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review 2017-02-09 21:13
Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher from BEA 2016.*

 

When Andrew and I went to BEA 2016, this cover really stood out to us. There were only a few copies available and it was a fairly thick book, so we only picked up a copy for ourselves instead of also getting another copy for his classroom. I am SO glad we decided on grabbing it, because it’s been one of my favorite reads this year and I can’t wait to see how it’ll be received by everyone when it comes out.

 

Pachinko is a story that follows the life of Sunja, the daughter of a Korean couple who own a boardinghouse by the sea. It starts off by detailing her father’s life, then goes through the generations starting with Sunja herself, and then her son’s life, and finally her grandon’s life. It’s told through multiple perspectives, though it tends to focus more on Sunja’s family.

 

This is a story about what it meant to be Korean living under the shadow of Japan during World War II, what it meant to be Korean in the aftermath of World War II, and the sacrifices people make to ensure the survival and happiness of their future family members.

 

Pachinko is well developed and complex in its details of how these characters would have lived their lives during this time. I feel like the story of how Korea and its people lived under the rule of Japan around the time of World War II is largely untold and untaught — at least, it is in American public schools. While it is devastating in its bleakness, I enjoyed learning at least a little bit about this country and I feel as though I have a slightly deeper view of the world during World War II because of this book. Lee did an amazing job with her research in being able to trace how Japan acted towards Korea across these decades and showing it within the context of her story.

 

I was surprised by the pacing in this book. Usually, I find sagas to be just a tad on the slow side, and was a little worried when I saw that this story spanned generations, but while it’s comprehensive, the story moves steadily along, hitting the important parts and then skipping over the years when it needs to progress.

 

Given the different characters and the length of time this novel spans, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better as a short story cycle. It almost had that feel to it, and I think there were moments that would have been heightened had it been written in such a format. I don’t think that the story significantly suffers from it being written as a novel, but I do think that the way its constructed is almost an in-between novel and short story cycle, which sometimes took me out of the story a little bit to try to figure out what sort of format this is. Not a huge complaint or anything — just a thought.

 

For me, the first part of the book was the strongest and most compelling. My favorite part was reading about how much Sunja would sacrifice and how hard she would work to give her family the best chance possible. I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in historical fiction. The characters and the writing itself are beautiful, and as I’ve said, it provides an interesting look at a culture that I don’t think we often get to learn about.

Source: www.purplereaders.com/?p=2556
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review 2017-02-07 20:17
Green with ENVY
Copycat - Kimberla Lawson Roby

Kimberla Lawson Roby never disappoints. She is one of my favorite authors and her novels are auto-buys for me. I always get excited when I receive notification that she has a new book release. I know I'm in for a good read. Why do I love her writing? Mrs. Roby knows how to engage the reader. She knows her way around developing a good plot and characters you either love deep or hate immensely. However, let me stop gushing and explain a bit about Copycat.

 

First I'll just start by saying Simone is a scary character, but very relevant. With social media and all the show and without tell we've become a society of envy and resentment. It's not ideal to just see the good in people and dismiss their bad/strange behavior. I wanted more character development. That would've entailed a longer book. However, Copycat was an entertaining page-turner. I read it in one sitting. This book will elicit lots of discussion. At what point does too much admiration and idolization become unhealthy?

 

I'd like to thank Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Copycat.

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review 2017-01-05 17:21
Naamah's Blessing - Jacqueline Carey

I can’t begin to express how much I adore these books. I started with Kushiel’s Dart in about 2007 and have read about one a year until I’ve now finally finished the overall series. These books are so immersive that I like taking my time through them and just enjoying the experience of reading about Phedre, or Imriel, or Moirin. It’s been a long journey with this series and I’m sad to see it end, but this series has been wonderful.

 

This book is the third of Moirin’s trilogy and the 9th of the Kushiel’s universe. Overall, Moirin’s series is a much different flavor from that of Phedre’s or Imriel’s, but this book is the closest to having the fully developed political scheming and intrigues as the first two trilogies. I greatly enjoyed the first two trilogies for including such in-depth political scheming and reading about how religion and relationships all played into how a country is run and how decisions are made.

