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Monday, July 6, 2015

Personal By Lee Child: First Page Mondays




Of course I love Jack Reacher, and Lee Child of course...who doesn't!? So here I am, reading another of my favorite thriller called Personal by Lee Child.

So here goes the first page.....

ONE

eight days ago my life was an up and down affair. some of it good. some of it not so good. most of it uneventful. long slow periods of nothing much, with occasional bursts of something. like the army itself. which is how they found me. you can leave the army, but the army doesn't leave you. not always. not completely.

 they started looking two days after some guy took a shot at the president of france. i saw it in the paper. a long-range attempt with a rifle. in paris. nothing to do with me. i was six thousand miles away, in california, with a girl i met on the bus. she wanted to be an actor. i didn't. so after forty-eight hours in LA she went one way and i went the other. back on the bus, first to san fracisco for a couple of days, and then to portland, oregon, for three more, and then onward to seattle. which took me close to fort lewis, where two women in uniform got out of the bus. they left an Army Times behind, one day old, right there on the seat across the aisle.

 the Army Times is a strange old paper. it started up before world war two and is still going strong, .....

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, June 22, 2015

Before We Met By Lucie Whitehouse: First Page Mondays




I am reading a really interesting book right now titled Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse. It's in the thriller genre and right now I'm not going to share any more information, except for the first page....so here you go...

.......................

the rain was beating down, and out here, where the carriageway was exposed, the wind buffered hannah's old vw as if it were trying to push it off the road. usually on a heathrow run she watched the planes dip down into the airport one after the other, barely a minute between them, but tonight the rhythm was broken and it was two minutes, now three, before a new set of lights struggled through the roiling cloud. she tightened her grip again, checked the mirror and pulled out into the fast lane.

 the holiday inn loomed up on the left, an ugly concrete tooth in silhouette against the sky, the light from its green neon sign leaching into the wet air. she took the exit for terminal three, the buzz in her stomach intensifying though they were married now, the trip to the airport was still exciting. she didn't need to come and meet him, in fact, it would probably be quicker if mark caught a cab into town, especially on a night like this, but the drive, the arrivals, the crush at the barrier - it all reminded them of the time before they got married, when jfk and heathrow were the two poles round which so many of their weekends revolved.

 as usual, the first two levels of the car park were full. reluctantly, she took the ramp up to level three and found a spot by the lobby with the ticket machines. after a quick look in the mirror, she got out of the car and headed for the lifts................

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Sunlit Night By Rebecca Dinerstein: Review

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Look at the cover - I mean look at it...I have something for covers like this, that make you want to look at a book and think of what it could hold within. I am not really a fan of those commercial covers, and when Bloomsbury sent me a copy of  The Sunlit Night By Rebecca Dinerstein, I knew I would automatically fall in love with the cover - there is something that Bloomsbury has come up with in their design section that is going just so right for me.....fantastic.

The first thought that came to my mind even as I was reading the book was that it was like walking inside a painting. Imagine a situation, where you are looking at a beautiful painting, and suddenly, you find yourself pulled towards it, and just like that, you are inside the painting too, and everything has a glow and luminous effect around it.

Cover Jacket

Frances
I had read of a man who was painting with only the colour yellow - he lived in the north of Norway. The artist colony where he worked had offered me a room for the summer, as part of a painting apprenticeship programme.

Yasha
Yasha remembered his father's instructions. On the back of a bakery receipt, he wrote:

This is what he wanted:
Ommot's route
Lapland
Top of the world
Real peace

A Quick Look At The Goodreads Summary

In the beautiful, barren landscape of the Far North, under the ever-present midnight sun, Frances and Yasha are surprised to find refuge in each other. Their lives have been upended--Frances has fled heartbreak and claustrophobic Manhattan for an isolated artist colony; Yasha arrives from Brooklyn to fulfill his beloved father's last wish: to be buried “at the top of the world.” They have come to learn how to be alone.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri: First Page Mondays


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If you have read my previous posts on the blog, you would know that I am not a fan of short stories and do not enjoy reading them at all, no matter how popular the book. But all that changes with Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. It is not surprising that Jhumpa has been called the 'thinking man's poster woman' and I find nothing offensive in that. In fact, I feel she is one of the most amazing and talented writers I have come across, male or female.

I have only just begun reading this book of hers and am now on the third story....till now the read has been beautiful, and it continues to keep alive my belief in her as a writer who can bring out different stories and human windows each time she comes up with a new book...I am absolutely loving it...

For now, here is the first page from the book....the first story is called Unaccustomed Earth

UNACCUSTOMED EARTH

After her mother's death, Ruma's father retired from the pharmaceutical company where he had worked for many decades and began traveling in Europe, a continent he'd never seen. In the past year he had visited France, Holland and most recently Italy. They were package tours, traveling in the company of strangers, riding by bus through the countryside, each meal and museum and hotel

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Anyone But Ivy Pocket: Meet The Girl Everyone's Trying To Avoid By Caleb Krisp: Review


I've already mentioned on the blog here that I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman. So when I got a chance to read the book Anyone But Ivy Pocket: Meet The Girl Everyone's Trying To Avoid By Caleb Krisp, I was immediately reminded of his works, in a very positive way. I have not compared the writing, but if you have enjoyed Neil Gaiman's works, especially something like Fortunately The Milk (which is also a Bloomsbury publication) I can assure you you'll love this.

