Review: The Rise of Sivagami by Anand Neelakantan

About the Book:

The Rise of Sivagami (Baahubali: Before the Beginning, Book 1)

Blessed by the sacred Gauriparvat, Mahishmathi is an empire of abundance. The powerful kingdom is flourishing under its king, who enjoys the support and loyalty of his subjects, down to his lowly slaves. But is everything really as it appears, or is the empire hiding its own dirty secret?

Orphaned at a young age and wrenched away from her foster family, Sivagami is waiting for the day she can avenge the death of her beloved father, cruelly branded a traitor. Her enemy? None other than the king of Mahishmathi. With unflinching belief in her father’s innocence, the fiery young orphan is driven to clear his name and destroy the empire of Mahishmathi against all odds. How far can she go in her audacious journey?

From the pen of masterful storyteller and bestselling author Anand Neelakantan, comes The Rise of Sivagami, the first book in the series Baahubali: Before the Beginning. A tale of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal, the revelations in The Rise of Sivagami will grip the reader and not let go.

My Thoughts:

I am sure all of you out there have watched Baahubali 1 and 2. Most of us have come to love the characters but as with most movies, we do not get to know some of the characters well. In this case, with the focus of the movie plot on Baahubali (first the father and then the son – who share the same second name), we are introduced to some very strong and compelling characters about whom we don’t know much.

This book, the first in a trilogy, seeks to close the gaps and give us an insight into those characters who definitely need to be explained. The major questions of – Who are they? Where are they from? How did they get to where they are today? – are brought up and the author seeks to give us the answers.

Sivagami, the strong-willed lady, who is ruthless with her decisions, is a woman who brings out the curiosity in people. Since the movies do not give us anything about her or how she came to be the Queen, this book tells us her story. A girl from humble beginnings, with a thirst for revenge, Sivagami is portrayed as head strong and determined. She takes her time to plot and plan, showing us the strength and cunning in her nature while at the same time, we are shown how much she cares for her friends and can go to any length to protect them.

The book also talks about Kattappa in his youth, at a time when he is just starting out, along with intricate details about his life, his father and brother. It is a completely different person that we are shown, which might take you by surprise, but remember, he is still an unsure youth, trying to understand and find his place in the world. His part of the story, running parallel, talks about his struggle to accept the way the world is.

This prequel has a lot of subplots and twists, bringing out the darkness of the times and the conspiracies and corruption behind the doors of the kingdom. Everyone has an agenda and something to hide. The characters are all portrayed in shades of grey, making us believe that they aren’t as bad as they actually are. Though the story is well written, there are many times when many of the characters introduced do not inspire empathy, in-spite of the dire circumstances. There is so much that seems to be cluttered together into this first part. It feels more like a rant on the system than a portrayal of emotions that arise due to the circumstances, with the nobles and the slaves, and then those who take advantage of and abuse their power!

Pushing these flaws to the side, the story has immense potential and brings out a feeling of nostalgia and a slight sense of satisfaction of knowing who these characters are. Of course, this is just the beginning, there is more to come!

 

Enjoy the ride with Crossline by Russ Colchamiro

About the Book:

Hotdog pilot Marcus Powell has been chosen to test Taurus Enterprises’ prototype craft Crossline and its newly developed warp thrusters. But during the flight something goes incredibly wrong, forcing Powell into a parallel universe.

Soon after he lands on that strangely altered Earth, Powell reluctantly teams up with a trigger happy rebel leader, a pot-smoking shaman, a crafty pie-maker, and a weary solider who hates his guts — all to survive an epic battle he may have been destined for all along!

Meanwhile, back home, reclusive oil tycoon and Taurus CEO Buddy Rheams Jr. — who sent Powell on that very mission — has a mysterious past and a secret agenda, one that could prevent Powell from ever making it back to his wife and little girl.

From author Russ Colchamiro, CROSSLINE is the exciting tale of two ambitious men — and two mirror worlds — linked across time and space in a way neither of them could ever have imagined.

Because once you’ve crossed the line, can you ever really go back?

For the CROSSLINE book trailer, visit: youtu.be/mJ8fey7_4VA

My Thoughts:

Crossline will introduce the reader to a world of space travel, wormholes and parallel universes. A well-written novel, it proves to be entertaining as well as interesting in concept and nature. The story revolves around the concept of adventurous time travel and warring communities.

How does a person deal with an alternate reality to his original one? How is one sure that the people they have left behind are still waiting for them? How do we deal with the existence of someone just like us, just in a different reality?

Marcus Powell, who takes off in a space ship, out to test the new technology of warp thrusters, finds himself entering a wormhole and ends up on an “Earth” that’s not his “Earth”. We are then taken along on his journey of understanding and acceptance as he tries to wrap his head around the unimaginable. In parallel, we are introduced to Buddy Rheams Jr., a man shrouded in mystery and responsible for the existence of the space ship – Crossline. The story brings out the similarities and differences between many of the characters central to this plot.

The author brings to us highly advanced technology, in this delightful story, with well developed and complex characters who do know how to “CHILL” ! A lot happens in the story running with parallel lines and situations, culminating in the end. Jesse, Powells’ daughter is an entertaining child who adds color to the story and brings out how the concept of spirituality and belief can make a large difference.

Overall interesting and entertaining, Crossline is worth a read!

Becoming Assiya – The Story of the Children of War by Simran Keshwani

Title –  Becoming Assiya – The Story of the Children of War

Author  – Simran Keshwani

Genre – Dystopian Fiction

eBook Published at – VoiceVerso.com

About the Book:

“The Past is always in a discordant love with the present. And it is upto us to unleash its secrets, and learn from it, not repeat it.”

Becoming Assiya is the story of a misplaced Syrian refugee and her trial with a past of Blood, wounds, War, Doubt and Hatred and the troublesome Hope of a better tomorrow. The woman’s journey encompasses through the landscape of Wartime Syria, through her mother’s journal and the rebuilding of a Post War identity for a land washed with blood, and what it meant to be alive, stuck in the middle with No Identity and Struggle, two complex concepts intermingle in this book and intersect at a common point, that of finding yourself.”

The book is available for purchase on:
1) Amazon (Kindle ) USA
2) Amazon (Kindle) India
3) Kobo
4) Barnes & Nobles
5) Smashwords

Find the book on Goodreads

About the Author:

Simran Keshwani, 20, is a Final Year literature student at the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi and has been engaged in social activism. She plans on changing the world, one word at a time.

Follow Simran:

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About Voice Verso:

Voice Verso is  an innovative Startup that provides eBook Publishing & marketplace for authors.
Using their proprietor DIY (Do it Yourself) Drag & Drop flipbook based writing canvas, authors can interact & publish their eBooks & sell them online. If you wish to try out the platform and kickstart your eBook Publishing journey, you can request an invite

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Delve into the depths of history with The Boy from Pataliputra by Rahul Mitra

About the Book:

The Boy from Pataliputra

It is 326 BC and Alexander, the barbarian king of Macedonia, has descended upon Bharatvarsha with a multi-national horde of Yavanas, Pahlavas, Shakas and Bahlikas.

As the invader advances relentlessly and wins bloody battles in quick succession, as local rulers fall over each other to shake hands with the enemy and as the students of Takshashila University break into open revolt, one young man is faced with a terrifying choice, a choice that threatens to tear his carefully constructed world apart. for Aditya is the boy from Pataliputra, the boy who was once a reckless and carefree aristocrat, but who has now been forced to become a man with a purpose to fight for honour and love.

With a sweeping narrative and interesting everyday characters like the smelly old dhaba owner Tanku, Philotas the unlucky Greek soldier, the no-nonsense medical student Radha, Pandi the hard drinking mercenary and the lovely Devika, the Boy from Pataliputra is the mesmerizing story of a young man’s growth to maturity, but also, equally, a story about the rise of a nation.

