October 29, 2014

A Bollywood Affair Sonali Dev

A Bollywood Affair
Sonali Dev
Publisher: Kensington
Date: 28th October 2014
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a na├»ve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.
My thoughts banner
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev was a wonderfully romantic read, at times it hit my heart deeply,  to only then find me bursting into laughter the next.  I would love to see this made into a movie!  It is set in both India and the USA and tracks some of the things that happen when cultures merge and traditions are honoured long past their used by date.

Mili is a delightful character, she has an open loving heart, ever loyal and living in hope that one day her husband from a marriage when she was only four years old will one day come and claim her.  However she doesn't waste away waiting.  She courageously obtains for herself an education in both India and the America.  The only family she has is one grandmother back in her home village.  Mili works washing dishes to send her money back home.  

One day into her life comes Samir, and her life is never the same again.  He has come for reasons Mili doesn't know and so begins  a developing friendship with him and something more.  He finds that with this young woman that he can sit and write his next movie script that has been so far eluding him.  Samir is a bit  of a playboy, but in actual fact he cares deeply about people - his brother and his wife, his mother and the larger household.  However as he shares more and more with Mili, he is invited by her to open up more and face the wounds of his past.

The first half of the book moved slowly although it was not boring.  Once I was past midway I was fully entranced and just read until I finished.  By then I was fully into the Indian culture and various words used and it was all so heartwarming, heart breaking, and humorous that I had to read on.  I loved all of Samir's family, they were wonderful.  

This book is about tradition, expectations, eastern and western values meeting, family values, forgiveness and love.  Above all else, love.  I do so hope Sonali Dev will continue to write more such books.
4 stars

October 27, 2014

Unsuitable. Ainslie Paton

Ainslie Paton
Published: October 27th 2014
Format: e-ARC
Pages:  356
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: received a copy from the author.

Can they make trailblazing and homemaking fit, or is love just another gender stereotype?

Audrey broke the glass ceiling. Reece swapped a blue collar for a pink collar job.

She’s a single mum by design. He’s a nanny by choice.

She gets passed over for promotion. He struggles to find a job.

She takes a chance on him. He’s worth more than he knows. There’s a child whose favourite word is no. Everything about them being together is unsuitable. Except for love.
My thoughts
Ainslie Paton has become one of my favourite Australian authors.  I love her romance novels, she has her own quirky writer's voice that appeals to me.  Her stories are varied, they never fail to hold my attention and I always totally fall for her characters.  Unsuitable soon had me  engrossed in the tangled lives of Audrey, Mia and Reece and their friends and family.

Audrey is a high powered manager in a men's world, while she has made it to where not many other women are, she has still been discriminated against.  She has a darling daughter Mia, and the need of a new nanny because her previous one is leaving.  Among a number of women applying for the job is one man.  Audrey is drawn to employing him, but is just not so sure.  Mia of course has already made up her three going on four year old mind.  Will Audrey be discriminating against him if she passes him over?

Reece would be amazing in a romantic suspense novel - he would be the hero bodyguard or Seal going into rescue missions.  He is just not your usual idea of a male nanny.  He is no female version of the role.  But... he is actually perfect, he might not look the part but he has the experience, character and personality to make any child  happy and secure.  He has four sisters whom he virtually brought up because his father died when they were young and his Mum has had to be the bread winner for the family.  His relationship with them is both funny and beautiful to behold.  And when needed those sisters sure will go into bat for him.

I don't want to give any of the plot away, I think it moves along really well with enough twists and turns to keep any romance reader happy.  I would have loved an epilogue but ... really I wanted for it to just go on and on, so that I could continue to be involved in these characters' lives.  When I am disappointed that a book has come to an end, I know it has succeeded.  Thanks Ainslie Paton you have done it again.
4.5 stars

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Sheila at Book Journey runs It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

October is passing by very quickly.  Happy Halloween to all those who celebrate, not so much here in NZ.  We have a long weekend for Labour Day today, so that is very nice.  Never say no to a Monday holiday!

I've not been doing much except working and trying to get in a spring vegie garden in between times. It has been very dry and I am on sandy soil - so please rain!

Reading in the past week:

Feel's Like Family is #3 in Sherryl Woods Sweet Magnolia series and I enjoyed it as much as I did the others.  This is mainly Helen's story.  4 star read.  I won't be reviewing it - time limits on blogging these few months as I focus more on writing student reports!  

Unsuitable is a contemporary romance that is published today I think.  I really liked it, but then so far I have liked all of Australian author Ainslie Paton's novels.  This one is about a hunk of a guy who wants to win a job to be a ... nanny.  Now that sounds rather unsuitable, yet Reece has some very convincing reasons why.  There will be a review very soon.

What I am reading at present.
The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie.
I earlier enjoyed the historical The Autumn Bride and this is the next one in the series.  I am reading it in paperback, forgot I had already bought it as an ebook!  Oops.

Up next:
I always like to plan what I might read next.  It helps me get over the loss of the previous book coming to an end!  I think I will read next:
Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb.

October 25, 2014

What Alice Forgot. Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot
Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Bolinda
Date: 2010
Format: Audiobook
Length: 15 hours 35 min
Narrator:  Caroline Lee
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Own audiobook

Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she's actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce.

A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn't sure she likes who she's become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.
My thoughts
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty  is the second book I have 'read' - listened to and I liked it very much.  The narrator does an excellent reading and enhances the whole experience.  I am going to actually read my next book by this author in paperback. I am wondering how that will stack up against the audio experience.  

Alice hits her head at the gym and when she comes to, she has lost the last 10 years of her memory, so now she thinks its 1998.  A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then!  Most of the book is about Alice trying to grasp who all these unknown people are in her life.  First of all her children - she thinks she is pregnant with her first child - but no, she has three!  She has a friend that it appears she has lost touch with and a friend who has died - and she has no memory of her.  She finds that her husband Nick and herself are separated, heading towards divorce.  The house they bought is now all perfectly renovated.  And that's not all, her mother has done something very unexpected, and Alice seems to have a man friend - Dominic the local Principal.  Elizabeth, her sister seems a little estranged and is dealing with her own problems of infertility.

So, the Alice of ten years ago meets the life she is now living ten years later.  She finds there are many changes in her life, she is no longer the woman she once was.  There are a lot of hard edges that the younger, softer Alice would never have dreamt of developing.  Who is Alice now?  As she unravels her life, she has choices to make.  No more, so as not to give the plot away - although as I have come late to this book, most readers probably know!

There are so many heart wrenching issues explored in this book - infertility, divorce, children, marriage, friendships, death and family.  It could be a serious, depressing book but its not.  There is humour and exploration of what could be and might have been.  Like any good author Liane Moriarty keeps you guessing until the epilogue,  and she left one satisfied reader behind.
5 stars

October 24, 2014

BookBlogWalkers October 24th 2014

This challenge is organised by Felicia over at the Geeky Blogger's Book Blog.

Well I had a better week and got some exercise in.

Saturday:  30 min walk                     8150 steps in the day
Sunday:  40 min lawn mowing         7797  steps in the day
Monday: 30 min walk                       7887 steps  in the day               
Tuesday: 30 min walk                      10 260 steps  in the day
Wednesday: 30 min walk                  9477 steps  in the day
Thursday: rest day                            5881 steps   in the day
Friday: 30 min walk.                         9194 steps  in the day

So there you have it and I am back on track!  

October 21, 2014

The Silent Sister. Diane Chamberlain

Book cover
The Silent Sister
Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Date: 7th October 2014
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Add to Goodreads
Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality.
My thoughts banner

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain was a compulsive, stay glued to the book read.  Small clues were drip fed through to the reader and to Riley as she started to glean that her family were not quite as they appeared to be.  What secret would be uncovered next?

Riley is the youngest in her family, with about 15 years between herself and her older sister Lisa, who was thought to have committed suicide when Riley was only 2 years old.  She has no real memory of her.  Riley begins to put her father's estate in order after his death, and then one discovery after the other happens.  The old couple in the RV park - why was her father paying Tom Kyle $500 a month?   Tom's wife Verniece tells Riley something she just can't believe.  Real estate agent Jeannie Lyons, turns out to be a lot more than just the real estate person helping her deal with winding up the estate.

Riley is close to Danny her brother, older by about 5 years than her.  He lives in an old trailer in the RV park.  He is a war veteran and is grouchy to say the very least.  He can't cope with helping Riley to close the estate.  After his sister went missing he grew up in a home that held tension and he is angry with his father.  However he has a soft, tender spot for Riley - this is the relationship I liked most in the book.  He helps her out at crucial times, and while he is a lose cannon in many ways, my heart ached for him.

The book alternates between Riley and her sister Lisa, and if you've read the summary, her suicide was faked.  But who was involved? Who knew what?  How did Lisa fare after this?  Gradually we are let in on her story and we are drip fed clues that are significant.  Her story is every bit as compelling as Riley's one. 

Lies, secrets, murder, abuse have taken a toll on every member of this family.  Riley is desperate to find family, she feels so alone, Lisa's heart aches for different reasons.  Others are slammed by the shock of revealed secrets they knew nothing about. 

The Silent Sister was a well crafted story, clues revealed slowly, viewpoints had to be weighed up - who was telling the truth?  The book was very well paced and written in a way that meant I couldn't leave it down for long.  
4 stars

October 20, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Sheila at Book Journey runs It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Saturday was one of my favourite days of the year - our local book fair, when the local Lions group fund raise for various charities.  I am afraid I went and bought about as much as I donated in books for it, so I am now bulging on my TBR shelf.

Books by past favourite authors

Books chosen because I have been introduced to authors by bloggers.

New authors to me, ones I don't really know about.
I picked up the Diane Setterfield one thinking it was 
a Diane Chamberlain.  Before I noticed a woman
said to me "We read that one in our book club 
it was very good".  So I kept it for a read.

That's just some of them.  I snagged 8 J. D. Robb books, left my list at home, so was very relieved when I arrived home and found I had no double ups.  I spent just over $100, more than I intended, but its for a good cause.  Books in New Zealand are way more expensive than in the USA for example. I'd pay anything from $20 to $35 for each of these books in the shop for paperback.  I bought over 40 books for the $117. 

This week I read:  
Crime - non fiction
Excellent read.
A New Zealand crime - murder of a young girl
by her ex boyfriend.

Utterly fantastic.

At present I am reading:

Feels Like Family by Sherryl Woods   (part of her Magnolia series)

Still listening to Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Reading also a non fiction travel book - for The Eclectic Reading Challenge.

Storybook Travels: From Eloise's New York to Harry Potter's London, Visits to 30 of the Best Loved Landmarks in Children's Literature.

Up next:
I think it will be Unsuitable by Ainslie Paton.  She is self publishing this particular book, but as I really like her writing, I am quite happy to read this.  She is another awesome Australian author.

Anyone would think I am Australian at the rate I am reading Australian authors this year, but I am not!  

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