As always, it's amazing to open a package sent by Bloomsbury...there's always a surprise in there...so when I opened the package that came by mail, here's what was inside...


So as you can see on the cover here, it is not officially the cover that may come out in stores once the book is out - it has released in some places but is yet to release everywhere - and you better get your hands on it when it's out - the cover that I got on the unreleased copy literally blew me away!!! I mean, look at it....it's one of the MOST STUNNING book covers I have ever seen....The gold highlights and detailing on the cover are so stunning, and everything from the designs at the edges of the frame to the detailing of the pocket watch to the way the letters are written is beautifully planned, designed and executed. This is one book that will add that much more charm and beauty to my bookshelf, for its story as much as for its art value.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Painted House By John Grisham: First Page Mondays

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I am currently half way through the novel A Painted House By John Grisham and I feel it is quite different from all his other works that I have read. In fact, if I didn't know the book was written by John Grisham, I would never have guessed it. So here's a quick look at the first page from the book, which will give you an idea of what's to come...and there's a lot, believe me.

CHAPTER 1

The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a 'good crop.'

Monday, April 20, 2015

Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp: First Page Mondays

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This is undeniably one of the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen, sent by Bloomsbury of course, and they do have some of the most beautiful covers ever......

Coming back to the book, this is an uncorrected proof copy that has been sent to me before release for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation for the same and was sent the book in exchange for an honest review and discussion.

So here is a look at the first page from the book Anyone But Ivy Pocket: Meet The Girl Everyone's Trying To Avoid by Caleb Krisp.

I found the note upon my lady's bed.
 It read as follows:

 Dear Miss Pocket,
 As you can see, I have gone. Do not follow me. I repeat, DO NOT follow me!
 I am sailing for South America for no other reason than it is far enough away from Paris to ensure that I never see you again. The hotel bill has been paid. As for your wages, after taking into account my pain and suffering, I have left you the sum of one pound. Which is generous, given your conduct. You are now on your own.
 Good riddance,
 Countess Carbunkle

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Little House By Philippa Gregory: Sneaky Peeky Sunday

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It's been a long time I did one of these, and I'm sorry I have not got the time to share with you all what I am currently reading. I am about to head out on a two month trip with my two little kiddies around the country, so it's going to be even more difficult to manage my office work (yes, I will be working all six days of the week even while we are traveling), the two kiddies alone, the younger one with her stranger anxiety as she is going to meet a lot of family members on the trip who she is not familiar with, and not to mention the massive heat. But we will manage and we will have fun and I will have my reading ready :) 

So before this post becomes a horrible rant, let me get to the point. Philippa Gregory is one of my most favorite authors ever, and I love allllllll her books, absolutely. It's quite difficult to get her books here in India, but we do keep trying and I pick it up wherever I find. Oops, this is turning into another rant. 

So here is the book I am currently reading and the page I am on.....

The Little House by Philippa Gregory

It seemed to take all morning to get Thomas dressed, and then she had to entertain him in one room after another, as she tried to get the household chores done. He had learned now to reach for something and grasp at it, and his favorite game was to be propped by pillows and offered one object after another to hold and then negligently drop. In the bathroom, while she dutifully cleaned the toilet, the skin, and the bath, Ruth passed him toothbrushes, flannels, and a box of

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

She Will Build Him A City by Raj Kamal Jha: Review


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One of the most recent books I read by Bloomsbury is She Will Build Him A City by Raj Kamal Jha. I have not read anything by this author prior to this, nor had I heard of him or his book. So it was quite a surprise when I received the book in my mailbox – thanks again to the wonderful team at Bloomsbury for introducing me to new authors and styles and also for giving me authors that I already love – this cheers goes out to you haan!

Coming back to the book, before I tell you what it is about, here’s a quick look at the blurb:

As night falls in Delhi, a mother spins tales from her past for her sleeping daughter. Now grown up, her child is a puzzle with a million pieces, whom she hopes, through her words and her love, to somehow make whole again.
Meanwhile, a young man rides the last train from Rajiv Chowk Station and dreams of murder.

In another corner of the city, a newborn wrapped in a blood-red towel lies on the steps of an orphanage as his mother walks away.

There are twenty million bodies in this city, but the stories of this woman, man, and child--of a secret love that blossoms in the shadows of grief, of a corrosive guilt that taints the soul, and of a boy who maps his own destiny--weave in and out of the lives of those around them to form a dazzling kaleidoscope of a novel.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: Book Thoughts

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I have read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini a few times already, and each time I read it, I look at it with new eyes and feeling.

The book is the second by the author who made his debut with The Kite Runner, of course yet another favorite. I have read all three books by the author, including his latest offering that came out last year, titled And The Mountains Echoed. You may read the review HERE.

With A Thousand Splendid Suns, I will not attempt a review. That's why I never have tried talking about this book in so long, as with The Kite Runner. There is something  so intense and so personal in these books (not to say that I have the same lives as the protagonists who live in these books, but that it touches me so much), I never try to get down to a review.

Once you come out with a book and it turns out to be a hit, releasing that second book with as much or more expectation is always a Herculean task. It's like falling into that so familiar trap that many amazing first time authors have been devoured in. But the beauty of Hosseini's second book is that it surpasses what it set out to do in the first book - it smashes all expectations and raises the bar yet again.

