Friday, 20 September 2013

P.S. I Love You - Cecilia Ahern

A novel about holding on, letting go, and learning to love again. Holly couldn't live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other's sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.
The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!


Cecelia Ahern

A good book for a weekend. Apart from the frequent repetitions, the book is worth a read. The author, Cecelia Ahern, with his debut novel has did a wonderful job. She even managed to bring tears in a few places. Holly Kennedy is grieving about her husband's death and the way she gets over that and starts a new life is beautifully portrayed. Gerry's list is a touching thing and it manages to make Holly strong and brave after his death. Her friends, Sharon,John and Denise play an important role in her life and one aches for such great friends..The book is more of a 'how to get over the loss of your loved one' than a love story but still I enjoyed it..

First of all, I loved the narration. The book opens to Holly grieving the loss of her husband, her well-wisher, her lover, her everything - Gerry. She finds it really difficult to move on after her terrible loss and is constantly reminded of the beautiful and happy life they once lived. She cannot concentrate on work, cannot concentrate on her household chores or anything. Wherever she turns, she sees Gerry. I loved the cute fights between Gerry and Holly - the usual small fights between couples. I felt the author could have given us more of Gerry. That is why I say this book is more of a 'how to get over the loss of your loved one' story than a romantic story. 
Holly finds a letter from her late husband that he probably should have written minutes before his death. The letter is touching, where Gerry consoles Holly and asks her not to cry too much over his loss and move on. It is later revealed that Gerry once playfully remarked Holly about writing notes to her, inorder that she doesn't forget what she has to do everyday. Gerry takes this seriously and has written 12 letters for her, each to be opened on the first day of the month. Holly is really moved, and sees her husband and feels him through his letters. Eventually, she has something to live for - his letters. She opens the letters as she was told, and follows her husband's instructions to the letter. How Gerry manages to make Holly move on with her life without him forms the rest of the story.
This one is a good book, a light read, and you'll never need a dictionary to assist you. The language is easy to follow and so are the characters. The ordeals through which Holly puts herself into, for the sake of Gerry, are a treat to watch and the book is generously sprinkled with some good humour, that will make you laugh till your stomach hurts. One moment you find yourself laughing with Holly, and the next moment, you start crying for her. Such is the mix of raw emotions in the story, that you could hardly settle into one particular feeling for Holly. Life, its loss, its gain, its joys, its sorrows are what it interesting and worthwhile.

And one small advice, never see the movie before reading the book. 
 The movie  has changed so much of the book that you will find  it difficult to settle into the book as an independent, standalone work. And finally, a word about the author. While her style can be at times repetitive and her delivery is occasionally amateurish, Ahern deserves credit for a spirited first effort. 
A very good book for a peaceful weekend!
Rating: 3.7/5

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Deception Point - Dan Brown

A shocking scientific discovery. A conspiracy of staggering brilliance. A thriller unlike any you've ever read....

When a NASA satellite discovers an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory -- a victory with profound implications for NASA policy and the impending presidential election. To verify the authenticity of the find, the White House calls upon the skills of intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic scholar Michael Tolland, Rachel travels to the Arctic and uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery -- a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy. But before she can warn the president, Rachel and Michael are ambushed by a team of assassins. Fleeing for their lives across a desolate and lethal landscape, their only hope for survival is to discover who is behind this masterful plot. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.


Dan Brown

My first Dan Brown book(though I have seen Angels and Demons movie) and I was thoroughly entertained.  Seeing all the negative reviews in Goodreads, I initially hesitated to pick up this book. But I had no other choice one weekend as I had run out of books. Yes, the author was a bit over-stretching the plot with action-fillers but other than that, the book is a master-piece. I really had no idea who was involved behind the deception, and the final twist, revealing the person behind the deception took me by complete surprise. The characters were very well portrayed. The events revealed at breakneck pace and I could hardly keep up with the author. The pages seemed to fly by and I was actually seeing a movie, vividly seeing every event before my eyes! Such was the effect of Dan brown's narration. 

To begin with, I loved the setup. USA Presidential elections coming up, two candidates striving for the hot seat, NASA's constant and miserable failures in space exploration, the sudden and astounding discovery that will no doubt be a huge milestone in space science if proved - what more can you ask for? Rachel Sexton works for the National Reconnaissance Office as an intelligence officer. She is also the daughter of a Senator currently running for President. Her father's main offensive, and a very popular one, against the incumbent President is to attack the huge amount of NASA funding. Rachel is barely on speaking terms with her father, believing him to be totally corrupt. In such a situation, the President calls Rachel and assigns her a work which she is almost forced to take over. And the work, if done successfully, will only mean doom for her father. Though she is caught in a dilemma, she gracefully does her job.

