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Little Bee [The Other Hand]: A Novel by Chris Cleave – Book Review

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Little Bee by Chris Cleave is a sequel to the author’s 2005 novel, Incendiary. The book is inspired by real-life incidents involving an Angolan man seeking asylum in England. This novel is an unusual one. Even its Amazon summary goes like this- We don’t want to tell you too much about this book. It is an extraordinary story and we don’t want to spoil it.

Just like the protagonist in the book, The Little Bee also has another name, under which it was published in the UK, The Other Hand. Below is our review of the book.

Story Plot

Little Bee is divided into two sections, both narrated by different female voices. A 16-year-old Nigerian girl narrates the first part. She likes to be called Little Bee. There is a tragic story behind it, which is revealed at a crucial point in the novel. The girl is seeking treatment at an asylum in England after her family was brutally murdered by people wanting ownership of their oil fields.

Sarah Summers narrates the 2nd part. The similarity between both Little Bee and Sarah Summers is they don’t like to be called by their real names. Sarah Summers lives comfortably with her husband and their Batman obsessed 4-year-old son. But her life too is laced with a tragedy that’s not understandable from the surface. You have to dig deep into her life to find it out.

The story gets edgier as it merges with the two characters, giving way to a series of events. Through the story, the writer aims to say what tragedy can do to a person. It can unmask their pretentious lives and make them come out strongest. It’s a bitter story about survival and never giving up despite the hardships.

Verdict

We give it 4 stars. Little Bee needs to be read for its marvelous story and the strength of the characters. It needs to be read for its message of never losing hope and courage and always shining bright no matter what.

The Meursault Investigation: A Novel – Book Review

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If you have read The Stranger or The Outsider by Albert Camus, The Meursault Investigation becomes almost like a must-read after that. This novel by author Kamel Daoud digs deeper into the story and gives voice to those events and characters Camus didn’t pay much attention to.

Story Plot

In the 1942 released novel, the protagonist, Meursault, kills an Arab and gets sentenced for his crime. But Daoud is not bothered about Meursault. He has his eyes on the Arab. Nobody knew the identity of the Arab or where his body went after his death.

The Meursault Investigation takes some bits from The Stranger and creates a unique story involving the Arab and what happened to him. This book’s protagonist is Harun, the dead Arab’s brother. He reveals his brother was called Musa. Since Musa’s body disappeared after he was killed, there is no evidence to prove Meursault’s crime. So Harun takes it upon himself to investigate the wrongdoing and prove his brother’s existence.

The story is definitely intriguing, but there are parts in this novel that are very weird. For e.g., at one point in the book, we find out even Harun is guilty of killing a person, a Frenchman. He justifies the crime by saying he needed to counterbalance the absurdity of his and his brother’s situations!

Writing

You will find a lot of resemblance to Camus’ The Stranger and other novels in The Meursault Investigation. The author has taken parts from the Stranger and reworked them to suit his investigative book. But you will also find the writing of Daoud a refreshing break from Camus’ cold and unemotive one. His writing is bursting with humour and passion that makes it more delightful and gripping read than The Stranger.

Verdict

The Meursault Investigation gets 3/5 stars from us. Anyone who has read The Stranger should definitely go for this book. If you haven’t read The Stranger, do it now and follow it up with Meursault Investigation.

Horton Halfpott: Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset – Book Review

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There are not many books aimed at children that make adults feel excited, happy and childish again. Horton Halfpott: Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset is that kind of a book. Written by Tom Angleberger, this is a book that will colour your gloomiest days with its sparkling story, characters and writing.

The Story

The story of the book is as loony as the title or titles in this case. It is about all the things mentioned in the titles. The funny and endearing story is told through 48 short chapters and entertaining illustrations. The stories are set around Smugwick Manor. Then mystery strikes. All hell break loose when Luggertuck Lump, a family heirloom, goes missing. A famous detective comes into the picture to solve the case, giving us a delightful tale.

The cartoonish and pure fun characters add to the story, making it all the more delightful and engaging. The reason we said this book is as much fun for adults as for children is that it is a murder mystery handled with the innocence and feel-good spirit that never fails to appeal to both kids and adults.

Verdict

We rate Horton Halfpott: Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset 4.5/5 stars. There is nothing that you won’t like in this book! Go for it now. Cuddle up with it at your favourite spot at home or read it aloud to your kid, it is guaranteed to make you laugh and tense and thoroughly enjoy it.

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz – Book Review

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This Is How You Lose Her is a 2013 novel by an internationally bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz. The author has won these accolades and awards for books like Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The intriguingly titled book features stories about characters from these books. Read our review of the book below.

The Story

This book is a collection of short stories about twisted relationships. The general theme of all the stories, some of them connected, is misogyny. Many of the characters, men, from the stories, express strong negative views on women. And these might make women readers quite uncomfortable and challenging to go through the stories with a full heart.

