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Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson

Have you read a book where at so many points you think that now this is going to be a climax? But then you check bottom left corner of your Kindle and notice that oh, there are so many pages still remaining (of course, this would not happen with physical book) and sometimes you are left with an expression like – what what what, 50% of the book is still left!! Ok not necessarily everyone will accede to my point, but this was my feeling while reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

The book is a good whodunnit with respect to the basic story-line, but the detailing in it bored me to such an extent that I was skipping lines (my college-mate told me that he skipped pages). Add to it the fact that I hate slow books in general and especially in a whodunnit, I want things to keep on happening, here I mean, “relevant” things. Till almost 50% of the book, the two main protagonists do not even interact with each other and it felt like reading two separate stories without any conjoin and this was my biggest problem. So many parts of the book could have been removed and it seemed that this would have hardly made any difference. Without giving any spoilers away, I felt there were a few points which were left unattended like Armansky thinking Salander to be a perfect victim, but perhaps this has to do with the continuance and reveal which will happen in the next books of this series.

So what do you think – should I continue to read the next book in this series – The Girl Who Played With Fire or simply jump to watch the movie based on this series?

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story and financial intrigue.

A Sensational #1 Bestseller – Now a Major Motion Picture In Theaters March 2010.

It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.

It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

About the author:
Stieg Larsson (born as Karl Stig-Erland Larsson) was a Swedish journalist and writer who passed away in 2004.

As a journalist and editor of the magazine Expo , Larsson was active in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organisations. When he died at the age of 50, Larsson left three unpublished thrillers and unfinished manuscripts for more. The first three books (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest) have since been printed as the Millenium series. These books are all bestsellers in Sweden and in several other countries, including the United States and Canada.

Website (not in English)stieglarsson.se

Rating: 5/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
(Millennium #1)
Author: Stieg Larsson
Pages: 465
Publication Year: 2005
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Book Review: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

What happens when you are reading too many detective books? You expect books with similar name to follow if not same, but with a similar story-line of whodunnit. And with that expectation, I started off reading The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, anticipating lot of suspense, murder mysteries to solve and of course more than one detective. But what did I find!! The exact opposite. And that was a dampener for me and resulted in a lesser rating for this book.

Though the book was written focusing on life in Africa (do not know much, since there is only one other book I have read till now), this has been highlighted by others I have interacted with that the characters and scenes have been kept realistic. Read this line from the book below and you can get a flavor of what is to come and that is good, only if I had a different set of expectations:

The problem, of course, was that people did not seem to understand the difference between right and wrong. They needed to be reminded about this, because if you left it to them to work out for themselves, they would never bother. They would just find out what was best for them, and then they would call that the right thing. That’s how most people thought.

Have you read Indian writers Ruskin Bond and Sudha Murthy and now think of their writing in fiction style and you have this book! Just remember mysteries are a very small part of these stories and you will like it.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
When Precious Ramotswe has only just set up shop as Botswana’s No.1 (and only) lady detective when she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. However, the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors.

This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency received two Booker Judges’ Special Recommendations and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement..

About the author:
Alexander McCall Smith, often referred to as ‘Sandy’,  is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors. For many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the UK and abroad before turning his hand to writing fiction. He has written and contributed to more than 100 books including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children’s books.

Alexander’s various series of books have been translated into forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world. These include the popular The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series.

Alexander has received numerous awards for his writing and holds twelve honorary doctorates from universities in Europe and North America. In 2007 he received a CBE for services to literature and in 2011 was honoured by the President of Botswana for services through literature to the country. In 2015 he received the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction and in 2017, The National Arts Club (of America) Medal of Honor for Achievement in Literature.

Website: alexandermccallsmith.co.uk
Twitter: @mccallsmith

Rating: 7/10
Genre: Mystery
Book Name: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Pages: 235
Publication Year: 1998

Book Review: Alone (Detective D.D. Warren #1) by Lisa Gardner

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Alone (Detective D.D. Warren #1) by Lisa Gardner

If you are a follower of my blog, you would know that the maximum number of books that I read are murder mysteries and detective series. Come what may, whichever genre I get into, I have to go back to my favourite genre. And guess what, I have found one girl in my reading group who too does the same though she has read many many more such detective series than me and I have thought of falling back upon her recommendations if I get bored of books I pick up by myself. Lisa Gardner was one such author that she had recommended. And you know the most interesting thing I found about this author is that you can nominate someone whom you want to get killed/ maimed in her next book and as of writing this, I have already done the nomination and the person whose name I have recommended, he (yes, he) would be reading this book review as well and know I am referring to him only and none else because after all, there’s one and only one. Haha.

So back to the book, the story is simple, yet I felt creepy while reading a few scenes. Ooooooo how many times have you wondered (your low points) that there is no one on whom you can rely and you and only you have to take action to find a solution, come what may! Without giving away spoilers, though some things could not be conceived and can happen very rarely, still the story was put together in a conventional flow which is easy to read. Gosh, at least I did not have to apply my brains in imagining scenes here unlike when it goes too much back and forth (hinting at Gone Girl, The Girl on The Train, Sometimes I Lie). And hey, that is a good thing when you want a detective series pure and simple unraveling the murders one after the other.

Recommended book for murder mystery lovers, just don’t think of D. D Warren doing too much in this book since this is just her introductory book.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Alone . . . Massachusetts State Trooper Bobby Dodge watches a tense hostage standoff unfold through the scope of his sniper rifle. Just across the street, in wealthy Back Bay, Boston, an armed man has barricaded himself with his wife and child. The man’s finger tightens on the trigger and Dodge has only a split second to react . . . and forever pay the consequences.

Alone . . . that’s where the nightmare began for cool, beautiful, and dangerously sexy Catherine Rose Gagnon. Twenty-five years ago, she was buried underground during a month-long nightmare of abduction and abuse. Now her husband has just been killed. Her father-in-law, the powerful Judge Gagnon, blames Catherine for his son’s death . . . and for the series of unexplained illnesses that have sent her own young son repeatedly to the hospital.

Alone . . . a madman survived solitary confinement in a maximum security prison where he’d done hard time for the most sadistic of crimes. Now he walks the streets a free man, invisible, anonymous . . . and filled with an unquenchable rage for vengeance. What brings them together is a moment of violence—but what connects them is a passion far deeper and much more dangerous. For a killer is loose who’s woven such an intricate web of evil that no one is above suspicion, no one is beyond harm, and no one will see death coming until it has them cornered, helpless, and alone.

About the author:
Lisa Gardner, a #1 New York Times bestselling thriller novelist, began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she turned her interest in police procedure and criminal minds into a streak of internationally acclaimed suspense novels.

With over 22 million books in print, Lisa is published in 30 countries. She’s also had four novels become TV movies (At the Midnight Hour, The Perfect Husband, The Survivors Club, Hide). Her books have received awards from across the globe. Her novel, The Neighbor, won Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers, while also receiving the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle in France. She was also recognized with the Daphne du Maurier Award in 2000 for The Other Daughter. Finally, Lisa received the Silver Bullet Award from the International Thriller Writers in 2017 for her work on behalf of at-risk children and the Humane Society.

For a bit of fun, Lisa invites her readers to enter the annual “Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy” Sweepstakes at LisaGardner.com. Every year, one Lucky Stiff is selected to meet a grand end in Lisa’s latest novel. Past winners have nominated spouses, best friends and even themselves.

Lisa lives in New Hampshire where she spends her time with an assortment of canine companions. When not writing, she loves to hike, garden, snowshoe and play cribbage.

Website: lisagardner.com
Twitter: @LisaGardnerBks

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: Alone
(Detective D.D. Warren #1)
Author: Lisa Gardner
Pages: 451
Publication Year: 2004

Book Review: Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

Had you checked my review of Chocolat and its sequel The Lollipop ShoesIf not, click on the hyperlinks. Each was an amazing fantasy book with chocolate recipes weaved into the tale and I was so impressed with the writings of Joanne Harris, the author, that I had to give another book of hers a read. Now, this line I have just written you may find at contradiction with my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes where I did not feel like reading another book of the same author one after the other, but it so happened that I had read Five Quarters of the Orange a month back and forgot altogether about writing a review. I got reminded recently when a friend recommended me to read Joanne Harris books. But you know, a lot can happen in a month, your mind and heart can flip 180°.

