Yes Please – Amy Poehler

Yes PleaseTitle : Yes Please

Author : Amy Poehler

ISBN-10 :  0062268341

ISBN-13 : 978-0062268341

Paperback : 329 pages

The Plot :

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

Review :

Having been an Amy Poehler fan, longer than I can remember, I jumped at the chance to read this book and it did not disappoint. It is hilarious at times, and wise at times. Peppered with incidents from her life and advise that is not the kind you roll your eyes at, this makes for a fun, quick read. The insight into some of the SNL sketches and the relationships that the cast members build up is shown beautifully in this book.

The thing I loved most about the book has to be its personal tone. I felt like I was having a chat with Amy in my living room. An extremely fun read for any Amy Poehler fan.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Yes-Please-Amy-Poehler/dp/0062268341

Find Out More About the Author : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Poehler

Find Out More About the Author’s work : http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0688132/

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Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

LITOCTitle : Love in the Time of Cholera

Author : Gabriel Garcia Marquez

ISBN-10 :  0307389731

ISBN-13 : 978-0307389732

Paperback : 368 pages

The Plot :

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

Review :

I have been meaning to read this book for quite some time, and I finally managed to read it and it did not disappoint. I quite enjoyed the story spread across more than five decades. The author has a very unique style of writing that makes you feel he is sitting right beside you narrating the story.

I loved the subtle humour and the plot as a whole. The characters are quirky and the story as a whole is very readable. All in all I enjoyed the book.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Love-Time-Cholera-Oprahs-Book/dp/0307389731

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1982/marquez-bio.html

Find Out More About the Movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0484740/

Deception Point – Dan Brown

Deception PointTitle : Deception Point

Author : Dan Brown

ISBN-10: 1416524800

ISBN-13 : 978-1416524809

Paperback : 752 pages

The Plot :

A shocking scientific discovery. A conspiracy of staggering brilliance. A thriller unlike any you’ve ever read….

When a NASA satellite discovers an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory — a victory with profound implications for NASA policy and the impending presidential election. To verify the authenticity of the find, the White House calls upon the skills of intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic scholar Michael Tolland, Rachel travels to the Arctic and uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery — a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy. But before she can warn the president, Rachel and Michael are ambushed by a team of assassins. Fleeing for their lives across a desolate and lethal landscape, their only hope for survival is to discover who is behind this masterful plot. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

Review :

Another thriller by Dan Brown, that moves at a break neck pace. The story is fantastical yet believable. This book has his trademark mix of hateful and likable characters. It is different from I his other works yet has his stamp all over it. I turn to a Dan Brown when I want to be totally immersed and lost in a story and this book was ideal for it. Overall, I loved the book. Highly recommended.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Deception-Point-Dan-Brown/dp/1416524800

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.danbrown.com

The Legend of Sheba – Tosca Lee

The Legend of ShebaTitle : The Legend of Sheba

Author : Tosca Lee

ISBN-10 :  1451684045

ISBN-13 : 978-1451684049

Paperback : 336 pages

The Plot :

Her name is legend. Her story the epic of nations. The queen of Sheba.

Here is a tale that is told. A desert queen journeyed north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king and his one God.

The story of a queen conquered by a king before she returned to her home land laden with gifts.

This is the tale you are meant to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

The truth is far more than even the storytellers could conjure. The riches more priceless. The secrets more corrosive. The love and betrayal more passionate and devastating.

Across the Red Sea, the pillars of the great oval temple once bore my name: Bilqis, Daughter of the Moon. Here, to the west, the porticoes knew another: Makeda, Woman of Fire. To the Israelites, I was queen of the spice lands, which they called Sheba.

Review :

Knowing shockingly little about Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba, myself I loved the details and history in this book. Tosca Lee has managed to convey a lot of history in a few pages. The rich setting and the beauty of Bilqis is conveyed so well it is almost palpable. The amout of research involved definitely shows, especially since there isn’t much information available freely about the Queen of Sheeba.

It is well written and the story is intriguing. A little slow for my tastes but definitely worth a read.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Legend-Sheba-Rise-Queen/dp/1451684045

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.toscalee.com/

The Sands Of Time – Sidney Sheldon

sands of timeTitle : The Sands Of Time

Author : Sidney Sheldon

ISBN-10 : 0688065716

ISBN-13 : 978-0688065713

Paperback : 412 pages

The Plot :

Spain. A land of eternal passion and unceasing bloodshed. From the vengeance of a pitiless tyrant, four women flee the sacred, once-safe walls of a convent: LUCIA, the proud survivor harbouring a murderous secret from the savage clan wars of Sicily…GRACIELLA, the beauty still unpurged of guilt from one reckless, youthful sin…MEGAN, the orphan seeking perilous refuge in the arms of a defiant Basque rebel…and TERESA, the believer haunted by a faith that mocks her with silence. Leaving innocence but not hope behind, they venture into an alien, dazzling world, where each will encounter an unexpected destiny — and the truth about herself.

