The Hundred Secret Senses – Amy Tan

Titlethehundredsecretsenses: The Hundred Secret Senses

Author: Amy Tan

ISBN-10:  0143119087

ISBN-13: 978-0143119081

Paperback: 368 pages

The Plot:

Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her seventeen-year-old-half-sister from China, comes to live with the family and turns her world upside down. She is bombarded day and night with Kwan’s stories from the world of Yin – romantic tales of ghosts who were once bandit maidens, strange accounts of missionaries and mercenaries from another world. Olivia just wants to lead a normal American life.

For the next thirty years, Olivia unhappily endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who appear in the living world to offer advice on everything from restaurants to Olivia’s failed marriage. But just when Olivia cannot bear it anymore, the revelations of a tragic, hundred-year-old family secret gives her the opportunity to reconcile these ghosts from the past with the dreams of her future…

With a sharp eye for the tragi-comedy of those whose lives are caught between two cultures, Amy Tan weaves an extraordinary and inspiring tale. In prose which blends the deceptive simplicities of fairy tales with vivid characterisation and a sly, poignant humour, she proves once again that she has no rivals – Amy Tan is the quintessential storyteller.


Another amazing book by Amy Tan. A beautify story narrated equally well with a mix of humour and emotion, it was an amazing read. Parts of it made me chuckle while parts were heartbreaking. I loved the characters, especially Kwan and her stories of distant lands and times.

As with her previous novels that I have read, ‘The Valley of Amazement’ and ‘Saving Fish From Drowning’, what I loved about this book was the way the story of the characters comes full circle, making the end all the more satisfying. A highly recommended read!


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The Lady of The Rivers – Philippa Gregory

Lady of the RiversTitle : The Lady of The Rivers

Author : Philippa Gregory

ISBN-10 :  1416563717

ISBN-13 : 978-1416563716

Paperback : 480 pages

The Plot :

When the young and beautiful Jacquetta is married to the older Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta has visions of the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of their royal York rivals. Jacquetta fights for her king and queen, as she sees an extraordinary and unexpected future for her daughter Elizabeth: a change of fortune, the white rose of York, and the throne of England…

Review :

After finishing the entire Tudor Court series by Philippa Gregory, I had very high expectations for this book, which is the first in the Cousins’ War series. In short it not just lived up but has been a really exciting read.

Philippa Gregory manages to weave in court intrigue, with history and amazing imagery from the 15th century beautifully, in this story about Jacquetta of Luxembourg. The choice of her as the protagonist is so interesting, since there isn’t too much information available about her. The book throws light on the perceptions of magic and witchcraft

Looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

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The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules – Catharina Ingelman – Sundberg

The Little Old Lady Who brokeTitle : The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules

Author : Catharina Ingelman – Sundberg

ISBN-10 :  1447250613

ISBN-13 : 978-1447250616

Paperback : 441 Pages

The Plot :

An incredibly quirky, humorous and warm-hearted story about growing old disgracefully – and breaking all the rules along the way.

79-year-old Martha Andersson dreams of escaping her care home and robing a bank.

She has no intention of spending the rest of her days in an armchair and is determined to fund her way to a much more exciting lifestyle. Along with her four oldest friends – otherwise known as the League of Pensioners – Martha decides to rebel against the regulation imposed upon them. Together, they cause uproar: protesting against early bedtimes and plasticky meals.

As the elderly friends become more daring, they hatch a cunning plan to breakout of the dreary care home and land themselves in a far more attractive Stockholm establishment. With the aid of their Zimmer frames, they resolve to stand up for old-aged pensioners everywhere. And that’s when the adventure really takes off…

Review :

It’s been a while since I read a book like this. The story is simple and the characters loveable. A gang of oldies decide to live life by their own rules and to do that they need money and so they decide to be just like Robin Hood. The plot was gripping and with every page I turned I had a big smile on my face. I loved the way the plan and plot keeping in mind their shortcomings (they can’t walk to fast, they are not too steady on their feet, they can’t carry weight etc.) and playing to their strengths (people never suspect old people to be criminals).

Overall I enjoyed the book thoroughly. It kept me glued from start to finish and in my opinion that makes for a wonderful read. Highly recommended for anyone with an afternoon to kill and looking for a good laugh. I wish they make a movie based on this book and Betty White would make an amazing Martha!

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Shadow Princess – Indu Sundaresan

Shadow PrincessTitle : Shadow Princess

Author : Indu Sundaresan

ISBN-10: 1416548793

ISBN-13 : 978-1416548799

Paperback : 352 pages

The Plot :

Critically acclaimed author Indu Sundaresan picks up where she left off in The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses, returning to seventeenth-century India as two princesses struggle for supremacy of their father’s kingdom.

Trapped in the shadow of the magnificent tomb their grief-stricken father is building for his beloved deceased wife, the emperor’s daughters compete for everything: control over the imperial harem, their father’s affection, and the future of their country. They are forbidden to marry and instead choose to back different brothers in the fight for ultimate power over the throne. But only one of the sisters will succeed. With an enthusiasm for history and a flair for rich detail, Indu Sundaresan brings readers deep into the complicated lives of Indian women of the time period and highlights the profound history of one of the most celebrated works of architecture in the world, the Taj Mahal.


