I love reading books and offer reviews occasionally.
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Smashwords book reviews by Babus Ahmed
- Coming to Astoria: An Immigrant's Tale
on Jan. 29, 2013
This is a humorous coming to age account of a boy from Palestine, whose family was displaced to Jordan and then emigrated to the USA. Omar Kiam certainly has a very distinctive voice and I enjoyed reading his journey from boyhood. Kiam's narrative reminded me little of Paul Theroux. His honesty and detail made the read compelling.
With the ever-present influence of his parents Omar and his siblings grow up and go their way. Omar's account of shoe shining and his brush with shoplifting was very funny. There is also a theme of melancholy that runs through this book as he doesn't get the approval he wants from his parents and his sisters are expected to marry as his parents wish.
I enjoyed the frankness of this book and it told much about Arab culture from Kiam's perspective as a child growing up in the West for much of his life. I recommends reading this book for the light hearted way the author conveys his struggles and the optimism with which he approaches life.
- The Corvids, Book One: Autumn
on Feb. 03, 2013
The Corvids: Book One Autumn by Lisa Ann Brown 3 Stars
This is a delightful fantasy mystery thriller set in an imaginary world of gypsies, magic and spells where ladies wear gowns, people ride horses or travel in carriages and the spirit world is very real. The book begins at the scene of a gruesome murder and our female protagonist Arabel is determined to find out who is behind the crime and why. During the course of her self directed investigations Arabel finds clues that her family's history is not what she believed and as she nears the source of danger responsible for the murders more light is shed on what occurred to her late grandfather and her parents.
Lisa Anne Brown has created a magical world in which this story is set and Arabel is a strong heroine. There is a charming romantic twist and a lot of magic. As enjoyable as the book is to read it loses pace halfway through but does end climatically on a cliff hanger. I look forward to reading the sequel due out in May this year.
- Hell Pit
on Feb. 20, 2013
A Tube train disaster unleashes an evil which results in a spate of killings and horrific violence. It all seems linked to an archeological discovery underground. Can the evil be stopped?
I loved the way this horror started out and I was thirsty to know more about this hell pit that had been discovered. McGrath is a brilliant character and there is some gore here which makes your hair curl but I was left wanting. I wasn't spine chillingly afraid through this. I was hooked into the pagan lore behind it and I wish the author had expended on this a bit more. Reminiscent of The Dark by James Herbert I loved the concept of this book but wasn't frightened like I wanted to be.
- The White Swan : Introducing Johnny Jordan
on Feb. 25, 2013
I would have loved to give this book 3 and a half stars. I thought the plot was good but I couldn’t like Johnny at all. I feel he needs to be a loveable rogue of the story but I just couldn’t like him. He was a charlatan, and he knew it and for me it’s hard to see a favourable protagonist when he is basically deceptive. He came across as brash, arrogant and shallow and I wasn’t convinced he could be insightful and so oblivious to the danger etc at the same time. Johnny is no Patrick Jane and with a reference to The Mentalist in the book I wonder if we were supposed to see him in a similar light.
I didn’t guess the whodunit so the mystery was well written. The dynamics between Johnny and Frankie were ok, not the sparkling wit and repartee that I expected or was expected to enjoy. I felt Frankie was the more interesting character. I enjoyed the family element of this book, Frankie and Johnny are cousins, they are close, they see Frankie’s mum and Johnny struggles with his mothers ill health. The murder they investigate is within the bounds of a close family too which is interesting.
I thought the book was ok, but I wasn’t dazzled.
- Scoundrels in Paradise
on June 18, 2013
I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. I initially started reading it and soon realised it was a biography, but then a few chapters in it got really interesting and I could not put it down. The story of Scott Adlai Stevenson's life to date is very entertaining but its also like watching a car crash. You know it isn't going to end well. However, by the time he fell in love for the 3rd time I did see a pattern emerging.
I recommend this book as I found it well written on the whole although a phrase about "walls being covered in shit, blood and faeces" comes to mind and there were a few grammatical bug bears I overlooked. Overall an entertaining read no matter how much you don't relate to Scott. There's no denying he's had one hell of an adventure in life.
- Scary Mary
on Oct. 07, 2013
I loved this short supernatural horror introductory book to the Scary Mary series. mary is a high school misfit with the ability to hear and speak to ghosts. A new boy at school shows her some interest but things go awry when Mary discovers a malevolent spirit is haunting his house.
I loved the strong female protagonist in this series and look forward to following it up with the sequel.