Thursday, 27 November 2014

My Review on 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Book Thief is a truly captivating book. I've become dumbfounded and amazed after reading this book. I've never read a book of the historical fiction genre before and I must say, the first experience has really served good.

The narrator of this book is death. Yes, that's right. Death. The eternal truth we all fear. In this book, death narrates the story and when death tells a story, you really have to listen.
The book revolves around Liesel Meminger (the book thief), Hans Hubermann (an accordian), Rudy Steiner ( the one who likes being called as Jesse Owens) and Max Vanderburg (a fist fighter). As the book title is concerned, the story mainly revolves around Liesel.

The backdrop of this book is set around Nazi Germany in 1939. Liesel has lost her younger brother and her mother decides to move her to a foster family. Hans and Rosa Hubermann adopt Liesel as their daughter. With the help of her accordian foster father, she learns to read. Liesel picks up a book accidentally by her brother's graveside. Since then, she's been in love with words and books. Whenever she gets a chance, she picks up a book. Whether it is from the burning ashes of Nazi Germany or mayor's library.

Everything goes smooth until a Jewish fist fighter, Max Vanderburg turns up at their gate. Hans is inclined to let Max stay in their house. They hid him in the basement. That's where Liesel develops a beautiful relationship with Max but at the same time, her world turns upside down.

You get to learn a lot from this book. Particularly a couple of German words. Saumensch and Saukerl were my two most favorites. I love when Rosa utters these words. Despite of exposing hatred, she's the most loving and caring wife/mother from the inside.
The part where Liesel kisses Rudy really touched my soul. I was moved. Spell-bounded.

Markus Zusak has really written a compelling yet unique story. With every turning page, the book unfolds a new story. As a reader, I was glued to this book and couldn't help reading the entire of it within a week.

I haven't seen the movie adaption of this book yet but I've heard it's the same as the book. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the film cannot be as good as the book because the latter showcases emotions in a very descriptive way.

For me, this is a wonderful book, therefore I'm not reluctant to give it straight 5 stars.

Happy Reading!
Sara Naveed. :)

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

What is 'Undying Affinity' to me?

Undying AffinityUndying Affinity by Sara Naveed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Undying Affinity is my debut book.
For me, it is not a book but more like a baby.
I started writing this book in January 2013 and completed in mid 2014. The idea of writing this book struck my mind back in Nov 2012. At that point of time, I had no serious plans of writing it down and getting it published though I always desired to write a book one day.
However, with passage of time, my mind changed and I started taking the book seriously.

The process of writing this book has been really exciting. Every time I wrote it, I experienced the emotions driven out of the characters myself. Though the story has not been inspired from any real incident, it looks completely real to me. I was in love with the characters while writing this book.

One thing that I have to mention here is that this book could not be possible without the meticulous support of my younger sister, Ayesha. She was there throughout the entire process of writing this book. When I'd finished writing a sequence or a chapter, she would read it and point out the flaws. She has helped me to improve the plot of Undying Affinity. I could not have written it alone.

After completing the first draft, I felt relieved. After continuous re-reading and re-editing, the book came into a proper shape.
Even now when I read this book, I always tend to come up with new ideas and think ways of improving the story-line but everything has a time.
If I continued making changes in the book, it would never have got completed.

The story of Undying Affinity revolves around Zarish Munawwar. At 22, she has everything in life she could ever ask for; an elite family, a high profile status, a bunch of good friends and a childhood sweetheart. Being childish, stubborn, imperious, extravagant and a bit impulsive at making important decisions pertaining to her life, is what perfectly describes her overall personality. She takes life easily and can get anything she desires. To her, life is a bed of roses. It is only when she meets, Ahmar Muraad, her mentor and finance professor at university, her perspective towards life completely changes. He looks quite young for his age as every girl at the university thinks he is attractive, seductive, intellectual and rather intimidating. This charming man is every girl’s fantasy and Zarish also finds it hard to resist him. But is he fascinated by her? Little did Zarish know how one little interaction could bring about so many twists and turns in her life. You have to read the book to know what happens next.

Today, I am proud to be the author of this book and I hope readers like it. The most important element of this book is the romantic chemistry between the lead characters. That is the USP of this book. :)

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Monday, 10 November 2014

Undying Affinity - Prologue


Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

It was 6 a.m. when his phone started to buzz. He was snoring on the couch next to the single bed in his daughter’s room.  
Having retired quite late, it was impossible for Ahmar to wake up and receive the call. Still groggy from his late night, he almost decided to ignore it, but the buzzing was insistent, demanding.
He checked his cell phone through squinting eyes, unsurprised to see the name of the caller. It was his father, Muraad Hussain calling long-distance from Pakistan.
There was a ten-hour time difference between Washington D.C and Lahore, so it was 4 p.m. back in Lahore, he surmised.
“Hello?” His voice was hoarse, his eyes half-shut.  
“Ahmar,” Muraad whispered over the phone.
“Dad…hey, how are you?” He pushed the duvet off as he sat up and rubbed his eyes. “You’re calling at this time? Is everything okay?”
“No son. I’m afraid not,” Muraad answered.
Ahmar creased his brows in worry.
“Zia Munawwar is no longer among us.” Muraad declared.
A long and disturbing silence ensued. Hearing Zia Munawwar’s name, a chill swept over his entire body. A blurred vision of her face came across his eyes.
“How…how did this…what happened?” Ahmar tried to gather his wits.
“Heart attack. I want you to fly to Pakistan immediately. The funeral is taking place tomorrow evening so you have enough time. There was something Mr. Zia wanted to confess to you,” Muraad told him.
Ahmar was traumatized for a minute; literally shocked. He had no doubt about what his father was talking about.
“But Dad--” Ahmar went on.
“Ahmar.” Muraad interrupted him. “Mrs. Zia is very worried because she hasn’t turned up yet.”
“What? Where is she?” Ahmar asked, surprised.
“Nobody knows. You have to come here. Zia wanted to talk to you but God did not grant him sufficient time. He has left a message for you. Son, come back and resolve everything. I think it’s time.”
Ahmar hung up without any answer. He was not sure what he was going to do. In Lahore, Muraad put down the receiver with satisfaction, unfazed by the abrupt end to the call. He knew his son would do the right thing.  
Ahmar got up from the couch and then crumpled the duvet placed on the bed with restless fingers. The sound woke the young girl lying on the same bed.
“What happened, Papa? Why were you sleeping on the couch?” she whispered.
Ahmar turned his head to glance at his 9-year-old daughter. He stroked her hair gently.
“Nothing, my love. I was tired. Just go back to sleep, okay? There’s still time before school. I’ll wake you up at 8.” He stroked her hair once more. She took a long peaceful sigh and drifted off to sleep again.
He headed to the washroom to take a hot shower.
By the time he woke up his daughter, he was fully dressed. She threw him some tantrums first and in response, he easily scooped her up into his arms and carried her to the washroom. He got her to brush her teeth and helped her in getting dressed. Though she was 9 years old, Ahmar treated her like a toddler. He made breakfast for both of them and then drove her to the school.
On his way to the University, where he worked, Ahmar called his agent to book an immediate flight and arrange a round trip ticket for him.  Then he called her sister, Samira who had been living in U.S for quite a long time. She moved right after her marriage. Ahmar had decided to drop his daughter at Samira’s place because he was not going to take her with him to Pakistan.  
 “You don’t have to go, Ahmar. You’ve already suffered a lot in the past,” Samira told him over the phone.
“I have to. I want to know what is still left for me. Zia Munawwar wanted to confess something to me,” he said.
“But he’s no more,” Samira recalled.
“Yes, but he has left a message for me.”
Samira shook her head in dissatisfaction.
“Please take care of my daughter. I’ll be back soon,” he said.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Free Giveaway of Undying Affinity

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Book review of 'Battle of Bittora' by Anuja Chauhan

Battle For BittoraBattle For Bittora by Anuja Chauhan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I DID NOT enjoy reading this book at all. I had to run through the pages quickly because I wanted to finish it as soon as possible.
The reason to pick this book for reading was the fact that apparently Fawad Khan (my most favorite Pakistani hero) is going to play the much hyped Zain Altaaf Khan in the Bollywood adaption of this book alongside Sonam Kapoor who will play the role of Sarojini Pande aka Jinni. I just wish Fawad had not agreed to do this book because it is again centered around the woman. :( Since he is doing the movie, it is my sincere plea to the makers of this movie to re-write the screenplay and give some more significance to ZAK's role!
Nevertheless this was the sole reason for reading it. Otherwise, I'd never dared to start this book.

This book will be an interesting and enjoyable read for the people based in India as they can relate to their political system with an ease.
As I'm a Pakistani, so it took me sometime to understand the tactics of the Indian politics. There were some terms which were non-understandable. I'm a person who'd want to stay away from politics as far as possible. Therefore, for me it is not a must-read.

There was too much politics in this book as the title indicates. Elections, campaigning, ballot boxing, voting etc is what the book is all about.
I wish there was more exposure of romance between Jinni and Zain but I could only sense sexual tension arising between the two of them at few parts.

Indian readers will surely love this book, I'm sure. As far the movie adaptation is concerned, Fawad Khan is perfect to portray the character of Zain because he's all lean, well chiseled body type and a Muslim guy.
Halfheartedly, I choose to give only 2 stars to this book.

Happy Reading!

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