Review :

I have been a long-time fan of Sidney Sheldon and so I decided to re-read this book. It did not disappoint. As always his plot line and characters are rich and the book kept me glued to it from start to finish. A quick read, it is full of excitement. It is a classic Sidney Sheldon. A definite must read for anyone who enjoys his writing. This would indeed make an amazing movie!

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Sands-Time-Sidney-Sheldon/dp/0688065716/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/sidneysheldon/books.html

 

The Other Queen – Philippa Gregory

The Other QueenTitle : The Other Queen

Author : Philippa Gregory

ISBN-10 :  1416549129

ISBN-13 : 978-1416549123

Paperback : 448 pages

The Plot :

Fleeing violent rebellions in Scotland, Mary looks to Queen Elizabeth of England for sanctuary. Though promised protection, Mary, perceived as a serious threat to the English crown, is soon imprisoned by her former friend as a “guest” in the house of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick. The newly married couple welcomes the condemned queen into their home certain that serving as her hosts and jailers will bring them an advantage in the cutthroat world of the Elizabethan court.

To their horror, they grow to realize that the task will bankrupt their estate and lose them what little favour they’ve managed to gain as their home becomes the epicentre of intrigue and rebellion against Queen Elizabeth. And Mary is not as hopeless as she appears, manipulating the earl and spinning her own web of treachery and deceit, as she sharpens her weapons to reclaim her Scottish throne—and to take over Queen Elizabeth’s of England.

Review :

Told from the alternating perspectives of Mary Queen of Scots, George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick, this is sixth and last book in the Tudor Court Series by Philippa Gregory. Like the other books in the series, this one is beautifully written, giving a rare glimpse into the Elizabethan court.

The characters are mesmerizing and the plots are rich. What I loved about this book was the three different perspectives of looking at the same incident. The author beautifully juxtaposes the different ways of looking at a situation that is tainted by loyalties and personal gain. A definite must read. It leaves you craving for more.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Other-Queen-Philippa-Gregory/dp/1442304731

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.philippagregory.com/

The Tudor Rose – Margaret Campbell Barnes

The Tudor RoseTitle : The Tudor Rose

Author : Margaret Campbell Barnes

ISBN-10 :  1402224680

ISBN-13 : 978-1402224683

Paperback : 336 pages

The Plot :

Her choices will decide the fate of a kingdom.

The untimely death of King Edward IV throws England into a tempest of treachery. Elizabeth of York, the king’s oldest daughter, watches helplessly as her uncle Richard imprisons her two brothers – the would-be kings- in the Tower, never to be seen again. The mystery of what happened to the two princes rattles England, and King Richard III knows that the best claim to the throne lies with Elizabeth. Faced with the prospect of marrying a murderer, Elizabeth clings to the hope that exiled knight Henry Tudor can force a battle, avenge her brothers, and win her hand – and her kingdom.

The marriage of Henry and Elizabeth brings together the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York, producing a thornless Tudor rose. But the prospect that one of the doomed princes still lives haunts their lives, casting doubt on Henry VII’s crown. Elizabeth is torn between the ghost of a brother she can’t forget and the son whose reign will change the face of England.

Review :

Beautifully written, The Tudor Rose tells the story of Elizabeth of York, a strong Queen who birthed a dynasty and forever changed the face of England.

What I loved about the book is the characterization of Elizabeth of York. Despite being the only legitimate heir to the throne, Elizabeth has little power, for England is not ready to crown a woman as their monarch. Constantly fighting plots against her family by other member of her family, she brings together the Lancaster and the York roses and ends the feud between the cousins constantly fighting each other. She holds on to her hope that her brothers are still alive yet she knows that if they are alive it would mean her husband and sons’ claim to the throne would be lost. The quandary that she faces is beautifully described. A definite must read for any historical fiction lover.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Tudor-Rose-Kingdom-Birthed/dp/1402224680

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/margaret-campbell-barnes

After Dark – Haruki Murakami

After DarkTitle : After Dark

Author : Haruki Murakami

ISBN-10 :  0307278735

ISBN-13 : 978-0307278739

Paperback : 256 pages

The Plot :

The midnight hour approaches in an almost empty all-night diner. Mari sips her coffee and glances up from a book as a young man, a musician, intrudes on her solitude. Both have missed the last train home. The musician has plans to rehearse with his jazz band all night, Mari is equally unconcerned and content to read, smoke and drink coffee until dawn. They realise they’ve been acquainted through Eri, Mari’s beautiful sister. The musician soon leaves with a promise to return before dawn. Shortly afterwards Mari will be interrupted a second time by a girl from the Aplhaville Hotel; a Chinese prostitute has been hurt by a client, the girl has heard Mari speaks fluent Chinese and requests her help.

