#review Hickory Dickory Dock

Author : Agatha Christie

Publisher : Harper

Publication date : 1 Jan 2002

Language : English

Book length : 496 pages

Genre : Fiction/ Crime

Synopsis : 

Hercule Poirot doesn’t need all his detective skills to realise something is troubling his secretary, Miss Lemon – she has made three mistakes in a simple letter. It seems an outbreak of kleptomania at the student hostel in which her sister works is distracting his usually efficient assistant.

Deciding that desparate times call for desparate measure, the great detective agrees to investigate. Unknown to Poirot, however, desperation is a motive he shares with a killer . . . 

Rating : 4/5

Review :

Agatha Christie has done it again. Now, I believe you might be thinking, why again ? Well, again because, whenever I read her books, the writing does magic. Her books have this wonderful capability of visual effect on the reader. That is to say, while reading her books the description of every minute thing makes the reader visualize the scene as clear as a real happening. 

So about this book, Hickory Dickory Dock, all I have to say in the very beginning is, curious. 

“Hickory dickory dock /The mouse ran up the clock /The clock struck one/ The mouse ran down/Hickory dickory dock.”

The story begins with Ms.Lemon, Hercule Poirot’s assistant, making mistakes in typing a letter which is extremely unlike her. When asked, she describes hoy her sister Mrs. Hubbard taking in the job of taking care of students living together. Funny incidents happening in a old fashioned roamy house accomodated for students in Hickory Road attracts Poirot who believes something queer is happening or rather going to happen.  Inspite of his repeating suggestion to call the police, Mrs. Hubbard dismisses the idea because the hysterics of the owner of the house Mrs. Nicoletics. However, soon the house has to unwilling accept the suicide of one of their inmates. While the police tries to find the reason of suicide, Poirot is definite that the girl has not committed suicide but has been murdered. Mrs. Hubbard is of the same opinion as him. With Poirot’s patient brain and police’s swift action, secrets start unraveling. The end of the books, like her many books, doesn’t have such a surprising ending I believe. But I do not say it is devoid of surprises. Now, how can a book be written by “the queen of crime” without giving pinches of surprises? This one has them as well. Surprises ready to surprise in a very surprising way. *confused

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#review The Front Page Murders

Author : Puja Changoiwala

Publisher : Hachette India

Publication date : 23 Nov 2016

Book length : 312 pages

Language : English

Genre : Nonfiction/ True Crime

Synopsis :

It takes a fearless mind to harbor such a dark heart, a heart that knows no nobility, no apology… 

Mumbai, April 2012. The gruesome murder of a senior citizen in a wealthy Mumbai neighbourhood leads the city’s Crime Branch to unearth several half-naked, mutilated and dismembered bodies rotting in the ravines of the Western Ghats on the outskirts of the city.

A trail of missing suspects, a lethal honey-trap, and unexpected links with Mumbai’s film industry and the underworld, brings the investigators – and the press, ever hungry for breaking news – to Vijay Palande, a cold-blooded killer equipped with the sophistication of Charles Sobhraj, the manipulative genius of Ted Bundy and the cruelty of Jack the Ripper.
In The Front Page Murders, Puja Changoiwala, who covered the incidents as they unfolded, recounts in gripping detail the story behind the sensational case of multiple murders that shocked the country. Startling and intensely sobering by turns, her compelling narrative explores not just the murky depths of a serial killer’s mind but, tellingly, the media’s frenzy for a front-page story and the insatiable human appetite for horror in real life.

Rating : 5/5

Review :

Like one of my friend’s review of this books says, it seems quite less even to rate this book a 5/5. It deserves so much more. I am never much keen to reading Nonfiction, a fact I point out almost every single day. While reading this book, to be stupidly honest, I had no idea I was reading a Nonfiction. The fact that I always tend to pass this paticular category untouched has left a large gap in knowing what the different types are. This book right here is a True Crime, a genre I am looking forward to reading more of. 

