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Book Reviews by Mohur

Discussion in 'Book Lovers' started by Mohur, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit and Other Stories by P.G. Wodehouse

    This title includes 13 stories in all. Some feature the more famous P.G.Wodehouse characters like Jeeves and Wooster, Mr.Mulliner and Ukridge and some are different stories brought together in this collection. As the title suggests, the stories have a common theme – well mostly so, and is perfect for Christmas mood setting (even though I read it in the month of February).


    My favourite amongst the 13 stories is ‘One touch of nature’. The story tells us about one doting father who shifts from one continent to another when his daughter gets married. He loves baseball, and meets two strangers who are just as taken with the sport. He invites them to dinner and what follows is just pure and undiluted funny. I also loved ‘The story of William’ featuring Mr.Mulliner where he launches into telling a story about an American he met at the pub. Besides these two, ‘Indian Summer of an Uncle’ also kept me entertained.


    Well those are the three of my top favourites in the book. Needless to say, the rest of them are pretty enjoyable too and comes with the quality that P.G.Wodehouse commands. I am always left short of words when I read a Wodehouse book as time and again he delivers something that almost takes you to an alternate reality from where one never wishes to return. His narration and comic timing is just perfect as always. Though after reading so many Wodehouse books, I have to say that one or two of the stories did feel a bit predictable, but that did not, in any way, take away from the reading experience.


    Also, I prefer paperback over everything. But this once I was glad to have received the Hard Cover which simply exquisitely designed.
     
  2. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy #1) by Sally Green

    In the world of Half Bad, there are two factions of witches living quietly amongst the humans – Black Witches and White Witches. Born to a white witch mother, Nathan has a black witch for a father making him a Half Code. His mother committed suicide after he was born and he and his Half-brother/sisters were brought up by his grandmother. But the closer Nathan gets to his seventeenth birthday, the rules become stricter and more stricter. Nathan ends up living in a cage, chained and shackled, under his new guardian as appointed by the council. But he hopes to meet his father and receive his three gifts before his seventeenth birthday, even if it means leaving his family and the girl he loves behind.


    I love the world that Sally Green has built for this series. It is magical and yet quite simple. The two factions are not supposed to meet. There are ‘Hunters’ amongst white witches, who hunt and kill the black witches. Amongst everything, Nathan is an abomination – half white and half black. But no one seems to give him the benefit of the doubt and automatically assume that he would end up a black witch like his father. Then there is the matter of a prophecy… Yeah, I will not say no more about it, other than the fact that it is what makes the plot interesting, in the fear of giving away spoilers.


    I liked the world building and the character development in the book. The author never fully gives away everything about a person, keeping the curiosity alive. The language and the narration style of the author is simple and engaging. There is something about the story telling style that attracted me to the book. It felt a bit different and fun. There are so many questions that I have at the end of the book that I will be sure to pick up the next instalment.


    There are two things that I did not like as much. First, the relationship between Nathan and his half-brother Arran felt less brotherly and more like that of lovers. It just did not feel normal there. Also, once I put down the book and looked back, I can’t say that much happened in the book. For its size, the plot barely moved. But the book did not feel like a drag at any point while I was reading it!


    Overall, an interesting start to a new series and a good introduction to the world of Half Bad.
     
  3. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

    I have been hearing about Stacey Jay and her books for quite some time on the blogosphere. As a result, I was quite happy when my request to read this book got approved on Netgalley. I immediately delved into the book with quite a bit of expectation.


    We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty and her happily ever after. But what if she did not really have a happily ever after? Instead an Ogre queen took over her kingdom and imprisoned her along with her children? Well, Princess of Thorns is the story of Aurora, and how her mother sacrificed herself along with her gifts, for her and her brother’s sake…


    Aurora and Jor had barely managed to escape the dungeons, leaving behind the bleeding – lifeless body of their mother. Aurora plans to take back her kingdom, but Jor is captured by the queen. Aurora disguises herself as a boy and sets off on a mission to save her brother, and hopefully her kingdom at the same time. That is when she meets Niklaas, a prince with his own curse and together they fight battles and form a bond. But will Aurora succeed in her mission? Will Niklaas? Well, you have to read the book to find out.

    The first thing that caught my attention in this book is its narration. It felt a bit awkward at the beginning, but it slowly grew on me. The next is the world building. The author has taken a very commonly known story and has given a whole new spin on it. As such it takes a reader to adjust to this new world and come to accept it as something on its own. The characters were built up slowly. Aurora’s character is something that I knew I would like right off the bat and I did. Niklaas on the other hand came off as a jerk in the beginning and I hated to think of Aurora and Niklaas together at that point. But Niklaas grows through the novel and I realized he could be good. I could probably do with a faster pace, but then I enjoyed the relationship blossoming slowly between Aurora and Niklaas.


