Ashwin Sanghi

The Rozabal Line - Ashwin Sanghi

6:53:00 PM



Title : The Rozabal Line
Author : Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher : Westland Books
ISBN : 978-81-89975-81-4
Genre : Fiction

I already like a book, if a murder happens in its first few pages. Yes, the book begins with a murder and is an absolute page turner. 

I picked this book up because I absolutely loved Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi that I read in my 7 Days 7 Books Marathon. The Rozabal Line is Ashwin Sanghi's first book and is a bestseller. Though, I picked up this book very late but then its better late than never. 

Facts + Fiction is one of the genres that I thoroughly enjoy. The book takes you to a journey all across the globe, across various centuries. The research that has been done regarding the book is fantastic. I won't compare the writing skills of author with Dan Brown but yes, when it comes to the research, Ashwin Sanghi is no less. 

Armageddon is the absolute motive of a group of 13 people who called themselves Lashkar-e-Talatashar. I loved the way they plan the attacks all over the world. The way it has been narrated in the story is absolutely mind blowing. The roles of the hindu astrologer, american priest and the professor Acton, Swakilki and Valerio are well defined and their doings makes this book a super roller coaster ride. A group Crux Decussata Permuta, a clandestine society, is rather keen on wiping out a whole creation in order to save the disclosure of an ancient secret. 

Too many theories about religions, to be particular Islam and Christianity have been highlighted in the book. The references given at the end of the book are something that one would want to explore. I have read both Bible and Qu'ran so, it was comparatively an easy ride for me to understand what was used in the plot. One has to be very attentive while reading the book because too many stories, in too many times, at too many places might confuse the reader.

Ashok Banker

the forest of stories (MBA#1) by Ashok Banker

1:00:00 PM


The Forest of Stories, Book One in Ashok Banker's long-awaited 'MBA' Series, takes us deep into the haunted jungle of Naimishavan. Here, at the ashram of Kulapati Shaunaka, a dustry traveller arrives with sad tidings: Maharishi Krishna Dweipayana Vyasa has passed on. Yet the great collator of the Vedas has left behind a fabulous legacy, the epic narrative poem called Maha Bharata. At the urging of the ashramites, the traveller Suta begins to recite the great composition, starting with the incredible creation myths and tales of god and giants, snake-mothers and gargantuan eagles. And as the night wears on and the tale grows darker, he senses the presence of countless ghostly beings in the shadows beyond the flickering oil-lamps, the restless souls of the many millions butchered in the climactic war that ended the great tale itself, gathering now to hear the epic saga that led eventually to their destruction and the decimation of the Kuru Bharata race




My interest in Mahabharata as a source of stories , wisdom and a sketch of society at any time began with reading 'Palace of Illusion" . A bit of the side events and tales were covered in "the Pregnant King' . and thus began a search for more books on Mahabharata. I had heard and read here too a lot about Banker's Ramayan series so when I saw this book at a friend's place , I could not resist borrowing. 

I had always wondered , why Mahabharata came to happen ? Most religious tales have a straight forward plot ans limited characters. This epic though is completely opposite or say different from any thing I ever heard of. And Banker proves it all the more here. From the very birth of any one remotely appearing or related to the tale has been mentioned and always with an interesting life history of him/her. Its amusing how even the dead or their words pave way to the future - this war of right and wrong. 

There is so much of magic woven in each tale - a moral , a beginning of the end , an end of some other story. Curses are boons in disguise , Devas take different forms and means to help mother earth , the asuras trying to have amrit , meditations and prayers to fulfill desires ,   promises to protect and help , tales of betrayal and love , of mothers and son , of heaven and hell , of trapped souls , of means of salvation , of places and importance , of lost , of preserved history. This book is no fiction my dear friends. Its a beautifully penned research work by Banker.

the narration is fast , the stories enchanting and the feeling so great to be reading of our rich mythology. This book makes you relish the very human - like traits of every one written about. The story-teller in the book has d destiny to narrate this epic to both living and dead alike. Ashok Banker looks like that story teller. He has woven the tapestry of our lives living off the older one. Of a war that marked the beginning of kalayug . Of friends and foes . of discipline , restraint and punishments.


you would not have heard many of these stories, and if you have , are you really sure why or how of it ?

Its time we discovered our roots

Enter the chakravyuh of the tales and hope they deliver you peace and pleasure both.



:)


Rating : 5/5

Other details :

ISBN:  9381626375
ISBN-13:  9789381626375  ,  978-9381626375
Binding: Paperback
Number of Pages: 376
Price : 220


PS : E books are available on Ashok banker's site for next part too. Or on amazon kindle.

David Baldacci

One Summer - David Baldacci

10:22:00 AM



Title : One Summer
Author : David Baldacci
Genre : Fiction
ISBN : 9780330533706
Pages : 368
Rating : 3/5
Publisher : PanMacmillan


This book came to me out of nowhere. I never ordered it and never intended to read it. But, I am glad I did that now. Though most of the people might not like with what this book has got to offer. It feels like you are reading a bollywood movie, where all izz well in the end. This was my first David Baldacci book who is known for his blockbuster thrillers. I think in future I am going to pick up one of his thrillers because I liked his writing. 

