Book Review|Murder at Macbeth by Samantha Goodwin

TITLE: Murder at Macbeth

SERIES: A D.I. Robson mystery (Book 1)

AUTHOR: Samantha Goodwin

GENRE: Mystery, Crime fiction, Police procedural

PUBLICATION DATE: May 17, 2019

PAGE COUNT: 393 pages (kindle edition)

MY RATING: 9/10 points

FAVORITE QUOTES:

  • “A story doesn’t make sense if you rip out the earlier chapters, no matter how much you want to pretend they didn’t happen.”
  • “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”
  • “God is the omnipresent king and we are merely his playthings for amusement to do with what he fancies. Akin to a spiteful child stomping on ants purely because he could. Or worse, taking out a magnifying glass in the summer heat and frying them to death just to watch them squirm in torment.”
  • “A loving God wouldn’t be so malicious.”
  • ‘Beer before wine makes you feel fine. Wine before beer makes you feel queer.’

NOTE: Would like to thank the author for providing me with a free review copy in exchange of an honest and unbiased opinion. This is a spoiler free review and the views are solely mine.

Book and Tablet

Murder at Macbeth is an excellently written crime, mystery novel. As the name suggests, the story revolves around the Famous Shakespearean tragedy, Macbeth, which serves as the prime theme of the novel.

Blurb as on Goodreads

WHOSE DEADLY SECRET HAS TAKEN CENTRE STAGE?

Friday, 23rd March. Nikki Gowon is dead.

When a talented, young actress unwittingly stabs herself live onstage after a prop knife is tampered with, suspicion immediately falls on her eclectic band of castmates.

But who had the motive to kill the show’s leading lady?

As the insightful, yet disillusioned, Detective Inspector Finley Robson and his shrewd partner, Detective Sergeant Nadia Zahra, interrogate the seven key suspects, secrets unfold to unveil a web of scandal, blackmail, and deceit.

Bitter rivalries, secret trysts and troubled pasts are just the beginning of the story…

Set against the backdrop of a gritty London theatre production of Macbeth, this compelling novel explores a dark world of mystery and intrigue. All is not as it seems…


 Comments and Praises

“I loved this book. It’s a really great read; a proper whodunnit! Who would want to be a police officer having a whole cast of actors for suspects? I love mysteries where the characters have backstories, and these are woven in beautifully. As a debut novel, this is a cracker!”
JOY ELLIS, 
No.1 bestselling author of the D.I. Nikki Galena series

 

“Goodwin’s debut ‘whodunnit’ novel truly takes centre stage! Just when you think you have the mystery solved, she drops the curtain on you. Such a fun, suspenseful read!”
DANIE JAYE,
author of The Lions trilogy

 

“Relatable characters and a unique storyline. Realistically written and feels as though you’re watching a blockbuster hit crime movie. Fantastic!”
SHANCURTY IGNACIO, 
author of Maybe This Promise

 

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Murder at Macbeth and the novel kept me guessing until the end. Goodwin delivered with a lot of twists and turns.”
RANDEE GREEN,
author of the Carrie Shatner mystery series

 

Murder at Macbeth entertains in true Poirot style. It’s a classic whodunnit with a real period feel to it. There are several worthy suspects to choose from with as many intriguing motives and literally any of them could have been the killer. It read like a really good episode of a prime-time crime series. I’d definitely read more from Goodwin if the new Stabler and Benson have more adventures together.”
CAROL DEELEY,
author of the Britannica series.

My Thoughts
When the author first mailed me asking for a review of her debut novel, “Murder at Macbeth”, I instantly agreed to check out the book since the blurb of the story sounded very compelling. And as expected, I loved this intelligently written mystery novel! With the Shakespearean tragedy, Macbeth as the theme of the novel, “Murder at Macbeth” is an absolute page turner.
The story revolves around Nikki Gowon- a 21 year old black woman and the one playing Lady Macbeth, who stabs herself in the stomach during an amateur theater performance of Macbeth. When her retractable prop knife is switched with a real blade backstage, suspicions have it that Nikki, the lead actress committed an on-stage, dramatical suicide. However, the brilliancy of Detective Finley Robson and Nadia Zahra drives the investigation towards a cleverly planned murder. The seven cast members are the prime suspects, as all of them had a clear reason to kill Nikki.
Police interrogation is one of the most riveting sections of this novel! It is quite evident from the story that the author has put tremendous effort into no.1- characterization and no.2- the structure and development of the plot. I loved how the author has created such powerful and dynamic characters of the Detectives. The bonding between Detective Finley Robson and Nadia Zahra, is not only professional but quite amusing at times as both of them always have each other’s back and at times they would crack silly jokes to assuage the critical environment created by one of the most complicated murder mysteries that they have ever solved. It is indeed appreciable how the author has crafted the capricious characters of the seven cast members, whose ostentatious behaviors shroud their vile secrets. The interrogations got really interesting at times when it was clear to the reader that the suspects want to palliate the seriousness and the tension inside the interrogation room by trying hard to prove themselves innocent. This section of the novel, in particular, gives the reader an insight into the minds of the suspects (and the killer among them) and finely allows the reader to view the story from the perspective of multiple characters!
I loved how the author has added a spooky taste to the story: History says that uttering the word “Macbeth” aloud in a theater causes disasters. Freak accidents, falling scenery and untimely deaths are part of it. This section appears for a brief moment in the story but the eeriness it creates is absolutely amazing!! The minute I locked my eyes on those lines, I had this gut feeling that Man! This journey is going to be a thrilling one!! And yes! The narrative did match up to my level of expectations!
Twists and turns and the curveballs here and there, all add up to fine quality of the novel. Every time I had a Suspect in my mind, I was proved wrong! The story is highly unpredictable! You can only guess the identity of the killer when you reach the end of the novel. I think this is one of the most important qualities that contribute to the making of a fine crime story ! This quality of a mystery novel keeps you glued to your seat and you can’t stop turning the pages until and unless you get to know the identity of the killer! So yes, the author was quite successful in tenaciously building up the suspense in this novel.
The revelation at the end had me like Duh!!!!! Something totally
unexpected, unpredictable and unthinkable!!
Also, I liked how the author has brought up the matter of mental illness/disorder in the story. Though it lasted for a brief moment, the author successfully delineated the facts, treatments and issues concerning that mental condition.
I immensely Loved how the author got so creative with the Chapter Headings!! Artistic titles intrigue the readers even more!
To sum up I’d say that I found the story to be immensely engrossing and thrilling! This is the author’s debut novel, but her commendable way of storytelling tells me that she has had years of experience in writing!  I would strongly recommend this novel to all the mystery and thriller lovers out there!! I am sure it would definitely match up to your levels of expectations. I, being an ardent lover of thriller and crime fiction myself, can confidently guarantee you that!! 🙂 Surely Looking forward to reading more of the author’s works!!

About the Author
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Samantha Goodwin has written professionally for her business career as a Chartered Marketing Manager for over a decade before turning her hand to fiction. As an avid crime fiction fan, she regularly participates in the renowned Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate and relishes attending literature festivals across the country as well as engaging in numerous online writing communities. Keen to support new and upcoming authors, Samantha recently launched the #IndieWritingWisdom initiative on Instagram to collate and share inspiring, original writing quotes from a wide range of different writers to encourage others.
When she is not writing, Samantha enjoys reading, countryside walks, movies, musicals and almost all chocolate (but controversially not Oreos). She lives in Leeds with her husband, Chris, and son, Jack. Murder at Macbeth is her first novel and was longlisted for the international Flash 500 Novel Award in 2017.
Connect with the author, Samantha Goodwin:

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review  ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read this book then grab it up asap!

