Fantasy

ILSE WITCH - TERRY BROOKS

10:00:00 AM


ISLE WITCH
Book 1 of 'The Voyage of Jerle Shannara' Trilogy

ISBN - 0-345-39654-5

AUTHOR - Terry Brooks

BEST-SELLERS - The Sword of Shannara, The Elf-Queen of Shannara

SYNOPSIS - When the body of a half-drowned elf is found floating in the seas of the Blue Divide, an old mystery resurfaces. Thirty years ago, the elven prince Kael Elessedil led an expedition in  search of a legendary magic said to be more ancient, more powerful, than any in the world. None of those who set out on that ill-starred voyage ever returned....until now. For the rescued elf carries a map covered with mysterious symbols only one man can decipher. That man is Walker Boh, the last of the Druids. Walker must lead a quest to discover the lost magic and claim it on behalf of the races before it can fall into the hands of those who might misuse it.

EXCERPT - "Listen to me," Ryer Ord Star intoned softly. "Listen to what I have seen in my dreams. You will make your voyage across the Blue Divide in search of something precious - more to you than to any who go with you. Those who accompany you will be both brave and strong of heart, but only some will return. One will save your life. One will try to take it. One will love you unconditionally. One will hate you with unmatched passion. One will lead you astray. One will bring you back again. I have seen all this in my dreams, and I am meant to see more. I am meant to be your eyes, Walker. We are bound as one. Take me with you. You must."

FL Speak - Sensational. Its been so long that i almost forgot how exciting Terry Brook's writings are. The legend of Shannara comes back to life with this book. Non-stop action. This is what Brook's doesn't best. Action and adventure in a fantasy realm. Less politics, infact its almost nil here. This is Pirates of the Caribbean set in the fantasy world.

The book starts with an elf floating half dead in the Blue Divide. [ever since Lord of the Rings, this is where i have loved the portrayal of elves. The elves are a strong race here and one of the most important.] The half-dead elf is rescued by a Wing Rider (elves on giant birds called Rocs, who patrol the elven territorial waters). He finds the castaway blind, his tongue ripped apart forcibly and with him a bracelet belonging to the royal family of the Elves and an unknown map. The Elven King sends the map to the last Druid, who accepts to help the king only if he accepts the terms set by the Druid himself, paramount of which is assembling a council at Paranor, which has to be an autonomous body, working for the future of the Four Lands. The druid, Walker, assembles his own little team, that involved a dwarf, a spirit creature, and two young boys. One of whom was the direct descendant of the House of Leah carrying the famous Sword of Leah and the other, his cousin, Bek Lowe.

Meanwhile, spies inform the ILSE Witch about the castaway and the hunt for the treasure begins. She is almost as powerful as the Druid and that is a case of concern for the brave band of elven soldiers and the Rovers that make up the expedition trip. And thus begins an extraordinary journey in search of three keys that will unlock the source of power believed to be from even before the Great Wars began. The search leads them to treacherous islands, where magic is stronger than him and more evil. The journey tests their skills to the utmost, loyalties and tolerances snapped like threads and betrayal is at the foremost. This is the time when old, powerful legends comes alive. This is where Bek Lowe, the young boy learns of his origins. And the truth, may be too much for him to handle. Ahead, a dark powerful entity waits for them and from behind, the Isle Witch hunts them. With time running out, Walker and his group has to be at the best to survive certain death.

Exhilarating. Fantastic piece of writing by Brooks. This is why i picked him up at the first place. The Sword of Shannara set the benchmark for fantasy and this book doesn't disappoint. Terry Brook's lovers will automatically read this. New to Shannara people can read it even without reading the Shannara and the Heritage of Shannara series.

My Rating - 4 stars

PRICE -
INR 242/- @ Flipkart

Danielle Steel

Southern Lights - Danielle Steel

3:07:00 PM



Southern Lights

Author : Danielle Steel

Synopsis:
Alexa, a successful assistant D.A has been handed the kind of case that makes careers: the trial of an accused serial killer. But threatening letters throw her private life into a sudden turmoil.
   Savannah her beautiful seventeen-year old daughter is the recipient of these letters- and they are too dangerous to ignore.
A tough choice faces Alexa- does she risk her beloved daughter's life by keeping her at home, or send her back to Charleston the place she left eleven years ago when she fled the pain of her ex-husband's betrayal and cruelty of his wealthy Southern family?
Alexa had sworn she would never return, but as  the family's wounds are exposed and healing begins Alexa and Savannah are strengthened by the challenges they have faced.

Excerpts:
"I had nothing to hate you for" he said sadly, "I just had regrets, about what happened."
"It didn't happen. You did it. With Luisa's help and your mother's. They made the decision for you, to get rid of me and go back to her, and you did what they wanted. I guess you wanted it too." She looked wistful as she said it all and so did he.
He shook his head then. "It wasn't that simple. I did not know what I wanted.  I wanted to get my pride back because Luisa had left me, but I was in love with you."
"Then you did a really stupid thing Tom." It helped to say it and she felt better after she did.

