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Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads

Luther and Nora Krank are a typical middle-aged American couple who are concerned when their daughter Blair flies off to Peru to work for the Peace Corps. This is the first time Blair is spending Christmas away from home and her parents are anxious. But Luther devises a plan to use this as an opportunity for some serious cost cutting during the holidays. The solution – skip Christmas for just one year and enjoy a 10 day Caribbean vacation.

Is skipping Christmas something you are even allowed to do without being socially outcast? Would they land up enjoying their vacation and missing out the Christmas spirit?

The View:

I have read a ton of John Grisham’s books and this one does not belong to his usual genre. There are no court cases or lawyers and initially I was not looking forward to reading this. But once I started it, the pages just flew through. A very quick, light, breezy read and an apt one for this holiday season.

I related to Luther when he handled the accounts determining the amount spent the last year for Christmas. The way he details the expenses and the unwanted gifts are hilarious. The stance he takes to skip Christmas altogether for a year is welcoming and must say even daring. The couple stand strong till the day before Christmas but finally give in. While I did want them to fulfill their wish of skipping Christmas for just a year, I found myself cheering when the Christmas tree was finally put up. The true spirit of Christmas was exhibited beautifully at the end of the book.

Luther and Nora are both lovable characters. The dilemma they face is very close to reality and I am sure that each of us would have discussed and gone back and forth just like they did. I also liked the fact that they finally caved in to celebrating Christmas for their daughter, proving that parental love wins over social needs. The neighbors however are the ones who truly made this story a success. Each of us have a love-hate relationship with our neighbors and Grisham has clearly documented that with this plot.

Rated a 4 on 5. Read it before this year-end for some holiday cheer and fun. Doesn’t it always help to remind ourselves of the spirit of Christmas.


kavyen

Theme Thursdays [Food] – 15Dec11

Theme Thursdays

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:

  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
    Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

Holidays always remind me of food, food and more food… (Don’t mention the calories).

FOOD

My THURSDAY THEME for FOOD is here.
I am looking forward to a lot of mouth-watering s

And with that Merry took a bite of her avocado sandwich.

[and one more snippet...]

“They have a secret recipe, use only the freshest ingredients.”
“And make the best fruitcake in the world.”

Taken from “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham

Leave a comment here with a link to your post. Do make sure to visit and comment on other Theme Thursdays.


kavyen

Scene of the Crime : Bridgewater, Texas by Carla Cassidy

The Book:


Jenna Taylor is in Bridgewater, Texas investigating the house where her best friend was murdered. It is here she gets introduced to Sheriff Matt Buchanan who is definitely not glad to see someone else in his crime scene. At first, he warns Jenna to stay away from the investigation but when the killer strikes again, he gladly gets her onboard to help with finding the madman.

They are most probably dealing with a serial killer who targets a specific kind of women and Jenna could be his next. Is her life in danger and will the two of them succeed in finding the killer before he kills his third victim?

The View:

This is a typical romance story, pretty girl meets widowed handsome man in the midst of a stressful situation. The situation demands of them to work together and as they do they realize that there is something more between them than just the initial attraction. They have a steaming physical relationship, solve the crime and then decide to live happily ever after. Of course I forgot to add that the girl always is unsure of getting into the relationship because of a dark past, but then gives in.

Jenna’s character was just average – For a FBI agent I expected her to be more out there. There were many chances for her to be portrayed as a daring female agent and she fell short each time. Matt was everything you expect out of a romantic hero. Handsome and annoying at first but slowly becomes charming and adorable. His passion for the crime investigation and the need to protect Jenna were both spot on.

Rated a 3 on 5. Don’t expect anything new with this romance book. The investigation and crime are just a side story though I liked the twist that was added at the end while revealing the murderer.


kavyen

Sky Burial by Xinran

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads
It was 1994 when Xinran, a journalist and the author of The Good Women of China, received a telephone call asking her to travel four hours to meet an oddly dressed woman who had just crossed the border from Tibet into China. Xinran made the trip and met the woman, called Shu Wen, who recounted the story of her thirty-year odyssey in the vast landscape of Tibet.

Shu Wen and her husband had been married for only a few months in the 1950s when he joined the Chinese army and was sent to Tibet for the purpose of unification of the two countries. Shortly after he left she was notified that he had been killed, although no details were given. Determined to find the truth, Shu Wen joined a militia unit going to the Tibetan north, where she soon was separated from the regiment. Without supplies and knowledge of the language, she wandered, trying to find her way until, on the brink of death, she was rescued by a family of nomads under whose protection she moved from place to place with the seasons and eventually came to discover the details of her husband’s death.

In the haunting Sky Burial, Xinran has recreated Shu Wen’s journey, writing beautifully and simply of the silence and the emptiness in which Shu Wen was enveloped. The book is an extraordinary portrait of a woman and a land, each at the mercy of fate and politics. It is an unforgettable, ultimately uplifting tale of love loss, loyalty, and survival.

The View:

I have not still read Xinran’s first book ‘The Good Women of China’ though it has been on my never-ending TBR pile. Sky Burial is an astounding tale to say the least. I enjoyed every aspect of reading and feeling this book. You can’t help but delve deep into the story of Shu Wen and it is not surprising that Xinran felt a compelling need to tell this tale.

