Archive > June 2012

The Taliban Cricket Club

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The Taliban Cricket Club, Timeri Murari, book reviewIf you lived in a country which was controlled by a brutal regime which restricted the freedom and choices of their citizens, you’d understandably dream of finding a way out. If that regime then decided to try to improve their international image by hosting a cricket tournament to show the world what jolly good chaps they were, promising that the winners would go abroad for coaching, then it might well seem like the answer to your prayers – especially if by good fortune you just happened to be one of the few people in the country who had ever played the game; in fact, you’d played for a university team in India and you really do know your stuff. It would be tempting to see your sporting skills as a great way to escape oppression.


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Q&A with Timeri N. Murari

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Timeri N. Murari, author of The Taliban Cricket ClubFew things can be more exciting than finding a great new writer and then realising that he’s not new at all and there are nearly a score of other books for you to track down and read. Timeri N. Murari is an Indian-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada, USA and UK as a journalist, novelist, film producer, playwright and stage director. He’s written for children, young adults, and adults tapping into genres across the spectrum of fiction, fantasy and non-fiction. So how come most of us have never heard of him? Read our Q&A to find out more about Murari and his latest book – The Taliban Cricket Club – then head over to the forum to find out how you can win a copy.

CBF:How did you learn about the Taliban’s interest in using cricket for propaganda purpose and could you tell us about how the seed of an idea grew into The Taliban Cricket Club?

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Deadlocked

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Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris, book reviewDeadlocked is the twelfth novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, also known as the True Blood series after its television adaptation. Sookie is a waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she is telepathic. After meeting vampire Bill Compton at the start of the series, she has been drawn further and further into the supernatural world, which of course presents plenty of dangers to her.

In Deadlocked, Sookie is still in a relationship with the local vampire sheriff, Eric, in fact in the eyes of the vampire community they are married. But all is not well for them, especially when Sookie finds Eric drinking from another human woman.


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Leeching Through the Soul

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In The Hot Unconscious: An Indian Journey by  Charles Foster, book reviewWhen the cat shrieks as it is crushed under the rickshaw wheel down South, you begin to wonder whether you want to continue with the book. Especially since that is juggled with other kinds of struggles in the soul. Gradually however, Foster settles down to his bizarre Indian journey. His purpose is to collect and study leeches but the nuts and bolts of Indian bureaucracy gets in his way. Stuck in a Raj flavoured lodge in North India he providentially falls ill and strikes up a deal with the domestics who will enable him to wend his leech seeking way without letting word get out.

Through leeches and travels Foster begins to explore the recesses of his soul while delving through the Indian character and the lessons of the vedas.


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The Book of Blood and Shadow

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The Book of Blood and Shadow by  Robin Wasserman, book reviewThe Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman is something of a historical fantasy adventure story. Opening in present day New England, it follows Nora Kane as she attempts to solve the mystery of the Book, revealed through letters written in 16th century Prague and supposedly about the creation of the Lumen Dei, a device allowing communication with god. She and her friend Chris and her boyfriend Max have been working on translation of these documents, and now Chris has been murdered, his girlfriend Adriane appears to have lost her mind, and Max has disappeared.

Right from the outset of The Book of Blood and Shadow, we know the major events and driving force of the story – Chris’s death, Adriane’s inability to tell what happened, and Max’s disappearance.


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When Hoopoes Go to Heaven

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When Hoopoes Go to Heaven by Gaile Parkin, book reviewThrough the eyes of a young boy, his new home in Swaziland is a wonderful place. The garden is teeming with fascinating beasts and beautiful plants and 10-year old Benedict is mesmerized by the creatures on his door step. The young naturalist is almost able to forget that his place in the family has changed and he’s rather lonely. His elder sister is playing with his new sister, his younger brother with his new brother. Benedict is still the one in the middle but he’s now middle of five rather than middle of three. Most cumbersome is his position as eldest son, a responsibility that he’s not entirely sure he likes or wants. It means he’s constantly anxious, trying to help, trying to put things right. He’s worried that his new Mama’s cake baking business isn’t going well because as a foreigner she’s not really supposed to be working. He wants to find a way to bring in business but he also wants to find a distraction to give Mama something else to think about instead of her ailing business.


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No Child of Mine

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No Child of Mine by Susan Lewis, book reviewNo Child of Mine is the latest novel from Susan Lewis, and in my opinion, it is her best so far. It’s compulsive, addictive reading and is a book that is virtually impossible to put down. It is traumatic, at times as it explores the harrowing field of social work that deals with child abuse and neglect. As well as that though, it is a moving and powerful story that grips the reader from the very first page.

Alex Lake, a social worker, is the central character and she is dedicated to her work. She also has a great deal to cope with in her private life, being an adopted child of parents that she has always felt did not love her quite as much as their natural daughter, Gabby.


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Rival Passions

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Zoe Miller's Rival Passions, book reviewZoe Miller’s Rival Passions is set in the Wicklow countryside outside Dublin. Serena and Jack Devlin are twins, running the family business, the luxury retreat hotel of Tamarisk. But Serena’s marriage is suffering due to her devotion to her work, and Jack is coming to terms with tragedy. Their mother Charlotte has her own memories and regrets, while trying to build a new life, and best friend Kim is hiding a secret.

Rival Passions has all the ingredients for an absorbing family saga-style tale. Secrets, past and present, family problems, a luxurious setting and lifestyle. Yet it doesn’t instantly suck you in as other authors in this style do, Penny Vincenzi and Douglas Kennedy being examples who spring to mind.


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Romp through Suburbia

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Tamasha In Bandargaon by  Navneet Jagannathan, book reviewThe back cover sets the trend telling you that you can expect something of RK Narayan’s Malgudi Days. That is about right – Jagannathan sets his action in the fictional Mumbai suburb of Bandargaon and the name tells you that it will be a romp with all kinds of ‘bandars’ involved. This is heightened by the Mario Miranda style cover illustration.

The suburb, like all Mumbai suburbs is centred around certain vital elements, Sunrise Apartments, the housing complex, the slum from where the domestic help for the complex comes from, vice in the shape of a gambling den and the tea stall where all the local gossip is available. Like Narayan, Jagannathan weaves together a series of short stories, thirteen of them, linked by common characters and setting.


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Stranded

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Stranded, Emily Barr, book reviewIt must be many people’s dream to be stranded on a desert island but what would it be like if it became reality? It would not take long for the dream to turn into a nightmare especially if you had to share the island with six strangers and very few provisions. This is what happens in Stranded, Emily Barr’s latest novel, which is a fabulous read from start to finish. It is tense and thrilling and the sort of book that keeps you guessing all the way through.

In Stranded, Esther has escaped to Malaysia to get over the end of her marriage. She is heading for the Perhentian Islands which she hopes will be as idyllic as it has been described to her and a place to refresh and clear her mind.


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Shadow of Night

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Shadow of Night (Hardback), Deborah Harkness, book reviewBack in September 2010, I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy of the debut novel of history professor Deborah Harkness. Entitled A Discovery of Witches, it introduced us to the supernatural world of witch Diana Bishop and vampire Matthew Clairmont – and admittedly yes, at the sight of the word “vampire” I did let out a small groan, expecting this to be another limp vampire love story straight out of the Stephanie Meyer school of pale, brooding male leads. Thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong and enjoyed the book immensely, the only downside being the long wait until the release of the second novel in what has now been formally named as the All Souls Trilogy: the eagerly awaited Shadow of Night. Due for release in the UK on 10th July 2012, your humble reviewer is once again privileged enough to receive a sneak preview manuscript from the nice people at Headline Books and has been spending the recent wet bank holidays immersed in this superior supernatural series.


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Wild Rose

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Wild Rose by Pauline Donaldson, book reviewWild Rose by Pauline Donaldson is the author’s first novel for an adult audience. Set in Yorkshire during the Wars of the Roses, its main character is Alice, a woman who lives alone having escaped from the unwanted attentions of the local squire. When she finds a young child, Cissy, sitting crying and alone beside the body of her mother, her life is completely changed. Alice has no idea where Cissy came from, and takes on the responsibility of raising her, but several years later she makes contact with Cissy’s father, a baron.

When I read the summary of Wild Rose, I was attracted by the historical setting – the Wars of the Roses are a time period I am interested in, and I enjoy reading novels set in this period.


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