year 2161, the rise of the chimera precipitated a catastrophic event (called
the Reckoning) that wiped away the human population from the Earth, barring a
few people. Generations later, descendants of those survivors are leading a
rustic life within walled villages, afraid to go beyond the boundaries due to
the fear of the chimeras. Further, they honor traditions and have a deep
mistrust for technology.
Root, however, is different. Blind daughter of the village guardian, her
endless curiosity and impertinence test her fellow villagers’ patience. A
tragic event leads her to the wild country beyond the village walls where she
learns the truth about her ancestors, and how the world she inhabits has come
to this state.
Set among the vineyards in Southern France and Central California, Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards by Joye Emmens is an enchanting novel that celebrates the resilience of human spirit and the blossoming of love.
Olivia found her calling in winemaking after spending summers in her grandparents’ vineyard in California, Clos de Harmonie. She eventually pursues a degree in Viticulture and Enology and decides to complete her Master’s degree project at a Frenchman’s biodynamic vineyard in France that has been tended to by his family for the last five generations. It’s love at first sight for Olivia and Luke, the Frenchman. As she spends her time in Luke’s family vineyard, she is constantly racked by the guilt that she is neglecting Clos de Harmonie.
A tragic turn of events leads Olivia to return to California. She decides to get Clos de Harmonie certified as a biodynamic vineyard. No one thinks she can do it. Can Olivia prove herself? Can she turn around a decrepit vineyard and not lose Luke in the process?
An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California. For newly minted Detective Katie Scott, it’s a grim reminder of the disappearance of a childhood friend. Due to the lack of any leads, Chelsea’s case has been declared cold by the police. However, Katie’s military training and her sixth sense tell her otherwise.
She starts investigating on her own and to her horror, unearths a row of graves in a remote location deep in the mountainous forests. Each of these graves contains a brightly colored teddy bear and …. some more bodies. Amidst all these, another little girl goes missing. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to her military experiences and still haunted by her childhood friend’s disappearance, Katie vows to protect the abducted girl.
But can she? Read Little Girls Sleeping by Jennifer Chase to find out.
The blast from the shotgun decimated his face leaving behind a gory mess of brains and blood.
The Revolutionist by Robert Tucker
That’s how Luther Baggot, a bounty hunter assassin, slays his victims. Baggot is after a list containing the names of influential social democrats who fled Otto von Bismarck’s tyrannical regime.
Two of these families are the Josephsons from Sweden and the Wohlman brothers from Germany, both of whom took refuge in America. The Josephsons settle on a farm in Minnesota, and the Wohlman brothers establish a successful business in Chicago.
Unfortunately, Baggot tracks down Olaf and Ingrid Josephson and kills them. Consequently, the Josephson children, Newt and Julie, are forced to flee. They hide in a logging camp up north and ultimately land in St. Cloud. There they meet Matias Bauman alias Heinrich Wohlman, a former friend of the Josephsons. He takes them to Chicago, an unfamiliar world to them, where they are plunged headlong into the bedlam of urban politics and the violence of their past.
The haunting yet beautiful cover – that’s what drew me to this book, and I don’t regret picking it up.
Transom Shultz—son of the only rich person in the small town of Fallen Mountains—goes missing. Who could be behind his disappearance? Is it his best friend, Chase Hardy, whose farm Transom had bought and damaged irreparably? Is it his ex-girlfriend, Laney? Or is it Thomas Miller, the boy Transom bullied in school? It’s up to Sheriff Red to solve the case, but Red is hiding a secret too.
Recently, I watched two films, August Rush and Leap Year, and read a book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. While the films were good overall, the book was wonderful.
In A Thousand Splendid Suns, penned by Khaled Hosseini, the narrative seamlessly blends the stories of the two women protagonists, Mariam and Laila, against the backdrop of the Taliban invasion in Afghanistan.
In addition to a beautiful and heart-moving story, the writer has also employed rich prose to transport imagery to the readers, thereby, displaying his writing finesse. Hosseini has tremendously improved himself since his first book The Kite Runner. The book has definitely given me a new romantic pair to cheer – Laila and Tariq.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is as much “a story about a woman’s freedom from brutal and systematic oppression as it is about human endurance and courage to move on and start afresh.” It’s a story of hope.
As far as the films are concerned, I liked both of them, although when I checked the Internet, none of the films were appreciated by the critics. Carping is the profession of critics so, let’s leave them to that.
August Rush tells the story of a charismatic young Irish guitarist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and a sheltered young cellist (Keri Russell) who have a chance encounter one night (the most common trope in romantic movies, lol). However, they are soon estranged, leaving in their wake an infant, August Rush, orphaned by circumstance.
Cared for by a stranger (Robin Williams), August (Freddie Highmore) starts performing on the streets of New York and uses his impressive musical talent to find his parents.
August Rush is a story about a child prodigy in music and his attempts to find his lost parents. It was a simple story and proved to be a good source of relaxation. However, I do agree with the critics on one point- the movie ended abruptly and thus, left a jarring note.
Verdict: Fairy-tale ending. Watchable.
The other film Leap Year (2010) was a good romantic movie starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, two formidable acting talents. It had a sweet, simple, and a humorous story.
Anna (Adams) wants to propose to her long-time boyfriend Jeremy and decides to do it the traditional Irish way. So she takes a flight to Dublin, but due to inclement weather, the plane has to land at Cardiff, Wales.
From there, she boards a ramshackle boat to travel to Cork, yet her plans are thwarted once more and she has to land in Dingle.
There she meets a surly but a handsome (yeah, bring on another romance movie trope!) Innkeeper Declan (Goode) who agrees to take her to Dublin.
Voila, Declan and Anna, along with the audience, embark on a road trip and lo behold! What a transformation both of them undergo.
The transformation of both Anna and Declan has been convincingly portrayed by the lead actors. Further, the chemistry between them is undeniable and jumps right off the screen.
Verdict: Happy ending. Definitely watchable!
All in all, both the films were good for biding time.
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