So well.. I just tried to give an imaginative title for a book review post. Did I lure you enough? Heh.

The StoryTeller by Jodi Piccoult. This is the book that drew me back from my chicklit spree and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful. This is the GoodReads blurb – Sage Singer befriends an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses… and then he confesses his darkest secret—he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all—if Sage even considers his request—is it murder, or justice?

After reading The Book Thief, I’ve been intrigued by war stories; particularly the Nazi stories. Although with every page I turned, I dreaded what was going to happen (in the holocaust parts!), I really didn’t want to put the book down. There is a realness in all of Jodi’s characters. They might be bad but you can see through them. Also, after House Rules, I’ve kind of started liking Jodi’s storytelling although in the cases of both the books, I was a little disappointed with her closure. It did take me by surprise but I didn’t quite ‘like’ the surprise. But hey, it could only be me. If you like Jodi Piccoult’s books, this one is really worth the read.

The Sceptical Patriot by Sidin Vadukut. This is the first non-fiction book that I read this year. This book came with a weighty recommendation from Smitha. With that, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed! 😉 So, what is this book all about? You see we get these WhatsApp forwards about India. So, our man Sidin questions these ‘glorious India facts’ and answers them with ample research on whether they are true or not. Did India really invent zero? Did Indians really invent plastic surgery? You get the drift, don’t you?

What I really liked about the book was the scorecard in the end of each chapter which discussed the pros and cons about each fact. Also, there was a chapter on Chola’s naval feet and being an avid Cholas-fan, I couldn’t really get enough of them. But then, my only grouse was that there were a few chapters that took a while for me to understand. Will I recommend this book? A definite yes but I also need to warn you that it takes some effort and time to get through it.

Me before You by Jojo Moyes. I finally decided to pick it up after seeing Smitha and TGND‘s reviews of the book. This book is about Lou Clark, a girl in her late twenties who finds herself unemployed from a cafe. She later gets employed by (the mother of) Will Trayner (to take care of him), earlier an attractive young man who becomes a quadriplegic after a tragic accident. Lou finds it extremely difficult to take care of the irritable Will but she slowly wins him over with her energy and eccentricities. I don’t know if I can talk about the rest of the story here ‘cos they would obvious result in spoilers. The books speaks about a big controversial issue and the ending may not be likeable by all, but I think will make everyone think about it.

This is the book that made me cry for the first (only?) time this year. The impact this book had on me is tremendous, probably because I did quite a bit of a research on this ‘controversial topic’ while I was in school and back then, I didn’t quite agree to the author’s ending here. I kept thinking about Will (and his decision) for days after I finished the book. So yes, the verdict from me is pretty clear – Must read.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. One fine day, I realized it was sometime since I read historical fiction and finally when I decided to read one, there was just one author I’d choose – Phillippa Gregory, of course, the queen of historical fiction. So, this book is written from the PoV of Mary Boleyn, the mistress of King Henry VIII of England.

GoodReads blurb – When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realises just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king and take fate into her own hands. A rich and compelling novel of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamourous court in Europe and survived by following her heart.

Well.. There are certain authors you like; certain authors you love; certain authors you adore. For me, Gregory falls in the last category. She transports you to 18th century England with her lyrical prose and descriptions. I’ve read The Virgin’s lover and The Constant Princess (these are all part of the Tudor Court series) and I’ve loved both of them. The Other Boleyn Girl was nothing less; if not more. I loved the Mary character; she was so erm believable. I hated Anne to the extent to which she’d go to get power. Although, I really loved the bonding between the siblings – Mary, Anne and George – who chose to be for each other even in the most testing of times.

Okay.. The criticism that comes with Gregory’s books are that she takes a lot of liberties with history. But, with whatever I’ve read till now, I always go back to Wiki to check on the accuracy of Gregory’s characters and have found that most of the time, she goes by the factual timeline. Yes, she takes liberties but hey, this is historical ‘fiction’ anyway. So, it should be okay, right? Also, she makes the books interesting which is all what a reader wants. So yes, if you like historical fiction, Gregory it has to be.

That’s it for now. So, what are you reading?