Book Review : Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

About the Book:

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and, in Eleanor’s eyes, impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mixed tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose .. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor and Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

My Thoughts:

This is a story of friendship, life as a teenager and falling in love for the first time. Eleanor is shy and quiet, forced to deal with a crazy step-father and a mother who no longer tries to take the side of her children. She is also the eldest of four siblings and is constantly under scrutiny from the younger ones. We observe her as she navigates her way as the new girl in town and in school. Her life takes an interesting turn when she sits next to Park on the school bus.

The story then follows these two as they start to interact and discover their common interests while developing newer ones. This story is sweet and nostalgic, just like the author promises. It will remind you of the days of forging new friendships, making memories, sharing books and games. However towards the middle of the story, it gets a little slow mostly due to the repeated routines of our main characters. They only seem to be meeting each other everyday, enjoying silent conversations at school and spending time at Park’s home.

A part of the story that I truly enjoyed was when Park’s parents meet and start to accept Eleanor. They include her for dinner and his mother even tries to give her a makeover of sorts. Towards the end, Park’s father, who up until then seemed to dislike him to some extent, also pitches in to help the children, finally accepting that he is proud of who his son has become. It is indeed a story of self-discovery as well since the characters must break out of their comfort zones and find their way. They take decisions that will change their lives at that point and they love unconditionally and without holding back.

All in all, it is a decent read, rather slow, but if you plough through, you will end up with a smile on your face, possibly reminiscent of your own lives.

Book Review: The Photograph by Debbie Rix

A special shout-out to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with this copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Italy, 1958: Rachael is a young widow with a small child. After a lifetime of running for survival, of not knowing who to trust and where to call home, she finds herself in a place of safety. On a sun-drenched Italian island for one carefree summer the troubles of her past fade away and she falls in love. But will Rachael’s new-found happiness bring her further heartache?

England, 2017: Sophie has a handsome husband, a gorgeous house in the English countryside and a successful career as an anthropologist. But the one thing she longs for is a baby of her own. As she struggles to conceive, cracks begin to appear in her marriage. So Sophie throws herself into her work and tries to seek comfort in childhood memories of her beloved grandmother Rachael.

One afternoon, Sophie finds a forgotten letter and an exquisite silk bracelet hidden in Rachael’s old writing desk. Intrigued, she begins to unravel the extraordinary story of her grandmother’s past – and a secret that has the power to change everything…

The Photograph is an utterly beautiful and compelling story of love, loss and a family secret spanning generations.

My Thoughts:

The Photograph is the spell-binding journey of two women, generations apart, and their stories of love, loss and life. The story alternates between Sophie’s life and experiences in the current day, and those of Rachael, almost 60 years ago.

Sophie is dealing with the struggle to conceive, yearning so much for a child that she does not pay much attention to how the people around her are dealing with things. She is a wonderful person at heart, but fails to see how her obsession affects her husband. At the brink of losing her marriage entirely, the husband and wife duo are confronted with a lot of decisions and forced to deal with their emotions. The best part of Sophie’s story is her family, who is her support system, but who also act as voices of reason when required.

More than 60 years ago, Rachael, Sophie’s grandmother loses her own mother, her husband and is forced to flee her home with her father so as not to get caught. In the midst of all this, she finds herself pregnant. As the father-daughter duo’s journey continues west, they end up in England where her father takes up teaching anthropology at the university.

Rachael fills her time and also builds bonds with the owner of the house they are staying at. As time passes, they move to Italy for almost a year so that her father can lead a dig and document the findings. What follows is a life of sun, some laughter and a passionate love that Rachael develops for a local of the island. However, the main part of her story comes from not being able to pursue this relationship and moving back home.

Rachael’s life is filled with a lot of loss and tragedy, but through all this emerges a strong willed woman who raises two children by herself and lives to see her grandchildren grow up. A quiet but dependable presence in their lives, no-one knows that she harbors a strong secret about her life and her son’s.

Sophie, in a bid to connect with her grandmother, while moving her writing desk from the attic to the living room, discovers a false back. This leads to the discovery of a photograph, the very photograph that the title refers to! What follows is a family holiday to Italy where Sophie sets out to discover the truth behind the photograph. This leads Sophie to uncover a deeply hidden truth that would change her mother and uncle’s lives forever.

The story is gripping and will keep the reader hooked until the very end. Set against some amazing backdrops, the authors ensures to describe each place with great detail, it feels as though you are also there. The emotions are many and the reader will experience them all along with the characters. The author brings out the repercussions of keeping secrets but at the same time she shows us the reasoning behind it and how it might have been necessary. Times change, the world changes and so does people’s perception of things. A compelling story, The Photograph is a must read!

Book Review : Circe by Madeline Miller

About the Book:

Circe

From the Orange Prize-winning, internationally bestselling author of The Song of Achilles comes the powerful story of the mythological witch Circe, inspired by Homer’s Odyssey

Chosen as must-read book of 2018 by the Guardian, Independent, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express and Stylist


In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Breathing life into the ancient world, Madeline Miller weaves an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation.

My Thoughts:

This is one of the most talked about books at the moment, trending on every social media site possible. I found out about this book on Instagram and decided to give it a shot. I must say that I was not disappointed.

Circe by Madeline Miller gives us a peek into the lives of the Titans and Olympians as well as that of man. A beautifully written book, the story is told from Circe’s point of view, following her life from birth. In the beginning, the story focuses on the life of the Titans, the pact they have with the Olympians and Circe’s yearning to be accepted and understood. She seems to always be apart from the rest of the household, an enigma.

As time passes, she starts to discover a latent power, sleeping somewhere within her, the power of witchcraft and magic. She discovers that though she is different from her family, she has her own set of strengths. this is a story of self-discovery and along the way we meet a lot of people who help shape how Circe sees herself.

The story is masterfully crafted, introducing us to a number of familiar names at each stage, thus making this story even more enjoyable. It is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time forcing us to experience the journey with Circe. We are not just reading about her, there are many times when the descriptions are so well done that the reader becomes a part of the story, another character. We meet a whole array of people, most of whom you would have heard before, but who are shown through Circe’s eyes in this book, portraying them in a different light. Many incidents and situations are achingly familiar and we do know how it all ends, but we do not know how Circe fits into the sequence and her reactions to it. This book brings out those connections, including a wonderful introduction to Odysseus and the lasting impression he has on Circe’s life.

The beauty of the plot lies in the simplicity with which the story is written and the complexity of the characters involved. The author passes on to us the message that to love oneself is most important and to understand one’s worth. With a lot of emotions involved, the author captures Circe’s thoughts very well, giving us vivid descriptions and glimpses into the worlds beyond. This book is about Circe’s journey as she searches for love, acceptance and deals with motherhood, the challenges she faces and the joy she finds in small things.

I cannot begin to explain how much this book had me hooked, turning page after page just to see where Circe goes and how she deals with her life. I learnt a lot from her, the way she treated people, the way she interacted with them, and in the end, her understanding of her position in the world and in life.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend this book to all those who enjoy fiction and fantasy steeped in mythology.

Cover Reveal: You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction by Ruchi Vasudeva

Title: You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction

Book buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D24ZDHT

Release date: July 18th, 2018

Blurb:

Being devoted to his friends, Zaheer and Vishakha, the couple who helped him find his place in Mumbai, Rihaan is determined to keep Vishakha from worrying about her wild – and now divorced – sister. The logical option is to sweep the troublemaker off her feet to a supposedly romantic weekend getaway. But Saira is gorgeous and infuriating in equal measures. What’s more, she won’t stay slotted under the ‘bad girl’ label he had for her. Can he handle the real Saira?

Saira knows her reputation has preceded her. She shouldn’t care, but Rihaan intrigues her no end. Already, she finds it hard to fight his appeal and maintain a cool distance from the reclusive yet arrestingly attractive scriptwriter. And then she discovers Rihaan has a secret. When the mystery about him unravels, will it tear them apart? At any cost, she cannot risk more heart break…

 

About the Author:

Ruchi Vasudeva is a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and an author by destiny. The writing bug long resided in her till the Passions contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August ’13 with her book ‘Bollywood Fiancé For A Day’. She writes romantic fiction with conflicted characters. She loves to write about spirited heroines getting hurtled out of their daily life as soon as they cross paths with their rather challenging heroes.

Juggling job, writing and family life isn’t something she would recommend to anyone who wants peace and calm but at the end of the day, she finds it very fulfilling. When not bent over the laptop, she might be found with her nose in books or munching nachos at the movies with her husband and two kids or glued to the telecast of Team India in action. Sometimes she drags herself for long walks and surprisingly discovers they are rather good for brewing story ideas. ‘Romance,’ she holds, ‘can feel over-hyped in this day and age but is all too tangible and needed in life on daily basis.’

Author Links:

Twitter

Blog

Extract from the book:

What was it about that cool hauteur that made her want to play with fire?

          ‘Of course, you’re no danger to me in a…’ deliberately she let her gaze run over him. ‘…sexual way, are you?’ He didn’t miss it nor did he miss the insolence she projected. She could see his mouth tighten in controlled annoyance. For a wild minute she wished he’d let loose and the unreasoning thought made her heartbeat pick up.

          ‘Are you trying to challenge me?’ Her heart jumped up at the deep voice laced with mockery. Coward, she derided. Surely she wasn’t frightened of him?

          ‘No challenge for you surely? You can hardly stand the sight of me.’ She reminded him.

           ‘Am I supposed to jump on you in fervent denial of that statement, swearing that I can’t keep my hands off you?’ A dark eyebrow rose. ‘Sorry, but your little game won’t wash, Sehgal.’ Irritatingly he addressed her by her surname again.

           ‘Oh how astute you are, Khehra!’ She widened her eyes. ‘You catch on so fast, guess I’ll have to watch myself more around you.’ She formed a pout, aware of his gaze moving to it, feeling an unreasonable thrill as it did. She must be mad. Or starved of fun. But somehow she couldn’t not try to get a reaction out of that stone monument.

           His eyes narrowed, ‘Whatever you’re trying, I’m not looking for trouble, and I’d advise you not to go poke for it either.’

           ‘So disappointing!’ She shook her head sorrowfully, ‘Here I was getting thrilled to bits we’re going to have this weekend. Just us. Lonesome, twosome.’

*

If you enjoyed the excerpt, do check out the book. It’s available at special pre order discount price right now.

Book Review: Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I was provided with an advance reader’s copy of the book via NetGalley by Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a bittersweet novel about healing old wounds and finding a new place to call home…

Roseanna Chaldecott spent her life as a high-powered lawyer in Manhattan. But when her best friend and law partner dies suddenly, something snaps. Unsure of her future, Roseanna heads upstate on one tank of gas and with no plans to return.

In the foothills of the Adirondacks, Roseanna discovers the perfect hideout in a ramshackle farm. Its seventy-six acres are rich with possibilities and full of surprises, including a mother and daughter squatting on the property. Although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she reluctantly lets them stay.

Roseanna and the young girl begin sculpting junk found around the farm into zoo animals, drawing more newcomers—including her estranged son, Lance. He pleads with Roseanna to return to the city, but she’s finally discovered where she belongs. It may not provide the solitude she originally sought, but her heart has found room for much more.

My Thoughts:

I am thankful to once again have been given the chance to read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s next upcoming novel! Heaven Adjacent teaches us to appreciate the small things in life. It teaches us that it is okay to be scared, everyone is scared, but, there is no need to run from it. It teaches us to trust those around us, to open ourselves up to people and to just be happy with the things we have.

Roseanna, our protagonist, makes the sudden split-second decision to just up and run. She wakes up one morning with the urge to get away from the city, her world and the life she leads. Part of her is grieving due to the loss of her best friend/ law partner and the other part of her is trying to reconcile with the fact that life is too short to waste away without enjoying it. As she drives away in her fancy car without a specific destination in mind, Roseanna lands up somewhere near the Adirondacks where she finds a perfectly acceptable farm.

As she settles and tries to make a home here, she allows a mother and daughter to stay on the premises. Slowly, a few more people happen upon her place, all seemingly in search of paradise or peace. At first Roseanna is irritated by the presence of other people, but as time passes, she starts to accept them. This seems to bug her son when he finally finds out where she is, through a news article about her animals sculpted from the junk around, and comes to convince her to go back. He does not understand her sudden decision and as he starts to spend some time with his mother, the two of them discover things about the other that they never knew or understood before. Talking about their lives, their relationships and who they are, a knew sense of peace and acceptance develops.

This story is one of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Roseanna finds a new kind of peace, a new hobby, and learns to accept the people around her. They all have something to teach her about life and her relationship with her son. This is a heart-warming story that is very well-written and pushes the reader towards introspection. It helps the reader understand that it is okay to want to escape, but don’t be rash about it, and be sure to let in the ones you love. It will make a world of difference. Be open about your thoughts and don’t be afraid to speak up. This is how a person can learn and grow into a better human being.

One again, this new and upcoming novel by author Catherine Ryan Hyde is a must read as it touches upon relevant and relatable topics!

Book Blitz: Mauri by Saiswaroopa Iyer

~ New Release ~
Mauri by Saiswaroopa Iyer

About the Book:

She wanted to kill the man who others called a God.
Love is but an obstacle in her path
 

With her father’s death shattering her world, Mauri is torn away from everything she had once loved. Anger replacing every emotion within her, she seeks only one thing. To kill her father’s killer. Even if the man is none less than Krishna Vaasudeva, the man who people worshipped as a God! Someone stands in the way, reining in her bitterness when she is the least prepared for it. The Rakshasa Prince Ghatotkacha! But by the time love sprouts within her, Mauri has gone too far in her thirst for vengeance. 

Can Mauri save herself and Ghatotkacha before the consequences of her own actions can destroy both their worlds?

 
 
Book Link:
 
Read an Excerpt:
 
“Good aim! But that sorry-looking insult to all weapons is not going to take you very far.”
Mauri jumped out of her skin. The man who had found her out was a complete stranger. A closer look at him told her he was a Rakshasa. Her first instinct was to make a run towards the exit. It would be only a matter of time before this Rakshasa would go and tell Ghatotkacha. Then it struck her that she had never seen this man in Ghatotkacha’s team! Who was he?
“Your secret is safe with me, little one!” He beamed. The broken canine on his upper jaw could not be missed. He took her arm but she shook him off. “Alright! Remember girl, I am your well-wisher.”
“I don’t even know who you are!” Mauri backed away.
“Someone who can protect you from…,” he smirked and pointed to the gap between the two ornate pillars close to where she was hiding, “them”
Mauri peered through the gap. She could count up to six guards furiously searching for the culprit who had dared strike Krishna Vaasudeva. The foolhardy nature of her attempt struck her now. How had she even dreamt of escaping the heavily guarded palace after doing what she’d done?
“Come with me.” He held her arm. “If you want to escape without being seen, that is.” His voice assumed a lower note. “And if you want to get another chance at your target.”
Unsure and still guided by her frustration, Mauri followed him towards a secluded section of the vast palace garden. When she left the place a good couple of hours later, her mind reeled at the task before her. It was too much, what the Rakshasa had asked of her. But she could not have afforded to be caught by the palace guards. Possibly she could have lied about her aim going wrong when she was trying to get some fruit. The news would still have travelled to Dhatri, though, and who knew how she would react? On the other hand, the prospects that this Rakshasa promised, though at great risk, seemed more welcome. Mauri continued to walk in a daze, aimless and unmindful of the maze of paths. A shrill cry calling out to her brought her back to this world.
“Mauri! Where on earth did you disappear?!”Nandini ran up to her, and not very far behind was Dhatri!
For the first time, Mauri found herself tongue-tied, at a loss for explanations. “I…I came with Ghatotkacha. I lost my way.”
“Any guard would have guided you out of this place.” Dhatri’s voice had traces of annoyance. “And why did you not even inform us before leaving?” She sighed as Mauri slipped back into silence again. “I found us a caravan headed eastward. Let us quickly take leave of our hosts and start this afternoon.”
Mauri followed her without a word. She needed to be in Dhatri’s good books. “Mahadevi…after going back to Kamarupa, can I live with you?”
She saw Dhatri halt in her steps and look visibly delighted. She heard Nandini squeal with joy. Neither had a clue of what was going on in her mind.
When they left Indraprastha later in the day, Mauri looked back at the glorious looking arch receding into the distance. She had not taken leave of Ghatotkacha. It would have been nice to see him just one more time!
About the Author:
Formerly an analyst with a Venture capital firm, Saiswaroopa currently writes Puranic fiction, with a focus on lesser known heroines of Ancient India. Mauri is her third work of fiction after Abhaya and Avishi. Her interests include Carnatic Music, Philosophy, History and Literature of India. She won a state level gold medal from TTD in rendering Annamacharya Kritis. She holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.
Contact the Author:
 

 

Book Review: The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr

I was provided with a review copy by Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review. Read on to know what I thought of the book.

About the Book:

The Family Gathering (Sullivan's Crossing #3)

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his elder brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.

When all the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

My Thoughts:

The Family Gathering is the third book in the Sullivan’s Crossing series. It focuses on Dakota, bringing out his story and relationship with his siblings. As complicated as his life has been, we are given glimpses into the past of the siblings’ which helps us understand their personalities. The romance that develops slowly between Dakota and Sid, seems to change both of them slowly, forcing Sid to start trusting again.

The story consists of a number of mini plots, focussing on each of the siblings and their lives at that moment. This takes away the focus from the main plot and reduces the impact of the whole story. Though the characters are developed, some of their personality traits come off as annoying, like how Dakota is initially rather cocky and arrogant and then miraculously he changes. Though the story is a decent read in the romance genre, there seems to be too much happening with no specific plot line being given more importance. Somewhere along the way, we find that Dakota is on a path of self-discovery and understanding, developing a better relationship with his siblings and making the effort to understand them and just be there for them.

I found the book to be alright, not exceptional, but a light read that helps to pass the time.

Book Review: Silver Hollow by Jennifer Silverwood

 


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Silver Hollow
(Borderlands Saga #1)
By Jennifer Silverwood
Urban Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 429 pages
May 31st 2018 by SilverWoodSketches

“I shouldn’t have to tell you this isn’t a fairy story…”

After her parents’ car crash ten years before, Amie Wentworth trusts books more than people. She may be a writer, but she believes in reality over fiction. She ignores the unexplained mysteries surrounding her, never mind the dreams of a past life, or the fact she can fry technology with a touch. Not even a timely invitation from her long-lost uncle in England gives Amie incentive for anything other than ire.

Until she is stabbed in an alley and brought back to life by a handsome stranger. Soon Amie is dragged into the very sort of tale she is used to selling. To make matters worse, the man who saved her life keeps turning up and her would-be-murderer is still at large.

After crossing the Atlantic to her father’s homeland, she discovers a world beyond imagining. Silver Hollow is a place of ancient traditions and supernatural dangers, where everything is the opposite of what it seems and few escape sane. Faced with an impossible choice, Amie is forced to confront a deadly family legacy while remembering a life she soon wishes to forget.

**Previously published in 2012. This NEW EDITION has been FULLY REVISED AND EXPANDED. The original novel is now no longer available.**

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About the Author

Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of two series—Heaven’s Edge and Wylder Tales—and the stand-alone titles Stay and Silver Hollow.

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Tour Schedule

May 21st:
Launch
It’s All About the Romance
Red Pillows
Paulette’s Papers
Reading for the Stars and Moon
May 22nd:
Min Reads and Reviews
Rockin’ Book Reviews
May 23rd:
Hearts & Scribbles
E-Romance News
May 24th:
Mythical Books
The Cozy Reading Corner
K. D. Jones: Epic Fantasy Author
May 25th:
An Indie Adventure
Colorimetry
May 28th:
Jorie Loves A Story
Wishful Endings
May 29th:
Singing Librarian Books
Bri’s Book Nook
May 30th:
Nicole’s Book Musings
Becky on Books
May 31st:
Locks, Hooks and Books
What’s Beyond Forks?
June 1st:
Stacking My Book Shelves!
Ms. J Mentions…
Teatime and Books
Bookworm Lisa
June 2nd: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

PRIZE PACK #1: 1 winner will receive new Silver Hollow swag, themed bookmarks, stickers, bookish themed tote, and B&N Illustrated Hardcover Editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Story of King Arthur & His Knights (US only)

PRIZE PACK #2: 1 winner will receive signed swag (mainly Silver Hollow and Wylder Tales), ebooks of the Wylder Tales Collection, and a free voucher for Bound Beauty to be published later in 2018 (open internationally)

ENDS: June 6th

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My Thoughts:

Silver Hollow is the first in a series that introduces the reader to Amie and a world of magic. This story is well-written and completely UN-put-down able. In fact, I managed to get through this story in a day!

The story follows Amie as she struggles to cope with the death of her parents. She has her best friends and their family to support her as she moves on to become a writer. After ten years, she is once again forced to think of the long-lost uncle who tried to contact her on the day of her parents funeral. What follows is a tale of discovery, finding oneself, acceptance, and finding love. This well-crafted story introduces us to so many characters with whom we cannot help but fall in love. There is so much to learn and love, so much to know, that as a reader you will be left yearning for more.

The bond Amie develops with her uncle and with the man who saved her life, as well as with the various people she meets is both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. How much can you trust a person? How well can you know someone? As secrets are revealed and memories of a past life come to the surface, Amie is faced with decisions that could shape her life and who she is. She discovers the truth about her parents, her friends and this alters her perception of who she is. I especially enjoyed the many references made to some characters of legends like King Arthur, Merlin, Titania and many others. This is a world filled with magic and non-magic, a place where for a long time secrets have been buried. Amie is destined to either fill the void and save everyone or destroy it once and for all.

The story is sprinkled with romance and witty comments, many light-hearted moments that are sure to bring a smile to the readers lips. It is definitely worth the read and is a book that I would recommend in the fantasy-romance section now.

Book Review : Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee

I received a copy of this book from Hideaway Fall, a publishing house based out of UK. This is the second book by author M. Jonathan Lee, that I have had the pleasure to read.

About the Book:

Drift Stumble Fall

The author of five novels, M Jonathan Lee is a tireless mental health awareness campaigner, working closely with organisations including Mind, Time to Change and Rethink and blogs regularly for Huffington Post. Having personally experienced anxiety and depression during his life, Jonathan draws on his experiences to inform his writing.

Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem.

My Thoughts:

All out lives, we human beings, yearn for what we do not have or what others have. We do not stop to appreciate and be happy with what we already have. This behaviour is one thing that seems to contribute to our general state of mental unhappiness. Drift Stumble Fall introduces to us two men and their families. Spread over the course of a few days, the reader is given a brief glimpse into their pasts, as we follow their present routines and lifestyles. A very well-written novel, this acts as a mirror into our lives today and forces the reader to introspect and think about how we are handling our lives.

We meet Richard, who seems to have it all, a lovely wife, two kids, a steady job, and yet, he feels trapped and suffocated with his current choices. The story is set over a few days when there is heavy snowfall that prevents Richard from going out to his job, adding a little more to his sense of feeling trapped. With the idea to get away and start afresh taking shape in his mind, Richard is forced to endure a few days of being snowed in with his family and in-laws around as he lays out his plans to run away. As he looks out of the window at the neighbour’s house, we see a sense of yearning for the simple stress-free life seemingly led by the old couple in the house across. We also meet Richard’s family, his wife who comes across as annoying but is someone who loves him in her own way, his children and his in-laws.

Similarly, we meet Bill, an old man and his wife, who for the past thirty years have been waiting for news of or a sign from their eldest daughter who simply walked out of the house one night and never returned. The only other person in their life is their youngest daughter’s husband, a charming young man who comes in to keep an eye on them and take care of them. Bill is seen constantly looking out of their living room window, sometimes staring out to Richard’s house, a look of longing for the life he sees there, of children, grandchildren, a house filled with people and life.

Everything is not always as it seems and there is definitely more to every story than meets the eye. These are brought out in this story as each man yearns for the other’s life, assuming that it is better. The story is well developed and the characters are easy to relate to. The story starts out slow, introducing us to Richard and his monotonous life and then pulls you in as it progresses. Be prepared to come face to face with the emotions of the characters which in many ways seem to mirror ours and reflect what most of us have thought at some point. As the snow settles, so does the story, with some sad endings and other happier ones. A realization that not all is happy and great on every side dawns on the characters and mainly Richard as he discovers the truth about his neighbours and their life. He is also forced to re-think his plan of running away as he starts to understand that he may not want to give up this life after all.

Drift Stumble Fall is worth every moment spent reading it and in my opinion, it is a must read. It is confusing and sad, with moments of happiness sprinkled about, it is realistic and it brings out the true nature of our minds and our ways of life.

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

About the Book:

The Light Between Oceans

AFTER FOUR HARROWING YEARS ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel.

Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

My Thoughts:

Both heart-warming and heart-wrenching, The Light Between Oceans tells a tale of love, hope, sorrow and how decisions taken affect lives. The story follows Tom Sherbourne’s life as he spends time as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, an island off the coast. Having given up any hope of finding love and peace, Tom is pleasantly surprised to find that Isabel is not only interested in him, but would love to marry him and move to Janus Rock with him.

As the story unfolds, we are first introduced to life on Janus, away from the rest of the world. The beauty of the place and the peace are something to only be wondered about. At first I found it a little difficult to get into the book, but as it progressed, I became engrossed in the lives of our characters and their journey. The author describes in detail the anguish that wrenches through Isabel during her miscarriages, and the emptiness she feels at this loss. This sets the path towards understanding what drives the couple to take certain decisions. At the base of it all is unconditional and deep love.

The child, Lucy/Grace is lively and charming, bringing light to the world and lives of the people she touches. She finds herself torn between the parents who adopt her and her own mother. The strength of the child and how she grows are wonderful to read about. The questions of right and wrong come up as the story unfolds and the truth behind who Lucy’s parents are comes to light. It is all a grey area and the author brings out the actions of people in desperate situations, and shows us how grief comes in many forms. For Isabel it is a result of her miscarriages and stillbirth. For Hannah, it is the loss of her husband and child with no idea of whether they are dead or alive. For Tom, it is the horrors of the war that he has seen that are never far from his mind. Everyone’s idea of redemption is different and we see how each person’s decision affects so many other lives.

As the story progresses, it becomes darker and darker, forcing the reader on an emotional roller coaster until the very end. Who will stand by your side in times of need and who will turn their backs to you? What is the meaning of family. A must read, this story shows us the nature of people when forced into situations and how they act even against people they once knew very well. This story is compelling and gripping until the very last page and I would not be surprised if the reader sheds a tear at some point.