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Friday, March 31, 2017

Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel: Review

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So some time back I received the book Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel. As most of us have done through our younger years, I also read a lot of her books and found them very easy and quick reads, entertaining and fun.

Of course over the years her writing style has also changed in some ways, and this I realized especially after reading this latest from her. By the way, she is set to come up with 4 more new titles this year, so that is something that I am definitely looking forward to!

You can read an excerpt from the first page of the book here.

Buy It Here

Cover Jacket

corruption, ambition, power and international intrigue..

Television correspondent Alix Phillips dodges bullets and breaks rules to bring the most important news to the world. With her daughter in college and working alongside cameraman Ben Chapman, an ex-Navy SEAL, Alix exhilarates in the risks and whirlwind pace of her work. But her latest assignment puts her at the centre of an explosive story that will reshape many lives, including her own: investigating damning allegations involving the Vice President of the United States, Tony Clark.

Alix starts with a nationally revered woman who may be the key to exposing frightening secrets. Olympia Foster is the fragile, reclusive widow of America's most admired senator who had been destined for the presidency before an assassin's bullet felled him. Since then, Olympia has found emotional support in Clark, who once wanted her as his wife but now stands as her protector and confidant. When Alix begins to dig deeper, federal agents pick up the trail.

 Then the threats begin.

 As the stakes rise in this dangerous game, Alix needs Ben's help like never before. Soon they realize they are grappling with an adversary far more sinister than they had imagined.

My Take

*I will keep it brief as I don't want to reveal any spoiler.

I liked the character of Alix, as she is one of Danielle Steel's more mature female protagonists. There is nothing flighty about her, and she felt more of a solid woman, with brains to match the overall personality.

As the story is set in a political backdrop, the pace is never dull, and there is a lot of action to keep the reader moving through the pages. It has just about 300 pages, so is quite a fast read as well. The characters are well built and you know a good deal about them without taking up too much time and space. This helps the reader connect more with the story, especially as you know the emotional undertones playing through the book.

There are quite a few interesting twists and turns of course that I will not get into. As the cover jacket already makes it clear, the story revolves around certain political twists that lead to some really dangerous games.

I would say that if you are looking for a light yet fast and interesting read, this book should surely be in your handbag, as it will be perfect to read during a commute. Or even when you are chilling at the beach or relaxing at home on a lazy day. Go for it :)

- Debolina Raja

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman #CoverJacket #OnTheCover



I have loved reading the classic Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, so when I saw this one at a book sale, I simply couldn't resist.

I am just about to start reading it, so can't comment on the story yet, but here's a look at the cover jacket that reads quite interesting.

I turned the page and discovered the two title words written in black ink, in a child's spiky hand, the tail of the last letter curling down the page in a long punning flourish... Rebecca's Tale...

April 1951. It is twenty years since the death of Rebecca, the strikingly beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter. It is twenty years since the inquest, which famously - and controversially - passed a verdict of suicide. Twenty years since Manderley, the de Winter's ancient family seat, was raze to the groudn.

 But Rebecca's tale is just beginning.

 On the twentieth anniversary of her death, family friend Colonel Julyan receives an anonymous parcel in the post. It contains a black notebook with two handwritten words on the title page - Rebecca's Tale - and two pictures: a photograph of Rebecca as a young child, and a postcard of Manderley. Rebecca once asked Julyan to ensure she was buried in the churchyard facing the sea: if she ended up in the de Winter crypt, she warned, she'd come back to haunt him. Now, it seems, she has finally kept her promise.

Julyan's conscience has never been clear over the official version of Rebecca's death. Was it really suicide, or was it actually murder? Was Rebecca the manipulative, promiscuous femme fatale her husband claimed, or the gothic heroine of tragic proportions that others had suggested? The official story, the 'truth', has only ever had Maxim's version of events to consider. But all that is about to change...

 Sally Beauman has taken Daphne du Maurier's celebrated twentieth century classic, Rebecca, and crafted a compelling companion for the twenty-first. Haunting, evocative, mesmerising, Rebecca's Tale is for anyone who has ever dreamt of going back to Manderley again.

- Debolina Raja

Monday, March 20, 2017

#FirstpageMondays Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel



Buy Here



I recently received this brand new book titled Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel. Here's a quick look at the first page, review will follow soon so stay tuned.

Chapter 1

It was nearly four in the morning when Alix Phillips ran for cover as gunshots rang out. A fruit-canning factory had been shut down in Alabama, putting thousands out of jobs. The union had been trying to stop the shutdown for months, and finally violence had broken out in the town, out of desperation and frustration. Most of the factory workers were African American, some of whose families had worked there for generations. There had been looting and destruction in the town and surrounding area all night, and two young men had been killed. The riot police had been called in from nearby cities, and the acrid smell of tear gas was everywhere. Alix was reporting from a live feed, and had to abandon the spot where she'd been standing, as Ben Chapman, her cameraman, grabbed her roughly by the arm and forced her to leave. He nearly had to drag her to get her away from the scene, as troops narrowed in on the area, and flames exploded the windows as looters set a .....

- Debolina Raja

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

#CoverJacket The Disappeared by Kristina Ohlsson



My current favourite author is no doubt Kristina Ohlsson. What began as a random read by picking up a book called Silenced I now cannot seem to stop reading her books, and am planning to read everything she has written till date.

WHAT AN AMAZING WRITER !!!!!

Here's the cover jacket of the book I am reading now, The Disappeared by Kristina Ohlsson 

SOMETIMES THE TRUTH IS BETTER LEFT BURIED

From a dead case to a living nightmare....

