Thursday, March 31, 2011

Celebrating India's Win!!!!

So yesterday was the BIG match between India and Pakistan. We all know, it doesn't matter if it was not the finals, it was INDIA vs PAKISTAN!!! The build -up to the match was such that most of us feared for the life of the Indian team if they (God Forbid!) dared, yes DARED, to lose to Pak. Offices were closed for half day, roads and trains so deserted that it almost seemed as a curfew, but no one cared.

India Won! Thank God! and the Indian patriotism, always in abundance during India/Pak cricket matches, was in full demonstration. The roads were filled with the celebrating public, enthusiastically waving the Tricolor, bursting crackers and in general enjoying the triumph over the Pakis. Well, even though I am not a huge fan of cricket, the enthusiasm around me was such that even I couldn't keep away from the screen. So, I saw the match and participated in the madness, cheering and celebrating with all the rest.

Now, after spending a tiring day yesterday riding the emotional roller coaster, (we're gonna win... no we're NOT gonna win.... Damn! We will def win! ... No ways man, they are playing too good! Damn Ashish Nehra!! ... Nehra is the man!! WE WON!!!... Phew!!) I decided to take the celebration one step further and have ordered a load of books, something I have not done in quite some time now. :) :) :) So, I'm looking forward to receiving my new books and you guys can look forward to reading the reviews when I get around to writing them.

Here's to India winning the Finals!! YAYY!!! INDIA! INDIA!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Vision in White, (Bride Quartet #1)

Book Details:
Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1)

Author: Nora Roberts

Publisher: Berkley Trade (2009)

Book Summary: Wedding photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be's encounter that has them both seeing stars.
A stable, safe English teacher, Carter Maguire is definitely not Mac's type. But a casual fling might be just what she needs to take her mind off bridezillas. Of course, casual flings can turn into something more when you least expect it. And Mac will have to turn to her three best friends-and business partners-to see her way to her own happy ending.

My Review:

Hmmm... well where should I start?? Well let’s start with the good points. The novel has the signature Nora Roberts fluid writing style. The story flows effortlessly and you can almost imagine going to the Brown Mansion to book your own wedding. The characters are well defined and each have their own quirks, I’m sure I will grow to love all of them as I read on further in the series. It also combines two things definitely designed to snag the interest of women worldwide, Weddings and Romance! The book is about four women running a wedding planning business, each having their own niche, Mac with the photography, Emma with the flowers, Laurel with the baking and Parker with the management of the events. They seem to effortlessly work together without any glitches and magically get the events together. How I wish I had someone like that during my wedding which was utter chaos... well, that is a story for some other time.. Anyways, the book has the standard Nora Roberts good and decent guys, good friends, and strong family connections.

Now for the other side, the book was very very predictable and formulaic. The characters created by Nora from the last few (many actually) series are so similar to each other, it is becoming like an Ekta Kapoor soap! You enjoy it, but there is nothing new to recommend it. There is the predictable part where one character is commitment phobic, in most series, it usually alternates between the guy and the girl, with the series ending with both the hero and heroine not wanting to be in love but not being able to help themselves. The fact that four women go into business, best friends who just happen to have diverse careers but totally matching interests (the Dream trilogy, the Key trilogy, the Garden trilogy to some extent and many others) is oft repeated by her. It is unnatural how the women never seem to fight... Ms. Roberts, even the best of friends, siblings and lovers have frequent fights. That is what keeps the relationships fresh! Also, there is the predictable sob story of one character having a dysfunctional family, in this case Mac who has an irritating dependent mother for whom she acts as a convenient doormat. The chemistry between the two main characters was sadly lacking and I am not a great fan of Beta heroes, especially geeks, who Ms. Roberts seems to favour a lot. There was also a lot of unnecessary detail about photography and wedding planning, almost as if the author is enthusiastic to show us her homework. I knew from the first book itself who is going to be linked to whom in the rest of the series and what problems they are going to have!

All in all, it was a quick easy read, the kind you want to read between two intense books. I rate it 3/5 and am currently reading the second instalment of the series. Will post my review on it soon. I read this as a part of my 100+ Books in a Year Challenge and 1st in a Series Challenge, and E-Book Reading Challenge

Rating: 3/5

Friday, March 18, 2011

One Challange Down..

Challenges – 1st in a Series Challenge

Proud to say, i have finished this challenge!  Not got around to writing all the reviews, but here's the list of books..
1st In a Series Reading Challenge 2011: Level Series Lover: Read 6 books that are the first in any series 

3) Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
4) Vision in White - Bride Quartet #1 - Nora Roberts
5) The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever - Bevelstoke #1 - Julia Quinn
6) The Shop on Blossom Street - Blossom Street #1 - Debbie Macomber

6 / 6 (100.00%)

Going on a Holiday!!

Hey... after a very very very long time (almost a year!) I am off on a holiday.. will visit Malaysia and Singapore.. so no reviews for sometime..
Will write about the place, post lots of pics and write about my holiday reading when i'm back!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Jane Austen

The time has come for me to admit to a shameful secret... for a fan of historical romance novels, I have never read Jane Austen (gasp!).... I know I know it is absolutely shameful and the historical romance reader community will insist on returning my membership if there was any.. but I never did...

I have decided to remedy this awful oversight and start reading the goddess of romance...

on the side I have included a poll to help me pick the best novel to start with.. please do give your vote...

Proud Moment!

As I sit here on my darling little netbook writing this post, my dear elder sister, Purva, is taking her first baby steps in the blogging world and writing her first blog post! This is an extremely proud moment for me as I feel in some small way, I join a long list of friends who encouraged her to write her own blog.

I realise that it is not a great accomplishment to give our silly opinions to the world, but in a small way, it gives us bloggers an awesome sense of freedom to be able to express ourselves on (virtual) paper... even if no one is reading :) :)

So welcome Purva, and hope you continue to blog and have fun!!

Below is my list of people who I would like to see blogging sometime soon,

1) My husband K, he says he is not articulate enough, I say you are just lazy
2) A friend, Meenu, she is an amazing artist and her blog will be sooooo interesting to see
3) My friend Harsh, it will be a universal helpline blog where you can get help and advise on anything in the world as he gets amazing pleasure from helping others
4) Another friend, Pinank, it will be a dhamaal blog, but he may never do it :(

And many many others..

Now you must be thinking, 'she wants her entire circle of family and friends to join her in the blogging world (probably to generate some traffic on her blog :())'. Well, that's not the case, (maybe the part about traffic..), there are some people i would not want blogging like,

My very good friend Suku, if she starts a blog, it will soon turn into a full-fledged social networking site, forcing popular ones like facebook to go out of business in India! they will come after me!!!
Another friend, Vinesh, no idea what nonsense he will write :) and as one of my best friends, i will be forced to read it !!!!
My MOTHER!!, though i must say after seeing her master the Internet and facebook and YouTube, she is the one most likely to start blogging... if she does, I shall be named the chief problem solver and will have to translate the entire process for her in Gujju!!!!

Well, jokes apart, I take this opportunity to welcome Purva to blogging.. please do visit her blog

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

A friend of mine recently pointed out that I have been remiss about updating my blog. :( She’s correct... but I between office and home and various odds and ends, I barely get time to read, let alone review. But, that is not an excuse, so here I am with another review of a book I recently read, The Time Traveller’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. This book, first published in 2003, has been on the must-read shelf of many readers and is lauded as one of the better fictions of the decade. So, backed by great reviews, I decided to read it.

Let me state right away that I expected the book to be one of those awesome reads which keep you up at night (not had one of those in quite some time!). Boy was I disappointed! The book just went on and on and on... I read it for 3 ½ days... which for me is very long to read 546 pages... It was like a four hour movie which you have to watch when you just want to know how its gonna end. I kept looking at the counter on my Sony Reader waiting for it to end.  This is not to say that the book is absolutely boring, but, it was just longer and slower than I expected.

The story is about Henry DeTamble, who due to some genetic defect becomes a time-traveller. Now this is not time travel in his thoughts... but an actual wake up in a new place at a different decade type time traveller. He meets this girl Clare on one of his jaunts, she is six and he is 36 and they get married when she is 20 and he is 28 (this is actually a part of the book’s description... but it’s just so catchy!). Oh ya, by the way, he can’t take anything with him on his travels, not even clothes.

Well, while the first few chapters give you a feeling of reading this awesome new idea, 546 pages of the same thing get boring. The book is written in from Henry and Clare’s perspectives, describing the situations from their point of view. Surprisingly, their tone is exactly the same... you keep checking the heading to see who is describing the event! There is no difference in emotions and feeling between the two characters. Each story or situation begins with the date and the age of the characters during that time. This was very annoying to me as a reader as I can never remember things like what age is the character supposed to be right now! Plus, this story maps Henry and Clare’s entire life, which made it even more confusing. I spent the first few chapters going back and forth and trying to understand how Henry could be 8 and 28 at the same time!

Anyways, once I figured out the time travel part, the story became a drag. Major annoying points were, the overly detailed references to paper making, opera, punk rock, food and art followed by references to sex, sex and more sex... Now don’t get me wrong, anyone reading my blog knows I enjoy a well written steamy bedroom scene, but this was just not cool, or should I say hot! Towards the end of it, I kept imagining a middle aged man having sex with a woman with a very sagging body (she has had 6 miscarriages, what else will her body be???). This was extremely off putting! Also, the character, despite his tendency to disappear for days, missing important work events and running around naked between the stacks manages to keep his job at the Newberry Library throughout his life! How I wish I had bosses like that. Plus, if he has cheated and won the lottery already, why does he need to work as a librarian and keep getting caught in embarrassing situations?

Also, the author manages to squeeze in the regular clichés, Clare is the poor little rich girl who has a show piece of a house but a depressed mother and a rebellious sister, Henry has an alcoholic dad and a mom who died in a car crash in front of his eyes, Clare had the German Nanny and the Black cook who calls her Miz Abshire, Henry has a Korean landlady who plays Bingo and speaks broken English. There, they are equal... And, as a couple they have a Polish friend, who calls everyone comrade, chain smokes (even during sex) and talks about anarchy and rebellion and is in love with Clare.... Yawn....

To sum up my long review for this long book, the book is strictly O.K. I would rate it 2.5/5 mainly because of the good idea. The author could have made the idea into much much more. There is a film made on the same book, I’ll see if I can get my hands on a DVD and compare it to the book. Hope it is not as slow as the book.

This was read as part of my 100+ Books in a Year Challenge and E-Book Reading Challenge 

Rating: 2.5/5

Book Details:

Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Publisher: Vermilion (2004)

Book Summary: This extraordinary, magical novel is the story of Clare and Henry who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. His disappearances are spontaneous and his experiences are alternately harrowing and amusing. The Time Traveler's Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare's passionate love for each other with grace and humour. Their struggle to lead normal lives in the face of a force they can neither prevent nor control is intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.