schemes despite the threat of bankruptcy; while Henrietta's cold marriage to the ascetic Rector of Bishopthorpe brings her close to questioning her religion.

Begins: 1874

Period: High Victorian; women's rights

Venetia is on the brink of marrying Lord Hazelmere when she discovers he does not mean to allow her to continue training as a doctor. She calls the wedding off, and from being the talk of the Season becomes the scandal of the year. Estranged from family and friends, she needs all her determination to continue the fight. At Morland place George and Alfreda continue to spend on grandiose building schemes despite the threat of bankruptcy; while Henrietta's cold marriage to the ascetic Rector of Bishopthorpe brings her close to questioning her religion.

Begins: 1630

Period: Charles I, the Civil W

When civil war destroys the long years of peace in England, the clash between King and Parliament is echoed at Morland Place. Richard, the heir, brings home a Puritan bride, while his dashing brother Kit joins the Royalist cavalry under Prince Rupert, leaving their father, Edmund, desperately trying to steer a middle course. As the war grinds on, bitterness replaces early fervour and divisions grow deeper, and through it all Edmund struggles grimly to protect his inheritance and keep Morland Place intact.

Begins: 1720

Period: George I, George II, the Young Pretender (Bonnie Prince Charlie, 1745 Rebellion)

Political intrigue is rife as the Stuart-Hanoverian struggle continues. Jemmy, heir to Morland Place, contracts a dutiful marriage to the chilly Lady Mary in order to secure Hanoverian protection and safeguard his inheritance. Morland lives are riven by the '45 rebellion and the bloody massacre at Culloden, and at their lowest point, their fortunes rest in the small hands of Jemmy's daughter Jemima. Intelligent and single-minded, Jemima proves a capable caretaker of the Morland heritage, and although Morland Place and its lands suffer from the excesses of her dissolute husband, her quiet courage earns her an abiding love and loyalty.

I am reading Kate Atkinson's Started Early Took my Dog but despite my enthusiasm for it before I got the book, I am finding it tough going. Am very disappointed but will read it through and come back with a review.

On a non book note, for those of you who do not know about cricket very much - the World Cup is on right now and some of the matches have been played and one more will be played in Sri Lanka. Cricket is almost a religion in the sub continent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) and of course you get England, Australia, West Indies, New Zealand South Africa, Kenya and now Canada and Netherlands participating as well. The semi finals are about to begin (Tuesday) with Sri Lanka playing New Zealand in Sri Lanka and the huge match of India vs Pakistan in India. I cannot even imagine the security measures that would have to be taken for that match. Then its on to the finals!! Its been a very exciting time in Sri Lanka. We have come so far - our last match was against England and it was wonderful when Sri Lanka won.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book blogger hop 25/2 to 28/2

This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list

If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?"

I would love to be part of Pride and Prejudice!

So, have fun HOPPING and enjoy your BOOK PARTY weekend!!!

Review - The Chevalier by Cynthia Harrod - Eagles

Starting in 1689 and covering a tempestuous period upto 1718 the story covers the Morland dynasty from another perspective. The thread that runs through the entire series is the Morland dynasty it is true, but each book seems to take one character of the period who is the most important one for that era and then has all the others like little suns around her/him and these flesh out the main story.

Beginning from Annunciata Morland all the other characters have their own beautiful stories which form part of The Chevalier. The Stuart cause closest to Annunciata's heart forces her into exile for fourteen long years. The next generation led by Matt a gentle, quiet boy who marries the vivacious, greedy and vicious India leads to the birth of six sons and a disastrous end for India who by her death destroys Matt and his ability to be the head of the clan.

The story continues following James III and his disastrous rout from England. It shows the extent to which loyalty to one's king has been followed to the death for many, to loss of family and home for so many others. It is a concept difficult to follow at times - where choice between one's spouse/children is put aside as loyalty to your King is paramount. Tough choices and this is beautifully shown in this part of the story.

People who read this blog are going to get historical fiction in a big dose as I have almost the entire series of this story. What sets it apart is that although you do know you are reading about a particular family, the stories so far also stand alone so that you are not feeling lost whilst reading it for the first time. The family tree both for the clan as well as for the House of Stuart also help greatly to keep track of events and people.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review - Diplomatic Baggage by Brigid Keenan

The story revolves around a newly wed wife who finds that she has to move lock, stock and barrel every four years to countries where her husband is posted. Add to this that Brigid does not like flying, is terrified of it actually, finds entertaining and dinners difficult, worries incessantly over earthquakes, mud slides and driving on bad roads and you have a roller coaster of a book.

From Brussels to Syria, India to Kazakhstan the book moves swiftly taking in the cultural aspects of each country, the people and style of living in each which Brigid tries to take in her

Diplomatic baggage is a nice travel memoir. It gives us not just the tourist picture of mosques, temples, souks, markets and the like but it also gives you an idea of what happens when you actually go to live in a place like Damascus for example. The idea of being part of the city for four years, making it your home, finding new friends and adapting to the new way of life is part of this story.

I found Brigid's trepidation over some of the things she found frightening a bit difficult to understand - her nervousness over entertaining, her anticipation of what could always go wrong, despite a very supportive husband but overall the book was a lovely look into the life of an expat wife who is expected to cope with everything that life and foreign climes throws at you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Short review - Cynthia Harrod Eagles The Victory

Reviews of this series are going to be short as you are going to see many of them!
Set in the period of Napoleon's attempt to gain supremacy both in Europe and England the sea battles of the time and the political squabbles in England are the backdrop for the story.

In Manchester Mary Jane gets involved in the problems of the working poor - much to the anger of her father and the disapproval of society. It is also strange that she does not wish to live with her husband and disappears for six months at a time to her father's residence taking little Henry with her. She is blissfully happy in her fathers company.

It is also strange that James has absolutely no feelings in this matter and allows her to disappear along with his son - he also does not show any interest in the little boy as well.

James is in love with Heloise has scandalised society by going away for a year to live with her, had a daughter Sophie but has now returned to live with his wife.

James's sister Lucy is even more scandalous (for the times that is!!!). Married to an earl, she has moved out to live with Captain Weston, has a baby with him but still shares the house with her husband who has no qualms whatsoever to do so.

Add to the story a whiff of another scandal - that Lucy's earl is having a homosexual relationship with young Robert and we have enough scandals and gossip for this book!

There is a sorrow of course - the death of both the lover and husband of Lucy within a very short time, the sad death of Mary Jane and Henry of the plague in Manchester but with this comes the realization that James is now free to marry Heloise despite his hellish little daughter.

I cant wait for the next stage of this epic story. If one likes history with a good dash of high jinks in English society, plus family sagas and secrets this series is for you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review - When life gives you lemons, make limoncello by Anura

I picked this book up and it is part of my reading for the South Asian Challenge 2011 hosted by S. Krishna. I had never ever heard of this author, I knew he was Sri Lankan even before I picked up the book as the name is very Sri Lankan but what clinched it was that there was no surname for this author until I did a bit of research and found out about Anura Saparamadu who lived a good part of his years in New York and then moved to Italy in 2001 before returning home post tsunami.

The book covers Anura's life so it is a kind of memoir which is fun, not orthodox and gives one an insight into life as an immigrant. Anura is not the average John or should I say Sunil in Italy - the one who jumps a boat off a coast in Sri Lanka and surreptitiously finds his way to the Italian coast and within a couple of years obtains his documents and eventually sponsors his entire clan. Success stories like this are myriad in Sri Lanka (of course along with the failures) but it is heartening nevertheless. Anura already well established in New York post 9/11 decides to take the plunge as an English teacher in an institute teaching English to the Italians.

His life there, his loves there, his friends - all form part of the story and a very happy go lucky life it seems to be. Despite an erratic and maddening boss, friends provide all the comforts and support of home and Anura seems to be very happy in his day to day life. With the advent of the tsunami, Anura decides to return home. It provided a startling change for me anyway as most immigrants do not return home, however green the pastures have become. Anura was also different in that he did not come from an impoverished background - he did not go as an economic refugee (on the contrary) he came from a very comfortable background and went as he was bored and he wanted a change of scene.

The story was unusual in lots of aspects - definitely not the run of the mill immigrant made good story - and was a very fun read.

Specially after the last three days of constant travelling, this was a nice book to finish the weekend with.

Mailbox Monday 20th March 2011

Mailbox Monday is a meme which was originally hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page. It is now on tour and this month's host is Library of Clean Reads. Please go and have a look and link up with this meme and tell fellow bloggers what came into your house this week.

Here is my Mailbox Monday for this week.

This was a win from Jennifer of I am a Reader not a Writer. Her book depository card gave me this book. I could not believe it when I found it in the Bargain Books section for under $10!!!

Continuing with my purchase of The Morland Dynasty books (only one review up) these four were also purchased from my church sale.

I have been lax in my reading this last week. Work got in the way and their has been more than a fair share of out of town work. That generally knocks my reading schedule as I come back home only fit to sleep! A visit to the Negombo orphanage on Saturday was important with a consignment of dry fish (the closest equivalent would be smoked fish) but this one is very salty
and savory - took 30 kgs there but it will finish very fast!!! A visit also to Thoduwawa (where our fishermen reside) and from where the dry fish originates actually so it was a busy week.

Hopefully this week will see me finish a Virginia Woolf and an absolutely (for me) unknown Sri Lankan author whose memoir of his life in Italy is funny and catchy and just what I need right now.

Happy reading everyone.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book blogger hop 18/3 to 21/3

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer from crazy for books a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word. It helps us meet new book bloggers, make friends, explore new books introduced to us and generally immerse ourselves in books!

This week's question comes from Somer who blogs at A Bird's Eye Review

Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going on at once?
My answer:

I generally read one at a time but if the book is a bit dull, I tend to switch. This does not happen
very often.

Visit other blogs in the Linky List! Make new friends! Follow new book bloggers! Talk about books! Rave about authors! Take the time to make a quality visit! Check out other posts and content, make a new friend! Don't randomly follow someone if you never intend on actually following them!

Have a fun weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review - Robinson by Muriel Spark

A short read quickly finished mainly because of the hype and recommendations of other bloggers! so I had to know quickly....

January Marlow is one of three survivors of a plane crash on the island of Robinson. They have to wait for three months for the arrival of the pomegranate boat to get back to civilization. Their host Robinson is a taciturn, not very welcoming host who wants them gone as quickly as possible and has to tolerate them - just barely whilst they are there.

On Robinson's suggestion January maintains a journal not realizing the journal could be the cause for her murder. On this tropical little island a mix of everything comes to play - a disappearance which very much looks like murder, a boiling volcano called the Furnace, sexual tension and sexual competition, an orphan whose origins are shrouded in mystery, blackmail, mystery and adventure.

All this packed into a little book. This is the clever bit. The descriptiveness of the story is one of the highlights of this book - they stay in your head long after the book is read "the mustard field staring at me with a yellow eye" is one which will stick with me for a long while!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mini Review - The Journey by Josephine Cox

Like everything else in life chance encounters change the course of the personal history of three people. Add to this family secrets kept to the end, heartache, much joy, break up of a seemingly invincible marriage and you have The Journey.

My first Josephine Cox and I found the moral tone of the book too good to be true! A light read - but not something for me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review - Gita Mehta - A River Sutra

This is part of my reading for the South Asia Challenge hosted by S. Krishna.

The book a tad philosophical and at times beyond me was a very interesting read. Set in idyllic surroundings with the Narmada river (one of India's holiest rivers) as the main feature we have an un named retired bureaucrat as our chief character. He has retired from the world and feels that he is doing a good job of it in his little world of the rest house (catering to government officials and others who come to this remote part of India).

The stories which are told are short ones - each blending effortlessly into the other so that only at the end you realize that nothing is connected to each other. They are all distinct, separate stories but the cleverness of the writer makes it seem seamless.

What added interest to the stories is that we meet many different characters - both high born as well as low, different communities and religions and this adds a very interesting aspect to the stories told. It is not just Hindu philosophy but about life in general - with a great deal of common sense also thrown in. Indian culture is complex and a single reading of a book is not going to let me understand even a hundredth part of it but I do hope it will be the beginning.

An unusual book which I did not think I will like but which I eventually enjoyed.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mailbox Monday - 14th March 2011

Mailbox Monday was a meme started by Marcia at The Printed Page. It is presently on tour. It is being hosted by I'm Booking it for the month of March. We give details of books purchased, won or gifted for the week. Please do visit the linked blogs and see what wonderful suggestions for books emerge from each persons mailbox.

My books this week are all purchases from a second hand store - not really a store but just a counter in a church!

Four of Cynthia Harrod Eagles books. I liked the first one I read that I went back and picked four more. There were more in that box and I do hope no one will pick them up!!!

A Booker Prize winning author in 1998, his books have remained on my TBR list for ages.

A bit of time travel (absolutely new subject for me!) so this is something I am looking forward to. My first Diana Gabaldon.

The Mistress of Spices - Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni. Another one for the South Asia challenge. I've read this authors books before and loved Arranged Marriage (a collection of short stories)

I am quite pleased with my collection this week. I am still trying to clear out TBR piles. This was just adding to it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review - The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon

The book will be interesting to those of you who are fascinated by the mid 19th century and Victorian lifestyles and attitudes. It is a period also where the attitudes are hypocritical and you do feel like shaking things up by asking the heroine of our story to really look at life the way it is meant to be, and not the way of what other people think but then you have to think that I am being judgemental and that the fault lies with me!

It is 1854 and Rosa a cousin of Mariella Lingwood decides to become a nurse much to the dismay and horror of her mother and goes to the Crimea following Miss. Nightingale. Rosa is passionate about her ideas and wants to make some kind of difference in this world. We then come to Mariella who has never put a foot wrong, never been disobedient and has lived her life according to the rigid norms of Victorian society. Add to this Mariella's fiance a reputed London surgeon who now decides to go to the Crimea to set up hospital operations for the war wounded which will appear as a result of this war.

Rosa suddenly disappears and Mariella impulsively decides to go to the Crimea to look for her, having as a chaperone Rosa's Irish maid Nora. On arriving in Italy, Mariella is heartbroken to find that her erstwhile fiance has fallen in love with Rosa to the point of madness and his only request to Mariella is to find Rosa! I found this is a bit questionable - one fiancee looking out for the girlfriend but this is how the story evolves.We find Mariella embarking on her journey to war torn Crimea and trying to find a trace of Rosa who proves to be as elusive as could be.

The book brings so much to life - although seemingly a gentlemanly age, there is much evident of brutality - an absolute closing of ones eyes and senses to the poverty around you, the degradation of humanity in England itself, the industrial progress of England with no account taken of child labour and its horrific toll on the health of its workers. England seems to be divided into two distinct groups - the rich and the desperately poor and the few people like Rosa seems to be very few and far between. The surprising part for me was the most primitive attitude towards medicine and surgery and the absolute disregard for hygiene and basic cleanliness which was apparent in all hospitals of the time.

This was an educational read for me. It gave me knowledge which I had hitherto not had of a different aspect of Victorian life. What I had read upto now of this period was a more gentle way of life, the brutality of it was somewhat unknown to me. The book as far as the story goes was a simplistic one. I really appreciated the chronological facts and the descriptiveness of the life of Mariella, Rosa and the other characters which brought the period to life for me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review - Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye

Elaine Risley now middle aged and quite an acclaimed artist does not seem to be able to move forward. She is trapped in the trauma of childhood trauma inflicted on her by her so called best friend Cordelia. Elaine quite different to the average little girl, also comes from a background which is very different - her mother does not dress like other mothers, her mother does not behave like other mothers and her father also does not conform. For this, Elaine is bullied by a trio of little girls - Cordelia, Grace and Carol and being of a temperament which cannot return the quips and barbs, Elaine silently accepts everything dished out to her.

Fast forward some years and we find the positions reversed. Elaine is quite successful, and Cordelia is in a mental institution. The entire story is like this going backwards and forwards - for me its not a book that will draw you in quickly. It was one which was a slow start but midway you do want to know how this is going to turn out for not just Elaine but for everyone around her and then it keeps you on the hop!

I have read just one Atwod - The Handmaid's Tale and this book is an absolute contrast which was a surprising discovery for me. A book which should be read when one has time. Not to be skimmed through.

Book Blogger Hop 11th March to 13th March

The hop sponsored by crazy for helps one to meet other bloggers (with such varying reading tastes) and introduces one to new books. Please visit and link your blog to hers. The blog is a Friday to Monday one and you can come back and visit the blogs at any time to see what interests you.

This week's question comes from Ellie who blogs at Musings of a Bookshop Girl:

"If I gave you 50 Pounds (or 80 Dollars) and sent you into a bookshop right now what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?

Love the question and so tough to answer!!

Here's mine :

The Postmistress - Sarah Blake

Still Missing - Beth Gutcheon

Jane Austen - Elizabeth Jenkins

The Priory - Dorothy Whipple

Offshore - Penelope Fitzgerald

Revolution - Jennifer Donnelly

All these books are those recommended by book bloggers and with such positive reviews that one knows the book has to be wonderful.

Right now to the hopping part!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review - ASYLUM by Patrick McGrath

The book deals with subjects I had not upto now bothered about very much. A person's dealing with self interest to the point that it becomes an obsession - and a person dealing with falling in love which also becomes obsessive. I found the two subjects fascinating.

Dealt from the view of the consulting psychiatrist, Peter Cleave the story set in a big psychiatric hospital deals with the story of resident psychiatrist Max and his wife Stella and their little son Charlie. At the time the story starts, we realize that Stella is bored in her marriage, bored with her life. Max's career seems to have come to a stop and does not seem to be going anywhere. They are financially independent, live well and that seems that.

Enter into the scene Edgar a psychopath, who is put on garden duty and meets Stella. The fireworks seem inevitable. Edgar a creative artist in his previous life, murdered his wife and is a violent man. This somehow adds tension and intrigue to the affair which Stella embarks on.
Edgar's disappearance and Stella's subsequent decamping from the marriage seems inevitable.
What follows is the very interesting part.

The way the characters disintegrate and the way Peter tries to help Stella put her life back together is very surprising and also holds your interest very much. I finished the book in one go simply because I had to know what happened next. Sad, surprising and a bit of a revelation about the human spirit is how I would describe the book. My only complaint is the font. Such a small print which makes night time reading very difficult!!!

A very unusual read for me. One I would recommend. The style of writing is precise and this seems to somehow add to the tone of the book.

Review - The Regency by Cynthia Harrod -Eagles

I have come into the series in the middle (sort of!) but I think a stand alone book was also interesting. I like the period and the descriptiveness of not just the period, but also of the way of life is very interesting for those of you who like historical fiction.

Fanny - autocratic, difficult from the day she was born is coming of age. She is the heiress to the Morland wealth but is also eyeing the wealth of her grandfather's mills , upto now supposed to be bequeathed to a distant cousin. Fanny upsets everyone in the way of her goals, whether it is her wealth, her position and love for her father, her father's second wife whom she is jealous of and even poorer/less prettier cousins who live around her. She must be the cynosure, the number one in everything. Very early on in the book you realize this one is a brat who is not going to come to a good end!

Add to that the Morland history - James with his colorful past and his delightful present, Edward and Mathilde, illegitimate children, the madness of trying to get all your daughters married as quickly as possible, the securing of fortunes and titles all go to make this a delightful book.

This story is set in the Napoleonic era and it has its ups and downs while Boney loses one and wins another. The wars of Napoleon never seem to end and this is a backdrop of the story. But, it is basically a family saga and this is what adds to the interest - a story of relationships and building up of a great family and how life goes on.

I have found quite a few of the books of the series and hope that the rest are as delightful as this one was.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Review - Before I fall - Lauren Oliver

I had a hard time to pick this book up (completely out of my comfort zone!), I went into it however very easily and then swept through it in one go. That first step is the hardest actually (the picking it up).

Not an easy book for me to review. I felt it was fast paced at the beginning but I found it repetitious mid way. At the same time the book made me realise even more than before how
precious a life is and how we should live our lives because once its gone, its gone and nothing on earth would bring you back to rectify any wrongs you have done to others.

This part of the review which follows, would be strange to lots of people I know. I cannot believe that this is the normal behaviour of young teens in a school. This may be due to different cultures where respect for elders is paramount (though definitely dwindling) and respect for teachers is upheld every step of the way. The way Sam and her friends Lindsey, Elody and Ally behave towards their own school mates and to the teachers opened my eyes to such a different way of life that is frightening. The need to be popular will be always important for this age of children but to go to the extent of maintaining that, and to actually verbally abuse others to the extent that this lot do, horrified me. I cannot believe that this would be the norm. Please someone comment on this aspect.

Though Sam is the predominant character in the story, the others are equally important as this book is also about relationships. How relationships can be broken through careless talk, indifference and lack of communication. How Sam tries desperately to rectify the shortcomings she herself sees in herself is amazing. Even at this young age, she does see the difference very clearly between right and wrong. I liked this part of the book very much. It again reiterates what I said before - life is so very short. Live it well or as well as you can.

A strange book for me, but one which got me thinking.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme which is being sponsored by I'm Booking it for the month of March.
Please visit the links and you will be so pleasantly surprised by not only the books and authors you will get to know through fellow bloggers but the lovely blogs out there as well. The meme deals with books which came into your house either through purchase, library a gift or a win. Mine are all purchases from my second hand bookstore.

The blurb says three strangers are thrown together by chance! that was enough for me.

One of my all time favourite authors. Love Susan Howatch and the doings in the Anglican church!

East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood. My copy is a hardback ancient, moth eaten one and with a small font but I am looking forward to this.

A River Sutra by Gita Mehta. Another book for the South Asia Challenge being sponsored by S. Krishna. I had not heard of the book or author before so thought I'd pick it up.

Please visit I'm Booking it and link to the meme as well.

Review - Good Wives by Louisa M. Alcott

If you go through my book reviews you will see that I seem to be alternating older books with newer ones and this is due to the fact that older books are more readily available here. The latest books are beyond reach, also physically reach us so much later that the thrill of getting it hot off the press is never really there. Not complaining though because I do get to read a fair amount of books of so many genres anyway.

This is a book which I read for school literature! it was quite nostalgic going back to it after such a long, long spell. Reading it now I think its a bit too idyllic to be true - everyone is holier than thou, everyone is very good, no one steps out of line but then as you go deeper into the book you realize that thank heavens everyone is weak - Jo will write muck and get it published all for the filthy lucre! Amy is vain and Meg hankers for every little thing that her richer neighbour has. So there is human weakness and of course the moral here is how everyone gets over their weakness and good prevails. I wish it could be that easy in real life.

A very pleasant read, taking you back in time to a more sedate, easier past. Enjoyable for a weekend read.