Meanwhile Eri is at home and sleeps a deep, heavy sleep that is ‘too perfect, too pure’ to be normal; pulse and respiration at the lowest required level. She has been in this soporific state for two months; Eri has become the classic myth – a sleeping beauty. But tonight, as the digital clock displays 00:00, a faint electrical crackle is perceptible, a hit on life flickers across the TV screen, though the television’s plug has been pulled.

Murakami, acclaimed master of the surreal, returns with a stunning new novel, where the familiar can become unfamiliar after midnight, even to those who thrive in the small hours.

Review :

This book is a look at the lives of two sisters in the span of a single night. The story is open to interpretation.

What I loved about the book is the juxtaposition of the chapters where there is action and others where we are just silent observers of a scene where our presence is not supposed to be palpable. Don’t expect the book to be action packed, for it is more of an observation of the goings on in a single night.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/After-Vintage-International-Haruki-Murakami/dp/0307278735

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.harukimurakami.com/

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

The Fault in Our StarsTitle : The Fault In Our Stars

Author : John Green

ISBN-10 :  0141345659

ISBN-13 : 978-0141345659

Paperback : 336 pages

The Plot :

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Review :

I avoided reading this book for quite a long time, mainly because it seemed like a run of the mill teen book. But once I read it, I definitely enjoyed it. I loved the writing and the humour while dealing with such a serious subject. A quick read but it stays with you a while.

This is one of the rare books where I found the movie adaptation was equally good.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Fault-Stars-John-Green/dp/0141345659

Find Out More About the Author : http://johngreenbooks.com/

Find Out More About the Movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2582846/

The Silent Wife – A.S.A. Harrison

The Silent WifeTitle : The Silent Wife

Author : A.S.A. Harrison

ISBN-10 :  0143123238

ISBN-13 : 978-0143123231

Paperback : 326 pages

The Plot :

Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event.

Chapter by chapter, the narrative evolves from their alternating perspectives. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. The alternating voices pitch the reader back and forth between protagonists in conflict who are fighting for self-preservation, both making deeply consequential mistakes, behaving in ever more foolhardy ways, and losing at the games they are playing.

The Silent Wife is a finely wrought, emotionally charged psychological thriller about a marriage in the throes of dissolution; a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. It ensnares the reader from page one and doesn’t let go.

Review :

Most definitely one of my favourite reads after Gone Girl. This psychological thriller about a marriage that is like a dam, ready to burst after being patched overs years. It is fast paced yet details the nuances of two people struggling to hold on to their lives.

The thing I liked most is the characterization of Jodi and Todd. They are so human in their flaws that instantly make them relatable. The language is beautiful and the story is gripping from the first page. Definitely an addictive read.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Silent-Wife-A-Novel/dp/0143123238

Find Out More About the Author : http://asaharrison.com/

The Queen’s Fool – Philippa Gregory

The Queen's FoolTitle : The Queen’s Fool

Author : Philippa Gregory

ISBN-10 :  0743246071

ISBN-13 : 978-0743246071

Paperback : 512 pages

The Plot :

A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half-sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith and unrequited love.

It is winter 1533. Pursued by the Spanish Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee London with her father. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward’s protector, who brings her to court as a “holy fool” for the Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own desired.

The Queen’s Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

Review :

This is the fourth book in the Tudor Court Series by Philippa Gregory. From the first page onward, it is full of suspense and intrigue. I believe this is really a very difficult feat to achieve in Historical fiction especially when the story is so well known and has been told repeatedly. Philippa Gregory add her own characters to the court of King Edward, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth and makes this book so thoroughly interesting. I devoured this book as quickly as I possibly could. The story is so amazingly told and the pace is so beautiful, I almost wanted to quit my job just so that I could do nothing but read this book in one session. Very highly recommended especially to historical fiction fans!! Can’t wait to start the next book in the series!

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Queens-Fool-Novel-Boleyn/dp/0743246071

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.philippagregory.com/

The Boleyn Inheritance – Philippa Gregory

The Boleyn InheritanceTitle : The Boleyn Inheritance

Author : Philippa Gregory

ISBN-10 :  1439124671

ISBN-13 : 978-1439124673

Paperback : 592 pages

The Plot :

In this story about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration and power as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror, a vanished world is brought to life – the whisper of a skirt on a stone stair, the glow of a candle lighting a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower green below the scaffold.

Anne of Cleves’s Boleyn Inheritance is accusations and false witnesses. Katherine Howard’s Boleyn Inheritance is the threat of the axe. Jane Rochford’s Boleyn Inheritance: a fortune, a title, in exchange for her soul.

Review :

Told from the alternating perspectives of Anne of Cleves, Kathrine Howard and Jane Rochford, The Boleyn Inheritance is the third book in the Tudor court series (chronologically). Anne of Cleves was King Henry VIII’s fourth wife and Kathrine Howard his sixth wife while Jane Rochford was the sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife.

