Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal



Publisher: Kensington Books
Released:2009
Pages: 318
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5



Synopsis:

Anjali thought she had a lifetime to fulfill her dreams with her husband, but his unexpected death left her numb and distraught. She became a twenty-seven year old widow. She returned home to her parents and tried to heal, eventually she began to run her parents sari shop in New Jersey’s Little India and thought the store was doing well. Unfortunately, her father hid the fact that the store was in financial trouble and now they face closure or asking her wealthy uncle to step in and help. Anjali is frustrated that she wasn’t aware of this before, and she can’t believe her father is bringing in her controlling uncle. When her Uncle Jeevan and his partner show up, Anjali is determined to keep the store unchanged. She can’t believe her uncle plans to expand the store when they are already in so much debt.



Review:

Anjali was a great character; she’s headstrong, determined but also broken. She still struggles with the death of her husband, and when she and her uncle’s business partner begin to enjoy spending time together, Anjali feels guilty. She expects it not to work out, and she doesn’t know what to do it if does work out. How can she move on from her husband? Can she love someone as much as she loved him? She doesn’t want to risk loving someone again, and losing them. Her growth throughout the novel was interesting. She had to step back and let her uncle and Rishi do what they do best.

Anjali was ready to fight and refuse to make changes to the store that weren’t needed, she expected her controlling uncle to walk in and take over. Jeevan had calmed in his later years, and his character was much different. I thought the dynamic between Anjali and Jeevan was interesting. I loved seeing Anjali’s attitude change towards her uncle.

Overall, I enjoyed The Sari Shop Widow. It wasn’t as deep as other multicultural reads I’ve enjoyed but it was entertaining, light, and enjoyable. I would definitely try this author again, I thought her writing was great. I enjoyed all the characters. I appreciated that the story was not predictable, and the hardships were real and convincing. If you’re looking for a lighter, multicultural read, I would recommend this one.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Hi Everyone!

It's my last week hosting Mailbox Monday, I want to thank everyone for participating. Next Month will be Jennifer D at 5 Minutes for Books.



This week I received some great review books:






Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson



Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Released: 2011
Pages: 384
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5



Synopsis:

When Rory’s parents announce that they will be spending a year in England, Rory is given the choice to come or stay behind in Louisiana. Rory decides that she’ll make the best of the situation and move to England, and she opts to study at a boarding school. The day Rory arrives, a young girl is gruesomely murdered mimicking Jack the Ripper’s style. This murder is the first of many murders that corresponds to the first Ripper events, everyone is scared and the city is scrambling. Rory’s parents want to take her out of school, but she insists that she’s safe. As the city waits for the next murder to happen, the school is on lockdown, but Rory sneaks out to spend some time with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, the Ripper’s next victim happens on campus and Rory is sure she saw a man.


Review:


The Name of the Star was highly entertaining and very creepy. Maureen Johnson had me sucked in from the very beginning. I thought Rory was a great character. She had a great personality, and couldn’t wait to start boarding school. Although, she comes from a small town, her parents always encouraged her to try new things. She was able to settle in and enjoy her time, until the murders were getting closer and closer to the school.


The paranormal aspect of the story wasn’t what I was expecting but I was able to let myself believe and enjoy where the story was going. I thought the story flowed very well and the Ripper was weaved fantastically into the storyline. I was very impressed by Johnson’s writing. If you’re looking for an entertaining, suspenseful read, I would give this one a try.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Another Piece Of My Heart by Jane Green




Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Pages: 400
Released: 2012
Source: Personal Copy
Review: 3/5






Synopsis:


Andi always wanted to get married and have children, she wanted to have the perfect family. It wasn’t until she was thirty-seven that she finally found someone that she wholeheartedly loved. When Andi married Ethan she knew he came with baggage, he was divorced and had two daughters but she was determined to make it work and treat his daughters as if they were his own. Their mother is an alcoholic and very distant with the girls, she tends to use them as leverage with Ethan. Ethan’s youngest daughter Sophia, was able to adjust fairly quickly to the marriage. Unfortunately, Ethan’s teenage daughter Emily is bitter and resentful, lashing out at Andi. Ethan is stuck between the love for his daughter and the love for his wife. Emily constantly manipulates her father, which ultimately puts a strain on his marriage.






Review:


Another Piece Of My Heart was a good read, but I struggled with the characters. I felt bad for Andi because her husband let his daughter treat her horribly. He was constantly manipulated by a seventeen year old, who would cry and throw tantrums. Ethan was always making excuses for her and Andi was left to deal with the situation herself. She was constantly walking on egg shells in her own home, trying to keep the peace, and she began to resent her stepdaughter. At the same time, I felt like she should have stuck up for herself a little more. Ethan seemed very weak, and I couldn’t understand his character. Andi and Ethan were always giving into Emily demands, accepting her alcohol and drug abuse. They were ignoring the problems, hoping to keep Emily quiet. The storyline didn’t seem realistic to me.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Hi Everyone!

I'm a little late tonight, sorry. My blog was a little slower last week, I've been getting a lot of reading done but I didn't feel like reviewing. I plan to get caught up with reviews this week. I'm trying to be a little more flexible with my blog for the summer. 

This week I received these for review:


I bought two ebooks:


I also expanded my ereader family, and bought a Kindle! My main reason for buying a Kindle was because I find egalley's formatted better for Kindle. Plus, some books and deals are only available on Kindle. I bought the basic Wifi model, and I'm really happy with it so far. 


Happy reading~!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen



Publisher: Puffin Books
Pages: 281
Released: 2004
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5



Synopsis:

Halley and Scarlett have been inseparable best friends since grade school. Scarlett has always been Halley’s rock but when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, it’s Halley’s turn to protect Scarlett. A bad situation becomes even more difficult when Scarlett learns that she is pregnant. Her romance with Michael was kept under wraps and her peers are shocked to learn she is pregnant with his baby. Her mother is not supportive, and doesn’t give her many options. The girls bond together and try to figure out what is best for Scarlett and her unborn baby. Meanwhile Halley begins dating a boy her parents are not thrilled with, and Halley realizes that some things need to be learned the hard way.



Review:

This was my first Sarah Dessen novel, and I thought it was very well written. Dessen captures teenage emotions and struggles very accurately. Halley and her mother have always been close, but they’ve been increasingly distant with each other. Halley thinks her mother has no idea who she is anymore, has no trust in her, and she begins to test her boundaries with her parents. Scarlett’s situation is unique and heartbreaking. She will always wonder what would have happened if Michael hadn’t died. Would he have helped her with the child? Her mother was also a teen parent, and she warns Scarlett not to make the wrong decision. She doesn’t have to struggle, she has options. Scarlett is strong willed but it’s difficult to be a pregnant teenager, making adult decisions.

I will definitely try out more of Sarah Dessen’s books. I’m really happy that I started with this one, because it was a great read. This one would appeal to both teenagers and adults. Highly recommended.






Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mailbox Monday

I was really surprised when I checked by Kobo account this weekend, and I realized that I didn't buy any ebooks this week. That doesn't usually happen to me... I did receive some review books that sound really good. 



Happy reading everyone!

Thanks for stopping by and linking to your mailbox. I'm really enjoying hosting and finding so many new blogs.




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: Traveler’s Rest by Ann Tatlock



Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 352
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5



Synopsis:
Jane loved Seth for as long as she could remember, always watching from afar and wishing he would return the sentiment. It took him a little longer, but he finally came around. The happy couple planned to marry, but had to postpone due to Seth’s military duty. When he returned home, they would continue with their plans and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, Seth didn’t return home the same man he was when he left. Seth was shot in the neck and left a paraplegic, determined to have Jane move on and forget about him. He wanted more for Jane, and knew her dreams would not come true, if he was her husband. She wanted to be his wife, and Seth knew she would become his nurse. He sent her a letter asking her not to come to the hospital, but Jane didn’t want to give up so easily. Seth was her fiancĂ©, and she was determined to keep her commitment. Everyone around her, including Seth’s parents advised her that it might be best to move on. She would find love again.



Review:

This book left me emotionally drained. I was able to easily put myself in Jane’s shoes and hurt with her. She was grieving the future; she knew she would never have but desperately wanted. As much as Seth wanted to be her husband, he wanted more for her. It’s not easy to just walk away, and it’s not easy to have the man you love, ask you to leave. Jane struggled with what she should do, what was the best thing for the both of them.

While Jane spent many days in the hospital with Seth, she formed strong friendships with other visitors and residents. These friends are her rock when her life becomes so shaky. Truman is a resident at the hospital, and a retired doctor. Jane has many conversations with him about Seth’s prognosis and her future. They bond over chocolate milk, and difficult conversations. Another secondary character would be Jon-Paul, a blind man who frequently visits the hospital and plays piano in the atrium. His music provides Jane with an escape, and she looks forward to their conversations.

This book is categorized as Christian Fiction but it doesn’t fit the mould. It’s unique, not preachy, and would certainly appeal to everyone. If you didn’t know it was published by a Christian publisher, you probably would never guess it was Christian fiction. This is the second book I’ve read by Ann Tatlock, and she has proved herself once again, to be a great writer. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Overseas by Beatriz Williams



Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 464
Released: 2012
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5



Synopsis:

Kate Wilson is trying to make it on Wall Street; she’s working for a great firm and hoping to go back to business school the following semester, in order to advance her career. When she hears that the legendary, Julian Lawrence will be coming into her office, she’s excited and nervous. Unfortunately, Wall Street is a cut throat business and Kate is rushed out of the boardroom, with only a quick glance at Julian, her manipulative boss decides to present the presentation herself. As Kate walks past Julian, she has no idea, but he instantly feels a connection with her. Julian knows his past may be a problem, but he really doesn’t want to walk away from Kate. Their relationship quickly grows, and Julian struggles with Kate’s independence and strong will.


The story alternates between 1916 France, where Julian and Kate’s story began to New York in 2008. There’s reason why Julian can so easily admit to loving Kate after a few weeks, their story began long ago, and Julian doesn’t know how much, if any, of the story he should tell Kate. He’s been patiently, waiting for her.



Review:

I’m not a time travel or a romance reader, and I couldn’t put this book down. I was amazed that this is Williams debut novel. Wow, she is talented! Overseas is the type of book that fully consumes the reader. You’ll want to hide, and not be found until you’ve finished. This one is difficult to categorize, but very enjoyable!

I will admit I was fully expecting Julian to shower Kate with gifts, and money and he didn’t. She wouldn’t allow it, which I respected. I thought it added to the romance, and didn’t cast Kate in an unfavorable light. Julian has been waiting for her, for a long time but he can’t scare her away. His past is potentially very dangerous for Kate, and he must protect her which is not easy to do when someone is as stubborn and hard headed as Kate.

I was fully invested in Julian and Kate’s relationship. While their relationship is fast paced, it’s believable. I really enjoyed the Wall Street setting and the twists and turns that resulted in that world, especially in 2008 when Wall Street was a very difficult place to be. I thought it added a great dimension to the story. The time travel was not overpowering and confusing; it helped to facilitate the romance and built the story. Williams did a great job incorporating the time travel, giving readers enough to remain curious and intrigued, but not too much to completely pull the reader out of the present-day storyline.

I highly recommend this one! It will be on my 2012 list of favorite books.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Hi Everyone!

This week I did receive one review book, and I bought a few young adult ebooks that were on sale. I've been a very moody reader lately, and I seem to be settling on contemporary young adult novels and lighter reads. This will probably change soon...my reading habits change often.

I received for review:






Ebooks I bought:




Happy reading everyone!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: The Opposite of Tidy by Carrie Mac



Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 288
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5



Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Junie has a very unique problem; her mother is a hoarder, her father ran off with their life coach, and Junie is very much the parent in this situation. Her mother hasn’t left her chair in many days, and Junie has been secretly counting the days since her mother last showered. Junie’s best friend Tabitha is aware of the situation, but Junie hasn’t told her how bad the hoarding has gotten in recent months. When Tabitha realizes what Junie has been living with, she threatens to tell her mother, who is a lawyer, and will without a doubt call a social worker. When a boy offers Junie a ride home, she strategically guides him to Tabitha’s house, since her parents are arguing on the front lawn and an unknowing Wade begins laughing at the situation. Junie’s lies begin to pile up, she’s trying to help her mother, trying to get their life in order, and she doesn’t want to lose Wade. At the same time, she’s a teenager and failing math. Junie’s cover is blown when her mother applies to a talk show, and a film crew shows up wanting to help.



Review:

The Opposite of Tidy deals with a very real problem. Junie’s home life is sad and frustrating. Her mother wants what’s best for Junie, but she isn’t able to give it to her. This book portrays very real emotions. Everyone involved has a unique reaction, some people were unaware, some ignored the situation, and some disgusted. Junie is literally living with rats and vermin, and she has no idea what to do. She’s hopeless, and afraid that she will be taken away from her mother. She just wants her mother to get better, and she can’t imagine leaving her mother behind. Her father mentions her coming to live with him, but he doesn’t put up much a fight, he checked out emotionally, years ago and his parenting stopped as well. Junie can’t forgive her father for giving up, and leaving her behind.

I really enjoy contemporary young adult novels, and this one will remain with me for a long time. I really felt everyone’s emotions, and guilt. This type of situation is not black and white, and Junie’s reaction is very realistic. She’s stuck between the guilt her mother gives her and knowing that she needs to get something done. She knows her mother is sick, but when will it change? I highly recommend this one.

I do want to mention, that I really dislike the cover! It doesn’t do the book justice. I didn’t know what to think about this book, until I read the synopsis on the back.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Month in Review: June

June really flew by for me. We finally moved, and finished all of our renovations. We're settling in at our new place, and I'm really happy. It's really nice to have more space. I can't wait for vacation, but that's in August...

June was a little slow on the reading side. I read 6 books. I'm hoping July is much better. Even though I only read 6 books, I read some really great books! I loved Everybody has Everything, Arranged and The Queen's Vow. It's really hard to choose a favourite, but I'll choose The Chaperone! It exceeded all of my expectations.

I'm slowing started to try Young Adult Fiction again. I'm trying to find more contemporary Young Adult reads, and staying away from paranormal and dystopian reads. I really enjoyed Belles.

I read:






(Favorite read for the Month)










Happy 4th of July!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: Motorcyles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor





Publisher: Knopf Canada
Pages: 368
Source: Personal Copy
Released: 2010
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis:
35-year-old Maggie is recently widowed, her mother has just passed, and her teenage son is becoming increasingly distant. Virgil is still struggling with his father’s death, and the fact that his mother is never home. Maggie took on the responsibilities of becoming the chief of Otter Lake when her husband passed. She has held the position of chief for three years now, her husband  was the previous chief and she felt that she needed to finish what he started. Maggie didn’t realize how taxing this role would be, the people she governed were always around, and never fearing to voice their opinions of what needs to be done. Upon Lillian’s death, John, a white man, riding a vintage Indian Chief motorcycle came to town to say goodbye. No one knows their history, but everyone is curious about him. Virgil happened to be peaking into his grandmother’s window when he noticed the two of them kissing passionately. Virgil was shocked and told no one. Since Lillian has passed, John has stuck around, and Maggie has been spending more and more time with him. Virgil is suspicious of John, he knows that there is more to him and worries about his mother, he decides to enlist the help of his Uncle. 
Review:
John, is an Ojibway trickster. In Ojibway mythology, the trickster is a shapeshifter and cultural hero. It’s very interesting to see this character take shape throughout the novel. 
I really enjoyed Motorcycles and Sweetgrass because it is humorous, yet touches on some heavy subjects. Drew Hayden Taylor doesn’t shy away from the topic of residential schools, alcoholism, drug abuse and generational differences within Native American communities. 
Lillian, Maggie’s mother was sent away to residential school. She witness the abuse from the priests, was forbidden to speak her language, and she turned to the religion she was taught. She decided to play the game, and accept the changes in her life. Before religion Lillian use to think that there was magic in the world, for many years she only believed in the religious figures. While coming to terms with her imminent death, Lillian decides to believe in the magic once again, and calls upon John to come to town. She’s worried about her family, Maggie most of all.
Motorcycles and Sweetgrass is a very unique and interesting piece of literature. I really enjoyed the sense of community, and the family bonds. The mythology makes the story that much more intriguing, and multidimensional. Motorcycles and Sweetgrass is Taylor’s first novel, but he is also a stand-up comedian, playwright and journalist. He has worked on some television series and documentaries. I highly recommend this one.  This one is a great example of impressive Canadian literature.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Hi!

I'm really excited to be hosting Mailbox Monday this month. I will try and post Sunday evening. This week I received two review books, and they sound amazing! I also bought a few ebooks. I don't think I can go a week without buying ebooks. 

Happy reading!

We're celebrating Canada Day today.

Here is what I got this week:




Ebooks: