China Basin by R.A. Niles – Review

China Basin by R.A. Niles

On a wintry foggy morning in San Fransisco in June 1950, when the bloated corpse of Carlo Steffano, a mob lawyer, rolls out of a cargo net, Inspector Andrew Johnson hardly feels any remorse for the dead man. However, what complicates matters further is the discovery of another corpse—that of Hector Arroyo—in the trunk of a nearby car. Arroyo is a drug mule and works for the Mexicans.

This piques the interest of Johnson and his partner, Camozzi, since the mob and the Mexicans are fierce competitors. Hence, it doesn’t make any sense for these two bodies to be discovered near each other.  Thus, starts a fateful investigation into these grisly murders, told in the first person from the perspective of Johnson, that plunges him neck-deep into the quagmire of drugs, brothels, and Communism in China.

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Playing Dead by Monique Faison Ross – Review

Playing Dead by Monique Faison Ross
Playing Dead by Monique Faison Ross

Rating – 4/5

Monique, the daughter of San Diego Charger’s football great Earl Faison, never imagined marrying her high school boyfriend would turn out to be the most horrible mistake of her life. She also hadn’t imagined she would survive this mistake to narrate her tale.

Playing Dead: A Memoir of Terror and Survival by Monique Faison Ross recounts the author’s experience of a nightmarish marriage that culminated in a brutally violent incident. Her relationship with Chris was unstable from the beginning, but it gradually turned abusive and denigrating.

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İnadina Aşk – Turkish Dizi Review

İnadina Aşk
İnadina Aşk

Rating – 4/5

A Turkish romantic comedy starring Can Yaman and Açelya Topaloğlu in the lead roles of Yalın and Defne (respectively), İnadina Aşk catapulted Yaman to fame in 2015. There is a reason why Yaman became famous after this show.

It’s a light-hearted show (which romantic comedy isn’t?) with dollops of rib-tickling humor and (no guesses!) sweet romance. Yaman, as the stubborn, spoilt, rich guy with a heart of gold and Topaloğlu, as the sweet, sassy, smart, honest and rich girl who chatters incessantly, do full justice to their roles.

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True Freedom: How America came to fight Britain for its Independence by Michael Dean – Review

True Freedom by Michael Dean
True Freedom: A Novel by Michael Dean

Rating – 4/5

Set in Boston and London and spanning sixteen years, True Freedom: How America came to fight Britain for its Independence by Michael Dean chronicles the events that led to the American Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783). Focusing on a few prominent characters, Dean provides the readers with an insider’s view into what shaped the revolution.

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Dolunay (2017) – Turkish Series Review

Dolunay

Rating – 3.75/5

After watching Erkenci Kuş, the Turkish romantic comedy that has won the hearts of millions worldwide, I couldn’t stop myself from watching other shows of Can Yaman. (Yaman is the male lead of Erkenci Kuş). So, Dolunay (meaning Full Moon), starring Can Yaman in the lead role, was my next stop.

Dolunay revolves around Nazlı (Özge Gürel), an amateur cook and Ferit Aslan (Can Yaman), a young, successful, handsome, and organized businessman. Nazlı needs a job immediately to pay the rent of her apartment that she shares with her sister and her best friend. She accepts the proposal to work in Ferit’s house as his private cook upon her professor’s recommendation.

At the same time, she meets Deniz, whom Ferit treats as his younger brother, and becomes fast friends with him. Deniz soon falls in love with Nazlı, but she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. The relationship between these three gets even more complicated after Ferit proceeds to take custody of his nephew, Bulut, following his parents’ death. This is obstructed by Bulut’s aunt, Demet and her husband, Hakan who simply want to exploit the child for their nefarious gains.

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When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander – Review

When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander
When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander

“I think about a time when eating your fill and feeling safe was normal. … and the worst I worried about was doing my homework. I long for that time, but as I lay there in Wolfgang’s threadbare blanket, another conviction grows inside me like a terrible sore.

I realize I’m mourning instead because that time will never return.”

Quoted from When They Made Us Leave by Annette Oppenlander

A longing for the past that is never going to return – that’s the aftermath of a war. Annette Oppenlander’s “When They Made Us Leave: A Novel about Hitler’s Mass Evacuation Program for Children” details the brutalities of the Second World War from the perspective of the German youth (and their families) who had to attend the much-loathed KLV program (an evacuation program).

As the frequency of Allied bombings increases in Germany, parents are encouraged, and in some cases forced, to send their children to youth camps where they will supposedly lead a better life. Fourteen-year-old Hilda and her childhood friend and love, Peter, are among them. While Hilda is reluctant to leave her mother, Peter is ecstatic to attend such a camp and spend time on the beaches, as promised by the camp organizers.

However, Peter soon realizes the farce behind such camps which are being run in a military style by dogmatic individuals. Hilda, too, must endure a draconian Abbess in the cloister she is forced to attend.

Oppenlander describes Hilda and Peter’s heart-wrenching journey through a war-stricken Germany back to their ravaged homes and into each other’s hearts in this book.

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