I have loved the first two books in this series and this one is no different. Indu Sundaresan is once again successful in transporting the readers to a time centuries ago. Having visited most of the places mentioned in the book, it truly does make for an amazing read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Mughal dynasty and the monuments they built during their reign in India. Tying in interesting facts with a beautiful story this is by far one of the best books I have read about the Taj Mahal.


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Saving Fish From Drowning – Amy Tan

Saving FishTitle : Saving Fish From Drowning

Author : Amy Tan

ISBN-10 : 034546401X  

ISBN-13 : 978-0345464019

Paperback : 528 pages

The Plot :

Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China – dubbed the true Shangri-La – and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers. And then, on Christmas morning, eleven of the travellers boat across a misty lake for a sunrise cruise – and disappear.

Drawing from the current political reality in Burma and woven with pure confabulation, Amy Tan’s picaresque novel poses the question : How can we discern what is real and what is fiction, in everything we see? How do we know what to believe?

Review :

This is the second book by Amy Tan that I have read and so far I have loved her style. It is a marvellous story narrated posthumously via the all-knowing tour leader of the group. The characters are rich and diverse and the locales are exotic. You come to connect with each of the characters as if you have known them all your life. You care for each and every one of them. The best part about the book that I liked was the way it ended. Amy Tan has covered all bases leaving out nothing. The final chapter of the book talks about where each of the characters is now and gives you a feeling of closure.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the 500 plus pages. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking forward to a gripping story and memorable characters.

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The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

The Lost SymbolTitle : The Lost Symbol

Author : Dan Brown

ISBN-10: 1400079144

ISBN-13 : 978-1400079148

Paperback : 656 pages

The Plot :

The third book in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown, ‘The Lost Symbol’ is a fast paced thriller set in Washington D.C.

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is invited to give a lecture at the United States Capitol by his mentor, Peter Solomon, who is the head of the Smithsonian Institution. He requests Langdon to bring a small, sealed package which he had entrusted to him many years ago. When Langdon arrives at the Capitol, however, he learns that the invitation he received was not from Solomon, but from Solomon’s kidnapper, Mal’akh, who has left Solomon’s severed right hand in the middle of the Capitol Rotunda.

The kidnaper then contacts Langdon, charging him with finding both the Mason’s Pyramid, which Masons believe is hidden somewhere underground in Washington D.C., and the Lost Word, otherwise he will execute Solomon. Langdon is then met by Trent Anderson, head of the Capitol police, and Inoue Sato, the head of the CIA’s Office of Security. Sato claims that Mal’akh poses a threat to the national security of the US, and that his capture is more important than Peter’s rescue, although she refuses to elaborate.

As Langdon deals with the events into which he has been thrust, Mal’akh destroys the Smithonsonian-sponsored laboratory of Dr. Katherine Solomon, Peter’s younger sister, where she has conducted experiments in Noetic Science, in the process ambushing and almost killing Katherine in a cat-and-mouse chase, but Katherine manages to escape and meet up with Langdon. Together they try and find the Lost Word in time to rescue Peter Solomon.

Review :

Overall the story is amazing and impossible to put down. The book is gripping from the very first page to the very last. It takes the reader through a journey across Washington D.C. in a race against time. I highly recommend the book to anyone looking for a fast action packed thriller. If you liked the Da Vinci Code you will love this book.


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Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang – Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Chelsea Bang BangTitle : Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

Author : Chelsea Handler

ISBN-10: 0446552437

ISBN-13 : 978-0446552448

Paperback : 256 pages

The Plot :

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang is the third book by comedienne and late night E! TV show Chelsea Lately host Chelsea Handler. It is a collection of funny stories and essays from her life. Similar to her other books, it is just a collection of funny incidents that occurred in her life. The book includes the following stories:

1)    The Feeling – This is a story of how Chelsea got in touch with herself (quite literally).

2)    When Life Hands You Lemons, Squeeze Them Into Your Vodka – An account of how Chelsea manages to get a Cabbage Patch Kid, in order to fit in better with her peers.

3)    Grey Gardens – Even Chelsea Handler feels the blues.

4)    Dudley – This one is how the prank that Chelsea played on her then boyfriend, Ted, came to be.

5)    Wedding Chopper – Chelsea and Ted are invited to a wedding with her friends but Ted has other plans.

6)    Water Olympics – After consuming some mushrooms with her brother, Chelsea goes on a rescue mission.

7)    Black – On – Black Crime – Chelsea and her gang of crazies take vacation in Turks and Caicos.

8)    Dear Asshole – Chelsea’s Dad rents out his less than desirable property in Martha’s Vineyards.

9)    The Suspect – Email exchanges between Chelsea and her siblings while trying to convince their dad to sell his decrepit house in Martha’s Vineyard.

10) Chunk – Chelsea rescues a dog and names him Chunk.

11) Deep Thoughts By Chelsea Handler – A collection of open ended lies that Chelsea Handler told the people around her.

Over all it is a funny book that you can enjoy only if you keep your brains aside. It is a short read and sometimes you just need a little splash of stupidity in your life. I enjoyed the 4 or so hours it took me to read the book. Although this one was not as good as her first two books I still would recommend it to people looking for a little silliness in their lives. Trademarked with Chelsea Handler’s dry sense of humour and witty comebacks it makes for a truly fun read.


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