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My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads
What if you lost the thing that made you who you are?

Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi’s face goes through a windshield. Now she’s not sure what’s worse: the scars she’ll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she’s much more than just a pretty face.

The View:

“My Life in Black and White” is a good book that talks about the friendship between two girls and the drama that comes along with teenage friendships. When I started the book I expected it to be very similar to a Disney series, intact with two friends, cute boys who pose a threat to the friendship, other friends who form a part of the larger group, some booze, some car rides and the general good-tale-turned-bad-turned-good episodes.

Lexi was a character I did not like from the very beginning. She is a spoilt brat and her beauty only makes her appear even more proud and unapproachable. The girls friendship was something I enjoyed and I wish there were a few more tales of things they did together or laughs they shared. After her accident on that fateful night Lexi changes; you would think it would be for the better but on the contrary she becomes even more annoying (as if that was even possible). She complains about every small thing and does not appreciate any of the help offered. But all is well that ends well. Eventually she accepts the person she becomes devoid the beautiful face and even patches up her broken friendship. Aww! Dont we love happy endings!!!

I liked some parts and did not like some parts. The story was simple with nothing out of the ordinary and the characters were typical yet interesting. I think it will be fair to give this a 3 on 5.


kavyen

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The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads
It’s 1962 and all across America barriers are collapsing. But when Natalie Marx’s mother inquires about summer accommodations in Vermont, she gets the following reply: The Inn at Lake Devine is a family owned resort, which has been in continuous operation since 1922. Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles. For twelve-year-old Natalie, who has a stubborn sense of justice, the words are not a rebuff but an infuriating, irresistible challenge.

In this beguiling novel, Elinor Lipman charts her heroine’s fixation with a small bastion of genteel anti-Semitism, a fixation that will have wildly unexpected consequences on her romantic life. As Natalie tries to enter the world that has excluded her–and succeeds through the sheerest of accidents–The Inn at Lake Devine becomes a delightful and provocative romantic comedy full of sparkling social mischief.

The View:

The Inn at Lake Devine is split into three parts and each part had a unique story telling style. Part 1 was hilarious, I found myself grinning and even laughing out loud at certain scenes. This was the part I enjoyed the most, teenage Natalie and the way she chooses to take things in her own hands will remain memorable for a long time. The latter parts had Natalie as an adult and portrayed her continued relationship with the Inn that once dint want anything to do with Jews.

I did expect the story to have a lot of serious scenes because it dealt with a topic such as anti-Semitism and was pleasantly surprised when it dint. There were a few chapters I did not enjoy because it seemed very laid back and slow, but most part of the book was enjoyable. The romance element was much-needed and showed Natalie in a different light. Certain memorable scenes are when the chef asks Natalie for sexual flavors, the food poisoning episodes and the time when she returns home and stays with her parents.

I liked the book as it had a lot of characterization in it. The plot was filled with a lot of elements that kept me awake reading and for that I have to give it a 4 on 5.


kavyen

The Innocent by David Baldacci

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads
America has enemies–ruthless people that the police, the FBI, even the military can’t stop. That’s when the U.S. government calls on Will Robie, a stone cold hitman who never questions orders and always nails his target.
But Will Robie may have just made the first–and last–mistake of his career . . .

It begins with a hit gone wrong. Robie is dispatched to eliminate a target unusually close to home in Washington, D.C. But something about this mission doesn’t seem right to Robie, and he does the unthinkable. He refuses to kill. Now, Robie becomes a target himself and must escape from his own people.
Fleeing the scene, Robie crosses paths with a wayward teenage girl, a fourteen-year-old runaway from a foster home. But she isn’t an ordinary runaway-her parents were murdered, and her own life is in danger. Against all of his professional habits, Robie rescues her and finds he can’t walk away. He needs to help her.
Even worse, the more Robie learns about the girl, the more he’s convinced she is at the center of a vast cover-up, one that may explain her parents’ deaths and stretch to unimaginable levels of power.
Now, Robie may have to step out of the shadows in order to save this girl’s life . . . and perhaps his own

The View:

Before I tell you what I think about this book, let me tell you that I am trying to get some pattern in my life and by that I mean, I am trying to do a certain set of activities regardless of how tired I am. I have spaced this over a period of a week and it seems to be working great so far. One of the task that I am enforcing myself to do is … read a book for an hour 5 times a week 🙂 Well, that was no surprise!!! Small steps but a gigantic change and I am totally enjoying the rhythm that is possibly being set.

Now, getting back to the book and author. I have a love – hate relationship with David Baldacci. There are some books that kept me glued and then there were some I could not even bring myself to complete. When I scrolled the library looking for new reads and saw “The Innocent”; I knew I wanted to read it only because I wanted to see which bucket this one fell in. I half expected to read the first 50 pages and put it down and never get back to it, but surprise 4 nights straight (with an hours reading) and here I am with my thoughts.

David Baldacci proves himself as an excellent story-teller with this book. Robie is an assassin and when things go wrong with his latest assignment, he knows he has to run. It is during this time that he meets Julie a 14-year-old girl. With her, he feels a strong urge to protect as he senses that she is in some sort of trouble. Very soon there are a lot of deaths and it takes him a while before he figures out that the target is not really Julie but him. The plot is dense and exciting at the same time. A tough combination when you are having multiple deaths, an assassin, a teenager who has recently lost her parents and even a sprinkle of romance with a neighbor.

I enjoyed Robie and his meticulousness. I felt there was no flaw in the character he was portraying and he remained true to it all the time. What made him even more real was the introduction of Julie in his life. His reaction when he realizes in a split second that his “possible” love is actually the killer was natural and expected of him (though it would have been unjustifiable with any other character). Julie was a wonderful addition to the plot. Initially I felt she was just another teenager who was too mature for her age (Aren’t we reading too many of such portrayals these days?) I slowly realized that she did have a lot more uniqueness within her. The way she explains how she submits her math assignments using the latest technology to Robie was sweet; and instantly gave me a different perspective to the lead characters who were from two different generations, grew up miles apart and yet were so much alike.

Rated a 4 on 5 for the wonderful detailed writing that makes you feel as if you are in the midst of all the chaos that the Robie and Julie are in.


kavyen

Risk by Colin Harrison

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads

An honest lawyer, a Czech hand model, and a box of mysterious Christmas ornaments, each play their part in Harrison’s intricate mystery.

George Young never thought of himself as a detective, but that’s pretty much his vocation–an attorney for a top insurance firm, it’s his job to pin down suspicious claims. But Mrs. Corbett, the rich, eccentric wife of the firm’s founder, has it in mind to put George’s skills to a peculiar assignment. With only a few months to live, her one desire is to know the true circumstance of her son Roger’s violent death. George’s investigation leads him to Roger’s mistress, a cagy Czech hand model named Eliska, whose motives for latching on to Mrs. Corbett’s son may have gotten him killed. Set against a brilliantly drawn Manhattan, at once volatile and vivid, Risk is prime Colin Harrison.

The View:

It is amazing how I discover authors every day even after so many years of reading. What is even more amazing is with each new author; I also discover a new thing about myself and my reading passions. “Risk” as you must have guessed is the first book I read by Colin Harrison. I wanted to like this book so bad as it was recommended to me by my librarian and the biggest surprise of all was that I actually did land up liking the book.

George Young’s ex-boss’s wife wants him to help find out how her son died. It is almost obvious that his death was an accident but she is determined to find out more. George decides to take the case as he feels he owes her that but is soon sucked into a much bigger and dangerous case. The Czech hand model and the Christmas ornaments played a huge part in defining the plot. Obviously her Russian boyfriend was just an addition in the picture and I was left with an unanswered question – “Was he even real”. I liked the way the story ended but I felt it did not answer a lot of questions related to the other characters.

The character development was shabby but that could be easily forgiven as this is a short novel of only 170+ pages. George Young was average and his case solving techniques alternated from being average to super smart. I liked how he dealt with the Russians when he gave them the Christmas ornaments and managed to get what he wanted in return. The most interesting character in the book for me was George’s wife. She seemed to be a highly intelligent women and handled many scenarios in the most commendable way possible. I only wished that we got to see a lot more of her.

I enjoyed reading this book tremendously. There were not as many twists or diversions as I would have liked but it definitely kept me glued. Rated a 4 on 5 and there is no doubt that I would be reading more books by Colin Harrison.


kavyen

Yankee Doodle Dead by Carolyn Hart

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads

Sleuthing couple Annie and Max Darling watch as the Fourth of July explodes not only with fun and fireworks, but with murder. The new library board member has alienated everyone in town, especially the women. But Annie finds it difficult to ignore him–particularly when he is shot dead before her eyes.

The View:

“Yankee Doodle Dead” is the first book I read from the “Death on Demand” series and I am surely hoping that the rest of them are different. I struggled with reading this book as it refused to keep me entertained. Initially I just attributed it to the fact that I dint read the series in the order it was intended too, but I realized that it had nothing to do with it.

The story was simple but there were a lot of dialogues and descriptions that threw me off. The beginning of the book was slow. After almost 1/3rd of the book, there was some action but by then the characters refused to make an impact or create any spark. The constant references to mystery writers, quotes and books was also not very pleasant. Many of the characters were lame and if I see them in real life I would either run away or stare at them profusely hoping something would change about them.

Overall it took me forever to read this book and I only finished it because I dint want to leave it midway. The writing was not impressive, the characters were boring and the story simple. There were no major twists or at least none that would make an impact. Rated a 2 on 5 and I’ll be honest and say that I only finished this book because I had started it. Not worth reading this one!


kavyen

Bleachers by John Grisham

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads
High school all-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty.
Now, as Coach Rake’s “boys” sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old games, relive the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake–or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, a man who must finally forgive his coach–and himself–before he can get on with life, the stakes are especially high.

The View:

I struggled with this book and now that I am actually noticing it, I have had it on my Monday’s “Going to Read” list for more than a month and a half. I would pick it up read a few pages and put it back.. Get back to it in a few days, start all over again , read a few pages and put it back. This weekend I told myself that I have had enough and hence stuck with it till the end.

The story revolves around an impressive high school football coach who rules the moods of people in the small town. He bullies the players to meet targets and provokes mixed emotions from his players, ex-players and residents. Some of them hate him and many others still love and respect him. He is in his death-bed and some of his former players are finally meeting with each other. Stories are being told, memories shared, wounds healed and in the process they slowly discover the man they knew as a coach and a mentor.

I am not a sports fan and maybe that was why this book dint capture me. There were too many references to games, quarterbacks and scores; that it all went over my head. I liked the characters and how they slowly opened up as genuine people but I could not connect with them as their world seem to revolve around the game. Neely was a flawed character and his reaction to people who recognized him irritated me. Of course you are from here and people would recognize you.. Stop making a big deal about it. The only character I loved was Coach Rake and it is unfortunate that we only saw him through others eyes. I wish there was some part of the narration where he spoke about his thoughts.

Overall the book was below average. I only read it because I hate to put down a half-read book. Rated a 2 on 5 Continue reading

“E” is for Evidence by Sue Grafton

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads
Being a twice-divorced, happily independent loner has worked like a charm for P.I. Kinsey Millhone–until holiday weekends like this one roll around. What she needs is a little diversion to ward off the blues. She gets her much-needed distraction with a case that places her career on the line. And if that isn’t enough to keep her busy, her ex-husband, who walked out on her eight years ago, pops back on the radar…

It all begins with a $5,000 deposit made into Kinsey’s bank account. Problem is she’s not the one who deposited the money. But when she’s accused of being on the take in an industrial arson case, Kinsey realizes someone is framing her…

Now Kinsey’s working for herself. But with new evidence–and corpses–surfacing around her, she’s going to have to act quickly to clear her name before she loses her career, her reputation–and quite possibly her life…

The View:

“E” is for Evidence is the fifth book in the Kinsey Millhone alphabet mystery series by Sue Grafton. I have read a few of the earlier books and have developed a liking for Kinsey. She is strong, smart and likeable. In this book we see a different side of her where she is fighting a battle to save herself and hence appears even more independent.

The plot is average and even though there were a few twists and turns that were captivating; the book still dint manage to make a mark. The past references to Kinsey’s life added an interesting touch and showed her as a vulnerable individual in a few places. Her sleuthing skills though were below average and was rarely impressive. It almost looked like there was no rhyme or reason for her to make a call or visit someone. Many of the times it was just sheer luck than intelligence. Kinsey did well with this storyline and appeared very confident in the need to defend herself. The $5000 that was deposited in her account was a great kick off for the series of events that flows there after.

Rated a 3 on 5. “E” is for Evidence has a lot of ups and a lot more downs. Most of the books from this series are good exciting reads and it is but natural for a few to not do as well as the rest. That said, I already have the next one from this series lined up for my reading.


kavyen