Review: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

fine-balanceHow does one even attempt to review such a scopious novel? Seriously…I think I need to weep, but there’s just nothing left inside of me at the moment. Perhaps a bit of happiness, hope, faith restored…but only a tiny bit…and perhaps there is some despair, hatred, anger, even dubiosity….or maybe they all just cancel one another out and that is why I feel so much…nothingness…I want to be all of these things…I want to have all of these emotions…and I want to make sense of it all…but I just can’t…

Who can make sense of destiny? Who can think they know better than fate?

“..my life would have been so different today. But our destinies are engraved on our foreheads at birth.”

I think this novel has left me in shock…it gives so much hope in so many places, but just as real life often does, it snatches it all away in a blink of an eye. You want to be angry, but how can you? What gives you that right when the characters themselves handle their fate with so much grace and acceptance. How can you even attempt to place blame, when they themselves do not…How can you weep for them, when they do not weep for themselves?

As I sit here writing this review, I am not ashamed to say that as I sit here, trying to make sense of it all, that my numbness has turned to me openly weeping at this book’s ending…Nor am I ashamed to admit I do not know who I weep for the most…it could be any single one of these characters..they have all touched me in some way….or maybe I weep for myself…or all of humanity together…

Read this book…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Review: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Think Devil Wears Prada, but with a stronger protagonist and a nicer antagonist. And parents who live out in farm country. And a cute guy. With a tasteful tattoo. 

Sigh. 

Katie loves her job — and London — but not so much the people. Good thing for her, then when she’s needed at the family “farm” and actually has an opportunity to show her marketing skills and get a little sweet revenge. And fall in love. Action on the farm reduced me to tears of hilarity, and I literally read while brushing my teeth because I needed to see out the rest of Demeter’s bespoke resort activity. Well done you, Katie! 

I appreciate that Kinsella put family at the heart of this story – Katie’s family, Demeter’s family, and the true family at the London office. Though I always adore a satisfying romance, this might be one of the first times I eagerly anticipated the next friends-and-family move over the the next romantic move. 

So… there was more than one happily ever after in My Not So Perfect Life. What went around came around, to the winning pleasure of Katie, her friends, her family, and her man. We won’t talk about the losers. 

-calliope

 Buy MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE

Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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A missing baby.  A maybe slightly psychotic mother.  A lying father.  Kinky next door neighbors.  They’re all there, a cast of characters to set you up for one heck of a story.

When their babysitter cancels at the last minute,  Anne’s first instinct is to skip the dinner party next door.  But somehow, her husband Marco convinces her that it’ll be okay to leave the sleeping baby home alone.  Their houses share a wall, after all.  And they’ll be checking up on Cora every thirty minutes.  What could possibly go wrong?

Of course it does go wrong.  Baby Cora goes missing.  And there are very few clues left behind.  It’s natural that suspicion would fall upon her parents.  Anne has been slightly depressed, after all. And Marco’s business isn’t doing so well. Was he so desperate for money that he’d stage a kidnapping and ransom demand?

But wait.  There’s more. There are also the shady dinner party neighbors, especially the wife Cynthia who has eyes for Marco.  And Anne’s dad? He’s got a ton of money, thanks to her mom.  Along with that, he has some questionable business dealings.  Or was it really just a random event, a crime of opportunity?  Somehow the detectives in charge don’t think so.  But the deeper they dig, the more twists and turns they find.

This was quite an enjoyable book.  There are so many characters who could be guilty that even when I found how who dunnit, I was still suspicious of the others.  And it’s very twisty and turny, right up until the very end.  Also to note, I listened to the audio version which had an excellent narrator.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Couple Next Door

 

Review ~ The Muralist, by B.A. Shapiro

24001083I was looking forward to this novel as I liked Shapiro’s previous novel, The Art Forger. An easy and fun read, The Muralist is split into a dual narrative, set in present day and in the 1930’s. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, featuring real people, you’ll love the 1930’s narrative. Guest appearances include: Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, and, Eleanor Roosevelt. Through this narrative, we learn a lot about the real historical people, and the events and circumstances of 1930’s America.

Although entertaining, this story did tend to gloss over some important parts of history, and, seemed to sometimes name drop for the sake of it, although an argument for entertainment value can be made to support this stylistic choice. Generally speaking though, the characters were entertaining and somewhat fleshed out, and they definitely helped the development of the plot.

This is definitely a sit back with a glass of something and read sporadically throughout the week, kinda book. You can put it down and pick it back up without having to re-read chapters. I recommend it if you’re a fan of historical fiction, dual time narratives, and fun characters. Be warned though, you may well spend more time researching the real events and characters, than reading the book! Learning is never a bad thing though, so pick yourself up a copy, sit back, get a glass of your favorite tipple, and immerse yourself into Shapiro’s world.

Until next time,

Pegasus.

The Muralist

Review and a Revisit: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

how-it-alwaysOur very own Thalia reviewed this novel a few weeks ago, but it’s so important I wanted to do another review in hopes that you will pick up this fantastic novel…Plus, I REALLY wanted to review it too! I loved it so much!

I loved this novel. I couldn’t stop thinking about this novel for days on end. I wish so much that every family in the world was as amazing as this family. I wish that every child that felt different had a Nan that went out of their way to make them feel normal. I wish all schools were led with forward thinking leaders that had the best interest of the children in mind.

The truth is, I personally feel, that it’s a vast minority that are like this.

I think I’m pretty open-minded. Or at least I try to be. I feel as if I understand what some people must feel. Reading this novel…well, how naive was I? This book made me see some things from a totally different angle. Yes, it’s one thing to hear an adult say that they always felt different…it’s another thing to actually see a young child going through something so difficult.

This book is so important.

Again, the parents of this novel did an amazing job! I loved them so very much. The siblings, again, A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!! I know parents and families like this DO exist.

However, if I had one complaint about this novel, it’s that the parents did too great of a job. That the siblings were too amazing. That the school leaders were too brilliant. That the fellow students were too perfect.

I don’t know. That sounds horrible. I so loved Claude and Poppy. THEY WERE VERY REAL TO ME…they broke my heart over and over again, and they gave me such joy as well. I want the happiness. I don’t want them to be hurt. I understand they were hurt. However, as in real life, much of the hurt we feel as preteens/teens is in our mind. No, that doesn’t make it less real. It’s still a valid hurt. It’s still a real hurt. I’m just saying that it wasn’t as bad in the school for Claude and Poppy as they imagined it to be. The peer group in the school DID accept them.

I don’t think the real world is like that. I think it’s just as bad as Claude/Poppy imagined it to be…no…I think it’s much worse. I don’t want that to be true…but I am afraid it might be.

That saddens me to say that maybe, for me…and families that are going through this…well…maybe the book was a small disappointment in that regards. It might be hard for the Poppy’s in the real world to relate to such perfect families and friends, when their own family and friends are very different.

I don’t want that to be true…I want the Poppy’s of the world to be free to be themselves. I want them all to be happy at the end.

I don’t know how to reconcile this desire with the reality of so much of the world…

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Review: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

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Beautiful.  If I had to describe this story using just one word, that’s what it would be.  From the very beginning until the absolute end, it truly weeps with emotion on every page.

It begins with a baby left in a basket. Aptly named, Moses is a crack baby abandoned by his mother. But for the love and sacrifice of his grandmother, who knows where he would have ended up?  He and Georgia are unwillingly thrown together at a young age.  And even though they grow up together in a sense, they’re not really together.  Until one day, Georgia begins to feel something.  And she thinks Moses does, too, although he denies it. Georgia has a normal family life, Moses does not.  He’s damaged, at least in his mind.  But love is love, and love conquers all.  Sometimes.

This is a romance, a mystery, a book of suspense.  It’s a story of family, of life and loss and death.  It’s a story with good guys and bad guys, and sometimes they’re one in the same.  Very soon after I started this book, I was afraid it would break my heart.  And it did.  But that’s okay.  Because often those are the stories that stick with you the longest.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Law of Moses

 

Review ~ The Trespasser, by Tana French.

29430013I must admit, I picked up this book in error. I had heard a lot of positive reviews regarding French’s books, and in particular, her Dublin Murder Squad series. Me being me, at midnight on a work-night, browsing Audible, I saw this book and thought “Oh, I’ll try the first book in the series”. It wasn’t until about chapter 10, that I realised that this is actually the 6th, yes, 6th, book in the series! However, even though, this is a continuing series, the characters come and go, and it just so happens that the characters in this novel, only featured in one other previous story. I missed a little background, but it was barely noticeable as I continued to read/listen to the story.

The plot was a fairly standard “who dunnit” type deal, and I must say, there was a plot point introduced that didn’t seem to gel, and in my opinion, could have been left out entirely. In spit of these small misgivings, the tone and characters really carried this novel.

Dark, gritty, and dirty, are some phrases I would associate with the tone, and the pace is fast, keeping the narrative at a good pace. The characters, on first glance, seem quite traditional; societal attitudes are still steeped in an air of patriarchy and French seems to spend quite a bit of time in establishing that the main character is a lone female in a squad of patronising and bullying males. Even though a lot of time, I was thinking to myself, doesn’t this police station have a HR department, the repetition of the antiquated attitudes actually reinforced the character development of Detective Conway.

I really recommend this book if you want to escape for a while, and read some good police procedural fiction. Is it in my top ten? Probably not. However, it is a good little read in its own right, competing with a ton, and indeed winning, of other similarly themed thriller fiction.

Until next time,

Pegasus

The Trespasser