Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the BookishEach week, we get a theme to list our top tens. 

This week's Top Ten pick : Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

Here I go:

4) Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie novels)
6) Liesel Meminger (The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack)

That's about it......

Calico Joe by John Grisham

I watched my father closely and at one point saw something that did not surprise me. With Joe flat on his back, unconscious, seriously injured and convulsing, I saw my father smile.

Title: Calico Joe
Author: John Grisham
ISBN: 9780385536073
Publisher: Doubleday/2012
Pages: 208

Calico Joe is unlike any other novel written by John Grisham. It is novel based on baseball and what happens off the field touches the heart. So much different from his legal thrillers, Calico Joe makes a moral statement, speaking of good versus evil.

It is told in the voice of Paul Tracey, son of Warren Tracy who is a Mets baseball player. Warren is not a role model for anyone. He is abusive towards his family. No one seems to like him,not even his children. Whenever Paul watches his father playing, he feels good and proud but Warren does not give a damn. The Mets and Cubs are locked in a mid-season pennant race.  Paul is a huge Mets fan for obvious reasons, and always roots for his father.

The clubs call Joe Castle to replace one of their regular players who has been injured. Castle becomes a sensation overnight and Paul is torn between his loyalty towards his dad and admiration for Joe Castle. Warren feels threatened by Castle and what happens in the field between him and Castle has tragic consequences. Castle's career ends as abruptly as it had started. Paul's relationship with his dad takes a nose drive. Warren goes away from their lives.

Thirty odd years later, Warren has cancer and Paul wants him to face what he did to Castle. Joe has disappeared from public life and now leads a quiet life, fiercely protected by his brothers. The novel epitomizes the rise and fall of an upcoming baseball player.  The forgiveness of a person to the one who did him wrong. I do not know baseball but that did not deter me from reading it. It is as interesting as his legal thrillers.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday: Mailbox/What Am I reading?/Musing

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at A Girl and Her Books
Jennifer of Mrs. Q Book Addict is hosting MM for the month of July.

I received one e-books, thanks to the author: 

Happiness Comes From Nowhere by Shauna Gilligan

Happiness Comes From Nowhere follows the lives of the Horn family: Mary, Sepp and Dirk. Their paths cross and intertwine with those of extended family, friends and acquaintances as journeys are made through the changing city of Dublin. People also venture further in search of happiness: Mary and Dirk wander the streets of Rome and Ita watches a cargo ship unload in Spain. Expressed in ways as different as suicide, art and sex, the inseparable pangs of loss and happiness – remembered and present – are threaded through the novel.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book 

I finished reading:
Double Trouble by Deborah Cook
The Ninth Step by Barbara Taylor Sissel
The Love of a Stranger by Anna Jeffrey

I am in the midst of reading:

Varied novels


What question(s) would you like to see asked in future Musing Mondays posts?

My questions:

1) Have you ever considered colour coordinating your books on your bookshelves?

2) What is the best way of cataloging our books? (We all know about library cataloging and that is NOT I mean)

3) What attracts you to a book blog?

4) What puts you off in a book blog?

5) Do you share personal stuff on your book blog?

Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend

Title: Tempest in the Tea Leaves
Author: Kari Lee Townsend
ISBN: 978-0425242759
Publisher: Berkley/2011
Pages: 304

Sunny Meadows, 29 year old amateur sleuth  leaves her parents place in NYC for a small town called Divinity, New York. She is a psychic and wants to make a niche for herself, away from her well known parents. Her first customer is the librarian Amanda Robbins. Sunny uses tea leaves to give a reading for Amanda, which turns out to be a bad omen for Amanda, where she sees Amanda being murdered by a man. Soon after, Sunny informs the police of her reading, hoping to prevent the crime from  happening. but she is too late. Amanda is murdered within half hour of leaving Sunny's place. Detective Mitch Stone is assigned to investigate the murder. He does not believe her and accuses her as the prime suspect. (she is the only suspect). Sunny has to make use of her powers in order to find the murderer and clear her name. And discovers that Amanda had many suitors and any of them could have killed her.

Sunny is a quirky character. Half the time she does not know what she is doing. But she is determined to find out the murderer. Her way of doing detective stuff is very different. She does not hide anything from anyone and that kinda gets her in trouble.  Detective Stone and Sunny rub each other the wrong way but we do see some kind of attraction between them. Then there is this almost human cat Morty, who comes into Sunny's house from nowhere...Here we see a bit of supernatural element.