The story is about a man, Jack Armstrong, who is a war veteran and a happily married man. He is struggling with an unknown disease which doctors say is fatal and is gonna take his life away in a few months. Jack feels helpless and wants to make sure that before he dies, he must get closer to his three children and tell them how much he loves them. 

Lizzie, Jack's better half is a constant support for him and things fall when she dies in an accident. That's when Jack realises that how important it is for him to take the charge of his falling family and mend his relationship with his children and thats when the journey begins. 

I things that I couldn't comprehend that how Jack overcomes his disease miraculously and at times it felt like I am watching a Karan Johar movie, which has a tagline "It's all about loving your family". One thing is for sure that you would instantly feel connected to the emotions attached with the story and would not drop reading this one. The book becomes interesting towards the end and what I loved was Jack's letter given in the end of the book. 

A light read if you are traveling a long distance in a train or flight. 

4 star

Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell

8:30:00 PM



ISBN:          0751544434
ISBN-13:     9780751544435, 978-0751544435
Binding:       Paperback
Pages:         416
Language:   English




( From the book cover )

A reclusive writer is dead. And her final manuscript has disappeared ...

Someone is stalking Beryl Madison. Someone who spies on her and makes threatening, obscene phone-calls. Terrified, Beryl flees to Key West - but eventually she must return to her Richmond home. The very night she arrives, Beryl inexplicably invites her killer in ...

Thus begins for Dr Kay Scarpetta the investigation of a crime that is as convoluted as it is bizarre. Why would Beryl open the door to someone who brutally slashed and then nearly decapitated her? Did she know her killer? Adding to the intrigue is Beryl's enigmatic relationship with a prize-winning author and the disappearance of her own manuscript. As Scarpetta retraces Beryl's footsteps, an investigation that begins in the laboratory with microscopes and lasers leads her deep into a nightmare that soon becomes her own.




I read Patricia cornwell's novel " Book of the dead " two years back and I still can remember the craze it became for me that weekend to finish it and reach the end. After months ( probably the 2nd or 3rd time this year ) , i felt the same obsession in me.

The book follows the life of a writer Beryl who for some reasons writes under different names for each of her book and was on a run days before she is killed in her own home. The book engages you from the beginning with the letters she writes to a certain "M" ; with the stated fact that she opened the door to the killer even when she was scared enough to hide from the world till then. Then there is the odd mentor who is first thought as the man behind her killing and later the victim too.The simple looking plot goes on to link different people in unimaginable ways to the story - Beryl's friends , friend's friends, police , cheif medical officer , patient of a mental hospital , lawyers of entertainment industry and so on. Every answer is another question towards solving the mystery but question still. Its not till the end that the puzzle starts solving itself in your head and yet you have to read to make sense of few things that still are hazy in your understanding. The medical officer Scarpetta is intutive , sensitive, focussed and as humane as you can imagine. Married to her work , and living with a not so happy past , she is not the super hero you simply admire. she is the character you want to be inspired from. Patricia knows her art really well. I am totally into reading her other books soon.

Rating : 4.5/5 ( + 0.5 for being so addictive :P )

Jeffrey Archer

The Sins of The Father - Jeffrey Archer

1:25:00 PM

Title : The Sins Of The Father (Book 2 of The Clifton Chronicles) 
Author : Jeffrey Archer 
Publisher : PanMacmillan
ISBN : 978-1-4472-0922-5
Genre : Fiction
Pages : 384


I have just finished with the book and all I could think of is, sharing my views on it with the reader of this post. The only thing I dislike about reading a book series is, you get highly impatient about the next part of the series if it has not been released. The same thing is has happened with The Clifton Chronicles. The third book is due in 2013 and I just can't wait to lay my hands on it. I have reviewed the first part of the series "Only Time Will Tell" here on my blog few days  back. 

The book has been set up during the times when the world is busy dealing with the second world war. "The Sins of The Father" begins with Harry Clifton's part of the story after he lands up in America with a different identity, hoping things would get better with his lady love. Though he never expected to land up in another mess and dealing with the most horrible days of his life. During his journey, there are things he establishes for himself knowingly and unknowingly but some other person  keeps reaping the benefits of it until his lady love Emma Barrington lands up in America. Very cunningly Emma plans her exit from England and lands up at America. Her quest to find that Harry is still alive gets interesting with every page. 

On the other hand, Hugo Barrington, is as usual up with his cunning tricks to fool people and making things miserable for himself and others around him, specially Harry Clifton's mother, Maisie Clifton. Whereas, Maisie is trying her best to keep up with her life, that never fails to offer lemons. 

Harry on the other hand, finally lands up in the battle field, which was his dream. Though not in the way he wanted, but what mattered to him was, he was there on the battleground and making sure that the enemies get baffled when they hear of him. 

Giles Barrington, on the other hand is living his life, winning accolades for himself on the battlefield and missing Harry, his best friend, at every point. 

Yet again, the book has stopped at such a point that has left me curious to know what is going to happen next. The most interesting thing about the series is, it focuses on so many lives together that run in parallel plots, but never fails to weave them in a single strand. You ought to be very attentive while reading the book because the moment you missed a point, you would not be able to connect the threads of the story. 

