Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches into a new world.”

27833670Read: 19th June 2017

Estimate reading time: 2 minutes, 16 seconds. Contains 455 words.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Synopsis: “Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

The idea of this book was really interesting and the plot was really fast paced, it took me nearly 4.5 hours to finish this book.

I don’t know how to talk about this book without giving spoilers so I’ll leave that part.

I really liked the whole equilibrium of the book when it started and so did I like the evolution of the story, I mean the rising action. The author threw me in a different world that I had no idea about and he did create suspense and I had no idea what was going on. The series of events that were happening during this stage of the story gave me chills and it was exciting until it all came crashing down.

For me the story was a tad bit predictable and the first time when he talked about parallel world, I think at that point, he gave away a little too much because I could see where the story was going and when he did disclose it in the latter part of the story it was not surprising and that was a bummer.

The romantic bits were extremely cheesy at times. I felt that the later part of the book was quite a mess and he dragged it a little bit.

There were some deep and bigger ideas in this book(though we might have just read about most of them) and I think the author could have used them more wisely in character evolution, he did put them out there and only used some of them for evolving the story. So even though I can say that the story was moving and evolving with the turn of every page, the characters not so much.

“Life doesn’t work that way. You live with your choices and learn. You don’t cheat the system.”

Though I still think that it was an exciting thriller and I don’t regret reading it. So the conclusion, I loved the first half of the book very much and second half not so much, but it was interesting and kept all my attention.

“Until everything topples, we have no idea what we actually have, how precariously and perfectly it all hangs together.”

 

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Book Review: The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy

“Death is finished,” he said to himself.  “It is no more!”

18386My Rating: *4 Stars*

I read this book few days back before going to sleep and I must say that this book made me think a lot.

The only reason I don’t pick up Russian books is because they are fully loaded with Russian names and in the end, I end up calling people whatever name I want to. So, the only name I remember is Ivan Ilych.(I know you don’t have to know this, but it literally sucks.)

So as the title suggests and you can totally make this out that it’s about death of a person named Ivan Ilych.

The theme of this book is Death and just so you know I love reading books that deals with death.

This book makes you think inward and ponder upon the subject of life and death, sure it does. When I started reading it, the tone of the writing was really cold and it does suit the setting that was of a funeral with some slap on the face humor which I wonder was there or it was just an effort made my Tolstoy to bring the readers out of the depressive setting that he created in his book.

Tolstoy did talk about morality and there were few situation where even I gave out a chuckle or two and then I thought how inappropriate it was. He starts with how when someone dies people for a very brief time show their sympathy, they feel a bit sad for the person who died, but they feel more happy for they didn’t, for they are alive and it’s not their time, yet.

I want to quote few lines from the funeral part of the story…

His acquaintance…

“Schwartz was waiting for him in the adjoining room with legs spread wide apart and both hands toying with his top-hat behind his back.  The mere sight of that playful, well-groomed, and elegant figure refreshed Peter Ivanovich.  He felt that Schwartz was above all these happenings and would not surrender to any depressing influences.”

Schwartz didn’t give a hoot. He was there just to mark his presence.


His wife…

“Oh, terribly!  He screamed unceasingly, not for minutes but for hours.  for the last three days he screamed incessantly.  It was unendurable.  I cannot understand how I bore it; you could hear him three rooms off.  Oh, what I have suffered!”

And then his wife said that she suffered. I ask from what? The screams of her husband that she couldn’t tolerate? OH MY GOD! Reading those lines made me feel worse.


His friend…

“The service began:  candles, groans, incense, tears, and sobs.  Peter Ivanovich stood looking gloomily down at his feet. He did not look once at the dead man, did not yield to any depressing influence, and was one of the first to leave the room…

…Peter Ivanovich found the fresh air particularly pleasant after the smell of incense, the dead body, and carbolic acid.”

He just wanted to get out of the awkward situation that he was in, the funeral. So, that at least he can feel happy about his life and that he was alive.


I suffered from all insensitivity these characters showed, made me think for once that how people really do that kind of shit all the time. Some of them feel sad when other people suffer but they feel more happy for themselves because they are all well and fine, then there are few people who don’t give a hoot about anyone, they only think about what they can get out of others suffering, how others suffering can benefit them. And some of them feel relieved that at least it’s all over so that they can move on in life.

Ivan was a nice man, he lived a well to do life, he owned a good house, had a good career, money, a good position in the society and a family. If you look at the surface he had it all. But one day when death announced itself to him, everything came crashing down.

“Ivan Ilych’s life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.”

When pain and agony made him question his life, when he looked back in time, he realized he lost all the joy with time and he started questioning life. All that he had was what the society was expecting from him, not necessarily what he wanted out of life.

