Friday, January 31, 2014

It Takes A Murder by Anu Kumar

"You look as if you have seen a murder, Mrs Hyde. Do sit down. I was talking to the missus about motives. That's what all detectives tell you - look for a motive. once there is a motive, things fall into place. And here, in this instance, we have one, even if...even if."

 It Takes A Murder by Anu Kumar

It Takes a Murder is set in Brooks Town, a hill-station where people know all about each other. Even about those who would rather remain anonymous. The narrator, Charlotte Hyde, speaks about events which take place 25 years after 1984, where a Prime Minister is gunned down by her own guards. Charlotte has her own secrets and haunted by it. 

When Gautam Dogra is found murdered, the police dismiss it as a simple case. Slowly, it unfolds that Dogra was responsible for the way the narrator's life shaped up and her estrangement with her daughter, Maddy. 

It is not a love story but has a strong undercurrent of love although we do not know who loves/loved Charlotte and vice versa. The narration goes in a languid pace. The sleepy town comes alive by the writing. It is lyrical at times with the prose almost poetic. The world described here is common place yet it seems so different. A classic tale of love, loss and fury told in a very evocative way. 

Cera's Place by Elizabeth McKenna

“You should have told me you were with child.”

Ever since walking through the front door of his home in Boston and seeing Martha’s swollen belly, Jake Tanner had repeated those words like the chorus of a favorite song. In that moment, he had never been so angry—or so in love—with his wife. Now, as she lay on their bed fanning herself in the early summer heat, he gave in to the urge to say it again.
Martha turned her head away and sighed. “Now what good would that have done, my love, but to give you a needless worry?”
He tugged her thick, honey blond braid until she looked at him again. “I could have gotten leave sooner, maybe even more than once.”
Title: Cera's Place
Author: Elizabeth McKenna

ISBN: 9781468110272
Publisher: CreateSpace/2011
Pages: 272

Set in the 1800, California. Cera Cassidy owns a saloon where she offers work to any woman who wants honest work. Work other than selling oneself. The women who work there have redeemed themselves. In her saloon, men are offered decent food and whiskey along with having a hand with cards and are offered nothing else. 

Cera discovers that Chinese girls are being kidnapped and sold for prostitution when a Chinese girl who has escaped burst through her saloon doors. She hides the girl who just witnessed her father being killed. Cera vows to protect that girl and take on the bigwigs involved. She has the guts but finds the local cops unhelpful as they have been bribed.

Enter Jack Tanner, an ex soldier in the civil war, who has come to Cera's Place to keep his friend's dying wish. He finds Cera irresistible. He joins her mission to protect/save the Chinese girls even without her asking. In fact, she wants him to go away but he sticks around to protect her. 

The novel reflects the history of those times. And talks of noble people, friendships, relationships. The characters are well etched and are not overshadowed. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Booking Through Multi-Tasking

Do you do other things while you read? Watch TV? Cook? Brush your teeth? Knit?

I do lot of other things while I read. 

a) I watch TV/listen to music. 

b) I grade papers.

c) I cook.

d) I clean.

e) I talk on the phone.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Displaced Persons by Ghita Schwarz

She looked at her father's wet face, skin hanging from his jawbones. He had stopped crying, he was still, but he did not bother to wipe his cheeks.

Title: Displaced Persons

Author: Ghita Schwarz
ISBN: 978-0061881909
Publisher: William Morrow/2010
Pages: 340

Displaced Person is about survivors from the holocaust. It is all about overcoming sorrow with endurance and perseverance, and finally rebirth. Pavel, Fela, and Chaim Polish Jews, survivors and ending up in refugee camps and now known as displaced persons. Three people from three different social structures yet united by a common factor, that is surviving the concentration camps. They have nothing but their ingenuity. They escape to US but the past does not go away. They have new families yet the underlying tragedy does not leave them.

The displaced persons, even after finding new countries, new jobs, new families, can never find the inner peace. Their emotional turmoil is a part of them. 

No holocaust book is an easy read. Same here with Displaced Persons. A person escapes the concentration camps but he still does not feel liberated in the refugee camps. Maybe it is the guilt of surviving, maybe something else but the conflict is very much evident. Surviving is not just about staying alive. It is about emotional healing too, which does not happen.