The story is essentially Mariam's story - born a bastard and living with her mother, Nana, in a ramshackle hut at the edge of the city. Her 'father' is a wealthy man, and Mariam's mother was employed in his household, till her belly swelled and he set her up in this forsaken place. Of course each month her guilt-ridden father Jalil sends a wheelbarrow laden with the month's supplies, brought

Monday, April 6, 2015

April And May 2015 Titles From Bloomsbury: Pick Up And Read

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Bloomsbury continues with the tradition of keeping the magic of good books alive, and there's just so much they have in store for book lovers for you and me....!!!

Here's a quick look at some amazing titles that are out now or about to release this April and May 2015. Take your pick(s), I'll tell you which ones I think I really want to read (can I have them all?!!) and let me know which ones you are planning to read too :)

APRIL

F E A T U R I N G:


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke (I really want to read this one)

SOON TO BE A MAJOR SEVEN-PART BBC TV SERIES.

Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me ...

So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.

Ring Roads – Patrick Modiano - (I really want to read this one)
(Winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature)

Ring Roads, for which Modiano was awarded the French Academy's Grand Prix du Roman (1972), is the story of a young Jew, Serge, in search of his father, Chalva, who

Monday, March 9, 2015

She Will Build Him A City by Raj Kamal Jha: First Page Mondays

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Bloomsbury  sent me this lovely book titled She Will Build Him A City by Raj Kamal Jha. I've just started reading it so can't tell you much about it yet, but yes, it's quite an interesting read so far.....

Here's what the first page says:

WOMAN

WINTER AFTERNOON

THIS, tonight, is a summer night, hot, gathering dark, and that is a winter afternoon, cold, falling light, when you are eight years nine years old, when you come running to me, jumping commas skipping breath, and you say, Ma, may I ask you something may I ask you something and I say, of course, baby, you may ask me anything and you say, Ma, when I am tired, when my legs hurt, when my eyes begin to close, I only need to call you, I only need to say, Ma, and you appear instantly, like magic, from wherever you are you set aside whatever you're doing you come running to me you lift me up you carry me you walk with me you.

 Slow down, slow down, I tell you, but, of course, you don't, you say if it's sleep time, you place

Friday, February 27, 2015

Kaleidoscope City - A Year In Varanasi by Piers Moore Ede: Upcoming Release By Bloomsbury

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I absolutely love reading memoirs, so this snippet of a new release coming up by Bloomsbury has me all looking forward to it. Of course I will share the review as soon as I get my hands on the book and read it :) For now, lets see what the publishers have to share about the book and the author.

Bloomsbury India announces the publication of a captivating memoir  of a year spent in the holy city of Varanasi.

Kaleidoscope City - A Year In Varanasi by Piers Moore Ede is scheduled for release soon in 2015.

About the Book
‘I will never forget my first sight of the river in Varanasi, from the narrowness and constriction of the alleys, thronged with activity, to the sudden release of the waterfront, the labyrinth’s end . . . It seems that all of life has its assigned place on the stone steps leading down to the Ganges. Some are used for bathing, others for laundry, washing buffalo, puja (worship, ceremonial offering), and this one for the business of death. The smells are of wood smoke, buffalo dung, urine and jasmine flowers. The sounds are of rustling kites and lowing cattle, crackling wood and prayer. . .’

Piers Moore Ede first fell in love with Varanasi when he passed through it on his way to Nepal in search of wild honey hunters. In the decade that followed it continued to exert

Monday, February 23, 2015

Die Trying by Lee Child: First Page Mondays

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NATHAN RUBIN DIED BECAUSE HE GOT BRAVE. Not the sustained kind of thing which wins you a medal in a war, but the split-second kind of blurting outrage which gets you killed on the street. 



 He left home early, as he always did, six days a week, fifty weeks a year. A cautious breakfast, appropriate to a short, round man aiming to stay in shape through his forties. A long walk down the carpeted corridors of a lakeside house, appropriate to a man who earned a thousand dollars on each of those three hundred days he worked. A thumb on the button of the garage door-opener and a twist of the wrist to start the silent engine of his expensive, imported sedan. A CD into the player, a backward sweep into his gravel driveway, a dab on the brake, a snick of the selector, a nudge on the gas, and the last short drive of his life was under way. Six forty-nine in the morning, Monday.

 The only light on his route to work was green......

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon: Review

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I received my advanced reader copy (ARC) of  The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon from the publishers Bloomsbury in December 2014 (thank you sooooo much guys!!!!). I have developed a really lovely relationship with Bloomsbury, especially the fact that they have been coming up with some really interesting titles and authors. And going by the 'reads' of it, it seems this association of good books will continue for long, especially as I'm sure they'll continue giving us amazing reads.

Though I really wanted to read it and was planning on starting it ASAP, I had to hold on, as I was really caught up in work and some family stuff and knew it wouldn't be good to read this book in a rush. Plus it had been quite some time that I had read The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon , the first book in the suggested seven part series (you can read the review here.)

If you haven't read The Bone Season you really need to read it first, as this is not the kind of series that can be read separately as individual books. In fact, I was quite happy that the book carries on the tone it set in the firs book, which is from the point of view of our main protagonist, Paige Mahoney.

The ARC mentioned that this was not the final version that would be released and I am not sure if this is the exact cover that has finally been released. I think it is a similar version but I have seen a lot of variations online. Also, even if there were changes made in the final version, I am sure most of it would still remain the same.

Goodreads Blurb:

Here's a quick at the blurb from Goodreads.

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London...

