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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review: Terror On The Border by EE Hunt

Details about the book:
Title: Terror On The Border
Author: EE Hunt
ISBN: 978-1-6136-0101-3
No. of Pages:
Publisher: Unrivaled Books

Terror on the Border was sent to me for review by BookPleasures.com and Ascot Media Group.

The book is a thrilling, fast-paced suspense novel that will end in one, or at the most, two sittings. Set between Texas and Mexico, the story involves thrilling elements like drug trafficking, human trafficking, torture, border patrol, kidnapping, drug cartel and other constant twists that will keep you hooked on till the end.

The story is well-written, though at some levels you may have the notion that things like this do not really happen in the real world. But this again could be taken in another context, that out there, such thrilling incidents do happen to real people, and thankfully, we have been lucky enough to escape such a life.

Juanita Delgado is a young Mexican girl, who has been a victim of human trafficking. Her husband is a flawed, American ex-sniper, who has been facially disfigured while in Iraq. Together, the two fight the leaders of the Lobos cartel which is led by an egoist Hernan Cortez and Manuela.

The story involves around the abduction of Juanita’s North American cousin Orlando Delgado, a Border Patrol officer who is kidnapped by Lobos while he is on duty. He is taken hostage along with Juanita, but the two somehow manage to escape a torture chamber, only to be faced with bloody encounters on and near the border.

The book draws from the many criminal activities of drug and human trafficking, and also other illegal acts that happen on a regular basis on and near the border. The story is dark and intense and the reader will enjoy the constant thrill till the end. The book is well written and the settings gripping, and since it’s not really a very long story, the reader will not take too long to finish.

What I did not like about the book though was the way the characters have been built – the good ones are too good and the bad ones are too bad – there is no middle path, nothing grey, only black and white. This seems a little off from reality, but if you look at it as just a story, maybe it will make sense.

My recommendation: Worth a one-time read.

* Debolina Raja Gupta is an international book reviewer with BookPleasures.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: The Camerons by Robert Crichton

Sarah colored slightly but he didn’t notice.

“And for asking me to be your wife.”

“Oh, that. Yes, that was something.”

Please go now, her eyes said, but he didn’t seem to read them. He wanted to leave with something more than that, as if she had delivered a loaf of bread and not her body and heart.

“When can I speak to your father?”

“Father? You speak to Mother here.”

“Oh, I didn’t know. Soon.”

“How soon?”


He suddenly reached out and seized her, wrapping his arm around both of hers, and kissed her on the lips until she felt they were burning.

“We’ve known each other long enough,” he said, and laughed, and then managed this time to get over the threshold with his sticks, unhampered now by the bottle of whisky, and get down on the Terrace and head up it for his home, at the end where all the Bones lived. He didn’t turn around, but he waved his stick just once and she knew.

“How long was he here?” her mother said.

Sarah had no idea at all. She tried to find the sun in the window to put herself back in time.

“Who?” she finally said.

“The man.”

“My husband?” She felt her mother grip her arm.

“What’s the matter with you?”

“Why, what is the matter with me?”

“’My husband?’” she mimicked.

“I said that?” Her mother nodded. “I must have been dreaming.” Her mother looked at her carefully.

“Aye, you must have been dreaming, because you remember this. We’re not going to bring any hippety-hincher into this family. The man who comes in it for you will be a man who can work and put some siller in the kist.”

“Aye, Momma.”

They found out about the first-footer later, of course,…..’

- Debolina Raja Gupta

First Page Mondays: Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book 'Afterwards' by Rosamund Lupton.

I couldn’t move, not even a little finger or a flicker of an eye. I couldn’t open my mouth to scream.

I struggled, as hard as I could, to move the huge heavy hulk that my body had become but I was trapped under the hull of a vast ship wrecked on the ocean floor and moving was impossible.

My eyelids were welded shut. My eardrums broken. My vocal cords snapped off.

Pitch dark and silent and so heavy in there; a mile of black water above me.

Only one thing for it, I said to myself, thinking of you, and I slipped out of the wrecked ship of my body into the black ocean.

I swam upwards towards the daylight with all my strength.

Not a mile deep after all.

Because I was suddenly in a white room, brightly gleaming, smelling pungently of antiseptic. I heard voices and my name.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, December 26, 2011

On The Cover: Cherries Aren't Red ELEMENTS by Neha Agarwal

Received in my mail today for review an author-signed book titled 'Cherries Aren't Red ELEMENTS' by self-published author Neha Agarwal.

The cover looks quite interesting and I will read once I am through with the other books that I have for review. But in the meanwhile, here's a look at the cover jacket.
The book seems to be a collection of short stories (not sure if they are inter-related or no, will know once I read it) and has something to do with the four elements - Water, Fire, Earth, Air.

'Jitin & Sahaana were very much in love...they had it all - love, life, most of all - each other. All they were waiting for was acceptance. During their seemingly perennial wait the elements - Fire, Earth, Air and Water - began influencing their lives....and what ensued implied that cherries aren't RED.'

Well, that's about it. I didn't get much of an idea of what the book really is about, except that it has to do something with a young couple. I will read it for sure and tell you what I think of it, but in the meanwhile, if you already have a copy and have read it or are reading it, let me know your thoughts too...

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, December 23, 2011

Review: Charliezz by Trupthi Guttal and Zeeshan Farooqui

I was contacted by author Zeeshan Farooqui to read and review the book 'Charliezz' jointly authored by Trupthi Guttal.

To begin with, here are the main details about the book:

Title: Charliezz
Authors: Trupthi Guttal and Zeeshan Farooqui
Publishers: Frog Books
No. of pages: 191

The story revolves around the two protagonists - Zahir Pathan and Khushi Patil - and gives us a glimpse into their professional lives. The events in the book are centered around their office lives, an engineering firm whose employees seem disgruntled wit the life they are subjected to each day - coming to office and getting in the grind only for the paycheck, slogging off without any real motivation to work.

The setting is typical and the characterisation is also kind of predictable, what with the dominating boss (called the Ring Leader here) and the subdued employees.

From the start, it is visible that the authors have made a conscious effort to create the narrative in a not-so-often-seen way in an Indian writing. Though this style of narrative could have worked wonders for the book, however, I felt that somewhere down the line, the authors lost track of keeping a connect between the different incidents that were supposed to be intertwined. This disconnect only seems to escalate with each page.

Many stories and incidents have been woven in the main story, but sadly, either due to the multiplicity of incidents or due to a lack of co-ordination between the two authors, the stories are not able to hold their own. This leads to a wavering down of the story as a whole and the reader is left wanting much much more.

I will not blame the authors here. They had a story and it was the job of the publishing house to take care of the editing and the structure. But I have noticed this problem with most of the self-published Indian authors. Sadly, we have only Leadstart/Frog Books to help such authors, and they do a horrible job of making a book. Most authors lose out a good sale due to the lack of professionalism on their part.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

On The Cover: Johny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj

I recently finished reading a book called 'Johny Gone Down' by Karan Bajaj. The book had been sent to me by Crossword as part of its Vodafone Crossword Book Awards 2010 and though I had started reading it earlier, I somehow lost on the pace and kept it back. It was only recently that I picked it up again and read it, and now that I did finish it, I HAVE to share the cover jacket with you as this is clearly one of the most well-written books I have ever read (the review is due, I know, and I am terribly sorry that I haven't been sharing my reviews for quite some time now. Just caught up in a few things and about to get back to the reviews).