My Thoughts:

Delve into the depths of history and a different phase in India’s story. The Boy from Pataliputra mianly focuses on Aditya Vikram, a young carefree, reckless boy, forced to grow up and learn the ways of life. It is a story of life, learning, finding a purpose, but this is not the entire plot. In addition, there is a deeper plot dealing with Alexander’s invasion of India. However, in this book, we are given but a glimpse of him and his army, focusing more on life in Takshashila.

It is evident that the author has done copious amounts of research before writing this book, ensuring that a lot of points are historically correct and also that the way of life is as accurate as possible. The techniques of sword fighting are also explained in great depth with a strong attention to detail. Of course, with the allowance of creative liberty and interpretation, there may be some differences in character sketches, even among the characters whose names we are familiar with. The author slowly introduces us to various well-known people like Charaka, Chanakya, Chandragupta, all at various stages of the story.

The story begins by introducing the reader to Aditya, his brother and the way of life in Pataliputra. When his brother is wrongly framed and hanged, Aditya is taken away from there by trusted friends and sent to Takshashila, with the advice to wait and learn. He is told that someday he might get his chance for revenge, but first he needs to prepare and live his life a little. As he journeys, he learns the meaning of hardship, hardwork and a way to deal with his new life. Slowly, we see him grow into a different and better human being, careful, and loyal. But as this progresses, we also meet Pandi, who takes over his training and responsibility for him, making him into the man he becomes. We also meet a number of people who are integral to this story and who compliment Aditya’s beliefs and support in bringing out his character.

As previously mentioned, though the major focus is on Aditya, the reader is given a glimpse into how the nation can rise and come together, into new beliefs and the advocacy of one country! The final Battle of Hydapses, gives us a glimpse into the invasion led by Alexander and gives us a taste of what is to come in the next books! The Boy from Pataliputra is a well-written story with some wonderful messages of learning. The story flows well and is simply written. It’s a refreshing and enjoyable read, not only for history buffs, but for those who would love to know more about a time in India’s history that isn’t generally touched upon in books!

Release Blitz: Amniwar by Adam Reese

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33957848Amniwar by Adam Reese

Genre: Science Fiction Suspense
Series: Amniwar Trilogy, Book One
Publication Date: February 21, 2017

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Humans are in danger of extinction due to the multiple world wars that have progressively shaken the fabric of society. The government discovers a leak, leading them to a Navy Captain’s son, Aaron Lambright. Their desperate actions to bring silence to the secret Aaron holds is only the beginning of a sinister plot to bring the nation kneeling before tyranny.

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Book Review: A Kind of Woman by Helen Burko

About the Book:

A Kind of Woman

He is married to the Devil, but can he be her advocate?

Jacob Barder, a successful New York attorney, returns home to New York after being trapped in Europe during the Second World War and miraculously surviving the Holocaust. Barder does not return alone: with him is his new wife, Rachel, a beautiful blonde woman whom he met in Warsaw shortly after the war – a Jewish survivor who lost her entire family and remained alone in the world. Jacob fell in love with her and brought her to the states. Now he will defend her in the biggest battle of her life.

A Jewish lawyer’s wife is accused of committing Nazi war crimes

One evening, in a Broadway theater, Rachel is attacked by a woman who accuses her of being Matilda Krause – a German SS officer who served at the Nazi concentration camps. Rachel’s arrest and police investigation open the way to a sensational trial that will be written in the pages of history. With no one willing to protect a Nazi officer, Barder decides to defend his wife himself. Why would a Jewish survivor speak for a Nazi in the court of law? Barder is called to make an impossible case in the name of his beloved wife, and that of humanity altogether. The jury, the judge, and the readers will be astounded by what he has to say.

My Thoughts:

 A Kind of Woman is set in post WWII Europe, following the aftermath of the Holocaust. An American lawyer, Jacob, having traveled to Europe with his wife and child for a vacation, ends up a prisoner in one of the camps and manages to emerge alive. He however loses his family to the war and while trying to find his way back to America, he encounters Rachel, a beautiful woman with an intriguing mind. They are drawn to each other and become inseparable. As the story unfolds, the author holds off on sharing too much with the reader about Rachel, who ends up being an enigma until the last few chapters when all is revealed.