Just 100 days after being married to the love of her life, Shu Wen receives a letter stating that her husband, an Army doctor is dead. With barely any details about the events leading to his death, Shu Wen believed that he was still alive and went in search of him. She reaches Tibet but is separated from her unit and spends the next few decades with nomadic Tibetans and a friend she made along the way. She loses her friend and a lot more during her stay there but gains love, trust and hope.

This is a stunning tale of unending love, belief and sorrow. Shu Wen is remarkable and her tenacity adorable. The writing and details are at many places sparse but they convey the message and that works well enough for this tale. An epic love story is how the book has been described and that is exactly what it is. When the actual fate of her husband was revealed I realized that I was not prepared for it, I re-read that chapter a couple of times hoping that it would change.

Rated a 5 on 5. This book is 200 pages of stunning story and well-played emotions. Keep a box of tissues while reading this book as chances are you will definitely need it.


kavyen

Now You See Her By James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

The Book:


Nina Bloom is living a perfect life with her daughter Emma in New York and she would do anything to keep her life intact, even if it means lying to her loved ones about the past. But when an innocent man is accused of a crime he never committed, Nina chooses to enter the life she left back 18 years ago. Pregnant and wife of a successful and handsome cop in Key West, she had everything a girl would dream off.

But yet, she had to escape? Who was she running away from and why did she have to fake her death? Is it a wise step now to go back to Key West to rescue a man she knows is innocent?

The View:

My love for James Patterson always drives me to the author “P” bookshelf when I see any new title by him. I cannot deny the fact that I have had a few disappointments this year with some of his books, but I cannot give up on him. Luckily for me ‘Now you See Her’ was one of the better books.

It is no surprise that all of his books are fast paced, with short chapters, quick excitement and heart throbbing thrills. ‘Now you See Her’ is no exception. There were twists that were outright unexpected, I almost shuddered when the Jump Killer catches her during her staged escape. Only a master story-teller could have pulled off his entry and her escape after that. When he re-enters the story 18 years later, he appears even more vicious and I was just glad the story ended the way it did.

Nina is a delight from the very beginning. When the narration enters her past you just cannot put the book down; too much happens with her in too little a time and each event more exciting than the previous. She copes with all the trauma thrown at her with commendable ease and even manages to escape it. I liked the courage she showed when she chose to go back to Key West to save an innocent man. She surely added a lot of interest to the plot by her mere presence.

Rated a 4 on 5 as this book can alternate both as a cozy winter joy or a hot summer fun.


kavyen

Theme Thursdays [Happy] – 8Dec11

Theme Thursdays

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:

  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
    Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week’s theme is to symbolize the month of December and festivities..

HAPPY

My THURSDAY THEME for HAPPY is here. I am in between books at this moment, so will pick the snippet from the book I just finished.

Well, at least I was making someone happy.

[and one more snippet...]

After Little Haiti, Fabiana’s mother’s restaurant, the Rooster’s Perch , was a happy surprise.

Taken from “Now You See Her” by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Leave a comment here with a link to your post. Do make sure to visit and comment on other Theme Thursdays.


kavyen

Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads
From Ann Packer, author of the New York Times best-selling novels The Dive from Clausen’s Pier and Songs Without Words, a collection of burnished, emotionally searing stories, framed by two unforgettable linked narratives that express the transformation of a single family over the course of a lifetime.

A wife struggles to make sense of her husband’s sudden disappearance. A mother mourns her teenage son through the music collection he left behind. A woman shepherds her estranged parents through her brother’s wedding and reflects on the year her family collapsed. A young man comes to grips with the joy—and vulnerability—of fatherhood. And, in the masterly opening novella, two teenagers from very different families forge a sustaining friendship, only to discover the disruptive and unsettling power of sex.

Ann Packer is one of our most talented archivists of family life, with its hidden crevasses and unforeseeable perils, and in these stories she explores the moral predicaments that define our social and emotional lives, the frailty of ordinary grace, and the ways in which we are shattered and remade by loss. With Swim Back to Me, she delivers shimmering psychological precision, unfailing intelligence, and page-turning drama: her most enticing work yet.

The View:

Just like most of you, I prefer novels to short stories but I am exploring new things each day and “Swim Back to Me” was one of the many little experiments I have been putting myself through. This book in unique in that it is a collection of short stories with such diversified emotions, characters and plots.

I enjoyed all the stories but my favorites will have to be MOLTEN and FIRSTBORN. They both dealt and portrayed differently the love of a mother. In Molten, a mother grieves the death of her teenage son by relishing the songs that he once listened too. In Firstborn, a couple are expecting their first child and during one of the classes she reveals that she had a son already who died at five months. The rest of the story is about how she cherishes the moments of her first child but is still brimming with excitement for the birth of her next.

The rest of the stories had their own winning points and each of the characters stood out as prominent, well thought-off, independent yet complex personalities. Faced with dilemmas, anger, betrayal, grief, love and a whole lot other emotions; they all reacted just as you and I would but yet coped with it as the situation demanded. With as much realism in the plot as with the characters each of these stories are a class apart.

Rated a 4 on 5.  I will keep an eye for this author as Ann Packer has a unique style of writing that pays great attention to detail while continuing to focus on the overall picture.


kavyen

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