Maithili Speak:
Luke Quentin, charged for rape and murder (killing the victim while having sex) is the big case Alexa is working on. When I picked up this book and read in astonishment the way this sociopath charmed the defense attorney and made her believe that he is innocent, I felt certain that Luke is going to woo Savannah right under her mother's nose. But no, it was nowhere close to Quentin. There were only mails to Savannah which made her mother paranoid.
  Alexa is bitter about her marriage and her world revolves around Savannah. Years ago, Tom had swept her off her feet by his Southern charm and she had had a happy marriage for 7 years until Tom's first wife Luisa returned. Luisa had ditched Tom and their two boys for a richer partner of Tom. She came back with an intent to win Tom back. Although Alexa was every bit the ideal wife and a loving mother to Tom's two boys, he had fallen for Luisa all over again and betrayed Alexa. Tom's mother had helped Luisa who was from South while Alexa was a Yankee (which meant she was an outsider.. No matter what a Southerner always helps a Southerner). Luisa conveniently got pregnant with Tom's child and Tom divorced Alexa to marry her ( I never thought a man could be so dumb or egoistic!) Alexa hasn't gotten over her marriage for last 11 years.
   She hasn't seen her husband it last 11 years but now she has to trust him to keep their daughter safe while she battles the case in New York.
   Savannah goes to Charleston and connects with her roots and gets comfortable (which makes Alexa worry if she will lose her daughter to South) while Luisa is a bitter women who makes life hell for Tom (yay!! Well deserved !)
   I liked the strong potrayal of Alexa who doesn't go back to her ex-husband no matter how she loved him, he was a weak man. The bond Alexa and Savannah share is also something extra ordinary.. I envied the ease with which they lived together.. Also in the book is the adorable Daisy (Luisa's daughter and the reason Alexa was divorced) who loves Savannah to bits! Aww too cute it was!
    We see a whole family rebounding (no not the adults! ) and ofcourse love.. IT was however more of a transition for Alexa through the "empty nest" phase and getting over the bitterness that poisoned her for more than 10 years..

Rating: 3.8 on 5

autobiography

Idli, Orchid and Willpower

8:26:00 AM



Idli, Orchid and Willpower

Author: Vithal Venkatesh Kamat

English version by: Sanjit Narwekar
Published by: Orchid Books.

Synopsis: This inspiring autobiography of Vithal Kamat who relives his journey from the run-of-the-mill corner-store restaurateur to the owner of a unique five-star ecotel: the orchid, mumbai. ‘My journey was complete. This was not a dream. This was a fulfillment of a dream,’ he says.

Excerpt: The Taj wasn’t built in a day! How then could The Orchid be any different? At that time, even the concept of The Orchid was not in my mind. At that time I was merely a restauteur Vithal Kamat! And then, one day at a party, I met the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India…and the roller coaster ride began. No logic to it! At this party, as is my habit, I was networking, trying to meet as many people as possible, chatting with them.

The Governor asked me, “How long would you need to set up a restaurant?”
“If the place is ready, I can set up a restaurant within 24 hours,” I replied confidently.
He laughed and said, “Come and meet me tomorrow and we’ll talk about it.”

The Reserve Bank’s new high-rise had just been completed. The next day I went and met the governor. Many of the departments had still not shifted into the building. In some places work was still going on and in others, there were huge empty spaces. The governor showed me a huge empty space of about 5000 square feet and said, “I want you to start a canteen here. When do you think you can start?”

I replied, “There is light as soon as you switch on a button. That is all it will take to start it.”
He laughed at what he thought was a joke, but for me, it was not a joke. It was a challenge!

My Review: As unique as the name suggests, is the story of vithal kamat. It is the story of a man who would not let failure stand in the was of his dreams. The author’s father, who was his guide throughout, owned a few udpi restaurants in Mumbai. Right from a young age, the author was exposed to the hospitality business. “Atithi devo bhava” or "a guest is like god" was the principle followed in his father’s restaurants. Punctuality was necessary and so was the happiness of the customers. The author took these principles to heart. He was an entrepreneur and even before The Orchid, he had participated in opening and managing quite a few restaurants.

He travelled the world in search of experience and found plenty of it. Like the time when he broke into an instant jig at a food outlet to collect money when he had none, to the time when he rolled out motichoor laddus all through the night.
A collection of all such experiences helped him build ‘The Orchid,’ the first five star ecotel in India! The ups and downs that come with business, betrayal by a loved one, and mistakes one makes in his journey are all portrayed in a very charming and candid manner in this book.

The author does not shirk from admitting his mistakes and nor does he refrain 
from taking credit where it is deserved. The book portrays truth and not for one moment do you think that san incident has been over-stated.

All in all a wonderful book to read on a cozy Saturday afternoon; complete with illustrations and loads of incidents that will make you smile to yourself.

Rating:4 on 5

Price:M.R.P INR 150/-

Fantasy

House of Night - Hunted (Book 5)

2:03:00 PM



HUNTED: Book Five of the House of Night Series. 

AUTHOR(s): P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast.

Read Review for Book 1  Marked  Here.
Read Review for Book 2 Betrayed Here.
Read Review for Book 3 Chosen Here.
Read Review for Book 4 Untamed Here.

SYNOPSIS: Finally getting her senses, friends and confidence to fight the evils anew, back; Zoey Redbird decides to chill out a little. However, what is a life without surprises? The fallen dark angel Kalona (Yeah, you got that right - Tall, bronze and HOT! :P ) has erupted from the Earth after some billion years and who he decides to go after?? Yes, our beautiful Zoey Redbird - referred to as A-Ya [Pronounced as UH-YA]. Apparently, Kalona believes that Zoey is his ancient lover (though he definitely has ulterior motives...) reincarnated. Zoey has her friends' back again, the mystery of Red Fledglings is solved - though there may be some  hiding a deep dark side within them. Erik is back with Zoey again and yes, everything is all right. But, Aphrodite, as she knows, that Zoey is being Hunted and needs to be saved...will she be able to escape the Hunt or Perish? 


"As your girlfriend, you've just pissed me off. As your High Priestess, you've just insulted me. And as someone with a working brain, you've made me wonder if you've lost every bit of your sense."

Eventually Zoey will discover that Love has different forms - Possessive,  True love, Ancient Love and Love for Eternity and she will realize (like always) that it is not easy to choose one if you really have to make a choice that can Change the world we live in. 

EXCERPT: "Bare legs? Naked shoulders? I looked down and let out a little yip of surprise. I was wearing a seriously short buckskin minidress. The top of it was cut in a wide V, front and back, so that it hung off my shoulders, leaving lots of skin visible. The dress itself was amazing. It was white and decorated with fringe, feathers, and shells and seemed to glow in the moonlight. All over it was beaded with intricate designs that were impossibly beautiful. My imagination is so darn cool!"