Grab your copy at Amazon!

View my previous post here

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

Twitter: @bibliosmiacDS

Instagram: _.bibliosmiacds._

Goodreads account: Devyani

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Book Review|Life in the Sunshine

TITLE: Life in the Sunshine : Autobiography of an Unknown Cricketer

AUTHOR: T. Sathish

GENRE: Sports, Bildungsroman

PUBLISHER: Notion Press

PUBLICATION DATE: 21 February, 2019 (1st edition)

PAGE COUNT: 228 (Paperback)

MY RATING: 4/5 stars

SOME OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

  • “What is the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita after all? They are a collection of stories and the learnings those stories gave us. Why can’t cricket, that I watch and follow, with its matches as stories, not be my holy book? From that day onward, cricket became my religion; its history became my Book and its heroes, my Gods.”
  • “Winners played to their strengths and rarely took sub-optimal decisions guided only by the fear of the opponent’s strengths.”
  • ” I learnt that there could be a way out of any tight situation and one had to look for the way out, rather than surrender easily.”

NOTE: Would like to thank the author for sending me a free paperback of this novel in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion. This is a spoiler free review and the views are solely mine.

44070926._UX3280_SS3280_Life in the Sunshine is a coming of age novel by the Indian author, T. Sathish. The story revolves around the main protagonist, Sat, who’s a die hard Cricket fan. He narrates the numerous ways by which the game, Cricket has impacted his life and played a momentous role in structuring his mentality.

Blurb (as on Goodreads)

Sat, Sam, and Trib (a.k.a Triple Sundae gang) are teenagers and they love the sport of Cricket. They spend most of their time watching and playing the sport they love. They dream of making their living in the sport.
When they are not playing the game, they put on their thinking cap and come up with alternate versions of important matches or provide parodic answers to questions that have plagued cricket fans over the years.
However, fate intervenes in their idyllic life. On 18th April 1986, Javed Miandad hits Chetan Sharma for a six in Sharjah and leaves their cricket viewing life in tatters. The after-effects of this fateful event, continue to haunt them for many years.
Their problems don’t end there.
Sat fails to graduate from school level cricket to state level cricket. He is heartbroken by the loss of his dreams and faces a mini identity crisis.
How do the boys solve their problems?
Will the boys ever recover from that Javed Miandad incident?
Will Sat get his mojo back?
Come, join the heartwarming ride and find out the answers, as Sat takes you through his nostalgic memories of the sport and narrates his coming of age story, which is deeply influenced by the sport!

About the Author

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T. Sathish is an Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta alumnus and is a Director in Cognizant Technology Solutions. Sathish is an avid sports fan and a writer. Sathish writes columns in the Cricket section of the http://www.worldinsport.com, an online sports magazine. He has published short stories named ‘Hang in there’, ‘Am I Free?’ on the Juggernaut publishing’s digital writing platform (www.juggernaut.com).

Sathish is an avid reader of eclectic topics. PG Wodehouse, RK Narayan, Agatha Christie, Mary Shelly, Bill Bryson, Joseph Heller, Naseem Taleb are some of his favorite authors
Sathish can be reached on his twitter @sathishpgw or sathishpgw@gmail.com

My Thoughts

When the author first approached me asking for a review of his book, I was unsure about it as the genre was not quite within my zone of comfort! However, I always try to reach out for a wider variety of genres and so I agreed to give this book a chance! Annnddd quite amazingly, I found the story to be immensely intriguing and invigorating!

Cricket in India is a highly acclaimed and engaging game! Cricket for Indians is not just a bat-ball game, but a passion, a religion! People of all ages, right from the children to the elder ones, profoundly love the game and put their heart and soul when it comes to watching a cricket match and cheering for the most adept Indian cricketers on ground!

Life in The Sunshine is a heart-warming tale of three boys; Sat, Sam and Trib, a.k.a ‘ The Sundae Gang’, who share a common interest- Cricket. The story is written in first person by Sat, an avid lover of Cricket who looks back into his teenage days spent by living and loving the game.. He takes us down the memory lane of cricketing history by recounting some of the most pre-eminent and important matches played in the history of cricket! The way the author narrates the anecdotes about the matches is really commendable! I love the passion and the vehemence with which the author talks about the sport! The author seems to be skilled at storytelling as he has quite efficiently  succeeded in gripping the reader’s attention and making sure that the reader, irrespective of whether he/she is a cricket fan or not, visualizes the game and enjoys it as much as the audience in the gallery would!

The 1986 Australasia Cup held in Sharjah, UAE, did seem to affect the young players prodigiously! The Javed Miandad storm apparently gave birth to an apparition, Abdul, so they called. I loved the interaction between the trio and Abdul, as they were quite humorous at times. Abdul was a horror that came into existence whenever the young players had a India-Pakistan match to watch on TV. I feel that Abdul portrays inner fear and pessimism. Human psyche often tends to cling to cynical thoughts, whenever life faces it’s darker side. Hence, we build our minds in accordance to facing the worst possibilities. Abdul shows us that devoid of self-confidence in beings can be detrimental and that pessimistic thoughts can indeed be a reason behind your failures.

The Sundae Gang teaches us bonding and friendship and evinces the fact that relationships indeed play a vital role in shaping someone’s life! Throughout the novel; Sat, Sam and Trib are either seen playing and watching cricket or thinking about alternate versions of the important matches. The trio wanted to make it to the Indian Cricket team someday. However, only Sam succeeds in tracing the path to his goal. Sat’s  despondency level reaches it’s peak when he fails to clear the State Junior Level selections and also his performance deteriorates in the field of academics. Here I loved how the author impressively draws a parallelism between some of the famed cricket matches and the phase of life that Sat is going through. Sat, who seemed to lack motivation at a point in his life, manages to remain strong and confident by inculcating the qualities and lessons he has learnt from the eminent cricket players on ground. Life is not a bed of roses, there are ups and downs, times when you fail to succeed at things and question your existence.  India’s time of failures and then again moments of celebrations for the country’s prosperous victories, in the ground of cricket, act as an incentive for Sat. He learns to re-value his life and re-develops self-confidence which gradually pulls him out of the dark pit.

An excerpt from the book:

Life is a mixed bag. It is full of dull days when nothing much happens, interspersed with a few good and bad days. Even a great batsman like Sachin has scored centuries only in some of his innings. He has plenty of low and average scores to go along with these centuries. Be patient on the dreary days and be ready to take the good with the bad.

I am not a cricket fan. However, I do feel that the game is interesting and at times I find myself sitting in front of the TV and watching live cricket matches. You don’t need to be a cricket fan to read this book. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves reading! I am sure that you’ll definitely find the story engrossing! Life in the Sunshine is more than just a sports novel. The book is about 200 pages long and one can easily finish it within a day. With it’s lucid language and perfect pace at which the story proceeds , the narrative teaches how to gain motivation from the things you love. Your source of motivation can be anything, it’s you who’s going to decide what you love and what influences you the most. This coming of age novel depicts that life is mercurial as it can be both miserable and glorious at times. All you have to do is balance yourselves and how you do it is up to you.


Thanks for stopping by and reading my review  ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read this book then grab it up asap!

Grab your copy at Amazon!

