Friday, 26 October 2012

Book Review- Cera's Place

In 1869, San Francisco saloon owner Cera Cassidy offers redemption to any woman looking for honest work. At Cera’s Place, men can get a decent hot meal with a whiskey, but if they want anything more, they have to take their desires elsewhere. One summer night, a distraught Chinese girl bursts through the swinging doors with a shocking tale of murder, kidnapping, and prostitution. Outraged, Cera vows to set things right.

Jake Tanner, a scarred ex-soldier haunted by the horrors of the Civil War, is on a mission to fulfill a friend’s dying wish. The trail has brought him to Cera’s door. Captivated by her Irish beauty, he wants to join her fight – but will she let him?
Paperback, 270 pages
Published December 19th 2011 by CreateSpace (first published September 25th 2011)
1468110276 (ISBN13: 9781468110272)
edition language

Cera’s Place is historical romance with the story doing circles around Cera. Cera’s Place is a small saloon she runs in San Francisco. The novel’s main concept is Cera’s fight against prostitution, corruption and powerful people. On her way she somehow happens to meet an ex-captain and a war hero. Slowly a love story begins to pile up with a ongoing battle against the powerful authorities of the town in the background.
Once the love angle creeps in, it takes up the center stage. The love scenes hog all the attention up and it becomes a typical love story. Although the genre is labeled as historical romance, there is no hint of the old world charm that I expected it to have. Everything from the swearing, to the plot didn’t have that rustic vibe to it. The architecture of Cera’s Place though did seem to contribute a bit, but couldn’t do justice well enough.
The story line is just okay with no powerful writing to support it. The pick up of the story from the not so coincident looking fire tragedy and the killing with the bodies not being found was a nice idea just not executed well. The story loses tempo now and then. It is a thrilling page turner at times and at times as slow as a sloth. Too much exaggeration of the intimate scenes could have been avoided. But, again since romance too is an integral part of the story, it’s okay.
I understand that the story begins at Cera’s Place but that place doesn’t witness any important events excluding the fire incident in the beginning and Cera meeting Jake. The title even then is intriguing and somewhat explains everything.
Considering that the book is her first, let’s not be too harsh on her. There’s a lot of room for improvement and there’s a long way she’s gotta go. Moreover, do we ever stop learning?
3 on 5 from me.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Book Review- Michal's Window

Paperback, 458 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by CreateSpace (first published February 23rd 2012)
1475081480 (ISBN13: 9781475081480)
edition language
In ancient Israel, where women are property, Princess Michal loves her father's worst enemy, the future King David. She sacrifices everything to save his life, but will her heart survive war and separation?

Michal's story comes to life in this powerful and emotional journey through love and heartache to self-realization. Her intense love for King David coupled with tragic circumstances causes her to do the unthinkable. Too strong for her time, Michal's story resonates with women today.

"So, once I let the modern feminist inside of me relax, I realized how timely her story is, because, sadly, many of the things she has to deal with are things that women still face today."

"As a woman, every emotion I've ever had was weaved in Michal, causing me to cheer for this unsung heroine."
Love is abundant on earth, spilling over time and again, at times with hope, at times with pain, at times with hate. The story of Michal and David begins on a note of sheer innocence and turns violent over the years.
David, a poor man who praises The Lord, over melodies played over his harp, falls for Michal, the daughter of Saul, the moment he lays his eyes on her. Michal’s young heart too misses a beat. Marriage happened, but happiness didn’t last long. The King of Saul blinded by his power turns thirsty of David’s blood, forcing him to flee and distressing his own loving daughter.
Historical romance never seemed this familiar, this real to me. I never believed that being a princess was that difficult, but Rachelle Ayala makes me see the other side of it. Michal was real to me all the time. Michal is beautiful, graceful and patient.
There hasn’t been a single night I didn’t go to bed without thinking of Michal, and her plights. When she craved for David, I hoped he’d come back to her. When she saw how power and time changed David, I felt sad for her. It was only Michal who was on my mind.
The story doesn’t say too much. It makes you sink into the world of the characters and makes you think over and over again, replaying each event in your head. I sympathized and empathized with Michal. And at the end of the day when I realized that it was just a book, I couldn’t help but appreciate Rachelle Ayala’s brilliance at weaving the opposites together so well that they melt into each other’s arms glowing with radiance.
5 on 5 star book is what it is to me.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Book Review- Adios, Nirvana.

Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Graphia (first published October 25th 2010)
0547577257 (ISBN13: 9780547577258)
edition language
When you piss off a bridge into a snowstorm, it feels like you’re connecting with eternal things. Paying homage to something or someone. But who? The Druids? Walt Whitman? No, I pay homage to one person only, my brother, my twin.
       In life. In death.       Telemachus. Since the death of his brother, Jonathan’s been losing his grip on reality. Last year’s Best Young Poet and gifted guitarist is now Taft High School’s resident tortured artist, when he bothers to show up. He's on track to repeat eleventh grade, but his English teacher, his principal, and his crew of Thicks (who refuse to be seniors without him) won’t sit back and let him fail.

'Maybe we don't need to hit the duck. Maybe all we need to do is say what we must say once, to another human being, openly and honestly, with humility and remorse. Maybe that is enough.'
Jonathan hasn't lived since long, from the day Telly left him alone. He's been burying it down and let it surface when it goes dark. 'Adios, Nirvana' is Jonathan's journey to self-discovery. The protagonist underestimates himself. The loss of his twin brother has taken a toll on him. The guy who used to be one of the brightest chaps at Taft’s High School, now struggles to get promoted to the twelfth grade. What follows are the collective efforts of his English teacher, his Principal and his Crew of Thick’s efforts to let him not fall apart.
Jonathan’s English teacher, who is afraid that Jonathan’s talent might end up being nowhere, provides him with a challenge of writing the biography of an old, ailing sailor. Nausea sickens him and yet he is compelled to do it. As it turns out, this old man is the one who rescues him, convinces him to leave darkness behind and force himself to swim towards the shimmer.
 Encompassing a span of a year, the novel is a potpourri of approximately every emotion that not simply a teen undergoes, but all of us do in general, irrespective of which age group we fall into. Ofcourse not every one of us has a twin whom we spell as life, but emotions don’t really change with the person depending on the relationship we have with them, or do they? 
Jonathan is a sensitive guy, really emotional. I love how his thoughts flow, sometimes rhythmic like a poem, like a melody and sometimes all over the place. I understand why he walks up on the bridge. I understand why he drops the idea. I understand when he makes little scribbles on his little diary. It’s not just me. It’s each and everyone of us who’d understand, for he’d have been reading his story. Conrad Wesselhoeft, the author does a commendable job with portraying the protagonist’s state of mind. Everyone and everything really meld very well together.
Although there are no negatives but I’d still give it a 4 on 5, for I wish Jonathan’s thoughts covered a larger portion of the literature in the book.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Book Review- The Revenge of the Praying Mantis (Hattori Hachi #1)

Hattie Jackson is an ordinary fiteen-year-old until her mother disappears and Hattie's life is turned upside down. With the help of her friend, Mad Dog, Hattie discovers the truth about her mother's 'other life' and the role she must now take on to defeat a terrifying army of evil ninjutsu warriors, led by Praying Mantis - the deadliest assassin ever known...
Paperback, Second, 240 pages
Published July 12th 2012 by Silver Fox
edition language
literary awards

Hattie Jackson has a Chinese mother, and a British father. Her mother, Chikoyo plays games with her. She makes her climb up and down the ladder really fast, balance herself on ropes and what not. Now, Hattie has begun to grow up and realises that the games were pretty weird. One fine day, her mother goes missing and it is then that she begins to make out what those games really meant. Out of the blue, she gets to know that she is a young ninja girl, Hattori Hachi. Rest begins her training and her struggle to free her mum from the hands of The Praying Mantis.
As the novel unfolds, the reader gets deeper insights at what ninjutsu really means which I doubt most of the people like me do. All I have known about China till date was Chinese food, the dragons and Karate. This book gives all the information that a reader needs to know to get the story. Yazuki, taking up the responsibility of training Hattie ( or Hachi.) within such a short notice. She has already been trained very well by her mother all these years and she does a very good job at sharpening her skills. Mad Dog, and Neena, stand by the test of true friendship and support her with all they can. Of course there's a small little story going on in the background during the climax and towards the end of the first book, but none of it is really all over the place which is my basic requirement of an adventure novel. Frankly, I've found that in very few books, and this one is definitely one of them. Sets my expectations way too high for the second book.

4 outta 5 stars should be good to go!

Signing off for now,