Friday, August 24, 2012

Books That Make Me Go....Ahhhh

I know I missed posting my notable excerpt last week, but I am back in the game this week!  If part of a book made you stop, and enjoy the beauty of the prose, please feel free to include the excerpt in the comment section below.

I found myself highlighting the section below that was found while reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese:
What a journey...what a day...what madness, so much worse than tragic!  What to do except dance, dance, only dance...

Kindle Locatio 2134 of 10758

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Audiobook Review: More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi

Title:  More Than You Know

Author Penny Vincenzi

Narrator:  Rosalyn Landor

Unabridged Length:  23 hrs, 25 mn

Here is a summary of the novel from the AudioGO website:
It all comes down to love or money in a harrowing custody battle over a little girl, set against the glossy backdrop of the magazine and advertising worlds in 1960s London. A privileged girl from a privileged class, Eliza has a dazzling career in the magazine world of the 1960s. But when she falls deeply in love with Matt, an edgy working-class boy, she gives up her ritzy, fast-paced lifestyle to get married. By the end of the decade, however, their marriage has suffered a harrowing breakdown, culminating in divorce and a dramatic courtroom custody battle over their little girl. Also at risk is Eliza's gorgeous family home, a pawn in the game, which she can't bear to give up. True to form, Penny Vincenzi introduces a devious cast of characters seemingly plucked from the pages of sixties- and seventies-era magazines, as she deftly maneuvers between the glamorous, moneyed worlds of fashion and advertising, and a heart-wrenching custody battle going on in the courtroom where the social mores of the time are on full display. 

 My Review:
This was an interesting story to listen to as we follow the social circles of all the characters involved.  Not only do we get an up close look at Eliza's life, but we also get to see things from Matt's perspective as well.  Getting to know Matt and Eliza's siblings was like the icing on the cake.

After Eliza ends an engagement, she finds herself falling in love with Matt, a self-made entrepreneur.  A whirlwind romance results in a wedding between the two, leaving Eliza compromising the life she led up until now.  She has been very successful in the magazine industry, but Matt does not believe a wife should work outside the home.  She does hold onto her job for some time, but with the arrival of children Matt demands she stay home as his children will not be raised by nannies.

Besides the relationship issues between Matt and Eliza, we also follow Matt's sister Scarlet's love life.  I think the best way to describe Scarlet is to say she has been unlucky in love.  She has a tendency to choose and fall in love with married men.  Scarlet is such a sweet young lady and the reader can't help but desire that she finally finds a man that will give her the love she so richly deserves.

Circumstances eventually spin out of control within Eliza and Matt's marriage, leaving them both seeking a divorce.  Through their marriage, they opened themselves to each other's family members, making the separation that much more painful.  Things will never be the same between the two families.

Landor did a great job of narrating this novel.  I loved how she took on different personalities and voices for the characters.  Every now and then when a man was speaking, I thought there was a different narrator that was actually a man!  With themes of love, betrayal, fashion, and high society this novel was very enjoyable to listen to.  This book gets my recommendation as a great novel to pick up for personal leisure and listening pleasure.

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  This audiobook was provided to me by the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox in exchange for an honest review.      

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Bermudaonion asks you to share new words that you have learned during your reading adventures in the last week. Feel free to join in the fun!

Here are a few words I learned while reading Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese on my Kindle:

Carphology:  plucking at the bedclothes by a delirious patient.

Here is how carphology was used at location 448 of 10758:
And look at the way she picks at the bedclothes--that's called carphology, and those little muscle twitches are subsultus tendinum.

Ligatures: the act of binding or tying up.

Here is how ligatures was used at location 486 of 10758:
He secured the needle in place with ligatures, his hands a blur as he pushed one knot down over another.

Khat:  a white-flowered evergreen shrub of Africa and Arabia, whose leaves have narcotic properties.

Here is how khat was used at location 555 of 10758:
It was a new scent for her, this scent of khat: partly cut grass, yet with something spicier behind it.

Miasma:  a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere.

Here is how miasma was used at location 761 of 10758:
He was met by a miasma at once familiar and alarming, but he couldn't place it.

Friable:  easily broken up; crumbly.

Here is how friable was used at location 1907 of 10758:
Distracted now by heavy oozing from Sister May Joseph Praise's soggy, friable uterus, Hema turned back from infants to the mother.

