I absolutely loved this book! Loaded with wonderful characters that made me laugh, made me cry, and made me feel lots of emotions.
Hubert Bird, a native Jamaican, moved to England when he was a young man in search of employment. He faced discrimination especially when he married Joyce whose family disapproved of him and disowned her. They had a loving marriage and raised a couple of children until she met an early death. After her death, Hubert withdrew from friends and mostly became a hermit. My heart broke for Hubert over all the losses he experienced. Then one day the elderly widower receives news that reluctantly forces him out into the world again.
I do not want to say much here about the plot as I do not want to give anything away. There are several special moments that I do not wish to ruin for the reader.
This book addresses the societal problem of loneliness. When Hubert is forced out into the world, he surprisingly makes friends. Through these friends, he finds himself spearheading a movement to conquer loneliness in their community.
I loved this quote: âIt used to be the family all looking out for one another but it's not like that anymoreâ¦It used to be neighbours kept an eye on you but people like to keep themselves to themselves nowâ.
If you enjoyed âA Man Called Ove,â you are sure to enjoy this book.
This was the first book by Susan Wiggs that I have read. I received this book through GoodReads First Reads program. Many thanks to the publisher for the opportunity to become familiar with Susan Wiggs writing. This wont be the last of her books that I will read.
Ms. Wiggs writing is absolutely delightful. Her descriptions took me right back to Sonoma (where I have spent quite a bit of time). I could almost smell and taste the delicious food she described Isabella cooking. For those who like book-related recipes, you will love these. They all sound yummy. The characters were well-developed Tess, Isabella, Magnus, Dominic, Trini, Antonio. They became like friends or family. (Although Dominic was a bit too perfect.) The descriptions of Tess career really had me intrigued. She recovers treasures and restores them to their lawful owners. This was fascinating to me. Sometimes I have difficulty with the books that switch from present to past then back to present. Not with this one. I always knew exactly where/when I was throughout the story. Her transitions were very smooth. I was pleasantly surprised by the intricacies of the story taking me back to Magnus involvement with the Resistance Fighters in Denmark in WWII. While this was a romance there was much more to the story.
If you have trouble saying good-bye to this loving family, this is the first book in a series.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if we lost power for months? Think of all we are dependent on for electricity â our cellphones, televisions, cash registers, lights, electric cars, and so much more.
When I heard about this book, I knew I just had to read it. I was the Program Manager for the Department of Defense's network of solar observatories. That made this book a quick read for me. I really enjoyed it, especially the scientific portions dealing with the Coronal Mass Eruptions (CME).
A series of three CMEs destroy the power grids all over Earth, sparing only the remotest of areas. The story focuses on one family and their neighborhood in Aurora, Illinois. People are terrified: they don't know what is happening and how long it will last; they are cut off from their loved ones. They find themselves fighting for their lives.
I thought the main characters were well-developed and realistic. I loved their evolution throughout the book â some from helplessness to the strength to survive, others from petty crimes to felony crimes, from isolation to working together. I was eager to learn which would survive.
I recommend this scientific thriller which focuses on the very human experiences.
I loved it! Sam (Samantha) is a popular teen who often is not so likable. At the end of the first day she is in a car wreck with her best friends and Sam is killed. Now she has to re-live that day over and over until she gets things right. She is just your typical teen who now is made to mature quickly so she can move on. It is really touching to lie that day over and over with her while she comes to understand her short life better and accept her death.
Emotional and realisticâ¦Daisy Richmond receives the devastating news that her cancer is back, and it is a particularly aggressive one. She does not think her husband Jack can take care of himself. So, it becomes her mission to find a new wife for her husband before she dies. But can she handle seeing him fall in love with another woman? There were times that Daisy comes off as hard and pushes people away. But perhaps that is a normal reaction. She had to struggle with letting go or holding on. I really felt like Oakley portrayed Daisy's emotions with realism, and she made me feel them also. She made me think about what I would do if I knew I was going to dieâ¦soon.
The characters are likable, believable, and well-developed. I became emotionally invested in these characters. Daisy's best friend Kayleigh provided just the right amount of comic relief, so the story was not overly depressing. In fact, it is ultimately a feel-good story. Oakley finds just the right balance. The love between Daisy and Jack and between Daisy and Kayleigh filled my heart.
The emotions expressed are so realistic they are likely to bring on a good cry, so keep tissues close. It was a beautiful journey.
This was a good read, and I recommend it to others.
This was the first book by Lisa Jewell that I have read, but now not the last.
