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Louise Jolly "Bookaholic" RSS Feed (Ontario, Canada)
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Little Mercies (English and English Edition)
Little Mercies (English and English Edition)
by Heather Gudenkauf
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.93
41 used & new from $9.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding!, July 5, 2014
MY REVIEW:
Harlequin|June 24, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7783-1633-6
Ellen Moore, a seasoned social worker has seen the best and the worst in what one human being can do to another. She has seen things people should never see in their lives but this is her daily reality. Dealing with dysfunctional families, drug addicted parents who beat or neglect their children, alcoholics who leave their children unsupervised and a whole host of other horrible scenarios. The decision to remove a child(ren) from their family home is never an easy one but she takes her job seriously and does what needs to be done. Ellen is lucky as she has the support of her family.
Ellen's husband, Adam is madly in love with his wife and supports her in her work and all her decisions. After a long hard day at work, Ellen looks forward to coming home and holding and hugging her own three children: Lucas, Leah, and Avery.
One particularly busy morning and late for an important meeting, Ellen is rushing around the house trying to get dressed and out the door within five minutes. Being late for this meeting will not be seen in a favourable light as far as her boss is concerned. Finally ready, Ellen dashes out the door and hops into her van and takes off. While on her way, she receives a call about a family in distress and makes a detour to the home to see what assistance she can be and to perform the very job she is hired to do as a social worker. The temperature is stiffling hot and humid and she feels like a washed-out dish rag.
As Ellen is watching the first body bag being carried out of the home, she hears some commotion and breaking glass down the street. When she turns to look down she realizes that people are breaking into her van in broad daylight. Using crowbars and other tools they are smashing the windows out of her van. Ellen takes off on foot and just as she arrives at her vehicle she sees baby Avery, her own child, unconscious, being dragged out of her car and layed on the ground. She'd been locked up in a hot van in the sweltering heat for a goodly amount of time and Ellen wasn't even aware that Avery was in the vehicle with her that morning. She certainly didn't put her in and she didn't notice her in the vehicle as she drove because Avery still sat in a rear-facing car seat.
A neighbour, whom Ellen had had dealings with before through her job began performing CPR while someone called 911. Thus began a nightmare that Ellen wasn't prepared for.
Meanwhile, ten-year-old, Jenny Briard has been living with her father who was well meaning but often irresponsible. Not being able to keep a job nor provide an ongoing home for Jenny to live in but he was good to her. One evening Jenny finds herself totally alone and is forced to live on nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's world's collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.
While Ellen is charged for leaving Avery in the sweltering car, Jenny is trying to get back to her father. Each of them is living with a great deal of stress and there are some very tense moments in the story.
LITTLE MERCIES is a poignant, powerful, and emotionally charged novel about motherhood and justice. I couldn't put this book down and read it in one sitting, it was just too good to stop for any reason. I even passed up the opportunity to stop for a cup of tea which is something I would never normally do.
Heather Gudenkauf has written a truly spellbinding story that will hold your attention from the first page to the very last.


A Long Way Home: A Memoir
A Long Way Home: A Memoir
by Saroo Brierley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.92
59 used & new from $13.21

5.0 out of 5 stars MUST BE READ IN ONE SITTING...FANTASTIC!!, July 3, 2014
MY REVIEW:
Penguin Group Canada|June 17, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-670-06820-3
Five-year-old, Saroo wanted to be with his big brother and decided to tag along to his job working the trains one day foraging for food and selling the toothpaste packs he had. Getting tired, Saroo sat down on a bench to wait for his brother to come back from somewhere but became restless and hopped on a train sitting in front of him on the tracks. Next thing you know he falls alseep and the train is moving! Saroo gets lost and remains lost for the next twenty-five years!
After being placed with a couple of orphanages, Saroo was finally adopted by the Brierley family who lived in Hobart, Australia. He had a wonderful life with the Brierley family and bonded wtih them quickly. They shared many fun times over the years but, Saroo felt he was still missing something and made the decision to try and find his birthmother in India.
Using 'Google Earth' of all things, Saroo spent many, many months searching through Google Earth using the "B" name of the town he could remember living by. Finally recognizing something he thought looked familiar, he got on Facebook where he'd met a guy who was supplying him with information and he was able to confirm the place, Saroo had found what he thought was his hometown.
Soon, Saroo was on a plane flying off to India to reunite with the mother whom he hadn't seen in twenty-five years. This was a beautifully written memoir and I read it one sitting. It's impossible not to read this book in one sitting, you just have to keep turning the pages, the story just flows so well and is so interesting. Well-done, Saroo and congratulations on finding your family, may you enjoy many happy years together.


The Glass Kitchen
The Glass Kitchen
by Linda Francis Lee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.43
67 used & new from $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Scrumptious Read..., June 28, 2014
This review is from: The Glass Kitchen (Hardcover)
MY REVIEW:
St. Martin's Press|June 17, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-312-38227-8
THE GLASS KITCHEN was a beautifully written, whimsical, and absolutely charming novel.
Portia Cuthcart's grandma owned a restaurant called The Glass Kitchen in Texas where patrons came to dine and get exactly what they needed. Grandma had "the knowing" and had three recipe books with recipes and sage advice written down in them. She would get "feelings", which she referred to as the "know" of certain meals she should prepare. These "knowings" were like an incessant itch that she couldn't scratch and had to rush immediately to cook up the meal or dessert she got "the know" about. Once made, she'd sit back and wait to see which customer or person came in requesting such a meal.
One day, Portia vowed to move to Manhattan, New York and open up The Glass Kitchen with her two sisters, Olivia and Cordelia. When Grandma dies and her Aunt Evie dies in Manhattan and leaves her an apartment there, Portia makes her move.
Portia becomes involved with the man upstairs in her duplex. Gabriel is a widow and has two teenage daughters. Things begin to heat up and soon a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs life like chocolate mixing with cream.
THE GLASS KITCHEN was absolutely impossible to put down. And, even at 373 pages I read it in one day. I just kept wanting to know: "...and then what happened, and then what happened." I couldn't stop myself. Don't miss out on this delicious and stirring novel. There aren't enough stars to rate this one!!


The Hundred-Foot Journey
The Hundred-Foot Journey
by Richard C. Morais
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.01
52 used & new from $8.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Succulent reading..., June 26, 2014
MY REVIEW:
Scribner|August 9, 2011|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4391-6565-2
"That skinny Indian teenager has that mysterious something that comes along once a generation. He is one of those rare chefs who is simply born. He is an artist."
And so begins the rise of Hassan Haji, the unlikely gourmand who recounts his life's journey in Richard Morais's charming novel, THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY. Lively and brimming with the colors, flavors, and scents of the kitchen, THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY is a succulent treat about family, nationality, and the mysteries of good taste.
Born above his grandfather's modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumiere, a small village in the French Alps.
The boisterous Haji family takes Lumiere by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restuarant opposite an esteemed French relais-that of the famous chef Madame Mallory-and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restuarant, and slew of new adventures.
THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages-charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.
I don't have much to add to the Chapters synopsis of the book above other than to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I think Madame Mallory had a lot more to do with Hassan's success than everyone suspects, she was a very well-known and well respected chef in her time. I'll admit that I had no idea what half the dishes described in the pages of this book were but some of them sure sounded good and ones I'd certainly give a try. That is, if someone else cooked them for me! This is a book that would appeal to a large audience of folks and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


The Hurricane Sisters: A Novel
The Hurricane Sisters: A Novel
by Dorothea Benton Frank
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.14
70 used & new from $12.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Story!!, June 22, 2014
MY REVIEW:
HarperCollins|June 3, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-06-213252-9
A sultry land of ancient magic, glorious sunsets, and soothing coastal breezes, three generations of strong women wrestle with the expectations of family while struggling to understand their complicated relationships with each other.
Best friends since the first day of classes at The College of Charleston, Ashley Anne Waters and Mary Beth Smythe, now 23 years old, live in Ashley's parents' beach house rent free. Ashley is a gallery assistant who aspires to become an artist. Mary Beth, is a gifted cook from Tennessee, and works for a caterer while searching for a good teaching job. Though they both know what they want out of life, their parents barely support their dreams and worry for their precarious finances.
While they don't make much money, the girls do have a million-dollar view that comes with living in that fabulous house on Sullivans Island. Sipping wine on the porch and watching a blood-red sunset, Ashley and Mary Beth hit on a briliant and lucrative idea. With a new coat of paint, the first floor would be a perfect place for soirees for paying guests. Knowing her parents would be horrified at the idea of common strangers trampling through their home, Ashley won't tell them. Besides, Clayton and Liz Waters have enough problems of their own.
A successful investment banker, Clayton is too often found in his pied-a-terre in Manhattan - which Liz is sure he uses to have an affair. And when will Ashley and her brother, Ivy, a gay man with a very wealthy Asian life partner - ever grow up?
Then there is Maisie, Liz's mother, the family matriarch who has just turned eighty, who never lets Liz forget that she's not her perfect dead sister, Juliet.
For these Lowcountry women, an emotional hurricane is about to blow through their lives wreaking havoc that will test them in unexpected ways, ultimately transforming the bonds they share.
I absolutely fell in love with this story and it's characters. I adored Ashley, Maisie and Liz especially and found them to be the type of women I'd like to be friends with. The story was so interesting and held my attention from the first page until the last and I was sorry to see it end. I would love to see Ms. Frank write a sequel to The Hurricane Sisters as I think there is a lot more to tell about this wonderful family.
I'll definitely be passing the go-ahead around on this one!


China Dolls: A Novel
China Dolls: A Novel
by Lisa See
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.93
90 used & new from $8.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read..., June 21, 2014
This review is from: China Dolls: A Novel (Hardcover)
MY REVIEW:
Random House Publishing|June 3, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 987-0-8129-9289-2
It's 1938 in San Francisco: a world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her definat attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.
The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.
And what a shocking betrayal it was. I didn't expect this to happen at all and was quite taken aback that something like this would threaten to rip all they had worked hard for apart. But somehow, Grace, Helen and Ruby had to continue on the best they knew how in order to maintain some sense of decorum and sensibility in their lives.
CHINA DOLLS is impossible to put down. Just like Lisa See's other novel 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan', CHINA DOLLS will have you turning page after page late into the night. The descriptions are so well done that you can picture in your mind's eye the inside of each of the clubs the girls play in, you see the patrons who frequent their shows and smell the odors wafting from the rooms and tables in the venues. It's like having a ring-side seat.
Once again, Lisa See has outdone herself with this marvelous piece of literature that I would highly recommend to anyone. You won't be sorry and it's worth it's weight in gold and gripping read.


The Shadow Year
The Shadow Year
by Hannah Richell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.00
60 used & new from $2.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Reading!, June 18, 2014
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Paperback)
MY REVIEW:
Grand Central Publishing|May 6, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4555-5433-1
Still grieving the death of her prematurely delivered infant, Lila finds a welcome distraction in renovating a country house she's recently inherited. Surrounded by blueprints and plaster dust, though, she finds herself drawn into the story of a group of idealistic university grads from thirty years before, who'd thrown off the shackles of bourgeois city life to claim the cottage and rely only on each other on the land. But utopia-building can be fraught with unexpected peril, and when the fate of the group is left eerily unclear, Lila turns her attention to untangling a web of secrets to uncover the shocking truth of what happened that fateful year, in order to come to terms with her own loss and build a new future for herself.
I was literally glued to the pages of this book. I just couldn't take my eyes off the pages for even a second. The story was solid, the characters well fleshed out and original and the surprises just kept coming. I was literally rocked off my feet by the ending and had no idea what was coming as I was nearing the end. I think shock is even a mild word to describe the end, I didn't see, nor even considered this ending. What a powerful punch this story delivered. Hannah Richell has certainly penned a winner with THE SHADOW YEAR!


The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic (P.S.)
The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic (P.S.)
by Hazel Gaynor
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.47
61 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put It Down..., June 16, 2014
MY REVIEW:
HarperCollins|March 24, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-231686-8
A smash self-published hit inspired by true events, THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME is the poignant story of a group of Irish emigrants aboard RMS Titanic - a seamless blend of fact and fiction that explores the tragedy's impact and it's lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.
Ireland, 1912.
Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old, Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Seamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the lucky few passengers in steerage who survives. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that terrible night ever again.
Chicago, 1982.
Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her Great Nana Maggie shares the painful secret she harbored for almost a lifetime about the Titanic, the revelation gives Grace new direction - and leads her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.
I just couldn't put this book down. It was mesmerizing to say the least. Although a lot of stories have been written about the Titanic, this was an exception with a great storyline. I'll be recommending this one for sure.


Child of Mine
Child of Mine
by David Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.71
47 used & new from $9.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!!, June 16, 2014
This review is from: Child of Mine (Paperback)
MY REVIEW:
Baker Publishing Group|June 3, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7642-1254-3
Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents' lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.
Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maine's baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignities a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile.
Can this be, at long last, Kelly's beloved daughter?
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and was completely stumped as to who Natalie's birth mother was. At one point I thought for sure I had it figured out but I was wrong and I certainly never saw this ending coming. I was quite taken aback at finding out who really was her birth mother.
Reading CHILD OF MINE was like reading non-fiction, I had to keep reminding myself that this was a fiction novel and not a true story. It was so well-written and could have been taken out of the pages of the newspaper of the many other times we've heard about these very same cases.
Natalie had been kidnapped by her birth father and sold into the black market adoption ring never to be seen again for eight long years. Kelly Maine's jumped through every hoop possible to find the daughter she so very much missed. Lucky for her she had the backing of a wealthy couple who backed her up financially with a private investigator to help her track down possible candidates, but for years they all turned into dead ends. That is, until she heard about Natalie, could she be the one? Is Kelly's search finally over?


The Odds: A Love Story
The Odds: A Love Story
by Stewart O'Nan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.31
180 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars A Bomb..., June 11, 2014
This review is from: The Odds: A Love Story (Paperback)
MY REVIEW:
Penguin Books|September 25, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-14-312227-2
"Stewart O'Nan's thirteenth novel is another wildly original, bittersweet gem like his celebrated Last Night at the Lobster.
Valentine's weekend, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland suburb for Niagara Falls, desperate to recoup their losses. Jobless, with their home approaching foreclosure and their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion liquidate their savings account and book a bridal suite at the Falls ritziest casino for a second honeymoon. While they sightsee like tourists during the day, at night they risk it all at the roulette wheel to fix their finances - and save their marriage. A tender yet honest exploration of faith, forgiveness, and last chances. THE ODDS is a reminder that love, like life, is always a gamble."
According to the above synopsis of THE ODDS from the Chapters website, the book sounds like an interesting read. However, quite the opposite is true. I just couldn't get into this story at all. I found is painfully boring and slow with no excitement or anything to even entince me to try to keep reading further. I did give it a good try and perservered through the first five chapters but just couldn't push myself any further. I would not recommend this book to anyone.


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