So, about the book, it follows the same standard format of recipes (not chocolate this time) weaved in the storyline. However, I felt it was lacking in many fronts, especially the suspense of why the main protagonist has hidden her real name. In fact there were many questions I wanted answer of while reading the story, but of which the book did not conclude, e.g. what was it that led the main protagonist’s mother to fear orange. Probably it may not have resulted in fast forwarding the storyline, but I was assuming that there would be much more in the ending. Even the notes in the book is not leading to major disclosure (again I sort of expected this to happen). My bad, to have high expectations from a book or a person.

However, if you do not compare Chocolat and this book Five Quarters of the Orange, it is an “okay” book on its own. You can read it if are not able to find other better books.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
The novels of Joanne Harris are a literary feast for the senses. Five Quarters of the Orange represents Harris’s most complex and sophisticated work yet – a novel in which darkness and fierce joy come together to create an unforgettable story.

When Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen – the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that took place during the German occupation decades before. Although Framboise hopes for a new beginning she quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in the scrapbook of recipes she has inherited from her dead mother.

With this book, Framboise re-creates her mother’s dishes, which she serves in her small creperie. And yet as she studies the scrapbook – searching for clues to unlock the contradiction between her mother’s sensuous love of food and often cruel demeanor – she begins to recognize a deeper meaning behind Mirabelle’s cryptic scribbles. Within the journal’s tattered pages lies the key to what actually transpired the summer Framboise was nine years old.

Rich and dark. Five Quarters of the Orange is a novel of mothers and daughters of the past and the present, of resisting, and succumbing, and an extraordinary work by a masterful writer.

About the author:
Joanne Harris is a British author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.

In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.

Website: joanne-harris.co.uk
Twitter: @Joannechocolat

Rating: 6/10
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Name: Five Quarters of the Orange
Author: Joanne Harris
Pages: 307
Publication Year: 2001

Book Review: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

No Spoilers

Magpie Murders had appeared time and again as one of the most interesting murder mysteries by many people. Luckily, I had never read any review of this book. Whenever I used to see someone has posted a review, every single time I used to scroll past. Tell me, what will be the use of reading a murder mystery just in case some silly reviewer would have spilled the beans or even given a hint? So, as I start writing the review of this book, let me assure you there is not going to be a word extra other than what has been mentioned in book blurb.

As I started reading the book, I wondered why is there an introduction by Susan Ryeland and if she is some famous personality of which I am not aware. But I kept that thought aside and continued with the murder mystery. Only half-way through the book did I realize that there is a story within the story. I would have known all this had I read the book blurb before, but I did not want to waste that much time once I got hold of this book. This book pays a homage to Agatha Christie (I am a big time fan of hers. If you search my blog, there will be reviews of more than 20+ books of hers) with subtle and not-so-subtle references to places, characters, and scenes of different books written by her.

The name Magpie Murders is in reference to a poem – this is also on similar lines of how Agatha Christie wrote (And Then There Were None, A Pocket Full of Rye etc):

One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret, Never to be told.

In fact, this book helped me take a glimpse into the minds of a writer. There were various quotes/lines I felt like highlighting while I was reading the story in kindle, but at times, I got so engrossed in the mystery that I missed out some notable ones, still I am mentioning a few below:

I’m not sure it actually matters what we read. Our lives continue along the straight lines that have been set out for us. Fiction merely allows us a glimpse of the alternative. Maybe that’s one of the reasons we enjoy it.

These had been his plans. But if there was one thing that life had taught him, it was the futility of making plans. Life had its own agenda. 

I took out my iPhone and moved away from the front door so that I could get a picture of the whole thing. I didn’t know why I did that, but then why does anyone take photographs ever? We never look at them any more.

Finally, this books make me hum a line – jab ek k daam mei do miley, toh koi ek kyun le, do na le (when you can get two stories at the price of one, you should definitely go ahead). So, if you like murder mysteries, you really really have to read this book for it is ingenious, has various cross references, puzzles, anagrams, ah the list goes on.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

About the author:
Anthony Horowitz is one of the most prolific and successful writers working in the UK – and is unique for working across so many media. Anthony is a born polymath; juggling writing books, TV series, films, plays and journalism. He was awarded an OBE for his services to literature in January 2014.

Anthony has written over 40 books including the bestselling teen spy series Alex Rider, which he adapted into a movie that was released worldwide in 2006. The Alex Rider series is estimated to have sold 19 million copies worldwide. He is also an acclaimed writer for adults and was commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate and Orion Books to write two new Sherlock Holmes novels.

Website: anthonyhorowitz.com
Twitter: @anthonyhorowitz

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Book Name: Magpie Murders
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Pages: 502
Publication Year: 2016

Book Review: Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer

Is it necessary that we need to read any book series in a particular order, i.e. chronologically? Yes, but if you are not able to find the previoust ones, should you skip on the sequels as well? Of course not. I mean this is what I think. So after completing The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (click on the hyperlink to check my review of this book read a month back), there were many other books recommended to me by the same author, one of which was These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub, but since I couldn’t get hold of the former one, I started off with the latter.

You know I had never heard of Georgette Heyer during my school or college days, I am sure I would have loved these even better then. In fact, the author has been very popular for many in my reading groups have entire collection of her books or have read each one of her books. But better late than never!

The book starts in a typical fashion – the male protagonist being a playboy and I wondered if it is going to end in a typical fashion. However, as I had heard that Georgette’s females have strong character sketches – feisty, witty, intelligent and sensible, I continued and glad I did that. Although there was too much drama in the end, it was an outright entertainer. And in the end, it brought a stupid smile on my face once I completed reading this book.

Please check below a few dialogues from this book:

“You will very soon be. Sit down. Why are you not at the ball?”
“I had no inclination for it, sir. I might ask, why are not you?”
“Not finding you there, I came here,” he replied.
“I am indeed flattered,” said Miss Challoner.
He laughed. “It’s all I went for, my dear, I assure you. Why was that fellow holding your hands?”
“For comfort,” said Miss Challoner desolately.
He held out his own. “Give them to me.” 

“You will like her,” he persisted. “Egad, she’s after your own heart, maman! She shot me in the arm.”

However, if I have to recommend between this book and The Grand Sophy, I will pick the latter one only.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
Dominic Alistair, Marquis of Vidal is a bad lot – a rake and seducer, reckless, heedless, and possessed of a murderous temper. He is known by friend and foe alike as the “Devil’s Cub”. Yet as the handsome and wealthy heir to a Dukedom, he is considered a good prospect on the marriage market. Vidal currently has his eye on the young, lovely, and unintelligent Sophia Challoner, and Sophia’s greedy mother is more than happy to encourage his dubious attentions.

When lovely, saucy Mary Challoner had practiced her bold deception upon the hot-blooded, fiery-tempered young Marquis of Vidal–substituting herself for her young sister he had thought to carry off to France–she had little notion he would grimly hold her to her part of the bargain. Now he had left her, and she was alone, a stranger in a strange land, prey to the intrigues of glittering, heartless, 18th century Paris.

Only one person could rescue her–the Marquis himself. But how could she ever trust this man? How could she even hope to overcome the contempt in which he held her? And how could even the sudden flowering of her love ever bridge the terrible gap between them?

About the author:
Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her husband George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

Heyer was an intensely private person who remained a best selling author all her life without the aid of publicity. She made no appearances, never gave an interview and only answered fan letters herself if they made an interesting historical point. She sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Stella Martin.

Her Regencies were inspired by Jane Austen, but unlike Austen, who wrote about and for the times in which she lived, Heyer was forced to include copious information about the period so that her readers would understand the setting. While some critics thought her novels were too detailed, others considered the level of detail to be Heyer’s greatest asset.

Heyer remains a popular and much-loved author, known for essentially establishing the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance.

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Name: Devil’s Cub
(Alastair-Audley #2)
Author: Georgette Heyer
Pages: 323
Publication Year: 1932

Book Review: Nutshell by Ian McEwan

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Nutshell by Ian McEwan

August has been the month of thrillers for me and I guess the month where I have read the maximum number of books as well. Do not go by the count of book reviews posted on this blog since at times, I miss writing reviews the month I have read or write reviews of too many books at once (like the time in Dec 2017 when I wrote review of I guess 20+ Agatha Christie books read over last 3 months). And when I say thrillers, it is not only by the same author; that would have been an easy pick and I have plenty of time to scroll through book blurbs and recommendation posts now.

