Jane Doe walks into a Hospital…;Gemini by Carol Cassella Book Review

Leave a comment

17742914

 

Gemini

By: Carol Cassella

Released March 4th, 2014 by Simon and Schuster

Length: 352 Pages

Genre: Mystery-medical

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Dr. Charlotte Reese must do all that she can to save Jane Doe. But, will she get too close? Will Jane’s true identity be revealed?

Set in Seattle, ER doctor,  Dr. Charlotte Reese, gets delivered Jane Doe while on the night shift severely injured and practically beyond repair. Told through both Charlotte’s perspective in the present, and Jane Doe’s first in the past as far back as her childhood to current with her identity known only to the reader. There is an unlikely connection between the two  women that the reader later finds out in the middle of the novel which is perhaps the only intriguing event that happens.

At 352 pages, I felt not much happened. I often skimmed through the pages, or read through them halfheartedly. I didn’t attach myself to either women. Not that there was anything wrong with them. They were developed nicely, actually. I just didn’t find something in them that I found powerful or unique to feel something. The writing was very straight forward, leaving it to be a little bland at times. There wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with the novel that warranted a two star rating, I just didn’t really like it. There was much that pulled me in. I did like the connection that sprung up; that shocker was a good tie-in, but I felt it came a little too late.

I think this was just one of those books that was out of my typical genre comfort zone, so it wasn’t so enjoyable. I got through it in a day, only through skimming and half caring though. Never a full commitment. Would I recommend this book? I think it’s for you to decide. This one’s a tricky one. It wasn’t bad. Just not my taste. It might be yours, though.

Tales of Love told through the eyes of a feathered girl: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Lesyle Walton Book Review

5 Comments

15751398

 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

By: Leslye Walton

Released: March 25th, 2014 by Candlewick Press

Length: 320 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy-magical realism

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Born with feathers, and a silent twin, Ava Lavender narrates the story of the three generation of women in her family that faced love– the fanciful phase, the heartbreak, loss, and everything that comes with it in a moving tone.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is one of those books I couldn’t put down. Full of magical realism, it pulls you in from the beginning. Starting with a very brief detail of Ava’s extraordinary birth, she begins to tell the story of her female ancestors, based on a single emotion-love. And, oh, how these Roux/Lavender women have been affected. And, how unique they all are. After the great-grandfather dies, after being mistaken from someone else and is gruesomely murdered, while the wife maman, and everyone else, thinks he left with another woman begins to almost melt until she literally becomes a pile of blue ashes in their sheets. Then her daughter, Pierette, becomes a bird for the man she loves who never loved her back. A bird! There’s another sister who carves her own heart out after she gives birth to a child whose father is the betrothed to her older sister- Emilienne, all out of love. Emilienne is Ava’s grandmother in the story who lost her husband early on in the marriage, but not before giving birth to their daughter Viviane, Ava’s mother.

Ava takes center stage much later in the novel, but when she does her story shines just as much as the other women. Each, melding into the others so seamlessly. The novel doesn’t necessarily have a plot, which at times I would normally have a problem with, but with this novel I didn’t. I loved how fluid it felt, even without it. The center plot, or theme really, was love and that was the driving collection that made everything make sense and hold a connection. There were no gaps, or holes in the story. Even as each generation of women took center stage in their own way, Ava was always there, guiding and keeping everything together. For a debut novel, this was an ambitious undertaking– to tell four generations worth of stories based on an emotion almost solely told by a person, somewhat of an outsider at certain points. Walton succeeded wonderfully. I look forward to reading her next work.

What I loved most about this novel was the magic in each woman. Not magic like Harry Potter magic. But magic, like something different we can’t explain. Emilienne had hers, where, in the beginning, the people in town thought she was a witch. Then there was Viviane, who could smell things and give emotions to them. Even silent Henry had his own idiosyncrasies. Plus, there was Ava with her wings. It wasn’t completely reminiscent of Sarah Addison Allen, but somewhat. As I am a huge fan of hers, I instantly became a fan of Walton’s. I enjoyed how there was nothing simple or ordinary in this novel. Even the town was special. It was an unique read I couldn’t put down.

Walton stuck to the theme of love very well, her analysis pretty head on. She didn’t take the pretty route. She didn’t show all the good, happy parts of being in love. Didn’t write about all the bad, either; although she wrote a lot on it, but not everything. I enjoyed her take on love; especially how she used it to fuel her plot. Each character found love and its meaning in different ways; and how it could effect them, too. There was so much beauty in the words and descriptions Walton chose, even when love’s ugliness reared it’s head.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It really is a must read. There is something about it that I think makes it one. Not just the words. The characters, the magic, the unsugar coated realism. It’s all there and more. I was initially giving it four stars, but realized I love it so much more. I’m moving it to five. It’s that good. I am planning on buying a copy for myself. There is something about it that just sucked me in. It wasn’t just those feathers. I hope you pick this one up. It’s worth it. It really is.