Eagerly waiting for the Volume 3 of the series, "Best Kept Secret"

Fiction

To Cut a Long Story Short - Jeffrey Archer

6:10:00 PM



Title: To Cut A Long Story Short
Author: Jeffrey Archer 
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-00-77359-6

Genre: Short Stories/Fiction
Pages: 419
Rating: 4.5/5

 Last evening, I was roaming in one of the markets of my city where I spotted a shabby shop. I went inside and saw it had books everywhere. Old and new both. It took me seconds to figure out that the shopkeeper is selling old books at 50% price and there were hundreds of books lying around. Yesterday itself, someone from twitter suggested me to read short stories by Jeffrey Archer after reading my review of "Only Time Will Tell" and also suggested me this title "The Twist in the Tale" but I forgot it and picked up "To Cut A Long Story Short" for mere 100 bucks in a superb condition and I am glad I did that. 


"To Cut A Long Story Short" is a collection of short stories that Jeffrey has collected and experienced while he was travelling around the globe. The book features 15 short stories out of which 9 are based on true incidents. This was actually the first time I was reading a book which is a collection of short stories so I was a bit skeptical before starting it. 

The first story of the book is named as "Death Speaks", which has been translated from Arabic. Jeffrey was so moved by the story that he has placed it in the starting of the book. He has confessed this thing in the preface itself. Apart from this, the book has another 14 short stories namely ( the ones based on real life incidents have been written in italics)

1. The Expert Witness
2. The Endgame
3. The Letter
4. Crime Pays
5. Chalk and Cheese
6. A Change Of Heart
7. Too Many Coincidences
8. Love at First Sight
9. Both Sides Against The Middle
10. A Weekend to Remember
11. Something for Nothing
12. Other Blighter's Efforts
13. The Reclining Woman
14. The Grass is Always Greener

All the short stories have one thing in common, sudden twists and turns that would surely jolt you. The first two stories of the book namely Death Speaks and The Expert Witness, I had to read them twice because the language is so tricky that if you miss out on something, the story would sail over your head.   But after that, I read all the other stories with patience and word by word. And I would advice the reader of the book to do the same.

My personal favourites from this collection is, The Expert Witness, The Letter, Too Many Co-incidences, A Weekend to Remember and The Reclining Woman. I wont discuss the plots of these stories here but I highly recommend this book if you like intelligent and sly fiction. 

alop admin

Independence - Freedom - And so on ...

7:00:00 PM

Happy Independence day to my fellow Indians !

And now to the main objective of this post.

Independence / Freedom has always been an integral part of human need and desire at times. We all have been in situations where we felt really free  or the contrary. Many people make us jealous with their freedom ( and of course the cause differs for us all ) . so today I want to know from you all , one book / character from any book whose freedom you wish for ? any character who inspired the sense of freedom or to be independent in you ..

And .. the answer i love the most would win a gift coupon of flipkart from my side.

( This is Nimue writing the post so you know I would'nt be giving this coupon to either me or FL coz i hate his reading speed :P  unless he comes up with some good replies to this post )

So , pour in the thouhgts .. Lets talk "free"ly !



==

And the winner is Purva !

( thank you for telling about the book version of one of my favorite movie. and I totally agree , Maya is freedom personalized ! )


Fiction

Only Time Will Tell : Jeffrey Archer

9:20:00 AM


Title : Only Time Will Tell
Author : Jeffrey Archer 
Publisher : Pan Macmillan
ISBN : 978-0-330-53567-0
Genre : Fiction
Rating - 4.5/5 


While surfing flipkart for ordering more books in the previous week, I saw this book "The Sins Of The Father" by Jeffrey Archer. The title intrigued me. I thought of ordering the book right away, but then something clicked in my mind which told me to go through the reviews and that's when I came to know  that its a book from "The Clifton Chronicles" series. The Clifton Chronicles is a series of 5 books based on the life of Harry Clifton, the protagonist. And after knowing this, I thought, I'd give it a try and picked up the first book of the series "Only Time Will Tell" from a book store that I recently discovered in my city.

This was my first Jeffrey Archer book. I've always wanted to read his writings, but nothing inspired me to pick them up. I am glad that I did it now. 

"Only Time Will Tell" is set up in Gloucestershire, Britain, and is based on the life of Harry Clifton and people associated with him. An intelligent young englishman, who makes it to Oxford, whose life is based on the lies told to him by his mother and other people which encouraged him to fight wars for his country. But, as the story unfolds, and more characters are weaved into the plot, a lot of twists and turns occur in no time, leaving Harry in a fix. The book defines his relationships with almost everyone in his life in a very interesting way, his mother Maisie Clifton, his best friend Giles Barrington,  his lady love Emma Barrington, his friend Old Jack Tar and the person who have always dreaded on his existence Hugo Barrington. Harry's life changes in a moment, when he finds out the truth about his dead father and he takes up something that he has always wanted to do, when Britain is on the verge of having a war with Germany. 

Every character in the story has their own version of their life with Harry to tell and this is what makes the book more interesting. It is definitely a  page turner and I just cannot wait to lay my hands on the next edition of the series. This book ends on a point that would definitely force you to read the next one and see what turn would Harry's life will take in future and I'm surely gonna review that one here. 

