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Reviews Written by
Kali "bengaligirl" (United Kingdom)

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The Death Pit
The Death Pit
by Tony Strong
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read but an adult read, 22 Dec. 2007
This review is from: The Death Pit (Paperback)
This is a good mystery story but be aware, this is an ADULT book with adult themes in it, such as rape, child murder, torture etc.

The plot centers around an academic Terry Williams and her work on the life and times of Catherine McCulloch a Scottish lady of good birth who was tried as a witch in the 17th century.

Her death is linked somehow to the death of a modern day witch Donna who is part of a Wiccan cult whose body has been found in a "death pit" where the bodies of dead farm animals are flung. Another horrific discovery is the body of five babies, and the story takes you from the UK to Romania where children are sold for profit and the police think that human sacrifice is on the menu.

Without meaning too Terry gets sucked into the murder investigation, and she finds out that not all is as it seems and there are some pretty graphic scenes of muder, mayhem, rape and torture, not for the squeamish and certainly not for anyone under 16.

A good mystery story though, with twists and turns, a sting sting in the tale along with solid characters and pacy writing, a grim but good holiday read.

Daughter of the Ganges: The Story of One Girl's Adoption and Her Return Journey to India
Daughter of the Ganges: The Story of One Girl's Adoption and Her Return Journey to India
by Asha Miro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A search for one's birth identity, 22 Dec. 2007
This is a book about trying to find out about oneself, and Asha Miro is the young woman who is trying to piece together her fragmented past, from her life in India until she was six until the day she returned to India from Spain, in the hope of finding out more about her adoption, her birth family and why they had given her up.

This book is actually two books in one, the first being Daughter of the Ganges, which tells of Asha's initial journey back to India to find trace back the steps to her life in a Catholic orphanage, to the second book, Two Faces of the Moon, where she finds a sister she never knew exisited and realises that she has a whole "other" life that needs to be explored in detail.

Both books are fascinating, in the first book Asha paints a dour if not too unhappy picture of her life in an Indian orphanage which was run by Catholic nuns, who did their best with little they had for the girls in their charge. The seocond book deals with possible inaccuracies of the first book, Asha has memories of living in a two tiered institution, part orphanage, part school in which rich girls slept on beds and the orphans slept on the floor. However this was denied by some of the nuns, but Asha has clear memories that she does not doubt so we never know who was right and who was wrong but she handles this situation really well and slowly we move toward the meeting of Asha and her sister, also called Asha and the truth about her life before Spain is delicately told, by nuns, friends, and family members.

A wonderful book that is far from being sentimental, Asha has no illusions about her life, she is European and cannot give up the trappings of her westernised life but she promises herself she will not forget where she has come from and I would like to think that she keeps that promise, not just for herself but for the faily who lost her and then found her again after so many years.

The Jane Austen Book Club
The Jane Austen Book Club
by Karen Joy Fowler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An uninspiring read, 30 Nov. 2007
I had high hopes for this book but I have to admit I was really disappointed and I am now really glad that I got it as a promotional free book with a magazine rather than coughing up for it in a bookstore!

The somewhat insipid plot revolves around a group of people, five women, one guy who come together each month to discuss Jane Austen's many books from Emma to Mansfield Park.

We learn the personal histories of each character but to be honest you never care for any of them other than to think "Oh, so that is why he/she is the way he/she is."

I found I couldn't relate to any of the characters, they were all so one dimensional, reminded me of wooden skittles all in a row that you take pot shots at with a slingshot in the hope of knocking them over to hear them clatter to the ground.

My one favourite bit in the whole book was about the dog breeder who had a passion for Rodhesian Ridgebacks, now that was fun but it lasted all of a few pages and then we back into uninspriing blahdom where the skittles fall in and out of love/friendship, make unsuitable alliances in which some turn out okay in the end, and finally find what they are looking for, after a fashion.

All in all it was a dull read that does very little for the literary tastebuds. A shame really as the concept of a book club based on Jane Austen's books was a really good idea, it just fell down flat under the tutorledge of Karen Joy Fowler.

Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire
Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire
by Alex Von Tunzelmann
Edition: Hardcover

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising good read about the end of an era and the downfall of an Empire, 14 Nov. 2007
I attended a book signing event on the 13th November 2007 in Brighton were the author talked about the complexities of writing such an epic in which she looked at the dynamics that bought about the fall of an Empire and the most unlikely love story ever not to be reported by the press, that of Edwina Mountbatten and Nehru, India's first Prime Minister.

