Derailed by Mary Keliikoa – Book Review

Derailed by Mary Keliikoa is a very good mystery novel I read in the recent times. The author succeeded in capturing my complete attention to the book from the start till the end. 

Kelly Pruett is a private investigator who inherited the PI business from her father. When Georgette comes knocking on Kelly’s door requesting her to investigate the death of her daughter Brooke, Kelly immediately accepts the case in order to honor her father’s last wish. 

Brooke is said to be hit by the local train and the case is closed by the police. Kelly starts her investigation from scratch basing on Georgette’s suspicions. Apart from the PI life, Kelly is grieving her father’s death, coping from the divorce and taking care of her deaf daughter. 

Many surprising truths uncover during the investigation. Brooke happens to be an entirely different person from what her parents assumed her to be. The story is about the path Kelly takes in spite of all odds and how she solves the mystery. Kelly never gives up though she is threatened and attacked by the killer.

I must applaud the author for building such a strong and intense female protagonist. Kelly is the HERO of this novel. I like Kelly’s determination, courage and intelligence. This book is a wonderful read for any mystery lovers. 

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.

The Tree of Life by Nick Blackburn – Book Review

The Tree of Life is a beautiful book written by Nick Blackburn and illustrated by Julianne Vermilion. While the writer writes beautiful poem about life, the illustrator wonderfully presents the visual of the poem in incredible illustrations. I could not believe that the illustrator is hardly 20 years old. She added great beauty to the book.

The Tree of Life is a short book, I completed reading it in just one sitting. The author talks about subjects like life, soul, universe, etc. He depicts the fact that we all are part of this huge universe who keep coming back in one form or another to fulfil the purpose of our lives. The eternal spark, its journey and destination are written well in the poem. The poem also teaches us that we can learn our lessons even from children and young ones and that age is just a number. Though this poem is small, it makes great sense in a larger perspective.

The book also includes the story of the author and how his student inspired him to come up with this meaningful visual poem. Every page has illustrations that have deep meaning. I must say, this is the most colourful book I read in the recent times. 

The book is very different and refreshing. I received the advance reviewer copy of the book from LibraryThing for an honest review. I enjoyed reading it.

A God Who Hates Women by Dr Majid Rafizadeh – Book Review

I repeat.. ‘THIS IS THE BIOGRAPHY OF THE AUTHOR’s MOTHER’. The incidents detailed in this book are NOT imaginary and fictitious. I’m sure this book would have been criticised immensely if it was fiction. 
Author says, “Religious ideologies can justify even the most horrible crimes against humanity by claiming that such acts are warranted in order to serve their God.”  Extremely well said.

I’m at loss of words after reading this book. I know there are plenty of such women around us and the things they put up with breaks my heart. The book is about Majid’s mother who is born in Syrian family, various incidents of her life and her struggle to give decent life to her kids. 

Author says that girls are taught from early age that marriage is the sole purpose of a girl and they have no say in choosing their partner. “A girl, my mother and her sisters had been repeatedly told, should always be grateful when a man—no matter who he was, what he looked like, or how old he was—agreed to take her as his wife. Nothing could blemish a man. “Just being a man and having that male sexual organ makes men irreproachable,” my grandmother had often joked.” – quotes the author.

I will mention a simple situation that deeply implies the insignificance of the girl child. “In the Arab world, people usually refer to a person not by the name given to them, but through their children. Therefore, a person will be either ‘the mother of—’ or ‘the father of —’ and it is generally the name of the oldest son that is used to establish this indirect form of reference. In cases where the oldest child is a girl, the name of the younger son is used, and if the person doesn’t have any sons, then people use the name of a boy which the father desires to have in the future.” Imagine.. an unborn son is worth more than an alive girl, according to them.

Talking about the so-called religious women who think low of the fellow women who go to universities and work alongside men, author says, ” Whether these women truly believed in what they were saying is something open to questioning, but when indoctrination starts at the womb, then it is difficult to weed out the truth from an acquired belief. Were these women expressing honest opinions or were they simply repeating words which the male-dominated society around them had drilled into them?” How true!

There is an incident in this book I would like to quote in my own words. 
‘A 7 yr old kid sneaks into school without his father’s knowledge. When he excels at academics, the principal comes to talk to his father to suggest that he goes to a better school. But the father after finding out that the son was going to school without going to work, that too a school that teaches western information, he beats the kid and orders him to stop going to school. The kid begs to let him go to school. The father then asks the kid, ‘How does sun rises and sets?’ The kid with the knowledge he acquired at school tells explains about the axis, earth’s rotation and all. The father grows angrier and beats the kid more saying, ‘This is what those westerners teach. They are infidels. The sun raises because 70000 angels push the sun up and sets because 70000 angels bring it down.’ That day, that kid’s heart breaks and decides he won’t believe in a religion that stopped him from going to school.’ This simple scene speaks volumes.

Many such scenarios are described in this book. Denial of education and basic rights for girl child, child marriages, polyamory, lack of birth control, domestic abuse, rape culture, etc.  You can also find many number of facts about the situation in Iran and Syria, poverty, civil war, repression, prisons, refuge camps and many more. I recommend everyone to read this book.
Author of this book, Dr Majid Rafizadeh is half Iranian and half Syrian. He graduated from Harvard and is now a renowned Iranian-American political scientist and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He serves on the board of Harvard International Review of Harvard International Relations Council.

He accredits all his success to his mother’s sacrifices and hard work to provide food and other basic needs. 

Singing Back To The Sirens by Margaret DeRitter – Book Review

Singing Back To The Sirens by Margaret DeRitter is a beautiful book with poems that talk about the life of a woman. Each poem is an amazing representation of her desire, love, loss and grief. 

The book has two parts with wonderful poems. Poems talk about different forms of love, the kind between mother and child, two best friends, and a lot more. The exploration of sexuality at an early age, falling for a friend and accepting herself are written beautifully by the author. 

I liked how the author presented the frustrations of a lesbian woman when she falls for a straight woman. And that really made my heart clench. The struggles she faces from the moment she identifies her sexuality to finding her love, losing it and going through the grief are very well written in the form of poems and it is kind of incredible. 

Each poem is a song sung back to the many wonderful women in her life. After all, they shaped the way she sees desire, love, pain, strength and many more emotions, thus helping her define life and evolve.

Margaret DeRitter is a promising author. She crafted the poems very well. I look forward to reading more of her works. I received this book from Librarything for an honest review.

Stay With Me by Becky Wade – Book Review

Stay With Me by Becky Wade is a cute romance. This is the third book I’m reading written by Becky Wade. After reading Falling For You and Sweet On You by this Christy Award Winning author, I couldn’t wait to read Stay With me. You can read the other two book reviews here: Sweet On You
and Falling For You.

Genevieve Woodword who is a Christian author and motivational speaker inspiring thousands of women with her writings and speeches, one day receives a letter from a mysterious sender blaming her parents of some crime. Gen immediately comes to her hometown to find out about the facts behind the letter. She also needs a get away from her tight schedule and time to recover from a dangerous addiction no one knows about.

She meets Sam Turner in strange circumstances. Sam who is a loner by choice doesn’t receive Gen immediately but eventually caves in and rents her his cottage on a condition that she never falls for him. Gen finds strength and support in Sam during her recovery. 

The story is about unraveling family secrets, finding strength in love and the importance  of trust in relationships. The book is releasing on 5th May, 2020. I received the advance reviewers copy for an honest review. There is an ease in the writing style if Becky Wade. A tender and beautiful story totally engaging the reader. A cool read for the quarantine summer.