Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Sinai Tapestry by Edward Whittemore

"Yet Strongbow did appear, entirely naked.
Or rather, naked of clothes."
~~Page 52

Sinai Tapestry
Edward Whittemore
ISBN: 9781882968220

Publisher: Old Earth Books/2002

Pages: 310

Sinai Tapestry, is the first book of Jerusalem Quartet. And speaks of a middle east which is not easy to understand at first glance. Pegged as fantasy reality, it totally works that way. Skanderbeg Wallenstein, a fanatical Trappist monk from Albania, comes across the oldest bible, which question every belief all have held. He knows it discovery would lead to chaos and hides it again. However, he writes a bible, forging the old one.

Many strange characters connect to each other and we have here is story which is fiction yet so real.
In Sinai Tapestry, characters move from place to place; and also through time itself - and history - somewhat in improbable and implausible ways; but they are well conceived, and well rendered for us, even if as larger than life. If we take two of the characters, Plantagent Strongbow and Haj Harun, this is what we find:

Plantagenet Strongbow, is the twenty-ninth Duke of Dorset, and is a great swordsman, botanist, and explorer; he disappears in the Sinai in 1840, and reappears forty years later as an Arab holy man who has written a thirty-three volume study of Levantine sex, and who becomes the secret owner of the Ottoman Empire. He is seven-feet seven-inches tall.

And Haj Harun, a former antiquities dealer and stone carver of winged lions during the Assyrian occupation of the Holy Land, a proprietor of an all-night grocery store under the Greeks, a waiter under the Romans, a distributor of hashish and goats under the Turks, is a man who has been able to do all these things and to live in all these places because he is at least three thousand years old.

"When I want to daydream," he says to Strongbow, "I gaze at one of my antiquities and pretty soon I'm slipping back in time and seeing Romans and Babylonians in the streets of Jerusalem."

The novel is not an easy read and unless one trully concentrates it appears incomprehensible. But once one gets into it, the mysticism gets into the spirit of the reader. Islam, Christianity and Judaism, all three religions seem to merge and we get the best of the three. The description of the places and the people, the houses, all these engross us. Jerusalem comes so alive. It made me want to visit the place.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Xs by Louise Gaylord

Xs by Louise Gaylord

X's has it all seX, eXcitement, eXcess, an eXecution, eXtreme situations and eXtraordinary twists. Allie Armington's back and she's gotten herself mixed up in a sex & drugs plot and a police investigation of the East coast money set.

I have had this novel for a while now. Yet to read it. I have read Anacacho: An Allie Armington Mystery by the same author which I had liked. Xs is the second one in the series. I thought I would highlight it for X.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mondays: Mailbox/Musings/Whereabouts

Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

I received only one book:

The Cutting by James Haymen

From Publishers Weekly

A former NYPD detective, McCabe relocated to raise his 13-year-old daughter in a supposedly safer place and to escape a nasty divorce. When a young woman disappears soon after the body of a 16-year-old girl turns up in a scrap yard with her heart neatly cut out, McCabe fears a serial killer is on the loose. McCabe's investigation leads him and his partner, Det. Maggie Savage, to a prominent cardiac surgeon specializing in transplants. Racing against the clock even as he uncovers more victims, McCabe is determined to find the killer and rescue the missing woman before time runs out.


In the past week:

I finished:

Sinai Tapestry by Edward Whittemore

I am in midst of reading:

The Cutting by James Haymen

I plan to read:

anything that interests me

I posted reviews of:

Lethal People by John Locke
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


Musing Mondays2 Do you – or are you even able – to do other things while you read? Do you knit, hold a conversation, keep an eye on the TV? Anything?

I can't do anything while I am reading. Except perhaps listening to music. Only while reading, my musti-tasking skills gets derailed.

Can you manage anything else while reading?

TSS/Weekly Geeks: "I am a reader!"

The Sunday Salon.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Find: The Cold Room by J T Ellison

The Cold Room by J T Ellison

Product Description

Homicide Detective Taylor Jackson thinks she's seen it all in Nashville—from the Southern Strangler to the Snow White Killer. But she's never seen anything as perverse as the Conductor. Once his victim is captured, he contains her in a glass coffin, slowly starving her to death. Only then does he give in to his attraction.

When he's finished, he creatively disposes of the body by reenacting scenes from famous paintings. And it seems similar macabre works are being displayed in Europe. Taylor teams up with her fiancé, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, and a New Scotland Yard detective named James "Memphis" Highsmythe, a haunted man who only has eyes for Taylor, to put an end to the Conductor's art collection.

