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review 2017-09-05 07:00
The Sleeping Dictionary - Sujata Massey

"THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY" is one of the best novels I've had the pleasure of reading this year. Sujata Massey, also known for her Rei Shimura mystery novels, is fast becoming one of my favorite writers. This is a rich, multi-layered, intense, thrilling story centered on the life of a young woman from West Bengal during the latter days of the British Raj. She began her life as Pom in a small village that was wiped out by an ocean wave, leaving her to cling to life on the highest rung of a lowly tree til she manages to draw the attention of a small rowing boat, which takes her to shore.

 

As a 10 year old orphan in 1930, Pom ends up in a British boarding school, where she (renamed Sarah) works as a servant and discovers she has a gift for languages. She learns to read and develops a passion for books and a remarkable facility in the English language, so much so that she can speak it like any well-heeled Briton. While at the boarding school, Sarah strikes up a friendship with Bidushi, an Indian girl of similar age from a well-to-do Brahmin family who struggles to learn English. Sarah helps Bidushi with her studies, and over time, their friendship grows, making them deeply bonded to one another.

 

Bidushi's family has made arrangements for her to marry Pankai, a fellow Brahmin who is studying law in London. The family encourages both Bidushi and Pankaj to maintain a correspondence. Bidushi shares Pankaj's letters with Sarah, and asks her help in writing letters in response to him. As a result, Sarah learns a great deal about Pankaj (who is among those Indians determined to achieve independence for their country from the British), and this proves to figure prominently in Sarah's later life. A life full of twists and turns that sees her forced out of the boarding school before she could complete her studies, and find refuge in Kharagpur. There she faces many challenges and experiences the darker, more sinister side of life before again, she finds she must flee. From Kharagpur, Sarah moves on to Calcutta in the late 1930s. There Sarah takes on a new identity, friends, work, and a deep, abiding commitment to the growing independence movement. The novel never flags. One you pick it up and read a few chapters, you're hooked.

 

I highly recommend "THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY" to everyone. It has an English/Hindi/Bengali reference guide that will further enrich your reading experience. And for those readers with a love for Indian cuisine, a few recipes are provided at novel's end under the title "A Taste of Old Calcutta."

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text 2017-08-31 07:30
August 2017 Wrap Up
Falling for the Enemy - Naomi Rawlings
Homicide in High Heels - Gemma Halliday
Her Holiday Family (Texas Grooms (Love Inspired Historical)) - Winnie Griggs
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

 I am burning out on COYER. I need something other than Harlequin romance. Bring on Halloween Bingo!

 

Challenges:

BL/GR: 128/150; 85% completed

Pop Sugar: 2; 42/52 prompts filled

Library Love Challenge: 2; 42/36 for the year

COYER: 12; 82% of list read from June-August

 

1. Falling for the Enemy by Naomi Rawlings (COYER) (Pop Sugar) - 5 stars

 

2. Homicide in High Heels (High Heels #8) by Gemma Halliday (COYER) (Library Love) - 4 stars

 

3. Chaucer's Major Tales by Michael Hoy and Michael Stevens (Pop Sugar) (COYER) (Library Love) - 2.5 stars

 

4. Her Holiday Family by Winnie Griggs (COYER) - 4 stars

 

5. Mission of Hope by Allie Pleiter (COYER) - 4.5 stars

 

6. The Baby Barter by Patty Smith Hall (COYER) - 3 stars

 

7. Emma and the Outlaw by Linda Lael Miller (COYER) - 1.5 stars

 

8. The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson (COYER) - 1 star

 

9. Love, Special Delivery by Melinda Curtis (COYER) - 2 stars

 

10. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - .5 star

 

11. The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - 4 stars

 

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review 2017-08-30 21:42
Review: The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

Probably the best full length book in the series. Li Tao and Ling Suyin were a great couple and great individual characters (both got a raw deal character development wise in the first book). The plotline was filled with action and political intrigue. Best part, you don't have to read the first book to understand the characters or plot line in this book. One of the best examples of using flashbacks to tell the MCs back stories, like peeling back an onion. Such a great balance between the sexy times and the emotional intimacy times. Diplomacy and negotiations were dicey in Tang Dynasty China but the MCs didn't rise from poor kids in Luoyang to the Emperors' inner circles without gaining skills and reputation to use as capital during such dangerous times.

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text 2017-08-28 12:00
#boutofbooks Cycle 20 End of the Week Update

Bout of Books

 

Reading Progress

Thursday:

Didn't read at all. Too tired from working PTO stuff

 

Friday:

Still too tired from more working PTO stuff

 

Saturday:

Continued reading The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin - got maybe 20 pages done while doing laundry. Spent most of my day being caught up in two rage-inducing traffic jams on the M25 going to and from Heathrow. Hubby is home!

 

Sunday:

Continued reading The Dragon and the Pearl

 

Challenges Completed

Thursday:

Skipped

 

Friday:

Pretty easy to do. I copied/pasted my reviews for The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson and Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin to GR. I refuse to review at Amazon. However, I am not really into this guilt-tripping/challenge of "helping" an author's career by posting reviews everywhere (Amazon, GR, NOOK store, Kobo, etc).

 

Saturday:

Skipped

 

Sunday:

No challenge provided today so as to give participants more time to read.

 

Comments:

PTO stuff is a huge time and energy suck towards the end of the read-a-thon. I need a nap. The Dragon and the Pearl is MUCH better than the previous book (may end up liking it more than My Fair Concubine), so it is not the book's fault I am slow to finish it.

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text 2017-08-24 08:54
#boutofbooks Cycle 20 Mid Week Update
The Bootlegger's Daughter (Daughters of the Roaring Twenties) - Lauri Robinson
[(Butterfly Swords)] [By (author) Jeannie Lin] published on (October, 2010) - Jeannie Lin
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

Bout of Books

 

 

Reading Progress

Monday:

Finished The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson

Continued to read Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

 

Tuesday:

Finished Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

Started The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin - 10% read

 

Wednesday:

Continued with The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin (40% read) - so far, it is a much better story than Butterfly Swords

 

Challenges Completed

Monday:

Describe yourself in six words - I posted via Twitter https://twitter.com/tea_rain_book/status/899554770326892544

 

Tuesday:

Skipped

 

Wednesday:

Rainbow spine pic posted to IG https://www.instagram.com/p/BXm9lPTBN_U/?taken-by=tearainbook

 

Comments

Reading progress going okay. Challenges are okay. Can't do the Twitter chats due to time zones (2am is either for sleeping or reading). Getting more reading done than I thought I would with the few PTO events I have to prep and go to.

 

 

 

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