The body of a young woman is found carved up and buried in a forest glade in an innocuous Swedish suburb. Alext Recht and his team in the Stockholm Police soon identify the body as belonging to missing student, Rebecca Trolle, but as his team continues to excavate the site, they discover that someone has been returning to the same spot to bury their victims year after year, decade after decade.

Investigative Analyst Fredrika Bergman is assigned the task of delving into Rebecca's private life. But little does she know that her enquiries are about to uncover evidence that will cause her to doubt the very people she trusts the most and put her every action under the scrutiny of Internal Affairs.

 Kristina Ohlsson has sold one million copies worldwide.

Now discover for yourself what makes her Sweden's favourite crime writer.

 'Kristina Ohlsson has managed to take the Swedish crime novel to a new and unexpected level.' ARNE DAHL

 'Tense, dense and very atmospheric.' - MONS KALLENTOFT

 'Superbly crafted.' - DAILY MAIL

- Debolina Raja 

Monday, February 13, 2017

#FirstPageMondays The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August by Claire North


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Buy It Here



So the main reason I was drawn to this book was the cover. Isn't it absolutely gorgeous? I loved the way the intensity is portrayed here, and the haunting effect it has.

Without much rambling, let me share the first page of the book The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August by Claire North

CHAPTER 1

The second cataclysm began in my eleventh life, in 1996. I was dying my usual death, slipping away in a warm morphine haze, which she interrupted like an ice cube down my spine.

 She was seven, I was seventy-eight. She had straight blonde hair worn in a long pigtail down her back, I had bright white hair, or at least the remnants of the same. I wore a hospital gown designed for sterile humility; she, bright-blue school uniform and a felt cap. She perched on the side of my bed, her feet dangling off it, and peered into my eyes. She examined the heart monitor alarm, felt for my pulse and said, "I nearly missed you Dr August."

 Her German was Berlin high, but she could have addressed me in any language of the world and still passed for respectable. She scratched at the back of her left leg, where her white knee-length socks had begun to itch from the rain outside. While scratching she said "I need to send a message back through time. If time can be said to be important here. As you're conveniently dying, I ask you to relay it to the Clubs of your origin,as it has been passed down to me."

- Debolina Raja

Sunday, February 12, 2017

#SneakyPeekySundays The Chosen by Kristina Ohlsson



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The first book I read by Kristina Ohlsson was Silenced. It was a random buy, as I loved the cover as well as the blurb.

I definitely recommend the book to anyone who loves a well-written thriller.

Buy It Here



So when I saw another book by the same author I couldn't stop myself from picking it up. And yes, I am definitely going to read all her works. For now, here is the page I am on in the book The Chosen by Kristina Ohlsson and I can already tell you that it is an amazing read.

Buy It Here



The Snakes' Nest was a really bad name for a meeting room. It carried overtones of a sex club rather than an appropriate venue for a collection of highly skilled investigators. Apart from that, Alex Recht felt entirely at home in the room, because it looked exactly the same as the Lions' Den.

 He recognized everyone but hadn't worked with all of them in the past. Everyone introduced themselves briefly, and once again Alex thought back to his former team. There had never been any problem when it came to bringing in additional resources for high priority cases, and the same applied this time.

 "Okay" he said. "Two young boys, Simon Eisenberg and Abraham Goldmann, were abducted in Ostermalm yesterday afternoon, when they were on their way to a tennis coaching session. Today....... (spoiler hence not recreating).... We know that Simon was waiting for Abraham at a bus stop on Karlavagen and we know that when Abraham was speaking to another friend on the phone, he said he had to .......... because.....to the tennis centre. The weather was terrible yesterday, so I don't think either of the boys would need to be asked more than once if they would like .....

- Debolina Raja

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

#CoverJacket The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Wardrobe by Romain Puertolas


Buy It Here

Armed only with a counterfeit 100-Euro note, Ajatshatru the fakir, renowned conjurer and trickster, lands in Paris. His mission? To acquire a splendid new bed of nails. His destination? IKEA.

And there he decides to stay, finding an obliging wardrobe in which to lay his head. Only when he emerges from his slumber does he discover that is locked in, unable to free himself and heading for England in the back of a truck.

So begins a magnificent and bizarre adventure for the intrepid fakir. Even while he flees the revenge-crazed taxi driver whom he conned on his arrival, and falls further in love with Marie Riviere, the Parisian beauty whom he tricked into lunching with him, he finds time to befriend a group of Sudanese immigrants, travel to Italy in a suitcase, writes a novel on a shirt, and fly to Libya in a hot-air balloon.

Witty, moving, surprising and joyful, this novel reminds us that heroism abounds, and is to be found in the most unlikely of places.

- Debolina Raja

Monday, January 23, 2017

#FirstPageMondays Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre




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Buy it here



I have just started reading this one and trust me, if you have not read his works before, he is an amazing crime and thriller writer who will play with your mind big time, and I mean BIG TIME !

So here goes, and yes, it is a highly recommended read...

SOPHIE

sitting on the ground, back against the wall, legs extended, struggling for breath.

leo is lying across her, utterly still, his head resting in her lap. with one hand she strokes his hair, with the other she tries but cannot quite manage to wipe away tears. she is crying. the sobs rise to become a wail, she lets out a howl that comes from deep within her belly. her head sways gently from side to side. at times her misery is so intense she pounds her head against the wall. pain offers a temporary respite, but all too soon she breaks down again. leo is perfectly behaved, he does not stir. she bows her head, looks at him, hugs him to her belly and weeps. no one could imagine the depths of her misery.