 She along with another scientist, Michael Tolland discover some shocking truths that are not meant to be discovered. Soon they are attacked by an unknown enemy, who is behind all these, and both are on the run. The chase is built into a crescendo and the author here does a fantastic job of never letting the [ace die. You  could hardly put down the book even for a second. They run, run and keep running discovering more and more shocking realities on the way. And watch out for the climax! Though I must say it was a bit filmy, it was no doubt fantastic. The final twist, the real culprit and his justification were all believable and it was like seeing an action packed Will Smith movie.

I especially loved the President character - Zach Herney. He was honest, good looking, charming and at the same time, so sure of himself. While his foe - Senator Sedgwick Sexton was willing to get his hands dirty, Zach wanted to win it straight. I also loved the final scene when Zach apologizes to the people for his mistake and that is when he looks more of a President. His elation at such an astonishing discovery, his anger when he comes to know that he was cheated, his disappointment, and his determination to educate the people with the truth are all characters of a true gentleman. He is one character who will stay in your mind even after you start reading your next book.

Overall, a very good read for thrill and action lovers. Don't miss it!


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Abel Rosnovski - A Character Analysis

Abel Rosnovski(Kane and Abel) A Character Analysis

               If you have, by any chance, read Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer, you would have surely come across a character by name Abel Rosnovski. Afterall he is one of the two protagonists in the story and its highly impossible that you miss him. Having said that, this character was a completely different one from other characters that Jeffrey Archer normally creates.
Abel Rosnovski, formerly called Wladek, is born in a rural part of Poland, and is immediately abandoned by his mother. He is then adopted by a passer-by, and his new motehr already has 3 children of her own. The father finds it hard to feed everyone, and most days, they live on one meal. He is sent to learn along with the Baron's child, as the Baron's child feels lonely. That is when Poland comes under attack, and Wladek loses both his friend and his sister in various situations. He is then imprisoned in the Baron's castle along with the Baron. The Baron grows old and dies. Everyone loses hope of an escape, but not Wladek. How he escapes from the dungeon, how he gets to safety and how he becomes one of the richest and most powerful persons are all a treat to read.
            Its hard to tell if he is a good or bad guy. One moment, you feel he is a honest and truthful person and come the next page, you feel he is a tyrant seeking vengeance and blood.

            He packs such determination in whatever he does, that you feel as if he could do nothing wrong. Probably, his childhood struggle in the war-torn Poland, his consequent life in the slave camp would have manned him up. This man could do anything he wants and never once looks back.

          He also has a softer side to him that is evident in the way he adores his mentor. He seethes in anger at the sad demise of him and vows revenge on the guy who caused it, however indirect it seemed to be. He even falls in love, but that turns out to be just an infatuation. Or maybe, it could be interpreted in another way. His love standing in the way of his success and hence he had to sacrifice his love. Such was his passion for success and vengeance, that romance and love hardly mattered.

            What also impressed me was that he was a master when it came to management and money-making, though he hardly received any proper education. They say, 'Experience is the best teacher'. This saying is so true when it comes to Abel Rosnovski. His childhood, though a troubled one, only serves to make him better and more determined to exceed. As a child, he witnesses his sister raped by enemy soldiers. He witnesses his well-wisher, the Baron grow old and die in a dungeon of his own castle. He is separated from his mother and father and made to work in slave camps. He nearly loses his hand for stealing. Now, when you have such a terrible childhood, your life could easily turn out to be a nightmare, haunted by your childhood ghosts. But that was not the case with this man. What he did different was that he accepted the reality, but never once stopped believing that he could change it. That was the driving force behind his successful career and life.

           He also had a deep patriotism for his motherland and was moved,when he sees the condition of his dear-old land shred to pieces after the war. He also loved his family. But he hated Kane and wished him death. The hatred never died even after growing old. When the truth finally dawns of him, he is nothing but an old man, withered and softened by years. He immediately realizes his mistake and tries to get rid of his sins.

          To sum it up, Abel has everything. Determination, love, sympathy, joy, sorrow, anger, disappointment - you name it, and he has got it.

Abel Rosnovski is such a power character created by Jeffrey Archer, and will live with  us forever.

To read the review of Kane and Abel, please see this link.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Kane and Abel - Jeffrey Archer

Born on the same day near the turn of the century on opposite sides of the world, both men are brought together by fate and the quest of a dream.  These two men -- ambitious, powerful, ruthless -- are locked in a relentless struggle to build an empire, fuelled by their all-consuming hatred. Over 60 years and three generations, through war, marriage, fortune, and disaster, Kane and Abel battle for the success and triumph that only one man can have.


Jeffrey Archer

I've read many of Archer's novels but I'll surely rate this one as my best. The characters, the plot, the narration - everything near perfect, swept me off my feet. Jeffrey Archer, a master in his craft, brings Abel Rosnovski and William Lowell Kane right before your eyes with his efficient portrayal and his natural God-blessed style. These two are such powerful characters that I could hardly remember any other character even remotely close to matching them.
The bruised and battered life of Abel in war-torn Poland, his escape from his captors and his working up the ladder of power and money are all a treat to read. On the other hand, you have William Lowell Kane. A guy born to a rich family, loses his father at a young age, hates his stepfather and even finds out the truth behind his acquaintance with his mother. Right from their childhood, both persons are very manly, smart and quick to learn.

