My Rating: 4 Stars
A collection of memorable short stories featuring all the Queen of Mystery’s beloved characters: Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and Parker Pyne. I was very glad to find it on the shelve of my local library ready for the taking.
In this novel the titles present are:
All the stories show the brilliant mind of Agatha Christie and her great plots full of twists and hidden motives. From tales of greed, thirst for money, revenge, jealousy and betrayal, Christie covers all the themes she is famous for and does it in the style that all the fans are familiar with.
The disadvantage of the short stories is the lack of character development and the limited descriptions of the setting, but even so, Christie made it work by going straight to the point and the stories are all very engaging. Being a fan of Hercule Poirot above all the Christie’s characters, my favourite story is The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest, the almost-perfect murder. I will definitely read more about Parker Pyne, he revealed himself to be a mysterious detective with a unique way of thinking that got me intrigued from the beginning.
A short collection that I recommend if you’re looking for a quick Agatha Christie read!
My Rating: 5 Stars
The depth of this long-short story took my breath away for all the right reasons.
KumKum Malhotra, a treat for lovers of women fiction, tells the story of a woman who lives a quiet life in the small town of Nizamudin, New Delhi with her husband and her children. Her world and her mind are turned upside down, when an unfortunate event takes place right before a family dinner, unlocking the doors to a journey into the deepest layer of the self.
The lyrical style of writing, brought together with rich vocabulary and the ability to look in depth into the inner-self make this book a must-read in contemporary literature. The reader is taken down the rabbit hole and it just kept becoming darker and darker with each passing turn as the layers of the identity of the main character are stripped away. The secondary characters give a different contribution to the construction of the plot coming together as pieces of a puzzle to create a bigger picture in the end. It gives depth to the novel and to its characters, making it easier to relate and sympathize with them.
Preti Taneja is able to match the emotions, the fast-paced events and the slow moments with the style of writing and the vocabulary creating an intense and suspenseful atmosphere throughout the story. The ending comes unexpected, leaving the reader wanting to know more, which the author leaves open for interpretation. It leaves a lasting impression on the possible fate of the characters and on the modern issues captured in the novel. The author approaches a number of themes that are still existent in contemporary India: the role of women and what they have to face in their daily lives, the truth about marriage and family life, the complexity of human relations and the clash between the tradition and modernism. In the centre of the story, the reader finds the contrast between liberal and conservative societies and how ‘freedom’ gains different meanings depending on the cultural background. Anya, the tenant that stays in their home for a short time, represents the modern way of thinking: the lack of taboos, free from the boundaries of tradition and the expectations of a community. KumKum is stunned when Anya speaks freely about sex, to which she receives the response: ‘Hey, liven up, Sisterji,’ says Anya with a smile and a shrug. ‘It’s 1993.’. It shows the two different realities like the sides of a coin and the opposition between conservative mentality and liberal openness. Moreover, there is the ability to accept and more about other cultures. Anya shows interest in the culture of the community and takes initiative to participate in common day-to-day tasks, while KomKom and her family create their own opinion based on her behaviour and her conversations. The question that is raised is if western culture is freer than a conservative culture, and if so, what does being free entitle.
This long-short story has the potential to become a longer literary work, however the narrative shouldn’t have the same lasting impact on the reader nor it wouldn’t be just as intense due to its consistency and intensity of events and writing style.
It’s a read that deserves every recommendation.
Preti Taneja is unique in her style and her voice, and I will definitely be on the lookout for her future works.
This review was published on Ofi Press Magazine 54
My Rating: 4 Stars
This is the first time I read a novel by D.L. Coln and I’m glad I did!
After finishing his tasks to become a Master, Glaycol Masters returns home to his family to celebrate. But the celebration doesn’t last very long: the village is attacked by a dragon, killing his family and leaving him without one eye and with severe scars. Living only for revenge, Glaycol vows to kill the responsible for his loss and will stop at nothing to achieve it. As he faces a dangerous journey where trials test his will and both his physical and mental strength, will he be able to average his family or will he die trying?
A great read. The story is fast-paced and the descriptions of the fighting scenes are very straight to the point. The story is written in the third person which gives a broader view of events.
I enjoyed reading the adventures and misadventures of Glaycol Masters. He's complex, full of grieve but also unwavering when it comes to getting what he wants. He’s not hot-headed though; he actually uses his knowledge to pass each obstacle, not just brute strength. The story centres around him and it doesn’t leave much room to get to know the secondary characters better. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between them and Glaycol evolving and how they protect each other no matter what comes their way. I would have enjoyed reading more descriptions of this fantasy world, I think I would have connected more with the novel. Even so, in my opinion, the author did this deliberately in order for the reader to connect completely with this character.
The detail of the mystical creatures and how diverse they are is a plus for me. There are actually creatures I hadn’t heard of before, which is both refreshing and entertaining. The way the author imagined the dragons is brutal: they want to control everything and have no limits to what they will do to achieve what they want. For those who challenge them, the villages are burned to the ground; and as they gain control over others, tyranny takes over.
An enjoyable read that I recommend to the fans of dragon fantasy books!
Thank you D.L Colon for reaching out and sending me a free digital copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 4 Stars
You know when people say that you should never judge a book by its cover? Well, this is definitely one of those cases! I must warn you right now that this book is brutal, very very graphic and definitely not for the faint of heart! I had to stop reading it and start with something lighter to be able to go through with it.
Olivia is about to start a new phase in her life: university. After her father drops her off at the campus dorm, Olivia takes a stroll in the university grounds only to be kidnapped by two masked man and thrown in a van. When she is finally able to see, she finds herself in a room that looks like the interior of a doll house; everything is pink: the bed, the walls, the furniture. Olivia quickly realises that there is no room to escape and the daily visits of her abductors show her in the most brutal way that she is at their mercy. In a house where several young women are abused and raped daily, Olivia spends five years confined in that pink room. Will she ever be able to escape?
Dark and disturbing doesn’t even begin to cover this novel. When I was younger I had nightmares about a white van and it still haunts me today. I can assure you that after reading this, I will run for the hills if I actually see one. My heart was beating on my throat for most of the reading and the level of psychological and physical horror of the story is both admirable and scary. Even though this is fiction, I know that these events actually take place around the world, and that’s why for me it was so hard to read. It’s like facing a reality that we just keep in the back of our brains.
The style of writing is great, pulled me completely into the story. There was this constant morbid curiosity to know what was going to happen next even though I knew nothing good was waiting around the corner.
I definitely want to read future novels of John Hunt but I do have hopes for something less dark and traumatic. I recommend this book to fans of hardcore thrillers with very detailed, disturbing descriptions. But again a warning, this is not for the faint of heart.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Black Rose Writing, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.
Disclaim: All the images used serve for illustration purposes only, I don't own them. All the reviews and opinions are my own.