Pen Pals by Martin Gore

Summary: Pen Pals tell the story of Murgatroyd Pens, an iconic British brand produced in an old mill town in northern Britain, and of the Murgatroyd family who created it. As with all families they have secrets, and decisions made previously come back to haunt them. In strike torn 1976 family matriarch Jean Murgatroyd is faced with an impossible decision as her headstrong son James runs the business towards bankruptcy. In 2000 Jean dies and the long standing emnities of the family surface in a battle for the future of Murgatroyds and with it the future of the one horse northern town in which it operates.

I got my serving of an epic family saga by reading this book. I loved the pace and if there is one thing that I believe the author succeeds in with this one, is that he does not spill the beans or reveal the mystery behind what unfolds in the book. He leaves all this to the reader and it is a great feeling to be immersed in a story.

I got this off NetGalley and I am grateful to them, Troubador Publishing Limited and especially Martin Gore because I am looking forward to reading more of his books.

Release date: June 18, 2017

Get a copy on amazon today: Kindle $5.79 and Paperback $12.99, here’s the link.

 

The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi

If you’d love an insight into Indian traditions and a family’s take on arranged marriage, then this would be right up your shelf.

Let’s assume that my love for mangoes made me want to read this book, because the recipe on mango pickle is one that I had mastered long before I read this book. You have a 27 year old successful young woman, Priya, going back home to India, because she cannot delay her trip home any longer and she chooses to visit during the mango season because her family gathers together and are joyful during this time.

Her sole purpose is to let them know that she would like to choose her future partner, as opposed to accept an arranged marriage, but what are her chances with an overbearing mother, a strict grandfather and many more cousins who have been there before her?

I’m glad that I got this off Netgalley; because I’d have missed out on a young woman’s desire to choose for herself against the beliefs of her family, her people, her country and more so the love that she has for the man she would like to be married to and the people who brought her up.

Get it on Amazon: here

 

This is How We Talk by Julian Furman

I am currently reading:

This is How We Talk by [Furman, Julian]

It’s the first time I’ve heard of Julian Furman, and so far his style of writing is friendly. The way he brings to life- Tel Aviv, makes me wonder how easy it would be to forget the war, bombings, curfew at day time while getting lost in the night life and partying that Yonatan immerses himself in.

I have just gotten to 60% of my reading because it took me a while to alternate between Yonatan’s past and present.

Check it out—> here’s a link to the amazon page.

Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

I was not looking for an insight into Qatari lifestyle when I selected this book, but given the fact that I was automatically approved when I requested to read it on NetGalley, made me look forward to something.

Love Comes Later by [Rajakumar, Mohanalakshmi]

I was taken right into the thick of things with Abdulla, the protagonist, getting the shocking news of his wife’s death. He does not tell the families involved that she was pregnant at the time and proceeds to withdraw into his guilt by keeping himself busy with work and not saying his prayers like he used to. His family give him time to grieve, but after three years, the men decide that it is time to have him remarry. He is engaged to Hind, his dead wife’s cousin, a strong lady with aspirations of her own, who insists that she would only be married after completing her Masters. Abdulla consents only because of this because Fatima (his dead wife) and their unborn child still dwells in his heart and he is certain that the distance and time will enable him sort out his life.

After some time, he travels to the UK, to see his fiancee, but Hind’s in Mumbai with Ravi…and such news would be met with repercussions in their community. He stays at the request of Sangita, Hind’s Indian friend…whom Abdulla, finds himself at ease. He smiles for the first time with this strange girl, and somewhere at the back of his mind, something tugs at his lifeless heart.

I loved the fusion of the places and lifestyle of Qatar in this book. I have never been to Qatar, but well, the designer labels and love for franchises just sold me!
On the writing style: I liked it, because each character embodies an agenda which they wish to achieve, and the elders seem to have this finality in their decisions which I found interesting.
On character progression: the characters evolve, for Abdulla slowly weaves himself out of his guilt with the help of his family, Luluwa and finally Sangita. I loved that Sangita could stand up to Abdulla and challenge his resolve…it made their connection stronger.

However, the ending was as swift as it was unexpected. The author is currently working on a sequel which would be out sometime in June or sooner than that (I hope it’s sooner than that) and I would love to read it, just because I am still left hanging.

Reviewed also on Amazon: here

Get a copy, it’s only $0.99 for the Kindle Edition and $12.00 for paperback.

 

 

A Review of October Song by David Berner

Got this from NetGalley as an arc, in exchange for a review 🙂

I am not a rock-n-roll person, but if there is one thing that Mr. Berner’s memoir succeeds in is compelling the reader to realize their dreams and in a simple way, he takes us on the journey of how he took that first step.

A brief look at the plot: You have David W. Berner, who is 57 years old, but in his early days (what he calls the vinyl era) he played rock n roll in a neighborhood garage band. He enters a national songwriting contest and quite unexpectedly is named a finalist.
But that’s not the half of it, David is called on to perform the song live at a storied venue for Americana music. Grabbing his old guitar and the love of his life, David hits the road, hoping to live out a musical fantasy he thought had been buried long ago.

I loved: the road trip and the trip down memory lane.
I related to: his account of his first love, Michelle, who simply left him a note in his locker saying they couldn’t be and she moved, well…if Michelle’s reading this simple heart felt review, ‘Woman! Please text or email, or tweet David and say hi :-)’ You can go the extra mile and buy a copy of his book and look for him to autograph it!

If you are not into music, this book would demand quite some attention of you, and I reckon that’s the down side, but I’m not saying you stop at that, read on because of how easy it is to connect to David’s humor, fears and most of all the way he gets excited when he’s got the chance to do something he always wanted.

Memoirs as reflections of lives lived, decisions made and lessons learned are not so easy to rate, but for the fact that this book is about never giving up on dreams and taking the chance to realize a dream you’ve always had, it gets four stars!
It has also persuaded me to listen to Bob Dylan, I don’t know what I’ll experience listening to his songs, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton -July, 4, 2017

This is one of the best YA novels I’ve read this year!

Told in the first person, it’s an account of Adam’s life, a sixteen year old, high school senior who is diagnosed with Schizophrenia. The book is his account of the effect of the experimental drug he is taking and since he cannot speak to his therapist, he writes down his experiences, feelings and he’s brutally honest about what it means to live with Schizophrenia.

I loved the prose, mainly because the story is in the form of a diary.
I also identified with his list of the 6 things that bother him, and top on his list is my ultimate too: When people borrow my books and dog-ear pages.

Adam moves to a new Catholic school and he is afraid of how people would react to the fact that he has Schizophrenia and that he hallucinates most of the time.

It’s more like he’s constantly saying:

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It is this fear, that makes it hard for him to tell his girlfriend, Maya, about his condition, and being that they are high school, anything and everything goes against him and his take on the breakdown is In a lot of ways, she’s the thing that keeps me sane.

The thing that made me empathize with Adam was the tone of the book. It is a first hand account of a teenager who is diagnosed with Schizophrenia. The narrator, Adam, also has a very loving and understanding family who go out of their way to protect him from the prejudice of those who do not understand him. The fact that his step-father, Paul’s, an attorney, brought out the importance of people understanding and using the law in favor of everyone, especially those diagnosed with a mental illness.

However, I wonder, how tragic this book would have been if Adam’s mother was single and could not make ends meet, what angle and tone would it take? I reckon, it’d reflect the tragedy and misery caused not by mental illness but by prejudice against those who are mentally ill.

Thank you: NetGalley for this insight into Schizophrenia, it took me back to my Psych lessons on Abnormal Psychology, with Dr. Joe Omolo telling us that everyone is crazy, it’s just that some have to live with the fact every second of their life!

You can pre-order the book on Amazon today: Click here

Haven: Beards & Bondage by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Rebekah Weatherspoon, if you are reading this, I love you!

HAVEN: Beards & Bondage by [Weatherspoon, Rebekah]

The story begins with tragedy, Claudia is the city girl who is running from a stranger, trying to stay alive. Her brother, Miles, is killed by the attackers and she runs into Shep’s home in the mountains and he shoots the attacker twice to save her. She returns to the city, but after 6 months finds herself back in town looking for Shep.

The attraction between them is clear from the first moment they meet.

However, Shep is a Dominant. I’ve got my serving of romance, trauma, grief and bondage. Her style of writing was new to me, a blend of gruff and candor from both the hero and heroine, but she succeeds in making the two come to an understanding as regards dominance an submission. This is my first BDSM treat off NetGalley and I loved it.

Go on, check it out on: Amazon $4.99