The Rejected Writers’ Book Club … a review

I think I can be forgiven for thinking that this book was set in England from looking at its cover. It features writing, book clubs and a stack of pretty China teacups! However, it is actually set in the States. I really enjoyed this lighthearted read.

For one, it has a middle aged female protagonist. When was the last time you read a book that had one of those? Middle-aged women are frequently passed up for a younger heroine or an older, brooding man. This was a refreshing departure from it and introduced our protagonist, librarian Janet Johnson, into an older ladies club of failed writers. These women meet regularly, drink tea, eat cake and swap stories that they have written which have subsequently faced rejection from publishing houses.

But when an unintended story is sent away and selected, all hell breaks loose. Janet’s daughter faces some difficulties with her advanced pregnancy at the same time. Will Janet and her band of merry women fix the publication and the pregnancy issue? Well, you’ll have to read this book to find out. A beautifully written book about the warmth of unlikely friendships, skeletons from the past, and keeping away raccoons. A must read!

Mad About the Boy … a review

Bridget Jones returns. Need I say more? I genuinely thought that with Bridget getting married and with a baby, things had more-or-less reached a head. And boy, was I wrong? Somehow, in true Bridget fashion, she has managed to land herself in a situation where she is still self-critical, under-confident, single and on the market. Oh, and she got nits!

The fact that I write about Bridget like she’s my friend is testimony to Fielding’s great talent. The character remains relatable, lovable, and totally flawed in a way we all are. And yet, as life goes on and we are all older and none the wiser, there is a certain sense of misplaced maturity even in Jones. Motherhood adds a special extra dimension, and the old friends and the ever charming sleazy ex-boss Daniel bring familiarity.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I had no idea it had come out, I just happened to pick it up from the local book swap shelf. You’re probably wondering about Mark Darcy but I won’t tell you or it will spoil it. But rest assured, it won’t be as you expected and the ending is quite heart-warming too. Enjoy!

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All … a review

Remember, a few years ago, the world was taken by storm by the debut novel of Swedish author Jonas Jonasson, called The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared? Well, since then, I haven’t read any comedy I don’t think. After all, the world has been rather busy with psychological thrillers like Gone Girl etc. Anyway, I digress. I missed Jonasson’s scond book about the girl and the King of Sweden, but this one, I picked up recently.

Now, this book, in similar fashion, is the totally random story of a receptionist at a hotel, a hitman who ends up at the hotel, and a priest who doesn’t believe in God. I know! It is a great book that follows a now familiar structure of loose threads, weaving and interweaving beautifully until they all tie up nicely. Jonasson is a great author because I feel that his stories are like life – you know how you sometimes look back and life makes no sense at all,like that!

However, I do have to say that this book didn’t make me laugh as much as the 100-year-old man. Maybe that book had just set the bar too high for me, as it might be the one humourous book I have actually enjoyed a lot! Having said that, this book is still a great read and an especially good length for a good travel read if you are looking for a change from the usual crime thriller.

Americosis … a review

There’s a new author to watch out for! Haydn Wilks, whose Americosis is a sort of prelude to a longer series, was a really good read. Here’s the blurb:

 “A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.

He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.

His aides think he’s crazy.

The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.


An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.”

That was enough to get me quite interested. It is a novella, 200 odd pages long, and did not take a great deal of time to finish. But what it did was really build the curiosity up to read the actual series for when that’s out.

This book has three parallel storylines. The one with the naked man was the least humorous, as it involved some scary monstrous animals and little children. Quite dark and strangely comical, it also reminded me of The 100-year-old Man, which I enjoyed greatly.

The other two plotlines are connected – one of the carriers of the disease and the Presidential candidate’s psychiatrist are married to each other. The interesting thing to note is that I could somehow predict what was going to happen, but not quite. It is definite that the sexually transmitted virus story will involve a lot of couplings between humans and not-quite-humans. And moving forward, that will make for an interesting story. And I always love a good psy thriller, so I’m hoping the Presidential candidate loses it and then my favourite character can figure out how to fix him without his electorate finding out.

This book has made for a brilliant teaser; I recommend it highly. You can also read an interview with the author about his previous book, here.

Teaser Tuesday (September 17)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers:

“I am planning his death… A terrible… spectacular… bloody and painful death. Actually, make that a double death – after all there are two of them in this relationship.”

