Review: Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkons Reid

Okay.  I agreed to review this book for all the wrong reasons.  And once I got it, I became scared of it.  Scared to read it.  But to review it, and not tell you a bit of myself, you may not get my views, and you wouldn’t be able to understand the review.  So here it goes.

When I was approached to read, and review this book, I was in a hard time myself.  I had been married less than a year (granted, not the NINE days of the character in the book, Elise), and we were undergoing testing, on my husband, for cancer.  Many medical professionals thought he had cancer.  In his lungs.  At the end of Feb. (I was emailed Feb 6th), my husband quit smoking, and we found out his latest scan is clean.  (as of June, we still have 1 more scan to go, but all looks good).  So I agreed to this book back in Feb. in an attempt to give me something I could read that I could relate too, and a way to justify and deal with my anger, and my own issues.

That said, I picked up this book this morning, simply because I needed to focus on someone else’s problems – even if that someone is a fictional character.  I have finished it, in less than 12 hours.  And it’s not because it was a short book, it isn’t.  But it was a completely captivating read. 

Right away you are thrown into the issue at stake.  Ben and Elise have been married for days.  And now Ben is killed.  Immediately you want to know what happens.  Over the next 350 pages you learn of Ben’s mother.  His father.  Elise’s parents.  You learn of their courtship, and Elise’s healing.  And while Elise may never completely heal, she starts to make an effort.

This book, while fiction, states some very important messages.  It is okay to grieve.  It is okay to NOT want to heal.  It is okay to cry.  It’s okay to depend on others.  Life is not always fair.  Life will get better – when you are ready to allow it too.  (oh, and it’s not okay to assault someone while at work… )

This was a really good book.  Nicely thought out, and wonderfly written.  I’m glad I agreed to it.  I am also glad I waited sooooooo long to read it.  Because while my husband is going to be okay, all these messages are still something I needed to hear right now. 

And don’t think that this is a sad book, and that you will cry every page.  It’s not like that.  I laughed at a few spots.  Susan (the “dreaded” mother-in-law) is great at laying it out like it is – and making everyone laugh, even the reader.  Yes, it deals with a tough topic, but it’s done so well, that you can’t help and love it.

I home Taylor Jenkins Reid writes more books.  And I hope I get the chance to review them in the future – if not, I will still pick them up and read them anyways. 

Thanks Simon & Schuster for the change to read such a great book.

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Review – Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani

This book pulled me in immediately. I found the story of Neda and the circumstances around her birth – in Tehrans Evin Prision – to be compelling and a great start to the story. Eventually the reader is transitioned to Omid, and his story and the fatefull day his parents where arrested. And finally the story of Sheida, who grew up not realizing her father was executed while in prison. All children, all who had Evin Prision affect them in a way that most of us in western culture wouldn’t be able to understand.

I found this to be a gripping novel that was hard to put down once I picked it up. Showing readers in a very blunt, emotional and unconventional way what life is like across the ocean.
Sahar Delijani gave us her story in a way that most authors do, from the way that it affects the child, those who are purely innocent in the battle, and who grow up changed because of it. We may find fault in Middle Eastren politics, methods, and governments, but when you raise children in a hostile environment, it is hard to teach them anything but hostility.

I recommend this book to all with any interest in the Middle East and it can show you the harsh side, but also the softer side. The side of women banding together to protect a newborn in jail. Family fighting for a young child who is now orphaned, and a mother who does everything in her power to obtain a Visa to get her daughter out of a war town country.

Stonehenge BOM’s (now and future!!

Hey.

So I spent the last two days catching up on my Stonehenge BOM’s (I am doing both the Bright and the Neutral colourways).  I already had block one done in both…and that was the last time I had worked on it… (Stonehendge meets Jamestown)

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I have been working like crazy, and in two days finished 12 blocks (6 from each one), and am no completely up to date :).  Block 8 comes out on Saturday, so I’m ready!
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As a side note, Northcott Fabrics is coming out with two new BOM’s for 2013 using the Stonehenge Line.  Same pattern but different colourways once again.

The first is using the Woodland line.  The second the Holiday/Christmas Traditions line.
I have already signed up to do the Woodland one.  Considering the other one.  🙂  Am waiting for the news as to when I get to start it!

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Crystal Reflections Quilt is COMPLETED!!!!

I finally finished this!

And I got a job at my FAVORITE quilt store!!!!

Here are some photos of the jorney, and the finished product!

Working on the blocks…paper piecing….

 

Sewing together the blocks… I did quilting as I go for the most part

Ready to be added….

QUilting every 1/4 inch!!


Waiting for borders!


Attaching the binding!

ALL DONE!!!!

For the Love of a Son By Jean Sasson

I have read a lot of Jean Sasson’s books.  I have found her to be a wonderful author, and great at telling people’s story’s.  However I just didn’t enjoy this book.

 
This book spans generations and tells Maryam’s story, her Mothers story, her Grandmother’s story, and other history of Afganistan.  However the story of Maryam and her son doesn’t really start until half way (or more) through the book, and I found it to seem as though it dragged on a bit.
 
Maryam’s story is one that should be told.  The difficulty she went through with her first husband, and then with her oldest son, is a story that people should know.  The only way that the abuses that happen within the book – and that are threatened at the end of the book – will be stopped is if a wide number of people know, and support women in these nations that allow it to happen.  No person, man, woman, or child, should have to live in fear.  No one should be beaten.  No one should be assulted for the pure pleasure of another being.  The sad part is it happens. Everyday, and will continue to happen until things change.
 
This is not a book with a happy ending.  This is a book that is real.  This is a book that makes you think.  This is a book that makes you cringe when reading it.  Yes, there are many happy moments, but it is not a fairy tale, and it is not something that everyone will be able to read.
 
Yes, I will continue to read books by Jean Sasson, however this was not one of my favorites. 

Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio

Parlor Games

I have received this book for free in exchange for an honest review

This in no way affects my opinion
I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this book!
 
I got a message asking me if I would be interested in this book to review, as I also loved American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin (review here).
 
At 352 pages, I honestly thought that it would be a pretty quick read for me.  However, the book was quite detailed, and I found myself completely pulled into the story of May, and all her little adventures – so it took me longer than expected, but it was worth every second!
 
The part I really enjoyed, was that while this book is a work of fiction, the story is based on a real person.  I found this enthralling, and a nice little addition at the end of the story.
 
The book starts out with May asking you, the reader, to go through her story and determine if she did any wrong, and to form your own opinions based on a life of cirmcumstances and events.  I found that this immediately pulled me into the tale and made me think more about the events on the pages, rather than devouring another book at rapid speed. 
 
Mays’ adventures span continents, and many many people.  Chicago.  New York.  London.  Hong Kong. Toyko.  And others.  So many destinations, and written with such detail it was quite easy to imagine you where there living it along with her, and seeing the sites. 
 
It does span her life, but frequently brings you back to the trial she is in the midst of, where she is defendant against an old friend of hers, Frank Shaver.  Some people find these little jolts of time hard to comprehend, but I found that in this book they made perfect sense and happened at approprate times, which not many authors manage.  The only issue I had, was the charges against May that her friend bought for all the money.  While discussed at length, from Franks point of view during the trial, nothing is said from May’s point of view about those actual “events”.  In the story of her live, anything that involved Frank is skimmed over, and not discussed much from Mays’ viewpoint, so it’s kind of hard to be the Judge and Jury like she is asking.  (Unless of course you assume she was doing to Frank what she did to countless men…well, then the answer is pretty obvious!).
 
I enjoyed it.  I wouldn’t call her a likeable heroine, but a very enjoyable book.  One of few where you find you don’t really “like” any of the characters, but you are still drawn in just the same, and completely satisfied when it is over.  Happy, content, and thoughtfull on all that happened.
 
This is Maryka Biaggio’s first work of ficton, but I do hope she writes more, and I would love to read them!

ARC Review: Truth in Advertising: A Novel by John Kenney

Truth in Advertising: A Novel

 

 
 

Description:

“F. Scott Fitzgerald said that there are no second acts in American lives. I have no idea what that means but I believe that in quoting him I appear far more intelligent than I am. I don’t know about second acts, but I do think we get second chances, fifth chances, eighteenth chances. Every day we get a fresh chance to live the way we want.” FINBAR DOLAN is lost and lonely. Except he doesn’t know it. Despite escaping his blue-collar Boston upbringing to carve out a mildly successful career at a Madison Avenue ad agency, he’s a bit of a mess and closing in on forty. He’s recently called off a wedding. Now, a few days before Christmas, he’s forced to cancel a long-postponed vacation in order to write, produce, and edit a Super Bowl commercial for his diaper account in record time.
Fortunately, it gets worse. Fin learns that his longestranged and once-abusive father has fallen ill. And that neither of his brothers or his sister intend to visit. It’s a wake-up call for Fin to reevaluate the choices he’s made, admit that he’s falling for his coworker Phoebe, question the importance of diapers in his life, and finally tell the truth about his past.
Truth in Advertising is debut novelist John Kenney’s wickedly funny, honest, at times sardonic, and ultimately moving story about the absurdity of corporate life, the complications of love, and the meaning of family.

My Review:

I have received this book for free in exchange for an honest review

This in no way affects my opinion

 

I received this book from Simon & Schuster Canada.

 

I will admit, I had a very hard time with the beginning of this book.  And it was my stubbornness that kept me reading – not the storyline.  It took about 60% of the book for me to be invested enough to keep going, and by 70%, I was actually reading for the storyline.  Now that I am done, yes, I am glad I finished it.  It was a “good” story, and did have some lessons and interesting parts.  I just couldn’t stand Finbar Dolan.  He drove me mad. 

 

In everyones lives it would seem they have one self-centered, egotisical individual. This is Finbar Dolan.  In real life I would not give this character five minutes of my time, which is why actually reading this book (from his perspective no less) made me question my sanity.  Woe is me.

 

That said, you actually (at the end) begin to see why Fin is the way he is.  His mother’s death when he was 12 years old has affected him profoundly.  In a way that can only truely be understood by reading the entire book.  That said, because of the way it was laid out, I felt that the author was purposely hiding facts from the reader to MAKE the reader continue reading.  This I did not like.

 

Fin has had a lot of negatives in his life, his mothers death, his father leaving, his siblings moving away and seperating, his fiance and him breaking up weeks before the wedding.  So much, that you begin to understand why he goes about life the way he does.  (Yet the optimist/realitist in me wants to shake him, and tell him to stop looking at it as half empty!)

 

Does this book have a climax.  In the most basic form, yes, I guess it does.  But in the form that most readers are looking for today? It falls a little flat.  There where a couple times in the last 20 pages of the book, I though (as reading), that that would of been a good place to STOP.  Yes, there are deffinate points in continuing, but at the same time, other points would of been just as satisfying, and left the reader with questions (sometimes which can be good). 

 

Did I enjoy this book? Kind of.

Will I rush to buy other works from this author? Definately not.

Where there things in this book I will probably think on later? Yes. (WWII buff, so most definately!)

Am I glad I read this? Yes, I’m glad I finished. 

Would I of picked this up in a bookstore? No. 

After reading, is my opinion changed on that last question? No.

 

But. Read it.  You will likely learn something…and while it’s not the entertainment of the modern age, education, and a “calm” read can be good for our overly scheduled lives!

Deceptions by Laura Elliot

Deceptions

Interesting story line.  I must admit, I kind of fell into the trap of thinking that the wrong people committed the crime.  I really enjoyed following Lorraines story – and the story of Emily.  I found Lorraines `best friend` to be annoying and petty.  She rubbed me the wrong way the entire book, and I honestly hated hearing about her. 

While I don’t agree with what Ralph did to her, I can’t say I shed a tear either. 
I did enjoy this book overall, but I had some things that really turned me off.  I found the beginning a bit slow, and hard to follow.  I will admit that I did consider just putting the book down and walking away.  In contrast however the ending was soo quick and fast paced, it was almost like a complete reversal.  I didn’t want to put it down, but at the same time considering the beginning it seemed out of character. 
I found that “Part Two” of the book, while very informative and giving history that was truely needed, I found it to be at an awkard part at first, and that it was almost too long.  While the loss in Ralph’s marriage would of affected him and his wife deeply, and in a life long manner, I don’t feel it justified all that happened.  I also don’t think that that particular loss was needed for the story to be what it is.  The issue of misscarriage is a hard one, that many couple deal with, and I feel that way to many authors take it too lightly in works of fiction, and that it only harms their writing – rather than better it – as done in this particular work. 
I also found the last scene with Adrien to be a bit much.  I don’t think that needed to happen.  It provided no closure to the reader – at least not to the person the reader was hoping for it to be.
Overall I enjoyed the book.  But I just found issue with the writing and some of the topics discussed.   However, I finished it yesterday, and have been thinking it over, as I did like it.  I definately think this author has the potential to write a best seller, and I would love for her to keep at it!
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Crystal Reflections Update.

Okay, since the last post, I have gotten a lot done!

All 24 blocks are done – and quilted 🙂  And the strips are starting to form!!!

this is 1/2 of the quilt (not including the borders!) done, quilted and assembled. 🙂  I also now have the last of the triangles sewn on one of these pcs (though not at the time these pictures where taken).

The two middle strips.  The top is stiched together, but I have to handstitch the backing on these pcs, and then quilt the purple sashing before adding these into the rest of the quilt.  But deffinate progress!!

I am actively working on this like crazy!! The end date is REALLY close, and I WILL finish on time!!!

Anyways, back to pinning the backs now, sewing, and quilting!!

IFeel by Marissa Carmel

iFeel (Vis Vires Trilogy, #1)

Description:

Lust. Anger. Hate. Desire. Love. Happiness. Joy. iFeel.

What happens when an unknowing empath meets a pixie who wears leather, a snitch who is repulsive and a fiery angel who can literally set your soul on fire? A whole lot of emotional turmoil and one love story ignited.

Liv Christianni is isolated, alone, tortured and withdrawn, saddled with the torrential downpour of the world’s emotions.  Accepting of her providence Liv has lost all hope, until one day fate steps in and spins the course of her life like a spiraling top. Hunted by a Spirit Stalker, Liv is forced to gain control of herself and her surroundings, threatened by the touch of her immortal love; she must find a way to survive both physically and emotionally. Can she find the courage to accept her true self? Can she love unconditionally cognizant of the condemning consequences? Can she rise from the ashes to become the person she was always meant to be?

Funny, witty, real, and poignant, iFeel rips into your soul, and sets your emotions on fire.

If you are a fan of Charmed or Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries or The Secret Circle this series is for you!(

My Review:

I truely enjoyed this book.  It isn’t something I would normally pick up, but I enjoyed it just the same!

Liv is living a life where she is in constant battle with emotions – other peoples emotions.  She is living where the emotions of others are contantly being projected onto her, and she lives a live on the fine line between sanity and insanity.  It’s a very hard life.
One night she gets dragged out to a nightclub by some girlfriends who think it will be good for her.  She meets Justice, and everything just starts to make sense for her.  She finally starts to understand who she is, and what she can do.
This is a book aimed a the YA group, though anyone can really enjoy it.  It was a nice light read, and I am looking forward to the others as this is labeled as a trilogy.   The writing style is pretty simplified, but it didn’t harm the book in any way.  It made it flow, and it really does have a targeted audience.  Which is nice, as so many of the books I have read lately are too broad a target!
I will be looking for the others in the trilogy, and by this author!  Thanks for the great read!!!
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