Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Red Sari

Javier Moro

A transfixing novel about the Nehru-Gandhi family, told through the story of Sonia Gandhi, an Italian from modest origins who becomes one of the world’s most powerful women

In 1965 Sonia Maino, a nineteen-year-old Italian student, meets a young Indian man named Rajiv Gandhi. She is the daughter of a humble family near Turin; he comes from the most powerful lineage in India. It is the beginning of a love story that not even death can end. In the name of love, Maino leaves her past to blend in with her expansive new country, India, which worships twenty million gods, speaks eight hundred languages, and votes for five hundred political parties. Her courage, integrity, and devotion will turn her into a revered and beloved figure.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

This is the historical fiction story of Sonia Gandhi. Sonia was a nineteen year old, born and raised in Italy when she met Rajiv Gandhi, the son of Indira Gandhi. They fall in love and marry. When Indira was assassinated in 1984, Rajiv became Prime Minister. When he was assassinated, Sonia originally wanted to stay out of politics. She subsequently changed her mind and became President of the Congress Party.

Wow - what a story! Sonia’s transition from a shy Italian teenager to the leader of the Congress Party is really quite amazing. What I enjoyed the most was reading about the history, culture and traditions of India. The author has a wonderful way of providing detail while making the story enjoyable.

Many thanks to Open Road Integrated Media, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Wonder of All Things

Jason Mott



On the heels of his critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Returned, Jason Mott delivers a spellbinding tale of love and sacrifice

On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators. After the dust clears, a thirteen-year-old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash. He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds disappear.

Ava has an unusual gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. Now the whole world knows, and suddenly people from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to catch a glimpse of The Miracle Child. But Ava's unique ability comes at a great cost, and as she grows weaker with each healing, she soon finds herself having to decide just how much she's willing to give up in order to save the ones she loves most.

Elegantly written, deeply intimate and emotionally astute, The Wonder of All Things is an unforgettable story and a poignant reminder of life's extraordinary gifts. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Thirteen year old Ava is a healer. The only problem is, each time she heals someone, it takes a great toll on her physically. As a result of using her “gift” she is constantly cold and losing weight. Sometimes she is unconscious for several days.

This story brought up an interesting ethical dilemma. Should Ava be forced to use her gift, even if it brings her harm? If your loved one was sick and dying, would healing them at the expense of another matter?

I thought this was an interesting story line - simply told yet very thought provoking. The author let’s us in on each character’s inner thinking - how they feel about Ava’s gift and how it should or shouldn’t be used. It was hard not to worry about young Ava. She wants to help the people she loves, but she also understands the harm it will bring her.

This is the second book by Jason Mott and I am fortunate to have read both. He writes with heart and tells unique stories. I look forward to more stories from this very talented writer.
My thanks to Harlequin, via Netgalley, for allowing me to win this in exchange for an unbiased review.



 

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Children Act

Ian McEwan



Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. She is fiercely intelligent, well respected, and deeply immersed in the nuances of her particular field of law. Often the outcome of a case seems simple from the outside, the course of action to ensure a child's welfare obvious. But the law requires more rigor than mere pragmatism, and Fiona is expert in considering the sensitivities of culture and religion when handing down her verdicts.
But Fiona's professional success belies domestic strife. Her husband, Jack, asks her to consider an open marriage and, after an argument, moves out of their house. His departure leaves her adrift, wondering whether it was not love she had lost so much as a modern form of respectability; whether it was not contempt and ostracism she really fears. She decides to throw herself into her work, especially a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses. But Jack doesn't leave her thoughts, and the pressure to resolve the case—as well as her crumbling marriage—tests Fiona in ways that will keep readers thoroughly enthralled until the last stunning page (from Netgalley)



My Thoughts

Fiona Maye is a judge in family court. Her rulings frequently have significant impact on the families involved. One of her cases involves a young teenage boy in need of a blood transfusion as part of his treatment for leukemia. He is a Jehovah’s Witness, a religion that does not condone blood transfusions. Fiona must rule for the hospital, who want to force the young teenager to get the transfusion, or the boy and his family who say they do not want him to receive the transfusion. In the meantime, Fiona is dealing with an issue in her personal life regarding her marriage.

Her decision in the Jehovah’s Witness case has repercussions far beyond what anyone could imagine. This impacts how she sees her marriage and ends up dealing with her husband.

As I have found with other books by Mr. McEwan, his writing is succinct yet descriptive. The Children Act is totally based on Fiona - her thoughts, her feelings and her reactions. What at first glance appears to be a simple story actually turns into an intricately detailed account of one woman’s struggle through a life changing event. The writing is straightforward with not much fluff. Mr. McEwan pulls this off quite well. He is rapidly moving up my list of favorite authors.

Many thanks to Doubleday Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

You

Caroline Kepnes

Love hurts…

When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams.

Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect fa├žade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

This a story about stalking, told from the perspective of the stalker.

At the very beginning I was really struggling with this book. I did not like Joe - he was just too weird, too cocky, too into himself. Then, something happened (I can’t tell) that made me want to continue reading. THEN, when it did not end the way I thought it should have, I was really PO’d.
 
The more I thought about it, the more I decided this was actually a well written novel. I think it’s a good thing when the author doesn’t give me the status quo ending, even if it does make me mad. There was something oddly entertaining about this story and I’m glad I stuck with it.

Thanks to Atria Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Sudden Light

Garth Stein

When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Do you remember that time as a kid or young teenager when you discover that the adults don’t have all the answers? That they make bad decisions and don’t always do things for the right reasons? And maybe, just maybe, you - the kid - might be the only one that has their act together?

Trevor’s parents are separated. He goes with his Dad to the house where his Dad grew up. There, he meets his funky Aunt Serena and his befuddled Grandpa Samuel. He also meets a ghost from the family’s past who cannot be set free until an injustice that occurred many years ago has been righted.

I thoroughly enjoyed this coming of age ghost story. It is about family, morals and righting a wrong. There were characters to love and characters to hate. The story weaves between past and present in a tightly woven plot. There was always something interesting going on to keep the story moving. A very good page turner.

I would like to thank Simon & Schuster, via Netgalley, for allwoing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.