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Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

— feeling amazing
Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier

This is my third book by Daphne du Maurier and yet again it was a delightful read!
When Mary Yellan after her mother's death comes to stay with her aunt Patience at Jamaica Inn, she is shocked see her ‘once cheerful’ aunt now terrified & lifeless but Mary is curious and determined to find out the truth about her aunt’s behaviour and about the strange place where no visiter comes to stay.
I loved Mary’s character she seemed very real to me she was simple, innocent yet strong-willed at the same time. She knew what she wanted from her life and what she would get. Although the story was predictable at times but it really never bothered me because of the writing.
Daphne’s writing brings the whole dark, spooky place alive. You could feel the chillness in her description and imagine the darkness of Jamaica Inn and that feeling was great! Another thing that i loved about this book is the ending it was clearcut with no loose ends. Looking forward to read more books by her.

Strangers to Ourselves by Shashi Deshpande

Strangers to Ourselves - Shashi Deshpande

The moment I saw the review of Shashi Despande’s latest book 'Strangers to ourselves’ in ‘Times of India’ i had to buy it immediately. There has never been any promotions whenever her books are released but thank god I could get hold of it sooner.

The story is about Aparna an oncologist and Shree Hari an upcoming singer and their complicated relationship. But thats not it there is a lot more in this story than just that. There is Jyothi a cancer patient whom Aparna is treating. And how Aparna gets personally involved with Jyothi and her whole family which she never intend to do. Also the whole story moves forward and backward mostly revolving around Aparna. How her parent’s perfect marriage broke in the later years, what went wrong with her own marriage which ended in divorce and how in turn it affected Aparna and Hari’s present relationship leaving Aparna fearful of any commitments. There are lots of past digging in the story which reveals secrets and so much more which makes the whole book intriguing.
Basically, this book explores more about human emotions, agitations, the logical and illogical part of human mind. As the titles says, yes we are 'strangers to ourselves' at one point of time. Our personalities changes without our knowledge, there is one personality which relates to our past and the other which is our present, come to think of it both are totally different yet same in a way. Aparna and Hari were too going through this confusion and chaos.

Like Despande’s other protagonist, Aparna too was a complex character but some how i could not relate to her as i did with the others. That was bit disappointing for me. Although, i must say it was nice to meet so many interesting, bold and talented characters in one book. I really cherished the time spent reading this one. Somehow 322 pages weren’t enough for me and i wanted it go on and on something which is impossible!

About Shashi Deshpande’s writing i have already praised her so much in my earlier reviews (http://my-book-journal.blogspot.in/search/label/Shashi%20Deshpande

that i have nothing more to say except she is my inspiration in many ways.

An interesting quote from this book…

“ A Writer is like a bird building a nest. You pick up facts, ideas, stories, all kinds of things- and then knit all these together with your imagination.”

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

— feeling crazy
Maybe This Time - Jennifer Crusie

I've always enjoyed Jennifer Crusie books she is one of my favorite authors and I prefer reading her books while on a holiday because it makes sense. As her books are funny and enjoyable this one was too, initially. I started it on the first day of my vacation but it took me almost 30 days from there on to finish it. Yeah after reading this one now I know why some of my friends get irritated with her characters because this time i did too Andie first and foremost and all the other characters except North.. oh yeah this also includes the so called 'living ghosts' created a hell inside my brain and i wanted to get rid of them all ASAP which I finally did, thank god! That doesn't mean i'll not go back to Cruise! :)

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck

Usually before starting any book I make sure to read the blurb or at least few reviews. But for ‘The Good Earth’ i didn’t even try to read either, which actually turned out to be a plus point for me because if i had read i wouldn’t have picked it up for sure. I picked it on a friend’s recommendation, i wanted to read a good book with good writing and she promised me it was one of those and she was absolutely right. Now I am glad for having read this.

