book review: “things you save in a fire” by katherine center

Releasing on August 13, Things You Save in a Fire would make a great late summer read; I read it over two nights (it was a page-turner!!!!) If you liked How to Walk Away, you will like this one. Maybe even more, as I did.

I loved Cassie, the main protagonist, who is a firefighter! Hooray for all firefighters, and specifically lady firefighters! I learned a lot about firefighting and was duly impressed – Center’s husband is a volunteer firefighter so she used him to get the details right. And Cassie was the firefighter that worked to save Mags from Walk Away. I loved that connection, however, Fire can stand on its own.

Again, this is what I consider a great summer read. I liked the pacing – the storyline drove the narrative which I love and need in my fun fiction books. It also was about 300 pages. Anne told me that I needed these two things in my fun fiction reads and I think that she was right. And while there’s a romantic element (it could be classified as chick lit), I love how Center includes a more substantive narrative of forgiveness. Fun and romance while learning lessons? I don’t think that it gets any better than that!

Beware: One character has suffered a sexual assault in the past. It is not explicitly detailed or described. And there is adult language.

4 of 5 stars

A huge thank you to Snail on the Wall books for the ARC. Preorder your copy here.

Have you guys read this one? Will you read it now? What else would you like to know about it? Let me know in the comments.

enjoy life…

 

book review: “the unlikely adventures of the shergill sisters” by balli kaur jaswal

I did it, guys! I read my pick from my episode on Anne Bogel’s podcast, What Should I Read Next, Episode 179 and I am popping in to share my thoughts.

But first, let me remind you what Anne said about the book when she recommended it to me.

“This is a story of three sisters. They’re on a mission. They’re on almost a pilgrimage their dying mother has sent them on…They’ve gotten older, they don’t get along…. But they’ve come together. They have adventures. It does not go as planned.

And I think this book has the right amount of fun and zany while still having concerns that are grounded in [the] reality that you and I can relate to as people that makes it not just empty or ridiculous.

They are dealing with serious things, but this is not as a serious book. This is fast and fun and keeps you moving. You’ll get to experience new places and new things and I think you’ll really enjoy the journey.” 

So, here’s what I thought.

First, if, as a reader, you are not reading books by people that are different than you (religion, cultures, race, etc.) you are doing it wrong.  That being said, until you are familiar with a culture, etc. you may struggle with some of the references like words, foods, and settings. I think my unfamiliarity hindered my capacity to fully enjoy Shergill Sisters.

Second, this book was serious but fun and zany, exactly what Anne promised.

Jaswal’s website describes the book as a “dark comedy” and I agree with that moniker. Rajni, the oldest sister, is the mom who’s 18 year-old son has impregnated his 36-year-old girlfriend. Jezmeen is the YouTube sensation, not in a good way, and this is where most of the hilarity lies. Shirina has the perfect marriage, or does she? And her situation is what brings the “serious” issues to the fore.  A concept that I was unfamiliar with but that Balli Kaur Jaswal is due to her roots in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. That’s were the darkness lies.

Third, it is a page-turner and I read it in a day. Anne pointed out that around 300 pages is around my magic number in terms of fun fiction and she is right.  I recently picked up a copy of another novel that was about 400 pages and it took so long for it to really get going that I put it down. Pacing really is everything.

Ultimately, I enjoyed Shergill Sisters but didn’t like it as much as I did Joshilyn Jackson’s The Almost Sisters (my full review is here),  which was Anne’s reference point and the reason she selected this book. But I do think that was due, in part, to my unfamiliarity with Indian culture and not any thing else like pacing, writing style, quality of writing, etc.

So, there’s my thought on The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. Now, onward to Anne’s other two suggestions: The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth and Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler.

3 ½ of out 5 Stars

Have you read this one? Did you enjoy it?

enjoy life…

P.S. I saw Balli Jaswal (@balli_jaswal) posted this recently on Twitter: Today in My Family Does Not Understand My Career: Both parents called in a great panic to notify me that my books were available in the library. “How are you supposed to make money? What kind of business model is this?”

quick lit – next page, please {june 2019}

For the first time, I decided to plan my June reads and I posted a pic on Insta.  And while it didn’t go as planned, I did like having a general idea of what books that I wanted to read for the month. Plus, I thought it was a cute photo and gave me an opportunity to use my letterboard.

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FYI – Anne will always refer to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Anne Bogel. WSIRN refers to one of her podcast, What Should I Read Next, one of my fav podcast.  Since I was guest this year, (Episode 179 – shameful plug!), we are, officially, on a first-name basis. I am linking up with her monthly Quick Lit post, as I have done for years.  Check her out!

Also, my thoughts on my pick, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters, from that WSIRN episode is up on the blog. Check it out here.

Read

  • Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl. This book was AMAZING. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, even after Anne raved about it on WSIRN when Emily P. Freeman was her guest. She also included it in her 2019 Summer Reading Guide. Wow! It was a memoir that read like a page-turning novel. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and stayed up late a couple of nights.  A memoir isn’t supposed to do that to you! I have added everything Ruth Reichl has ever written to my ever-growing TBR list. Side note: As a foodie, I don’t know why I haven’t been reading more books about food?
  • That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam. I read this because it was the pick of the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club. You can check us out on Facebook here and see my full review here.
  • Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center. I really enjoyed this one. It’s releasing August 13th so a huge thank you to The Snail on the Wall for the ARC. It was a page turner; pulled two late(ish) nights because I wanted to see what happened. And I didn’t jump ahead! My full review will be here on Friday, July 26.
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch. This was also one of Anne’s 2019 Summer Reading Guide picks and I must say, initially it was not on my radar until she discussed it a bit WSIRN episode. I can’t remember which one, though.    Anyway, this is a sci-fi thriller mystery-out of my usual reading comfort zone but I have to say that I did enjoy this one. I love time traveling stories (what does that say about me, I wonder?) and this was that.  Crouch is an excellent writer and I might pick up his earlier book Dark Matter, because I enjoyed this one so much.

Currently Reading

On Hold/Abandoned Reading

  • Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald. Anne helped me notice that for my fun fiction reads, I do not typically enjoy longish books (350+ pages) and with this one, I think she was right. My ARC (thanks again to The Snail on the Wall) was about 400 pages.  Time traveling was involved (are you guys noticing a theme?) but the pace was slow and I was trying to read it on the plane and it wasn’t holding my attention.  I switched to Things You Save in the Fire and didn’t get back to it this month.  I might come back to it though. Might being the operative word.

So, what have you guys been reading? Read any of these?

enjoy life…