From My Life Chapter Seven (continued) (The Other Publishing Company 2013) of The Brinkmeyers by Michael Cameron.


Espresso Tales … a review

I read humour after a long long time. I borrowed this book from the library because it is the second book of a very very famous series by Alexander McCall Smith. The series is called 44, Scotland Street and is based on the lives of the people living in different flats at that address. The other reason for me to start reading this book is because I have decided to read up books about and/or based in Scotland, and this one’s based in my very own Edinburgh.

There’s Pat, who lives in the same house as Bruce, she had a crush on him at one point. There’s the older and very sagacious Domenica, who tries to set Pat up. There’s Ramsey Dumbarton, who’s writing his memoirs and his wife. But my favourite of all is the family of Stuart, Irene, and their son Bertie! Irene is an unnatural mother with her own weird notions of what is right for her son. Stuart is strange absent and very present, instead, is the hilarious psychoanalyst, Dr Fairbairn, who comes up with all these wacko explanations of peoples normal behaviour.

The chapters are very short, mainly as the series was first written as a serial novella in The Scotsman. The stories are hilarious and so imaginative. All of the characters have such interesting and varied adventures! Of course, it is charming to read stories set in places that one knows, that one has walked down… I love familiarity that way. I highly recommend this book, and probably the entire series. It was a delightful experience!

Quote: “She had to tell somebody, and Matthew would do. He would not be particularly interested, she knew, but she would tell him anyway. She had to share her joy, as Lou knew that joy unshared was a halved emotion, just as sadness and loss, when borne alone, were often doubled.”

Teaser Tuesday (September 10)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers:

“It was a warm enough day – much warmer than one would expect for early September – and this must have encouraged the nudists to go ahead with their picnic. But the weather in Edinburgh was notoriously changeable and sunlight could within minutes become deep gloom, empty skies become heavy with rain, snow give way to warm breezes.”

From Chapter 82 (Anchor 2007) of Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street #2) by Alexander McCall Smith.


Notes from a Small Island …a review

This is a special post. I have just come back from my winter break of three weeks. For Christmas, I went down to Spalding, Lincolnshire, to M’s. From there, we visited Cambridge. I took the train back to Edinburgh for Hogmanay (New Year Celebrations). Over the course of less than a week, I went to Tantallon Castle, Cramond beach, LongNiddrie bents, Gullane point, and North Berwick. Then, after a break of one day, I took the train to London. In four days, we covered (and properly, not just for the sake of touching upon) Westminster Abbey, Thames cruise, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, St George’s Chapel, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

I have never travelled so much before. The memories I collected will comfortably last me the whole of next sem, which starts on 14th. I was reading Bill Bryson’s travelogue throughout, on trains, on the tube, and in cars. It was delightful! The Times says on the cover of the book ‘Not a book that should be read in public, for fear of emitting loud snorts’. And that, is completely true. I’m not a huge fan of humour. Give me a travelogue by Dickens and I’m pleased as punch. But Bryson’s humour is brilliant! Marvellous, I say. I love his take on things that are British, especially the ones I can relate to so well!

Map of Travels!

Map of Travels!

The only bit that annoyed me a little was the bit about disliking Edinburgh on a wet morning. I’m fiercely defensive of this pretty thing that I have made my home! I love it to bits and don’t see how anyone can find it not pretty in any weather whatsoever. Anyway, if you have lived in the UK, live here, want to visit/study here, or just like travelogues… read this book. In fact, buy it, it is worth the money and is a work that you can come back to later 🙂

Quote: ”

Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain – which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad – Marmite, village fetes, country lanes, people saying ‘mustn’t grumble’ and ‘I’m terribly sorry but’, people apologizing to me when I conk them with a careless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, stinging nettles, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, crumpets, hot-water bottles as a necessity, drizzly Sundays – every bit of it.

What a wondrous place this was – crazy as fuck, of course, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bee and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket that goes on for three days and never seems to start? Who else would think it not the least odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, compel the Lord Chancellor to sit on something called the Woolsack, or take pride in a naval hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? (‘Please, Hardy, full on the lips, with just a bit of tongue.’) What other nation in the world could possibly have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, the Open University, Gardeners’ Question Time and the chocolate digestive biscuit? None, of course.”

“The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things – to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy a book, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view.

All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you. And then I turned from the gate and got in the car and knew without doubt that I would be back.”