LiVe YoUr DrEaM…

brassverdictName: The Brass Verdict

Author:  Michael Connelly 

Genre : crime fictionmystery, legal thriller

Series: Mickey Haller #2Harry Bosch #14

Pages : 422 pages pages

Publication Year: October 14, 2008

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

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It’s been over a year since the events of The Lincoln Lawyer, attorney Mickey Haller has spent a year recuperating from his wounds and addiction to pain killers. Now he is planning  to get back to law practice slowly.

One fine day when he was planning to get back to work again, he gets a call from senior judge telling him that his colleague Jerry Vincent is dead, shot in his car twice. Judge informs him that Vincent has appointed him to take over his practice if anything was to happen to him.

Haller all of sudden from o cases, he gets 31 active cases of Jerry Vincent. Though most the cases are straight forward except one, the high-profile case of Walter Elliott, a Hollywood mogul accused of murdering his wife Mitzi and her German lover.

Meanwhile, maverick LAPD detective Harry Bosch, the main character in the several other novels written by Michael Connelly is investigating the case of Jerry Vincent’s murder. Harry Bosch warns Haller that the killer may come after him and the mystery murderer may be one of the clients Vincent handled.  While Haller is busy preparing for double murder trial, he also curies about the behavior of his new client  Walter Elliott who don’t want trial to be prolonged and somehow is sure that he will win the trial. Elliott tells Haller that Vincent told him that he found some “magic bullet” which will make Elliott win but as killer took his laptop along with some major files, Haller has to found “Magic Bullet” for himself to solve the case and watch over his shoulder for as killer is still out there.

This is the first Michael Connelly which I read after watching the movie The Lincoln Lawyer, being a huge fan of legal thriller and John Grisham, I was looking for someone who call fill the void till next Grisham novel comes out and luckily I found Connelly and to my surprise he is as good as Grisham.

The Brass Verdict is excellently plotted book with great character development and perfect suspense to keep you reading till the last page. You won’t feel bored for a single second while reading the book. I highly recommend this book to all John Grisham fans as well as those who like Mystery/Suspense/Legal thrillers.

Excerpt from book:

Things are finally looking up for defense attorney Mickey Haller. After two years of wrong turns, Haller is back in the courtroom. When Hollywood lawyer Jerry Vincent is murdered, Haller inherits his biggest case yet: the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her lover. But as Haller prepares for the case that could launch him into the big time, he learns that Vincent’s killer may be coming for him next.

Enter Harry Bosch. Determined to find Vincent’s killer, he is not opposed to using Haller as bait. But as danger mounts and the stakes rise, these two loners realize their only choice is to work together.

Bringing together Michael Connelly’s two most popular characters, The Brass Verdict is sure to be his biggest book yet.

 

9780340899298Name: The Alexandria Link

Author:  Steve Berry 

Genre : Historical Fiction

Series: Cotton Malone #2

Pages : 480 pages pages

Publication Year: January 30th 2007

Is Review Spoiler: Yes

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)

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The Alexandria Link is the second book in the Cotton Malone series by Steve Berry. As the name suggests this book revolves around finding the lost library of Alexandra Library of Alexandria.

This book goes in line with Dan Brown’s ‘The DaVinci Code’ in a sense that it also involves a high stake treasure hunt by male protagonist and a female side kick. As in DaVinci, here also protagonist is persuaded by the merciless villains who wants the treasure for themselves to accomplish there sinister agenda.

Library of Alexandria is always remained a mystery for the treasure hunters and everyone want’s know the fate of library. Is it still exists? or is any scrolls or books present in library still somehow survived?

In 642 AD, Alexandria was captured by the Muslim army of Amr ibn al `Aas. It’s said that the library is destroyed by the orders of Caliph Omar (R.A), The longest version of the story is in the Syriac Christian author Bar-Hebraeus (1226–1286), also known as Abu’l Faraj. He translated extracts from his history, the Chronicum Syriacum into Arabic, and added extra material from Arab sources. In this Historia Compendiosa Dynastiarum[20] he describes a certain “John Grammaticus” (490–570) asking Amr for the “books in the royal library.” Amr writes to Omar for instructions, and Omar replies: “If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them.” [Wikipedia]

Whatever the fate of library, Steve Berry here tried to weave the formation of Israel with Old Testament, stating that the Old Testament was mistranslated from it’s orginal Hebrew and the verse about the promised land of Jews is not referring to Palestine but it’s somewhere else and Jews occupation of Palestine land and formation Israel is illegal.

To reveal the actual location of the promised land – Cotton Malone has to race against time find the lost library of Alexandria before anyone else finds it and if actual locations is revealed it may involve greater conflicts between Jews, Christian and Muslims.

At times the book is enjoyable but if you have read Dan Brown or any other religious fiction books, at the middle of the book you will find it hard to digest the facts presented and special about the promised land being Saudi Arabia, though many facts contrary to that has been historically proved.

If you are a Steve Berry fan or like religious fiction, you may like this book but if you are Dan Brown fan you may dislike this book. The choice is yours.

Excerpt from book:

Cotton Malone retired from the high-risk world of elite operatives for the U.S. Justice Department to lead the low-key life of a rare-book dealer. But his quiet existence is shattered when he receives an anonymous e-mail: “You have something I want. You’re the only person on earth who knows where to find it. Go get it. You have 72 hours. If I don’t hear from you, you will be childless.” His horrified ex-wife confirms that the threat is real: Their teenage son has been kidnapped. When Malone’s Copenhagen bookshop is burned to the ground, it becomes brutally clear that those responsible will stop at nothing to get what they want. And what they want is nothing less than the lost Library of Alexandria.

A cradle of ideas–historical, philosophical, literary, scientific, and religious–the Library of Alexandria was unparalleled in the world. But fifteen hundred years ago, it vanished into the mists of myth and legend–its vast bounty of wisdom coveted ever since by scholars, fortune hunters, and those who believe its untold secrets hold the key to ultimate power.

Now a cartel of wealthy international moguls, bent on altering the course of history, is desperate to breach the library’s hallowed halls–and only Malone possesses the information they need to succeed. At stake is an explosive ancient document with the potential not only to change the destiny of the Middle East but to shake the world’s three major religions to their very foundations.

Pursued by a lethal mercenary, Malone crosses the globe in search of answers. His quest will lead him to England and Portugal, even to the highest levels of American government–and the shattering outcome, deep in the Sinai desert, will have worldwide repercussions.

 

HedgeKnightsName: Tales of Dunk and Egg

Author:  George R. R. Martin

Genre : Fantasy

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire

Pages :  300+ pages

Publication Year: 1998, 2003 and 2010

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

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Tales of Dunk and Egg is a series of fantasy novellas by George R. R. Martin, set in the world of his A Song of Ice and Fire novels. In Tales of Dunk and Egg three novellas have been published, namely:

1. The Hedge Knight (published 1998)

2. The Sworn Sword (published  2003)

3. The Mystery Knight (published  2010)

These novellas relates the adventures of “Dunk” (aka Ser Duncan the tall) and his squire “Egg” (aka Aegon V Targaryen), some 90 years before the events of the novel “A Game of Thrones”.

When I completed reading the A Song of Ice and Fire books, I was eagerly waiting for next book in the series but seems Martin is still in his hibernation mode. So my thirst for A Song of Ice and Fire led me to Tales of Dunk and Egg which are set in Westeros and act as a prequel to A Song of Ice and Fire novels.

The Hedge Knight is the first story of Dunk and Egg. Dunk or Ser Duncan the Tall  is hedge knight – so-called because they are knights without any master or house or land and are poor and usually sleeps in hedges. Dunk was a squire of Ser Arlan of Pennytree who was a hedge knight died while on the way to Ashford for a tourney. After burying Ser Arlan, Dunk takes up his armor, horses and continues to  Ashford to participate in tourney. At an inn on the road, he meets a boy with a shaved head named Egg (whose true identity Dunk doesn’t know and will be revealed in Ashford Meadow) , who offers to become his squire. When the boy follows to Ashford after his denial to take him as squire, impressed by the boy’s spirit, Dunk takes him on as his own squire for the upcoming tourney. I really enjoyed The Hedge Knight which adds more depth to the already expansive world of Westeros.  I Highly recommended this novella for all fans of A Game Of Thrones series.

The Sworn Sword is the second story of Dunk and Egg series.  The story begins in the Reach (during a very bad drought) with Dunk sworn to Ser Eustace Osgrey of Standfast whose family were once lords of Coldmoat. At the beginning of the story Dunk finds out that the women known as “The Red Widow” rumored to have killed her four husbands is stealing the water of Ser Eustace Osgrey. This leads to series of events which results in revealing the more  Targaryen history and their conflicts such as Blackfyre Rebellion and Battle of the Redgrass Field in which Ser Eustace Osgrey lost his sons in service of  Daemon Blackfyre aka “Black Dragon”.

The Mystery Knight  is the third story of Dunk and Egg series. The story begins after the events of Reach, Dunk and Egg  has decided to go north to see the Wall and join Beron Stark who has sent a call for men to help fend off Greyjoy raids on the northern coast. But on the way to north they meet knights who are going to participate in the tourney at Whitewalls which is arranged in the honor of wedding of Lord Butterwell of Whitewalls to a Frey of the Crossing; the tourney victor’s prize is to be a dragon egg. Dunk decides to participate in the tourney and this leads to many twists and turns in which more background history of Targaryen’s is revealed and both Dunk and Egg finds themselves in the midst of another Blackfyre Rebellion.

I enjoyed all the three novellas and highly recommend them to all the fans of A Song of Ice and Fire series.

saladinName: The Book of Saladin

Author:  Tariq Ali

Genre : Fiction/Historical Fiction

Series: Islam Quintet #2

Pages :  367 pages

Publication Year: November 17th 1999 

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 1 stars (out of 5)

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When I picked up this book for reading , I was thinking about reading the biography of one of the greatest hero of Islam  – Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb better known in the Western world as Saladin but biography of greatest hero in fictional form by Tariq Ali is shallow, test less and base. Even Wikipedia gives better biography of Saladin than this book. Why, you ask? here is why.

I am really, really disgusted by the numerous allusions to homosexuality, sodomy, prostitution described in this novel. This not the disgusting part, the disgusting part is suggestion that those closest to Saladin including imams and advisers were involved in these heinous acts.

Agreed that these things occur in this world, but when you are writing a biography of great military leader and liberator of Jerusalem and using such a shameful language and behavior is really disgusting, shallow, test less and base.

The way Tariq Ali describes the love life of Saladin is really shameful, as I was reading I started to feel the Tariq Ali really doesn’t know much about who Saladin was and even if he knew, I think he hates him so much that he thought of writing a book to just show his hatred towards him. Don’t know what exactly was going through his mind while writing this book.

Most of the book is filled with sub plots or sub stories and these stories doesn’t add much to Saladin’s biography apart from filling the pages and making book more dense.

I honestly won’t recommend this book to any one. I won’t be reading any other books by Tariq Ali.

I honestly believe that this Wikipedia entry on Saladin is better than this book.

Excerpt from book:

The Book of Saladin” is the fictional memoir of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator of Jerusalem, as dictated to a Jewish scribe, Ibn Yakub. Saladin grants Ibn Yakub permission to talk to his wife and retainers so that he might present a full portrait in the Sultan’s memoirs. A series of interconnected stories follows, tales brimming over with warmth, earthy humor and passions in which ideals clash with realities and dreams are confounded by desires. 


At the heart of the novel is an affecting love affair between the Sultan’s favored wife, Jamila, and the beautiful Halina, a later addition to the harem. The novel charts the rise of Saladin as Sultan of Egypt and Syria and follows him as he prepares, in alliance with his Jewish and Christian subjects, to take Jerusalem back from the Crusaders. This is a medieval story, but much of it will be uncannily familiar to those who follow events in contemporary Cairo, Damascus, and Baghdad. Betrayed hopes, disillusioned soldiers and unrealistic alliances form the backdrop to “The Book of Saladin

Being Sufi

Here is a great explanation by Imam Ali (R.A) and Imam Jafar (R.A) on evidence of Creator (God):

Screenshot_2014-04-24-22-29-39

Screenshot_2014-04-24-22-33-00

Note: These strips are taken from 40 Sufi Comics by Mohammed Ali Vakil.

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dancewithdragonsName: A Dance with Dragons

Author:  George R. R. Martin

Genre : Fantasy

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book #5)

Pages : 1040 pages

Publication Year: 2011 

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

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Words Are Wind says R R Martin in A Dance With Dragons, Indeed Words are Wind but can Wind will carry storm with it in next book ‘The Winds of Winter’? we have to wait and see and this wait may go on for years and years until Martin wakes up from his hibernation mode.

Reviewing the epic fantasies are always a difficult task and reviewing A Song of Ice and Fire is much more difficult, because this series involves many different POV characters with different plot lines which are spread across the  Westeros and Essos.

Like in previous book A Feast Of Crows, A Dance with Dragons also suffers from problem of not lot happening in story. Both A Feast Of Crows, A Dance with Dragons builds up a lot and resolve nothing. On the other hand the book is very dense and pacing in pretty slow and frustrating, especially when characters are introduced who doesn’t add much to the story except making book more dense.

In previous books, lots of things happened specially in A Storm Of Swords and few in A Feast Of Crows and as a fan I was expecting lot more will happen in Dance but again Martin disappointed us as in last book. Though things happen in this book but not in a pace you would have expected. This book builds up to a couple of battles but those battles are not included in Dance and Martin told they will be part of ‘The Winds of Winter’.

Arya Stark who lost her eyes in previous book is now being trained as blind girl and using her other senses to overcome her enemies.

Tyrion Lannister after killing his father flees kings landing and is en-route to Meereen to meet Dragon Queen but ends up in other lands, dependent on others for safety and shelter.

Bran Stark is en-route to wall to meet mysterious three eyed crow but ends up face to face with wargs and discovers new powers of his skinchanging ability.

While on the Wall – new Night Watch commander Jon Snow is confronted with incoming horde of wildlings who seek shelter at wall, as well as king Stannis and his wife and red priestess Melisandre. While Jon Snow faces new enemies not only outside but inside the Wall, he is determined to do what he thinks is right to save Seven Kingdoms from Others because ‘Winter is Coming’.

Daenarys having conquered city Meereen now faces new challenges in-terms of controlling/taming  her growing dragons and gorilla war from slave lords of Meereen. Meanwhile a new dragon is rising to claim the Iron Throne.

Really it’s hard to sum up A Dance with Dragons without giving away far too much of story or without going into countless subplots. This book moves pretty slow and nothing much happens compared to first three books but it might be the ‘silence before the storm’. Let’s see whether ‘Winds will carry storm along with them’ in ‘The Winds of Winter’.

Will I recommend this book to other – off-course I will. Will I read new book in installment? Off-course, I will because once you get on Westeros and Essos train it’s very difficult to get down until you reach your destination.

Excerpt from book:

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

Author:  Ray Bradbury

Genre : Dystopian novel

Pages : 243 pages

Publication Year: 1953

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

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About book – from the Kindle edition:

Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television “family,” imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.

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Imagine a society which doesn’t have any books – no books at all! And if you found carrying a book, you will be punished and your house along with books will be burned to ashes by fireman (not usual fireman which we have today – who extinguish fire but the fireman of Fahrenheit 451 has only one task ‘burning the books’.).

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature that Bradbury understood to be the auto-ignition point of paper. Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. The book is fiction but I think it’s kind of metaphor used to describe the past events which occurred around 19th century like Nazi book burning and later Joseph Stalin’s campaign of political repression, the “Great Purge”, in which writers and poets, among many others, were arrested and often executed.

The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found. The society is ruled by the selected individuals who rule the thoughts of people using the ‘interactive programming that dominates the living room’ called “the family” (A kind of television). The book banning didn’t happen at one – but the government banned books over the period of time when people started complaining about books; for example: when smokers complained about the books which warns them of lung cancer – those books being banned and burned. Similarly if some other group complained about poetry – poetry books are censored and burned and over the period of time the very essence of books was destroyed.

The book revolves around Guy Montag who is a “fireman” hired to burn the possessions of those who read outlawed books. One evening while returning to home from book burning he meets a teenage girl named Clarisse McClellan, whose free-thinking ideals and liberating spirit cause him to question his life and his own perceived happiness. Clarisse McClellan finally convinces Montag that he is not happy and something is missing from the society in which they are living.

While the government has made reading the books a criminal offense but what’s really disturbing is the society itself is responsible for book burning and banning of the book. Now freethinker are considered as a threat to society and ideas/creativity has been destroyed. People are now bound to home and virtual families and systemically brainwashed by government sponsored radio’s and television shows.

And what’s more disturbing is – we are moving towards Fahrenheit 451 society. How many books have been banned since mankind started putting his thoughts into books? We still hear everyday the books are getting banned/burned and some objectionable contents are being removed. We are slowly moving towards the society portrayed in Fahrenheit 451 – censorship, books banning and removing some contents from books because some XYZ grouped has objection about those contents is everyday affair today.

Hope our society will understand the values of books before it’s too late. A must read for everyone. If you haven’t read it yet, then go ahead and read it!

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