In 1986 India, four of the most important determinants of a woman's future were the tone of her skin, her caste, her home village and her family's wea...moreIn 1986 India, four of the most important determinants of a woman's future were the tone of her skin, her caste, her home village and her family's wealth. Based on these things, Pullamma, at the age of 16, has resigned herself to living with her grandmother forever. As one of three orphaned sisters, Pullamma is the darkest and most unattractive.
With her oldest granddaughter married off, Ammamma begins to worry about the fate of Pullamma. While it should be easy enough to marry off Lata, Pullamma's beautiful, light skin twin, it won't be easy to find a match for Pullamma. The only hitch in Ammamma's plan is Lata has no desire to get married. In a time and village that placed little emphasis on girls beyond the 12th class, and actually frowned upon girls doing well in school, Lata not only passes the 12th class, but does so with distinction. A smart girl, she dreams of becoming a doctor, but as Ammamma asks, "With such good marks, how am I to find her a suitable groom..." Pullamma, on the other hand, only dreams of getting married.
Just as Lata is about to wed into a family that respects her dreams and will allow her to continue her studies to become a doctor, a local politician intervenes and changes the fate of both Lata and Pullamma. Suddenly, Pullamma has the life Lata always wanted and the beautiful Lata becomes a shrewd and bitter woman out for revenge at any cost, even if it means destroying her twin.
I can't remember how this book came across my radar. I think it was recommended by Amazon based on other books I've read, but I can't be sure. Regardless of how I stumbled across it, I'm glad I did. Tell A Thousand Lies is a brilliant effort from Rasana Atreya. As she tells the story of Pullamma and her family, she also gives glimpses into the Telugu community and Hindu beliefs ad practices
I loved this book because Atreya kept me on my toes while reading it. At no point did I ever really know how the story was going to end. And a sure sign that a book has pulled me in, I found myself talking out loud to the characters, knowing good and well they couldn't hear me. If you love learning about new cultures and love a good story, do yourself a favor and give Tell A Thousand Lies a read. (less)
Okay, before I tell you about this hilarious read, I have to share with you a disclaimer I received from the author when she saw I was reading it on G...moreOkay, before I tell you about this hilarious read, I have to share with you a disclaimer I received from the author when she saw I was reading it on Goodreads.
***DISCLOSURES: If you find politically incorrect shows like The Office, South Park and Chelsea Lately detestable, childish and offensive, then my book is probably NOT for you. But I don't write with malice, it's meant to be lighthearted, snarky and harmless.
I'm a Chinese gal and I lightly poke fun at all races, including my own. Growing up in Malaysia, people were a lot more tolerant and a little less sensitive about that topic. And sometimes I think it's healthy to be able to laugh at yourself, as long as it doesn't cross a line or go over the top.
It really did make me cackle that she felt the need to defend her work prior to me reading it. I can't tell you how many times I wished authors who've written horribly bad books would send me a notice of disclosure before I picked up their book. I'm not easily offended and though I don't watch The Office or South Park, I've read a few Chelsea Handler books and enjoyed them.
Recent college graduate Madison Lee can't find a job, though she doesn't seem to be trying too hard. So when her best friend, Karsynn Higginbotham, invites her to come visit her in the hotbed of excitement that is Pocatello, Idaho, Maddy takes her up on it. The modern day Laverne & Shirley find themselves jobs in a call center, of all things, and that's where the fun begins.
You might think that there's nothing funny about answering phones all day, but Lim does a great job of keeping the dialogue light, funny and moving at a pace reminiscent of The Gilmore Girls. Not only are the main characters well developed, so are the secondary characters. I don't think Lisa Lim has anything to worry about when it comes to finding an audience for Confessions.
What did you like about this book? Reading this book was really like watching a sitcom. Though Lim doesn't go into a lot of detail about the character's setting, their voices ring through loud and clear giving you a full impression of who they are and allowing you to visualize the characters and the call center.
I also love how the author intertwines popular culture references.
What didn't you like about this book? It didn't bother me, but there are some jokes that others might find slightly offensive.
What could the author do to improve this book? I would have loved a synopsis at the end giving updates on Karsynn, Truong and the rest of the crew.(less)
Angel Crawford is nothing like her twin sister, Ava. Older by just four minutes, Ava is poised and professional, the wife of one of Georgia's most pro...moreAngel Crawford is nothing like her twin sister, Ava. Older by just four minutes, Ava is poised and professional, the wife of one of Georgia's most prominent ministers. Angel, on the other hand, is a bounty hunter and also happens to be a single mother.
When Ava's minister husband is found murdered, with Ava close by, it's up to Angel to find out what happened to the brother-in-law she didn't care for and the sister she does. With assistance from her own minister, Justus Morgan, and her mother breathing down her back to get her baby out of jail, Angel finds herself under the gun, literally. She calls in favors and relives her own painful past in an effort to clear her sister's name and bring her back home to her children.
Though A Good Excuse to be Bad is not your typical colorful chick lit, there is the banter between Angel and her minister, Justus, that masks sexual attraction between the two. With Justus acting as her sidekick while she tries to solve the mystery, there is plenty of time for them to flirt, though it's often interrupted by life's situations or simply because it's inappropriate in light of what's happening around them.
In Angel Crawford, Miranda Parker has the makings of a character with potential longevity, but she should be careful to pick a genre and stick with it. At times this felt like a true mystery, in the vein of Valerie Wilson Wesley's Tamara Hayle character or Grace Edwards' Mali Anderson character. There were times though when it felt like there was a strong desire to make this Christian lit, and not just because the story involved ministers, their families and their parishioners. And, as I said earlier, the flirting and banter between Justus and Angel gives it a chick lit feel, though Angel is a much stronger character than the typical woman you might find in chick lit. Parker should be careful going forward to define which genre this series belongs in, otherwise it may get lost in the crowd.
What did you like about this book? Angel and Ava's mother was a riot. She really reminded me of Jenifer Lewis, who seems to have played everyone's mother in black Hollywood at this point.
What didn't you like about this book? At times it felt like there was too much going on. Everything leading up to the solving of the mystery was planned out, but the point where the mystery was solved seemed rushed. I'm still not sure that I understood exactly why what happened did.
What could the author do to improve this book? Find a genre and stick with it. And balance the story out so that it flows consistently throughout.(less)
Scarlet Santana is a spitfire. With two degrees in engineering, her family wants her to settle down and work a real job. Scarlet, however, has her own...moreScarlet Santana is a spitfire. With two degrees in engineering, her family wants her to settle down and work a real job. Scarlet, however, has her own ideas.
By day she works for local designer, Carly Fontaine. At night, and in her spare time, she designs her own wardrobe and items to sell on her Etsy site and blogs about her heroine, Daisy de la Flora. The deceased Daisy was a designer and person Scarlet most admires. Through her blog, she shares with her readers her dreams and passion for living a Daisy-inspired life.
Given the chance to attend a designer's program offered by the late Daisy's nephew, Scarlet creates her own class to teach others the style of patternless sewing that her Nana taught her, in an effort to raise money. It's through this class that the reader meets a variety of characters that could all use some help with getting their lives on track, Scarlet included.
An absolutely delightful read, you'll find that Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing is a book that you won't want to put down once you start it. Kathy Cano-Murillo creates such strong female characters that you can't help cheering for them and hoping they reach whatever goal it is they've set.
What did you like about this book? I loved the friendships all of the women shared, even though their backgrounds were remarkably different and they had little to nothing in common.
What didn't you like about this book? I honestly can't think of a thing.
What could the author do to improve this book? I would have loved to see some sketches of the outfits Scarlet created. The way the author described them made them sound quite stylish.
I often tease one of my Twitter pals about having a crazy magnet. And just like crazy people are attracted to her, bums seem to be attracted to Charis...moreI often tease one of my Twitter pals about having a crazy magnet. And just like crazy people are attracted to her, bums seem to be attracted to Charisse Tyson. Reeling from the broke heart Marcus "the cheater" Matthews left her with, she's gone on a self-proclaimed man hiatus.
When the handsome Dwayne Gibson becomes a client, Charisse is determined to keep it professional. That's easier said than done and she finds herself falling for him. As their relationship progresses, Charisse reflects on her past failed relationships, and those are really the most entertaining parts of the book.
Charisse seems to have dated every kind of loser imaginable, so much so that you would think that her bum radar would go off sooner than later the older she got. Proving that just because one is older does not make them wiser, Charisse finds herself with not just one man on her doorstep, but quite a few. Has she learned enough on her self-improvement quest to figure out who's a bum and who's the real deal? And what about the college sweetheart tapback (hat tip to @onechele over at Black 'n Bougie) that won't go away?
What did you like about this book? K.L. Brady has done a fine job of blending romance and comedy with a touch of mystery to create a perfectly balanced story.
What didn't you like about this book? About halfway through I figured out one of the characters motives and wanted Charisse to figure it out as soon as I did. She was just a little more naive that I would have liked.
What could the author do to improve this book? I honestly can't think of a thing. (less)
Save as Draft is an updated version of You've Got Mail with a healthy dose of humor and, so far, one of the best things I've read this year. First tim...moreSave as Draft is an updated version of You've Got Mail with a healthy dose of humor and, so far, one of the best things I've read this year. First time author Cavanaugh Lee takes readers along on the adventures of the sparkling Izabell (Izzy) Chin as she balances her romantic and familial relationships, along with friendships.
Told through a series of e-mails, FaceBook postings and tweets, Save as Draft is a "girl meets boy, girl dates other boys, girl dates original boy, boy loses girl, another boy finds girl, boy wants girl back" story. Confused? Well sure, it takes a minute to get everyone straight, but you'll have absolutely no trouble understanding what's going on.
Mixed in with Izzy's tweets, postings and e-mails with various characters are the draft versions of emails. These are the most honest of everything the characters say because they portray their true feelings. We've all had moments when we typed an e-mail that really expressed how we felt, but hit "save as draft" instead of send. As a reader, I found myself wishing the characters had the nerve to hit send. In some instances they finally did, but in others true feelings were never expressed, which made me wonder if things would have turned out differently had those feelings been made known. Ms. Lee is at work on a sequel, so I guess we'll have to wait to find out.
What did you like about this book? It's gives a very accurate portrayal of how people interact today. With texting, tweeting, Facebooking and e-mail, it really is possible to conduct a relationship and go for extended periods of time without talking to someone by phone. Is that a good or a bad thing? Unless you truly know someone, and sometimes even if you do, it can be difficult to read their tone through electronic communication.
Another thing communicating electronically does it take away face to face time. Since the characters already know each other, for the most part, it's not until maybe midway through the book that the reader learns Izzy is Asian-American. And that only comes out as a result of a conversation that she has with someone she's met through an online service. Up until that point, I don't know that I had an image of her in my head. Not knowing what she looked like didn't take away from the story. And when I realized that she wasn't the typical "white chick" of chick lit, I gladly added her to my Colorful Chick Lit list.
What didn't you like about the book? I don't like not knowing what's going to happen next. I was so sure that Izzy and another character would re-connect, but that didn't happen. It's almost like feeling happy for your friend when she gets what she wants, but, as a friend, you think you know what's better for her. So while I'm happy that she's happy, I'd really like her to see with the guy I think she should be with. Does that make sense?
What could the author do to improve this book? Finish writing the sequel, because I'm dying to see what happens next! (less)
It's early in the year, but I can honestly say this book is a contender for my favorite book of the year. If you know me, you know I'm a fan of Bollyw...moreIt's early in the year, but I can honestly say this book is a contender for my favorite book of the year. If you know me, you know I'm a fan of Bollywood. So it'll come as no surprise to you that I loved Haunting Jasmine.
The recently divorced Jasmine Mistry comes to Shelter Island in the middle of Puget Sound to run her aunt's bookstore for a month. More than that, she's come to get away from the painful memory of her former husband's betrayal. Her family believed that as a Bengali American she should have married a Bengali man. Unfortunately she chose a cheating American. Her Auntie believes that working in the store will help heal Jasmine's heart.
Left to run the store while her aunt goes to India, Jasmine doubts the store will heal anything. What it may do is drive her crazy. She could swear that she hears voices talking to her. And people keep showing up in the strangest places in the Victorian mansion turned bookstore. In addition, visitors to the store seem to expect her to know exactly what book they need without them telling her. The only thing that seems sane in her bookstore world is the handsome Dr. Connor Hunt, a frequent visitor to the store.
What did you like about this book? First, I have to say I loved the cover. It's one of the prettiest that I've ever seen. You can't tell by looking at your screen, but the scarf she's wearing has iridescent glitter in it. And the colors are just beautiful.
I also loved the storyline. It reminded me a lot of The Mistress of the Spices, which also happens to be one of my Bollywood favorites. While the lead character in Mistress was guided by the spices, Jasmine is guided by the literary authors that speak to her. This was an absolutely fascinating read.
What didn't you like about this book? I really wanted Jasmine to have her happy ending. Let me re-phrase that. The book ends with a potential happy ending for her, but I wanted to read more about it only because I grew so fond of her and wanted to make sure she was really happy.
What could the author do to improve this book? One of Jasmine's childhood acquaintances walks out on her family and though it's speculated that the pressure of being the perfect Indian wife/mother/daughter may have gotten to her, it's never confirmed. She was a very minor character, but since she was introduced into the story, I felt like her story line should have been completed. (less)
Star Esteban is a hot mess. From the very beginning I could tell reading about this chick was going to be fun and that I would love every minute of it...moreStar Esteban is a hot mess. From the very beginning I could tell reading about this chick was going to be fun and that I would love every minute of it. And I was right!
Twenty something Estrella "Star" Esteban works at her family business, La Pachanga, a combination restaurant and art gallery. As an only child, Star's every whim has been catered to by her hippie parents, so it's not unusual for her to start and stop projects without worrying about the repercussions. But when she goes overboard with her crazy antics, her father gives her an ultimatum: get yourself together or get out of our house.
Her best friend Ofi uses crafting to avoid dealing with real life. Her mother-in-law is practically raising her daughter and running her house while Ofi overspends at the local craft mart. She's sure that she'll make it big in crafting one day, though it would help if people could figure out what exactly it is she's making.
The ambitious Chloe Chavez is determined to get to the top. She's long admired another newscaster turned crafting celebrity. If she follows her path, she's sure to end up with endorsements and possibly a national news spot. The fact that she doesn't really care for crafting is just a minor detail.
With the assistance of her friends and a 14 year old boy wonder designer, Star sets off on a path to discover her true passion and get to know herself. Along the way, her friends begin their own journeys and find that they all have room to grow.
What did you like about this book? So many times in books women are waiting (whether or not they know it) to be saved by a man. Star saves herself and I loved that! That's not to say that there is no romance involved, but it's not the determining factor in who she becomes.
The writing flows extremely well. I'm really glad that the author took the time to develop the secondary characters so well instead of leaving them in the background.
What didn't you like about this book? I honestly can't think of a thing.
What could the author do to improve this book? Find someone to make it into a movie. I could totally see this on Lifetime or HBO.
Margo Candela's Good-bye To All That is our featured book in March, but I wanted to check out some of her other work as well. It dawned on me after re...moreMargo Candela's Good-bye To All That is our featured book in March, but I wanted to check out some of her other work as well. It dawned on me after reading More Than This that this was the first time I've read a chick lit book that featured a Latino love interest. A lot of times, if it's a book about a woman of color, her love interest is a Caucasian male or male of her own ethnicity. This time around we're lucky enough to meet the handsome and well-spoken Alexander Velazquez, attorney-at-law.
Occasionally I cast characters in my head and share them with you. Well I didn't cast everyone this time around, but I did cast Alex. I have no idea what this actor's name is, but he's from one of the AT&T Re-Think Possible commercials. Is that McDreamy enough to make you pick up the book? No, okay, then let me tell you why you should. It's a boy meets everyone except girl story. Huh? What? Right.
Throughout the entire book the very wealthy Evelyn Morgan is traveling the path to discover who she really is. After some time in Paris, where she worked at being a struggling artist, she's back in San Francisco. A case of mistaken identity leads to a job at a local dot com firm. Though it started off as some harmless fun, Evelyn finds herself dedicated to the company and the tasks before her.
Rebounding from a relationship gone wrong and a newly ended job, Alex Rodriquez has moved back to San Francisco from New York. When he stops by to visit his friend Pete at work, he walks out with an offer to join the firm and take on one of its most lucrative contracts. That wouldn't be so troubling if working with the client didn't go against everything he was raised by his parents to believe in.
As Evelyn and Alex move through their lives, there are so many instances of near encounters that don't happen. Ironically, their offices face each other and even though they're aware that the other exists, neither realizes that they're being admired from afar.
What did you like about this book? I loved the family dynamic that was explored on each side. I especially loved Alex's parents.
What didn't you like about this book? Every time the main characters were in the same vicinity, I kept hoping that they were finally going to meet and each time, I was disappointed.
What could the author do to improve this book? Have the characters meet earlier.(less)