Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

Title: Under This Unbroken Sky
Author: Shandi Mitchell
ISBN: 9780297856580
Weidenfeld & Nicolson/2009
Pages: 256

Book Blurb

Spring 1938. After nearly two years in prison for the crime of stealing his own grain, Ukrainian immigrant Teodor Mykolayenko is a free man. While he was gone, his wife, Maria; their five children; and his sister, Anna, struggled to survive on the harsh northern Canadian prairie, but now Teodor—a man who has overcome drought, starvation, and Stalin's purges—is determined to make a better life for them. As he tirelessly clears the untamed land, Teodor begins to heal himself and his children. But the family's hopes and newfound happiness are short-lived. Anna's rogue husband, the arrogant and scheming Stefan, unexpectedly returns, stirring up rancor and discord that will end in violence and tragedy.

My views:

Teodor Mykolayenko is a good man. He is a victim of circumstances. It is his brother in law, Stefan, who is solely responsible in destroying him. Teodor's wife wife is a woman of great inner strength and has kept her family intact by that only. Her determination on the face of adversity is admirable. Her eldest son, too is a source of strength for her. One man's greed can stop at nothing. Anna too knows that and yet is somehow compelled to stay with Stefan. Her relationship with the howling coyotes too is very disturbing, very vivid. The family can overcome nature, fire, other adversities but what can it do that comes within from home?

The descriptions of the Canadian prairie and of the rough, desolate farming conditions are as beautiful as they are striking. Each and every character is very well developed despite the complexities. Sophie, Ivan and the younger children are all so endearing. And we also love Anna. And her children. This is a book which is heart-breaking at times yet we are unable to put it down. More so because of the beautiful writing. It is so poetic at places. It also speaks of facing tribulations and/or giving in to it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Two pieces of pressed sheet-metal — no grips, even — and a slightly off-center cylinder. It looks like something that began life as a starter pistol at a track meet. For a second it makes me feel better about there being 350 million handguns in the United States. Then I see the bright brass ends of the bullets and am reminded how little it takes to kill someone.

I should throw it out. Bend the barrel and drop it down a storm drain.

Instead, I slip it into the back pocket of my scrub pants.

Title: Beat the Reaper
Author: Josh Bazell
ISBN: 9780316032223
Little, Brown and Company/2008
Pages: 320

From back cover:

Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at Manhattan's worst hospital, with a talent for medicine, a shift from hell, and a past he'd prefer to keep hidden. Whether it's a blocked circumflex artery or a plan to land a massive malpractice suit, he knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

My views:

It is about an intern who has a past, being a hitman and all that. After few years of that, he ends up sudying medicine, to heal people. He has tried his best to hide his past but it catches up with him. But our man is not one take anything lying down. He knows how to save himself from any kind of situation.

Despite being very graphic, it is hilarious, taking the story of crime, blood and gore to new heights. I liked the various nicknames of the mobsters and Peter's knowledge about most it about mobsters, medical sciences or/and Physics!. The various scientific explanations made it a very interesting read. Beat the Reaper is a good debut novel and throughly enjoyable with good, racy pace. The action simply takes us in. Peter has to fight how to Beat the Reaper....that is, keep death at bay!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mondays: Mailbox/Musings/Whereabouts

Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

I received the following three books, thanks to the authors.

1) Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes
2) Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace
3) Semper Cool by Barry Fixler


In the past two weeks:

I finished:

1) Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes
2) Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace
3) The Likeness by Tana French
4) The Memorist by M J Rose

5) Inside Out by Barry Eisler

I am in the midst ofle reading:

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

I posted reviews of:

Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein
The Sounds of Poetry by Robert Pinsky
Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas


What do you think of books that receive a lot of hype? Do you read them? Why, or why not?

In the beginning, I keep away from much hyped books. The publicity puts me off. However, I have read some hyped books after the hype has died down. The Da Vinci Code had a good beginning but the ending was a let down. I hated The Alchemist. And I have liked the first four Harry Potter books. I have not read the twilight series and don't plan to either. It depends. If I like the subject matter, I might end up picking up a much hyped book. Crime fiction is case in point. I have liked the Stieg Larsson books.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekly Geeks: I simply loved your work

Dear Tara,

As I myself write poetry, I am always in look out for good contemporary poetry books. I found out about your poetry book, Arc & Hue, in the web world. The various excerpts I read made me want that book. Here I reproduce few lines that made an impact on me. I hope more readers get to know about your poetry. Don't you think, we poets need to unite and help spread poetry?


