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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---'

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hungarian Dances by Jessica Duchen: First Page Mondays


I came across this book on an online sale. I had never heard of it, and had no idea what it was about. The thing that got me to it was the cover. If you see this image and think the cover is beautiful, you hardly can understand how gorgeous it actually is....

It is one of the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen...And the cover, in texture, and style of paper, is absolutely amazing...it is like handling an old book that is adorned with music and art and all things far away...It's simply worth buying it just for the cover...

Anyways, I can see that I am drifting way off topic, as I do a lot of times. So let me just get to sharing the first page with you (as it is I got quite late sharing this - its almost midnight!)

I

Air. Movement. Freedom.

 Wood, four strings, the scroll. Beyond them, the fireplace and its rose-patterned tiles. When she closes her eyes she glimpses clouds on the horizon, the earth flat and cracked; peaked thatch passing, dust, grass and faraway mirages, the beckoning shadows of the forest, the minstrel. Her bow is his in an unbroken loop through centuries. Horsehair, gut and metal, vibration. Her fingertips find the pitches of his storytelling; a slide, a flicker of pizzicato, the quietest harmonic she can manage. The minstrel whispers, through Marc Duplessis's music: who are you?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The TBR Bug: Reading At Random

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Of late I have noticed a lot of TBR videos on BookTube. For those of you who may not be familiar with the term TBR (which is actually good, and you will soon see why), it means To Be Read.

The booktube community on Youtube is something I am actively tuned in to. And there have been some really great recommendations that I have got from these channels.

But one thing that really really really bugs me is when readers try and create their TBRs and end up reading books just because they promised and planned to do it in advance.

For me, reading has always been something that I love, and genuinely want to get in. A good book takes me to a whole new world altogether, and I am sad when it ends, as it leaves me missing the characters and missing that life and world. I truly miss a good book when it ends.

And once I finish it, I pick up a book depending on what I am feeling like at that point of time. So, it means that I mostly always have a book with me that I want to read, and hence enjoy it more (unless it's so useless that I don't want to read it anymore.) It's not because I have planned and said a month ago that this is a book I will read, and now, even though I may not want to, I still have to read it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart: On The Cover


 So finally I began reading this much talked about book called The Goldfinch by Donna Tart.

Before I share the cover jacket blurb, did you know that this painting that you see is by the artist Carel Fabritius, made in the year 1654 and was titled The Goldfinch

I was not aware of this before I started reading the book and checked the cover details. Now that you see, you can even see the inscription below the painting.

Here's what's on the cover.

'A modern epic and an old-fashioned pilgrimage, a nimble thrill-seek and a heavyweight masterpiece.' The Times

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, miraculously survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is bewildered by his new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years he clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the criminal underworld.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO by John Michael Cummings: Synopsis and Excerpt


The good thing about my having a book blog and being interested in reading and reviewing different kinds of books is that I get to meet so many lovely authors and publishers, and people from the book world. One such author I recently had a chance to interact with is the ever gracious and charming gentleman (check out the pic below ladies.....you'll know what I mean), John Michael Cummings, whose book DON’T FORGET ME, BRO is out now.

For all of you who have not heard about the book yet, here is a brief synopsis of the same and an excerpt too.

Synopsis:

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO deals with themes of childhood abuse, mental illness, and alienated families. The book opens with the main character, forty-two-year-old Mark Barr, who has returned home from New York to West Virginia after eleven years for his older brother Steve’s funeral. Steve, having died of a heart attack at forty-five, was mentally ill most of his adult life, though Mark has always questioned what was "mentally ill" and what was the result of their father’s verbal and physical abuse during their childhood.

The book unfolds into an odyssey for Mark to discover love for his brother posthumously in a loveless family.

DON’T FORGET ME, BRO is a portrait of an oldest brother’s supposed mental illness and unfulfilled life, as well as a redeeming tale of a youngest brother’s alienation from his family and his guilt for abandoning them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fortunately The Milk by Neil Gaiman: Review


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So Bloomsbury Publishers were really kind to send me some very interesting books. They recently sent me 4 books, out of which one was Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately The Milk. 

I have read Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End of The Lane and watched the movie Coraline that is based on his book. I liked that book and I absolutely enjoyed watching the movie, which was quite spooky for a kiddy movie, but was really awesome nonetheless. Both me and my daughter enjoyed it equally.

