The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh

I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but look at that! How could I not? It’s a beautiful cover, you have to admit. The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh is a good story. Not wholly life altering perhaps, but for a book with a dreamy cover that promises ‘a contemporary love story’, it’s awesome.

Summary: She’s a Democrat, he’s a Republican. She spends her days
fighting global warming at an environmental non-profit, he makes his living
doing PR for Bell Motors and their fleet of SUVs. But as soon as they meet,
Emily Crossley and Robert Drake realize they have encountered their
intellectual match. You’re never challenged, he tells her. You’ve surrounded
yourself in a cocoon of people who think exactly the same way you do. She hurls
the same accusation back at him, and the fiery debates begin. Despite both of their
attempts to derail it, there is no denying that they are falling in love. But
their relationship is threatened by political differences, Robert’s excessive
work hours, and Emily’s fear of losing her identity as she falls deeper in
love. Can their love survive? The Drake Equation is a tale of modern love and
all its complexities.

My thoughts: When Robert and Emily met, I felt I knew what was going to happen; how the plot was going to play out. Romance novels can be awfully predictable. But The Drake Equation wasn’t all that formulaic. The love story was both gradual and instant. A long time passed before either of them was serious about the relationship; though that didn’t happen many pages into the book. But the initial inevitable attraction, the eventual relationship weren’t too drawn out. I liked that there was so much fun dialogue, and few descriptions of fluttering hearts and insanely attractive knights-in-shining-armours. The conversations, the playful arguments and the serious discussions were precious. Both Emily and Robert started out as stereotypes (they definitely stereotyped each other), but they weren’t picked straight out of a fairytale. They were real and really interesting. They grew with the relationship and ended up in an altogether different place than they’d started. I still wasn’t sure why I so liked the book until I read that very nicely dealt with ending. The Drake Equation is not just another cozy romance, a quick breezy read; though it does a good job convincing you it is. I enjoyed the book immensely because of that: that easy flow it maintained despite all that seemed to be going on; even the often unfocused chaotic plot, managed to be very engaging.

There were other characters that were nice and funny, and some that were perfectly capable of shocking/disgusting me, none of them redundant. There were delightful bits of information about every thing from language to food, fascinating talks about Charlotte Bronte and Carl Sagan, politics and environment. The book did make a point in the end, a big one; and had many small messages strewn over the pages. It had quite a bit of The Pride and Prejudice ‘do-i-know-me’ and ‘am-i-really-sure-i’m-right’ theme. But I don’t want to talk about the things the book made me (re)consider, I don’t wish to spoil the experience for you. You’d want to analyze the story, not to mention, heart-flutter over Robert Drake/Emily Crossley all on your own.

Huh. I guess I only thought I was a cynic, when all this time I’m just a goofy romantic. That’s correct, this is one of those rare times when I recommend a love story on this blog.

If you are still not convinced you’d like this; read Dented Cans, the author’s debut novel which was more of a your-and-my kind of book. You don’t want to miss this author!

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

A little more than a year ago, I read this review of The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson on Vishy’s Blog. The review made it sound like the most fascinating book and if not anything else, it is certainly that.

It is difficult to write a summary for a book that winds so many stories together, but I’ll try. The book opens with the life-altering car crash of our narrator, once a hardcore porn-star and a junkie. He survives, but his body is almost irreparably burnt. While recovering in the burn ward of a hospital, alone and grotesque, the pain drives him to a point where the only relief is the idea of suicide. With the same suddenness with which the narrator describes his accident, he introduces us to the character central to his story: Marianne Engel, a beautiful apparent schizophrenic, a sculptress of gargoyles, who believes not only that she is seven hundred years old but that she’s our narrator’s true love. She insists that they were lovers in medieval Germany; he, a badly burnt mercenary; and she, a nun, who nursed him back to health. Tacky as it may sound, with little to do but suffer the extensive treatment for his injury, our narrator immerses himself into the tales of love and God that the strange Marianne tells him; intrigued by the accuracy and consistency of her delusions. Under the care of his physiotherapist, the cheerful Sayuri, and his doctor Nan Edwards, with the help of an unlikely friend, a shrink, and the increasingly mysterious Marianne Engel, our narrator’s condition slowly improves. When he is released from the hospital, the narrator moves in with Marianne, and realizes for the first time the true extent of her mania.

“If a man says that God is wise, the man is lying because
anything that is wise can become wiser. Anything that a man might say about God
is incorrect, even calling Him by the name of God. The best a man can do is to remain silent, because any time
he prates on about God, he is committing the sin of lying. The true master
knows that if he had a God he could understand, he would never hold Him to be

Now let me just say I like the book. Looking back on the 200-something pages, I can say with certainty that I’m glad I read them. You’ll find many reviews on Amazon, Goodreads or your favourite book-lovers’ haunt that describe just how charming, intelligently crafted, poetic, hauntingly beautiful the book is. I am intrigued by Davidson’s imagination. The historical life of Marianne, growing up as a scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal, is a wonderful blend of languages, art and literature. The culinary delights that she prepares for the narrator in the present day are appropriately delightful. The tales Marianne narrates, of everyone from Vikings to proper Victorian ladies, are an added charm. As I said, I like the book; but I don’t quite love it. Though it had everything it needed to be properly splendid, the book just never fully held my attention.
I get the appeal for the book. The setting, the eerie writing, the mysticism, the switching timelines are reminiscent of writers like Patrick Sueskind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, A. S. Byatt. The narrator’s oddly modern cynicism and abrupt sense of humour, the way the narrator talks, reminds me, for some reason, of China Mieville, though the content of this book rarely resembles his. The writing style, however, seems far too forced, like the author is mimicking his favourite writers; almost like a child who reads Enid Blyton writing about mean, horrid grown-ups and children who say things like, “Goodness me!” Apart from the stories Marianne tells, which are truly nice, there is little story-telling; only disconnected scenes strung together to form a brittle ‘plot’. Few ‘chapters’, if they could be called that, are longer than a page. The theme of the book is, as is to be expected, redemption. But the part where the message of the book becomes most evident is rushed. Dante’s Inferno, the circles of Hell are woven into the story, but even that story line remains, though imperceptibly, rough at the edges. While the author spends a long time working out an intricate history for all characters, their minds are superficial at best. The sudden change in the narrator and his view of the world, his abrupt lack of skepticism, the complete wiping away of the effects of his past, though brought on by a doubtlessly tragic incident, are sketchy at best. Marianne, who has so much potential, comes dangerously close to becoming an empty silhouette of a character; just a stereotype. Sayuri is an interesting character, her story adds a welcomed dash of bubbling humanity to the book, but even the ending the author presents her seems little more than a tying up of loose ends. The doctor is another stereotype I’d rather not dwell on. My favourite character is Jack Meredith, ’nuff said.
Despite the lengthy criticism, I do think the book is worth reading. It is certainly rather unique. It’s not long, and though it sometimes loses momentum, if you like history, magical realism, dark fantasy, mythology, art, specifically grotesques, give The Gargoyle a chance.

I think the book fits The Historical Fiction Challenge better than it does the R.I.P. Challenge, though the latter is the one I originally read it ‘for’. 

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

It’s funny how people either totally love or totally hate
this book. I also think it was weird how so many of those negative reviews are
focused on the fact that ‘a true love story could never involve an affair.’ I
am not really an expert on romance literature, but even I know that the theme
isn’t exactly new.

The first time I read The Bridges of Madison County, it was a quick breezy,
have-got-nothing-else-to-do read. When I re-read it for the book-club, I let
myself be completely engaged in it and it worked wonders on my impression! The
book has much to offer and the only way to acquire it, as the narrator says so
himself, is to let go of any preconceived judgement and cynicism.

The book is very subtle, which, I realized during my ‘re-read’, may be the reason
why people just don’t seem to get it. It’s more than a brief affair between a
bored wife, who is looking for an adventure of the physical kind and this sexy
photographer who just happens to be there. Look at Francesca’s history, her
brief relationship with this artist that her parents brought to an end, the
circumstance under which she married Richard, the soldier, her passion for
teaching and literature and the idea that she had to give it all up and settle
in this small American town as a farmer’s wife. She was indeed unhappy with the
marriage. But Francesca wasn’t ‘looking’ for an affair. She liked her life, the
people were ‘nice’, she never really thought about how much she had had to
change, till the interesting (not just sexy) photographer asked her how she
found Iowa. Robert Kincaid reminded her of something she had let go of a long
time ago – passion: the physical stuff was one part of it. It’s easy to scoff
at an affair, and much easier to ignore why she was lead to it.

People have said it was morbid, the way she told her children of her affair in
the letter. The letter had such a homey air to it, it was funny, awkward and
very open and that is exactly the sort of relationship a woman like Francesca
would have formed with her children. The movie version of it bothered me –
especially Michael’s reaction.