Arc & Hue (Willow Books, 2009)
by Tara Betts
90 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9819208-7-0.

Just read this:

“Why I Collect The Hair”

Years ago, a college boyfriend left my bed
to go home. His mother honed in
on the brassy streaks
and pulled them off
with what white girl are you seeing?
So, I’m still plucking, gathering up
small tumbleweeds in my palm,
clues that deny brown
coiled inside me.

and this:

“The Birth, Then Roses”

How each red silky slip of slower body must have
brushed against my mother’s face. Heavy sugar
to claim the carriage and birth,
not enough to coat pricks to come.
How the fists and philandering were unexpected.
How much sweeter it felt to hear the name
of her first child, a daughter, pulling away,
out of her, pushing a path into chaos that begins
them both.
My mother needed more than petals.

Need I say more, why I need to to get hold of it?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Booking through Reviews

btt button

Do you read book reviews? Do you let them change your mind about reading/not reading a particular book?

I occasionally do read book reviews and it has at times helped me deciding to read a particular book or not.I do check out reviews in The Guardian or The Times. But I prefer the book blogger reviews. I seldom go for hyped books though. They almost always turn out to be disappointing. However, the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson is the exception. I loved the first two books and look forward to read the third one.

However, while writing a book review, I seldom ever read other reviews so as to not to be influenced by those.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas

Title: Tallgrass
Sandra Dallas
ISBN: 978-0312360191

Publisher: St. Martin's Press/2007

Pages: 320

Book Blurb:

During World War II, a family finds life turned upside-down when the government opens a Japanese internment camp in their small Colorado town. After a young girl is murdered, all eyes turn to the newcomers. Rennie has just turned thirteen, and until this time, life has been predictable and fair. But the winds of change are coming and with them, a shift in her perspective and a discovery of secrets that can destroy even the most sacred things.


My views:

Told in the voice of Rennie, Tallgrass takes us right into the middle of small Colorado town. When Japanese start arriving, people have mixed feelings. Most people don't want the Japanese there but they can't go against the Goverment. Anything goes wrong, the people at the camp are blamed. Only Rennie's family seems to sympathise with the Japanese. Her father hires a few Japanese men, to help with his beet farming and he too faces antagonism.

Rennie's sister has gone away and her brother has joined the army. o she turns to Japanese people for friendship. When things seem to have settled down a bit, a body of a young girl is found, all eyes turn to the internship camp. Rennie learns her lessons in the hard way. Nothing is what it seems, even her parents have kept some secrets from her.

Tallgrass coovers the dilemma in a young girl's mind, and the bigger picture of what is right or wrong. Did the government do the right thing by opening up internship camps for the Japanese people? I wasn't aware of this and this book made me look up more material on the subject.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace

'If I stood you in front of a man, pressed a gun into your palm and told you to squeeze the trigger, would you do it?'

'No, sir, no way!'

'What if I then told you we'd gone back in time and his name was Adolf Hitler? Would you do it then?'

Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace

Book Blurb:

Zimbabwe, 1980s

The war is over, independence has been won and Robert Mugabe has come to power offering hope, land and freedom to black Africans. It is the end of the Old Way and the start of a promising new era. For Robert Jacklin, it's all new: new continent, new country, new school. And very quickly he learns that for some of his classmates, the sound of guns is still loud, and their battles rage on ...white boys who want their old country back, not this new black African government. Boys like Ivan. Clever, cunning Ivan. For him, there is still one last battle to fight, and he's taking it right to the very top.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: The Sounds of Poetry by Robert Pinsky

Title: The Sounds of Poetry
Author: Robert Pinsky

ISBN-13: 9780374526176
Publisher: Farrar, Straux and Giroux/1998
Pages: 117

Robert Pinsky is an American poet, who teaches graduate writing programme at Boston University. Here in this book, he takes up poetry in the vocal form. He wants that we should know how to read out poetry loud, where should we pause and where to stop. He gives stress on diction, syntax, accent, verse poetry, metric poetry, free verse and blank verse.

He takes up numerous examples of poems by great poets, breaking the lines for us, teaching us the right intonations for each word, line and whole poem. He believes that poetry has to be vocal and should be peformed in order to comprehend it fully.

I am not saying that I understood it all at one go. This book is to be read very slowly, savoured in the way and should be followed the way he wants us to. He expects us to read aloud all kinds of poetry to understand those better. He says,"Poetry is a vocal, which is to say a bodily, art." This book can be read by those who are seriously into poetry and also those who are amateurs. To say, I liked it, is an understatement. This book is for keeps!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein

Title: Drawing in the Dust
Author: Zoe Klein
ISBN: 9781416599128
Publisher: Pocket Books/2009
Pages: 360

Page Brookstone, an American archeologist, has been living in Megiddo, Israel, digging it for the past 12 years, the same things everytime. She wants to find something new. She is somehow dissatisfied with her life. An Arab couple contacts her to dig under their house in Anatot, outside of Jerusalem, as they feel something/someone moving in their house. Theu can also see the ghosts. Page refuses at first, but something intrigues her, when she goes to their house on a whim. She decides to dig it, although her boss Norris is against it. Along with the Arab couple, their nephew Walid and a couple of young girls, Page digs and finds artifacts, murals, jewellery, which indicates that they have stumbled upon the grave of the Prophet Jeremiah, along with an woman, Anatiya, about whom no has known anything till date. . When they dig deeper, they find a coffin, which contains the couple in embrace, assumed to the prophet and Anatiya.

However, more important than the coffin are the scrolls, apparently written by Anatiya, documenting her life, her journey toward the prophet, their love for each other and final rest in each other's arms.

Some people don't want the scrolls to be revealed to the world but Page is determined that they come out and she does it with the help of her close friend and few others. While translating the work, Page feels a deep peace coming over her. She accepts her past secrets and is now ready to accept love, although there are obstacles.

Zoe Klein has created a fictitious character in Anatiya but she is very much real for the reader, and her thoughts in the form of poetry is eternal. Love transcends everything. Zoe has also tried to balance the various cultures, religions, in a very mature way. She is not judgemental and that is what is the most wonderful thing about the book. Reflective at places, meditative at times, the passages enhance the book. Anyone who has read and loved The Red Tent by Anita Diamant will love this book too. It is a keeper.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mondays: Mailbox/Musings/Whereabouts and then some more

First things first.

Decennial Census work had started for India, in April. For some reason, I didn't get roped in the first time around. This time it is a very elaborate one. After the initial work was done, it was found that a few areas have been left out. Hence, more people required to do the needful. Who do they rope in? More teachers! Hence, I am officially a part of it now. It is a back breaking work, where you have to visit each household and take down datas. This time there are 35 points and then some. I have got 140 households to visit, where there are 2-3 families per household.

And then one has to come home and fill the data in three different sheets. I go at 8 AM and get back at 4 PM. Then after a bit of rest, I do the homework. I barely even have time to manage my household work. Where do I get the time to read?

Life is such but work is work! Yet, I am in the midst of The Likeness by Tana French and wish to finish it soon.

Due to the above reason, I will be slack in posting on my blog and visiting too. As my work is of utmost important, blogging has to take a backseat. I have scheduled a few posts to come up, though. Please bear with me if I am not visiting you all. I will catch up as soon as I can.
The worst part is, that I will not be writing poetry either on my other blog, rooted.


Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

I received only one book, thanks to the author.

Hold Up The Sky by Patricia Sprinkle

Four independent women come to be under roof, due to different circumstances. Except for Mamie, no one else is too fond of each other, even though Billie and Margaret are sisters.

Mamie has a serious heart problem and knows that she has not much longer to live. Yet she has a large heart to help out others. Billie's husband has left her, and she has to take care of her cerebral palsy daughter, Michelle. Margaret seems to have everything going for her but suddenly she is left with nothing. Emerita is an illegal immigrant, trying to make a life for herself. All of them get connected to each other. Initially none of them is ready to share their secrets but slowly they realise that sharing can only make their life better.

Patricia has done well to get that point across. Women, all over the world know that bonding weith another female helps thm cope up with their problems. Independent to interdependence is the theme of the novel.
In the past week:

I finished:

Hold Up The Sky by Patricia Sprinkle
I am in the midst of reading:

The Likeness by Tana French

I posted reviews of:

Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten

The Rule Book by Rob Kitchin

Hold Up the Sky by Patricia Sprinkle


Who in your family (both immediate & extended) are readers, and who are not?

My dad was a great reader. It is he who inculcated reading in us. My mom reads althpugh a voracious reader. All three of my brothers are good readers though their reading tends mostly towards technical stuff and non-fiction. One of my nieces is as good a reader as I. Other nephews and nieces are trying to get into the habit.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Weekly Geeks: Reassessing my Blog

I am not participating in the bloggiesta. This time around I have no time due to some official work. I am barely even reading. So, how do I reassess my blog?

As for my layout is concerned, I like the uncluttered look. I do need to catch up with my reviews and I am doing just that. Out of 10+ pending reviews, now I have four, which is manageable. I keep stream lining my google reader. What else? Maybe more author interviews. And guest posts. I don't have much of either. I have also slacked in reading/reviewing poetry books.

I can't think of anything else, right now. Can you? I welcome all suggestions.

And do tell me about your blogging goals...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Find: Hold Up the Sky by Patricia Sprinkle

Title: Hold Up the Sky
Author: Patricia Sprinkle
ISBN: 9780451229144
Publisher: Penguin/New American Library/2010
Pages: 407

Four independent women come to be under roof, due to different circumstances. Except for Mamie, no one else is too fond of each other, even though Billie and Margaret are sisters.

Mamie has a serious heart problem and knows that she has not much longer to live. Yet she has a large heart to help out others. Billie's husband has left her, and she has to take care of her cerebral palsy daughter, Michelle. Margaret seems to have everything going for her but suddenly she is left with nothing. Emerita is an illegal immigrant, trying to make a life for herself. All of them get connected to each other. Initially none of them is ready to share their secrets but slowly they realise that sharing can only make their life better.

Patricia has done well to get that point across. Women, all over the world know that bonding weith another female helps thm cope up with their problems. Independent to interdependence is the theme of the novel.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Booking through signed copies

btt button

Do signed copies excite you? Tempt you? Delight you? Or does it not matter to you?

If I get a signed copy of a book, I do feel happy. It feels good that the author took time to sign it for me. But if I don't get one, I don't feel sad either. It doesn't really matter as long as as it a good book.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: The Rule Book by Rob Kitchin

Title: The Rule Book
Author: Rob Kitchin
ISBN: 978-1906710576
Publisher: Pen Press/2009
Pages: 350

“His eyes fixed on the sword and started to travel its length, down from the black handle, over the plain hilt and along the two-inch wide shaft to where it penetrated the young woman´s mouth. Beneath her head the pillow and sheet were stained a mix of red and black.”

The first paragraph itself jolts the reader and is enough to keep one hooked till the end.

A young woman has been murdered and the killer has left a chapter of The Rule book in her hand bag, which pertains to rules to follow for commiting a perfect murder. Exccept for her first name, no one seems to know much about the murdered woman.

Detective Superintendent Colm McEvoy is upto his nose to find out the killer. Before he can even think how the killer's mind works, each day a murdere takes place with subsequent chapters of the Rule book found at the crime seen. All the killings seem to be random and the police force has no leads to find him. The killer calls himself "the Raven" and meticulously goes on about his planning for the next killings.

Colm McEvoy has recently lot his wife and has a 12 year oold daughter to take care of and now this. All this takes a toll on him as he forgets to have proper meals and doesn't get adequate sleep either. His superiors are none to happy and bring in Charles Deegan, another detective, who can do anything to solve the case even if means nabbing the wrong person. Colm and Charles come into logger heads and Colm is almost taken off the case.

Meanwhile, "the Raven" is happy with all the coverage he gets in the media. He is so arrogant that he knows with his fool proof rules, no one can recognise him or nab him. Yet, he breaks his own rules. Will that help the detectives to catch him? And who he really is?

The Rule Book is graphic in the sense that all the murders are committed differently and there are lots of it as he kills one a day. However, solving the crime is foremost. Although the police forces seem to bicker amongst themselves yet all of them want the killer to be caught and murders to stop. The Raven is one of those ordinary common person and that is a horrifying aspect. He could be anyone.

Rob Kitchin has created a great character in the form of Colm McEvoy, who has all the human failings and that endears him to the reader. The Rule Book is pegged as noir crime fiction and I think that suits it fine.

I had seen this book in some book blogs and requested a copy from the author. He was kind enough to send me one. I am glad he did as it isn't available in India as yet.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten

"He lies motionless in a slurry of blackened blood, his white T-shirt and underwear spattered with crazy, crimson spurts. His legs and arms are curled in fetal position. "
~Page 108

Title: Saving Max
Author: Antoinette van Heugten
ISBN: 978-0778329633
Publisher: Mira Books/2010
Pages: 400

Lawyer Danielle Parkman is a single mother with high-functioning Autistic son. Max, a teenager is very intelligent but lately he has withdrawn into himself by taking drugs and having violent tendencies. As nothing seems to work for him, Danielle decides to take him to Maitland, a well known psychiatric facility. They do some tests on Max telling her that Max needs constant care as he is violent, which can harm himself and others. Danielle doesn't believe it at all and wants him out of the facility but somehow can't take him out.