Getting back to the book, author pens down the blood chilling tale of series killer Vijay Palande and his merciless killings. The story begins with the discovery of murder of a senior citizen living in Lokhandwala complex. As the journalist pushes her ways into the happening of the murder and the information gathered by the police, she finds other dark secrets opening up one after the another. With, what seemed like, the murder of a senior citizen for money & property, opened the path to the revealing of 4 other gruesome kills by Palande and his sophisticated, genius mind. 

I will not go into any more details of the book as I wish to avoid spoilers asking you to take your time and read this book. It’s amazing. The whole tale making the heartbeat go fast and slow, makes one feel sad and happy. One thing which I keenly observed in the story is that, all is not bad from the very beginning, from the core. The core is always bright and pure, when the heart and mind still want to achieve good. But it all turns bitter with some rather painful incidents. Some manage to cope with it and move on while some can never get over the pain and turn revengeful. 

No one is born bad, it is the pain they get and the path they chose to get over it that makes the different. 

Wow… Someone’s being rather too philosophical added she really isn’t that much. (She is obviously I myself and I don’t find myself much into philosophical thoughts.) *laughs

Human mind is but a complex system. What it decides to do makes oneself rather afraid at times. How it plays games with the body, how it controls the brain, how it chances a nature, how it creates a cold, sophisticated murderer out of an ambitious boy like Palande. 

Michelle Schlicher (30/12/2016) #bookmail

And when I was wondering where my bookmail are……….

Living in India while most authors who are looking forward to sending review copies mostly being from US, it takes a lot of time for the mail’s to reach me. Sometimes it can be days, weeks or even months *sobs. But I never give up hope cause a bookworm should never give up on bookmails. 

Come this Way by Michelle Schlicher. Thanls to the author for sending the book. I find the cover very soothing.

Synopsis come along with the review after I finish reading it. 

#review Grimm House

Author : Karen McQuestion

Publisher: Nightsky Press

Publication date : 1 Dec 2015

Book length : 202 pages

Language : English 

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis :

When Hadley’s parents leave on a cruise and then are reported lost at sea, her perfect world is turned upside down.

In a flash she is whisked away to a new life of drudgery at Grimm House where she waits on not one but two persnickety old aunts. As she grudgingly fulfils their commands of cooking, cleaning, and even after-dinner-dancing, she comes to suspect the aunts are really witches who are scheming to take the thing she looks best best.

With only her wits and the help of some unlikely new friends, Hadley makes a plan to escape Grimm House and find her way home before it’s too late.

Rating : 4½/5

Review :

First of all how can I post a spoiler free review when I have so many things to say? I mean, I found two sides of rh story. One, the side that narrates the story and the other, which narrates the inner core of it. I am not embarrassed in the least to point out myself to be one of those readers who always tend to find another meaning to a story, whether it be something the author wants to imply or not. 

Now,getting back to the main reason of this post – the review. Yes, the book is indeed quite interesting and spooky (at some points). I have read Karen McQuestion’s work before – To a Distant Star, from where I know one thing for sure, the author has a beautiful writing style which reads like me or maybe every reader will find very gripping. The book not even once made me feel like putting it down. 

The story revolves around Hadley, a sweet little girl, the apple of her parents’ eyes and passionate about dance. She loves to dance, not just that, she lives dance. All was well, a happy family, a happy life, a happy girl, everything one requires to describe his/her life as normal. However, it didn’t last long. With the coming of Maxine Grimm carrying with her an unpleasant news, Hadley’s beautiful world came crashing down. For the woman carrying the news is her aunt and the news she was carrying was of Hadley’s parents having reported lost at sea while on a cruise. She is left with no other option but be whisked away to her old weird aunts’ sick, old, spooky Grimm House. There she is asked, to do all the house chores, be it by sweet talk or force. One thing she was allowed to do on her own accord was dancing. Her aunts watched every night as she danced elegantly under the chandelier. As time went by, she got wind of something funny about the whole affair, starting from her parents being lost to the aunts letting her dance her the chandelier. This curiosity is fuelled by the entry of Gigi the bug with thousands of it’s kind who claim to be fast and smart and indestructible; impossible to get rid of and Hadley’s only help. With their help, she slowly unfolds all the dark secrets and paves out her way through all the struggle. 

