Month: July 2016

If You Could Be Mine

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Author: Sara Farizan
AUDIOBOOK

Published: August 20, 2013
Dates Read: January 8-14, 2016

My Rating: 3 Stars

 

Book Summary from Amazon:

This Forbidden Romance Could Cost Them Their Lives

In this stunning debut, a young Iranian American writer pulls back the curtain on one of the most hidden corners of a much-talked-about culture.

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they had before, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants in the body she wants to be loved in without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?


My review:

 

***Some spoilers***

The cover is what first drew me to If You Could Be Mine.  It is simple, yet has so much meaning.  When I read the premise, it also interested me and I found it a good book. I listened to the audiobook and it was a short 5 discs. The book was more about being gay/lesbian than transsexual in Iran, as Sahar is actually not transgender. I wondered how the book was going to end, and I was happy with the ending. At times Sahar seemed very immature and also quick thinking about the consequences to what she might or might not do. That comes from her being young.

Also, Nasrin was not very likeable. To me it also seemed like she didn’t love Sahar as much as Sahar loved her. So, I wondered as I read the book that if Sahar went through with the change and became a man would Nasrin accept him since Nasrin was already betrothed to another at this point. And why would Sahar not tell Nasrin her plans on having her gender changed?  That is one thing I really did not understand through the whole book.  If you are planning a change like this- why not tell Nasir to see what she thinks. AND again, she was betrothed to another at this point. To me it seemed like a losing battle for Sahar.

This book does give you an idea of what homosexuals and transgender individuals go through in other countries that are more oppressive than the US. The book is short, about 250 pages. It is a good read for such a short book. I would recommend the book.

Author Spotlight: Suzanne Redfearn

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Courtesy of Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn has written two novels. I have read both and enjoyed them both. I look forward to future novels written by her. Both novels will be featured in this post today.

Suzanne’s Writings:
Hush Little Baby
No Ordinary Life


 

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Hush Little Baby
368 Pages in Paperback

Published: October 8, 2013
Dates Read: Feb 22, 2014- March 6, 2014

My Rating: 5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

If I stay, he will kill me. If I leave, he’ll destroy Addie and Drew.

Jillian Kane appears to have it all – a successful career, a gorgeous home, a loving husband, and two wonderful children. The reality behind closed doors is something else entirely. For nine years, she has hid the bruises and the truth of her abusive marriage in order to protect Addie and Drew, knowing, if she left, Gordon would destroy her-destroy them.

When, in an act of desperation, she flees, her worst nightmare is realized, and she finds herself on the run with her two young children, no money, and no plan. With Gordon in hot pursuit, there is only one inescapable certainty: No matter where she goes, he will find her. Kill her. And take her children.

A riveting page-turner, HUSH LITTLE BABY exposes the shame and terror of domestic violence as well as the disturbing role manipulation and sabotage can play in the high-stakes game of child custody. Suspenseful and unforgettably moving, it’s a novel about the unbreakable bonds of family and the astounding, terrifying devotion of a mother’s love.

 

My review in 2014:
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book! Hush Little Baby had me pulled in from the beginning. It was intense the whole time! I did not know how it was going to end or what direction the story was going to go. Hush Little Baby shows what it can be like to be in a domestic abuse relationship, and makes me thankful I am not in one. Jillian’s thoughts show what a woman dealing with domestic abuse thinks and how having children can complicate what she may or may not do. The ending did get a little less realistic to me compared to the rest of the book, but I still enjoyed it and would recommend others to read it.

I also highly enjoyed that the chapters were short- the longest chapters were 6-8 pages. When there are short chapters I feel I can read a book quicker. I am not the quickest reader, but finished it an a little over a week.

 


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No Ordinary Life
400 Pages in Paperback

Published: February 2, 2016
Dates Read: May 20-June 11, 2016

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Faye Martin never expected her husband to abandon her and her three children . . . or that she’d have to struggle every day to make ends meet. So when her four-year-old daughter is discovered through a YouTube video and offered a starring role on a television series, it seems like her prayers have been answered. But when the reality of their new life settles in, Faye realizes that fame and fortune don’t come without a price. And in a world where everyone is an actor and every move is scrutinized by millions, it’s impossible to know who to trust, and Faye finds herself utterly alone in her struggle to save her family.

Emotionally riveting and insightful, No Ordinary Life is an unforgettable novel about the preciousness of childhood and the difficult choices a mother needs to make in order to protect this fragile time in her children’s lives.

 

My review:

With this novel, Suzanne Redfearn has become a Target Emerging Author Selection. That is awesome for a newer author! Congrats Suzanne!