-
Yatin Gupta

Freelancer

Cleopatra's Daughter - Michelle Moran

4:53:00 PM


CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER

ISBN - 978-1-84916-079-7
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2009
PAGES - 432
GENRE - Historical Fiction
BINDING - Paperback

AUTHOR - Michelle Moran

BEST-SELLERS - Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen

SYNOPSIS - [From the back cover]

Selene's legendary parents are gone. Her country taken, she has been brought to the city of Rome in chains, with only her twin brother, Alexander, to remind her of home and all she once had.

Living under the watchful eyes of the ruling family, Salene must quickly learn how to be Roman - and how to be useful to Caesar. She puts her artistry to work, in the hope of staying alive and being allowed to return to Egypt. Before long, however, she is distracted by the young and handsome heir to the empire...

When the elusive 'Red Eagle' starts calling for the end of slavery, Selene and Alexander are in grave danger. Will this mysterious figure bring their liberation, or their demise?

Quotes -
“And when that time comes, let's hope your friends outnumber your enemies.”  

“I'm not staring. I'm observing. . . . And what do you observe? . . . A brave young woman who has always fought for what was right, even when it was unpopular.” 

“...she refused to leave anything to someone else that she could do better herself.” 
FL Speak - Every once in a while you come across a book whose cover art simply blows you away. You decide to buy it and after reading the first few pages you realize you should've found it long ago. 

Michelle Moran weaves magic. And when she writes about a certain Egyptian Queen and her daughter, *phew* you know it has to be good.

So we have the Queen of Egypt Cleopatra forced to commit suicide after her husband Marc Antony was killed against the battle with Rome. Now her children, Selene, Alexander and Ptolemy has to face the uncertain future together. Already battling the loss of her parents, Selene must face another heart-breaking tragedy with the death of her youngest brother Ptolemy while on their way to Rome.

Selene, who grew up in the most beautiful city in the world, Alexandria, is shocked at the place the Romans called the greatest city of the world, Rome. She and her twin, Alexander were expecting death but they were pleasantly surprised when they were treated like royalty at Octavian's house. However, they knew that their good fortune would last only as long as they were useful to Octavia.

This book is a journey of a child, her struggle in a new city, her fight for survival. And on this illustrious journey she meets new people, makes new friends and enemies and falls in love with the person she should never have. For Marcellus is the heir of the empire and he may not be the person everyone assumes he is.

And when a certain 'Red Eagle' tries to be the new Spartacus, chaos reigns. With no one to trust except her twin, Selene must keep her wits about if she's to return to Egypt one day. But when everything you own is snatched away from you, the only thing that keeps you going is hope. And maybe love, from an unexpected quarter.

Michelle Moran made sure I was watching the spectacle as an audience. She made sure she kept me hooked and then pulled me further. She made sure by the time I came up gasping, I wanted more.

My Rating - 4.5/5 stars

PRICE - INR 299/-

Fiction

An Idiot, Placements and IntervYOU by Taufeeq Ahmed

8:35:00 AM


Book Cover


An Idiot,Placements & Intervyou
Author:Taufeeq Ahmed
Publisher:Times Group
Price:INR 195
Pages:189
Source:Review Copy via alotofpages.com
First Published:June 2012

Before going on to the review, lemme ask you something. What do you expect from a book titled 'An Idiot,Placements&Intervyou'? Okay, I shall give you a few more hints...

What will you expect if the book is also the debut work of a twenty something Indian Engineering graduate (who is currently working in a reputed MNC and calls himself 'toffee'!),as a writer? Like most of you may have guessed by now, I also picked up this book expecting it to be one of those assembly line desi campus stories from a wannabe Chetan Bhagat. Wait...!don't start lecturing me now on the pits of mediocrity that the country's literary arena has fallen into. 'An Idiot, Placements & Intervyou' is not what you expect it to be. It's basically a self help book aimed at the Engineering students and those fresh B Tech graduates who are yet to get a job.

What the book is all about:
An idiot,who was a topper in his school all his life,joins one of the finest engineering colleges.And then,like many others,he spends most of his time 'enjoying' the beautiful days,ignoring his studies completely.But when he comes to his final year of engineering,one question starts haunting him – ‘What next?’. Its then he starts taking life seriously, does his best and gets placed in his dream company.A year later, he feels like sharing his experiences with the world and starts writing a simple novel-like book on placements& interviews in a funky style. (~from the back cover)

The Characters: The book is all about Toffee and his experiences with placement tests and interviews.

The Writing:In his attempt to be 'cool', Taufeeq has inadvertently made a couple of ironical statements in between. For instance,at one particular point he magnanimously says, "...though I personally hated reservations, I didnt find any meaning in not utilising this golden opportunity". Opposing something and enjoying it at the same time is what you call hypocrisy,my dear friend! The English is mostly basic which is understandable as a) the book belongs to the self help genre and was never intended to be a literary marvel b) the target readers of this book are supposed to be 'very poor in English'! (Offended?blame HT!)

