Thursday, May 28, 2015

The end of your life book club by Will Schwalbe

Synopsis :

Which books would be on your book club wish list?

Join Will and his mother Mary Anne in a very special two-member book club, as they read life-changing books from Suite Francaise, Brooklyn an dThe Elegance of the Hedgebog to discoveries like Crosing to Safety and People of the Book.  As Mary Anne's life comes to a close their exploration of books brings them even closer together.

A profoundly moving testament to a life lived to the fullest and the power and comfort of reading in our lives.

What are you reading now?

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book.  I wasn't really keen to read it but it kinda put itself right in my face and forced me to take a second look.  I thought I just give it a chance since I was between read at that point of time.

After I read the end of your life book club, I went to google Will Schwalbe and when it came to the google tools options, I choose image.  And it was there that I saw the photo of Mary Ann Schwalbe, Will's mum. She had such a beautiful serene smile and everything that Will describe about her in the book became so real.

Some review claimed that Will Schwalbe used his influence and connection in the publishing world to publish this book.  I really dont really care how he published this book just that I am quite glad he did.  The End Of Your Life Book Club is a tribute to his mother and a sharing of their common interest of books.

The book is basically a review of books they read and it's unique to me as there are books they talked about that are books I have read myself.  Even so, readers get to know about the kind of person Mary Ann was and she was someone quite worth knowing.  

There are many quotes I can quote from the book but I guess I would have to read it again in order to do so and reading it again is something I won't mind doing.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Just a Family Affair by Veronica Henry

Synopsis :

The Liddiard family are well known in the Gloucestershire village of Honeycote - and now there is to be a big wedding.  But will everything go according to plan?  Lucy Liddiard knows her husband is no saint, but isn't prepared for his latest confession.

Bride-to-be Mandy has no idea what joining the Liddiards really means.  And local girl Mayday, wild child, rebel and free spirit, is thinking the unthinkable - with unimaginable consequences.

Just a Family Affair is a glorious, all-consuming story about finding out the truth, finding a husband, or perhaps just finding yourself.

The only way I can think of to describe this book is that it's a rather modern version of Downton Abbey but with a bit less sizz.

Set in a small English village, Just a Family Affair focused on the Liddiard family with Lucy Liddiard being the mother and a rather saintly one, father Mickey being the devilish rascal who is rather good at letting others take the rap for his mistakes.  Then you have the rather serious son, Patrick who covers for his dad about to marry sweet girl next door who is without much personality Mandy.  However, wild girl, Mandy who is rather chummy with Patrick who has all the great personality might be trying to stir things up or maybe she's not?

And then there's Kay who is suddenly a widow and now returning to Honeycote village to claim what's right for her beloved daughter and not forgetting father of the bride, Keith who is having secrets of his own just as much as mother of the bide, Sarah, who is being rather unfair in her attempt to win back Keith?

Is that not 'Downton Abbey-ish' enough for you?

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Plan by Stephen J. Cannell

Synopsis :

The selling of the president is an assignment that could salvage TV producer Ryan Bolt's damaged life and career, But Bolt doesn't know whom he truly serves. And by the time he finds out, it may be already too late...for one nation under siege.

The title isn't very imaginative. Neither is the cover but that's call you can say about this novel because the story and plot is imaginative enough for it to be a captivating and an engrossing read.

While the focus is on Ryan Bolt, the storyline wasn't about him but more about the system and how it's being manipulated and probably how easy it is to manipulate it when there's the right person placed at the right place with the right price.

If you are a fan of thriller with a side dish of politics, you would probably find this book engrossing and entertaining.  Others might find it an airport read but even so what's wrong with that if that's all you need?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Immigrant by Manju Kapur

Synopsis :

Nina is a thirty year old English lecturer in Delhi, living with her widowed mother.  When an arranged marriage is proposed with Ananda, a family acquaintance living in Canada, Nina is uncertain : can she really give up her home and career to build a new life in Canada with a husband she barely knows?

The consequences of her marriage are far greater than she ever could have imagined.  From what she eats to what she wears, Nina's whole world is thrown into question.  As certain truths unfold about Ananda and their relationship, she realises that establishing a new life will cost more than she expected - and that some things can  never be left behind.

Here we go again, anther Asian related book which, at times, I really want to stay far away from.  Nothing really wrong with them but they just tends to be fixated on the theme of family, being filial and for even grown up kids to be still under the thumb of their family.

The Immigrant does have such elements but wasn't really fixated on these elements such was it's saving grace.  Even then, it wasn't really that much of a saving grace as the characters where not appealing and rather self centered in my opinion.

Nina and Ananda went through what was termed an arrange marriage. The author must be using this term rather loosely as from what I know, the marriage wasn't really arranged the traditional way such Indian marriages are arranged normally.

Nina and Ananda have opportunity to date and correspond with each other and for some reason, I think they just go ahead with it because there's no one else for them. For Nina, she just wants to please her widowed mother and worried that she would end up being unmarried since her age is considered not young in her society.  For Ananda, he just wanted a wife from his home country, to fulfill what's expected from him.

I can't say things work out well for them but then if all is well, we would not have this book to read now, would we?  I read The Immigrant while on work travel recently and I can say it fulfilled my expectation of it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Kaitlyn by Kevin Lewis

Synopsis :

Though the two-year-old survives the brutal attack by his drunken father, his older sister Kaitlyn is convinced it's all her fault.  Christopher is taken into care and never returns to the family home on the notorious Roxford estate in South London.  But the bond between the siblings remains strong, and as Kaitlyn gets older she dreams of a new life away from the violence of the estate and her mother's dangerous addictions.  But most of all, she dreams of being reunited with her little brother.

Will Kaitlyn's dreams ever come true? and if they do, could they turn into a nightmare?

I nearly missed out on reading this book as I have put it out for sale at the recent flea market.  While there, I kinda took it off the market as I thought it might be interesting and surprising and luckily, it was not too bad.

Kaitlyn, as the title goes, is about this girl who grew up in the wrong side of town.  Having lost her brother to the system due to their father's drunken attack, she went on to loss her mother to drugs. She tried to make a difference in her life but didn't do very well in her attempt and subsequently she lost herself to money and power but throughout it all, she never lost her desire to find her little brother.

While Kaitlyn, the character is far from being a role model, she does score some points her her determination and her strong character.  In the end, she turned out to be rather cold and conniving attitude and I wasn't really cheering for her in the end.

Christopher turned out different and to me his character wasn't really well developed and I find him quite shallow.

Overall, it wasn't really that great a book but it wasn't that bad either.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg

Synopsis :

Along with Neighbor Dorothy, the lady with the smile in her voice, whose daily radio broadcasts keep us delightfully informed on all the local news, we also meet Bobby, her ten-year-old son, destined to live a thousand lives, most of them in his imagination; Norma and Macky Warren and their ninety-eight-year-old Aunt Elner; the oddly sexy and charismatic Hamm Sparks and the two women who love him as differently as night and day. Then there is Tot Whooten; Beatrice Woods, the Little Blind Songbird; Cecil Figgs, the Funeral King; and the fabulous Minnie Oatman.

The time is 1946 until the present. The town is Elmwood Springs, Missouri, right in the middle of the country, in the midst of the mostly joyous transition from war to peace, aiming toward a dizzyingly bright future.

I am actually taken by surprised by Standing in the Rainbow.  I thought it would be boring as it's story focused on places and people in small town America where nothing really happens (well, that's what I got from other books and other movies).

How right and how wrong I was!  Yes, it is a book about a community in a small town and the book started while at a time where life were much slower and just plain straight forward and uncomplicated.  It is an era when everyone knows everyone and cares for each other and excitement came from something as simple as a radio show.

I was wrong in that the book was such a sweet and enjoyable read as I get to know Neighbour Dorothy and her family and the rest of the town folks.  The story ran from the 40s to current era and the author is rather talented in her casual way of writing but yet captivating.

I would never have recommended this to you just by the synopsis alone  but having read it, I do recommend this if you want something different from thriller, chic lite, mystery and just want something that you can feel comfortable while ready and feel good after.