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Book Review: Always by Sarah Jio

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Title: Always
Author: Sarah Jio
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-1-101-88502-4

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March comes a gripping, poignant novel about the kind of love that never lets go, and the heart’s capacity to remember.

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister.

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt “right.” But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

My Review: (more…)

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Audiobook Review: Another Glass of Champagne by Jenny Kane

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Title: Another Glass of Champagne
Author: Jenny Kane
Narrator: Anna Parker-Naples
Length: 8 discs/ 9 Hours and 8 Minutes Unabridged
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
ISBN: 9781520035611

Synopsis:

Amy and husband Paul are expecting their first baby – they want Amy’s best friend Jack to be godfather, but having left London to ‘find himself’ he hasn’t been heard from in months. When Jack suddenly turns up, things seem to fit nicely into place – but his motives for returning to Richmond aren’t all altruistic. He has a plan – one which could put community hub Pickwicks Coffee Shop out of business, and potentially ruin a number of old friendships…

Meanwhile, Kit has problems of her own: just when her career as an author has started to take off, she finds herself unable to write – and there’s a deadline looming…not to mention two children to see through their difficult teenage years…

A warm-hearted, contemporary tale of life in a small corner of busy London.

About the Author:

Usually to be found within range of a plate of hot buttered toast, a hug mug of black coffee, and with a bar of emergency chocolate tucked in her jacket pocket, Jenny Kane spends her days in her local cafe typing away.  Kane combines her past experiences as an archaeologist, university tutor, cheese seller, newsagent, hat maker, and data clerk, with the sights and sounds of everyday life, to weave tales of relaxingly relatable romance.

My Review:

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Audio Book Review: Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green

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Title: Another Piece of My Heart
Author: Jane Green
ISBN: 9781427223197
Duration: 13 hours 43 minutes
Narrator: Jane Green

From The New York Times bestselling author of Jemima J and The Beach House comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet:  a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family.

Andi is a woman who has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she’s finally found him.  Ethan—divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia—is a devoted father and even better husband.  Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own.  But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives and in their hearts.

Another Piece of My Heart is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best.

My Review:

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Book Review: The Assistants by Camille Perri

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Title: The Assistants
Author: Camille Perri
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Son (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-399-17254-0

Synopsis:
A wry and astute debut about a young Manhattanite whose embezzlement scam turns her into an unlikely advocate for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid assistants across the city.

Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all.

When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer . . .

The Assistants speaks directly to a new generation of women who feel stuck and unable to get ahead playing by the rules. It will appeal to all of those who have ever asked themselves, “How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants?”

About Author:
Camille Perri
is the author of The Assistants. She has worked as a books editor for Cosmopolitan and Esquire. She has also been a ghostwriter of young-adult novels and a reference librarian. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from New York University and a master of library science degree from Queens College. Perri wrote the first draft of The Assistants while working as the assistant to the editor-in-chief of Esquire.

My Review:

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Book Review: A memoir of the End of the War and Beginning of Peace by Tei Fujiwara

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Synopsis from the back cover:

Almost seventy years ago, in a nation devastated by World War II,  Tei Fujiwara wrote her memoir 流れる星は生きている (Nagareru Hoshiwa Ikiteiru) about her harrowing journey home with her three young children. But the story of her story is what every reader needs to know.
Tei’s memoir begins in August 1945 in Manchuria. At that time, Tei and her family fled from the invading Soviets who declared war on Japan a few days after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. After reaching her home in Japan, Tei wrote what she thought would be a last testament to her young children, who wouldn’t remember their journey and who might be comforted by their mother’s words as they faced an unknown future in post-war Japan.
But several miracles took place after she wrote the memoir. Tei survived and her memoir, originally published in Showa Era 24 [1949] became a best seller in a country still in ruins. Over the following decades, millions of Japanese became familiar with her story through forty-six print runs, the movie version, and a television drama. To understand the war experience, Empress Michiko urged young Japanese to read Tei’s story.
Now English readers will have the chance to read her amazing story of survival and hope, and understand how she influenced an entire generation and a nation
Tei Fujiwwara was born in Japan in 1918 and moved with her family to Manchuria, China in 1943.  As of the printing of this English translation, she is 96 years old and living in a senior home in Tokyo, Japan.

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Book Review: Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Pressures by Karen Solomon

About the Book

Tired of the typical pickled cucumbers?  Try some these Asian pickles and they are easy to make.   Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves is more than just a collective recipes from the Japanese tsukemono,  the Korean Kimchi, Chinese yen tsai/ suan tsai or pickles from the Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malasia). (more…)