“False. Everything by which you have lived and live now is all a deception, a lie, concealing both life and death from you.”

“And in imagination he began to recall the best moments of his pleasant life.  But strange to say none of those best moments of his pleasant life now seemed at all what they had then seemed—none of them except the first recollections of childhood.  There, in childhood, there had been something really pleasant with which it would be possible to live if it could return.  But the child who had experienced that happiness existed no longer, it was like a reminiscence of somebody else.

 As soon as the period began which had produced the present Ivan Ilych, all that had then seemed joys now melted before his sight and turned into something trivial and often nasty.”

Alone while suffering and waiting for his death he questioned himself and his soul. He saw his life in a different light. He suffered his destruction all alone and died everyday a little thinking that no one really cared to understand his sufferings.

“It can’t be that life is so senseless and horrible. But if it really has been so horrible and senseless, why must I die and die in agony? There is something wrong!”

And then he died and we came to an end.

“Death is finished, he said to himself. It is no more!”

And there it was “The Death of Ivan Ilych”.

It’s a short book but I believe one should read this book, it can be a heavy read for some people but worth reading. Once you’ll start reading it, I’m sure you won’t be able to put it down.

Book Review: The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

“You know how advice is – you only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyways.”

4796My Rating: *5 Stars*

I started reading this book yesterday and finished it a few hours back. It’s raining in here, a lot, I mean a lot and it’s cold. Now that rain stopped, strong winds are blowing and I can’t sleep because when I closed the windows, the wind started making spooky noises and now that when I opened them, the sound is so relaxing, you know the sound of wind blowing through palm trees.

So, again I don’t feel like sleeping and I’m constantly thinking about the book and this book gave me this unsettling feeling that won’t let me sleep. You know the feeling you get after you read a thought-provoking novel, yes that.

This book is beautiful, and that is some great writing right there. Steinbeck is what I would like to call a true literary genius. I haven’t read his other books and this is the first one, but already I’m his admirer. I think this is a finely crafted book.

As I read this book, I came across many little but profound messages, throughout the book, and they were easy to decipher and relate with, and strong enough to stir thoughts into the reader’s mind. Steinbeck, as it turns out, is not only a literature writer but also a philosopher and you can easily identify that while reading the book. This novel came out in the 1960s and before that he already got some of his best literary work published like “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden”, I haven’t read them but now after reading this book I’m surely gonna read them. But I’m gonna say that this story is wonderfully told and well structured, but for some unknown reason it is quite often overlooked and I think people should read it. One of my friend on Goodreads said that this book is quite different from his other books.

Now if we come to the story, the synopsis says, Ethan Allen Hawley, the protagonist of Steinbeck’s last novel, works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned. With Ethan no longer a member of Long Island’s aristocratic class, his wife is restless, and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards.

You might have got some idea what this is about. This book, The Winter of Our Discontent, is based on the subject of morality, or more appropriately how morality plays its role in American society, it’s prevalence in 1960’s. It’s an exploration of morality in an individual, in a society. And I think, it still exists in today’s society.

I loved the character of Ethan and all the other characters were also easy to understand. From the beginning itself you can find Ethan as a content person, he did lost his family property(because of a bad business decision, not made by him) and didn’t get to enjoy all taste of money that he could. But in his heart, he was always a content person, a happy person. Always did good and did everything to make his family secure(that is enough to ask). Throughout the book he also talked about many intelligent books and you can see that he is a smart person and can do a lot more and deserve more and that he can be more than a grocery clerk.

But as it turns out when we live in a society many things go into our heads, we want all the luxury and money our neighbors are enjoying or society is enjoying, people can’t keep their heads high up for the simple reason, that they think they are not worthy enough because of the lack of wealth or a respected job.

His family’s discontentment became his discontentment. As a provider, he wanted to provide them everything. Society and friends told him that he could be much more than he is. People told him, if he wants to be successful he have to break some rules to turn it all up for himself, and that sometimes we have to lose our morals to get what we want.

All this discontentment made him do something for himself and his family, day by day little events changed him, he came up with plans(that you would be reading) and you’ll see how everything he planned for fitted altogether. The book has this gray shady setting and sometimes it’s unsettling.

And you can see all this in our society, that a job these days is not just a simple job, it is much more, there is a huge competition, people make other people fall just to go one step ahead and people want to make it big. And no one can disagree with it, it’s everywhere.

Okay, I really want you to read it because this is something worth reading. There are some really good underlying messages and I think you should read it because I can go on and on.

Happy Reading!

[Written on 21st August 2016 at 3:20 A.M.]

Book Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”

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My Rating: *4.5 Stars*

Science Fiction, eh?

NO!

Then what?

More of Coming to Age and Dystopian novel.

