Jun 8, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #4

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

It's been a really long time since I last participated and it does feel good to come back. 

For this week, my WOW is 'Haunting Violet' by Alyxandra Harvey. I love her Drake Chronicles and I hope I will like this one.

Description: Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother's elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother's scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she's known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?

The hardcover edition will be available from June 21, 2011 onwards. And I'm hoping I can get my hands on it as soon as it's available here in Malaysia.

Jun 7, 2011

Review: After Midnight by Robert Ryan

Title: After Midnight
Author: Robert Ryan
Publication Year: 2005
Genre: Historical Fiction/WW2

In 1944, a Liberator bomber pilot never returns from a mission to Domodossola in Northern Italy. The aircraft and its pilot are seemingly lost for ever.

In 1964, his daughter, Lindy Carr, resolves to find out what happened to her father on that terrible night. She employs the help of motorcycle TT racer Jack Kirby, a man who has his own inner demons to combat. He was a Mosquito fighter pilot during the War and experienced at first hand the astonishing courage of the Italian partisans in the face of Nazi brutality. Jack is keen to find one of the partisans, a woman with a past as dark as the secrets she still holds close to her heart.

My two cents: Robert Ryan is officially one of my favourite authors. If I was impressed with 'The Last Sunrise', this one totally makes him one of my favourites. The book opens with a letter from a pilot posted in Italy to his soon-to-be one-year-old daughter (which was based on an actual letter), written right before he went MIA. Twenty years later, desperate to find out what really happened to her father, Lindy Carr hired Jack Kirby and his one aircraft airline. Soon, Jack Kirby was transported back to the years he spent with the Italian partisans and the role he might have had in the missing of Lindy's father and his Liberator.

I've read plenty of books with Italy as the settings but nothing captures me like this one. The WW2, as fought in Italy and the involvement of partisans in the war are not something I'm familiar with and in the beginning, I had quite a hard time following the events described. I guess a little bit of before hand knowledge would make for a smoother read. 

What I like the most about this book is that the story works at every level, be it the story of Jack's involvement with the partisans during the war, Lindy's search of her father or Jack's post-war life. The building of the pace is neither too slow nor too fast which is just right for my reading. The blurb suggests that this  centred around the missing Liberator and Lindy's search. It's true in a way but the missing Liberator itself is the key to many other unfolding events. The way Ryan intertwined the past (1944) and the present (1964) to build a complete picture is amazing, to say the least. I was totally hooked and I brought this book with me everywhere. The twist was unexpected, especially the one with Lindy and Jack's old love, Francesca.

Jack Kirby is complex. A man with his own demons to combat and the scars that war leave in him, I can't help but feel sorry for him and I keep wishing for things to turn better for him. But, the book is not all dark despite the theme and the story. It's written in a lighthearted way and the dialogs brought smiles to my face on many occasions. My only complain is that this story is quite short (only 300+ pages). The author ended it beautifully, in the wee hours of the dawn. The title might suggest at the darkest hour of the day, that is after midnight before the dawn. After all, the darkest hour is always just before the dawn and did Jack Kirby manage to go through it. 

One of Ryan's many strengths is to create believable settings no matter what the year is and this could only be achieved by extensive research. Though this one leans more towards fiction, the atmosphere portrayed stays close to how one might imagine war and its aftermath are like. If there is one thing that I learned, it is that wars leave scars in everyone and in war, nothing is too personal as people do many things out of desperation and the instinct to survive prevails for most of the times. All in all, an amazing read. 

My verdict: 4.5/5

Jun 6, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness (June)

Book Soulmates

Random Acts of Kindness is created and hosted by Vanessa and Isalys of Book Soulmates. The idea is simple, to spread the love to fellow book lovers/bloggers by giving them the books (and other goodies) they have on their wishlist. This is my first time participating, and I think that this idea is BRILLIANT.



  1. Sign up each month that you'd like to participate. 
  2. Show off your participation by grabbing the RAK button from Book Soulmates.
  3. Create a wish list (on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog etc) and post it in the Google Doc located in each RAK post for the month (located at Book Soulmates). 
  4. If you choose to do a RAK for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger for their address. 
  5. At the end of the month, show your RAK to everyone! Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it at Book Soulmates.  

Since this is my first month, I am yet to have someone to thank to.

Here's a sneak peak of my wishlist for this month:

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