So when I received this book from the publishers, I was really looking forward to see what my 6 year old daughter had to say about it. She looooooved the cover.....and began reading immediately. I finally borrowed it yesterday from her for half an hour and read it up :)

For starters, the cover is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING! It is so so so pretty! I am not clicking it but putting up images from the net, as the cover is super shiny and trying to click it was not bringing out the effect that way. The cover as you see here does not do justice to how pretty it really is! It's one of the most beautiful book covers I've ever seen...its really pretty!

Before I go on and on about the book, here are the basic details:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Someone by Alice McDermott: Review

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Bloomsbury India was really sweet to recently send me a few books they thought I would like.....And I can't thank them enough for the same!

I received 4 books, and one of them was Someone by Alice McDermott. This is the first book I finished of the 4, so I will start the reviews with this one.

Before I talk more about the book, here are the details:

Details about the book:
Title: Someone
Author: Alice McDermott
No. of pages: 232
Publishers: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback

The book was published in the year 2013 and was nominated for the National Book Award for Fiction (2013) and National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (2013).

About the book:

This is the story of Marie, a little girl who wears glasses and is very stubborn and shy, and thinks of herself as an extremely common looking girl, more like a character out of the cartoon shows that kids watch. There is nothing remarkable about her, or the conditions she is in, or the people who surround her.

Marie is the daughter of Irish immigrants and lives in a colony of Irish-Americans. The book spans about 60 years of Marie's life, that takes us on a vast landscape in terms of people and events and relationships. Through each of these relationships and happenings, we witness a world where nothing seems extraordinary, yet everything is special.

Shomoyer Baire by Anupam Roy: Book Review




I recently managed to get the copy of the book Shomoyer Baire by Anupam Roy. It released this year (2014) in Kolkata and has already been lapped up by fans and readers alike.

Unfortunately, I could not find the book on any online store or any book store here, so I contacted the publishing house and asked them to send me a copy. You can do this if you are based outside Kolkata, and can have the option of COD too!

Before I talk more about the book, here's a quick look at the details:

Details about the book:

Title: Shomoyer Baire
Author: Anupam Roy
No. of pages: 125
Publishers: Dey's Publishing

Format: Hardback

About the book (synopsis):

The book is a look at the life of Biplab (which means revolution in Bengali). The protagonist goes through various experiences throughout his life, all of which are drawn upon through various times in his life. The many experiences clash with each other, connect with each other, and through these, the reader gets a glimpse into his life, into his personality, and how the protagonist evolves through time, and why he does the things he does.

My take on the book:

For someone who is not fluent in reading Bangla (it takes me ages to read the script, and THIS is the first Bengali book that I have finished!) this book was the answer to - how to create a book in Bengali that is great on the subject, is interesting and still can be read easily.

For starters, the book is tiny (especially for those who are comfortable with the script.) It took me half a day to finish it off, in the midst of work and other commitments. So if you have free time, you can easily read it in the lesser part of an hour.

The cover is where you can see the mark of an artist. It is simply beautiful, I loved the way the old buildings have been shot in a different angle. It instantly reminds me of the old style houses I have seen in some parts of Kolkata, and that are so present in my memory of the city. I love latticed windows, those long verandas that spin so many different stories of co-existence, and this book and its cover brings all that alive.

Coming to the tone used in the book, it is very 'today.' The sentences are easy to read and understand, though there are some very difficult words that I didn't understand, and a few sentences or phrases too. But that is only due to my lack of the language. The book is very modern and contemporary in its setting and handling. It deals with 'today' 'the now' of how the city and its people are now. It does not drag you down as a reader to times that are way past gone or beyond your comprehension. This is precisely why it manages to keep you interested through all the 125 pages and makes you feel as if you are reading that could be happening to you, right at this moment.

TO READ THE ENTIRE REVIEW CLICK HERE

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, June 9, 2014

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver: First Page Mondays

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After a lot of recommendations everywhere, I finally got down to reading Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver. 