Tempest in the Tea Leaves is an enjoyable cozy mystery, with well etched characters. It is first in the Fortune Teller mystery series and I look forward to more....


Today one of our colleagues, Yogesh Yadav died in a road accident. It was a head-on collision of their car with a truck on a national highway. Along with her, her father in law and mother in law too died on the spot. Her husband is seriously injured. Please do pray for his well being. Thankfully their two sons were at home.

I am posting a group photo, where you can see her sitting in the middle, right in front in white sari with blue border. 

My mind has gone numb and heart breaks just by looking at this photo. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Sunday Post/Sunday Salon: Last week's blog posts

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Schools reopened after summer vacations and life has been hectic. Too much pressure at work. Preparing lessons take top priority. Reading takes a backseat. Then it is a festival month, so everything has to be planned. 

I am listing here, what I posted on my blog in the past one week:

Mailbox/What Am I reading?/Musing
Crime Fiction Alphabet: J is for James LePore
Teaser Tuesday: Cuts Like A Knife by M.K. Gilroy
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
From the Review Pile (12)
Booking Through Reading
Saturday Snapshot: July 28, 2012

I plan to read a lot in the coming week. Let us see what I read!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Snapshot: July 28, 2012

Stevia plant: Leaves are 30 times sweeter than normal sugar

Taken during vacations in Munnar, South India (19-25 March 2012). 

Posted for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Alyce of At Home With books

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Booking Through Reading

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a) Do you have a favorite season of the year that you read more? (Example: during snow storms, rainy weather, or sunny and warm weather) 

I tend to read a bit more during summer vacations. That is becos I have free time in my hands. However, Winter is my favorite season to do anything, including reading!

b) Where is your favorite place to read? On the beach? Inside/outside?

I can read anywhere. Inside/Outside. Anytime.

From the Review Pile (12)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday. The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review. (or any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

Here I am showcasing The Rome Prophecy by Jon Trace

A woman has been arrested on the streets of Rome. She's young. She's beautiful. She's covered in blood. And she claims to be on the run from a mighty power that centuries ago brought the eternal city to its knees. Ex-priest Tom Shaman teams up with a headstrong policewoman to unravel the mystery. But within Rome's churches and corridors of power, stealthy enemies are conspiring against them. And someone is re-enacting sinister legends from the city's bloody past...Loaded with action that rockets from gothic plazas through majestic cathedrals and into the vast catacombs lurking beneath the city, this electrifying thriller will dazzle fans of Dan Brown and Chris Kuzneski.

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (February 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0751543012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751543018

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros

Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea hosts this weekly meme. The idea is that you post the opening paragraph (sometimes maybe a few ) of a book you decided to read based on the opening paragraph (s).

I am posting the opening paragraph of Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer. This genre is not my usual read. 

Just so you know, when they say, “Once upon a time”…they’re lying.
It’s not once upon a time. It’s not even twice upon a time. It’s hundreds of times, over and over, every time someone opens up the pages of this dusty old book.
“Oliver,” my best friend says, “Checkmate.”
I follow Frump’s gaze and stare down at the chessboard, which isn’t really a chessboard at all. It’s just squares scratched onto the sand of Everafter Beach, and a bunch of accommodating pixies who don’t mind acting as pawns and bishops and queens. There isn’t a chess set in the story, so we have to make do with what we’ve got, and of course we have to clean up all evidence when we’re done, or else someone might assume that there is more to the story than what they know.

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the BookishEach week, we get a theme to list our top tens. 

This week's Top Ten pick : Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books.

Here is my list:

1) Harry Potter Novels: I know everyone is going to write about magical world of Hogwarts
2) Alice In Wonderland: Can anything beat its settings?
3) The Road by Cormac McCarthy: Dystopian novel with strong message
4) Haruki Murakami Novels: He writes about a world which is unknown, uncertain and mystic.
5) A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: It is that kinda of book in which you wish to walk along with him...
6) Regency Era: Anything based in this period is totally readable.

That's about it......

Cuts Like A Knife by M.K. Gilroy

"I hated it when he gave me the Cutter Shark name. Even if it is catchy. I have to admit, he does get results. He's already been on Fox, CNN and the BBC."

