Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Lone Star Book Blogger Tour: LIGHT FROM DISTANT STARS by Shawn Smucker ***ENTER GIVEAWAY***


LIGHT FROM DISTANT STARS
by
SHAWN SMUCKER
Genre: Christian Fiction / Magical Realism / Rural Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 16, 2019
Number of Pages: 400


****Scroll down for Giveaway!****



When Cohen Marah steps over his father's body in the basement embalming room of the family's funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory. Over the next week, Cohen's childhood comes back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his parents' separation. The accident Cohen witnessed and the traumatic images he couldn't unsee. And the two children in the forest who became his friends--and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he's been avoiding: Is he responsible for his father's death? Master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.



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Shawn Smucker is the author of the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, as well as the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

***GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!***

GRAND PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars
+ Look to the Stars 8x5” Journal + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card; 
2ND PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars + Personal Library Kit; 
3RD PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars + $10 Starbucks Gift Card. 

July 17-27, 2019
(US ONLY)
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
7/17/19
BONUS post
7/17/19
Excerpt
7/18/19
Review
7/19/19
Excerpt
7/20/19
Review
7/21/19
Playlist
7/22/19
Review
7/23/19
Author Interview
7/23/19
BONUS Review
7/24/19
Top Five
7/25/19
Review
7/26/19
Review
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal


Unmarriageable
by Soniah Kamal
Random House Publishing
January 15, 2019
354 pages

Plot: A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.

When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles’s friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance. (2019, Goodreads.com)


Review: Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal is a fun and witty retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan. You will definitely make connections between Kamal's characters and those in the classic story since many of the names are similar.  In Unmarriageable you see how Austen's stories about relationships and societal expectations about women and courting truly are "universal" and still experienced today.  I loved learning about Pakistani culture and I felt Kamal did a great job in retelling this Austen classic. I found it a little difficult to keep up with the names and nicknames of some non-main characters, but I still enjoyed the story and could follow along just fine.  

All the main characters and their personalities resembled the Austen characters pretty well, even their interactions with each other and storyline followed the classic story closely.  There is still plenty of Pakistani culture infused into Kamal's story that makes it a lovely and unique retelling that I would recommend to any Austen fan.  From hypocrisy and double standards to survival and security, Kamal did an excellent job showing us all sides to the cultural aspects of women and marriage. An enjoyable story from start to finish!  I would love to read a Pakistani retelling of Persuasion as well!   

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating:  4 Hearts!
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Monday, July 8, 2019

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi


The Gilded Wolves
by Roshani Chokshi
Published by St. Martin's Press
384 pages


Plot: It's 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.


To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history--but only if they can stay alive.  (2019, Goodreads.com)



Review:  In The Gilded Wolves, we find an interesting twist to the Tower of Babel story, which meshes both magic and technology and set in the late 1880s in France.  I must admit it was a bit confusing at times to keep up with how forged magic worked, but eventually, you get the gist of it.  The story is told through multiple POVs, which worked well since it is a heist-type plot.  The characters were diverse and interesting, and I enjoyed seeing the story through their different perspectives.  It definitely adds depth to their personalities and makes their interactions more dynamic.  

Severin and Laila's romance was turbulent at times, and I think Chokshi did a great job building the tension between them.  You can't help but root for their happily ever after. Zofia and Enrique are an interesting duo and I'm curious to see what's in store for them in the next book.  I want to learn more about each of their backgrounds, and I hope we do as the story continues. Hypnos was a likable character but tended to act rather childish at times.  But, his personality was uniquely his and his behavior was consistent throughout the story.  Tristan's character was not as developed as I would have liked.  I think the most memorable thing about him was that he liked spiders and constantly worried about his tarantula getting fed.  However, the ending did provide some insight into this.

Roshani Chokshi is probably one of my favorite authors.  Her writing style is always so beautiful and has that poetic touch to it.  I've read her Star-Touched series and can't recommend it enough. To me this story was a Six of Crows meets Indiana Jones- a heist mixed with historical fiction and magical artifacts.  I am looking forward to the next book in this series!

*A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating:  4 Hearts!
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