Book Review: The Girl in the Corner by Amanda Prowse

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley and the review below is my honest opinion.

About the Book:

The Girl in the Corner

From bestselling author Amanda Prowse comes the poignant tale of a woman who has always been there for her family. But will they be there for her?

Rae-Valentine and Howard were childhood sweethearts. They’ve shared twenty-five peaceful years since they were brought together by Dolly, Howard’s larger-than-life sister. But now, on the night of their wedding anniversary, Howard reveals a shocking betrayal that leaves Rae reeling.

Heartbroken, she takes Dolly on her would-be anniversary trip to Antigua and the two women drink and dance and talk like they haven’t in years. But in the break from real life, Rae realises her choices have always been made for her, and suddenly she’s questioning not only her fragile marriage but also her one-sided friendships. Is she really the pushover everyone else sees?

When Howard comes looking for reconciliation, Rae has a choice to make: keep the peace, as she always has, or put herself first for once and find out who she really is.

My thoughts:

The Girl in the Corner follows Rae-Valentine’s life and journey towards self-discovery. The entire first half of the story gives us a taste of her seemingly perfect life, perfect friendship and perfect relationships. She married her childhood-sweetheart and they have been together for twenty-five years, bringing up their two children, spending time with family and just living life.

However, when Howard reveals the truth of an affair, Rae-Valentine is forced to reassess her life and the decisions which led her to where she is today. As she tries to reconcile the facts in her head, she is forced to deal with her issues with her sister and she starts to question her friendship with Dolly, Howard’s sister. With time away, a lot of introspection mixed with Dolly’s persistent attempts to push her opinion on her friend, Rae-Valentine starts to realize that a lot of her life decisions seem to have been made for her. Things just fell into place and she never questioned them. She changed her goals based on her family’s ideas, then her life moved to revolve around Howard and her children. In the end, she starts to question which decision was really hers and where she is going with her life.

As everything comes crashing down, she realizes that sometimes you just have to seize the moment and do things for yourself, otherwise you get lost in the chaos of other people’s choices. When the betrayal strikes hard, it brings things into perspective and cause her to re-evaluate her life. The crux of the story is in her decisions and how she handles things in the end. Will she forgive Howard or will she move on from him after being together for so long?

At times the story seems slow and some parts repetitive in the thought, but overall, this is an interesting read with a pertinent message for all.

Book Review: Prejudice Meets Pride (Meet Your Match #1) by Rachael Anderson

About the Book:

Prejudice Meets Pride (Meet Your Match, #1)

After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn’t afraid to show him that he doesn’t. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

My Thoughts:

After keeping this book on my to read list for a very long time (at least 5 years), I finally got around to reading it! It is a fun and simple story filled with a lot of entertaining moments. Prejudice meets Pride follows Emma as she moves to Colorado Springs having just taken custody of her two nieces. Learning to be a parent to them, she welcomes the help of her neighbours except for that of Kevin Grantham. What ensues is a clashing of wills as Emma tries to prove that she can handle things by herself and that she can be independent, while Kevin tries to be a gentleman and help out this confusing woman.

A typical clash between two stubborn people, sows seeds of romance as Emma grudgingly learns to trust Kevin and accept his presence while he learns to accept someone who stands up to him and has a mind of their own. Emma needs to learn to trust and Kevin is the person to teach her that. As the story progresses, it is one disaster after another until the two main characters just learn to accept that they need to work together and just maybe love is in the air!

This is a lovely book of self-discovery, family, parenting and of finding love in the most unlikely of places and in the unlikeliest person. This is a wonderfully light read and the characters are delightful though a little unrealistic at times. But sometimes, all a reader wants is a perfect ending and happiness! This story delivers it all!

Book Review: Just After Midnight by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I was offered a chance to review this book via Lake Union Publishing and thus received a copy via NetGalley. I had planned to finish reading the book before it’s release in early December, but due to my busy work schedules, I have not been able to devote a lot of time to my book reviews.

Nevertheless, I managed to read this wonderful book, and you can read my review below.

About the Book:

Just After Midnight

From the New York Times bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes an uplifting and poignant novel about friendship, trust, and facing your fears.

No longer tolerating her husband’s borderline abuse, Faith escapes to her parents’ California beach house to plan her next move. She never dreamed her new chapter would involve befriending Sarah, a fourteen-year-old on the run from her father and reeling from her mother’s sudden and suspicious death.

While Sarah’s grandmother scrambles to get custody, Faith is charged with spiriting the girl away on a journey that will restore her hope: Sarah implores Faith to take her to Falkner’s Midnight Sun, the prized black mare that her father sold out from under her. Sarah shares an unbreakable bond with Midnight and can’t bear to be apart from her. Throughout the sweltering summer, as they follow Midnight from show to show, Sarah comes to terms with what she witnessed on the terrible night her mother died.

But the journey is far from over. Faith must learn the value of trusting her instincts—and realize that the key to her future, and Sarah’s, is in her hands.

My Thoughts:

Just After Midnight tells us the story of two women, one who is running away from an abusive marriage and the other of a fourteen year old girl, running away from her father. The story follows their journey from when they meet, showing us how a bond forms between them and how they lean on each other to sort through all their emotions. This story follows Faith and Sarah as they go on a journey together. Faith is charged with taking care of Sarah by her grandmother who is fighting for custody of the child. Sarah’s mother is dead and she is on the run from her father. While spending time with each other, Faith learns to trust again thanks to Sarah and Sarah learns to open up and enjoy as a child again.

The two main protagonists go on a journey to find Sarah’s prized black mare, with whom Sarah shares a very strong bond. As they find their way there, the journey turns into one of self discovery and understanding of the other. They are forced to navigate through the layers of their emotions and slowly, Sarah reveals the truth behind her mother’s death and what she witnessed. With the bond between these two stronger than ever, Faith reaches the point where she chooses to stand up to her husband as well as defend and protect Sarah.

A very well-written story, this book will take the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride. Be prepared to be amazed at the bond Faith shares with her horse, the love, care and mutual adoration. The author has beautifully described this bond and this will make the reader love the characters even more. They are real, believable and relatable. The problems they face and the hurdles they encounter will pull you in and keep you there until the very end.

This griping novel is well worth the read!

Book Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

About the Book:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

 New York Times bestseller!

Has everything you’d want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale.” – Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

“Absolutely spellbinding.” – Stephanie Garber, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My thoughts:

It is very easy to tell someone that the only way to break a curse is to fall in love. However, what people do not tell and this is the main catch, is that it is not so easy to fall in love.

This is the problem that Prince Rhen of Emberfall is facing. Having made one mistake in his youth, he is cursed to relive the eighteenth year of his life again and again and again. What was his mistake you may wonder? He courted an enchantress and cast her away. Spurned due to this and seeking revenge, she curses him. The curse can only be lifted when he finds true love.

Doesn’t this sound like a typical fairy tale but with the roles reversed? The prince has to find his princess. However, nothing is as easy as this explanation and this is not just any fairytale. In this new age re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast, the author brings to us a new age spin on things. Once the curse begins, the prince has the duration of the autumn season to find his true love. If that doesn’t happen, he turns into a monster and becomes quite dangerous.

The author brings to us a tale of sorrow and grief that is hidden behind the walls of the castle and unknown to the people of the kingdom. The only story that the people know is that their king seems to have abandoned them. The Prince’s guard is the only other person around and the only one granted with the ability to move from this time/place to the present day Earth and bring back girls for the Prince to court.

During one such situation, we are introduced to Harper. Harper witnesses a kind of kidnapping and tried to stop it. It is in this situation that she is brought back to Rhen’s world. The author then brings to us a wonderful tale of friendship, loyalty and eventually love. The characters are well developed and you cannot help but fall in love with them and their story. If I continue to write more, I will only gush about the story and reveal all the plot twists. To avoid that I will stop here and conclude.

A very well thought out book, this is a must read for all! I cannot wait for Book 2 and I am sure most of you will feel the same.

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 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.

Book Review: The Way We Were by Sinéad Moriarty

I was approved a copy of the book via NetGalley. Read on to know what I thought of it.

About the Book:

The Way We Were

Being a good mother is doing the right thing. But sometimes the right thing is not so clear.

When Alice’s husband Ben dies suddenly, her world falls apart. They shared twenty years and two daughters and life without him is unimaginable.

Having lost her parents while young, Alice understands her girls’ pain. At fifteen, Jools is at that awkward age and only Ben could get through to her. And eleven-year-old Holly looks for the answer to everything in books but this time she’s drawing a blank. Alice realizes that for their sakes she must summon up superhuman reserves of strength.

Somehow all three of them come through the dark days. In time, it’s even possible for Alice to consider marrying again, with the girls’ blessing. So when Ben turns up after three years, her world is again turned upside-down. The girls assume that their family can go back to the way they were. Alice is not so sure.

Once more Alice has to find the strength to be the mother her daughters need her to be. But this time what that means is far from clear …

My thoughts:

The Way We Were, is the story of a mother, a wife, a woman, as she strives to make everyone around her happy, to do the right thing as she sees it. Alice, our protagonist is juggling life as a General Practitioner and a mother. She has the support of her brother and throughout the book, it is wonderful to see how close the siblings are. Her relationship with Ben is just normal, the way most couples are, until it seems as though Ben is going through a mid-life crisis.

The author starts off by introducing the characters to us, describing their lives from day to day to give us a sense of who they are. Then slowly, the plot thickens with Ben taking an assignment to operate in Africa. He takes this as his opportunity to find meaning in his work and to do something more. Alice, having gone through the trauma of losing her parents, lives in constant fear of losing those close to her. The author manages to bring out the emotions and thoughts of the characters through this period and highlights the decisions they are forced to take. The children, Jools and Holly are polar opposites, and we follow their journey of understanding, acceptance and growth in this book as well.

As the story progresses, Alice receives a call that leaves the whole family in shock and mourning. Ben is dead. It is an unimaginable situation for the characters and the reader can feel their pain and emotions. The shock and horror of the situation and the need for Alice to stay strong for her children are key parts of the plot. The author describes the situations and how the children react. How they slowly come together as a family to support each other. How each one deals with the grief of losing a loved one. As time progresses, they slowly accept and move a little forward with their lives, to the extent that Alice starts seeing someone and the girls really like him.

Now imagine the characters’ shock when on the day of announcing her engagement again, Alice receives a call from Ben, her supposedly dead husband saying that he is alive and coming back, after three whole years. Is it possible to go back to the way things were? Is it possible to accept that things have changed, the people have changed and still live together? So many questions arise and form the crux of the later part of the book. The fact that Alice is willing to try everything to keep her marriage together, mainly for the sake of her children shows a deep sense of character. Though there were many times I wondered why something was happening, it all came together in the end. Ben’s way of wooing his wife and showing her what she was missing felt a little over the top and too easy for me.

The issues brought out are something many people can relate to (with respect to mid-life crisis and teenage years). The love between two people and the effort needed to keep a relationship alive, the sacrifices and compromises are portrayed well. The journey towards acceptance and healing is a long one, but is worth it in the end, if the effort is spent by all.

The story is well written and worth a read.

Love Warrior : A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton

About the Book:

The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage.

Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out—three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list—her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.

Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another – and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, fall in love.

Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.

My Thoughts:

I came across this book on the Oprah’s Book Club group on Goodreads. The synopsis was compelling and being someone’s true life story, I felt the need to pick this book up and read it. I was into it from the moment I started reading and didn’t put it down until I completed reading it.

Glennon talks about finding herself when she hits rock bottom, how at each stage she is pulled down and tries to come up. She speaks so openly about her thoughts and emotions. She talks about finding God and how she keeps the faith. A raw approach to everything she has faced, written down so openly, it puts a lot of things in perspective. This book is not only for married couples, but for everyone who feel that they have lost their way. Through Glennon’s journey we learn of loving oneself, trusting in oneself and then learning to be comfortable with who we are.

This memoir, teaches us all to be warriors. We can all do it, even when one hits rock bottom, one can only go upwards from there. The writing is wonderful and through this, Glennon expresses deep emotions, sharing a lot of her experiences with us. The memoir will pull the reader into it, making us experience every single emotion that the author did, and at the end, it will spit the reader out, a different person. The entire book will touch you in ways you will not expect and is worth the time spent reading.

Bottom-line: Stay strong and stay positive. Things will work out in the end.

A Miracle! – A Poem

Once again this is something I had written a long time ago and I thought that it was time to share it on the blog. Hope you all like it! 🙂

x———————————————————x

Pain coursed through his body,
Like the aftershocks of an earthquake,
He lost all hope,
And the will to fight.
Death, he welcomed with open arms,
An air of calm acceptance,
Death was inevitable he thought,
The alternatives not considered.
Her frustration grew,
As she searched for flaws,
In life’s plan for him.
She knew there was hope,
She believed and trusted,
But the wait killed something inside her,
Letting lose her tears,
Which soothed his pain like a balm,
And brought him back from limbo.
She’d saved him!
With her love came trust
And his will to live….
A miracle!

Book Review: Here to Stay by Suanne Laqueur

Here to Stay is the sequel to The Man I Love. The book is set for release in January 2016. I was provide with an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have also had the pleasure of reading The Man I love and it’s parallel narrative in Daisy’s POV: Give me your answer true.

Here to Stay (The Fish Tales, #3)

About the Book:

“You can’t sort of do this, Fish. Draw a line and get on one side or the other…”

Love is never so sweet as when it receives a second chance. In the sequel to the award-winning novel The Man I Love, Suanne Laqueur continues the story of Erik Fiskare’s romance with Daisy Bianco. Though separated for twelve years, the extraordinary bond they forged in their youth has endured. Now reconciled and committed as adults, they begin to create a new life together.

Laqueur crafts a new journey that stretches into both the future and the past. Erik’s passionate, soulful love for Daisy continues to evolve and be tested. His friendship with Will Kaeger grows deeper and more complex. And unexpected contact with his Fiskare cousins offers insight to the cruel childhood desertion that shaped Erik as an adult. With Daisy at his side, he travels back to his hometown to explore fragile memories, meet his people and learn about the charms on his signature, heirloom necklace.

All these relationships will prove invaluable when Erik faces his greatest challenge as a son, a husband and a father. Once he walked away from everything he loved. But now he is here to stay.

My Thoughts:

*Spoiler alert*

For those of you who have not read the first book, some things mentioned throughout the review may be treated as small spoilers, but I promise to avoid any direct references to events in this story.

Here to Stay continues where The Man I Love left off. Erik finally returns to face his past and apologises to Daisy. They start working on their relationship and Erik also focuses on his relationship with his friends and family. Many references are made to the past and all the events that led up to the current situation. Thus it is indeed necessary to read The Man I Love before reading this. Note: It is not necessary but is a plus if Give Me Your Answer True is also read before this.

The story is filled with strong, raw emotion expressed beautifully in a style that one will understand and associate with Suanne. The reader will be drawn in as the journey continues and there will not come a moment when the reader will want to stop.

Though this story goes at a slightly slower pace than the first one, it gives the feeling that everything has settled down and hence the pace of the story also seems to be in tune with the tone.

This entire story is an emotional roller-coaster that portrays a deep romance that some say is the kind that are meant to be or the made for each other stuff. I know it can be hard to believe or digest but the author convinces us that fairy-tales can be true and that we can all have our stories as long as there is belief and trust.

A lot can be learnt about relationships and how fragile they are as well as the thin line between trust and betrayal. The focus is on finding oneself even after everything that happens and learning to forgive and move on.

A great story and a wonderfully written book that will tear at your heartstrings and move you to tears! This is for all the romantics out there showing that this kind of love does exist. This is also a must read for every person, to understand that there will be a lot of ups and downs in life, but the most important thing is to hold on to your family and friends and open up about one’s thoughts and feelings.

I would like to end my review here. If I continue writing I will just keep going on and on like a broken record, trying to stress on how much I have enjoyed this sequel. I hope you all decide to read these books too.