Book Review: One moment in time

Jack Barrett is on the way with his friend Travis on rainy November night to celebrate the latter’s birthday. On their way, they meet with an accident: a truck runs a red light and rams into their car. This moment in time changes Jack’s life forever. With a whole new outlook on life, Jack quits his job, travels overseas, meets the love of his life Maggy, adopts a little girl Ana with her, and grows on to be a leader with many achievements. However, in the end, you begin to question: what is reality and what is a dream?

The book started off in a promising manner for me but then just lost me mid-way. With Jack being so good and so selfless, he was unrealistic. And then his achievements…well, they were like a Hollywood movie. He saves people during an earthquake, becomes governor even though he doesn’t run for office, then becomes president, manages to stop terrorists who have attacked America, brings peace between the Iranians and the Palestinians.

Book Review: One moment in time

It was not very believable. The ending didn’t grip me either. It left me with a “what the…” feeling. In fact, the ending was one that I remember being told during my creative writing classes that should be avoided if possible.

Having said that, it could just be me because on Goodreads, I found many people had rated it between 3 to 5. So I’m not sure if I’m missing something. You can find out for yourself by entering the giveaway of this book which is coming up.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Out of my Comfort Zone

My review on this book by Steve Waugh— quite amazing actually! Without being biased (since I am a Steve Waugh fan and have the greatest respect for the guy), it is an interesting read into his life as a cricketer and a person — a husband, a father, a friend, a brother, a son.

While he does have connections with India which he has written about a bit (Udayan, a home for girls with leprosy, for those who are unaware), I also realised that I have connections with him! Hehe…it’s not just that I’m in Sydney…but…I’m living in the suburb next to where he spent his childhood. I’ve never had a high opinion of these suburbs in Bankstown but they went up in my estimation now that I know Steve Waugh spent a great portion of his life here. I think that’s something considering this is the first cricketer I liked since I watched the game and that never ended even though he’s retired!

He’s written about how difficult it was to inform a team-mate who was also a friend that he had been dropped. I think I could understand his predicament in that when you are in a position where you are a sort of mediator between individuals who are your friends and a higher authority (like managers), you have to in many cases do what the management tells you. In doing so, you risk a barrier in the friendship. On the other hand, if you piss of management for the sake of friends, well — good-bye job!!!

I think Tugga was one of the biggest reasons the Aussie team is what it is today. He in many ways made the guys believe in themselves and these were the guys handed on to Ricky Ponting. I’d hate to see the current Aussie team retire (Gilly, McGrath, Marto, Langer, Hayden) and I can only wonder about how competitive they will still be. Of course, on the bright side, they will hopefully still have Punter, Clarkey, Lee, Hussey and some of the other guys.

Anyway, once again, I’d recommend Steve Waugh’s book to cricket lovers — which I guess means none of my friends !!!

Till next time,

Cheers!!!

Book Review: Written in the ashes

Book Review: Written in the ashesSet in 410 C.E (Common Era), Written in the Ashes follows the journey of Hannah, a young Jewish girl who is kidnapped and sold as a slave in Alexandria. She is bought by Tarek who is mesmerised by her beauty. Once there, she is adopted as a slave by Tarek’s master, Alizar. Alizar has plans for Hannah which involve educating her. An honour for a slave who is woman. In addition to having a good grasp over education and being beautiful, Hannah also has a divine voice that can capture a person’s heart. As a result, she starts to perform in front of an audience due to listen to a lecture by Hypatia, one of the greatest female philosophers of the time and keeper of the Great Library of Alexandria. However, these are tumultuous times. The Christians led by Bishop Cyril are in the process of killing those they consider pagans. And that includes anyone who is not Christian. Hannah soon becomes the bishop’s target and is sent away in to hide in the Temple of Isis. She is torn between two men she loves and at the same time embarks on a journey to find The Emerald Tablet to help protect the pagans. The journey eventually leads to the Great Library being burnt. And although everything seems lost after that, it may not necessarily be the case.