What I learnt from the book is the passion a person requires to make his/her dreams come true. When a child sees dreams, he/she always shows deep passion and desires to do something with it. But as the child grows up, the passion grows old. The struggle that life provides with passing time, washes away the passion. But if passion is snatched out of a child, if he/she stops dreaming, will be/she ever grow up? If the child doesn’t even give up, maybe the adult won’t give up as well. Maybe the undying passion of the child will water the dry tree of passion in an adult. Don’t know if I have made my points clear; don’t know if I have made myself understandable, but at least I have tried. A child should never give up on his/her passion. A child should never be told to give up on his/her passion. Passion should never be snatched away from a child. 

It is the innocent minds of children in whom passion occupies the biggest place.

Bookmail 5

This is the first time that Hachette India has send a review copy. Thanks to the author Puja Changoiwala for replying to my approach. I find a fact very sad that some Indian publishing houses seem to pay less interest on just-rising bloggers and reviewers. It’s like they have to beg many times before being replied to while some never get a reply. Though I must say some publishing houses and authors do show interest and are eager to get their books reviewed when asked to, for a review copy.

Now, about this particular book I have here – The Front Page Murders by Puja Changoiwala, the first thing that attracted me was the cover. The cover designer has my appreciation for that. Next, the synopsis, so much attention grabbing that I couldn’t wait but dig into the book as soon as the opened the mail. The two most important factors a book requires to attract it’s readers.

Synopsis:

 It takes a fearless mind to harbor such a dark heart, a heart that knows no nobility, no apology… Mumbai, April 2012. The gruesome murder of a senior citizen in a wealthy Mumbai neighbourhood leads the city’s Crime Branch to unearth several half-naked, mutilated and dismembered bodies rotting in the ravines of the Western Ghats on the outskirts of the city.
A trail of missing suspects, a lethal honey-trap, and unexpected links with Mumbai’s film industry and the underworld, brings the investigators – and the press, ever hungry for breaking news – to Vijay Palande, a cold-blooded killer equipped with the sophistication of Charles Sobhraj, the manipulative genius of Ted Bundy and the cruelty of Jack the Ripper.
In The Front Page Murders, Puja Changoiwala, who covered the incidents as they unfolded, recounts in gripping detail the story behind the sensational case of multiple murders that shocked the country. Startling and intensely sobering by turns, her compelling narrative explores not just the murky depths of a serial killer’s mind but, tellingly, the media’s frenzy for a front-page story and the insatiable human appetite for horror in real life.

#review A Mumbai Christmas

Author:  Sujit Sood

Version: E-book 

Book length: 22 pages

Genre: Fiction/ Short Story

Rating: 4/5

Review:

First, you might think, “Now, where is the synopsis?”. Well, for that, I believe writing a synopsis for a short story leaves nothing much for the review, does it? So I skipped the part of synopsis into review.

Sujit Sood, the author of Dathisbrth (one of my favourite books), is back with a short story for the beautiful day of Christmas.

The story revolves around Sujit, not the author, no, no. It’s the name of the main character. I believe as the front page of the book reads, “based on true story”, the author has used his own name to make his point more clear. Now, the story begins with how the narrator came to find happiness in the celebration of Christmas day. 

When he gets a call from Richard, a friend of his, for ungent help, though trying not to mind about it too much, Richard’s constant calls forces him to his house. The urgent help, Sujit finds, is for Richard’s teenage brother Nick who suddenly has the urge to play guitar. When asked, Nick answers that he wants to play a song for Maria, his mom, on Christmas. This touched Sujit’s heart because it is such an earnest, loving reason for a child to want to play guitar Sujit suggests to teach him.

Through the next half of the story, Sujit narrates how Nick tries his best to learn guitar? Many troubles pass their way but they fight it through till the night when Nick plays the guitar. 

In a time dominated by novels and series, which gives us immense emotions to fight with, a short story is a relief. Something which eases the bouncing emotions a bit, making a soothing feeling flow through the mind.

