Tuesday, April 21, 2015

[Book Review] Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman

Sweet ForgivenessSweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: As a member of Penguin's First To Read Program, I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Part 1: From the book cover

#1 international bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman follows The Life List with Sweet Forgiveness, in which a woman’s receipt of two “forgiveness stones” sends her searching for atonement

The Forgiveness Stones craze is sweeping the nation—instantly recognizable pouches of stones that come with a chain letter and two simple requests: to forgive, and then to seek forgiveness. But New Orleans' favorite talk show host, Hannah Farr, isn't biting. Intensely private and dating the city’s mayor, Hannah has kept her very own pouch of Forgiveness Stones hidden for two years—and her dark past concealed for nearly two decades. But when Fiona Knowles, creator of the Forgiveness Stones, appears on Hannah’s show, Hannah unwittingly reveals on air details of a decades-old falling out with her mother.

Spurned by her fans, doubted by her friends, and accused by her boyfriend of marring his political career, Hannah reluctantly embarks on a public journey of forgiveness. As events from her past become clearer, the truth she’s clung to since her teenage years has never felt murkier. Hannah must find the courage to right old wrongs, or risk losing her mother, and any glimmer of an authentic life, forever.

Part 2: Recommendation

The second book from the author of The Life List, Lori Nelson Spielman delivers yet another thought-provoking novel in Sweet Forgiveness. Do we have the courage to seek forgiveness as well as to grant forgiveness and be able to truly move on? Is it better to keep secrets buried or is it better to bring it up and be able to clear the air? These are just a few of the questions that readers will encounter as they join Hannah in her quest for truth, love and forgiveness.

I am not much of a nonfiction reader but the way Lori Nelson Spielman quotes parts of the Forgiveness Stones book throughout Sweet Forgiveness makes me want to read the fictitious book by fictitious author Fiona Knowles. As for Hannah, even though she's a year older than I am, in my head, she sounds a lot older like she's around fifty-ish and matronly, which was a bit disconcerting when she first meets RJ so throughout this mild flirtation, I had to mentally remind myself that Hannah is only 34 and physically attractive. I also enjoyed seeing Hannah grow a spine and stand up to Michael and Abby. I felt like cheering along with Jade when that happened. I am naturally a curious being and it bothers me that Sweet Forgiveness ended without really telling me what was inside Bob's red metal tackle box or if the same thing happened to Anne. Sure, there were a couple of scenes that somewhat implied Hannah was right all along but it could also mean, that Anne was referring to what happened to Hannah. Like Hannah, can I learn to live with ambiguity? I'm not entirely sure.

Overall, this is a good book but so far, my favorite from this lovely author is The Life List and I can't wait to read her next book.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

[Book Review] The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

The Life ListThe Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received this signed paperback in exchange for an honest review.

Part 1: From the book cover

In this utterly charming debut — one woman sets out to complete her old list of childhood goals, and finds that her lifelong dreams lead her down a path she never expects.

1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love

Brett Bohlinger has forgotten all about the list of life goals she’d written as a na├»ve teenager. In fact, at thirty-four, Brett seems to have it all—a plum job at her family’s multimillion-dollar company and a spacious loft with her irresistibly handsome boyfriend. But when her beloved mother, Elizabeth, dies, Brett’s world is turned upside down. Rather than simply naming her daughter the new CEO of Bohlinger Cosmetics, Elizabeth’s will comes with one big stipulation: Brett must fulfill the list of childhood dreams she made so long ago.

Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision. Some of her old hopes seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other dreams (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. For each goal attempted, her mother has left behind a bittersweet letter, offering words of wisdom, warmth, and—just when Brett needs it—tough love.

As Brett struggles to complete her abandoned life list, one thing becomes clear: Sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.

Part 2: Recommendation

I absolutely adore this book! The plot is simple but such a page turner. The writing is absolutely lovely and definitely brought tears to my eyes several times throughout the book. There are definitely some hard lessons to learn in this book like: you can't force love, learn to forgive and work towards achieving goals that actually make you happy. Brett is so easy to fall in love with as well as Brad, Herbert and Garrett. It’s actually hard to decide which one is better for Brett and at some point in the book, I had wished that the “Burberry trench coat man” is the one Brett ends up with but it was even better! At this point in my review, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet. This book is one that you will definitely hug close to your heart at the end of it. I highly, highly recommend that you read this book!

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Friday, April 3, 2015

[Book Review] A Tale Of Two Besties by Sophia Rossi

A Tale of Two Besties (Hello Giggles)A Tale of Two Besties by Sophia Rossi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: As a member of Penguin's First To Read Program, I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Part 1: From the book cover

Best friends. BFFs. Soul twinsies. Whatever you want to call them, Harper and Lily were born to be besties. With high school just around the corner, casual-cool Cali girl Harper and awkward, always-costumed Lily make sure to text each other every day about their bond:

Harper: I love you so much that I am going to sneak out of detention to pay that guy from Craigslist $100 to cut off all your hair for my secret collection.
Lily: I love you so much I’m going destroy everyone in your life that matters and force you to depend and love only me.
Harper: That sounds beautiful. I love you.

Not even the threat of different high schools could throw this BFFship off-course, even if Lily begs her parents not to send her to the “dreaded Pathways," a special school for creative types, while effortlessly-popular Harper attends Beverly High with the rest of their class.

But in a city where fitting in means standing out and there’s nothing more uncool than being cool, it’s the naturally charismatic Harper--with her blond hair and perfect bone structure--who finds herself fighting the tide of American Apparel’d teens who rule the school. Meanwhile, it’s the perpetually “gawkward” Lily--who accessories every ensemble with a pair of tattered fairy wings--who finds herself flying alongside the queen bees of Pathways. Can BFF-ship survive the tidal wave of HS drama, or does growing up mean leaving some friends behind?

Inspired by the HelloGiggles community of likeminded best friends, founded by IRL besties Zooey Deschanel and Sophia Rossi, and set in a hilarious insider’s version of Los Angeles, A Tale of Two Besties will make you giggle and cry…and then tell you how cute you look with runny mascara.

“It's like my twins stepped out of the eighties and dropped down into today. Deliciously funny with heart.” – Francine Pascal, bestselling author and creator of the Sweet Valley High series

Part 2: Recommendation

Having the perspective of both Lily and Harper made me not hate nor did it not make me favor one over the other. Based on the synopsis, I was thinking I have to mentally prepare myself for all the teen drama in this book. Thankfully, I didn't need to. The writing is effortless and the pace is relatively smooth. The characters and the problems they're facing is quite realistic. I absolutely adore books that make me feel the emotions of the characters and this book made me feel alright. I was in tears by the time Lily and Harper finally cleared the air and made up. At first, I thought Nicole was this nice, cool girl but I ended up disliking Nicole the more I encountered her character in the book and I definitely agreed with Harper that Nicole is just a different kind of bully but a bully all the same. And of course, I always enjoy the part where everyone finally stands up to the bully and moved on with their merry lives, leaving Nicole shrieking and alone.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and anyone who loves a good contemporary YA novel should definitely get their hands on this one.

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