Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone by Will Storr

For long, I believed that the brave fought the war till the end, even if they knew that it was a losing one and one not really worth winning. Then I realised, it needed greater courage to realise that you are fighting a losing war or a war not worth it and walk out of it. Killian had been victim all his life, abused at home and bullied outside. When his dream of working with his idol celebrated chef Max Mann comes true, it is not long before he realises that he is working in a nightmare kitchen. Max doesn't shout, no doesn't shout at all. He just makes the lives of his kitchen staff miserable. Why didn't somebody tell Killian it is okay not to be a victim and walk out of the whole thing? Killian is the underdog, 'turnspit dog' as he calls himself, we all root for. We want him to walk out of it, we also want him to teach Max Mann a lesson. 

While reading the book I was thinking, this can't be, Max Mann is a celebrated chef why would he do such a thing. These guys are adults, this is not the way adults behave. Then this is not really that impossible, we do hear horror stories of bullying all the time especially when one has unlimited power over his/her domain. Kitchen is Max's domain, he does what he wants with his staff. Nobody can fight against it, if they do, they are finished.

The successful could be mean or bad-mannered, but we give them the respect they deserve as long as they made it through hard work. We don't really like people who take shortcuts to success, all those who make it big with no hardwork or long hours. When Killian tries a shortcut to success, we don't grudge him, we want him to prove to the Max Mann's of the world that it is not okay to torture others. They are your apprentices, not somebody you can 'feed shit', (that's exactly what Max does). But from the beginning we realise that Killian is messed up and there will be no happy ending. We are like Mr.Mayle, Killian's teacher and Mentor, who wants the talented often victimized Killian to prove to the world that he can do it. But at moments like when he insults Mr. Mayle in the Kitchen when he presents the Saucier Award to him, we realise that Killian will not turn out to be the hero we would look up to. The herbs the Killian uses are just a way to change the balance of scales to show us what Killian is capable of.

This is a horror story with magical herbs in a hidden garden, with a touch of supernatural with a fly hovering over most of the book and the kind of things we see in the climax of a horror movie. But this is also the story of horror of how ambition makes a talented and nice man into a monster, how somebody who fights for the oppressed becomes the oppressor. A gripping story of horror kitchens!

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Paris, Rue des Martyrs- Review and Giveaway


We meet many people everyday. Some more often that we know enough for a nodding acquaintance. Among those there are some we have a connection even unknown to us. Suddenly you realise that somebody you see everyday at the cafe is your boyfriend's father. After all we live in a very small world. So what is the connection between these strangers whose lives intersect in Rue des Martyrs.

Young Rafael is an Emerald trader from Bagota in search of his birth mother in Paris. Mira, an artist, leaves her unfaithful fiancé in Naples and moves to Paris with her friend. Cecile is bored with her life, her children don't need her and her husband is unfaithful. Andre is an actor whose career is at an end after an accident. What are the connections between these varied people?

It is an easy and fast read. Though I haven't read many books with this premise, I have seen lot of movies with this strangers meeting situation, and so it is the connections and how it is handled that would make it novel and interesting. The connections start appearing in the beginning itself and what I like most are the surprises and everything is not as it seems.

I found Cecile's situation quite interesting. When you are young and you are caught in mischief, and you are compared to the prefect little young lady. You do get irritated. Why does she have to be so perfect? But her mother would be proud, wouldn't she to have taught her daughter to be a young lady with grace and charm? What if the perfect little young lady's mother is a plain woman with no charms? Her husband is involved with somebody else. Her perfect little daughter needs no mothering. She is lonely and bored. Has Cecile decided to embark on an affair because her husband is unfaithful or she feels that her perfect little daughter doesn't need her?

I found some of the character tracks similar in the beginning. Aren't Cecile and Mira facing the same kind of situation- unfaithful partner? Aren't Hugo and Rafael on the lookout for their biological parents with whom they shared nothing else? But as the story progresses the similarity between the situations and the reality behind it is revealed, you realise that how different they are. And I couldn't help wondering if Rue des Martyrs is actually Rue des Artists with the book brimming with artists of all kinds from portrait artists, actors, Jewellery designers, and an upcoming writer too. An interesting easy read for the weekend.

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There are encounters that make a difference. The paths of four strangers cross amid the beauty, squalor, animation and desolation found on a Parisian street called the Rue des Martyrs.
Each one faces some sort of struggle:
A young man’s search for his birth mother leads him to love and grim family secrets.
An unsatisfied housewife finds her world turned upside down by the promise of a passionate liaison.
An aging actor, troubled by the arrival of the son he abandoned years ago, must make a choice: either lose him forever or put aside pride and seek redemption.
A young woman, betrayed by her fiancĂ©, travels to Paris to begin a new life and forget about love… at least that is her intention.
Four stories entwine, four quests become one. [provided by the author]

Author Bio

Adria J. Cimino worked as a journalist for more than a decade at news organizations including the Associated Press and Bloomberg News. Adria, who grew up in the sunshine, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida. She now lives in Paris and enjoys sharing her adventures in the city and thoughts about the writing life in her blog “Adria in Paris.” Her first novel, “Paris, Rue des Martyrs,” released on Feb. 10, 2014.

Website | Blog | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter @Adria_in_Paris

The Winner of the Giveaway is Judy Tretin! Congrats Judy!

Disclaimer: I received an ebook from the France Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own. Giveaway is sponsored by France Book Tours.