    The author builds up a whole new fantasy world for her readers in this book and it never really lets you go – even after the last page.
     
  4. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Flawless (Hostile Beauty #1) by Jan Moran

    Verena Valent is a strong modern woman who takes her responsibilities seriously. When her parents die in an accident, she is left to take care of not only her grandmother and younger sisters, but also the family business of skincare products. She gives up her own dreams to step up to the responsibilities left to her. But then the recession hits the market, and she finds out that her fiancé may not be in her life for her love but for her business. Slowly everything starts to crumble around her… She has only her family and friends for support. Will she be able to salvage the business and find a chance at true love?


    Welcome to the world of fashion, style, entrepreneurship, love, betrayal, friendship and family. This is not just a simple romance novel but a full on drama that has a bit of every imaginable flavour. From Beverly Hills to Streets of Paris, this novel takes you on a journey of cut throat business to finding love at unexpected places. I loved the way the author has described every setting, every situation with so much details and care that the story practically comes to live infront of the reader’s eyes. The language used is simple and comfortable and the narration has a smooth flow to it.


    I loved the character of Verena. She is strong, dependable, practical and fun. I also absolutely adored Verena’s grandmother. She is a lady with some character. Even Verena’s friends added a lot to the story. It was nice to read a novel where the ladies got the attention and got to play the top roles. In the patriarchal world that we live in, and with the crimes against women going up every day, it was really motivating to read about these women who live their lives on their terms and can take on any man at so many levels. And well, there is Lance, the chef. Who wouldn’t love a hottie who can cook? Then theirs is this pragmatic and caring side to him that adds to his charms. He is anybody’s ideal man.


    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the stories of the other women in the gang.
     
  5. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Cult of Chaos (Anantya Tantrist Mystery) by Shweta Taneja

    I had attended the Book launch for Cult of Chaos at Atta Galatta, Bangalore. By then I had already attended a couple of book launch and I thought I knew what to expect. Instead, Shweta Taneja took me by surprise with her “Occult-Detective Quiz” at the launch party instead of the usual speeches and Q&A session. It was quite fun even though I failed miserably at the quiz and also did not win any of the book hampers! The launch kind of set the stage for the book, which I delved into with great expectations.


    Welcome to a somewhat dystopian world where Tantriks live alongside normal people and have their own little world within this world. They have their own set of rules enforced by the council and their own law enforcement system. There are the White, Red and Black tantriks, whose magic and rituals differ from each other. Then there is our protagonist, Anantya Tantrist… who lives her life away from the clan but with her own set of rules and moral codes. But not everything is fine. There is something brewing among the tantriks and Anantya is under threat. With supernatural creatures running amok and war brewing, Anantya struggles to control the situation.


    Oh my! This book is a result of an amazingly creative and imaginative mind at work. The blurb of the book and my dismal summarization of it do no justice to the world of Anantya Tantrist. You have to read it to experience it.


    First of all, the world building is fantastic. A reader can recognize Delhi for what it is in the story and at the same time the place is something different on the whole. I loved the setting and the buildup as the author slowly unfolded this world of tantrist living among normal people. Then there is the character of our protagonist Anantya. She is unconventional and just something else. I absolutely loved her for her charms and brazenness and cheered for her throughout. I hope there will be more in the series, because I haven’t had enough of her yet and I want more. The author then goes on to infuse her simple yet comfortable language with a magnetic story-telling capacity that makes this book a totally gripping.


    I read this book in one sitting and friggin’ loved it. Go ahead and get yourself a copy…. NOW!
     
  6. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas

    Let me get this straight at the very beginning that I can get a bit fanatical about a series and characters when I LOVE them. So much so that if I ever met J.K Rowling, I would probably bombard her with a million questions down to what shampoo did young Sirius Black used… Yeah, that fanatic! Besides Harry Potter Series, Throne of Glass Series is the only one that has managed to capture my heart that bad. So, needless to say, when I started reading Throne of Glass, I wanted to know more about Celaena, how she ended up in the salt mines of Endovier in the first place and more about her relationship with Sam. It was only when I read the five novellas included in ‘The Assassin’s Blade’ that some of my questions were answered.


    In The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, the first novella, Celaena and Sam go against their orders to free the slaves they were supposed to claim and try and get away with it all.


    The Assassin and the Healer is the second novella in the series. It tells us the story of Celaena and Yelena and what happened when these two very different yet similar girls met.


    The Assassin and the Desert takes Celaena into the Red Desert as a punishment for going against Arobynn’s orders. It turns out to be a boon in disguise.


    The Assassin and the Underworld tells us the story of Celaena’s last mission for Arobynn Hamel that takes the stakes to whole new level.


    The Assassin and the Underworld, the last novella in the series, tells us the story of Celaena and Sam trying to survive after they have bought their freedom from Arobynn.


    All these novellas have one thing in common – they tell us more about Celaena before the Throne of Glass series started. They show us different sides of Celaena – one who can empathize, who loves music and theatre and appreciates the finer things in life. It also gives us a look into the kind of training that Celaena received and her overall upbringing since the death of her parents. They also introduced a few new characters to us and I really loved ‘The Master’ of the assassins of the Red Desert. I hope we will see more of him.


    Action packed, these are tales of a valiant girl – her fears, her losses, her love and her survival.
     
  7. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Solaris Seethes (Solaris Saga Book 1) by Janet McNulty

    Solaris Seethes is the story of revenge of Rynah along with an uncommon companion, Solaris.


    When Rynah finds out that her fiancé was only getting close to her to be able to steal a precious gem with enormous power, it is too late for her to do anything but flee. Her grandfather was a man with some ideas of the future and he had built a spaceship with a personality called Solaris. Solaris turned out to be the only available option for Rynah to flee. She then goes on to plot her revenge and recruits four unlikely companions in order to save her planet and its people.


    It was quite a shock when I realized that the name in the title belonged not to a person or a legacy, but to a spaceship! But yes, it was fun getting to know Solaris and I feel that Solaris is our protagonist. Rynah is also a character one can empathize with. Betrayed and with her heart broken, she quickly gets back on her feet. Though her initial attention was focused on revenge, she soon realizes the larger picture and works toward it. The other companions each bring their own qualities into the fray and while each id different from the other, they make a good team.


    The plot is something that I have not read about before and was quite refreshing to me. The author laid out the base of the plot pretty quickly and without wasting much time. Also, the author has used simple language to tell her story. So it was easy to get into the story. However, I do feel that a faster pace would have been better and the narration stalled at times. Interesting premise and loveable characters keep the readers’ interest, but the narration could do with some work on it.
     
  8. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    HiFi in Bollywood by Rishi Vohra

    After reading (and liking) Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai by Rishi Vohra, I was looking forward to reading his next. Needless to say, I picked this one up with certain expectations.


    HiFi in Bollywood is the story of Rayhan Arora, who has always dreamt of making it big in the tinsel town of India and makes his own space in the film industry. But like most Indian parents, his father has different plans for him. As a result, Rayhan is sent off to take on the financial world in US and a probable marriage to Vanita, a medical intern there. But Rayhan, with the help of his savings and his friends, moves down to Mumbai, unbeknownst to his father. There he struggles to land on his feet while encountering a myriad of characters including Violet. Will he survive the struggle or will he give in?


    The best part of the book is Rayhan. His character is lively, real and loveable. I also liked the way his father influenced his story. It is so true that even today most parents try to live their aspirations through their children instead of giving them the choice of choosing their own path. It is probably the story of one in every two Indians. I also liked the way author has described the various settings, situations and locations. It made the story come alive in front of my eyes. The many characters brought in different flavours to the story. I loved how different each one was and how each of them had a different roles to play in Rayhan’s journey.


    The plot though is very predictable including the big twist in the story. Also, apart from the protagonist, the other characters felt falling a bit short. They should have been developed a bit more. Also, the book dragged a bit in the end. Despite the few drawbacks this book makes for an entertaining read due to the humour infused in the story. There were moments that made me laugh out loud and moments that made me think. The author has done a good job of balancing out the fun and the seriousness in the novel. It did not get too heavy at any point and neither the humour felt forced.


    Overall, this book is worth one time light read.
     
  9. Mohur

    Mohur Gold IL'ite

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    Candy from a Stranger by Daryl Buckner

    When an eight year old boy, Lucas, is kidnapped and the police make no progress in the case, the child’s father takes on the case on his own. He becomes kind of obsessed about finding his child. In the process, he alienates his wife, loses his job and takes to drinking. At one point he feels like he is not making any progress either. People think that he has gone crazy and his nightmares don’t help much. But then another child goes missing and Ben gets to the crime scene to try and discern whether the kidnappings are related or not. With the police deriding him, he thinks he has found a pattern and races against time to connect the dots… But will they lead him anywhere? Will the police be of help or a hindrance to him? Does he have any chance of finding his son alive?


    The book is totally and completely gripping right from the beginning. The character of Ben is such that the reader never really gets a complete read on him till the very end. At one point the reader empathizes with him because losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a parent. But then his attitude and actions cause the reader to sympathize with him thinking that the loss may have been too much for him to handle and that he is going mad. Then there is a point where one wonders whether he might have been actually responsible in some way for his son’s kidnapping and suspicion falls on him. With so many angles going on at the same time, it was really hard to get a complete read on Ben and that was what kept me going. I just had to find out!


    I also liked the twists that came along the way of the plot. The author’s narration style is a bit different and it took me some time to get used to it. But once I got into the groove, I totally enjoyed it. The descriptions and the settings are a bonus.


    A complete thriller!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2015

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