#review The Lerewood 

Author: Andrea Churchill

Publiser:

Publication date:

Book length:

Language: English

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis:

Legends speak of a place called Lerewood, an isolated little village set in the middle of an immeasurable, ghostly wood. The town people suffer from severe poverty and filth, living more like savage animals than a cultured civilization. However, despite the town’s inhuman conditions, the townspeople never seem to die from disease or starvation, and their numbers only seem to grow with each generation.

No one knows the truth of how Lerewood came to be, but many secrets seem to revolve around as ancient, legendary creature that lives in the surrounding forest. They say she’ll hunt anyone who dares trespass onto her land, those who enter the forest never come back.

One middle aged man, Uallas, depressed and tired of abuse from his monstrous wife, decides to commit suicide by entering the wood. But when he steps foot into the mythical dark forest. Uallas finds that everything he ever knew about the town, and himself, were lies. These new discoveries only lead to more questions, where the truth can only be found in the mysterious, undiscovered world.

Rating: 4½/5 

Review:

From the starting point of the book I felt I could visualize every happening through the course of the tale. It can be beautifully classified as a tragic fairy tail. One that brings out too many questions inside your head. I felt like asking , is it how good and bad, evil and good had been kept separated? By a magical, enchanted forest and Illere? Has the existence of pure evil, beast-like behavior of our world possibly began from a place like the Lerewood? Does evil arrive out of nowhere, just down from the earth? How much sacrifice of the good is needed for the evil to distinguish the latter? Do I sound like crazy? I might. Well, am definitely not ashamed for that. This book has brought out lot of questions in me, a lot of thinking, a lot of link between real life and the story life. I rated it 4½ because I really wish the book was a bit long as also has some answers to all the answered questions. If you haven’t read it yet, better don’t waste anymore time. You won’t regret it. 

#review Thank You Love

Author: Ayush Gupta

Publisher: Half Baked Beans 

Publication date: 1 Jan 2016

Book length: 150 pages

Language: English

Genre: Fiction/ Romance

Synopsis:
            “Thank You Love”

  “…Yes, I said, everything in life is uncertain and it speaks the same.”

All human energy comes from that one thought. All the pain that we bear and that joys that we celebrate are the results of our thoughts at any moment. Strange isn’t it?

When Akshita was making her choices, Ratan made his. He refused to get over her absence in his heart and mind.

Thank You Love describes how sitting on the floor in silence changes the world of “Ratan”. He realized that love is not something that happens between two people, instead it’s an enduring quality within people. He realized that love is not something that you do, but ie that way you are. 

He re-moulds one of the most important event of his life into a spark, re-channelized it and hands towards something that would later change the course of his life.

Rating: 3/5

Review:

Love, a feeling every human comes across at least once in a life. What is love? Modern psychologists define it as the strong desire for emotional union with another person. But what actually is love. It means so many different things to different people. Some writers have described it, “Whenever you’re near, I hear symphony.”

But what happens when this so-called beautiful feeling tears you apart? When the people you love dearly leaves you slowly? When that person’s priorities change? How do you help yourself? Make yourself come out of the pain? Understand your love’s point of view?

This book has it all. An answer to all this questions. Though I should also add that everyone has their own views in this matter. It’s just that the author has pointed all these out through a love story. 

However I found Ratan a weak character in many places. Though I understand the book is based on his feelings for Akshita, but in some places her character completely wears off his character. And sometimes his existance is just for her.

The author has written a beautiful story but I believe he still has to improve the writing. The way of writing has made the story an elongated read in many places and a reader might loose interest. However the story grows quite interesting with the introduction of the concept of chakra. 

It was a good read and am hoping to read more of the author, hoping the writing pattern takes in more maturity.

#review Colors of Immortality

Author: J.M.Muller

Publiser: BookBaby

Publication date: 29 Jul 2016

Paperback: 270 pages

Language: English

Genre: Fiction

Bookmark:

Rating: 5/5 

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Daniel Thatcher has accepted some hard truths. He knows his parents are junkies, his ex-girlfriend’s a cheater, and he’s one write-up away from losing his job. But what he’s unwilling to accept is that his friend, Tony, skipped town for no reason. So when Daniel finds a map Tony left behind, he follows it to a remote section of the Cascade Mountains.

It’s a land filled with haunting shadows and crowded trees – an area untouched by man. Or so Daniel thinks. Not long after arriving in the woods, Daniel discovers inhabitants living in the heart of the forest. Despite their peculiar behavior, the reclusive residents possess an allure that goes far beyond their beauty. But beneath their lovely exterior rests a sinister secret, one that’s both lethal and tragic.
It seems the dead don’t always stay buried. Now Daniel’s forced to accept the hardest truth of all: monsters do exist, and if they have it their way, he’ll soon become one of them. 

Review:

Daniel Tracker a sixteen-year-old boy with a wrecked family… wasted father who never cared for him, drunk mother who always ended up bringing unknown men home, as long as Daniel can remember. One of those men had the habit of beating him up along with his mother which resulted in his running away from his mother’s house. The only hope is his sweet, old grandmother who loves him more than anything. He also had another positive thing in his life in the form of his girlfriend, Sarah, which turned into a curse the evening he found out she was a cheater, though he hadn’t seen the details himself, the rumor were enough to know it all. His only friend, best friend to be exact, Tony suddenly skips town with just a little note addressed to Daniel. Daniel can’t believe it all. And Erik’s frightening tale seems to make no sense. Daniel is determined to know it all.. to go into the darkest of the woods, to encounter the horror that awaits him.

One word that describes the book CRAZY, that also in a good way. How would you feel if you realize monsters really do exist and they want you to be become one of them? That to become one of them you have to be dead? That whom you think as a cheater is innocent? And that you have fallen in love with a monster! Not all monsters are harmful.. not all of them are bad. 

The author has created a world that no one has every dreamt of. I am very much in love with the whole concept. It’s more like a tale from the Grimm’s fairy tale series, a dark tale full of love, fate, cruelty and terror. Am really not sure if it has a next book or not but I really want a next book of it badly. Let the tale not end here.. there is so more to read.

#review From a Distant Star

Author: Karen McQuestion

Publiser: Skyscape

Publication date: 19 May 2015

Language: English

Paperback: 280 pages

Genre: Fiction 

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Emma was the only one who hadn’t given up on her boyfriend, Lucas. Everyone else his family, his friends, his doctors was convinced that any moment could be his last. So when Lucas miraculously returns from the brink of death, Emma thinks her prayers have been answered.

As the surprised town rejoices, Emma begins to question whether Lucas is the same boy she s always known. When she finds an unidentifiable object on his family s farm and government agents come to claim it she begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems. Emma s out-of-this-world discovery may be the key to setting things right, but only if she and Lucas can evade the agents who are after what they have. With all her hopes and dreams on the line, Emma sets out to save the boy she loves. And with a little help from a distant star, she might just have a chance at making those dreams come true.

Bookmark:

Rating: 5/5

Review:

The story revolves round a seventeen-year-old girl… Emma and her boyfriend, Lucas who is bed ridden, fighting cancer… While everyone seems to have given up on him, she has the utmost belief that Lucas is going to wake up soon. His parents being too practical and undesired critics of the situation, Emma approaches Mrs. Kokesh, known for using magic, to cure Lucas. Thus when Lucas wakes up the very next morning looking as if nothing has ever happened to him, Emma feels happy thinking she has cured him. But all hell comes loose when she realizes it is not the same Lucas she is seeing now. Something deep has changed. As incidents pass by and after lot of questioning Lucas opens up on the secret, Emma finds it extremely hard to believe but Erik (Lucas’s brother) believes it all and convinces her into helping thing out.. Now she putting her life in bait is battling the agents who want Lucas…. She can do anything if it means getting Lucas back..

How would you feel if one day you are told that aliens do exist? that they are not harmful? 

How would you feel if you realise there is a way to cure your love? What if cancer could be cured easily?

A story about two different places.. similar feelings.. never ending love and trust. 

The most interesting part of the story is the beautiful approach to the cruel world…a approach so clever and unique that would point out the flaws and make us realise the truth.