Cheap Hauls – Pick them up now!

Starting yesterday, I posted a new page – Cheap Hauls. I always come across people who say they never get to know when Amazon books are for sale or for free. So I decided to post the information here. I will be updating them each day. Here you will get to see what’s for sale, as cheap as $0.99 and even goodies that are absolutely for free. The page will be updated each day, so don’t miss out on cheap and free buys.

Check out the page here daily (Click this link to go to the page or open from the pages listed above)

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Buy it on Amazon here (Click this link)

Goodreads Summary: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

This book is read as a part of

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My Views: Don’t you just love the cover? I do.

As mentioned on the first page of the book, it brought darkness and cold in the form of rain to my place. Sort of eerie but perfect weather to read it in.

Alright, my almost-first paranormal read (if you ignore Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) and it started off really well, taking me into it. However, somewhere down the line, I lost track and would have abandoned it if I didn’t have the paperback in my hand. And am I relieved it was? Absolutely. It only got better from there. Although it wasn’t a quick read like my usual reads but I had to finish it in 24 hours for totally other reasons. And finish, I did. It was a sort of mystery book, considering the fact that there were so many layers to unfold, so much to know.

There was this funny element also that I could relate to – a wish used to turn off the light switch so she didn’t have to get out of bed: lazy, so familiar. 😀

I loved the way the book was structured, moving in from present to past to present again, yet so fluidly that there was no break, no feeling of irritation at what was happening. It was all so stark clear.

But most of all what I loved was the language, the mellifluous flow of it all. The charm, the beauty, the music in the way words were woven- the pure poetic artistry of it all. So beautiful, charming and meaningful.

Some examples-

“__ wished she could be the kind of girl who was complete unto herself, comfortable in solitude, serene. She craved a presence beside her, solid. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust.”

“A wish plagued by the notion that she wasn’t whole. It’s like you’re standing in the kitchen, and you know you went in there for a reason, but you can’t think of what that reason is, no matter what.”

“Battle not with monsters lest you become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you – Neitzsche”

“To stay true in the face of evil is a feat of strength.”

And lastly, my favorites-

“The only hope is…hope. You don’t need tokens for it- it’s in your heart or nowhere.”

“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”

“The tendrils of an idea were unfurling in the deep reaches of his mind.” Ahhh… I love this one.

I wonder if and when this would be made into a movie, I would love to watch it, my imagination has its limits.

You have read my review, if you love paranormal, go get it now. If you don’t, give it a try. Who knows like me, you may like it.

4/5 stars – I really liked it.

Buy it on Amazon here (Click this link)

NetGalley Month – January

Hosted by Red House books

NetGalley Month Read-A-Thon!

Between January 1st and January 31st, I challenge myself to read as many NetGalley books as I possibly can!

The ‘rules’ are really simple:

1. Declare yourself!
Write up a post, share it on Facebook, Tweet, sky writing, carrier pigeons…Somehow, let the world know you’re participating.

2. Read NetGalley books in January!

And tell us about them in February 🙂

On Twitter: #NetGalleyMonth

My first NetGalley Read review for January is here (Click this link): Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith


Goodreads Summary: Working in a mystery tradition that will cause genre aficionados to think of such classic sleuths as Melville Davisson Post’s Uncle Abner or Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee, Alexander McCall Smith creates an African detective, Precious Ramotswe, who’s their full-fledged heir.

It’s the detective as folk hero, solving crimes through an innate, self-possessed wisdom that, combined with an understanding of human nature, invariably penetrates into the heart of a puzzle. If Miss Marple were fat and jolly and lived in Botswana–and decided to go against any conventional notion of what an unmarried woman should do, spending the money she got from selling her late father’s cattle to set up a Ladies’ Detective Agency–then you have an idea of how Precious sets herself up as her country’s first female detective.

Once the clients start showing up on her doorstep, Precious enjoys a pleasingly successful series of cases. But the edge of the Kalahari is not St. Mary Mead, and the sign Precious orders, painted in brilliant colors, is anything but discreet. Pointing in the direction of the small building she had purchased to house her new business, it reads “THE NO. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY. FOR ALL CONFIDENTIAL MATTERS AND ENQUIRIES. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED FOR ALL PARTIES. UNDER PERSONAL MANAGEMENT.”

