“Safe Haven”, By Nicholas Sparks

Very interestingly, I have seen lot of movies that are based on Nicholas Sparks’s books but had never read any book by him. Even in the case of “Safe Haven”, I first noticed the movie but then came across the book before watching the movie. It looks like the author has perfected the art of writing touching, mixed with tragedy and romantic books that are very easy to adapt to movies and both books and movies have done very well.

This is the story of Katie who comes to live in a small town but is very reserved and does not want to mingle with anyone. She is almost scared to settle down or to reveal her past. Her neighbor helps her to overcome some of her hesitation and she falls in love with store owner Alex and his kids. The story unfolds to reveal an abusive policeman husband of Katie from whom she has been running away. She had tried running away earlier but was found by her husband. This time she planned it well and was able to hide for many months but eventually her husband is able to find her. There are twists and turns and a surprise ending.

The story reminds you a lot about “Sleeping with the enemy” but it extends the post runaway story more with romance between Alex and Katie. The most important part is of course appearance of a ghost that was surprising and something that I really did not like. I like surprises in romantic stories but not involving the ghosts even if they are friendly ones. In this story ghost is not the imagination but the actual real person somehow validating the concept of ghosts in real life. I was thinking of watching the movie after finishing the book but now I am not so sure.

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“The Cuckoo’s Calling”, By Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling

Most likely I would not have read this book or even came across this if J. K. Rowling was able to keep it a secret. Once the secret was out, there was no way I would have missed reading it. She had written this book under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith and the secret was known to very few people but somebody ended up giving a hint. I read somewhere that somebody did a writing pattern study using some complex algorithm to figure out that it was actually written by same person who wrote Harry Potter. I am not sure whether this is true or not but I am sure glad that the secret came out.

The cuckoo’s calling is a detective mystery series in the similar tradition of Sherlock Holmes. Here the detective is Cormoran Strike and sidekick is his secretary Robin. First book is the story about supposed suicide of supermodel Lula Landry. Her adopted brother hires Strike to investigate the suicide. As it happens with such mystery stories, the investigation starts to unravel unknown facts, details that police could not find and eventually a very unlikely ending.

I like mystery series like this once in a while but more importantly I liked the interactions of Strike and Robin. She joins as secretary but slowly Strike realizes that she is much more valuable and is an asset in the investigation. Their personal equation also evolves during the story. It is not romantic since Robin already has boyfriend but it borderlines on getting there. It may not be the intention of author but I will definitely look forward to some romance happening between Robin and Strike down the line.

Of course this book is not comparable to Harry Potter and probably no book will ever be. But the aura of Potter series is such that I will read everything that Rowling ever writes.

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Unfinished Books; Why Should I Feel Guilty As Reader

I love reading books and I like reading them in parallel. At any time, I may have 10 of them going on. Depending on my mood I may pick up one of them during my night-time reading. Some of them will capture my attention and I end up reading without diverting to another book. But there are many of them that I have read, left, come back, left again multiple times before I finished reading it. The nature of story and my mood do not coincide always.

What happens when I leave the book midway and unable to return to it for a long time or forever. It is different when I read a small part of the book and do not like it to continue. But in many cases I like the book, continue to read it almost till midway and then lose interest. Currently there are so many of these books that are unfinished. “Sons and Lovers” by D. H. Lawrence, “Museum of Innocence” by Orhan Pamuk, “Social Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, by George Orwell, “Madame Bovary”, by Gustave Flaubert are some of these books that I remember now. There have been many more.

Sometimes even the authors that you like may not capture your attention for some of their books. I love reading P. G. Wodehouse. But there are some books of Wodehouse that I have started and just could not finish them.

I wonder whether I should feel guilty about not finishing these books. Did I not show enough patience to finish the book? How do I really know if the book is good or not by reading only half of it? I can’t be feeling guilty if the story or writing did not keep me engaged. It may be a great book and liked by many others but if I have to struggle to finish it then it is probably not meant to be for me. I may return back to these books someday but till then there are more than enough books and writers to explore and keep me engaged.

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“Half Girlfriend”, By Chetan Bhagat

The tagline was very intriguing and the author Chetan Bhagat has already created a following with earlier books specifically “Two States” and “Five point someone” in my mind. So reading this newest book “Half Girlfriend” was almost certainty.

The idea is very simple like tagline. Poor boy meets rich girl and falls in love but girl agrees only for half girlfriend status due to her own issues in childhood that become clear later in the book. The idea of half girlfriend is great and very delicate to handle but the author did not spent much time in that situation. Very soon it goes from half to nothing since the boy cannot face his friends with half status (sic). There are multiple twists and turns and almost a Bollywood style ending eventually. Interestingly the author has made himself as one of the central character in the book.

What I liked about the book was the simple breezy style of story telling that the author has followed in all his books. There is an interesting plot about Bill Gates visiting a poor school in Bihar and making big donation. What I did not understand was the reason for extended chase that the book shows in New York by the main character for his girl friend. The book is almost written for Bollywood movie. Even when I read “Two States” I felt the same but in that case the story did hold on its own. But in case of this book it is not true. I am sure the movie based on the book will do great if a good director picks it up but the book on its own does not impress.

I am sure I will still read future works by the author but not with same anticipation unless something really interesting comes along.

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“Brides Of The Kindred”, By Evangeline Anderson

A very different genre of books that I came across. This is a mixture of erotica similar to “Fifty shades of Grey” and Science Fiction. I was intrigued by the combination and picked it up and “Brides of the Kindred” books have kept up to my interest. Brides of the Kindred is a whole series and last time I checked it was at 15th book. Evangeline Anderson is able to publish a new book every few months. The way it is going she can keep it up as long as she wants. She just needs to keep on imagining newer types of Kindred. I have read few of them but I am not going to write about them as individual books but will write about series in general.

The series is about a species from different planet that has men with different characteristics but very few women. So they come to earth to get brides. Every type of Kindred has a unique characteristic or technique to mate and the author is exploring each type in a different book. The idea itself lends to all kind of imagination and fantasies that people may have about mating and the author has capitalized on that in this series. She is able to include Vampire effects, threesomes, mating of the mind and so much more with her imagination. There are science fiction ideas about travel between planets, space-time folding and advanced medicine but they are mainly to support the idea and not become the main story. Along with science fiction, there is also Goddess and Evil playing their role that can seem a little off but still ok.

The main story still remains as Kindred men trying to find earth brides. In a way all of them are standard love stories where men are trying to woo the women of their dreams (literally) and eventually win them over. The same theme is played over and over again in each book. The writing style is breezy, simple. This is not literature but it is a good reading. Since the imagination is from a women author, she has kept women as same across planets but men are of different types

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Filed under Erotica, Science-Fiction