I Prefer The Sun Sisters: The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh Book Review

1 Comment

18050053

The Moon Sisters

By Therese Walsh

Released March 4th, 2014 by Crown

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Literature/ Fiction-Magical Realism

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: Via publisher

 

Younger sister Olivia “Livya” Moon set upon a journey to see the Cranberry Glades and the will ‘o wisps their now deceased mother often talked about and based a story upon. Reluctantly, her older sister Jazz comes along with two train hoppers that make for a less than delightful, but slightly moving story about family bonding and getting to where you’re meant to be.

Olivia Moon is a free spirited eighteen year old with Synesthesia who was the last one to be with their mother before her probable suicide. Jazz Moon is less free spirited, more fickle and abrasive than her sister. Constantly looking out for her, she has never been the loving or touchy feely type. So, when Olivia decides to take a trip to see the Glades where their mother’s only novel, left unfinished, was set, Jazz is more than reluctant. Outspoken throughout the whole trip, meet a train hopper nicknamed Hobbs and Red Grass, someone much more sketchy with a secret of his own. Both the sisters are holding on to something; while Hobbs is hiding all on is own. Trusting no one was a trend in the journey.

I had high hopes for this novel. The cover, for one, is beautiful. The title is pretty and alluring. I just couldn’t get into it. I finished it, albeit reluctantly. I dragged my feet the whole way, like Jazz. I didn’t connect to any of the characters. Jazz complained too much for a character that was cold, distant, and rightfully so was called a b*tch by Hobbs. Olivia was too free spirited for me. I’m all for flower children. But, there comes a point when you have to act like an adult. There were moments, but so fleeting. Walsh over did it for me with Olivia’s character. She was too much to handle. Hobbs was the only character I truly liked.

The plot was slow moving for me. I was confused a little by the end, but if I say why it’d be a total spoiler. I just thought there would be more magical realism like in Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen novels. I didn’t find much of it; of anything. There were letters to the father that disowned the mother that I personally felt were unnecessary and did not move the plot along at all. I think it was used as a way to understand the mother while having her dead, but I found myself skimming them rather than devouring them.

I wish I could say something extremely positive about this book. I did finish it, which I almost gave up on. But I don’t feel the same contentment I usually do after reading a novel I like. I won’t say don’t read this; maybe it just wasn’t for me. Just go at it with caution, perhaps. It got outstanding reviews on goodreads. I’m disappointed I cannot give same.

This is why I Don’t Get the Flu Shot: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski Book Review

5 Comments

17560541

Don’t Even Think About It

By: Sarah Mlynowski

Released: March 11th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal-ESP

Rating: 3 Stars

Acquired: via publisher

Getting a flu shot was never rewarding…until 22 sophomores get ESP as a side effect. The results: funny, witty, and down right amusing. But, they already know that.

When the students of homeroom 10b at Bloomberg High School lined up to get their flu shots, none of them expected to get super powers. Sure, there was Pi who had the second highest GPA in her class; and, always wanted to be extraordinary. But, to get ESP after the shot a day later, now that was something. Told as a collective we, Don’t Even Think About It takes place over a week with around 22 floating main characters all trying to deal with their new ability to hear people’s thoughts.

There’s Olivia, who is constantly sick or afraid of getting sick out of habit living with a hypochondriac OCD mother. She now knows the school nurse used to be a stripper and has sex. A lot. Like go on a condom run doing school a lot. Olivia is also afraid of public speaking of any kind; even talking to Lazar, the cute boy who likes her until she can read his mind.

Then there’s Tess and Mackenzie, best friends forever. Until, Mackenzie forgets Tess can read her mind and let’s her thoughts slip to Tess needing to lose weight. And that Mackenzie cheated on Cooper, another ESP, the last one to get it.

There’s also BJ, who hits on Tess in every way possible– through ESP, in person, through text. Sadie, who is the center of Teddy’s mind who is not an ESP but the center of Tess’s mind. Plus, a pair of twins, a guy named Levi, and too many more.

The whole homeroom became a we. They would talk to each other through their thoughts. Cheat in class. Know more secrets, like about Mackenzie cheating on Cooper. Hear everything. And comment on everything. There were italics throughout the whole novel; so many scattered thoughts from too many voices.

Pi takes charge in this novel, but it is Olivia who shines for me. I just adored her. She had her issues with public speaking; maybe even a character flaw or two. But there was so much in her that was likable. She was quirky, adorable, and funny. Kind, considerate, and without even realizing she could, she could stand up for herself.

This novel was a cute and quick read. I’ll be honest. When I first got it, I thought it would be cheesy. The cover wasn’t very promising. The title gives too much away. But, this cynic liked it. Not a lot, but enough. It was funny, witty, and although had way too many featured characters, some of them, when given the time to develop, developed rather nicely; like Olivia, Tess, Pi, and Cooper. When they were given their own time, they showed maturity in situations and choices that were made. The side characters were good. The concept was original. The writing wasn’t juvenile. Although I believe it deserves a three star rating because I simply just liked it, it is a strong three stars. I think if I was at the targeted age, which I am not, I would give it a four, or higher star rating. For an author that writes a lot of series, or has written series in this past, this was a good standalone novel in my opinion.

Nora Ephron would be pleased: What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin Book Review

6 Comments

17571718

 

What Nora Knew

By: Linda Yellin

Released January 21, 2014 by Gallery Books

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

One Assignment to write about love, channeling Nora Ephron. One cynic journalist. One love-enthused crime writer who kills all his main character’s girlfriends.  One story Nora Ephron would give her stamp of approval

 

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine year old cynic, but don’t tell her that. Divorced from a high powered divorce lawyer, Molly knows she hasn’t found “the one”. Instead, she is dating Russel, the chiropractor. Russell is stable, a pragmatist, and lacks romance. Molly feels settled. When she is assigned to write about soul mates in the tone of Nora Ephron, Molly knows she is the last person who should be assigned the article; and the truth is, she was the last choice. When she tries to create a romantic dinner for Russell, it fizzles. They settle into each other, both knowing neither are the romantic types, but that’s OK.

Cue You’ve Got Mail. During Memorial Day weekend at the Hamptons, Molly meets her match in fellow writer Cameron Duncan. A famous crime writer, Cameron kills off every girlfriend in his Mike Bing novels; while still managing to make every woman reader swoon. Molly doesn’t believe he’s sincere as he says Sleepless in Seattle his one of his favorite films. Like Joe Fox, Cameron Duncan starts to appear everywhere, infuriating Molly; but slowly waking her up in the perfect Nora Ephron way. 

Does the article turn out great? Does she even write it? Well, you’ll just have to read the book because there may be some predictable surprises. I could definitely see this book being adapted to film. It’s a great homage to Nora Ephron, but it’s the characters that are so great. Molly is so much like Kathleen from You’ve Got Mail. The cynicism is spot on. The references to the movies. The way the plot moves; even the slight character growth. I read this book surprisingly in one day. I laughed a lot. And, I admit, cried at two spots. Cameron Duncan was a great character. And, so was Dr. Russell. How boring and simple. There is a scene in the book, a realization between Molly and Russell that I think many couples who have felt stagnant in their relationship can relate to. It is a very relatable book that truly reads like a romantic comedy movie. I will see it in theaters if it gets adapted into film. I hope it does. It would be a pity if it didn’t. The material is all there.

If you are a fan of romantic comedies; or, looking for a light, fun read this book is it. Spring is near. Summer, too. It’d be a great beach read. Yellin really nails the romance aspect. What it’s like to feel stuck in a relationship, in life. To meet that one person who drives you crazy.  To be closed then open. I hope you give this book a once over. It’s worth a read. 

The Invisible Queen of Nowhere: The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson Book Review

Leave a comment

18340085

The Tyrant’s Daughter

By: J.C. Carleson

Released February 11th, 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Coming of Age

Length: 304 Pages

Rating: Three Stars

Acquired: via Random House

Two Worlds:  

There- The Middle East: Fifteen year old Laila believes her father is the King before he is killed in a coup orchestrated by his brother, the general; and her family is sent away to a country so different from their own, leaving behind more than just material things

Here: Living in exile in Washington D.C. where the discovery hits: her father wasn’t the king. She was never a queen. He was a dictator. Her family story is a lie. She is the “Invisible Queen of Nowhere”

Throughout the novel, Laila is torn between her two different, complex worlds: the There and Here. There, although war torn, she believed her family was royalty. The only friends she had were crafted by her mother; the countless gatherings of women and girls screened. There was no proper schooling. Here: she has friends she doesn’t know how to keep or be around, one of whom is the bearer of bad news that tells her the truth about her father; or, how other countries viewed her father’s rule. There are boys. Internet access. It is a life she can’t get used to.

There are countless difficulties she faces; including near poverty as her mother refuses to get a job. When she starts to work with the CIA, there are still times there is no money for food or rent. There are men the mother has to do business with from their country that are slightly sketchy and hostile, but with reason. Laila is front and center as she sees her mother try to get her and her family back into power. All the power plays and conniving ways she tries to get her way.

As Laila watches her new life grow and fall in front of her;  her mother tries for one more power play; and, her brother constantly says he’s the King. The relationship between mother and daughter gets challenged as Laila’s mother starts to pull Laila into her plan in a subtle, conniving way that makes Laila sick and torn. In the end, this is a book worth looking at.

Written by a former CIA agent, The Tyrant’s Daughter portrays what it is like for a young teenager in political exile. This isn’t a topic you typically see in young adult fiction. Sure, there are books about immigrants, but none that tackle what it is like being in political exile, learning what you thought you knew about your life was a lie through a technology that was very limited and control in your birth country.

A relatively quick read, Carleson wrote a fresh take on what it’s like to live in the war torn Middle East, but on the inside and outside of it all. Laila’s struggles seemed very realistic to me. I could feel her pain, missing her home; even though she realized how suffocating her life was, she missed the structure. When she told the Middle Eastern version of Cinderella to her friends, I felt her pain when she didn’t understand why her American friends only saw the brutality of it. There was something so raw and true about this story; truly, only someone like Carleson could write.

I liked this book. I didn’t love it. I read it in a couple of sittings, maybe three; but, there wasn’t a lot that truly drew me in. I found it as a good source to understanding the Middle Eastern culture more, and Middle Eastern immigrants especially; regardless if their father was a dictator or not. Would I suggest it as a required reading book in a High School history/world culture class, I have thought about it. There was some love interest in it that makes the book a little more contemporary and less educational. But, I think there is such a disconnect between citizens and immigrants, especially from the Middle East. Their culture is so different from ours. The Cinderella-esque story alone is a good enough reason why I think teachers should think about teaching this book.

There were some technical problems I found, like character development; but, none that were very distracting that I wouldn’t recommend this book. I hope you give this book a once over, at least.

Happy Reading!

 

Greetings from Lost Lake: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen Book Review

2 Comments

13481275

 

Lost Lake

By: Sarah Addison Allen

Released January 21st, 2014 by St. Martin Press

Length: 302 pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Magical Realism

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

You can never the beginning. But you can always change the end.

That one sentence, said by a somewhat minor character staying for one last summer at Lost Lake echoes throughout the entire novel; although it is said closer to the end, it is true throughout the hole book. Each main character, newly widowed Kate, her daughter Devin, Kate’s estranged, great Aunt Eby, Kate’s old childhood friend she spent one good summer with, Wes, they all are stuck and looking to change their ending–they just don’t know it yet. Even the rather minor characters like Selma, who wears a charm bracelet that allows her to marry eight already married men and she’s on her last charm. And, Bulahdeen, who said that heavy statement; her husband has Alzheimer’s, and as many times as she has read novels, she has tried to change her endings.

This novel isn’t just about Eby selling Lost Lake; or Kate “waking up” after a year since her husband died; or Devin befriended an alligator no one thought was on the property, that could only be seen by her, leaving clues; or, each of the three guests at the lake; or, Wes who never stopped loving Kate. It is about creating your own ending that isn’t an ending after all. It’s more of a “in the mean time”.  A “happily ever right now”. Allen creates characters that are somewhat more than broken in many ways and puts them back together in only ways that she can.

Allen still has her Southern charm. And that magical realism that got me when I read my first Sarah Addison Allen book; and, never stopped. I loved the allegory of the alligator. I won’t give away the reason behind him, but the reason is touching, sweet, and really special. Brings the book together. I loved the theme and idea of creating a new ending for yourself. Not really rejecting the one you had, but doing a do-over. A second chance on our own terms. Allen proved, to me, once again, why she is one of my favorite authors. Her voice is so unique and offers something I don’t normally get from other contemporary authors.

I would highly recommend reading any of Allen’s fabulous books. She is so talented. This book is no exception.

Older Entries Newer Entries

Travel in Retrospect

Geographers don't get lost; they merely explore.

Read Voraciously

Devouring words one page at a time.

Creative-Lee Designed

Getting through life one craft at a time.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

The Original 24 Hour Readathon

stampingwithreneetorres

Independent Stampin' Up! Consultant

My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Attack Of The Quarterlife Crisis

Because suddenly you wake up one day and realize you're an adult

An Unconventional Librarian

Those who are clever, who have a Brain, never understand anything.

November Notebook: A YA Lit Blog

Updated Sundays & Wednesdays

Glenn Hates Books

Brutally Honest Book Reviews

hewriteswords.wordpress.com/

A Writer and His Reading

Michelle Gable, Writer

Fiction and Finance

Words And Peace

Book reviews and good books for you to read

Pages And Tea

Because life is better served with a good book and a cup of tea. Book reviews and general bookish writings. I love many genres, so all manner of books may appear on my blog.

retrohipmama

vintage inspired creativity

Squeakerchimp

Vintage and Retro Emporium