The author brings out the devastation the war caused, the effect it had on the lives of people and the world. The reader is drawn into a world that is mistrusting, skeptical and where emotions rule the mind instead of intellect. The description of the post war scenario is detailed and ensures that the reader will be affected just as much the people were.

I was not very taken by Rachel character. She seemed too flighty and like a spoilt child who cannot make up her mind. Her way of talking and antics were in no way endearing. Jacob on the other hand was interesting with a strong and pleasing personality. Also, the author uses a lot of repetition throughout numerous paragraphs to emphasize the same point over and over which made me want to stop reading.

Moreover, the first half of the story did not hold my attention much and made me question the point of the story. The second half of the story, after the couple reaches America takes a turn for the better. The plot starts moving at a fast pace, and though there is a lot of repetition and some unnecessary things, the court case is rather well explained. It forms the crux of the story and the author has highlighted some points that I believe should be noted by all and thought about.

Jacob’s ideas and beliefs and in the end, his decision to defend his wife, who was a German SS officer is questioned by the world. However, his defense and the way he handles it make this story worth the read. He raises many relevant questions and puts forth intellectual ideas rather appealing to the emotions of the people as the prosecution does. In the end, the story is not about whether the two characters end up together, it is more about how the war affected the lives of people and their ideas.

Overall, this is a decent read and may appeal to History buffs and those who are fans of the genre.

In Conversation with E.S. Ready

We have had the pleasure of talking to E.S. Ready about the author’s life, writing and interests. Read on to know more.

Find my review of Until Someday on the blog. The review is also available on Goodreads and Amazon.com

The next book by the author, titled Crywood, is expected to be released in July this year!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

         I graduated from the University of New Haven in 2011 (A lifetime ago it seems) with a degree in Criminal Justice. Back when I was searching for colleges I wanted to be an English major. I was convinced the pursuit would be fruitless. The Criminal Justice major was ultimately fruitless so I wrote Until Someday. Funny how the world works. I wanted to become a cop and I became a plumbing apprentice for my father’s business and a writer of stories people seem to enjoy.

  1. How did you get into writing?

         I didn’t really get into writing, writing got into me. Don’t worry… it was consensual. Writing has been a part of me ever since I can remember. I always had a fondness and appreciation for stories and telling them, whether it was with a pen or in a social setting. I unfortunately ignored it for a huge chunk of my life and then Until Someday arrived like an overdue baby.

  1. What are your favorite genres and your favorite books?

          My favorite genres are mystery, crime, historical, action/adventure and some horror. I’m a sucker for a realistic romantic subplot. I’ll read just about anything accept fantasy or BDSM crap.

          My favorite author is Dennis Lehane. I’m also pretty fond of Richard Matheson and Charles Bukowski, two very different writers. I of course admire guys like Stephen King and Dan Brown. Its important to read a variety, you grow more as a writer that way. Some of my favorite books include the Kenzie/Gennaro series by Lehane, I Am Legend by Matheson, and Women by Bukowski.

  1. How did you get the idea for Until Someday?

       I’ve always been fascinated by the first half of the 20th Century. The 1920s, 30s and 40s were an especially interesting and tough time to be alive. The roaring twenties gave us the splendor of The Great Gatspy. Two of my favorite movies growing up were Key Largo and Die Hard. I guess you could say Until Someday is a sort of the oddball offspring of Gatspy, Die Hard and Key Largo.

  1. Tell us about your research process into the year the book is set in.

       Thank God for the internet. I found everything that I needed to find far faster than I would if I’d written this book even fifteen years ago. Having said that, that doesn’t mean it was easy. I had to get everything accurate or as damn close to accurate as possible. This meant materialistic things such as cars, clothing, guns and décor, but also language/ dialect. I wanted it to feel real an immersive. I wanted the reader to be right there in the action.

  1. Who is your favorite character among those you have created and why?

       I won’t include Emmett as an option for favorite. I don’t think its fair to include the main character of anything in a favorites contest since the reader spends more time with that person than anyone else. If my arm was being twisted I would have to say that Luther Irvin was the most fun to write. Actors often say its more fun to play a villain and now I see why. Unfortunately, the creation of Irvin’s character was bittersweet for me because I already knew how he would end up before I put him on the page.

  1. What do you find most difficult while writing a novel?

       Not much was difficult about actually writing it. Stories flow out of me pretty easily. Finding the time and place of peace to execute it wasn’t always easy. It will be harder in the future since I’m now working full time. But where there’s a will there’s a way.

  1. Do you have any advice to share about writing a novel?

       My best advice to anyone wishing to write a novel is to read a lot of novels. When you actually do write, start small with poems or short stories. If you do want to dive into writing a novel, try and keep it under 300 pages. Think shorter but dream big. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

 

The year that was…

With just 3 more days for the year 2016 to end, I thought it would be great to take a look back at some of the books that I enjoyed immensely throughout this year. It has been a good year where books are concerned. As many of you who may follow me on Goodreads or are my friends there may know, I managed to complete my target of 60 books for the year which is quite a personal achievement.

Read on the know about my favourite books of the year (in no particular order). I have picked out the books which have left a profound impact on me in some way, however minor it may be. All the books mentioned below have been previously reviewed on my blog. I have included a part of the review for each book as well. Click on each title to be directed back to my review of the respective book.

Many of the books I will list are based on real life, and many are just children’s stories. However all of them have inspired me and helped quench my thirst for reading.

Many of the books mentioned below were given to me by the authors in exchange for an honest review, while others I found on Goodreads and jumped at the chance to expand my horizons and tastes. I was certainly enchanted and happy with my choices.

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  • Under the Pong Pong Tree by Hal Levey This is a refreshing read and a breath taking, heart  stopping account of life faced during the WWII, and a look at a smaller war that most would not comment on.
  • The minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes – This book not only chronicles the life of Billy Milligan, it brings out the psychology of the mind in relation to MPD as well as how easy it is for people to brand someone a charlatan or an attention seeker without really understanding them. Moreover, through the eyes of Billy’s personalities, we can form a picture as to why each one came to exist and how they played a part in his life. We are indeed afraid of the unknown and I believe this book gives us great insight into one of the mysteries of the mind.
  • The Ones That Got Away by Suanne Laqueur – This book only adds to the beauty of the story Suanne has crafted and will make the reader love it more. It will no doubt leave the reader with a heavy heart, but it was worth it. The characters and chapters that were created and written but got left behind or removed from the story are well worth the effort of writing them. Sometimes, as Suanne has mentioned, it’s better to just write what you think and then see the usage later on. The bonus insight into Erik’s younger days when his father was still there and after he leaves are wonderful and I hope Suanne uses this in a story sometime in the future. I will say this, everyone should, at some point, read The Man I Love and enjoy this story and world as much as I have.
  • Delbert – The Reluctant Spy (book #1) by Marko Kitti – The story is filled with adventure and lots of humor as we follow Delbert on his journey towards becoming an international secret agent. It is written in Marko’s unique style, something you’d already recognize if you are, like me, a fan of the Jesper Jinx series and the language is simple and easy to follow. Overall this is a new series from Marko that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. It is an easy and entertaining read, even for those who are much older but have perhaps forgotten to grow up, just like me!
  • Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde – The story teaches us to ask questions, to seek for the answers before making a judgement call, to think before one acts. This is a wonderfully written book and will tug at your heart strings in more ways than you can imagine. It teaches the reader so many lessons that I highly recommend this book to everyone.
  • Love Warrior : A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton – 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.
  • Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero – 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.
  • The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna – It is a short book, with exactly 4 stories and can be read rather quickly. It would make a wonderful read while traveling. I think that every person should read this book as there is a lot to take away from the stories. There is much to learn and the author conveys the same without sounding preachy. Focusing on women empowerment and the important role that women play, the author has largely depicted the trials that women face in their everyday lives.
  • An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur – Upon reading the summary/synopsis of the story, one can figure out much about the plot and thus I will refrain from explaining more about it for fear of revealing everything. This book is not just a simple story, it is a journey that the reader must prepare themselves to embark on with no chance of return. The story will touch the reader in ways that they would not expect and there will be no chance of putting the book down. Even after finishing it, for a time, the reader will feel as though there is a void inside them and they need time to fill it up again and feel whole. These are the kind of emotions that Suanne inspires in the reader through her writing.

