Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Library of Fate, Adita Khorana

The library of fates

Title: The Library of Fates

Author: Aditi Khorana

Pages: 354

Genre: YA, romance, adventure

Is this part of a series?  No.

Published: July 18, 2017

            It is said that everyone has a book where their whole life is listed.  If you can Find the Library of All Things, and get the guardian to let you in, you can change your fate.  After seeing her father die and losing her home, Princess Amrita is on a mission with a young seer Thala to do that.  Armed with an old map that had been left for her, and a jeweled dagger, they set off toward the temple of Maya. 

            Secrets come to light as Amrita discovers who she realy is and what she is capable of.

          I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.  To start, can we talk about the cover.  I just love it!  In fact, it may have been 60% of why I picked this one.  I loved the way they wove lore into the story, and the strength of the characters.  I liked that each one was flawed- there was no “perfect hero”, and that each character had some growth through the book.  The beginning dragged for me a tiny bit, but it quickly found it’s stride, and the last half the book went very quickly for me.  Besides the pacing of the beginning of the book, my only other issue was the sort-of-not-really love triangle.  It made sense toward the last third of the book, but was it necessary?  Why do we always have a love triangle?  That aside, this was still a four star book for me.

Three Stars 

          As far as the adult content goes, there is some violence, substance abuse, and language- very moderate on most fronts.  I will be getting a copy for my niece, so I give this one a three.

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The book came out today!  Get ye to the book store!

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

 

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Confusion of Languages, Siobhan Fallon

the confusion of LanguagesTitle: The Confusion of Languages

Author: Siobhan Fallon

Pages: 336

Genre: contemporary fiction

Is this part of a series? No

Published?  June 27th, 2017

I received an eARC of this book from First to Read.  My Thanks.

Two very different women follow their soldier husbands to Jordan.  After two years, Cassie knows how to follow the rules, what’s expected.  Margaret sees a chance to explore… and nothing else.  When a fender bender sends Margaret to the police station, Cassie is left with her son in their apartment.  As the hours go by, Cassie is getting more and more nervous.  Finding Margaret’s journal,  Cassie discovers a world she never knew.

I loved this book.  I enjoyed Cassie’s narrative, even if it was jaded at times by her troubles in her marriage.  I thought that allowing Margaret a voice in the form of her journal was ingenious and added a lot to the story.  The misunderstandings between husband and wives, and between the two friends, was painful to watch at times.  It reminds me that our own feelings very much color every interaction we have.    The story stalled in parts a bit, for me, and that made the writing a bit more choppy than I like.  Over all I would give this book a three.  Three Stars

On the adult content scale, I give it a five.  There is a lot of language, and sexual content.  I don’t think my niece would be interested in it… but I wouldn’t feel comfortable letting her read it.  mature audience.

The book is out!  Have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Windfall, Diksha Basu

the windfallTitle: The Windfall

Author: Diksha Basu

Pages: 304

Genre: contemporary fiction, cultural

Is this book part of a series?  No.

Published June 27th, 2017

I was given an eARC of this book from First To Read in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.

What is it like to be noveu rich in modern India?  One family finds out first hand when Mr. Jha makes the business deal of a life time.  No more cramped spaces and gossipy neighbors, no more cutting corners and worrying about money.  Mr.  Jha is ready to live the good life- better house, good car, the works.  Mrs. Jha is more subdued, liking her life but also hoping for some nice things- a better kitchen, help, and a better life for their son Rupak.  Rupak, for himself, is enjoying his new life as a business student in America with money to spend a bit too much.  He’s having so much fun he isn’t passing!

As we watch the family move through the ins and outs of socials casts here, you learn a lot about India and about each character’s dreams and ambitions.  How much is too much?  How far must one go to “keep up” with the neighbors?  This is a light weight social satire about the precarious balance of social status and being true to yourself.

Personally, while I felt like the writing was a bit choppy in parts, I loved this book.  I enjoyed that I got to see several points of view- all the Jhas and some neighbors.  I feel like that added something really great to the story.  While Mr.  Jha could have turned into a caricature a few times, we stayed clear of that to my mind.  Yes, he feels in competition with everyone to prove that he’s made it- that he’s won, but he has his reasons.  He wants more for his family, he wants that respect, and it slays him that his mother never saw him succeed like this.  There is a sweetness and love behind the mania that made me love him even as he went to extreme lengths.

I feel that Rupak was very relatable, every kid let loose for the first time stretches their wings a bit… sometimes too far.  This is the time where we learn who we are and what we really want, and yet deeply ingrained is the desire to also please our family.  Even more so, it seems, in Indian culture.  It was interesting to see him slowly devolve and then remake himself.  For me, this was a five star book.  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, there is some sexual content, drug use and language.  None are extreme, but be advised.  I would still let my teen niece read this.  I give it a four.  Parental Guidance

The book is out now!  Have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Believe Me, Eddie Izzard

believe meTitle: Believe Me: a memoir of love, death, and jazz chickens.

