October 2019: Top 10 New Books To Read!

Another month is here with it’s promises to engage and entertain us with the best of the best.

These are my Top 10 must-read books coming out this October. There’s Non-Fiction. Historical Fiction, Fantasy and some regular fiction. Check them out and have a fabulous bookish month!

1.Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyesgiver of stars

Expected Publication date: October 8th, 2019 by Pamela Dorman Books

Pages: 400

Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thegiverofstars

Publisher’s Blurb: When Alice Wright agrees to marry handsome American Bennett Van Cleve and leave behind her stifling life in England for a new adventure in Kentucky, she’s soon disenchanted by her newlywed status and overbearing father-in-law, owner of the local coal mine. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically. The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, the smart-talking, self-sufficient daughter of a notorious local criminal, a woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. Alice finds Margery as bracing and courageous as anyone she’s ever met–and comes to rely on her, especially as her marriage starts to fail. They will be joined by three diverse women and become known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky. What happens to these women–and to the men they love–becomes a classic drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. Though they face all kinds of dangers–from moonshiners to snakes, from mountains to floods–and social disapproval to boot. But they believe deeply in their work bringing books to people who had never had any, expanding horizons and arming them with facts that will change their lives. Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, the storytelling itself here is enthralling–the pages fly, and the book is unparalleled in its scope and its epic breadth. Funny, heartbreaking, and rewarding, it is a rich novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

 

2. Messengers: Who We Listen To And Who We Don’t And Why by Steven Martin & Joseph MarksThe messangers

Expected Publication date: October 15th, 2019 by Publicaffairs

Pages: 352

Genre: Non-Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/messengers

Publisher’s Blurb: We live in a world where proven facts and verifiable data are freely and widely available. Why, then, are self-confident ignoramuses so often believed over thoughtful experts? And why do details such as a person’s height, relative wealth, or Facebook photo influence whether or not we trust what they are saying? In this revelatory book, Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks explain how in our uncertain and ambiguous world, the messenger is the message. We frequently fail to separate the idea being communicated from the person conveying it, they argue: the status or connectedness of the messenger become more important than the message itself. Through memorable storytelling, we see how messengers influence business, politics, local communities, and our broader society. And we come to understand the forces behind the most infuriating phenomena of our modern era: why fake news is so readily believed, how presidents can hawk misinformation and flagrant lies yet remain influential, and why 17 million UK citizens were convinced by the overconfident claims of a group of self-interested Brexit campaigners.

 

3. Cilka’s Journey By Heather MorrisCilka's journey

Expected Publication date: October 1st, 2019 by Saint Martin’s Press

Pages: 362

Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/cilkas’sjourney

Publisher’s Blurb: Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival. After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child? In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions. Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love. 

 

4. Olive, Again by Elizabeth StroutOlive again

Expected Publication date: October 15th, 2019 by Random House

Pages: 304

Genre: Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/oliveagain

Publisher’s Blurb: Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

 

5. Nothing To See Here by Kevin WilsonNothing to see here

Expected Publication date: October 29th, 2019 by Ecco

Pages: 272

Genre: Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/nothingtoseehere

Publisher’s Blurb: Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they’ve barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help. Madison’s twin stepkids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there’s a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it’s the truth. Thinking of her dead-end life at home, the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other—and stay cool—while also staying out of the way of Madison’s buttoned-up politician husband. Surprised by her own ingenuity yet unused to the intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her—urgently and fiercely. Couldn’t this be the start of the amazing life she’d always hoped for? With white-hot wit and a big, tender heart, Kevin Wilson has written his best book yet—a most unusual story of parental love.

 

6. The Body: A Guide For Occupants by Bill BrysonThe body

Expected Publication date: October 15th 2019 by Doubleday

Pages: 400

Genre: Non-Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thebody

Publisher’s Blurb: In the bestselling, prize-winning A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson achieved the seemingly impossible by making the science of our world both understandable and entertaining to millions of people around the globe. Now he turns his attention inwards to explore the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself. Full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories, The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological make up. A wonderful successor to A Short History of Nearly Everything, this book will have you marveling at the form you occupy, and celebrating the genius of your existence, time and time again.

 

7. The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona ValpyThe dressmaker's gift

Expected Publication date: October 1st, 2019 by Lake Publishing

Pages: 286

Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thedressmakersgift

Publisher’s Blurb: Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them. Two generations later, Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, rootless and adrift, desperate to find a connection with her past. Living and working in the same building on the Rue Cardinale, she learns the truth about her grandmother – and herself – and unravels a family history that is darker and more painful than she ever imagined. In wartime, the three seamstresses face impossible choices when their secret activities put them in grave danger. Brought together by loyalty, threatened by betrayal, can they survive history’s darkest era without being torn apart?

 

8. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugoninth lie

Expected Publication date: October 8th, 2019 by Flatiron Books

Pages: 480

Genre: Fantasy

Purchase @ www.amazon.com

Publisher’s Blurb: Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

 

 

9. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetysthe fountains of silence

Expected Publication date: October 1st, 2019 by Philomel Books

Pages: 512

Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thefountainsofsilence

Publisher’s Blurb: Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city. Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain

 

 

10. The Grace Year By Kim LiggettThe grace year

Expected Publication date: October 8th by Wednesday Books

Pages: 416

Genre: Fantasy

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thegraceyear

Publisher’s Blurb: Survive the year. No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive. Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other. With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

 

Book Review: After You By Jojo Moyes

 After reading ‘Me Before You’ (the first book in this series- follow the link to check out my review –www.rovingbookwormng.com/mebeforeyoureview ), I literally needed some time to heal from the story before I moved on to this one and I am glad that the author wrote a sequel to it as I wasn’t satisfied with the way it all ended.

‘After You’ is what I would call a “Solid” or “Good” story. It touched me on so many levels that I may not be able to fully express in this review and I totally related to it more than any story I have read this year. It may not have the strong emotional punch ‘Me Before You’ gives but in its own way, it satisfies you, at least it did it for me.

The story follows Louisa Clark after Will dies and how she copes with the grief you experience when someone close to you passed away. It also came with a twist (SPOILER ALERT!!!) as Will apparently had a teenage daughter (Lily) he didn’t know existed when he was alive but showed up at Louisa’s front door.

As someone who is still recovering from the loss of both my closest aunt ( mum’s sister and bestie) and my mother one month apart last year, it was like meeting people who understood what I have been going through these past months. Louisa’s meetings with the “Moving On Circle” club where she met other people at different stages of grief was very therapeutic for me. It justified a lot of my feelings and seemed like it was perfect timing for me to read this book.

Also, being the mother of a teenage daughter, Lily’s part of the story was also an important learning curve especially her relationship with her mother. Teenagers can be very difficult to deal with and it is usually easy for people on the outside to judge how a mother should be or what she should have done better. I am in no way excusing her mother’s excesses but I understood some of her choices. This part of the story also helped readers to understand other characters especially as Will’s mother  and it was a delight to see her in a different light.

Louisa still stands as my favorite character. Despite her grief, she was still the same funny and animated character. It was also interesting to read how her relationship with her love interest Sam, developed. I am interested to see which way this affaire will go as I am not so big on Sam so keeping my fingers crossed.  The story ended with Loiusa’s decision to go out and live her dreams as Will had advised her. I am keeping my fingers crossed to see how all this will pan out in the next /final book in this series.

I really enjoyed reading this book because it was important for me to see how Louisa’s life turned out after Will’s death and I can say it was satisfying. The author did a good job in creating a realistic story here and I am really now a fan.

I highly recommend this book to every one and now I will move on to the next book and will be here again to tell you how it all ended.

Rating: 4.2 Stars

Published: July 19th, 2016 by Penguin Books

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/afteryou

The Author: Jojo Moyes is a British novelist. Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist. Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004. She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.

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Book Review: Tidelands (Fairmile #1) by Philippa Gregory

 I have been reading books by Philippa Gregory for over fifteen years now and she still stands out as my favourite historical fiction author. This time she has come out with a new series starting with ‘Tidelands’ as the first book and I am excited to go on this new journey with her.

As usual, this turned out to be an excellent read. In her usual style, the author has crafted another captivating and provocative tale that ends with a beginning as this is the first book in this series.

Set at a very crucial time in English history where monarchy and parliament fight for supremacy, Alinor is a poor woman who is without a husband and is left with two children not because she is widowed or divorced but because her husband has been missing for over a year. Tucked away in the Tidelands, she struggles to survive as a midwife and herbalist. Some whisper that she is a wise woman who uses dark arts and magic as her mother and grandmother before her but Alinor denies that she has any extraordinary powers especially in these times of the new Church where you can be sent to the stakes if called a witch.

On a fateful night, she risks her life to save a stranger and this encounter changes her life for good and for bad. Her children are presented with opportunities that will alleviate them from poverty as her son Rob, is given a scholarship to study as an apprentice and her daughter, Alys is now betrothed to the Eligible Richard Stoney. However, Alinor has fallen for James, the stranger she helped and he is also smitten by her but things get complicated as Alinor discovers she is with child and this secret threatens all the good fortune that has fallen on her family.

 Laced with suspense and intrigue, Philippa Gregory has woven a complicated but yet realistic tale that would hold you bound till the end. I admire her continuous commitment to writing stories about women in history, throwing light on their contributions, courage and struggles. Giving women who were previously ignored in the history books a voice and their proper place in past times.

My favourite character is Alinor as she stands to represent a woman who gives her all for those she loves but yet is strong enough to stand in the face of adversity even when threatened with death. She also showed a rare quality to stand for what she believed though it meant she would lose the opportunity to step up in class. My least favourite character was Alys her daughter because she struck me as a selfish girl who was ready to throw everyone under the bus to achieve her ambition. Though she tries to redeem herself in the end but the harm has already been done. I was also slightly disappointed in James who professed his love for Alinor and probably was in love with her but when this “love” was tested could not step up to the plate as expected.

This book was well paced and even with it’s 455 pages, I read through it quite quickly. The end was shocking and will leave you yearning for more and I am hungry for the rest of the story. I highly recommend this book to everyone especially historical fiction lovers. You will enjoy the read!

Rating: 4.2 Stars

Published: August 19, 2019 by Simon and Schuster UK

Pages: 455

Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/tidelands

www.booksamillion.com/tidelands

www.indiebound.com/tidelands

www.barnesandnoble.com/tidelands

The Author: Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author. Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Visitors to her site, www.PhilippaGregory.com become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings.
Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.
A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website.

Book Review: The Voice Under Silence by Abhijit Sarmah

Poetry

is a subconcious echo,

of a concious voice, against

a superconcious mind.

– The Voice Under Silence

‘The Voice Under Silence’ is an anthology of twenty seven vivid, provocative and captivating poems. The collection is an expression of the author’s reflection on different aspects of  life’s realities such as love, pain, regret, death, war, politics, poverty and our daily struggles. As a poet, reading this piece is a breathe of fresh air and an encouragement to continue to strive towards using poetry as a tool to teach, to rage, to love and to inspire. Abhijit Sarmah with his unique voice has succeeded in telling many stories in very few words and that, I believe is the essence of poetry.

I was particularly drawn to poems like ‘Poetry’, ‘It Ends For G.D’, ‘An Unfinished Bottle of Scottish Rum’, ‘Death Be There When It’s Morning’, ‘Posthumous’ & ‘Bury, Sleep and Forget. These poems resonated with me in various ways, leaving me full of thoughts and questions.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and reflecting on the poems in this collection and I recommend it to all poetry lovers.

Rating : 4 Stars

Published: February 10th, 2016 by Self Published

Pages: 50

Genre: Poetry (Anthology)

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thevoiceundersilence

The Author: Abhijit Sarmah is a writer, poet and screenwriter from the North-east Indian state of Assam. He has one chapbook of poetry, The Voice Under Silence (February 2016), to his credit. He has contributed to various print and online journals, including South 85 Journal, Salmon Creek Journal, Not Very Quiet and others.

Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

I read ‘The Bride Test’ by this author last month and really enjoyed it. It happened to be the second title in the series so I decided to go back and read the first book before proceeding to the third. Also, this book won the Goodreads 2018 award for best romance novel so my expectations were high.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same experience as I had with ‘The Bride Test’. Being a debut, it is forgivable especially as her second book shows so much growth in the writing style and character development.

‘The Kiss Quotient’ is about Stella Lane who is Autistic and doesn’t have any luck with dating or sex. She then decides to hire a male escort, Michael who is to teach her how to be a better lover. Michael and Stella begin what is supposed to be a contractual arrangement but end up with feelings for each other.

I found the first 50-100 pages interesting and entertaining but totally found myself rolling my eyes frequently after that. Many parts of this story were unrealistic. The way that Stella kept on changing her mind on what she wanted Michael to do, the fact that Michael turned out to be almost like an antidote to her autism and the way they communicated with quite a lot of profanity especially during their sexual encounters didn’t seem natural to me. I disliked Michael’s evident low self esteem and their constant misinterpretation of each other’s actions and reactions especially for things that were very clear. Also at the end, Michael sudden success after only three months of starting his fashion business with an additional four stores was so unrealistic.

Another aspect of the book I didn’t like were the sexual scenes. At the beginning, it was bearable but as the book progressed it became downright annoying, too graphic and in my opinion “too much”!

On the flip side, I am all for the #ownvoices novels and this one educated me once again about people who are autistic. The author has given a voice to people with this syndrome in the romance genre and hopefully will be a source of encouragement towards self acceptance especially as she is also autistic.

I rate it a 2.5 stars because I struggled to finish this one. I honestly can’t give any recommendations unless you are a sucker for romance novels no matter how boring they cant get.

Published: June 5th, 2018 by Berkely

Pages:333

Genre: Fiction (Romance)

Purchase @ http://www.amazon.com

The Author: Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

“Much of life is timing and circumstance, I see that now.” – An American Marriage

A lot of people had raved about this book when it was published last year but I wasn’t sure if it was based on the fact that it was an Oprah book club pick. However, when it recently won the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year, I decided to put it on my TBR and finally got around to read it this month.

An American Marriage is a story about newly weds Roy Jnr. and Celestial, an African American couple living in Atlanta, Georgia. They are only married for a little over a year when Roy is falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit and is sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. The story is told from different perspectives; Roy, Celestial and Andre (Celestial’s best friend) and also through letters written between Celestial and Roy in prison. Their sudden predicament throws the young marriage in turmoil and when Roy is released five years later, the world has shifted far from where he left it and his marriage is not what he hoped it would be. This book is about racism, the justice system in the United States, the difficulties in marriage especially when a couple is torn apart either by their own choices or those made for them.

Tayari Jones has woven a beautifully written, thought provoking, captivating sad tale that will stay in my mind for a long time. It isn’t one that is filled with action or romance yet it puts you on the edge and gets you thinking hard about the dynamics of relationships, the true meaning of “love” and our commitment to the vows we take before we get married.

Most of the characters in this book where not likable but my favorite character would be Roy snr, a father to a son that was not his biological child, a good husband and a loyal person.  If I was to pick my least favorite, it would be Celestial. She was portrayed to be an independent successful black woman which she was to an extent with respect to her career but it doesn’t describe The totality of who and what she represents. She was strong when it was easy and it pleased her and took a weak disposition when it didn’t. I saw her as a privileged and entitled woman who didn’t stay when things went bad. Some people may argue that she continued to care for Roy financially when he was in prison even when she had moved on from the marriage but my response to that is “money isn’t everything”. Yes, I may not know how it feels to be without a husband for five long years, and after a mere one year of marriage where in most cases, is when the marriage has just begun, but Celestial took vows before God to stand with Roy, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, till death do them part. Those vows she took, she broke, without looking back and with who for God’s sake???? The very person who introduced them. This story has confirmed my beliefs on why many people go into relationships and marriage. They do this not necessarily because of love, but because that other person fits a profile they have created for themselves, or that person is available to them at the time, or rich enough or beautiful enough. This is a story will cause you to question our choices, loyalties and commitment in the face of adversity. To think deeply whenever we say ‘I love you’ to “the one” and consider the thousand things that means and entails.

‘Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

This book ended well for me. Most of it wasn’t too far fetched and it seemed fair to all the characters. What can I say? Reality Bites!

I rate this book a 4 stars and I highly recommend it.

P.s. The audio book on Scribed is awesome. I think it made my experience much better than reading a paper version.

 

Published: February 6th, 2018 by Algonquin books

Pages: 308

Genre: Fiction

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/anamericanmarriage ; 

www.barnesandnoble/anamericanmarriage

www.ebay.com/anamericanmarriage

The Author: Tayari Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the NEA added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is currently an Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

Book Review: Paris For One And Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

 

 After reading reading ‘Me Before You’ by this author, I couldn’t help but go on a Jojo Moyes books shopping spree….

I decided to start with this one ( a collection of short stories) while nursing my wounds from my last read.

‘Paris For One and Other Stories’ is a collection of ten stories with two novellas (Paris For One and Honeymoon in Paris) and eight short stories.

In typical Jojo Moyes style, the characters are relatable, the writing is great and cleverly laced with a lot of humor even in the worst circumstances. The stories follow a general theme of troubled love relationships told from the perspective of the women at different stages in the relationship cycle – dating, newly weds, happily married, unhappily married, newly divorced, etc.

My favorite stories were the two novellas: ‘Paris For One’ and ‘Honeymoon in Paris’, not necessarily because they were longer stories but because I found them really interesting, witty and entertaining. Other Stories in the collection that stuck for me are ‘Crocodile Shoes’ ( a woman whose life changes because of a pair of shoes that she mistakenly acquires), ‘Margo’ ( a newly divorced woman on her way home to break the news to her parents and her uplifting encounter with an elderly American woman) and ‘The Christmas List’ (An unhappily married woman who is shown amazing generosity by a taxi driver). My least favorite was ‘Holdups’ which I felt was a bit too far fetched and flat. The rest of the stories I thoroughly enjoyed and I have a strong feeling I would read this collection again in the near future

If you want a quick read and you love women fiction with a bit of humor, you will love this collection. I rate it a 4 stars and I highly recommend it for a good relaxing reading experience.

Published: October 18th, 2016 by Pamela Dorman Books

Pages: 274

Genre: Fiction (Short Stories/ Novella)

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/parisforone

The Author: Jojo Moyes is a British novelist. Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist. Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004. She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.

Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I often hear people say they read books that made them feel so angry that they threw the book across the room but I never understood it until now. Fortunately, I listened to the audio version of this book so common sense stopped me from smashing my phone against the wall even when I was highly tempted to do so. This book was so heart wrenching that I cried three times in the course of reading it. It is indeed an emotional rollercoaster but I would read it again. It was that good.

SPOILER ALERT***’Me Before You’ is a romantic story about Louisa Clark and Will Trainer. Will is a quadriplegic (paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso) who before his accident lived quite an active life and is broken that he has to live the rest of his life in a wheel chair while depending on others for his every need. Louisa on the other hand, finds herself suddenly out of job and being a caregiver to Will Trainer turns out to be the only sensible option to take as her family needs the money. Will and Louisa have a rough start but soon build a friendship and bond that blooms into something beautiful. However, Will has made a decision to end his life through assisted suicide in Switzerland and no one can talk him out of. Louisa is determined to change his mind and gives all of herself to achieve this goal.

Jojo Moyes is an excellent writer who draws you into her story with wit and multiple themes. I loved the skillful way this book was written and how simple the story was told. I was captivated by the unforgettable characters and it is no wonder, this book was adapted into a motion picture soon after it was published. Louisa Clark is my favorite character (of course), she was relatable, funny, embarrassing and entertaining. She displayed a strong character even in the worst circumstances. Nathan was another character I really liked a lot as his role in the story made it more colorful. I am looking forward to reading more books by this author and I hope I will be very pleased with them as I was with this one.

Now to the part I didn’t like – The issue of assisted suicide has been a thing of heavy debate and I don’t want to dwell on it too much. Due to my beliefs as a Christian, my take is that no one has the right to take his own life because life is precious. No one has the power to create life except God, therefore you shouldn’t take your own life or someone else’s’. If people are sent to prison for taking someone’s life, then why should we support assisted suicide? You are taking a life even if it is your own and it should never be encouraged. I didn’t like how this story ended because it seemed to give a wrong message to people who are struggling with one challenge or the other especially quadriplegics. It seems to tell people that that if their lives are not in a certain way, they can end it all because they can’t deal with being ill or in a wheel chair. I am not in any way undermining the physical, emotional and psychological trauma that quadriplegics face, but it doesn’t still give you the right to take your own life. Will Trainer was surrounded by loving parents and then Louisa came along, ready to love him as he was but as he said “it was not enough”.

This is a great book and It missed my giving it a 5 star rating because of how it ended so I rate it 4.5 stars. I recommend it to everyone but make sure you have a box of tissue handy.

Published: July 30th, 2013 by Penguin Books

Pages: 369

Genre: Fiction (Romance)

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/mebeforeyou

The Author: Jojo Moyes is a British novelist. Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist. Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004. She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.

 

Top 10 Books To Be Released This Month: September 2019

Welcome to September!

I can not believe the year has flown fast to September already and I still have a lot on my TBR to finish before the end of this year! God help me!

This month is coming with quite a number of very interesting titles from a variety of genres and authors both old and new. Here are my top 10 books expected to be released this month. There is definitely something for everyone and I urge you to look out for theses titles and read them.

1. Frankly In Love by David Yoonfrankly in love

Expected Publication Date: September 10th, 2019 by G. P. Putman’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 432

Genre: Young Adult

Publisher’s Blurb: High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/franklyinlove

 

2. The Ten Thousand Doors Of January By Alix E. HarrowTHE TEN THOUSAND DOORS

Expected Publication Date: September 10th, 2019 by Redhook

Pages: 384

Genre: Fantasy (Historical)

Publisher’s Blurb: In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thetenthousanddoorsofjanuary

 

3. The Institute by Stephen KingTHE INSTITUTE

Expected Publication Date: September 10th, 2019 by Scibner

Pages: 576

Genre: Horror

Publisher’s Blurb: In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”
In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute. As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/the institute

 

4. Well Met by Jen DelucaWELL MET

Expected Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019 by Berkeley

Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher’s Blurb: All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him? The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying? This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/wellmet

 

5. The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale #2) by Margaret AtwoodTHE TESTAMENTS

Expected Publication Date: September 10th, 2019 by Chatto & Windus

Pages: 400

Genre: Fiction (Science Fiction)

Publisher’s Blurb: And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.
When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. ‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’ Margaret Atwood.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/thetestaments

 

6. Serpent & Dove By Shelby MahurinSERPENT AND DOVE

Expected Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019 by HarperTeen

Pages: 528

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

Publisher’s Blurb: Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned. Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony. The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made. And love makes fools of us all.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/serpentanddove

 

7. Out Of Darkness: Shinning Light By Petina GappahOUT OF DARKNESS

Expected Publication Date: September 10th, 2019 by Scribner

Pages: 320

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher’s Blurb: “This is how we carried out of Africa the poor broken body of Bwana Daudi, the Doctor, David Livingstone, so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own land.” So begins Petina Gappah’s powerful novel of exploration and adventure in nineteenth-century Africa—the captivating story of the loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone’s body, his papers and maps, fifteen hundred miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there. Narrated by Halima, the doctor’s sharp-tongued cook, and Jacob Wainwright, a rigidly pious freed slave, this is a story that encompasses all of the hypocrisy of slavery and colonization—the hypocrisy at the core of the human heart—while celebrating resilience, loyalty, and love.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/outofdarkness

 

8. The Secrets We Kept By Lara PrescottTHE SECRETS WE KEEP

Expected Publication Date: September 3rd, 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group

Pages: 368

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher’s Blurb: A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice—inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago. At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world–using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents. The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story—the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago’s heroine, Lara—with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak’s country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature—told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/the secretswekept

 

9. Red At The Bone By Jacqueline WoodsonRED AT THE BONE

Expected Publication Date: September 17th, 2019 by Riverhead Books

Pages: 208

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher’s Blurb: Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child. As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place. Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives—even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/redatthebone

 

10. AKIN By Emma DonoghueAKIN

Expected Publication Date: September 10th, 2019 by Little, Brown & Company

Pages: 352

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher’s Blurb: A retired New York professor’s life is thrown into chaos when he takes a young great-nephew to the French Riviera, in hopes of uncovering his own mother’s wartime secrets in the next masterpiece from New York Times bestselling author Emma Donoghue. Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he’s discovered from his mother’s wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he’s never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him. Out of a feeling of obligation, Noah agrees to take Michael along on his trip.  Much has changed in this famously charming seaside mecca, still haunted by memories of the Nazi occupation. The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak frites to screen time. But Noah gradually comes to appreciate the boy’s truculent wit, and Michael’s ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family’s past. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew. Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together.

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/AKIN

Book Review: How Successful People Think by John Maxwell

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” – The Apostle Paul.

“Everything begins with a thought. Life consists of what a man is thinking all day” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

‘How Successful People Think’  is a quick straight to the point book that highlights 11 keys to successful thinking and they include;

1. Cultivate Big-Picture Thinking
2. Engage in Focused Thinking
3. Harness Creative Thinking
4. Employ Realistic Thinking
5. Utilize Strategic Thinking
6. Explore Possibility Thinking
7. Learn from Reflective Thinking
8. Question Popular Thinking
9. Benefit from Shared Thinking
10. Practice Unselfish Thinking
11. Rely on Bottom-Line Thinking

Maxwell elaborates on these 11 keys by stating quotes from famous people, giving tips on how to apply these types of thinking and what one would gain by cultivating the habit of thinking. In his usual way, the author has succeeded in motivating me towards being deliberate in my thinking especially in the areas of possibility thinking and shared thinking. I plan to put all these types of thinking into practice and hope to grow more successful in all my endeavors.

The downside of this book is that I would have loved it if the author had elaborated more  on each of the thinking types as I found it more informative than a “how to” book. Besides that, I liked everything about it. It was a quick read which can serve as a springboard towards helping you think like a successful person. I recommend it to everyone and I rate it a 3.5 stars.

Published: June 1st 2009 by Center Street

Pages: 127

Genre: Non-Fiction (Self Help)

Purchase @ www.amazon.com/howsuccessfulpeoplethink

The Author: John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and ambassadors at the United Nations. A New York Times , Wall Street Journal , and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was named the World’s Top Leadership Guru by Leadershipgurus.net. He was also one of only 25 authors and artists named to Amazon.com’s 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership , Developing the Leader Within You , and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies.