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Monday, October 28, 2013

THE PROMISE OF PROVENCE by PATRICIA SANDS

The Promise of Provence: A Novel

This was a win from the author herself. We lost the first book in the post and she ordered another and then it came! Very seldom do I lose books in the mail and it would have been really sad to not get to this story.

A sort of a love story but the main story is about Provence. I fell in love with Provence, South of France et al when I read Peter Mayle. I also fell in love with the theory of dropping everything and settling somewhere absolutely gorgeous (like Provence) from Under the Tuscan Sun. Both highly improbable or rather impossible. But one can dream can't one?

Anyway set alternately between Toronto where our heroine comes from and then to Provence where she initially does a house exchange stint we have Katherine recovering from a divorce, a faithless husband and just wanting to find herself. She succeeds very well in this. She emerges brighter, stronger, independent and fearless though it takes a lot of hard work. On the way she meets up with two charismatic men - Nick and Phillipe who both woo her and she does fall in love.

I'd like to recommend this book as a romance but more importantly for those who like detailed travelogues or a memoir of Provence taken from an insider view of someone who lives there and gets to know the place well.

Thank you Patricia for sending the book to me.

Away from Colombo for three days and away from blogging, Internet sigh sigh!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

MAILBOX MONDAY/IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?



After a drought of several weeks without any books I had quite a few books coming in. 

The Promise of Provence: A Novel

This was a win from the author herself. Am halfway through this one. After Peter Mayle made me fall in love with Provence, any book on this part of the world draws me in. 

Front Cover

Read and reviewed this one already. Greater part of the story set in Sri Lanka which added to my interest.

Prep


Have read this author before. Her debut novel. Described as a coming of age story.


Modern Britain. Up my street. Waiting to get into this one.

The Red House

After the Dog in the Night this one was a definite choice for me. Looking forward to this one.


Just One Damned Thing After Another

My second win from Good Reads. The first book never turned up. Lost in the mail I presume.


The Husband's Secret

I never thought I'd get to this one for at least a couple of years and then out of the blue someone coming out from England brought this as a gift for a friend. I've grabbed it as she will take ages to get to it. I'll finish first and then pass it around!

A very satisfying pile of books.


Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Reading two of the above! The Promise of Provence has just a hundred pages to go to finish and also started on the Prep book. 



Saturday, October 26, 2013

MONSOON RAIN & ICICLE DROPS by LIBBY SOUTHWELL

Front Cover


After a painful drought of not having any books I got caught in a landslide. Thats another post. This was one of the books I got landed with.

The title drew me in and I picked it up and it was only when I got started on it that I realized why the name of the author sounded familiar. A great deal of the book is set in Sri Lanka, with the balance covering India, Nepal, Tibet and Australia.

The memoirs of a Sydneysider who has definitely adopted Sri Lanka to a great extent and seems to be very comfortable here, the story is heart breaking in the beginning and shows the instinct and methods we all seek for survival amidst great personal loss. 

The book is very detailed in its description of places where Libby lives and works with very interesting tidbits about Mongolia, far flung Tibet and the outreaches of the Kashmir region. Liking geography and foreign places like I do, this was for me a travelogue as well.

Enjoyed this tremendously.  I do hope I can get to grips with my reading and blogging a bit more systematically than what has happened over the last month! Weddings are over, children have gone back and we go back to the routine.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FIRST CHAPTER FIRST PARAGRAPH TUESDAY INTROS



First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - am coming to this meme after two weeks.

Just received a book win from Patricia Sands. The Promise of Provence is delightful but unfortunately the opening paragraph does not indicate what is to come!


"Stepping out the front door into a wash of cool autumn air, Katherine closed her eyes and inhaled its crispness.

It doesn't get much better than this, she thought, walking briskly through the leafy neighbourhood.

Her usual 7.00 am route to work caught the city in its final stretch of waking up. She loved the sense of lingering quiet while a blanket of calm lay gently in the air. Even the traffic seemed to move sleepily, preceding the honking, gesturing and gridlock that would evolve as rush hour developed.   "



The Promise of Provence: A Novel


Entering the meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea.

Monday, October 21, 2013

THE MOUNTAIN OF LIGHT by INDU SUNDARESAN






The Mountain of Light

The story of the 105 carat diamond comes into focus in 1830. It is in the possession of Ranjit Singh the founder of the Sikh Empire and the then current Indian Maharaja. The diamond has a chequered history peppered with plenty of bloodshed, war and destruction. The rulers felt that possession of this diamond would give them some "other" power over bickering rulers so it was of immense importance to the Maharajah's to own it.

At this point in time in the story we also delve into the politics of the kingdom of Ranjit Singh. The negotiations of the British to try to bring the kingdom under their control, the manipulations and way the East India Company works knowing fully well that with Ranjit Singh's demise the kingdom will be fragile and fractured with several sons vying for the throne. We also have Dalip Singh a 12 year old boy who finally ascends to the position of Maharajah totally under British domination. 

The machinations of the Court, the infighting amongst the various wives to elevate their own offspring to the throne has been the subject of lots of stories and has also been the cause for the downfall of many a kingdom in India. Strong rulers not leaving a clear line of ascension seems to be a recurring theme and this is no exception. 

The story of the Kohinoor diamond brilliantly told and how it eventually reaches Queen Victoria is entwined with the story of the Maharaja and his Court. The sad end is also very descriptive - including that of Dalip Singh his son who ends his days far away from India. 

It was sad to read how Dalip realized that he was never quite accepted in British society  and that by being "brown" despite all the riches, titles and so called acceptance by high British society, he was never quite one of them. The realization came to him late and saddened him as it did the reader. The emotion and feelings of Dalip Singh are portrayed beautifully in this novel. 

Rich in description, rich in historical detail I truly am glad that the author sent me this book.  I would like to recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about this period in Indian history which was of immense significance for both India and Britain.  This is no tale from a history book but it brings history very much alive to the reader. You feel so very much that you are watching history being made in this book. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

MAILBOX MONDAY/IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?



I have been away from the blog for a long time. Seems like months. So many domestic issues got in the way that I thought I'd never get back.

Just one book came into my house and its a winner. The Mountain of Light by Indu Sunderasan sent by the author herself. Am I a lucky duck?


The Mountain of Light


A period of history that I love. The British in India - the Kohinoor diamond, the mystery and history behind those who possessed it. Rich in detail, descriptive to the utmost - you can feel the magic of this Moghul period, the sadness of its fall, the rapaciousness of the British. Indu Sunderasen at her best.





Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Reading the above, almost done with it and loving the book.



Saturday, October 5, 2013

BOOK OF THE DEAD by PATRICIA CORNWELL

Book of the Dead (Kay Scarpetta, #15)


The book of the dead is actually a book kept in the morgue of all bodies that come into it for autopsy 
Kay Scarpetta has opened her own very unique forensic laboratory which offers crime scene investigation and forensic and pathology services in a state of the art facility. Along with her are her niece Lucy and Marino who have worked with her for a very long time. 

You would think that with her reputation as one of the best that Kay would have it all. There is however a number of people who would prefer Kay not to practice in their part of town and have no qualms of sending her messages to move as quickly as possible. 

As is customary in Cornwell's books seemingly unconnected murders somehow seem to have link. The murders/deaths are miles away from each other and seem unrelated. A chance conversation here, a sighting there makes Kay see connections which were not visible and know that they are all connected.
We have a young man which on the surface looks like suicide, a little boy tortured and abused and starved to death, a young woman murdered, an up and coming tennis star also found brutally murdered. What is the link between them? 

The things that go to make a perfect thriller are all here and how Cornwell spins it all together to come up with another classic is her skill.  Liked this one!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

MARY HIGGINS CLARK - THE ANASTASIA SYNDROME & OTHER STORIES

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I did not even realize it was five stories till I finished the first one. So this book was a bonus of sorts.

The Anastasia Syndrome was such a plausible story - it drew you in. A very prim and proper romance, and then you get the most unexpected happenings. A story that kept you on edge and was in essence the very epitome of what a "thriller" should be.

The other stories that followed were rather tame in comparison. I knew what was going to happen in the Lottery Ticket story well ahead. The search for a missing child,  obsessive love and the rest were mild stories not real thriller class.

The first one was worth it all though.

Images from Singapore (from various sites) follow. As usual a very satisfying trip.



Singapore's Merlion.


The Singapore Flyer is currently the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It reaches 42 stories high, with a total height of 165 m (541 ft), and is 5 m (16 ft)



the biggest Ferris wheel in the world. Views from here are breathtaking.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

SINGAPORE!



I have been missing from the blog world (missed my Mailbox Monday/It's Monday What are you reading and now the introductory Tuesday because I was here!!!

In Singapore at the Pan Pacific hotel - ultra luxury, ultra everything!!!! There was a deal offered and the
family decided to go. Three days of doing nothing except walking the streets of Singapore which I adore.

This is the very futuristic look of their lobby!