Dear readers welcome to another book review, today I will be reviewing The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak.

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Synopsis:

“Ella Rubenstein is forty years old and unhappily married when she takes a job as a reader for a literary agent. Her first assignment is to read and report on Sweet Blasphemy, a novel written by a man named Aziz Zahara. Ella is mesmerized by his tale of Shams’s search for Rumi and the dervish’s role in transforming the successful but unhappy cleric into a committed mystic, passionate poet, and advocate of love. She is also taken with Shams’s lessons, or rules, that offer insight into an ancient philosophy based on the unity of all people and religions, and the presence of love in each and every one of us. As she reads on, she realizes that Rumi’s story mir­rors her own and that Zahara—like Shams—has come to set her free.”

(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

I picked this book with a lot of expectations and no prior knowledge about Rumi or Shams.
I stumbled upon a video of Elif Shafak on YouTube and i instantly liked her. I ordered her book and here we are.
Elif Shafak’s The Forty Rules of Love is a beautiful tale woven across different timelines. This is a story of Ella who has perfect life and family but she misses love, a lady who hard to keep her family together but still finds herself stuck in daily mundane life.
on the parallel narration we meet Shams who is a fierce Sufi and is in search of companion with whom he wants to share his knowledge and beliefs.

This book is full of beautiful prose and writing style is lyrical and dreamy. This book is full of quotes that I loved.

“It wasn’t death that worried me, for I didn’t see it as an end but dying without leaving legacy behind. There were many words piled up inside my chest, stories waiting to be told. “

Character development and world building is beautiful however there were times where rules and their implementation in story seemed forced and rather flawed in my opinion and this is my only problem with this beautiful story.
Narration was from different perspectives throughout the book which gave me better glimpse into the character of story if that makes sense.

Rules of love were far more relevant in case of Rumi and Shams than in context of Ella. I have my issues with Ella’s part but over all reading this book was a delightful experience for me and I am looking forward to read more from this author.

 

My Rating:

4/5 stars

 

Book Review: Haunting of the Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Hello reader!! I am here with another book review. Today I will be reviewing Haunting of the Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

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Synopsis: 

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own 

(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Haunting of the Hill House has been one of the most satisfying reads for me this year. Written by Shirley Jackson and published in 1959, this book is way ahead of its time. This book opens up with such an amazing prose.

“No live organism can continue for long too exist sanely
under conditions of absolute reality”

Haunting of the Hill house has every element of old school horror with of psychological impact on its residents. There were many instances where we saw different effects of the house on each and every resident.
At one point in book Eleanor was able to smell library while others didn’t which implies house changes its character with every resident.
Unlike other haunted houses stories Hill House was not beautiful old victorian house on the contrary it was ugly and flawed and seemed like the house has its own mind.
Writing style of this book is lyrical with beautiful prose here and there for reader’s delight.

“Journeys end in Lovers meeting”

Character development is diverse with a Dr. who knows about true nature of house yet seeks scientific explanation, Eleanor is shy and timid and has spent her life in confinement whereas Theo is flamboyant and Luke is the rich heir of the house. I liked creepy Mr. & Mrs. Dudley too though I didn’t like pompous Mrs. Montague and her friend Arthur. Motive was to bring some comic relief in the story but I was there for horror and this attempt of author did not please me.

World which author presented to us was Gothic and dark, sometimes it reminded me of the house from Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

“Hill house, not sane, stood by itself against its hill,
holding darkness within”

Mere description of this house makes me suffocated which means author did great job and I finished reading this book in one sitting.

Verdict:

5/5 Stars

Book Review: Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoeveski

Hello Readers and welcome to another book review. Today I will be reviewing Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoeveski.

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Synopsis:

” Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption. ( Source: Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Before getting into review I would like to share how did I pick this book up, I found this book recommendation on TED-ED official page where they do segment of book recommendations.

I was fascinated by idea of this book so I gave it a try. This book was written in 1800s in Russia, so depending on which translation you pick there are 6-7 parts in this book. As title suggests this book is about crime committed by protagonist of this novel and about his punishment.

This was my first book from this author and I am looking forward to read more from him.

The story is about man called Raskolnikov who is residing in St. Petersburg and is a former student. His financial condition is not good so he pawns his possessions to an old woman.

The St. Petersburg described in this story is polluted and since this story majorly focuses on lives of people who are not financially well hence it is dirty. Maybe it is presumptions of me to say something like this but if you read this novel you will realize I was correct.

Character building is one the strongest point of this novel. Characters in this book are relatable and I was rooting for them the whole time.

Raskolnikov is a proud man despite being poor he still believes in helping people even though it costs him. My interpretation of this character is that Raskolnikov wanted to be messiah, it made him feel good about himself and if he couldn’t help anyone it agitated him.

Sonia is character which I rooted for the most, again from poor background enters into prostitution to feed her family.

It is impossible for me to discuss these characters without giving away the spoilers so I would stop now.

This novel very well presents the psyche of human and his inner turmoils. Each one of us are different and so we handles situations differently.

It is a poignant tale of a man’s crime and his redemption.

Verdict :

5/5 🌟

 

BOOK DISCUSSION – The Five: The Untold Lives of Women Killed by Jack The Ripper

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Dear readers, hope you are safe in the times of global crisis. Today I am here to discuss the book I recently read, The Five. This book is about victims of Jack The Ripper. Unlike many books, podcasts and blogs this book does not discuss about gruesome details of the murder of CANONICAL FIVE but instead it discusses about the life of women who were unfortunate enough to be at the wrong place in the wrong time.

I am not here to review this book instead I am going to express how I felt after reading it. As a major true crime buff, Jack the Ripper has been my favorite case to follow. I did research on the matter, listened to every available podcasts by Ripperologists. However after reading this book I realized although  it was sad story but in-spite of understanding the agony of victims it was commercialized to feed curiosity of people. Other reason why I believe people are so fascinated by Ripper is because in one way or other this was representation of Victorian London. I am not going to waste time in discussing about the murders but I will discuss the victims.

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Before I get started I would like to thank author Hallie Rubenhold for presenting miserable lives of the women who have died. Before reading this book I was only aware of the fact that Ripper’s victims were all prostitutes but thanks to author’s intensive research that I am now aware that it is not the complete truth.

with the opening of book author introduces us to Victorian London with worst living conditions, hygiene and housing situations. It was a time where homelessness was at its peak and people in order to secure a place to sleep people were ready to do everything possible.

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Polly Nicholas, Annie Chapman, Kate Eddows were ladies who were not prostitutes but were rather sleeping rough. These women once had a life where they had families, love and roof but eventually personal tragedies forced them into hell and they died horrific deaths. Elizabeth Stride was a Swedish lady who got pregnant  out of wedlock and resulted her being disowned by her family. Her tragedy brought her to London and she did whatever she could to survive.

Mary Jane Kelly was the only one who was involved in sex trade in Upper West London and was eventually end up being sold to French Brothel but she made her way back to London when she started living in Whitechapel. Even though she was back in London she was always stalked by the people who trafficked her first time. She was the only one who died in her bed.

Alcohol was one factor which resulted in downfall of Annie Chapman, she was wife of working class man and had home, food and family but she ended up losing all because of alcohol. Somehow same were the conditions of Polly Nicholas and Kate.

What blows my mind is that they were all assumed prostitutes, even their graves were marked as “VICTIMS OF JACK THE RIPPER”. No one ever thought what these ladies were doing on streets. They were just generalized as prostitutes and to this day people do not bother to learn.

If you are interested in case the do check The Five: Untold lives of Women killed by Jack The Ripper but do mind it is not a true crime book rather a social history.

Thanks for reading.

Book Review: His Bloody Project

Hello fellow bloggers, today I am back after long break and bring you book review for His Bloody Project.

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Synopsis:

A triple murder in a remote northwestern farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. There’s no question that Macrae is guilty, but the police and courts must uncover what drove him to murder the local village constable and his two children. The book starts with the account of the accused killer who gives us the events leading up to the murders from his jail cell. The book then offers the fictional opinion of a medical doctor and psychologist on the questionable sanity of Roderick Macrae. The last third of the book is a courtroom transcript that reveals the full truth of the events that left three dead. Burnet has created a fascinating unreliable narrator in this historical revenge tragedy and courtroom drama

My Thoughts:

His bloody project is a book I picked with great anticipation because of the premise and book cover and I am completely satisfied. I would say author did great job as now I am done reading and Wondering how the life of teenager in question would have been different.
This book is beautifully written and very strategically structured. First part of book is said to be a memoir of a Roddy himself where narration goes back and forth in past and present maintaining the flow of the story.
Second part is trials which is again very detailed and beautifully narrated as if this really was a real event.
Third part describes the verdict of the case.
I particularly liked world building as I get to know a lot about Scottish Highlands. Character development is on point and couldn’t be more real. I liked how this book ended as it was realistic.

Verdict:

4/5 🌟

Book Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Hello and welcome back to another book review, today I am going to be reviewing City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab.

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Synopsis:

“Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.”

 

My Thoughts:

City of Ghosts is my first read from this author and I am happy, this book is incredibly flawless for me. This book follows the story of girl called Cassidy who has affinity for ghosts. She can see them and experience them infact her best best friend is ghost. Cass’s parents are popular authors who write about ghosts. Cassidy’s parents have got their TV show where they will go to different haunted locations and Edinburgh is their first location.

This is a pretty simple book without any twists and turns. This book does not have any jump scares but it will successfully made me feel spooky. There was the instance where I had to put book away. I would say it has perfect darkness and spookiness. I think I liked this book for the same reason because it was straight forward and fast paced.

If you are looking for spooky books this could be a perfect starter.

Verdict:

5/5 Stars.