Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife

Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife

What happens after you die? Depending on your religious beliefs, it may be afterlife, reincarnation or nothing at all. If you read a lot of YA literature zombie life may not be far from your thoughts. What if you were resurrected and your religious world was all ready to believe in it until you literally are resurrected? Would they understand you are the one that fulfills that prophecies? How would the modern world accept it? Moshe Karlin’s life just would answer those questions in An Unexpected Afterlifeelgeewrites Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife ir?t=elgeereviews 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0986393231.

Book review: An Unexpected AfterlifeBook Name: An Unexpected Afterlifeelgeewrites Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife ir?t=elgeereviews 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0986393231
Series: The Dry Bones Society #1
Author:  Dan Sofer
Genre: Fiction – Paranormal
Characters:  Moshe and Galit Karlin, Avi, Rabbi Yosef Lev
Setting: Jerusalem, Israel
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author for the Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Moshe Karlin wakes up naked at a cemetery at the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem the morning after his 40th birthday. He catches a taxi to his house, trying to remember what prank his best friend Avi had pulled on him the previous night, only to find Avi and his wife Gallit in bed together. As if that was not enough to enrage him, Avi throws him off his house, saying Moshe has been dead for two years.

He reaches out to the local Rabbi Yosef, the one who buried Moshe when he was dead and tries to understand his situation. Without an ID, place to live or family to depend upon he stumbles on trying to win his old life, his wife, and his daughter. The Rabbi and Moshe are startled to find more ‘dead’ people are resurrected, and they seek their help. Some remember who they were; many don’t. Some are Jews, and few are not. Didn’t Torah promise that only Jews will be resurrected?

Meanwhile, not far from this chaos, the Prophet Elijah himself is stuck in an unforeseen situation. According to the scriptures and the destiny, he was supposed to save the world, but how can he when His world is changing. To make matters worse for the Rabbi the Great Council (of religious wisemen) discards the Rabbi’s theory of resurrection and pronounces the resurrected as ‘ Sitra Achra!’ (other side / unholy world).

What does the Rabbi choose – his free will and understanding of the Torah or the words of the Council that has guided him all through his life and also can change the stability and peace in a teacher’s life? How do Moshe and his clan move ahead? Did they find what they are seeking? The An Unexpected Afterlifeelgeewrites Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife ir?t=elgeereviews 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0986393231 and the series will answer your questions.

An Unexpected Afterlifeelgeewrites Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife ir?t=elgeereviews 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0986393231 is a steady paced narrative that kept me engrossed until the end, well, end of the first book of the series. Thankfully the book didn’t end in a cliffhanger perse, though the series would answer many questions. The writing is crisp, and the tiny streak of satire kept things interesting. I loved the strong world building, and all the central characters had depth

The one thing that kinda annoyed me at the was that the stories of Moshe and Elijah did not seem to be related all, at least in the first book. Maybe they will merge somewhere down the lane in the following books of the series. I am not a great fan of fantasy and the zombie/undead world and have avoided them for a while. An Unexpected Afterlifeelgeewrites Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife ir?t=elgeereviews 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0986393231 made me realize what I have been missing out.

The story is primarily set in Israel, and I loved how the book let me have a glimpse into the world of Jews and their beliefs and culture. It is one of those things that made say yes when the author  Dan Sofer approached for a review of his book, and I am glad I chose it. If you are interested in reading a religious take on the resurrection An Unexpected Afterlifeelgeewrites Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife ir?t=elgeereviews 20&l=am2&o=1&a=0986393231 is your pick.

Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife

Book Tag: Reader Problems

I am currently traveling and supposed to be on holiday, but I had a moment to spare and decided to do a post so that I wouldn’t disappoint you guys, my dearest readers or just that one reader, who came out to my blog by mistake.

So here is the deal. I have been tagged by Dorka from Berries and Books to do a question and Answer session on Reader problems. All I had to do was reply to the questions truthfully and tag friends who would be interested in doing the tag. 

Well, I am nothing if not for truth and honesty *wink wink* and I don’t care if you guys are interested, or not. I AM tagging you, my bookish friends, because I wanna know more about you than just the books that books that you guys read.

Here are my answers.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

Well you know me and system, they don’t work out very well. When I receive copies for review, I immediately ask for their preferred date for posting. I read them according those dates. And between every two books that I have been provided to review or so, I read a book that I choose to read or as I call it, for my pleasure.

Those books I pick for my pleasure only are based on my mood swings, and there are no systems that can tell me what I should read. Hence I have books shelved from the 2010s yet to be picked and books I got last week have been read. I sometimes wish I did the monthly ‘To Be Read’ post that some bloggers religiously do, but then I am not ready to face any more failures on account of not following the list. So the only rule that has been going well for me is ‘no rules’. Sticking to just that.

Another crazy fact about me, I have few books that I know I love crazily, or I am too excited (for years) to read that I don’t read because I don’t want it to end. I am terrified of the book withdrawal syndrome that I would face and the impending doom when the book ends. If I don’t begin it won’t end, right? I do these for Calvin & Hobbes, and this cartoon says exactly what I feel.

 

Reader problems
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2. You’re halfway through a book, and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

I have a problem. I can’t let go of books that do terrible things to me, not in a good way. I can’t stop reading how much ever bad the book is and continues to raise my blood pressure. But these I made my mind up not to torture myself if I don’t like the book. Thanks to that decision, I am now completing way lesser than my usual quota of books. *sigh*

3. The end of the year is coming, and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

I have been stuck here once or twice before, and last year I didn’t even complete my challenge even. That is okay, I tell myself now. But earlier I used to read like crazy to reach the goal. Luck has favored me mostly, and I have found some short stories that I now love, those I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

With the number of books that have been lying about in different places I have called home, I realize I have lost the appetite to collect (read as hoard) books. I still love buying books and calling them my own, but I have kinda switched over my obsession to E-books. At least you don’t have to leave them behind every time you move places. Oh, what was the question again?

I don’t really care much about the covers of books at all. I don’t understand the cover obsession at all, to be frank.

5. Everyone and their mother love a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

It has happened so many times, and it will happen again. I rarely have people with whom I share similar taste in books. And my need to share my thoughts about the books I read, loved or hated gave way to this blog. You readers are my go to listeners. You don’t have any other go but to read and then maybe send me hate comments, but you at least listen don’t you? I love you guys!

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

Rarely a book makes me all teary. But I am known to grin like an idiot when some character does or says something cheesy. I have had people wondering whom I am typing so many messages to, when all I would have been doing is sharing quotes from my favorite e-book to my friends or even just exporting them to Evernote. 

I may not be quite okay with people staring at me while I have a special moment with my book or e-book in public if only I realize they are doing that. Sorry, I am too engrossed in the book even to know that you are looking at me.

Also: I am the girl that walks into posts having her eyes glued to the mobile, that might or might not involve e-books. Don’t judge me.

 

Reader problems
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7. A sequel to a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

This is exactly why I don’t read many books that are part of a series. Also read 5. I usually have my review up on my blog of the books I read and I can always come here for a refresher.

 

Reader problems
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8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people no when they ask?

I have very few friends who borrow books from me anymore. I used to borrow and not return them (gasp!). But now I don’t mind as long as they would read and not take care of my books, I don’t mind sharing.

Since the premise of the question says I don’t wanna share the book with them I just would tell them that I don’t own the book and it was a borrowed copy. I don’t mind lying to save my treasures. That is called survival instinct; it ain’t wrong FYIP.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

Don’t start me on that. The beginning of 2017 saw my longest reader’s block period. I struggled to complete everything I picked. Then someone recommended a short story that blew me out of the world. It was kinda tough read, but then it broke my slump. ‘The chess’ was a god sent, and I have not even written a review for it because I am sure I would not do justice to it. Read it right away please.

 

Reader problems
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 10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

Usually, I don’t even know about the books until they are sent to me for a review, or someone I know has already read it. I don’t follow publication dates even. If I fancy a book, I get it, that is all. I don’t go by the hype. I know I don’t go by the book blogger/book nerd standards set by the internet world.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

That depends on .. Actually, I have no clue; I am stumped. There are books that I start reading on the way home or the second I get my hands on them. And there are others that are in the pile that I may or may not eventually read. I did a shelf on Goodreads called I own for the books I have newly acquired so that I would get to them in an order, and then once I finish it, I would move it to read shelf. But DO NOT ASK me how well that has been working for me.

Phew, that was fun. Now I am tagging

Terri @ Terri Luvs Books

DJ @ Books and Bindings

Emily @ It’s Novel To Me

So chop chop. Go on, share your answers with a link to my post.

And even if you aren’t tagged by anyone but you wanna do this – consider tagged.

Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife

Why I do not rate books on my blog?

I started Musings Over Nothing as a personal catalog of the books that I read among other things. About 7 years ago (when I had not met Goodreads) I wanted a place to pour out all my thoughts and feelings about books, as if making my friends bored was not enough. And, I started writing book reviews.

A lot has changed since my first review (of sorts) that makes me cringe every time I read it. While some of the changes are what I call as impromptu, there are a few that have been made after careful consideration. One of those significant changes was the decision to not rate the books in my blog. And I should say it works great for me and there are no regrets at all. 
 
See, long ago I used to rate the books or what everyone calls as stars, like everyone else. But then things got complicated and I didn’t feel the rating system was not working well for me. I understand that people think rating gave a conclusive statement on if they should pick the book or not. But that is where exactly I don’t agree.
 
Why I stopped rating books
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My reviews usually consist of what I feel about the book in general. It then breaks down to what worked for me and what didn’t. I sometimes mention the particular crowd that the books may appeal to like if you love The book thief you might enjoy And the mountains echoed. There are caveats about the strong language or graphic violence. Oh, I worship some characters and boo some. I rant out a lot about the author’s writing style or how the editor messed up. Some reviews are clouded by the quotes that made me go gaga.
 
The rating system reduces all the above to a score or a star. When I say I had problems with the writing but one still might enjoy the fast paced storyline, the reader can make a choice. But when I slap a 2 star near the title the mind of the reader is made for them. Tell me, would you still pick the book?
 
Why I stopped rating books
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Much like the labels like the feminist, every rating system means something different. Most of my books that I have shelved in Goodreads would have a 3-star rating meaning I liked the book, and I might recommend it to some people, but the same 3-star rating means the book was okay. Now how you interpret the okay is up to you. But I usually give the same book a 4-star, which according to Amazon means I like it. Do you get what I mean?
 
Even if you take a particular system alone, say Goodreads, into account, no two books are alike. One can not like any two books in the same way. For example, I gave a 4-star rating to both A Dog’s tale, a classic by Mark Twain and The Grownup, a psychological thriller. Does that mean I like them both equally? Absolutely not! Even among the same genre, my rating can not be a reliable guide, without reading my review.
 
Why I Dont rate books
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I believe the reviews and rating systems by extension are sought out for a reason. To some authors, that reason may seem about their books getting more publicity. Some book promoters and review sites may consider their books only if they have a higher rating. I understand the point from their business angle, but reviews, at least to me, are more than saying ‘I lovvvvee the book’ or ‘It was a crap’ and toss a 4-star or 1-star as the case may be.
 
I know several reviewers, including me, who put a lot of hard work and thought while writing an honest review. For us, it is more than the informal ‘4-star trade’. Book reviews are here to create a healthy balance between helping the readers take an informed decision to read or not and letting the authors know their work is being discussed.
 
Why I stopped rating books
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I still add my long reviews on Goodreads and Amazon and I even use their rating system, but that stops there. Since I stopped rating books in my blog, to be honest; I feel liberated from having to justify the stars I gave or the vice versa.
 
What do you say? Do you think ratings or stars on books, or for that matter on anything, are important? How do you choose your product – stars or reviews? Let me know.
Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife

What changes Hulu made to The handmaid’s tale, my favorite book

I have made it clear to everyone around me – on online and in real life, that I am besotted with The handmaid’s tale, both the book and Hulu’s teleseries. I have not stopped talking about to anyone who would listen about it. You can read my thoughts about the book version of The handmaid’s tale here. Yeah you heard it! There is a book version and a TV version, and there are a lot of differences between them.

In the Hulu version of Gilead most things are the same as in the book. It is essentially about the fertile women called handmaids who have been rounded up and sent to the houses of its high ranking officials to bear the barren couple a child. With Margret Atwood herself on board as an Executive Producer, this tale of feminists’ nightmare has made a few but significant changes. Read on to know what Hulu has done to one of our favorite classics. Plenty of spoilers ahead, be warned.

1) The tale is timeless

Hulu’s series is set in the present age with current technologies like access to Tinder and Uber. The handmaids have a red tag on their ears which serves as a GPS tracker. This makes the series more relatable to us, the . The technologies used by the Atwood’s dystopia set in 1980s like Compubanks, Compucounts (read as electronic banks and credit/ debit cards) etc are pretty usual for us. Of course there are lot more swearing and nudity involved considering the again the age we are in.

The Handmaid's Tale - Book Vs TV series

2) Gilead is a diverse society

Atwood’s book starts with Gilead where the children of Ham have been relocated and the sect war had solved the problems of the Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Quakers, and other religious sects. Our present day Gilead is a multicultural society. They still are against the gender traitors, ie, the LGBTQ but there are a lot of openly gay and non whites characters in the series including Moira, Nick and Luke.

3) The bolder, less rigid Offred

The difference the two Offred begins with their name. While the readers are left to make their own deductions about Offred’s before name, Hulu’s Offred makes it clear from the start that she was June. Another drastic change is in the character of June/Offred is that bookish June was a passive character who craves for language, books and words, she never took part in any protests before she was captured and whatever we learn about herself and Gilead is through her strong inner monologues. But Hulu’s June, portrayed by one of my favorites Elizabeth Moss of the Mad Men fame, is a bold lady who even attempts to manipulate the Commander. The Season Finale even shows her as a rebel when she defies Aunt Elizabeth against stoning Janine.

The Handmaid's Tale - Book Vs TV series

4) We know The Commander

Like June, the Commander’s name in the book had been left to the speculation of the readers. But the Hulu’s Commander is introduced as Waterford and is repeatedly mentioned. Oh, the new Commander doesn’t look anything like the ‘Midwestern banker’ we were used to, he is leaner, younger and much better looking. The Commander is nicer to Offred, letting her meet Moira at the Jezebels and even is a little remorseful when Serena is not let to make her speech, making us like him more than his counterpart from the book.

The Handmaid's Tale - Book Vs TV series

5) Serena Joy is nothing like we read

The character of Serena Joy gets a complete overhaul by the Hulu’s team. She is nothing like the old, limping, detached ex-televangelist that Atwood had in mind. She is an ex-marketer much like her husband and she played a mighty role in creating Gilead. Hulu’s Serena is not passive about Offred, she is indignant that Offred is taking her place. She is not the one who takes his husband’s affair with June slightly. She gives him a piece of her mind and physically hurts Offred, until she learns she  is pregnant. She is passionate, strong and woman who knows to get things done.

The Handmaid's Tale - Book Vs TV series

6) Ofglen is a gender traitor

How could we forget the brave Mayday supporter Ofglen? In the book the last we hear about her was that she hangs herself when the vans were coming to get her. But Hulu has turned her into a gender traitor and has her even punished for that. She is punished for that severely for having an affair with a Martha. She even drives a car around the market. The show ends up saying more than Ofglen than the book and she is taken in a van much like Offred and her fate is to be certain.

The Handmaid's Tale - Book Vs TV series

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7) Luke survives, so does Hannah

Yes Luke lives in Canada in the Hulu series, whereas his whereabouts are unknown in the book. He is a colored man who divorces his wife to marry June. While the latter fact remains unchanged, the diverse world of Gilead is new. The series also doesn’t speak about the reason behind June’s marriage with Luke is invalidated. Also June’s meeting with Luke has a cutesy story involving Moira and Tinder. I like the TV series’ Luke better than the book’s.

The Handmaid's Tale - Book Vs TV series

8) Moira escapes the Jezebels

In the book Offred gains her strength from Moira. Moira is a rebel by heart and escapes from the Red Centre alone, not with June as in the series. One of the major change from this theme in the TV series is that Moira is broken down and has lost hope while at Jezebels and Offred is the one who is strong. Moira is seen lastly at the Jezebels by Offred according to the book, whereas Moira escapes to Canada and reunites with Luke.

The Handmaid's Tale - Book Vs TV series

9) What else has changed

June’s mother plays a bigger part in making up for the courage June lacked, in the book. She is a feminist who fights the system and sent to the Colonies. Cora is a friendlier Martha who finds fainted Offred. Both of these characters are missing in the television series. Likewise Janine’s character is a lot more developed than it is in the book. The time lines are also a bit changed to make it more interesting. Even Aunt Lydia seems to have a heart for Janine, unlike the book.

Have you watched the series? What do you think of it and did you like the changes made by Hulu? Let me know in the comment section. 

Book review: An Unexpected Afterlife

10 reasons why I hate your book – Part 2

How often do you drop a book down because you could not take it anymore? Not in the positive, overwhelming, OMG I-need-a-moment kind. But more of a what-in-the-crap-did-I-read way that you reserve when hate books. The kind that made us wish we had the book in its physical form, so that we would have had the pleasure of throwing it against the wall.

How often do you hate books? What are your reasons? And what makes you decide to stop putting yourself through hell? Let us talk. Click To Tweet

We pay for the sin of having not taken the hint when their friends warn us about the book in not so subtle ways. We want to taste the poison for ourselves. We are masochistic. We persevere. We suffer through books with half baked plots, overcompensating sex scenes, subplots that adds nothing but pages and what not.

10 reasons why I hate your books

Yet it does not stop us from reaching to the next book you have not heard reviews or rather not good reviews about. Now that is what they call ‘the adventurous life of a book lover’. We already discussed a few things that would make you stop reading a book, if you can help it. Here we are on the second part. Go on.

6) Show not tell me:

Why would you spend 25 lines saying what a badass your villain is when you can tell me what he did and I could form an opinion myself? We readers like visualizing the horrors your villain could unleash, not just accept your word for it. Now, Twilight lovers do not harm me but I have to add this excerpt hides away under the table

“You know Bella, Jacob?” Lauren asked—in what Iimagined was an insolent tone-from across the fire.
“We’ve sort of known each other since I was born,” he laughed, smiling at me again.
“How nice.”She didn’t sound like she thought it was nice at all, and her pale, fishy eyes narrowed.
“Bella,” she called again, watching my face carefully, “I was just saying to Tyler that it was too bad none of the Cullens could come out today. Didn’t anyone think to invite them?” Her expression of concern wasunconvincing.
“You mean Dr. Carlisle Cullen’s family?” the tall, older boy asked before I could respond, much to Lauren’s irritation. He was really closer to a man than a boy, and his voice was very deep.
“Yes, do you know them?” she askedcondescendingly, turning halfway toward him.
– Twilight, Stephenie Meyer.

I am going to ignore every other problem with the above prose and focus on the topic. What does Meyers tell us? Lauren is unlikeable. Yet she does not show us anything to help the fact. I am annoyed; Period!

5)I can not care less for your characters:

We all have heroes that we have fallen for, some that we have rooted for and even characters that we hate, sometimes for a reason or not. Maybe there are protagonists that we can not relate to, yet we understand them. I love roles that fall into the gray area, the broken ones and the one that breaks others.

Why I hate your book


But what I truly abhor are characters that I cannot feel anything for. Why would I want to read about people who do not do anything or just not interesting enough, for 150 pages or more?

4)Too crowded and suffocating:

We have all read books that have too many things going on. Too many sub plots and too many characters do overwhelm us, the readers. Imagine if only we had had a story for each of the seven dwarfs in the Snow White, would we have enjoyed it as much?

While JK Rowling did a commendable job indelving into so many sub plots, not all authors do that with such success, And to be honest, I have fallen too many a times nowharderfor the characters from the sub plot than the actual protagonists.

Yet the number of times I had to skim through the story of the side kick because it does not help the story move forward nor to understand the characters better is too many. They simply might have been filling the pages andbe distracting. If so, why would I have to read them to reach the end of the book?

3)What did I read now!:

One of the major issues I have with the YA and fantasy world is that I can’t make myself believe in them, this from someone who adores horror fiction and might possibly be scared that one could walk in and out of a picture frame.

Credibility of the story or plot doesn’t mean that these things should be able to happen in the real world, but they should be plausible in the world that the author has spun for me. For instance, I don’t care if vampires are real or not, but I do mind if you tell me vampires do not drink blood.

Why I hate your book


I hate books that has characters who are not credible – they do something quite not like themselves at all without proper reasons. Likewise, when books lack cultural and historical authenticity readers tend to stop getting into the characters. Book with no credibility means lazy writing, which is an excellent way to make me hate your book.

2) Plain bad writing and editing:

I linger in the doorway of Command, the high-tech meeting/war council room complete with computerized talking walls, electronic maps showing the troop movements in various districts, and a giant rectangular table with control panels I’m not supposed to touch.-Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

The above excerpt is a narration by Katniss, how are we supposed to ‘hear’ the ‘meeting/war’ part? Does she say slash? Does anybody around here say slash when you are talking to IRL? Minor quirks like these usually end up to form a huge ball of hatred even before I could even complete the book.

“So today is the day,” she says.
“Yes,” I reply.
“Are you nervous?” I stare into my own eyes for a moment.
…..
“No,” I say. “The tests don’t have to change our choices.”
“Right.” She smiles.
“Let’s go eat breakfast.”
“Thank you. For cutting my hair.”-Divergent by Veronica Roth

Brevity might be the soul of wit. But having to read conversations like the one above or the much infamous

“Sorry,” Brom apologized– Eragon,Christopher Paolini

Grammatically they might have no errors but they do nothing but make the readers interest drop as fast as it can.

1) Bad grammar:

Though we all dread the Grammar Nazis in the Internet forums and FB posts, bad grammar in books and manuscripts are still acceptable.

One can be able to tolerate a typo here and there but not those with terrible tenses, senseless smilies and cringe-worthy cliches.

To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed. –The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

While even the classic writers have once in a while chosen to break the rules of English grammar, the number of new age writers who argue that grammar 101 as a restriction to their free thoughts and writing style is simply appalling and their arguments are ridiculous.

Let’s Chat

How often do you quit a book that you do not enjoy? And what makes you decide to stop putting yourself through hell? When do you say “I hate your book”? Let me know in the comments.