Here is the first page from the book:

I

The Measure of a Man

A certain feeling comes from throwing your good life away, and it is one part rapture. Or so it seemed for now, to a woman with flame-coloured hair who marched uphill to meet her demise. Innocence was no part of this. She knew her own recklessness and marveled, really, at how one hard little flint of thrill outweighed the pillowy, suffocating aftermath of a long disgrace. The shame and loss would infect her children too, that was the worst of it, in a town where everyone knew them.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer: Sneaky Peeky Sunday


 Right now I am reading Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer the first book in the series. Here is the page I am now at the moment.

 .............

 'There's only one way to find out, Root. Are you willing to bet Captain Short's life on your hunch?'

 Root's hesitation was highlighted by the hiss of interference. His reply, when it came, was tinged with just the right note of defeat.

 'No,' he sighed, 'I'm not. You'll have your gold Fowl. A tonne. Twenty-four carat.'

 Artemis smirked. Quite the actor, our Commander Root.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Someone by Alice McDermott: On The Cover

 Bloomsbury Publications was kind enough to send me a few books recently. Out of the 4 they sent, I started reading Someone by Alice McDermott.

It's quite the interesting read the cover promises it is, so here is what's on the blurb:

Winner of the National Book Award

'McDermott never wastes a detail and her sentences have an undertow of significance....Immaculate' New York Times Book Review

'A gifted writer' Irish Independent

At seven, i was a shy child, and comical-looking, with a round flat face and black slits for eyes, thick glasses, black bangs, a straight and serious mouth - a little girl cartoon. with my heart pinned to my father's sleeve

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen: On The Cover


In a reverse behaviour to what I always usually have (I always read a book first and then watch the movie some time and mostly never like it as much as the book!) I ended up watching this movie first. And the worst part of all was that I had no idea that it was originally a book!!!!! Disgusting me!!!!

Anyways, I had Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen on my books wishlist ever since then, and finally have got a copy for myself. This is an old copy, the kinds that I absolutely love.....!!!! It's a much used one and now it finds a home with me :)

So, without wasting any more time, or keyboard clatter (which I really love), let's give you a peek into the cover jacket blurb.... btw...isn't the cover absolutely gorgeous? Takes you to those old school days of circus!

Here goes....

Beautifully written and completely unforgettable, Water for Elephants is an atmospheric, gritty and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the US circus world circa 1932.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits - the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth - a second-rate travelling circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Good Enough Is The New Perfect by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple: Review

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I had seen this book in bookstores for quite some time, but the fact that I don't read self-help books was what was keeping me miles away from it. So, when the publishers, Harlequin, asked me if I would be interested to do a review on this one, the answer was obvious. Nonetheless, this wonderful lady assured me that she knew my taste, and this book was anything but your regular 'self-help.' I said okay, let's give it a shot......

And.....

The book she sent me is called Good Enough Is The New Perfect by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple. If you haven't guessed it yet, it's a book that talks mainly to mums, and makes them feel good about themselves, stressing the fact that you don't need to be a superwoman and do everything perfect in order to be, well, perfect. Doing your best and being good enough is also perfect. Good enough, IS, the new perfect.

Details About The Book:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Elixir by Ted Galdi Coming Out Soon In 2014: Quick Look And Mini Review

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I was recently sent a manuscript version of the much anticipated thriller called The Elixir by Ted Galdi. Ted was kind enough to mail me a full manuscript, even before the book went into print!

For those of you who haven't heard of the book yet, Elixir is slated to release this summer. Before you read on to know what it is about, here is a quick link to check out the trailer video: CLICK HERE

What the book is about:

The book begins with readers getting a glimpse into the mind of 14 year old Sean Malone. Sean is something of a genius, with an IQ above 200 and scholarships from the best universities already available for him.

But this is not what he wants. He wants to lead a normal life, and his is anything but.....

Monday, May 19, 2014

Leela's Book by Alice Albinia: First Page Mondays


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I know it's been ages I updated the first page part on Mondays.....very bad of me but I was really really swamped with work and two kids (one a newly crawling infant) and lots of stuff at home!

So, without wasting any more time, here is the first page from this very interesting book called Leela's Book by Alice Albinia. If the cover looks like something of a religious book, let me tell you it isn't. Instead, it is a great spin on Indian mythology and modern day.....very very interesting storytelling I must say!

