Monday, August 31, 2015

Whispers from the East Excerpt

Whispers from the East
by Amie Ali
272 Pages
Publisher: Green Garnet Books

Ammi, a pregnant 24-year-old, flees New Delhi with millions of Muslim migrants in the early hours of the 1947 Partition of India, clawing her way through a controversial caste system and into the heart of Lahori society. 
A family broken by betrayal. 
Two of Ammi's beloved sons immigrate to the United States and secretly marry dazzling, contemporary American brides. One bride converts to Islam. The other commits apostasy, the sin of all sins. 
Three women who stand to lose everything. 
The collision of two belief systems—two worlds—come to a head as Ammi, Carolyn, and Ivy fight to keep their own marriages, families, and futures secure. 

1978 - San Francisco Bay Area, California

Carolyn was eight months pregnant when Nazar asked her on their first date. She had a history of dating tall, bulky white men and preferred when they came with a head of light hair and a pair of baby blues, just like her own. She was confident, and her friends frequently confirmed, that the father of the child she was carrying matched this description. She couldn't be certain. The night of conception was barely more than a tequila blur, and the guy was gone before she woke up the next morning without leaving so much as a name, a phone number, or even a thank you. What she was certain of now was that this slight man with the funny accent was definitely, definitely not her type. He was cute in his own way, just not in her way.

Nazar and Carolyn had shared a British Literature class at the community college before she had dropped out and he had moved on to graduate from Cal State Hayward. He hadn't given much notice to her leaving until she turned up at his gas station three years later with her bloated belly, asking if there was more Pepsi in the back. He recognized her instantly.

"Carolyn, yeah?" he asked tentatively, placing the cans on the counter.

She picked at a piece of her hair and twirled it loosely around her finger. "Yeah," she replied, knowing that she was eyeing him with a mixture of mild recognition and heightened suspicion.

"Nazar," he said, adding quickly, "We had a class together at Chabot. You probably don't remember…"

"Oh, yeahhhhh." A classroom. She felt herself smile with relief. That was much better than a dark, dodgy nightclub. "I remember you." Her hand moved to her belly, and his eyes followed.

"When did you get married?"

Poor fool had probably heard of American couples running off to Reno and Las Vegas to wed quickly. No doubt he pictured her in a convertible, white veil flapping in the wind as she approached a drive-through chapel.

"Oh, no." She paused and diverted her eyes from his. "I'm not married." She wasn't ashamed, so she didn't understand why the revelation of this detail to him made her feel strangely embarrassed. "Just me and my peanut." She patted her stomach.

He smiled back at her.

"Can I take you out for dinner sometime?" he blurted.

Carolyn couldn't help but laugh, which clearly made Nazar uncomfortable. Realizing he thought she was laughing at him and not the ridiculousness of being asked out by a man when her baby was due in the less than a month, she swiftly apologized. "I'm sorry. I'm not laughing at you. Really, I'm not. I just can't believe you'd want to take me out. I'm as big as a house!"

"Friday at seven?" he asked, unfazed. “It is a safe night to leave the station. Not a glamorous enterprise, I realize, but with help from my father, I was able to purchase it last year, and I care about it.”

Carolyn picked up a pen and a scrap of receipt paper from the counter and started to scribble. "Friday at seven it is, then." She slid the paper toward him, pressing it forward slowly with a cherry-colored finger nail, which she suddenly realized looked about as ridiculous and out of place as she did. As she turned and walked out, she paused to watch as Nazar picked up the slip of paper and tucked her address away in his shirt pocket.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Review of The Stellow Project by Shari Becker

The Stellow Project
by Shari Becker
305 Pages
Publisher: Skyscape

When a killer storm unexpectedly hits Manhattan, seventeen-year-old Lilah Stellow’s dad insists that she and her younger sister, Flori, take refuge at their cabin in the mountains. But instead of joining them with the experimental drug that keeps Lilah alive, he disappears just as news reports name him as a prime suspect in an act of ecoterrorism.

As days pass without her medicine, Lilah finds herself teetering on the edge, caring for her sister, and growing increasingly certain they’re being watched. In her search for answers, Lilah is thrown into the center of a mystery involving an off-the-grid research facility and finds herself drawn in by Daniel, an intriguing boy who is the son of the lead scientist. As she dares to seek answers, Lilah slowly realizes that even the best intentions can go horribly wrong.

Ah, The Stellow Project, where to begin. 

You were kind of a mess at times, but you did seem to pull through in the end. Although, you were kind of painful to read at some points, I did not hate you. You were new to YA, and as a first attempt, you were very good. I just wanted a little more.

It wasn't even that you were just flat out bad, it was that you relied on suspense to compel me to finish you. I was never really captivated though. There was no one aspect that drew me back to this book after a few hours away. While some books have beautiful writing, vivid characters, or a ridiculous plot, you just kind of had average everything.

I really did like your idea though. I am in love with everything environmental, so I assumed you would be a home run for me. Alas, I was wrong. You were such a gr9 concept. It could have been so badass seeing Lilah's transformation while also finding out secrets about the government, but you literally just stayed inside a camp and tried to figure some stuff out while being incredibly angsty.

One thing I was kind of hoping for that would save the book was the romance, but it just kind of fell flat. It was not really believable, if that makes sense. The love was completely because of circumstance rather than actual attraction and feelings, which should not be a thing. Also, Lilah was not a real person without Daniel, and I honestly don't think that is healthy. 

Lilah as a character was not entirely interesting, or right for the story. I think that if she was a bit more of a badass, you would have worked out a lot better as a story. But she was just scared and whiny which annoyed me immensely,

I was most dissatisfied with the ending, however. I feel like it could have been a lot more flushed out, but it just happened without any explanations. You gave little tidbits as to what was going on in the world, and you expected us to just fill in the blanks. An author should write the story, not just leave us to assume because you know what happens when you assume (you make an ASS out of U and ME). Also, this is the reason for the question mark after standalone; I truly feel like Becker could write a sequel to you, and it would be very good because the ending was very suggesting of another book.

Anyway, despite the problems with it, you were not a bad book. I appreciated your concept, and what the author was trying to accomplish, but it just didnt work out as a whole. 

The Rating:



I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one.