Monday, March 28, 2011

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY of The Long Weekend & AUTHOR SCRAPBOOK with Savita Kalhan


The Long Weekend
by Savita Kalhan
Released on 10.02.2008 (U.K.)
180 pages
Andersen Press
Source: Book from Author via blog tour organized by Melissa @ i swim for oceans

Sam knows that he and his friend Lloyd made a colossal mistake when they accepted the ride home. They have ended up in a dark mansion in the middle of nowhere with man who means to harm them. But Sam doesn't know how to get them out. They were trapped, then separated. Now they are alone. Will either of them get out alive? This gripping and hypnotic thriller will have you reading late into the night (from GoodReads).


REVIEW: If this book is ever made into a movie, they are going to have to bring Alfred Hitchcock back from dead.  I don't know of single other director who could possibly do the freak-out, scare factor justice.

I usually am underwhelmed by any book publicized to be a 'thriller'; they typically fail to give me that oh-my-gaaawd-look-over-my-shoulder thrill.  You can probably tell that I am leading up to this, but let me just declare that The Long Weekend delivers.  Paranormal baddies can't compare to the true, entirely possible, everyday evil that drives down our streets and exists in this book. 

First, you simply aren't ready for it.  The opening reads like an MG book.  It's thoroughly enjoyable, but its wording and the two 11-year old characters both are firmly in the junior high boys' world of sports, music and simply hanging out.  Then, their parents are late picking them up one evening, and they are stuck waiting in the rain for one set or the other.  And finally a car pulls up, and the both get in, each thinking it's the other's dad.  I mean, would your 11-year old know better?  You know he would, you think he would, and then you hope he would; but. . .  does he?

What ensues is a parent's worse nightmare and one that kids may not know enough to have.  Kalhan skillfully balances our horror at the boys' situation with the wonderful, rational, determined and loyal Sam.  The story is told through a his third-person limited perspective, and his denial, terror, and assessment of the situation becomes your own.  His fear and emotions are so en pointe that we never are bothered with checking behind our back for our safety; we are too busy worried about what is going to jump in front of Sam (and us).  His entirely believable voice adds an additional level of fright because he sounds exactly like an 11-year old in an impossible situation - it adds an even more potent dose of realism, and the irony is that I don't think this is a book I would suggest for 11-year olds!  It's that frighteningly real.  It's that scary.  Despite the younger tone and the age of the characters, this is a book I would suggest for YA audiences and older.

This is a wonderfully written, stand alone book.  Kalhan makes sure that we leave this story with a resolution, and I was greatly impressed that she kept me guessing what would happen with the boys right until the end.  If you are looking for a keep-you-up-all-night thriller with very real characters and a plot that can happen in everyday life, then The Long Weekend is for you. 

**Unfortunately, this book currently is not available in the U.S. for purchase (although it can be ordered for Kindle and from Book Depository), but please read on to get the details on how you can win a SIGNED copy through my INTERNATIONAL giveaway!

FTC: I received this book from the author to read and give my honest opinion. In no way was I compensated for my review.

Scrapbook Time with the Author!

I am so excited to be hosting Savita Kalhan here today!  In lieu of the traditional author interview, Savita has put together a wonderful scrapbook post of her widely traveled life!  I hope you enjoy!  Details on the INTERNATIONAL giveaway are at the end!

I’m doing a scrapbook of my life on your blog today, and as I’ve never done anything like this before, I’m really excited about it! Don’t worry, I’ll try and keep it short and sweet, so I’m choosing a few moments of my life to share with everyone.

You can probably all tell that I’m Indian. Well, I was born in India, in my grandparent’s house in a small village called Kartarpur, which is in the state of Punjab. I was only there for about 11 months before we uprooted and came to live in the UK. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but it was a huge move for my parents. 


Here’s a picture of me and my mum!
 I’ve got lots of sisters and brothers – four sisters and two brothers, so we had a busy household, and being the eldest, I had quite a short childhood because I had to grow up fast. There were tough times and good times too.


Here’s an old photograph of me with my sisters when we were very young. Next to it, there is a picture of us about 35 years later! I’m the second from the left in both.

                
I got some space when I went to university. I chose Aberystwyth University, in Wales because on my open day visit it was a gorgeous day, blue sky, sun blazing, and the Halls of Residence, where I would live, were directly on the seafront. Little did I know that it wasn’t like that for most of the year! There were raging storms, days and nights when the wind and the rain battered the windows while the sea raged and hurled huge stones and rocks at the buildings. I still loved it there! Alexandra Hall, where I lived is the building right on the far side of the seafront.

I graduated in Politics and Philosophy, started a Masters in the Political Philosophy of John Paul Sartre, and stayed in Aberystwyth. That’s when I started dabbling in Batik. I taught myself and managed to turn it into a business. I had exhibitions and taught in schools, and even taught groups of Art teachers.
Here’s a stand that I had at the Ideal Home Exhibition. 

Then, somehow or other, came several years of living in the Middle East where I taught English. It was a huge adjustment, and made me realise how hard it must have been for my parents when they left India. But gradually I got used to it, made friends, joined a beach club, because we were so close to the Red Sea, and started playing tennis.

This is a picture of the original design for the world that an architect friend of mine drew up for me!
This was also the time when I started writing. It was very hard to get books there, so I used to have to almost smuggle in large quantities! I was reading tons of crime and tons of epic fantasy then. Imagine how it felt when after all that effort, some of them weren’t worth the effort it took to get them there. My friend and I decided that we would write a fantasy epic together. The plan was that I would start it off, so I thought about it for a while, got a plan together in my head, and set pen to paper. I finished the first chapter, gave it to her to read, and waited for her to write the next. Of course, that never happened! I ended up writing the whole trilogy myself, but she did read every word!

By the late nineties I was back living in the UK with my husband and my baby boy, who was 11 months then! I carried on trying to write, but wasn’t really very focused until my son started school. That’s when I found myself turning back to the fantasy trilogy. I rewrote it, but left the last couple of chapters of the third book unfinished, fully intending to return to them. Instead I found myself writing lots of different things; from books for young readers, to middle grade, to more contemporary fiction, books with an edge to them, for teens and young adults

One day a flyer was sent round the local schools warning that a large flashy car had been seen cruising outside the schools and that the driver had tried to snatch children. I didn’t think that with all the talks and lectures that kids get at school that it could happen easily. Kids are pretty aware, but we all know that it does still happen. A scenario came to my mind where something like that could happen with terrifying ease.  That’s when I wrote The Long Weekend.

As you can see, I’ve done lots of different things before I became a writer, and the journey was long and meandering. At times it was very difficult too. Now I actually feel like a writer, but for a long time, when I was unpublished, it was hard because of the struggle to carry on, to persevere come what may, and also because, in my experience, people never really took an unpublished writer seriously.

I try to keep my website up to date with all my news and events. So please have a look around, and say HI! on my message board. Let me what you think of The Long Weekend!  You can also find me tweeting on random things over on Twitter or come and join me on Facebook.

Thanks so much for inviting me here today, Linds. I’ve had fun! 

Thank you, Savita!  It was great having you and learning more about the author behind The Long Weekend!

GIVEAWAY TIME with Savita!!
For the international GIVEAWAY competition for a SIGNED copy of The Long Weekend, I’d like your followers (and non-followers :) to answer a question:

 "What book do you wish you had written and why?"

 Answer in the comments section please! I’m looking forward to reading their responses.

Giveaway Rules with Linds:
****please answer Savita's question above in the comments section
****please leave a valid email address with your comment
****giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
****giveaway ends on Monday, April 4, 2011 at Midnight, E.S.T.
****Following is NOT required (but appreciated), and winner will be chosen by random.org

Good luck!

17 comments:

  1. I love the pics. Great review and interview! I love getting to know the author more in post. Plus as you know, I adored her book!

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  2. I've been wanting to read this book.

    "What book do you wish you had written and why?"

    Harry Potter. what a brilliant thing to create such a great story like HP.

    uniquas at ymail dot com

    - a follower :)

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  3. Great review! This sounds like a scary book. I imagine I would have to put it in the freezer (aka like Joey from Friends) when it gets too scary.

    Hmmm...I wish I had written any of the Marchetta books. Why? Because they are brilliant and adore the characters.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    irresistiblereads(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  4. This is such a hard question for me to answer, because I know that I couldn't have written any of the books I consider my favorite. But if I had to attach my name to a book/trade places with an author, I wish that I could be Melina Marchetta! Every book I've read by her is amazing and blows me away every time!

    Ha! And I just noticed that the above comment says the same thing! :D Melina Marchetta is amazing!

    basicallyamazingbooks [at] gmail.com

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  5. Oh my goodness, this book sounds amazing! I love suspenseful books that hook me in until the end.
    I wish I had written The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster because it's my favorite book ever due to the plays on words and creative story. I love that jumping to conclusions takes you to an island called Conclusions and to get back you have to swim through the Sea of Knowledge but some people come out of it completely dry! Oh man, I love that book. I would also love to read this book!