Has the killer gone international with his craft? Or are there dueling artists, competing to create the ultimate masterpiece?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Booking through Breaks

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Do you take breaks while reading a book? Or read it straight through? (And, by breaks, I don’t mean sleeping, eating and going to work; I mean putting it aside for a time while you read something else.)

It depends on the book. Sometimes I can't put it down. At others, I need to let it go and read something else. Mostly I read poetry for those moments. Some books tend to be so heavy, one needs a break from it. There are instances when I have read a book at two stretches. But them I am always reading more than two books at any given point of time and that helps. Romance novels work good for those in between reads for a heavy book.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
ISBN: 978184724692
Publisher: Maclehose Press/2008
Pages: 554

I received this book from my secret Santa (Veens, I think!) in December 2009. It was in my wishlist. I got around reading it last week. Once I started, It was difficult for me to set it aside, even with work and all.

It is the first book in the Millenium triology. Stieg Larsson is not there to see his success. What does one say about a book, which is a huge success? To give it credit, it is not an over-rated book.

Three unlikely people's life gets entangled, Henrik Vangar, head of the Vangar corporation, Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and Lisbeth Salnder, a somewhat weird security specialist. They get together to find out the missing child in the Vangar family. The girl had disappeared three decades ago with not a trace and Henrik still is pained by that fact.

When Blomkvist dwells deeper into the family secret, someone is determined that he ought not succeed. When the secrets do come out, they are so horrifying that everyone just wants to forget those. Lisbeth is brilliant computer hacker, who can't follow the society's norms. She is her own law and can go to any length to take care of herself.

It is not the mystery that is takes us in. It is Lisbeth who baffles the reader. She is an oddity yet we take to her. We might not agree with her ways but there is some kind of justification of what she does. She and Blomkvist make a great team although both don't seem to be aware of it or if they do, they do not acknowledge it. Lisbeth is not someone one can forget. She is gonna stay there for a long time. I am definitely going to check out the other two books.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Lethal People by John Locke

"What I remembered most about Mrs. Carmodie was she had a double-decker butt. While normal butts curve like the letter C, Mrs. Carmodie’s butt got halfway through the C, then extended several inches in a straight line like some sort of shelf before finishing the curve. The shelf on her butt was wide enough to hold two cans of soda."

Title: Lethal People
Author: John Locke
ISBN: 9783440151712
Publisher: iUniverse/2009
Pages: 242

It is the first in the Donovan Creed series, who is a weird detective. He is not above duping people for money. Mostly from other crooks.

The novel opens with a fire in a house, where three people die. Only Addie, a five tear old survives. She has scars both on her body and her psyche. She is a very endearing character. Donovan creed takes to her. He is attracted to Kathleen, who too loves Addie.

Investigating the fire, Creed finds something which points out that it was an act of arson. Cred comes in contact witrh DeMeo, who is out there duping innocent people's money by killing them. And he does it such a way that no one suspects him. Creed with more weird characters gets into the bottom of it.

It is one hell of a book. Despite the grimness, it is weird and funny. Fast paced and dialogues keep us hooked. Liked the various quirky characters. They kind of make the novel plausible and adventurous.

Not bad for an afternoon read. Thanks to the author for my copy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crime Fiction Alphabet: The Witness by Sandra Brown

Title: The Witness
Author: Sandra Brown
ISBN: 9780446191548
Publisher: Warner Books/2006
Pages: 438

I have read a few Sandra Brown books. Mostly romances. This one is not and I thought I would post it for W of Crime Fiction Alphabet. Thanks Kerrie for hosting it but I don't know what I am going to post for X, Y and Z.

The Witness is different from Sandra Brown's usual novels. It is about a laywer and her infant son. Kendell Deaton is the best public defender in Prosper, South Carolina. However, with no fault of hers, she gets enbroiled in ugly dealings in the town. She knows she has to get away from it to save herself and her son. She can go to any limits to do that. Even if it means to skip the law. She is trying to escape and her car has a nasty accident. She saves herself and her baby from the wreck along with the driver of the car, who loses his memory in the accident. She claims he is John, her husband and one night escapes from the hospital along with him and her baby. John is sceptical of her claim but he can't do a thing about it as he has lost his memory.

She is a consummate liar. She tells it with ease and at the drop of a hat. John does not believe her and also he is very scared of the infant. Still he is not ready to let her go out of her sight. He senses that she is in some sort of trouble. He is also aware that she is capable of looking ater herself.

This novel has all the ingredients for holding our interest-- guns, federal officers, mystery, secrets, and evil men chasing. The pace is good and that means I finished at one go after I started it. Not a heavy read but good for a change. I liked it.