The movie really was as good as the book, and I hardly ever say this about any
adaptation. Even the additions made, apart from Francesca’s little outburst in
the middle, were fitting. My biggest criticism for the book was that Francesca
never made anything out of the love that she developed for Robert other than
treasuring the memory. She just remained this sad, depressing person, with nothing good in her life but the memory of those four days. In the movie, though, she goes out of her way to form a
bond with the woman who has been shunned by the town.

I thought the book was very well written, the prose is perhaps a little too
poetic at times, but the tension never weakens. The book is very quotable and
it is one of the rare occasions when that is actually a good thing. The book
had its flaws, of course, but overall, considering how hugely soppy romances could be,
I thought this one was pretty good. 

House of Cards by Ilana Waters

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: Eighteen-year-old Sherry has just begun her newly
independent life in Paris when she is kidnapped by a group of vampires.
They hold her hostage in the House of Cadamon, their catacomb lair beneath the
city, ruled with an iron fist by a leader known as ‘the Master.’

The only thing keeping Sherry alive is her ability to tell
vampire fortunes through tarot cards, a task she is forced to perform night
after night. She finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a four-hundred-year-old
reluctant blood drinker who is as much a prisoner of Cadamon as she is.
Things get even more complicated when Sherry and Lucas begin
falling for each other—hard. Will they be able to keep Sherry alive long enough
for them both to escape the House of Cadamon? Or will the Master and his band
of evil minions succeed in controlling the lives of the young lovers—by
whatever means necessary?
With its breathtaking Parisian setting,
fast-moving plot, and strong-willed heroine, this paranormal romance will
keep you spellbound!

My Thoughts: When I found this book waiting for me in my inbox this morning, it occurred to me that I had about three hours before I had to leave. Obviously, I spent my time devouring the entire book. It’s your typical paranormal romance (though I admit, I’m still not quite familiar with the genre), albeit not too typical. The sexy, troubled vampire has become an overly used stock character lately, and I was sorry to see that Ilana has made her lead (Lucas) little more. You also have the Master and his followers, including a puppy-dog loyal female vampire and I guess that all does sound very typical. I just think that dismissing this book with a simple, “I don’t like vampire romances.” would be silly; while it does have some of the stereotypes, it is unique in many ways!

First, when reading these new style of teen / YA paranormal romances, I’ve always noticed how fine these girls seem to be with the idea of vampires, the knowledge that the guys they so love are supernatural creatures. It all seems highly unrealistic, and so, incredibly shallow – by giving Sherry a certain vague idea beforehand of the existence of the supernatural, inexplicable abilities of her own, Ilana has managed to make Sherry’s experience at the House of Cadamon and her reactions very convincing. I really liked Sherry. I liked the idea that the reason for her loneliness, her feeling lost is explained and it couldn’t be more realistic – losing her sister to an accident, not having managed to let go of her even after six years. The emotions are dealt with wonderfully and it is more than ‘just another teenage problem’. The romance that slowly develops between Lucas and Sherry is not just out of attraction or infatuation but has more to do with finding someone to be close to and finally moving on. It’s one of the reasons why I liked the book.

Lastly, I have to admit, I still do like Ilana’s middle grade fantasy a lot more, but probably only because it’s more of a my kind of genre. Obviously, the one thing that stood out to me the most in this book, was the writing style. It is very fluid and the descriptions of Paris are fantastic. The dialogue is really well written, every character has their own way of talking and it tells a lot about them. But most of all, the writing is just delightfully witty. It genuinely makes you laugh! And who wouldn’t want to read such a book? Grab your copy right here!

The Burning Bush by Kenya Wright

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: The book is set in Santeria, a caged city for supernaturals. Soon after the humans discovered the existence of supernaturals, there were the Human-Supe wars, in which the humans, with the advantage of having weapons, won. Now, throughout the world there are caged cities, where the supernaturals are contained by the humans and are allowed to lead their lives. They have their own society and rules and have also got human cops called habbies. There are two types of supernaturals, the purebloods and the mixbreeds. Lanore Vesta is a Mixie with the power to control fire, and has spent the first book in this series (Fire Baptzied) helping Rivera, a habbie, solve a murder mystery, with the help of her boyfriend Zulu and and ex-boyfriend MeShack, a were-cheetah.

In The Burning Bush, two girls have been found murdered and tied to the eponymous burning bushes. The fire is intact and the bodies are unharmed, leading Lanore and Rivera to the conclusion that this is an act involving magic. As Lanore tries to solve this mystery, she has other problems to deal with. Lanore and her friends have to try and take down a scary, age-old vampire businessman Dante Botelli. Lanore becomes involved in a dangerous turf war with disastrous consequences for all of them.

My Thoughts: Wow, I did not expect to like the book quite so much. I certainly did not expect to almost turn into a desperate fangirl waiting for the next book. Here’s what I thought:

What I liked: Let’s start with the cover; I think it’s great, and I don’t usually like the covers of most contemporary YA/urban fantasies. Most of them have pictures of girls in huge gowns or couples staring at each other. I like how this cover displays one of the key scenes in the book. The book began with a bang. I liked the action and the fact that the author has maintained a fast pace till the very end. This book gives us a much greater insight into the world of Santeria and the work put into creating an intricate world is evident throughout. Not having read much from this genre, I still couldn’t say if the concept of this world, its history and creatures are altogether unique but I do like the way it is written. The idea of Human-Supe Wars and caged cities is fascinating. The traits and behaviour of the old characters are consistent with the first book, though many back-stories are revealed, which I found interesting. The characters that are newly introduced are also well written. I liked the way the author uses this world to draw parallels with ours. There are so many underlying themes in the book, like family, race, abuse, justice. But the message is sent without making it too obvious, unlike in most books and I like the discrete symbols more than anything.

What I didn’t like: The love triangle and the throwing around of “I love you”s reminded me of Twilight (in a bad way.) I don’t think there was any other purpose of Lanore not being able to choose between MeShack and Zulu other than to attract readers (the kind who like Twilight.) It was also sort of sickening to see an otherwise uncharacteristically strong and confident woman to turn weak and desperate around both of the men. Not to mention, the fact that the only way she was ever able to say “No” to either of them was by burning them. If only the author had cut down on the mushy romance a bit, this book might have been a lot more interesting, but that might just be my opinion. Another thing I absolutely loathed was the cliffhanger ending. The only reason I avoid reading series is because there is a chance that the ending might be left hanging and I was extremely furious when I realized that this book did not have a conclusion. It is infuriating to have to wait for an entire new book to release to find out what happens next. Every book in a series should stand alone.

Thanks to that cliffhanger ending, it is no wonder that I’m going to read the next book. If you are a fan of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, I’m sure you’ll like this book. I recommend you to start reading the series too before the third book comes out! Grab your copies right here.

Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

Summary (partly from here): Since
the 1970s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver
brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species. Lanore Vesta
is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens
shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire
only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop
having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress,
she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to
stop finding dead bodies in her apartment. Enlisting help from her
Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend MeShack and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she
is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence
sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her
The book has a fast pace, it begins with action, rather than
an introduction to this new world we’re in. The characters are strong and
realistic, in that, in spite of the stereotypical traits, they do manage to
surprise you. The book deals with race and gender and discrimination in a clear
way, without overdoing any of it. I found the romance, sex and the love
triangle a bit overdone, unnecessary and irritating, but that may just be
because I don’t like romance novels. I couldn’t say the idea of this book
is different or new, because I can’t really confirm that, but it is genuine. It
makes sense and it seems complete and well thought out. It also creates a
perfect place to set a series in, with endless possibilities. I would love to
find out what happens next! 
Let me just say: this is not the kind of book that I usually
read. I can think of many people who can overlook the problems I had with it
and find it amazing. If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, urban fantasy fiction,
contemporary fiction, do make it a point to read this book – it’s one of the
better ones. For me, though, it’s both good and bad at the same time. It’s the
first book in a series, and the one thing that makes me lean more towards
calling it good, is the fact that I definitely want to read the sequel. And I hope you do too, because Book Two, titled The Burning Book is coming out in mid-September.  
You can buy Fire Baptized (Book One) here. Go read it before the next one comes out! For more reviews, visit Goodreads.

Reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina

I spent a little over a month reading Anna Karenina, hoping
and praying for the book not to end. It was my first Tolstoy, and I have to
say, one of the best reading experiences of my life. Tolstoy is known,
according to that little book analysis at the beginning of my edition (I can’t
seem to remember who has written it) for his ability to make fiction seem real,
and the characters do almost walk right off the pages. I am certain, that Anna
Karenina is one of the best works of literary realism.
Someone asked me a while ago what the book was about, and my
reply, “A love affair and the social and personal disasters it leads
to” just didn’t seem to cut it. It is a book about an entire Society, I
would now say. Religion, politics, marriage, happiness, insecurity, death,
aristocracy, social obligation and everything in between. I used to think it
was beautiful and amazing how writers can come up with a whole new world, a
bizarre, fantastic world; which is why fantasy was my favourite genre. I think
now, that it is much harder to come up with a world that so closely resembles
real life. To write an (almost) nine hundred pages-long story, with not just a
single one-directional plot, but a combination of the lives and concerns of
about fifty characters, strung together by the fact that they live in the same
Tolstoy managed to keep me engaged the entire time, because
it was not just a world entirely new to me, but a world that might just have
been real once upon a time. Fascinating. The writing had an amazing flow to it,
and I would like to believe that little was lost in translation. The book was a
page-turner, but not in the sense that I wanted to find out how it ends, but
because I wanted to find out just what happens next. I loved that the book
wasn’t only about the charming Anna Karenina and her tragic love affair with
Count Vronsky. What wonderfully contrasted the story of Anna Karenina, was that
of Konstantin Levin, (possibly my favourite character) the socially inept
landowner, who is more or less a representation of every individual’s search
for some substantial meaning of life.
Ultimately, the one thing that hit me the most about the
book, is what Tolstoy has to say about family. It is a book about different
people, their lives intersecting by a matter of chance, coping with their
everyday problems, while their fates are decided by the already defined
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is
unhappy in its own way.”
Tolstoy’s ability to describe even the littlest of things in
a way that you feel you’re actually there is commendable. You realize so much
about the characters just from the way they move, sit, talk. Throughout the
book, Tolstoy has described things from the outward social view as well as
given you a glimpse into the characters’ minds, their thoughts, opinions, their
seemingly unpredictable decisions. You also see, and this was the one thing I
really appreciated, the different characters from each other’s viewpoints. I
think that gives the most insight into the way people think, the quick
judgments we make, the small insecurities, envy, jealousy, anger. I was really
amazed at how precisely the author has displayed the emotions flowing through a
person at every stage, how well he has shown arguments and fights and little
bursts of anger.

The story gave me so much to think about; I have been
chewing my brain on the contents of this book since last night (when I finally
finished reading it.) In all probability, I have yet to grasp many aspects of
the book. Some things might strike me later, or when I read the book all over
again. But there’s one thing I am entirely sure of at this moment, (and it
isn’t just the post-reading excitement talking) this is the most amazing book I
have ever read and I would love to re-read and re-experience it!

(I have the Back to Classics Challenge to thank for, without which I would never have taken up the daunting task of reading this enormous book!)

An Untimely Love by Tendai Huchu

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

About the book: An Untimely Love is a thriller-romance novel published in 2010, written by Zimbabwean author Tendai Huchu. It’s basically a combination of suspense, mystery, romance and a dash of terror! You can buy it here.

Summary: An Untimely Love is the story of a suicide bomber, Khalid Patel, who, like the title suggests, falls in love at just the wrong time. The terrorist is caught between fulfilling his mission and saving his new marriage.

Love can find us in the most unusual of circumstances. This is what happens to Khalid Patel, a terrorist, when he falls in love with Smokey, a feisty and independent young woman who was to be Britain’s first female suicide bomber. On what is meant to be his day of martyrdom, his violent worldview is thrown into turmoil. We share his thoughts as Death and Duty become irrevocably and movingly entwined with Love and Life.”
My thoughts: Suicide isn’t as easy as it seems. The basic thing that I realized while reading the story, is that the love wasn’t all that untimely. The man was about to kill himself; the survival instinct kicked in, and his untimely marriage was like the last desperate attempt to cling on to life. It is pretty justified, that he fell in love with a fellow “martyr”; someone going through the exact same things that he was; someone worth staying alive for. I don’t usually like romance novels, but this one I did like; it’s very believable.
I think it was a great idea to write the story from the point of view of a terrorist; a bad guy. Through the first half of the novel, I kept thinking that the main character was a big hypocrite; but I guess it’s not always that simple. I mean, we too sometimes do things that we have no justification for; that we hate ourselves for doing. Sometimes we just have to get over our mistakes and move on, change ourselves. Sometimes, we realize that we are just pawns in some huge scheme; that we’re in way over our heads. If it could happen to us, it’s easily possible, that it’s happening to many of the so-called “bad guys” out there; just that their mistakes and schemes are a lot bigger. The world isn’t divided into good guys and terrorists. The story made me realize that things just aren’t that black and white. To sum up this blabber, I have to say the story made me think; a lot. I like books that do that.
I also liked the way the writer has focused only on the key characters. The story is centered around a bunch of characters, and it doesn’t stray from them. I would have liked to see the characters develop a bit more, though; I would have liked a better character arc. I also would have appreciated a bit more background info, and a deeper look into the workings of such terrorist groups!
The book is a quick read. What is lacks in prose, it makes up for in the quick pace and the strong plot. I like twist endings, and this one didn’t disappoint me at all! The book is like nothing I have read before. All in all, it’s an enjoyable read!

Stephen King’s 11.22.63 – A long overdue review/rant

I have been putting off publishing this review for so long. It’s just been lying in my drafts and I have read it time and again, wondering why it just doesn’t seem right. You know, it’s difficult to write a review that does justice to such a long book – long, not only because of the number of pages, but because of the content. Let’s just say, your everyday non-Stephen King author could have easily made three books out of it – for instance, a love story, a science fiction book and a historical fiction novel.

Now I have decided to scrap the “About the book + Summary + My Thoughts” review format and write this instead. I have just read horror fiction by Stephen King, along with a couple of non-fiction books. I haven’t read the Dark Tower series, so I had no idea what to expect from a combination of science fiction and King. I read about King’s upcoming book on New York Times and I just had to get my hands on it; which I did manage to, thanks to someone who (apparently) noticed my silent plea in the form of a Facebook link of the review.
Anyway, right from the cover, the book is fascinating. The first thing that caught my attention were the lines: The day that changed the world. What if you could change it back?
And that is basic plot of the book. The “What If?” When Jake Epping is led to a time portal by one of his friends, when he is asked to go back in time, to Dallas, to the day that changed the world, and save John Kennedy – what does Jake Epping do? Does Jake Epping decide to take the fate of the world in his hands and stop JFK’s assassination? Can he go through with his plan?
Like I said, 11.22.63 is not just science fiction. It’s one of those very long stories by Stephen King that you wouldn’t want to carelessly throw into one genre. Jake Epping is a very lovable old character. He is an English teacher from Maine, with a failed marriage, and not much to look forward to in this time. When he discovers the time portal, the ‘rabbit-hole’ as it is called, he finds a purpose. I mean, really, wouldn’t you say yes if someone proposed the idea of going back and changing history? And how bad could it be? – in case of this rabbit-hole, whatever time (weeks or years) you go back for, when you return, you have always only been away for two minutes. There’s a catch of course, but Epping doesn’t know it yet…
Saying anything else would qualify as a writing a spoiler, and I try to avoid that. In the rest of the book, you watch (well, read) history unfold. I have always loved Stephen King’s characters, but this is one book where I appreciated the scenery just as much. You feel as if you are experiencing history along with the lead character (Epping, who now prefers to be called George Amberson.) The romance, though quite natural for such a book about time travel, did get a little too soppy for my taste for a while. The explanation for the concept of time travel and the rabbit-hole, which is not revealed till the very end, is very intriguing – actually, it is also a bit confusing, I had to re-read it a couple of times.
Along with everything else in the book (the Sci-Fi, romance and history) there is that suspense that builds up until the very end. The What If? That’s what kept my nose buried in the book throughout – even through those few parts that seemed sort of unnecessary. King surprised me till the very end, when I decided I already knew what was going to happen, when I decided it was now sort of obvious… the surprises kept coming.
The ending is lovely, if you do ever decide to read the book (and I think you should!) don’t give up halfway through. Even though the length is intimidating, the end is worth it.

Only Love by Erich Segal (Mini Review)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at MizB’s Should Be Reading. My teaser this week is from Erich Segal’s Only Love.

“There is a popular legend about a graduate student who entered the genetic engineering lab at Harvard twenty years ago and has never emerged. Some say he is still there, eyes welded to an electron microscope, desperately seeking a particularly fugitive gene.”

The story is about two doctors, Matthew and Silvia, who fall in love in Africa. It is a reality of their own, away from the rest of the world. Their perfect illusion breaks when they are driven apart during some bloodshed, and Matthew is left alone to mourn. Even today, Matthew Hiller, one of the best neurosurgeons ever, is haunted by the memories of his lover. He faces the worst time of his life, when he realizes that his new patient, a dying woman with a brain tumor is no stranger, after all.

I always stayed away from romance as a genre for fear of pseudo-intellectual, mushy, dramatic writing, designed to make people cry. Only Love by Erich Segal is the first love story I have ever dared to read. And I have to admit, I was mildly surprised. It didn’t have any of the drama I was expecting. It is a quick read. The book is funny and romantic and quite believable. I actually loved the fast paced writing style and the fact that it didn’t bring me to tears. This is what all love stories should be like, instead of the usual raging sob stories!