After escaping, Abel comes to USA and works his way up while Kane grows from strength to strength as a banker. Their paths cross for the first time in a hotel where Abel works as a waiter. The first meeting was not as explosive as it was expected to be but just Abel wanting to be like Kane. Later, Abel becomes the Manager of a group of hotels and the owner gets himself in a mess with  Kane's bank and commits suicide. Outraged by his mentor's condition, Abel vows revenge on Kane. Thus begins the most enthralling story of two people striving for money, power and fame. And yes, Jeffrey Archer is just the master.

The final twist adds a new dimension to the story altogether and watch out for it! I would strongly recommend this to everyone. A must read!



Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Racketeer - John Grisham

Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.

Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.
Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .

Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller.


John Grisham

A very ordinary read. The story is very very unrealistic and though Grisham claims at the end that all works are fiction, I felt it was very over-stretched. The FBI dances to the tunes of Malcolm Bannister, the characters can just walk around with bars of gold without getting caught and most important, if you need to smuggle something out of USA, all you to do is hire a yacht. Thats almost close to fantasy.
The characters are very shallow and I never got a clear picture of the lead character even after I finished the book. It was as if Grisham was in a hurry to publish something with his name on it. The plot also gets a little confising at times with the character switching between two identities - Malcolm Bannister and Max Reed Baldwin. Suddenly Nathan appears out of the blue and every Tome, Dick and Harry would have guessed why he was brought in. I found the plot right from the beginning, given that the book title reveals almost the entire plot. I will never understand how a single man can make the FBI do whatever he wants. Two men plan together in jail, fool the FBI, then reveal to them that they were fooled. The FBI even knew that Bannister is in possession of gold bars but they don't do anything about it.
His so-called ' revenge' on the US government, was not much of a revenge as the Feds's reputation remained undamaged and in fact they were handed the case on a platter by him . In addition,Nathan Cooley's character just got dumped on us without any background tease to give us a chance to guess his involvement n this. 
The authors note at the end that says: "Almost nothing ... was based on reality. Research, hardly a priority, was rarely called upon. Accuracy was not deemed crucial. Long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts." sums it all up. This one is not for serious readers. A very ordinary plot with lots of holes. I expected a lot more from Grisham.


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A Prisoner of Birth - Jeffrey Archer

International bestseller and master storyteller Jeffrey Archer is at the very top of his game in this story of fate and fortune, redemption and revenge.
If Danny Cartwright had proposed to Beth Wilson the day before, or the day after, he would not have been arrested and charged with the murder of his best friend. But when the four prosecution witnesses are a barrister, a popular actor, an aristocrat, and the youngest partner in an established firm's history, who is going to believe his side of the story?
Danny is sentenced to twenty-two years and sent to Belmarsh prison, the highest-security jail in the land, from where no inmate has ever escaped.
However, Spencer Craig, Lawrence Davenport, Gerald Payne, and Toby Mortimer all underestimate Danny's determination to seek revenge, and Beth's relentless quest to pursue justice, which ends up with all four fighting for their lives.
Thus begins Jeffrey Archer's most powerful novel since Kane and Abel,with a cast of characters that will remain with you long after you've turned the last page.
And if that is not enough, prepare for an ending that will shock even the most ardent of Archer's fans.


Jeffrey Archer

Wow! I had high hopes for Jeffrey Archer after reading Kane and Abel, and he did not disappoint me. This book is a scorcher that just swept me off my feet. The story takes off at a swift pace right from the initial courtroom scenes. The arguments from both the prosecution and defense are fantastically brought about and I found it difficult to put this book down. Apart from a few glitches here and there, this one is a real entertainer from cover to cover.
The characters are portrayed in depth and every reader is able to put himself in the shoes of Daniel Cartwright. Unlike other novels, the reader knows right from the start who was the criminal but the way the author builds up the story without having much suspense in his hand is great. The jail scenes are neatly written and I could almost feel myself surrounded by walls. Danny's thirst for freedom and vengeance, and a bit of luck, somehow frees him from prison. His slow and methodical tackling of Hugo Moncrieff with the help of Fraser Munro, his constant suspicions about his cover being blown, and his friendship with Big Al are all refreshing and deserves a praise. But I was a little disappointed with the revenge part as I expected much more, but all Danny could manage was inflicting a financial breakdown on his adversaries.
The final courtroom scenes were the Redmaynes support Danny are epic! I've read many such courtroom arguments, but this one stands out as the best. I especially liked the part where Fraser Munro appears as witness and also the part where Sir Redmayne questions Spencer Craig. I loved the scenes and have read those pages nearly 3 times.
Overall a must read for everyone! Don't miss this one. Its simply irresistible.



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