Book Review: Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank

Another book I downloaded just because it was a free Kindle book. This is becoming a habit. A Rosie Gardner Mystery, it said. When I started reading, it didn’t feel like a mystery at all.

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Rose Gardner, lives in the little town of Henryetta, where nothing much ever happens and everybody knows everybody else. Rose isn’t having the best of days, her mother is annoyed with her, which isn’t a surprise. After all her momma is always annoyed with her. She storms out of her house, angry and a little surprised at herself for having stood up to her mother. Rose works at the DMV and her already sad day gets sadder when she sees a vision. Rose has a gift of visions, she sees all sorts of visions, and tends to end up annoying people by her visions, but this time, for the first time, it was a vision of herself. She sees herself dead on the sofa at home.

Rose doesn’t know what to make of it, but she decides to do something interesting with her life if it is going to end soon. She lists down twenty eight wishes that she wants to do before she dies. She realised that she has spent twenty four years of her life living her life the way her mother expected her to, she now wants to live life on her terms.

She reaches home armed with the wishes and her new found resolution, only to find her mother murdered, exactly in the way she had seen herself dead in her vision.

Not just that, she finds herself in the middle of a most murky mystery while being the suspect for her own mother’s murder. As she goes about getting herself exonerated and finding the real criminal, she finds that she has an unlikely ally, Joe McAllister, their new neighbour, of whom her mother had harboured suspicions of the worst kind, just because he wasn’t from Henryetta. He also seems very interested in helping her realize her wishes, while helping her out of sticky circumstances.

An interesting read. It had very fascinating, colourful characters and a mystery woven into everyday life which made it more than just a mystery. It felt like a very interesting read, the metamorphosis of Rose into what she becomes finally is most interesting. Rose’s relationship with her mother and her sister Violet form an interesting read as well. Rose herself is a quirky character, who seems to find trouble wherever she goes.

A book which turned out to be unexpectedly interesting. A nice one time read, a cozy book which I could curl up with. A 4/5 read for me.

About the Author

Denise Grover Swank is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She writes urban fantasies without vampires and werewolves, romantic comedy mysteries set in the south, and sexy new adult contemporary romances. Denise has six children, three dogs, and an overactive imagination. She can be found dancing in her kitchen with her children, reading or writing her next book.

This book is available for free on Kindle on Amazon(UK).

WWW Wednesdays 4

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W.W.W. Wednesdays is a weekly event brought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading. To play along, answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you are going to read next?

So, lets set off, shall we?
What have I been reading? I’ve just started reading ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green.

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It sat on my to-read list for ages, before I managed to lay my hands on it. Or rather, had it downloaded on my Kindle. It might have stayed there for a while, had I not managed to run out of real books completely yesterday. Blessing in disguise it was, when I saw that ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ was just sat there, waiting to be read. I’ve found it interesting so far, but I’ve just started. Going by reviews of some dear friends, I’m sure I will enjoy the read.

What did I recently finish reading? The Weight of Silence by Rebecca GudenKauf.

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It sounded like an interesting book to begin with. It was an interesting book as it started off. Two seven year old girls go missing. These two are the closest of friends. One of the is selectively mute. Traumatised by a horrible incident when she was younger. One day, both of them are missing, the parents distraught and the police wondering if there is a link to another girl who disappeared some time ago, a fact that the parents don’t even want to think about. The premise held promise and I was hooked. However somewhere down the line, it fizzled out. And for some reason, I had an inkling of how things would end. And the possible suspect. It was an alright read, but nothing to write home about.

What would I be reading next? Possibly the next in the Rose Gardner series. I picked up Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes on the Kindle, just because it was cheap. I know, appalling, my criteria for picking up books! But I found it surprisingly fun. So I’ve gone and ordered the whole box set.

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It’s waiting to be read, so quite possibly the next in the Rose Gardner series might be what I pick up, unless I end up straying into the library at lunch time. Which is just not happening these days, by the way. I need to take some time off and go hunting for books 🙂

So that was me. So what have you guys been reading?

Book Review: The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

I’ve read Helen Fitzgerald before and have really enjoyed her style of writing. This was another Kindle read. I’ve started to use my Kindle a lot these days. Amazon Daily Deals seem to have a lot to do with my Kindle collection, I have to say.
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Joanna is experiencing a parent’s worst nightmare. You know how when babies cry non stop and all you want to do is somehow make them stop. The only thing you want is to not hear them cry. What if that happens. And you realize to your absolute horror that the silence is permanent. And even worse that you might have done something to bring that about.

Joanna and Alistair are a couple traveling to Australia with their nine weeks old son, Noah. Joanna is knackered handling Noah, through two long haul flights, while being ill herself with a ear infection. All she wants is some calm and may be a few winks. Noah seems to have other ideas and keeps her awake , tired and totally frazzled through the long, seemingly never ending trip.

In Australia, an alert goes out for a missing baby, Noah. Joanna finally has quiet time that she yearned for but not quite what she asked for. For it is quiet but peace, that’s quite another story.

Joanna and Alistair, rally around each other,initially while living through their nightmare. Joanna, alone, in a new country has to deal with accusations, lies, truths and reality that she had ignored so far. As days go by, Joanna is faced by a reality that refuses to go away. With all the pressure and emotional turmoil that she faces, she is edging close to losing her sanity. Her choices, her decisions come to haunt her, and she knows that only she can bring the situation to an end.

A wonderfully written book. A book which you think is all cut and dried but reveals new surprises all through.

The book also captures modern day dynamics, what with social media and press adding to the pressure that people go through in situations like this, when it gets so easy to spread rumours or even suss out the truth, whatever the case might be. The characters are well written, you feel for them, you experience their pain, and despair with them.

All in all, a book that I am glad I picked up, and would definitely recommend. A 4/5 from me.

About the Author
Helen FitzGerald is the second youngest of thirteen children. She grew up in the small town of Kilmore, Victoria, Australia, and studied English and History at the University of Melbourne. Via India and London, Helen came to Glasgow University where she completed a Diploma and Masters in Social Work. She works part time as a criminal justice social worker in Glasgow. She’s married to screenwriter Sergio Casci, and they have two children.

This book is available on Amazon(UK).

Book Review: Stolen by Rebecca Muddiman

It was a book that I downloaded on my Kindle just because it was marked down. And it lay there. Forgotten. Stored away in my Kindle for rainy days when I have no real books to read.

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Abby Renshaw and her baby are on their way to visit a friend who lives in the country side, when she is forced off the road, out of her car and badly assaulted. All through the horrendous experience, Abby is only concerned about her baby who was left alone in the car while the men assaulted her. When she finally manages to get to her car, she finds Beth missing. Her little baby had disappeared into thin air.

The case falls to DI Michael Gardner to investigate. As he digs deeper into the mystery, he discovers dark secrets and betrayals, some of which he himself has first hand experience of himself. But no sign of Beth.

Years pass, he is no closer to finding Beth, and then he finds himself handed another case of a missing child, which brings back focus into this case which he could never solve. Just then some clues surface, but can Gardner go off on what might be a wild goose chase, so many years after this incident? He also has his reputation to stake, and that might get further tarnished if he is unable to solve the current case he was supposed to solve. He is already known as the cop who couldn’t solve his cases. But Abby Renshaw is a hard woman to refuse.

Despite the fact that police got nowhere in their search for her daughter, Abby hasn’t given up. She has been searching for her daughter constantly. Her life revolves around Beth, or rather trying to find Beth. Her marriage has since broken down, and all she really wants is to find her little girl. She keeps seeing girls who looked like Beth, much to Gardner’s exasperation. Could her instincts finally be right? Are they closer to finding Beth, finally?

A very well written, psychological thriller, that keeps you at the end of your seat. Fast paced and an absolute page-turner, it had my engrossed. The author keeps the suspense going until the very end. The reveal at the end was even shocking and totally unexpected, at least for me. The characters are well thought out, you relate to them, feel their pain, go through their emotions. I was surprised to read that this was the author’s debut book, I know I would definitely be looking out for more.

A book that I would definitely recommend if you like thrillers. It was one of the best I’ve read in recent times. 4/5.

About the Author
Rebecca was born and raised in Redcar where she still lives. She has a degree in Film and Media and an MA in Creative Writing. She has lived and worked in Holland and London, and travelled across America on a Greyhound bus in 2002. She won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2010.

This book is available on

Book Review: The Sceptical Patriot:Exploring the Truths Behind the Zero and Other Indian Glories by Sidin Vadukut

I’ve read other books by Sidin, and enjoyed them – they have been light, fun reads, just like his tweets. Entertaining, and light-hearted. When I found out on Twitter that he was soon to publish a non-fiction book, I was intrigued. Even more so, when I read the subject of the book. Sounded just like the sort of books I love. I just had to get my hands on it. And so I did. It helped that the Kindle edition got released in the UK, which is something that never seems to happen with Indian authors’ books.

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India. A land where history, myth and email forwards have come together to create a sense of a glorious past that is awe-inspiring…and also kind of dubious. But that is what happens when your future is uncertain and your present is kind of shitty—it gets embellished until it becomes a totem of greatness and a portent of potential. Sidin Vadukut takes on a complete catalogue of ‘India’s Greatest Hits’ and ventures to separate the wheat of fact from the chaff of legend. Did India really invent the zero? Has it truly never invaded a foreign country in over 1,000 years? Did Indians actually invent plastic surgery before those insufferable Europeans? The truth is more interesting—and complicated—than you think.

That pretty much sums up the book. We’ve all come across these glorious facts about India. Of how India invented zero, and how Indians were the pioneers in Plastic Surgery, and more. How many of these are really true? Were we truly world leaders in most things until the invaders plundered our country and brought it to the state it is today? Are we being gullible by believing it all or are we being needlessly sceptical by being cynical ? Well, read the book to find out. Sceptical patriot that Sidin is, he has gone around digging into archives of libraries, read up stuff and put together a very interesting book indeed. What sets this book aside is the author’s style of writing. He includes personal anecdotes and I personally loved the way he introduces most of the chapters, and the way he ended each of his analysis- with a ‘Sceptical Patriot Score Card’, showing exactly where we stand in terms of these truths/myths. The historical facts that he recounts are fascinating, some I have read about and others which make me want to go and dig up the books he has listed and read them. Cover to cover.

His writing style reminds me a lot of Bill Bryson’s books, but is more relatable, for me, as he speaks of things which I can relate to much more, so it made a great read for me. The subject was engrossing and it was absolutely unputdownable- I actually wished I could call in sick at work and read the book at home, but better sense prevailed.

What I liked most about the book was the last chapter. The way the author ended the book. Some of the things he talks about, I wish a lot of would read and understand. India would definitely be a much better place for that.

I know that sometimes people are put off by non-fiction books, but I think this one is the one to start with if you worry about a non-interesting book putting you off.

I would easily rate it 4.5/5. A brilliant book, and one that I enjoyed immensely.

About the Author
Sidin Vadukut is a journalist, columnist and blogger. He has an engineering degree from NIT Trichy and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad.

In a career spanning around a decade he has made automotive parts, developed online trading platforms, almost set up a retailing company and had a sizeable portion of a tree fall on his head. He is currently an editor with the Mint business newspaper.

This book is available on Amazon(UK) and Flipkart.