Monday, April 29, 2013

ARC Review: The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: William Morrow and Company
Publishing Date:  April 23rd, 2013
Genre: Adult, Women's Fiction
Pages:  512 pgs
ISBN: 9780062248602
Source: ARC provided from Edelweiss for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Dear Lucy Silchester, You have an appointment for Monday 27th July 2011. Yours sincerely Life.

Lucy Silchester has received an appointment card. Actually, she's been invited along a few times to this appointment, but she keeps brushing the gold embossed envelope under the shag pile carpet. She's taken her eye off the ball and has busied herself with work (a job she doesn't love), helping out friends, fixing her car, feeding her cat, seeing her family and devoting her time to their life dramas. But Lucy is about to find out that this is one appointment that she can't miss. And she can't escape it either. Her Life is about to catch up with her in the most surreal of ways.

My Review: 

Cecelia Ahern books have always been hit or miss with me.  Sometimes they are great while other times I find them to be too predictable.  This book was somewhere in the middle for me. 
It follows the life of Lucy Silchester who is having a difficult time with her life.  She is still pining over her ex and she is apt to tell little white lies that then snowball into insane fictional stories.  This is where she is when her life calls her up and requests a meeting. 
Ahern presents this magical realism and doesn't offer up any convoluted explanations for this but just presents it as a normal part of the story.  I much prefer this to characters in a book just accepting some sort of strange explanation for magical things.  If I know up front about the magic and it's just a part of the world then I am good with it.  I thought the idea was actually pretty cute.  Imagine getting a call from your life when things are a little out of sync.  I could have used a call from my life once or twice. 
Anyhow, I have to admit that while Lucy is a hot mess I couldn't help but she was endearing in so many ways.  She is always looking out for others rather than thinking of herself at times.  I was interested in seeing her grow with a little help from Life. 
I also enjoyed the cast of minor characters in this novel.  The overbearing father, the wacky co-workers, and Lucy's mystery love interest all reveal little details about Lucy's character. 
Something that bothered me about this novel was it's predictability.  It is a love story and so while there are bumps and difficulties along the road you know that inevitably things will all end happily ever after.  It was fun to read and that's why I enjoyed it but I don't think it'll be going on my favourites list. 
I do think that if you are looking for something light and fun to read for the summer or while you're on the beach then this may be just what you are looking for.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WoW: Someday, Someday Maybe

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Summary from Goodreads:

A charming and laugh-out-loud novel by Lauren Graham, beloved star of Parenthood and Gilmore Girls, about an aspiring actress trying to make it in mid-nineties New York City.

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.

 Lauren Graham will forever be Lorelai Gilmore.  I love, love, love that show!  I can't wait to read her first fiction novel.  This book comes out April 30th, 2013.  

Happy Reading! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

ARC Review: The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley

Publisher: Ecco
Publishing Date: April 23rd, 2013
Genre: Adult
Pages: 432 pgs
ISBN: 9780062099440
Source: received from Harper Collins Canada for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is an unconventional and passionately romantic love story that is as breathtaking and wondrous as The Time Traveler's Wife and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

During WWII, teenager Evelyn Roe is sent to manage the family farm in rural North Carolina, where she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier on their property. She rescues him, and it quickly becomes clear he is not a man...and not one of us. The rescued body recovers at an unnatural speed, and just as fast, Evelyn and Adam fall deeply in love. In The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, Rhonda Riley reveals the exhilarating, terrifying mystery inherent in all relationships: No matter how deeply we love someone, and no matter how much we will sacrifice for them, we can only know them so well.


My Review: 

I don't even know where to start with this book if I'm being honest.  I read this book pretty quickly and I enjoyed the writing so much.  This book is like nothing that I have read before.  It has been compared to The Time Traveler's Wife and while I can see some similarities I don't think that this is a fair comparison.  This book is not about time travel but it does have some strange elements to it.  This is the story of Evelyn and Adam and their life together.  It is essentially a love story and spans over their whole lifetime together. 
While this is a love story, it is not your average love story.  Adam is not exactly human and while I don't want to give too much away I have to say that Riley's creativity and originality is what drew me into the story.
I have to admit though that somewhere in the middle I found my mind wondering a little bit.  At times I found the perfection of their relationship a little difficult to believe.  That's not to say there were some major challenges in their relationship but I think at some point I almost wanted to say "I get it, you are deeply in love".  It wasn't so much that I hated the book or even disliked it; it was really just a minor annoyance at times. 
I did find myself emotionally invested in this novel and even found myself crying at times.  As I said the writing is beautiful and the characters are memorable.  Overall this is a good read and I think it's going to be a bestseller.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

WoW: Wedding Night

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Summary from Goodreads:

Lottie is tired of long-term boyfriends who don’t want to commit to marriage. When her old boyfriend Ben reappears and reminds her of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. There will be no dates and no engagement—just a straight wedding march to the altar! Next comes the honeymoon on the Greek island where they first met. But not everyone is thrilled with Lottie and Ben’s rushed marriage, and family and friends are determined to intervene. Will Lottie and Ben have a wedding night to remember or one to forget?

It's Sophie Kinsella, enough said.  This book comes out April 23rd, 2013.  Can't wait! 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Audiobook Review: Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: September 25th, 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Pages: 309 pgs
ISBN:  9781439164686
Source: borrowed from the library

Summary from Goodreads:

From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.

Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.
Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

My Review: 

I really enjoyed both of Genova's other novels Left Neglected and Still Alice so when I heard she had a third book out I was excited to read it.  I immediately bought it in hardcover and then I found that it stayed sitting on my shelf for a little while.  I saw it sitting on the shelves of the library in the audiobook section and thought that this would be a good opportunity to read/listen to this story.  
I have to admit that while I did quite enjoy this novel, I did not enjoy it as much as her other two novels.  I suppose I shouldn't be comparing this book because it is quite different from the other two.  This novel doesn't focus on the neurological as much as her other two novels which isn't a bad thing, just different. 
This novel has two main characters: Beth who is dealing with her husband's infidelity and Olivia who is still trying to grieve the death of her son who had autism.  I really enjoyed reading about autism because I have had a lot of personal experience working with children who have autism.  I have worked with children on various ends of the autism spectrum and I have seen first hand how difficult this can be on a family and a marriage.  I think that Genova wrote honestly and helped bring some awareness on the subject without delving into controversial topics such as vaccinations.  Olivia and Beth's lives mirror each others in many ways.  They both find themselves single in middle age and they both are both trying to reinvent themselves in different ways.  
I really started to feel for both women and I loved seeing them struggle internally with what to do next in their lives.  
The narration of this novel is very well done.  It is read by Debra Messing and she really brought life to the characters.  It flowed well and I found myself enchanted by her voice at times.  I read/listened through this quite quickly and I found myself sitting in the car for several minutes after I had arrived at my destination just to find out what happens next.  Overall this is a very well written book but if you have read Genova's other novels you may find yourself slightly disappointed.  I think that if you haven't read anything by Genova this is a good place to start.   

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WoW: Fly Away

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Summary from Goodreads:

Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . .

Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate--to be there for Kate’s children--but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.

Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Dorothy Hart--the woman who once called herself Cloud--is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another--and maybe a miracle--to transform their lives.

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness.

I read Firefly Lane last year and I have to say that it made me cry like a baby.  Who doesn't like a little cry?  I can't wait for this book to come out April 23rd, 2013.  I hope it's just as good as the first book. 
Happy Reading!  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Before I Was a Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's edition is to make a list of books that were your favourite before you were a blogger.  Before I got into blogging I rarely, if ever, read YA fiction so my list will be all adult novels.  Some are books I read for pleasure and others I read for class.  Enjoy.

 Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai- I read this for my Gay Literature class at York University.  It is about a homosexual boy coming of age in a war torn country. Excellent read.

The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman- I also read this one for class.  I read it in my Neo-Victorian Literature class and it is about a young girl who is a prostitute.  It is full of weird medical history, grave robbing and sexuality. 

 Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald- I read this book when I was in high school and it was absolutely stunning.  There are a few disturbing parts but it is so well written.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood- I read this one for fun and it is a great dystopian read.  I mean it's Margaret Atwood so it's gotta be good. 

 Jack Maggs by Peter Carey- This was another one from my Neo-Victorian Literature class.  It is a re-telling of Great Expectations by Dickens and it is very well written. 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini- If you haven't heard of this book you must be living under a rock.  Great read about a boy growing up in Afghanistan.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- Another great historical read. 

Life of Pi by Yann Martel- This was just turned into a movie which lived up to the books standards.  Definitely read the book before seeing the movie. 

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger- Loved the book, not the movie.  It was really well done and had me crying. 

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart- I read this book for my Canadian Literature class and I absolutely adored it.  It tells some Canadian history and it also shows humanity in a great way.
While adult fiction may not be something that you normally read, if you get a chance I hope that you can try one or two of these out because they are so well written and they are all beautiful stories.

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publishing Date: March 21st, 2013
Genre: YA, Mystery, Contemporary
Pages: 354 pgs
ISBN: 9780525423409
Source: Borrowed ARC from a fellow blogger

**This review may contain spoilers- read at your own risk!***

Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.

My Review: 

I was very excited for this book and when I got my hands on it, it took me no less than a day to complete it.  This is my first Nova Ren Suma book and I have to say I quite enjoyed it.  This book is about a girl who has just turned 17 and begins seeing ghosts of the people who have gone missing during their 18th year of life.  The book starts out with the focus on one ghost and Lauren is trying to piece together what happened to this young woman.  She feels like she can't tell anyone about what she is seeing and therefore keeps everything a secret.  
At first I really enjoyed the ghost story and the mystery behind the disappearance of a young girl from her summer camp.  Then things began to get really jumbled really quickly.  Lauren begins seeing more and more ghosts and their stories begin to get more and more vague.  I started to suspect that this novel wasn't quite what it was made out to be.  I began to suspect schizophrenia and my suspicions were confirmed.  
I love that Suma writes through the mind of LaurenThe deeper and deeper Lauren gets into her schizophrenia the more frantic and confused the writing becomes.  It gets a little difficult to follow but I don't think this is a bad thing. I think that it reflects the feelings of the main character and I really applaud her for trying to write something so difficult.  
I love that Suma is bringing light something that is often swept under the rug.  She tries to make you feel for someone with a mental illness and I think she gets is bang on.  
I also like the way that the book ties things up.  It ties up the mystery behind the first ghost that we are shown and I really like that we weren't just left in the lurch.  So while Lauren has schizophrenia, we are left wondering if some of it has some truth to it because she figured out the mystery of the ghost.  Overall I quite enjoyed this book and I think that many of you will too.  Pick it up if you get a chance.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

ARC Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Poppy
Publishing Date: April 2nd, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 416 pgs
ISBN: 9780316212823
Source: Borrowed ARC from a friend

Summary from Goodreads:
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?


My Review: 

One word that comes to mind when I think of describing this book is cute.  For me this is just the thing I needed to read at this juncture in my life.  Things at home have been fairly stressful and so I needed something light and something fun.  This book is exactly what I was looking for. 
After reading The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I was excited with I heard Jennifer E. Smith had written a new book.  Her first novel was very sweet and her characters were memorable.  I was a little worried that this second novel wouldn't live up to my expectations because the first book was so good.  All my worries were washed away when I started reading this novel. 
It is a love story between Graham and Ellie.  They meet accidentally via e-mail and to Ellie's surprise her e-mail correspondent is actually a famous movie heartthrob.  As most good love stories go, things get a little complicated. 
I really enjoy the characters in this book, including the secondary characters.  Ellie's mom was both quite supportive and infuriating all at the same time.  I had a hard time with her because she let her own past experiences colour the way she reacts to Ellie and Graham.  I felt like it caused Ellie and Graham to miss some valuable time together.  This is really just a very minor irritant and if that's the only thing I have to say negative about this book then I'm okay with that. 
I read this book over the course of a day and I really couldn't put this down.  I would suggest running to the store to get it if you need a feel good type of book.