Anne of Cleves comes to England as his fourth wife, married for political reasons but he detests her for she is ugly. He agrees to marry her without seeing her in person but when he sees her he is determined to set her aside for a younger, prettier Kathrine Howard. Jane Rochford is known to have provided incriminating evidence against Anne Boleyn, leading to her beheading.

What I loved about the book is its break neck pace and the beauty with which the author has shown the constant terror that everyone is in while in King Henry VIII’s court. He was known to have become unstable and tyrannical during this stage of his life, plagued by illness and fear of growing old as well as fears of plots to overthrow his rule of England. Anne of Cleves is such a strong character, who manages to escape one tyrant (her brother) just to come to become the wife of another. Kathrine Howard is just a silly girl with silly dreams and wishes who is thrust into the role of Queen of England, when she is clearly not in a position to handle its responsibilities. And Jane Rochford is dealing with her grief and guilt in the role she has played in Henry’s court but working furiously to maintain her position and inheritance.

I have loved all the books in this series so far and looking forward to reading the next book eagerly. Overall highly recommended read for anyone who loves historic fiction and is obsessed with the Tudors as much as I am.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Boleyn-Inheritance-Novel-Philippa-Gregory/dp/074327251X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1419385272

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.philippagregory.com/

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

MockingjayTitle : Mockingjay

Author : Suzanne Collins

ISBN-10: 0545663261

ISBN-13 : 978-0545663267

Paperback : 400 pages

The Plot :

The third and final book in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins is called ‘Mockingjay’. It starts off immediately where the previous book left off. The book is divided into three parts as follows:

Part 1: The Ashes

Katniss has been rescued from the area of the 75th Hunger Games. She was picked up in a hovercraft right from the arena. When she gains consciousness and realizes what has happened, she understands how she was rescued from the arena with a couple of other tributes but Peeta is not one of them. She comes to terms with the fact that her district has been completely burnt to the ground and nothing but ashes are left.

Her family and Gale however, have been brought to safety to district 13. This district, which was assumed to be totally annihilated many years ago by the Capitol, has in fact managed to survive underground for all these years. It is now the centre of the rebellion against the Capitol. Katniss is still haunted by President Snow. All the rebel forces look to Katniss to be the face of the rebellion, but she is still reeling from the fact that Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. After much angst, she decides to be the face, the Mockingjay, for the rebellion. In return, she gets immunity for her friends and permission to kill President Snow when captured.

Katniss has to star in commercials for the rebel side, called propos. For one propo, she and a team that includes Gale are sent into another district, where they see a hospital get destroyed. This inspires Katniss to call for justice. As the rebels are gaining in strength, and because Peeta has sent out a coded message to the rebels warning them of an attack, the Capitol releases footage of Peeta being tortured.

Part 2: The Assault

Katniss is horrified by the way Peeta is being treated. The Capitol bombs District 13, just as Peeta warned it would. Citizens of District 13 retreat even further underground for several days. When it is all clear, Katniss makes another propo, while rebel teams go to rescue Peeta.

The rebels get Peeta and some other folks out of the Capitol, but Peeta has been badly damaged. He’s been brainwashed by the capitol using the venom of tracker-jackers and now thinks of Katniss as the enemy. As soon as he sees her, he tries to kill her. Once she recovers from Peeta’s attack, Katniss needs to be part of the action. She, Gale, and Finnick are assigned to a special unit that will be filmed during combat and turned into more propos. Right before they go out into the field, Peeta’s assigned to their unit too.

Part 3: The Assassin

Katniss is afraid for her life, not just from the Capitol but also from Peeta who gets flashes where he still wants to kill Katniss. Slowly with her team Katniss manages to travel underground, along the sewer pipes to penetrate the capitol. One by one, their team members are sacrificed as they make their way to the heart of the Capitol. Only few of them, including Katniss, Gale, and Peeta, are left by the time they reach it. Then starts the battle against the forces of the Capitol. This is not much different from being in the arena, where there can be only one victor. In this case it will be either President Snow or Katniss.

The book is such an amazing read. It makes for the most satisfying end to the entire series. The best part I liked about this book, apart from the gripping story line and beautiful writing is that every character is accounted for and the story ties up very well in the end. The writhing and characters are as rich as the previous books in the series. The story takes so many twists and turns that it keeps the reader at the edge of their seat, trying to guess what will happen next. It makes for a compelling read and I highly recommend it!!

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Mockingjay-Final-Book-Hunger-Games/dp/0545663261/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-2&qid=1389576855

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/

Find Out More About the Movie :  Part 1 – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951265/

Part 2 – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951266/?ref_=nv_sr_2

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

ImageTitle : Catching Fire

Author : Suzanne Collins

ISBN-10: 0545586178

ISBN-13 : 978-0545586177

Paperback : 400 pages

The Plot :

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the second book in The Hunger Games series. In the previous book we see that Katniss and Peeta are crowned the victors of the 74th annual Hunger Games. They are the most celebrated people amongst the population of the Capitol and the districts but President Snow sees them as a major threat. They were crowned the joint victors when they show up the Capitol using some lethal berries.

