The Survivng Girls by Katee Robert review by Frost At Midnite

Book Review – The Surviving Girls by Katee Robert

They say when you undergo a traumatic event along with someone, a bond is formed. A bond strong enough to tie the survivors together. Every disaster we’ve witnessed has shown proof of this.

The Surviving Girls is about two girls who’ve, for lack of a better word, survived. They went to college and were in a sorority, a sisterhood. But due to one horrific event in their lives, they are now co-dependent. They’ve got each other’s backs and they are good by themselves.

The Surviving Girls by Katee Robert, Book Review by Frost At Midnite

Over a decade ago, Lei Zhang let her boyfriend into her room. He beat her up after sex and then ended up slaughtering her sorority sisters. Only two survived, Lei and Emma. Lei jumped out her window, while Emma hid behind a couch. Years later and they are now helping solve crimes. Lei is now helping people find dead bodies with the help of her cadaver dog, Saul. Emma, closeted within the fortress of her home, helps find people with the help of computers.

This book, The Surviving Girls, was all about rebuilding a life. The way Lei and Emma got on after that incident. But it doesn’t stop there. Twelve years later and there are a few girls murdered in the same manner and they belonged to the same sorority. Lei and Emma are alerted and they have been asked to help the investigating officers. Is it a copycat who is doing this or was there an accomplice who has come out of the woods twelve years later? A lot of questions come up, and they get answered as the investigation progresses in The Surviving Girls.

What did I like about The Surviving Girls – the plot, of course! The characters, especially Emma and Lei, their determination to survive and help others. I did feel the pace of The Surviving Girls could have been better. Nonetheless, it was a quick read. You can finish it off in one weekend.

Go ahead and pick it up.

You can grab a copy of The Surviving Girls here – Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Goodreads

The Surviving Girls (Hidden Sins, #3)The Surviving Girls by Katee Robert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

The Great Father Mammootty

The Great Father

There is this Malayalam movie called The Great Father that released in 2017. And I watched it recently. The Great Father stars our Malayalam superstar, Mammootty in the lead role. Now given its Mammootty, the movie could be a great entertainer or a big bore. Now now, don’t get bothered. But really, the same guy who acted like a megastar in Vatsalyam did also choose some really silly scripts. Mammootty is a class actor, I still wonder why people would just choose him for a movie and waste his presence.

The Great Father Mammootty

So, The Great Father. Here’s the plot. There’s a paedophile on the loose. One day David, played by Mammootty, discovers his li’l girl has been brutally raped. He takes his daughter to the hospital where his wife works. They treat her and discover that their daughter was a victim of someone who calls himself Joker. And now they want vengeance. Meanwhile, after the investigating officer is killed by the Joker, Andrews of the CID begins to investigate. So there’s two of them now behind the Joker – Andrews and David. Well, cut to the end, David kills Joker and Andrews agrees that it was good riddance indeed.

Now, what bothered me? Plenty! Mammootty also did this awesome movie with Nayanthara called Puthiya Niyamam. A movie where the wife is gang-raped in her apartment complex. She retreats into herself and her husband who realises what happened helps her get over it, he helps her avenge herself. Oh, Nayanthara and Mammootty were subtly awesome in that movie. Playing David on the other hand was a little different. Here we saw a hero, and not an angry father who wants to rain hell on the guy who hurts his li’l girl. Something was missing. No father can be that detached, or so I’d like to believe. But then, I also hope no father ever has to be in that situation. That detached avenging man, David, was always one step ahead of Andrews. Bah! Andrews was played by Arya. I just rolled my eyes writing that last line. There are a lot of people who could have played that character better. Arya, for whatever reason, cannot be taken seriously in such roles. A typical case of round-hole and square-peg. Now, there are plenty of actors who could have been a better Andrews. Arya just doesn’t fit into these characters. He was good in Aarambam. I shall just bemoan the casting and leave it at that. Sneha as David’s wife does her job well. She does not get major screen time, she does her job aptly as a mother, a doctor and a wife. Then there are the minor characters, most of which I shall skip over. But, oh golly, Kalabhavan Shajon! Someone needs to give this man a bigger role in movies. Overall a good movie.

