Friday, December 19, 2014

{Blog Hop} First Line Friday #6


First lines of novels can capture your attention, give you a clue to the character's past or present, set the stage for the entire novel, or more. First lines are extremely important and have a great responsibility. With that in mind, we'd like to welcome you to First Line Friday.

Please use the Linky List below to link your First Line Friday post so others can check out your blog.

Lupe's Read
The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand.


Charlene's Read
My brother was the one constant in my life until John du Pont murdered him.

Monday, December 15, 2014

{Review} SILVER BAY by Jojo Moyes

ISBN #: 978-0143126485
Page Count: 384
Copyright: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Books


Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Liza McCullen will never fully escape her past. But the unspoiled beaches and tight-knit community of Silver Bay offer the freedom and safety she craves—if not for herself, then for her young daughter, Hannah. That is, until Mike Dormer arrives as a guest in her aunt’s hotel.

The mild-mannered Englishman with his too-smart clothes and distracting eyes could destroy everything Liza has worked so hard to protect: not only the family business and the bay that harbors her beloved whales, but also her conviction that she will never love—never deserve to love—again.

For his part, Mike Dormer is expecting just another business deal—an easy job kick-starting a resort in a small seaside town ripe for development. But he finds that he doesn’t quite know what to make of the eccentric inhabitants of the ramshackle Silver Bay Hotel, especially not enigmatic Liza McCullen, and their claim to the surrounding waters. As the development begins to take on a momentum of its own, Mike’s and Liza’s worlds collide in this hugely affecting and irresistible tale full of Jojo Moyes’s signature humor and generosity.


Mandy's Review:

My first foray into Moyes' writing style was when I read Me Before You and it wrenched my heart. Silver Bay affected me in a similar way.

Mike's analytical personality results from a childhood where he witnessed his father losing the family's wealth by one bad decision. Mike rarely makes a decision based on feelings. Instead, he looks at all options, facts, and figures. So when his property investment company looks for a new place to build a new hotel getaway, Mike analytically determines that Silver Bay would be the best option.

Liz considers Silver Bay her sanctuary. It's the place she came to in order to escape her life and the horrible incident precursoring her arrival. Hannah, Liz's daughter, doesn't understand why she's not allowed to leave the Silver Bay area. Unfortunately, it's not something Liz or Kathleen, Liz's aunt, knows how to explain to Hannah. In order to further protect herself, Liz keeps her distance when it comes to the opposite sex. Giving her heart over to someone who could further hurt her is not something she's interested in.

Mike and Liz are only two people in a love triangle. There's also Greg, who has thought, if he's patient enough, he's had a chance with Liz for the past few years. Kathleen's been running from love in the form of the lovably persistent Nino Gaines, which makes me wonder if this is a family trait.

Silver Bay is a lovely novel. The characters are complex enough to give them dimension without being so dense that you cannot understand them. I rooted for Mike and Liz the entire novel and cried for them towards the end. Yes, I cried. I seem to do that with Ms. Moyes' novels. They offer a wide range of emotions with characters believable enough to be based on people you already know. I would recommend this novel to all you romantics out there.


*A paperback copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

{Review} AUNTY LEE'S DEADLY SPECIALS by Ovidia Yu

ISBN #: 978-0062338327
Page Count: 384
Copyright: September 30, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original Edition


Description:
(Taken from back cover)

Few know more about what goes on in Singapore than Aunty Lee. When a scandal over illegal organ donation makes news, she already has a list of suspects. There’s no time to snoop, though—Aunty Lee’s Delights is catering a brunch for local socialites Henry and Mabel Sung.

Rumor has it that the Sung’s fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sung’s house, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is the guesthouse in the garden locked up - and what’s inside? Where is the missing guest of honor?

Then, Mabel Sung and her son, Leonard, are found dead. The authorities blame it on Aunty Lee’s special stewed chicken with buah keluak, a local black nut that can be poisonous if cooked improperly. She’s certain the deaths are murder—and that they’re somehow linked to the organ donor scandal. To save her business and her reputation, she’s got to prove it—and unmask a dangerous killer.


Charlene's Review:

Aunty Lee is back, and as fastidious as ever, as she minds her small restaurant that caters to local Singaporean dishes. Never too busy to keep up on the local news, she finds herself in the middle of another mystery, and this time, her reputation and livelihood is at stake. She is being accused of murder but she is sure there is more to the story than meets the eye. Aunty Lee embarks on a plan to find the link between the murder, a mysterious prayer group, and illegal organ transplants, and clear her good name forever.

As the second in the Aunty Lee series, I was delighted to review Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials.

Aunty Lee is a force to be reckoned with, and nothing stops her from finding the truth. She, along with her helper, Nina, and a slew of lively characters make this an enjoyable story. Reminiscent of many mysteries, Aunty Lee always seems to land smack in the middle of murder. Her tenacity and personality make the storyline stick together, as she is a most formidable and stubborn sleuth.

There is nothing heavy, or dark in this series. Aunty Lee mysteries are light and often times comical, focusing more on the antics of the amateur detective than the actual deeds. Adding to the richness of the story, Ovidia Yu depicts a culture and world vastly different than ours here in America, especially as it relates to Aunty Lee’s old-world ways. I’m not sure I’d be game to try some of Aunty Lee’s recipes, but I would definitely love to see more books in this series.


*A physical copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

{U.S. Giveaway} THE NOVEL CURE: FROM ABANDONMENT TO ZESTLESSNESS: 751 BOOKS TO CURE WHAT AILS YOU by Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin

ISBN #: 978-0143125938
Page Count: 432
Release Date: December 30, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Books
We are so excited to be able to present you with this giveaway, sponsored by Penguin Books!!!

A novel is a story transmitted from the novelist to the reader. It offers distraction, entertainment, and an opportunity to unwind or focus. But it can also be something more powerful—a way to learn about how to live. Read at the right moment in your life, a novel can—quite literally—change it.

The Novel Cure is a reminder of that power. To create this apothecary, the authors have trawled two thousand years of literature for novels that effectively promote happiness, health, and sanity, written by brilliant minds who knew what it meant to be human and wrote their life lessons into their fiction. Structured like a reference book, readers simply look up their ailment, be it agoraphobia, boredom, or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote. Bibliotherapy does not discriminate between pains of the body and pains of the head (or heart). Aware that you’ve been cowardly? Pick up To Kill a Mockingbird for an injection of courage. Experiencing a sudden, acute fear of death? Read One Hundred Years of Solitude for some perspective on the larger cycle of life. Nervous about throwing a dinner party? Ali Smith’s There but for The will convince you that yours could never go that wrong. Whatever your condition, the prescription is simple: a novel (or two), to be read at regular intervals and in nice long chunks until you finish. Some treatments will lead to a complete cure. Others will offer solace, showing that you’re not the first to experience these emotions. The Novel Cure is also peppered with useful lists and sidebars recommending the best novels to read when you’re stuck in traffic or can’t fall asleep, the most important novels to read during every decade of life, and many more.

Brilliant in concept and deeply satisfying in execution, The Novel Cure belongs on everyone’s bookshelf and in every medicine cabinet. It will make even the most well-read fiction aficionado pick up a novel he’s never heard of, and see familiar ones with new eyes. Mostly, it will reaffirm literature’s ability to distract and transport, to resonate and reassure, to change the way we see the world and our place in it.


Giveaway Details:

First ... Doesn't this novel sound AWESOME?! We think so.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below, with your email address, letting us know which novel would cure a specific ailment of your choosing. For example, Mandy's cure for someone suffering from Wiccaphobia (the fear of witches) would be to recommend The Penguin Book of Witches because it gives a knowledgeable and historical account of witchcraft and the witch trials. It would help the person to view a witch as a person and not someone to be feared.

The giveaway will be open until December 17th. The winner must be a U.S. resident and will be chosen/notified on 12/18. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen in their place.

Be creative and let's have some fun!!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

{Blog Hop} First Line Friday #5


First lines of novels can capture your attention, give you a clue to the character's past or present, set the stage for the entire novel, or more. First lines are extremely important and have a great responsibility. With that in mind, we'd like to welcome you to First Line Friday.

Please use the Linky List below to link your First Line Friday post so others can check out your blog. We want to see your First Lines!!!


Charlene's Read
He knows who I am.


Mandy's Read
There is a pair of linked questions at the heart of this book: Where does Homer come from? And why does Homer matter?


Lupe's Read
In the second millennium B.C., while the Elam nation was developing a civilization alongside Babylon, Indo-European invaders gave their name to the immense Iranian plateau where they settled.

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