 

It’s hard to go into depth without revealing spoilers, but this book is generally about tying up loose ends, since it is, after all, the last Terre d’Ange book. Basically, Moirin goes on a jungle adventure to save Jehanne’s daughter from being taken advantage of by people trying to raise their status in the realm, and to save the Courcel family in general. She has to finally face up to her past mistakes and make them right, which allows her to show how much she has grown and learned from her past adventures.

 

One thing that has always impressed me about these books, and continued to impress me in Naamah’s Blessing is just how difficult Carey makes it for her characters — they are not given easy choices to make and are put in just awful situations. The one that hurt me the most, at least, was when Moirin has to choose between remaining faithful to her husband or staying a night with a powerful man in order to move her expedition forward and basically save her country. With the previous books and with the Kushiel series in general, it’s obvious what choice she ends up making, but it’s a rough one and being married to someone I love wholeheartedly, I can’t imagine being in the same situation. (Luckily, we don’t live in a fantasy novel, so I doubt we’ll ever have to worry about that.)

 

I think that this was a fitting end to a wonderful series — loose ends are tied up and everyone seems to be fairly happy for the most part. I like that we’re able to return to Alba with Moirin so we can see her mother again. It really felt like everything came full circle, and while this wasn’t my favorite of the Kushiel trilogies, it was so, so nice to be back in Terre d’Ange one last time. If you like fully developed fantasies, you should try starting with Kushiel’s Dart. These books are long and the first 6 books of the series have a lot more to do with sex and romance, but they are intelligently written and have such wonderful characters to fall in love with.

Source: www.purplereaders.com/?p=2324
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review 2016-06-28 10:12
Blog Tour w/Review - ONLY YOU

 

 

BOOK INFORMATION

 

Title: Only You

Author: Denise Grover Swank

On Sale: June 14, 2016

Series: The Bachelor Brotherhood, #1

Publisher: Forever

Format: eBook

Price: $3.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

 

The first book in a spin-off from Denise Grover Swank's New York Times bestselling Wedding Pact series (The Wedding Pact, The Player, The Gambler, The Valentine)

 

Warm and funny, the first book in the Bachelor Brotherhood series reads like a great Hollywood rom-com.” –iBooks Best Books of June

 

Never say never…

 

Romance isn't an option for Holly Greenwood. With her wedding planner career on the line she needs to stay focused, and that means pleasing her demanding boss, not getting distracted by her mind-alteringly hot neighbor…

 

Ex-Marine Kevin Vandemeer craves normalcy. Instead, he has a broken-down old house in need of a match and some gasoline, a meddling family, and the uncanny ability to attract the world's craziest women. At least that last one he can fix: he and his buddies have made a pact to swear off women, and this includes his sweetly sexy new neighbor.

 

After one hot night that looks a whole lot like a disaster in the light of day, Kevin and Holly are about to learn that true love doesn't play by the rules…

 

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon B&N iBooks Google Play Kobo l BAM!

 

 

 

 

Kevin wasn’t sure why he was surprised Holly was here. She was a wedding planner, and from what he’d seen so far, she was a damn good one.

 

He’d been on his way out of the room, needing a breather from the noise and the chaos of the reception when he’d seen her at the table. He hadn’t planned on asking her to dance—hell, he hated to dance—but he’d been desperate for a reason to talk to her.

 

When he sat back down at the table, Tyler wore a smirk. “Crashed and burned, huh? I thought you were going to the bathroom to take a piss.”

 

I was. I just happened to run into a friend.”

 

Run into a friend, my ass. I thought we’d sworn off women. I’ve held up my end of the bachelor brotherhood. And let me add that I had no idea my balls could turn this blue.”

 

She’s a friend,” Kevin said, trying not to sound irritated and feed any more fuel to the fire.

 

She’s his neighbor,” Matt said, taking a sip of his beer, and giving Kevin a pointed look. “They’re friends.”

 

Tyler burst out laughing. “You got friend-zoned?”

 

No,” Kevin said slowly, picking up his drink, surprised Matt hadn’t told Tyler about the situation he’d stumbled upon. “I was the one who said I wanted to be friends.”

 

Why?” Tyler asked, watching Holly with a little more interest than Kevin liked. “She’s hot. Do you know if she’s seeing anyone?”