But well… there was all the talk about going erect and the showing of the middle finger. Dear God! When did Malayalam movies get this… Argh! I don’t even know what is the word I’m looking for! My dear mom doesn’t even know what showing someone a middle finger means. She knows it’s something bad, and therefore offensive, but that’s about that. And I like my mother’s naive innocence. It’s rather cute and charming. So, I sat there wishing mummy dearest doesn’t ask what exactly this gesture mean. Squirming in my seat as I sat there watching these characters talk about paedophiles not being able to get erect anymore. Oh, how the times have changed! There was a time when my parents were opposed to watching FRIENDS. Sigh!

Well, I can’t figure out if I am adult enough to handle this sort of situation yet. Just asking my mallu brethren, damn boss, but what is this? When and how did we get ourselves here?

Stalker by Lisa Stone review by Frost At Midnite

Book Review – Stalker by Lisa Stone

There are times when a book teaches you something. And it is often. Stalker by Lisa Stone is a book that will give a lesson and make you want to take a look at things. Read on to know what.

Stalker starts off with a break-in. A family home is broken into and the man is hit on his head. They want to install surveillance cameras and ask around for quotes. Finally, they give Home Security their business. Derek Flint runs the business single-handedly and does his best. He along with an apprentice install the camera and set it up. The family feel safe once again.

But Derek has another face. Back home, where he lives with his mother, he monitors all of the places he has set up surveillance for. Unbeknownst to the client, he looks into their life. In his head, they are his friends and family. He knows their favourite chocolates and vacation plans. Creepy!

A spate of crimes, break-ins, abductions, assault, rapes happen in the neighbourhood. It means food business for Derek. As Beth Mayes investigates these crimes, she finds a common link – Home Security. Derek is now a suspect and once the cops are onto him, weird facts begin to surface.

Stalker by Lisa Stone Review by Frost At Midnite

The one fact, glaring at us in the face, from this book is the information we share online. While the internet seems like a moderately safe place, it is most often not. A simple search can reveal your home plan, what car your drive and your mortgage details as well. If someone wanted to look at you all they would need is to hack into your phone or laptop and they’d have a prime view of wherever you are. Imagine some stranger looking at your life that close.

What Derek was doing was relatively benign. He installed the cameras that he looked through. But he was as much a victim as he was a villain. His system gets hacked and he falls prey to the perpetrators of these crimes. All of whom have learnt to use the internet to satisfy their inner demons. It is a truly weird thing this invention of mankind, the internet. As helpful as it is destructive. One has to be able to handle it with caution. It is very easy for someone to get sucked into the dark corners of the world wide web.

Stalker is one of those few crime thrillers that will make you want to check up on yourself. While a horror may make you want to check underneath your bed or in the closet, Stalker will make you check and recheck your online security and change your passwords.

Stalker is definitely worth a one time read.

You can find a copy of Stalker here – Amazon, Kobo

Goodreads

StalkerStalker by Lisa Stone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Mother's Day lunch - Frost At Midnite

Mother’s Day Lunch

Mother’s Day is always a random thing. It is not like it is a special day for us since every day there are cuddles and love that we smother our mother with. But this year, we decided to let her chill through the day and ordered out for lunch and dinner.

For a gift, I bought her a new toaster, since our old one stopped working after over a decade of faithful service. It can be obvious what we had for breakfast.

Lunch was from Mango Tree. We’ve already tried their non-vegetarian meals which were awesome. This one was so-so. I would definitely recommend their non-vegetarian meal for anyone looking for a Chettinad meal in Chennai. Here’s a look at our Mother’s Day lunch.