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  6. That's a tough one ... I have so many answers! But I think I will go with the first one that popped into my brain: I wish I had written "Jane Eyre" (Bronte). The book is just so full of depth, and it never shies away from anything, pushing the limits of creepy and love - it is one of the best books I have ever read, and I would have been thrilled to have written those words.

    Anyways, thanks so much for the post and giveaway - I have heard this book is scary and so I MUST read it! Thanks for the chance to win it! :)

    apereiraorama[at]gmail[dot]com

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  7. I had no idea this book wasn't available in the US. I'm very disappointed. Thanks for the giveaway.

    This is a hard question, because I really don't think I have it in me to ever write anything even remotely entertaining... But I'd probably say "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" because I just love that book and think it's the epitome of YA chick lit....

    annettesspot@gmail.com

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  8. Yay Linds, so glad you enjoyed this one too! I agree with your thoughts entirely, the book definitely started out MG and I was thinking "hm, this one might be too young for me" and then they got in that car and it was like a switch got flipped and I couldn't put it down and the ages of the boys no longer mattered.

    Not entering, but thanks so much for sharing those pictures Savita, so much fun to see bits and pieces from an author's life, makes me feel like I know you a little better!

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  9. Great review, I hadn't heard of this book and now I really want to read it. I love thrillers!! So sad that it's not available in the US so I'll be entering your giveaway. =D

    I would have loved to have written The Harry Potter series, it's my favorite series ever. I love the magical world and the characters, the meanings behind some of the things that happen in the story, the inspiring quotes.. Everything!

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    cynthiareads@gmail.com

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  10. @Savy - thanks for stopping by - the author scrapbook was really fun, and I loved looking at her pictures!

    @Mariska - not gonna lie - I've dreamed of writing those, too!

    @Nic - haha, I just learned of this Friends ref - someone called Raw Blue a freezer book - GaH! Amen on Marchetta!

    @Ashley - I certainly don't mind having two Marchetta fans answer the same - I loves her stuff!

    @Katie - Ahhhh, I totally forgot about that book until you mentioned it!

    @AmmyBelle - my pleasure! I love the classics - I think I would have wanted to write Wuthering Heights!

    @Annette - I've never read those, but it was a cute movie!

    @Jenny - EXACTLY!! You totally aren't expecting it! Freaky!!

    @Cynthia - I just love Rowling's rise as an author and everything, so I totally get where you are coming from - that would have been a great series to write!

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  11. Wow its lovely to learn more about this author! I think if i could have written any book out there it would have been either Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or any book from Ellen Hopkins. Pride and Prejudice because i love the whole romance story Jane Austen created not to mention the HUGE crush on Mr. Darcy i have lol. I love all Ellen Hopkins books because they always have themes that are just so powerful her books always make me feel. I think it's awesome when an author can make you feel what ever the character is feeling make you cry, laugh, scared. It's just lovely so yeah any book from them would be my pick

    as always ♥, Carol
    caroespejel15@yahoo.com

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  12. "What book do you wish you had written and why?"

    Oh what a fabulous question! Even if it is a bit tough to choose. I mean to I really want to be responsible for the perfect creation of Frederick Wentworth, Eric Northman, Tom Mackee, Crispin Phillip Arthur Russell III, Henry DeTamble or any others like them?

    I'd probably go with something vampire. I just know it in my Bones. ;)

    I doubt Twilight would be as successful as it was/is if I wrote it but I guess I'd go with that. I like sparkly and I like vampires, why did I not ever think to combine them? *kicks self*

    Re: Your review: Wow Linds, you certainly know how to open up a review. I'm honestly pulled between wanting to read it and feeling to scared to even try.

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  13. What a brilliant review of an equally awesome book, Linds! Seriously...your thoughts are so eloquent, and I just loved Savita's guest post. Fabulous, all around :)

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  14. Well, I definitely have to second Harry Potter. But Dracula would be cool too.

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  15. So excited to read this book. I am really in the mood for something to scare me.

    Without hesitation, I wish I'd written The Hunger Games. It contains all of the elements I love: gripping tension, insurmountable odds, family ties, love interests, strong heroines, and themes of justice and freedom. It was all brought together in this unforgettable setting with a story that moved me to tears three times.

    Plus, it doesn't hurt that it's so successful. :)

    loganeturnerblog(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thanks!

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  16. This sounds awesome. Your review was so insightful. Its been on my trbr list but I need to move it to the top after reading your review. Weird how it's not available in US but in Kindle format. I do have a kindle. :-)

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  17. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

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