Saturday, June 29, 2013

Restless by William Boyd

Synopsis (from : 

 “I am Eva Delectorskaya,” Sally Gilmartin announces, and so on a warm summer afternoon in 1976 her daughter, Ruth, learns that everything she ever knew about her mother was a carefully constructed lie. Sally Gilmartin is a respectable English widow living in picturesque Cotswold village; Eva Delectorskaya was a rigorously trained World War II spy, a woman who carried fake passports and retreated to secret safe houses, a woman taught to lie and deceive, and above all, to never trust anyone.

Three decades later the secrets of Sally’s past still haunt her. Someone is trying to kill her and at last she has decided to trust Ruth with her story. Ruth, meanwhile, is struggling to make sense of her own life as a young single mother with an unfinished graduate degree and escalating dependence on alcohol. She is drawn deeper and deeper into the astonishing events of her mother’s past—the mysterious death of Eva’s beloved brother, her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward American involvement in the war, her dangerous romantic entanglement. Now Sally wants to find the man who recruited her for the secret service, and she needs Ruth’s help

This is not your ordinary espionage book.  It's rather unique as it's from both the perspective of the spy concerned (Eva or Eve or Sally) and her daughter, Ruth.

We get to know the young Eva from the manuscript she wrote for Ruth about her life as a spy prior to the second world war.  We learned how she was recruited and trained and the assignments she went on, the people she met and work with.  We also get to know the older Eva or Sally as she was then known from her interaction with Ruth and we can see the communication gap between mother and daughter being narrowed as Ruth gets to know more about her mum and being caught in mum's espionage web.

So this is more than just an espionage book. It's about the relationship between mother and daughter, it's about life during the 30s and 40s, the thrill and danger of being a spy and life now as it is for Ruth which is so mellow compared to what her mother went through.  But then, Ruth does live in a less turbulent time.

The author also explores how someone like Eva or Sally who has fallen out of the espionage game officially but never really leaves that life.  Are there real life Eva or Sally out there?  I am sure there are but that's my assumption.

Overall, it is a rather enjoyable book. Very refreshing. I also like the way the author writes.  But then William Boyd is a Bookers prizewinning novelist with lots of titles behind his name.  

Restless has also been adapted into a TV series in year 2012.  I would love to watch it :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

'Durian Runtuh 'aka Windfall

No, the title post is not a title of a book.  There might be a book with that title? Me not sure.  However, in this context, it actually means a windfall that I experienced recently.  Something unexpected and something welcomed.

A family friend who's migrating back to her home country gave us her family's collection of novels!  When I received the call to ask if I would be interested to inherit the collection, there are no words to describe how I was feeling.  I couldn't wait to say yes!

All in all there are three boxes with more to come. I haven't really have a chance to sort through but I do see lots of titles that I was familiar with and would love to read.  There are other titles that I wasn't so familiar with which I don't mind exploring.

There are some books for the princess too with a couple of Enid Blyton and a few titles by Jean Ure and also Roald Dahl.  There are some recipe books that I will give to my mum to look through first.  There's also a boxset of Narnia which is such a gem to me.  There's the whole set of Twilight Series too but I already have 3 of the books so one of them would join my own collection.

There's also lots of fantasy books by author such as Terry Brooks, Paulo Coelho and Jan Guillou which is not something that I read.

I haven't count them but I would say there are round about 100 books in all....omg...I am hyperventilating!!

I can't wait to get started.  Thank you so much, S and R and to your kids too.  All the best and good luck to your family.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

 Synopsis :
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.  The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading 'soul who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human; the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories.  But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect : the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding.  Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met.  As outsider forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring what may be the first love  triangle involving only two bodies, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.

I have been yearning for The Host for quite a few years.  Ever since I first read Twilight (way before the movie and the craze), I knew Stephenie Meyer has something unique to offer.  Finally, my wish came true when I managed to get a second hand copy of the trade paperbag edition at a flea market.

I read it over the long holiday weekend and you can say that the book was never far from my hands during those few days.  Finally after more than 600+ pages, I came away feeling very happy indeed.  I love the plot, the storyline, the characters and basically just everything about it is rather fresh and unique.

I don't care what others might say about character development, etc. I enjoy the book for what it is, something fresh and different.

Stephenie is a rather unique writer and she was able to bring forth Wanda (aka Wanderer) into such a character that I was really rooting for her all the way through the book.

As you might already have known, there is a movie that is based on this book.  I haven't watch the movie yet.  I would highly recommend that you read the book first as I'm not sure if the movie will be able to capture the essence of what the story has to offer.  Sometimes, they do, sometimes they don't.

And I love the ending too especially when they met......(for you to find out on the very last page! :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Now reading - Heat Rises by Richard Castle

Reading Heat Rises is like watching an episode of Castle.  I quite like the series but I can't say I like the book as yet.  I'm currently only in Chapter 2 so I do have a lot more to cover.

However, since the Castle series is still pretty fresh in my mind, I think I would put this on hold for a while until another time when it's not.

So, back to the shelf it goes.