Now it is not often that we have vegetarian takeaway but since a relative died this past weekend, we are in mourning and therefore strictly vegetarian for a short while.

Anyway, about the meal, the vadai was as usual awesome. The rest of the meal was a tad bit spicy for my liking. I wish they could have included more raita and not the salna. The payasam was way too sweet and somehow worked to soothe my tongue. But it still set my teeth on edge. Like I said before, their non-vegetarian meal is spot on. This one not so much.

Mango Tree Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Week In Review Frost At Midnite

Week In Review – Week 15, 2018

I don’t know whether the part of the world you live in is sunny. But my corner of the world is sunny and bright. It’s hot and humid as well. It feels like someone is hammering your head with a hot mallet while your brain’s slowly evaporating. All the signs that Chennai summer has truly begun.

While that is a very troubling thing for everyone who ventures out during the day, there are obvious benefits also. Like your laundry is crisped up in a couple of hours. And even more happy circumstance is the season also marks the bounty available in the stores – MANGOES! They are all over the place and I’ve already indulged😁😁. Also, jackfruits, though not so readily available.

Tuesday’s CSK match was all sorts of awesome, wasn’t it? Excellent playing by both teams and in the end the best team won.

Thursday –

Bah! Every muscle hurts. This Sunday is Vishu, the new year for Malayalees world around. And I have been cleaning the house like a woman obsessed. Today, I spent about 6 hours cleaning up the living, dining and kitchen and Oh the joy! It was quite a workout but the shine and sparkle are totally worth it. It is also the only time at home when people at home leave me alone since I can be a bit of a monster when someone messes with me when I am cleaning. Cleaning always makes me happy, like I’ve accomplished something. Over the past two days, the house with, except the puja room has been cleaned up. That bit is for the last. I’ll probably tackle it off on Saturday and get to putting finishing touches as well. All of this cleaning will totally compensate the sadya on Sunday! I shall be putting up a picture of the meal next week.

Oh, it’s a pity that the CSK home matches in Chennai have been shifted off to Pune. What a shame!

Friday –

I can hardly keep myself awake. The urge to aestivate is slowly taking over, and to beat the heat I really want to sleep the summer away. But I stayed awake. Not even a li’l nap in the afternoon. Instead, I made a little update on the blog – there is now a contact form. I have o expectations for people to use it, but it does add a certain charm to the blog. I also updated my about me page, just added a few more words than there were. This effort makes today productive. Because it has already touched thirty-five degrees and I am sweating like a pig. Chennai with all its goodness has hellish summers. Especially now after Vardah ripped away a lot of the trees, the want for shade and cooling is a lot.

Monday –

I am going to delay this post by a day or two. Sunday being Vishu, all I did was eat. Earlier in the day, we went to the temple and when outside waiting for the car, everyone was doing a hop-dance. The sun was beating down upon all of us, and the road was so hot, it was a miracle we got away with blisters and not half-baked feet.

The food was awesome. We booked a sadya from Ente Keralam, at Kasturi Rangan road and got it back home. After that it was only apt to fall asleep, sugar highs are best enjoyed by a nap. I am posting off pictures of our Vishu Kani and the Sadya.

Vishu Kani
Vishu Kani
Vishu Sadya
Vishu Sadya

Monday was another awesome day because I met my best friends. We’d originally planned to meet up at Soy Soi, but since it was closed, we went to Ciclo. And then later for ice cream at Amelie’s.

Amelie's, Chennai

 

 

This week was awesome – it was filled with a lot of productivity and meeting great people and eating good food. What more can a person ask for!

 

Book Review – Blue Baby by Carolyn Arnold

I’ll just start off by saying I am not too impressed with this book. It’s just that I’ve been reading many mysteries and thrillers recently that this one seemed too mundane in comparison. Or maybe it was because Blue Baby was a part of a series, Brandon Fisher FBI, and I read it as a standalone. Either way, it gets a three-star review only.

The premise is promising. The FBI is notified when there happens to be a murder. A young woman is found dead in her bathtub. She is found dead wearing a bridal gown, jewellery and veil. Her face is beautified with tasteful makeup and she seems to be at peace. Only her ring finger is cut off and found lying o her lap. This is the second such Murder in the town, the first one happened on the same day a year back.

Blue Baby by Carolyn Arnold

The FBI team consists of Brandon, Zach, Paige and their boss Jack. Brandon is commitment phobic and his affair with Paige in the past still colours their interactions. Jack keeps business and personal domains separate. Zach is the genius of the group. Then there is Nadia, their computer genius working form the office. If Jack, Zach and Nadia remind you of certain characters from Criminal Minds, then I am glad I am not alone. As the team investigates the murder with the help of the local police, another murder takes place. Just within three days if the second one. The team is now in a rush to find the murderer.

While I liked the entire serial killer hunt part of the book, the interplay of flirting/affairs and the emotional drama seemed a bit too much for me. These were people investigating the crime and what was thought to be a murder mystery was more one guy’s monologue on his commitment phobia, including his marriage, divorce, affairs and subsequent relationships. There was too much Brandon and this took away the thrill of the book. And that was disappointing. It could have been a better read.

These are few other thrillers I have enjoyed reading. You can read the reviews by clicking on the links.

Pretty Girls Dancing by Kylie Brant

In The Name of God by Ravi Subramanian

The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson

Goodreads

Blue Baby (Brandon Fisher FBI, #4)Blue Baby by Carolyn Arnold

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
View all my reviews

In The Name Of God by Ravi Subramanian

Book Review – In The Name of God by Ravi Subramanian

A long time ago, almost 18 years ago, I went on a school trip. We were taken to a few places including Trivandrum. And I visited the landmark Padmanabhaswamy temple there. As a Malayalee Hindu, we were given a healthy dose of deities and temples etc growing up. And so I knew what to expect from the temple and just marvelled in the experience.

In The Name of God is a thriller that revolves around this temple and was a fabulous read. Somewhere in a Dubai mall, there is a heist, a pre-planned meticulously organised one. In Bombay, there is a bomb blast in the lanes dominated by the diamond trade. They seem random, but in truth, everything is just one big tangled web. It takes one man, Kabir Khan, and his team to connect the dots, and unravel the mystery. And in doing so, he solves murders and exposes a smuggling racket.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bbb_yPwlu-S/

There have been quite a few thrillers from Indian authors recently, but I must admit to some of them being disappointing. Thankfully though, In The Name of God does not! It contains too many interesting things within its pages. There is some business, a romance, betrayal, robbery, a bomb blast, some superstition, smuggling and not to forget all the murders. A thriller requires a lot of things to succeed. That is what makes the reader turn the page instead of abandoning the book. It can be a slow read, but as long as the content is king it will be cherished by the reader. In The Name of God ticks a lot of these checkboxes. It is fast-paced, and the number of plots and subplots are quite a few. Not too many to bore you, but just enough to keep the intrigue going. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how Kabir Khan overcomes the hurdle of religion and superstition to solve a crime at a very prominent Hindu temple in the country.

Ravi Subramanian has done a brilliant job with his new book. Of course, there is the mystery and the whodunit element of the book, but there is also insight into the workings of smuggling rings, drugs, and the history of the temple and its surroundings. It was a glorious work which was well researched and an absolute joy to read. (At a certain point, I might have wanted to reach into the story and take the vehicle Kabir Khan was travelling in and actually move it to the place where he was travelling to. Not because they or the story were slow, but because I couldn’t wait for the ‘what happens next’ moment.)

Oh, did I state there is a mention of Sunanda Pushkar’s death as well in In The Name of God?

I definitely recommend this book to everyone.

You can pick a copy of it here – Amazon, Flipkart.

Goodreads

In The Name of GodIn The Name of God by Ravi Subramanian

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews