Book Review | Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Authour:
Roselle Lim
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
June 11th 2019
Publisher:
Berkley Books
Source:
Received from publisher.

Review:
Everyone knows what comfort food is, well Roselle Lim’s debut novel is what I call a comfort read. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune is just one of those reads that warm the heart, and provides a sense of nostalgia.

The story follows a young woman who returns to the neighbourhood, she grew morup in upon hearing of her mother’s death. When Natalie comes back home, she finds her once vibrant San Francisco neighbourhood dying, a shadow of what it once was. I found it interesting that the authour chose to tell Natalie’s story from first-person point of view. This helped me to further connect with Natalie’s personal history and story, including the father she never knew, and the mother who she was estranged from. Natalie’s story was more tragic than I initially thought, however I appreciated the complicated mother-daughter dynamics in the book. I also could relate to Natalie in more ways than one, especially her restlessness and wanderlust. Still, I admired how she fights for her dream and was able to make something of herself.

Along with this being a story of family, community and getting back to your roots, there is also romance in store for Natalie. Though if I were honest, the romance plot in the book didn’t genuinely work for me. The romance had its sweet moments but the development was too fast and the circumstances were too rooted in fantasy and not realistic for me to enjoy. Fortunately, it was not the main focus of Natalie’s story.

Still, there’s definitely something magical about Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune, and I’m not saying that due to the magical realism elements of Natalie’s story. Roselle Lim’s writing truly brings the world that she created to life. The descriptions of all the food is so vivid and mouth-watering that it made me hungry. This is one novel you shouldn’t read on an empty stomach! Luckily, there are recipes in the book and while I may not be much of a cook, I now want to try them out for myself.

Touching on topics like mental illness, and estrangement between mothers and daughters, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune was not the light and fluffy read I thought it would be. It is however, a read that is as enchanting as its cover promises.

 

 

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

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Midweek Mini Reviews #22

This Midweek Mini Reviews post features two books focusing on South Asian women.

A Good Wife: Escaping the Life I Never Chose by Samra Zafar

A Good Wife is about arranged marriage and domestic violence, knowing that it comes as no surprise that it was a difficult read for me. Still, I felt like it was a necessary read as even today domestic violence and sexual abuse is still prevalent, especially in Asian communities where unfortunately, more than often than not it is swept under the rug. I appreciated how Samra doesn’t sugar-coat the abuse she faced as well as the reality of what happens when you leave a marriage and the mixed feelings when your marriage ends. And it was refreshing to hear her path to being free wasn’t just an easy and straight road. Instead she was constantly plagued with doubts and even backslides at one point. However, this just makes her tale all the more inspiring and powerful, especially when she gains the strength and motivation to finally stand up for herself because of her father and daughters’ love and faith in her. More than just a survival story, A Good Wife is also the story of the importance of having a community and social support system. It’s also a heartbreaking read, but also one with some hope as Samra continues to tell her story and work to help those in situations like the situation she was in.

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters appealed to me as it’s about travelling to a country where you look like the locals on the outside, but on the inside you’re different because you were born/grew up elsewhere. I also appreciated how the Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina were all complex and well-developed characters, and how the book looks at the challenges and issues women travellers face. The novel’s themes of sisterhood, culture and travel is also obvious in how the chapters are laid out. I loved that each chapter started with the girls’ late mother writing to them as it provided greater insight into who she was in addition to giving the readers some background and context about why she wanted her daughters to do the things on the itinerary she made just for them. This also made me feel like I was joining the girls on their pilgrimage and that I was right there with them every step of their journey. The conflict between the three sisters felt authentic and I truly empathized with each of them as they all had their own issues and struggles which, when not dealt with directly only exacerbated their various misunderstandings with one another. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a refreshingly empowering read. What I enjoyed most was how it touches upon issues like dysfunctional family dynamics, cultural representation in the media, female feticide, sexism and misogyny while still maintaining a good amount of lightheartedness thus making it the perfect vacation read.

