Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shadowland by Meg Cabot

Shadowland by Meg Cabot

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A super cute YA series! Susannah (Suzy) is a mediator who can communicate with ghosts. She is 16 and moves from NYC to California when her mother relocates to be with her husband (Suzy's step dad)Little does Suzy know that her mediating powers will be required at the new school she joins.Add to this , a bunch of motley step brothers,couple of "nerd" friends ,a cantankerous vile ghost and a friendly "hottie" ghost , and you have the perfect recipe for a fun-filled book.

I enjoyed reading the book immensely- it was definitely a breath of fresh air after a few boring books I've been reading lately. Suzy makes for an adorable heroine..Meg's writing is fun and spunky.Oh, and there is a bit of humor in the book too.. What more could a girl ask for?

Overall , a really sweet breezy book !

My rating : 3.5/5

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Home by Manju Kapur

Home by Manju Kapur

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Home is the story of a typical middle-class joint family of cloth merchants living in Delhi.It has all the ingredients of an Ekta Kapoor serial- horrible mother-in-laws, sulking daughter-in-laws, selfish children, pompous relatives ,obscenely lavish weddings and the works. None of the characters were really likeable.And that is not because Manju Kapur paints everyone in shades of Grey;I've liked grey characters before.Home is filled with really boring, vile grey characters that really grate on one's nerves and one doesn't really bother if these characters have a valid reason for being mean after a point.The most irritating among the lot being Sona. 

The story might be representative of the middle class , but realism alone is not enough to make one like a book. The writing was very ordinary and the narration extremely jumpy.To be fair to the book,the last hundred-odd pages were infinitely more engaging the the first two hundred. Maybe this had to do with the fact that the story more or less revolved around Nisha's life by this time. I've read Immigrants and A married woman before and found them a lot better than this one. Now I doubt if i'll ever pick up her other book Difficult daughters.

A thoroughly disappointing read!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandana

Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first fell in love with Mandana's writing after reading a bunch of short stories by her in an anthology published by Unisun Publishers sometime back. Among the stories in the book, Mandana's beautiful words and stories stood out.I promptly copied a few passages that I found riveting into my book I keep for chronicling memorable writing i come across. And then ...boom.. Tiger Hills happened and she got catapulted into literary stardom.I have been wanting to read this book ever since i attended her book's launch in Chennai, and when I found a copy in my library ,I promptly picked it up. Set in Coorg, Tiger hills is the gut-wrenchingly sad tale that chronicles the lives and times of Devi, the fiery Coorg, Devanna ,her childhood companion, Machaiah, the famed Tiger-killer and their children. The book sprawls languorously across vast time periods (1800's to second world war) and is a beautiful essay in complex human emotions.

A saga of unhappiness is unleashed in the lives of the protagonists ,because of circumstances that are not under their control, really. Mandana's writing is magic:it is like perfectly tempered liquid chocolate waiting to crystallize into perfectly formed chocolate chunks. Coorg's gorgeous topography comes alive in her descriptions.Though a tad slow towards the end( the reason I had to reduce the rating to 4 stars from five I had initially planned on giving it), I enjoyed reading the book immensely. Devi has to be one of the strongest heroines I've encountered in a book in the recent times.Mandana has carefully sculpted her personality,making everything "grey" and not just simple black and white. I loved how Coorgi traditions and folk stories were woven beautifully into the narrative.

Tiger hills is a literary triumph, a celebration of meandering plot and lush words : an absolutely stunning debut novel. Highly recommended to all lovers of historical fiction.