Author: Eddie Izzard

Pages: 368

Genre: auto biography, nonfiction

Is this part of a series?  No.

Published: June 13th, 2017

             I received an Arc of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.  My apologies for being late.

Eddie Izzard is a hilarious British stand-up comic ( “cake or death?”).  I have always enjoyed his stream-of-conscious comedy and respected him for being “out” as a transvestite at a time when it was very hard.  We say Transgender now, but I don’t know if that completely covers it- he feels both masculine and feminine and refers to himself often in the book as an “action transvestite”, loving sports and GI Joe and girls…. and sometimes their skirts and makeup.

Reading this book gave me a new respect for Izzard as an individual and a professional.  Loosing his mother at a young age to cancer, Eddie and his brother then went to boarding school- not the easiest thing for anyone, especially a grieving boy with confusing feelings about himself.  We face the drama of puberty, flirting, self discovery, and hacking one’s way into the comeday set (street performing, the London circuit, tours, America and acting); all the while trying to make it so that his sexuality is not the only thing he’s known for.  It is sad, honest, and often hilarious as Izzard bears all to let us into his world.

This is a five star book for me.  Five Stars  In fact, I loved it so much I bought it so that I could check the printed version and give quotes.  I loved the flow of the book- a tiny bit choppy and out there as if you are just sitting listening to him talk.  He speaks here much like he does in his stand-up (and, indeed some of my favorite zingers here were one show or another).  As someone with a transgender person close to me, knowing what they have been through even now, it was nice to hear Izzard’s take.

As far as the Adult Content Scale, it was maybe a three.  There is a great amount of language, but not much else.  General.svg

Now, for the quotes:

(On having the confidence to ask a girl out)  If you don’t have the confidence to walk out the door and say, “Hey, who wants to have a relationship with me?  I’m a teenage guy with no real experience or confidence!  But it’s going to be fun,” then it’s just not going to happen.

(How he came out as trans during one of his routines)  I had one joke about being TV that I had been carrying around for about four or five years.  It was this:  “If you’re a comedian, it’s good to have something to rail against.  So if you’re from the working class background, you can say ‘Oh, the rich people!  They’re always in control.’ If you’re a woman  you can say “oh, men!  They’re always getting paid more!’ If you’re from an ethnic background, you can say, ‘Oh, white people.  They’re always making it hard for every ethnic group.’ But if you’re a white, male, middle class, stand-up, you have no one to rail against.  So thank god I’m a transvestite!” …. When I finally told the joke it got a laugh, but people didn’t actually believe that I was a transvestite.  They thought I was joking!

(On his choice to go in “girl mode” sometimes).  …How I dress and what I look like is not a character.  It’s me.  I’m just talking.  And sometimes I just happen to be wearing lipstick.

(On his constant drive to push himself) Most of us think that while we are here on earth if we eat cake and watch television, that’s fine.  That’s what we’re supposed to do.  But that’s now what our bodies are built for.  I believe we can all do more than we think we can do.

(His outlook on our differences) …If you look at what makes us all similar instead of looking to find what makes us different, you’ll see that there is one thing that is the same for all of humanity: And that is love.

……..We are all worth fighting for.  Running and hiding and separating, building walls, hating the Muslims, hating the Jews, hating immigrants-none of this builds a better world.  The twenty-first century is a key century for us on this planet.  Either we make a world, where all seven billion people have a fair chance in this century-or forget it.  I don’t think we are going to make it as a species.  Despair is the fuel of terrorism and hope is the fuel of civilization, so we have to put more hope into the world than despair.  Hatred and separation and building walls is not the way to progress.

….Some people say I am a nonbeliever.  But I am a believer; I believe in humanity.  I believe in people.  I believe in our ability to make the world a better, more compassionate, and more civilized place.

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

 

Posted in Book Reviews

The Party, Robyn Harding

the partyspolier alertTitle: The Party

Author: Robyn Harding

Pages: 352

Genre: mystery, adult fiction

Is this part of a series?  No.

Published: June 6th, 2017

          I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Scout Press.  Sadly, time got away from me and I did not read it before it’s release.  My apologies for being late to The Party….

Jeff and Kim Sanders have their issues, but they have a good life.  Money, friends, respect, and two good children.  Hannah, their sweet daughter with good grades, is turning sixteen!  Invitations have been sent- four of her “best friends” for a slumber party.  The girls have been told the rules of the house- no drinking, boys, drugs or porn.  What could go wrong?

The answer to that, is everything.  Rules are broken and extremely bad choices are made that result in a life altering event.  One of our girls’ lives will change forever, each of them will feel the effects.  As the Sanders’ world unravels, secrets come out- no one is innocent.

I am glad that Goodreads labeled this correctly as adult fiction.  The blurb on Netgalley and the writing style often made one think of YA, and that would be a mistake.  I was on the fence about this book.  Like several other books I have read this year, it showcased the worst in teens- how cruel they can be.  Laden with bullying and backstabbing, this book cut me to the quick.  Throughout the novel one question came through my mind- would I want my niece- now 14- to read this?  Even though I trust her to be smart, to make good choices…. the answer is a resounding no.

As an adult, I can respect the nuances in the writing and how each of these characters were exceptionally crafted disasters.  I can love the plot, and watching it unfold.  As someone with a teen in her life, I hate it.  None of those girls- none of them!- showed any real growth throughout the heartbreaking story.  I despised the ending, but could it have ended any other way when there had been no lesson learned?  I guess I just hit on my main issue- there was no lesson learned.  I could sit Jules down and talk about each and every part of that book, but I can’t show her an epiphany- a moment where a character changes for the better.  Now, these characters weren’t all bad- and they did a lot of good things- but I feel like most if not all of the good they ever did was in self interest or pity.  Not because it was right, or they felt empathy.  For me, this is a three star book.  Three Stars   It was good, and I enjoyed it; but it could have been so much more and I was left dissatisfied.

On the adult content scale, this is a doozy.  Mild violence, sexual innuendo and some sexual content, drug use, alcohol, bullying and hate.  I give it an eight because it disturbed me, and I don’t know how it would affect a teen.  adult content road sign

The book is out.  Have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

Posted in Book Reviews

The Little French Bistro, Nina George

the little french bistrospolier alertTitle: The Little French Bistro

Author: Nina George

Pages: 336

Genre: romance

Is this part of a series?  No.

Published: 6-13-2017

Marianne is at a crossroads in her life.  While vacationing in France with her overbearing husband, she decides that she no longer wants that life.  She cannot go back to it.  A botched suicide attempt leads her to be hospitalized while her husband goes back to the states, agreeing to retrieve her later.

While there, she sees a painted tile of a town that is so beautiful it fills her with purpose.  She has to get there!  A mad escape and crazy journey complete with sick nuns finds us at the little town.  Here, she can be someone new- someone she likes.  She can work at the bistro, along side Jean Remy; and befriend an old artist who is loosing her mind.  She finds a version of herself that she loves here, and friends that quickly become family.  When her past catches up with her, though, will she be strong enough to hold onto this new life?

Apparently I was so excited about this book that I requested it from Netgalley and FTR on accident.  I had fallen madly in love with George upon reading The Little Paris Book Shop.  The character development, slow of the story, and storm of emotions packed into the pages had me reeling.  This book gave me the same feelings.  I loved the character development and how one played off another.  The plot was heartbreaking at times, and life affirming in others.  I enjoyed watching Marianne grow while discovering facets to the other characters.  For me, this was a five star book.  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, there is sexual content and language.  I give it a five.  Parental Guidance

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Dark Prophecy (Trials of Apollo book #2), Rick Riordan

trials of apollo 2spolier alertTitle: The Dark Prophecy

Author: Rick Riordan

Pages: 414

Genre: adventure, YA, fantasy

Is this part of a series?  Yes, this is Apollo’s second book, and has close ties to several previous story lines.

Published: May 2nd, 2017

When our dragon declared war on Indiana, I knew it was going to be a bad day.

Apollo is still human thanks to his father.  Leo Valdez and Calypso have been traveling with him, along with Leo’s mechanical dragon Festus.  They land, looking for Apollo’s friend/ master Meg.

Instead they find a city over run with monsters, a emperor calling himself New Hercules.  They find a small resistance in the waystation in the form of Emmie and Joe.  They have their own reasons for helping Apollo… but he’ll take what he can get.  Apparently New Hercules has been abducting people and holding them captive until they fight each other and animals that he’s found (like ostriches that he kitted out for battle).  Apollo needs to find Meg, put down this emperor, rescue everyone and restore the oracle that has gone silent (his mission to regain God status- restore all the oracles).  Sadly, he’s pretty inept…. so this should prove interesting!

Now, I was on the fence about this series.  Hidden Oracle did not wow me.  I found Apollo annoying and the storyline lagging in a lot of places.  I was still deciding if I would read this one or not (pro- many of the characters I loved from Lightning Thief and Heroes of Olympus; con- Apollo).  I grabbed a book from Walmart and opened it, just to get a look.  The first line alone sold me.  I figured, if nothing else this was going to be funny.

I actually ended up liking this one a lot.  Apollo made strides toward becoming a likeable character.  There were still complaints and “I am so great” moments, but he seemed to grow a lot of compassion and caring.   We saw more of that part of him.  Leo, Calypso and Meg also had a lot of growth in this book.  The story line was interesting and fun, and it didn’t lag.  I still prefer the Magnus Chase series (or really any of the other ones), but I feel like this one is finding it’s pace and turning out to be a great series.  I give this one four stars!  Four Stars

On the adult content scale, there is violence and mild language.  It is geared toward very young teens and so I would say that none of it is too over the top.  I give it a three.  General.svg

The book is out now- have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

Amber