Mondays: Mailbox/Musings/Whereabouts and my Birthday too

Today it is my birthday (22nd March). I had looked forward of it being the best one of my life but that didn't happen. So what? I can still celebrate it, can't I? I will gift myself with some jewellery, I am hankering after. Another pair of Platinum studs and of course, books. What else should I buy? I wouldn't mind suggestions.


Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

I received two books in the past two weeks:

1) Taste of Cherry by Kara Candito

In Kara Candito’s prize-winning debut collection a “garish/human theatre” comes to life against richly textured geographic and psychic landscapes. These poems are high-speed meditations on a world where Walter Benjamin meets the “glitzy chain-link of Chanel scarves” and Puccini’s Tosca meets the din of the Times Square subway station.

2) The Widows Season by Laura Brodie

Sarah is 39 years old with a history of miscarriages behind her. Her husband David is presumed dead while kayaking. His body was never found. When she sees him in that grocery store, she starts thinking about other times when she had seen him and now wonders that he might be alive.

In the past week:

I finished:

A Friend of the Family Lauren Grodstein
A Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Widow's Season by Laura Brodie

I am in midst of reading:

Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino
Theft of the Master by Edwin Alexander

I plan to read:

anything that interests me

I posted reviews of:

A Friend of the Family Lauren Grodstein
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (Graphic Novel)
Devil's Food Cake Josi S> Kilpack
Dead Floating Lovers by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Venon my Jane Brody
The Widow's Season by Laura Brodie


Musing Mondays2 Where do you keep the books on the top of the tbr pile? Not the bunk of the mountain, but just the tip of the peak – the ‘almost up to’ books?

I keep the tbr books on my computer table. I want those to be easily accessible. There are some on the side stool of my bed too. So much so that, they fall on the floor if I try moving it!

And still I end up buying books.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

TSS: The Widow's Season by Laura Brodie

Sarah McConnell’s husband had been dead three months when she saw him in the grocery store.

Title: The Widow's Season
Author: Laura Brodie
ISBN: 9780425227657
Publisher: Berkeley Books/2009
Pages: 303

Sarah is 39 years old with a history of miscarriages behind her. Her husband David is presumed dead while kayaking. His body was never found. When she sees him in that grocery store, she starts thinking about other times when she had seen him and now wonders that he might be alive. On Halloween night David turns up at their home and gives her an explanation as why he decided to disappear. She wants to believe him. She even helps him getting things while he is in the hiding. For her he is very much alive.

She sees it a way of righting everything that had gone wrong in their marriage. She doesn't tell anyone about her meetings with David. She stops questioning if he is fantasy or real. In the mean time David's brother Nate turns out to be good friend. Both realise that they have always been attracted towards each other. Sarah doesn't know how David would react to that. And when David finds out, Sarah has to let go of one of the two men.

Accepting the loss of a loved one is not easy. Sarah learns it as we go along. Her meetings with other widows too do nothing to ease her feelings.What is the truth about David? The reader gets to know that in the last few pages. Sarah feelings are so tangible. Her grief, loss and emotions jump out of the book. And she knows she has to do the right thing. In a way, David helps her do that. For a debut, it is good book. Brodie is worth checking out.

Thanks to the author for my copy.

Weekly Geeks: Tattoos and Literature

  • Do you have a literary tattoo? Please share it with us and tell us why you chose it.
  • Do you have any ideas for future literary tattoos? Are there any quotes that you might one day want to have printed on you?
  • How do you think the author feels about having their work permanently inked on a fan's body?
I don't have any kind of tattoos on my body nor piercings except for me ears. I am not the kind to abuse my body. I think I like it the way it without the body art. I love books and many authors but I think they only need to read and not to be shown on any part of my body. In other words, I love my body more! I think that also answers the question about wanting a tattoo ever. No way!

Frankly I wouldn't like to dwell on the author's thoughts about their work as a tattoo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Find: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes


Set in Vietnam in 1969 over the course of three months, It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.


As I have read only one book till date on the Vietnam war, I would like to read this book.

Recommend me: The Murder of Roger Ackryod by Agatha Christie (Graphic Novel)

Title: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Graphic Novel)
Author: Agatha Christie
ISBN: 9788128614583
Publisher: Euro Books/2007
Pages: 54

I remember reading the novel long time back and I still have a copy of it. When I saw a load of Agatha Christie graphic novels, this was the first one I picked up. It is one of my favourite Christie novels.

When Mrs Ferrar husband is poisoned, she is the suspect and then she dies! Next target is Roger Ackroyd, who was supposed to marry Mrs. Ferrar. When he too dies, there are too many suspects but no one knows how the murder was committed. It seems almost impossible for the deed to be done the way it is. Our good doctor is always there to assist but no one is able to crack the case.