This is a simple book on a simple man, but what makes it special is the way the story has been told, which instantly connects and binds the readers to the story and all the characters.
The story is about a poor farmer Wang Lung who marries a slave from the big house, O-lan. Wang’s love for his land was pure. All he ever wished was to work on it, earn money, buy more land and stay happy. But life was not as simple as he thought it would be. He had his share of difficulties which he over came with the help of his wife. As time passed with his efforts he became rich his family grew, he had more mouths to feed including his father’s brother’s family.
But as he grew richer the problems in his life became bigger and more complicated. When he was poor he was satisfied with food and shelter but his richness bought him unnecessary wants in his life and a different kind of problems which only people with money could have.
Personally i loved Wang’s character until he became rich, not that i hated him afterwards but i did not like the way he treated his obedient wife as nothing more than a servant in his life. Suddenly he started ignoring her, married someone much prettier than her, without even knowing how she felt. But finally when he realised her value in his life it was too late.
Also, this book brings out the generation gap between Wang and his sons, wherein the good earth (his land) plays a prominent role. While he respected his land never even thought of selling it even when he was poor but whereas his sons never bother about it at all because they were well educated and their mind worked differently. They also thought about selling the land even though they had enough money, forgetting all the richness that they enjoyed throughout their life came from this good earth. Likewise, there are few situations in this book which makes one think about what money can do to a human being if it is in abundance and not spent meaningfully.

On the whole i loved this book. The beauty of this book more than in story or characters lies in the way it has been conveyed by author Pearl S Buck.

Waiting For The Mahatma by R.K. Narayan

Waiting for the Mahatma - R.K. Narayan

I make it a point to start my year by reading a book by an Indian author and i couldn’t have asked for a better book than ‘Waiting For The Mahatma’ by R.K. Narayan. I have always enjoyed his satiric writing.

Set in the same place ‘Malgudi’, this book revolves around Sriram a young aimless boy, who is smitten by a girl named Bharthi and goes after her blindly leaving his granny and finds out that she is one of the volunteer who works for Mahatma. Sriram joins the group in a jest to impress Bharthi and his meaningless life takes a different turn from then on.

But even after finishing the book i am not sure whether Sriram really did find his aim in life or, what all he did and went through was it just because he had no other choice? Because he was such a fickle minded and complicated character that it was difficult to say what and how he would think in a particular situation. Sometimes he would act wisely and I would almost believe that finally there is some maturity reflecting in this character but the next moment he is the same old foolish guy, who would say or think something stupid. Having said that i really enjoyed reading this book and simultaneously got frustrated with Sriram and found myself helpless in some situation. I think that explains the beauty of R.K.Narayan’s writing. His sense of humour and his keen observation which he brings out in his simple writing is always a delight to read.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion - Jane Austen

It's very hard to write a review on your favourite novel because you are so much in love with that book that nothing seems wrong, to me this is one such book. Meaning - this review is all about praises for Persuasion.

I have no idea why I had given this book a four star rating earlier, which was actually a terrible mistake on my part and now has been rectified on second reading . May be this time I could understand the situation, the characters the whole plot even more clearly than earlier which made me swoon over this book even more.

Anne was young when she fell in love with Frederick. At that age one cannot be sure of ones true feeling as to, is it a mere infatuation? or something serious? Anne’s this confusion was influenced by her friend Lady Russell who ridiculed her decision of engaging herself with a man who was nothing compared to Anne and persuaded her to break the engagement. But little did Anne knew she would meet Frederick (now Captain Wentworth) again after so many years, to know she still has the same feeling towards him as she had 8 years ago. Is the love between these two protagonist mutual or just one sided is the biggest question for the readers. Even after knowing the ending, at times there were some sort of awkwardness, nervousness which questioned me while reading whether they are going end up together or not. Well, that says how beautifully the characters and the situations are weaved by Austen.

I loved Anne’s character. To the whole world she seemed weak, influential, feeble, at one point of time she was. But, not anymore and she keeps this transformation in her character as a secret from the whole world. She lets everyone think she is still the same Anne. She never blames anyone for what happened in the past neither Lady Russell nor herself because she knew as a girl she wasn’t matured enough to take decisions or to understand what was right for her and what was’ nt. Finally its Captain Frederick Wentworth who discovers the real Anne and breaks his silence..

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.”

Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

Salvation of a Saint - Keigo Higashino, Alexander O. Smith

I get the pattern of Keigo Higashino novels. First we come to know the crime and then the next moment we get to know the criminal but what we won’t know is the reason behind it and these kinds of mysteries is what i love to read. Where rather than concentrating on who is the criminal, the plot is more about why and how it was done.

Ayane and Yoshitaka a married couple, don't have children even after trying. But Yoshitaka is so adamant about having his own child that he doesn’t mind divorcing his current wife and remarrying. Meanwhile, he is also having a secret affair with one of Ayane student Hiromi. And when Yoshitaka is poisoned to death on a mysterious circumstances (by the way, i certainly didn’t feel pity for him) it made me curious to know why and how it was done. Then enters Detective Kusanagi, his intelligent assistant Utsumi and Professor Manabu Yukawa and solves the mystery for us.

But still there were some things which put me off. Firstly, Kusanagi’s soft corner for the suspect (Ayane), may be he just pretended to be interested in her am not sure of it but that part was unnecessary it somewhere made him look like a fool. Secondly, there was lots of ‘beating around the bush’. The crime was there, the criminal was there too and they knew how it was done but still it took really long time for them to conclude, even though there were 3 intelligent people involved that made the whole reasoning a bit silly and the criminal more intelligent. Having said that i still enjoyed this book and will look forward to read books by this author.

After You by Jojo Moyes

After You - Jojo Moyes

I very rarely give one star rating for a book, but this book deserved nothing more. I might have given it a 2 star if it wasn’t a sequel of Me Before You which is one of my favourites.

The problem with this book was that everything in here seemed unnatural and forced, the story, the events and all the characters. The whole story appeared as a forceful effort to build a sequel to the previous book which eventually lost the essence of the first book and made me think why I loved Me Before You. (Guess its time to re-read the book!)

And about the characters the less said the better they were just crazy and pathetic, except for Sam who was the only sane person there. Even Lou!! There was such a nice growth in her character in the previous but here she was back to square one. It made me wonder throughout the book, is this that Lou Clark, whom i loved in Me Before You? (Again, I guess its time to re-read the book!)

Anyway the only reason i completed this book was because it was written by Jojo Moyes, who is one of my favourite authors and I didn’t wanted leave her book incomplete. But i strongly felt she shouldn’t have attempted to write a sequel for a book which already had a perfect ending.
And people who loved Me Before You please don’t read the sequel because you are going to regret it big time, like me.

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

The Forty Rules of Love - Elif Shafak
Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak was not one of those books which i would have picked up myself if not for the book club read, but now i am glad to have read this. I thought the title gave up everything about the book but i was wrong, in my opinion I would say it was not Forty rules of love but Forty rules of LIFE! 
 
I loved the way how those two parallel stories - Ella’s journey of self discovery and the story of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz was interweaved. Although at times the pace was becoming slow, these parallel stories kept the whole book interesting. 
 
Ella, a homemaker, at the age of forty is fed up of her current monotonous lifestyle. She is not only disturbed by her husbands infidelity but also is unable to cope up with her children, at this time she takes up a job as a reader for a literary agent and starts reading 'Sweet Blasphemy', a novel about Rumi and Shams of Tabriz and the forty rules of love written by Aziz Zahara. As she reads, she gets herself involved with the book and also gets enchanted by the author’s writing and ideology, this curiosity leads her to know more about Aziz so she starts communicating with him and that turns her life upside down. On the whole I couldn’t connect with Ella’s character as i could’t agree with decision she took in he end. That was a bit disappointing for me.
About the other story of Rumi and Shams that was both fascinating and tragic, those Forty rules of love by Shams were just wonderful to read, but very tough to execute, of course. 
 
Below are the two rules worth mentioning that i loved. 
 
Rule 37.“God is a meticulous dock maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.”
 

 

Rule 39.“While the part change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every descent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.”

Sons of Fortune by Jeffrey Archer

Sons Of Fortune - Jeffrey Archer

This book was an absolute entertainer from start to end! As soon as i finished this book i had rated it 5 stars but now i have changed it to 4.

 

I usually tend to read two books at a time especially if one of the books is more than 500 pages reason being somewhere in the mid i may get bored of the pace or the characters or may be i just need a break from that book but i was totally wrong when i started this one. From the moment i started till the end it didn’t even cross my mind to start another book until i finished the whole thing.

 

When i was first getting into the story of Nat and Fetcher a dizygotic twins who were separated at birth because of some unusual circumstances , mentally i had came up with my own story of how it would start and how these two would meet and end up killing each other, but i was wrong, the whole story was totally different from what i had imagined. There wasn’t any dramatic twist as i thought there would be so thats another point why i liked this book and of course the way the whole story was told by Archer without messing it up anywhere was GREAT! And now i know why he is called master story teller. Another thing which caught my attention was the ending, it was so confusing  that I had to read three or four times to know what actually happened.

 

Having said that i had just two problems with this book firstly at some parts the story was moving so fast that it was becoming difficult to catch up with characters and their circumstances another thing which didn’t sit well was Luke’s death i didn’t know why under such weak grounds he had to kill himself, that seems a bit forced, other than that I loved this book.

Dark Holds No Terrors by Shashi Deshpande

Dark Holds No Terrors: A Novel - Shashi Deshpande

The reason why I love all Shashi Deshpande’s books is because I can relate to her writing so well. Her protagonists though traditional yet are rational and practical. They have a feminist undertone which some what makes the character very real and relatable to me though dwelling upon the past like all her protagonist do is not one of them. 

'Dark Holds No Terror' revolves around Sarita, a doctor by profession, an independent women, at least thats what she tries to portray but underneath, there is an emptiness in her which she is unable to fill. Is it not being a good daughter to her parents? or not being a good wife to her husband or failing as mother to children is one of the reason? She is unable to figure out. There is always something she is guilty of no mater what she does but she is not able to grow out of it. Perhaps to search that ’something’, one day Sarita leaves her husband, children, her profession and goes back to her maternal home. Wherein she is haunted by her mother's death as well as by her fathers silence. She dwells upon the past, how in her childhood days her mother used to accuse her of her brother’s death even though she was just a child then and how now she is unable to cope up with her husband and children with that past baggage. Yet, somehow she feels safe here at her maternal home, alone, at peace, out of all the daily chaos, with no one to interrupt her thoughts so that she could come to conclusion. Is Sarita’s journey to find herself is fruitful in the end? May be!

This was terrifingly dark and haunting novel. Though the narration used to jump from third person to first still it was not odd, i could go with the flow easily. May be i am accustomed to Deshpande’s writing!

Revival by Stephen King

Revival - Stephen King

This is my second book by Stephen King after Joyland and i will say i liked it better. 

The story was slow, depressing but was gripping enough for me to reach till the end otherwise this genre is not something i would finish this fast. But what i really loved most about Revival is the writing and character development of both Jamie Morton and Charles Jacob, also the way they kept crossing each others path throughout the book and SOMETHING HAPPENED each time, that part was something fascinating to me rather than scary or spooky. 

Probably the thing is that i don’t get myself involved while reading a horror book may be deliberately i don’t know, thats why it has never made THAT impact on me which it should.

Malice by Keigo Higashino

Malice - Keigo Higashino

Keigo Higashino’s approach towards crime thriller is totally different. The first book i read by him was 'Devotion of Suspect X’ i remember enjoying that book but not as much as i enjoyed Malice. I am totally in awe with this one. The story, the way it was presented to us readers and the characterisation everything was just incredible.

At first the story seemed very simple and to the point,
Firstly,we witness the crime,
Secondly, we get to know who has committed it and
Thirdly, the person who committed the crime also accepts that he is guilty of doing it.
This whole thing happens in just about 80 pages. So i kept thinking what left? Thats when Detective Kaga starts his research for the the reason behind this crime and whatever reason the guilty was providing was it genuine or just an illusion? And thats how the story moves on in search of the actual reason. Here we not only get to the bottom of the crime but also it makes us wonder about how criminal mind works and how it is rooted which is scarier than the crime itself come to think of it.
Although I don’t read many crime thrillers but if at all i want to read one and enjoy at the same time then it should be like Malice.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Just Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!!!
Okay, to start with i really didn’t have any high exception from this book since it had so many mixed reviews but as I had already read all most everything by Rainbow Rowell and was familiar with her writing i just wanted to give it a try. To my utter surprise it turned out be one of my favourite books of all time!! Also, this book is kinda special to me.

The story is simple and straight, yet extraordinary, at least thats how i felt. What made it extraordinary in Rainbow Rowell’s writing of course! She just knows how to get under the skin of a character and clearly explain what's going inside their head and why. Which actually connected me to both the main protagonist Eleanor and Park immediately.

This was just another teenage love story no doubt, but a brilliantly handled one i must say. There is no love at first sight, no instant physical attraction, no rich-poor drama. What starts between these two is just a simple understanding which goes deeper eventually and how does it go that deep is what the story is all about. Lets just sum up saying if you get the right partner at the right time of your life, then your life will be beautiful and thats what happened here with Eleanor and Park they met each other at the right time and then everything was just fine.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder - R.J. Palacio

I had almost given up on reviewing this book since its very difficult for me to jot down thousands of emotions i underwent while i read this book. But its been more than a week since i finished this one yet neither am I able to start a new book nor am i able to forget this wonderful book. Seems like Auggie is not ready to leave me and i don’t want to let him go either. So i thought its better to try and capture my experience i shared with this book in a few words than not trying at all.

Well, to begin with I was very hesitant to start this book since i find it very difficult to read books about kids being humiliated, treated badly or made fun of, those kinds always breaks my heart as predicted this one did too, I've literally sobbed to no ends! But I am SO glad for having come across this book and for having read this too coz i got to meet 'The wonder boy August'. He brought so many vivid emotions in me which at times surprised me as well! He made me laugh, made me cry, also taught me how to let go and how to see life from a different angle altogether.
Being a wonder boy (yes i better call him that than anything else) he always knew he would get humiliated by the way he looked or may be scared too but what i loved is the way how he handled these situations bravely whenever he came across, not that he never broke down he did but then he was brave enough to forget about it and move on.

August says…"It’s okay, I know I’m weird-looking, take a look, I don’t bite. Hey, the truth is, if a wookie started going to school all of a sudden, I’d be curious, I’d probably stare a bit! And if I was walking with Jack or Summer, I’d probably whisper to them: Hey, there’s the wookie. And if the wookie caught me saying that, he’d know I wasn’t trying to be mean. I was just pointing out the fact that he’s a wookie."

That was the maturity level of a 10 year old Wonder Boy!! Of course the credit should go to his Wonderful parents and sister who were always supportive. Not to forget Daisy his dog who never cared how he looked like, just showered him the purest form of love. This shows that it is very important to show how supportive you are to your loved ones no matter how bad their situation is. Also .‘its not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than necessary’ Yes, got it Auggie. :)

It is books like these that teaches us to step into other person’s body, mind and soul just to see how it feels like to be on the other side life. All i can say is that there is SO much one can learn from Auggie that one read is definitely not enough!

Ectopy by Scylla William

Ectopy - Scylla William

Ectopy is a story about Dr. Zara Pendergast a cardiologist. Basically she is a workaholic who gives more importance to her professional life than personal. When she was appointed as the acting chief of medicine in a hospital she was working, she eagerly accepts the offer hardly knowing what was in for her.

Although Zara seems strong outwardly i found her a bit immature and impulsive in making decision for herself especially in the case of Greg. It was good to know in the end she finally realised who and what is good for her.

In this story author has tried to portray 'what is more important in life love or career?'. As a reader I felt the writing a bit too descriptive and much in detail than necessary which made this book a bit boring every now and then. But on the whole it was a good one from a first time author. This was my first experiment with medical fiction so it was new thing for me.

*Thanks for providing me a fee copy in exchange of an honest review.