What I liked the most about this book:

  1. The book is a sincere,honest attempt by the author to help fellow engineers find a job through placement 'tests and interviews'.
  2. Taufeeq Ahmed is no Chetan Bhagat and he never tries to be one.
  3. The writer has even included practice tests and 'sample problems' in this book which might be of help for the aspiring engineering graduates.
  4. It's often said that 'we learn from someone else's mistakes'. The book enlists the common errors that students make while taking placement tests and interviews and tells the reader how he can overcome them.
  5. The author has meticulously explained each and every step of the 'placement process' in a non-preachy way so that you don't mess up in any of those.
  6. Cheesy lines are there in plenty. Sample-You will never know true happiness until you have truly loved, and you will never understand what pain really is until you have lost it"

What I didn't like:

  1. The Love story (of Toffee) falls flat! It might have inspired the author to write this book, I understand. But then, why include it in the book if it fails to strike a chord with its readers?
  2. The book has nothing in it to excite someone who is not it's 'target reader'.
  3. A few grammatical errors which popped up in between.

Bottom Line: If you are an Engineering student or a fresh un employed engineer,you should definitely buy this book.If you aren't,give this one a miss! Rating-3.5/5

PS- MSM,sorry for the delay in publishing this review

    
-reviewed by nikhimenon

alop admin

Monthly Review: July-August

12:00:00 AM



Hellllo Hello Everybody!

July has gone and left us with new responsibilities and experiences to cherish. August is here and I am waiting for certain someone to come down and save my arse again! I tell you running this whole thing ain’t easy! I bow before you FL! Ahem. I am also talking about the New Admins and Deputy Owners/God Mothers and Wing Women! Without you ladies, I have no idea how I would have managed! Yep! With FL taking an infinite break, we have mostly women handling the high chairs! :D No worries boys! You all are still beloved reviewers! I just mean to mention how women can work effectively ;) Ah never mind!

Image Source: desicomments.com
Soooo, coming to the point – we saw average number of reviews this month as well as last month – which were very good. I would specially like to mention Vivek’s reviews – they are brilliant! Guys, do leave him comments of appreciation! We had reviews from Nightflier, Nimue, Maithili, Swarnali, UCV, FL (I’m reading your reviews! Pinky Swear! ) Pulkit's being missed here as well! (Yes, I know I had blundered here) We have new admin – Swarnali, who is still learning her way around. NikhiI hope you find the book a good read. Arpita – your reviews are awaited! If I have left out anybody, believe me, it's human error. Correct me where ever needed! :D 

Now coming to the list of things we need to know and take up to make our place glittery and gaga!

Mixed Variety Challenge will be back by September 1st, for sure. So those who have been not reviewing, come on guys! Girdle up and exercise your grey cells (This applies to me as well. Sigh.) There is a lot of written matter out there – pick and choose! J

Monthly Giveaways will be back as well, by September 1st! (Yes!!) Now people, the reason that had you hooked to reading to some extent (Greed, Passion, Luck?) is going to be back – so get back on track and start reading!

Behold your breath people, ‘cause coming September, the Giveaways may reach across the globe. Yes. We might go International! See, now you have another reason! Read read read! :D

Also, we have been thinking about starting a new section called Contributors’ Interviews which means you get to choose from the list of Admins and Panelists and their interviews shall be taken. Please give your suggestions as to whether you would like something like this! We all will get to know each other better this way – ‘cause Come on! A lot can happen at A Lot of Pages! :D

We have another wonderful suggestion from Nimue (By the way, she has suffered slip disc and let’s hope she recovers quick quick! Take care Girl!). We want to start a page which is dedicated to Books and Best Friends. Now, we all must have read something somewhere, which might have reminded us of our one friend – whether good or bad. So this page will be more about sharing your experiences while reading a book, how you felt and remembered that one person in your life. Afterall, books are also written through memories.

So, give your views about Contributors’ Interviews and Books and Best Friends!

Finally, we may also have our own Weekly Meme! But FL will talk about it later.

There have been cancellations of memberships for people who have not met the criterion of reviewing two books a month and have not furnished appropriate reasons, even after constant reminders and emails. We don’t want to force you and make reading a task for you – hence, we welcome reasons! Therefore, do write to us, we will listen to you.

Annnnnd, with this we come to an end of our Monthly Review. Ohh, it’s just end of our review, but we have a lot to catch up with! Don’t we? :D

Let’s Rule the World!

Love,
MSM

Fantasy

A Crown of Swords - Robert Jordan

3:35:00 AM


A CROWN OF SWORDS

Book 7 of "The Wheel of Time"

Read about the other books of the series HERE

ISBN - 9780812550283
FIRST PUBLISHED -  1997
PAGES - 896
GENRE - Epic Fantasy
BINDING - Paperback

SYNOPSIS - The war for humanity's survival has begun.

Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, has escaped the snares of the White Tower and the first of the rebel Aes Sedai have sworn to follow him. Attacked by the servants of the Dark, threatened by the invading Seanchan, Rand rallies his forces and brings battle to bear upon Illian, stronghold of Sammael the Forsaken...

In the city of Ebou Dar, Elayne, Aviendha and Mat struggle to secure the ter'angreal that can break the Dark One's hold on the world's weather - and an ancient bane moves to oppose them. In the town of Salidar, Egwene al'Vere gathers an army to reclaim Tar Valon and reunite the Aes Sedai...