1

this morning, like so many others, she woke with tears streaking her face and a hard lump in her throat though she had no particular reason to be upset. tears are an everyday occurrence in her life: she has wept every night since she went mad. were it not for the fact that her cheeks are damp every morning, she might think that her nights were spent in deep and peaceful sleep. but waking to find her face bathed in tears and a tightness in her throat is a simple fact of life. since when? since vincent's accident? since his death? since the first death, so long ago?

 she props herself on one elbow, wipes her eyes with a corner of the sheet, fumbles for her cigarettes but cannot find them, then suddenly she realises where she is. everything comes flooding back, everything that happened yesterday afternoon, last night... immediately she understands that she must go, she must leave this house. get up and get out, but still she lies there, rooted to the bed, incapable of the slightest movement. drained.

- Debolina Raja

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kindle E-Reading Trends In India For 2016


I love this image above, it is so me....If you know me you know this is just the way I am, if you love me, you will let me be like this ;) Just saying..

So recently, Kindle India revealed some interesting eBook reading trends for the year 2016 based on actual consumption in the country. I was surprised of course yes, but then, with books, it's so much about personal choice, preference, taste and even marketing, that one can't really have a general attitude on it. Check this out...

According to Kindle India, some interesting facts that emerged are:

Chetan Bhagat’s One Indian Girl is the ‘Most Wished For’ and ‘Most Borrowed’ on Kindle Unlimited



The top bestsellers were:
1.       Cometh The Hour by Jeffrey Archer - I've read too much Jeffrey Archer for now, so later maybe
2.       Everyone Has A Story by Savi Sharma - Nope, definitely don't want to read
3.       The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi - Nope again, definitely don't want to read
4.       This Was A Man by Jeffrey Archer - Same as above, maybe will read Jeffrey Archer again in some time

The top genres were:
1.       Literature & Fiction - my favourite category yes
2.       Romance - No
3.       Health, Mind & Body - No, don't want to read really
4.       Children & Young Adult - Always an interesting reading category
5.       Business & Economics - Some books are damn good!

Best read cities of India were:
1.       Mumbai - yippee, am here
2.       Delhi - yes, I am from here
3.       Bengaluru
4.       Chennai
5.       Hyderabad

Obviously Kolkata will not feature here, coz people there are more into real books than Kindle ;) sorrrrryyyyy!!!!!

- Debolina Raja

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cover Jacket: A Week In December by Sebastian Faulks


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Buy It Here



So yesterday I went to this huge book sale at Churchgate, Mumbai, which was more like a books by weight event. And I came back richer by 10 books!!! :)

I had never heard about the author Sebastian Faulks, nor had I heard about the book, but I saw this beautiful cover and realized its a book called A Week In December. The cover jacket looked incredibly beautiful and the description looked super interesting. I've already started reading it and am sure I'll finish it very soon....it's quite interesting to say the least.

So yes, here's a look at the description at the back cover..

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London, the week before Christmas 2007. Seven wintry days to track the lives of seven characters; a hedge fund manager trying to bring off the biggest trade of his career; a professional footballer recently arrived from Poland; a young lawyer with little work and too much time to speculate; a student who has been led astray by Islamic theory; a hack book-reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on skunk and reality TV; and a Tube driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop. With daring skill, the novel pieces together the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life, and the group is forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they inhabit. Sweeping, satirical, Dickensian in scope, A Week In December is a thrilling state of the nation novel from a master of literary fiction.

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Praise for the book:

'During times of momentous change, men of letter are driven to produce works that fictionalise the state of the nation, linking individuals with historic events. The 19th century gives us Thackeray's Vanity Fair, Dickens's Our Mutual Friend and Trollope's The Way We Live Now; the 21st has given us Sebastian Faulks's A Week In December' - Sunday Times

'A compelling tale of contemporary London' - Guardian

'Hilarious....The satire is so vicious that at times it's like reading a Tom Sharpe novel.' - Daily Telegraph

'Perfectly constructed...a pleasure to read.' - Sunday Telegraph

- Debolina Raja

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sneaky Peeky Sundays: Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson


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you can buy the book here



This is the first book I am reading by the author Kristina Ohlsson and yes, I know for a fact that I will check out all her other works and read them. The reason I picked up Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson is because she is a Swedish author and the book is in the thriller/crime genre. The other Swedish author I have read and absolutely loved is Steig Larrson, and obviously I have loved his Millennium trilogy, which included the books - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. So I definitely wanted to read more books by Swedish authors. And am I in love !!!!!




I am halfway through the book almost and am absolutely loving it, so here's the page I am on now...

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not like that with Lena. She's 'mine' in an entirely different way. And I'm hers. We shall always be together.
 Psychologist: Always? Is that the way you feel today?
 Alex (forcefully): That's the way I've always felt. For as long as I've known her. We shall always be together.
 Psychologist: Does the thought of that make you feel secure or stressed?
 Alex: Secure. If I woke up tomorrow and she wasn't there I wouldn't be able to go on. She's my best friend and the only woman I've loved unconditionally.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I'm Not A Show Off, I Just Love To Read


Those who know me personally know that I am never ever without a book. No matter where I am, traveling, at home, at work, or even going out to meet friends, I almost always have one or two books with me, depending on the size of my handbag. Of course I also end up holding books in my arms and hugging them to my chest :)

The other day I was standing at my building's gate, waiting to pick up my younger one and of course reading. What else am I supposed to do just standing and waiting???? I know these looks I get from people walking by - what is she doing standing here and reading!? why is she reading!? who is she trying to show off to!? has she totally lost it???

and come on, I don't really give an explanation any more. everyone has the fingers, and I have too, and even if I don't necessarily have to hold up my hand to their face, I can still do it mentally and by sharing a stare down, isn't it? ;)

That said, I was telling my friend how this woman gave me a weird look when I stood reading, as if I was spooking her out with my red-tinted hair, my big tattoos and my reading on the street. And how I had stared back at her and given her a top to bottom lookie...

