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Showing posts from April, 2011

[Review] The Eight by Katherine Neville

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Title: The Eight(This link goes to Amazon) Author: Katherine Neville Series: Montglane Service #1 Page: 598 pages Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction
Subject: Chess Sets, Puzzles First Published: 1988
New York City, 1972—A dabbler in mathematics and chess, Catherine Velis is also a computer expert for a Big Eight accounting firm. Before heading off to a new assignment in Algeria, Cat has her palm read by a fortune-teller. The woman warns Cat of danger. Then an antiques dealer approaches Cat with a mysterious offer: He has an anonymous client who is trying to collect the pieces of an ancient chess service, purported to be in Algeria. If Cat can bring the pieces back, there will be a generous reward.
The South of France, 1790—Mireille de Remy and her cousin Valentine are young novices at the fortress like Montglane Abbey. With France aflame in revolution, the two girls burn to rebel against constricted convent life—and their means of escape is at hand. Buried deep within the abbey are …

[Review] The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff

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Title: The Kommandant's Girl(This link goes to Amazon) Author: Pam Jenoff Page: 395 pages Genre: Historical Fiction
Subject: World War II (1939 - 1945), Jewish Resistance - Poland, Krakow (Poland), Nazis First Published: 2007


Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma's husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city's decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob's Catholic cousin, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.
Emma's already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety—and her marriage vows—in o…

[Review] The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates

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Title: The Gravedigger's Daughter: A Novel(This link goes to Amazon) Author: Joyce Carol Oates Page: 582 pages Genre: Literary Fiction
Subject: Families, New York (State), Psychological Fiction First Published: 2007


Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1936, the Schwarts immigrate to a small town in upstate New York. Here the father – a former high school teacher – is demeaned by the only job he can get: gravedigger and cemetery caretaker. When local prejudice and the family’s own emotional frailty give rise to an unthinkable tragedy, the gravedigger’s daughter, Rebecca, heads out into America. Embarking upon an extraordinary odyssey of erotic risk and ingenious self-invention, she seeks renewal, redemption, and peace – on the road to a bittersweet and distinctly “American” triumph.
- Synopsis from book cover
Well, not really a review because I did not finish it.
Joyce Carol Oates is a big name in the American literary world, imagine my guilt for not being able to enjoy this book.
I got to about page …

[Teaser Tuesdays] The Eight by Katherine Neville

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: * Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
* Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
I am currently reading The Eightby Katherine Neville:

"Are you trying to say you think we're a couple of pawns that somebody's trying to get out of the way?" I found the idea strange but interesting.
"Nope," said Lily, getting out of the car and tossing her bag over her shoulder. "I'm trying to say it's time for us to join forces."Until we find what game it is we're playing."
We shook hands on it.
- Page 98 I sense great adventures ahead =)

[Review] A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

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Title: A Secret Kept(This link goes to Amazon) Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Page: 371 pages Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Subject: Family Secrets, Brothers and Sisters, Noirmoutier Island (France), Psychological Fiction First Published: 2010


Antoine thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.
Alone, waiting for news of Mélanie, Antoine reflects on his life: his wife has left him, his teenage children are strangers to him, his job bores him, and his father is an ageing tyrant who still poisons every aspect of his life. How did …

[Review] Strangers on the 16:02 by Priya Basil

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Title: Strangers on the 16:02(This link goes to Amazon) Author: Priya Basil Page: 107 pages Genre: Short Stories
Subject: Love Stories, Railroad Travel First Published: 2011


It’s a hot, crowded train. Helen Summer is on her way to see her sister Jill to tell her an awful secret. Another passenger, Kerm, is on his way back from his grandfather’s funeral. They are strangers, jammed against each other in a crowded carriage. Noisy school kids fill the train – and three of them are about to cause a whole heap of trouble. In the chaos, Helen and Kerm are thrown together in a way they never expected.
- Synopsis from back cover
I discovered Quick Reads while on a book-buying spree last weekend and although it wasn’t really my thing, I can’t resist buying a few because it’s cheap =) I could save these books for busy days when I surely would be needing a light – and quick – read.
I don’t think I can write an elaborate review about a book so short – I might just give the story away! The title appealed …

[Review] Atonement by Ian McEwan

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Title: Atonement: A Novel(This link goes to Amazon) Author: Ian McEwan Page: 384 pages Genre: Historical Fiction
Subject: Sisters, England, Guilt, Psychological Fiction First Published: 2001


We meet 13-year-old Briony Tallis in the summer of 1935, as she attempts to stage a production of her new drama The Trials of Arabella to welcome home her elder, idolised brother Leon. But she soon discovers that her cousins, the glamorous Lola and the twin boys Jackson and Pierrot, aren't up to the task, and directorial ambitions are abandoned as more interesting preoccupations come onto the scene. The charlady's son Robbie Turner appears to be forcing Briony's sister Cecilia to strip in the Fountain and sends her obscene letters; Leon has brought home a dim chocolate magnate keen for a war to promote his new "Army Amo" bar; and upstairs Briony's migraine-stricken mother Emily keeps tabs on the house from her bed. Soon, secrets emerge that change the lives of everyone present…

Mailbox Monday [4]

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Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia @ A Girl and Her Books, and hosted by Amy @ Passages to the Past for the month of April.
Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it. Those who do not do it think of it as a cousin of stamp collecting, a sister of the trophy cabinet, bastard of a sound bank account and a weak mind. 
- Jeanette Winterson
I went on a book-buying splurge last weekend and here’s what I got:



The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates
The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
The Little Book by Selden Edwards
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell

And I discovered these Quick Reads which I can’t resist buying. They are a little over a hundr…

[Review] Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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Title: Still Alice (This link goes to Amazon) Author: Lisa Genova Page: 336 pages Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Subject: Alzheimer's Disease - Patient First Published: 2007



Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life – and her relationship with her family and the world – forever. At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of the life with early onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Ordinary People.
- Synopsis from book cover
There was a big hype surrounding this book some time ago but I guess I missed the boat. Nevertheless I am glad that I had the opportunity to finally read this book. Looking back, I cannot remember when …

[Review] Interlock by Abdullah Hussain

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Title: Interlock, originally in Malay: Interlok Author: Abdullah Hussain, translated by: Azizah Hamzah & Hashim Yaacob Page: 406 pages Genre: Historical Fiction
Subject: Malaysia, British Colonization, Malaysian Ethnics, Social Division First Published: 1971

Interlock covers the period from the early 20th century to Malaya’s independence from British rule. The main theme in this novel is the integration of the various majority races of Malaya and how the Malays, Chinese and Indians, represented by three families, have contributed towards this sovereign nation.
- Synopsis from book cover
Interlock tells a story about three families from three major races in Malaya; the Malay, the Chinese and the Indian during the British colonialism around the early 1900s. During that time, they live among their own races and have their own perceptions towards each other. The Malays are seen as stupid, backward and lazy. The Chinese are good in business but materialistic and deceitful.
There was …

Theme Thursday [5]-Beauty

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Theme Thursdays, created by Kavyen @ Reading Between Pages is a fun weekly event that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:
A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s) Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate” This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

My participation this week is from The Atonement by Ian McEwan:


Their sister, who sat between them, with left leg balanced on right knee, was, by contrast, perfectly composed, having liberally applied perfume and changed into a gree…

[Review] A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore

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Title: A Place of Secrets: A Novel(This link goes to Amazon) Author: Rachel Hore
Page: 456 pages Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Subject: Auctioneers, Antiques Evaluation, Norfolk (England), Love Stories, Family Secrets, Architecture First Published: 2010



The night before it all begins, Jude has the dream again... Can dreams be passed down through families? As a child Jude suffered a recurrent nightmare: running through a dark forest, crying for her mother. Now her six-year-old niece, Summer, is having the same dream, and Jude is frightened for her.
A successful auctioneer, Jude is struggling to come to terms with the death of her husband. When she's asked to value a collection of scientific instruments and manuscripts belonging to Anthony Wickham, a lonely 18th-century astronomer, she leaps at the chance to escape London for the untamed beauty of Norfolk, where she grew up.
As Jude untangles Wickham's tragic story, she discovers threatening links to the prese…