Enter Hercule Poirot, who has retired and leading a peaceful life in King's Abbott. He sets out to get into the bottom of it and we find that each one of the people who are in contact with Roger Ackroyd have something to hide. That means, no one is telling the whole truth about what happened that night. Our doctor plays Hastings for Poirot recording everything for him. Poirot being what he is, finally gets the murderer but with tragic consequences. At the end too, there is a death.

I think the mystery novel works great as a graphic novel. I loved the illustrations and I think I will repeat the experience with more of Christie's work in similar format. Those who have not tried reading graphic novels, I recommend this!


Recommend Me is Hosted by Kate of The Neverending Shelf

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Booking through Sensual

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Which do you prefer? Lurid, fruity prose, awash in imagery and sensuous textures and colors? Or straight-forward, clean, simple prose?

It depends. If I am reading poetry, I prefer imagery and all. Like a painting. The textures and colours have to come alive for me. But if I am reading, say, crime fiction, I like to-the-point writing. It helps me concentrate. However, I can read any kind of writing. It depends on the genre, really. A good book is what I desire.

Dead Floating Lovers by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

"You mean, you think the bones belong to your ex...or whatever he still is...husband?"

Dead Floating Lovers
Author: Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
ISBN: 9780738712659
Publisher: Midnight Ink/2009
Pages: 324

Back Cover:
Springtime in northern Michigan: a picture-perfect scene. Until struggling mystery writer Emily Kincaid gets a visit from her foul-weather friend Deputy Dolly, who frantically demands Emily's help. Sandy Lake's receding waters have revealed a bullet-pierced skull, along with a keepsake that could mean serious trouble for a man Dolly once loved.

As another set of bones surfaces, Emily finds herself wading through Dolly's painful past, digging into Leetsville's dark history, and dodging threats from an outraged Odawa Indian-who may be protecting more than just sacred land. Now, Emily and Dolly are deadset on solving the crime whether it breaks their hearts . . . or costs them their lives.

Emily Kincaid is a struggling mystery writer. Her novel has got rejections slips and her money is fast running out. She works as a part time reporter and knows that soon she has to take some hard decisions regarding her life. When Deputy Dolly turns up for her help, she is skeptical. They were never good friends. Yet Emily is compelled to go with her to Sandy Lake, where they find a bullet ridden skull along with what Dolly says is wedding present to her from her absentee husband Chet. Unlike her, Dolly hides that keepsake and only then reports her findings. She has to save Chet. When another skeleton is found, Dolly and Emily go finding out clues without much success. Emily discovers Dolly's painful past.

Odawa Indians claim that one of the bodies belongs to them and should be handed over to them for a proper Indian burial. Emily and Dolly know that there is more to it, the Indians are hiding something and both have to get to the bottom of it even if that might hurt both of them. Even when Emily's life is threatened, Leetsville's dark history has to come out, no matter what.

Dolly might seem high handed yet she endears herself due to her very painful past. Her husband had left her 13 years ago, yet she claims him to be her only family. Emily too is almost forced to take a bad decision regarding her life. Both Dolly and Emily make a great team. They are brusque with each other yet the bonding is apparant to the reader. The novel drags at places, dwelling too much on Emily's personal life. The ending is good and just right.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein

Title: A Friend of the Family
Author: Lauren Grodstein
ISBN: 9781565129160
Publisher: Algonquin Books/2009
Pages: 302

A Friend of the Family is a novel about a father who has the best interests of his son and his concern makes him take such steps, which in away, is his undoing. It depicts how a father can lose grip on himself and his family.

Pete Dizinoff has everything going for him. He is fairly successful doctor, has a wife who loves him and has close friends who care for him. He loves his only son Alec. Pete and Elain had him after too many miscarriages and therefore dote on him. Now Alec drops out from school, wishing to be an artist. They support him even though they want him to finish college.

Laura, the wild daughter of Pete's best friend Joe turns up after thirteen years, and Alec seems to be smitten by her. She is ten years older and has a very dark past, which everyone ignores yet can't forget. Pete can't bear the thought of Alec and Laura being together and he has to break them apart. This decision of his results in a disaster which affects both his family and professional life. Can he save his family from disintegrating? Can he get back his reputation?

Told in engaging, this book will speak to every parent who only wants the best for his/her child. It will also speak out to the child, who has to think beyond the present and for see the future. Because each of our decisions affect us and everyone around us.

The friendship between Joe and Pete is very strong and I felt Joe cares more for Pete than Pete for Joe. Pete has always been judgemental towards Laura and it reflects in his behaviour towards her. The bond between Pete and Elaine is strong but Pete's doings weakens that too.