Here's what's on the cover:

Nikhil Arya has fallen.

Once, he was an Ivy League scholar with a promising future at NASA; now, at forty, he is broke, homeless, and minutes away from blowing his brains out in a diabolical modern-day joust.

It wasn't meant to be this way.

An innocent vacation turned into an epic intercontinental journey that saw Nikhil become first a genocide survivor, then a Buddhist monk, a drug lord, a homeless accountant, a software mogul and a deadly game fighter. Now, twenty years later, Nikhil, aka Johny is tired of running. With the Colombian mafia on his trail and his abandoned wife and son ten thousand miles away, he prepares for his final act, aware that he will have lost even if he wins.

Or will he? Is there any greater victory than living a life that knows no limits, a world that has seen no boundaries?

From the bestselling author of Keep Off The Grass comes the once-in-a-lifetime story of an ordinary man fighting an extraordinary destiny. Can he pick up the pieces one last time or will Nikhil, now Johny, go down for good?

'A taut, gripping saga with with the manic pace of an action film.' - Samrat Choudhury, Deputy Editor, Hindustan Times

'A stunning adventure of the spirit....you will feel the absolute wonder of a life fully lived.' - Ben Rekhi, International Award-winning Director of Waterborne'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, December 19, 2011

First Page Mondays: My Life In My Words: Rabindranath Tagore by Uma Das Gupta

As part of the First Page Mondays at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book 'My Life In My Words: Rabindranath Tagore' by Uma Das Gupta.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was born in the city of Calcutta, the capital of British India, in a Brahmin family. But an early contact with Muslims sent them down to the caste of ‘Pirali’ Brahmins. Professionally, they were revenue collectors for the English East India Company. There was a split in the family in the 1760s from which one member of the family moved to north Calcutta and built a house in Jorasanko. This was Nilmoni, Rabindranath's great-great grandfather. In Nilmoni's time, the family owned two zamindaris in East Bengal and Orissa. Their wealth was greatly enhanced when Rabindranath's grandfather, Dwarkanath (1794-1846), established a new agency house called Carr, Tagore and Company with his British trading partners. The success of this business enabled Dwarkanath to purchase two more zamindaris. His wealth and his philanthropy earned him the title of 'Prince' among his countrymen. His eldest son Debendranath (1817-1905) was Rabindranath's father. Debendranath abandoned his father's lifestyle and became a spiritual leader. He adopted Ram Mohan Roy's Brahmo Dharma in 1843 and broke with the Hindu tradition of idol worship. But he did not break with Hinduism, arguing forcefully that Brahmo Dharma was an integral part of Hinduism. He wrote learned essays on the ancient scriptures and their scientific interpretation in the Tattwabodhini Patrika. The family thus found themselves drawn into the heated debates of those times on religion and politics. This was the air young Rabindranath breathed in his Jorasanko family house.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, December 12, 2011

First Page Mondays: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

As part of the First Page Mondays at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the internationally acclaimed bestselling romantic-suspense novel Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier.

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.

No smoke came from the chimney, and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware a change had come upon it: it was narrow and unkept, not the drive that we had known. At first I was puzzled and did not understand, and it was only when I bent my head to avoid the low swinging branch of a tree that I realized what had happened. Nature had come into her own again and, little by little, in her stealthy, insidious way had encroached upon the drive long, tenacious fingers. The woods, always a menace even in the past, had triumphed in the end. They crowded, dark and uncontrolled, to the borders of the drive. The beeches with white, naked limbs leant close to one another, their branches intermingled in a strange embrace, making a vault above my head like the archway of a church. And there were other trees as well, trees that I did not recognize, squat oaks and tortured elms that straggled cheek by jowl with the beeches, and had thrust themselves out of the quiet earth, along with monster shrubs and plants, none of which I remembered.

The drive was a ribbon now, a thread of its former self, with gravel surface gone, and choked with grass and moss. The trees had thrown out low branches, making an impediment to progress; the gnarled roots locked like skeleton claws. Scattered here and again amongst this jungle growth I could.....'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Not Keeping Well

*Pssst....Im using this pic coz at the moment Charlie n Lola are my daughter's ABSOLUTE favourite characters on telly...

Hi there all my lovely friends.... I know its been a long long time that I checked up with you wonderful people. I've been missing my Sneaky-Peeky Sunday peaks, my First Page Mondays, my Classic Thursdays and many many more posts that I generally love to share, not to mention the reviews that have been so long in coming up.

I wanted to thank you all for visiting and taking the time out to read here. It's just that I have been unwell for quite some time now. Nothing serious, just a little 'under the weather' as I would love to categorise it (more so coz it has a nice ring to it).

So these last two weeks I have hardly been able to do much reading or writing, much to my dismay !!!! I haven't been able to go for my guitar lessons or even practice at home. I haven't had the strength to go out and party with friends. And I'm feeling so weak all the time it's not even funny anymore. I'm a complete outdoors person and it gets really bogging when I have to stay indoors, more so, in bed...

I know its quite some time now that I shared anything with you. I'm just waiting to get a little better and then I'll be back, sharing all the amazing book stuff with you. In the meanwhile, hope you're all doing great and sending lots of Christmas cheer your way. If you happen to drop in while I'm not around, do let me know your feedback..it always makes me happy to hear from you...

Take care all you lovely people and happy reading...

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The more I am reading this book, the more amazing and inspiring and insightful its turning out to be...Really friends, I suggest all of you must give this one a good read....The book Im talking about is Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and here's the page I am currently reading...

'...bonus, Bushnell told him, for every chip fewer than fifty that he used. Bushnell knew that Jobs was not a great engineer, but he assumed, correctly, that he would recruit Wozniak, who was always hanging around. "I looked at it as a two-for-one thing," Bushnell recalled. "Woz was a better engineer."

Wozniak was thrilled when Jobs asked him to help and proposed splitting the fee. "This was the most wonderful offer in my life, to actually design a game that people would use," he recalled. Jobs said it had to be done in four days and with the fewest chips possible. What he hid from Wozniak was the deadline was one that Jobs had imposed, because he needed to get to the All One Farm to help prepare for the apple harvest. He also didn't mention that there was a bonus tied to keeping down the number of chips.

"A game like this might take most engineers a few months," Wozniak recalled. "I thought that there was no way I could do it, but Steve made me sure that I could." So he stayed up four nights in a row and did it. During the day at HP, Wozniak would sketch out his design on paper. Then, after a fast-food meal, he would go right to Atari and stay all night. As Wozniak churned out the design, Jobs sat on a bench to his left implementing it by wire-wrapping the chips onto a breadboard. "While Steve was breadboarding, I spent time playing my favourite game ever, which was the auto racing game Grand Trak 10," Wozniak said.

Astonishingly, they were able to get the job done in four days, and Wozniak used only forty-five chips. Recollections differ, but by most accounts Jobs simply gave Wozniak half of the base fee and not the bonus Bushnell paid for saving five chips. It would be another ten years before Wozniak discovered (by being showed the tale in a book on the history of Atari titles Zap) that Jobs had been paid the bonus. "I think that Steve needed the money, and he just didn't tell me the truth," Wozniak later said. When he talks about it now, there are long pauses, and he admits that it causes him pain. "I wish he had just been honest. If he had told me he needed the money, he should have known I would have just given it to him. He was a friend. You help your friends." To Wozniak, it showed a fundamental difference in their characters.......