So, here it is:

'o elephant-headed god, son of lord shiva and parvati, scribe who wrote down the mahabharata from the seer vyasa's dictation: lord ganesh, look favourably on this endeavour.'

professor ved vyasa chaturvedi paused, looked out across his audience, and smiled. 'the god invoked at the start of all compositions. what better way to begin?'

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chhoyanche Kolom by Anupam Roy (The Contagious Pen): My Take And Sort Of A Review



So before I begin talking about this book, there are a few things I need to say:

  1. This is the first time ever that I am talking here about a book that is written in the Bengali language
  2. This is one of those very few books in the Bengali language that I have read in its entirety, without a translation
  3. This is the first ever book of poetry that I have bought outside my literature syllabus, from school till my post-grad level, which was decades ago
  4. This is the first time that I am talking about a book that revolves around poetry and such
That said and done, this book was highly anticipated, not just by me, but millions of other fans of Anupam Roy.

If you do not know about him yet, he is an artist first and foremost. He is a multi-talented artist who has made a name for himself as a singer, song writer, lyricist, composer, music director, columnist, social speaker (do watch his first English music video Second Sex on YouTube) poet, novelist (his first ever novel written in the Bengali language has come out this year and I am desperately waiting to lay my hands on it – that will mean another review as soon as I get it and read it, so fingers crossed!), plays the guitar as if it’s his second skin, plays other instruments too about which I am not good enough to comment.

If you would like to know more about him or the kind of music he creates, you can visit my other blog here

There are many layers to his talent, which is the reason that in just the last few years, he has, after shifting base to Kolkata, become one of the biggest names in the Bengali music industry ever. From movies to albums to coming together with a talented director like Sujoy Ghosh and scoring music for his upcoming Bollywood movie, Anupam Roy is a name to reckon with.


Chhoyanche Kolom is the first ever book of Anupam Roy that I read. I did read his columns online, but as a book, this was the first one I read.

Before I move further, let me also request here that if you see any mistakes in the post with reference to any word translation, please do let me know and I will correct it immediately.

Details about the book:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone by J K Rowling: My Take On The Book And Series




I am one of those probably very few people who haven’t read the Harry Potter books and have not even seen the movies. I saw the first movie, but though it was sweet, I thought it to be quite kiddish. I tried watching one or two more, but somehow didn’t really like them.

Recently, after much convincing from friends and fellow readers, I decided to give the series a try.

One thing I realised was that the reason I wasn’t picking it up in the first place was because of the intense hype surrounding the series. I mean, everyone, starting from publishers to book reading friends to celebrities to the entire booktube community on youtube was gaga about it. It seemed that unless you had read the 
Harry Potter series, your existence was worthless really.

I didn’t care about it and there was so much pressure about reading it that it put me off.

I had picked up the first and second book I think about 3 years back, just because everyone was reading it and talking about it, but like I said, the pressure got to me and I didn’t read it.

So a few weeks back, I did read the first book in the series – Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone by J K Rowling.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Ocean At The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman: First Page Mondays

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Okay, so I have heard sooooo much about this book, and I finally I have started reading The Ocean At The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman.

This is my first book by this author, and though I have only just begun reading it, I am already loving the style. For those of you who may not know, this is a contemporary novel, but the twist is that it has a lot of fantasy and elements of horror in it.

For now, have a look at the first page.....

It was only a duckpond, out at the back of the farm. It wasn't very big.

Letty Hempstock said it was an ocean, but I knew that was silly. She said they'd come here across the ocean from the old country.

 Her mother said that Lettie didn't remember properly, and it was a long time ago,  and anyway, the old country had sunk.

 Old Mrs Hempstock, Lettie's grandmother, said they were both wrong, and that the place that had sunk wasn't the really old country. She said she could remember the really old country.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling: Review


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Let me begin by stating that I have NOT read any of the Harry Potter books, nor watched any of the movies, except the first one, which was the only one I kind of liked. I tried watching the rest, but they were too kiddish for me and I was not at all interested. Just to let you know, I think I may pick it up after all and try giving it a read.

The reason I made this clarification is that anyone I have spoken to about J K Rowling’s other book, The Casual Vacancy, or any review I have read of the same, seem to be a comparison discussion. Sadly, no one seems to have a singular opinion about just this one book.