And in Shadar Logoth, city of darkness, a terrible power awakens...

QUOTES - 

If you don't know everything, you must go on with what you do know.
  • Rand al'Thor
The weak must be bold cautiously.
  • Siuan Sanche
The more bosom a woman displayed, the less she wanted you to look. Openly, at least.
  • Matrim Cauthon
FL Speak - First of all, hats off for continuing to read this epic journey. We are almost halfway through the series. Now sit back, pick this up and lets get channelling.

Still not over the last book? Where the Aes Sedai, for the first time in history, swear fealty to the Dragon Reborn. Yes, it might not be all the Aes Sedai...but still that's a beginning. No one can forget Taim's famous dialogue "Kneel before the Dragon Reborn....or you will be knelt

You might have expected more of Rand in this book, but you'd be disappointed..oh he's still there...with Min, who is getting very very interesting but this book belongs to one Matrim Cauthon. Oh yes, the gambler and womaniser is back!! [Min Farshaw in the pic]

Jordan has not even introduced the Seanchan properly, but fear not, they're here now. Lets get over the boring bits first shall we? Nynaeve and Aviendha and Elayne are on the hunt for the "Bowl of the Winds", which they believe will weaken the Dark One's stranglehold over the weather. Mat ofcourse is with them, determined to protect them as well as stay away from the ladies.

You'd have thought with the Aes Sedai, the Asha'man, the Seanchan damane, the Seafolk and the Aeil Wise Ones, there were enough channelers. Well, Jordan thought not so. So here's the Kin...a huge huge group of women who left the White Tower for various reasons but still channelling. Looks like our dear little Egwene has her hands full now.

We will come back to Mat and Rand...here's Perrin for you. He, is missing from this book again except for the first couple of pages. Apparently Rand sent him on a mission. Alright, alright...I get it you're bored now. How about a picture of a LOLCAT to cheer you up???

So the best scenes now....Mat drinks with Birgitte and Elayne has a hangover...That's a rofl moment as any...Thank you, warder bond. That prim daughter-heir needed that. And then, there's this spectacular battle between Nynaeve and Moghedien which involves balefire. Moghedien's hatred for the ex-village wisdom is remarkable. And then there's Mat and Tylin. Hahahaha... Tylin, the Queen of Ebou Dar, is absolutely shameless. Poor Mat is often tied up in lace and Tylin spares him not once for sexual advances... [btw, that's Mat in lace..hahahahaahahhaha]

As you near the end of the book, you know something’s got to give. Jordan may write a dull, boring, sleepy story but the ending is always explosive. And yes, you will find it here as well. The battle with Sammael and Shadar Logoth. Rand does manages to get himself mortally injured by Padan Fain before the showdown...you'll need to read the book to figure how. And if you thought, this was the fight you were waiting for in the whole book, guess again. The Seanchan attack Ebou Dar and Mat is stranded smack in the middle of it. And the dice in his head just stopped rolling.


Wait for the next one, guys. The story is far from over.

PROPHECY - 
The unstained tower breaks and bends knee to the forgotten sign.
The seas rage, and stormclouds gather unseen.
Beyond the horizon, hidden fires swell, and serpents nestle in the bosom.
What was exalted is cast down; what was cast down is raised up.
Order burns to clear his path.

Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm,
wearer of a crown of swords, spinner out of fate.
Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time,
may learn the truth too late.

Rating - 3.5/5 stars

PRICE - INR 350/-
Mia dovienya nesodhin soende

Fiction

My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

8:50:00 PM


MY SISTER'S KEEPER

ISBN - 978-0-340-91862-3
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2004
PAGES - 407
GENRE - Fiction
BINDING - Paperback

AUTHOR - Jodi Picoult

BEST-SELLERS - Keeping Faith, Salem Falls, Second Glance

SYNOPSIS - [From the back cover]

Sara Fitzgerald's daughter Kate us just two years old when she is diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. Reeling with the helpless shock of it, Sara knows she will do anything - whatever it takes - to save her child.

Then the test results come back time and again to show that no one in their family is a match for Kate. If they are to find a match for the crucial bone marrow transplant she needs, there is only one option: creating another baby, specifically designed to save her sister. For Sara, it seems the ideal solution. Not only does Kate live, but she gets a beautiful new daughter, Anna, too.

Until the moment Anna hands Sara the papers that will rock her whole world. Because, aged thirteen, Anna has decided that she doesn't want to help Kate live any more. She is suing her parents for her rights to her own body.

EXCERPT - 
"It is about Kate. Sort of." I press the newspaper clippings into my brother's hand; they'll do a better job explaining than I ever could. He scans them, then looks me right in the eye. His are the palest shade of silver, so surprising that sometimes when he stares at you, you can completely forget what you were planning to say. 
"Don't mess with the system, Anna," he says bitterly. "We've all got our scripts down pat. Kate plays the Martyr. I'm the Lost Cause. And you, you're the Peacekeeper."



QUOTES - 

“true love is felonious… You take someone’s breath away… You rob them of the ability to utter a single word… You steal a heart.”