Publisher Social Media:  Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/

 

 

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above reviews consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Family Trust by Kathy Wang

Authour:
Kathy Wang
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
October 30th 2018
Publisher:
William Morrow
Publisher Social Media: 
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher

Review:
Family Trust centres on Stanley Huang, a proud and complicated man who is on his deathbed. We are the introduced to those closest to him, including his son, Fred who has vast ambition and an even bigger ego to boost, his daughter Kate, who is trying to balance her professional life and family, Linda who is his highly accomplished ex-wife and finally Mary, his younger second wife who is also his primary caregiver. Each has their own reasons for feeling anxious about Stanley’s death, and all these reasons along with their current personal obstacles and issues are slowly revealed in their individual chapters.

Of all the characters, Kate was my favourite as her story resonated with me even if I’m not a mother as a result of the two of us being around the same age. I enjoyed seeing a female character in a high powered job who is incredibly capable yet still has doubts about her own abilities and actions. Her story was also refreshing considering the fact that after her marriage collapses the events that follow are not what the reader would typically expect. Linda’s story was also compelling as she’s an older woman trying to navigate what she truly wants in life especially with the freedom she has. In the end, I was satisfied with both of their character growth in addition to the resolution of both of their story arcs.

The other characters in the book were not as likeable, however I appreciated how Wang was able to portray both Fred and Mary as sympathetic people.  As a result, even if you do not agree with their motivation and actions, they were tolerable since they felt like human beings who truly believe that what they want is reasonable. 

Initially I found that Family Trust dragged and I truly was hoping for more excitement. However, as I gradually read on and more was revealed about Kate and Linda since it gave the book a more feminist tone which I definitely appreciated. I love how the true stars of the book were both professionally successful and self-sufficient women and how the book shows us the challenges and discrimination faced by even women who were considered well off. A thoughtful character-driven family drama, Family Trust may appeal to anyone who enjoyed Jade Chang’s The Wangs vs. the World and/or Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest as it’s another biting look at just how crazy a family can get when it comes to money.

 

 

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

Authour:
Rebecca Serle
Format:
eGalley
Publication date:
September 11, 2018
Publisher:
Flatiron Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive who would you choose? Until fairly recently I had no idea, but now I can say for certain I’d want to have dinner with Anthony Bourdain, who seems incredibly worldly and down to earth, and perhaps my maternal grandfather as he seemed to have lived a remarkable life.

This question is also answered by the protagonist of Rebecca Serle’s first adult novel. In The Dinner List, Sabrina suddenly finds herself at a dinner table on her 30th birthday with a rather unusual mix of guests. There’s her best friend, her estranged father, an older professor, her ex and of course Audrey Hepburn! Interestingly enough, only two of the guests with the exception of Sabrina are alive in the present day, as the others have all passed away. This contributes to an entertaining dynamic especially as the reasons behind why each of the guests were chosen are revealed.

Almost immediately, the premise of this book had me intrigued even though I have never picked up a Rebecca Serle book before. Having the story of Sabrina’s life and relationship told through flashbacks as part of a dinner conversation was a refreshingly imaginative take on your typical “love story”. And while The Dinner List definitely has its moments, it’s honestly so much more than another relationship story. In fact, The Dinner List is not your light-hearted romantic comedy instead it’s a fairly realistic portrayal of how all relationships, not just romantic ones change and it’s when you become too comfortable that the relationship begins to break down. This is particularly glaring as we watch how Sabrina and Jessica’s friendship has changed over time as both have grown into two undeniably different people.

I’d admit that I confused the premise of The Dinner List for just another fluffy women’s fiction book and this made it initially difficult for me to become invested in Sabrina’s story. However, in the end The Dinner List turned out to be a well written novel that while bittersweet does give us some hope for our protagonist, Sabrina and her ability to finally let go and move on with her life.

 

 

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Midweek Mini Reviews #15


Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto, Asa Yoneda (Translator), Mai Ohno (Illustrator)

Moshi Moshi was my first Banana Yoshimoto novel, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Similar to several other well-known Japanese writers, there is an element of magical realism to the story. However, in this case, it is extremely subtle and takes the form of a not quite a ghost story since the “ghost” of the protagonist’s recently father haunts the pages of the book and remains a significant “presence” despite not actually being present. Yoshimoto’s writing is incredibly minimalist and cool, yet she manages to provide some fascinating commentary on the traditional gender roles and expectations in Japan today. Furthermore, she does an excellent job of capturing the grief and the process of trying to move on when someone you love dies in a remarkably traumatic manner. In addition, it was refreshing to see an accurate portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship where both are now grown yet neither are completely dependent on the other. But what I loved the most about Moshi Moshi, was the setting of the novel. Set in the Tokyo neighbourhood of Shimokitazawa, the book made me want to visit the area and check out the restaurants for myself. The only issue I truly had with Moshi Moshi was the romantic development and conclusion in the book as it was a bit unsettling and awkward. Nevertheless, Moshi Moshi is a soothing read in spite of its weirdness.

Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss by Jann Arden

Jann Arden’s latest book, Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss touches upon a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Having worked with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, I was looking forward to this memoir of caring for elderly parents who have dementia. Told in dated journal entries interspersed with personal photos and recipes, the Canadian singer-songwriter brings readers into the daily realities of her life as a caregiver to a parent who has dementia. At times, the book feels almost too real however that’s the beauty of it. Arden’s candor about what it’s really like for the families of those with dementia makes Feeding My Mother resonates so much more for those whose loved ones also have dementia. The design of the book is also beautiful and soothing, and I loved the gorgeous photos included in the book. I also liked the theme of food in the book, and will definitely be attempting to make some of the recipes in the book like the Four-Cheese Mac. An absolutely heartbreaking yet warm, and comforting read.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

 

Book Review | Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapley

Authour:
Marissa Stapley
Format:
eGalley
Publication date:
February 6th 2018
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Marissa Stapley’s debut, Mating for Life was an interesting read and after being asked to do the cover reveal for Things To Do When It’s Raining I was excited for her latest book. Recommended for fans of Nicholas Sparks, I can definitely understand the appeal of Things To Do When It’s Raining. After all, there are childhood sweethearts, forbidden love and of course families complicated by secrets.

However, the romance isn’t the main focus of Things To Do When It’s Raining. Instead, told from various perspectives, readers receive all sorts of hints regarding the complicated family history of both Mae and Gabe. And while the stories are compelling, the various chapters felt a bit jumbled up and confusing after some time. Understandably, although this may be due to both Lilly and George’s old age and deteriorating state of mind it made it difficult to connect with either of their stories. As for Mae and Gabe, I adored their relationship and wished it received more time, especially since the epilogue glosses over what could’ve been a compelling story of how their relationship evolved over time.

Stapley’s writing as always is incredibly vivid and descriptive and it’s always refreshing to witness her approach serious topics in a realistic and occasionally heartbreaking way in her books. I also love the quirkiness that is infused into the story, for example, in Things To Do When It’s Raining each chapter starts with a suggestion of actual activities the characters can do on days where it’s raining making it an amusing nod to the title of the book.

Things To Do When It’s Raining is a quick read, however, I personally felt that I was given an abundance of little clues and details that did not truly add up to anything conclusive. In the end, it felt truly like nothing happened or was revealed despite the massive information overload. And while this made it the story more true to reality, it felt unsatisfying to me. Nevertheless, Things To Do When It’s Raining is well-written and would make for an excellent cozy read.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Authour:
Rachel Joyce
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
November 7th 2017
Publisher:
Doubleday Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I loved Rachel Joyce’s The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, as devastating, heartbreaking as it was and while I haven’t read any of her other books something about The Music Shop tempted me into picking it up. And fortunately I was given an advance copy shortly after hearing about it at the Penguin Random House Fall Preview.

Set in the 1980s, the book focuses on Frank the owner of a music shop who stubbornly refuses to get with the times and stock CDs (choosing instead to continue to own deal with vinyls). Among the cast of characters are his assistant  and his fellow neighbours who own various shops/businesses along the same old street and neighbourhood that has seen better days. I loved that this novel was inspired by the author’s real life meeting with a music shop whose owner was able to find the musical “cure” for her husband’s insomnia. This magical quality of being able to “know” what music a person needs to hear which is an ability that her protagonist, Frank also shares.

If I were honest The Music Shop started off a bit slow for me as I didn’t care about any of the characters. However, before long I found that I had been unknowingly drawn deep within the world and characters of the book. This may have been a result of the beautiful, whimsical prose. Or perhaps it was the fact that over time we get enough glimpses into the past of each of the characters helping us to understand why they are the way they are in addition to why people care about Frank a great deal.

While some may say that The Music Shop is an overly sentimental read, I loved that I was left with a warm feeling when I was finished with the book. It is a definite must read for music lovers and for people who are looking for an uplifting read that is within the along the same veins as The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin or even Katarina Blvald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend as it’s also about the power of the arts, and how when ordinary people get together and work together they can make the extraordinary happen whether it’s just for one person or for far more people than they could have ever anticipated.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Midweek Mini Reviews #10


The Key to Everything by Paula Stokes

I love novels that feature travel in them, however I can be rather picky when it comes to the ones I actually end up liking. Fortunately, I rather enjoyed Paula Stokes’ The Key to Everything. Since The Key to Everything is categorized as “New Adult” this made the characters even more relatable to me since they are closer to my age than the teens in YA novels are. I also loved the fact that Oakland and Morgan are Psychology graduates as that’s what I studied during my undergraduate as well. The whole joke about Oakland and Morgan analyzing the boys (because they’re studying psychology) has been said to me on numerous occasions as well when I went abroad as a student. And while it was a bit frustrating to see how Oakland behaved at times, I did appreciate the positive female friendships (there’s not much “drama” between the girls) and I was glad that Morgan was there to talk some sense in Oakland when she went too far. The Key to Everything is a great read that is sure to inspire some serious wanderlust, but more than that I love how it portrays the unexpected friendships and relationships that can form when you take the risk and put yourself out there. And while it’s not always the case, it’s was nice to see that the bonds the girls form during their trip end up lasting when they return to the “real world”. Slightly predictable yet also unique this was one book I loved throughout.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa De La Cruz’s Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe has made many changes to the classic novel. The Bennets’ are now brothers instead of sisters, Bingley is a gay actor, and Darcy is an independent, modern woman who had to make her own fortune after she was “disowned” by her parents. What I didn’t like about this retelling was how Darcy was made out to be a selfish, snobby and stuck up person by almost everyone. As readers we get to see the story from Darcy’s point of view, but even from her actions while she’s far from perfect she truly isn’t that horrible or even judgmental of a person compared to some of the other characters. Which is why I felt her “change” was a bit excessive since we didn’t get to see how she previously treated her assistant and it’s not as if she abused Millie. I was glad when her best friend, Bingley finally assured her that she wasn’t the awful person that everyone made her out to be just because she was the only one of them to leave and make it on her own. As for the character of “Luke Bennet” (this version’s “Elizabeth Bennet”), I wish we got to know him more because his character came off as kind of bland. Other than that Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe was a sweet spin on the Pride and Prejudice story and would make for a nice quick holiday read. And if you’d rather watch the movie, then you’re in luck as Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe is in the process of becoming a Hallmark movie!

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

 

 

Book Review | Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Authour:
Gabrielle Zevin
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
August 22nd 2017
Publisher:
Algonquin Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I adored Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and was intrigued by the synopsis of Young Jane Young as it focuses on the relationships between mothers and daughters.

Young Jane Young is told through multiple perspectives, starting with the mother of the titular “Jane” who is actually Aviva Grossman, a former intern who had an affair with the Florida congressman she worked for. Afterwards, we are filled in on what happened to Aviva now going by the name, “Jane’s” before moving on to the perspective of Embeth, the congressman’s wife. I also liked that we see how Jane’s decisions still have an impact on her life several years later. And it’s interesting how the author chooses to have the last chapter in the book be styled in a Choose Your Own Adventure manner as it gives the reader greater insight into “Jane’s” thought process when she was younger. However, this was a bit confusing at first as I was reading an e-galley copy and couldn’t turn the pages, though I eventually realized that it wasn’t actually a chapter where the reader is actually given the opportunity to “choose” what happens as “Jane” has already made her choices.

It’s wonderful to have women be the dominant voice in this kind of political narrative for once, and Zevin does an excellent job of making each woman feel like a real person that the reader can empathize with. An engrossing, and a surprisingly empowering read at times, Young Jane Young takes the refreshing approach of focusing on the women who are affected by a political scandal making it equal parts entertaining and enlightening.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

wangsAuthour:
Jade Chang
Format:
ARC; 354 pages
Publication date:
October 4th 2016
Publisher:
HarperAvenue
Publisher Social Media:
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The Wangs vs. World was a title that I was especially looking forward to this fall as it centres on an Asian American family embarking on a road trip after the patriarch, Charles Wang loses his fortune.

Unfortunately my unfair expectations of this book coupled with all the buzz surrounding it lead The Wangs vs. World to be a bit of a disappointment for me. For instance, this book was marketed as being hilarious and yet I seldom found myself laughing. Additionally the majority of the book seemed to drag on forever and it wasn’t until near the conclusion that the pacing sped up immensely. Speaking of the ending, without spoiling too much I will say that it came about in a rather unexpected way and it definitely made me wonder if things were left a bit too up in the air.

That being said, there were a few parts of the book that did work for me. One was the relationship between the three siblings. Of the three, I liked Saina the best and it was nice watching her character grow as the novel progressed. I think my favourite scenes in The Wangs vs. World were the ones where we see the siblings all with unique personalities interacting with one another. The interactions were hilarious and it was heartwarming to see how loyal they were to each other. For that reason, I liked the section where the family was in China and it was unfortunate that the section needed to be cut short as I liked watching them all together in one place and bonding as a family.

Jade Chang’s writing at times was reminiscent of Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asian series, which fortunately assisted in moving the story along during certain sections. However, unlike Crazy Rich Asian there was no translation provided for all the Chinese dialogue (at least not in my advance reader’s copy). This only served to alienate me more from the characters as it’s difficult to connect with both the stories and characters when so much of their dialogue is another language that you are not familiar with. Though some of their conversations may be understood vaguely through the context, it still takes away from the main story.

Overall, while it did not work for me mostly since it was not the humourous novel, it was marketed as, The Wangs vs. World still was an interesting look a one family’s Asian immigrant experience and was a decent effort for a début novel.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Dear Emma by Katie Heaney

emmaAuthour:
Katie Heaney
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 303 pages
Publication date:
March 1st 2016
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Having read Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date and enjoyed it I was curious to see how Katie Heaney would approach fiction. Furthermore, the fact that the book was set in college meant that the characters would be closer in age to me and therefore extra relatable. Although a work of fiction, I believe Dear Emma shares a few similarities with Katie Heaney’s first book which was a memoir of sorts. What the two books have in common, is that both appear to be tributes to female friendships. When it comes to Dear Emma if you are looking for a book with romance in it, then you’re best looking elsewhere. The focus of Dear Emma remains truly on female friendships and college life.

What’s intriguing with Dear Emma is that not only did the author say it was inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma (albeit incredibly loosely) in addition it was also inspired by the authour’s own college experiences. As a result, it was incredibly relatable and it made me nostalgic for my university days. And sure I didn’t live away from home or near my school however I had several friends who did and the stories I’ve heard from resemble the lives of Harriet, and. That’s probably why this book resonated with me, it wasn’t too long ago that I was hanging out with my friends in one of the school’s cafeterias and/or getting together for study group sessions.

To be honest, not much happens in Dear Emma. There remains a bit of relationship drama here and there however it was only in tiny doses. I did however appreciate the fact that Harriet had her own column in her college’s newspaper as I loved reading her reactions to the letters/emails she gets in addition to how her personal life slowly collides with her “private” work life.

Dear Emma is definitely a book that could make several of us nostalgic for our postsecondary days. After all as Dear Emma demonstrates, college is a time that you may or may not find the love of your life however it’s more likely that you’ll form some memorable friendships that will have a lasting impact on you instead.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Wild One by Gemma Burgess

wildoneAuthour:
Gemma Burgess
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 292 pages
Publication date:
November 10th 2015
Publisher:
Atria Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Once again, Gemma Burgess made me connect with a character that I didn’t think I’d have plenty in common with. The title, The Wild One threw me for a loop since I was expecting a completely different story than what I read. Fortunately, The Wild One turned out to be an incredibly sweet story about figuring out what brings you joy in life and going for it.

Anyways, while Coco is the protagonist of The Wild One, we also get updates on how the other girls like Pia and Angie are doing as they all still live together. Having enjoyed Angie’s story in Love and Chaos I’m glad to learn that she’s doing well and is in high spirits. Additionally, while I wasn’t a fan of Pia and her boyfriend Aidan in the previous books, The Wild One endeared me to their relationship. However, my favorite aspect of the Brooklyn Girls series is the group dynamics between the five girls is truly heartwarming and I love how they grow together and learn to support each other while still occasionally getting into disagreements with one another.

As mentioned before from the other books, I didn’t think I’d have much in common with Coco therefore I was surprised to learn that we share a love of books and reading. On the other hand, I found I had less in common with her older sister Julia than I had initially thought. Although similar to her, I do have a slight tendency to be judgmental of others.

Given how much I love this series, I truly hope there will be more books in the series and that this isn’t the last book as I desperately need a book that focuses on Julia and how she moves on from the events of The Wild One. Though regardless of whether or not, there’s another book, The Wild One is a fantastic addition to the Brooklyn Girls series and it’s definitely a book I’d recommend particularly for those in their early 20’s who are setting into their adult lives without a “solid” life plan.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Blvald

brokenwheelAuthour:
Katarina Blvald
Format:
Trade paperback, 376 pages
Publication date:
August 25th 2015
Publisher:
Bond Street Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Books had been a defensive wall, yes, though that wasn’t all. They had protected Sara from the world around her, but they had also turned it into a fuzzy backdrop for the real adventures in her life.” (p. 17)

Back in February during the Random House Spring Preview, I first learned about The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, and I knew then and there that it was definitely a book for me. The premise of the book follows Sara a young woman from Sweden who comes to visit the small town of Broken Wheel after she is invited there by her pen pal/fellow book lover, Amy. Once she arrives, however, she is hit with a major shock and the rest of the book is shows how Sara comes to find her place in this small town. In addition, we become acquainted with a few of the other people who reside in Broken Wheel each of whom has secrets of their own. As, the story progressed, I found that I was growing fond of such characters as George and Caroline.

My favourite element of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is how each chapter starts with a letter from Amy addressed to Sara. It is through these letters that we become familiar with the bond that developed between Amy and Sara. Furthermore, it is through these letters, that Amy is still able to remain a major figure in the story even if she can no longer directly influence what goes on in Broken Wheel.

Although there is a bit of romance in the book, it doesn’t overwhelm the central story of how a small town comes together partly as a result of a young woman and her books. Overall, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend has an extremely fairy tale like charm to it which makes it all the more heartwarming. Sure, there are numerous events in the book that may require you to suspend your disbelief, but that’s what makes it such an excellent book to escape into. Besides who doesn’t love a happy ending, even if it’s a bit too neatly tied up?

If you like this book, you’ll love: A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

a-robot-in-the-garden-by-deborah-install-book-coverAuthour:
Deborah Install
Format:
Trade Paperback, 284 pages
Publication date:
June 30th 2015
Publisher:
Random House Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Why would there be a robot in the garden? Have you left that bloody gate open again, Amy?” (p. 7)

Although I had lukewarm feelings towards The Rosie Project, a book which A Robot in the Garden has been compared to, I did fall in love A Robot in the Garden. The premise of A Robot in the Garden is basically what’s stated in the title; however it contains a greater amount of substance. The story takes place in a world and time when androids not uncommon and we get to travel to different countries as Ben and Tang embark on their journey to find out more concerning Tang right around the time when Ben’s life starts to fall apart.

Surprisingly, enough while I was not fond of Ben or Tang as individuals, I adored them together. The bond that forms between the two is incredibly endearing to witness, as is the mental and physical journey the two embark on together, which takes to places far from Ben’s home like Japan and the USA. And while I found the transformation Ben undergoes to be slightly difficult to believe, I did appreciate how as a result of his new found maturity he doesn’t rush into anything when he returns home from his journey with Tang. I also love the various characters that Ben and Tang encounter on their journey, and I found it hilarious when Ben and Tang were mistaken as lovers.

A Robot in the Garden is a truly lovely story that warmed my heart and gave me hope simultaneously. Additionally, it’s also a story concerning family, marriage, loss, and love with a slightly surprising reveal regarding Tang’s origins that shows that ultimately it is up to you to decide how you will live your life. Deborah Install has written a simple yet highly enjoyable and amusing adventure story that is a wonderful summer pick and should be on everyone’s reading list for the beach or a summer vacation.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Waiting On Wednesday #16 – Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights upcoming titles that we’re looking forward to/dying to read.
It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
landline

Synposis:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Authour:
Rainbow Rowell

Publication date:
July 8th 2014

Publisher:
St. Martin’s Press

Okay, I know I already have like two books by Rainbow Rowell that I still need to get to but this one sounds really good so I couldn’t help myself. I’m not just a fan of contemporary young adult fiction, I also love contemporary adult fiction too!