Even though Ian McEwan is more famously known for Atonement, while browsing through various books of his, Nutshell is the one that sparked more curiosity in me. By the way, this is my first McEwan. Reading the book, the non-fiction style of writing got to me at the start (if you are my blog follower, you would know that I only read fiction) but the way the book is written commenting on everything the foetus (yes, you read it correct) hears through his (or hers, the sex is not revealed) mom or surroundings, was a real piece of writing I have not read in a long long time. Haven’t we as Indians heard of the story of Mahabharata’s Abhimanyu who learnt the art of breaking into the Chakravyuha when he was in Subhadra’s womb? The same tale is extended but in a different fashion. A murder is planned and the only witness is the foetus. The entire book is narrated by the foetus itself who gets affected by the emotions of his mother and at times, his father as well.

In conclusion, I will say you need to read this book if you are looking for something serious and are not easily affected by what you read/ see.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

About the author:
Ian Russell McEwan is an English novelist and screenwriter. In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945” and The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in their list of the “100 most powerful people in British culture”. Many of his books have been translated into movies.

McEwan’s works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites; the Whitbread Novel Award (1987) and the Prix Fémina Etranger (1993) for The Child in Time; and Germany’s Shakespeare Prize in 1999. He has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction numerous times, winning the award for Amsterdam in 1998. His novel Atonement received the WH Smith Literary Award (2002), National Book Critics’ Circle Fiction Award (2003), Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction (2003), and the Santiago Prize for the European Novel (2004). He was awarded a CBE in 2000. In 2006, he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Saturday and his novel On Chesil Beach was named Galaxy Book of the Year at the 2008 British Book Awards where McEwan was also named Reader’s Digest Author of the Year.

Website: ianmcewan.com
Facebook: @IanMcEwanAuthor

Rating: 9/10
Genre: Mystery
Book Name: Nutshell
Author: Ian McEwan
Pages: 208
Publication Year: 2016

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

For years, I was scared to pick up Gone Girl, the famous psycho-thriller though I had read The Woman in the Window (click on the hyperlink to check my review of this book read a few months back) and The Girl on the Train (click on the hyperlink to check my review of this book read more than a year back). However, this time, I planned to skip my fears and give it the much awaited time it needs (for I have plenty of time these days ignoring the amount of effort it takes to raise a baby).

Have you read a book and felt deja vu? Not in the sense that you have read the book previously but that you have seen it or more like, you can predict the exact scene of what is to happen next. If you are wondering that perhaps I may have watched the movie, then no, I have not. I just watched the trailer of Gone Girl (2014) just before starting to write this review and it did not look at all similar to the scenes I saw in my mind as flashback while reading the book. In fact I googled to find out if there was any other adaptation of the book, but unfortunately, I could not find anything. If you do know any such movie or TV episode, please do let me know in the comments below, for I am stunned to think that I can also write psycho-thriller and if my mind works like the Amazing Amy! Just kidding…

So enough about me and my book finickiness, coming to the book, I simply loved it – the rise and fall of tempo, the two perspectives, the back and forth of timeline and the amazing skills of diary writing of Amy (hey, I am not giving anything away but I think I too can write such now). And the book makes me want to say that love is such a questionable entanglement! The book is definitely better than the other two psycho-thrillers I have read and if you are in love of such genre, you MUST pick this book.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book:

Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.

Wear this, don’t wear that. Do this chore now and do this chore when you get a chance and by that I mean now. And definitely, definitely, give up the things you love for me, so I will have proof that you love me best.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

About the author:
Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. Her work has been published in forty-one languages.

Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. The book is now an HBO® limited series starring Amy Adams.

Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. In 2015, the movie adaptation starring Charlize Theron was released.