From Kippers To Karimeen - A Life by Psyche Abraham: Sneaky Peeky Sunday

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Was going through the books at an old and used book store and came across this beautiful cover. The mother baby bonding and the way the young woman is looking at the camera, add to that the overall soft shades in the image made me pick it up right away....

From Kippers To Karimeen - A Life is an autobiographical book with lots of pictures. And its quite interesting and quick to read....this is the page I am currently on.

....

As a child, living far away from the bombing, the war did not affect me except, possibly, by the absence of sweets. Food, and especially sugar, was strictly rationed. But, though I didn't connect it then, there was one aspect of the war that did affect me.

 I think there was probably an air force station in Bude, or somewhere nearby, because there were a lot of troops billeted in the town who were naturally looking for a bit of fun during their days off from the war. There were also a lot of lonely women - single women whose husbands or boyfriends had been sent to the front, or like my mother and her friends, women with young children who had fled the bombing in London and other large cities. There was an atmosphere of 'eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.' It led to a certain recklessness.

 My mother was a good-looking woman, even beautiful. She was tall, five foot nine, slim: her most

Monday, February 9, 2015

Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K Jerome: First Page Mondays

This is not the regular version of the book Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K Jerome but is a special edition copy that has been brought out by the amazing drinks brand called Paper Boat. If you haven't had their refreshing and innovative drinks yet (which I absolutely do not think can be a possibility if you are of a sane mind, or may be you are visiting us from another planet and have not yet encountered it) you definitely, and I mean definitely, need to CHECK THEM OUT HERE!

Also, my association and love for Paper Boat goes back a long time, almost the time they came up to start bombarding us with the flavors of our childhood! You can enjoy that experience HERE

So I was hugely surprised when I received this package in the mail and that too from Paper Boat! I wasn't expecting anything, and this sure did not look like another awesome bag of drinks! So what could it be? I opened the package and inside was something wrapped in newspaper (oh how I love it when people wrap things in a newspaper! Thanks a ton guys!!!!) and a cute little green ribbon :) Wow...I can't remember the last time in years when someone has given or sent me something wrapped up like this....thank youuuuuuuuu :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: First Page Mondays

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Read it. Loved it. Recommend it. If you love huge books and mesmerizing books and author Haruki Murakami in general, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami is a book you must read.

Here's what's on the first page:

BOOK 1
APRIL - JUNE

Aomame
DON'T LET APPEARANCES FOOL YOU

The taxi's radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast. Janacek's Sinfonietta - probably not the ideal music to hear in a taxi caught in traffic. The middle-aged driver didn't seem to be listening very closely, either. With his mouth clamped shut, he stared straight ahead at the endless line of cars stretching out on the elevated expressway, like a veteran fisherman standing in the bow of his boat, reading the ominous confluence of two currents. Aomame settled into the broad back seat, closed her

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon: Sneaky Peeky Sunday

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So I did receive an advanced reader copy (ARC) of The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. The book released in the US and some other parts of the world in the last part of 2014 but it has recently released in Indian on the 27th of January 2015.

The Mime Order is the second book in the series whose first book was The Bone Season. According to the author, this will be a seven book series, and honestly, I can't wait to read them all. I had also received an advanced reader copy of The Bone Season and you CAN READ THE REVIEW HERE.

I just finished reading The Bone Season again as I wanted to recap everything before I start on the second book. So here's the page from The Mime Order that I am reading right now.

....................

'Please.' I handed her some money. 'I'm trying to find Agatha's Boutique. I was told it was near here. Any idea?'

 'Right round the corner. There's a hawker selling saloop that way. You'll hear her when you're close.' She filled a paper cone with chestnuts and smothered them with butter and coarse salt. 'Here you are.'

 I picked at my chestnuts as I traversed the market, taking my time. I let myself soak up the atmosphere, the thrum of humans going about their business. There had been none of this vigorous energy in Sheol I, where voices had been whispers and movements had been quiet. Night was the most dangerous time for voyants, when the NVD were on the prowl, but it was also the time when our gifts were at its strongest, when the urge to be active smouldered inside us - and, like the moths we were, we just had to emerge.

 The boutique's windows glistened with a wealth of fake gemstones. Outside was a girl selling a

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Books I Read In January 2015: My Monthly Reading

The Reader "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." - Roald Dahl





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The year 2015 started great for me on the reading note! While I have set myself a goal of reading 90 books this year, I managed to read 13 books in the month of January itself.....quite happy about it, though there were a few short stories that I read this time (I am generally not into short stories and mostly read books that are at least 400+ pages) so this was quite the change.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: On The Cover

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'A tense, moving, and wondrously strange first novel. The photographs and text work together- brilliantly to create an unforgettable story.'- John Green, author of The Fault In Our Stars

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen year old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he

Monday, January 19, 2015

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: First Page Mondays

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I've heard just so so much about this book on BookTube that I had to get it. It's hard to get this in India. I've never seen it in any bookstore anywhere and the prices online were too high. Thankfully there is Amazon and I had created an alert to know when the book would be available on a discount. I just got it yesterday and am already in love with it....will read it soon and tell you all about it....

For now, if you have no idea about this book or what it is about, here's a look at the first page from the book Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock, and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After. Like many of the extraordinary things to come, it involved my grandfather Abraham Portman.

 Growing up, Grandpa Portman was the most fascinating person I knew. He had lived in an orphanage, fought in wars, crossed oceans by steamship and deserts on horseback, performed in circuses, knew everything about guns and self-defense and surviving in the wilderness, and spoke at least three languages that weren't English. It all seemed unfathomably exotic to a kid who'd never left Florida, and I begged him to regale me with stories whenever I saw him. He always obliged, telling

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami: First Page Mondays

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This is the fifth book I am reading by this wonderful author, the previous ones being Dance,Dance,Dance and the 1Q84 trilogy. Here is the first page from Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami.

Sputnik

On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world's first man-made satellite, Sputnik I, from the Baikanor Space Centre in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Sputnik was 58 cm in diameter, weighed 83.6 kilograms, and orbited Earth in 96 minutes and 12 seconds.

 On 3 November of the same year, Sputnik II was successfully launched, with the dog Laika on board. Laika became the first living being to leave the Earth's atmosphere, but the satellite was never recovered, and Laika ended up sacrificed for the sake of biological research in space.

 from The Complete Chronicle of World History

1

In the spring of her twenty-second year, Sumire fell in love for the first time in her life. An intense

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Top 10 Books Of 2014

I'm not sure if they mean books are the perfect place to find love (love story, fall in love with the character/place/story) or if bookstores are the perfect place to find a good guy book nerd. Both work for me :)


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I've read so many wonderful ones this year, you can see my entire list of BOOKS I READ IN 2014 here.

Here are the top 10 ones I found this year (it's always a tough choice, but still, here we are!) Also, these are in no particular order.
  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  2. The Dog Who Healed A Family by Jo Coudert
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (re-read)
  4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Books I Read In 2014

Love this book shop - Lavender & Chamomile Press is open for submissions. Visit our website for more details. http://lavenderandchamomilepress.com


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I wish I could open a bookstore like this..... maybe some day....quaint, musty and filled with amazing books, most of them old...... one of my most longer for dreams ever....

Anyways, 2014 was a year of many wonderful reads, so here's a look at what all I read this year:

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  2. Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
  4. The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes
  5. The Client by John Grisham
  6. A Life in Words by Ismat Chughtai
  7. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  8. Insurgent by Veronica Roth 
  9. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  10. Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden
  11. Don't Blink by James Patterson
  12. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  13. Good Enough Is The New Perfect 

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton: First Page Mondays

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Here's the first page from The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

MERCURY IN SAGGITARIUS

In which a stranger arrives in Hokitika; a secret council is disturbed; Walter Moody conceals his most recent memory; and Thomas Balfour begins to tell a story.

The twelve men congregated in the smoking room of the Crown Hotel gave the impression of a party accidentally met. From the variety of their comportment and dress - frock coats, tailcoats, Norfolk jackets with buttons of horn, yellow moleskin, cambric, and twill - they might have been twelve

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton: Sneaky Peeky Sunday

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I bought this book last year, after the much hyped winning history record by the author. But as I had just had my second baby, I found it difficult to concentrate. So gave it up for later.

Now, finally, have picked it up again, a full year later! So here's what I am reading right now in The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.

.......dejected. 'Yes' he said. 'But what could I have done? He had me tied up.'

 Balfour felt a sudden rush of sympathy for the other man, and regretted his previous ill humour. 'Ay' he said, more gently. 'He had you tied.'

 'After that,' Lauderback went on, 'nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. I went back to Canterbury. I waited. I thought about that d-ned twinkle until my heart near gave out. I confess I rather hoped that Carver would be killed - that the thug would catch him, so I would know the fellow's name before he came for me. I read the Otago Witness every day hoping to see the blackguard's name among the dead, may God forgive me. But nothing happened.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Sleepwalker's Guide To Dancing by Mira Jacob: Review

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The first reason why I really wanted to read this book was because of its gorrrrrgeous cover!!! Look at it, isn't it absolutely what the words 'book' 'reading' 'stories' 'words' is all about ..... Love it !!!

Coming back to the book, I was sent The Sleepwalker's Guide To Dancing by Mira Jacob by its publishers Bloomsbury. If you want to peep in a bit more inside the book, you can read the COVER JACKET HERE and a quick peek into ONE OF THE PAGES HERE.

The book is a lengthy one and has about some 500+ pages. The edition I received was paperback.

About The Story:
The main protagonist is Amina Eapen, a young woman of Indian origin who now lives in the US, is in her 30s and is an okayish wedding photographer. She isn't doing great career wise or personal love life wise at this point in life.

Her parents, who are in New Mexico, are barely on cordial terms anymore, though they share the same roof. Her father, Thomas Eapen, is a successful brain surgeon, while his mother, Kamala Eapen, is a homemaker, who believes she can tackle all problems of home and beyond by her cooking. The story starts to roll as Amina receives a call from her mother, asking her to come home as her father has been sitting on the porch and 'speaking to his mother.' Amina's grandmother is long dead, so it is a little concerning to her that her father is speaking to someone who isn't around. When Amina tries to probe if her father is unwell, her mother says that he is fine, but just that he is speaking to a woman who is dead.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gaysia by Benjamin Law: First Page Mondays

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I have of course read books that have characters with alternative sexual preferences. I have read many stories that deal with non-straight sexual preferences, mostly of the gay kind.

This is officially the out and out completely gay book that I am reading right now, and one that also deals about transgenders, transsexuals, bisexuals, ladyboys, lesbians and more. And much as everyone has mostly tried to brush these off under the carpet or the couch, this is a very real read, especially as this is non-fiction and travel-based, where the author actually travels to a lot of gay destinations across Asia...including Bangkok, Mumbai, Thailand and Japan.

I've only just begun reading and am already loving it.....so here's a quick look at the first page...

OF ALL THE CONTINENTS, Asia is the gayest. Deep down, you've probably had your suspicious all along, and I'm here to tell you those suspicions are correct.

Let's do the maths.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey: First Page Mondays

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Really sorry I get late almost all the time in the Monday morning posts :( I think one of my new year resolutions needs to be that I am more punctual and regular with my posts.....

I read and obviously loved The 5th Wave and was waiting for the second book to come out. Here it is, The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey.

Check out what the first page says....

THERE WOULD BE no harvest.

The spring waves woke the dormant tillers, and bright green shoots sprang from the moist earth and rose like sleepers stretching after a long nap. As spring gave way to summer, the bright green stalks darkened, became tan, turned golden brown. The days grew long and hot. Thick towers of swirling black clouds brought rain, and the brown stems glistened in the perpetual twilight that dwelled beneath the canopy. The wheat rose and the ripening heads bent in the praire wind, a rippling curtain, an endless, undulating sea that stretched to the horizon.

 At harvesttime, there was no farmer to

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Sleepwalker's Guide To Dancing by Mira Jacob: Sneeky Peeky Sunday


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The Sleepwalker's Guide To Dancing by Mira Jacob was sent to me by Bloomsbury to read and review. I am exactly halfway through the book.

Here's what's on the page I am reading right now....

She felt Jamie's gaze travel with hers, and the hair on the back of her neck stood up like it was being brushed the wrong way. She let herself look right at him. His hair radiated from his head in a beautiful nimbus, and she felt his face coming closer, the center of some oddly beautiful flower.

'What?' she said, and he jerked back in surprise.

He looked down at her hand. 'Are you going to smoke that?'

Her cigarette had a thumb-tip-sized ash growing on it. She flicked it, stuck it between her lips like a straw, and sucked. A cat with its claws out skidded down her trachea. For one moment she held it in, looking at

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Sleepwalker's Guide To Dancing by Mira Jacob: On The Cover


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Just look at the cover.... isn't it absolutely stunning???  Very much what words like 'dream' and 'books' and 'reading' are supposed to look like I think...

This is one of the reasons that when asked which of their books I would love to review, I told Bloomsbury about The Sleepwalker's Guide To Dancing by Mira Jacob.

I'm almost halfway through and without further ado lets just move on to see what it's about as mentioned on the cover jacket...

Of all the family gatherings in her childhood, one stands out in Amina's memory. It is 1979, in Salem, when a visit to her grandmother's house escalates into an explosive encounter, pitching brother against brother, mother against son.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The City of Devi By Manil Suri: Review



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I first heard about Manil Suri’s The City of Devi when I was reading about an upcoming event on the publishers’ social media page. The premise seemed quite interesting, even though it did not give out too much information.

The book came out but somehow I did not get tempted enough to pick it up then. At a later time I was even part of a live chat session with the author himself. I wanted to know more about the book in terms of what he had written and why and how the thought process came about and all those things. Though it was interesting, I still did not pick up the book.

Recently, while I was reading some already amazing books sent to me for review by Bloomsbury, I was asked by the wonderful Priyanka if I would like to read and review some more books. Of course I am a sucker for good and interesting books so I said yes. This time, there was no escaping that book that I had failed to pick up yet. I asked for it along with a few others, and then began the interesting part.

I have read some very interesting genres of late, and one such genre that I really have enjoyed is the dystopian and apocalyptic one. I have also read a lot of YA books while I am no longer the Y but the A of YA (Young Adult). That said, I still enjoy them a lot and have read quite a few.

When I started reading The City of Devi I realized there was something in this book I hadn’t yet read in any Indian book – it actually had a dystopian setting, though not in the purest form, but that’s even better. Having read so many dystopian and apocalyptic books I was already aware what to expect. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Enemy by Lee Child: On The Cover

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I am a big Lee Child fan even though I've only read only two of his books before this one. But ever since I read the first one I realised his books have that unputdownable quality that I just can't miss out on. Right now I'm reading The Enemy by Lee Child. I'm more than halfway done and as expected its a real thriller set in the army world this time, as many of his works are. Take my word - read it....

For now, here's what's on the cover jacket...

Oh did I mention, on a recent chat with the author, I told him I've pictured him as Jack Reacher all the while I've been reading his books. There's something about that brooding look that makes him Jack Reacher for me. But the talented author simply went humble and modest and said he is too skinny to play Reacher in the movies!

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Lean, dynamic storytelling - New York Times

Jack Reacher is utterly irresistible - Observer

New Year's Day 1990

A soldier is found dead in a sleazy motel bed. Jack Reacher is the officer on duty. The soldier turns out to be a two-star general. The situation is bad enough, then Reacher finds the general's wife.

 This stomach-churning thriller turns back the clock to a younger Reacher, in dogtags. A Reacher who still believes in the service. A Reacher who imposes army discipline. Even if only in his own pragmatic way.

 The thing about Lee Child's books is that you can't put the damn things down....there's something about his writing that's addictive. The Enemy is no exception...superb - Independent on Sunday


- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Poppyland by Raffaella Barker: Review

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The wonderful team at Bloomsbury India asked me if I would like to review some of author Raffaella Barker's work. When I said yes, they promptly sent me a set of 6 of her stunning books! You can check out all the other books I received HERE

So even before I started reading the books, I fell in love with the cover art. It's got such an amazing old world charm to it, like being nestled on a cozy porch and snuggling up with a book and coffee in your hand, looking out at the silent sky filled with clouds...I don't know how that sounds to you, or how I sound to you right now, but there is something so wonderful about the book covers that it instantly drew me to them.

This is the second book I read by the author, the first being Come and Tell Me Some Lies. You can read the entire review HERE

What I felt on reading both her books is the fact that her narrative is very warm and encompassing. There is something so cozy about her stories and her books that you want to get together with the characters and relate to them, understand them, hold on to them that little bit longer.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami: First Page Mondays


Unbelievable for me but true, this is the first time I am reading this amazing writer who I've always been wanting to read (what the hell prevented me from doing so till now is something I will think on later, once I have finished devouring all his works!). In fact, this book too came my way as I was browsing a friend's home library...and of course, as I loved it (who wouldn't love his books on a sane mind??!!) those who know me know that I will buy it and bring it home to me :)

So without my usual blabbering, here's the first page of Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami that I just finished reading...

.............

I often dream about the Dolphin Hotel.
 In these dreams, I'm there, implicated in some kind of ongoing circumstance. All indications are that I belong to this dream continuity.
 The Dolphin Hotel is distorted, much too narrow. It seems more like a long, covered bridge. A bridge stretching endlessly through time. And there I am, in the middle of it. Someone else is there too, crying.
 The hotel envelops me. I can feel its pulse, its heat. In dreams, I am part of the hotel.

 I wake up, but where? I don't just think this, I actually voice the question to myself: "Where am I?" As if I didn't know: I'm here. In my life. A feature of the world that is my existence. Not that I particularly recall ever having approved these matters, this condition, this state of affairs in which I feature. There might be a woman sleeping next to me. More often, I'm alone. Just me and the expressway that runs right next to my apartment and, bedside, a glass (five millimeters of whiskey still in it) and the malicious - no, make that indifferent - dusty morning light. Sometimes it's raining. If it is, I'll just stay in bed. And if there's.......

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Come And Tell Me Some Lies by Raffaella Barker: Review



 Last month Bloomsbury sent me a set of six books by the lovely author Raffaella Barker. HERE is a list of all the books I received.

The first book I picked up from the set was Come And Tell Me Some Lies. No specific reason, it's just that I was in the mood for some light reading and this looked perfect. Even the title and the cover was very summery and light.

If you would like to read the cover of the book you can read it HERE

For me, a book is as much the matter it has inside as the cover, and I have many times in the past drifted towards a book based on the cover alone. This book, and in fact all the books in this set, have something very amazing going on in the covers. For one, it has a very old world charm to it. If you see the cover, it's kind of a sepia and a 60s look and that for me is a huge pull.

Moving on to the story, it's very difficult for me to put this into just one little article, or a few words. Honestly, after reading this book, I felt as if I had just come out of a homestay with the protagonist and her family, but the difference being that all her years, from childhood to growing up and later, were rolled in in a quick vacation.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Come And Tell Me Some Lies by Raffaella Barker: On The Cover


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First up, the image does no justice to the beauty of  the book as it actually is. If you think the cover looks beautiful here, I suggest you go and pick yourself a copy.

The first reason I agreed to the publishers, Bloomsbury, sending me a copy of Come And Tell Me Some Lies by Raffaella Barker was the fact that the cover is simply mind-blowingly gorgeous...I mean, look at it...It's the typical artsy cover you definitely cannot miss to have on your bookshelf. Something about it just pulls you in.

The second reason was of course that she is a writer who happens to be the daughter of a poet...wow...I couldn't refuse in any case.

In fact, the publishers have been so kind that they sent me an entire set of her books - six in all...so reviews and more coming up soon.

For now, I started reading this one, and must tell you, its as and more beautiful as the cover promises.

Before I digress, let's move over to see what's on the cover, to get a better idea of what the storyline is like.

'funny, clever and touching.' Guardian

'a gentle charming account of a family of cosmopolitan sophistication living in a rural shambles' Evening Standard

Gabriella lives in a damp, ramshackle, book-strewn farmhouse in Norfolk with her tempestuous father and unconventional mother. Alongside her ever expanding set of siblings and half-siblings, numerous pets and her father's rag-tag admirers,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Books By Raffaella Barker From Bloomsbury

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Bloomsbury sent me a collection of these amazing books by author Raffaella Barker. When the publishers asked me if I would be interested to read them and talk about them, the first reason I said yes, was the gorgeous art covers....You'll see soon what I mean...the covers blew me away...

The second reason was of course that she is the daughter of a poet...wow...how cool is that!!!

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So this morning I received a set of 6 of her beautiful books...Here's a quick look:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Raghu Rearview My Roadies Journey by Raghu: First Page Mondays




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So of course I had to get this book, right? For those of you who are based in India, you probably are a Roadies fan, or obviously know something about it (even as basic as the ads in that case) ;)

I've been a major Roadies fan, and have watched it from the first year, day 1, and from Season 1 till date, have not missed any of it yet.....so it was obvious that I would be reading this book...also coz I like and admire this man a lot... 

Have just started reading it, so here's the first page for you to check..if you're a Roadies fan like me, you absolutely need to read Raghu: Rearview My Roadies Journey by Raghu.

Here we go...

'The rudest man on television

COLOSCEUM CREW ROOM, PUNE
31 OCTOBER 2012, 11:30 AM

Raghu! Raghu! Raghu!

A steady chant. I'm pacing the big, bare crew room at Laxmi Lawns, Pune. Outside, it's a lovely crisp morning. The door is shut tight but I hear them out in the halls anyway. Raghu! Raghu! Raghu! The chant grows louder, then wanes, but as I slip on my jacket, it's back. Raghu! Raghu! Raghu!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Review





So I just finished reading the book that I have heard so much about – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I got a lot of recommendations on this online as well as through the booktube community, and all the responses were very good. So finally, when I saw it here at my favourite bookstore, I picked it up.

To be fair, the first thing that got me interested was of course the good things I had heard about it, and also the cover and the various illustrations…it’s a beautiful book to look at! I had no idea about the story, so most of my decision on bringing the book home was the fact that most people seemed to have liked it, plus it had those old style drawing-esque illustrations.

Trying to describe the book is quite difficult, as I can now understand after having read it. To keep it simple, the book is about magic and illusion and the beauty and art of manipulation and hypnotism. The title of the book is pretty literal – the story is definitely about a circus, a magical one at that, and appears suddenly in the middle of the night in various towns and cities. The circus is open only at night, and all acts begin after the sun sets, closing before down.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reading Gillian Flynn: Sharp Objects, Dark Places, Gone Girls

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I'm not sure if most of you already know this face, but for me, this is the first time I am looking at the face whose mind I have quite literally been spooked and fascinated and psyched out with. This is author Gillian Flynn, the lady who has written some of the most amazing psychological thrillers, namely Sharp Objects, Dark Places and Gone Girl in that order.

I read Gone Girl the first, then read Sharp Objects, and finally recently finished reading Dark Places. Of course it goes without saying that I loved them all. And even though the order in which she writes makes sense to read that way - she does mature as a writer from her first to third book and it is very evident - you can easily read the books in any order you please.

I absolutely loved all the three books, but if asked to put them in order of like, I would say I loved Gone Girl the most...it was such a powerful book that it compelled me to pick up her other works without even bothering for a review. Second best was Dark Places and third was Sharp Objects.

As a book lover, I am sure I don't have to introduce you to her writing style or her story frames for that matter. But as a reader, I have been bowled over by the way this lady thinks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: On The Cover

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Loved reading every bit of this one, as was expected from Gillian Flynn. So here's what's on the cover of Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

HOME IS WHERE
THE LIES ARE .....

FROM THE AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

'SHARP, ACERBIC AND COMPELLING' Stephen King

Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars.

 Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben's innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother's?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: First Page Mondays

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So this is the third book I am reading by this author, and the second consecutive, just after I finished reading Sharp Objects.  Obviously, she is a favourite author.

So here is the first page from Dark Places by Gillian Flynn..

......................

The Days were a clan that mighta lived long
But Ben Day's head got screwed on wrong
That boy craved dark Satan's power
So he killed his family in one nasty hour

Little Michelle he strangled in the night
Then chopped up Debby; a nasty sight
Mother Patty he saved for last
Blew off her head with a shotgun blast

Baby Libby somehow survived
But to live through that ain't much a life

- schoolyard rhyme, circa 1985

Libby Day
NOW

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slid out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it. It's the Day blood. Something's wrong with it. I was never a good little girl, and I got worse after the murders.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: First Page Mondays

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Yups so I missed Monday deadline again! And am I sorry about that? Yes, actually, but not very much, as I had a big reason - my younger one hasn't been well and I was swamped with work on top of that.

So here I am, sharing the first page of the book Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. The first book I read by the author was Gone Girl, which, I feel, is one of the best forms of thriller, horror, mystery and all that stuff...It was outstanding.

This one in fact is the debut novel, so it is not as awesome as Gone Girl, but great nonetheless. I sincerely recommend you give this lady a try, if you haven't already. And if you have already read her books, do tell me what you think about them :)

My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly. It was May 12 but the temperature had dipped to the forties, and after four days shivering in my shirtsleeves, I grabbed cover at a tag sale rather than dig through my boxed-up winter clothes. Spring in Chicago.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hungarian Dances by Jessica Duchen: On The Cover


Do you ever wish you could wake up as someone new?

Like most people, Karina isn't sure the life she chose is the right one. But she is willing to take drastic steps to change it.

 When disaster befalls her best friend, young English-born mum and teacher Karina feels compelled to question the very foundations of her existence. Her discoveries about her Hungarian family background and her Gypsy ancestry will change her life forever. In a moving panorama that spans eighty years, past and present collide in the intertwining stories of Karina and her grandmother, famous violinist Mimi Racz.

 Hungarian Dances is a love story, a mystery and a tale of extraordinary personal transformation.

 'The pages of Hungarian Dances just keep turning! Like all the best novels, it asks unexpected and compelling questions' Martin Davies, author of The Conjurer's Bird.



- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith: First Page Mondays

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I

QUESTION
What dost thou feed on?
ANSWER
Broken sleep.

Thomas Dekker, The Noble Spanish Soldier


'Someone bloody famous,' said the hoarse voice on the end of the line, 'better've died, Strike.'

 The large unshaven man tramping through the darkness of pre-dawn, with his telephone clamped to his ear, grinned.

 'It's in that ballpark.'

 'It's six o' clock in the fucking morning!'

 'It's half past six, but if you want what I've got, you'll need to come and get it,' said Cormoran Strike. 'I'm not far away from your place. There's a---'