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[Book Review] Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen

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Title: Under the Jeweled Sky
Author: Alison McQueen
Publication date: Feb 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Format: eARC
ASIN: B00FM31ZFY
Genre: Historical fiction
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Buy it: The Book Depository

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London 1957. In a bid to erase her past, Sophie Schofield accepts a wedding proposal from ambitious British diplomat, Lucien Grainger. When he is posted to New Delhi, into the glittering circle of ex-pat society, old wounds begin to break open as Sophie is confronted with the memory of her first, forbidden love and its devastating consequences. This is not the India she fell in love with ten years before in a maharaja’s palace, the India that ripped out her heart as Partition tore the country in two. And so begins the unravelling of an ill-fated marriage, setting in motion a devastating chain of events that will bring her face to face with a past she tried so desperately to forget, and a future she must fight for. This is a tender story of love, loss of innocence, and the aftermath of a terrible decision no one knew how to avoid.Purchase this book

thoughts

I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley.

Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison McQueen is a beautiful novel about India, where the country is one of the integral characters. Set at the time of Partition and a decade or so later, the author brought us back to the mid 1900s, when the British was about to leave.

Besides telling about vibrant India , the author was successfully portray a realistic character through Sophie. Her father is a physiscian at the palace. She builds a friendship with Jag (one of my favorite characters as well), the son of a servant. In that era, such relationship was kind of forbidden.

Ten years later, Sophie was involved in an ill-fated marriage. She found India a different place, unlike the place that she loved when she was younger.

When she came back to England, she felt strange. Meeting her distant mother and found out about her grandmother’s passing. All I can say that this story is about Sophie’s journey in finding happiness. Some parts made me cry. This novel was beautifully crafted. The way she writes about India, the details and everything, makes me want to go there, maybe someday.

Overall, I love this book to pieces. I want to reread it and I will definitely read other books by the same author.

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Need a second opinion?

Vicki
Our Book Club

Find the excerpt here

Until next time ^^

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[Book Review] The Happy Endings Book Club by Jane Tara @momentumbooks

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Title: The Happy Endings Book Club
Penulis: Jane Tara
Publisher: Momentum Books, Australia
Date of Published: 1 December 2013
Format: Ebook
No. of Pages: 182
ISBN: 9781760080587
Category: Fiction
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Family, Paranormal Romance
Received from: Momentum Books via Netgalley
Link: here
Opening sentence:
Paige flipped open sign on her bookshop door to closed.

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This Christmas, the women of the Happy Endings Book Club are about to uncover a world of love and magic as they discover how to have their own happy ending or beginning, as they’re often the same thing.

Once a month, seven very different women come together to discuss books. They all love a happy ending, but have lost sight of how to get their own. Paige misses glimpsing the magic in the world. Sadie doesn’t see the beauty inside people. Amanda wonders what she ever saw in her ex husband. Tilda literally can’t see herself. Michi can’t bear looking at her family, while Clementine is blind to what’s right in front of her. And Eva looks for romance in all the wrong places.

But things are about to change …

Meet the women of the Happy Endings Book Club as they celebrate Christmas, and themselves, in London, Paris, Vienna, New York, Sydney and in love.

thoughtsI received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What can I say about this book? I love it. The Happy Endings Book Club is about a bunch of mid-age ladies finding their own happy endings, which is it (I want to spoil it a little bit).

Usually I love bitter-sweet ending or just simply bitter ending. But this book is too cute, too funny and heartwarming that I want to tell readers who love chicklit to go to Netgalley and request this title.

The Happy Endings Book Club tells about Paige, Clementine, Michi, Eva, Amanda, Tilda, and Sadie. They have their own issues and personal problems to solve, and it includes romance, as their favorite genre.

The story starts with Paige who owned a bookshop in London. Besides taking care of the business, she also ran a book club called The Happy Endings, named after the book shop. These 7 ladies had a special bond besides sharing their love on romance and happy endings.

Paige’s mom, Jean, was on her death bed. Before she died, she told Paige that her father’s still alive. And to Paige’s surprise, her father was a fairy. FAIRY. With the help of Jean’s physiotherapist, Arley, Paige was having a journey that she’d never forget.

And then Clementine, the naive girl who believed in cyber-romance. She decided to spend Christmas in New York with her love of her life that she never met, Sam. Sadly, she found out the truth about her cyber lover, but came a surprise that she’d treasure later on.

One of my favorite characters is Michi. She spent her Christmas holiday in Sydney, her hometown, a place where she hated the most. Her parents, Kayoko and Keith, were known as the celebrity sex therapists. Michi met Jake, a handsome guy who worked together with Michi’s brother, Greg. Michi avoided skinship, although she was attracted to Jake. One night, she opened up to Jake about what changed her about her past. Something that a little child should not see.

Tilda was having a symptom of insidious disorder. She could not see her hand, nose, and ear. After talking to a doctor, she went off to Paris and found herself completely. She also found her love back in London.

I love how the characters have flaws and have to deal with their problems. But in the end, love conquers the world. I think that’s what the writer wants to convey. It’s one of the best Christmas-themed novels I read this year.

Looking forward to reading other books from Jane Tara.

 

quotes

Respect where you’re standing (p. 57)

It’s extremely healthy to do what it takes to feel good about yourself. (p. 124)

Style is not about following trends, or even starting them. It’s about being yourself (p. 126)

Whenever my mum gets depressed about her age, she goes to Paris. (p. 128)

Sometimes it takes a while to see what’s right in front of us. (p. 160)

 

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Until next time ^^

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[Book Review] The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

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Title: The Riverman
Author: Aaron Starmer
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date of Published: 18 March 2014
Format: Ebook
No. of Pages: 340
ISBN: 9780374363109
Category: Fiction
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Received from: the publisher via Netgalley
Link: here
Opening sentence:
Every town has a lost child.

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Alistair Cleary is the kid who everyone trusts. Fiona Loomis is not the typical girl next door. Alistair hasn’t really thought of her since they were little kids until she shows up at his doorstep with a proposition: she wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into the mind of a potentially troubled girl. Fiona says that in her basement, there’s a portal that leads to a magical world where a creature called the Riverman is stealing the souls of children. And Fiona’s soul could be next. If Fiona really believes what she’s saying, Alistair fears she may be crazy. But if it’s true, her life could be at risk. In this novel from Aaron Starmer, it’s up to Alistair to separate fact from fiction, fantasy from reality.

thoughtsI received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this title because I was mesmerized by the cover, like usual. I just catched a glimpse on the description. I guess it’s just like any other children’s book, but I was wrong.

The Riverman is too gory for children. I don’t think violence, drugs, and a pinch of romance are suitable for 13 year-olds.

This book tells a tale of Alistair who won people’s trust. His early memory is when he saw a dead body of a missing child, Luke, on the river. Nine years later, something strange happened to him when his neighbor, Fiona, knocked on his door and asked him to write a story about her. Alistair frowned, thought the idea was bizarre.
Soon he realized that Fiona did not make up the stories.

She told Alistair that she had a secret passage to the magical world called Aquavania, where the stories are born. Fiona met other children, even crossing to their world and interact with some of the children there.

Strange things happened again. The number of missing children is increasing and Fiona knew some of them in Aquavina. According to Fiona, the Riverman stole the children’s soul and they would never come back to the Solid World.

This book is a page turner. Every chapter is so tensed that I really wanted to finish it in one night, but my eyes wouldn’t compromise.

I really like this book and how each character connects to one another. And there’s love among teens, jealousy, hatred, and misperceptions. We should not judge a person by his looks, which is true.

But I also put big question marks after I reached the laat page. I don’t know what happened to Kyle and Charlie, and Luke’s case is still a mystery. I heard it’s the first installment of a series (I really hope so).

What I like about this book is the setting. It’s the 80s when Choose Your Own Adventure novels were popular. I’m also curious about PB&J. I haven’t tried that one and I have no idea how it tastes like.

The Riverman brought back my childhood memories. Sorry for being a bit sentimental :’)

As an adult, I enjoyed reading this book and I will recommend it to other adults who like stories about children and their big imaginations. I think Neil Gaiman fans will enjoy The Riverman.

Looking forward to reading The Riverman #2.

quotes

The best thing I can tell you about a chick who lies a lot is this: there’s probably some messed-up stuff going on in her life (p. 50)

Life will sneak up on you sometimes. (p. 69)

You can’t change your mistakes. You can only try to make up for them. (p. 252)

And sometimes kids have to get up and go. (p. 262)

Sometimes what’s worse than people lying to you is people being too honest. (p. 269)

Creative minds like ours were the minds of aliens. (p. 280)

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Until next time ^^

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[Book Review] Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott @HarlequinTeen

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Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date of Published: 1 January 2014
Format: Ebook
No. of Pages: 240
ISBN: 9780373210961
Category: Fiction
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Family, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Received from: Harlequin Teen via Netgalley
Link: here
Opening sentences:
I sit down with my mother. My smile is shaky as I tell her about my day.

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Life. Death. And…Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

thoughts

I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Heartbeat is a heart-wrenching story. It tells about Emma, a seventeen year-old girl who lost her mother but had to see her everyday because she’s pregnant.

Lisa met Dan and they fell in love. Soon, they started a family. Emma was happy because she felt that Dan loved her and her mother.

Until her mother’s pregnant and died, things changed unexpectedly. Every single day, Emma visited her mother in the hospital. Her body was kept alive by machines – pumping her heartbeat to incubate the baby in her womb.

Emma thought Dan just wanted to keep the baby and was devastated knowing that she wasn’t involved when Dan decided to keep Lisa alive. Emma thought everything he had done was for the sake of the baby.

A former straight A’s student, Emma’s grades were failing and she’s on a downward spiral. Until she met Caleb, a troubled teen who was also grieving for his sister, Minnie.
Their relationship developed gradually, since they had things in common.

Olivia, Emma’s best friend, was shocked learning about this ‘odd’ couple. Caleb was in a lot of troubles. He stole cars, did drugs, and hit a stranger with a car.

Dan tried to be a good father, but Emma refused the warm gesture. She was so stubborn, shutting herself out and pretending that Dan didn’t exist. Dan was hurt, Emma was too.

What I like about Heartbeat is that there’s no perfect family. I believe in that too. Every family is dysfunctional, everybody has problems, but it depends on you how to work things out.

I like this quote from the book;

A family is more than one person.

Heartbeat touches about grief, friendship, making the right decision, how to put yourself in a family, and romance. The romance is not too much, unlike any other HQ lines.

My rant is when Emma repeats her thoughts about Dan’s decision. I kept reading about this over and over again.

I love how the characters develop and the ending is very sweet.

quotes

Under the idea that we can all make our fates, that we have choices, is the reminder that sometimes we don’t. That sometimes life is bigger than our plans. Bigger than us.

I knew grief could destroy you, but I didn’t know it could turn you into a walking dead.

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Until next time ^^

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