MSM Speaks: After Untamed, which had successfully raised my hopes, I am very pleased with Hunted. In this one, Zoey here has very BIG and very SCARY adventures to face, which also includes an *NDE when a Raven Mocker (Yeah, the mockery of a Raven) attacks her mistakenly. I love (Okay, the scene is grisly) the Action part. So, the book starts when Zoey realizes that Kalona is using her dreams to seduce her (Cliche' Alert!). Zoey realizes that Stevie Rae has survived but Stark (The Uber Hot Archer Guy - New to House Of Night) is now real bad, which again breaks Zoey's heart. But this time (Thank the Goddess Nyx) she realizes that since Erik is finally with her, she better be good. However, the Blonde Jock Heath  enters (why??!!) and as Erik tries to stop her (He is such a possessive Jerk I tell you), Zoey gets pissed and speaks that dialogue which I have given in the summary. She then walks out with Heath who has to talk to her.

From here the real (and okay, a bit dramatic) action starts. Outside, Zoey receives a deadly scar. Elements are unable to heal her and Heath's blood barely keeps her conscious. It all ends when all of them have to eventually return to the House of Night as Zoey cannot survive for long, away from the grown up vampyres. Here Zoey learns that Stark can be Changed and that Kalona and Neferet are planning something large. Zoey has also acquired a way to make Kalona flee with the help of her new Poet Laureate Kramisha (A Red Fledgling), who's poems are Prophetic. One such poem says that Earth leads to Spirit leads to Humanity leads to Blood and Night binds them all  and together they can make the Immortal flee. Hopefully, the human-vampyre apocalypse is avoided for a while. Whoa!!!! I loved this part of the Series...mostly because there are more poetic stanzas and verses like a puzzle and it was fun to guess.

Hunted was a better book than the first three ones. It was good to find that the Authors' finally found a pace which keeps you hooked till the last page. However, initial few pages where Zoey reminisces about what all she did in Untamed becomes slightly boring, but is necessary to lay down the plot. A sure read to learn a few historical facts and more so that Darkness does not always equate to evil just as Light always does not bring good. 

My Rating - 4/5.
*NDE - Near Death Experience

House of Night (Book 5): Hunted @ St. Martin's 2009 ISBN 10 0312577990
Landmark Bookstore in Bangalore: ISBN 13 9780312577995, Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
List Price: 472/- INR.

Fiction

A Great Place for a Seizure - Terry Tracy

12:38:00 PM

[review on request]
A GREAT PLACE FOR A SEIZURE


AUTHOR - Terry Tracy

SYNOPSIS - Mischa Dunn's family flees Chile in the aftermath of the 1973 coup d'etat that installs a military dictatorship. After settling into life in the United States, at the age of fourteen, Mischa begins to have unexplained seizures. Diagnosed with epilepsy, she faces an uncertain life. With an engaging balance of humor, insight, and sensitivity Mischa's story takes the reader across three continents, over thirty years.

EXCERPT - “I liked him in The Philadelphia Story,” Curtis observed coolly.
“Yeah, I can see why. He had a bit of that Clark Gable personality from It Happened, that sort of rapid-fire response that you like so much.”
“In that story, Katharine Hepburn was a little like you.” He took another bit of butter and moved his knife toward the roll.
“How is that?” Mischa’s voice flirted. She was flattered.
“She tells Jimmy Stewart that she loves him while she’s drunk and walking in the moonlight. The next day she drops him.”

FL Speaks - This is the story of Mischa Dunn. She is 14 and that's when her seizures starts. Epilepsy. Epilepsy didn't change her life as much as it changed the people around her. Her parents grew distant and witnesses to her seizures more afraid of her to even help her up. Very soon into the story, the author makes it clear that this is not going to be just another survival story or even a self-help one. This is a story about a normal girl who is determined to show everyone around her that epilepsy is not a disability and she is still normal.

The novel is spread around her entire life and hence some chapter jumps are in months or even years. Hence, the need for constant new characters. Mischa is someone whom you would love to meet and love to love. Specially when she's with her friend Sophie and i believe they are both crazy. The correct term being - loco. At one incident regarding those two, i laughed so hard that Mom came running up to my room to check on me. Mischa's sarcasm and comic timing makes reading about her more fun. You realise that soon instead of pitying her, you start to be actually proud of her.

Tracy's narration is brilliant. The book banks on more narration than actual conversations and you do not feel the need for action as she guides you from one incident to another. The later half of the novel introduces Hector as a permanent character in the plot. It is at around this time, that her sarcasm and wit is slowly replaced by rage and helplessness. Well, that's actually in the last few chapters. You can feel her elation as she jumps from single to committed to married to motherhood. This brook opens up the world of epilepsy in a whole new way to me mainly because i have never seen someone with one.

The book will tug your heart's strings with the simplest of actions, it will make you see life through they eyes of Mischa and revel in wonder at her awkward yet pleasant ways. It will show you that kindness is not the same as compassion and the world's most cruel man can also be the most compassionate. (This was one of my favorite chapters in the book. Though the rest of the philosophy went straight over my head and i had to re-read it again. Blame Coelho for being boring to me) The ending just killed me. Almost. Honestly saying, i was in no-way ready to handle that. But its endings like this that stops the book from being good and makes them great.

So the main question remains. Do you let Epilepsy define you, stop you or scare you from your destiny and your own choices in life?? Or do you go Mischa's way and accept it as a challenge and a part of her that makes her special in her own way. The answer reveals itself to you as you read this book.

A stellar job by Terry Tracy. Poignant and Spell-binding. A must-read!

I would like to thank Terry Tracy for contacting us to review her novel. It had been an exhilarating ride with Mischa Dunn.

My Rating - 4.5 stars. For being an awesome read and for opening a door to a different world.

PRICE - NA [$ 2.14 for Kindle at Amazon]

Fantasy

New Moon [ Twilight series # 2]

6:29:00 PM

- By Stephenie Meyer
(Review on request by Smita )




This was the first Twilight book I read [ I had watched the first part as movie and read it after I was done with the whole series ] And i liked the fact that the book was written in Bella's POV. I mean it could have been from a third party narration but Bella's narration seems so much more personal. And that is one of the reson you feel the book so close. From her heart breaking sadness for Edward's absence , her time with Jacob, her crazy ways to "feel" Edward around her. I was totally drawn into the book.

And Jacob ..Oh God ! He and his friends were such a wonderful addition to the story as much to Bella's life. you feel as much for him as you want Bella and Edward to be together. He actually did not make me miss the Cullens for long time.

And the end was not what I was expecting. Its the extent to which Edward can go for Bella. And isn't that some thing we all dream of ?? A dangerous edge to the connection !

Twilight fans .. you will love this one too ..



Synopsis :

Shoot, I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut.It all happened very quickly then.Edward threw himself at me, flinging me back across the table...I tumbled down to the floor by the piano, with my arms thrown out instinctively to catch my fall, into the jagged shards of glass. I felt the searing, stinging pain that ran from my wrist to the crease inside my elbow. Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm-into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.

Legions of readers entranced by Twilight are hungry for more and they won't be disappointed. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The "star-crossed" lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy's reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.
 


PS : Trust me when I say , you will like Jacob more than Edward in the movie if not the book. Have a look ;)


And this was another book cover designed after the movie release ..
I actually liked it ..




ISBN   : 1904233880
ISBN-13: 9781904233886,978-1904233886
Binding: Paperback
Pages  : 608
Price  : 395 [ 250 @ flipkart]



contest

Contest Giveaway #1

12:24:00 AM

This post is for the winners of MonMad 2011 hosted at THE WRITERS LOUNGE
 
STOP

READ. Yes, i know you want to scroll down directly to the Book Lists, but bear with poor Freelancer for a while.

I congratulate MAITHILI, SMITA and PULKIT for their success and hope they like my choice of gifts.

So, updated news is, instead of 9 books, you now have luxury of choosing from 15 novels. YES, 15. So there are a lot of options open to you now. You can choose 1 and only 1 though. I am still un-employed :P and its the gesture that matters :D

Anyway, winners, when you choose a book, write down in comments which book you want. SCRAP the rule that says if one book is selected by someone, the other cannot get it. You CAN. But what's the point?? You will obviously read the review here itself :D

ALSO, you have time between 31st of August to change your choice if you want to. I would suggest you to read an author that you haven't read yet. Expand your horizon or even the genre's you are comfortable with. Do not Google the book up, you will get spoilers and that will diminish the excitement.

This GIVEAWAY is strictly private and in collaboration with THE WRITERS LOUNGE.

Here YOU GO...........






 

1. The Lonely Hearts Club - Elizabeth Eulberg
2. Cowboys and Aliens - Joan D. Vinge
3. The Silmarillion - J.R.R Tolkien
4. The Collaborator - Gerald Seymour
5. Dune - Frank Herbert
6. Born to Die - Lisa Jackson
7. Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks
8. Midnight Sins - Lora Leigh
9. Gorky Park - Martin Cruz Smith
10. The Postcard Killers - James Patterson and Liza Marklund
11. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
12. Deja Dead - Kathy Reichs
13. Before i Fall - Lauren Oliver
14. A Touch of Frost - R.D Wingfield
15. The Passage - Justin Cronin
16. The Devil's Star - Jo Nesbo

Hope you like it folks. That's all for now.

Ereena

Message in a Bottle - Nicholas Sparks

8:01:00 PM

Message in a Bottle

ISBN 978-0-7515-3892-2
First Published in Great Britain in 1999
Pages: 357

Author- Nicholas Sparks
Best Sellers- A Walk to Remember,Dear John,The Last Song have also been adapted into major films.

Synopsis - When journalists Theresa Osborne finds this desperate message washed up on a Cape Code beach,it raises questions that intrigue her.Who is the author - A man called Garrett - and who is Catherine ? And what is that that has torn them apart ?
Theresa, wary of romance since her husband shattered her trust, finds herself unaccountably drawn to him and his secrets and embarks on a search that brings her to an unexpected confrontation...

Excerpt - She tipped the bottle upside-down and was surprised when the note dropped to the sand by her feet almost immediately. When she leaned over to pick it up, she noticed it was tightly bound, which was why it slid out so easily. She untied the yarn carefully, and the first thing that struck her as she unrolled the message was the paper. This was no child;s stationary. It was expensive paper, thick and sturdy, with a silhouette of a sailing ship embossed on the upper right corner.She caught herself holding her breath. Maybe it was old. Maybe she had a real artifact here.
Theresa found herself wondering about the man who wrote it - Garrette. The whole thing was strange, her reporter's instincts took over then, and she suddenly thought that the message not might mean anything. It could be someone who wanted to write a love letter but didn't have anyone to send it to. It could even have been sent by someone who got some sort of vicarious thrill by making lonely women cry on distant beaches.

Ereena speaks - Ok, So this is my first book review..I hope i live up to Freelancer's expectations :D
Do you believe in LOVE ? If you do, this book is a perfect blend of drama and romance! This book revolves around the story of Theresa Osborne,who finds a beautiful letter inside a bottle. Thrown to the waves and to fate, the bottle could have ended up anywhere. Instead, it was found just three weeks after it begins its journey. For Garrette, "The man who signs the letter, the message is the only way he knows to express his undying love for the women he has lost". Challenged by the mystery and pulled to find Garrette by emotions Theresa does not fully understand, she begins a search that takes her to sunlit coastal town and an unexpected confrontation. Brought together by chance or something more powerful, Theresa and Garrette are people whose lives are about to touch for a purpose, in a tale that resonates with our deepest hopes for finding that special someone and an everlasting love.
Shimmering with suspense and emotional intensity, Message in a bottle takes readers on a hunt for the truth about a man and his memories and about both, the heartbreaking fragility and enormous strength of LOVE. This book will have you weeping for the joy and the tragedy of it all, a page turner, achingly lovely novel of happenstance, desires and the choices that matter! After i finished the book, i cried a lot and the following days kept me thinking about book, it moved me completely. A must read :)

Rating: 4.5/5 
Price: INR 295/-

Fantasy

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer

10:49:00 AM

[review on request]


Twilight(book one of the Twilight saga)
A Stephenie Meyer novel.


ISBN-978-1-904233-65-7
First Edition -. 2006


Author- Stephenie Meyer
Best Sellers- Twilight Saga & The Host

Synopsis-When seventeen year-old Bella Swan leaves sunny Arizona to live with her father in the small and gloomy Pacific North-West town of Forks she doesn’t expect to like it.  After all she has made excuses not to go there enough times over the past few years.  If living in Forks, with its constant mist and rain, wasn’t bad enough she will have to make a whole new set of friends and settle into a new school.

Excerpt- I'd never given much thought to how I would die -- though I'd had reason enough in the last few months -- but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me.Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.I knew that if I'd never gone to Forks, I wouldn't be facing death now. But, terrified as I was, I couldn't bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.
The hunter smiled in a friendly way as he sauntered forward to kill me.

Ria speaks - From the moment I laid eyes on the cover of the book I am going to have to say I was hooked, yes you guessed right I’m one of those die hard twilight fans. Nooo not of the movies(which I hate btw) but of the books, I am one of those words who falls in love with words more than a pretty face and from the moment I started to read Twilight I couldn’t put it down.
It starts off so innocently and so common, a feeling everyone would’ve experienced at some point of time in their lives when we have to get up and leave a world of familiarity behind into the world of unknown. Isabella Swan aka Bella was no different the feelings, the thoughts that she was having were and are so common which is why I guess we can relate and get pulled in so fast we don’t even realize it.

Now this may seem a little clich├ęd a girl in a new town, a new ‘’pretty’’ face whom everyone seems to like and so will THAT boy whose eye she seems to have caught. Well enter Edward Cullen a dreamboat for any normal sane teenage or non teenage girl. He is Tall, Good looking, Mysterious and according to Bella something that just pulls her to him. But sadly he isn’t having the same thoughts as her considering the one and only class he has with her as lab partners he wants to shift out of so he doesn’t have to spend time with her. Though like any mormal girl she will also not let the feeling go that there is something about him that isn’t right which is when she guesses that he isn’t human. One of my favourite lines in this book is when she asks him how old he is and he replies ‘’seventeen’’ and she asks for how long and he says ‘’awhile’’. Like all fiction super natural beings there always comes a power and each vampire may/may not have one. Edwards power is to be able to read minds but with Bella there is a glitch for some reason her mind is the only mind he can’t read which lends more to why he cant help but being pulled towards her, that is apart from the fact that she has blood running through her veins and the smell of that blood drives him quite nuts.

If you’ve seen the movie you probably know how this proceeds but you have to read the book to feel that pull, feel the magic in the words. Yes we all know Edward Cullen is a vampire and that Bella and him fall in love but like a all great love stories this one too has to fight to survive, from a desire to suck the blood out of her (Edward) to another vampire who would love to do the same, to a sister who hates her and many other complications along the way.
The book somehow weaves it spell on the reader because as a girl not only do you relate to the thoughts, complaining and whining Bella goes about doing you imagine yourself to be her. And froma boys perspective you at first feel a little incredulous over the emotions felt but you too fall in love with the simplicity with which it is all written and if that fail too!! The male masochism and the male ego sure would keep you going.

This Saga is a definite read, its one of those books no matter how old you are you should never miss out on.

Rating- 4.5 out of 5 (yes it is that good)

PRICE - INR 395/- Orion Publications [INR 237 at Flipkart]

 

Freelancer

The Omen Machine - Terry Goodkind

8:24:00 AM


THE OMEN MACHINE
a RICHARD and KAHLAN novel

ISBN - 978-0-7653-2772-7
FIRST EDITION - August 2011
PAGES - 525

AUTHOR - Terry Goodkind

BEST-SELLERS - Wizards First Rule / Stone of Tears / Confessor 
PRE-SCRIPT - Finally a Richard and Kahlan novel. Richard and Kahlan are the main characters of his epic fantasy saga 'Sword of Truth'. The saga spanned 11 novels and 1 novella. The novella 'Debt of Bones' is a prequel and is set before the happenings of the first novel 'Wizards First Rule'. The saga ended with Goodkind's final novel 'Confessor'.

The Omen Machine is a continuation as well as a beginning. You can start this as a standalone novel because i am sure the story will continue into many more books. Or I would suggest you to read the 'Sword of Truth' series as the characters are the same and at some point of reading this book, you will realise you do not have any clue of the previous happenings that are frequently mentioned. Few books, including the first one of 'Sword of Truth' is reviewed here, and you can check it out by clicking here
EXCERPT - Outside the Garden of Life hundreds of heavily armed guards filled the corridor in both directions. They all looked a great deal more edgy. Kahlan realised that they would have had to have heard the lightning hit the Garden of Life. The probably heard the glass roof breaking and falling as well. They undoubtedly wondered what in the world had been going on beyond the doors.

They might even have feared that it was an attack of magic of some sort, and so they were standing ready in case they were called upon to defend the palace.

She knew, though, that despite their worry, none of them, not even a Mord-Sith, would dare enter the Garden of Life while the Lord Rahl was inside unless he invited them in.

FL Speaks - Oh boy oh boy!!! You have no idea how excited i am. The Seeker is back! That means Cara is back too!!!! The book starts one day after the end of the final novel of 'Sword of Truth'. Cara is married to General Benjamin. (Yes, a Mord Sith marries for the first time. I just wish it wasn't Cara. She was mine!) The war is over, Richard and Kahlan prevail, D'Hara and Midlands are safe and everyone is invited to Cara's wedding reception.

And just like that, Boom!! PROPHECY!! The bane of Richard's existence is out to make life miserable for him. A blind woman's warning, a delirious child's feverish words and the fragmented sentences in a prophecy book suddenly says the same thing. And Richard Rahl and everyone knows, nothing is of coincidence. And as the fragile allies try to interfere with matters they don't understand, a sly ally makes plans for the capture and control of D'Hara.  

Fast forward and we find a machine (of all things) talking to Richard. Now this was too much. Goodkind tries to go Terry Brooks' way by incorporating modern world with fantasy. Very less action and i was very disappointed not to see Richard the way Richard should be. A seeker, the bringer of death. No sword plays for him, no dance of death to witness. Goodkind tries to bring all the characters back into this one novel which falls a bit short on plot, number of pages and expectations. Other than Adie, Chase and Verna, almost all the characters are back. The sad part is no one actually has an important part.
Far in the Dark Lands, evil looms once again in the form of a powerful individual bent on revenge. And as the allies begin to break away and head over to enemy camp, Richard is running out of time to make sense of the riddles the machine pours out to him. With Kahlan a captive again, its upto him and his friends to fight the evil and rescue her. (okay, i had enough of putting Kahlan Amnell at risk. Seriously, from 'Chainfire' to 'Confessor', the final three books had less and less of Kahlan. Why Mr. Writer why?)

Anyway, this is a fresh start and a good continuation to the legends. Goodkind's writing is a bit rusty in this. Though his novels #5 to #7 have dragged and managed to make readers stop reading the saga, i am glad i continued because Goodkind gets the awesomeness back from 'Naked Empire'. There are a lot of questions left unanswered in this one which proved that THIS IS NOT A STANDALONE novel. We can expect a lot of Richard and Kahlan again. For huge 'Sword of Truth' fans like me, THIS IS A MUST READ. For new fantasy readers, welcome to the world of the SEEKER. You will love the ride.

My Rating - 3.5 stars. It will get better, mark my words.
PRICE - INR 1100/- from TOR publications (Hardback - 2011)

P.S| super happy to read the book within a week of being published :D

Blood Trilogy

Blood Ties (Blood Series#3 , Special Crime Unit#12)

3:30:00 PM

by Kay Hooper






Kay Hooper is mostly known for her SCU (Special Crime Unit) books, further divided into Shadows trilogy, Fear trilogy , Evil trilogy and lastly the  Blood trilogy. I came across one of these books 2 years back and read few more randomly. Paranormal thriller + dash of romance + crime ! That makes a really good cocktail for me any day ! 

This one being the last of blood series is a conclusion to the previous two books. I liked the closing of all ends, bringing together all of the SCU team in a single book, the bonds each of them shared with each other .. perfect ! Enough to make me finish this one in 5 straight hours !


Try to start with Blood Dreams (Blood#1) and read all three in order. 
Kay Hooper sure knows her stuff when she writes about mind games and the evil it can hold.

Synopsis:
The elite Special Crimes Unit, the FBI’s most controversial and effective team, is a group of mavericks and misfits trained to use their unique psychic abilities to hunt the worst monsters imaginable – human ones. Led by the enigmatic Noah Bishop, the SCU team has earned a reputation for pitting their skills and cunning against killers that other cops fear.
But this time Bishop and his agents face an enemy who has them in his sights, a trained sniper with a deadly plan — and more than one ace up his sleeve.
It starts with an unspeakable series of grisly murders across three states, a trail of blood leading, finally, to the small Tennessee town of Serenade. There, two more brutal murders lure the SCU into what may be the ultimate trap.
One of the first investigators on the scene, Special Agent Hollis Templeton is willing to push herself as hard and as far as necessary. Risking more than her life to help and protect her fellow SCU members, Hollis is coping with psychic abilities that are evolving in unprecedented ways, an attraction to the most complex man she’s ever known, and a serial murder investigation that has just turned very, very personal. In her time with the SCU, Hollis has shown an uncanny ability to survive even the most deadly attacks. But what she doesn’t count on is that this killer intends to destroy the team from within.
The clock is ticking. The body count is rising. And as Bishop and his agents race to uncover the identity of their true enemy, not even their special senses can warn them just how bloody, and how terrifyingly close, the truth will be.


More details:
ISBN: 055358927X
ISBN-13: 9780553589276,978-0553589276
Binding: Paperback
Publishing Date: 08/2010
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Number of Pages: 406

Fantasy

Untamed ( House of Night series#4)

2:18:00 PM

by PC Cast + Kristin Cast

Read reviews of previous posts here [ in reverse order]







Although book#3 is a much needed pain to read to be aware of what's going on in Zoey's life, this book was totally amazing and much much better than book#3. Zoey has a lot of "stuff" to deal in this part - beginning with an attack by an unseen being, upset friends, aphroditie's dangerous visions, a dead new kid, undead and supposedly healing BFF and the evil intentions of Neferet ! And oh, lets not forget the brewing dark evil which explodes in the end in a really creepy narration ! The book just gets better with each chapter, throwing fresh incidents and facts about the characters in book. This book makes it worth reading the previous one :D

Zoey finally looks to be getting a grip on herself and her responsibilities; but Aphrodite totally won my heart in this one. Read this one for her !!