~ Page 247

Title: Cuts Like A Knife
Author: M.K. Gilroy
ISBN: 9781936034697
Publisher: Worthy Publishing/2012
Pages: 410

Cuts like a Knife is totally a character driven novel. The psychopath has killed 47 people in six cities, mostly females before he arrives in Chicago. 

The book opens with the voice of the psychopath, who speaks how he is going to be after his victim. How he is going to use his knife on the victim. Then there is a Vlogger, who kind of taunts the authorities for not catching the killer. He questions the police and the detective. And he is the one who names the psychopath as Cutter Shark....

Kristen has a weird family, one of her sisters is the wife of a pastor, the other sister is a model and their mother keeps inviting her so-called boy friend even after she tells him off. When Kristen is not doing anything interesting, she works as a soccer coach for her 7 year old niece's team. Kristen is no way perfect, she has anger issues and a wry and dry sense of humour. She has to keep her wits around to deal with her madcap family. All this while investigating the serial killings.

Slowly it dawns on Kristen that he is setting his sights on having her as the next victim. It becomes doubly important for her to identify him and catch him. There is that nail biting tension, yet there is humour. It sets a good pace for reading. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sons and Princes by James LePore

Title: Sons and Princes
Author: James LePore
ISBN: ISBN: 978-0984190522
Publisher: The Story Plant/2011
Pages: 332

Chris Massi is the son of legendary Mafia hitman Joe Black Massi, who has been murdered. Chris has stayed away from organized crime despite his family affiliations to it and also he had been married to the daughter of Anthony “Junior Boy” DiGiglio, who is the last of the Mafia dons. Ed Nolan, a U.S. attorney, and former childhood friend of Chris, has a grudge against him and falsely indicts him in security fraud which gets Chris disbarred from practicing law. When his  former father-in-law offers Chris a chance to take revenge on the man who got his father killed, Chris has to choose between his law-abiding existence or live up to his legacy.

Before he can make a choice, his son seems to be enamoured by the mafia and organized crimes. And it is his job to get Matt out of it. Without taking help from anyone, he plunges into the midst of it all. All this leads him into snuff films, and drugs, which somehow connects to his ex father-in-law. The plot thickens with lots of murders, shoot outs, double crossing and totally unexpected revelations. 

The line between good guy and bad guy gets blurred. James LePore has created believable characters, realistic, and those who hurt or can hurt. The plot has many twists and keeps the reader on the edge. The loyalty and honour within the mafia is commendable. Outside of it, is what is disturbing. LePore has the ability to make us think what is good about the bad and vice versa. I have read all his novels and he has mastered the craft of keeping his readers enthralled. 

Monday: Mailbox/What Am I reading?/Musing

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at A Girl and Her Books
Jennifer of Mrs. Q Book Addict is hosting MM for the month of July.

I received two books, thanks to the authors/publicists: 

The Governor's Wife by Mark Gimenez
Bode Bonner is the Republican governor of Texas. He has everything he ever wanted: money, power, influence. But something isn't right in his life - everything feels too settled and easy. He longs for one more moment of excitement, one more challenge.

Lindsay Bonner is Bode's wife and she's bored too. Bored of Bode's womanising, bored of the endless cocktail parties and receptions. She is desperate to break free of her bland, wealthy Texan lifestyle.

And that moment comes when she saves a poor Hispanic boy's life. From that moment on, nothing will be the same for Bode and Lindsay Bonner. Their lives are about to change in ways they could never have predicted...

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult, Samantha van Leer
Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

The following two books are being taught as per syllabus for Class XI English

Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
"Up From Slavery" is an autobiography of Booker T. Washington's life and work, which has been the source of inspiration for all Americans. Washington reveals his inner most thoughts as he transitions from ex-slave to teacher and founder of one of the most important schools for African Americans in the south, The Tuskegee Industrial Institute. 

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
This is Oscar Wilde's tale of the American family moved into a British mansion, Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance its tired ghost. The family -- which refuses to believe in him -- is in Wilde's way a commentary on the British nobility of the day -- and on the Americans, too. The tale, like many of Wilde's, is rich with allusion, but ends as sentimental romance. . .

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book 

I finished reading:

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
At Last by Barbara Bretton
The Memory Of You Laurie Kellog

I am in the midst of reading:

Varied novels!


Do you read magazines? If so, which ones? If not, why not?

I read the following magazines in a regular basis:

1) Inside Outside: It is a monthly magazine on interior design and architecture. The magazine focuses on well designed interiors. Be it residential or commercial, INSIDE OUTSIDE covers the exclusive and luxurious, to the low cost and space conscious. Designing on small budgets and problem solving is a special area of editorial interest, and even the lavish apartments featured are replete with ideas that can be emulated in more modest homes. 

2) Business IndiaLaunched in February 1978, this business fortnightly pioneered the market for business journalism, in India. The magazine's primary objective is to create awareness and educate public opinion on critical issues and choices in business, industry, the economy and society; to generate discussion and debate on policies and alternatives; and to provide a leadership of ideas.

3) Good Housekeeping: Launched in October 2004, Good Housekeeping is today the fastest-growing women’s magazine in India. It is the contemporary, urban Indian woman’s self-help manual for all aspects of her life: her home, her relationships with children and friends, her health, looks, and culinary interests. Most of all, Good Housekeeping is a friend who helps her live up to her potential. The magazine is widely read across the country, both by homemakers and working women, who vary in age from that 20s to the 60s and beyond.

4) Science Reporter: It is a monthly popular science magazine that has been published in India since 1964 by the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, a Government agency based in New Delhi. It is published in English and is read principally in India and neighbouring countries.
The magazine was originally intended to make citizens aware of the research taking place in various scientific institutions in the country. It has now outgrown this initial agenda, becoming a popular science magazine that covers many national and international science issues. There are reports of current interest, as well as essays written by eminent national scientists on modern technologies, the country's science policy, and the like. Regular columns on science fiction, puzzles, hobby projects, crosswords are also present.

Along with the above, I read women and current affairs magazines too, not forgetting sports ones and a defence one!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Snapshot: July 21, 2012

1990:  Bachelor in Education days.  I am the one in middle.
2012: A teacher for 20 odd years
A study in contrasts. I found the first picture while sorting through photographs. Thought I would post Then and Now...!! Click on the photos to embiggen....

Posted for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Alyce of At Home With books 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Booking through Series or Stand-alone

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Series? Or Stand-alone?

Something like this was asked twice before in BTT. I will answer it in a similar vein. I prefer stand alone novels any day . I have read the Harry Potter series and also read all the three  novels of the Millennium trilogy. These are exceptions than the rule. 

One has to read series in the proper order. And that totally puts me off. It has to be VERY good series to pique my interest. And I also don't like to wait for the next book. For stand- alone novels, you can just pick it up, with no worries.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

Roy looked at his crippled cousin with tears running down his face. "Jesus, I think I killed her."

Theodore pushed himself closer and pressed the back of his dirty hand against her face. "She is dead, all right."
~~Page 36

Title: The Devil All the Time
Author: Donald Ray Pollock
ISBN: 9780385535045
Publisher: Doubleday/2011
Pages: 304

It is one of the most compelling novels I read in recent times. The characters are weird, bizarre, almost menacing at times. Almost all of the characters are poor and very much real. It is not a commentary on religion or evil. It is about people we see around us, fanatics, over the edge, yet living a normal life.

The setting is in West Virginia and Ohio, the backroads of rural America where people are poor and down-trodden, homes are ramshackle and filthy. We get to meet Willard Russell who has served his time in the South Pacific and can't get over the brutality of war. He puts all of that behind him when he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Charlotte. Willard and Charlotte have a son, Arvin Eugene. Then we meet Carl and Sandy Henderson, married psychopaths who have a terrifying and disturbing hobby of murdering males they meet while driving around. Carl has this habit of photographing the victims before they are killed. . Two other weird characters are, a so-called preacher, Roy, and his wheelchair bound cousin and partner, Theodore. Both are running away from the law after murdering. How the life of Arvin Eugene is connected with all of this is the main highlight of the novel.

All of these lives become entangled together, which propels the story forward in a very good pace. Pollock's descriptions of the characters were so vivid that you can almost see their gestures, features and idiosyncrasies. The novel is gut-wrench at times. And the negatives and positive aspects of the characters gets blurred. The writing is too good and the characterization of a whole cast of people is finely-tuned. A mixture of religion, southern Gothic and haunting people, as well as places and the plots create a dark story. This novel is not for those who like happy endings. However, I found the ending totally apt, as I thought there can't be anything better.

Here I leave you with young Arvin's thoughts about his father, before Willard committed Suicide, after his wife's death: 

“Unless he had whiskey running through his veins, Willard came to the clearing every morning and evening to talk to God. Arvin didn't know which was worse, the drinking or the praying. As far back as he could remember, it seemed that his father had fought the Devil all the time.”

Top Ten Books For People Who Like Classics

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the BookishEach week, we get a theme to list our top tens. 

This week's Top Ten pick : Top Ten Books For People Who Like X Books. Here I am taking X=Classics.

I am listing here Contemporary Classics, for the die hard classic readers:

1. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

3. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
7. The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
8. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
9. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

I do have a LONG list!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday: Mailbox/What are you reading?/Musing

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at A Girl and Her BooksJennifer of Mrs. Q Book Addict is hosting MM for the month of July.

I received only one book, thanks to the author:

The 12th Victim by Katia Lief
The police call him the working girl killer. But no woman is safe...

The 11th victim is found only a short distance from Karin Shaeffer's house. At thecrime-scene she discovers a local prostitute stabbed to death, the knife left embedded in her body.It is the signature of the 'Working Girl Killer' - a serial killer who has terrorized New York City for the last three years. The police are clueless but when Karin's best-friend becomes the lead investigator, she finds herself drawn into the investigation as a consulting detective. Next time the killer is going to strike all too close to home.....

I finished reading: (I am on a TRASH reading spree, thanks to free Kindle offers!! I read these on the Cloud Reader....!!)

1) Twin Passions by Miriam Minger
2) Salt Bride by Lucinda Brant
3) Wild Irish by Jennifer Saints
4) Suddenly A Bride by Cynthia Thomason

I am in the midst of reading:

More TRASH!!
And The 12th Victim by Katia Lief

I plan to read:

Hopefully books other than TRASH!!

What are you currently reading? Is it any good? Would you recommend it?

I am reading The 12th Victim by Katia Lief (Read the premise above).  I would recommend it for crime fiction readers.  For others, I am going to say, try it!

Crime Fiction Alphabet: I is for Ice-Cold Hands

The Case of the Ice Cold Hands by Erle Stanley Gardner

Audrey Bicknell wants Perry Mason to collect the money for her if the horse she has betting on wins. She gives him 5 tickets. That Horse wins. It seems that it was embezzled money after the tickets are cashed by Perry Mason! It turns out that Audrey Bicknell is Norma Banks and a body is found in her hotel room. And she is found to have ice cold hands!!

Perry Mason takes on her case as he already has her money. It has the usual twists of a Perry Mason novel but it one of the funniest ones. One laughs through all of it, even in the courtroom drama!

I am posting this for Crime Fiction Alphabet as I think Perry Mason needs to be revisited. I own almost all of Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason novels. My eldest brother was a huge fan and and he gave the lot to me after he moved to a new city! 

I am participating in Crime Fiction Alphabet after so long. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Sunday Post/Sunday Salon: This and that

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Schools reopened on July 9. 2012, after two months of summer vacations. It was very busy, what with planning for new lessons and all. My reading was mostly by Kindle on PC which I could do while checking my mails, other social networking, blogging and all. What I read was mostly light reads. Not much to write home about. 

This past week, I posted the following on my blog:

Monday: Mailbox/What are you reading?/Musing
Teaser Tuesday: Cut Short by Leigh Russell
Top Ten Crime Fiction Novels read till date in 2012
Booking Through Guilty Pleasure
Saturday Snapshot: July 14, 2012

Next week, I plan to blog about: 

What am I reading?
Crime Fiction Alphabet (letter I)

Teaser Tuesday: 
Top Ten Picks

Booking Through Thursday
Throwback Thursday
From the Review Pile

Saturday Snapshot

And anything else I may think of. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Snapshot: July 14, 2012

That makes me think of my books!!!
One of my book shelves, triple stacked
Posted for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Alyce of At Home With books 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booking Through Guilty Pleasure

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What book(s) have you read that you’re secretly ashamed to admit?

Some romance novels that I downloaded free from Amazon for Kindle in PC. The titles are so racy that I am ashamed to tell anyone! Here I go:

1) Twin Passions
2) Indecent Proposal
3) Forbidden Love
4) Shameless
5) Mine Until Midnight

And such like!

I am answering CMash's question here:

Yes, I enjoyed reading those! LOL!