View my previous post here

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

Twitter: @bibliosmiacDS

Instagram: _.bibliosmiacds._

Goodreads account: Devyani

Book Review|After The Green Withered by Kristin Ward

TITLE: After The Green Withered

AUTHOR: Kristin Ward

GENRE:  Young adult, Dystopian fiction

PUBLICATION DATE: May 13, 2018

PAGE COUNT: 289 (Kindle edition)

MY RATING: 4/5 stars

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Happy Wednesday everyone!! So this is the tenth and the final day of the very first Ultimate Blog Tour hosted by TheWriteReads.

This is my first ever blog tour and I am so darn excited!!! I hope it goes really well!! Thanks a ton, Dave from TheWriteReads and Kristin Ward for giving me this lovely opportunity and providing me with a free e-book copy of “After the Green Withered” in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.


They tell me the country looked different back then.

They talk of open borders and flowing rivers.

They say the world was green.

But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky. 

Enora Byrnes lives in the aftermath, a barren world where water has become the global currency. In a life dominated by duty to family and community, Enora is offered a role within an entity that controls everything from water credits to borders. But it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. From the wasted confines of her small town to the bowels of a hidden city, Enora will uncover buried secrets that hide an unthinkable reality. 

As truth reveals the brutal face of what she has become, she must ask herself: how far will she go to retain her humanity?

* From Goodreads

After The Green Withered is one incredible story set in an imaginative dystopian future. It won the 2018 Best Indie Book Award in young adult fiction!

The story revolves around a young girl named Enora and her struggle in a world affected by drought. Water is the global currency here and the population is paid in water credits. In this world, where there’s scarcity of water and dearth of life, people are constantly vying and competing to stay alive.

Enora, a high school graduate, is one of those souls in this drought ridden world who’s constantly contemplating and toiling over her uncertainties. Soon after her graduation, she is made to work, against her will, for the DMC (Drought Mitigation Corporation). The DMC is an authoritative body that looks after the matters of the nation, manages it’s water resources and holds all the people within it’s strict confinement and surveillance. The world is devoid of democracy and anyone who deviates from what the DMC demands, is a traitor.

Enora tries hard to cope up with the detestable environment of the DMC. However she soon specializes in her role of the Pathfinder and is promoted to field work. No matter how hard it is for Enora to fit in, she executes her duties well and this leads her to take up more challenging tasks. She finds herself on a threatening and precarious  quest, which to her great surprise reveals the dark and grisly secrets of the DMC. The DMC is one sinister organization that keeps on imposing unfathomable harm to the nation and the unprivileged ones. The DMC’s deeds are horrific and indigestible…

Will Enora succeed in unveiling the appalling secrets of the DMC? Or will she vamoose from the deadly boundaries of this menacing organization?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fueled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular basis.

Official website: Kristin Ward| Connecticut|Author


MY THOUGHTS

“After the Green Withered” is a dystopian novel that talks about a very possible future. Water is an important natural resource. A drought-stricken world is even hard to imagine! It always sends a chill down my spine whenever I picturise a world with barren lands and lifeless bodies craving for a drop of water. Yet, we human beings do not think twice before exploiting our resources. We only regret our actions when it’s already too late!

It is quite evident from the story that the author has put a lot of effort into the making of this novel. The theme of the story is so profound and dense that it’ll helplessly draw you in. I could literally sympathize with Enora’s character. She was so much caught up in an incessant web of uncertainties and qualms, that I couldn’t help wondering how would I have reacted if I were in her position; you have your family, your career, your future on one hand and on the other, it is your basic human conscience that’s interrupting and holding you back from proceeding further into the depths of this tenebrous world! Like this is such an unfathomable and unsettling situation and the author has brilliantly crafted this novel in such a way that you can explicitly feel the trauma and the wariness that the narrator is going through.

I loved how the author has concentrated on the fine details that contribute to the quality of a novel. The description of the horrific and dreading acts carried out by the DMC left me completely bemused and unnerved! 

The author has been greatly successful in tenaciously building up the suspense at end of this novel! The sequel to this novel- “Burden of Truth” presumably reveals the grim secrets of this sinister organisation and how Enora fights with the dark underbelly of this authoritative body . I can’t seriously wait to read it now!

I personally love dystopian works as I feel it gives us an insight into the depths of a sombre and imaginative mind of an author. I would definitely recommend this book to all those readers out there who enjoy dystopian novels and would like to experience something a little different.


Thanks for stopping by and reading my review  ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read the book then grab it up asap!

Grab your copy at amazon

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

Twitter: @bibliosmiacDS

Instagram: _.bibliosmiacds._

Goodreads account: Devyani


The Ultimate Blog Tour- 10 days, 100 bloggers, 1 book!

Day one

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Day Ten

Book Review|The Willow Woman by Laurence Westwood

TITLE: The Willow Woman

SERIES: Philip Ye Novels (#1)

AUTHOR: Laurence Westwood

GENRE:  Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Paranormal Mystery

PUBLISHER: Shikra Press Limited

COUNTRY: United Kingdom

PUBLICATION DATE: January 7, 2019

PAGE COUNT: 450 (Paperback)

MY RATING: 4.5/5 stars

FAVORITE QUOTES: 

  • “She reminded herself that dying was nothing but falling into an eternal, dreamless sleep, with all the suffering of life, all the hopes and the fears, all of the unrequited desires left behind for good. She had come from nothingness and was about to return to nothingness.”
  • “Do you not agree that we do not realize how much we cherish a person until that person is gone?”
  • “As far as she was concerned, religion was nothing but fearful superstition, wishful thinking, and self decision.”
  • “You are a prosecutor. You are to lead by example. You are to take the law- which is a leaving-breathing thing out onto the streets among the people. You will not succeed every day, I myself was far from a perfect man. But You must try. In ancient times it was understood that wrong-doing left unchallenged would upset the cosmic order, disturb the balance of heaven and earth and all manner of natural disasters would result.”
  • “In breath, there is life; in breath, there is serenity; in breath, there is clarity.”

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NOTE: Would like to thank the author for sending me a free paperback of this novel in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion. This is a spoiler free review and the views are solely mine.

The Willow Woman is a crime, police procedural novel set in the one-party authoritarian state of modern China. The protagonist of the story is the very charming and perspicacious Philip Ye, a half English and half Chinese homicide detective with the Chengdu Public Security Bureau who suffers his own anguish from a life blighted by tragedy and the unsettling appearance of ghosts that often intrude in on his investigations.

*There is no graphic violence but the novel is best-suited to adults.

Blurb

The story begins with Philip Ye encountering an apparition which leads him to the sight of a shocking event in Wukaishi, where Constable Ma Meili, a giantess shoots an old man (Gao) at point-blank range. Philip Ye witnesses this shocking incident and further investigation draws him into the search for a missing, vulnerable young boy named Junjie.

Philip Ye’s investigation brings him into contact with an adept, brilliant and a beautiful Prosecutor- Miss Xu Ya. She’s new to her job in Chengdu. Leaving behind a life full of miseries in Chongqing, Miss Xu Ya is determined to restart everything afresh and make her own mark in the People’s Procuratorate. Being an ardent believer of “The Rule of Law”, she pledges to bring justice to the old Man by ensuring punishment to the malefactor.  Philip Ye and Miss Xu Ya have crossed paths before. Although Philip Ye is unable to recall anything, Miss Xu Ya remembers Phillip Ye very well indeed…

As the investigation proceeds, two grisly murders are discovered and a series of violent events take place, which is found to be somehow connected with the disappearance of the young boy. With the assistance of Constable Ma Meili, Miss Xu Ya and her unflagging assistant- Fatty Deng, Philip Ye sets on a quest for a mysterious and sinister cult leader, The Willow Woman. With time, more shocking and petrifying secrets of the Cult organisation, which functions at the dark underbelly of China, are revealed…


The journey is perilous and the life of the investigators are in jeopardy. Will Philip Ye be able to discern the mysteries behind this abstruse cult organization? Shall justice be finally delivered to the dead? Will Philip Ye’s encounter with apparitions once more prove helpful in this investigation??