Another thing I wish to clarify before I move on to The Casual Vacancy is that I do not have anything against the Harry Potter series, but I am really irritated at the fact that just because people have enjoyed it and J K Rowling has now written something entirely different, they are all hell bent on putting it down.

The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling is the first book I read by this author (the second being The Cuckoo’s Calling which was written under the pseudonym Robert Gilbraith.)

The book came out in 2012 and there was a huge controversy surrounding the same, as it was widely believed that the book was kind of autobiographical, and the locals of the village which was supposedly depicted in the novel were extremely upset at the way their lives had been shared in the book.

The entire controversy surrounding the book was what initially convinced me to give this author a try, one who had created a series (Harry Potter) that I wasn’t interested in at all.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory: First Page Mondays

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Looks like I can't have enough of Philippa Gregory! Her books are quite difficult to source in India, and they are reallllyyyy expensive out here, as they have to be shipped from overseas :-(

And I seem to be getting into a habit of reading all her series!!! Well, the side effects of being a book worm I guess ;-)

So here's the first page from another lovely book of hers that I'm reading right now....this is the first part in the series The Cousin's War. I must say when my hubby picked it up from me he didn't know, otherwise I doubt he would have...lol

So here you go....

SPRING 1464

My father is Sir Richard Woodville, Baron Rivers, an English nobleman, a landholder and a supporter of the true kings of England, the Lancastrian line. My mother descends from the Dukes of Burgundy and so carries the watery blood of the goddess Melusina, who founded their royal house with her entranced ducal lover, and can still be met at times of extreme trouble, crying a warning over the castle rooftops when the son and heir is dying and the family doomed. Or so they say, those who believe in such things.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: An Author I Will Cherish Forever.....Rest In Peace

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One of the world's most famous author and writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, moved on to the other world today at the age of 87.

One of his most amazing books that I love even now and have re-read a few times is A Hundred Years of Solitude. Of course anyone who has read it will know the kind of magic the book spins. And it is quite impossible to explain about the book to someone who hasn't.

I know for a fact that wherever he may be headed now, after his amazing time here, he will continue to spin his magic....Rest in Peace sir....

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder At Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale: On The Cover




‘Absolutely riveting’ Sarah Waters

‘A classic’ John Le Carre

‘Terrific’ Ian Rankin

WINNER OF THE BBC FOUR SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE

Shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger

‘A beautiful piece, written with great lucidity and respect for the reader, and with immaculate restraint. A classic, to my mind, of the finest documentary writing’ John Le Carre

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nemesis by Lindsey Davis: First Page Mondays

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ROME AND LATIUM
SUMMER, AD 77

I find it surprising more people are not killed over dinner at home. In my work we reckon that murder is most likely to happen among close acquaintances. Someone will finally snap after years of being wound up to blind rage by the very folk who best know how to drive them to distraction. For once it will be just too much to watch someone else eating the last sesame pancake - which, of course was snatched with a triumphant laugh that was intended to rankle. So a victim expires with honey still dribbling down their chin - though it happens less often than you might expect.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Reading On Paper Or Reading On A Screen?





I have never really understood the concept of reading on a screen.

In my line of work, I spend at least 5 to 6 hours reading up things on the screen. In addition to that, I spend a few more hours creating content, that too on the screen.

That’s quite a lot of screen time for me, especially when I say that I do not understand why people read on a screen.

For me, reading is always synonymous with a collection of pages in your hand, a book, if you may, and flipping through the pages, living with the characters, making them your own, and understanding them slowly and steadily. Any time I want to relive a moment in a book, I go back to that page and read it again, caressing the page, feeling as if I am a part of that life that is living within the book.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Collection of Heng Souk by S R Wilsher: Excerpt and About


 I recently received an email from writer S R Wilsher, who is a debut author. His book, titled The Collection of Heng Souk, is an interesting read, that has the feel of a journal, but goes way in depth.

Here is a summary of the plot:

The story has as it catalyst the Vietnam War, but it is much more about the connection of the people, and the terrible effects wrought by war, rather than it is about the conflict.

At the heart of the story is a journal kept by a young US prisoner-of-war, Ephraim Luther and his torturous relationship with his captor, Heng Souk, who makes him dig the graves of the other prisoners.

The journal also reveals the fate of another prisoner, one who left at home a woman with an unborn son. Now forty, that child, Thomas Allen, who has just buried the man he believed to be his ‘real’ father, seeks to solve the puzzle of his long-lost family and his mother’s greatest secret. As he traces the elderly Heng Souk, he begins a perilous relationship with the man’s married niece.

Product Summary on Amazon:

When her father dies, Sun visits his estranged brother, Heng Souk to return a surprise package. Yet her frail uncle is a very different man from her tough and testing father. When she discovers in his possession a notebook written by an American POW detailing his torturous relationship with his captor, she is startled by what she learns.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon: On The Cover

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So this wonderful book I first heard of on BookTube (Youtube's book community) and happened to see it at a nearby book store. Obviously I picked it up....

I finished reading it and the review shall follow soon, but for those of you who haven't heard of it, here is what the cover jacket says....(but I feel it does not do much justice to the book as it is much more than this.)

Winner Whitbread Book of The Year

Winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and Booktrust Teenage Prize

Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the British Book Awards.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Books I Have Recently Enjoyed

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So the last few weeks have seen me reading a lot, and I mean...A LOT!

I may have been exceptionally slow on the reviews here, as there is a lot of stuff I am juggling about right now, both professionally as well as on the home front.

Add to that the fact that both my daughters are home now for the next 3 months (the elder one has a long break as she is in the middle of changing school), and it's utter chaos!

I took up the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year as each year and my personal target for this year is 80. I have finished reading 26 books till now and am on the 27th right now...

So, here are a few books that I have really enjoyed reading in the recent past.....

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Dog Who Healed A Family by Jo Coudert: Review

 
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(*this lovely book was sent to me as a review copy by the publishers. I have not been paid for this and the review shared is my honest one)

Have you heard about this book? Have you read it yet? Have you seen anything about this anywhere? If yes, I am glad.

Surprisingly, I had not heard anything about this wonderful book called The Dog Who Healed A Family And Other True Animal Stories That Warm the Heart & Touch the Soul by Jo Coudert and published by Harlequin.

When the publishers asked me whether I would like a review copy, I instantly said yes, the reason being that I am a huge dog person, and absolutely love animals (the crawly ones aside please.) So I said yes and within the week this lovely book was a part of my family. The picture of the dog on the cover reminds me of my very own pet, whom I lost almost a decade back. He looked just like this too, so it was quite an emotional moment for me to pick this one up.

Before I tell you more about the book and my thoughts on it, here are the specifics:

Details about the book:
Title: The Dog Who Healed A Family
Author: Jo Coudert
No. of Pages:172
Publishers: Harlequin
Genre: Non Fiction
Price: INR195

The book has the following 18 true stories

Monday, March 3, 2014

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: First Page Mondays

 Here is the first page from the incredible book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

If you haven't read it yet, I definitely recommend you do.....I am looking forward to watch the movie now as well....

WHAT THE?

What about a teakettle? What if the spout opened and closed when the steam came out so it would become a mouth, and it could whistle pretty melodies, or do Shakespeare, or just crack up with me? I could invent a teakettle that reads in Dad's voice, so I could fall asleep, or maybe a set of kettles that sings the chorus of 'Yellow Submarine,' which is a song by the Beatles, who I love, because entomology is one of my raisons d'etre, which is a French expression that I know. Another good thing is that I could train my anus to talk when I farted. If I wanted to be extremely hilarious, I'd train it to say, 'Wasn't me!' every time I made an incredibly bad fart. And if I ever made an incredibly bad fart in the Hall of Mirrors, which is in Versailles, which is outside Paris, which is in France, my anus would say, 'Ce n'etais pas moi!'

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: On The Cover

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I got into this amazing book by a book lover on YouTube...this was highly praised and recommended, and being just a few pages into the book, I can say this is one you absolutely must read....

As of now, here's what's on the cover jacket....If you have seen the movie let me know about it...I will watch it once I finish reading....

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

'Dazzling' - Arena

'Heartbreaking' - Daily Telegraph

'Spectacular' - Observer

'Utterly engaging. From the very first page it is a hugely involving read....a heartbreaker: tragic, funny, intensely moving' Spectator

In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine year old Oskar discovers a key.....