The solutions she comes up with, whether in the case of the clinic doctor with two quite different personalities (depending on the day of the week), or the man who had joined a Christian sect and seemingly vanished, or the kidnapped boy whose bones may or may not be those in a witch doctor’s magic kit, are all sensible, logical, and satisfying. Smith’s gently ironic tone is full of good humor towards his lively, intelligent heroine and towards her fellow Africans, who live their lives with dignity and with cautious acceptance of the confusions to which the world submits them. Precious Ramotswe is a remarkable creation, and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency well deserves the praise it received from London’s Times Literary Supplement.

About Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and he was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.

This book is read as a part of

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My views: I have been to Botswana and back, with this book. Refreshing mystery tales, almost like short stories in themselves. I took an instant liking to the character of Mma Ramotswe, self-made, determined woman who opens up a ladies detective agency which was unheard of in that town. With her intuition and thinking abilities, she solves one case after another with ease. The book takes you in from the very start with a case to solve. Though I did not like the change from the case to learning about the life of Precious’s father and her childhood, I realized that it is important for the building up of a character and took it in my stride. Later, this proved to be beneficial. I have always enjoyed mysteries, especially those where I get to think with the detective and give my mind a jog to solve it. I ended up doing that a lot with this book.

*Spoiler*
I loved the character of the little Indian girl who ends up conning Ramotswe. 🙂 And was I glad to hear her nod to marriage in the end. I loved her so much to wish for her to have a companion and a worthy match at that.
*End of Spoiler*

I loved to solve mysteries and be a detective since childhood, whenever something disappeared from our home, I would be the one to find it. The only case where it wasn’t found was when I was the one who had hidden it in the first place. 😉

A lovely, short book that finished even before you realize it since you are so engrossed solving the mysteries.

I also picked up some great quotes from the book-

“It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”

‘I am just a tiny person in Africa, but there is a place for me, and for everybody, to sit down on this earth and touch it and call it their own.’

‘You can go through life and make new friends every year-every month practically-but there was never any substitute for those friendships of childhood that survive into adult years. Those are the ones in which we are bound to one another with hoops of steel.’

4/5 stars – I really liked it

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve

Goodreads Summary: Walking in the snow near their New Hampshire home, a father and daughter come upon an abandoned infant, wrapped in a bloody towel. For the father, this chance discovery reopens a wound: Two years before, he had lost his wife and toddler daughter in a car crash. Now the chance finding of the baby places him on a winding path toward healing

My views: It’s a story of hard circumstances, overwhelming emotions and survival within them. The book is told in the voice of 12 year old Nicole or Nicky who lives with her father after her mother and young sister die in a car accident. This is a story of their lives and how an incident changes it. Anita has done a good job thinking and writing in the voice of a 12 year old. It’s no mean feat but she has accomplished it. There aren’t many twists and turns (as I would like to read) but I took it as a simple story of survival and trying to change one’s life for the better from the perspective of Nicky.

A short read, this may be good for some thinking (neither too light nor too heavy).

2.5/5 – Somewhere between ‘It was OK’ and ‘I liked it’.

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Goodreads summary: Being the good girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ashton Gray has grown weary of playing the part to please her parents, and to be worthy of the town’s prince charming, Sawyer Vincent. Maybe That’s why she’s found herself spending time with Sawyer’s cousin, Beau, while he’s away for the summer camping with his family. Beau is nothing like her perfect boyfriend. He’s the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, dangerous in ways she’s only day dreamed about, and the one guy she should stay away from.
Beau never envied Sawyer his loving parents, his big nice home, or his position as quarterback. He loves him like a brother. Which is why he’s tried everything in his power to keep his distance from Sawyer’s girlfriend. Even if he has loved her since the age of five, Ashton is Sawyer’s girl, so therefore she’s off limits. But when Sawyer leaves for the summer, Ashton, the one girl Beau would move Heaven and Earth for, decides she wants to get into trouble. Stabbing the one person who’s always accepted him and stood by him in the back, is the cost of finally holding Ashton Gray in his arms. Is she worth losing his cousin over?…. Hell Yeah.

My views: This book is all about teenage love, its benefits and faults. Ashton has the Vincent boys as her friends from childhood but growing up she gives a nod to Sawyer, the chivalrous and handsome one while her heart lies with the bad boy Beau. Will she find the courage to stand up for love, to go against her family and town? That is the crux of the story. It talks of romance, misunderstandings and love. A very light and fast read. Good for love-struck teenagers. Too simple for someone looking for more plot to go with (like I did, hence the two stars).

If you want something to read, to think about, skip this one.

If you want something light and breezy to read, something that doesn’t require your mind to work, this one has got it. I read it between serious writing, so it was a nice break.

2/5 – It was OK.

Top 10 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2012

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Hosted by A Life Bound By Books, Rachel from Fiktshun & Jaime, Patricia from Two Chicks on Books & Confessions of a Bookaholic.

Check this out for more information.

My Top 10 books may also include ones that released in 2011 but I didn’t read them yet.

I have desperately tried to get my hands on this one, but alas. I guess I will have to wait.

This is published but I’m still to read it.

Waiting for-

this,

this,

and this.

Have an ARC but yet to read.

Have an ARC but yet to read.

Released but not read and looking forward to-

A few stats from 2011

# of Books Read – 65 (might be few more by the time the year gets over)
# of Pages Read – 22,363 (as per goodreads.com stats)
# of Blog Posts – 21
Current books on my TBR- 1189 (and adding. God!! Am I insane or what?)

I started my blog on 29 November 2011:
Published 13 reviews
1048 page views (and adding!!)
57 followers via GFC and 34 followers on Twitter
1 book giveaway and 2 more coming up!!

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, Jodi Long (Narrator)


Goodreads Summary: In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Buy this book on Amazon here

This book is read as a part of

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My views: I am finally done with 11 long hours of listening and I am still reeling from the aftertaste the book has left in my mouth. Heart wrenching yet appealing. Oh!

Right from the beginning, the book held me steadfast. The story of a 80 year old reminiscing about her life, and such an interesting one at that. I inhaled the smell of China, its history, foot-binding procedure and many other obligations one has to go through as a woman in China.

But my favorite part and character was Snow Flower – the journey of a beautiful 8 year old girl who talked a lot, spoke her mind and tried to tweak the traditions a bit to a place in time when she grew timid, subordinating to the needs of her husband and mother-in-law.

The book recounts a heart warming tale of the friendship of Snow Flower and Lily (the narrator), their upbringing, intimate moments, misunderstandings and their life in general.

The book holds you with its writing, its innocence and the vast knowledge of China and its traditions.

The first half was really good, the second half was a little pale in comparison to the first but that maybe because the book is long. Nevertheless, it was a really good book. Good enough that I want to recommend it to everyone and good enough that I may re-read it after some years.

Buy this book on Amazon here

Top 10 characters of 2011

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Hosted by A Life Bound By Books, Rachel from Fiktshun & Jaime, Patricia from Two Chicks on Books & Confessions of a Bookaholic.

Check this out for more information.

I fell in love with these characters (in no particular order). Only 9 could enter my list.

Lily…you are so sweet!

Oh, Gerry, Gerry, Gerry!

Miles was so cute with his habit of remembering last words.

Laila, so strong, determined!

Sonia was such a lady, altruistic, giving away, selfless.

Oh, how I fell in love with Francie- her innocence, her understanding.

I loved Minnie. Hillarious yet so strong!

I loved Zeno. What a man!!

Oh, Snow flower, your articulation, knowledge about life, the hurts you faced. You were a remarkable woman.

So who’s your favorite character?

Top 10 Book Boyfriends of 2011

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Hosted by A Life Bound By Books, Rachel from Fiktshun & Jaime, Patricia from Two Chicks on Books & Confessions of a Bookaholic.

Check this out for more information.

Well, I didn’t read too many ‘boyfriend books’, so my list may be shorter than 10 (in random order).

Oh don’t you just love Dash, he can write, for one! And he reads books and oh, he’s so loving and charming! *sigh*

Nathaniel, who would believe it, a gardener, a bar owner and such a handsome one at that. Ahh, bliss!

Do I need to say anything about Gerry? I mean seriously? Go read the book and watch the movie. Oh, I’m in love!

Oh, St. Clair, St. Clair, St. Clair. Muah!

Oh, Will! Why did you have to be so handsome and still be the school captain? How do you always know what to say?

Not really a boyfriend, but who doesn’t love Miles?

OK, you were a shithead once, but not anymore Travis. You are a gentleman.

Oh, Tariq. A woman dreams of you. Loyal, loving, protecting and you come back after all has happened and you still accept Laila. Aww!

Oh, Neil, you were committed. And loyal and loving. What else does a woman need?

So who’s your favorite book boyfriend?