 “It is the things you cannot see coming that are strong enough to kill you.” 

“I didn't want to see her because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it's hard to remember who I am...” 

FL Speak - *pause*

Ever felt goosebumps rise up your arms the moment you read the back cover of a book in a store? You realize it would mean you might end up not only reading the book but actually living every emotion, no matter how painful and yet you stride up to the payment section and buy the book. This is what happened with me and Jodi Picoult. 

I have always wanted to read Picoult but something always came in my way. And THIS IS NOT THE BOOK i wanted to romance Picoult with. But as fate would have it, I picked this one up. Thank you Polo aka @CreepyBangalan for recommending this one.

Meet the Fitzgerald family. Sara and her husband Brian are doing everything to save their eldest daughter Kate. And in the family struggle are their two other children, Jesse and his sister Anna. Jesse and Anna have their own issues, but as usual they're swept aside for the greater problem, Kate.

What can a 13 year old do when the parents she loves wants her as a tool for their elder daughter. Kate needs blood, Anna provides. Kate needs bone marrow, Anna provides.....but when is it enough? How long are you willing to go for your own sister without thinking about your future? How can you carry on every single day knowing the parents who love you and you sister equally will never understand how you feel...

The Telegraph got it right when the praised Picoult. She doesn't just write a gut-wrenching novel, she writes humanity. Being a reader, you don't know whom to feel sorry for...the dying girl, the sister who's the keeper, the brother who couldn't save her life or her parents who think they are making the right choice.

There are moments when you can just close your eyes and picture every scene so clearly....just like when Kate is in hospital and falls in love with another guy of her age who's in for treatment.....or the moment when Sara and Anna go bald so that Kate don't feel awkward while going out shopping. 

Watch out for Jesse though....He's a huge huge surprise in the book and its easy to think he's in the background when the book is practically about Kate vs Anna vs Sara.

Don't get me wrong.....Anna love Kate to bits....Sara and Brian love both their daughters and the wayward son....Its this love, that threatens everyone... Anna has to choose between what is right and what is wrong....and what is right may not necessarily be right. She's stuck between doing what's right and what needs to be done and you can heave a sigh of relief knowing you're not in the position of that 13-year old girl. As the story nears its ending, Anna springs a surprise that shocks everyone in the book as well as me.....

*deep breathe*

I thought I figured it out...until that moment. And then I close my eyes and think ahead of the ramifications from this unexpected twist...and as I finally make a conclusion, I read again. The next shock blew me away. 

There are times when you simply cannot stop reading even though tears are rolling down your cheeks. Being a guy, I'm attuned to physical pain...its the emotional ones that betray me...and Jodi Picoult just turned up the magnitude. I want to read all her books but I fear what I would turn into when I'm done with them.

Jodi Picoult is a frigging genius. Her writing is a beauty in itself and forgive me, but she's absolutely heartless the way she squirms your heart out.

My Rating - 5/5 stars

PRICE - INR 350/-

1Q84

1Q84: Book Two by Haruki Murakami

12:17:00 PM

Title: 1Q84: Book Two
Author: Haruki Murakami
Translators: Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-4103534235
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: (Book two): 284



Nightflier Speaks:

I finished all 3 volumes last weekend. I am still living in the world created in 1Q84. Such is the effect of Murakami's writing. And well, I still visit the world of the wind up bird chronicle, the only other Murakami book I have read. So the books make you climb in their world and make you want to live there. What. An. Achievement. For any writer this is a feat. And for any book lover its a treat.

So without getting into any more Murakami praise, I will stick to task at hand i.e. trying to review the book.
Book 2 is essentially a love story, of Aomame (uh-oh-mah-me) and Tengo. They are trying to find each other after the intial premise setup in book one. Do they really meet and how entangled their reality is best left to the reading experience. In the process, Murakami takes the concepts/ideas in book one, 'little people' 'air chrysalis' 'other world' to the metaphysical level. Even if interpretations are best left to the imagination, I am really looking forward to discuss these ideas with someone, who has read the book and will not call me insane.

Parallel universe is a reality in this book. True to Murakami writing, it has all pop cultural references that even a non-japanese reader can easily relate to. There is a recurring reference to 'The Thomas Crown Affair' and I felt strangely nostalgic. Not just that the peculiar music that keeps on playing in Aomame and Tengo's lives, their music taste, the attention to detail in these descriptions is just mind blowing. If there is one thing that constantly impresses me about Murakami's writing (hey! I am already a fan!) is his this very ability. He compels you to look at day to day objects/things/occurrences with minute and open eyes. Since last weekend I am looking at the moon every night. The moon which has a special significance in Aomame and Tengo's story.

In this book, a lot is told about Tengo's personal life, his relationship with his estranged father, his thoughts about his mother. As Tengo is exploring his own life, we journey with him, finding out one detail at a time. Light is thrown on the bestseller book that Fuka-Eri wrote and Tengo ghost-wrote. The sense of mystic around Fuka-Eri and her background continues. The reader gets to journey through Japan as well. I think for all these reasons Murakami is the best Japanese ambassador out there.

I will agree with Vivek by questioning the difficulty of reviewing a Murakami book and try to end this futile attempt. With my limited life experiences, I can only say, Murakami's books should be savored by every fiction lover. One should enter his worlds and then look at her surroundings. And then ask in which year they really live.

Rating: 5/5

Arpita

Love, Destiny... and those two days- Murlidhar Srivastava

10:01:00 PM





SYNOPSIS-

He loves her intensely.

She loves him deeply. Does she…? ? ?

One evening she walks away, walks away without answering a word to him. Twenty-two years later, they meet accidentally in a mall, when both have some grey hairs and few wrinkles on their faces.

What could happen in just two days? The question kept on haunting Mayur despite best efforts to forget. And Shobha…. did she manage the twists & turns of destiny correctly… ???

Was Chandani, wedded after a perfect match of horoscopes to a well settled boy from a premium institution, able to pull off her marriage?

Did Verma aunty, who always lived in tears when her only son settled permanently in US get the care and attention in the winter of her life?

Astro predictions, horoscope, belief – how far one should go in believing on these? Does over belief weaken one's ability to rationally look at a thing or a problem? 

A Mystifying Saga of Love, Betrayal & Belief.


(Review Requested by the Author)


EXCERPT-

She looked at her watch and said, “I’m getting late. My husband had phoned me to pick me up from here. I will go now, Mayur.”

Mayur heard his name in the conversation for the first time. He said, “Okay, and thanks.”

“Thanks for what?”

“Talking to me,” he said and continued, “Generally every Monday I come to this mall in the afternoon.” He himself could not understand why he said this. She did not give a reply.

ARPITA SPEAKS- (Finally. *Clears throat*)

You know how every other story seems to be about two people who met in college, fell in love, broke up and blah, blah, blah? I was really tired of those novels even though I still wouldn’t mind reading short stories based on a similar theme; which is why I was tempted to read something different this time round, and this book certainly is ‘different’.

“Love, Destiny... and those two days.”  The title instantly caught my attention. And yes, that was mainly because I was eager to know what happened on ‘those two days’.  But more importantly, I liked the idea of reading about two people who were in love, accidentally meeting years later; and all the drama that comes with it- the surprise, the tension, the embarrassment, the confusion and of course, The Consequences.  

On the whole, this is a story about love and separation.  But there are several other themes that come into play as well. The most unusual concept that the plot revolves around is the role of destiny in our lives. It’s not just about accepting Fate, though. Here we have a heroine who is a staunch believer of the idea that the positions of the planets affect our lives.  Shobha has cent per cent faith in the authenticity of horoscopes. She even checks the predictions in the morning paper and plans her week accordingly. I know many of us do the same, even if it’s just for fun. I for one really enjoy looking up the characteristic traits of different sun signs; it’s thoroughly entertaining, I tell you.  But coming to the point, this girl is absolutely obsessed with star charts and such, to the point of being a little deluded.

Typically, the guy has no interest or belief in these things. While most readers would be tempted to think along the same lines as Mayur, and be glad to know that he is mostly right, it seems a little odd that there are very few things that happen according to the horoscopes that Shobha keeps a track of. The best part of the story is the influence of her obsession with them, which marks the finale, making the conclusion impressive and surprising. Thank GOD the novel does not have a stereotypical ending and the real reason behind the break up is not actually what it seems to be all along.

The curiosity about what causes the break up keeps you reading until the very end when Shobha finally reveals the truth. The author has done a fine job of portraying the maddening torment associated with not having closure. One cannot help but sympathize with the protagonist’s helplessness and frustration at not knowing the reason behind the break up. The worst possible thing anyone can do is walk away from someone’s life without telling them why. Mayur does manage to move on with life and tries to give his best to his career and family. But it’s obvious that life could have been much better had he not been baffled by the mystery behind Shobha’s sudden, inexplicable change of heart during ‘those two days’.

The most endearing character in the novel, funnily enough, is Lata- Mayur’s wife. One does not initially give her much thought; at first, she comes across as the ideal wife, ideal daughter-in-law, and ideal mother who keeps lurking in the background with nothing much to say. However, as the story continues, she turns out to be a fun loving woman who is actually a perfectionist- she might not go to out to work, but she takes her job as a homemaker seriously. She is someone with passion for life. Lata is romantic and intelligent, she is impish and smart. In fact, it’s much easier relating to her than to Shobha, who might be the beautiful and loving heroine but whom you do not really feel like you know personally.

The sub-plot focuses on Chandani, Mayur’s younger cousin whom he dotes on, and the Verma family which includes the old couple and their son Sandip who has moved to the US with his wife and daughter and hesitates to return. Here, the author brings into perspective the different issues associated with arranged and love marriages, respectively. Although I wish more details would have been provided about Chandani’s conversation with her prospective groom and what kind of expectations she herself had from the marriage, it was nice to see that her character becomes more appealing towards the end, when she begins to speak up for herself and takes a stand.

The novel has a ‘feel good ending’ but the climax is totally startling, because of an unexpected turn of events that gave it a filmy touch without even being melodramatic.  All in all, it’s a pleasant read.

RATING- 3/5

PRICE- Rs. 125/-

NUMBER OF PAGES- 206

ISBN- 97-88-18-352-021-8

GENRE- Fiction