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Page Mondays: Che Guevara: A Biography by Richard L. Harris

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page of the book I am reading right now along with another. The book is Che Guevara: A Biography by Richard L. Harris

'Che Guevara was born on May 14, 1928 (although his birth certificate indicates he was born a month later, on June 14, 1928), in the Argentine city of Rosario, which is located in northern Argentina on the famous Parana River. His parents named him Ernesto (his father's first name) and as is the custom throughout Latin America, his full name consisted of both his father's family name and his mother's family name. Thus, as a boy and young man he was known as Ernesto Guevara de la Serna - Guevara being his father's family name and de la Serna being his mother's family name. Since he did not assume the first name of Che until much later in his life, in this chapter and the following two chapters, he will be referred to as Ernesto Guevara.

His parents were of upper-class origin. His father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch, was an entrepreneur and a builder-architect who studied architecture but never received his degree. During the more entrepreneurial phase of his career, he tried his hand at ranching, yacht building and the cultivation of mate (the herbal tea that is national drink in Argentina). However, he ended up as a builder-architect. His ancestry was both Spanish (Guevara) and Irish (Lynch) and one of his great-grandfathers was one of the wealthiest men in South America.....'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday here at The Book Worm, here's the page from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson that I am currently on....Its a huge book and I am reading this in between reading other books, so Im sure you'll keep reading a few more extracts from this book in the days to come :)

'....only real fight I ever got in with my dad," he said. But his father again bent to his will. "He wanted me to promise that I'd never use pot again, but I wouldn't promise." In fact by his senior years he was also dabbling in LSD and hash as well as exploring the mind-bending effects of sleep deprivation. "I was starting to get stoned a bit more. We would also drop acid occasionally, usually in fields or in cars."

He also flowered intellectually during his last two years in high school and found himself at the intersection, as he had begun to see it, of those who were geekily immersed in electronics and those who were into literature and creative endeavors. "I started to listen to music a whole lot, and I started to read more outside of just science and technology - Shakespeare, Plato. I loved King Lear." His other favourites include Moby-Dick and the poems of Dylan Thomas. I asked him why he related to King Lear and Captain Ahab, two of the most willful and driven characters in literature, but he didn't respond to the connection I was making, so I let it drop. "When I was a senior I had this phenomenal AP English class. The teacher was this guy who looked like Ernest Hemingway. He took a bunch of us snowshoeing in Yosemite."

One course that Jobs took would become part of Silicon Valley lore: the electronics class taught by John McCollum, a former Navy pilot who had a showman's flair for exciting his students with such tricks as firing up a Telsa coil. His little stockroom, to which he would lend the key to pet students, was crammed with transistors and other components he had scored.

McCollum's classroom was in a shed-like building on the edge of the campus, next to the parking lot. "This is where it was," Jobs recalled as he peered in the window, "and here, next door, is where the auto shop class used to be." The juxtaposition highlighted the shift from the interests of his father's generation. "Mr. McCollum felt that electronics class was the new auto class."

McCollum believed in military discipline and respect for authority. Jobs didn't. His aversion to authority was something he no longer tried to hide, and he affected an attitude that combined wiry and weird intensity with aloof rebelliousness. McCollum later said, "He was usually off in a corner doing something on his own and really didn't want to have much of anything to do with either me or the rest of the class." He.....

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Few Snatches From Here And There: Musings Of A Wanderer

I absolutely have to start this post by apologising to Shreya Chatterjee, poet, wanderer, who sent me this book ages ago and asked me to read it and talk about it if I like....I told her I am not a poetry person per-se, but she asked me to have a look nevertheless...And the book has been sitting in my bookshelf for so many weeks now, waiting for me to pick it up while I was reading the other books that were lined for review...

Like I said, I am NOT a poetry person, and have never talked about any poetry book here on this blog, but this book sure needs a mention as the verses here are in reality more of random thoughts that sit perfectly in prose.

About the book:
Title: Musings of a Wanderer
Author: Shreya Chatterjee
No. of Pages: 93
INR: Rs.100

Here's what you'll see on the cover jacket:
'For I write, what I see
And speak of
Things I feel.
Thus "Musings of a Wanderer"
Stand true to its name.

Indeed the MUSINGS OF A WANDERER speaks volumes about the simplest of things that quietly becomes a part of our lives. It speaks of failing and triumphs. The poet speaks of expressions of living moments and of those that are perhaps never to see the light of the day. You will find monsoon peeping, you will find, romance lingering and as a sense of determination that ebbs inside a young mind.

Think of a blogger, who lives with the belief, life is nothing but a meandering river or a path. Here you get to meet and forget people, you get to run through darkness and regal in the glory of refreshing sun rays. She speaks of life you are able to see unfolding in front of you. She speaks of your life and of all the others, around you.

Shreya Chatterjee is a writer by profession, poet by will. She lives in Kolkata with her parents and her loving books.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’ by Jackie Carpenter

Title: ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’
Author: Jackie Carpenter
No. of Pages: 115
ISBN: 978-1-61579-685-4

* This is a complimentary copy sent by the author and BookPleasures and is NOT a purchased copy.

Jackie Carpenter’s book ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’ is based on the true story of her son Jason Veitch, who was arrested and charged with felony murder in 2008 in the small town of Georgia. Jason, a preacher and homebuilder, was arrested in the accidental death of a suspected burglar at one of his construction sites.

As Jackie Carpenter herself mentions in many parts of the book: ‘This book is totally inspired by God. I am not a writer, but God wrote a Best Seller.’

The book says based on a true story, so we can try and categorise it under non-fiction, or maybe crime non-fiction, but from the very first page, in fact from the cover of the book itself, it is very very clear that the book is more of a preacher and a personal way of saying thanks to the super-power that the author believes saved her son in the end.

A mere 115 pages, that too in very large print and some pages fully taken up with personal pictures of the family, the book is at most a one-hour read, much less so if you are a voracious reader.

The book is a personal testimony to a family’s faith in its God, more so the belief of a mother, in this case the author herself, who continues to keep her faith intact and believes that no matter what, God will take care and protect her son. She is a strong believer in chapter 91 of the book of Psalm and throughout the devastating incidents that follow her son’s arrest, she never once wavers from her faith.

There is a spate of burglary in many of the construction sites that Jason has, and under the advice of officials, Jason sets out one night to catch the thieves red-handed and end the crisis then and there. He is advised that a police patrol team will be nearby to attend to his call the moment he sees something suspicious, and is assured that official help will be near at hand the moment he manages to confront any of the suspects. He waits outside the woods near the construction site, nervous, scared, praying that no one sees him and that help arrives soon. But no matter how much he sits and prays, a sudden turn of events leads to an accidental shooting, one that sees Jason charged with one count of felony murder, three counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. As the charges are being read out, it is clear that Jason will be led away to prison, as his family, young wife and toddler son wait for him with tears.

