Archive for June, 2018

Us against you 

June 16, 2018

Book : Us Against You

Author: Fredrik Backman

Rating: 5 /5

Synopsis

A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two.

Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions. What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow.

How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?

Us Against You is a spell-binding exposition of small-town life in all its flawed complexity.

Review

I got Beartown as part of a Secret Santa conducted by  The Big Book Box. I buddy read it with Chitra and I fell in love with it. So when I came to knowing what that the next book in the series is coming this June, I was counting the days. So on June 14, I bought the ebook as I couldn’t wait for the paperback version.This is also part of my #pridereadathon reads as well as #bnbreadathon.

Beartown is a small town in Sweden, where Ice hockey is a religion.The story starts off where the last one ended. People who haven’t read the first book skip this paragraph. Most of the players and coach of Beartown Ice Hockey team have moved to Hed beacuse of the scandal that happened in the first book. Peter doesn’t know if he still will have a club, Peter and Kira’s marriage is falling apart. Amat and Benji still want to play for Beartown, Maya is still recuperating with Ana. When the politician Richard Theo offers to save the club, Peter can’t say no. Theo brings a new female hockey coach, who is no nonsense and has a don’t care attitude. She has only one objective to win.With  Amat, Benji and Bobo ,Zackell builds a  new  Beartown Ice Hockey  A team.Since most of the jobs and funding are going to Hed, people of Beartown are angry. When the town comes to know that their star player is gay, what will happen?

Will violence breakout in Beartown ?

Will Beartown Ice hockey team win against Hed this time?

What is the politician’s agenda?

Read to find out
I loved it a lot. The author just ripped my heart into pieces and walked away. I cried my heart out reading the last chapters. I don’t think I can read a book again😭. I have again fallen in love with Ice Hockey and the people of Beartown. This book has so many beautiful quotes that half of the time I was highlighting. I loved Elizabeth Zackell, she was badass. The first part of the book was a rehash of all the events that happened , i wasn’t sure whether something was going happen,but later you are pulled into the story.There were so many moments when my heart was in my mouth,so many places that i actually screamed “No, you cant do that to me”.  Benji was one of my favourite characters in the last book, and he still is ,my heart broke for him.I’m hoping there is a next book as i can’t get enough of Beartown.

Favourite Quotes

“It’s so easy to get people to hate one another. That’s what makes love so impossible to understand.Hate is so simple that it always ought to win.It’s an uneven fight”

“They run only where there are lights.The dont say anything but are both thinking the same thing:guys never think about light,it just isn’t a problem in their lives. When guys are scared of the dark,they’re scared of ghosts and monsters,but when girls are scaredof the dark,they’re scared of guys”

About the author

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

Song of Achilles

June 10, 2018

Book : Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller

Rating: 5 / 5

Synopsis

The legend begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

Review

As I told in my Circe review , Greek mythology has always fascinated me. While Circe is based  on the Odyssey , Song of Achilles is based on Iliad. Iliad was one of my favourite stories,but i had always thought that Achilles was arrogant and a spoiled  also  I didn’t remember reading about Patroclus. This story is narrated by Patroclus, the son of Menoetius. It was good to hear the story from Patroclus’s perspective.

In the first part of the story , we get to know about the history of both Achilles and Patroclus..I never understood why Achilles’s mother wanted to make him a God , but after the birth story i totally understand her.Then the childhood of Patroclus and how he was exiled and becomes Achilles’s companion and how they fall in love.Achilles and Patroclus are sent to  learn from Chiron, the centaur.

Then comes the Troy war, the boys who are just fifteen are forced to become men, they lose their innocence too soon. When Achilles’s mother hears the prophecy that Achilles will not come back from the war, she tries to stop him. The boy who was supposed to be the greatest warrior in history has to choose between life and living up to the title of ‘Aristo Achaion’.I do not blame for his choice, how could he resist? Those who know the story there is no need for me to write further, for those who dont know, i suggest you read to find out.

The writing style is beautiful, i love Madeline Miller, she just pulls you into the story. Even though i knew the ending ,it made me cry. I was a mess while reading the last few chapters, i have never hated Achilles so much,though i could understand him. If you have seen the movie “Troy” you are going to be surprised when you read this , you will never believe that they both are based on the same story.Though i was familiar with the Troy war, it felt so different. This is was one of my reads for the #pridereadathon, hoping to read more.

About the author

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.

Koi Good News

June 9, 2018

Book : Koi Good News

Author: Zareen Khan

Rating: 4 / 5

Synopsis

The hilarious private journal of a highly public pregnancy.

When Mona Mathur of Dehradun married her college sweetheart, Ramit Deol of Amritsar, there were two things she wasn’t prepared for:

1. The size of the Deol family – it put any Sooraj Barjatya movie to shame.

2. The fertility of the Deol family – they reproduced faster than any other species known to mankind.

It’s been four years since their wedding, and Mona and Ramit have done the unthinkable – they’ve remained childless. Of course, that also means that they’ve battled that one question day in and day out: ‘Koi Good News?’

It doesn’t matter that they have been happy to be child-free – they are married; they are expected to make babies. After all, there are grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts and even colony aunties in waiting.

Now, the truth is, Ramit and Mona had been trying to conceive for the past one year. But having a baby isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be.

Finally, aided by the wine at their highly glamorous neighbours’ party, Mona gets pregnant. And so begins a crazy journey – complete with interfering relatives, nosy neighbours, disapproving doctors, and absolutely no privacy!

Honest, relevant and thoroughly irreverent, Koi Good News? is the funniest book you’ll read this year.

Review

Mona and Ramit have been married for four years, they are hounded by questions of Koi good news at every turn. Both mother-in-laws are anxious to become grandparents and everyone keeps reminding Mona that girls have a biological clock.  The story is narrated by Mona and Ramit, it was fun to read about the same situation from different perspectives. The  story starts off at the last menstrual period and ends in the birth of their kid, the journey is hilarious.It takes through how Mona and Ramit live through that period which is filled with interfering relatives, two mother-in-laws and rich neighbours.

I loved it, had so much of fun reading, finished it in a day. The title is what which made me pick it up, I read the sample in the Kindle, and found it so funny. Since it has been 1 and half years after my marriage, Koi good news is a common question I hear from relatives, so it was east to connect to Mona. Ramit does remind me of my husband, as sometimes I feel he is married to the phone 😛. This book was so relate able to my current situation, people don’t understand that we are not  “baby making” machines. I did read parts of the book out to my husband, cause they were so good.We do want to have kids,right now we are not ready to take up the responsibility, when will people understand that.

Recommended for people looking for a fun read

Favourite Quotes

“When we married at the ripe old-age of twenty-seven, we thought we had finally escaped the ‘when are you getting married’ phase. But waitinng for me – for us -on the other side was the dark demon of ‘good news'”

 

 

 

The Good Mothers

June 8, 2018

Book : The Good Mothers

Author: Alex Perry

Rating: 5 /5

Synopsis

An unprecedented look inside a deadly and obscenely wealthy branch of the Italian mafia and the electrifying story of the women who risked everything to bring them down.

The Calabrian Mafia—known as the ’Ndrangheta—is one of the richest and most ruthless crime syndicates in the world, with branches stretching from America to Australia. It controls seventy percent of the cocaine and heroin supply in Europe, manages billion-dollar extortion rackets, brokers illegal arms deals—supplying weapons to criminals and terrorists—and plunders the treasuries of both Italy and the European Union.

The ’Ndrangheta’s power derives from a macho mix of violence and silence—omertà. Yet it endures because of family ties: you are born into the syndicate, or you marry in. Loyalty is absolute. Bloodshed is revered. You go to prison or your grave and kill your own father, brother, sister, or mother in cold blood before you betray The Family. Accompanying the ’Ndrangheta’s reverence for tradition and history is a violent misogyny among its men. Women are viewed as chattel, bargaining chips for building and maintaining clan alliances and beatings—and worse—are routine.

In 2009, after one abused ’Ndrangheta wife was murdered for turning state’s evidence, prosecutor Alessandra Cerreti considered a tantalizing possibility: that the ’Ndrangheta’s sexism might be its greatest flaw—and her most effective weapon. Approaching two more mafia wives, Alessandra persuaded them to testify in return for a new future for themselves and their children.

A feminist saga of true crime and justice, The Good Mothers is the riveting story of a high-stakes battle pitting a brilliant, driven woman fighting to save a nation against ruthless mafiosi fighting for their existence. Caught in the middle are three women fighting for their children and their lives. Not all will survive

Review

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publishers(William Morrow) for proving me an eARC

This is my second foray into the true crime genre , and i enjoyed it a lot . The story starts off with the disappearance of Lea Garofalo,the wife of the mafia leader (Carlo), who provided evidence to the state. Lea was the daughter of a mafia boss of ’Ndrangheta,  but she didn’t like the life of violence and submission. She eloped with Carlo, expecting that love was a way out from this life, but didn’t realise that her future husband only wanted a promotion in ’Ndrangheta, as her brother was one of the top leaders.Once she gives birth to Denise,for her daughter’s sake she escapes from the ‘Ndrangheta

The ’Ndrangheta was one of the most powerful mafia gangs of Italy. Their structure was built on family, they instilled obedience and loyalty through fear.Misogyny was  a way of life for them.Alessandra Cerreti, the state’s prosecutor decided to exploit this flaw to bring down this crime syndicate.She realised that women could be used to speak against them.When two mothers  also join to give evidence against Ndrangheta to give a better life to their children, Alessandra finds a way to bring out the most powerful mafia gang.

I enjoyed the writing style it was captivating. This is a well researched book, and the history of Ndrangheta is described very well. It was heartbreaking to read about the state of the women in  n.. I loved the strong female characters, who were courageous to come forward to the state to provide evidence

Favourite Quotes

“True respect was about involuntary admirance, not involuntary deference, and true family was about love, not mutual defense”

“To do her job and not be defined by it, to accept its restrictions and not be beaten by them,to face the threats of ten thousand mafiosi and respond with grace and elegance- that was true style and, in a world of male brutality,a display of adamant and unyielding feminity”


About the author

Alex Perry is a correspondent and author. He is the author of The Good Mothers, The Rift, Falling Off The Edge, and Lifeblood, as well as several ebooks. His journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, TIME, Newsweek, Roads and Kingdoms and others. Born in Philadelphia and raised in England, Perry lived and worked for 15 years in Asia and Africa. He now lives in Hampshire, England.