Oh!

Btw more of a mixture of genres, Gothic romance, dystopia, coming to age, a tiny winy bit of SF.

Synopsis:

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well-tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.


You know what, we do have a movie! But wait, first read the review and decide for yourself do you want to read it first or watch it. If you’ll watch it first, you’ll not be able to enjoy the very essence of the book. Read it without any hint.


Book Review:

“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”

Well, this book shattered me, no, no, broke my heart. You know, I don’t want to tell you anything about this book but I do want to say few things about it. I’ve very conflicting thoughts about how much I should disclose so that you can also enjoy the experience of reading this book followed by watching the movie.

You come across books that are perfect and I love coming across these books and Never Let Me Go is one of them. This book have a such a powerful narrative and the story flows. I like the kind of stories where people talk about their past, they talk about people from there past, I like the small details and memories. You know how when parents or grand parents tell us about their life and what they used to do and how were things back then, it’s always intriguing. Similarly this book have it all, such a good characterization, I liked knowing about their life in Hailsham. This book have this Gothic spell but that is not the only thing that I loved about this book.

Let me tell you what I loved…

The book revolves around the life of three friends Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. The narrator in this book is Kathy who is a care taker and as I said it is more of coming to age book, because Kathy in this book tells about their life growing up in Hailsham and how their life took turns and how it turned out.

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I don’t know how to describe the beauty of this book but few morning I woke up early just to read this book. When I read it, I didn’t know what was happening, I kept on reading and reading until I understood. This book moved me emotionally and then at one instance it shattered me. I felt so bad for all of them, specially Kath. Everything was so unsettling,  this book raise questions about ethics and morals.

You don’t realize what you are getting yourself into and in one moment everything is clear. His writing and structure of the book will make you want to read the book, but on the same front you’ll find it hard to decipher what he is trying to say and where the story is going and that is what I found unsettling.

I’m not gonna tell you what this book is about, read it, struggle and enjoy.

The book is haunting, sweet and sad at the same time…

Judy Bridgewater – Never Let Me Go(Tommy and Kath made me discover this song)

Darling,
Hold me,
Hold me,
Hold meeeeee,
And never (never),
Never (never),
Never (never),
Let me gooooo

Happy Reading!

Rainy Day Reading List

What can be more wonderful than curling up with a book on a rainy day with a hot cup of coffee or tea? I can’t think of anything because for once I love rains and I love books and I always appreciate a good cup of tea or coffee.

ReadingOnARainyDayThough I can’t predict when it will rain at your place, or I can’t really prepare a cup of coffee for everyone. But I can make a list of books that you can enjoy in rains. Oh! the charm of it, ahh.

I have curated a list(not exactly a list) for everyone and I believe you will like it.

By the way, what do you prefer reading on a rainy day?


Romance 

Classics

1. Jane Eyer by Charlotte Brontë

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“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.”

 2. Wulthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

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Contemporary 

1. It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

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“He took a step closer. “Think about it this way, Sidney. You have to walk down the aisle next to me
at this wedding. We’ll be in numerous photos together—photos that the entire Sinclair family will
look at for years to come. If my job as a groomsman is to complement you, do you really want to put
your faith in whatever I might come up with?”
She considered this for a moment.
“Let me just grab my purse.”

2. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

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“Alexander, were you looking for me?”
“All my life.”

3. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

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“How ever, I’ve learned that the heart can’t be told when and who and how it should love. The heart does whatever the hell it wants to do. The only thing we can control is whether we give our lives and our minds the chance to catch up to our hearts.”


Psychological Thriller 

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1. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

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“Fight Club is not football on television. You aren’t watching a bunch of men you don’t know halfway around the world beating on each other live by satellite with a two-minute delay, commercials pitching beer every ten minutes, and a pause now for station identification. After you’ve been to fight club, watching football on television is watching pornography when you could be having great sex.”

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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“A lot of people lacked that gift: knowing when to fuck off.”

3. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

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“This world can only give me reminders of what I don’t have, can never have, didn’t have for long enough.”


Crime/Mystery 

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1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by  Arthur Conan Doyle

“I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncoloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material?”

2. And Then They Were None by Agatha Christie

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“The amount of missing girls I’ve had to trace and their family and their friends always say the same thing. ‘She was a bright and affectionate disposition and had no men friends’. That’s never true. It’s unnatural. Girls ought to have men friends. If not, then there’s something wrong about them….”


Classics

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1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”

2. Love in the Time of Cholera by  Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

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“But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.”

3. A Room with a View by E.M Foster

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“When we were only acquaintances, you let me be myself, but now you’re always protecting me… I won’t be protected. I will choose for myself what is ladylike and right. To shield me is an insult. Can’t I be trusted to face the truth but I must get it second-hand through you? A woman’s place!”

4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”


Children/Teenagers

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1. Little Prince by  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

2. Inkheart by  Cornelia Funke

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“If you take a book with you on a journey,” Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, “an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it… yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”

3. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

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“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”


Teenage Girls

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Series

1. Shiver Trilogy  by Maggie Stiefvater

“I’d found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling, an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold.”

2. I heart Series by Lindsey Kelk

“Sometimes we get so used to not really feeling anything, just going with the flow, that we forget how it feels to be really happy or sad.”

Young Adult

1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”

Paranormal Romance

1. Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

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“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”


Dystopian

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1. Never Let Me Go by  Kazuo Ishiguro

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“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”


I hope you enjoy them and the rainy day!

So, What do you prefer reading on a rainy day?

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

“What you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.”

10746542My Rating: *5 Stars*

It was only when I finished reading the last few pages, I started recollecting all that I read…

Pretty chaotic, huh?(Ya, I’m just reminding myself.)

There was so much between those lines and this book touched me on so many different levels that I don’t know where to start. I have so many things to say.

No, I’m not gonna tell you anything about the plot, seriously no.

But again what a wonderful book it is, I’m impressed.

When I started reading this book, I was not very much into it but after reading 13 pages, I found myself glued to the pages.

You know how they say, when you remember a past event, you’re actually remembering the last time you remembered it.

We can never really forget memories, sometimes they are hidden beneath other memories, sometimes we don’t even know we have those memories until someone makes us remember them. Then there are memories which don’t hold any importance in our lives, but sometimes they uncover themselves and help us make sense out of thing.

Sometimes small things make us remember something from our past. It can be a voice, smell, some sound, a place, or even a touch, sometimes they bring back all the memories which we never knew we know, and sometimes these things make us remember important event of our lives– About someone we met years ago, or a place we traveled long back, it can be anything.

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“How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.”

 In this book, we have an unreliable narrator, Tony. Now you may ask, “why am I calling him unreliable?”, because this person is telling us about the events that happened in his past, he is remembering his past. But the thing is sometimes people tend to mold things, they mold their life stories according to what suits them, yes they do. And sometimes time sometimes time affects our memories, sometimes they fade away and sometimes we don’t remember the accurate account of an event. And memory is the hero.

“It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.”

Tony is a pretentious, self-indulgent male, who always wanted things to turn the way he wanted them to be. But, as it always happen, they didn’t. His life didn’t turn out the way he wanted.

“This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature.”

The ending gave few details which were disturbing, now that I think of them. Sometimes, the book was depressing, sometimes I found the narrator annoying because he is self-centered and self-righteous.

I liked how events unfolded, I really liked looking back at time and how the writer tried to connect all the dots in the last passage, every word in his book counts. This book made me think forward and backward, just to make the sense out of the ending.

I totally recommend this book to everyone.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: In the Eye of the Storm(Storm and Silence #2) by Robert Thier

28483931Add to Goodreads

Review: Storm and Silence(Storm and Silence #1)

Book: In the Eye of the Storm

Author: Robert Thier

Genre: Historical Romance

Format: ebook

Synopsis:

In the desert, an instant turns life into death and hate into love. In the desert, everything is different. Boundaries break down, and you find yourself doing things that you would never, ever have imagined.

Lilly Linton finds this out the hard way: in the shadow of the pyramids, she and her boss, cold, calculating Mr Ambrose, must face death and danger together. Is the desert’s heat enough to melt the cold heart of Britain’s richest financier?

Review:

*This copy is provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

My Rating: *5 Stars*

Yes! Giving it 5 Stars.

Okay I don’t know if you read my review of Storm and Silence #1 or not. But let me tell you, I loved that book. I couldn’t put that book down, it kept me hooked up till the end. And yes the end did make me sad. Because I wanted to know, “What happens next?”.

Ya, that book left me wanting more. I’m totally in love with these two characters, Mr Ambrose and Lillian. Oh how much I adore them.

So when I started reading this book and continued with their story, it happened again. I fell in love with this book as well. Yes, I got the answer to my first question, “What happens next?”. But again this book left me wanting more. I’m kinda addicted. I seriously can’t wait to read more of this series.

I really liked the writing. The writing was very well done and the details were taken care of.

I just want more out of this story with a really good conclusion, and I’m eagerly waiting for the next installment!

Characters were real good, story was just amazing, writing was awesome and the book was full humor and sarcasm. Now what else do we need?

What is it in this book? Well, I would say, a whole lot of action, a little bit of romance and some really good adventure.

I loved “In the Eye of the Storm”.

I don’t know what else other people need. But I surely need another installment. There I said it!