Posts Tagged: fiction

The Story Hour

August 19, 2014 Contemporary, Fiction, Literary, Review, Women's Fiction 8

The Story HourTitle: The Story Hour
Author: Thrity Umrigar
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: The author’s beautiful writing made me experience the character’s emotions very deeply, but the emotional impact of the ending was weak compared to the rest of the book.

Psychologist Maggie has always been willing to try unorthodox methods and has become known for her ability to help in tough cases. When she is asked to help Lakshmi, an isolated Indian immigrant who tried to commit suicide, it is clear that unorthodox methods are called for. Lakshmi understand therapy to mean making friends with Maggie and Maggie relates to Lakshmi too much to maintain her usual distance. As these two very different women learn each other’s biggest mistakes, their differing backgrounds and expectations of their relationship will threaten their friendship, making it hard for them to forgive one another.
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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

August 16, 2014 Fiction, Literary, Review, Translated Fiction 20

Colorless Tsukuru TazakiTitle: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Author: Haruki Murakami
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This book was written in the same beautiful, dreamy style I loved in 1Q84, but the ending felt a bit less climactic and a bit less resolved.

In high school, Tsukuru Tazaki was part of an inseparable group of friends. Coincidentally, the other four students all had colors in their name and Tsukuru didn’t, a fact that he found significant because he also believed himself to be the most average of the group. About a year after Tsukuru moved away, his four friends cut off all contact with him and refused to explain why. When, many years later, Tsukuru meets a woman he cares for deeply, he realizes that he needs to understand what happened with his friends before he can move on and believe he might be loved by someone else.
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2 A.M. At the Cat’s Pajamas

August 14, 2014 Fiction, Magical Realism, Review, Women's Fiction 16

2 A.M. At the Cat’s PajamasTitle: 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas
Author: Marie-Helene Bertino
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I enjoyed this book’s quirky characters, descriptive writing, and creative plot but the magical realism felt tacked on and the ending felt unfinished.

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.” (Source)
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Someone Else’s Love Story Interview and Giveaway

August 13, 2014 Blogger Events 9

sels_pbcoverLast week, Someone Else’s Love Story was released in paperback. Since I loved it the first time around, I’m excited to be able to celebrate today with an interview with author Joshilyn Jackson and a giveaway of two of the new paperbacks. I adored the author’s voice in her story and I hope you’ll agree with me that her interview is equally wonderful. To enter the giveaway, use the rafflecopter at the bottom of the post. Read more »

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Henna House

August 12, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Women's Fiction 13

Henna HouseTitle: Henna House
Author: Nomi Eve
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a beautiful, poetic, inspiring story. I loved both the rich historical setting and the exciting foreshadowing.

Adela’s father’s health is failing and he’s desperate to find her a husband. As a Jewish child, if she is  isn’t betrothed when her father dies, she will be take from her family to be raised by a Muslim family instead. Just when Adela is giving up hope, her uncle arrives with a handsome son and an aunt who teacher her about henna and the woman’s world her harsh mother has never let her be a part of. However, when Adela’s family is forced to flee to Aden, she will begin to discover herself only to be betrayed by those she loves.
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This Is the Water

August 5, 2014 Fiction, Literary, Thriller, Women's Fiction 19

18781340Title: This Is the Water
Author: Yannick Murphy
Source: from publisher for TLC book tour
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Although I found the second person narration a bit distancing, I thought the author used this perspective very creatively for a writing style that was both beautiful and unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

Swim team mom Annie worries about her marriage and enjoys that one of the fathers on the team flirts with her, even though she feels old and even though he’s married to her friend. She worries about her brother’s suicide and whether or not such things run in her family. She worries that her girls aren’t confident enough and whether or not she’s done enough for them. But when one of the girls on the swim team is murdered and Annie discovers a secret which could help catch the man who did it, all her other worries seem trivial by comparison.
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Soundbite Sunday – Words of Radiance

August 3, 2014 Audiobook 3

9781427233080Title: Words of Radiance
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Rating (Story): ★★★★☆
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

This is a book I would probably give 5 stars if I weren’t comparing it to the first book in the series, The Way of Kings. The plot is similarly complex, interesting, and expansive. There is once again great character growth, with personal plots nested within the overall story. The magic and worldbuilding retain their internal consistency. However, while I wouldn’t say this suffered too much from second book syndrome, I did feel as though less happened than in the first book. Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday – The Way of Kings

July 27, 2014 Audiobook, Fantasy 7

The-Way-of-Kings-610664Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Rating (Story): ★★★★★
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

Many authors do one thing exceptionally well: world building, character creation and growth, or an intricate plot. Brandon Sanderson does an incredible job at all three. The world is very unique, with creatures and a magic system I never could have imagined. The world and the magical system are also notable for their internal consistency. The creatures described seem like the sort that would evolve together. The magical system follows clear, consistent rules. The world building take place through slow, constant information sharing, in parallel with both an epic, world-wide conflict and moving personal stories. The story wasn’t always straight forward or predictable and I loved the unexpected obstacles which forced every character to grow and change in order to succeed. Read more »

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In Praise of Hatred

July 17, 2014 Fiction, Translated Fiction 6

18630509Title: In Praise of Hatred
Author: Khaled Khalifa
Source: from publisher via LibraryThing
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Although this was beautifully written and gave me some insight into life in Syria, it was mostly confusing and disjointed.

Set in the Syria in the 1980’s, In Praise of Hatred tells the story of a young muslim woman whose name is never given. Facing scorn from her secular classmates and the conflicting views of her variably conservative family members, she takes refuge in hatred for those who are different from her. As her uncle’s become involved in trying to overthrow the regime, she herself becomes increasingly radical in her views. Alongside her coming of age story, we also learn about the many dramatic romantic liaisons and fascinating histories of her family members. Read more »

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Return to the Beach House

July 12, 2014 Fiction, Women's Fiction 2

16248158Title: Return to the Beach House
Author: Georgia Bockoven
Source: from publisher through Goodreads giveaway
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The short length of each story meant that parts of the endings were too pat or not resolved enough, but each story was emotionally moving and I was impressed that some dealt with difficult topics.

Return to the Beach House is more a collection of short stories than a traditional novel, with each section connected to the others by their shared location. Although this is a sequel, it stands alone quite well. During their stay at the beach house, characters are forced to confront the things straining their relationships. They learn to move on from loss, seek independence, trust in their friends, and maintain relationships in the face of devastating tragedies. More specific details are available in the goodreads summary. Read more »

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