 

No.” Kevin’s irritation grew.

 

Tyler stood and adjusted his tie, a smirk lighting up his eyes. “Screw the brotherhood. I think I’ll go over and introduce myself.”

 

Kevin was up in a flash. “I don’t think so.”

 

Why not?” he looked surprised. “She looks like she’d be worth a short break from my hiatus from women.”

 

Kevin stepped in front of his path, his jaw set. “Because you’re a prick who will use her and toss her aside and she deserves a helluva lot better than that.”

 

Matt was up in an instant, grabbing Kevin’s arm. “Why don’t we get some air?”

 

You like her,” Tyler said, slack jawed.

 

Of course he likes her,” Matt said. “For someone so smart, sometimes you’re an idiot.”

 

In my defense,” Tyler said. “He said they were friends.”

 

Okay,” Matt said slowly. “When was the last time you convinced a woman to be just a friend?”

 

Never.”

 

I rest my case, counselor.”

 

Tyler sat back down, and Matt tugged on Kevin’s sleeve to get him to join them.

 

I can’t believe you didn’t last even a single week,” Tyler said.

 

He didn’t last a single day,” Matt told him. “He slept with her the night after our agreement to remain single.”

 

Tyler burst out laughing. “For a tough-ass former Marine, I expected you to be the last holdout, man. At least a week or two.”

 

 

 

Only You (Bachelor Brotherhood, #1)Only You by Denise Grover Swank
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Holly has a new neighbor. He is sexy and sweet. Surprisingly, she wants to get to know him better. Until she finds out what could happen.

Kevin comes home to so many surprises. Bad things come in threes, right? Between the house, the mom, and the job, what is a guy to do? Well for right now, getting to know his new neighbor sounds about right.

Such a sassy and sweet story. The characters both have their hangups and their secrets. For good reasons. The give and take is compelling and draws the reader in. Plenty of surprises in store.


***This ARC provided by Netgalley and its publisher in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was the first book that you remember reading/being read?

When I was four, my favorite book was about a little girl who was shopping for plain, black shoes, but she begged her mother for pretty red shoes. Of course, she got them in the end, and my love for an HEA was born. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the title.


Do you write to music?

Yes! I can’t write in silence. But my music taste is totally eclectic. I’m currently writing a mystery and alternating between the movie sound track to Inception and Phantogram’s Visions album.


Do you make playlists for your books?

I used to make playlists, but I don’t anymore. I write too many books to keep up.


Readers love getting to know you.
Will you share with us something you never told anyone?

Anyone? Wow, that’s tough. I have six kids who are all about being in my business (ha!) and a best friend who knows just about everything. So how about this—I just ate a half cup of wine ice cream. Delicious.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese, which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period.

 

Her hobbies include witty (in her own mind) Facebook comments and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn't lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

 

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FOLLOW FOREVER

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text 2016-04-21 09:30
Excerpt Reveal w/Review - THE WEDDING PACT

 

 

THE WEDDING PACT

by Katee Robert

 

 

Carrigan O'Malley has fallen in love with family enemy #1, James Halloran and he has absolutely no intention of letting her get away.  THE WEDDING PACT is the second book in a smoking-hot series about the O'Malleys—wealthy, powerful, and full of scandalous family secrets from New York Times Bestseller Katee Robert and Forever Romance.

 

 

Series: The O’Malley Series #2

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 26, 2016

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing- Forever

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Carrigan O'Malley has always known her arranged marriage would be more about power and prestige than passion. But after one taste of the hard-bodied, whiskey-voiced James Halloran, she's ruined for anyone else. Too bad James and his family are enemy number 1.

 

Hallorans vs. O'Malleys—that's how it's always been. James should be thinking more about how to expand his family's empire instead of how silky Carrigan's skin is against his and how he can next get her into his bed. Those are dangerous thoughts. But not nearly as dangerous as he'll be if he can't get what he wants: Carrigan by his side for the rest of their lives.

 

 

Get More information at: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

Meet the O’Malley family in book one of the O’Malley series, The Marriage Contract:

Get More information at : Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

 

“What are you wearing?”

 

A pause, as if she’d shocked him. “You’re hitting on me.”

 

“Are you complaining?” She twisted around in her chair and stared into the mirror on the wall across from her. When he didn’t immediately respond, she kept going. The only alternative was to back down, and Carrigan was so goddamn tired of backing down. The only reason she kept taking James’s calls was because of the distraction he offered her. If he wasn’t going to play, there was no reason for her to stay on the phone.

 

She really wanted him to stay on the phone. “Shy? That’s okay, I’ll go first. I’m wearing a thin white tank top and a pair of black panties.” She was a liar, but it would take all of five seconds to make it the truth.

 

“Lovely, you’re testing me.” His voice gained an edge.

 

Good. At least someone was feeling as out of control as she was. “I suppose you’d like photographic proof.” She stood and shimmied out of her long skirt, and then pinned the phone between her ear and shoulder while she unhooked her bra and took it off. “Hold, please.”

 

Ignoring his cursing, she adjusted her angle so he would have to be blind to miss the faint outline of her nipples against the fabric of her tank top, and snapped a picture. She knew she was playing with fire. Good lord, of course she knew. But she wasn’t about to stop. She grinned as she sent the picture.

 

Carrigan put the phone back to her ear in time to hear his sharp inhale. “Your turn.” She held her breath, waiting to see if he’d actually do it. Receiving pictures was one thing. Putting them out in the world was entirely another. Really, she shouldn’t have taken the risk in the first place. There was no telling what he would do with them—they might show up on the Internet. Then who would want to marry her?

 

Funny, but the idea of countless men checking out her rack didn’t bother her nearly as much if it meant she dodged the marriage bullet. The shame on her family might be enough that her father would send her away permanently. She’d like to spend some time in New York or LA or even New Orleans. Maybe Rome or Paris or Tokyo. The world was so damn big and she’d only seen a little slice of it.

 

Her phone beeped, pulling her out of her thoughts. She glanced at the picture he’d sent and started to shake. Oh my God. James was shirtless, wearing only those goddamn jeans she couldn’t seem to get enough of. And they were unbuttoned—a clear invitation if she ever saw one. An invitation she desperately wanted to accept. “Damn, James. Somebody taught you how to selfie.”

 

“Maybe I’m a natural.” His voice was little more than a growl. “You started this, lovely. Tell me what’s next.”

 

The strange mix of command and handing her the reins got her head back in the game. She walked over to her bed and climbed onto it, trying to ignore the trembling in her legs. She could be in charge. She wanted to be. “I’m lying on my bed.”

 

“What color are the sheets?”

 

The question seemed to carry far more import than it should. “White.”

 

“They don’t suit you. Red is your color. Go on.” He sounded so damn imperial, as if he actually knew her. He didn’t. No one did, really. She wore so many masks, sometimes she worried she’d forget the woman at the center of them all.

 

But this time he was right. She would have chosen red for herself.

 

Carrigan put the thought away and focused on the now. “You talk too much.”

 

“My mistake.” He didn’t sound the least bit sorry. Good. She wasn’t, either. “How do you want it, lovely? Rough, I’d bet. You’re not fucking breakable, and I think you love to be reminded of that fact.” Something rustled on his end of the line. “Close your eyes.”

 

She obeyed without thinking, and then instantly snapped them open. “I thought I was in charge.”

 

“You let me know if I get something wrong.” His laugh told her how unlikely he found the possibility.

 

 

 

 

The Wedding Pact (The O'Malleys, #2)The Wedding Pact by Katee Robert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 2nd book in The O'Malley's series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and enjoyment, please read this series in order. The contents in later books may have spoilers.

Carrigan and James have a hot history of hookups and kidnapping. Complicated does not begin to cover this. They are attracted to each other in a very electric way.

James cannot stop thinking about her. He knows her father intends to marry her off to another man and it is eating him alive. Carrigan is out of time and options for her future. James is her one vice.

This book was so full of heat it was nearly on fire! The story is fast paced and steady. Some of our favorite characters make appearances too. I think this series is incredible. If you love a slow and fierce burn this is the book!


***This ARC was given by Netgalley and its publishers in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

 

(To see my review of Book #1 in The O'Malley's series - CLICK HERE)

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Katee Robert:

 

New York Times

Connect with Katee at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Instagram | Tumblr | Youtube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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