Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew.

Gabrielle Zevin has published six novels. She is the screenwriter of Conversations with Other Women (Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Eckhart) for which she received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination. In 2009, she and director Hans Canosa adapted her novel Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (ALA Best Books for Young Adults) into the Japanese film, Dareka ga Watashi ni Kiss wo Shita. She has also written for the New York Times Book Review and NPR’s All Things Considered. She began her writing career at age fourteen as a music critic for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
Zevin is a graduate of Harvard University. After many years on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, she recently moved to Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

A book about books. About the love for reading. About people picking up specific books to brag about or those reading everything they can get their hands on. The love for books is so obvious in the whole story which makes it a pleasure to read already. The only problem with books about books... they make me want to read all the books mentioned.
A.J. is a grumpy man. He clearly loves his wife and he made the move to open up the book store with here even though he had other plans for his career. Though A.J. loves to share his love for books and his ideas about certain stories he lacks manners when it comes to human interaction. The situations described in the book made me laugh a lot. I loved his interaction with Amelia and how that developed.
I loved the description of the way A.J. dealt with the surprise. It was all so easy to imagine and showing that his heart really is in the right place.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Pages: 258
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1616203218
ISBN-13: 9781616203214
Algonquin Books : various formats
The Storified Life of A.J. Fikry
5 stars

Review: Shattered Secrets, Karen Harper

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*
Shattered Secrets Karen Harper
Returning to Cold Creek, Ohio, is an act of courage for Tess Lockwood. Abducted and held captive as a young girl, she is unable to remember anything about the crime that destroyed her childhood and tore her family apart. Now a grown woman with a bright future, she is certain she has put the past behind her. But when she inherits the family home, Tess must confront the demons that still haunt her and the town of Cold Creek.
Gabe McCord has always blamed himself for what happened to Tess. He had been a teenager when she was snatched from the group of children he was responsible for watching. Now Gabe has taken on the role of sheriff and hopes to shed new light on the cold case, especially given his growing feelings for Tess.
Tess isn't ready to recall what happened to her, and she has no intention of digging up any details that might remind her of the truth. But when another child in the town goes missing, she's certain it's related to her return to Cold Creek. Together,Tess and Gabe will have to work to unlock their painful memories in order to save another child and heal their damaged souls, for good…

A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. A lifelong Ohioan, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scottish and English roots run deep, and where she has set many of her historical Tudor-era mysteries and her historical novels about real and dynamic British women. Karen's books have been published in many foreign languages and she won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005.

This is a great mystery thriller and yes I was in need of one! Though I did guess the outcome pretty early one it was still great fun to puzzle along and find out if I was right in the end.
I really liked Tess. She has been trough a lot and is aware that she freaks out and why but still she is not a complete victim. Things have to happen so she dares to step up and try to make them happen.
The love story development was a bit weak and predictable. Though I did not really mind as I was enjoying the puzzle and excitement in the missing girls to much.

Shattered Secrets
Author: Karen Harper
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 400
Format: eArc
ISBN-10: 0778316475
ISBN-13: 9780778316473
Series: Cold Creek #1
Harlequin MIRA : various
Shattered Secrets
3 stars

Wishlist Wednesday: The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt

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Wishlist Wednesday is a weeklies hosted by Pen to Paper. As I have enough wishes when it comes to books I decided to join this weekly and tell you about them. I am obviously curious about the books on your wishlist too so feel free to leave a message.
The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt
After years of watching her work ignored or dismissed by critics, Burden conducts an experiment she calls Maskings: she presents her own art behind three male masks, concealing her female identity.
The three solo shows are successful, but when Burden finally steps forward triumphantly to reveal herself as the artist behind the exhibitions, there are critics who doubt her. The public scandal turns on the final exhibition, initially shown as the work of acclaimed artist Rune, who denies Burden’s role in its creation. What no one doubts, however, is that the two artists were intensely involved with each other. As Burden’s journals reveal, she and Rune found themselves locked in a charged and dangerous game that ended with the man’s bizarre death.

Scandal, death and art. This sounds as something that could be so much fun. It is getting good reviews from some trusted readers and I love the cover.
Whats on your wishlist this week?

It's Monday August 25 2014! What are you reading?

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It's Monday! What are You Reading! is a weekly hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey. This weekly is meant to keep you people updated on what I read the last week and what I am planning to read the upcoming week.

I am slowly catching up with my challenge. Still spend a few days home last week to recover from my ear infection and managed to finish & Sons by David Gilbert, Season to Taste by Natalie Young and  Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie.

&Sons by David Gilber Season to Taste by Natalie Young Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie

I am about to finish Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Next up are IT by Stephen King, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker.

IT by Stephen King All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

Review: We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas

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*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*
We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas
Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed.
When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn’t aspire to the same, ever bigger, stakes in the American Dream.
Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

Matthew Thomas was born in the Bronx and grew up in Queens. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he has an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, where he received the Graduate Essay Award. He lives with his wife and twin children in New Jersey.

The book tells both the stories of Eileen and her son Connell growing up.
I liked Eileen's story. The way she is dreaming about her future but keeping it real the same time. Understanding what might be within her reach but not giving up on thinking bigger. I do feel it brought her chances she would not have gotten otherwise. Though her action can be seen as bold at points most of them turn out well. I did have a big problem with her emotional development specially towards Connell. When just born she obviously loves him and at some point she does not know exactly what to do with him any more but there is never a clear turning point for me. I did not understand the why.
I appreciated Connell's part of the story too. Eileen is very much about not making the same mistakes her parents made with raising her and it is interesting to read how Connell experiences his life.
I really liked the approach in Ed's story, the emotions coming with a disease like his are all pointed out without disrespecting any of the reactions.
Still the book left me with an 'I am fine that it is over feeling' I am not sure why though. It was pretty lengthy with 640 pages... maybe a bit to much. It was slow in development and there was a distance from the emotional life from the characters for most of the part but I still felt connected in a way. I can only say I am not really sure what happened and am really curious how other people who read the book experienced it.

We Are Not Ourselves
Author: Matthew Thomas
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 640
Format: eArc
ISBN-10: 147675666X
ISBN-13: 9781476756660
Simon & Schuster: eBook | Hardcover | Audiobook
We Are Not Ourselves
3 stars

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