Book Review: Written in the ashes

Written in Ashes is a historical fiction novel inspired by true events. The Great Library did get burnt. But no one really knows how. The history also has its share of mythology which makes it even more interesting. The book is a whopping 400 pages but is captivating to keep you going at a stretch. For a person who is not really into historical fiction, I enjoyed this journey. Reading about Ancient Greek and Egypt and the rise of religious extremism through this book was extremely enlightening. It took me back to my days of studying about Ancient Greek, Rome and Egypt in school. The only history I actually liked. The author has developed all the characters beautifully. Both the good and bad. You can’t help but feel what they are feeling and you will find yourself holding your breath and feeling their fear. Hannah is a wonderful character. Endearing and strong. Confused yet clear. Intelligent yet rash. She is a mix of so many positives and flaws that make her what she is.  The author’s writing style is also very captivating. She took 10 years to write this book and one can see why. It involves a lot of research! In the end, she manages to keep you hooked.

This is a work of true literature.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

GIVEAWAY: Written in the ashes

If you read my review of Written on the ashes earlier today and liked it, well then, this giveaway is for you. If you are a lover of historical fiction, then you really should enter this giveaway.

Thanks to the author Kaia Hollan Van Zandt, one lucky winner will randomly be selected to receive a copy of the book. Please be aware it is only available in e-book format (PDF or Kindle).

GIVEAWAY: Written in the ashes

The giveaway starts today and ends on 8th October 2012. It is open to everyone. Winners will be picked randomly through Rafflecopter and will be notified within 48 hours of the giveaway closing. The author will then send you a copy of your choice of e-book to your designated email address.

So what are you waiting for?

Enter this and spread the word!

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

13/52: Reading

I am currently reading two books — one fiction, one non-fiction. One for pleasure, the other for knowledge {and to discuss at my book club}. I wish I had more time to fit my love for reading in addition to all the other stuff I do!

What are you reading?

***Linking with Toni for 52 weeks of memories***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

We need to talk about Kevin. And Lionel Shriver

If you were to ask me to list my top 5 books of all time, Lionel Shriver’s ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ would definitely be present on that list. I have sort of reviewed this book previously on the blog but given that I attended a Conversation with Lionel Shriver last week, I thought I’d try and discuss that in conjunction to a book I love and have read 3 times {way too many according to the author herself!}

‘We need to talk about Kevin’ is a book written in the form of letters by Eva to her absent husband after their 15 year old son Kevin is sent to gaol for killing 7 of his classmates, a teacher and a canteen worker. It may sound like your typical high-school massacre story but the truth is Kevin has never been bullied. So why then did he set out to kill others in this manner? His mother Eva tries to come to terms with his actions and to figure out what went wrong. She wonders whether it has to do with her not wanting to have Kevin in the first place. Whether it was because she wasn’t ready to be pregnant and have a child and resented having one. Or whether it is possible that someone could be born evil. After all, when she had a second child, her daughter turned out to be the most loving and affectionate girl. The book has an ending you don’t really see coming and it hit me to my very core. Re-reading takes away the suspense but not the emotion of shock and horror attached to it.

We need to talk about Kevin. And Lionel Shriver

The nature versus nurture debate is one that keeps you thinking throughout the book. Coming from a psychological background, there are also questions about early attachment and while I am not a big proponent of blaming the primary caregiver {aka mother}, you can’t help but wonder whether an attachment problem resulted in Kevin being the way he is. Yet at the same time, every time I’ve read the book, I have empathised with Eva. Sure, the book is from her point of view. But I can feel how frustrating it must be to have your life and your career interrupted without planning. I can understand being torn in this day and world to juggle motherhood and a career. I can understand how the fear of being judged as a bad mother would exist if you don’t want children or prefer to work full time when you do have kids.

Like I told Lionel Shriver when I met her, we see a few relationships between kids and their mothers that are similar to Eva’s and Kevin’s relationship. And that’s what makes me love the book. The way it mirrors reality. A not-so-nice reality perhaps. But still, reality.

Shriver is an interesting woman herself. A diminutive  5’2 woman, looks fit as a fiddle {apparently she runs} who also seems to be a feminist and is not afraid to say things as they are. She is a straight shooter and can perhaps be a tad intimidating as a result. But she is funny too. A bit dry. And I think it comes across in her writing. I still wonder though how she thought about this book and managed to write it. It’s something that I am in awe of.

Following listening to her in conversation, I came home and purchased the rest of her books {I have only read 3 so far} and I’m looking forward to devouring them when they arrive.

So what are you waiting for?

If you haven’t read it, go get it now. And be prepared to be shocked, horrified and get tangled with a lot of thoughts of nature versus nurture and whether or not someone can be born evil.

***Linking up with Write Tribe Festival of Words Day 4: Book review***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!