Thursday, 10 November 2016

I Let You Go - Book Review

It was only few weeks back that I happened to land on a random blog post with a list of book recommendations for mind blowing plot twists. Out of the 37 suggestions I was glad to remember this title and was quite surprised to come across the book in the library. Even after few days since I have finished reading the book I still can't stop thinking about it. “I Let You Go” by Clare Mackintosh was truly a gripping story with mind blowing plot twists and I will try my best to not write any spoilers of it in my review.

No matter wherever you live, news of road accidents will be plenty for you to come across daily. How do we react to such news? I’m sure that we wouldn’t hesitate even for a few seconds to sympathize the victims who are badly injured or worse dead and criticize/curse the drivers whose carelessness cost lives. Have we ever thought of putting ourselves in their shoes and imagine how they might be feeling about it? No doubt that we would try to imagine the victim’s loved ones but what about the person with guilt? Will they remain the same regardless the legal conditions they have to go through?

Jacob Jordan is a 5 years old, happy little boy who would love to race to his home on the way back from school. Everything was just as normal it could be on any other day, so his mom loosen her grip of him for a moment so that little Jacob could be himself, the little bundle of excitement and energy. In a split second everything changes and Jacob’s lifeless body would be over the road and his mom would never be able to forgive herself for letting him go. With that, opens a hit-and-run case for the CID to follow, with hardly any leads to support them and a mother is unable to come out of her grief and guilt for letting this happen that she runs away, unable to keep herself steady in this turmoil.

From the beginning itself I was cautious about the plot twists. Unintentionally I was having doubts on certain characters and incidents but never ever I would have guessed the real plot twist in the story. It shook me hard and left me all flabbergasted! Something I found special about the book is its narration. I believe that the writer has pulled in a real stunt by entwining the story by three different point of views. I was amused how meticulous the three narrations have been used to make the content rich and exciting while maintaining a good flow with all the incidents well linked and mixed without any repetition. The characters were fine tuned so as the surroundings that it was so indulging. One wouldn’t have even the faintest idea that they would be spun around the next moment. The language is smooth, descriptive and ever so convincing. You will practically feel like living in the story soaking to the whirlwind of all emotions. It not only addresses an aftermath of a tragic accident but also the hullabaloo of family life.

This is the type of book which urges you to read it once again so that you could check for the places where you missed the hints which could have alarmed you to not get carried away by the things we see just on the surface. I would recommend it to anyone who is eager to read a psychological thriller and has enough time to savour each and every moment of it rather than hurrying through the pages. Ending the note with a quote from the book. It sure won’t give you a clue about the story but something to remember always.

“You can tell a lot about people by the way they treat animals”

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Room - Book Review

I like to call myself an avid reader. But I wouldn’t always come across a sensational read which would leave me all overwhelmed for days even after I finish reading. Hardly a book would excel in making a reader feel so saturated that they wouldn’t like starting off with another book immediately just because they would like to live in the story for little longer. “Room” written by Emma Donoghue is such kind of a masterpiece which I was fortunate to come across.

Can you imagine yourself being locked up in a 11 square feet room for seven long years? For most of us it would be hard to even imagine! The young lady who is one of the main two characters in this story had to go through even a lot more than that. She was snatched out of her world to be captivated for sexual assault which resulted in giving birth to a baby and raise the child all by herself inside that very cage she was a prisoner of. No matter what kind of a hellhole she was doomed to be, she starts a new life with the birth of her baby boy, Jack. She gathers up all her courage to raise him up and does a wonderful job in parenting given all the circumstances and the strangest environment they were forced to live with. Deep within her she always knew that they deserve much more and life cannot be settled here permanently just like that. So one day she comes up with a new plan to break free with the help of her young son who never knew that a world outside really exists till that moment.

The story starts when Jack turns 5. It was narrated by him, the way he sees things and the way he understands. The author really has gotten to the skin of the characters and does a marvelous job in presenting the story in a very heart touching way. The innocence, honesty and the pureness of a small child’s imagination and thought process is radiated in each word. The wrong verb conjugations (cutted, brung, knowed, etc) used here and there by the author was a good trick to constantly remind us that the story is being told by little Jack. Regardless how bitter and severe the theme of the book is the narration has its own charm on the readers. One had to be really heartless to not fall in love with Jack.

The book is divided into five sections (Presents, Unlying, Dying, After and Living). Each depicts a phase of life the little boy and his “Ma” had to go through. Its not just about being captivated or trying to escape. Its a story about all of them and so much more, all woven together and leading us to a well defined closure. The grounds of uncertainty the boy and the mother lives by makes it quite gripping and you will be hooked to the story till the last page. I’m sure the impact and the intensity of it would be greater if you could read it in one go. Alas I couldn’t! It was so compelling that I hated every moment whenever I had to put down the book and had to tend to something else. At times it made me feel that I was ignoring and abandoning this cute angel when he is all ready to share his story with us.

Readers would surely sympathize on the poor young lady who was forced to go through such a torment but the same time they would be amused by her courage, strength and intellectuals to cope up with the inevitable for so long and make the best out of her life rather than cracking up. As she later on mentions, she is not just the only one who had to go through a misery. According to her, “People are locked up in all sorts of ways”. The specificity would differ each individual’s story but ultimately we all have to deal with our own demons. The book represents all of us, who are caged in some or other way, scared and helpless, but all we need is the courage to take the chance and break free.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Its a must read that would tickle your brain, stir up all your emotions and make you wonder about life. Ending up with a thought from little Jack.

“When I was four I thought everything in TV was just TV, then I was five and Ma unlied about lots of it being pictures of real and Outside being totally real. Now i’m Outside but it turns out lots of it isn’t real at all”

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Where Rainbows End - Book Review

Chubby cheeks is back with another review! Nothing could beat that satisfied feeling which you get after reading a good book and this post is dedicated to one of the loveliest stories I have ever read, “Where Rainbows End” by Cecilia Ahern.
Rosie Dunne and Alex Stewart are best friends since they were five years old. Each day was fun together hanging out, playing around and writing notes to each other. Miss Casey had a really hard time trying to keep them away from each other during school but she hardly succeeded. They grew up together as the best friends who do not need any other in their life making memories until Alex had to move to Boston with his family at the age of 17. It was devastating but they somehow coped the final year at school with the hope of attending to college in the same city. Alas! It remained only a dream because of one fateful night which would turn Rosie's world upside down. The story extends until their old age touching every milestone of their lives everyone around.

Initially I felt that those tiny notes of cute spelling errors were just meant to give us an insight about little Rosie and Alex's communications during class. But I was very surprised to find out that the whole story was presented over 500 pages by a collection of letters and instant chat messages. It couldn’t have been easy to narrate a story in such a peculiar way for sure but the author certainly has done a marvelous job. Being a person who do not like stories presented as journal entries or letters i’m amazed that I really enjoyed the book.

The story revolves around two best friends in opposite gender. Can a boy and a girl be only just best friends with each other? No wonder this question will connect almost everyone to this story in a blink of an eye. I believe that in everyone’s life there was at least one close friend that could have been their love of life given the chance or at other circumstances. The realization would make you feel nostalgic and curious as well to find out how it would go between Rosie and Alex, a fate that could have happened to any of us!

As the theme of the book is friendship, love and family it feels so close to heart. The story overflows with emotions and I should warn that it had been a real tear jerker to me. I was crying all over the book at most parts. But the same time I had a good laugh especially reading Ruby's chats and the kids’ writings were ever so adorable and funny too.

The book had a good mix of characters. Ruby is fun, and sensible. Just the ideal girl friend a woman could be blessed with. Sisters and brothers are ever so caring for a one to reach out for advice or to share their concussions with. Parents are understanding and supportive and Alex is the best guy friend a girl could ask for. There's so much love, care and faithfulness within all of them but also the unexpected mishaps to remind us that there is nothing such as fairy tales but the real lives which everyone has to deal with.

It's so hard to not to fall in love with most of the characters. With no time we they become part of our lives. As story flows from the childhood to the mid fifties of the main characters the author had made sure to leave no stone unturned. It nicely depicts the transformation of a kid to an adult passing every milestone in their lives. Also, this made me  think that no matter how nice and loving the people who surround you the life has its own cruel way to torture you endless and make you suffer.

I recommend the book to anyone who likes to read about life, love and friendship. It’s a light reading and something which would make you walk down the memory lane connecting and cherishing some of the wonderful moments.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Luckiest Girl Alive - Book Review

In a sea of fiction books with too many titles adding to its stock daily we might get to read lot of good ones or nice reads, but only few could be really amazing. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll is absolutely such an amazing read I had the luck to come across!

TifAni FaNelli, who goes by Ani (Ah-nee) now and soon to be a Harrison has it all. She is 28 years old with a sparkling career and a blue blooded fiancee which any girl could be jealous of and especially the people who knows her past would marvel. Well, the success she has gained was not really offered to her in a silver platter. She had to put a lot of efforts to achieve all of that. Putting up a real stunt to look that happy wasn’t easy, she had to be very strong and determined as her ever so lucky and perfect life is nothing but a meticulously dramatised lie. Within that zero figure body covered in expensive clothes and jewellery lies the real Ani, harboring a dark secret from everyone around. Will she go on with the usual drama or finally let out her secrets and make peace with her past, is something for the readers to find out.

Ani is sharp, more than the people around her would register. She could assess the people and the situations to pull out a fine act and play innocent, obedient and vulnerable. The exact way the society expects her to be. At the beginning I found her quite vicious and ungrateful for she was really pretentious when her heart felt the exact opposite. Certain behaviour towards her loved ones made me question what’s wrong with her attitudes and behaviour. After all it was obvious that she is the luckiest girl alive! But soon enough the hazy truth, the reasons behind the transformation of TifAni into a cold and disturbed person would become clearer little by little.

The plot sways between the past and the present. Unwinding of the memories is at slow pace and finely blended with the current incidents. I was glued to the book careful not to skip even a single sentence with the fear of missing a crucial point. Even quite normal scenarios can suddenly become a plot twist. Every such spectacular turn of events would make me gasp in shock. And then I was ready to settle with the truth revealed but to my utter surprise I find that there is more to come. It happened this way until the very end. The journey of young Tifani FaNelli in the make of Ani would-be-Harrison is truly breathtaking.

I don't have firsthand experience of America, and I wonder whether the culture narrated in the story is common mainly with regards to school life and the teenagers. If it is, then it’s horrible! The children are given way too much freedom and chances to act as adults even before they are old enough to understand the things. This may sure lead to taunts and torture for another person. Its a pity that so many children are unfortunate to go through severe torments which would break them beyond repair and make them harmful people. They could be either harmful to themselves or to the society, however the matters should not be overlooked. The outcomes of denial would cause greater damage. Probably it would create Anis from the innocent TifAnis or Arthurs and Bens.

It’s a kind of story that I would wish to re-read as soon as I finished the book. I could be cautious next time at the places I was caught off guard and braze myself to take the blows. The language is profuse and the author has been very precise throughout the storytelling. Both characters and the readers have quite a lot to take in. Though its unexpected, the climax was well deserving. Finally I could say that protagonist was given justice.

I give 5/5 stars to this book and would highly recommend it to any reader. It may open your eyes to look at your loved ones who might have gone through similar mishaps, with more compassion and understanding. Hope everyone would try to be an Andrew Larson instead of a Luke Harrison!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Gangsta Granny - Book Review

I couldn’t keep my eyes away from the bright red cover with its cute drawing while I was browsing through the book shelves. And its very title “Gangsta Granny!” was intriguing enough to urge me read the book. How often do we come across words like Gangster along with a granny? We may hear some news of an old person being a victim of such but never a Gangsta Granny!

I believe there are two types of children in the world. Ones who would really love to visit their grandparents and the others who don’t. I’m pretty sure the latter is very few, because naturally grandparents tend to spoil and dote on us with so much love and care we are ever so eager to visit them anytime. Sadly, Ben belongs to the other category. He hated visiting his grandma. Nevertheless to his great dislike, his visits had to be quite frequent. To be precise, his parents would drop him off at granny’s every Friday, a day which he would dread through the whole week.

Now, there are too many reasons for Ben to hate the place. It was nothing but cabbage to eat and smell, scrabble so boring to play always. As a matter of fact we can’t blame his Granny either for making these visits that horrible. It’s actually his politeness to appreciate his Granny’s efforts have lead her to have all these misconceptions about Ben’s likes and dislikes. However, life won’t be so miserable for too long as one day Ben finds out that his Granny is the most interesting Granny in the whole world!

The story is narrated in an amusing way to the kids with bunch of funny words and cute drawings scattered here and there. The language is simple and expressive, the incidents are well connected to create great excitement with every turn of page. The character Ben is formed in quite a natural way which resembles the kids of his age everywhere. I believe that kids would really feel Ben as very close to their hearts.

Though the book is focused on entertaining kids it would be a light and fun reading for the adults as well. It would be a fine way to understand the children’s mindset through this book. Not just that, the story carries a clear message to the parents. It’s a pity that most of the parents try so dearly to fulfill their dreams through their kids. They often forget that the kids have their own dreams too. Just because they are not the same dreams as ours or not the common socially appreciated ones doesn’t mean that those dreams are not worth achieving. A person would excel in anything only when they have a passion within them. The story is an eye opener for parents to understand their children and support them to try their strength and follow their passion.

Despite being a kids story, I featured this book in my blog with the hope of reaching the parents and other adults who would have close interactions with kids. The book certainly provides food for thought.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Past Aghast

I got this book as a free copy in Amazon and the cover was not so eye catching hence I was not expecting much from this story. But, now I deeply regret for having any doubt on this story, for it turned out to be one of the best crime fiction I ever read!

However, the prologue again was not that provocative to me. It appeared just normal and a common war mishap. Soon after I was in the midway of the first chapter, my eyes were kind of glued to the book. Though it’s quite a thick book and much bigger than the novels I read normally, I read this in one go. Many times I tried to put down the book and tend to my other daily chores but failed miserably.

The murders in the very first few pages were horrible to come across, yet the suspense and the curiosity was well nurtured by each paragraph of the book. Being involved in laboratories as my job, I could picture the scene and the surrounding easily and was scared to death the same time relating it to my own self.

The first thought occurred to me about Mark was “poor chap”. Still I couldn’t help appreciating his each move that followed. Even after witnessing a cruel murder all of a sudden and being trapped to even get caught for such action he acted as brave and intelligent as he could.

I like the way each scene and the characters are blend in the story. The character development was brilliant and the plot twists were well included. The date and time at the beginning of each chapter supports the reader to have a good mental picture in a timely manner.

All in all it’s a good book. Especially for someone who likes to read about doctors and suspense related to such scenario, this would certainly be a great read. The book assures you quite an extended exposure with doctors and all other related professions in the medical industry. 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Marry me, Stranger

Breaking another long silence Chubby Cheeks is back to the blog with a fresh piece of writing on a book by one of her favourite Indian authors, Novoneel Chakraborty. So, the review on his latest book Marry me, Stranger would be the first post here after a very long time.

So far I have read only his debut novel, A Thing Beyond Forever and I loved it so much that I started reading this book with high expectations. The title made me expect a story about strangers falling in love or get into a marriage which might lead to an everlasting love, but how silly of me to jump into such conclusions! The book was as unpredictable as one could ever expect a book to be!

The protagonist, Rivanah Bannerjee is a 22 year old college fresh-out who moves to the big city of Mumbai, to face her life all alone for the first time without her parents around to help her in this and that. She is smart enough to secure a job in a high profile IT company, confident enough to take the challenge and move out to Mumbai, focused enough to what to do with her life and strong enough to stand upon her ideas about her personal choice and marriage. All in to that she was even soft enough to fall in love with Ekansh, her college friend and loyal enough to be such a faithful girlfriend for him all the past four years. But life is not a bed of roses, she soon finds out. Each day of her life becomes challenging than she could even dream of and she had to go through her own share of happiness and sorrows.

The prologue gives a superb screen opening to the readers. It starts with the expectation of a sweet encounter of love and halts, leaving us with a bunch of questions in the mind which make us run through page by page searching for the answers. I should say it has the potential to get you glued to the story from its very first page. As I mentioned earlier, the story is quite unpredictable hence the journey through the pages would be quite adventurous. You would never get bored, rather be quite excited to reach the end.

Writing style is excellent as I expected. Of course the writer excels in penning down another great story which is quite above in quality from the average Indian novels we come across nowadays. Flow of the story is smooth and very gripping, and its written with a rich and appropriate vocabulary.The best thing about the book is that it relates to the young people scattered every nook and corner of the world. We experience love, heartbreaks, friendship and quite a lot of expeditions one could go through in their young life so the story well connects with every reader at some point or the other. The protagonist and the other characters would come up with the same questions as the ones which might have popped in our minds when we got stuck at these type of situations and the author has smart answers, wise phrases and different point of views for us to think upon and stimulate the self realization.

The only thing I’m unhappy about the book is its climax. I personally believe that it was a very incomplete situation to pause the story to be continued in the next book. Its of course a great cliff hanger but to lead to the next chapter rather than to a whole new book. The book ends with a clear cut hint about the stranger but comparing with the rest of the past episodes, the clue at the end itself might not be the correct path for the actual back-story. I feel there's too many things unresolved to stop the story right there to be continued with the next book. Holding our breath until the truth reveals is the real entertainment and adventure in a book but that is when we only have to start with the very next chapter that instance not wait for many months until the next book launches! And at times I felt that the title is not that relevant to the content of the story although it really is woven around a stranger.

But all in all the book is a great hit. Totally intriguing and a real page turnover. I believe that it is rich in every aspect. A story that is sweetened with love, salted with suspicion, spiced with horror and garnished with romance, it certainly is a delicious read one could never miss!

Ending my note with a short and sweet phrase I came across in the story. there are many I would love to quote here, but this was a fresh idea which particularly amused me to great heights.

“A sucessful marriage depends on ignorance”

“I chose to ignore my own desires otherwise it would have been difficult to stay with him and raise you. And I’m sure he must have also ignored a lot of my things.”
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