This books starts a couple of month after the 74th Hunger Games have ended. Katniss, her family and Peeta have moved into the victors village in houses next to Haymitch. Katniss and Peeta continue to pretend they are in love with each other when the cameras are on but in private they barely acknowledge each other’s presence. They both are recovering from the previous games as they both suffer from nightmares and flashes of the brutalities they witnessed. Katniss is still unsure of her feelings for Gale.

Soon the team from the Capitol is to arrive to prep them for the Victory Tour to all the districts and the Capitol, but just before they arrive President Snow visits Katniss to warn her that he is watching her every move and he wants her to make sure that she is not the cause of a rebellion amongst the districts. Frightened for the lives of her friends and loved ones, she and Peeta prepare for the tour.     

During the tour, Katniss and Peeta do their best to follow the instructions from the Capitol but they soon realize that their acts in the 74th Hunger Games have given rise to sparks of a rebellion amongst the districts. They see riots ensuing after each of their public appearances and brutal punishments levied on the citizens by the peacekeepers. Knowing this would have surely angered President Snow, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch decide the best way to show that they are on the side of the Capitol is to publicly announce their engagement.

As the Victory Tour goes home to district 12, Katniss finds out that people in District 8 are verging on rebellion. She realizes that her mockingjay pin has becoming a symbol of rebellion. She has become a symbol herself without ever wanting to. She tries to convince the Capitol and President Snow that she is excited about the upcoming nuptials. In the meantime, President Snow is furious and decides the only way to put an end to the rebellion is to kill Katniss.

He announces the next Hunger Games, a special version called the Quarter Quell. The Quarter Quells celebrate anniversaries and are extra gnarly versions of regular Games. In this one, the 75th Hunger Games, former winners form each district will have to re-enter the arena and fight to the death. This means Katniss has to go back and risk almost certain death for the second time. Initially in shock, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch are all hysterical but eventually they come to their senses and start to prepare. Katniss makes Haymitch promise that he will help her save Peeta in the arena this time around, no matter what.

They work out to get into shape and strategize as much as they can. They study tapes about each of the other victors who will be their rivals in the upcoming games. They learn their strategies and think of ways they can be beaten.

Then Katniss and Peeta have a bit of time to train for the Games. Haymitch wants them to select allies, but they’re not really into it. They evaluate the other players, but Katniss really just wants to be alone with Peeta. Peeta and Katniss get closer and closer. Then it’s time for the last public event before the Games: interviews. At the televised interviews, each of the tributes takes a dig at the Capitol when it’s his or her turn to talk. Katniss makes quite a sensation with her costume: she’s wearing a wedding dress that transforms into a feathery mockingjay outfit. Then Peeta goes even further by telling the audience that he and Katniss are already married and that Katniss is pregnant. This really pulls the audience’s heartstrings and fuels further unrest throughout Panem.

Soon they are all thrust  into another arena with its own challenges. They must fight to the death and only one will survive. As they try and figure out the weird things that happen in the arena including poisonous gases, blood rains, lightening and storms etc. they are tortured physically, mentally and emotionally. The only difference in this game is that the actions of the other tributes don’t make sense to Katniss and Peeta. It almost seems like everyone is trying to help them win. But only one can win and Katniss is sure she wants it to be Peeta, while Peeta has also made a deal with Haymitch to save Katniss.

Overall the book is amazing. It is so fast and gripping that it is unputdownable. It is beautifully written and the locations and costumes are described in such an amazing way that you feel that the story is actually taking place around you. The characters are so well laid out that you feel every pin prick they go through. This book ends at a cliff hanger and leaves you craving more. This is definitely a must read. My next read is for sure, the third and last book in the series ‘Mockingjay’.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Catching-Fire-Second-Hunger-Games/dp/0545586178/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1389576527&sr=1-2

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/

Find Out More About the Movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951264/

 

Everyone Worth Knowing – Lauren Weisberger

everyone-worth-knowingTitle : Everyone Worth Knowing

Author : Lauren Weisberger

ISBN-10: 1416543007

ISBN-13 : 978-1416543008

Paperback : 448 pages

The Plot :

In her second book, Lauren Weisberger introduces us to twenty seven year ole Bette Robinson. She works at an investment banking firm, UBS, since she graduated from Emory University. Five years into the job she realises she is not cut out for the 80 hour work weeks and her tiny cubicle. On an impulse and shaken by the news that her best friend Penelope is engaged to a guy none in their friends circle approve of, she quits her job.

With little interest to start working again she takes her time looking for a new job, all the while fielding the “What are you going to do with your life?” calls from her parents. Her nationally syndicated entertainment journalist uncle then comes to her rescue and introduces her to event planner extraordinaire, Kelly. Suddenly she finds herself working for Kelly at Kelly & Co., one of Manhattans elite events planning firm. She soon realizes that the core skill required for the job is to see and be seen at the hottest places in town.

Her job takes her to the most exclusive of clubs, parties and VIP rooms full of socialites and celebrities. She enters the realm of New York’s chic, party-hopping elite. Thereafter she becomes the regular subject of gossip columns, linking her to famous playboy Phillip Weston. She realizes she is attracted to him and he provides a great boost to her career but at the same time she is drawn to Sammy.

Sammy works as a bouncer at Bungalow 8, who aspires to be a chef and has a lot in common with Bette. They make a connection on a trip to Istanbul and he also manages to impress her parents. But he, too, is tied to a wealthy socialite, and dreams of escaping the high life to open a small restaurant. Having a job that pays her to party was hardly something anyone could complain about but all the while she finds herself becoming this whole new person that she can barely recognize. She starts growing distant from her former life and friends and eventually realizes that she has a choice to make. She must choose between the person she once was and the one she is becoming.

Overall the book was slow and dull. It lacked the wit and likability of ‘Devil Wears Prada’. It is an okay read and the story is nothing new. The characters are forgettable and the book overall is unimpressive. It is just another tale of a girl on the fringe who is sucked into the New York party circuit and eventually resents it. I would call it a book “Not worth reading”.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Worth-Knowing-Lauren-Weisberger/dp/1416543007

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.laurenweisberger.com/

Is Everyone hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling

mindy1Title : Is Everyone hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Author : Mindy Kaling

ISBN-10: 9780307886279

ISBN-13 : 978-0307886279

Paperback : 222 pages

The Plot :

The first book by actress, comedian, writer, and producer Mindy Kaling, is a humorous collection of stories and essays from her life. She talks about everyday things in chapters titled:

1)    Hello :

Mindy answers questions like ‘What is this book about?’ and why it’s not like Tina Fey’s. and comes up with just the funniest list of alternate titles for the book.

2)    I Forget Nothing : A Sensitive Kid Looks Back

How Mindy dealt with her weight and bullies in her childhood. Mindy’s Great non love story with athletics. Why not to peak in High School and How Mindy made her first real friend.

3)    I Love New York And It Likes Me Okay

This chapter talks about her life in New York. From her apartments, to achieving the exact level of fame, karaoke etiquette, day jobs rights & responsibilities of being a best friend to coming up with ‘Matt and Ben’ with her friend Brenda and their first claim to success and fame.

4)    Hollywood : My Good Friend Who Is Also A little Embarrassing

This chapter contains a list of the romantic movie leads that are not real in any way. Anecdotes from her time at ‘The Office’. Her not so successful stint at ‘Saturday Night Live’. A list of her favourite moments in comedy. What a Day of writing involves for Mindy Kaling and the day Mindy stopped eating cupcakes

5)    The Best Distraction In The World : Romance And Guys

Mindy explores the rem “hooking up” which always confuses her. She tries to figure out why ‘One Night Stands’ are appealing to some people. She also talks about ‘Irish Exits’ from parties and how guys need to do almost nothing to be great, the difference between men and boys and how married people need to share the beautiful part about marriage. Also there is a list of non-traumatic things that make her cry.

6)     My Appearance : The Fun And The Really Not Fun

Mindy talks about what people expect you to wear when you are not traditionally skinny. She shares some of her selfies and photos that Mindy took on her BlackBerry. She also shares some of the revenge fantasies that Mindy plays in her head while working-out.

7)    My All-Important Legacy

In the final chapter Mindy leaves us with a list of instructions for her funeral. Also A eulogy for her by Michael Schur.

By far one of the funnies books I have read ever. I have to say, even though I am a huge fan of Tina Fey, I liked this book better than her book ‘BossyPants’. It is such a wonderful book full of witty statements and looking at things from a different perspective. A definite must read for someone who wants to roll on the floor laughing! Loved every minute of it.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Everyone-Hanging-Without-Other-Concerns/dp/0307886271

Find Out More About the Author : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindy_Kaling

My Horizontal Life – Chelsea Handler

my_horizontal_lifeTitle : My Horizontal Life : A Collection Of One Night Stands

Author : Chelsea Handler

ISBN-10: 1582346186

ISBN-13 : 978-1582346182

Paperback : 221 pages

The Plot :

The first book by comedian Chelsea Handler, is a collection of humorous stories and essays from her younger years. It includes the following stories:

1)    Look Who’s Having Sex With Mommy

2)    The Beginning of The End

3)    Dumb and Dumber

4)    Guess Who’s Leaving Through The Window?

5)    My Little Nugget

6)    Desperado

7)    Skid Mark

8)    Thunder

9)    Shrinky Dink

10) Don’t Believe A Word I Say

11) The Cookie Monster

12) Doctor, Doctor

13) Oh, Shut Up Already!