Jackie Carpenter’s writing is more of a chronology of the events that happened in the exact order. The book is intended to tell her personal story and that is what it does, nowhere in the story do you feel it is made up, in fact it comes out as too personal, the story of a family brought closer in times of a tragedy.

This book, though well-written and with the ability to tug at your heartstrings, may not appeal to everyone, as it constantly talks about God, the Bible, the Psalm and other chapters. It will especially be difficult to relate to the same if you are a non-Christian like me, more so an atheist like me. But I chose to read the book as a personal testament of a woman whose son is being taken away to prison, and the courage she shows in the face of this horrific tragedy. Read this book as a personal journal, and if you feel the God-words are too over-powering and overwhelming, try and focus on the story instead. It’s a good story that will appeal to all, just a little toning down of the God-element would have worked a little better is all I can say.

* Debolina Raja Gupta is an international book reviewer with BookPleasures

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Reading List Today

Wow....so been doing a lot of interesting reading of late....and here's what is on my book list as of now... Recently Finished Reading:
Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh Currently Reading: My Dearest Rose by Jessie McClain
Also Reading:
Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson Dying To Read:
The Camerons by Robert Crichton
The Biography of Che Guevara

- Debolina Raja Gupta

First Page Mondays: My Dearest Rose by Jessie McClain

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page of the book I am reading right now. 'My Dearest Rose' by Jessie McClain.

* This is a complimentary review copy sent by the author and BookPleasures and not a purchased copy.

'My day starts just like usual. My mother, Cassie, staring at me as I wake up screaming and drenched in a cold sweat. I glance at the clock on my nightstand. Too early for me, six fifty-four. Atleast yesterday the screaming didn't come until nine. My mother continues to stare with a look of pity on her face. I hate that look.

"Iris, you need to move on. It's been four years and you still scream almost every night. I'm going to send you to therapy." The look on her face went from pity to annoyance. Why does she even pretend to care?

"Mom, just stop. First off, you don't have to come in here every time I have a bad dream, and secondly, you can't send me anywhere. I'm an adult, remember?" Now I'm starting to get irritated.

"Are you going to look for a job today?" she continues.

"No mom, I have a job. I sing. I know you don't like it, but I do. It's the only thing I enjoy. Also, I work at the shop. Another thing you don't like, but I enjoy that too." The irritation is growing.

"Well, I really wouldn't consider that a job," she says as she walks out of my room. I roll over on my stomach and bury my face in the pillow breathing in the scent. Lavender.

I roll back over onto my back, and look around my room. It's not the best looking room, but suitable for me. Cozy even. I scan the room eyeing my terra cotta coloured walls and posters, all the way up to my dream catchers in every corner, including the one over my bed. From my experience, they don't seem to work. I got them with my discount at the shop, Sun Spirit. Finally I rest on one solitary picture underneath my window on a stand. A picture that seems it was taken a lifetime.....'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

As part of the Sneaky Peeky Sundays here with The Book Worm, here's a page from the biography of the late Steve Jobs...The book is called 'Steve Jobs' by author Walter Isaacson.

'...operator, hard-core electronics guy," Jobs recalled. "He would bring me stuff to play with." As we walked up to Lang's old house, Jobs pointed to the driveway. "He took a carbon microphone and a battery and a speaker, and he put it on this driveway. He had me talk into the carbon mike and it amplified out of the speaker." Jobs had been taught by his father that microphones always require an electronic amplifier. "So I raced home, and I told my dad that he was wrong."

"No, it needs an amplifier," his father assured him. When Steve protested otherwise, his father said he was crazy. "It can't work without an amplifier. There's some trick."

"I kept telling no to my dad, telling him he had to see it, and finally he actually walked down with me and saw it. And he said, "Well I'll be a bat out of hell."

Jobs recalled the incident vividly because it was his first realisation that his father did not know everything. Then a more disconcerting discovery began to dawn on him: He was smarter than his parents. He had always admired his father's competence and savvy. "He was not an educated man, but I had always thought he was pretty damn smart. He didn't read much, but he could do a lot. Almost everything mechanical, he could figure it out." Yet the carbon microphone incident, Jobs said, began a jarring process of realising that he was in fact more clever and quick than his parents. "It was a very big moment that's burned into my mind. When I realised that I was smarter than my parents, I felt tremendous shame for having thought that. I will never forget that moment." This discovery, he later told friends, along with the fact that he was adopted, made him feel apart - detached and separate - from both his family and the world.

Another layer of awareness occurred soon after. Not only did he discover that he was brighter than his parents, but he discovered that they knew this. Paul and Clara Jobs were loving parents, and they were willing to adapt their lives to suit a son who was very smart - and also willful. They would go to great lengths to accommodate him. And soon Steve discovered this fact as well. "Both my parents got me. They felt a lot of responsibility once they sensed that I was special. They found ways to keep feeding me stuff and putting me in better schools. They were willing to defer to my needs."

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, November 11, 2011

On The Cover: I Walked The Line: My Life With Johnny by Vivian Cash, with Ann Sharpsteen

If you love Johnny Cash you've probably also watched the movie 'Walk The Line', so you already have a fair guess of what this book is all about. 'I Walked The Line: My Life With Johnny' is the story told from the point of view of Johnny Cash's wife Vivian Cash (the two later divorced).....

Here's the blurb from the cover jacket:

'A wildly romantic book but also a sad and wrenching one, a testament to the destructive powers of hope pushed past the breaking point' - New York Times

The elegant, revealing and powerful memoir of Vivian Cash, Johny Cash's first wife and the mother to his four daughters, I Walked The Line is the untold story of love, family and heartbreak in the life of an icon.

By Vivian's own choice, the details behind the demise of their fourteen-year-long marriage and the relationship they shared throughout the years have up until now remained secret. However, Vivian decided that, near the end of her life and with backing from Johnny, she should tell the whole story, even the parts at odds with the iconic Cash family image such as Johnny's drug problems: Vivian's confrontation with June Carter about her affair with Johnny and, most sensationally, the Cash family secret of June's lifelong addiction to drugs and the events leading up to her death. Also revealed are treasured family photographs and countless pages of unpublished love letters that Johnny agreed should be shared with the world.

I Walked The Line
is a powerful memoir of joy and happiness, injustice and triumph and is an essential read for fans of the greatest country music star of all time.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First Page Mondays: Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey by Captain Gopinath

As part of the First Page Mondays on The Book Worm, here's the first page of the book Simply Fly by Captain Gopinath.

* This book was part of the Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2010 and was sent as a complimentary copy through Crossword. This is NOT a purchased copy.

Growing Up By The River

Snuggled somewhere deep within the Western Ghats, beyond Mudigere, lies the source of a pretty river called Hemavathy. This is the south-western corner of Karnataka. Meandering through the lower ranges, the river flows past hundreds of small hamlets before joining the Kaveri as its principal tributary. Gorur, of which I have vivid and pleasant childhood memories of my parents and my home, is one such village situated along the banks of the Hemavathy. It is not surprising that people in these parts consider the river sacred, for Hemavathy is Gorur's lifeline, watering its fields and sustaining the settlements along its banks. Looking back with fondness, there is a realization that quaint old Gorur, attractive in its own way, holds a special place in my heart.

A few words may not be appropriate to describe the lush countryside and the alluring landscape of Gorur and its neighbourhood, where I spent my early years. Located 23 km to the south of Hassan, the district headquarters, the settlement has an abundance of coconut groves, areca plantations, betel-leaf creepers, paddy fields, and mango orchards. The village, like many others in this region, has been a beneficiary of the water management technology evolved over centuries by local chieftains and the maharajas of Mysore, who built check-dams further upstream to facilitate irrigation of thousands of acres of farmland. These stonework barriers were constructed employing simple, eco-friendly technology that caused no deforestation or displacement of local residents, allowing the river to flow perennially, supporting human, animal, and plant life all along its course.

Gorur lies on the fringes of Malnad, which means the 'land of hills' and also the 'land of rains' in Kannada. It refers specifically to the southern ranges of the Western Ghats of Karnataka and their foothills. Malnad features some well-known towns such as Mudigere, Chikmaglur, Shringeri, Madikeri, and Tirthahalli. The hillside is awash with coffee estates and dense pristine rainforests.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh

As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday here at The Book Worm, here's the page from the book The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh that I am reading right now:

'....to think of him waiting for her at the station at Calcutta, but she had no idea what the station would be like. She thought of a more crowded version of Paddington, in London, and she saw him, waiting for her at the bookstall. She saw herself walking up to him, putting out a hand, saying very demurely, How-do-you-do. But he didn't respond - he smiled at her thinly, looking her over with bright, piercing eyes. He looked exactly as he did in the picture he had sent her - intense, saturnine, more than a little mad. And then she was really frightened: she didn't want to meet a man like that alone, in a strange country. That was when she sent my father a telegram asking him to meet her at the station.

But then, when she saw him, looking over my head, he wasn't at all like his picture. He looked awkward, absurdly young, and somehow very reassuring. Also a little funny, because his eyes were hugely magnified by those glasses of his, and he kept blinking in an anxious, embarrassed kind of way. She hadn't been able to help throwing her arms around him; it was just pure relief. She knew at last why she had come, and she was glad. It had nothing to do with curiosity.

She was given our guest room - a large, airy room which looked out over the garden. I would sit on the bed and watch her - writing letters, playing her recorder, brushing her hair. I loved the smell of her: the smell of shampoo and soap and something else, not perfume, I was sure, because I hated the smell of perfume. Something cool and breezy.

I leant over, picked at her pullover and sniffed at it. She drew back, startled.

"What's this now? What're you up to?"

I'm wondering whether you still smell the same, I told her.

And do I?

Yes, I said. You do. What do you smell of?

She sniffed her pullover herself and made a face: Sweat? Grime?

No - something else.

All right, she said, laughing. I'll confess, it's lavender water.

Later, in my adolescence, I was ashamed, nail-bitingly ashamed of staring at her like that, sniffing at her, fingering her clothes surreptitiously. I used to squirm thinking of how I had behaved, and then I would argue with myself, try to restore a........'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Classic Thursdays: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, literally meaning 'The Miserable Ones', is an 1862 French novel, widely considered as one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters over a seventeen-year period in the early nineteenth century, starting in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion.

The novel focuses on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. It examines the nature of law and grace, and expatiates upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. The story is historical fiction because it contains factual and historic events. Contrary to what some believe, it does not use the French Revolution as a backdrop.

The first two volumes of Les Misérables were published on 3 April 1862, heralded by a massive advertising campaign; the remainder of the novel appeared on 15 May 1862. At the time, Victor Hugo enjoyed a reputation as one of France's foremost poets, and the appearance of the novel was a highly anticipated event.

Critical reactions were wide-ranging and often negative; some critics found the subject matter immoral, others complained of its excessive sentimentality, and still others were disquieted by its apparent sympathy with the revolutionaries.

The book was a great commercial success. First translated into foreign languages (including Italian, Greek, and Portuguese) the same year it originally appeared, it proved popular not only in France, but across Europe.

Les Misérables is known to many through its numerous stage and screen adaptations, most notably the stage musical of the same name.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thank You All

Hey all you lovely readers out there....from all parts of the globe...Just wanted to thank each and every one of you for taking out the time to drop by, for being so wonderful to me by subscribing to the blog, and for letting me know your comments and feedback....

I read each and every comment and mail and always try and respond to all communication personally. If, at any time, I have missed out on any comment and not replied, I am truly sorry.

Also, I would love it if you would share the links to your blog when you visit mine. I would surely visit your blog and subscribe if the same is to my interest. Just drop in the link in the comment box and next time when I see your comment I will come and visit.

You all have been great with your feedback and comments, and I especially appreciate it when someone has been critical of something and pointed out any error or difficulty one might have faced while viewing my blog. If you see, I have taken care to make sure that problem is resolved.

In the end, I again want to thank you all for your time and your love and support...And wish you all the best in all that you do....

Happy reading my lovely friends !!!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, October 31, 2011

First Page Mondays: The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh.

'In 1939, thirteen years before I was born, my father’s aunt, Mayadebi, went to England with her husband and her son, Tridib.

It startles me now to discover how readily the name comes off my pen as ‘Mayadebi’, for I have never spoken of her thus; not aloud at any rate: as my grandmother’s only sister, she was always Maya-thakuma to me. But still, from as far back as I can remember, I have known her, in the secrecy of my mind, as ‘Mayadebi’ – as though she were a well-known stranger, like a filmstar or a politician whose picture I had seen in a newspaper. Perhaps it was merely because I knew her very little, for she was not often in Calcutta. That explanation seems likely enough, but I know it to be untrue. The truth is that I did not want to think of her as a relative: to have done that would have diminished her and her family – I could not bring myself to believe that their worth in my eyes could be reduced to something so arbitrary and unimportant as a blood relationship.

Mayadebi was twenty-nine when they left and Tridib was eight.

Over the years, although I cannot remember when it happened any more than I can remember when I first learnt to tell the time or tie my shoelaces, I have come to believe that I was eight too when Tridib first talked to me about his journey. I remember trying very hard to imagine him back to my age, to reduce his height to mine, and to think away the spectacles that wre so much a part of him that I really believed he had been born with them. It wasn’t easy, for to me he looked old, impossibly old, and I could not remember him looking any other than old – though, in fact, at that time he could not have been much older than twenty-nine. In the end, since I had nothing to go on, I had decided that he had looked like me.

But my grandmother, when I asked her, was very quick to contradict me. She shook her head firmly, looking up from her schoolbooks and said: No, he looked completely different – not at all like you.

My grandmother didn’t approve of Tridib. He’s a loafer and a wastrel, I would sometimes hear her saying to my parents; he……'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Delayed Monsoon by Chitralekha Paul

As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sundays here at The Book Worm, here's the page from the book 'Delayed Monsoon' by Chitralekha Paul that I am reading right now.

* This is a complimentary review copy sent by the author and BookReaders' Lounge, and is NOT A PAID COPY.

'....were still fresh and Subba dominated my conversation. Riaz could make out how deeply hurt I was and wanted to divert my attention. But failing to distract me, he suddenly came up with a strange question. "Do you ever fantasize having a close relationship with someone other than your husband?"

What!!! How dare he ask me such questions? With my conservative upbringing and the traditional mind-set, I found this query to be weird. I was thinking of a befitting reply, when another message came from him.

"I am sure you are now angry with me. My sincere apology to you lady for offending you, but at I last I got success."

