Here’s To Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Here's to Us by [Hilderbrand, Elin]

 The Book Blurb:

Three romantic rivals. One crowded house. Plenty of room for jealousy.

Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe–a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life–and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn’t be more different. Laurel: Deacon’s high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They’ve established a delicate understanding over the years–they avoid each other at all costs.

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon’s tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon’s final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantucket to say good-bye. Begrudgingly, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett gather on the island as once again, as in each of their marriages, they’re left to pick up Deacon’s mess. Now they’re trapped in the crowded cottage where they all made their own memories–a house that they now share in more ways than one–along with the children they raised with Deacon, and his best friend. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett each had an unbreakable bond with Deacon–and they all have secrets to hide.

Before the weekend is over, there are enough accusations, lies, tears, and drama to turn even the best of friends–let alone three women who married the same man–into adversaries. As his unlikely family says good-bye to the man who brought them together–for better or worse–will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to raise a glass in Deacon’s honor?

So that is the book blurb on this one. And it’s pretty much the entire story. I am not known for reading much general women’s fiction and if this is what it looks like, I’ll stick to my own lane.

There wasn’t one redeeming character in this book. Not even the child! They were all shallow, scheming, inappropriate and just not likable at all. There was absolutely no depth here at all.

So would I recommend it? No. I’m sure you can find something better to fill your time.

 

 

AN ISHMAEL OF SYRIA by Asaad Almohammad

An Ishmael of Syria

Book Blurb:

Adam is a tortured soul. Exiled from his homeland, forced to watch the horrors unfold from afar. His family, still living – or surviving – in war-torn Syria struggle daily to feed, clothe, and educate their children.
Adam tries to be a ‘global citizen’ and become a part of his new community in Malaysia, but is constantly faced with intolerance, bigotry, and plain old racism. Opportunities are few and Adam finds himself working long hours for poor pay so that he can help his family.
The increasingly distressing news bulletins, along with Adam’s haunting childhood memories, compel him to examine his own beliefs; in God, in humanity, in himself and his integrity as a reluctant bystander in the worst human catastrophe of the twenty-first century.

A personal story told in the voice of Adam. A Syrian, living in Malaysia. Unable to live in his own country due to civil war and upheaval.. The story goes back and forth from the present to the memories of childhood .All of the different parts and pieces that make us who we are and shape our ideas of who we are and where we belong are brought into question. I felt as if I was reading someone’s journal. The feelings of not belonging to any place and unable to go back home.were so heartbreaking. Trying to assimilate into a new country is not easy when you look like Adam and the intolerant and racist people he comes into contact with on a daily basis made me embarrassed as a human being.

As he says in the book “…to their ears, being a Syrian sounds like you’re unclean, shameful, indecent; it’s like you owe the world an apology for your very existence.”

I learned more about the Middle East and Syria in this one book than I have in all of the news shows and history lessons I’ve taken. I can’t imagine being judged solely on my skin color or ethnicity. That the author has tackled this in such straightforward and easy to read book is a gift to us all.

An extremely timely story written by an author I have the deepest respect for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in the 80s, Asaad Almohammad was raised in Ar-Raqqa, Syria. A member of the International Society of Political Psychology and a research fellow, he has spent years coordinating and working on research projects across the Middle East and North Africa. To date he has addressed a number of psychological aspects of civil unrest, post-conflict reconciliation, and deradicalisation. In his spare time Asaad closely follows political affairs, especially humanitarian crises and electoral campaigns. He is especially interested in immigration issues.

The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden RELEASE DAY!

It’s release day for this beautiful, moving story!  A Must Read!

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel by [Arden, Katherine]

The story takes us to Northern Rus’.  Where winter is about 8 months long and not everyone survives. At a time when old gods mixed with the new. A tale of bitter, cold winters, long nights huddled by the fire listening to old fairy tales. Tales of Frost, the winter demon. The king of winter who came in the cold, dark night to take the naughty children away.

Marina, wife to Pyotr and mother of his children, wants another child. A daughter, like Marina’s mother. A powerful woman that few really knew but many spoke of. Marina also has some power, but not like her mother and she will have her powerful daughter, even if it means she loses her life.

Vasilisa, a motherless child, is different from her brothers and sister. She sees things. She talks to the small gods of the house, the forest and the lake. She is not afraid of the cold, or the thick forests that surround her home.

When her father takes another wife, one who also has the power of sight, and then a priest of the new gods arrives in the village, Vasilisa’s life and the lives of the entire village will change. As the new gods try to push out the old, something cold and cruel is waiting. Something that needs the powers that Vasilisa has to break free from his prison. Something that needs for the people to forget the old gods.

Will she choose the right path for her? Will she be able to convince her people of what she sees?

This story, based on fairy tales was one of the best things I have read in a long time. For a debut novel, it is an extraordinary. The writing was superb. The descriptions and the characters were all spot on. I’ve already read it twice. Ms. Arden definitely knows how to tell a story and I for one am hoping there are more to come!

When I first saw this book in the Penguin Random House sneak peek at books coming out in 2017, I wanted it. From the cover to the description, I knew I wanted this book. And I was thrilled to receive an ARC copy from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest review. Thank You!

Book Release January 10 2017.