Saturday, December 27, 2008

Title: Nick's New Heart
Sub-Title: The True Story of Love, Strength, and Courage
Author: Susan May
Publisher: Tiger Iron Press
ISBN: 0-9787263-2-4
Genre: Biography, Medical, Coping
Presentation: Hard Bound with dust jacket

I love medical books, especially the ones written by laymen and those written for laymen by doctors. So, when a chance came to review this book, I agreed readily and I am happy that I agreed!

Susan writes well and the editors also did a wonderful job in keeping the flow smooth. The story is gripping and the saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction" is so true in this case. The problems with Nick (Nicholas) start early, almost immediately after his birth and continue into the childhood, culminating in a heart transplant surgery 17 years ago! The book is about the drama, the trauma and the wonderful doctors and the support groups that helped the baby live and that too with a fairly high quality of life!

There are a few typos but they won't distract you, the reader (I could not help seeing them because I am a reviewer and editor myself). I was left wondering why Susan did not write this book earlier when pediatric heart transplants were not that common and when her book could have reached out and gave new hope and courage to thousands of affected parents all over the world. Now, pediatric heart surgeries including heart transplants are much more common and there is lot more information in the form of books, articles etc. I was reading a wonderful letter from Dr. Devi Shetty of Bangalore (Bengaluru now), a leading pediatric cardiac surgeon who has performed 4000+ surgeries on children and the letter was addressed to the children. Ask me for the link to that letter if interested. He does the surgery free! 

All in all, reading this book was moving and inspiring. I recommend the book strongly if you or some one you know have any interest in health matters, especially relating to children, surgeries etc.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Title: Quondam An Ancient Mirror Tale

Author: Jayel Gibson

Publisher: Synergy Books

ISBN: 978-1-933538-83-9

Category: Fiction / Fantasy

Presentation: Soft Cover

Quondam is a fantasy of worlds, with magic, dragons etc.

"Quondam is a kingdom under the stranglehold of a fallen wood nymph, Queen Karid, who has ruled ruthlessly for an eon since she was forced by the gods into human form as a punishment. She's thrilled to have blood in her veins, and equally happy to spill anyone else's to ensure perpetual dominance.

Karid sends fire-throwing assassins through a portal to Ædracmorae and wipes out much of that realm's ruling family in order to prevent a prophecy from coming true, which says that a house of serpents will ally with a house of dragons. It isn't enough though, as the queen is seriously challenged back in Quondam by an overlooked niece of the king, the hot-tempered Cwen of Aaradan, back from earlier books with a chip on her shoulder.

Although she is strong, Cwen has much to learn about when to apply judgment and how to see the perspective of others. She finds a chance to redeem herself from her past acts, saying, "`I have been selfish, even ruthless, but this one act will give my life meaning and sweep the blackness from my soul.'" Action is the prime driver, but it is a pleasure to see Cwen and other characters develop and evolve on the way to fulfilling their objectives. The thoroughly power-mad Queen Karid is the exception--she's a fountain of evil deeds from the beginning. Gibson carries over her examination of crossed species in Queen Karid's fear of a dragon/human hybrid with royal blood known as the Islander. He eventually faces a no-win decision, staking his own priorities against the kingdom's.

The book's romantic scenes are about desire, resistance, domination, and lingering bonds--not so unusual among people, but unsettling when applied to a pair of dragons. Just as the female dragons in the kingdom of Quondam are a bit stronger than the males, so too are a number of remarkably resolute women generally more determined and focused than the men. The subtle and healthy message of can-do capability resonates.

Fans of the series should appreciate the way Gibson moves into the meat of the story right away."

That was the blurb from Amazon. I came to the book without reading the earlier books and thus felt that the story was moving a little slowly in the beginning, but it picked up later on. The author's style is good enough to hold the reader. There is enough magic, enough evil and enough good to keep the reader going.

A good read. Not unstoppable and not unput-downable but interesting enough to read and complete.

I read the book a few months back but could not post the review due to various factors. My apology to the author.