Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Book Review: What Might have Been by Lynn Steward

ABOUT THE BOOK
 
As a fashion buyer at one of New York’s most glamorous department stores, Dana McGarry is a tastemaker, her keen instinct for fashion trends and innovative ideas coupled with a razor sharp business sense. But like the elegant and conservative store that employs her, Dana is caught between two eras—between being liked and standing her ground, between playing by the rules and being a maverick. Dana is sensitive and beautiful, but what you see is not what you get. Behind the cool and attractive facade, Dana is both driven by her need to control yet impeded by her expectation of perfectionism. As she competes to replace women at the top of their game, she is challenged by jealous colleagues. And when a wealthy love interest wants to open doors and support her ambition, she embraces Coco Chanel’s mantra of “never wanting to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” As the women’s movement paves the way, Dana finds a path to the career she wants at the expense of happiness that was not meant to be.

Steward captures the nuances of 70s life in New York City and provides the perfect backdrop for an independent woman determined to make her mark. What Might Have Been is a story that transcends any period.

Title:  What Might Have Been
Genre:  Literary fiction/women’s fiction
Author: Lynn Steward
Websitewww.LynnSteward.com 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynn Steward, a veteran of the New York fashion industry and a buyer on the team that started the women’s department at Brooks Brothers, created the Dana McGarry series, set at a transformational time in the 1970s world of fashion and in the lives of multigenerational women. What Might Have Been is the second volume in the series. A Very Good Life, Steward’s debut novel, was published in March 2014.

Twitter: @LynnStewardNY

My Review:

This book had me at its cover. The cover is a pretty enticing considering that this is a novel set in the time that is depicted thoroughly in how the cover has been done. 

Coming over to the plot, it is a treat for the readers who crave for a strong female protagonist. The book actually talks about her professional pursuits. Sure, relationships are a pivotal aspect of all of it, but this novel is quite different from any cliches or predictable, beaten plots I've read before. 

The best part to watch out for is the letter. One could easily cry at that juncture. What makes this novel worth it is the freshness in the plot: "She had a million things to do and she didn’t
know where to start. And that, of course, was exactly how Dana liked it."
The setting builds up slowly, but in meticulous detail. 

This review is a part of the Book Tour hosted by DDS at b00kr3vi3ws


To get your book reviewed, read my review policy here. And then contact me here.
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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Book Review: The Summer That Melted Everything

About the book:
Title: The Summer That Melted Everything
Hardcover, 320 pages

Expected publication: July 26th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
Genre: Literary Fiction, tinge of Magic Realism
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
About the author
Tiffany McDaniel is an Ohio native whose writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. The Summer that Melted Everything is her debut novel. 

Find the author here: 


My Review:

Rarely do you come across a book that makes you excited about it, right from the title. The title reeked of a metaphoric significance which is when I took an uncanny yet immediate liking to it.
So the story is unlike anything I've read before.

I was obviously searching for metaphors throughout, and wasn't disappointed. The metaphors existed in the very structure of the characters, places, setting, and elements. The town, for instance is called Breathed (pronounced Breath from "He breathed" plus +ed)
The novel says about the place, "I once heard someone refer to Breathed as the scar of the paradise we lost. So it was in many ways, a place with a perfect wound just below the surface"
And the metaphoric characteristics do not just end there, the entire narration is replete with metaphors much to my sheer delight.

The story, I have to admit is quite different from what one might expect in the first, innocent instance. Different, as in, not a slight difference in tone, or language, but a major departure from the expected cliched plots. It is refreshing and new, and the new-ness takes one with surprise, because the imagination applied by McDaniel is active, pleasing and engaging.
Since the language is full of metaphors and words and phrases which aren't slang, it becomes difficult at first to draw a hold on the book. But once you're 30 pages into it, it becomes a test of patience not knowing what happens next.
And to an avid reader, nothing sounds better than quotable quotes, and this one is flooded with those.
Before picking it up, you may evaluate it, but it is worth a read!

Links to the book:



Book Trailer:



Quotes from the book:

"It's a waste of time to live better when you have got no one to care for and no one to care for you"

"It's a miraculous thing, how a ship floats. Always a tragedy when it sinks"

"He knew the resilience of a seed, and the vulnerabilities of it also"

“The heat came with the devil. It was the summer of 1984, and while the devil had been invited, the heat had not. It should've been expected, though. Heat is, after all, the devil's name, and when's the last time you left home without yours?” 

“A foolish mistake, it is, to expect the beast, because sometimes, sometimes, it is the flower's turn to own the name.” 

To track my reading journey as I fangirl about books, among other things, follow me here:

    

Source of the review copy: NetGalley


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Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Best Online Resources for Book Lovers

Media saturation can make it hard to figure out the difference between the good and the bad, and that goes for finding great reads as well. But lucky for modern readers, there are excellent sites out there to do the work for you—from great review sites to excellent literary journals online—and help you keep the focus on the good stuff.

Image courtesy of Emily Carlin under CC BY-ND 2.0


1.     Goodreads

If you aren’t yet acquainted with this book conglomerate, here’s a simple description: it’s the Travelocity for books. With synopses, reader reviews, recommended suggestions and more, it’s the ultimate stop for discovering your next favorite read and sharing what you thought about the last one. I would call it the modern replacement for the weekly book club—you can connect with friends, share reads, and rate books all on one fantastic site.
Gif Courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

2.     Obooko

Obooko is the resource for the thrifty reader—with over 2,000 contemporary titles to choose from, it’s the largest source of free eBooks on the market and essential for tablet readers. Books are available to download in any format, but use a Virtual Private Network when downloading over public WiFi areas, and you’re set with a secure connection and an excellent read. Check out all the genres they have here.


3.      The Millions

Offering book, art and culture coverage since 2003, this website is a great place to discover literature essays, new publications and the latest buzz in the literary world. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Village Voice have given The Millions multiple thumbs-up, so you know it has got to be good.

4.      The Paris Review Daily

Any respected reader needs at least one literary magazine under her wing, and the Paris Review should be it. From bloggers, writers, poets, artists and more, this magazine isn't just about producing the next big thing; it's about getting under the skin of the artist behind it. With the Paris Review Daily, readers get a daily offering of the genius that the magazine regularly cultivates, and it only takes one read to fall in love with their curated choices.

Gif Courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

5.     Page-Turner

For the reader open to different mediums in the literary world, Page-Turner offers an excellent podcast to supplement its reviews, takedowns and great essays to captivate its audience.

Whether you’re a traditional reader with a printed-copy-only rule or a techie favorite who loves all the gadgets, these five choices are destined to open up new passages to your favorite hobby. Happy reading! 

This is a Guest Post by Caroline @ Culture Coverage

Caroline is part bibliophile and part culture lover, and she lives to combine her two favorite hobbies into one. She’s a digital nomad and entertainment writer for Culture Coverage. You can follow her literary favorites and recommendations on Twitter
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Monday, 18 July 2016

Book Review: Acquisitions by Tania Joyce

About the book:

Title: Acquisitions
ebook, 248 pages
Published April 28th 2016 by Gatwick
Erotic Romance Novel
Rating: 4.5/5
BlurbAn erotic workplace romance.

A new start. A short term project. That’s all it was meant to be.

Losing his wife in a car accident has left Troy Smith doubtful of ever finding love again. He’s tried, but failed. Now he thinks he’s found solace as a hard-working business partner at Gumtrees Winery. 

Kelleigh Johnstone needs a break from dealing with the mess and debt her fraudulent ex-boyfriend left behind. The opportunity to manage a project in the Hunter Valley seems like the perfect escape. 

When these two strangers meet, a one-night stand delivers unexpected surprises. Troy is shocked when he finds out Kelleigh represents the company trying to purchase his vineyard for a new golf resort. In order to protect his home and community, Troy must do whatever it takes to stop the project from proceeding. 
About the author

 Tania Joyce is an Australian author of erotic, contemporary and new adult romance novels. Her stories thread romance, drama and passion into beautiful locations ranging from the dazzling lights of Sydney Harbour or the glitter of New York, to the rural countryside of the Hunter Valley or Darling Downs. 

She’s widely travelled, has a diverse background in the corporate world and has a love for shopping, shoes and Shiraz. She’s rarely seen without glitter, sparkle and stilettos. Her quirk is she collects key rings everywhere she goes and often has an intriguing tale about each one. 
Tania draws on all her real-life experiences and combines them with her very vivid dreams to form the foundation of her novels. She likes to write about strong-minded, career-oriented heroes and heroines that go through drama-filled hell, have steamy encounters and risk everything as they endeavor to find their happy-ever-after.
She grew up loving books like Anne of Green Gables, reading the classics like Pride and Prejudice, and getting lost in the world of fantasy, like The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan, before finding her home in the romance genre. 

Only unearthing the desire to write after having children, Tania now shuffles the hours in her day between part-time work, full-time family life and never-finding-enough-time to write. One day she hopes to find balance! She lives in Queensland with her husband and two boys. When she’s not writing, she enjoys camping, hot yoga, and the company of friends and family – especially if it’s over a glass of wine!
Find the author here: 



Social media:

      



My Review:

When it comes to the genre of erotic fiction, Tania Joyce is a safe bet. And that is saying something because the market is plagued with enormous titles in the genre, and most of them have cliched plots.
Joyce brings to her books the crucial element of a plot, which can so easily be neglected otherwise in the genre. The fact that the plot is prioritised over the steamy scenes is commendable, and even more is the fact that everything is measured to be of just the right amount- the twists, the suspense, the sexual tension, the characters' dilemma.
Another important feature that sets her novels apart is the workplace setting, which gives it a feminist tinge, much to my relief.

The way she has linked the plot of the sequal to the preceding novel was amazing too.
Coming over to the book, it is the story of Kelleigh who is here on an assignment, and the vineyards are a beautiful setting. She has personal issues of her own, what with being broke and having been deceived by her ex-boyfriend. Her job is the one thing keeping her sane, and she is good at it.
Her paths cross with those of Troy, our male lead, whose personality is introduced and unflowered page by page.

A business deal is in the pipeline, and it could make or break Kelleigh's career. But, what it can also do is destroy the vineyards that Troy, along with his partner, has brought up with an astute knowledge and business acumen. The stakes, as is evident, are high.

Through the plot twists, the book is a thorough entertainer, giving the reader just what s/he expects from it.

Links to the book:



Source of the review copy: The Choosy Bookworm Team


To get your book reviewed, read my review policy here. And then contact me here.


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Saturday, 16 July 2016

Quirks Of Writing A Period Drama: Guest Post by Author Lynn Steward

Of the enormous number of genres we have, historical fiction presents itself to be one of the most amazing to read, for period dramas transport us to another era altogether.
They also happen to the trickiest to write, and Lynn Steward, author of What Might Have Been tells us about the quirks of writing a period drama, including what research goes into writing it



Here's what she has to say,
"Tons of research! I easily spent a year and a half researching – a minimum of three hours a day, and more than thirty hours many weekends.  I studied historic events, iconic women, not only as individuals, but how they related to each other, and interiors of famous locations, such as B. Altman, CafĂ© des Artistes, Kenneth Salon, etc.  I drew inspiration from archived newspaper articles in The New York Times and The New Yorker.  Most important, I painstakingly organized  the notes and articles by dates, preparing spread sheets of timelines. Quickly reaching for the right file is crucial when an idea is sparked at the keyboard."


Well, this certainly gives us an idea of what it is like to pen down a literary fiction.

Here's more about the book and author:

ABOUT THE BOOK
 
As a fashion buyer at one of New York’s most glamorous department stores, Dana McGarry is a tastemaker, her keen instinct for fashion trends and innovative ideas coupled with a razor sharp business sense. But like the elegant and conservative store that employs her, Dana is caught between two eras—between being liked and standing her ground, between playing by the rules and being a maverick. Dana is sensitive and beautiful, but what you see is not what you get. Behind the cool and attractive facade, Dana is both driven by her need to control yet impeded by her expectation of perfectionism. As she competes to replace women at the top of their game, she is challenged by jealous colleagues. And when a wealthy love interest wants to open doors and support her ambition, she embraces Coco Chanel’s mantra of “never wanting to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” As the women’s movement paves the way, Dana finds a path to the career she wants at the expense of happiness that was not meant to be.

Steward captures the nuances of 70s life in New York City and provides the perfect backdrop for an independent woman determined to make her mark. What Might Have Been is a story that transcends any period.

TitleWhat Might Have Been
Genre:  Literary fiction/women’s fiction
Author: Lynn Steward
Website: www.LynnSteward.com 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynn Steward, a veteran of the New York fashion industry and a buyer on the team that started the women’s department at Brooks Brothers, created the Dana McGarry series, set at a transformational time in the 1970s world of fashion and in the lives of multigenerational women. What Might Have Been is the second volume in the series. A Very Good Life, Steward’s debut novel, was published in March 2014.

Twitter: @LynnStewardNY
This Guest Post is a part of the Book Tour hosted by DDS at b00kr3vi3ws


To get your book reviewed, read my review policy here. And then contact me here.
Follow for regular reviews, author interviews and bookish love:
Facebook Website Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Email 24-snapchat-2-128

Friday, 15 July 2016

International Author's Day Blog Hop: For Me, Books Are Forever


This event is hosted by the wonderful DDS, who has herself been an inspiring blogger, and she blogs at B00kR3vi3ws

This year, I talk about how like homing pigeons, books and I always return to each other <3 b="">

My reading journey, this past year was the most unusual one. in my final year of graduation, leading a student publication, working as a journalist for another, and holding a position in the college department, while filing applications for further studies wasn't an ideal circumstance for me to take out time for sleeping, let alone reading tastefully. I was trying to use commute time initially to make up for the lost reading time, but within a few days, the commute time became work time too, as i made frantic calls to sponsors and brands and team members. 

Sleeping for a paltry four hours didn't help the cause, and to my anguish, when I tried to get back to regular reading, I found it really hard to concentrate. 
I was so used to the instant gratification and instant assessment of social media because of the publication I worked at, it became hard to draw pleasure out of reading which took its time, which necessitated one to draw the nectar slowly and savour it. 

So, I decided not to give up, and make a comeback. I started by reading novels that I could  read and finish off easily. Then, i hopped onto denser novels, and here I am within a month, talking about classics and whatnot. 

Bottom Line: All books serve a purpose, and words can save a life, time and again.

On this occasion, I am giving away a copy of An Audience With Lama and these pretty bookmarks by Book Lovers Society.
Enter to win in the rafflecopter below, or alternatively, go check on my instagram account for more entries!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


To get your book reviewed, read my review policy here. And then contact me here.



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