It is no secret that I love a serial killer and of course a good cop chase. specially when I receive a book from an author I already have read and loved who now promises an ‘impossible to catch’ psychopath. Well I had to grab the chance to read The Fourth Monkey Killer by J D Barker.
I know you all love my rant induced reviews and are dying to read more from me. Of course you do. (YOU DO, right???). But for once I thought I will let you guys read something from a friend who is not a book reviewer as he begged for a chance to write for my blog (one of these is a lie). So here we go.
Book Name: The Fourth Monkey Killer
Author: J D Barker
Genre: Fiction – Thriller
Characters: Sam Porter
Setting: Chicago, The USA
Three years after the critically acclaimed and multiple award winning Forsaken, Barker comes up the first book of the series named after the central character of the plot; The Fourth Monkey Killer (4MK).
A major portion of the novel covers events across just a couple of days and the narration moves at a brisk pace. Even the flashback portion that runs parallel to the live narration pertains to a reasonably short period of time and keeps the plot on its toes.
Non-linear narration has been handled professionally and I wouldn’t be far from truth when I say that this does not come across as the work of an author penning just his second novel.
The setting up of the flashback narration, read as: diary entries, is a small dampener in what is a near-flawless price of work. There aren’t many places where unnecessary details or deliberate mis-directions drag the story which helps sustain one’s interest. The fact that Barker has been able to give us a fabulous view into the killer’s head despite the brevity deserves appreciation.
4MK would appeal to you if you are a fan of detective novels, if you are into stories involving serial killers and to those that like fast paced thrillers.
Hey, it is me again. Do you like the psychopath and troubled cop trope? Do you miss me already? Are you interested in posting on my blog? Talk to me in the comments.
P.S Hint: I would be really glad if you did miss me!
Nothing screams a vacation like curling up with a cozy, sweet romance right? The title Love, Hate And Other Filters shouted out me as just what I needed to try and enjoy the hot, sultry summer in the southern part of India. And you what enticed me more – Love, Hate And Other Filters is an #ownvoice book with a Muslim representation, which is kinda rare. So how did it fare, read ahead to find out.
Book Name: Love, Hate And Other Filters
Author: Samira Ahmed
Genre: Fiction – Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Maya Aziz, Violet, Hina, Phil, Kareem
Setting: Chicago, The USA
Maya Aziz, a typical 17 year old American high schooler loves Indian food and making movies. Her Indian born parents do not take her aspirations to become a film maker seriously and want her to settle down with a serious guy soon.
Maya has a huge crush on Phil for years, who is already in a relationship. Meanwhile, her conservative parents set her up with Kareem who seems to be a safer bet given their common heritage and family background. Should she stand up against her parents’ wishes for just a ‘maybe’ guy? Or should she try to focus on career like her rebellious aunt Hina?
Her almost perfect world shatters following a terrorists’ attack on the USA. She and her family become the victims of Islamophobia. How does religion affect Maya’s life? Read Love, Hate And Other Filters.
Love, Hate And Other Filters is a witty and fast YA romance. I finished reading the book in one sitting and the setting reminded me so much of When Dimple met Rishi. When I am not such a big fan of lovesick female lead, I loved how the book spoke so much about Indian culture, even though it was a bit over the top at places.
I like my protagonists to be fierce, interesting – erm.. just not bland. Unfortunately Maya was just that. And her ‘relationship’ with Phil had no base except that they knew each other. where is the damn chemistry? Phil you can definitely do better.
I loved Violet, the protagonist’s friend and how fiercely loyal she was to Maya till the end. Phil and Hina were totally cool too. The other Indian characters, especially Maya’s parents were too stereotypical. I mean there is only so many of over dramatic Indian mothers one can read about without rolling one’s eyes.
Love, Hate And Other Filters did okay at being an American-Indian representation, but it is definitely not an accurate Muslim representation. Love, Hate And Other Filters doesn’t talk about Maya’s religion at all, except when it is used against her. Maya’s family might be liberal Muslims but even that message doesn’t reach clearly. If it were not for her last name, one might not even know she is a Muslim, which is definitely not a good representation.
If you are looking for a YA with light romance or an own voice book you can choose Love, Hate And Other Filters right away.
Have you read Love, Hate And Other Filters? What do you think about it? Have you read any other book with Indian or Muslim leads and you liked them better? Let us discuss, I love some books with better representations, especially #ownvoices.
I generally do not give a review to any book that has not touched my heart. There have been a very few books that touched mine as much as this- in a negative way.
If I don’t like a book, I usually move away and forget about its existence but this book has won my hatred so much that I have to rant/ review about it. So any of those SEP fans-am sorry guys I just hated this book. And then why did I spend whole four hours to read this? Go figure…
Book: Nobody’s baby but mine
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Series: Chicago Stars #03
Genre: Fiction – Romance
Characters: Jane Darlington, Cal Bonner, Kevin Tucker, Ethan Bonner
Setting: Chicago, Illinois, The USA
A genius (!!!) professor Dr Jane Darlington just needs a baby to fill the vacuum in her life. But she doesn’t want her (from the beginning it is a ‘her’) to suffer the same ‘freak’ (an IQ of 180, hence a freak) status she does, so she decides her father should be a ‘dumb’ jock. So that his dumbness and her ingenuity would give her a normal baby (now this is ingenuity!!!)
(You are still reading? Good)
And of course she doesn’t need a man in her life, just his baby. Erm.. There is a catch. She can’t go out to the sperm bank because only medical students donated over there (see problem of high IQ). This she has no other choice (!!) but to utilize the first chance to seduce the famous footballer (of the Chicago stars) Calvin Bonner.
Come on, he is a good looking footballer and he has an accent- so he should be dumb! And she can get impregnated by him and she could move away from his life completely. Why should he know about the baby – after all he is dumb.
(I was starting to get irritated by now, how about you?)
The hero umm.. Cal Bonner a 37 year footballer with a shortening career – make it threatened career – who still dates blondes below 23 as a rule. He doesn’t get fooled by Jane but still gets seduced (!!!). But when he comes to know of her plans, he decides to punish her by marrying her and also he feels the moral obligation that he can’t let his baby suffer.
(By This time I was almost fuming)
He takes her to his native Salvation, Texas but tries to keep her away from his family, so that they wouldn’t be devastated when they hear about their divorce (planned after the birth of the baby). They were already suffering the death of their other daughter in law and grand son.
(wait you have not heard the best part)
Jane comes to know he is not exactly dumb (gasp) in fact he is a Grad in biology. Earth shatters around her as she finds that Cal had betrayed her (Uhh? come again?) and now she is sure to be doomed with a freak girl baby. (Wait.. not over.. Wait for it.. Tada…)
He is aghast coming to know that he has married an “elderly” lady and that she is 34 (gasp again).. So there goes the last chance of recuperation (as if I really cared to see one there).
Then they agree to stay civilized till her childbirth and then get an amicable divorce. But for that, Jane needs to behave as a person that her in-laws would not miss her. And Jane magnanimously agrees to it.
(And dont even ask me where they fell in love with each other, I was concentrating on when they would tear each other apart or a major earthquake to gobble them up, and then I could go forward with my works.)
So somewhere on the line they fall in love and once she says that she loves him, Cal starts regretting the whole “relationship / commitment” episode and wishes she would leave him alone (or something like that!) and of course he would take care of the baby’s needs.
(If you were not by now, this would take you down)
Once it becomes clear that Cal is not for any relationship and that he had been spying on her through his agents, his family takes “HER” side and as any SEP novel, he grovels. But his family promise to stay with her till she forgives him and wont support him.
Come on, is he not the only one who erred? Is he not shameful? She being woman, that too a pregnant woman she has all the right to get angry. all because she was in love and he was not? Spare me the logic.
(I am by now, more of “whatever is it over yet?)
And then she forgives him when he proves that he is ready for a commitment. You would ask how (I mean you should) He helped her select the wallpaper for their house in the midnight by breaking in a shop. (God save me!)
If there was one word I felt all through my reading – RIDICULOUS. If all these do not convince my hatred for the book, get me the book let me it hit it on your head.
Anyway I got some questions, most of them are rhetorical and I wont bother to think of an answer.
- An high IQ is a bane? Seriously? Freak?
- Smart mom + Dumb dad = normal kid ??
- Dr Jane! you dont need a baby to fill the vacuum just a therapist.
- Jane can cheat Cal about the baby, be prejudiced about his intelligence, act as a hooker and lie about her age and then goes into hysterical behavior that Cal never told that his degree was in Biology (she did know he had a degree). And then throw in the moral questions and his family supports her.
- How does she know that baby would be a she and he keep referring to the baby as a he?
- If Cal was doubtful about the commitment, he could have left her and her baby alone and could have saved us from the ridiculous aftermaths.
- Dont even let me start on Jim’s emotional abuse on Amber (Cal’s parents). “My wife didn’t graduate from high school, so she sometimes gets intimidated when she meets people with advanced degrees“ Doesn’t anyone put these men to their places?
- And you know what the Footballer decided to become after his retirement? A DOCTOR (oh please)
If there was something that was positive about this book (as with all SEP’s other novels) was the matured romance between Cal’s parents. Cal’s mom had changed herself to fit in the sophisticated family and society of Jim, Cal’s dad.
But Jim now, after all these years regrets that he had lost the girl whom he loved and wishes to rekindle the old flame. Those were the only scenes that seemed sensible and made me go “awww”. And Kevin, he was the only character in this whole drama who seemed normal (which means not a jerk). I should have to hold my judgment till I read his own novel in the Chicago Stars series.
Bottom-line: Ridiculous! I would not recommend this to anyone who has a bit of brain. I understand you need a plot for a romance, which need not be exactly plausible but this was tooo far fetched. Thank you for putting up with this rant / review.
What soothes the mind of a gloomy tired lass, on yet another sleepless night? Funny that a sad damsel in distress gets soothed hearing or reading about another one. I felt totally ‘in’ for a whole night read into this grown up version of Mills & Boons.
Yes judge me all you can, but I liked this trashy mushy mushy romance. Not the kind of ‘like’ I would give for a classic but the kind I can happily give away for a rainy day, a cup of coffee, our own ARR and a mills and boons on the hand.
If it was just a Mills and Boons in hand, I may not have been raving like this, but then it is the whole set up.. sleepless Friday night, no friends to text or chat, that might have done the trick, or maybe the book was ‘really’ good?
Book: Heaven, Texas
Series: Chicago Stars #02
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Fiction – Romance
Main Characters: Gracie Snow, Bobby Tom Denton, Phoebe Somerville, Dan Calebow,
Setting: Texas, The USA
A Spoilt brat, male chauvinistic, smooth talking football player turned to a film star and a plain looking heroine with ‘serious serious’ issues of self esteem meet and what happens only in these kind of movies-happen, the ‘am-so-hating-you-because-am-foolish-enough-to-be-attracted-to-you’ !!! Throw in a couple of love/hate scenes – Aah now I am confused whether I hate or like this book..
**Spoiler Alert ** Bobby Tom? Seriously what kind of name is that.. And everyone calling him that, at the beginning of every sentence. Am I the only one who find this name, repulsive??
You might be obsessed with football, but to select or even pretend to select your wife based on a sports quiz? Excuse me, I am too much a feminist to digest this.
You might be a star footballer with a lost career and you need all the sympathy you can get. But if till the end you are going to trod over all the people around you, you are not getting my dose of sympathy. Sorry.
Let me not start about Gracie. I dislike dependent, hate drama queens, loathe self esteemless women. Ok I hate HER 360 degrees. And one more thing, if you are a plain Jane, you are a plain Jane. Live on with it, you are not going to become the most beautiful girl to the one guy. (we all hope we would, but no). If you do, it seems so phony. And ladies, if your guy thinks he has to fix you – he is not worth it!
In fact the more and more I think, the lesser and lesser the logic seems to make sense.
I think I should stop dissecting the plot and critically evaluating the bits. If I do that, you would hate this… no! You would, hate any chick lit.
So if you read this book just like a M & B, a fairy tale or rather leave all your prejudices, egotism and the predatory skills you developed to criticize the other sex (yes that exists, atleast in a few I know. Yap yap, I know I have) and then read this and such other books you would like, maybe even love it.
I loved it – at a time my brain wasn’t working and I like even myself during those times.
I wrote this review over a span of one whole month, so spare me if you sense a sort of discontinuity