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The Mystery of Three Quarters (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #3) – Sophie Hannah: Book Review

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot–the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket–returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in the London of 1930…

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Rating: 3.5 stars

Review:

Clearly, the idea of a Hercule Poirot novel written by someone other than Agatha Christie is a controversial topic. Sophie Hannah has been writing the New Hercule Poirot Mysteries for a while now, but this was my first book by her, and I was reasonably apprehensive and excited. Excited, because Poirot is my favourite. Apprehensive, because I wasn’t sure if I’d like Sophie Hannah’s take on him. I must say I was quite happy with how it turned out to be.

Although it is unfair to compare these books with Christie’s originals, such a comparison is inevitable. I thought the mystery aspect was quite Christie-like. The plot is gripping and also quite entertaining. Like many of the original Poirot novels, this book describes a plethora of interesting characters. The setting is still the 1920/30s; I think Sophie Hannah managed to make it all sound genuinely 20th century while also retaining her 21st century sensibilities, if that makes any sense. Hannah also retains Christie’s free-flowing easy language, which I absolutely love. However, I do think it’s best to go into the book considering it a separate work, to avoid the pointless disappointment of it not being exactly like Christie’s books.

I was a little disappointed with the ending. It was not bad, but I expected something more unexpected, I guess? One other major problem I had was the shifting POV style, which was somewhat hazy to me. The story begins with Poirot’s POV, which I did not like, because Poirot has always been sort of removed and enigmatic and I preferred it that way. After 4-5 chapters, the POV shifted to Inspector Edward Catchpool, whom I really liked. He wasn’t absolutely stupid (unlike most cops in detective novels) and his voice was funny and engaging. For the rest of the story, the POV kept switching between the two, because Poirot  and Catchpool seemed to be working on different parts of the case at the same time. I personally prefer to read from the eyes of a trusted companion like Watson or Hastings who will follow the case entirely on Poirot’s side and will faithfully report it all.

Overall, I would recommend this to any fan of Christie who is ready to read Sophie Hannah’s version of Poirot with an open mind. Poirot is just as eccentric as ever, and the mystery is mostly dependent on Poirot’s “little grey cells”, so I was happy. As a person who isn’t into fan fiction, I was pleased with Sophie Hannah’s reasonably original take on my favourite character and do plan to try out upcoming installments in this series.

Click here to buy this book: https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Three-Quarters-Hercule-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B0756DWP21

~ Sreepurna.

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Inkredia (Luwan of Brida) – Sarang Mahajan // Book Review

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(Goodreads summary after the review)

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Rating: 3 stars / 5

Review:

What I didn’t like:

  • The portrayal of women (or in this case, woman?): There was only one female character in the entire story and I did not like how she was portrayed. She was scared and anxious and crying and nervous and always the last one to figure things out, and although a character like that is nothing out of the ordinary, I didn’t like that the sole girl in the book was made to look like that.
  • The story line was way too close to the Lord of the Rings series for me to accept it without question. Apart from the whole journey motif that runs through both tales, there were many fundamental similarities in plot. The scene where Luwan and Meg meet Killiarn is basically the same as that of Frodo and Co. meeting Strider/Aragorn, and the shape of Inkredia seems too much like Middle Earth.

What I liked:

  • The story was fast-paced and hooking, not boring at all, with the action scenes almost Bollywood-like in their descriptions, but in a good way.
  • I liked how Luwan and Meg aren’t perfect killing machines the moment they are in danger. It keeps them human and realistic.
  • I still would rate the 2 stars if not for the twist at the end that changed a lot of things. That was very smartly done, and it made me reconsider my rating.
  • Fantasy is not an easy genre to write, and the world-building in this series seems pretty solidly done.
  • I must mention the beautiful coloured map and the clear, solid print which made the book much easier to read.

Overall:

While this wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for, I won’t say it was a bad book. I wish it was more original, and the characters more unique and nuanced. However, if you are looking for a traditional fantasy series, then this book is a good pick. There is still scope left in the upcoming installments, so I hope the author does something about Meg’s character and turns the tale into his own narrative with more twists and turns.

Goodreads Summary:

In Fal Doram, also called as the great empire of Inkredia, a conspiracy begins to unfold. The first step is an easy one – kill a simple, villager named Luwan. When Luwan suddenly faces an enemy straight out of the folklore, he is left dumbfounded by the mystery why they are after him. As he makes a daring run to survive, journeying through the unknown world outside his village, new mysteries emerge, some closely concerning him. Riddled with questions and hunted by legendary assassins, and by the nonhumans made of the darkest element in the nature, Luwan makes a dangerous journey through the incredible empire of Inkredia.

Click here to buy a copy of Inkredia (book 1) : https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/8193365801/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_in-21&linkCode=as2&camp=3626&creative=24790 

~ Sreepurna.

Arrival (Lucifer’s Clock #2) by T.Hayden

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Summary:

Just when Michael and Angelica think they can be together the supernatural world threatens to tear them apart and turn their perfect world upside down. Angelica is abruptly assigned a new guardian angel that she instantly dislikes. The relentless bounty hunter returns to collect his bounty, wreaking so much havoc that Angelica is torn away from school and her friends, eventually becoming a prisoner in her home. 

When she thinks things can’t get any worse, she discovers a heartbreaking secret that her family has been keeping from her. Fed up with how her life is progressing Angelica decides to take matters in her own hands. She is done waiting for the beast. It’s time for her to welcome the beast’s arrival. 

Review:

Rating – 3.5 stars (out of 5)

Things I liked:

  • Even though I rated it lower than I rated the first book in the series, I must admit that I liked the writing style of this book much more. I reread Waiting for the Beast right before reading this book, so the comparisons were easy to make. This one reads smoother and the pacing is better.
  • It was super funny at parts. I laughed out loud at Lucifer talking about a “selfie stick” and loved the “feminist fish”.
  • I wasn’t sure about a lot of characters in the first book, but I really loved Roman in this one.
  • Angelica seemed to have more character in this book and I love that she is not merely the most “perfect” person ever but has her own grey shades. I think most of the characters were well-written in terms of character development.

Things I did not like:

  • This series is entirely meant for people who like and read paranormal romance.
  • I still don’t absolutely love Angelica, but yes, she has improved greatly.

Overall:

If you are looking for a clean paranormal romance series with a fast pace plotline, this one is a good choice. However, I personally do not think this book is for everyone.

– Sreepurna. ❤

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The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira ~ Bhaskar Chattopadhyay // Book Review

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Summary:

With its pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters, the picturesque hamlet of Movim in Goa seems like the perfect holiday spot for detective Janardan Maity and his friend Prakash Ray. But when the father of a local teenage girl receives a letter asking for a large sum of money in exchange for his daughter, Maity and Prakash find themselves in the thick of an unlikely mystery. For, they discover, the girl has not been kidnapped at all, and is safe and sound in her house.

As they begin to investigate, the duo encounter the mysterious characters who inhabit the tiny village, each hiding a secret of their own – not least the frail and shy Sally Sequeira, who keeps to herself but steps out at night to dance to the notes of a piano.

What truth does Movim hide? And how will Janardan Maity solve a crime that has not yet been committed?

Review:

Thank you Hachette India for providing a review copy! All opinions in the following review are my own honest thoughts.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Things I liked about the book:

  • The plot line was really nice. It can be difficult to write a well-rounded detective story, but Chattopadhyay manages to pull off the “mystery” factor pretty well.
  • The story was not one filled with unnecessary details. It is short, compact and hooking.
  • The whole assembly of a variety of characters. Detective stories have a typical way of incorporating a certain group of new characters for every installment, and this is what makes each novel different and interesting. The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira has realistic and smoothly written characters that enhance the plotline.
  • The setting. I have never been to Goa, but it seems to be a rather smart choice for a backdrop. I don’t remember reading anything before that has been set in Goa, especially not a detective novel, and I was charmed by the beautiful descriptions and the secluded and breezy feel it lent to the story.

Things I didn’t like about the book:

  • Being a Bengali, I have been brought up on the steady diet of fish and Feluda novels. There was too much of the latter in this book. There is a very fine line between inspiration and plain echoing, and I wish this book had more of its own style to offer. The author is clearly a good writer, and I personally feel that he could reach his best potential by letting go of the Byomkesh-Feluda-Holmes-Poirot vibe that overshadowed everything else.
  • I wish I liked Prakash a bit more. Since the Feluda comparison is inevitable, I can’t help but compare Prakash to Topshe (who I LOVE with all my heart, just saying).

Overall:

The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira is a great beach read. If you are looking for a short and fast-paced detective novel to read, this one is perfect. Although the book has its limitations, I believe that the author has a lot of potential and can grow better at this art with a few alterations in style. Sidenote, the cover of this book is gorgeous.

Visit Amazon to get yourself a copy of this book: https://www.amazon.in/Disappearance-Sally-Sequeira-Bhaskar-Chattopadhyay/dp/9351951723 

Happy reading,

Sreepurna. ❤

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The Night of Broken Glass – Feroz Rather // Book Review

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Summary:

Over the last three decades, Kashmir has been ravaged by insurgency. While reams have been written on it – in human rights documents, academic theses, non-fiction accounts of the turmoil, and government and military reports – the effects of the violence on its inhabitants have rarely been rendered in fiction. Feroz Rather’s The Night of Broken Glass corrects that anomaly. Through a series of interconnected stories, within which the same characters move in and out, the author weaves a tapestry of the horror Kashmir has come to represent. His visceral imagery explores the psychological impact of the turmoil on its natives – Showkat, who is made to wipe off graffiti on the wall of his shop with his tongue; Rosy, a progressive, jeans-wearing ‘upper-caste’ girl who is in love with ‘lower-caste’ Jamshid; Jamshid’s father Gulam, a cobbler by profession who never finds his son’s bullet-riddled body; the ineffectual Nadim ‘Pasture’, who proclaims himself a full-fledged rebel; even the barbaric and tyrannical Major S, who has to contend with his own nightmares. Grappling with a society brutalized by the oppression of the state, and fissured by the tensions of caste and gender, Feroz Rather’s remarkable debut is as much a paean to the beauty of Kashmir and the courage of its people as it is a dirge to a paradise lost.

Review:

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Thanks to HarperCollinsIndia for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Things I liked:

– The writing style: Feroz Rather’s writing oozes sophistication and beauty. I loved the lyrical quality of the words, and the author’s grip over the language was well established.

– The different styles of narrative: The book is a series of connected short stories, and some stories are in first person narrative, some in third, and one of them reads almost like a love letter. While it’s slightly confusing, I really enjoyed reading these different styles, and thought the author used them all really well.

– The emotions: Writing about emotions is not very easy; it can easily seem forced. But the stories here generate emotions easily. While they rely a little too heavily on incidents, there were many parts where the author uses solely his words to make you feel something, and it’s all very well written.

Things I didn’t like:

– Timeline: It was very hard for me to keep track of the changing timelines. To connect each story, you also need to figure out the time when it is set. Even within the story, there are changes in timeline as the narrator thinks about past incidents.

– Characters: There were some stories where I loved some characters, but there were many where I didn’t really form much of an opinion about them. I think many of the characters could be a little better fleshed out with just a few additional sentences.

Overall:

The Night of Broken Glass is a short and emotional read with tales that make you think. Definitely worth a read if this is your genre. It was interesting to read a book such as this. While the stories are sort of confusing at first, things more or less fall into place in this fast-paced and evocative read.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.in/Night-Broken-Glass-Feroz-Rather/dp/9352641612/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533446644&sr=1-2&keywords=the+night+of+broken+glass

~ Sreepurna. ❤

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// “who cares if we are under thunder showers” // a rainy day playlist.

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I remember making one of these years back, but for the most part my tastes have altered somewhat AND new music has been released over the years. So here’s a new one.

(Link to 8tracks playlist below)

  1. Sick of Losing Soulmates – dodie. : The chorus especially always reminds me of a rainy weather.
  2. The Night We Met – Lord Huron : PERFECT for rainy evenings. 
  3. All I want – Kodaline : Ever since this song was released, it has been linked to rain, and with good reason.
  4. Heavy Weather – Billie Marten : Heard this one a few months back and I loved it. “The rain is ours, and we are lovers of / Heavy weather.”
  5. Cherry Wine – Hozier : I’ll make a playlist without a Hozier song? Not happening.
  6. Shiver – Coldplay (or better, the cover by Floriane Hu) : I like the cover more tbh, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlirYOKtkvw
  7. For Emma – Bon Iver : Listen, if you haven’t heard this song yet, you need to. Just close your eyes and listen to it.
  8. Half A Heart – One Direction – The single One Direction song I still love.
  9. Fearless – Taylor Swift : “There’s something ’bout the way the street looks when it’s just rained”. Queue the nostalgia.
  10. fallingforyou – The 1975 : The ambience is very rainy.
  11. You’re Beautiful – James Blunt : The tune reminds me of the sun coming after a drizzle, but the lyrics remind me of pouring rain.

https://8tracks.com/mixes/6368919/player_v3_universal

// who cares if we are under thunder showers // a rainy day playlist from Sripurna on 8tracks Radio.

 

~ Sreepurna.

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Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? – Holly Bourne : Book review

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Summary:

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?

Book Review:

Rating: 4 stars /5

Thank you UsborneYA for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What a bold and honest book. I was a little unsure before going into it, because while I had heard a lot about Holly Bourne’s books, I had never read them before. Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? ended up being a book I enjoyed a lot. As is clear from the message it is trying to spread, #KindnessIsContagious, Bourne’s YA novel deals with the important issue of how society as a whole affects the mental health of a particular individual. The writing is very concise but effective. Olive is a difficult protagonist to “relate with” or even at times have a liking for, but I could feel her moods changing in the way the author changes the tone of her voice. I was also surprised by how much I liked almost every character, especially the Camp Reset group. Special mentions to Sophie (whom I could understand best), Lewis (who was the sweetest and the most precious thing ever), and Jamie (who looks like everything I detest but ended up making me want to give him a hug. He is also refreshingly realistic, in a way that I can’t explain further without giving spoilers).

While the novel is mostly fast-paced, at around the 75% mark I started waiting for the inevitable, and it got sort of tiring. I am not sure if it was only me, and I am not even sure of the reason, but there were parts when things got really overwhelming, especially with some of Olive’s internal thought processes. Parts of it made me feel low in a way that goes beyond the usual sadness you feel from reading something sad. I have a feeling that this book should come with some trigger warnings, but I can’t really put my finger on what exactly they should be for? There were just some parts when I had to close the book and tell myself to breathe. Anyway, Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? also does a great job in exploring the topic of mental health, and, in the process, showing how abstract and complex the topic can be.

The best part about the novel is how purposeful it is. The message is strong and beautiful, and the book itself is like a movement. I love how Holly Bourne sort of employs these characters and pages to spread a message beyond the fictional world. It’s been a while since I read a YA book that had such a clear and obvious point to its existence. I cannot not recommend such a book that wants to spread the virus of kindness, and while it’s slightly long and not perfectly flawless, it’s a book that I would want everyone to read. You can’t go wrong in trying to spread kindness.

XO

– Sreepurna.