Flynn’s third novel, Gone Girl, was an international sensation and a runaway hit that has spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists. Gone Girl was named one of the best books of the year by People Magazine and Janet Maslin at the New York Times. Nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel, Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gone Girl for the big screen, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Her newest release, The Grownup, is an Edgar Award-winning short story and an homage to the classic ghost story. Universal has optioned the rights to The Grownup.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

Website: gillian-flynn.com
Twitter: @TheGillianFlynn

Facebook: @authorgillianflynn

Rating: 10/10
Genre: Thriller
Book Name: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Pages: 415
Publication Year: 2012

Book Review: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

The last romantic book that I had read was The Grand Sophy (check my review here) and that was just a while ago. And I liked it so much that I preferred giving yet another romantic book a shot, but this time I chose a little humorous one.

Though I am a little skeptical of choosing a book with old aged characters (my prejudice but I have hated such movies the recent one being 102 not out), this one was just the apt one for me. The Indian/ Pakistani angle simply added to the charm of reading in addition to the book references and discussions scattered in between. After-all it was on the pretext of Rudyard Kipling that Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali started to plan their meetings. The book’s wry light-hearted humor will endear you to Major Pettigrew who is older than you (for most of you, at least) and remind you that it is never too late to challenge traditions.

Here is the quote that I liked the best in this book:

Memories were like tomb paintings, thought the Major, the colors still vivid no matter how many layers of mud and sand time deposited. Scrape at them and they come up all red and blazing.

And few other ones:

I tell myself it does not matter what one reads – favorite authors, particular themes – as long as we read something. It is not even important to own the books.

But it’s not enough to be in love. It’s about how you spend your days, what you do together, who you choose as friends, and most of all it’s what work you do … Better to break both our hearts now than watch them wither away over time.

So, if you want to find out if it was all is well between the two main protagonists and between other couples, you need to follow through the book to know. The final takeaway is that some love stories do have a  happy ending, while others are simply cast as happy memories because to be together would have been simply suffocating.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.

The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

About the author:
Helen Simonson is the author of the New York Times and international bestseller, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and now the proud author of a second novel, The Summer Before the War. Both are set in Sussex, England, where she lived as a teenager. She loves Sussex, but as a young woman, she could not wait to go to college in London, or to move three thousand miles away to America. She began writing as a young mother desperate for some small intellectual escape, and published her first book at the age of forty five – proof, she hopes, that it’s never too late to pursue your passion.

Website: helensimonson.com
Twitter: @simonsonhelen
Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Helen-Simonson/136131609345

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Romance
Book Name: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Author: Helen Simonson
Pages: 359
Publication Year: 2010

Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Ethereal Jinxed | Book Review | The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I had read this book two months back but do not remember how I missed writing a review then. Perhaps because I was reading too many books at too fast-a-pace. So after I had read a book about books, The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, I was on the lookout of reading similar such books and came across The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

Check out the below quote from the book:

We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.

In fact, I read (not related to this book specifically) because of this reason to get lost in the depths of characters and the backgrounds and their intense ineractions and thought processes and travel around the world and love and hate and kill and be happy and so on.

The short anecdotal references in the book of the current story-line with the famous books makes it an interesting read, unlike those I had read till now, although I must admit that there were references of books I had never read, oops never even heard, but yes, I am trying to catch up fast these days. Here is another quote and similar such abound throughout the book:

We aren’t the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved. And these, I think these really do live on. 

The book is a little slow, but it will touch the right chords of one’s heart – finding friends among unusual people and especially love, going extra mile, doing silly stuff, doing stuff you do not like but still not hating the same and finding reasons to be happy – to turnaround one’s life from its sad counterpart. What else would one want, right?

Here is a confession from my side – this book touched the right strings for me for the package that is being referred in the book is what I have got recently and frankly speaking, it has changed my life like Fikry’s did – to find out what is important in my/ his life. So dear reader, read this book to find out about the lovely package being referred and read many apt lines from different books. I have myself vowed to start writing my favorite lines from each book going forward.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

About the author:
Gabrielle Zevin is the New York Times bestselling novelist of nine novels, including The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and most recently, Young Jane Young. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and have sold millions of copies all around the world. She has written book criticism for the New York Times Book Review and NPR’s All Things Considered. She has also written screenplays, including Conversations with Other Women, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. She lives in Los Angeles.

Website: gabriellezevin.com
Twitter: @gabriellezevin
Facebook: @gabriellezevinbooks

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Books About Books
Book Name: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Pages: 260
Publication Year: 2014
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