About the Author

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Graduating from the University of York with a (probably ill-advised) degree in Theoretical Physics, Laurence commenced upon a varied career in law enforcement and management consultancy.

After a few years with Birmingham Trading Standards where he specialised in anti-competitive practices investigations, he led an investigation team for the software industry tasked with intellectual property enforcement across the United Kingdom as well as the provision of training in computer law and computer forensics to all UK law enforcement authorities and the military.

In 2001, he set up his own management consultancy firm providing training and advice to both the public and private sectors on legal risk and information security. He regularly lectures at the University of Warwick on computer law and IP enforcement.

He has had a long-standing fascination with the political, military, social and legal history of China.

He lives just outside of Stratford-upon-Avon.

“In writing these stories of China, it is my intention to connect the distant past to the present, to cast a bright light upon a culture that has prospered for thousands of years, and, most importantly, to reflect on what is meant in China, both now and long ago, by justice and the Rule of Law.”

Here’s a really interesting video where the author talks about his new book, The Willow Woman, the history of the Chinese detective novel and its differences with our western tradition:


Review

When I received the review request for “The Willow Woman”, I instantly decided to check it out because the blurb and the cover of the book really fascinated me and also the genre was quite within my zone of comfort. Later on as I delved deep into the story, I was greatly pulled in by the unique writing style of the author and the plot had me totally intrigued!

“The Willow Woman” is not only an excellently written crime novel but quite amazingly this 450 pages long narrative gives the reader a brief insight into the monumental history of China. The religious, cultural and sociopolitical aspects of the Chinese history, including the Cultural Revolution, are some of the major themes discussed in this novel. The author also expounds the concept of the “Rule of Law” or “fazhi” through the eyes of Prosecutor Xu Ya, who is dedicated to upholding the jurisprudence in China. It is really commendable how the author has finely coupled this imaginative thrilling tale with the actually prevailing lifestyle of the people of modern China, which till date continues to be influenced by the significant events of the Chinese history. “The Willow Woman” gives us an idea about the crime status and how the legal system works in modern China. It gives us an image of the impression left behind by the tempestuous history of China on the minds of the people who live there. I really enjoyed learning about the Chinese law and history and it is definitely laudable when the author gives a clear background picture of the location where the story is set. It certainly intrigues the reader and makes the plot way more powerful and realistic.

A touch of the paranormal adds an unique taste to the story. The hero of the novel, Philip Ye is seen to have frequent encounters with apparitions, which is not only a part of his personal life filled with tragedies, but also quite often intrude in on his investigations, surprisingly helping him crack the criminal cases! Also the uncanny truth behind the existence of the Willow Woman cult makes the plot highly thrilling and chilling! All these elements add up to the uniqueness and the eccentricity of this novel, making it a highly absorbing read!

The novel houses a variety of characters and tbh Chinese terms and denominations have always confused me. Initially I really found it hard to remember and distinguish all these characters from one another! However the author seems to be an expert as he has quite efficiently brought all the faces under the limelight and gave us an explicit background history of all the characters in this novel! Also, in the first few pages, the author has put up a list of the characters involved along with their respective roles. I think it has worked really well as I could gradually follow the characters, easily focus on the plot and smoothly proceed to the next page!

This thrilling novel  is paced perfectly and the author makes sure that no reader develops a sense of apathy while proceeding! Overall this is a highly intriguing and informative read with a few twists and surprises here and there. The plot is entirely gripping and you’ll be hooked all throughout the length of the book! This is the second book by the author but the narrative and prose gives me an idea that Laurence has had years of experience in writing! I’d recommend this book for Westwood’s writing style alone! I’ll surely be looking forward to any upcoming works by the author.

If you are looking for a refreshment or a differently styled mystery novel, then I would strongly, 10/10 recommend this book!


Thanks for stopping by and reading my review  ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read this book then grab it up asap!

Grab your copy at Amazon!

View my previous post here

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

Twitter: @bibliosmiacDS

Instagram: _.bibliosmiacds._

Goodreads account: Devyani

 

 

Book Review|Fireside Chat With A Grammar Nazi Serial Killer by Ryan Suvaal

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AUTHOR: Ryan Suvaal

RELEASED ON: December 21, 2018

PAGES: 38 (E-book format)

GENRE: Psychological thriller, short story

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Few descriptions of violence and gore

MY RATING: 4/5 stars

NOTE: Would like to thank the author for providing me with a free review copy in exchange of an honest and unbiased opinion. This is a spoiler free review and the views are solely mine.

But when you did not respect me as a reader, WHY SHOULD I RESPECT YOU AS A WRITER?

Blurb

This 38 pages long short story is about Grazine, a Grammar Nazi who goes on a killing spree across the US, gruesomely murdering authors who make grammatical mistakes, tremendous enough to get on the killer’s nerves. The story begins with Grazine horridly murdering her seventeenth victim, an author Stella Davidov, for writing a complex sentence with too many missing commas.

Thereon, the story proceeds to a “fireside chatroom” where offenders and infamous people from across the world gather on this corner of the dark net to discuss about their horrifying and notorious deeds. The show is hosted by Corrigan Dante and this week’s celebrity guest is none other than the infamous GRAMMAR NAZI SERIAL KILLER!

The interview is brief and intriguing as Dante cleverly attempts to probe her motives, methods and rationale for the killings.

The interview ends with a terrifying surprise leaving the readers in a complete sate of bewilderment!


REVIEW

This short story was soo good! I was intrigued from the very beginning and I completed it in about 15 minutes! The title of the book is absolutely alluring! FIRESIDE CHAT WITH A GRAMMAR NAZI SERIAL KILLER! Not something you see as newspaper headlines or regular book titles!

I liked the style of this psychopathic killer whose way of murders symbolically relate to the reason behind it. Grazine is appealingly intelligent, glacial and calm which makes her character even more interesting. Chilling details of her crimes and her motives gradually unfold as Dante interviews her inside a Fireside Chatroom. The interview is the most engrossing part of this novella and I loved how the author kept the language quite lucid  so that the readers could focus on the killer’s mind and her deep motivations behind the crimes.

Being a thriller and a serial killer enthusiast, I’d say that this novel has all the elements of a psychological thriller with a tint of dark humor and satire. I only wish that the novel had been longer, around 300 pages, as I found Grazine’s character to be entirely captivating and I wish to know more about her. Nevertheless, the author did manage to give a short introduction on what actually triggered Grazine to become a Grammar Nazi Killer.

Overall this is a short story which definitely needs to be on your TBR! To the fans of dark humor and psychological thriller, don’t miss this book! I’m sure you’re gonna enjoy it as much as I did.

*This is a clear warning to the authors (in Grazine’s tone): Avoid mistakes while writing or simply die!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan Suvaal is an American writer, passionate about writing page-turner psychological thrillers. His favorite hangout is a coffee shop where he guzzles in tonnes of caffeine and weaves characters pumped up with deadly intentions and worlds full of thrill, suspense, and gore.
“A deep-rooted question always keeps broiling inside of me. This question is whether I am writing the story or the story is forcing me to write it? Am I the actor and story is the art, or story is the actor and I am the medium?”


Thanks for stopping by and reading my review  ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read this book then grab it up asap!

Grab your copy at Amazon

View my previous post here

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

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Book Review|The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

TITLE: The Lost Symbol

SERIES: Robert Langdon (#3)

AUTHOR: Dan Brown

GENRE:  Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

PUBLISHER: Doubleday (US), Transworld (UK)

COUNTRY: United States, United Kingdom

PUBLICATION DATE: September 15, 2009

PAGE COUNT: 528 Hardcover. 671 Paperback

MY RATING: 9/10

FAVORITE QUOTES: 

  • “Truth has power. And if we all gravitate toward similar ideas, maybe we do so because those ideas are true…written deep within us. And when we hear the truth, even if we don’t understand it, we feel that truth resonate within us…vibrating with our unconscious wisdom. Perhaps the truth is not learned by us, but rather, the truth is re-called…re-membered…-re-cognized…as that which is already inside us.”
  • “The power of human thought grows exponentially with the number of minds that share that thought.”
  • “The only difference between you and God is that you have forgotten you are divine.”
  • “We are creators, and yet we naively play the role of “the created.” We see ourselves as helpless sheep buffeted around by the God who made us. We kneel like frightened children, begging for help, for forgiveness, for good luck. But once we realize that we are truly created in the Creator’s image, we will start to understand that we, too, must be Creators. When we understand this fact, the doors will burst wide open for human potential.”
  • “The Secret is how to die. Since the beginning of time, the secret has always been how to die.”

NOTE: This is a spoiler free review and the views are solely mine. 

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The Lost Symbol- a 2009 thriller novel written by the famous American author, Dan Brown- is a sequel to the globally best selling novel The Da Vinci Code.         The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling where it takes you through an arduous and venturesome journey into Washington’s dark history and the antiquity of Freemasonry.

It had a first printing of 6.5 million (5 million in North America, 1.5 million in the UK), the largest in Doubleday history. On its first day the book sold one million in hardcover and e-book versions in the U.S., the UK and Canada, making it the fastest selling adult novel in history.[5] It was number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover fiction[6] for the first six weeks of its release,[7] and remained on the list for 29 weeks.


Brace yourself for a deadly race and let the guardian angel, Robert Langdon, take you through a real and perplexing world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths…all under Brown’s most petrifying, hawk-eyed villain till date! Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington D.c., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.


Blurb

As the story begins, Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon is summoned by an incognito person to deliver an evening speech in the US Capitol Building. However within minutes of his arrival, things take a ghastly turn when he discovers a gut-wrenching and a gruesome object on the Capitol’s floor- a severed wrist, artfully encoded with five symbols. Langdon recognizes that the hand represents an invitation (The Hand of Ancient Mysteries), one meant to usher it’s recipient into a long lost world of esoteric wisdom and a hidden ancient mystery…something which is only known to an elite few.

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US Capitol Building

When Langdon learns that his beloved mentor, a 33rd degree Mason named Peter Solomon, who is the head of the Smithsonian Institution, has been brutally kidnapped, and his sister Katherine Solomon, a renowned scientist, is in sheer danger, Langdon, realizes that his only hope of saving his friend’s life is to accept these mystical summons and follow wherever it leads him.

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The Hand of Mysteries

Professor Langdon with the assistance of the CIA, Katherine Solomon and two of Peter’s most trusted Masonic brothers, is lead through a breathless chase through Washington’s dark history, a clandestine world of masonic secrets, ancient mysteries,  and never-before-seen locations… all of which lead to a final and an inconceivable truth- the lost wisdom, the lost word, the Lost Symbol…something which holds the power to bring a great human transformation.


With his friend’s life at bay, will Robert Langdon capitulate to the kidnapper’s demands? or will he swear to sincerely protect the mankind’s greatest treasure…the lost wisdom of the ages?  Shall the persuasive secret of the ages be ultimately revealed?


About the Author

Daniel Gerhard Brown, born on 22 June, 1964 in Exeter, New Hampshire, is well known for his thriller novels- the Robert Langdon stories- Angels & Demons (2000), The Da Vinci Code (2003, which has become one of the best selling novels of all time as well as the subject of intellectual debate among readers and scholars), The Lost Symbol (2009), Inferno (2013) and Origin (2017) and stand-alone novels- Digital Fortress (1998) and Deception Point.

His novels are treasure hunts set in a 24-hour period, and feature the recurring themes of cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, art, and conspiracy theories. Brown’s novels are published in 56 languages around the world with over 200 million copies in print.

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The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion.  These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books.

Brown’s latest novel, Origin, explores two of the fundamental questions of humankind: Where do we come from? Where are we going?


Review

I really love Dan Brown stories! It’ll make you look at things from an overall different dimension. His books are really entertaining where you get to learn about so many new and bizarre things which are at times so hard to digest! His books are meant to keep your heart racing, your mind guessing and your eyes unable to blink for a few minutes at a time.

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My reaction while reading (literally)

Even though The Lost Symbol falls in the Robert Langdon series, the book can be read as a stand-alone as it is not much related to the 2nd book in the series( The Da Vinci Code) and so it wouldn’t hamper your course of reading.

I was glad to see that Brown brought the dynamic and entertaining character of Robert Langdon back to the US from Europe and UK from his previous books! The Lost Symbol, starting with a macabre scene, pulled me in instantly! From there the characters unfolded and with a good deal of historical and mystical information, the story ended in an exceptionally wonderful way! Sometimes the far-fetched revelations and the appalling acts of one of Brown’s most terrifying villains were so compelling that I came close to a “cardiac arrest”!

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However I feel sorry to admit that The Lost Symbol didn’t really satisfy me as much as the previous two books in the series did!😔 (I thoroughly enjoyed “Angels and Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code”). The One and Only reason: I felt that the second part of the book was unnecessarily made so long. The Revelations at the end were great, infact they were the best part of the story, but Brown could have easily made sure to keep it simple and compact so that the reader won’t develop a sense of apathy while proceeding and this is why it took me more time than usual to complete this novel.

😊Apart from that, this book is worth a read, wooahoo!!!😊  It’s indeed amazing how the author so nimbly and in a poised manner, fuses a story of fiction with the realistic and actually existing events, how beautifully does he conglomerate parts from the ancient history and the once existing truths with a mind-blogging, thrilling and a fanciful story. Indeed brilliant!  He’s put forward genuine ideas about enlightenment, noetic sciences, Christianity (and other religions in general) and faith. I loved how he eloquently summed up our inner soul as energy and our mind as the power that transforms us to reach new spiritual planes. I loved how wonderfully he connected science with religion! I loooveeedd studying and deciphering all those cryptograms, mystical codes and  symbols, it’s like a brilliant mind game and one of the Brown signature styles to keep the readers hooked to the pages of the book till the very last!!!

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The esoteric significance of Freemasonry

The novel intensely needs to be devoured for the brilliant words used by the author will undeniably make you confront the deadly events that are mentioned in the book. It will candidly make you fall in love with Dan Brown and his framed and celebrated character, Robert Langdon. Once you  start reading,  you cannot inevitably get your mind off the pages of the book. You’ll notice the horripilation on your arms.

I would recommend this book to all the thriller enthusiasts out there. One heck of a good read and an outstanding mode of sustenance for the thriller fanatics!


Thanks for stopping by and reading my review  ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read the book then grab it up asap! You wouldn’t want to miss this one!

View my previous post here

Check out my review on “The Da Vinci Code” (Robert Langdon #2) and “Angels and Demons” (Robert Langdon #3)

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

Twitter: @bibliosmiacDS

Instagram: _.bibliosmiacds._

Goodreads account: Devyani

Book Review|His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

TITLE: His Bloody Project: Documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae

AUTHOR: Graeme Macrae Burnet

GENRE: Fiction, Crime

PUBLISHER: Contraband

COUNTRY: United Kingdom

PUBLICATION DATE: November 5, 2015

PAGE COUNT: 290

MY RATING: 9.5/10

FAVORITE QUOTES/DIALOGUES:

  • “One man can no more see into the mind of another than he can see inside the stone.”
  • “My objective was not merely to remove Lachlan Broad from this world, something which was, in any case, to occur without any intervention on my part. Rather, at the moment of his death, it was necessary that he was cognisant of the fact that it was I, Roderick Macrae, who was ending his life, and that I was doing so in just payment for the tribulations he had caused my family.”

NOTE: This is a spoiler free review and the views are solely mine.

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His Bloody Project is a crime fiction novel which was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize Award. An intriguing and a stimulating read which will inevitably keep you hooked to the pages of the book till the very last! Although it is a work of fiction, the story is presented as a non-fiction, to be specific, a true crime memoir by a 17 year old crofter, Roderick Macrae who is indicted on the charge of three brutal murders carried out in his native village of Culduie in Ross-shire in the year of 1869 (not a spoiler).

Blurb

The story begins with the memoir of Roderick Macrae, a remarkable document that was written in the gaol at Inverness Castle while Roderick awaited trial. Mr. Sinclair, Roddy’s advocate asked him to write an account where Roderick  incontrovertibly admits to have killed Lachlan Mackenzie and two of his family members in order to deliver his own father and his family from the tribulations that were caused by the victim (not a spoiler).

In the account, Roderick gives a clear picture of his poor background and the dreadful life spent in Culduie. He is penurious and works as a crofter with his severe and cold father, John Macrae on their farm. He sights detailed anecdotes of his bleak early life and his dour father, who would beat him up horribly and show no mercy or leniency towards any of his family members. Roddy’s mother, Una Macrae, seemed to play a very vital role in his life for Roddy states in his account that “the death of his mother during childbirth marks the beginning of their troubles.” Roddy speaks of their local constable, Lachlan “Broad” Mackenzie who being a black-hearted, potent and influential man wields his powers over people putting them through absolute misery. He seems to pay extra attention at the Macrae family and finds severe means to torture them. When the disputes between the two families take an unrelenting turn, Roddy finally makes up his mind to savagely murder Lachlan Broad.

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Present day Culduie

Besides Roderick Macrae’s memoir, the novel also incorporates statements by the residents of Culduie, medical and forensic reports, doctor and the psychologist accounts and the trial and court transcripts. So clearly this novel is more than just a typical crime story! This novel gives you a meticulous and clear insight into the killer’s mind and also reflects the fascinating aspects of criminology.

Roderick is a murderer and he clearly admits it. But was he insane at the time of the murder? At times he is exceptionally intelligent, sometimes he simply acts like an imbecile. Shall Roderick be evicted from his charges if proven insane or shall he be proven guilty? Well this is for you guys to Read and Discern!

About the Author

Graeme Macrae Burnet (born 1969) is a Scottish author who was born in Kilmarnock and now lives in Glasgow.

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The author tells in an interview that His Bloody Project is one of his most researched works as he looked into the history and way of life of Scottish crofting communities; nineteenth-century criminal anthropology and psychology; and the Scots legal system of the time

Graeme Macrae Burnet is the author of three novels, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau (Saraband, 2014), the Man Booker shortlisted His Bloody Project (Saraband, 2015), and The Accident on the A35 (Saraband, 2017).

Here’s an interesting video where the author talks about Culduie and what went into the novel’s creation:

 


Review

This is an intelligently written psychological and crime thriller! Criminology is one such subject which highly fascinates me and this book did really match up to my level of expectations! The cover of the book was the first thing that allured me! Just look at it! The most astounding thing about this novel is the way in which the author presents it! It’s like an actual crime documentary rather than a fictional one! Wow! This book not only throws Light on the incidents and circumstances that contribute to the making of a potential killer, but also gives detailed information on the proceedings that take place after the crime has been discovered! You can’t help but feel bad for Roderick, the killer, once you know how harsh life has been for this poor boy! The “Trial” part in the story is one of the most interesting things that I’ve come across! The witnesses accounts and the the courtroom drama just riveted me so much so that I couldn’t get my eyes off the pages of the book! It’s indeed amazing and commendable how the author meticulously worked and researched on killer instincts and psychology!

This novel shall play with your mind as it leaves behind certain questions for the readers to infer and you’ll ponder upon it for a long while even after you finish reading! When a story is as thought-provoking as this one, then you instantly know how much effort has been put by the author into the creation of this novel. The story advances at a perfect pace and the electrifying pages of the book grip the reader’s mind entirely! I’m looking forward to reading more of the author’s books! What about you?

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I would recommend this extremely gripping and deeply-imagined historical crime thriller to all those peeps who enjoy crime fictions and anything that’s related to crime and killers!(?) This book will not disappoint you in any way!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review  ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read the book then grab it up asap! You wouldn’t want to miss this one!

View my previous post here

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

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Book Review|The Awakening (Miao Shan #1) by G.A.M Morris

NAME: The Awakening (Miao Shan #1)

AUTHOR: G.A.M Morris

GENRE: Historical Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy and Urban Fantasy

PAGES: 214 ( E-book Format)

BOOK RELEASE: 15th January, 2019

AGE GROUP: 18+ due to violence

MY RATING: 8.5/10

FAVOURITE QUOTES:

  • “Without compassion there can be no justice.”
  • “Riches and honors are not there forever. Glory and splendor are like mere illusions.”

NOTE: I would like to thank Mr. Morris for providing me with a free E-book copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of the book. This is a spoiler free review and the views are solely mine.

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A Historical Fantasy novel set in the 19th and early 20th century China, Miao Shan- The Awakening is an adventurous tale of a young Chinese girl, Chow Lei, who at the age of ten witnesses her parent’s brutal murder by The Celestial Body Society and becomes emotionally scared for life. After her maternal grandmother adopts her, she is first sent to the Chinese Black Tiger Kung Fu school where her emotional healing eventually begins to occur. She is a promising student and her Kung Fu skills are remarkably powerful.

However, Chow Lei seems to lack any compassion and seeks vengeance which worries her grandmother and so Master Sung of the Black Tiger Kung Fu School advises her grandmother to send Chow Lei to the Shaolin Temple, where she can be given spiritual guidance by the monks and further trained in various Shaolin styles. Chow Lei’s grandma reticently agrees to send her little Lei to the Shaolin Temple.

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Shaolin Temple, China

After several years of training at the Shaolin Temple, once Chow Lei has reached enlightenment, she returns home to discover that her beloved grandmother has also been murdered brutally by the same Triad members that killed her parents a few years ago.

Devastated and aggrieved, she swears to bring justice to those who have killed her loved ones. Little does she know that she is destined to become, Miao-Shan, the living Goddess of Justice! Justice for All!

“I am Miao-Shan and I offer you compassion.”


