Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

What an interesting novel. I’m not even sure how to explain it. I’m not even sure what happened really. However, what I am sure of is that I loved it. I was captivated by it. I want to read more about Ruth and Nao. I was sad when the novel finished. I won’t lie. Parts of the novel really sickened me and made me extremely sad for humanity. There are some really horrible instances of bullying and at times Nao and her father continued to break my heart over and over and over again. I wanted to grab them both and hug them and never let go. Of course, I am sure this would have freaked them both out equally, but I would have just held on until hopefully, their discomfort eased.

If you’re looking for a book that fits nicely into a box where everything ties together and it all comes together at the end then this isn’t the book for you. But…if you’re looking for a book that’s imaginative in a way that isn’t able to be placed in a box, one that will make you sad, happy, having you laughing out loud at times, and cringing at other times, then this might very well be the book for you!

After finishing the last page, I read the blurp for the book, and really it does sum it up rather nicely…

“Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.”

I’ll definitely be looking for more of Ozeki in the future!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now a tale for the time being ruth ozeki

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Review: Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes writes for the reader who wants to escape. No matter if you’re reading Hughes’ beach vacation novels or her holiday books, you’ll remove yourself from reality, suspend your disbelief, and enjoy a ride through luxury. 

In Christmas in London, baker Louisa gets whisked away to London by television show producer Noah. She and her cinnamon rolls are needed for filming a Christmas special with a handsome, charming, world-famous chef and cookbook writer. 

When I read Hughes, I just latch on to the main character and forget my real life. In London, I got to wake up to the smell of coffee and pastry, buy fancy new clothes, take walks with the cutie pie producer, take cooking classes with the famous chef (and hang out in a mansion with him), and live the tv star life for a week… not to mention get a happily ever after (and watch a new friend get one too).

Not a bad way to spend 288 pages.  

-calliope 

Buy CHRISTMAS IN LONDON

Review: The House at 758 by Kathryn Berla

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A late-nighter for me.  That’s what this one was.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I finished it in less than a day.  It was that good.

Krista’s life isn’t going so well.  Still grieving the unexpected death of her mother, she’s also trying to cope with her dad’s new live-in girlfriend.  Her best friend is gone for the summer leaving Krista with nobody to confide in.  Rather than facing her problems head on, she escapes.  To a tent she’s pitched on her roof, to her car, anywhere but where her issues lie.

Her dad has tried to convince her to resume therapy but she’s not interested.  She’d rather, quite obsessively, watch the house at 758.  Why does this particular house hold her interest?   And what is she hoping to accomplish?

When she meets Jake, she begins to have a purpose.  Still, she has so many things she’s dealing with that having any kind of a romance proves difficult.  Then her grandpa comes for a visit.  He’s also mourning the loss of her mother, his daughter.  Can he help Krista find her way back to those she cares about?

Lots of things going on with this story, but they blend together seamlessly.  I loved reading Krista’s thoughts, especially in her self-imposed isolation on the roof.  She’s grieving but also avoiding grieving at the same time.  And the house at 758?  There’s a reason she can’t stay away.  It won’t take you long to connect the dots, but the full story doesn’t come until closer to the end.

Note:  Although this is the debut novel from this author, the Spanish version was released several years ago.  This new release is the English version.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The House at 758

Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

There are many reasons why I stopped reading the blurbs listed for books. For one, I started seeing more than a few authors/publishers feel the need to give a detailed outline for the entire book in the blurbs published on Amazon and Goodreads. That’s the same reason I try not read any review or even publicity postings for books I intend to read. It’s always a fine line to walk to see what’s being talked about without hearing too much of the talk! The main reason, for me, to avoid blurbs is that I honestly sometimes feel like I no longer need/desire to read the book if I’ve read so much information and I don’t go into the story “blind”. This is something that’s happened in the last 5 or so years. So it’s true to say that I go into the majority of my reads with little more information that the title of the novel and the author’s name.

Why do I tell you all of this? The danger of this is that I often avoid a book far too long because I assume it’s something it isn’t. Bel Canto is one fine example of this. I’ve never read Ann Patchett before. I went into this thinking it would be…well I don’t want to label anything or make a label sound bad, when that isn’t my intention. But I basically thought this would be a family drama with some difficult every day issues to deal with and at the end of the day it would be a HEA.

This wasn’t at all like that. I really enjoyed this novel. Part of that love was that it was so opposite of what I was expecting.

If you’re looking for detailed descriptions on what occurs in this novel…well….go read the blurb or some of the reviews…hahahahahaha…

I will say I felt the ending was a bit abrupt…buuuuttttt….if it had ended any other way it would have just been because the book was exactly like the reason I avoided it for years in the first place…hahahaha…really, I’m not sure how the novel could have ended differently and stayed true to the story…

I certainly understand why some people love Patchett and others don’t care for her…I’m not so sure that everyone has a literary heart that is strong enough to take an ending such as this…so many of us use novels to escape the reality of the world…we want only HEA endings…

Some might see this novel as a HEA, many others will not…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Review: The Proving by Beverly Lewis

I really adore Amish fiction. Beverly Lewis is a pro at delivering believable plot lines, excellent writing, and characters so real that I start mimicking their facial expressions when reading dialogue. 

Mandy is a capable girl who left her Amish community because she was emotionally hurt. I was so glad Mandy ended up with a reason to return to her home – even if it wasn’t her first choice to do so. Though she had some family struggles and some uncertainty with the community and faith she grew up with, Mandy’s sister helped her see the truth about herself and her true home. 

I love all things B&B-related, so I was in my element with Amish baking on the inn’s farm table, sheets drying on the line, and guests who came for respite and left refreshed.  Getting to know the guests is always fun, and the carriage rides aren’t bad either. 

I read The Proving after a slew of September mediocrity, and I was very relieved to be able to effortlessly enjoy the inn, the sisterhood, and the faith of Mandy and her family.  
-calliope

Buy THE PROVING

~~Review: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

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High school can be brutal.  Even more so when you’re the new girl.  Finding new friends can be a lifesaver.  Or not…

Kacey’s only known the dysfunction of life with her mother.  So when she moves in with her dad, things are shockingly normal. Including her stepmother and step siblings.  She even makes new friends, tops among them being Bailey and Jade.  Amazing how quickly they took her in and made her one of their own.  Maybe a bit too quickly?

When Bailey goes missing, all eyes turn to Kacey.  What does she know about Bailey’s disappearance?  And does it have anything to do with the legend of that creepy ghost lady everyone likes to talk about?  Kacey soon finds out that her new friends aren’t at all what they seem to be.

This is mean girls at its finest. Two’s company, three’s a crowd and all that.  The real thrill, though, comes from the many twists and turns along the way.  It’ll keep you guessing up until the very end.  And after you’re done guessing, you’ll just be shocked.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Little Monsters

Review: Completely by Ruthie Knox

After a few weeks of mediocre romances, I was so happy to read the first few pages of COMPLETELY. I knew by the end of the first chapter that I would come to know the main characters as if they were real people. I don’t know how some other authors can describe what a character is wearing and it seems all irrelevant and extraneous, and then Ruthie Knox describes someone’s clothing in a way that paints a picture in my mind and makes me know the character better. Whatever that particular facet of writing talent is, I’m grateful. I really was about to go on a romance hiatus until COMPLETELY came my way. 

So besides the draw of a good romance, COMPLETELY enamored me with complex family dynamics, the intricacies of mountain climbing, and the turmoil of people trying to decide if they’re suppose to continue on their current path or not. Most of the book was about mountain climbing. I learned a ton. But between the lines I also learned that the best figurative mountains to climb are the ones that are the most difficult. 

COMPLETELY has some steamy scenes and a whole lot of fun dates in New York City. It was a bit of a departure from the fluff romances I usually read, and I need to remember to go back and read Knox’s New York books #1&2. 

-calliope

Buy COMPLETELY (it’s only $2.99!)