Fiction, Book Review, AUTHOR, S, RATING, 5/5, Read in 2018

Review: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire
by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 274

Read: March 31 – April 6, 2018

Rating: 5/5

Source: Library

 

 

Blurb: Isma is free. After years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she’s accepted an invitation from a mentor in America that allows her to resume a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When Parvaiz surfaces half a globe away, Isma’s worst fears are confirmed.

Then handsome, charismatic Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Son of a powerful political figure, he has his own birthright to live up to – or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Suddenly, two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined.

Internationally acclaimed for her riveting and ambitiously imagined novels, here Kamila Shamsie explores how secrets and family loyalty can both bind lives together and threaten to spin them out of control. Searing and suspenseful, Home Fire asks: What sacrifices will we make in the name of love?


Review: This is not the type of book I normally read. Not even close. But when I saw on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s site that it was her book club’s April selection I dug deeper into the book. I previewed the first page on Goodreads and knew immediately that I had to join the book club for this discussion and immediately get a copy of that book. (You can find that intro here if you’re curious to know what was so compelling to make me fork over money to join a virtual book club and head straight to the library.)

I had seen on the MMD website that this is actually a modern retelling of Antigone. I’m not going to lie, I had no idea what Antigone was even about. It was all I could do to not Google it before I finished the book! I’m ultimately glad that I avoided doing so since I think it would have definitely affected the way I viewed this book.

This book has so many different themes that are explored, but family and country relationships are definitely at the core. It brings forth a lot of feelings and made me really wonder what I would do in those situations. Let’s be frank: I’m an upper-middle class white woman who has no idea what the real world is really like to more underprivileged people. This book made me think more about what it would be like to be a woman trying to do everything in her power to avoid bringing attention to herself lest people think she was a terrorist. It made me think about what it would be like to be so driven in life that I would essentially deny my entire familial background. It made me think about what it would be like to be so driven in my grief that I would willingly manipulate seemingly innocent people in order to get what I ultimately wanted. It made me think about what it would be like to want to know who your father was so badly that you would (inadvertently?) join a terrorist group in order to get the answers you so desperately wanted.

Yeah, it’s that kind of book.

This book really made me think. And I’m not used to books like that. I’m used to murder mysteries where I just have to figure out who the killer is. This book opened my mind to a lot more things than I ever imagined. And it’s stuck with me. I finished this book nearly 2 weeks ago and am just now sitting down to write this review because I’ve been in a book hangover trying to wrap my mind around it.

I still do not think I can adequately put into words my feelings on this book. All I can say is that I was enamored by it. I was enthralled by it. I was engrossed in it. It’ll be in my mind for quite some time.

And I would recommend everyone to read it.

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First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, April 17, 2018

First Chapter

Here’s the opening to my current read:

The Woman in Cabin 10

In my dream, the girl was drifting, far, far below the crashing waves and the cries of the gulls in the cold, sunless depths of the North Sea. Her laughing eyes were white and bloated with salt water; her pale skin was wrinkled; her clothes ripped by jagged rocks and disintegrating into rags.

I’ve had this one on my shelf for quite some time now. It was my BOTM selection ages ago. Ugh. Why do I get these great books and then let them just sit there?! Ridiculous! I’m definitely looking forward to digging in further to this one!!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, April 16, 2018

Mailbox Mondays

One book this week, my BOTM selection:

Our Kind of Cruelty.jpgThis is a love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely, life before her met Verity. V was the first person to understand him. To love him. In return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s secured the right job; he’s found the perfect home; he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He’s ready to start their blissful life together.

It doesn’t matter that V hasn’t been returning his e-mails or phone calls.

It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all part of the secret game they used to play. As long as Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move, he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…

Spellbinding and seductive, Our Kind of Cruelty is a darkly twisted love story – one that draws razor-sharp lines between love and obsession, between truth and perception, and dares you to pick a side.

Book Blitz

Book Blast: The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers |
400 pages |
ISBN 9781481417648 |
April 2018 |
Grades 7 and up


From New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix comes a haunting novel about friendship and what it really means to be a family in the face of lies and betrayal.

Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.

But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.

Margaret Peterson Haddix weaves together two completely separate lives in this engaging novel that explores what it really means to be a family—and what to do when it’s all falling apart.

You can purchase The Summer of Broken Things at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Margaret Peterson Haddix

Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio. She graduated from Miami University (of Ohio) with degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing and history. Before her first book was published, she worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana; a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis; and a community college instructor and freelance writer in Danville, Illinois.

She has since written more than 40 books for kids and teens, including Running Out of Time; Double Identity; Uprising; The Always War; the Shadow Children series; the Missing series; the Children of Exile series; the Under Their Skin duology; and The Palace Chronicles. She also wrote Into the Gauntlet, the tenth book in the 39 Clues series. Her books have been honored with New York Times bestseller status, the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award; American Library Association Best Book and Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers notations; and numerous state reader’s choice awards. They have also been translated into more than twenty different languages.

Haddix and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, Ohio. They are the parents of two grown kids.

SOCIAL MEDIA



GIVEAWAY

There’s also a giveaway opportunity in conjunction with this Book Blast. Five winners will receive a copy of The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix. If you’re interested in that, please click HERE.

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph – April 10, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m sharing the first paragraph of my current read:

F is for Fugitive

The Ocean Street Motel in Floral Beach, California, is located, oddly enough, on Ocean Street, a stone’s throw from the sea wall that slants ten feet down toward the Pacific. The beach is a wide band of beige trampled with footprints that are smoothed away by the high tide every day. Public access is afforded by a set of concrete stairs with a metal rail. A wooden fishing pier, built out into the water, is anchored at the near end by the office of the Port Harbor Authority, which is painted a virulent blue.

Seventeen years ago, Jean Timberlake’s body had been found at the foot of the sea wall, but the spot wasn’t visible from where I stood. At the time, Bailey Fowler, an ex-boyfriend of hers, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Now he’d changed his tune. Every violent death represents the climax of one story and an introduction to its sequel. My job was to figure out how to write the proper ending to the tale, not easy after so much time had elapsed.

I’m looking forward to jumping back in with Kinsey Millhone. And now I want to know what happened to Jean Timberlake 🙂

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday – April 9, 2018

Mailbox Mondays

This one came from my grandmother with her description of it as being “really good.” Harlan Coben has never let me down, so I’m sure it is really good!

Don't Let Go.jpgSuburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since his senior year of high school, when his twin brother, Leo, and Leo’s girlfriend, Diana, were found dead on the railroad tracks – and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions – about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana – whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.


So my local used book store is unfortunately closing down 😥 They had tried to sell it and had a buyer, but something happened and the sale fell through. You have NO IDEA how much I wanted to buy this bookstore. I would be in absolute heaven. So anyway, I stopped in there last Friday after work. The picture below is 26 books that I picked up in a big bag of thrillers. Kind of a blind date type of thing, it was all sealed up and sold for $10. I figured why not…. I did pretty good. I’ve read one of those already and three others I already own, but I figured 22 books for not knowing what I was getting was pretty good. Besides … some of these look really interesting – lots of new-to-me authors!  

And this stack are the books that I picked out myself off the shelves. 

I’m sure I’ll make another stop back in there before they close (in mid-May) …. but there were already big gaps in their shelves that hadn’t been there a month or so ago 😦 And now I will have to drive at least 2 hours in order to get to a used book store. That’s a bummer … we do still have a Barnes & Noble locally, but there’s just something about used bookstores that I love.

2.5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird

Art in the Blood
by Bonnie MacBird

Art in the Blood

Copyright: 2015

Pages: 336

Read: March 24-29, 2018

Rating: 2.5/5

Source: Barnes & Noble Serial Reads

 

 

Blurb: London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris.

Mlle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her young son has vanished, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre.

Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man, an art collector seemingly beyond reach of the law.

Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders? To do so he must stay one step ahead of a dangerous French rival and the threatening interference of his own brother, Mycroft.

This latest adventure, in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, sends the iconic duo from London to Paris and the icy wilds of Lancashire in a case which tests Watson’s friendship and the fragility and gifts of Sherlock Holmes’ own artistic nature to the limits.

 


Review: This was Barnes & Noble’s March selection on their Serial Reads program. I was really unsure about reading this one. While I do enjoy mysteries, Sherlock Holmes has never really been a huge draw for me. I posted the introduction to this book here, and based on the comments it was split whether or not my visitors would continue reading the book based on the intro. To be honest, the first few pages didn’t really immediately draw me in either, but I eventually got interested enough in the book to continue on.

Overall, this wasn’t necessarily a bad book. It just wasn’t really a home run for me either. It fell somewhere in the “eh” category. It felt a little convoluted and I didn’t like how the storyline kept switching from the missing boy to the art theft and back to the missing boy, constantly… I think it was a little too much. I wanted Holmes to concentrate on one or the other cases.

I’m not entirely sold that this book was really written in the Sherlock Holmes “way.”  It didn’t feel entirely authentic. Not that I’m an expert in Sherlock Holmes, but I just felt like something was missing from his character. It didn’t feel like an authentic Sherlock Holmes character in this book.

To be honest, this book didn’t do much for me in the end. It was a decent enough read for   a freebie. However, I don’t really feel the need to read the second book in this series. I’m not even entirely sure I would recommend this book. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to hard-core Sherlock Holmes fans … but I suppose the casual mystery lover may find something in this that I simply didn’t.

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph – April 3, 2018

First Chapter

So this week I am featuring the April selection for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s book club:

Home Fire

Isma was going to miss her flight. The ticket wouldn’t be refunded, because the airline took no responsibility for passengers who arrived at the airport three hours ahead of the departure time and were escorted to an interrogation room.

Not going to lie …. that immediately caught my attention!! What about you?! Would you continue reading!?

Monthly Wrap Up

March 2018 Wrap-Up

Ok, so March was a pretty good month all around for me. I had some pretty good reading … had a good Spring Break with the family in Florida … it was just a good month and I’m definitely looking forward to April! (Bring on warmer weather, too!) I was able to finish five books and 1,634 pages. I’ve started the second book in the James Thomas Flexner George Washington series. Here’s what I read this month [Art in the Blood‘s review will be posted in April]:

George Washington- The Forge of ExperienceBaby TeethAll Together DeadMallory's OracleArt in the Blood

Baby Teeth would probably be my favorite this month. I enjoyed it, but I think it will be very divisive – you’ll either like it or you won’t. I am definitely on the like it side though!

Once again I did a lot of pre-scheduling this month and was able to provide quite a bit of content. To briefly recap:

March was a fun-filled month for us with our big roadtrip down to Florida. I had posted a few weeks before we left that I wasn’t really looking forward to it … we went with the in-laws. And to be honest, for the most part we had a good time. There was a hiccup or two (to be expected), but the kids had an absolute blast and that’s what really matters. It would have been nicer had the weather been a little warmer, but it beat the snow that we got back at home our first full day down there!

We didn’t watch a single movie in the month of March. Bummer.

We were able to spruce up a few areas of our house this month. We changed out some drapes and bathmats in our master bath and put up some new wall hangings. That made a world of difference in there. We also replaced some drapes in our living room. We’ve been in our house for a little over 3 years and for the most part have done very little to make it our own. We’re finally ready to start making some changes and doing some stuff around to make it feel more like our home. I hope to be able to get a painter in there to get some of our rooms repainted. Nathan would like to put up some crown molding. I guess we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that this is probably home for the foreseeable future we might as well make it more to our liking … ha! We still have a long way to go, but as Nathan likes to tell me … one room at a time 🙂

I started attending a new class at the gym. I’ve been taking kickboxing twice a week since August and now I’m adding in a step class twice a week. I’m already so sore, but I know that I’m going to get some new results simply because of the change in routine. All total, I’m down 28 pounds since March of 2017 🙂 But I’ve still got a long way to go… I don’t necessarily have a set number goal in mind … but someone please tell me how can someone lose 28lbs and not lose a freaking pants size?! Like it’s mindboggling….

Well I think that’s all I have for this month. Back to reading 🙂