Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Goodreads Challenge 2014 Completed

I had kept only 30 books on my Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge because I was sure that I could not read as many books as I would love to read this year. Things on reading side went better than expected, all thanks to my Lenova P780 smart phone which enables me to read books on my Kindle app.

Here are the 30 (plus one) books that I read to complete this challenge. I have linked to the review if I have written it. Please click to see each of these reviews.
  1. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (5/5)
  2. Crusader's Tomb by A J Cronin(4/5)
  3. Die Trying by Lee Child  (3/5)
  4. Aadujeevitham by Benyami (4/5)
  5. Harvesting The Heart by Jodi Picoult (4/5)
  6. Peach Blossom Pavilion  by Mingmei Yip (4/5)
  7. The Workhouse Girl by Dilly Court (2/5)
  8. Forget Me Knot by Mary Marks  (3/5)
  9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (4/5)
  10. Enon by Paul Harding  (1/5)
  11. English Bites by Manish Gupta  (4/5)
  12. Francis of Assisi: A New Biography by Augustine Thompson  (3/5)
  13. Blackberry Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen #17) by Joanna Fluke (2/5)
  14. The Weight of Blood: A Novel by Laura McHugh (4/5) 
  15. The Truth About You by Susan Lewis  (3/5)
  16. I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum (4.75/5)
  17. The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier (2/5)
  18. My Wish List by Gregorie Delacourt  (4/5)
  19. The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese (4/5)
  20. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - Review (4.5/5) 
  21. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - Review  (4/5)
  22. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes  (4/5)
  23. Among Friends by Father Jim Sichko  (4/5)
  24. Memoirs of an Exorcist: My Life Fighting Satan by Marco Tosatti  (4/5)
  25. Chasing the Sun by Natalia Sylvester   (3/5)
  26. The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)by Robert Galbraith (4/5)
  27. Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey (4/5)
  28. Adultery by Paulo Coelho - Review  (2.5/5)
  29. The Mother-In-Law Cure by Farha Z. Hasan (4/5)
  30. The Guardian Angels by Rohit Gore (4/5)
  31. Private India by James Patterson & Ashwin Sanghi - Review (2.5/5)
The unique thing about these 30 books is that they are written by 30 different authors. I liked that aspect very much and if you look at the varied genres to which these books belong, I should say that I did had a versatile reading experience this year.

I am not sure if my expectations went up or if my choice of books went very wrong, I did encounter great books, but nothing which makes me go 'wow' like what Rebecca or Midnight's Children did to me last year. May be it is time to change course !

The few notable books which left an impression on me are The Storyteller, The Sense of an Ending and Gone Girl.

Please let me know about your progress in the challenge and if you will be able to complete the challenge this year..

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier - Review

The Lost Sisterhood tells the story of Diana, a young and aspiring--but somewhat aimless--professor at Oxford. Her fascination with the history of the Amazons, the legendary warrior women of ancient Greece, is deeply connected with her own family's history; her grandmother in particular. When Diana is invited to consult on an archeological excavation, she quickly realizes that here, finally, may be the proof that the Amazons were real.

The Amazons' "true" story--and Diana's history--is threaded along with this modern day hunt. This historical back-story focuses on a group of women, and more specifically on two sisters, whose fight to survive takes us through ancient Athens and to Troy, where the novel reinvents our perspective on the famous Trojan War.

I have decided that I will keep this review to a minimum  because I did not finish this one. I did give it a try when I read 60% of this and then decided that I would rather invest my time somewhere else.

Diana is all about a very intelligent scholar but with no common sense, which makes her go away to a strange place with total strangers without telling anyone. And then there is some wild goose chase from archeological excavation site to another, with no concern about her job which can be in serious danger by her prolonged absence.

I loved the story of Myrah which is of the Amazon era written in between Diana's story. Myrah's story was far more convincing and interesting, but I could not relate to the Amazons totally. he rest of the story was boring when Diana goes on and on about her grandmother's connection with Amazons.

After a point, I could not relate to Diana, or the legend of the Amazons or other side characters that I abandoned it.

Not my kind !!!

Rating: 2/5
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: eARC from Netgalley
Pub Date: March 11th 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Private India by James Patterson & Ashwin Sanghi - Review

When Santosh Wagh isn’t struggling out of a bottle of whisky he’s head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest PI agency.

In a city of over thirteen million he has his work cut out at the best of times. But now someone is killing women – seemingly unconnected women murdered in a chilling ritual, with strange objects placed carefully at their death scenes.

As Santosh and his team race to find the killer, an even greater danger faces Private India – a danger that could threaten the lives of thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens…
~Synopsis from Goodreads

Sometimes you pick up a book against your good judgement because everyone else around you is reading that one and is gushing about it. You want to have a bit of that fun, be a part of that discussion and of course get a scoop of that organic search when everyone who has finished reading starts to Google for other reviews. These are the exact reasons for me to read Private India by the acclaimed author James Patterson which is also his first time collaboration with Indian author Ashwin Sanghi.

Santosh Wagh who is the main character in the story is the chief investigator in the Private India office located at Mumbai. So he is a private investigator, ex-military (RAW actually), has a limp on his leg, screwed up or non-existent personal life due to an accident and is a chronic alcoholic . In short Santosh Wagh is everything that you usually find in a crime fiction or a crime investigation novel. There are other characters like Nisha, Hari, Mubeen and then Jack Morgan who seems to be the central character of the Private series by James Patterson.

A serial killer who leaves mythological relevant objects next to dead bodies, terrorist attack in Mumbai, underworld-police connections, fake God men! Mix these news stories together and create a private investigator and team and you have Private India with you.

How does the Mumbai police allow a private investigative team to do autopsy or even let them come 10 feet near a crime scene?

Private India starts with a lot of promise given the mythological back ground for the crimes but ineffective characters, too many sub-plots, and unbelievable plot twists makes it a very ordinary crime fiction. By the end of the story, the mythology part or the terrorism angle are like fizzled out sodas, neither causes any ripples and the thriller finishes before the reader knows that it is over.
The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi - Book Review

Rating: 2.5/5
Source: eARC from Netgalley
Pub Date: Aug 6 2014

Publisher: Random House UK

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adultery by Paulo Coelho - Review

This is Linda’s story.
She’s lucky. She knows that.
It’s what makes being unhappy even worse.
Her friends advise taking medication. But Linda wants to feel more, not less.

A meeting with a politician, and ex-boyfriend, reawakens a side of her that she – respectable wife, devoted mother and ambitious journalist - thought had disappeared. She embarks on a relationship that is addictive, dangerous and undeniably exciting. But the consequences are far-reaching . . .
~Synopsis from Goodreads

I think the title gives away the theme of the book and if you combine it with the book blurb, you get pretty much good idea about what this book is about.

Adultery is all about Linda who is bored with her blessed life and think herself to be depressed and she takes her short encounter with her past boyfriend to provide the best cure to come out of her mental situation. But can you force yourselves on someone else because you are looking for that 'high' when you are with him?

Adultery is a different take on adultery which did not go well. I could not feel any kind of conviction about the whole story which is just not about a happy married woman having an adulterous relationship with another married man. The point is that this story looks like a half hearted attempt from the author to convince the reader of something which he himself is not convinced.

The only way I can accept the character of Linda is to tell myself that she is mentally ill. But then I need to answer the question how she can function normally at all other times except when she is in the vicinity of that one person. Linda is nothing like what any woman, how much ever tempted she is will behave under any circumstances. That is what Paulo Coelho got it wrong. And what happens when the central character itself is weak? The whole story is like a deck of cards waiting to fall down !!!

 In short Adultery is just about a woman who wants to feel her surging hormones when she is with another man who is not her husband, who is ready to go to any extend to get  what she wants even if she will be throwing away everything precious in her life. I am not sure any sane woman will act like Linda did unless she is only fit to be in a mental asylum. Sorry, I know it is too harsh, but that is my take.

Rating: 2/5
Publisher: Random House UK, Cornerstone
Pub Date:  
Source: eARC from Netgalley

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