14) A Wedding Story

15) Overboard

16) Out Of The Closet

17) Rerun

18) False Alarm

Over all I loved the book. It was an entertaining read with the trademark Chelsea Handler wit and humour. There were points where I was laughing out so loud that people actually gave me weird looks. A definite must read for people looking to just laugh about something silly. The book is written in such a format that I felt like I was watching Chelsea Handler on her show doing a monologue. My next read? Definitely her second book ‘Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea’.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/My-Horizontal-Life-Collection-Stands-ebook/dp/B00FOWA5JA/ref=la_B001JS0NMM_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384385030&sr=1-2

Find Out More About the Author : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelsea_Handler

The Mountain Of Light – Indu Sundaresan

Mountain of Light-CoverTitle : The Mountain Of Light

Author : Indu Sundaresan

ISBN-10: 1451643519

ISBN-13 : 978-1451643510

Paperback : 352 pages

The Plot :

In her new book ‘The Mountain Of Light’, author Indu Sundaresan takes us through a journey following the Kohinoor diamond across continents. It is work of historic fiction all about the 186 carat diamond and how it changed hands. The word Koh-i-Noor, coined by the Persian king Babur, means ‘The Mountain Of Light’ and that is how the book gets its title.

For those who are unaware, the Kohinoor diamond is now a 106 carat diamond, and held the title of the world’s largest diamond for many years.  The first recorded mention of the diamond can be found in the memoirs of Mughal Emperor Babur, who received it from a Hindu ruler he had defeated. After the Mughals, it slipped out of India and was with Nadir Shah for a while.  Later it was held by King of Afghanistan Shah Shuja and subsequently by Maharajah Ranjit Singh of the Punjab Empire.   Finally it landed in England to be presented to Queen Victoria. Currently in possession of Queen Elizabeth of England, the Kohinoor diamond is displayed at the Tower of England in London. It has travelled through time and around the world, changing hands from one ruler to another in Persia, Afghanistan, India and England for centuries.

The book starts in 1871, in the beautiful Shalimar Gardens of the mansion of Punjab’s Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Here, the Afghan king Shah Shuja and his wife Wafa Begum are held captive after having lost their throne and taking refuge in the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. They, Wafa Begum specifically, are in possession of the opulent diamond. They had promised the Maharaja that they would hand over the diamond to him if he helped them escape and win back the Afghan throne. After having successfully escaped from Afghanistan, Shah Suja and Wafa Begum refuse to give up the Diamond to Ranjit Singh as they are sure that once they hand over the diamond to Ranjit Singh, he will surely execute them as he would have nothing further to gain from them. They hold on to the diamond as the only ray of hope for their survival.

After years of keeping them captive in hopes of owning the Koh-i-Noor Magaraja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab finally realises that he needs to take more drastic measures if he wants to get hold of the diamond. He cuts off their food and water supply and starves them. Eventually they yield and hand over the diamond to the Maharaja. As soon as he is in possession of the Diamond he sets Shah Shuja and Wafa Begum free.

The story then leaps many years, to when Maharaja Ranjit Singh, still in possession of the Koh-i-Noor, is now old and weary. The British have made their entry into India under the name of the East India Company and have hopes to annex India from the control of Ranjit Singh and have their sovereign, Queen Victoria, rule over the vast empire. After his death, four of his sons kill each other in wars to take control of the mighty empire. His only remaining heir is the six year old prince Dalip Singh. With the help of his mother Jindan Kaur and her staff they manage to put him on the throne as the Emperor of the Punjab Empire.

In the meanwhile the British sign a treaty with Dalip Singh and his court, to help protect his position as regent of the Punjab Empire, in hopes that they will be able to slowly gain control and push him out of power. They start to take account of all the wealth in the Toshakhana of the king and start compiling lists of items of value that will soon belong to the Treasury of the East India Company. During this process, the East India Company and the British manage to take possession of the Koh-i-Noor diamond.

Soon Lord Dalhousie, comes to India as the Governor General and he plans to present the Koh-i-Noor to his sovereign, Queen Victoria, as a gift from India.  Under the utmost secrecy, two high ranking British officers plan to take the Diamond to England on board the SS Indus. On the way to England, the diamond is stolen and later found.

The story ends many years later where we see Dalip Singh is old and settled in Paris and  he shares his diaries with his daughter that he maintained from when he was sixteen and came to England. In his diaries he talks about how much his life changed since he left Lahore and how he longed to possess the Koh-i-Noor diamond.

Overall the book is an amazing read that transports the reader into a totally different world. The book reflects the opulence of Indian Kings, life in their zenanas, the entry of the British into India, life in England and the majestic scenes in Queen Victoria’s palaces. It documents how the Koh-i-Noor travelled from country to country, King to King, empire to empire and finally settling down in the hands of the British monarchs, where it still lies today, captive in the Tower of London.

