Walking down memory lane

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and check out some really good books to read during your childhood. This post will be restricted to a few of my favorite books. I will do a follow-up post later to add on more books or else this will be a never-ending list. The books are mentioned in no particular order.

Books by Enid Blyton:

Enid Blyton is definitely my favourite childhood author. I have read almost all the books written by her and can pick these books up, even now and read them all over again. They are filled with fun, light humour, adventure and so much happiness. They are delightful and she created so many characters, that it is difficult not to fall in love with at least some of them.

Find out more about her books at http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/cave-of-books.php

Here are a list of series that are strongly recommended from the very bottom of my heart –

  • The St Clare’s series – A series of books chronicling the lives of girls studying at the boarding school St Clare’s. The books follow them through different years of study and the mischief they get up to brings out many a laugh. The main protagonists are the O’Sullivan twins.
  • The Malory Tower’s series – Similar in concept to the St Clare’s series, this is also a series about a boarding school. This series however follows the life of Darrell river’s as she works her way through each year of schooling along with the various kinds of girls she meets. A whole load of mischief awaits.

The above two series talk a lot about friendship, being truthful, faithful, finding oneself and growing up to be who you were meant to be.

  • The Famous Five – I am sure that most everyone knows of the Famous Five. Just mentioning the name of the series here should be enough of a memory trigger.
  • The Mystery Series (Five Find-Outers and Dog) – A series similar in style to that of the Famous Five, this series is still quite different. It consists of more adventure, disguises, investigation. If you haven’t read it yet, it is never too late!
  • The Adventure Series – A series of books about 4 children and the various adventures they end up on, though similar in the basic theme to the above two series, is once again quite different.
  • The Magic Faraway Tree – This book as well as the Folk of the Faraway Tree, is quite different from Blyton’s other books. These talk about various kinds of people who live in the tree and is quite enchanting to read. It will enhance a child’s imagination to a higher extent.

The Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene:

A famous series about a young girl, in her teens, interested in solving mysteries. She is accompanied by a group of friends and her boyfriend Ned. A rather charming set of books, this is definitely a series that one should have grown up with.

The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon:

A YA series about two brothers in their late teens involved in solving mysteries, this counts for quite a fascinating read.

The Three Investigators by Robert Arthur Jr.:

 A YA series about three boys, friends, who are vastly different in their abilities, come together to start an investigating agency complete with visiting cards for them all.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot:

A YA series about a girl who learns that she is a princess and has to deal with the responsibilities that come with the same. Written in the form of diary entries, this is a fun filled read.

Look out for the next post which will have more books. In the mean time, add on to this by sharing the various books you have read in your childhood and would like to recommend to me and to others.

Review: Two Graves by Zoe Kalo

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Title: Two Graves (Retribution Series #1)

Author: Zoe Kalo

Genre: Dark Psychological Suspense

Audience: New Adult/Adult

Word count: 18,000 words – 70 pages (short novella)

Launch date: October 1st 2016

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31840144-two-graves

Purchase on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Graves-Novella-Zoe-Kalo-ebook/dp/B01LDIXCR0

 About the Book:

A Dante-ish descent through a sinister world of decadent shadows and woeful souls…

Seven years ago, he shattered her life. The town eventually forgot the headlines and the nightmares. But 23-year old music student Angelica hasn’t forgotten.

For the past seven years, she’s contemplated payback with as much intensity and unwavering faith as she puts into her violin playing. Finally, all the pieces are in place. Over the course of one night, disguised for a masquerade ball, Angelica orchestrates a journey of revenge.

About the Author:

A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…

A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir. She is the author of the YA fantasy series CULT OF THE CAT.

Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web:

www.ZoeKalo.com / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I have previously read and reviewed Zoe’s Daughter of the Sun novel and I loved it immensely. So it only seemed fitting that I read this new book!

This fast paced novella is short and to the point. The plot is shrouded in darkness and sets the pace and tone right from the start. Angelica, the protagonist, is out to exact revenge and the story is set over the course of one day. A very accomplished violinist, she has the perfect plan or so she thinks. There are many references to Dante’s Inferno and the masquerade ball seems to be following the theme.

I found the story a tad bit difficult to follow when the author touched upon the past. That part of the story is a little unclear. It’s clear that something happened to the protagonist seven years ago for which she wants retribution now. However, the rest of the story is a well-written novella filled with some psychological suspense.

I loved the way the author sets the tone of the story and maintains it wonderfully throughout the book. It is easier to lose track of a plot line or plan in a novella as compared to a complete novel, but the author manages to keep on track. With all the pros and cons brought out, I do recommend this novella for all who like a good thriller. This is indeed a short read.

Review: Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero

About the Book:

Broken Angels

A Nazi doctor. A Jewish rebel. A little girl. Each one will fight for freedom—or die trying.

Imprisoned in the Lodz Ghetto, Elsi discovers her mother’s desperate attempt to end her pregnancy and comes face-to-face with the impossibility of their situation. Risking her own life, Elsi joins a resistance group to sabotage the regime.

Blonde, blue-eyed Matilda is wrenched from her family in Romania and taken to Germany, where her captors attempt to mold her into the perfect Aryan child. Spirited and brave, she must inspire hope in the other stolen children to make her dreams of escape a reality.

Willem, a high-ranking Nazi doctor, plans to save lives when he takes posts in both the ghetto and Auschwitz. After witnessing unimaginable cruelties, he begins to question his role and the future of those he is ordered to destroy.

While Hitler ransacks Europe in pursuit of a pure German race, the lives of three broken souls—thrown together by chance—intertwine. Only love and sacrifice might make them whole again.

My thoughts:

How would you feel to be imprisoned in a Ghetto with the bare minimum amount of food and clothing provided? How would you feel to be on the other side which is inflicting all this pain and horror?

How does one hurt people in the name of science and research? How did it feel to be a Jew or a German at the time of the Holocaust?

The above are just a few of the questions that the author has chosen to address in her book Broken angels. The story has 3 main protagonists and it is divided into chapters from each of their points of view. This heart-wrenching story, filled with raw emotions, touches on the topic of the lives of Jews and Germans alike, set in the time of the Holocaust. The three protagonists are brought together through various circumstances which alters their lives forever. The various people we meet along the way add some color to the plot and complement the setting.

A riveting story, this tells a tale of love, loss, heartbreak, sacrifice, death and cruelty among various other emotions.

The heinous acts by German doctors, justified as medical experimentation on women in Auschwitz was difficult to read about. The vivid and graphic descriptions of the reality of the situations and the kind of life people led, made the story darker and all the more chilling.

To be honest, I had to put up a fight with my sane self (or conscience) to read the book and at times I had to pause for a while to let go of the emotions that were building up while reading. Sometimes the plot sows down, but the author does justice in the way she has described each scene and the setting of the story.

I enjoyed this book immensely in-spite of  everything it portrays and I strongly urge you all to give this book a chance. It will be worth spending time on this book, it is truly about Broken Angels!

Review: One Night in Tehran by Luana Ehrlich

About the Book:

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Read the first novel in a new series of thrillers featuring intelligence officer Titus Ray.

Trained in lies, a covert agent learns the truth

Veteran CIA officer, Titus Ray–on the run from the Iranian secret police–finds shelter with a group of Iranian Christians in Tehran. While urging Titus to become a believer in Jesus Christ, they manage to smuggle him out of Iran to freedom in Turkey.

Will it help him deal with his past?

Returning to the States, he discovers his Iranian mission failed because of political infighting within the Agency. In a hot-tempered outburst, he delivers a scathing indictment against the Deputy Director of Operations, and, as a result, the deputy forces Titus to take a year’s medical leave in Oklahoma.

How will it change his future?

Before leaving Langley, Virginia, Titus learns he’s been targeted by a Hezbollah assassin hired by the Iranians. Now, while trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Christ, he must decide if the Iranian couple he meets in Norman, Oklahoma has ties to the man who’s trying to kill him, and if Nikki Saxon, a local detective with an intriguing past, can be trusted with his secrets.

My Thoughts:

Wow! I truly enjoyed reading this book to the extent that as soon as it was completed, I got the next book in the series and started reading it.

Titus Ray, a veteran CIA officer, is suddenly made aware of the meaning of religion and faith due to various circumstances. This in some ways slowly brings about changes in him. In parallel, he is forced to deal with the bureaucracy of his higher officials, which may have resulted in the failure of his mission. Titus is forced into taking medical leave due to an outburst, resulting in him moving away and facing his thoughts as well as living in a small town.

We are introduced to Nikki Saxon, a local detective, who is serious about her job and determined to see her job through. An encounter between Titus and Nikki leads to something more, something that would make Titus re-consider trusting a person. Titus also turns to faith and meets an Iranian couple at his church. A series of events are set off, bringing him and Nikki together and eventually leading to the abrupt end of his medical leave. All it took was one night, one experience, one mistake to change the course of Titus’ life.

A well- written novel, this is truly enjoyable and will take the reader on a wonderful journey. The characters are well developed and the plot is well thought out. This book ends with a strong lead to the next and will ensure that the reader will want to pick up the next and continue the journey.

I strongly recommend this book and the rest in the series. I will be writing a separate review for the next book in the series quite soon! Until then, please like, comment and share your thoughts if any.

Love Warrior : A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton

About the Book:

The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage.

Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out—three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list—her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.

Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another – and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, fall in love.

Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.

My Thoughts:

I came across this book on the Oprah’s Book Club group on Goodreads. The synopsis was compelling and being someone’s true life story, I felt the need to pick this book up and read it. I was into it from the moment I started reading and didn’t put it down until I completed reading it.

Glennon talks about finding herself when she hits rock bottom, how at each stage she is pulled down and tries to come up. She speaks so openly about her thoughts and emotions. She talks about finding God and how she keeps the faith. A raw approach to everything she has faced, written down so openly, it puts a lot of things in perspective. This book is not only for married couples, but for everyone who feel that they have lost their way. Through Glennon’s journey we learn of loving oneself, trusting in oneself and then learning to be comfortable with who we are.

This memoir, teaches us all to be warriors. We can all do it, even when one hits rock bottom, one can only go upwards from there. The writing is wonderful and through this, Glennon expresses deep emotions, sharing a lot of her experiences with us. The memoir will pull the reader into it, making us experience every single emotion that the author did, and at the end, it will spit the reader out, a different person. The entire book will touch you in ways you will not expect and is worth the time spent reading.

Bottom-line: Stay strong and stay positive. Things will work out in the end.