This was actually a good story to read when you are sick and stuck at home with a sick hubby and toddler. It required no thinking, all I had to do was read and follow the storyline. And being called upon right in the middle of a chapter isn’t a deal breaker in any way. It wasn’t a Great whodunit mystery; okay, it was predictable but the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ spin to it kept me entertained. I am partial to ‘Beauty and the Beast’ but not exactly the fairy tale or the Disney version but rather the miniseries which I loved back in the 90s (oops, showing my age here)
The book opens with an interesting picture of Gideon creeping down a secret stairway and as a recluse. Gideon is just like the Beast – a huge purplish birthmark which marked him as ‘ugly’, shunned society in general but has his own small circle family and friends who loved him dearly, and is basically a gentle giant with a burdensome secret. As he found the love of his life again, he will need to find the courage to face his past but will he be able to keep her by his side?
Melody Moon returned to her childhood home which was filled with many good memories but also some pretty awful ones. It’s been a very long time and whilst some things are vague, some are just as bright like Gideon. She came for healing for her daughter but also for herself. She hoped to confront the past and to move on. The past, however, had hid a lot more secrets than she ever knew.
I love alternative POVs in books. I just feel privileged in knowing both sides of the story but sometimes it also drive me nuts because so very often all they needed to do was to talk openly… yeah, all misunderstandings in life will be so easily settled if we all just sit down and talk openly. Whilst I like Gideon well enough, I actually found Melody to be quite annoying and weak. I got quite frustrated with her –she earned some ‘eye-roll’ moments. The characters I was actually fond of this book are actually the minor ones: Sandra, Melody’s friend, and the 3 crusty old poker buddies of Gideon. I reckon they are the gem in this story.
The romance is kind sweet and I was kept entertained enough at home not to feel cooped up so overall it is a good light read for a restful [though many timed interrupted] day.
Thank you, Astraea Press, for copy of the book in exchange of honest review.
This books hurts me. Seriously. Physically. Hurts. Me.
Lesson learnt: Do Not Read this book when you are sick because:
1. Laughter will turn to a coughing fit which hurt your chest and will earn you the dirtiest looks from your fellow commuters;
2. Staying up to finish reading end up with bucketload of tears [did I mention that I also suffer from over-sensitive tearducts?] which as a result completely blocked my nose passages and followed by the worst-head-pounding-headache from lack of oxygen… So… I barely had any rest that day and couldn’t sleep at night because this book is one that will stay with you for a long time. Forgiveness was easily granted.
Billy Tsiolkas is in Year 12 when his yiayia (grandmother) handed him a list of 3 things she’d like him to do. They are not, in any way, easy to do as it required him to find happiness for the 3 members of his immediate family (mother and 2 brothers) and to keep them together as a family. Even though he struggled with what to do with this list, his yiayia evidently saw something in him when she passed the torch to him, or rather the “gluestick”. She expected him to keep the family together as she has been doing, when she is no longer around. This is a big ask even for an adult but Billy found that he does want his family to stick together and he will give up even his one chance at making it big for this.
Reaching out to teenage boys aren’t easy. I lead a Year 10 group at church and bar 1, I would be so very lucky to get a grunt or a one word response from them. Amazingly though, they are not so reticent online. LOL. The point is that Billy truly has his work cut out for him. He found support in his best friend, Lucas (Sticks), and a girl whose grandfather shared a room with his yiayia at the hospital. With their ideas and backup, he managed to set up his mum on a date, checked up on his brother online public profile, and entrapped his younger brother to be in a room with him for one whole night.
The language is easy to understand and will appeal to all generations. Sentences are pretty short and direct with humour being delivered sharply to hit you in the right spot. The First Third is light reading in terms language but will have you clutching your stomach in hilarity (or in my case, my chest –see above) and tears will sneak out without you realising that the story has truly touch the deepest part of your heart. The only thing missing to make this a full experience for me is a recipe of yiayia’s moussaka! I was totally teary and salivating at the same time ;)
Thank you, Penguin Teen Australia, for providing copy of book through your Live Event
Two women from opposite side of town found a reason to come together amidst pain, betrayal, grief, friendship and love. This is a novel of forgiveness, of being true to one self, and fighting for what you believe is right despite opposition. A remarkable story woven across the boundaries of race, sex, and social class. In the end, a small group of courageous women who believe they can change the world one step at a time.
”I’m not afraid of the future, my friend.” Cassie wrapped her arms around Betty Jewel and half lifted her off the swing. “This world’s got to change. What if it could start with four women?”
The story is told from 3 perspectives: Billie, the about-to-be-orphaned-child; Cassie, a childless widow still trying to come to terms with her grief; and Betty Jewel, dying and wanting much for her beloved child. These threefold hurt makes the book sad and yet, the beautiful friendships forged and explored in this book made it bearable and hopeful. They are a strong reminder that women, in all their fragility, are made of sterner stuff. We are made to endure and endure we will.
The universe was whispering, and Cassie was listening. You can’t go through life with a shut-down heart, is what she was hearing. You can’t crab walk backward and crawl into a hole. To live abundantly, you have to race toward the future with arms and heart wide open. You have to risk everything and let the universe take care of the details.
I understand that some people are superstitious and looking at the time this book is set in, they were even more so then. However, the extent of looking for signs (either from God or other dead people) for what they are to do etc got to the point where it was starting to be really annoying. Believe in yourself, woman, and just do what you believe is right! There was also one point which was repeated, pretty nearly word for word, 3 pages later. I’m not sure whether that was intended as it felt strange and overdone to me. In saying that though, I could also do with an additional 100 pages to the book of additional perspectives of minor characters –them fine strong ladies deserve some more words!
My book covers noted “For the fans of The Help” and I’d have to agree. Whilst I don’t think it’s as good as The Help, it is definitely similar, especially in setting, and its own charms. It is a lovely book to curl up with along with a cup of hot tea (it’s winter here) though the book is set in the heat of summer so it will make a fine summer reading for those of you on the other side of the world.
Thank you, Harlequin MIRA, for providing copy of book in exchange of honest review.