The book conveys wonderfully how the urge to own this diamond was so overwhelming that even the dreadful curse supposedly carried by it was conveniently overlooked. Indu Sundaresan uses beautiful imagery to show a glimpse of the life led by the kings in Punjab and the beauty of the Koh-i-Noor. The amount of research that must have gone into writing this beautiful book is truly mind boggling. After reading ‘The Mountain Of Light’ I am filled with the desire to see the Koh-i-Noor once again, and look into its facets and try and see the history it has left behind. A definite must read for historic fiction lovers.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Mountain-Light-A-Novel/dp/1451643519

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.indusundaresan.com/

Find Out More About the Koh-i-Noor : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koh-i-Noor & http://www.kohinoordiamond.org/index.html

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Gone GirlTitle : Gone Girl

Author : Gillian Flynn

ISBN-10: 0753827662

ISBN-13 : 978-0753827666

Paperback : 432 pages

The Plot :

Gillian Flynn is the Author of ‘Gone Girl’, which is a thriller about a married couple Amy and Nick Dunne. It is narrated in a he-said she-said format with alternating chapters in the voice of its main characters Nick and Amy. The story begins with Amy disappearing on the couples 5th wedding anniversary. They had just had a big fight the previous night and Amy disappears the next morning. Nick narrates what’s going on in the present tense while we hear from Amy through her diary that she kept from before she got married to Nick.

As the book progresses, you find out that Nick looks pretty guilty, with his lies to the investigating cops, fights with Amy and secret affair with one of his younger students. Amy on the other hand seems like a perfect ‘cool wife’ who loves her husband despite the way he treats her. Their marriage is floundering due to various reasons and is on the verge of breaking up when Amy suddenly disappears. There appear to be signs of a struggle and a big cover-up that the police discover.

Increasingly all the evidence points to Nick and he becomes the prime suspect in the case. Different facts like his increasing her life insurance just a few weeks before her disappearance, his depending on her money totally and unaccountability at times in his schedule all point to the fact that Nick is guilty. Just when you are convinced he is guilty the story takes a twist and you learn that there are two sides to every story.

The book is well written and keeps you guessing till the very end. You are unsure who to support and just when you think you have made up your mind the story takes such a swift turn and leaves you fumbled all over again. Unputdownably good, Gone Girl is a beautifully dark book that keeps you at the edge of your seat till the last word. Over all I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Girl-Novel-Gillian-Flynn/dp/030758836X

Find Out More About the Author : http://gillian-flynn.com/

Find Out More About the Movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2267998/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

The Bling Ring – Nancy Jo Sales

The Bling RingTitle : The Bling Ring : How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World

Author : Nancy Jo Sales

ISBN-10:  0062245538

ISBN-13 : 978-0062245533

Paperback : 288 pages

The Plot :

The Bling Ring, by Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales is an in-depth true story of the famous burglary ring that targeted young Hollywood. The group named ‘The Burglar Bunch’, ‘Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch’, ‘Hollywood Hills Burglars’ and later ‘The Bling Ring’ was made up of a band of seven privileged teenagers from Calabasas California.

The alleged members of the group are Rachel Lee, Nick Prugo, Alexis Neiers, Diana Tamayo, Courteney Ames, Johnny Ajar and Roy Lopez Jr. In a span of less than a year, October 2008 to August 2009, they were accused of stealing almost $3 million in cash, clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, art work etc. Their victims were always celebrities, particularly Young Hollywood. Their famous victims include the like of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Audrina Patridge, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr, Brian Austin Green, Megan Fox etc. The group also had allegedly identified other targets including Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Hillary Duff, Vanessa Hudgens etc.

The members of the bling ring targeted people who were considered fashion icons, whose style the members of the group envied. The group obtained information about their targets from the internet using sites like celebrityaddressaerial.com, Google Earth and their schedules using Twitter and Facebook. They planed their ‘missions’ based on various bits of news and information they could gather online and , in the words of some of its members, ‘went shopping’ in their celebrity victims’ homes.

The police were tipped by an unidentified person of the involvement of Nick Prugo and Rachel lee. They were also allegedly captured on the surveillance cameras at their victims’ homes. Nick Prugo was soon arrested and he confessed to the police about his and his friends’ involvement in the burglaries. The LAPD soon issues search warrants for the homes of the other members of the bling ring and some were found to be in possession of the stolen goods. Criminal charges were leveed against the members of the group and most of them did not contest the leveed charges.

Nancy Jo Sales wrote about the bling ring in 2010 for Vanity Fair in an article titled ‘The Suspects Wore Louboutins’.  The Bling Ring is an extended version of the article and gives in depth details of the case. Over all I loved this book with its details and the amazing questions raised about how and what brought these kids to commit these crimes. It talks about the changing perceptions about celebrities, the Hollywood lifestyle and increasing narcissism amongst the newer generations. A beautiful and fast read. Definitely worth giving it a shot.

Links:

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Bling-Ring-Fame-Obsessed-Hollywood/dp/0062245538

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.nancyjosales.com/home/

Find Out More About the Movie : http://theblingring.com/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2132285/