    Life is an unpredictable roller-coaster ride and all we can do is choose the paths we want to take at each cross-road and then live with our decisions.

  • The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One & Two by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr – This book continues on in chapters from where the previous left off. The authors flawlessly craft the story to take us further and draw us in. They maintain the playfulness and style of expression which is quite refreshing and enhance the concepts and story. It is easy to experience everything with the characters and this is one of the main things that drew my attention.The style of writing, the description about each projection only add to the soaring imagination of the reader. A wonderful feat achieved successfully by the authors. Kudos to the work they have done and the time they have spent in creating this world.It has been a while since reading Harry Potter, that a series in this genre has kept me hooked. I will say it again and again that this is one mega awesome read! Keep projecting and I hope that the next book comes out soon.

Please do share your thoughts and book recommendations for the next year are definitely welcome.

Moving on from that, I look forward to 2017 being a much better year for books. I hope that you all continue to support me and give me the same love that you have shown this year.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and trust.

Happy New Year in advance!

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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!

Book Review: Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

About the Book:

Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Ruth and her little brother, Aubrey, are just teenagers when their older brother ships off to Iraq. When Joseph returns, uninjured, only three and a half months later, Ruth is happy he is safe but also deeply worried. How can it be that her courageous big brother has been dishonorably discharged for refusing to go out on duty? Aubrey can’t believe that his hero doesn’t have very good reasons.

Yet as the horrifying details of the incident emerge, Joseph disappears. In their attempts to find him, Ruth and Aubrey discover he has a past far darker than either of them could imagine. But even as they learn more about their brother, important questions remain unanswered—why did he betray his unit, his country, and now his family? Joseph’s refusal to speak ignites a fire in young Aubrey that results in a disastrous, and public, act of rebellion.

The impact of Joseph’s fateful decision one night in Baghdad will echo for years to come, with his siblings caught between their love for him and the media’s engulfing frenzy of judgment. Will their family ever make their way back to each other and find a way to forgive?

My Thoughts:

I found this book on Amazon as a recommendation based on my previous search history. To be very frank, the synopsis caught my attention and I must admit, upon completing the book, I was simply blown away. This is an amazingly written book highlighting the bonds between siblings, the horrors faced in a war and the kind of scars left behind.

First off I will start with the style of writing. IT IS AMAZING. This is a moving, emotional roller coaster of a story. Joseph, the eldest of three is shipped off to Iraq and returns only months later. Ruth and her little brother Aubrey, still early teenagers at this stage struggle to understand the situation. Brought up in a family where one cannot ask questions, and nothing is discussed, they learn to keep shut. They do not know the importance of communication and sharing what is on their mind. This is something the children come to learn in time.

The parents are dealing with the repercussion of Joseph’s return, the press is sensationalizing the story, and the world has already decided his fate. He is due for a dishonorable discharge, but this turns into something far worse due to the deaths of two of his former squad mates. His choices set in motion a series of events that tugs apart at the very thin thread that binds his family together.

As the story progresses, Joseph turns himself in and goes to prison. His siblings are left wondering what happened and questioning his courage. His younger brother Aubrey, feels betrayed that his brother does not even want to see him and speaks out against him in public. The lack of communication allows a monster of hate to grow inside him which he carries for the next 9 -10 years. Ruth and Aubrey reach out to their aunt for help in trying to understand what’s happening. In all this, we meet Hamish, a wonderful person, who helps put things in perspective.

The story follows the siblings as they learn to deal with their feelings, confront each other, talk and thus find each other. The story teaches us to ask questions, to seek for the answers before making a judgement call, to think before one acts. This is a wonderfully written book and will tug at your heart strings in more ways than you can imagine. It teaches the reader so many lessons that I highly recommend this book to everyone. Thank you Catherine for writing this wonderful story.