The book is surprisingly good, I have to confess I didn't have high hopes when I purchased it but the subject is of such interest to me I was willing to take a chance and buy it and I am glad I did.

Ms Von Tunzleman has a written a book that has obviously been researched extensively, both here in the UK and also in India and her candid no nonsense approach to all the subjects she touches, such as Hindu and Muslim hostilities, Mahatma Gandhi's strange predilections that made people both love and hate him, to the fate of the dispossessed, the love story between Nehru and Edwina makes it very interesting to read to the point that you can't put it down.

For a historian Ms Von Tunzleman has made this book very accessible to the ordinary reader, she goes into great detail but she is never boring as she explains how India became a British Empire and how when it finally crumbled into dust, it did so, so swiftly that no one, least of all the British were prepared for the backlash that was to follow.

A superb book with many photos of an era that depicts two nations in transition, India the Jewel in the Crown striking out on its own and Great Britain, suddenly realising that its days as the greatest Empire in the world have come to an end, not so much a tragedy as the inevitability of change in a world flinging of the chains of colonial paternalism.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2013 3:07 PM BST

by Taichi Yamada
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A modern Japanese ghost story, 2 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Strangers (Paperback)
A middle-aged, cynical and now divorced TV scriptwriter Harada is living a lonely life in his work-come-apartment when on the spur of the moment returns to the dilapidated downtown district of Tokyo where he grew up. Orphaned at an early age and raised first by his grandfather and then Uncle Harada is removed from emotions, unhappy but not knowing he is unhappy he is looking for something that he is not able to find in the modern world that he has to live in.

Whilst wandering through his old childhood home he visits a theatre and meets a man who looks exactly like his long-dead father with a wife who is the image of his equally long dead mother.

And so begins Harada's journey, as he's drawn into a reality where his parents appear to be alive at the exact age they had been when they had died so many years before.

Is he living a dream? Are these people real? What is happening to him? A spooky ghost story with a modern twist, well worth a read.

Lost Lad: A Mystery Set in Derbyshire 1960
Lost Lad: A Mystery Set in Derbyshire 1960
by Narvel S. Annable
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly good read, 1 Sept. 2007
It is obvious that this book is self published but don't let that detract you from getting a copy of it and taking it to be with you as it is a really good read.

The story centers around the disappearance of Brian Forrester a 15 year old boy who with five of his friends at the end of their High School days went on a trip together to commemorate their coming of age. At the end of that trip only five boys go home, the sixth is never seen or heard of again.

For over 40 years one of the boys Simeon, also known as Dobba wondered what happened to his friend and after retiring early from his life as a school teacher in an American High School comes back to Derbyshire to see if he can solve the mystery once and for all.

Narvel Annable depicts a long disappeared world, that of Derbyshire in the 1960s, he also dares to talk about the sexual relations among some of the boys as they grew, some to marry and have children, some to live secret lives as closet gays.

There are wonderful characters in this book, from two old Queens who know more about Brian's disappearance than they are letting on, a revolting old Granddad who was always willing to give an "oral" service to those who want it, mad Aunty's and and pregnant bikes, along with sadistic bully boys from an era that that has now long gone, all have a place in this book which is enjoyable as it is nostalgic.

A gentle read with a good ending that you don't see coming.

Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian Series)
Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian Series)
by Keri Arthur
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A howlingly good read, 21 Aug. 2007
I'm not a real fan of what I call "white" Australian writing though some authors do have merit but not many (could change my mind here!), but I have to confess I have really enjoyed Keri Arthur's series of books with Riley Jensen as the reluctant Vampire/Warewolf Hybrid who finds herself in a whole heap of trouble when her twin brother goes missing (he's a Guardian and works for an organisation that helps keep the peace between humans and other world creatures) and bodies start piling up, an amnesiac hunky Vampire appears at her apartment, and she is reluctantly dragged into the murky world of the Guardians in order to find her brother and work out why someone is trying to kill her new Vampire friend.

Riley is a likable protagonist with surprising human failings (despite being a non-human) such as compassion and kindness, hence the reason she refuses to become a Guardian and would rather work for them as an Administrator but her boss Jack knows she is perfectly capable of being as ruthless as her brother, something she has been avoiding since coming to the big city to live.

All in all a good fun and easy read which I can highly recommend.

Freedom's Child: The Life of a Confederate General's Black Daughter
Freedom's Child: The Life of a Confederate General's Black Daughter
by Carrie Allen McCray
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.77

5.0 out of 5 stars America's mixed racial history from a personal point of view, 21 Aug. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Freedom's Child is an excellent read but I would not call it an academic read in any sense of the word. This is one woman's personal history, she is the grand-daughter of White Confederate General who openly acknowledged his mixed-race offspring but who also lived quite happily in the violent segreated world of the deep South of the time and who was not willing to stand up for his own children's rights much less anyone elses.

Carrie Allen McCray endeavours to look at her maternal grandfather in a neutral light, she is after all of mixed heritage herself but in the end she is forced to admit that he was as much a secret to her as he was to the rest of their family, even her own mother didn't talk much about him, other than he was her father and he was white.

I enjoyed Freedom's Child but it is not as good as say The Sweeter the Juice, Finding Grace and Life on the Color Line, Dear Senator mainly because I think that the author tries to hard to explain why her Grandfather was possibly the way he was whilst trying to stay true to her own mixed race background.

All the same it is a good read and I am happy to give it five out of five because it adds to the subject of passing, mixed heritage, the aftermath of slavery and the legacy that has been passed down to many families throughout the USA

Ultraviolet [DVD]
Ultraviolet [DVD]
Dvd ~ Milla Jovovich
Price: £2.95

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultraviolet, ultrafast and ultrafun!, 19 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Ultraviolet [DVD] (DVD)
I actually really liked this movie, I had been wary about watching as it as it was panned by so many people but I thought it was great, amazing special effects, fabulous fight sequences, and a reasonably good plot that yet perhaps could do with a bit of tightening up but all in all it was worth watching.

Take a future city, filled with humans and Vampires, only they aren't called Vampires, they are known as hemophages, and they are faster, and stronger than your average human but they are also hated and feared by humans and have all but been hunted into extinction. Add to this concoction a beautiful hemophage called Violet , Milla Jovovich in her scantily dressed best whose fighting skills are legendary, a megalomaniac leader with a deadly secret, a human child known as Six whose very body is a weapon and who brings out the maternal instinct in Violet and a gentle but scientifically gifted hemophage played by the delectable William Fichtner who loves Violet and will do anything to save her.

The movie is non stop action from beginning to end, and is quite amusing in parts too, like when one of the Vampires warn Violet that they are as fast and as strong as she is, but she points out that she is far more pissed off than they are, not only that but her maternal ire is up and she will do anything she can to save Six a child who is slowly dying from whatever has been added to his blood but with whom she shares a bond of loss, pain, sorrow and possible redemption.

Despite the critics and reviewers panning this movie I give it a quality five out of five based on a high enjoyment factor of the fight scenes, the scenery, the drop dead gorgeous costumes that Violet gets to wear, the state of the art special effects and the quirky dialogue.

I wish I had seen it on the big screen though, it must have been a sight to behold!

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
by Marya Hornbacher
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wasted but still fighting, 19 July 2007
This is not a sentimental book about a girl who finds out she has an eating disorder and over comes it against all odds. It's not a feel good book in any sense of the word.

The author is aware that she she still is a prisoner to her illness but what she has done is come to terms with it; Anorexia and Bulimia are still millstones around her neck but this book is her way of dealing with this burden.

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher is not an easy book to read, not because the author makes the subject she is talking about complex, rather it is a brutally honest picture into a life governed by eating, puking, starving, eating, starving, puking, a vicious in which there seems to be no escape.

The author looks carefully into her childhood, her teenage years, her adult life, her relationship with her volatile family, her own detachment from herself as a woman in a man's world.

I couldn't read this book in one sitting, I had to do it in stages, it is powerful stuff, I have an eating disorder, and I can relate to some of the thing Marya is saying, especially about how you fit your sickness to suit your life and how you learn to be devious, to hide if from those around you, how the lies you tell are lies that you want to believe and so they become the truth.

This is another book that we should give teenage girls to read because I think that it just might sway some of them from taking the road that Marya took and barely survived going down.

An incredible, disgusting, compulsive, painful, and totally addictive read about a subject most of us would rather avoid if we could.

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