When she tries to get him out all by herself, she finds him lying in blood, unconscious and a body of another teenager, near him. That boy has been bruttaly stabbed to death. Thinking the worst, she tries to run away with her son and is caught, taken for an accessory for a violent crime. She is arrested and and is prevented from seeing her son.

But Danielle knows that Max can't have killed that other boy even though the circumstances point out towards him. She has to get to the bottom of it and save her son, no matter what. When she does that, she finds irregularities in Maitland, where no one is ready to cooperate with her. Infact she finds that, Max is being given drugs for what he is not. The more she gets into it, more and more skeletons seem to tumble out. She has to know if her son is responsible for the crime and she is prepared to go to any length to find out the truth. If not Max, who is the killer? And why?

Saving Max deals with the dilemma of a mother with a special need child. Dealing with autitism, in a daily basis is not easy. Max is vey intelligent but he is volatile and he can't lead a normal life like others. Danielle is well aware of that and tries to make it as normal she can, for Max. This along with it being a crime fiction, pulled me right into it. I could feel her pain at all times. Max's too. When the truth does come out, it is too horrifying to contemplate....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mondays: Mailbox/Whereabouts

Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

I received only one book, thanks to the publicist:

Finding Marco by Kenneth Cancellara

Mark Gentile has an awakening in the middle of a meeting when realizes his ambition for success has eclipsed his ambition for happiness. During a prickly power struggle with associates, he is deeply disturbed by the sinking notion that he has been compromising his ethics for quite some time, and instantly he knows that he needs a radical change. Sun-drenched memories of adventures in his hometown of Acerenza, Italy, summon him to his birthplace for a period of reflection. With the blessing of his family, he resigns from his company and departs for Acerenza to reexamine his choices in life, as well as reconnect with what matters most: old basic customs, internal rewards, childhood memories. The lush descriptions of the Italian countryside, family traditions, cuisine and wine are much more savorous with the knowledge that the author was merely drawing upon his own experience.

In the past week:

I finished:

Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein
Deadly Exchange by Geoffrey M. Gluckman

I am in the midst of reading:

Too many books!

I posted reviews of:

Snowbound by Blake Crouch
The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin
In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon
Never Let You Go by Erin Healy
Deadly Exchange by Geoffrey M. Glucman


Where is your most often used (favorite) reading spot? Do you have more than one? What makes your favorite spot just that?

I can read anywhere, except in bed. My favourite spot is the corner of my couch. I snuggle into it and read away to glory! I don't know what makes it my favourite spot, but it is. Nothing distracts me from reading. Neither television nor music.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

TSS: Deadly Exchange by Geoffrey M. Gluckman

Title: Deadly Exchange
Author: Geoffrey M. Gluckman
ISBN-13: 9780595420469
Publisher: iUniverse/2007
Pages: 339

Jennifer Chance is a well known Motivational speaker, for Lectures and More, Inc. Unknown to her, this company is trying to push a device with such a radio frequency which can alter thinking pattern of the listeners. It is way to control minds. Ulrich Rogers, an ex-secret, is The Director pushing for it. His second in command, Jones has other plans. He wants a slice of the world and for that he is prepared to cross the line.

Something goes wrong with their plans and many deaths are reported but the govt is unable to find out the cause. Jennifer Chance has been feeling not up to her work. She thinks that it is all a lie that she is preaching. Her previous life feels like a big question mark. When she is learns about this radio frequency, she turns to Frank Revere, who too is an ex-secret agent. Frank had lost his girl-friend Sara, to an accident five years back. Although he is not keen to pursue another relationship, he and Jennifer have a strange pull for each other.

It gets murkier. Jones with his hudlums, goes on a killing spree, eliminating anyone who comes in their way. He wants the new device to be installed and work in all parts of the US. Frank, Jennifer, team up with some other ex-agents to stop it. But who should be trusted?