The book is actually about a guy who loses the woman he loves because he cheats on her. Most of the male characters in the book are facing issues with their infidelity. On the surface, this book might seem like a criticizing point of view of women by men.

But if you look at it closely, it explores how the characters are wrong and how they have realized how mistaken they were to think and behave in such a manner towards women. This thought may not be put up firmly, but it is the underlying emotion as the characters start to think differently as the story progresses.

The Writing

The writing style of Junot Diaz doesn’t disappoint. It’s clear, direct and conversational. But the odd thing in the entire book is there are no quotation marks to indicate someone is speaking. That didn’t come in the way of the reading, but we found it weird. Also, his writing has a mix of English and Spanish, where the meanings of the Spanish words are not explained. So you might feel a little lost while reading the stories.

Verdict

This book is an interesting read, we rate it 3/5 stars. It is for anyone who likes reading about complicated and flawed characters. This is How You Lose Her is also recommended for writers as it mentions some interesting tips on writing through the protagonist’s academic journey as a writer.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Entrepreneurship and Startups – Book Review

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Aimed at budding businessmen, HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Entrepreneurship and Startups is a handy book. The book is from Harvard Business Review and written by entrepreneurs Steve Blank, Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman and William A. Sahlman.

In this book, you will find great business-enhancing tips and practices that are easy to follow and implement. The book advises on how to build your business from scratch, adopt best start-up practices like lean practice to see your business flourish from the word go, be realistic about your business goals and see if they are achievable, build the customers – the most important aspect of your business, your sole focus and plan it around them, keep track of how and where your competitors are launching their products, etc.

This book is a detailed guide by those with vast knowledge and experience in the field. So it’s a definite buy for budding entrepreneurs.

Verdict

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Entrepreneurship and Startups is a 4/5 star book because you rarely get such a detailed insight about starting and growing a business. As the name suggests, it is a must-read book for entrepreneurs. This collection of 10 articles is also an excellent gifting option for a friend or family member who is about to start a business.

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner – Book Review

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It’s a memoir, a diary, a travel guide. The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner is all this in one. Created by international travel writer and researcher, Susan Veness, this diary is a must-have asset for any avid traveler. We got one for ourselves and here’s expressing our experience of owning this wonderful journal.

This book is all about how to plan your trip to Disney. It has all the information about the rides, budget-friendly places to eat and stay, how to save your money and time when on the trip, how to avoid standing in long queues for a ride and more. Every ride and the surrounding restaurants are mentioned in detail, making this planner a convenient tool for both 1st and many time visitors.

The diary also reveals some of the never revealed secrets about Mickey’s home like where you’ll get tomato-shaped Mickey, a difficult to spot horrific surprise at the Tower of Terror.. we won’t spill them all here.

The author has done a lot of research or probably created the journal from her journey to the place. When you are visiting Disney, this planner feels like a comforting friend who knows everything about the place. The planner guides you through the magical place, ensuring you don’t ever get lost and miss the unmissable. This Disney planner book gives a detailed sneak peek into Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney and many Disney Water Parks.

Apart from this in-depth information about the trip, the planner also lets you record your experience. It has many organizer pockets and a journal section where you can insert pictures and write about your journey.

What’s in There?

  • Best places to see, eat and stay based on all types of budgets
  • Tips on how to save money and time during your entire trip
  • Prime viewing spots for parades
  • Map of the entire place to help you find your way without any help
  • Secret spots and things to find
  • Journal and organizer sections to chronicle your trip

Verdict

There’s nothing to not like in The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner, so we rate it 5/5 stars. Are you looking for a gift for your traveler friend? What could be apter than this one!

Firefight: A Reckoners Novel – eBook Review

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Firefight: A Reckoners is the second book in the superhero series by Brandon Sanderson. This book follows the first one named Steelheart (The Reckoners) and completes the gripping series is the 3rd book – Calamity (Reckoners 3).

Storyline

Firefight: A Reckoners Novel follows the young adult fantasy story about people with superpowers from the 1st book in the series. But unlike the superheroes, these are people with evil intentions. The special powers only make these people want more of it, through any means. These supervillains have made life hell for many people. When there are negative forces in action, an opposite force has to emerge to fight them and restore balance and harmony.

So enter the Reckoners, formed by David, the protagonist. These people are determined to rid the world of the powerful and corrupted supervillains. Their main target is the head of their group, Steelheart, who turns everything he touches into steel and who is the reason David’s parents aren’t alive.

Firefight is very similar to Steelheart when it comes to storyline. In the 1st book, the Reckoners were able to kill Steelheart. But in this book, another evil force, a larger one than the previous, is left to be vanquished. Without divulging too much, we just want to say, Firefight is an action-packed, fantasy novel that can blow your mind with its amazing plot and revelations at the end.

The Good

  • The action sequences
  • Characters connect you to the story

The Bad

  • The repeated swear words, which are actually created by the author are annoying
  • The story paces and becomes more interesting only in the last 100 pages

Verdict

Firefight: A Reckoners Novel gets 3.5/5 stars. This novel had such great possibilities of becoming a great book on young adult fantasy. Yet, it fails somewhere and triumphs somewhere. It only generates interest when it is about to reach its end, which is quite disappointing because it is 432 pages long.

But overall, this book is worth reading for its fabulous action sequences, characters and fantasy things. Start reading Steelheart if you haven’t to read Firefight and the next novel, Calamity (Reckoners 3).

Mastering The Mechanics Of Civil Jury Trials – Book Review

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Mastering The Mechanics Of Civil Jury Trials is an informative read for a person practicing law. The book written by Tyler G Draa offers insights about the court trial and strategy explained by authors Doris Cheng, Maureen Harrington and Franklin E Bondonno. This makes it a multiple-author sort of book. Here is our review of the book.

This is a manual that was converted into the book format. It has interesting facts and strategies involving the craft of conducting civil court trials. The authors are experienced lawyers and impart knowledge and share their decade long experience in the field.

They offer theories and how it can be made practical for trial procedures. They stress on how the experience of the lawyer can affect the case he or she is conducting. In other words, they want to say, the amount of cases a lawyer has handled decides the fate of their future cases.

But what if a lawyer has just started out? For inexperienced lawyers, the authors have this advice- be ready and on your toes, always. A court trial can take any unpredictable route, they explain, and the lawyer has to be prepared for any kind of circumstances without losing the grip and letting the senses make a run for it if the proceedings go against them.

There are many tips, strategies and guidance on how to master the civil court cases in this book. The authors have not left any procedure or strategy undiscussed, making it a very informative and insightful read for both amateur and experienced lawyers.

Verdict

Mastering The Mechanics Of Civil Jury Trials gets 4/5 stars. Every lawyer, aspiring or experienced, should immediately read this book if they haven’t already.

The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood – Book Review

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We feel a bit of scientific and technical read would bring diversity to our reading list. And so we picked The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick. Below is the review of how we found the book to be.

The book deals with the relationship between communication, information and the human mind. James Gleick takes us through the journey of the history of technology (some of which dates back to thirty-five hundred years ago!!), its development and how it has become an integral part of our lives in the 21st century.

This book was written years ago and the information and communication sector has taken a few more steps up on the ladder of development and change. However, still, this book is a very relevant and insightful read. It reveals some of the fascinating facts and aspects that we bet you cannot claim to have any knowledge about.

The book also lists some of the change-makers in this field, such as Charles Babbage, Samuel Morse, Ada Lovelace, etc. and how their deep and accurate understanding of information technology has contributed to changing the way not just how we humans look at things but also how we live.

James Gleick has written this complicated and, in parts difficult to understand theories in simple words. You’ll be able to understand a lot of the stuff without scratching your head in confusion.

Verdict

We give this informative, intellectual and insightful read 4/5 stars. A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick is a perfect pick for anyone interested in the history and insight about IT. It is also great for someone working in this field, as it provides a lot of undivulged facts that serve as an eye-opener.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe – Review

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin was initially written as a drama by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It was later published as a book by Boston publisher John P. Jewett. This story that follows the lives of African American slaves, particularly of an uncle Tom, caught immediate attention and saw roaring success when it was published in 1852.

Story plot

The story is set in the time when slavery of humans was the norm. Tom and Eliza are two slaves who work for Mr. Shelby. But due to some financial crisis, Mr. Shelby has to let two of his slaves go. He chooses Tom and Eliza’s son, Harry. Afraid of separation from her young son, Eliza runs away with him, while Tom remains behind.

While Eliza settles in Liberia with her son and husband, Tom travels deep south under his new master’s orders. When he saves a white girl from drowning, things change drastically for him. He is owned by the girl’s father, who offers freedom to him only to die before granting it. The story then follows the sad journey of Tom waiting for freedom to come to him until it is too late.

Writing

Since this book was written decades ago, the language is hard to comprehend. Sadly, the book has not seen new versions, wherein the language is adapted for today’s readers. You might have to sit with the dictionary while reading the book.

Apart from the language, there are specific points in the book that might bounce off your head entirely because of no knowledge about them. And there are many controversial things in the book, which, according to Abraham Lincoln, were the catalyst for the civil war. So this book requires a considerable amount of patience while reading.

Verdict

We would like to rate Uncle Tom’s Cabin 3/5 stars. Lovers of historical fiction with an understanding of historical events of the world should go for this book.

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