My Interests

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Avid reader who loves finding new authors with well written books. Am interested in reading and reviewing various genres and am always looking for the next good read.

Upcoming Books to Read and Review

  • 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel
  • Code Blue by Richard Mabry
  • Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb
  • Vandalism of Words by Derek Haines

Friday, September 17, 2010

Secret Daughter: A Novel Review

Secret Daughter: A Novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, 2010, 339 pages


On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter's life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son.

Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.

Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families—one Indian, one American—and the child that indelibly connects them.

This story spans the time from 1984 to 2009 and is a beautifully written book. Most of the chapters are told from the viewpoints of the three main females - Kavita, Somer and Asha. I found that telling the story in this way provided a deeper insight into each of the characters and enabled me to feel a connection with them.

Kavita is the mother who gave her daughter up for adoption as she did not want her husband to "get rid of" another baby. Kavita knew that she could not live knowing that another child of hers was killed as they lived in a society which saw daughters as burdens and if they could only afford one child, then that child should be male. Kavita secretly named her daughter Usha (meaning Dawn) and travelled on foot a long way to take her daughter to an orphanage where she would at least have a chance to live and hopefully, have a better life.

Somer is an American doctor who is married to a Neurosurgeon who is Indian. After finding out that she will be unable to bear children, her husband mentions that perhaps they could adopt a child and suggests an orphanage in India where his mother is a patron. It is a long process but they are finally successful and bring their daughter Asha (meaning Hope) back to America with them when she is a year old. Somer devotes herself to Asha and changes her career goals in order to be more present in Asha's life.

Asha finally gets to go to India when she is 20 on a journalism scholarship and learns a lot about her father's family and also tracks down her biological parents. Asha comes to the realization that her adopted family is really her true family who loves her. She learns to appreciate her mother more and has her eyes opened to what her life could have been like had she never been adopted.

The Secret Daughter: A Novel is a testament to mothers everywhere as it shows how, even in India, where the women sometimes take a back seat, the women are truly the backbone of the family as Shilpa Somaya Gowda stated "if the mother falls, the whole family falls". I found it interesting how each of the characters viewed India in a different way but in the end, it brings everyone closer together.

It is a deeply moving story and I would highly recommend this book.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Spirit Bound Review

Spirit Bound - 5th Book in the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Young Adult, 2010, 489 pages


Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…
After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s—and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.
She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true— Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. Only this time, he won’t rest until Rose joins him…forever.

Review (Spoiler Alert)

Another spellbinding book in the Vampire Academy Series. Just a warning that this review will contain spoilers as there were so many exciting things going on that it's hard to review it without mentioning these things.

Spirit Bound begins at the Academy where they are getting ready for graduation and Rose has to complete The Trials which is a final exam prepared by experienced guardians to test the new guardians' ability to protect the Moroi outside the safety of the Academy. Rose has had much hands-on experience in killing Strigoi and is not particularly worried about the Trials but is concerned about what will happen when she leaves the Academy as her former boyfriend, Dimitri, who was turned Strigoi is after her.

Rose becomes even more determined and gets herself into illegal and dangerous situations because she is determined to "save" Dimitri. However, she is not doing this alone and is bringing her friends and the people she loves into this dangerous obsession.

My favourite characters are Rose and Lissa although they are both very different, they are both strong, loyal and would do anything for one another. This is especially put to the test when Lissa risks her life to fight and save Dimitri.

I also enjoyed getting to know Adrian more in this book and realize he is very deep and not just a spoiled, rich kid. He clearly loves Rose and his steadfast dedication to her is truly inspiring.

Dimitri is a complex character and there have been many times when I have not liked him very much. Even in this book, I don't feel the compassion for him as he is so mean and dismissive to Rose who risked everything including the lives of her friends for him.

I liked the fact the Rose's father Abe made a couple of appearances throughout the book and hope that he will play a pivotal role in the next book (due out in December) The Last Sacrifice.

The ending was abrupt and as usual, a cliffhanger. It was so exciting and interesting at the end of the book and I just wanted to keep reading when all of a sudden it ends with Abe telling Rose that they don't imprison traitors or let them go - they execute them - then that was the end. December seems like a long wait....

I really hope Rose will find the happiness and love that she deserves but the title of the book "The Last Sacrifice" does not sound promising for poor Rose. 

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who likes vampire books, love stories and action.

Rating 4 1/2 out of 5