Synopsis :
Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a close group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead and unMarked. And Neferet has declared war on humans, which Zoey knows in her heart is wrong. But will anyone listen to her?  Zoey's adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast's spellbinding fourth House of Night novel. 

I give this one 3.5/5

More details:


ISBN : 0312379838 (ISBN13: 9780312379834)

Paperback : 352 pages
Price : 299/- ( 225 at flipkart right now)




PS : I downloaded the audio book[part 1-5] from torrentz. And its really getting addictive - the audio book as much as this book !

Arpita

MEDEA- EURIPIDES

11:13:00 PM






NAME OF THE BOOK: Medea and Other Plays

AUTHOR: Euripides

1st PUBLISHED: This translation was first published in 1996 as “Alcestis and Other Plays”

ISBN- 13: 978-0-140-44929-7

SYNOPSIS:“Medea’’, in which a spurned woman takes revenge upon her lover in the most horrifying manner, is one of the most shocking of all the Greek tragedies. Medea is a towering figure who demonstrates Euripides’ unusual willingness to give voice to a woman’s case. Medea, a ‘barbarian’ princess and sorceress has been forced into exile with a husband who later deserts her for another woman. The play charts out the emotional transformation in Medea; a progression from suicidal despair to sadistic fury.

EXCERPT:“Watch out for that savage temperament of hers, that stubborn will and unforgiving nature! It’s clear that this anger of hers will grow; soon enough her grief will be kindled by it and burst in storm.

What action will she take then, that proud, impassioned soul, so ungovernable now that she has felt the sting of injustice?”

ARPITA SPEAKS:
This particular play in the collection of various works by Euripides is by far the best. The unbelievable conclusion haunts one’s thoughts long after the play has ended, and compels the readers to question their own notions of justice and vengeance.

The husband of our protagonist (the so-called ‘hero’), Jason was sent on a apparently hopeless quest for the golden fleece by his usurper uncle Pelias. In the ship “Argo” he journeyed through dangerous waters to Colchis on the Black Sea, where Medea, daughter of the king, fell in love with him and aided him in winning the fleece.

He returned successfully to Greece with Medea, who then tricked Pelias’ daughters into killing their father in the futile hope that Medea’s spells would revive him. As a result of this carnage both Jason and Medea had to live in exile in Corinth; at this point the play’s story begins.

In this foreign land, Medea finds herself abandoned by her husband who has married the daughter of the king of Corinth in order to improve his station. Medea is shattered and overwhelmed by an equal measure of grief, and rage at Jason’s betrayal. Having killed her own brother in an attempt to avoid pursuit as they fled Colchis, Medea lost the only refuge she could have sought in such dire straits- her motherland.

Jason’s betrayal after so much of sacrifice on her part seems to Medea to be the grossest offence. However, Jason defends his actions by deliberately pointing out that his marriage to the king’s daughter would secure the future of their sons and tells Medea that she ought to be grateful for his noble decision. The greatest difference between the two is that Medea is aware of the horror of her evil actions and accepts them with dignity, while Jason- the fortune seeking coward that he is- pretends that his decision arose from his concern for his wife and children.

As Medea avenges Jason’s betrayal in the worst possible manner, one is torn between feelings of horror, disbelief and awe. She avenges for herself and as an agent of the divine retribution of a sacred law- the law of marriage. Wrong a woman in love and nothing in the world can have a heart more murderous: Medea, like all traditional heroes, is driven by a sense of honor and god-like wrath.


PS- Just in case you’re wondering, she does not kill Jason.

RATING: 4 on 5

PRICE: Rs250/- (Penguin Classics)




Adventure

Atlantis Found - Clive Cussler

11:48:00 AM


ATLANTIS FOUND
a DIRK PITT novel

ISBN - 978-0-140-28796-7
FIRST PRINTED - 1999
PAGES - 761

AUTHOR - Clive Cussler

BEST-SELLERS - Sahara, Valhalla Rising

SYNOPSIS - Around the world, ancient artifacts are suddenly appearing, hinting at a catastrophe that will soon visit Earth.

Dirk Pitt is on hand at a Colorado archaeological site where an ancient and mysterious artifact has been found - one that is perhaps linked to other strange objects turning up across the globe. And soon Pitt's skills and ingenuity are desperately needed to rescue the team after a suspicious explosion seals them deep underground.

It quickly becomes clear that the artifacts carry a message: a warning of global Armageddon. Yet a shadowy organisation called the Fourth Empire not only wants to stop others from heeding that warning, but is also actively seeking to accelerate the end it foretells. Now Pitt and NUMA must face the diabolical foe, who will stop at nothing to wipe out all life on earth....

EXCERPT - Pitt silently moved from the bore, any sounds of his footsteps covered by the soft popping from the exhaust, and crept up behind the rider still sitting on his bike, who was distracted by the conversation. Pitt was no stranger to killing, but it wasn't in him to knife another victim in the back, no matter how rotten the victim might be. In the same motion, he reversed the grip of the knife an plunged the blunt hilt with all his strength against the base of the biker's neck below the helmet.

FL Speaks - DIRK PITT is back!!! For those of you, who still do NOT know DIRK PITT. He's the modern Indiana Jones and Lara Craft rolled into one. He loves the water and is currently the head of NUMA [National Underwater and Marine Agency] of the United States (When did he become the head??:O Looks like i have to read the earlier novels) Anyway, a mysterious glass obsidian is found in an archaeological site. Luckily Pitt and his crew were nearby and they managed to fight off a group of raiders. Upon research, they find out that the artifact has a twin. The owner of the other artifact reveals that it was found in the ruins of a ship in a remote island in the south of Indian Ocean.

