Book Review: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

ArrangedArranged by Catherine McKenzie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Arranged” is a lovely, light-hearted romantic drama. The protagonist Ann Blythe has been in several disappointing relationships that have left her disheartened and sad. In search of a meaningful relationship, she takes a chance and approaches what she thinks to be a dating company only to find it’s anything but. Soon Anne finds herself on a journey, an adventure of a lifetime. Would she find the happiness she is looking for? Is it possible to find love ‘arranged’ by someone else?

I found Catherine’s writing style very refreshing and comforting. She weaves a most endearing romantic drama that is fun to read and thoroughly enjoyable. I know not everyone is comfortable with the concept of arranged marriages, but having grown in a culture where it is well-practiced, I liked the respect Catherine gives to it and how gently she handles the subject. The story is interesting and flows effortlessly. The characters are well crafted and seem familiar.

Do give it a shot; it definitely is worth the time and money.

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Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the DomeUnder the Dome by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I ever get the chance to meet Stephen King, I would walk up to him, bow my head and seek his blessings. 🙂

If there’s one author who truly knows how to weave varied characters into the most gripping nail-biting plots, it’s him. No questions about it.

If you haven’t had the chance to read this book, then I would suggest you drop everything and get yourself a copy, for you are truly missing out on an amazing piece of work.

The book takes you into the world of Chester’s Mill, where ordinary people are living their normal lives (most of them at least). Then, one day something unexpected happens — the little town finds itself trapped under an invisible shield, which would soon come to be known as ‘The Dome’. There is no way out and no way in. The next few days are filled with growing confusion, chaos and anarchy and we will see how one man instigates it all to feed his personal mission to complete domination. As ‘Scarecrow’ Joe mentions, it sure is ‘Lord of the Flies’ all over again — there a group of children, when faced with adversity, turned on each other with gruesome ruthlessness. Survival of the fittest was the rule of the day. Here,  in Chester’s Mill, the same elements are at play, but things are more stark and emotions more on edge. One after another events take place bringing out the worst in people and even those who’ve known each other all their lives, are ready to stomp and kill the other without much thought. Where does one go from here? There is no escape.

S. King creates a larger than life situation with such conviction that once you start reading you realize it is all possible. In a matter of a few hours, the calm town is transformed into a raging, terrifying hell hole. Smallest of incidents are blown out of proportion. Innate feelings–anger, want, hunger, passion, fear–all come to the surface, only to be magnified ten-folds. Unsuspecting people are thrown into situations where either they retaliate or cower and surrender to the strong. Select few take advantage of the gullibility of others and thrive on their fear and vulnerability.

James “Big Jim” Rennie — cunning, shrewd, ruthless — is probably the most well-defined character in the book. You will want to choke him with your own hands. He is intelligent, an opportunist who knows how to read people, recognize their weaknesses or strengths and predict their reactions even if they can’t. He uses this foresight to manipulate people and situations for his own advantage and succeeds in getting away with it every single time. Striking when the iron is hot and staying one step ahead of everyone, is his true motto.

There are several other characters in the book like Dale Barbara aka Barbie who will win your hearts; there would be some whom you’ll pity and some you’ll curse and I guess that’s the beauty of it all. King so involves his readers into his stories and his characters are so real, the situations so plausible that the reader is glued to his books.

Under the Dome, is definitely a huge book – all 800 (and some more) pages of it, but once you start you would not want to stop. It will carry you through the streets of Chester’s Mill, into the houses of its residents and you will experience their every emotion and live their darkest moments. For some it’s their last on the planet. Nevertheless, you will emerge out of it all oddly gratified and rejoicing for the survivors. Of course, there would also be that voice at the back of your head, wishing it had not end.

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