Book Review: Guardian of Paradise

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Title:  Guardian of Paradise

Author: W.E. Lawrence

Pages: 297 page

Plot: In 1888, Kira Wall, surviving daughter of missionaries swept away in a tsunami, lives a primitive, but enjoyable life with natives on an isolated island in the South Pacific. But her serene world is turned upside down when an Australian merchant ship, commanded by the sinister Captain Darcy Coleman, arrives with an overabundance of modern and lavish goods. Kira suspects ill intent. Chief Ariki refuses to listen to Kira’s warning, forcing her to uncover the real plan of the captain on her own. Unfortunately, she has a distraction. A six-foot tall, blond, and handsome distraction. Trevor Marshall, doctor and botanist, hopes to find exotic plants on the island to research new cures and medicines. He is dedicated to science, but when meeting the strong-willed, beautiful Kira Wall, he’d prefer to spend time researching her—all night.

The captain thwarts Kira’s attempts to call him out at every step, turning the village chief against her. With only Trevor and her best friend Malana by her side, she stalks the captain and his officers through the dense, predator infested jungle, toward the island’s inactive volcano. Frustrated by her failure to reveal the captain’s true intentions, Kira begins to think maybe she’s wrong about everything. Then an explosion and earthquake bigger than anyone on the island has ever seen renews her resolve. Was the blast natural or man-made? She is determined to prove it was the captain’s doing. Kira races against time and the island people’s naivety to stop the captain from destroying her home and killing everyone she loves.

I loved the way Kiara epitomizes strength and femininity at once. The characterization in the book is very strong. The book premise is based on a South Pacific Island of Alofa. The portrayal of Alofa will make you want to pack your bags and visit Alofa right away. The book is high on romance and adventure. It is always interesting to see these two aspects go hand in hand. On the romance front, Kiara and Trevor have a very sweet bond. It is interesting to see how their relationship progresses. Adventure wise, the story is quite predictable yet the writing makes you want to read until the end. In all the book is a very light and fun read.

Ratings: 3.5/5

About the Author: W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. Despite wishing he had taken more courses in journalism and communications, he has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.
Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.

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Book Review- Never Let Me Go

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Title:  Never Let Me Go

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Pages: 288 pages

Publication: Vintage Books

Plot: As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

Favorite Quote: “Sometimes I get so immersed in my own company, if I unexpectedly run into someone I know, it’s a bit of a shock and takes me a while to adjust.”

The protagonist Kathy, age 31 was a student of boarding school Hailsham, a school for special kids. All the kids in this school have a similar destiny already set for them. (I don’t want to reveal the plot twist; hence this is all I am going to say) Ruth and Tommy are Kathy’s confidants. The book revolves around their friendships, dreams, love, different phases of life, etc. The plot is very unique yet connectable. (I am finding it very difficult to not spill out any beans)

The writing style is very creative and interactive. It seems like the protagonist is talking to the reader throughout the book. At certain point the protagonist goes into an elaborate description of things, which is interesting at first but gets mundane later.

I had a lot of questions and alternate measures that people like Kathy could opt for towards the end. They could have rebelled, made their own destiny and not accepted what had already been planned for them. I wish there was some explanation offered by the author.

To sum it up, the book plot is one of a kind with great a narrating style.

Rating- 3/5

Book Review: Surpanakha

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Title:  Surpanakha

Author: Hariharan Iyer

Pages: 304 pages

Publication: Notion Press

Plot: Educated, young, no-nonsense bearing, able administrator-these are the equalities that won Sesha the loyalties of the people after three years of rule as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. An allegation that he was the mastermind behind the murder of 73 Kannadigas threatens to bring him down but he is miraculously saved at the 11th hour.

Even before he can relish his victory, Sesha is slapped with the charge of sexually offending a young nurse. This time around, the case is strong and his supporters are uncertain. Worse, his teenage daughter calls him ‘vile’ and walks out of the house. While Mythili, his wife promises her full support, her secretive activities-undertaken with the help of a retired cop-is cause of concern for Sesha.

Will Zarina, the human-rights activist, succeed in bringing him down? What about the insinuations of a celebrity lawyer that he is casteist and anti-minorities? When the young nurse is found dead, the case becomes even more complex. Who is innocent? Who is guilty? And who is the mastermind?

This political thriller describes the current state of the country very well. The media involvement in law cases, protesting activists, loopholes and corruption in the system as a plot setting is realistic and quite gripping. Honestly I am not much into politics, but this book kept me glued from start till the end. I wanted to find out whether Mr Sesha is innocent or has he really committed the crime. There are two major plot twists amongst the many which will make you feel closer to the truth but again you will have to wait to find out.

The first few chapters in the book are narrated from individual character’s perspective. Initially, it was a little difficult to remember the characters and the kind of impression they left on the reader was confusing, but post that the story picks pace and becomes intense and gripping. While most of the characterization is developed well, my favorite character in the book would undoubtedly be Mythlli. Her determination, trust and presence of mind balled me over.

You will only understand why this book is named Suparnakha towards the end. Over all the book is quite a read for all the thriller lovers.

My Ratings: 3.5/5

About the Author: HariharanIyer is a finance professional based in Dar es Salaam. Not content with just a rewarding corporate job, he took to writing a couple of years back. He blogged on media and current affairs for a year at valadyviews.blogspot.com before hitting on the idea for this novel. An idea so powerful that it convinced the accountant in him that he could put together not just a balance sheet but an intriguing political thriller as well. He has definite views on politics, NGOs and media ethics and has tried to package them in the form of an interesting novel. Hariharan lives with his wife in Dar es Salaam while his two sons are pursuing their ambitions in India.

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PS: – Thanks to the author for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.