Once started, this book is hard to put down. Pete's thoughts takes us over and the equations of relationship between the various characters keeps us hooked.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Devil's Food Cake by Josi S. Kilpack

Sadie looked at the body of the man who wasn't supposed to be at the podium at all."He's dead?" She asked, a lump in her throat.

Title: Devil's Food Cake
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
ISBN: 97816064123229
Publisher: Deseret Book/2010
Pages: 348

Thom Mortenson is back at Garrison, Colorado, to speak at the library fund-raising benefit. He is a best selling author with a tragic past. For the said event, Sadie Hoffmiller has made devil’s food cake herself as she wants everything perfect. But no one has forseen the murder of Thom’s manager right on the stage. And he was not supposed to be there either.

When Sadie offers to help, no one takes her seriously and she is told to leave the place in no uncertain terms. But our heroine keeps getting informations from almost everywhere, puts two and two together and knows she has to find out the killer on her own. With her son Shawn, at her side and a weird neighbour joining in, we are in for some hilarious moments and Sadie's arrest takes the cake! She manages to escape and does not give up until she gets into the bottom of it.

With a middle aged food obssessed heroine, this book was very funny to read despite the seriousness of the crime. Almost everyone seems to have skeletons in their cupboards and Sadie has to get those all out. I loved reading this breezy mystery book. Also the recipes given at the end of each chapter are a pleasure!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Venom by Joan Brady

"How long have you been sitting here in my solarium, reading my newspaper and drinking my coffee?" he said to David.

Title: Venom
Author: Joan Brady
ISBN: 9780743267908
Publisher: Simon and Schuster/2010
Pages: 470

Physicist Helen Freyl owns a colony of bees, whose venom can save people from radiation poisoning. Everyone worth is salt is after the same venom. Helen is not aware of the facts but she is not keen to sell her colony of bees to anyone. Sir Charles Hay, a friend of her late father wants it badly and even woos Helen to get hold of it. He succeeds in getting engaged to her but somehow Helen is not very keen to marry him. When a few people in her vicinity are found dead, who have been involved in finding out facts about Soviet villages deliberately contaminated with radiation poisoning, Helen knows her life is in danger.

She calls for help from David Marion, whom she had known from her childhood, but who is now presumed dead by everyone. Both join forces to get into the bottom of the industrial espionage. What they find is greed, massive human tragedy, all in the name to gain control of a venom, which can save millions of lives. Everyone is out there to make moneyout of the venom.

With an ex-convict as the hero, a phycist as our heroine, both having a strong attraction between them right from their childhood, it makes an interesting book. Helen's grandmother is so spunky that she makes the book come alive. Other secondary characters too are well depicted and their presence is essential for the book to move forward. The book stings us alright, but at the right places. Fast paced, and very well written, this Venom is addictive!

Thanks to publishers for my copy of ARC.

Mondays: Mailbox/Musings/Whereabouts

Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

I received two books in the past two weeks:

The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello (From the publisher)

Our forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon, has just returned to Richmond, Virginia and her welcome is less than luke warm. Her first assignment after her return, is to investigate a cross burning at RPMs house, who is a celebrity of some sort in the music world. Investigations leads to dark secrets which deals with racism.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire (From JoAnn of Lakeside Musing)

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked?

Gregory Maguire has created a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again.

In the past two weeks:

I finished: (almost all are crime fiction!)

1. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie--Graphic novel
2. the clouds roll away Sibella Giorella
3. Venom by Joan Brady
4. Lethal Experiment by John Locke
5. Lethal People by John Locke
6. Zan-Gah A prehistoric Adventure by A. R. Shickman

7. Devil's Food Cake by Josi S. Kilpack
8. Dead Floating Lovers by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

I am in midst of reading:

more crime fiction..

I plan to read:

More of the same!

I posted reviews of:

Zan-Gah A prehistoric Adventure by A. R. Shickman
the clouds roll away Sibella Giorella
Venom by Joan Brady


Musing Mondays2
Do you have a favourite picture book, either from your own childhood, or reading to you children?

I don't have any picture books from my childhood. Mainly because I gave those away to my nephews and nieces. However, I remember reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears to my older nephew again and again. He knew it by heart yet insisted I read it for him. I think he still has that book somewhere. And he is 22! LOL!

My younger nephew loved Little Red Riding Hood. But he is not a keeper of books!

But my eternal favourite is Cinderella!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Salon: Only reading can help

The Sunday Salon.com

In mid February I wrote that my life was in a good place and I was looking forward to great changes in the coming months. Come March, my happiness simply flew away. Right now I am in a very sad and lonely place. How do I deal with that? More precisely, how am I dealing with that? I turned to books. Only they could offer me solace from my grief. Yes, I am grieving and turned to my most dependable friends. In 14 days, I have read 10 books, most of those are crime fiction. I need to get out my mind and I find that crime fiction is helping me do that. I don't know when I will get out of my despair but I will. Sometimes it does take a bit of time. Coming back to books, my trusted friends, I read the following:

Dead Floating Lovers by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli (CF)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie--Graphic Novel (CF)
the clouds roll away Sibella Giorella (CF)
Venom by Joan Brady (CF)
Lethal Experiment by John Locke (CF)
Lethal People by John Locke (CF)
Zan-Gah A prehistoric Adventure by A. R. Shickman

Devil's Food Cake by Josi S. Kilpack (CF)
The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris (CF)
When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

I have written reviews of 7, three of which are scheduled to come in the next few days. I will write the rest in the next few days. Nothing like plunging oneself into reading and writing to get out of the sadness. I am writing poetry too. I am not ok right now but will definitely will be in the coming weeks. My hectic work schedule too is helping me.

Now how do you deal with grief? Please do share. I would like to know that. Maybe it will help me to deal better..

TSS: the clouds roll away by Sibella Giorello

Title: the clouds roll away
Author: Sibella Giorello
ISBN: 9781595545343
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/2010
Pages: 321

This is my second book by Giorello. I loved the rivers run dry. Sibella Giorello's writing is very different. Full of symbolism and wonderful imagery. That too in a suspense novel makes her writing very interesting to me. Taking a randam example:

'His tuxedo shined at the seams, his red bow tie sitting cockeyed. And his hair was sparse white Caeser ring, almost as white as his tennis shoes."

The book is filled with unusual metaphors. For someone who wrotes poetry, reading these are sheer pleasure.

Our forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon, has just returned to Richmond, Virginia and her welcome is less than luke warm. Her first assignment after her return, is to investigate a cross burning at RPMs house, who is a celebrity of some sort in the music world. Investigations leads to dark secrets which deals with racism. Somehow the KKK seems to be still alive and Raleigh can't find who might be involved. More she gets into it, more confusing it gets for her. There are some who don't want her to help RPM, who they think is an outsider. When many bodies are found, all those being murders, no breakthrough comes to her. She goes back and forth, with virtually no support from her superior. When it does, what with her forensic investigations and her faith, the ending is a surprise..

Raleigh is a believable character and so is her mother, who seems to have flipped her mind but is endearing. There is a romantic element but yet does not stiffle the book in any way. The plot does not seem fictional. It feels as if it can happen at any time at any place. In a way, we are still having hate crimes, against religion, against people of different colours. Has anything changed?

I am going to check out more books by Giorello. Thanks to Thomas Nelson for my copy of the novel.

Weekly Geeks: Books Vs Authors

  • Do you seek out interviews with authors of books you've enjoyed? Why or why not?
  • Do you interview authors on your blog? If yes what did you gain from the interview process? If no is it because you don't want to or because you haven't felt able to ask an author yet?
  • Do you subscribe to the blogs of authors you like? Which ones? All the authors you like or only certain ones?
  • Do you track down author websites or look for biographical information about them elsewhere? Would you skip reading a book if you couldn't find out anything about its author?
  • Have you hosted an author on a blog tour? Was it someone whose books you already read or did it introduce you to a new author?
If I like a book, I seek more books by that author. I am not much interested to know about the author. I am only interested in his or her writing. I have had author interviews on my blog but not many. I don't have a rule of not having any. I track down info about almost forgotten authors, not the contemporary ones. And I don't really subscribe to any author websites. Frankly I don't have the time to go through those. I would rather read their books in that time. And I have a feeling that authors too would prefer that!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Zan-Gah-A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman

Title: Zan-Gah-A Prehistoric Adventure
Author: Allan Richard Shickman
ISBN: 9780979035708
Publisher: Earthshaker books/2007
Pages: 148

A coming of age story of Zan-Gah, is well told. Filled with adventure, it kind of gets hold of the reader right from the beginning. Zan-Gah sets out to find his twin brother Dael, who has walked off after a trivial fight with Zan-Gah and now is lost.

In his quest for his brother, our hero goes through captivity, conflict, finds love along with getting re-united his twin brother, Dael. In the three year period, Zan-Gah emerges as a strong, intelligent person along with leadership qualities, filled with vision.

We are introduced to a savage, cruel world. Yet there is beauty and heroism in its people. As it is prehistoric, the survival mode of people is well depicted in caves and to what length they go to save themselves from the natural vagaries. Despite the brutalities, love and friendship persists. The various clans, the Ba-Coro, the Noi, and the wasp people (who use poison-tipped spears to sting like wasps) come alive for us through the words of the author.

I am already half-way through the sequel, Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Find: Broken Birds, The Story of My Momila by Jeannette Katzir

"Broken Birds" by Jeannette Katzir is based on true events. It begins with the Holocaust stories of the author's parents, describes their meeting in New York and their life together raising Jeannette and her four siblings. When Jeanette's mother dies the destructive legacy of the Holocaust fractures her family.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Booking through Illustrations

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How do you feel about illustrations in your books? Graphs? Photos? Sketches?

I like maps in books. It makes the places more relevant for me. Sometimes I go back to the maps again and again to feel the places more closely.

In memoirs, autobiographies or biographies, photos make a lot of sense. I like squiggles and sketches too inside the flaps. It makes the books very appealing to me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris

Title: The Secret Keeper
Author: Paul Harris
ISBN: 978-0525951025
Publisher: Dutton Adult/2009
Pages: 336

Danny Kellerman, a journalist receives a letter from an ex-lover in Sierra Leone. It is a call for help from him. It had been posted four weeks before and he finds out that she has been murdered since then. He has to go there to find out what Maria wanted from him. When he lands up there, he gets embroiled in political system and finds out certain secrets about Maria.

War has ended but the place is still sitting in the midst of chaos and corruption. Danny doesn't know whom to trust and he has to go for it alone, not knowing exactly where he is going and for what. What was Maria involved in? She was an Aid worker, rescueing children from war zones, including child soldiers. Danny has to know the cause for which she died and who had her killed.

This novel is a very good portrayal of aftermath of a war, its impact on the poeople, and the utter despair of some, the corruption of the powers that are, rampant killing still a norm, people taking sides, children exploited and anyone who wishes to help them is eliminated. Danny has no interest in the country but he knows he has to do what Maria would have wanted him to do.

Maria is dead yet we feel her presence. At times it seems, she is going to walk out of the pages alive. We can feel Danny's emotions and his compulsions. For a debut, this novel is very well written and gives us a bird eye view of after shocks of war. Not exactly a feel good book but it sure is a satisfying read for all those, who want to read something realistic. And of course, it has that mystery element that is maintained till the end.

Friday Find: Weapons Grade by Terese Svoboda

Weapons Grade by Terese Svoboda

From Publishers Weekly

Svoboda's fifth collection of poems walks the borders where the personal and the political meet, and where ironic humor and foreboding overlap. Her contemporary America is both finger-licking digital, and a place where there are soldiers in mother's hair. In this book's first section, war is everywhere, from a lab in Tokyo where AIDS-infected blood was used for transfusions to the cavities of your body. Section two takes up notions of mistranslations, misunderstandings and missed opportunities: in one poem, a man walks into a bar; in another a son asks of a missing father, Is he back or forth? The final section takes up more personal subjects, as in a poem titled To My Brother, on the Occasion of His Second Breakdown. Throughout, Svoboda's poems are as haunting as they are funny, as pleasurable as they are powerful.

The following two poems have been taken from http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/28/svoboda.html

Whale Watch

Big wheelers circle in the sand
to cut a perfect something
between flotsam and carwreck.

The kids see only the size of the tires,

none look at the whales over their shoulders.

We're climbing to where spouts evaporate
into sky, we're clawing up lava-spilt sides
like the dog to see.

Below is all
perfect circles in the sand,
and the discolored blue from mammals working.

The ocean's boundless, we think,
and the kids
can't even throw rocks far enough
to hit us.
But no.

The dog barks at the whales
instead of them, then he barks even harder—
at Jonah inside the whale
drawing Pinocchio

on undigested sand dollars,

what can only be imagined.

Even here you have to turn your head
to see all of one, you have to step back and not fall.

At last the teenagers get out of the trucks
to puke.
The kids elbow us to look.


My bike floats on a road
without a moon or light, all balance.

I open my mouth, O sole mio
but I fear I will fall

into my voice, it could be
the road, dippy and

suddenly ending.
So no sound comes out.

I just pedal, well, I breathe but—
A friend bikes out of the black.

I heard you and I hurried.
What did I sing? Our wheels

whine forward. We can't even see
the grass brushing our calves.

Soon the road narrows
and a creek cuts one side,

you can hear water
on its own path, and surely

there's a ditch—surely. We bike in file,
hunched, bearing the dark. If we slow—

A car comes up behind us,
lights off. We pedal hard, harder.

The car comes on anyway,
it is coming. Before its grill heat

signals where,
there's a terrible crash,

the late pop
of an airbag, there's the ditch

and the grass, we weave and—
There's no sound after, just a metal

something rolling.
We kickstand our bikes in the dark.

No O my god. Just What?
What? my friend, gasping.

We run back.
Someone drove that car.

If we search for it apart, we're lost,
but together, we're doubly blind.

We touch and touch.
The sharp grass, the flitter of insects,

the uneven earth underfoot—
We want not to find

anything. It is the future
we move toward,

and Death says
we will find it,

both of us, and the road
we followed,

the road the car left,
is gone.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

Title: When She Flew
Author: Jennie Shortridge
ISBN: 9780451227980
Publisher: NAL Trade/2009
Pages: 352

When She Flew is one of those books which linger on longer after reading it. And not easy to review. The story revolves around a father-daughter duo and a cop, Jess. Ray Wiggs is a disabled Iraq war veteran, who has chosen to live out of civilization hidden in the woods with his daughter, Lindy. She, for all her isolation, seems to be an intelligent, knowledgeable girl. Ray has done all he could to bring her up the best way he can. He has taught her good manners amongst other things. He has also instilled survival instincts in her. In his own way, he has protected his daughter from the big bad world. When both are "rescued" from the woods, no way anyone can find anything wrong with either of them.

But one has to go by the world's norms. When the cops who 'rescued' want to send Lindy to a foster home, separating her from her father, Jess is not in the favour of that. She herself has been estranged from her daughter. Therefore knows the pain of a parent away from a much loved child. And somewhere in the middle, the lines between right and wrong gets blurred. She has to do what she thinks is right to keep both together.

The novel begins in the voice of Lindy, who is chasing a Heron, wanting to draw the bird from close. That's when she is spotted. The alternate chapters give voice to Lindy's thought, first hand and Jess' thought in third person. The girl is very insightful and knows what she has to do to be with her father. She trusts him completely and knows that they are both going to be together, no matter what.

Birds have been used as metaphors here and work perfectly well. The prose is engrossing, characters realistic, story told in a moving way, this novel totally grabs the reader. It is supposed to be based on a real life situation, that happened in Portland, Oregon where a war veteran and his daughter were discovered living in Forest Park, and disappeared soon after.

Thanks to Serena, for my copy of the novel.

Booking through Grammar

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Do you have any grammar books? Punctuation? Writing guidelines? Style books?

More importantly, have you read them?

How do you feel about grammar in general? Important? Vital? Unnecessary? Fussy?

I do have an old copy of Wren & Martin which is considered the bible in grammar. I used to leaf through it very often. I think grammar is important and punctuation is a part of it. As I write poetry, I do try to take care of the grammar and punctuation part. It is a necessary tool for any writer.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: Defy the Eagle by Lynn Bartlett

Title: Defy the Eagle
Author: Lynn Bartlett
ISBN: 0373288077
Publisher: Worldwide Romance
First Published: July1986
Pages: 635

Rome/Celtic Historical Romance

Enemies by birth. Lovers by destiny. Jilana had come to Caddaric in a dream, with a whisper of ethereal beauty that vanished when he awoke. Even as the bold warrior battled to save his beloved land from the Roman invaders, he looked for the woman who haunted his every waking moment. Until the morning, he finally saw his violet-eyed angel -- and recognized that his torment had just begun. For Jilana was one of the hated enemies Caddaric had vowed to destroy.

This book is multi layered, with many different locations and situations, which the two main characters go through. One does identify with both of them, see things from both their sides and indeed understand why they are both so intractable.

This is the story of Jilana, a young Roman woman who lives an unremarkable life with her family in Venta Icenorum, until she meets a young Centurion -Caddaric, whilst riding in the woods near her home. The Centurion is in reality an Iceni warrior who is scouting for his Queen - Boadicea and Jilana is swept up in events well documented by history.

Jilana intervenes in the public flogging of the Iceni Ruler and brings herself to the attention of early Briton's Governor as well as the Iceni community. As the uprising begins, whilst Jilana's life is spared due to the mercy she showed Boadicea, she is enslaved and given to Caddaric as a reward for his part in taking the City. Her family murdered, Jilana tries to find a way to survive, adapt and resist her growing attraction to her hated "enemy" Caddaric.

This is a long novel but nowhere is it boring. Jilana is a strong and likeable girl who is present at all the historical milestones of this uprising right up the final defeat of the Iceni and one can feel all the emotions along with some surprising twists.

One reason I loved this book is because of its setting - the Roman Empire. The romance in this book is awesome, poignant and very beautiful.