Monday, May 30, 2016

Vince & Joy by Lisa Jewell

Synopsis :

Vince & Joy are both looking for something...

in their teens, in family holidays and bathroom mirrors.

in their twenties, in messy London flats and messy London relationships.

in their thirties, in marriages that appears stable - and feel anything but.

Seventeen years ago Vince and Joy met, parted and never said goodbye.  And soon they're going to have to ask themselves : could it be that they actually found what they've both been looking for, back in the mid-eighties, in a holiday park by the sea?

This is the third title by Lisa Jewell that I read.  I love first title which is 31 Dream Street but I didn't like the second book that I read which was One Hit Wonder.  But I do like Vince & Joy.

It runs a bit like Love, Rosie by another famous author but this storyline was told in a different manner and as characters, Vince & Joy shared very little 'book time' together and appeared in their own chapters but the way the author relates them was rather refreshing and enjoyable.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to the end when I was stuck in hotel rooms at night during my recent work trip.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Twist of Fate by Joanna Rees

Synopsis :

Romy and Thea, two beautiful baby girls, their futures sealed with the flip of a coin.

One will enter a life of privilege, surrounded by only the best money can buy. The other will fight for survival in an orphanage, against an evil regime who seek only to exploit her. Throughout the years their paths will cross, neither knowing who the other one is, their lives overflowing with secrets, blackmail and murder. From the snow covered forests of Eastern Europe to the glistening white beaches of the Caribbean. From the gutters of London's Soho to the towering skyscrapers of New York, A twist of fate tore them apart, only their strength and determination can reunite them...

A Twist of Fate is and excellent and a wonderful book.   I thoroughly enjoyed it as it's both exciting and touching at the same time.

Right from the first chapter, I was drawn into the two extreme different lives of these two girls when with a flip of a coin, their future were determined.  I guess you can say that's fate because the coin can go either way but it went the way it did so Romy ended up in an orphanage whereas Thea ended up with great riches surrounding her.

The book wasn't really extreme and both Romy and Thea were not portrayed as super heroine but just any real life person trying to deal with what lives throw to them.  You might think that Thea has it good with great riches surrounding her but no, there's much trials for her to bear as well.

My favourite moments would be when Romy and Thea met unexpectedly and accidentally and one didn't know the other was there and even more didn't know that they are related.

Right up to the last page, my time was very much twisted around this book and it didn't take me long to untwist myself :)

If you come across this title, do make sure you twist your fingers around it and twist it home with you :).

Friday, May 20, 2016

My travel companion

A work travel is coming right up and I have decided to bring these two companion with me.  Although it's just a few days trip and one book would be quite enough but I am a bit 'kiasu' and decided to bring two books with me.

What if I only bring one and I didn't really like it?  Horror of horrors would be me ending up with plenty of time and nothing to read.   That would be the ultimate nightmare!

So, Vince and Joy by Lisa Jewell and Hello, darkness by Sandra Brown would be my upcoming travel companion.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Synopsis :

Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject - forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he's always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he's usually right.

But when Jacob's small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob's behaviors are hallmark Asperger's, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob's mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob.

And over this small family, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?

Initially, I wanted to read another title of Jodi Picoult I have in my collection but for some reason I was drawn to House Rules.  I obtained this copy during a book exchange with another reader.

House Rules is quite a captivating read. and I was really engrossed in this book and in the lives of Jacob and Emma and Theo.  There are so many moments of sadness, exasperation, funny moments and thought provoking moments.  

Emma is a woman of strength and trying to make the best of a situation.  She won't want your pity but she would appreciate your understanding.  Whereas Jacob just wants to be one of the boys and being accepted while Theo just wants a 'normal' family and it can be said that because of all these wants that things turn out the way it did.

The ending was rather abrupt and unexpected but I guess the author has written all that she wants to write.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Between by Jessica Warman

Synopsis : 

Elizabeth Valchar - pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family's yacht, where she'd been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. 

As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. And that some memories never stop following you, no matter how hard you run.

I was attracted to Between because I was intrigued by the cover. I thought was was quite spooky.  The synopsis was pretty mysterious too so I decided to read the first chapter there and then at the bookstore at it wasn't a very long chapter, probably a couple of pages only but at the end of it, I was captivated enough to bring it home.  

This was just a couple of months ago. Since then, I have read the book and surprise of all surprise, the princess read it too! in fact, she read it before me and told me that it's a keeper.  I quite agree with her. 

Readers must remember that this is a book for young adults. It was pretty heartwarming, bitter sweet and and sad at the same time. It is not terrifying at all but instead explore teens relationships.  You can say some of the characters pretty unreal and yes, it can be true but then character development wasn't really the main aim. 

I don't think I will be reading this again but since the princess says it's a keeper, it has since found a place in our shelf until such a time when the princess think otherwise, then only I will put it in the market.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

Synopsis :

Set in 1950s Sudan, Lyrics Alley is the story of the powerful, sprawling Abuzeid dynasty.  With Mahmoud Bey at its helm, the family can do no wrong.  But when Mahmoud's son Nur - the brilliant heir to his business empire - suffers a near fatal accident, his hopes of a glittering future are dashed.

As the sun sets on the British rule,  Sudan is torn between modernising influences and the call of traditional past.  Mahmoud's first wife is confined to her open-air kitchen, while his second , a modern Egyptian woman, is intent on dividing the household.  And against the backdrop of this tension, Nur must rebuild his life, confronting a future in which he cannot marry his beloved cousin, Soraya.

Moving from the dusty alleys of Sudan to cosmopolitan Cairo, and a decimated post-war Britian, this is a heart-wrenching portrait of faith, redemption and history on the move.

Lyrics Alley was one of the books I inherited when a friend migrated back to her home country. I wasn't sure if I would want to read it so I left it at my TBR pile for quite a while.  It wasn't until recently that I thought I needed something different and Lyrics Alley fits the requirement.

I am so glad I read it.  It's really a hidden gem.  The story is about the family of Mahmoud Bey and his family in Sudan.  Mahmoud has two wives, one traditional and one modern.  Mahmoud has two sons, one poetic and brilliant and exposed to the modern western world and the other is the other side of the pole. There are many others in this big family, Soraya, who is the daughter of Mahmoud's brother who is in love with Mahmoud's poetic and brilliant son and who's sister is married to the other brother.

It took me a while to get round who's who and the family tree at the start of the book does help.  The story was rather sad in certain way but uplifting as well.  It's about lost and gain, about give and take and about making the best of a situation...but at the end, it's about hope.