The key belonged to his father, he's sure of that. But which of New York's 162 million locks does it open?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory: Sneaky Peeky Sunday


I am currently reading The Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory and here's the page I am on now....

.....

Summer 1628

The message came in the middle of June, one of the best months of the year for a gardener. John had started his day's work in the rose garden, dead-heading the blowsy blooms and tossing the petals into a basket for the still room. They would be dried and used in pomanders, or for scattering in the linen cupboards to scent the duke's sheets. Or they might be claimed by the cooks and candied to decorate the duke's sweetmeats. Everything in the garden, from drowsily humming bees to falling rosy pale petals, was the duke's and grew for his pleasure. Except he was not here to see them.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Book Thief Official Trailer: Book Vs. Movies


Yes, the movie The Book Thief is releasing here tomorrow and I simply can't wait to go and watch it. In case you haven't read the book or don't know what it is about, here is the REVIEW
 
- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Dog Who Healed A Family by Jo Coudert: First Page Mondays


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The Dog Who Healed A Family And Other True Animal Stories That Warm the Heart & Touch the Soul by Jo Coudert shall forever remain one of my most loved books ever.....

I am so glad and thankful that the publishers sent me this book for a review! Can't believe I never heard about it earlier...

In this post, I am sharing the first page...will soon come back with many more tidbits from this lovely book that you absolutely must read...

The Puppy Express

Curled nose to tail, the little dog was drowsing in Nancy Topp's lap as the truck rolled along the interstate. Suddenly Nancy felt her stiffen into alertness. 'What's the matter, old girl?' Nancy asked. At seventeen, Snoop had a bit of a heart condition and some kidney problems, and the family was concerned about her.

 Struggling to her feet, the dog stared straight ahead. She was a small dog, with a dachshund body but a beagle head, and she almost seemed to be pointing. A wisp of smoke was curling out of a crack in the dashboard. 'Joe!' she shouted at her husband at the wheel. 'Joe, the engine's on fire!'

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wisha Wozzariter by Payal Kapadia: Review


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(*I received a complimentary reading copy of the book courtesy the PR team for the Crossword Book Awards. I have not been paid for the review and all opinions are my own)

Okay, so that part sorted (that the views shared here are my own and not paid for) I shall tell you all about this book that won the Crossword Award for the Best Book in Children's Books category.

A few weeks back, my daughter took the book with her to the Kahaani Karnival held in Mumbai and got it signed by the author. One happy kid! :-)

What really got me interested in Wisha Wozzariter by Payal Kapadia was the premise. It was a very 'realistic' setting, especially as my daughter is a voracious reader herself and reads day in and day out, including most part of the night when she is awake. Also the fact that she wants to be a writer when she grows up and is already writing her own little stories.

If you don't know what the book is about, here is a look:

10 year old Wisha loves to read day in and day out. She feels that reading is the best thing that could ever

Monday, February 3, 2014

Don't Blink by James Patterson and Howard Roughan: First Page Mondays

 Here's the first page from the book Don't Blink by James Patterson & Howard Roughan

Prologue

IN THE WINK OF
A BLINK OF AN EYE

ONE

LOMBARDO'S STEAKHOUSE ON Manhattan's tony Upper East Side was just famous for two things, two specialties of the house. The first was its double-thick. artery-clogging forty-six-ounce porterhouse, the mere sight of which could give a vegan an apoplectic seizure.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth: Review

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I guess I am a little late in reading the series (though the 3rd and final book came out only recently), but yes, after kind of enjoying the dystopian world, I did get to read the much talked about and much hyped dystopian series Divergent.

Written by author Veronica Roth, the series is a trilogy and features 3 books - Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant

The entire book tube community has been raving about this book (in case you don't know, book tube is the hugely strong book network on the video sharing community YouTube...they are a category in themselves!). I heard about this book from almost ALL booktubers whose channels I am subscribed to. The book is a YA and is set in a dystopian world. If you have read The Hunger Games, then the plot line of the book is loosely similar, but that is where the comparisons end. For one, this book is no where as gross or violent as The Hunger Games series. Of course it has the survival issues at play.

*I am reviewing the entire series here book by book and will not share separate reviews

Since there is much chance of spoilers if I discuss too much about the storyline, I won't be doing it here, so if you want to know more about the story, you can check some other places online :-)