This review will have some spoilers, so beware before you read this review.

I enjoyed Suzanne Redfearn’s first book, Hush Little Baby, so I was excited and anxiously awaited her second book to be released.  Last year(2015) there was also a contest where her readers could give input into the cover and title of the book. I participated.

I enjoyed that the chapters were short. That makes me feel I am reading the book quicker. It also makes it harder to put the book down when you see the next chapter is 1-4 pages!

I loved the premise of the book.

I was pulled into the book from the beginning and found it hard to put down. However, I had to suspend my belief while reading the book. Faye, the mother, was not very likeable for me. She came into the whole experience with such naivete. I mean, not even have a lawyer look at the contract when you know nothing of Hollywood?

Parts of the book seemed to be extreme in the situations that happened. Yes, you have one child discovered, but then your middle child can also act? I found that hard to believe as well. And, your boyfriend who works behind the camera ends up being a former child star?!?!

Despite the issues I had with certain parts of the book I did enjoy it and would recommend it. It was hard to put down. Unlike some reviewers, I did not have an issue with Molly’s lisp and the way it was put on paper. I LOVED Molly and could see how America fell in love with her in this book.

**I will continue to read Suzanne Redfearn’s books and look forward to her next one being released!!

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Dies the Fire

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Author: S.M. Stirling
573 Pages in Paperback

Published: August 3, 2004
Husband read in 2016

My Husband’s Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.


 

My husband recently read Dies the Fire. He said I would like it since I like post apocalyptic settings in books, movies, and tv shows. I asked him to write a review! Here is his review of Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling:

“Dies the Fire” by S.M. Stirling is the first of what has become his longest and most prolific series, Emberverse, spawning over a dozen works of long and short fiction. It is itself a spinoff of the Nantucket series, wherein an Event of unknown origin sends the modern-day island of Nantucket and its inhabitants back in time to the Bronze Age. The backlash from the Event causes an irrevocable change in the rest of the modern world, immediately rendering all forms of electricity and high-pressure combustion inert, and this is the beginning of the Emberverse tale. The power goes out, engines stop working, even gunpowder fizzles instead of exploding. The immediate effect is obvious: Death and destruction on a worldwide scale, as planes crash, hospitals go dark, and emergency workers are left with less than basic first aid equipment to work with. Within weeks there is only a fraction of the world’s population left, and the survivors fight each other for the scraps.

That sounds like the setup for an amazing post-apocalyptic story, and for the most part it is. The world of Emberverse is scary, thrilling, and sad, while the story of the protagonists gives a feeling of hope and accomplishment. Unfortunately for the reader, the author relies too heavily on coincidence and chance meetings (an award winning horse trainer from Texas in the middle of the Idaho mountains *just* when our male protagonist needs him most, followed shortly by an expert archer/bowyer/fletcher with a British SAS background conveniently dangling from a tree for our female protagonist to find and rescue) and explains it away with one throwaway line about how only the most skilled and hardy folk will survive such an event. Certainly they will, but the fact that they all happen to be within a few hours’ walk of each other is a ton of disbelief to suspend.

Despite the cheeky deus ex machina in nearly every chapter, Stirling manages to weave an epic tale of medieval adventure set in the beautiful but daunting Pacific Northwest wilderness. He isn’t shy about inspiration from Tolkien, given one minor character’s obsession with the world of Middle-Earth, and there is an obvious “good versus evil” element to the plot. But the true enemy in this world is the depravity of Man and just how terrible people can be when they are forced to take on nature without modern luxuries. There is also a deep exploration of female protagonist Juniper Mackenzie’s Wiccan faith with great attention to detail and accuracy. Granted, her faith just happens to be extremely useful to surviving such an event, but nonetheless it shows Stirling’s penchant for research and realism in his writings.

Readers of this book will immediately recognize the influence it has had on more modern post-apocalyptic tales. The male protagonist, Mike Havel, is a blueprint for characters like Jake Green from the television show Jericho and Miles Matheson from Revolution. Indeed, Revolution seems to borrow the vast majority of its concept, plots, and characters from “Dies the Fire”, including some scene-for-scene remakes and Matheson aping Havel’s dark, witty sense of humor. One can even see some influence on the “Walking Dead” comics (and by extension, the television show), again with scenes that appear to be lifted directly from Stirling’s work.

Overall I would say it’s a great, fun, though often dark read, but the reader must be prepared for a little eye-rolling when the main characters win nearly every hand dealt to them with a wink and a shrug.

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