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Archive for the ‘Chick Lit/Women’s fiction’ Category

 

 

by Coleen Kwan


Published June 25th 2012 by Carina Press

 

 

Summary:

Five years ago, Asher Quigley broke his engagement to Minerva Lambkin, believing she was an accomplice in a scheme to steal his prototype for a wondrous device. Minerva swore she was innocent, though the thief–and Asher’s mentor–was her own father.

Now, sheer desperation has driven Minerva to Asher’s door. Her father has been kidnapped by investors furious that he’s never been able to make the machine work. Only Asher, now a rich and famous inventor in his own right, can replicate the device. He’s also become a hard, distant stranger far different from the young idealist she once loved.

Despite their troubled past, Asher agrees to help Minerva. He still harbors his suspicions about her, but their reunion stirs emotions and desires they both thought were buried forever. Can they rebuild their fragile relationship in time to save her father and their future together?

 

 

Review:

First, I have never ever commented on a cover before, but I love this one! Asher is so super cute. Now that I have gotten that out of the way, I thought I would like this book and I did. Asher’s invention is pretty straight forward. The summary of the book explains the overall plot quite well and tells you enough to get you hooked but not so much that you know the whole story. What the summary does not tell you is that this is not only a love story, but also a mystery.

The plot was quick paced and some of it was to be expected, Asher really is a good guy, Minerva didn’t betray him, ect… but the part that caught me off guard was who the bad guy was all along. I would never have guessed who in a million years. That was a refreshing twist.

I have really come to love Carina Press books, I don’t think I have read one yet that I did not like. They have all been interesting and refreshing. I also love that they are digital.

FYI- for those that want to know, there is mention of sex, but nothing graphic or overly descriptive, and they were engaged at the time. There is the threat of rape, but that term is not used, just inferred. I would recommend this book to adults because of the mention of rape, but, as always, it is up to you what your kids read. Again, I highly recommend this book to adults who like a nice mystery/romance novel in the steampunk genre. I loved it! It is also a standalone novel, as far as I can tell, with a nice ending.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Suzanne Joinson

Published June 4th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA (first published May 22nd 2012)

 

 

Summary:

 It is 1923. Evangeline (Eva) English and her sister Lizzie are missionaries heading for the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar. Though Lizzie is on fire with her religious calling, Eva’s motives are not quite as noble, but with her green bicycle and a commission from a publisher to write A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar, she is ready for adventure.

In present day London, a young woman, Frieda, returns from a long trip abroad to find a man sleeping outside her front door. She gives him a blanket and a pillow, and in the morning finds the bedding neatly folded and an exquisite drawing of a bird with a long feathery tail, some delicate Arabic writing, and a boat made out of a flock of seagulls on her wall. Tayeb, in flight from his Yemeni homeland, befriends Frieda and, when she learns she has inherited the contents of an apartment belonging to a dead woman she has never heard of, they embark on an unexpected journey together.

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar explores the fault lines that appear when traditions from different parts of an increasingly globalized world crash into one other. Beautifully written, and peopled by a cast of unforgettable characters, the novel interweaves the stories of Frieda and Eva, gradually revealing the links between them and the ways in which they each challenge and negotiate the restrictions of their societies as they make their hard-won way toward home. A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar marks the debut of a wonderfully talented new writer.

 

 

Review:

Honestly, this was not my favorite book, but it was worth the listen.  I was given this book as an audiobook ARC.  This is the second audiobook ARC I was given to review, but the first one I am going to review.  (The other was so terrible, I felt bad reviewing it, so I declined the review after only listening to about 15 minutes of it, if that.)  Since this is an audiobook, and the written version has been reviewed a number of times, I will focus mainly on the audio part.

I thought the reader, Susan Duerden, had a nice voice to listen too, she has a nice accent.  She didn’t mess up reading at all and left long enough pauses between the different time periods that after you caught on, you were not lost.  FYI- you do need to pay a lot of attention to this book as it is being read to you since sometimes it can be confusing when time periods are switched.  I do not listen to an audiobook straight through, I listen while cleaning, cooking, getting dressed, exercising, so I stop periodically and on a couple of occasions, I had to rewind to figure out what voice was speaking at the time.  It was a very good recording otherwise and I am very well versed in audiobooks having listened to well over 400 over the last several years.

As with all of my reviews, I must inform you that this book has some tough scenes, including but not limited to a death scene and a lesbian scene.  There is quite a bit of talk about and reference to gay sex.  Sex in general is a common theme in this book, the modern day woman having had a long time affair with a married man w/ kids and she doesn’t seem to care about the fact that he has a family at all.

There are quite a few parts of this book that were quite disturbing.  I would not recommend this book for teenagers at all, even though the cover looks fun.  Some adults would enjoy this book, but not all.  It is not a romance and it is not really chick lit either.  It is most definitely not a mindless, fun, beach read.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Angela Elwell Hunt

Published June 5th 2012 by Howard Books

 

 

Summary:

“If these three sisters don’t change direction, they’ll end up where they’re going. “Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.

Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.

 

 

Review:

 This was a great novel.  Ms. Hunt does a superb job of developing her characters, especially the main ones.  Five Miles South of Peculiar explores in depth each character’s past, why they are the way they are, how they got to be where they currently are, present, the life that they each created for themselves, and ends with a glimpse at each woman’s future.

This book has a nice happy ending for each woman, making this a nice light beach read.  There are some heavy things in this book as well; the loss of love, family dynamics, and a different dysfunctional past for each character even though they are siblings and all grew up together.  Five Miles also looks at life in a small town and what that is like for those living in it.

There are many other characters in Five Miles that add to the story including but not limited to a Pastor who was let go from his church after a divorce and the mayor of the city.  There are also many plots and sub-plots that make this novel the kind of story that you do not want to put down.  Nothing gets old or boring in this book, there are no slow parts that you just want to skim over.

There is no sex, but there is the mention of sex when one sister’s dysfunctional past comes out.  This incident is not glorified in a positive way, and it is not descriptive, but it would be up to you whether you would allow your kids, maybe in upper High School to read this book, if they so desired. I would recommend this book mostly to women, especially those with sisters or at least are interested in the family dynamic that comes with having a sibling.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Carla Stewart

Published May 15th 2012 by FaithWords

 

 

Summary:

 Shortly after burying her unfaithful husband, Georgia Peyton unexpectedly inherits the derelict Stardust motel from a distant relative. Despite doubts from the community and the aunt who raised her, she is determined to breathe new life into it. But the guests who arrive aren’t what Georgia expects: Her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband’s mistress; an attractive but down-on-his-luck drifter who’s tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia’s past.

Can Georgia find the courage to forgive those who’ve betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxy to face the future? And will her dream of a new life under the flickering neon of the STARDUST ever come true?

 

 

Review:

 This was a super great book.  I really enjoyed it.  Stardust was a very different book from what I normally read, the paranormal genre, but when I can find a good fiction book that is “realistic,” I usually love it, though that is rare for me.

While reading Stardust I really wanted Georgia to stop getting the shaft all the time and almost all of it relating to her dead, cheating husband!  I am not sure I could have acted the way she did, taking care of her MIL and the kids of her husband’s mistress.  No way.

The book had a ton of plot twists that kept me highly entertained and trying to figure out what was going to happen next.  The revelation at the end was the most startling and I didn’t see it coming until right before it was revealed.  Very, very awesome!

I loved the romance in Stardust and I liked Georgia’s “down- on- his- luck” drifter from the very start. I loved how Georgia took chances, but also took care of her kids.  I loved that Georgia didn’t treat Ludi and her kids like everyone else wanted her to, instead she treated them like they were family, even though that was very uncommon during that time period.

Overall, this was a great book, it made me laugh, cry, get angry, and fall in love with the characters.  It is not a deep book, but one that I truly enjoyed.  I will definitely read other books by the author, Carla Stewart.

Stardust has a nice happy ending, but not the exact ending that one would easily guess in the beginning.  There is no swearing, violence, or sex, but it does have romance.  Stardust is the perfect book for a summer read, or really an anytime read.

I am not sure I would recommend this book to young kids since there is talk about how Georgia’s husband was a cheater, which could be a difficult subject for younger kids, but it would be perfectly appropriate for kids in like 11th grade and up, though it is primarily written for adults.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Adriana Trigiani
Published April 3rd 2012 by Harper

 

 

Summary:

The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza’s family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.

Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.

From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.

Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker’s Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.

This riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write, one inspired by her own family history and the love of tradition that has propelled her body of bestselling novels to international acclaim. Like Lucia, Lucia, The Shoemaker’s Wife defines an era with clarity and splendor, with operatic scope and a vivid cast of characters who will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.

 

 

Review:

After I finished this book, I turned to my husband and said, “I think this is the saddest book I have ever read.” He replied, “Well I did have to keep handing you Kleenex.” It’s true, I cried so much during this book that I gave myself a headache. Ms. Trigiani made the story so moving and so believable that I felt all the emotions that the characters were feeling throughout the story, and even though I cried, this is a good thing.

The plot kept me thoroughly engaged the entire time; I could barely put the book down. I wanted to see what would happen next for Ciro and Enza. I can’t really say this book had a happy ending; it was a totally different ending than I would have expected. It is not at all your traditional love story, though it is one overall. The plot has many twists and turns and a bunch of times you just want to yell at Ciro, “Wake up you fool, what are you thinking!” Ms. Trigiani wrote an amazing book about love, friendship, war, immigrants in America, and loss. I am in love. This is one of my favorite books I have read recently. It was moving and powerful. It was sad and happy at the same time.

Ms. Trigiani wrote a magnificent piece on the trials and tribulations of Italian Immigrants who came to America in the early 1900’s, one of my favorite topics since I am an IBM (Italian by marriage) and grew up in NYS where the Italian influence is still strong today. Many of the foods Enza talked about made me smile and think of my husband’s Sicilian family and the recipes I was given by them, some on our wedding day, like the “famous” chocolate cinnamon clove cookies that have been in his family for generations, and the ones I was allowed to have once we moved away and I had proven myself an adequate cook, such as cutlets. Reading this book also made me very hungry for food I have either had to learn to make myself, or go without since we moved away, such as gnocchi, though we make ours in red sauce. Oh and I do know how to pronounce gnocchi properly even though I am German, it was part of my unofficial Italian education upon marriage.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. There is a tiny bit of sex, but it is not graphic and they are married if that makes a difference. This book gives the reader a view of life for an immigrant that is filled with history, but is not written in a history book style. This book is a love story, but is also filled with much sadness and has many ups and down, emotionally, throughout the story. This is a great book to take on a vacation, but it is not an entirely lighthearted read, it makes you think a bit. Make sure to keep the tissues close by.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com

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