The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher

A lovely mix-and-matched craze as part of an Italian family where the daughters in law married to the big boys are both second wives. They both discover and reinvent themselves while unfolding family secrets and lies that completely change everyone else in the family as well.

Beautifully written, superbly engaging and with intense characters who are all very different from each other, this book managed to create the atmosphere of a well-directed Desperate-Housewives-style plot.

This novel has the potential to even save readers from a reading slump, or make a lazy weekend worth it by cozying up with a cup of coffee and the wildly extravagant Italian family.

I enjoyed both Lara and Maggie almost equally, even though they were annoying at times with their insecurities and ancient views of family life and devotion. They somehow completed each other in most things and together they sort of grew up and out of their old selves into more determined young women able to face the harsh realities of relationships and life itself.

In parallel, the husbands (brothers) couldn’t have been more different from each other. The author managed to portray their characters quite well in order to give those wicked twists to the plot and fully engage the reader throughout the novel.

A definite must read for fans of family sagas with a pinch of suspense and complex plot.

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The Machine Stops by E.M.Forster

A beautiful story about civilisation at its peak, through the infamous Machine they all came to adore and consider as higher spiritual power.

Despitethe comforts and the praised communication system which allowed everyone to be alone while communicating nevertheles, there are people who are still curious about the world above. Kuno is one of them and he realises how importanr is to be alive above ground, how refreshing life can be with movement, nature and ideas without constraints.

E.M.Forster is a genius and his short story becomes more precious as we realise how the Machine may symbolise technology and its effect on humanity and relationships. A must read!

You can find the short story here.

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre

I recently read a fantastic review on this book from a bookish instagram friend and it got my attention. I realised I was also recently gifted a copy of an arc, so I was on cloud nine instantly.

Everyone, this book is brilliantly written in the style of bringing up bits and pieces throughout the book, only to offer a jaw-breaking ending. I had no idea what to expect from The Ghostwriter, it just kept bringing in new unexpected elements, in a simple yet poignant way.

What I loved most was the non-chalant character of Helena. Having been through so much loss (which is deftly revealed in the end) she made herself wear a mask of structure to everything, full of rules and distancing herself from people. Heartbreaking, annoyingly disturbing at times, yet understandable, Helena is a mix of stony character and undercover warmth. I find it extremely difficult to manage to portray such a person, yet the author managed exceptionally.

I found the ghostwriter to bring a lot of balance in this novel, at the same time revealing more of the real hidden side of Helena. Mark is so compassionate and perfect in this writer to writer relationship, bringing humanity to the chaotic chill of Helena’s life.

All in all, this book is a complex psychological/domestic suspense, beautifully written in a comforting and smart way, at the same time enticing in the literary sense and delivering the unexpected ending. I cried in the end, it was heartbreaking and difficult to digest as I had somehow became so immersed into the troubles of Helena.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this arc. It is a must read.

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Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

This turned out to be my most favorite contemporary retelling of a fairytale. The lush beautiful writing, coupled with the strength of the character, while still keeping close to the original Snow White elements of the plot make this a superb novel in my opinion.

I actually do like this version of the story better than the original, as Melissa Bashardoust managed to give strength and choosing powers to the key women/girls in the book. Moreover, the villain is not the stepmother anymore which I completely agree with. Mina is in this case equally oppressed since her childhood, like Lydia is. There are many similarities between the lives of the stepmother and the princess, and they beautifully get along together as closely as mother and daughter could. Eventually they find out the details and the magical powers that lay within them. Despite their apparent helplessness these powers make them discover themselves and the beauty of doing good deeds, the willingness to thrive together and continue to love eachother and their kingdom despite the evil lurking in the character of the magician.

I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to those who enjoy feminist versions of stories and strong women who can make a difference. The writing style completely felt like a fairytale and I got truly immersed into the book. I am so happy and grateful to have discovered this novel thanks to my Instagram buddies.

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A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2) by Louise Penny

I came to like this series so much, it is amazing I am only reading it now and thanks to #pennypushers on Goodreads. The discussions are still ongoing, so if you read the novel make sure to check them out on the group page.

In A Fatal Grace, the writing style, the plot and the characters are all rendered in a skillfull manner, with ease, mystery and beauty in a witty sense. There is more revealed about the lives of each characters we knew already from the first book, especially inspector Gamache and some of the villagers. Agent Nicol appears again and she is hiding something dreary, which will most likely come up again in the next books.

I cannot say I really suspected the killer, yet there were some strong hints. At the same time, Lousie Penny has this superb skill of distracting you from the real culprit until the very end, even if she does throw clues all over the place pointing in more directions. And that’s exactly what I like most about her style. I simply cannot get enough and very much looking forward to the next novel.

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The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

A poetical dystopian novel, short in explanations, confusingly adorable at times because of the mother and child relationship. Tough to chew when thinking of the father/ husband who left them alone in crisis – and why did he?

Ambiguously tense because what happened was a flood, or maybe worse, could have been also a big fire or destruction for or without any reason. Post-apocalyptic happenings without much detail.

Yet the world is as usual, people helping each other, going back to basics, surviving, struggling, hoping to be reunited with the loved ones. And the end is the new beginning, relearning to be together, finding love in memories and present details of a big hand or a faithful smell of grainy skin.

I was thoroughly impressed and confused at the same time, still this short novel has something special to it beyond the usual dystopia. Must be the poetical style interspersed with references of things and events that could have happened before, with some clue to what will come next.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this arc.

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The Copengagen Affair by Amulya Malladi

IMG_20170927_072701_454I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, definitely one of the best among Womens’ fiction and Romance. Copenhagen is one of my favorite capitals too, so I was marveled and overjoyed to be traveling back to beautiful places I’ve been to in real life.

The novel itself is a colorful mix of relationship dramas, coping with depression, gossipy friends, lovely complex characters that turned out to be less shallow than it appeared in the beginning. A lot of infidelities, yet each story telling more about the real reasons behind the cheating eg. being belittled by the family, wanting to seem stronger than in reality, big egos and playful nature.

The flow of the novel kept me alert and addicted to the plot and the easy yet literary style. The characters are from all sorts of backgrounds, most of them already become part of the rich class with all its perks. There is also a lot of humour, deliciously entwined to wittiness and sexual apropos. Despite all there is vagueness as to what is going on behind the scenes sometimes, which just spices up the imaginary element.

I’ll definitely read Malladi’s other novels, her witty literary style is such a breath of fresh air among Women fiction! Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this arc.

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Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

A deeply flawed world with a family curse to destroy them all

Love above all is sacred and complex. In Beauty is a Wound we discover the miraculous hunt for love throughout generations, only to realise how fleeting the moment is, how curious the human being can become when the need for revenge becomes all-encompassing.

The writing is convoluted like the plot, with long stretches of historical Indonesian sequences, only to swiftly get back to the “action” of love vs revenge, completing the circle until the end of the novel.

The characters are sublimely portrayed, each with their own quirks and particularities, uniting them against all odds. I enjoyed the highlight of love between the four widows in thr end, mentioned three times for its importance. Meanwhile and up til that point the vengeful husbands each fighted for their love, family or personal image.

This is definitely a novel transcending simplicity, covering topics like rape, family curses, life and hardships during war, politics and human nature. It calls for discussion on multiple levels and I am looking forward to the “babblingbookclub” questions and debates.

I consider this is a must read for those who like complex worlds interspersed with satire and bits of fantasy, where nothing looks like it seems from the outside.

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ACK!: One simple secret on how to beat bad days, and live a happy, joy-filled life by Cory Sanchez

An illustrated little book for adults about mastering that little voice in your head

This little book put me in a great mood, just by reading it and looking through the cute illustrations. I have read tons of feel good or how to be positive strategies. Ack! summarizes some really basic concepts and acts as a reminder for every day morning sessions of waking up stronger and prepared with a good mood that can influence the whole day.
I bought the ebook and I am really considering ordering the hard copy for the beautiful illustrations and being able to browse the book more often by touch.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The cover of the book drew me in and the hype on social media. It turns out this is one beautiful account of the incredible life of Evelyn Hugo (yes, I kept thinking she had to be real) and her struggle to become rich and without worries in life.

When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”

Evelyn’s life is highlighted by her 7 marriages (!). It sounds like plenty, yet reading about each marriage is synonymous to her 7 developmental stages on her way to building herself and her career. The love of her life is heartbreaking, yet so full of meaning and longing for normality in the abyss of judgmental people of the time.

I loved the newspaper inserts on each section, it all contributed to making the story feel real and drew me in even more. This beautiful style of TJR really made the book unputdownable for me and I am longing for more of her writings now.

“Evelyn always leaves you hoping you’ll get just a little bit more. And she always denies you.”

Monique’s life takes a turn immediately as she starts working with Evelyn on her biography. She is deeply influenced by Evelyn’s actions, she becomes bolder to ask for more and changes throughout as each section of Evelyn’s life unfolds. The real reason she was asked to write the book is finally brought to light in the end of the book and clears away many doubts, sort of adding to the craziness that was Evelyn’s life.

“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.”

This is a story of love and learning to become a better person even if only towards the end. A story where love doesn’t necessary mean the conventional, but at the same time an aspiration to be beyond the self. A story transcending the many marriages that meant each a different stage of getting from rags to riches, of manipulation and eventually making a family. A beautiful mix of spiced up feelings in a juicy writing style. A must read.

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