My Thoughts

I have always been fascinated by martial arts and action thrillers and so I really enjoyed reading Miao-Shan. The writing style is quite straightforward and although this is a fantasy novel, the story does not stray too far into unrealistic detailings. The fast pace at which the story advances makes sure that no reader develops a sense of apathy while proceeding. The language is quite lucid and easily understandable. I loved that the author included “The Glossary of Chinese Terms” and “Historical and Social Information” sections at the beginning of the book! These sections gave a clear insight into the history and mythology of Chinese culture.

There were times when I got really emotional and despondent, especially when Chow Lei lost her grandmother and her husband. Lei shared a very loving and profound relationship with her grandma and my heart ached when she had to die! Although Lei is a living Goddess, her path to justice is not an easy one! A lot of sufferings are made and precious lives lost. The bloody and gory violence in the story makes it an even more intriguing read! Really looking forward to reading more books in the Miao-Shan series!

I would recommend this book to all those people out there who enjoy historical fantasies besides gore, action thrillers and suspense. Set to be released on 15th Jan, it will be on sale at the following online stores:

  • Amazon
  • iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Kobo
  • Playster
  • Scribd
  • Tolino
  • 24Symbols
  • OverDrive
  • bibliotheca

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review! Feel free to Drop down your thoughts in the comment section below!

View my previous post here

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

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Goodreads account: Devyani

 

 

Book Review|All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

NAME: All The Light We Cannot See

AUTHOR: Anthony Doerr

GENRE: Historical Fiction

PUBLISHER: Scribner

COUNTRY: United States

PUBLICATION DATE: May 6, 2014

PAGES: 531

MY RATING: 10/10 ( unputdownable, page-turner, intriguing)

FAVORITE QUOTES:

  • “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
  • “What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.”
  • “You know the greatest lesson of history? Its that history is whatever the victors say it is. That’s the lesson. Whoever wins, that’s who decides the history.”
  • “Isn’t life a kind of corruption? A child is born, and the world sets in upon it. Taking things from it, stuffing things into it.”
  • “God’s truth? How long do these moments last for God? A trillionth of a second? The very life of any creature is a quick-fading spark in fathomless darkness. That’s God’s truth.”
  • “What the war did to dreamers.”

NOTE: This is a spoiler free review. The views are solely mine.

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All The Light We Cannot See is a Historical fiction novel written by the American author- Anthony Doerr. It was 2014’s one of the most eminent and noteworthy works and it sat on the New York Times Bestsellers List for a long time. It won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. An absolute page-turner and an extremely alluring book!

This beautiful narrative is about two ordinary children- a blind French girl and an albino German boy who eventually and inadvertently cross paths in occupied France as both of them are engulfed into the horror of World War II and try to survive the devastation of the global war.

Blurb

The story is written in a non-linear fashion and covers the years 1934-2014…

It’s 1934. Marie-Laurie Le Blanc lives in Paris and is six years old when she loses her eyesight and for the first time learns about the priceless “Sea of Flames”- an accursed gemstone with a brilliant blue color and a touch of red at it’s center which lays hidden for the past 200 years in the vaults of the National Museum of Natural History, where Marie’s father, Daniel Le Blanc works as the principle locksmith.  Marie shares a very tender and solicitous relationship with her father. Her father builds her a small and an artistic model of the city in which they live, gets her books in Braille, makes her solve ingenious  puzzles and tries his best to make Marie-Laurie capable of living life on her own. Her father, with strong dedication and utmost determination, tries to make sure that nothing stops his little chérie from pursuing her dreams and flying high.

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Sea of Flames

Werner Pfennig is an eight year old German albino boy who lives with his sister Jutta at an orphanage in Zollverein, Germany. Since his very childhood, Werner has been extremely inquisitive and agog about things going on around him. He shows great enthusiasm and love for radios, transmitters, electronics and mathematics which eventually leads him to acquire schooling in the National Political Institutes of Education. Though he’s thrilled to escape the sentence of working in the mines and dying young like his father, and is delighted to be able to study in the open and tinker with the radios, Werner gradually finds himself all caught up and cornered in the brutality and malevolence of the premier school of Hitler’s Youth.

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Hitler’s Youth and Nazi Education

In 1940 as the German hostility advances and Marie and her father, who has been entrusted with the “Sea of Flames”, escape Paris and take shelter in Saint Malo where Marie’s great uncle, Etienne Le Blanc resides, their lives take an unexpected and unsolicited turn and Marie-Laurie some years down the line bumps into the eighteen year old, field expert, Werner Pfennig.

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Saint Malo WWII

What happens next? Will Werner and Marie be able to survive the devastation of the global war? Can they succeed against all odds? Or shall they give into their wretched fate? Shall the “Sea of Flames” cast it’s spell?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Doerr (age 45), raised in Cleveland, Ohio, attended the Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he majored in history and graduated in 1995.

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Doerr’s first published book was a collection of short stories called The Shell Collector (2002). He wrote another book of short stories called Memory Wall (2010). His first novel, About Grace, was released in 2004. Doerr then wrote a memoir, Four Seasons in Rome, which was published in 2007. Doerr’s second novel, All the Light We Cannot See, set in occupied France during World War II, gained him widespread recognition and popularity.

Here’s one really interesting video from the author talking about what went into the book’s creation:


MY THOUGHTS

It will take me one whole day if I get to start talking about this book in particular.  There are so many entangled feelings and emotions harboring in me rn that it becomes hard to express myself, really. My heart aches, I am totally bewitched and it’s gonna take me a while before I start reading another book! I simply loved everything about this book.  The chapters are short, hardly 2-3 pages long and it makes sure that no reader develops a sense of apathy while proceeding. I loved how Doerr gave a clear insight into the world of Marie-Laurie and Werner Pfennig. I could literally get blind, for a moment, like Marie and feel the things just as she did! Nazi Germany, it’s hostility, malevolence, the lives of the innocents lost, love and power, everything allured me to such an extent that it left me in a complete state of melancholia and tears. This book is certainly not a conventional war story. There’s so much more to it! The radiant beauty of the prose and the intricate details of the things going around, add up to the fine quality of the novel. It was like I am experiencing the haunting era of the WWII. I guess that’s the power of writing. Isn’t it?

It took me 5 days to complete the book and 3 days to be done with the review. I literally restrained myself from writing too much and giving out the spoilers. When you a love a book so much, then it gets really hard to express your feelings about it! You fall out of the correct words and actually fail to explain how you feel about it!! And that’s what is happening with me rn lol.

I am sure this novel would indeed be a piece of luck for anyone with a long plane journey or a beach holiday ahead. This is a complete page-turner, certainly unputdownable and an entirely absorbing piece of work! I can’t thank the author much for giving me this priceless experience! You guys won’t believe how desperately I want you people to read it! Recommending this novel to all the book lovers out there and even if you aren’t comfortable with the genre, then trust me it wasn’t my genre too until I read this one! I’m sure this particular narrative shall not disappoint you in any way!


Thanks for stopping by and reading my review  ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read the book then grab it up asap! You wouldn’t want to miss this one!

Connect to me via:

Email: devyanisen99@gmail.com

Twitter: @bibliosmiacDS

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Book Review|Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

NAME: Rebecca

AUTHOR: Daphne du Maurier

GENRE: Psychological thriller, Gothic fiction

PUBLISHER: Victor Gollancz

COUNTRY: United Kingdom

PUBLICATION DATE: August 1938

PAGES: 416

MY RATING: 10/10 (One of the best novels that I’ve read so far!)

