Rambling about books

Book review: Fatherland, by Robert Harris

It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler’s 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin’s most prestigious suburb. As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich. And, with the Gestapo just one step behind, March, together with an American journalist, is caught up in a race to discover and reveal the truth – a truth that has already killed, a truth that could topple governments, a truth that will change history. Goodreads.

Continue reading “Book review: Fatherland, by Robert Harris”

#FictionFriday

#FictionFriday: The shop.

The first thing she noticed was the sky, how it turned to a lovely hue of blue but gradually turned into dark grey. Slowly the clouds are congregating, as if they have a meeting to attend high up in the sky. The next come the pitter patter of rain hitting her wind breaker. Slowly she brought out her green umbrella. Standing motionlessly under the rain, she can hear all the droplets of water clearly, she can feel the wind blowing, and most of all she can feel the thunder brewing high above the sky waiting patiently to unleash its sound and light.

Slowly the lights began to flicker, illuminating what once was a crowded street but now empty due to the falling rain. She walked slowly, trying to enjoy the splashing of rain around her, the smell of rain if there is one, the flashes of thunder and the quiet street. The slow walk might have something to do with her anxiety over where she was supposed to be fifteen minutes ago.

There was a shop at the end of the road, and they had a Christmas tree set up, complete with twinkling lights that serves its purpose as fake snow. A Christmas tree on a July? The shopkeeper must have gone mad, she thought to herself. For what other reasons could there be for a shop to set a up a Christmas tree five months before the actual Christmas? And yet she can’t help herself from stopping in front of the shop and just stare at the twinkling lights. She pull out her left hand from under the umbrella and felt the rain had wet her hands. She hoped that the water might have turned into snow soon. A foolish wish, she knew.

The door to the shop was open, she was startled, she lost her balance a bit, she thought she was going to fell on her backside, but a pair of bony hands shoot out and pull her up straight in time.

“Oh, dear me. Did I startled you, young Lady?”

The owner of the bony hands was a lady with an all black clothes, from her immaculate top hat to her pointy boots are black. She cannot decipher how old the lady was. She seemed ancient, but young at the same time too, if she were to judge by the strength of the bony hands that pull her up straight.

“Oh not really, I was just lost in thoughts from staring at your Christmas tree. It’s gorgeous,” she manage to say, “but, why a Christmas tree? Christmas is still quite far away.”

“Oh dear, this is not a Christmas tree. Surely you can see this is not even a pine tree. This, my dear, is the tree of wishes. Each sparkling lights you see here represent people’s deepest wish. When someone wishes for something, strongly wished for something, sometimes, we are alerted of it and we try to locate that person and help them grant their wish,” the Lady was speaking in such a soothing tone to her ears, “I would love to chat with you but I am needed somewhere else. Have a good day, dear.”

She stood there, slowly shaking her head as she watched the Lady walked purposefully followed a black cat. Oh, surely whatever this shop is, the owner and whoever works there have gone mad. Tree of wishes? Whatever happened to this world?

With that thoughts in mind, she drags herself slowly trying to locate her destination. The rain grew harder and she doesn’t feel like walking anymore. She saw a bench, she didn’t care about the wetness of it, she was going to sit on it because she doesn’t feel like walking anymore, and so she sat down.

“I think I’m supposed to find you, clearly you’re the only person wandering around in this deserted street. Everyone else has gone inside a building, either to keep themselves warm or just to keep themselves dry until the rain stop. So, tell me dear, are you the one I’m looking for?”

She was close to screaming when she heard it. She thought a cat was saying those things to her. There was a cat in front of her, looking at her with tilted head. The cat has the shiniest black fur she had ever seen. Strangely the fur doesn’t seem to be wet. Thankfully, she realised that it wasn’t the cat that was talking to her, it was the Lady from the shop with the Christmas tree. She was not going to call that tree of wishes, she is not mad, yet.

“I’m sorry, what?” Her question came out like a squeaky mouse if ever a squeaky mouse can talk.

As the Lady took up the seat next to her, she said, “Well, I did tell you about how we go out and try to help people when they have wishes to be granted. We’re like a genie but without the hassle of living in a bottle and wait until some poor soul rub their grimy hands on the bottle. I was told to find a girl who would be wandering around the street, I was told she would joining us in training. Since there’s no one here except for the both of us, and Jimmy the Cat here, I assume you’re the one that I need to found.”

“Again, I’m sorry, what?”

“Oh for goodness sake, mate. I don’t get paid enough to go around and be inspirational and shit and whatever. Look, Are you or are you not Emily Henderson? And do you or do you not wish to join the Fidelia Greenwod Witchcraft?”

“Oh yes. To both questions, I mean.”

“Well, let’s get a move on then. We were waiting for you. I’m a witch but it doesn’t mean my clothes can’t get wet and honestly, the water from this bench is seeping up my knickers already.”

 

Rambling about books

Book review: Touch, by Claire North

This was the book that I should have read before The Sudden Appearance of Hope, but by some wrong calculation, I end up reading this after the said book. On hindsight, it was actually a favourable mistake; whilst I do enjoy The Sudden Appearance of Hope, I have to say that it still doesn’t hold a candle against The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, while this one right here do come quite close on par. No, seriously, this book is so good! Everything about it is amazing! I have no complaint whatsoever.

Continue reading “Book review: Touch, by Claire North”

Rambling about books

Book review: The Sudden Appearance of Hope, by Claire North

My name is Hope Arden, and you won’t know who I am. But we’ve met before-a thousand times.
It started when I was sixteen years old.
A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger.
No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit, you will never remember who I am.
That makes my life difficult. It also makes me dangerous. Goodreads

Continue reading “Book review: The Sudden Appearance of Hope, by Claire North”

Rambling about books

Book review: The Last American Vampire, by Seth Grahame-Smith

In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln’s shocking death. It will be an expansive journey that will first send him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash. Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia’s October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination. Goodreads.

Continue reading “Book review: The Last American Vampire, by Seth Grahame-Smith”

Rambling about books

Book review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions… Goodreads.

Continue reading “Book review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness”

Rambling about books

Book review: The Tsar of Love and Techno, by Anthony Marra

This stunning, exquisitely written collection introduces a cast of remarkable characters whose lives intersect in ways both life-affirming and heartbreaking. A 1930s Soviet censor painstakingly corrects offending photographs, deep underneath Leningrad, bewitched by the image of a disgraced prima ballerina. A chorus of women recount their stories and those of their grandmothers, former gulag prisoners who settled their Siberian mining town. Two pairs of brothers share a fierce, protective love. Young men across the former USSR face violence at home and in the military. And great sacrifices are made in the name of an oil landscape unremarkable except for the almost incomprehensibly peaceful past it depicts. In stunning prose, with rich character portraits and a sense of history reverberating into the present, The Tsar of Love and Techno is a captivating work from one of our greatest new talents. Goodreads

Continue reading “Book review: The Tsar of Love and Techno, by Anthony Marra”