I could go on and on with new words I have learned while reading this book, but I think I will stop with these!  Did you learn any new words yourself this week?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday-Aug. 21

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from Should Be Reading. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

This week my teaser is from Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese:
She still cried some evenings, picturing her parents taking their chairs outdoors to wait for the sea breeze which, even on the hottest and stillest of days, blew in at dusk.  She left because gynecology, at least in Madras, remained a man's domain, and, even on the eve of independence, and she had no chance at all for a civil service appointment to the government teaching hospital.

Kindle location 1008 of 10758

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mailbox Monday-August 20

Mailbox Monday is a great meme that has us list the books that we receive.  Different bloggers now have the opportunity to host this meme for a month at a time.  This month you can check out what everyone received over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Here is what came to my door:
 The Fine Color of Rust by P.A. O'Reilly

The Second Empress by Michelle Moran

What Happened to My Sister by Elizabeth Flock

Well that marks another great week of books in my mailbox!  I was thrilled to find the new Moran book, because I tried winning a copy of this one at several places.  I don't know if it was a win, or if they just pitied all the entries I if someone would notice my desire for The Twelve by Justin Cronin all would be in order.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mailbox Monday-Aug. 13

Mailbox Monday is a great meme that has us list the books that we receive.  Different bloggers now have the opportunity to host this meme for a month at a time.  This month you can check out what everyone received over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Here are the goodies I found!
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (audiobook)

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory (audiobook)

Man, I hit the jackpot last week!  After having month after month of receiving hardly any books at all, these all come at once!  I'm especially thankful for the new audios, as with the new job I start on Monday I will be in my car for an hour a day.  Hurray for audiobooks! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Blog Tour and Review: The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

Thanks to Trish once again from TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour.  Here is a description of The World We Found from the Harper Collins website:

The acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The Weight of Heaven returns with a breathtaking, skillfully wrought story of four women and the unbreakable ties they share. 

As university students in late 1970s Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were inseparable. Spirited and unconventional, they challenged authority and fought for a better world. But much has changed over the past thirty years. Following different paths, the quartet drifted apart, the day-to-day demands of work and family tempering the revolutionary fervor they once shared. 

Then comes devastating news: Armaiti, who moved to America, is gravely ill and wants to see the old friends she left behind. For Laleh, reunion is a bittersweet reminder of unfulfilled dreams and unspoken guilt. For Kavita, it is an admission of forbidden passion. For Nishta, it is the promise of freedom from a bitter fundamentalist husband. And for Armaiti, it is an act of acceptance, of letting go on her own terms even if her ex-husband and daughter do not understand her choices. 

In the course of their journey to reconnect, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta must confront the truths of their lives—acknowledge long-held regrets, face painful secrets and hidden desires, and reconcile their idealistic past and their compromised present. And they will have to decide what matters most, a choice that may just help them reclaim the extraordinary world they once found. 

Exploring the enduring bonds of friendship and the power of love to change lives, and offering an unforgettable portrait of modern India—a nation struggling to bridge economic, religious, gender, and generational divides—The World We Found is a dazzling masterwork from the remarkable Thrity Umrigar. 

My Review:
This novel is the first book I have read by Umrigar, but I can tell you it won't be my last.   The Weight of Heaven has been on my Kindle for quite some time, and if I didn't have to start my book club book next, I would definitely be reading that one.  It's not a secret that I enjoy books that give me a taste of another culture, and Umrigar did not disappoint in this respect.  Before reading this book I was unaware of the conflict between the Muslim and Hindu cultures in India that eventually led to devastating riots.

Our four lead characters were best friends in college that end up losing touch with each other as each one follows their personal happiness.  Armaiti marries a man who whisks her away to a life of luxury in America, while the other three are still in India, still find their lives drifting in opposite directions.  Armaiti has lived a privileged life in America, but when she is given life-threatening news from her doctor, a sudden desire is sparked to see her long-lost friends one last time.

When I read the summary I expected the book to be about the four friends being reunited once again.  But it was actually about the obstacles and personal dilemmas they had to endure that would allow them to be together.  They each have to confront their own demons and make peace with the choices they have made in this life that have turned them into the people they are today.

I did enjoy this novel, even though it took a different path than I had expected.  With themes of love, friendship, strength, and sacrifices, this truly was an amazing novel.  I think it would be a great selection for a book club or for personal leisure.  I don't hesitate in recommending this novel.

Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mailbox Monday-August 6

Mailbox Monday is a great meme that has us list the books that we receive.  Different bloggers now have the opportunity to host this meme for a month at a time.  This month you can check out what everyone received over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Here is what I found in my mailbox:

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand (audiobook)

It looks like this is my last Monday off as I start a new job next week that will be 40 hours per week.  I became quite accustomed to my extended weekend, so it will be sad to no longer have that extra day.  But also exciting to start a new job with more responsibilities that will allow me to utilize more of my skills and abilities.  

And today is my birthday!  I plan on celebrating with my friends and family tonight at our local Mexican restaurant with a big margarita accompanying me!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Books That Make Me Go.....Ahhhh

There has been a lot of activity in my life during the month of July so I apologize not posting my notable excerpt.  Hopefully this weeks snippet will make up for it!

This week my notable excerpt is from The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar:
But there was another part of her that wanted her daughter to know-not just the world she had grown up in but to know her, the wars she'd fought and lost, the idealism that she wore like a tarnished shield.  It felt like a dereliction of duty somehow to die before passing on some of this knowledge to her only child.  Because she feared that the world had changed too much, that this new jittery world of global capital and impersonal megachurches would never again nurture the kind of community and optimism that she had known.

Pg. 116 of Advanced Readers Edition

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review: The World Without You by Joshua Henkin

Here is a summary of the book from the Random House website:

It’s July 4, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. But this is no ordinary holiday. The family has gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings, an intrepid journalist and adventurer who was killed on that day in 2004, while on assignment in Iraq.

The parents, Marilyn and David, are adrift in grief. Their forty-year marriage is falling apart. Clarissa, the eldest sibling and a former cello prodigy, has settled into an ambivalent domesticity and is struggling at age thirty-nine to become pregnant. Lily, a fiery-tempered lawyer and the family contrarian, is angry at everyone. And Noelle, whose teenage years were shadowed by promiscuity and school expulsions, has moved to Jerusalem and become a born-again Orthodox Jew. The last person to see Leo alive, Noelle has flown back for the memorial with her husband and four children, but she feels entirely out of place. And Thisbe —Leo’s widow and mother of their three-year-old son—has come from California bearing her own secret.

Set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, The World Without You is a novel about sibling rivalries and marital feuds, about volatile women and silent men, and, ultimately, about the true meaning of family. 

My Review:
This book covers a lot of emotion and familial turmoil as it takes place over the period of just a few days, while a family gathers at their summer home to attend a memorial for the youngest family member.  Leo was killed in Iraq just a year ago, and the family cannot seem to move on since this tragedy.

Henkin packed a punch with this novel that is full of the most beautiful writing I have read in quite some time.  Among the family members that Leo left behind are his wife, a son, three older sisters, and his parents.  All have agreed to meet for the Fourth of July holiday for his memorial.  Everyone seems to be at a crossroads in their lives, wanting to move on but maybe afraid of the consequences if they do.  When Leo's sisters find out about their parents upcoming separation, their lives become even more fragile.

Not only did this book delve into the broken lives of those involved, but also the Jewish religion that created the foundation for who they are today.  The family members did not renounce their religion in any way, but they also did not celebrate it, except for the youngest sister Noelle.  Interesting how she was the wild, party girl in her teenage years, but turned into a devout, Orthodox Jew as an adult.  Throughout this book, everyone contemplates the decisions they have made, including Noelle as she questions why her religion has to be so strict.

The characters in this novel were so real to me and were all facing their own challenges after Leo's death.  They help each other as they deal with their grief over this period of a few days, but the novel stays realistic to me as when they all prepare to leave and go back to their every day lives, problems are not completely resolved.  They've all made progress, but they still have a long way to go.

I loved this novel that depicted human relationships in such a true form.  Henkin made his characters honest and raw, and didn't hold back.  With themes of love, death, and forgiveness, I can't help but think this would also make a great book club selection.  I highly recommend this novel.

My Rating:  5/5

Disclosure:  This ebook was provided to me by the publisher through the Netgalley program in exchange for an honest review.