This novel has taken an unusual plot. It is like brainwashing the minds of the people via radio frequency devices. On the face, The Director wants it for world peace but Jones has other plans. The device is bigger than any terror activities with horrifying consequences. Killing ones own people to have control over the world is very cold blooded. There is danger, at every step. And everyone is at their wits end. I took a while to read this novel but once I started, I had to finish it.

It has the right suspense, mystery, and thriling elements to sustain interest. And also to make us think that do we really need motivational speakers to pep us up? What can another person do that our own mind can't? What is truth, anyway? Think about it.

Sunday Book Coveting/The Sunday Salon

It has been a long time I did a book coveting post. I thought why not do one for today's Sunday Salon post?

Book coveting is another way of adding on to our wish lists. I keep adding to my wish list from book bloggers recommendations. Yet, we need to look around. I am usually trying to find good contemporary poets. Not very easy to find. Crime fiction follows a close second. Here I go, coveting one of each:

New Collected Poems by Eavan Boland

If Yeats and Sylvia Plath had a love child, she would be Eavan Boland. Often hailed as a foremost contemporary Irish poet, she is a major world poet, as this rich collection of more than 40 years’ work attests. Like Yeats, in whose shadow all Irish poets mature, she employs a sonorous yet earthy English, often in traditional forms and heavy iambics, though more recently in free verse. Like Yeats, too, she writes of myth as well as her life, bonding ancient and modern, archetype and autobiography. Like Plath, from her earliest poems, she has made women’s lives her primary subject. Unlike Plath, she has a sturdy marriage—the subject of some of her most moving recent work. (In the eloquent “Against Love Poetry,” Boland describes a marriage that can’t be contained in tradition: “Love poetry cannot do justice to this . . . I did not find my womanhood in the servitude of custom” but in “the contradictions of a daily love.”) This book includes examples of Boland’s early, formalistic work and all of nine later volumes. Having the early, deeply Irish “War Horse” and “Famine Road” between the same covers with the resonant “Journey,” which visits the Hades of a woman’s life before modern medicine, makes this book invaluable.

The Lost Child by John Hart

Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he’d been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is---confident in a way that he can never fully explain.

Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene.

Then a second child goes missing . . .

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Weekly Geeks: Wish List

Is your wishlist as big as your TBR pile? What books are topping your list? Are there any new releases that you are counting down the days for?

Most of us have
wishlists. And those are several miles long. I also have some authors on my wish list. I feel that our book bloggers friends are solely responsible for adding to our wishlists.

Here I list only a handful of what I have in my wishlist, in no particular order:

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Out by Natsuo Kirino

The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh

Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

The Graveyard Book by Niel Gaiman

Mystic River by David Lehane

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

The Three Incestuous Sisters: An Illustrated Novel by Audrey Niffenegger

Hard Rain by Barry Eisler

Rain Fall by Barry Eisler

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Author wishlist:

Haruki Murakami

Margaret Atwood

Friday, June 4, 2010

Inviting guest posts/Book Blogger Hop

Every Friday, join the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer (Crazy-For-Books), and hop to some new blogs.

I will be going out of Delhi from 16th to 20th June, 2010 for a much needed break. I will not have computer access and I don't want it either.

I will be with my mom and my brother and his family. We always go together.

Although I can schedule book reviews ( I have a lot of backlog!) and other suff, I thought why not invite guest posts? Anything related to books, reading and culture or even the education system would be great. I welcome suggestions too, from all of my blogger friend.

If interested, please contact me at gautami.tripathy[at] Please do send me your guest posts before 14th June. So that I can schedule those for the five days I won't be here. And I can even post those on other days too.

Come on, what is stopping you? Write anything, everything...poetry too ( I will post those on my other blog, rooted).

Friday Find: Never Let You Go by Erin Healy

Title: Never Let You Go
Author: Erin Healy
ISBN: 9781595547507
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/2010
Pages: 352

Molly is all that Lexi has. She can do anything for her daughter. Her husband had left them seven years' ago, without a single word. Even when he was with them, he was a drug addict, involved in seedy stuff, along with some disreputable characters. One day Warden, a drug dealer, comes back into her life, asking her to pay off Grant's old debts. Lexi is not aware of anything like that. She doesn't have that kind of money. Then Grant too re-enters her life, and wishes to see their daughter.

Lexi can't take all this. There is something in her past that she is not proud of and doesn't wish it to come out. But with Grant and Warden back in her life, each wanting a slice of her, she knows, she is in trouble. She doesn't know what to do and whom to turn too. It is not all, she can also feel supernatural elements, playing a part, affecting her equilibrium. And she has to deal with that.