The cover is stark. The novel is stark. And it hits hard. I strongly recommend this novel for everyone of us. Because we must not forget the Holocaust. EVER.

Dead Water by Ann Cleeves

Dead Water by Ann Cleeves

Jimmy Perez stopped for breath and looked out to sea. A still, calm day, the light filtered through high cloud so that the water was shiny grey, like metal. On the horizon a bank of fog. In the deep pockets of the long oilskin coat that had once belonged to his grandfather were pebbles the size of eggs. They were round and smooth, and so heavy that he could feel the weight of them pulling on his shoulders. He'd collected the rocks from the beach at Ravenwick, selecting them carefully: only the roundest, the ones that were white as bone.  In the distance, a little way out from the shore, there was a stack of rock shaped like a rough cross, tilted on its side. The calm water hardly broke around it. 


A journalist Jerry Markham's body is found in a boat by the marina. As Inspector Jimmy Perez is mourning the loss of his fiancee, Detective Inspector Willow Reeves is brought in to investigate the murder.

Markham had been a Shetlander and he had left the place long time ago, leaving behind a scandal which involved young Evie Watt. She is now engaged to a seaman, John Henderson, who is much older than her.

The Procurator Fiscal Rhona Laing who found the body somehow seems to be involved. Jimmy Perez is unable to keep away from the investigations. He goes to Sullom Voe, where Markham was last seen before he was killed. 

The murky secrets come out in the open after another murder occurs. Somehow the conflict seems to be between those who wish to save the island and those who wish to open new industries. There are several undercurrents in the story line which keeps the reader totally involved.

Dead Water is fifth in the Jimmy Perez series but stands alone. The characters are well etched out and the suspense of the killer is wholly maintained till the end. It comes as a surprise to us. Cleeve's language flows very well. Her descriptions of the landscape is lyrical. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday: Mailbox/What Am I reading?/Musing

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. It has finally found a permanent  home at Mailbox Monday with the following new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree
Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit
Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach

I received the following novels, thanks to the authors/publicists:

The Intercept by Dick Wolf

Days before the July Fourth holiday and the dedication of One World Trade Center at Ground Zero, an incident aboard a commercial jet flying over the Atlantic Ocean reminds everyone that vigilance is not a task to be taken lightly. But for iconoclastic NYPD detective Jeremy Fisk, it may also be a signal that there is much more to this case than the easy answer of this being just the work of another lone terrorist.
Fisk—assigned to the department's Intelligence Division, a well-funded antiterror unit modeled on the CIA—suspects that the event might also be a warning sign that another, potentially more extraordinary scheme has been set in motion. Fluent in Arabic and the ways of his opponents, Fisk is a rule breaker who follows his gut—even if it means defying those above him in the department's food chain. So when a passenger from the same plane, a Saudi Arabian national, disappears into the crowds of Manhattan, it's up to Fisk and his partner Krina Gersten to find him before the celebrations begin.
Watching each new lead fizzle, chasing shadows to dead ends, Fisk and Gersten quickly realize that their opponents are smarter and more agile than any they have ever faced. Extremely clever and seemingly invisible, they are able to exploit any security weak-ness and anticipate Fisk's every move . . . and time is running out.
The Execution by Dick Wolf:

NYPD Detective Jeremy Fisk—introduced in Law & Order creator Dick Wolf’s New York Timesbestselling debut The Intercept—must stop an assassin in the pay of a shadowy cartel in The Execution, a tense thriller that superbly blends suspense, politics, intrigue and high-flying action in the tradition of Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, and Robert Crais.
Ten days after the Mexican presidential election, twenty-three bodies are discovered beheaded on the United States border, each marked with a carving of a Hummingbird. Detective Cecilia Garza of the Mexican intelligence agency recognizes it: it is the signature of an assassin called Chuparosa. Garza has been pursuing the killer for years, yet knows little about him, except that he’s heading to New York—with the rest of the world.
Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen

A novel singed by the flavors of Tehran, imbued with the Iranian roots of Persepolis and the culture clash of Rooftops of Tehran, this is a striking, nuanced story of a woman caught between two worlds, from the bestselling author of Harem, Courtesan, and The Last Romanov.

A Love So Deep Can Forever Scar the Soul

Such audacity she has, Soraya, a woman who dares to break free of the diamond-studded leash of her culture. A woman who refuses to accept the devastating betrayal her husband has perpetrated. A woman who refuses to forgive her best friend.

Soraya turns her back on Iran, fleeing to America to plot her intricate revenge. The Shah has fallen, her country is in turmoil, her marriage has crumbled, and she is unraveling. The cruel and intimate blow her husband has dealt her awakens an obsessive streak that explodes in the heated world of Los Angeles.

Yet the secret Soraya discovers proves far more devastating than anything she had imagined, unleashing a whirlwind of unexpected events that will leave the reader breathless.

The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Gifted with a brilliant mind that has made a deep impression on the elders of his Palestinian village, Ahmed Hamid is nevertheless tormented by his inability to save his friends and family. Living under occupation, the inhabitants of the village harbour a constant fear of losing their homes, jobs, belongings – and each other. 

On Ahmed’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes a reality. 

With his father now imprisoned, his family’s home and possessions confiscated and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ahmed embarks on a journey to liberate his loved ones from their hardship, using his prodigious intellect. In so doing, he begins to reclaim a love for others that had been lost over the course of a childhood rife with violence, and discovers new hope for the future.


Hosted by Sheila @ One Person's Journey Through a World of BooksWe discuss the books that we've read and what we're planning to read for the week. 

I finished reading the following:

15. Tahoe Trap by Todd Borg
16. The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller
17. It Takes a Murder by Anu Kumar

I posted reviews of the following novels on my blog:


Musing Mondays asks you to muse about something related to reading/books each week…

Many of my friends ask me how do I finish so many novels?
My reply to them: 

1) I read at a very fast pace.  
2) I carry a book everywhere
3) I do not watch much of TV
4) I make time for reading
5) I have also started reading e-books on my laptop as I do not own an e-reader till date
6) For me reading is not a chore but a pleasurable activity

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Sunday Post/Sunday Salon: Venting and all.......

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.

This year the winter has been too long and too severe. We do not have central heating and in schools, half the windows are broken. The girls shiver in their thin uniforms. We feel for them but who is listening? Who really cares about infrastructure?

To top it, they have increased the working hours of teachers by more than two hours. Now our working time is 45 hours a week. Previously it was 33 hours. Our routine has gone haywire. The school timings for the students remains same, from 7: 30 AM to 12: 45 PM but for teachers it is 7:15 AM to 2:45 PM in winter. Summer timings are 7:00 AM to 12:30 AM for students and 6:45 AM to 2:15 PM for teachers. We are all sad and depressed. 

I don't know if it will affect my reading or not. But our schedule will have to be changed drastically. When do I have my breakfast and lunch? And where is the time to prepare it? What to do, what to do? At least I am single. What about those who have small kids and no support system?

I downloaded the following books for free:


I posted the following on my blog:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Snapshot: 25 Jan 2014

We celebrated our Republic Day in school today.

Student Anchors

Flag Hoisting

Students watching the cultural programme

Teachers doing the same

Posting for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

The rocks glow red above the sea, embers of the day’s heat below our balcony at the Hotel Marie.

Down here, on the southern rim of the country, out of the mistral’s slipstream, the evening drops like viscous liquid: slow and heavy and silent. When we first arrived, the stifling sultriness made sleep impossible; night closed in like the lid of a tomb.
Now, in the few hours I do sleep, I dream of all we have left behind: the hamlet on the hill and the whispering trees. Then, with a start, I'm awake again, remembering.
Until it happens to you, you don’t know how it will feel to stay with a man who has done a terrible thing. Not to know whether the worst has happened or is yet to come; wanting so badly to trust him now.


Title: The Lantern
Author: Deborah Lawrenson
ISBN: 9780062049698
Publisher: Orion Books/2011
Pages: 341

Some might feel the prose as overwritten but I felt that the rich and detailed prose totally sets the mood of the novel. Lush it is, lyrical it is not. And after a few pages, it draws us in. 

The narrator has fallen in love with Dom, who composes musician. He seems to be rich. Dom calls her Eve. Soon after they both move to Provence, Les Genévriers. It seems to be falling apart yet Eve loves the house. She can feel someone being always present in that house.
Dom is not comfortable taking about his first wife, Rachel. But Sabine, a local woman, wants Eve to talk about Rachel with Dom. She has her own reasons. Somehow the stay in Les Genévriers does not seem conducive for both but they are reluctant to acknowledge that fact. Then three local girls go missing. And two bodies are found in the grounds of Les Genévriers while landscaping for a garden. Who bodies are those?

A parallel story is about Bénédicte Lincel, who had lived all her life in that house. She is the other narrator, an old woman, and she sees ghosts in the form of her evil brother Pierre and older sister Marthe, a blind perfumer, who had disappeared from her life abruptly. The blindness is symbolic too, in a way. The Lincel family is blind to the faults of the sadist Pierre. 

The novel goes forward by alternate narration by Eve and Bénédicte Lincel. Both the story lines seem unconnected but it all unravels in the end. The Lantern has some supernatural elements, just right for my taste. There are many flaws but it is what makes the novel interesting. It has the right amount of Gothic element.

In many review, I read that, The Lantern gives us a strong feeling about being similar to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I did not think so. Rachel is nothing like Rebecca. And the only similarity is that in both novels, the narrators are unnamed. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Where's My Son? by John C. Dalglish

TitleWhere's My Son?
AuthorJohn C. Dalglish
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 526 KB
Print Length: 156 pages

Michael Barton's son goes missing from home and his wife is still sleeping unaware of the deed. He calls the police. Detective Jason Strong tries his best to find the infant and there is no trace. A few years later, tragedy strikes the Bartons again and Michael promises that he will find his son, no matter what.

The kidnappers have plotted and his son is "adopted" by a family who had lost their new born. They are not aware that the paper work is all forged. They love the boy and they also have a natural born son. Both the boys are very close.

In the second half, Michael goes on a rampage to find the boy and Jason has to stop him. It becomes dark and bleak. It was very tight, fast paced and has suspense. Michael's anger is justifiable but the book was too short to show the build up of his rage and anger. I couldn't put down the novella but I did not like the way Michael's character turned up. I didn't like the way he turns to be a murderer so easily. I also found it unbelievable that he is able to trace the kidnappers so easily where the police had failed. 

Baby, It's Cold Outside by Genevieve Jourdin

Carter, you’re freaking me out. Don’t tell me you love me. That’s just weird. Why were you at my house last night?” Something was very wrong here. She was looking at me like I was the one acting crazy.

Justine, what are you talking about? Of course I know you, of course I love you. We live together.” I picked up her hand to give it a reassuring squeeze but before I could she jerked it away.

~~Page 12, Baby, It's Cold Outside by Genevieve Jourdin

Justine has an accident and she forgets two previous years of her life. Carter is frantic as she does not remember living with him. She knows him though. His sister is her best friend. At that time she did not even like him. She is older to him and that seems to bother her.

Carter does not know what to do. They were going to be engaged and she does not remember a thing! Slowly with his patience and love, she start remembering the past. It is narrative from the male point of view. Some might find the couple cute but it did nothing for me. And I found it quite mundane too, at some places. It is one time read and one can safely forget it after reading. I downloaded it for free. I am not going to buy anything by this author.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Poetry books read/to be read from 2007 onwards

I am trying to keep a record of the poetry books I have read since 2007. I have read lot more than what I have listed here but did not keep a record, either by listing or reviewing. Now I deeply regret that. I read a lot of poems, not necessarily poetry books. I am doing this for myself. 

To be read in 2014

1) Lost Alphabet by Lisa Olstein
2) Robert Lowell: Selected Poems
3) At the Threshold of Alchemy by John Amen
4) Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man by Harry E. Gilleland, Jr.
5) An Introduction to Haiku by Harold Henderson
6) Clamor by Elyse  Fenton
7) Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
The Essential Keats: Selected by Philip Levine
9) Damnatio Memoriae by Michael Meyerhofer
10) Hurrah's Nest by Arisa White
11) The Virgin Journals by Travis Laurence Naught

12) Why Photographers Commit Suicide by Mary McCray
13) Our Held Animal Breath by Kathryn Kirkpatrick
14) Controlled Hallucinations by John Sibley Williams



Real Courage by Michael Meyerhofer




Taste of Cherry by Kara Candito


Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg**
Judah's Lion by Anne Caston**
A House of Bottles by Robin Merril
Magdalene & the Mermaids by Elizabeth Kate Switaj (poetry)
Mainline to the Heart and Other Poems by Clive Matson (Poetry)*
A Climb Through Altered Lanscaped by Ian Parks (Poetry)*


Ariel by Sylvia Plath**
Quiver---Poems and Ghazals by Javed Akhtar
Tangled in Wisteria by J. Andrew Lockhart*
The Sounds of Poetry--A Brief Guide by Robert Pinsky*


A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Doctor's Secret Bride by Anna E. Ross

She placed a finger in the space between her nostrils and pulled her nose upward. When she saw the slight hint of a smile flash across Precious’ face, she knew it was over. She rolled her eyes back into their sockets until only the whites were visible, pursed her lips, and began making slurping noises like a pig at the trough.

“Hee, hee, hee, hee.... You’re silly.”

“And you’re precious. C’mere.”

~~~The Doctor's Secret Bride by Anna E. Ross

Dr. Erik LaCrosse needs a nanny for his daughter, Precious. When Michelle Carter arrives at his doorstep for the job, he has misgivings about her. She is too young and beautiful to be a nanny. But Michelle Carter has other ideas. She wins over his daughter in no time.

Erik is attracted towards Michelle and soon they marry each other secretly. Erik's first wife had died in an accident and Michelle seems to hold a key to that. When Erik learns of her secret, he cannot bear to be with her. Michelle leaves him easily enough as no one is aware of their secret wedding. 

Michelle might be homeless and penniless but she devotes all her free time to be with underprivileged children. She and her brother turned out good despite having an abusive father. She lost her job and he stole all her money too. Her father is the cause of all her troubles.

I found Erik arrogant and self-centred. I finished the novel because of Michelle. She is strong, good and knows how to help others. I think she ought to have made Erik grovel at her feet. She gave in too easily!!

Something About Her by Jeannie Ruesch

Rosemead Manor, Gloucestershire, England

Sunday, 12 February 1815
Anything but this veil of nothingness.
“Was he traveling alone?”  She knew the answer, or at least she suspected it.
“He had a woman with him.”
Pain sliced through the numbness. Of course he did.
Sheets of rain poured down outside and pelted the window with fat droplets.  She stared at a rivulet of water as it slid down the glass.  It seemed fitting somehow that the skies would rage today.
“When did he die?” 
“Six months ago, in a carriage accident. She…the woman, I mean, survived.”
Blythe’s husband was dead, but his mistress was alive.  Was that supposed to be comforting?
Blythe Willoughby Ashton is deserted by her husband, Thomas Ashton, as soon they got married. He had professed love to her while wooing her. A year later, she finds herself a widow with no money. Her husband had stolen that too from Blythe. When her brother, mother and sisters want her to go with them to London, she refuses.
Michael Ashton, the Duke of Ravensdale, has always been in the midst of one scandal or the other. This time, he finds himself in a soup. A woman in London, claims he had compromised her and then he finds out his cousin, now presumed dead, has taken large amounts of his money. He discovers that Thomas was married and now he must find his cousin's wife to find Thomas's whereabouts, who he believes is still alive.
 Michael is a widower with a seven year old daughter Bethie. She is a difficult child and her governess has left because of her antics. At the last moment, he is unable to find a replacement and arrives at Rosemead Manor, Gloucestershire, with her and as usual she runs away to hide somewhere. While trying to find her, he encounters Blythe and thinks of her as a servant!
Sparks fly but neither is prepared to give in. Both have pasts, secrets and are scarred. Just when you think, now the story eases, there is twist. A totally unpredictable novel. This is a romance novel, we know right from the beginning that it will have a happy ending. Yet, the story line is so good, that we cannot predict what is going to happen next. I liked the secondary characters too. And Bethie is so endearing.