My friend said that if he didn't know me personally or didn't know any better, he would have thought I am a show-off....

Hmmmm..... that was pretty unsettling. I would have never thought people think like that... As in, someone on their own, reading away to happiness, how is that being a show off?

But yes, I do get it that not everyone likes to read, and may find it weird when someone seems to be engrossed in books all the time....

Well, just too bad for them then. I'm happy in my own sweet bookish world, the lesser real people the better for me.

And while at it, let me show off a bit by saying how well I am doing on my Goodreads challenge for 2017...am already about 6 books done for my 100 books reading challenge for the year :)

So yayayayayayaaaayyyyyy ;)

- Debolina Raja

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory: First Page Mondays


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Anyone who has been on this blog earlier knows that I absolutely love Philippa Gregory and her books, especially her historical fictions, the ones that are based on the Tudor dynasty. So here's another from the same series, of course you can easily read them as stand-alone books and don't necessarily have to follow it as a series.

I bought it on Amazon, so you too can check out the link shared above to get the best deals. And yes, as it is difficult to find her books in India, I always end up buying them on Amazon.

As of now, here's the first page of the book The Virgins' Lover by Philippa Gregory. I just started reading it this morning and am only a few pages in, but can already tell you that it's an absolutely interesting one, as with all her other books. Enjoy...

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Autumn 1558

All the bells in Norfolk were ringing for Elizabeth, pounding the peal into Amy's head, first the treble bell screaming out like a mad woman, and then the whole agonising, jangling sob till the great bell boomed a warning that the whole discordant carillon was about to shriek out again. She pulled the pillow over her head to shut out the sound, and yet still it went on, until the rooks abandoned their nests and went streaming into the skies, tossing and turning in the wind like a banner of ill omen, and the bats left the belfry like a plume of black smoke as if to say that the world was upside down now, and day should be forever night.

 Amy did not need to ask what the racket was for; she already knew. At last, poor sick Queen Mary had died, and Princess Elizabeth was the uncontested heir. Praise be. Everyone in England should rejoice. The Protestant princess had come to the throne and would be England's queen. All over the country people would be ringing bells for joy, striking kegs of ale, dancing in the streets, and throwing open prison doors. The English had their Elizabeth at last, and the fear-filled days of Mary Tudor could be forgotten. Everyone in England was celebrating.

 Everyone but Amy.

 The peals, pounding Amy into wakefulness, did not bring her.......

- Debolina Raja

Monday, December 26, 2016

First Page Mondays: Let It Snow Three Holiday Romances: The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson, Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green, The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle

After reading a few John Green books and liking them a lot, it was obvious I would pick this up. Saw this at a street shop and brought it home just two days before Christmas. So here's a quick look at the first page of Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle.


The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson

It was the night before Christmas.

Well, to be more precise, it was the afternoon before Christmas. But before I take you into the beating heart of the action, let's get one thing out of the way. I know from experience that if it comes up later, it will distract you so much that you won't be able to concentrate on anything else I tell you.

 My name is Jubilee Dougal. Take a moment and let it sink in.

See, when you get it up front, it's not that bad. Now imagine I was halfway through some long story (like I'm about to be), and I dropped that one on you. "By the way, my name is Jubilee." You wouldn't know what to do next.

 I realize Jubilee is a bit of a stripper name. You probably think I have heard the call of the pole. But no. If you saw me, you'd get the idea pretty quickly that I'm not a stripper (I.......

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Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green

JP and the Duke and I were four movies in to our James Bond marathon when my mother called home for the sixth time in five hours. I didn't even glance at the caller ID. I knew it was Mom. The Duke rolled her eyes and paused the movie. "Does she think you're going somewhere? There's a blizzard."

 I shrugged and picked up the phone.

 "No luck," Mom said. In the background, a loud voice droned on about the importance of securing the homeland.

 "Sorry Mom. That sucks."

 "This is ridiculous!" she shouted. "We can't get a flight to anywhere, let alone home." They'd been stuck in Boston for three days. Doctors' conference. She was getting kind of despondent about the whole Christmas-in-Boston thing. It....

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The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle

Being me sucked. Being me on this supposedly gorgeous night, with the supposedly gorgeous snow looming in five-foot drifts outside my bedroom window, double-sucked. Add the fact that today was Christmas, and my score was up to triple-suck. And add the sad, aching, devastating lack of Jeb, and ding ding ding! The bell at the top of the Suckage Meter couldn't ring any louder.

 Instead of jingle bells, I had suckage bells. Lovely.

 Well, aren't you a merry little figgy pudding I said to myself, wishing Dorrie and Tegan would hurry up and get here. I didn't know what figgy pudding was, but it sounded like the sort of dish that sat cold and alone at the end of the buffet table because no one wanted it. Like me. Cold and alone and probably lumpish.

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- Debolina Raja

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sneaky Peeky Sunday: A Spot Of Bother by Mark Haddon



The first book I read by #MarkHaddon was The Curious Case Of The Dog In The Night Time, and yes, I was bowled over! I was literally rushing through the book to reach the end and just see what was going on....If you haven't read it yet, I definitely would recommend you do. And you'll not be upset about it :)

So when I saw this book by the same author, I picked it up without hesitating a minute. Its called A Spot Of Bother and here's the page I am on now...just started reading though.

"I don't care what you think dad." Katie was marching up and down the patio waving her arms like a mad person in a film. "It's my life. I'm going to marry Ray whether you like it or not."

 Precisely where George was, or what he was doing, it was hard to tell.

 "You have no idea. No idea. Ray is kind. Ray is sweet. And you're entitled to your own opinions. But if you try and stop this we'll just do it ourselves, OK?"

 She seemed to be staring at the ground. Surely George wasn't lying down?

 When he ran out of the room, Jean assumed he'd spilled custard on his trousers or smelled gas and Katie had simply jumped to conclusions. Which was par for the course. But clearly something more serious was happening, and it worried her.

 "Well?" asked Katie from the far side of the glass.

 There was no answer that Jean could hear.

 "Jesus. I give in."

 Katie vanished from the window and there were footsteps down the side of the house. Jean whipped open the fridge door and grabbed a carton of milk. Katie burst through the door, hissed "What is wrong with that man?" and strode down the hallway.

 Jean replaced the milk and waited for George to reappear. When he didn't, she put the kettle on and went outside.

 He was sitting on the patio with his back against the wall and his finger pressed to his eyes, looking for all the world like that Scottish man who drank cider and slept on the grass outside the magistrate's court.

 "George?" she bent down in front of him.

 He took his hands away from his face, "Oh, it's you."

- Debolina Raja

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Exile by Taslima Nasreen: An Excerpt


image source


what i had thought to be my city had never been mine. rather, it belongs to the wily politicians, the dishonest businessmen, the smugglers of women, the pimps, the scoundrels. it belongs to the rapists. it's a city that belongs to people who will not bat an eyelid when someone is murdered, raped or tortured; people who live behind masks, who can casually walk by starving people, who can cross over dead beggars on the pavement, who run at the slightest whiff of danger despite living in houses built of lies. it's a city of people drunk on fantasies of this world and the next, a city of astrologers, con artists and opportunists.

this can never be my city, this city of thugs, liars, cheats and narrow-minded, selfish zealots. in their city, there are only a few of us left who think, who are rational, who protest; a few decent, honest people living in perpetual fear.

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i am stranded amidst soldiers with guns. they don't know me, and they keep staring at the unarmed woman from time to time. they cannot fathom the reason for me being here. i may not have the dirt and the grime, the tattered clothes, the wild, unkempt hair, but they can still sense the shackles on my feet, the ones that keep me at bay. i can see this terrible awareness in their eyes, an awareness that their guns and boots inspire fear. it hurts them that i am not afraid, and i have no right to hurt them i suppose. perhaps they will send word to their masters - that i am not afraid, that i am trying to break teh chains. surely the authorities will hang me. they will fix the date and throw me a feast of fish and prawns.

 what if i tell them i don't want to eat! what if i don't sigh even once at the gallows! what if i can be fearless even after they tighten the noose around my neck!

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each one of you must try to find out what is wrong with me. go on, tell me what it is. you have to, or something horrible will happen to you! tell me why you have banished me! have i caused an epidemic somwhere? have children died, or women been raped, or have there been mass executions? there must have been strong reasons for sending me into exile! unless you can find that perfect reason, unless you can show the world the true face of the monster, will you be able to forgive yourself? perhaps even i would be able to breathe easy knowing what i have done. perhaps then i would be able to come to terms with my exile. i want to know what i have done; i want to embrace you again, knowing you were only ever looking out for me.

 tell me why you have cast me out of society. tell me about my crime, so that it can absolve yours. find the perfect reason for having brought back the Dark Ages or would you rather have history frown at you in disapproval? and if you cannot tell me what my crime was, if not for my sake then at least for yours, let me go.

Taslima Nasrin

- Debolina Raja

Monday, December 5, 2016

First Page Mondays: Library Of Souls By Ransom Riggs (Third Book In The Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children Trilogy



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Finally I have the third and final book in the Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children trilogy by Ransom Riggs. I was waiting for long to get Library Of Souls, and now that I have it, I am not sure I want to read it right away and finish the story...I'm gonna miss them all :(

Anyway, I know for a fact that the book is going to be amazing. In fact, I loved the movie based on the first novel, and I felt that it shared the story on screen just the way I had imagined and visualized it. Loved it :) !!!!!

Without further ado, here's a look at the first page from the book Library Of Souls by Ransom Riggs.

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The monster stood not a tongue's length away, eyes fixed on our throats, shriveled brain crowded with fantasies of murder. Its hunger for us charged the air. Hollows are born lusting after the souls of peculiars, and here we were arrayed before it like a buffet: bite-sized Addison bravely standing his ground at my feet, tail at attention; Emma moored against me for support, still too dazed from the impact to make more than a match flame; our backs laddered against the wrecked phone booth. Beyond our grim circle, the underground station looked like the aftermath of a nightclub bombing. Steam from burst pipes shrieked forth in ghostly curtain. Splintered monitors swung broken-necked from the ceiling. A sea of shattered glass spread all the way to the tracks, flashing in the hysterical strobe of red emergency lights like an arc-wide disco ball. We were boxed in, a wall hard to one side and glass shin-deep on the other, two strides from a creature whose only natural instinct was to disassemble us - and yet it made no move to close the gap. It seemed rooted to the floor, swaying on its heels like a drunk or a sleepwalker, death's head drooping, its tongues a nest of snakes I'd charmed to sleep.

 Me. I'd done that. Jacob Portman, boy nothing from Nowhere, Florida. It was not currently murdering us - this horror made of gathered dark and nightmares harvested from sleeping children - because I had asked it not to. Told it in no uncertain terms to unwrap its tongue from around my neck. Back off, I'd said. Stand, I'd said - in a language made of sounds I hadn't known a human mouth could........

- Debolina Raja

Monday, November 28, 2016

What Light by Jay Asher: First Page Mondays






I received this beautiful book as a review copy from PanMacmillan and am almost done. If you haven't already heard about Jay Asher, you should definitely read 13 Reasons Why. That was the first Jay Asher book I read and that is what made me pick this one, What Light, for review.

The book is in the YA genre and is an absolute delight. Review will come up soon as I am about to finish it. For now, here's a look at the first page.

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"I hate this time of year," Rachel says. "I'm sorry Sierra, I'm sure I say that a lot, but it's true."

 Morning mist blurs the entrance of our school at the far end of the lawn. We stay on the cement pathway to avoid damp spots in the grass, but Rachel's not complaining about the weather.

 "Please don't do this," I say. "You'll make me cry again. I just want to get through this week without - "

 "But it's not a week!" she says, "It's two days. Two days until Thanksgiving break, and then you leave for a whole month again. More than a month!"

 I hug Rachel's arm as we continue walking. Even though I'm the one leaving for another holiday season far from home, Rachel pretends like it's her world that gets turned........

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- Debolina Raja

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Green Room by Wendell Rodricks: First Page Mondays




I love all things fashion and style and beauty, and it is no secret that I love biographies and memoirs a lot as well. So when I first heard about The Green Room by Wendell Rodricks, I was sure I was going to read it. It's just that I never got down to picking it up somehow. On a chance trip to a bookstore in Goa (of all places!!!), I spotted the book, and grabbed it up immediately.

I have just about started reading it now, been a month that I got it home. And must say I am enjoying every bit. So without further ado, here's a look at the first page.

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 PROLOGUE
FEBRUARY 2005

What assails the olfactory sense is immediately obvious even to the uninitiated. The overpowering makeup and hairspray top notes clash with the musty odour of black fabric which creates walled spaces. Repeatedly stretched out through a thousand shows, the black screens are moats - to protect the princessess of the ramp from the outside world. There are also hints of nail colour and perfume, sharp notes of white wine, forbidden nicotine traces, and always a lingering notion that there is dust and dirt clawing at the edges. Inhabitants of the green room learn quickly to never touch the wall. Nor lean against the roughly hewn wooden boards. They are so dangerous that splinters can lodge deep into skin if one foolishly dares grasp them. It is always dim backstage. Seasone models and designers develop night vision - carefully picking their way through backdrop supporters, slippery acrylic entryways, floors moistened with dew and a snake pit of electric wires slithering on the floor.

 No one belongs here except beautiful mannequins, makeup and hair armies, dressers culled from local fashion schools and the designer's team. Designers showing a collection at a particular time slot colonize the green room for 'their hour.' However close the friendship between them, the entry of others into the green room during 'their hour' is frowned upon. Should a hapless tailor, steam press man or technician cross the hallowed threshold of the sanctum sanctorum, he is greeted with flashing, angry kohled eyes and half-naked models shrieking in unison: 'Get out get out! What the hell is going on! Who the fuck is this guy? Kya kar raha hai idhar? What are you doing here? Bahar jao!' The .....

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- Debolina Raja

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ideal By Ayn Rand: Sneaky Peeky Sunday




Found this amazing book at #Crossword Pune and couldn't resist picking it up immediately. So here's the page I am on now. Take a look.



...........

understood? Silence. Do not answer any questions on the lot or outside. Avoid all references to this morning's papers.
SALZER: Us the papers should avoid!
FARROW: They haven't said much so far. It's only rumours. Idle gossip.
CLAIRE: But it's all over town! Hints, whispers, questions. If I could see any point in it, I'd say someone was spreading it intentionally.
FARROW: Personally, I do not believe the story for a minute. However, I want all the information you can give me. I take it that none of you has seen Miss Gonda since yesterday?

 (The others shrug hopelessly, shaking their heads)

SALZER: If the papers couldn't find her, we can't.
FARROW: Had she mentioned to any of you that she was going to have dinner with Granton Sayers last night?
CLAIRE: When has she ever told anyone anything?
FARROW: Did you notice anything suspicious in her behaviour when you saw her last?
CLAIRE: I....
MCNITT:I should say I did! I thought at the time it was damn funny! Yesterday morning it was. I drove up to her beach home and there she was, out at sea, tearing through the rocks in a motorboat till I thought I'd have heart failure watching it.
SALZER: My god, that's against our contracts!
MCNITT: What? My having heart failure?
SALZER: To hell with you! Gonda driving her motorboat!
MCNITT: Try and stop her! So she climbs up to the road, finally, all wet all over. "You'll get killed someday" I say to her, and she looks straight at me and she says "That won't make any difference to me" she says, "nor to anyone else anywhere."

- Debolina Raja

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fellside By M R Carey: First Page Mondays



Thanks to my wonderful friend Reshma for bringing this sweet gift for me :) happiness galore when a bookworm receives a book that is not picked by self, but is a thought-out gift :) aha....

So yes, I did read the debut novel by the author M R Carey, and sorry to say, I had absolutely not liked it. In fact, it was so much of a disconnect that it was one of those books I gave up after trying twice. But this, Fellside, seems a different sorts altogether. For starters, it is really interesting.

I have only now started reading it, and am just about a few pages into the book, but I am loving it nonetheless. The fact that it is a thriller and keeps you moving through the pages is what I'm really enjoying. So without further ado, here's what the first page has, and may give you a better idea of whether or not you want to pick it up at your next trip to the bookstore.

#FirstPageMondays

  It's a strange thing to wake up not knowing who you are.

 Jess Moulson - not thinking of herself by that name or any other - found herself lying in white sheets in a white room, overwhelmed by memories that were predominantly red and yellow and orange. The colours merging and calving endlessly, out of control, billowing heat at her like she'd opened an oven door too quickly and caught the full blast.

 Someone had just been talking to her with some urgency. She remembered the voices, low but coming from right up against her face.

 Her face..... Now she thought about it, her face felt very strange. She tried to ask one of the women in white who came and went why this was, but she couldn't open her mouth very far, and, when she did, she wasn't able to make anything happen beyond a few clicks and rasping sounds which hurt her in coming out.

 The woman leaned in close and spoke very softly. She was younger and prettier than Jess but still managed to wear an air of authority. For a moment, Jess didn't even have any kind of reference point for what this person might be. A nurse or doctor......

- Debolina Raja

Monday, August 22, 2016

#FirstPageMondays : Behind Closed Doors By B A Paris


While browsing some other books on Amazon, I came across a recommendation for Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris, and trust me, am almost done.... and yes, I do recommend it you read it if you love a thriller, and if you've loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

  

Here's a look at the first page.

The champagne bottle knocks against the marble kitchen counter, making me jump. I glance at Jack, hoping he won’t have noticed how nervous I am. He catches me looking and smiles.

“Perfect,” he says softly.

Taking my hand, he leads me to where our guests are waiting. As we go through the hall, I see the flowering lily Diane and Adam brought us for our garden. It’s such a beautiful pink that I hope Jack will plant it where I’ll be able to see it from the bedroom window. Just thinking of the garden makes tears well up from deep inside me and I swallow them down quickly. With so much at stake tonight, I need to concentrate on the here and now.


 In the sitting room, a fire burns steadily in the antique grate. We’re well into March but there’s still a nip in…..

- Debolina Raja

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Love, Loss, and What We Ate : A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi: Review

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I always wanted to read Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi ever since I heard she was writing it. I haven't really been seeing much of her work, but I did see one of her travel shows a long time back, and then again saw her in the cooking show on television. And of course the fact that she was famously married to author Salman Rushdie was also a chief reason to read more about it.

Other than that, the fact that the book was also going to somehow revolve around food was quite intriguing. I mean, I would not have associated Padma Lakshmi as someone whose memoir would include food in a big way. So that was also quite the curiosity angle there.

And if you have not yet read about the book at all, let me tell you this - it is a delicious, tangy, spicy, sweet, sour, appetizing and really aromatic memoir - yes, I used the word 'aromatic' to describe a book, and there's ample reason to do so :) 



A Quick Look At What The Book Is About: The Book Cover

Thursday, June 30, 2016

When I End Up With Books Instead Of My Clothes Shopping!



There....

So I was in dire need of clothes, and that was exactly why I traveled in the crazy Mumbai traffic and went to that land where no sane person does - okay, let's admit it - no 'sane' means the people who aren't like me. I of course like to shop at sales, being a cheapo makes more sense to me than being an ass ;) hehehehehe sorry that was a bad one, do not ignore though ;)

Gosh I am really bored and seem to have gone off my mental levels here. Rambling on and on!

So the point is, I went with a very specific reason to the mall, to get myself some clothes, especially some good pairs of shorts, for those lovely beach trips I do or imagine doing, and there, this is all I bought - 3 books. That's it!

Wow......

The books of course are amazing ones, which is why I bought them...

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory



Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami




The Color Purple by Alice Walker



I'm done reading both The Color Purple and The White Princess, and both are amazing reads of course! If you've ever liked anything related to history and the many conspiracies and smart plannings that went on in royal families, The White Princess is something you'll love. And in fact, one of your favourite author may very well be Philippa Gregory!

Do check out some of her books to see what she writes on - I can vouch for the interesting reads myself!

So if you see me in rags the next time, be charitable and take me shopping ;)

- Debolina Raja

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

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Quite unusually, I first got to know about The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff when the movie came out and I read about the same. Obviously it was too interesting to give up, so I watched the trailer and decided that I had to read the book.

The most interesting thing about the book, as you can probably guess from the cover image, is the fact that it talks about a real person who discovered his sexuality, much after he had already made some important choices in life. Also, as the book is based upon real events, it makes it all the more interesting. It is inspired by the real life events of Lili Elbe, who was one of the first person ever to undergo a sex reassignment surgery.

The Story
The story revolves around a couple, Einar and Gerda, both artists who fell in love and got married. While Einar is a successful painter, Gerda is still struggling to find a foothold in the world of art. Gerda specializes in making portraits, and one day, when her subject does not turn up, she requests her husband, Einar, to wear the woman's costume and pose. Initially Einar is skeptical and

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Sudden And Quick Book Haul



So here was another just like that book purchase while I was waiting to meet a friend, and ended up in front of a book store. Well, who can blame me, right? Grrrr......

The books I picked up to bring home with me are:

Kingdom's End by Saadat Hasan Manto
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
The Monogram Murders (originally by Agatha Christie) by Sophie Hannah
Love Loss And What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi  

- Debolina Raja

Monday, February 22, 2016

Disclaimer By Renee Knight: First Page Mondays

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Okay so I've been hooked on to quite a few thrillers of late and just can't seem to get enough. And this is one of the latest I have got, in fact, it arrived in the mail just today morning and I can't wait to devour it. Will jump in right when I have finished the huge book I am reading right now (can't wait to finish and gobble this up!!)

So here is the first page for you, and if you haven't about this book yet, let me just tell you that if you liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (I am yet to meet someone who hasn't liked that one!), you should definitely give this one a try.
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Spring 2013

Catherine braces herself, but there is nothing left to come up. She grips the cold enamel and raises her head to look in the mirror. The face that looks back at her is not the one she went to bed with. She has seen this face before and hoped never to see it again. She studies herself in this new harsh light and wets a flannel, wiping her mouth then pressing it against her eyes as if she can extinguish the fear in them.

'Are you OK?'

Her husband's voice startles her. She hoped he would stay asleep. Leave her alone.

'Better now,' she lies, switching off the light. Then she lies again. 'Must have been last night's take-away.' She turns to him, a shadow in the dead-hour light.

'Go back to bed. I'm fine,' she whispers. He is more asleep than awake, yet still he reaches out and puts his hand on her shoulder.

 'You sure?'
...............................................................

- Debolina Raja

Monday, January 25, 2016

First Page Mondays: Breaking Butterflies By M Anjelais

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The reason I picked up the book was the cover art of course. If you could guess, it's a take on the butterfly test that most psychologists use to understand their clients. The test is also known as the Butterfly Ink Test or the Rorschach Test.

I got the idea of the book right then as I looked at the cover, and much as I anticipated, I finished the entire book, all of 257 pages, in one sitting at night....just couldn't put it down and there were so many things in the story that did remind of some personal experiences I have been through.....

Without further ado, here's what the first page reads...and yes....I definitely do recommend you read this one..

CHAPTER ONE

When my mother was a little girl, she walked to the playground by herself every day after school. I can picture it easily; photos of her as a child are almost indistinguishable from photos of me when I was little. I used to look at her old yellow-edged school photographs a lot. My mother had a shy, quiet look, a round face, and the same straight brown hair I used to have, though in every picture hers was pulled back from her forehead in two tight little pigtails.

 She was lonely when she was little. No one ever asked her to play; she was the clumsy one whom nobody sensible wanted on their team, the timid one who was too chicken to climb on top of the monkey bars. It was the same for me. While other children swirled over the jungle gym and slides in a frenzy of make-believe and hide-and-seek, I would sit by the swings on my own, kicking at the dust. We were two of a kind when we were really young, I can tell. But that was before she met Leigh, and long before I learned how to be strong.

 I don't know much about what happened before Leigh, about the lonely time. All that was a vague prologue; ..............................

- Debolina Raja

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Aarushi By Avirook Sen: Sneaky Peeky Sunday

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After a lot of deliberation and thinking about whether or not I really wanted to read it, I did finally pick up the book Aarushi by Avirook Sen. 

The only reason I was interested in this version of the entire Aarushi event was because Avirook Sen's reporting was the only sensible and real journalistic account that was coming out during the entire episode through the years the particular crime incidence took the Indian media hostage. His was also the one that did not try to present it after sensationalizing it more and shared it as it was.

While it's a sad book nonetheless, it does show how the media and the 'agencies' that were behind the investigation made a mockery of the entire event.

Here is the page I am on now....

...............

13 Oct: CBI sends a formal questionnaire to Dahiya.
26 Oct: Dahiya files his report.

........................

The prosecution relied heavily on Document 79. This could be summed up in four words: father, doctor, golfer, murderer. This was the prosecution's case in the trial court in June 2012.

Dahiya's document is a masterpiece in several ways. It reveals things about Dahiya the man. Two of his traits he shared with Kaul. The first was the belief that before you even start investigations, you must get a story in place, the facts could be made to follow. The second was the ability to be the authority on subjects that were clearly beyond his area of expertise. A third, more complex, facet of Dahiya's personality also came through. His belief systems - rooted in the culture of the North Indian Jats.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What I Have Been Reading Of Late And How My Reading Goals Have Been Through 2015



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2015 has been a fun reading year for me. As most of you who have been reading my book blog here are already aware of, I have been participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge from the year 2011, and this year too I have been on the same. While I wanted to set a goal of reading a 100 books this year, I set it at 90, as I knew there was going to be a lot of work and home commitments that would need my time and attention.

The year has been great in terms of my choice of reading, but it has been one of my worst years in terms of reading up and getting into a reading slouch. Of course reading is something that I do almost the same way as I breathe. I can’t live without a book with me (or make it a few books actually, as you know that I always carry multiple books with me in case I finish the one and then do not have anything more to read for that time, which is always a scary and crisis situation for me!).

This year I have concentrated on reading a lot of literary work, as well as reading up on a lot of books that featured on various book award lists, whether longlisted, shortlisted or winning the title. It was something I was looking forward to and finally did, and was of course not disappointed.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Spool Of Blue Thread By Anne Tyler: First Page Mondays

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As I am known to do many times, I ended up checking out this book for its beautiful cover - have a look, doesn't it immediately transport to another time and place? It does, for me......I had to get it home, especially after I read what the story was about.

So before we get into the details, I haven't started reading it yet, here's what's on the first page..

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Late one July evening in 1994, Red and Abby Whitshank had a phone call from their son Denny. They were getting ready for bed at the time. Abby was standing at the bureau in her slip, drawing hairpins one by one from her scattery sand-colored topknot. Red, a dark, gaunt man in striped pajama bottoms and a white T-shirt had just sat down on the edge of the bed to take his socks off; so when the phone rang on the nightstand beside him, he was the one who answered. "Whitshank residence," he said.

And then, "Well, hey there."

Abby turned from the mirror, both arms still raised to her head.

"What's that," he said, without a question mark.

"Huh?" he said. "Oh, what the hell Denny!"

Abby dropped her arms.

"Hello?" he said. "Wait. Hello? Hello?"

- Debolina Raja Gupta