Before I Met You alternates between the story of Betty (1983-1995) and that of Arlette (1919-1921). Arlette is the grandmother of Bettys mothers boyfriend. (Got that?) Arlette lived in London (Soho) in a fascinating period of time the Jazz Age when formerly forbidden behavior was more acceptable. But she left all that and went back to her home on the island of Guernsey. Betty lives on Guernsey and dreams of living in Soho. Perhaps this is why Arlette is so fond of Betty at the beginning of the novel. Arlette dies and lives an inheritance to her son and to Arlette. But she also leaves one to an unknown person, one Clara Pickle or Jones. With the inheritance Betty received she moves to Soho and takes it upon herself to find this Clara Pickle. This is when we learn the fascinating history of Arlette.
Betty strives to do well in the big city, just as Arlette did years before. Betty finds an apartment in Soho and eventually becomes a nanny to the children of a rock star. Arlette had also found a dwelling in Soho and fell in love with a jazz musician. Both women went through similar exciting times and heart-breaking times.
I really didnt know what to expect when I first started reading the book. As I mentioned already, I had never read a Lisa Jewell book. It was long though until I was hooked. I came to really care about the characters of Arlette, Betty, and the objects of their love. Two other characters I was rooting against as they were not worthy of these women. When the novel ended I had to sit a spell and reflect upon their journeys. What a delightful, yet at times, heart-breaking story. Thank you, Lisa Jewell, for this delightful tale.
Shaaban interviews women in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Algeria. The chapter on Algeria is especially interesting as she goes to visit the people of Al Tawariqu. This society of Muslims is totally different from other societies. Here the men wear veils and women have a unique type of emancipation.
I used to really enjoy Barbara Taylor Bradfords books. I love family sagas and she used to be one of the best at writing them. But not anymore. Like Danielle Steel, her books seem to now be written following some formula. The last two of her books that I read (this being the second one) were predictable and had little real story to them. In this one, the four Cavedon sisters are the most beautiful women in the world. Then they meet their soul mate and they are instantly madly in love. This book lacked emotion and frequently did a quick wrap-up so they could move on to the next episode. I was ready for an easy read and it did fulfill that. But it was just too light for true enjoyment. I want to care about the characters and in this story I did not.
I received an ARC of this book from GoodReads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.
Suspectful. Easy reading. Kept me glued to the story.
An NTSB team is brought in to investigate the downing of an aircraft. Only days away another aircraft will be brought down in the same manner -- but how?? The FBI joins the investigation.
This book grabbed me from the very beginning and kept me on edge. I wanted to just escape someplace where I would have no interruptions while reading it. I could feel for myself the fear and hopelessness the main characters experienced. It is hard to believe that this is Murphy's debut novel.
In a liquor store, Leah crosses paths with McKenna and thinks âIt was like looking at myself, nine months ago.â Thus, their lives will both be changed.
This is a story of two women who supposedly have it all - husbands who are both handsome and wealthy, beautiful houses, all the trappings of a successful life. But no one knows what goes on behind their closed doors. No one knows about the controlling husbands and the abuse the husbands inflict upon Leah and McKenna.
Leah is compelled to find where McKenna lives and begins observing her from afar. Then one night she sees a violent act in McKenna's home, and she snaps. She takes matters into her own hands.
Written with compassion and an understanding of the emotional impact of spousal abuse, this story may make you wonder if someone you know is experiencing the same nightmare that Leah and McKenna experience.
I will be watching for future books by this author. Her writing is incredible.
I received an advance egalley from the publisher. The opinions expressed here are my own.
As I close the book, I feel emotionally drained. What a story! What an emotional rollercoaster! This book brought to mind the 1957 romantic movie âAn Affair to Remember.â Did you see it? Two people fall in love and promise to meet up in six months atop the Empire State Building. On that day, the woman is running late. She jumps out of her taxi and gets hit by a car, resulting in her being a paraplegic. She does not want her love to see her, so she ignores his attempts to contact her.
âGoodbye, Orchidâ is a modern version of that story. Deeply in love, Phoenix sees Orchid off to her adventure in China. But a tragic accident in the subway leaves Phoenix a broken man. Now he has to make the hardest decision of his life. He believes it would be best to let Orchid go in order to protect her from his trauma.
The author has delivered a real page turner! A story of love, sacrifice, and resilience. This story is very raw with emotion. The author has very realistically presented a character going through the stages of grief â facing the loss of the life he had, trying to build a new life, the blow to his self-esteem, and the perception of how others may now see him.
And then there is Orchid. She is so confused, not knowing why Phoenix has rejected her. Orchid has her own trauma to overcome, and it may prevent her from being able to accept Phoenix as he is now.
Both Phoenix and Orchid will need to dig deep into their own perceived inadequacies if they are to find their way back to each other.
I highly recommend these two beautifully written books â âOrchid Bloomingâ and âGoodbye, Orchid.â
This is one of those rare books that I wanted to rush through because it had me so totally engrossed in the story. I felt the fear and intensity as unbelievable incidents were described. But once I reached the last few pages I found myself slowing down. On one hand I wanted to quickly read those pages to find out what would happen. But on the other hand I did not want the story to end.
Brooke Fielding, an ambitious young investment manager, accepts an invitation to travel to Moscow as part of a team to teach entrepreneurial skills to the Russian women. While eager to share of herself with the women she is also apprehensive. Her parents were born in Russia and escaped from the pogroms against the Jews. Her mother was the only survivor from her family as the others died in a concentration camp. Her fathers first wife and three children were killed. Thus, Brooke has grown up hearing of the anti-Semitism in Russia.
The story begins in 1993 just weeks after the fall of Communism. Left as a country with no laws, the Duma is busy making up laws as they go. However Yeltsin is frustrated and impatient with them and fires them. As the members of their Duma are democratically elected, Yeltsin did not have the authority to fire them. Thus, a stand-off develops between the members of the Duma and Yeltsin as he calls in the Army to remove the Duma.
The entire team encounters MAJOR culture shock. As Communist control ended, theft and gangs quickly filled the void. Connections and bribes were required for the simplest of services. Corruption has taken over. Time after time, the Russians are impressed by how white the Americans teeth are. Many of them have rotted teeth but proudly support one gold tooth as it shows they can afford it. People stand in line for hours, sometimes days, for food, gasoline, money from the banks. The descriptions of the living conditions of most Russians were shocking. The photos of communal apartments in the back of the book were definitely eye-opening.
Svetlana is assigned as the groups translator. She knows several languages and would have been translator for the Foreign Minister. However, she was labeled as having loose morals after being gang-raped. Dr. Olga Rozanova, a sociologist from the Institute for Social Research, is ashamed that the Americans are so poorly treated in her homeland. Brooke forms friendships with these women, but can the friendships survive the anti-Semitism of the culture? And how can she teach Western capitalism to a people who are afraid to even trust their neighbors?
There is a good sampling of the male characters. There are primarily four Russian male characters and they are very different from each other.
Brookes early family history is revealed slowly, like layers of an onion being peeled away, layer by layer. Being in Russia makes her face parts of her past that she had been running from her entire life. There is a possible love interest for her but she is very distrustful of men. Her past relationships are also slowly revealed making it understandable why she is so distrustful of men. Brooke carries secrets that she is afraid of revealing. One of the secrets could cost her her job. She also struggles with the question of What does it mean to be Jewish? Should she hide her Jewish identity in this land that is rampantly anti-Semitic?
Ms. Carner visited Russia in 1993 and experienced some of the events told in the book. Her descriptions made me think of several social issues. Is this the way all oppressed societies behave once they get that first taste of freedom? I was amazed at the pride the Russian people still exhibited toward their country, no matter how corrupt it had become. Yet underneath it all, people are people, proving that compassion and trust still exist in the most lawless of societies. I also looked at my own Jewishness, just as Brooke was forced to look at hers. In spite of the corruptness, this was a beautiful story. I look forward to reading her other three books.
This is the story of Sophia Amelia Peabodys courtship and married life with husband Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel was charmed with Sophias paintings and she with his writings. He considered her a gift from God to bring light to him. She is nearly dizzy from his beauty.
The novel is written from Sophias perspective and begins when Nathaniel, although ill, leaves on a short trip that Sophia is totally against. She has a premonition that this will be the last time she sees him. She tells Nathaniel that she cannot bear this earth long without my companion. Then the story goes back in time to shortly before she first meets him.
As you can imagine, the life of two artists is not easy. Their temperaments were different; Nathaniel yearned for solitude while Sophia often invited friends to dinner. Finances were always a concern for them especially after having three children. Yet they remained passionately in love.
I enjoyed reading of their interactions with some of the other writers of that time Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.
Sophia was a very intelligent woman but often had to hide her intelligence in order to be accepted by the society women of the time. Sophia really was not that different from other women of her time. While she was highly educated and an independent thinker, like most women around her, she put her talents aside to fulfill the role of wife and mother. According to Ms. Robuck, she was advised to continue her painting. For you do not want to end up the little marker at the side of the grand headstone, where future writers and readers will lay their offerings, honoring only the man published and not the women who supported and even made his work possible.
I enjoyed the historical portions of the story, and the writing itself was beautifully descriptive. But I did not find myself warming up to either Sophia or Nathaniel. I found the constant over-the-top endearments to be too much. There were several places in the book where it really just dragged on saying nothing of interest. Bottom line I just did not find them to be a very interesting couple.
I always find myself drawn to stories from the Middle East. Having had friends displaced during the Iranian Revolution, I found this story especially interesting. This story centers on the Iranian-born Jahani family and their extended family who fled Iran for America after the fall of the Shah in 1979. The setting for the Jahani family is San Francisco and New Jersey in the late 1990s.
It took a while for me to really get into this story, but once I reached that point, I became totally immersed in this family saga with its generational culture clashes and their conflict that centered on long-held secrets.
Through her masterful writing, Pari brought these characters to life. The father was stiff and domineering; Shireen, the mother, caught between her love for her children and the demands of her husband; sweet Ana who did what was expected by her father; and the rebellious Mitra (âa girl who wanted to be as free as a boy in choosing her futureâ). The emotions flowed from the pages into my heart, especially the shame, the pain, the frustrations, and the anger.
I liked how the family worked to find a blend between their new American home and their rich Persian culture, something all immigrant families encounter. This entire story is, in fact, based on the Iranian custom of âThe One Yearâ which is the observance of the one-year anniversary of a death.
I highly recommend this beautiful story. I received an advance copy from BookBrowse and Kensington Books. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
I have not yet read Lisa Genovas two previous books, but I certainly will now. The OBrien family is one that most people can relate to. The father Joe is a policemen. Oldest son JJ is a fireman, and he and his wife have just gotten pregnant with their first child. Daughter Meghan is a ballet dancer. Katie teaches yoga. Patrick, the youngest, is basically a goof-off. Typical family, until Joe starts dropping things, begins having violent outbursts and involuntary muscular movements. He finally is diagnosed with Huntingtons Disease.
According to an Internet site, Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited disorder that affects the brain. Each person whose parent has HD has a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder. Onset of symptoms range from 35-50 years old. Juvenile cases occur in people less than 20 years of age. Symptoms are mild at first and are often barely noticeable but usually worsen over 15-20 years. Physical symptoms may include: abnormal body movements that worsen over time, including sudden jerks or uncontrolled movements of the limbs or trunk, facial grimacing, walking that is unsteady or dance-like; difficulty with eating, dressing, sitting, and caring for oneself; difficulty swallowing, grunting or poor articulation of speech, weight loss.
Lisa Genova did an amazing job of writing how Joe slowly descends into a life obsessed with HD. With great sensitivity, she explores how each member of the family deals with the news. Each of the children struggle with the decision of whether to be tested or not. The fear the entire family has that the unborn baby may have inherited the gene felt so real. Ms. Genova also has the family learning to depend upon friends in time of greatest need. Joe, once a very proud man, now has to deal with the horrified looks he gets from people due to loss of control of his own body. But his fellow police buddies have his back. Joe actually comes up with a humorous way of dealing with peoples stares. Loved it!
The courage of the family and how each member chooses to deal with the future was just so realistic. However I thought I would feel, some member of the family describes feeling the same way. These characters are so very real. They are not perfect; they reveal their fears, their anger, their confusion. They could be our neighbors, our friends, or they could be us.
This is a very honest look at life for a black woman trying to be a journalist in the US in the early 20th century.
Even in her childhood Ivoe is fascinated with newspapers. She steals every one she can from her mothers white employer. The written word is her escape from the poverty she lives in. She becomes determined to fulfill her obsession with journalism. Her excellent writing and grades gain her a scholarship. She excels in journalism at the school. But when she applies for jobs she finds herself overqualified. Her potential employers cannot see beyond her skin color.
The writing in most of the book sets the scene so perfectly. Some of the sayings are delightful. When a woman asks Lemon, Ivoes mother, if she knows Annie Faye, Lemon replies with Weve howdyed but we aint never shook. And then there is Every time I stand up, my mind sits down. And when Roena, Lemons daughter-in-law, says she regrets marrying Timbo, Lemon tells Cant put the rain back in the sky. I love that!
The characters are down to earth and seem so real. Life is hard for them but they keep on battling the poverty and discrimination they encounter every day of their lives. They do whatever it takes to support their families. Lemon makes jam and prepares vegetables for the community; her husband, Ennis goes off with the plan to make money and have his join him later.
The author describes the minor transgressions that get mostly the black men (but some women too) thrown into jail. The conditions of those jails are deplorable. It nauseated me to even read about them.
When Ivoe continues to find herself unable to break into journalism, her lover and the community encourage her to start her own black newspaper. It was interesting to read how they went about doing it, and the resistance they encountered.
The last chapter was a real disappointment to me. It seemed as though Ms. Barnett had a vast amount of research she had not gotten into the book. So in the last chapter it is all thrown in there. The chapter is rushed, disconnected, and preachy. It was a truly disappointing end to an otherwise wonderfully written novel