Pitt's buddies, Rudi Gunn and Al Giordiono packs their bags in search of the island. As predicted, the bad guys were there waiting for them. Bam-whoosh-kick, and we can all breathe easily. The bad guys are beaten. Dirk however is far away in the Antarctic investigating a shipwreck of the 1770's. What follows is utter chaos and (utter disbilief on my part), a German U-boat chasing him. The submarine long thought to be MIA during Hitler's regime is now a part of the Fourth Empire. Dirk however manages to call the US Navy and they torpedo that U-boat to smithereens.

Back in Washington, Dirk finds someone stealing files from NUMA HQ. More chase ensures and like all heroes, though battered and tired, Dirk finally captures the thief. From the information gathered from the two artifacts, the team learns that during the Ice Age, a comet crash landed on Earth and almost wiped out a civilisation. What Dirk and NUMA realised later, that the comet had a twin. (SERIOUSLY??? Now we have extra-planetary siblings angry at dear Earth.) Prophecy says it was going to hit earth. But after all the calculations and mumbo-jumbo, the prophecy turns out to be false. The Fourth Empire has built four ships, like i mean mega-ships to survive the impending doom. (Remember 2012? Yeah, thought so) Dirk and team gather information about a certain nanotech facility way over in Antarctica. Apparently the Fourth Empire has plans of cutting off a huge portion of ice slab to drown the human race while only they and their selected few survive (yes, Hitler's men after all).

How would they achieve it??? Cussler knows the exact answer. POLE SHIFT THEORY people!! Yes, now you look exactly like i did when i read it. Anyway, i have linked it properly for you. Just click on the link and voila!

Coming back to the story, Pitt crashes all the evil plans and the nanotech station is destroyed. Then comes the confrontation with the Head of Fourth Empire and more chases and a police lock-up. Now that was epic! The policeman got the shock of their lives when POTUS, himself rang to release him.

Done! Another classic Dirk Pitt story. Another action-packed Clive Cussler plot. Dirk Pitt is maturing and growing older at the same time and i wonder how long will Cussler continue, though he looks good for another 10-15 books. Adventure books are awesome, specially those written by Cussler because there is hardly a dull moment. Who can ever forget SAHARA??? His best work so far....Anyway, DIRK PITT still kicks ass!

My Rating - 3.5 stars

PRICE - INR 299/- from Penguin Publications (Paperback - 2001)

P.S| This is the 15th Dirk Novel novel. Every Dirk Pitt novels can be read as a standalone

Classic

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

9:23:00 AM

 
[review on request]
THE SECRET GARDEN

FIRST PRINTED - 1911

AUTHOR - Frances Hodgson Burnett

BEST-SELLERS - A Little Princess ; Little Lord Flauntleroy

SYNOPSIS - Mary is alone. Her parents are dead and no one remembers her. When she is found, she is sent back to England to her Uncle's place. There, in the Manor, she hunts for a hidden garden that no one has been to in the last 10 years. Slowly but surely, Mary's life is changing.

EXCERPT - She slept a long time, and when she awakened Mrs. Medlock had bought a lunchbasket at one of the stations and they had some chicken and cold beef and bread and butter and some hot tea. The rain seemed to be streaming down more heavily than ever and everybody in the station wore wet and glistening waterproofs. The guard lighted the lamps in the carriage, and Mrs. Medlock cheered up very much over her tea and chicken and beef. She ate a great deal and afterward fell asleep herself, and Mary sat and stared at her and watched her fine bonnet slip on one side until she herself fell asleep once more in the corner of the carriage, lulled by the splashing of the rain against the
windows. 

It was quite dark when she awakened again. The train had stopped at a station and Mrs.Medlock was shaking her.

FL Speaks - WHAT A BOOK!!!! I mean what a book!!! Introducing Mary, who was a British child of ten, living in India during the British Raj regime. Her description made me hate her. She was spoilt, surrounded by Indian servants. Yet there was something about her that made me pity her too. She was the only child and she was always sick. Her mother never had time for her and she was never allowed to meet othe people. During the Cholera breakout, most of the people living in the bungalow died, the rest of the servants ran off. No one remembered her, because she was hardly seen. Finally someone gets to her and sends her back to her uncle who lived in England.

Its from here onwards, that i started loving this book. England was new to Mary. The servants behaved differently and Mary realised that the customs were different than India. She had to learn to dress herself and tie her own shoes, as is expected from a lady. She started roaming around and the fresh air was good to her. Mrs Warden, the housekeeper told her of a garden that once belonged to her aunt was now locked by her uncle for the last 10 years. And being a child, it became her determintaion to find a way. She became close friends with on her maid's younger brother and they found the secret garden and they promised to make it alive again and keep it a secret.

Mary later finds out she has a cousin in the house who is always sick. Soon Mary and Colin's friendship grows much to the astonishment of the family staff. This is the story of Mary and Colin. This is a story of how life should be lived. I laughed out loud with those two, i felt their pain and their anguish. I believed in their spirit as they tried not to let obstacles stop them. A children's book. Yes, this is a children's book. Its amazing a children's book can tug at your heart. I spent all night reading this book and just couldn't let go. The little schemes they come up with, the play acting they did, the belief in themselves makes me want to go back to childhood.

There is something about children that draws magic. No i am not talking of voodoo or sorcery. Just call it Magic. Its this belief in something that changes Mary's life. Its this Magic that brings her to Colin.

THIS IS A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE. No its not written by Tolkien ot Rowling or Sheldon. Yes, its for kids. But no matter how old you are, if you are still a kid at heart, this book will take you back to those days. The story gets a bit repetitive at times and few of the pages will actually make u laugh in disbileif, but isn't that what the kid in you does. Believe in something. Believe in innocence. Believe in magic. We all need a reminder now and then. We all need A SECRET GARDEN now and then. In a long, long time, a book, actually made me cry.

My Rating - 5 out of 5. Nothing less.

PRICE - INR 99/- by Penguin

E-Book Link - The Secret Garden

P.S| I don't know how to thank you SMITA for asking us to review this book. Thank you.