Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ravi Subramanian - God is a Gamer

God is a GamerGod is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this book as a review copy from Vivek Tejuja, though the book is signed by Ravi Subramanian himself. I must confess that Indian writers disappoint me more often than not. Hence I approached the book with trepidation.

It started well. The book was well written. The language was clear and simple. There was no attempt to be 'witty' or 'smart'. This was a relief. Many a good book has been ruined for me because the writer tried to be funny in every sentence. Big Mistake! Not everyone can pull off a P G Wodehouse style.

The story is about three friends, Aditya, Sundeep and Swami. They started their career together at NYIB (New York International Bank). Swami is still with the bank, hoping for the top slot. Sundeep and Aditya have a financial services firm, having left the bank long back.

They find themselves embroiled in a financial scandal of international proportions. There are murders, heists and intrigues that are way over their heads. In fact, the facts are not known completely to anyone.

The story criss-crosses between USA, India and some other countries. There is a cast of characters that include the USA President, Finance Minister of India, FBI, CBI and our 3 friends and their families.

The story goes at a good pace. You are kept turning pages. The explanations are clear and the financial intrigues are understandable to lay readers (for instance, Me!)

Too much information was stuffed into the last chapter. But it did make the story fall into place.

Here is a very very decent thriller by a writer from our own country. We are familiar with many American authors doling out such books. There was a time when I read many of these. But that was when Arthur Hailey and such like ruled the roost. I am not sure who the current hottie is - Lee Child? James Patterson? Some time back I read the "Millennium trilogy" by Steig Larsson. This book falls in the same category.

Bravo! Ravi Subramanian. Keep writing and may you meet great success.

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Anna Elliott - Pemberley to Waterloo - The Pride and Prejudice chronicles

Pemberley to Waterloo (Pride & Prejudice Chronicles, #2)Pemberley to Waterloo by Anna Elliott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Anna Elliott's Georgiana Darcy's diary. It was among the first books I downloaded on kindle. It was a fun look into the world of Jane Austen.

We look further into the lives of the other characters of Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy are happy together. Elizabeth is expecting her first child, Jane Bingley has a daughter and is happy in her home.

Caroline is still haughty and aloof, but visits Pemberley from time to time. Georgiana is engaged to Col. Edward Fitzwilliam. They are happy to be together and are looking forward to getting married. But then, Napolean happens. Edward gets called away to serve as the aide-de-camp of the Duke of Wellington.

There is a lot of action and romance in the book. Georgiana takes on the role of Emma at times, playing matchmaker. At times she turns into Florence Nightingale. At times she is just a worried girl pining and worrying for her Fiance.

This book is even more fast paced and action packed than the earlier Georgiana Darchy's diary. The only thing that rankled was how she converts the previously perceived as 'bad' characters into 'good' ones. Spare us the sugar Anna! Give us some spice. We like mean girls.

I found it fun to take a peek again into the world of the beloved characters of Pride and Prejudice and see what's up with them. Next up is Kitty Bennett's diary, where she tries to find a match for Mary. Fun!

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Charlaine Harris - Dead Until Dark - Sookie Stackhouse

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had long wanted to read a Sookie Stackhouse book. A fellow blogger, Priya, was a great fan of Vampire fiction. She would often come out with lovely reviews of several series of Vamp Fiction, and I would go 'meh'. (In a nice way - I loved Priya's reviews but could not warm up (irony?) to Vamp fiction.)

Priya had recommended Sookie Stackhouse to me as a good way to get initiated into Vamp Fiction. I spent years searching for the book on various library shelves. Now that I have a kindle, it was breeze to download the book.

I was not able to read much through September. But yet, I managed to finish the book.

It is possibly a good introduction into the world of VF. Sookie is an engaging character. She is rich, but chooses to live in a small town of Bon Temps in Northern Louisiana and works in a bar as a cocktail waitress. She is pretty, but finds it hard to date. She is put off because she can hear the thoughts of all around her. And listening constantly to her date thinking about her does not appeal to her.

This is a world where Vampires roam freely among Humans, trying to 'mainstream', blend in. They drink synthetic blood or feed on consenting Humans. Not killing them, but just take a sip or two of their blood. And the reverse is possible too, drinking Vampire blood can make Humans strong. There are Humans who do not tolerate Vampires and vice versa.

Against this backdrop, a lot of cocktail waitresses are getting murdered. The Vampire that Sookie is sweet on, Bill, is suspected of the killings, as all the waitresses were involved with Vampires. Jason, Sookie's brother was also involved with all the dead girls. Jason is a bit of a philanderer, but not a killer, or is he? Sookie finds she has to act to discover who is behind the killings.

The book is good for a quick read. It is very well written. The story is fast paced. But of course, you have to be curious about Vampire fiction to do it. If you are crazy about it, chances are you have already read these books.

I am pretty sure the rest of the books in the series are equally good. I suppose I shall be reading them from time to time.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ava Dellaira - Love Letters to the Dead

Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I could not resist marking this book for reading when I read the name of the author. Ava Dellaira. We share the same first name.

As the title shows, the book is written as a series of letters to dead people who the narrator, Laurel, idolizes. Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix, Judy Garland, E.E. Cummings, John Keats, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earheart, Janis Joplin, Allan Ginsberg, Jim Morrison, Elizabeth Bishop.

All these people died young and faced troubles in their life. Yet, they created everlasting art and things of beauty.

Laurel has faced a lot of tragedy over the past few years. Her parents separated. May, her beautiful older sister died. May was in High School and full of promise and beauty. Soon after this, her mother left to go to California.

Feeling abandoned, Laurel keeps her secrets pent up inside her and tries to live. She changes her school and avoids all people from her previous life. But her past keeps looming up ahead and prevents her from any future happiness.

Laurel's English teacher sets them an assignment to write a letter to a dead person. Finding unexpected relief in this, Laurel starts writing letters to dead people and tells her story through them.

The book is very beautiful and emotional. In the end Laurel finds it is not just her, but also people around her - her Father, Mother, Aunt Amy, boyfriend Sky, friends Hannah, Natasha, Tristan and Kristen - who are looking for answers to their problems.

Together they join hands and help each other to make their life more bearable and try to find answers.

The book is pretty heavy and depressing at times. It is not easy to read a book where such young people are so unhappy.

The writing is simply very beautiful. I would recommend the book just for that.

The book is full of references to good art, music, poems, films.

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N.E. Brown S.L. Jenkins - Galveston, 1900, Indignities, The Affirmation

Galveston, 1900, Indignities, The Affirmation (Book #4)Galveston, 1900, Indignities, The Affirmation by N.E. Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the final book in the Galveston series by N.E. Brown and S.L. Jenkins.

The authors are a mother-daughter duo who have crafted these books together. The mother, Brown, did all the research and the daughter, Jenkins, did the writing. Together they have turned out four highly readable books.

The books are not merely frothy romances. Catherine Merit has to face a lot of dark happenings in her life. She was abducted by David Brooks, a thorough criminal who killed Catherine's mother.  She had lived a terrible life with him, being raped and beaten repeatedly.

Starting from her first Thanksgiving in Galveston, U.S.A., Catherine faces a series of setbacks that prevent her from having a happy life.

In the last book, Catherine is recovering from an attempt to rape her. She killed the man Joe Brady, who was trying to have his way with her. The local main man, Micheal Atwood has a thing for her and Catherine finds it hard to cope with his forced attentions.

Catherine finds love slipping away from her once more and seems resigned to spending the rest of life alone. But there is a handsome new stranger in her life. But will he stay with her once her finds out about her past?

This novel is as gripping and free flowing as the rest in the series. My only grouse was that the story moved away from Galveston. The lovely seashore city does feature in this book, but not as prominently as I had hoped.

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N.E. Brown, S.L. Jenkins - Galveston: 1900: Indignities, Atonement

Galveston, 1900,Indignities, The Atonement, Book ThreeGalveston, 1900,Indignities, The Atonement, Book Three by N.E. Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The adventures of Catherine Merit continue in the third book in the series. Catherine is heartbroken over the death of her first husband, and is equally devastated when her second husband, Alex Cooper is shot in the head and loses his memory.

Their marriage is annulled but not before Catherine finds herself with child again. She has 3 children, all from different fathers. And she is barely 21.

She cannot sit and mope over the nasty hand fate has dealt her. She starts working at the hospital and meets the handsome doctor Samuel. Is Samuel the right person for her or is she doomed to spending time alone?

Some ghosts from her past life chase her out of Galveston. She finds herself in Rosenberg, Texas. She sets up a private practice there and tries to rebuild her life in a country house with her children.

The novel is as gripping as the first too. The story moves at a fast pace. I was so into the story, that I bought the kindle edition of the books practically back to back.

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