After a while it ceases to matter if her past comes out or not. Only thing important is to save her daughter and for that she has to believe herself and chose the lesser of the two evils, between Grant and Warden.

Never Let You Go is a very well written book. The supernatural part doesn't seem out of place. Lexi doesn't fear anyone for herself but she fears for her daughter. That is a normal part being a parent. The prose is very good and the story line is very engrossing. I have not read anything else by Erin Healy, but I will.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon and author interview

Title: In Harm's Way
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell/2010

Pages: 326

When Rachel Sutton comes in contact with a Raggedy Ann doll, she has an unexplained feeling of terror. When it happens more than once, she thinks there is something, which needs to be found out. She goes to the FBI office, fully well-knowing no one is going to believe her story. Nick Bradley, a special agent of the FBI, is skeptical as expected.

But somehow the Raggedy Ann doll is connected with a kidnapped child, even though no one can understand how. Rebecca and her husband colin have given up hope of finding their child. The Raggedy Doll in a way helps the strange connection between Rachel and Rebecca, and also leads to the kidnapper. But by this time, Rachel's life is in danger, and Nick has to save her and also find the abducted toddler.

The horror of having a child kidnapped is well brought out. Rachel's seemingly unrelated to the child can feel a force/pull which leads to the kidnapper. We also winess a romance between Nick and Rachel and a bonding between Rachel and Rebecca. As a child was involved, I couldn't put down the book until I finished it. It indeed is a fast paced novel and is a winner with the reader.

Thanks to the Author for the book. And now check out her interview which follows the review:

> 1)When and why did you begin writing?

I can’t remember ever not being a writer. I really believe people are born writers. It’s a gift, just like any other talent. I did toy with the idea of becoming a psychologist, but in the end, writing won out. However, my psychology degree is a great background for writing about relationships—a key ingredient in romantic fiction!

> 2) When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine at the age of 10. I’ve always considered that my “professional” debut!

> 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

I’ve always loved to read. And I especially enjoyed romances, because I like books that have happy endings. So one day I decided to try my hand at writing one. That first effort was so bad I buried it in the darkest corner of my closest, where it will forever remain! But I learned a lot from that experience and kept writing until I sold my first book.

> 4) What was the hardest part of writing your book?

In Harm’s Way—and the other two books in the Heroes of Quantico series—all presented me with incredible research challenges, since they were my suspense debut. (All of my previous books were contemporary romances.) I have no connections of any kind to the military, the FBI or law enforcement in any form. So tackling these novels was more than a little intimidating. In the course of writing them, I read books, scoured the Net and consulted police officers, FBI agents, physicians, academics and a host of experts in their fields. I also enrolled in our local Citizen Police Academy, which included a heart-pounding ride-along with a patrol officer. By the time I finish a book like In Harm’s Way, I often have more than 100 single-spaced pages of research notes and reference citations.

> 5) What do you see as the influences on your writing, outside, inside, whatever?

I’ve learned a lot by simply reading excellent authors and analyzing how they use language. And I attend at least one writing conference a year, where I go to as many workshops as I can. Two things I’ve discovered: you never stop learning and you can always improve. I also had a high school literature teacher who was a tremendous influence on me. In fact, my next book will be dedicated to her!

> 6) Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I enjoy many authors, so it’s difficult to single out one. But the author whose work inspired me to try my hand at suspense was Dee Henderson—in particular her fabulous book, The Guardian.

> 7) Can you share a little of your current work with us and how do you envisage it in future?

I’m currently working on the first book in my Guardians of Justice series. The book is called Fatal Judgment and will be out in January. It’s about a U.S. Deputy Marshal and the federal judge he’s assigned to protect when her life is threatened.

> 8) What book(s) are you reading now?

For a month I was busy judging entries in Romance Writers of America’s RITA competition (the “Oscar” of romantic fiction). Now I’m trying to catch up with my writing and finalize the new design for my website, which I hope will launch in June.

> 9) Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I haven’t discovered any new authors recently. I’m too busy writing!

> 10) Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers?

Here in the United States, my book are shelved in the Christian fiction section of bookstores. However, the faith content is subtle and reflected more in characters’ actions than in words.. As a result, any reader who likes fiction WITHOUT explicit love scenes, gratuitous violence or profanity would enjoy my books. Also, I’m pleased to announce that In Harm’s Way has just hit a major bestseller list for the second month in a row here in the United States!

Irene Hannon Bio

RITA-award winner Irene Hannon is the author of more than 30 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico suspense series. A four-time RITA finalist (Book 2 in her Quantico series, An Eye For An Eye, is a current finalist), she has also been honored with two Reviewers’ Choice award from RT BOOKreviews magazine and a HOLT medallion. For more information, check out her website,

Booking through long and short of it

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Which do you prefer? Short stories? Or full-length novels?

I can read either, depending on my mood. When I have time constraints, I go for short stories. I even read stories online. I have discovered many short writers this way.

I love full length novels too. Because they truly give us feel of characters, places, and plots. Nowadays, I prefer to read books between 350 to 450 pages. Tomes have scared me lately. However, I do read a tome now and then.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin

Title: The Queen of Palmyra
Author: Minrose Gwin
ISBN: 978-0061840326
Publisher: Harper Perennial/2010
Pages: 416

Based in summer of 1963, in Milkwood, it depicts those times in the eyes of 11 year old Florence Forrest. Her father is a racist and mother is the cake lady, who is trying to get away from her brutal marriage by drinking and bootlegging. Florence finds a friend in the form of her grandparents maid, Zenie, which is a soetrt form of Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra. Zenie can simply considers Florence as unwanted chore but Florence look forward to being with her every day.

Florence's father has a dark secret, which even when revealed to the young girl, is not comprehended by her. She doesn't understand class or colur differences and her father is totally racist. He is abusive too for her and her mother. ONly her grandparents seem to be somewhat tolerant towards coloured people.

Everything seems to be peaceful until the day Eva Greene, Zenie's niece appears in time. Along with college, she too is selling insurance like Florence's father. In a race divided community, it is unthinkable and tragedy strikes.

Florence's relationship with Zenie and Eva is well brought out. Zenie barely tolerates her but Eva cares for the girl. Both bond well. Florence's mother gets drunk to forget her abusive husband. She in her own way even tries to protect the black community.

Florence tries to understand all that is happening around her and her struggles are well depicted. She is naive in the beginning but circumstances do make her grow up and all the other characterisation have been done very well.

It did remind me of To Kill a Mockingbird. And that is saying something about the novel. With good prose, Minrose Gwin has written a winner.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Snowbound by Blake Crouch

"Her wrists and ankles were comfortably but securely bound with nylon restraints. Her mouth wasn't gagged."
~Page 9

Author: Blake Crouch
ISBN: 9780312425739
Publisher: Minotaur Books/2010
Pages: 309

Snowbound is a disturbing book. It touches certain issues which most of us want to avoid. Rather we wish not to know about those although these things are very much happening, all over the world with the nexus of the mafia and powers that are.

Snowbound does has its drawbacks. Yet it is compelling, a page turner. One has to know what is going to happen next. With totally cold blooded evil characters, the situation does get sticky but we are engrossed.

Will Innis' wife Rachel vanishes one night and he and his 11 year old daughter, Devlin, are left with only each other. The police suspect that Will has a hand in her disappearance and want him to confess the crime. Will knows that once he is arrested for the suspicion, he would be lost to hi daughter. Devlin has a terminating illness and needs his care for always. So Will and his daughter, live their home and settle down in Colorado, assuming different identities.

After five years, a woman Kalyn, finds them. She claims to be a FBI agent and tells Will that Rachel is not the only female, who has vanished. There are others, including her sister, Lucy. Kalyn asks for his help to search for those disappeared women. Will is in two minds. Whether to go around searching for his wife or stay and look after his daughter. He, along with Kalyn and Devlin, embarks on a journey to know the truth. They go right into the wilds of Alaska, to a snowbound lodge in the midst of nowhere. Here they find that they are plunged into something they have not fathomed. How can they deal with it? Would Will be able to accept what has become of his wife? And what about all the other women?

As I said before, the novel has its drawbacks. The way Devlin, goes around killing people, somehow did not gel with me. She, who hadn't handled a gun before this, does it easily enough. My doubts about Kalyn too came true. She is not what she claims to be. Yet, I couldn't put down the novel until I finished it. I also liked the way the bonding between Will and Devlin is brought out in the novel.

This novel deals with human trafficking, something which is happening all over the world. The people involved with are totally evil. And we need to made aware of such issues. To prevent it. To be able to stop it.

This book is to be released on June 22, 2010. Thanks to the author for my copy.