FAVORITE QUOTES:

  • “I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.”
  • “I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is
    alone.”
  • “If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”
  • “Boredom is a pleasing antidote for fear”
  • “Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.”

NOTE: This is a spoiler free review. The views are solely mine.

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Rebecca- a 1938 Gothic novel by the English author-Daphne du Maurier, is certainly one of the best literary works that I’ve read so far! I absolutely devoured everything from the opening sentence- “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” to the final one- “And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.” There’s something so sinister and unusual about this story! This is not a typical romance novel that you giggle at and fantasize about!

This hypnotic yet perturbing story embraces an arsenal of emotions which will keep you hooked to the pages of the book till the very last!

The novel was adapted into a movie in 1940 with the same title directed by Alfred Hitchcock. A Hitchcock movie! Well you can guess how amazing it would be! It starred Joan Fontaine as the second Mrs. De Winter and Laurence Olivier as Maximillian de Winter. The movie had received several awards and nominations. Check it out here

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AN OVERVIEW

The story begins with the female protagonist (whose name remains unrecognized all throughout) reminiscing about her past years of life in the enchanting estate- Manderley.

When in Monte Carlo, the protagonist- a 21 y/o frail, unfledged woman and a sketcher by passion- is a companion to an assertive and brassy American lady, Mrs. Van Hopper. After a chance encounter with the widower- Maximilian de Winter, the protagonist finds herself free to spend some time with him and the two kinda grow fond of one another.  Max de Winter  proposes the young lady finally which takes her by surprise for the narrator is so young and green that it never seemed to her that Max could really have romantic intentions towards her. The narrator accepts the marriage proposal and they are off to the famous Manderley.

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Max de Winter and the second Mrs. De Winter in the movie “Rebecca”

Manderley is a centuries-old country estate located in the southern England and is owned by Maximilian de Winter. It is “a thing of grace and beauty, exquisite and faultless”. At the most basic symbolic level, Manderley is an embodiment of the past: a huge, sprawling place where tradition and remembrance are all-important. Manderley is a natural paradise, complete with woods, beach, and sea. It’s isolated from the larger society, and it comes with a whole staff of servants. But Manderley is more than just a house and some land. It is a way of life, which holds locals and tourists alike in its sway.

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Manderley in the movie

As the second Mrs. de Winter ( the protagonist) tries to settle in Manderley, she is constantly thwarted by her own child-like fearfulness. The malleable and compliant protagonist is constantly haunted by the omnipresent shadows of the eponymous Rebecca (Max’s dead first wife) and the disquieting and pernicious gaze of Mrs. Danvers- Rebecca’s maid and confidante (as she claims) and the head housekeeper of Manderley. The protagonist keeps to herself for most of the time and is frequently left alone with her own thoughts. Mrs. Danvers often manipulates and prods her to believe that she isn’t as captivating and alluring as Rebecca and that she will never be able to supersede Rebecca. Besides, the huge age gap between the protagonist and Max ( the narrator is 21 and Max is 42- more like a father than a husband), further fuels the mental separation between the two and adds up to the narrator’s despondency.

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Mrs. Danvers and the second Mrs. De Winter

Rebecca de Winter died in a boat accident the previous year. It is assumed that she went out in her small boat, got caught in a storm, and sank. Maxim discovered her body when it washed up some time after the accident. When alive she was favored and admired by people because of her charisma, beauty and her gripping stance. On the other hand the second Mrs. de winter is nothing like her or at least she thinks so.

As days pass on in Manderley and as the protagonist finds herself in a constant state of hesitancy and melancholia, the truth behind Rebecca’s death gradually begins to unfold. Rebecca is revealed and the dead refuses to lie quietly.


Did Rebecca really die in a boat accident? What’s so disconcerting about Manderley? Are there any dark secrets that lie behind the mammoth walls of Manderley?                   Leaving it here for you guys to Read and Discern!

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Gate to the famous Manderley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dame Daphne du Maurier (13 May, 1907- 19 April,1989) was an English author and playwright. Born in London, she spent much of her life in Cornwall, where most of her works are set. Although classed as a romantic novelist, her works have been described as ”moody and resonant” with overtones of the paranormal.

Her notable works include Rebecca, which was an immediate hit, selling nearly 3 million copies between 1938 and 1965. Du Maurier commented publicly in her lifetime that the novel “Rebecca” was based on her own memories of Menabilly and Cornwall, as well as her relationship with her father. While du Maurier categorized Rebecca as a study in jealousy, she admitted it’s origins in her own life. Her husband had been engaged before to a glamorous, dark-haired Jan Ricardo. The suspicion that Tommy remained attracted to Ricardo haunted Daphne. She wrote in her notes prior to writing: ”I want to build up the character of the first wife in the mind of the second, until wife two is haunted day and night. A tragedy is looming in fast!

Du Maurier and her husband, Tommy Browning, like Rebecca and Maximilian de Winter, were not faithful to one another. Subsequent to the novel’s publication, Jan Ricardo, tragically, died during the Second World War. She threw herself under a train.

Childhood visits to Milton Hall, Cambridgeshire, home of the Wentworth-Fitzwilliam family, may have influenced the descriptions of Manderley.

Besides Rebecca; Jamaica Inn, The Scapegoat, Marry Anne and The Birds are among those many novels which earned du Maurier such popularity and fame.

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MY THOUGHTS

This is one of those books which I can read over and over again and never get bored of! Fantastic plot and an amazing storytelling! This quality of Du Maurier’s where she’s successfully able to build up tension and mild tremors within the reader’s mind, is what makes her a tremendously prominent and famed author! There wasn’t a single portion in the novel that bored or vexed me. I loved the vivid and scintillating description of Manderley! It made me feel as if I am the one who’s living and relishing the beauty and grandeur of Manderley! However, unlike other narratives, I wasn’t able to find a single character in the novel whom I could admire. Everyone in the story had their own defaults, nobody was perfect and this is what contributed to their uniqueness and the outstanding quality of the story. I sympathized with the character of the protagonist though, as she was a timid little girl who had been dominated by Mrs. Van Hopper and then later on by the aura of Manderley. Mrs. Danvers was one such character which scared the hell out of me! I could simply feel my heart racing whenever her part came into play. Her fiendish and evil attitude towards the second Mrs. de Winter annoyed and stressed me so much that I really felt like punching her in the face! (lol) Judith Anderson played the role of Mrs. Danvers wonderfully in the movie and if you watch the movie for once then you would instantly be able to discern the wickedness and turpitude in her eyes!

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A scene from the movie “Rebecca”. The movie was as gorgeous and marvellous as the novel!

Rebecca is a stimulating narrative, an enthralling piece of work which is meant to be Read and Loved! Recommending this book to all the book worms out there! I’m sure everyone would totally enjoy this novel since this book doesn’t fall under a particular genre for there’s horror, there’s thrill, there’s trepidation and then there’s a bit of romance(gothic) too!
This is about the dead living within the minds of her loved ones, this is about the dead who refuses to lie quietly, this is about a dreading and a catastrophical secret which yearns to be revealed! I can’t wait to get my hands on “Jamaica Inn” and “Marry Anne”! I guess I’m a du Maurier fan already!

I declare Rebecca as one of my best read novels of 2018. So glad to have read this book and cherished the sensational era of the 1930s. You wouldn’t want to miss this book! Grab it up asap!

Thank you all for cooperating and keeping your patience all the way long ❤

If you have already enjoyed reading this book then don’t forget to drop down your thoughts in the comment section below. If you are yet to read the book then HURRY!

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