Success?? What success was he talking about? I was perplexed.

"So...? What's going on in your mind at this moment? I am sure, right now Subba is out of your mind, as you must be rummaging through your brain to find appropriate words to put me to my place. And that was exactly what I wanted to do, to make you forget Subba," he wrote again. Phew! What a way to sidetrack me! But, nonetheless, it was effective.

Soon Riaz became a friend of mine. He knew that most of the time I kept brooding, unhappy as I was, with my life. He would always ask me to look beyond problems and count the blessings, to learn to be happy on my own, rather than depending on someone else. He lent his ears, when I needed someone to listen to me, but at the same time talked tough, if he felt it was required. I still remember how upset i was once, after a bitter argument with Nikhil and on an impulse, I sent a message when I saw Riaz online.

"I feel like jumping from my balcony."

"Wow! A good idea indeed! I think you must try it," he sent a reply along with a clapping emoticon.

"I am not joking," I typed.

"Neither am I. After all what more will happen if you jump? It's just that every bone of your body would break, in case you survive the fall," he replied.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Classic Thursdays: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter is considered Nathaniel Hawthorne's most impressive work ever. The novel is an 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting. Set in the 17th-century England during the years 1642-1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and guilt. Throughout the book, Nathaniel Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin and guilt.

It was long thought that Hawthorne originally planned The Scarlet Letter to be a shorter novelette which was part of a collection to be named Old Time Legends, but his publisher convinced him to expand the work to a full-length novel. But this was not the truth. The publisher had in fact persuaded Hawthorne to publish The Scarlet Letter separately, but had nothing to do with the length of the story.

The Scarlet Letter was published as a novel in the spring of 1850. Hawthorne doubted the book would be popular, but in fact, it became an instant best-seller. Its initial publication brought wide protests from the natives of Salem, who did not approve of how Hawthorne depicted them in his introduction 'The Custom House'. In the second edition of the book, Hawthorne stated that he had decided to re-print his introduction 'without the change of a word...' As to enmity or ill-feeling of any kind, personal or political, he utterly disclaims such motives.

The Scarlet Letter was also one of the first mass-produced books in America. Into the mid-nineteenth century, book-binders of homegrown literature hand-made their books and sold them in small quantities. The first mechanized printing of The Scarlet Letter, 2500 volumes, sold out within ten days and was widely read and discussed to an extent not much experienced in the young country up until now. Copies of the first edition are often sought by collectors as rare books and may fetch up to around $18,000USD.

The novel has been made into a movie in the year 1995 directed by Roland Joffe and starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman and Robert Duvall. This version was 'freely adapted' and deviated from the original story.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On The Cover: Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar

I have of late been obsessed with losing weight. Not that I am overweight or anything, but I just want to get more fit and toned. And I must say I have lost many many many sleepless nights and evenings and days for it...not to mention the delicious food and what not! So finally my hubby decided to gift me this wonderful book called 'Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar' and I must say it's been an eye-opener. So for all you ladies, if you have ever worried about your weight (which I'm sure all us women do no matter our waist size and weight), this is one of those books which you MUST MUST MUST READ.....

Here's what the cover jacket says:

'Women & The WeightLoss Tamasha from the author of 'Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight' with a personal note from Kareena Kapoor


The nutritionist who taught us that simply eating (pun intended) is the jey to a fab body is back with a comprehensive book on women, food and everything in between. From puberty to marriage, from pregnancy to menopause, Rujuta explains in detail the changes women go through (and God knows as Indian women we go through way beyond those just hormonal - husband, in-laws, children, career etc.) and how what we do (or don't) during these phases affects our overall well-being.

Building on her four principles of eating right from 'Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight', she goes to share her four strategies (Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Relationships) for each of these phases and especially the lifestyle disorders of PCOD, hypothyroid and diabetes. Rujuta, in her usual indomitable style, debunks (rubbishes rather) myths related to food, hormones and workouts, forces us to rethink our belief that pregnancy, menopause, hypothyroid, etc. come in the way of losing weight and reveals just how easy it is to remain healthy, strong and fit through one's life.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller

I have never read any book about the Amish way of life, so when I got a chance to read and review the book Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller, I was really excited. Book Sneeze had the book up for review, and I had heard a little about the Amish community, so this seemed like the perfect way to acquaint myself with this ‘new’ and interesting lifestyle.

What first got me interested was the cover of the book, at once cosy and inviting. I could immediately sense this to be one of those books that would make for a perfect cosy read on a lazy afternoon, and I must admit I was not disappointed when I actually started reading the book.

Young Emma is an unmarried woman of 24, and hence a cause for concern in her community, as being unmarried at the grand big age of 24 means you’re a spinster, that something is wrong with you and you have failed miserably in your search of a husband. The story begins with the death of Emma and Clara’s mother. The sisters have already lost their father earlier, as we are made aware of later in the story, and Emma lives with her old grandmother, while her sister Clara lives with her husband Peter and two children nearby. As the story progresses, we see her sadness for a love that is lost, in the form of her childhood sweetheart Adam, who has decided to leave the Amish community and go out in the ‘real’ world. Emma still cannot make herself believe that Adam is now no longer there by her side, that the love she thought was so real is now hers no more. And she is still angry, hurt, sad and confused about what it is that drove Adam out of the perfect Amish community, a life she simply loves and upholds.
Clara, though married and a mother of two, is in the middle of a crisis. Her husband, Peter, is out of work, and this creates a rift between the couple, as Clara struggles to manage her family on the bare little money that is left. She knows this won’t last forever, and tries to come up with ideas that can help her family, more specifically, her two little children, survive.
Emma, on the other hand, is faced with equal financial crisis. Earlier, after the death of her father, her grandmother and mother were managing the expenses by creating jams and jellies and selling them to passing tourists. Now, with the death of her mother, she is left alone to take care of her old grandmother, with hardly any possible means of an income.
This financial crisis drives Clara to devise a plan to use the family home as a business place, and further creates a rift between the sisters.
Things get more complicated when Emma’s old love, Adam, returns; not to mention the arrival of a mysterious stranger whose devious plans create further drifts and confusion.

As the story progresses, the reader gets more and more attached with the characters and their daily lives. The story is easy to follow, even for someone like me who is not at all aware of the Amish way of life (though now I can say I know some of it for sure). The book has a few Amish words put in, but not in a way that will make you wonder about the meaning or going back to the reference section. I loved the way the countryside was brought alive as I turned the pages, and a sense of calm and cozy life as you read about the many mornings and evenings spent in this quiet countryside. The language is easy and the story fast, I finished the book in one sitting – in a matter of a couple of hours.

I would definitely recommend this book for a quick, easy and feel-good read.

Please note that this was a complimentary review copy and NOT A PURCHASED ONE.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, October 24, 2011

First Page Mondays: Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page of the classic novel 'Women In Love' by D.H. Lawrence...

'Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen sat one morning in the window-bay of their father's house in Beldover, working and talking. Ursula was stitching a piece of brightly-coloured embroidery, and Gudrun was drawing upon a board which she held on her knee. They were mostly silent, talking as their thoughts strayed through their minds.

"Ursula," said Gudrun, "don't you really want to get married?"

Ursula laid her embroidery in her lap and looked up. Her face was calm and considerate.

"I don't know," she replied. "It depends on how you mean."

Gudrun was slightly taken aback. She watched her sister for some moments.

"Well," she said, ironically, "it usually means one thing! - But don't you think, anyhow, you'd be -" she darkened slightly - "in a better position than you are in now?"

A shadow came over Ursula's face.

"I might," she said. "But I'm not sure."

Again Gudrun paused, slightly irritated. She wanted to be quite definitive.

"You don't think one needs the experience of having been married?" she asked.

"Do you think it need be an experience?" replied Ursula.

"Bound to be, in some way or the other," said Gudrun, coolly. "Possibly undesirable, but bound to be an experience of some sort."

"Not really," said Ursula. "More likely to be the end of experience."

Gudrun sat very still, to attend to this.

"Of course," she said, "there's that to consider."

This brought the conversation to a close. Gudrun almost angrily, took up her rubber and began to rub out part of her drawing. Ursula stitched absorbedly.

"You wouldn't consider a good offer?" asked Gudrun.

"I think I've rejected several," said Ursula.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph

As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday initiative here at The Book Worm, here's a look at the page from the book 'Saraswati Park' by Anjali Joseph that I am reading right now.

* This is a complimentary review copy sent by Crossword as part of their Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2010 and is NOT A PURCHASED COPY.

'He crossed the road and walked between the stalls selling office clothing - consignments of white shirts, spread out helplessly on tables - past the bus stand and the side entrance of the station, to the tarpaulin and the gnarled, mythic-looking banyan tree where the letter writer sat, next to the pigeon shelter. It was all right; their tables were chained and padlocked in place, and one of the others would have left his things - sealing wax, muslin, packing needles, the directory of postal codes - at the shop nearby. He patted his shirt pocket, where his train pass was a reassuring flat surface; in his back pocket his wallet was undisturbed.

A group of pigeons flew out of the old tree and into the sky, their winds making the sound of wind on the sea; they criss-crossed each other and made for the west. He tucked the new book under his arm and returned to the station, where a Harbour Line train was pulling into platform two.


When he woke in the morning his wife was still asleep. In the half-light he saw the back of her neck, a few inches away. At the nape, fine hair curled; one shoulder rose under the sheet into a hillock that sheltered her face. The perfume of her neck, which had astounded him they'd been newly married, was unchanged: intense, overripe; lotuses mixed with ash.

He extricated himself gently from the cotton sheet, which seemed to have become needy during the night. He padded into the bathroom, switched on the water heater, and went to the kitchen. It was good, this moment of silence before the machinery of the day began. It had been different when the .........'

For readers living in India, you can grab your copy at discounted rates directly through Crossword. Click here to buy.

For those of you who wish to buy through Amazon, please click below:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Crossword Penguin Fest 21st Oct - 13th Nov 2011

All you book lovers....here's some amazing news you can't afford to miss. Its time for the Crossword Penguin Fest starting tomorrow. And the party spills over to next month as well.

Here are the details:

10:30am 21st October 2011 to 08:30pm 13th November 2011

At select Crossword stores across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Nagpur

About the Crossword Penguin Fest:

This festive season get savings like never before on your favourite books. Crossword Stores and India's largest publisher Penguin Books India come together to give you offerings like never before.

With upto 50% off on more than 4500 bestselling titles, Crossword promises to fill up your bookshelves faster than you could imagine !!!

The Offers:

The Half Price Deal:
50% off on more than 300 bestselling titles

Buy One Get One Free Offer:
The Buy One Get One Free offer is valid on more than 50 titles

Flat 20% Discount:
The side-splitting collection of Roald Dahl's favourites, Bestsellers from the collections of Ayn Rand, Shashi Tharoor, Shobha De (yucks!!), Orhan Pamuk (Im definitely gonna go for this one), Khushwant Singh, Amitav Ghosh (again, Im gonna go for this one), Kiran Desai (not sure), and Harry Potter series (definitely not interested in this one), & the Hilarious Wimpy Kid Series

Flat 30% off:
Flat 30% off on the entire DK reference series for adults and children, all Travel Rough Guides & Eyewitness travel guides. More than 350 titles to choose from

Buy 2 Get One Free:
Pick up 2 titles and get the third one absolutely free on the entire Puffin Series & The Ladybird Series including Cinderella, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Hound, Emma and others


City Stores
Mumbai Kemps Corner
Turner Road
Inorbit Malad
Oberoi Mall
Growel Kandivali
R Mall Thane
Nirmal Mulund
Powai Hiranandani
Vashi Inorbit Mall

Hyderabad Inorbit Cyberabad
Banjara Hills

Nagpur Civil Lines

Bengaluru Koramangala
JP Nagar
Garuda Mall
Indira Nagar
Bellandur Central
Coles Road
Sadashiva Nagar

Delhi Select Citywalk

Chennai Alwarpet

For any further queries you can write in to the Crossword staff at crosswordconnect@gmail.com

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Review: Hollywood Under The Covers by Brandie Knight

It was a chance comment on this blog that led me to Hollywood writer, producer, lyricist, publisher, entrepreneur and one-time publicist Brandie Knight. I saw Brandie Knight's comment on my blog on a post I did about author Jackie Collins, whose works I have thoroughly enjoyed. And it was then that Brandie Knight offered, so graciously, to send me a copy of her sexy book Hollywood Under The Covers for a complimentary read and review. She told me she wanted to see my reaction on reading the book, and I must say I had one too many of those.....For starters, the book is 'loosely based on real events' and Brandie herself admits that whatever she has mentioned in the book is pale in comparison to what she has seen happening in Hollywood for 'real.'

Before I tell you more about the book, here's a note, rather, a warning, from the author herself, to all those who wish to pick up her book:

Author’s Warning: Do NOT read this novel if you are easily offended, related to the author, or under 18-years-old. By keeping the material as close to the truth as possible, the adult content is explicit and may be offensive to some people.

Like I said, I have read a few Jackie Collins books earlier and had a bit of an idea of what I should be reading in Brandie Knight's book. But as I read through the first page, I must admit, this was one of those openings I have never ever come across any book that I have read till date. For a few minutes I was wondering if what I was reading was real, especially since Brandie and her publicists had mentioned specifically in their mails that whatever is there in the book is actually happening for real out there....So, I took another few minutes to sit and re-read the first few pages...especially the opening...and boy oh boy...if this is my reaction to a fiction novel, how would one react to it in real life???!!!!

One of the best and most captivating feature of the book is Brandie's ability to create a powerful visual impact. As you read through each scene, you can see it all playing in front of your eyes, just as if you were watching this on-screen...And I do believe and hope this book will surely be made into a movie (can't tell you how eager I will be to see it!!)

The main protagonist is Lacy Fox, a romance writer, who goes through a series of adventures and experiences in Hollywood while working on her projects. Lacy Fox is already a well-established name in Hollywood, and her fictional character, Tiger, is a hearth-throb and sex-symbol for the teenaged and the young and not-so-young alike. Not many are aware about the truth behind her hero Tiger, about the 'real' man on whom Tiger is based. This happens to be a top actor in Hollywood named Dario, whom Lacy had met earlier at a party one night in Hollywood. He was still a struggling actor then, and now Lacy is unable to come to terms with his stardom. Her fantasies, her longing and her constant sexual tensions in relation to Dario form a chain through the novel. We are introduced to other important characters, plots and sub-plots that are equally interesting and gripping. But I don't want to give away too much of the story here...I would rather you read it for yourself and be taken by surprise and shock !!!!

What I also loved about Brandie Knight's writing is the way she points out exact places and timings. It's as if everything is happening in real time right in front of your eyes (of course the event are loosely based on real events so Brandie does have an insider's knowledge of events and places).

The characters are many and varied, ranging from wannabes to superstars to producers, to agents, to managers, to writers, to family, to mistress, to so many interesting people who are scattered throughout the 356 pages in the book. But Brandie Knight does an amazing job of sequencing, of re-creating story after story while keeping the main plot intertwined in all her parallel stories and events. Not once do you get confused about who is who and what this person was doing in the last chapter and where did this character suddenly come up from? Every character has importance and is crucial to the story as a whole.

As I read the book, I understood why the author had given a warning with the book and why Brandie Knight and her managers were so vocal in their mails about the content being explicit. True, the graphic portrayals of the many sex-scenes can be a bit too much for some, but I never found it to be out of place or unreal. After all, these things do happen, and rather than brushing them under the carpet or choosing to play around with words when it comes to raw and powerful sex scenes, Brandie Knight manages to create an effect that is 'real' yet not vulgar or cheap. The drugs, the porn, the sleaze, the sex, the booze, its all part of the 'real' world, and that is where I believe Brandie Knight has done a great job of actually putting it on a platter and serving it to us the way it really is. So for any of you who feel the explicit sex talk can get too much, I would suggest you read the book with an open mind, with the knowledge that these things do happen around us, and that this IS the real world.

For a sneak peek inside one of the pages in the novel, click here:

For a look at the cover jacket, click here:

You can visit Brandie Knight here:

For any of you who has ever read a Jackie Collins novel and loved it, this is THE book for you to read. I loved reading Hollywood Under The Covers and THANK YOU Brandie and her entire PR team, especially Dustin, for giving me a chance to read this exciting novel.

Brandie Knight is currently working on her next novel, and I do hope I get a chance to read and review it.....Can't tell you how excited I am to read the next. If her first was as explosive as this, can't even wait and see what the next one has in store.....

You can easily order Hollywood Under The Covers through Amazon here:

And for our lovely readers in India, simply go to Flipkart through the link below and grab your copy at an awesome 23% discount!!! Click here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

On The Cover: Hollywood Under The Covers by Brandie Knight

Hollywood writer, producer, lyricist, publisher, entrepreneur and one-time publicist Brandie Knight gave me the chance to read and review a copy of her steamy novel 'Hollywood Under The Covers' and here is a look at what the cover jacket has to say.

'Hollywood Under The Covers is a rare look inside the seductive entertainment industry. To the outside world, Hollywood is portrayed with glamour, riches and fame, but to insiders, it's a cold, dark, scandalous place, where survival is not about basic instinct but the people you're sleeping with. The book exposes the erotic side of four Hollywood moneymakers, openly revealing how nothing is safe in the hands of greed.

Knight's first novel Hollywood Under The Covers is an intriguing world of sex, drugs, scandals and the downside of fame. Loosely based on actual events, this fictional story takes the reader on a fast paced, head-spinning journey into a world so strange it could only be based in truth.

"Hollywood Under The Covers throws the blanket off a warm bed and has you feel the cold truth of the city and lifestyle of the entertainment profession, Brandie Knight gives you a vivid, sensuous, but accurate accounts of the highlights and lowlifes of this American culture." - Al Canal, Legendary Comedy Promoter

"When reading Brandie Knight's book Hollywood Under The Covers, she brought me into the underbelly of Hollywood's celebrity elite and their own personal deals with the devil. A real sexy page turner, I held it up with one hand while the other didn't want it to end." - Warren Durso, Movie & TV Producer, The Vine Studio.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recently Read, Just Finished Reading And What I Am Reading Now

A handfull of good books again and here's a look at what I recently read, what I am reading now, and what I am looking forward to reading:

Recently Read:
The Day Of The Butterfly by Norah Lofts - Nice Read

You can order it on Amazon here:

Just Finished Reading:

My Heart Stopped Beating: True Story by Chamed- Okay Read (This was a complimentary review copy and not a purchased one)

You can order it on Amazon here:

Reading Now:

Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller - Nice Read (This is a complimentary review copy and not a purchased one.)

You can order it on Amazon here:

Also Reading Now:

Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar
- Amazing Read

You can order it on Amazon here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: American Suite by author Diana E. Sheets

Details about the book:
Author: Diana E. Sheets
ISBN: 978-1-934978-33-7
Publisher: Jorge Pinto Books
No. of pages: 269

This copy of the book American Suite by Diana E. Sheets is a complimentary review copy sent through Book Pleasures and the author personally. This is NOT A PURCHASED COPY.

American Suite by author Diana E. Sheets is a contemporary novel, written in the form of diary entries. The book takes its voice from the perspective of its three main female characters – Rosalyn Selby, Sophie (Rosalyn’s elder daughter) and Arisa (younger daughter). The women are all part of the affluent America from well-to-do families, and are strong, independent identities. Their personalities and views often clash with each other, giving us different views and perspectives to situations and emotions.

The central plot runs through the life of Arisa, the youngest daughter of Rosalyn. Arisa is the typical young, independent woman in her mid-thirties, out there chasing her career, and in the process, giving up her beau, her old career, and severing ties with her widowed mother and elder sister.

Compulsive and driven by passions, she soon falls in love within days of reaching her new destination, but finds out that her dream man is married and has kids. Heartbroken, Arisa tries to get back with her ex, but realizes it is over between them. Her emotional upheavals leave her shaken and she decides to take the help of therapy, but things don’t get any better. After a few more not-so-pleasant experiences, she falls in love all over again, this time with a Hollywood director and screenwriter. Their relationship is tumultuous and she soon finds out that he had been filming their relationship to use in his next movie, Legs Wide Open. Arisa steals his dog and decides to now take a break and goes to stay in a monastery for a short time. She finally returns home and decides to write a book based on her experiences. Yet again she falls in love, this time with an ex-con.

The other two characters have their share of events, but are not given as much space as Arisa and her life. Rosalyn is a widow who lives in the city and wishes she were a Jew. Sophie, her elder daughter, lives with her family and struggles to keep up the charade of a picture-perfect family, while her husband is out of a job, and while she experiences lust for her son’s tutor.

American Suite has been described as a ‘comedy’, but I found it to be darker than a comedy. The book can best be described as a take on romance and drama. Many critics have felt it’s quite close to life in real, but somehow, I did not identify with the characters much. Arisa’s now-this now-that man syndrome is a little too much to handle, and I found it quite odd that despite being made out a strong, independent and sensible young woman in the beginning, she only falls for the wrong men each time. I could not identify with Rosalyn’s obsession or desire to have been born a Jew. I can, however, identify with Sophie’s growing lust for her son’s tutor – it has more shades of ‘real’ in it.

The book is a light read that is full of comedy, drama, sex and content that will interest you enough to reach to the end.

Personal Verdict: Ok

* Debolina Raja Gupta is an international book reviewer with Book Pleasures.

To purchase your copy visit here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta