Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review: What Happens in London (Bevelstoke#2)

Book Details:

Author: Julia Quinn
Publisher:Hachette Group

Book Description: Rumors and Gossip . . . The lifeblood of London

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiance, she doesn't believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits . . . and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself...

Book Review: It looks like my week to read light and fluffy romances. All tempted by the Royal Wedding tamasha, I was craving to read a historical romace, preferable one with a Prince :). So, I decided to read the second in the Bevelstoke Series. I had liked The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever and was waiting to read Olivia's story. I'm happy to say, Julia Quinn doesn't dissapoint. The story is absolutely delightful. The hero, Harry Valentine!! Olivia is a sassy miss, who also happens to be a great beauty.

I loved the potraying of Harry as a reluctant spy and the irony of Olivia spying on a spy! I also liked the fact that none of the characters were commitment phobic and scared of falling in love. Both of them readily declare their feelings for each other. I loved the character of Sebastian Grey and his love for the awful Ms. Butterworth book.. Also, I got my wish to read about a Price through Alexi, the Russian Price, who was awful in a very funny way.

All in all it is a great read and I can't wait to read the last installment of the series. I rate the book 4/5 for awesome dialogues and LOL moments. I would reccommend it to everyone. I read it as part of the 2011 E-Books Reading Challenge, 100+ Books a Year Challenge, the Historical Romance Challenge and Historical Fiction Challenge

Rating: 4/5

Review: It Had To Be You (Chicago Stars #1)

Book Details:

Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillps
Publisher: Avon

Book Details: The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville -- the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Celebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Celebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises -- a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.

So why is he drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach's good ol' boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied....and ready to fight?

The sexy, heartwarming, and hilarious "prequel" to Susan Elizabeth Phillip's This Heart of Mine -- her sensational bestsellng blockbuster -- It Had To Be You is an enchanting story of two stubborn people who believe in playing for keeps.

My Review: This book came like a breath of fresh air at a time when I was getting bored with most of my TBR and nothing was looking very interesting. I have always liked SEP and her books are generally light fluffy romances. The first few pages were not that great and I got dissapointed thinking this was another one which I was going to put down half way, but then, the story started getting to me.

Dan is absolutely delicious and so is Pheobe. The story is nothing new, a misunderstood heroine who is actually a nerd under her bimbo appearance and a contemproray alpha male into sports. But the characters were amazing and well written, I even liked all the jocks. SEP went to the trouble of giving each and every character, no matter how small a distinct personality which helps you to relate to them. There was a usual scene where the Alpha male is in stress when his lady love's life is thereatened, but i loved the fact that SEP lets Pheobe rescue herself (go girl!).

I rate this book a 4/5 cause of its LOL moments and great characters. I would reccommend it to everyone for times when you want something light and sweet to read. I read it as a part of my  2011 E-Books Reading Challenge, 100+ Books a Year Challenge and 1st in a Series Challenge 

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: I'm Not Twenty-Four, I've Been Nineteen For Four Years

Book Details:

Author: Sachin Garg
Publisher: Srishti Publishers

Description: I'm not 24.. is story of Saumya, Malappa & Shubhro which should have been a love triangle but wasn't. The three of them,coming from different worlds, are thrown into a fourth world called Karnataka. But it is not virgin beaches or exotic dancers that await them. They are to be welcomed by blood, riots, violet bosses and cut limbs. Will Saumya survive her job in the middle of nowhere? Will Malappa s superiority help him survive or become the cause of his downfall? Will Shubhro prove that a heart of gold can survive through Marijuana smoke and Beer rich blood?

My Review: This coming of age story centers around Saumya, a MDI graduate, who because of her unfortunate unisex name has been given a job in a steel factory in the middle of nowhere. The story is narrated by Saumya and tells us about what happens to her after she leaves the safe confines of college and goes out to the big bad world. It tells us of the experiences of a typical Delhiite who is sent to live in a very small town. The story is also supported by characters like Amit, a nerd who happens to get placed in the same company as Saumya, Malappa, a cool dude who works in the steel factory and Shubro, a nomad with whom Saumya falls in love. 

This is Sachin Garg's second book, his first being 'A Sunny Shady Life' which I have not yet read. Sachin is yet another MBA grad who has discovered his literary powers and has decided to pen down stories revolving around life in colleges. I'm not twenty four...., is a good story and fast paced but, I thought that Sachin did not sound natural writing from the female protagonists' perspective. Saumya is depicted as a man's idea of a typical girl, who is only interested in fashion, dates and her girly pals. Her idea of preparing for a new job is to shop for the highest available stilletoes and tight formal pants. In short, it seems that Sachin has seen Legally Blonde one too many times and decided that all girls are just like Elle Woods! However, he gets points for the fact that he has tried to turn the character around and shows her coming of age as towards the end when she moves towards more important things in life. 

The characters are well-etched, Saumya is the Indian version of a dumb blonde ( however, she manages to land a cushy job with a hefty pay package... a little strange), Malappa is depicted as a rebel, who is so smart, he gives an infereriority complex to his boss, but is unfortunately killed in the latter part of the book( He at times almost gives off gay vibes towards Shubro). Shubro is the nomad who does not stay in any one place for more than 90 days and is soaked in marijuana and alcohol, however, is actually on a mission to improve lives. He is the best character in the book, complex and well-etched, which proves my point that Sachin writes better in a male voice. He is depicted as Saumya's one true love, who leaves her afterwards. However, he leaves a way for her to find him and understand him better.

All in all it is an OK read, something light to read between heavy stuff. I love the cover though! I rate it a 2.5/5.   I read it as a part of my 2011 South Asian Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge, 2011.

Rating: 2.5/5 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One More Challenge!!

I know that almost half the year has gone by.. but this was one challenge I was looking for.. This year seems the golden year for Indian Authors and I have loads of books by New Authors on my TBR pile and this challenge just seems to blend in...

So, here goes..

2011 South Asian Challenge

The challenge is simple.. we are just required to read books about South Asia or by South Asian authors. For the uninitiated.. South Asia consists of (at least for this challenge), India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and the Maldives.

My potential list of books
  1. I'm not nineteen, I'm not twenty four...I've been nineteen for five years.. by Sachin Garg -  Read
  2. Single in the City - Sushmita Bose - Read
  3. Tales from Firozsha Baag - Rohinton Mistry - Read
  4. Chanakya's Chant - Ashwin Sanghi
  5. The Diary of a Social Butterfly - Moni Mohsin
  6. Balloonists - Rajorshi Chakraborti
  7. The All Bengali Crime Detectives - Suparna Chatterjee
will keep adding..

Review: Tales from Firozsha Baag

Book Details:
Tales from Firozsha Baag

Author: Rohinton Mistry
Publisher: Penguin Books (1989)

Good Reads Intro: In these eleven intersecting stories, Rohinton Mistry opens our eyes and our hearts to the rich, complex patterns of life inside this Bombay apartment building. The occupants - from Jaakaylee, the ghost-seer, through Najamai, the only owner of a refrigerator in Firozsha Baag, to Rustomji the Curmudgeon and Kersi, the young boy whose life threads through the book - all express the tensions between the past and the present, between the old world and the new.

My Review: This is my first Rohniton Mistry books, and I must say, it was very good. The book is a collection of short stories about occupants living in a Parsi apartment complex (baag) in Bombay. Being a Mumbaiite and having seen the Parsi community at close quarters in school, I could relate to the book. Mistry weaves a compelling story through each of the excerpts, pulling us into the lives of Kersi, Najmai, Nariman Hansotia, Jehangir and the others. Each of the story is based upon an individual occupant or family of the building, but the other characters weave in and out of them.

I'm not much of a fan of short stories, but I really liked the fact that Mistry limited himself to a certain number of characters maintaining a sense of community while giving us a glimpse into each of their lives. The book is a good depiction of Mumbai life in the '80s, especially if you were a child then. Through stories like The Squatter and Swimming Lessons, it also highlights on the experiences of immigrants and their lives. 

I rate the book a 4/5 for the really good writing style and the fact that it took me back to the time when I was a child and things were much simpler. I would recommend it to anyone. I read this as part of the 100+ Reading Challenge 2011.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (April 19)

 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read

•Open to a random page

•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here's my Teaser for A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde:
Lady Stutfield. [To Lord Alfred.] How very, very charming those gold-tipped cigarettes of your are, Lord Alfred.
Lord Alfred They are awfully expensive. I can only afford them when I'm in debt
A Woman of No Importance - pg. 13 - Project Gutenberg Etext
Have read some part of the play, and it is hilarious. Hope you enjoy my teaser, will post the review soon!

Review: Captive Bride

Book Details:

Author: Johanna Lindsey

Publisher: Avon (1977)

Book Summary: Under the desert stars of an Egyptian night, beautiful Christina Wakefield is overcome not with romance, but with terror--as she is kidnapped by an unknown abductor and held prisoner in his secret encampment! Enslaved by a man she thinks she hates, Christina is eventually awakened--in body and soul--by the passion of a man who wants her desperately.

My Review: A fresh look at an old favourite

My love of Historical Romance started with Johanna Lindsey books. I remember hot afternoons when I used to read her novels, especially the Malory series, at one go. Now, after many years, I decided to re-visit some of her books. I picked up Captive Bride as it was her first book and I could not remember reading it before. 30-40 pages into the book, I realised that, sadly, I had. Looking from a more mature perspective, and having an experience of reading a few hundred historical romances under my belt, I found myself not really liking Ms. Lindsey’s writing. This being her first book, you can clearly see how she has also matured through the years.

The book is a typical bodice-ripper, where the hero is an Alpha Male (obviously) and the heroine is wishy-washy and falls in love with him despite being kidnapped and threatened with physical abuse. He is an Englishman, who is also a Sheik, (it surprises me how many Englishmen end up as Sheiks in bodice-rippers) and gives the impression of being a spoiled brat, (I want her and I want her now... doesn’t matter if she does not want me). She seems the epitome of perfect woman, brave, beautiful, intelligent and has men all over falling at her feet. There is nothing new in the plot and the book is full of clichés.

Overall, I did not like the book as much as I had before. However, I rate it a 2/5 for old times’ sake. I read this as a part of my 100+ Books in a Year Challenge, Historical Romance Challenge, Historical Fiction Challenge and 2011 E-Books Reading Challenge.

Rating: 2/5

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: The Case of the Baited Hook (Perry Mason#16)

Book Details:

The Case of the Baited Hook

Author: Erle Stanley Gardner

Book Summary: Who was that masked woman? That's the question plaguing the perpetually inquiring mind of Perry Mason. No one loves a good mystery more than Mason--but being asked to represent a client who's concealing her identity, not to mention the particulars of her case, has given even the legendary legal eagle a case of ruffled feathers.

My Review:
After an extended spell of reading romance, classics and business books, I decided that I was long overdue to read a Mystery from my TBR list. Having always loved Perry Mason mysteries for their fast pace and awesome courtroom scene, a Perry Mason book was an obvious choice. The book is a typical whodunit and has all the characters present in any Mason book, Paul Drake, Della Street, Gertie, Hamilton Burger and Lt. Tragg. The book revolves about the fact that Mason is baited in the start of the book by a $10,000 retainer to represent an unknown client and as a result makes certain mistakes. He then tries to undo the mistake and help various clients through the book. Unfortunately, there is no courtroom scene (my fav part in any Mason book) but the methods employed by Mason to solve the mystery and to “smoke” out his client are top class.

I rate it a 4/5. The lack of courtoom scenes in the book was a disappointment, which is the only reason why this gets a 4 instead of a 4.5. However, as any Perry Mason book, it is always a keeper and can be revisited on any rainy day. I read this as part of my 100+ Books in a Year Challenge and E-book Challenge.

Rating: 4/5

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Celebrating India's Win - Part II

Yes.. now my celebration begins.. :) :) :) My books were delivered and are ready to be read. I now face the eternal problem of sooo much to read and so little time... anyways.. I plan to get cracking and start reading and hopefully writing my reviews. I have chosen books which are mainly by new Indian authors. The book which I like the most will be featured in a Giveaway on my blog!

So here goes to a summer of Books, Books and more Books :) :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: Stephanie Plum Series

This was supposed to be a combined review of Hot Six and Seven Up, which are books 6 & 7 of the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich, but it is actually a review of the Stephanie Plum Series upto book 7 (which is all I have read so far).

I happened to come across the Stephanie Plum series around a year ago on a best books ever list. Before that, I had read parts of the Full series by Janet Evanovich and liked it immensely. So, being a fan of series and really liking the way Janet Evanovich writes, I decided to start with the Stephanie Plum books. The first book, One For The Money, amazingly well written, with delightful characters so well-drawn out that you could almost hear them speak next to you, had me completely hooked.

Stephanie, the main protagonist of the series is a ditzy, sometimes brave Bounty Hunter who is confused about everything in life except the importance of shoes :). You love reading about her and her escapades as a Bounty Hunter/Bailbondsman and all the other characters which appear around her. I confess to falling in love with Joe Morelli, her sometime boyfriend and even Ranger, her sometime Bounty Hunter partner and mentor who is way too hot! In every series, she encounters some easy and some difficult FTAs (failure to appear) which she needs to apprehend. As the story progresses, so does her skills as a bounty hunter and her relationship with Joe and Ranger.

The additional characters, Rex, Lula, Connie, Grandma Mazur, Stephanie's parents, Grandma Bella, Vinnie are also staples of every story and you connect to each and every one of them. The books are filled with LOL moments and some fantastic fiction. It gives you Stephanie's skewed version of reality, where she thinks it is just a part of her job to get shot at and to blow up cars!

I have to keep myself from reading the entire series at one go and actually take the time to savor each book like the treat it is!!  I rate the entire series a 5/5 and reccommend everyone to read it!

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, April 3, 2011

And THAT's How It's Done!!!

Woooohoooo.. We won the World Cup!!! This is the first time in my lifetime that India has got the ICC Cricket World Cup home! (the last time was just a few months before I was born!)

Sitting this morning amidst the remains of yesterday's match party, all I can do is grin.. this has been one of the finest moments of India's cricketing history. The picture of the team carrying Sachin on their shoulders and Virat Kohli's dialogue about how Sachin has carried them for so many matches and the least they can do is carry him in this one will stay in my memory forever.

As I sit here writing this post, I realise that I don't care about all the match-fixing SMSs which came yesterday, all the talk or even the pending 'Breaking News' on news channels which is bound to come up  that the World Cup was fixed. It just doesn't matter! We WON!! And how.. India showed the Lankan's just how it's done, calmly, coolly, beggining with a whimper and ending with a big huge BANG!!


Pictures of the Post-Win Celebration: