#Review #BlogTour : A Typical Family Christmas by Liz Davies #ATFC @rararesources @lizdaviesauthor

Hello readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour for A Typical Family Christmas by Liz Davies, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources . Many thanks to Rachel and author for tour invite and providing e-copy of this book. Please check out my review and book details in this post.

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A Typical Family Christmas by Liz Davies
Publication Date: 10th October 2019
Genre:  Chicklit / Romance
Pages: 282
Stars: ★★★★★

For once, Kate Peters would like a happy, family Christmas; the kind of Christmas seen in the movies. She wants harmony and happiness, smiling, glowing faces, tables groaning with food, carol singing around the tree. She wants love, kindness, and goodwill to all men, especially in her own house.

What she doesn’t want is drama. Absolutely no drama, whatsoever.

But what she gets is three stroppy children, two equally stroppy grandmothers, a husband who can’t manage to change a lightbulb, and Pepe the poodle.

It’s no wonder she feels unappreciated, overworked, and ignored. At the end of her tinsel-coated tether, and with the only Christmas spirit being in the form of a bottle of raspberry gin, Kate decides to leave them to it, and see how they manage without her.

A quiet little hotel somewhere near the sea, where she can pretend Christmas doesn’t exist, is just the thing she needs. Isn’t it?

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book as a part of Blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. ***

A Typical Family Christmas was lovely, entertaining, humorous and realistic Romcom that revolved around Peters family. I bet you wouldn’t want to spend your Christmas anywhere near this family. It was about family drama, importance of sharing burden, being supportive, understanding each other’s perspective, and bringing back the spark in relationship and enjoying Christmas as a family.

“Christmas is all about family.” But that might not be true with Peters family!

Characters-

Meet the Peter family.

Kate was best wife, mother and a person who kept her family glued sorted out all little problem, handled her whiny kids all day and taxied them wherever they wanted to. She was doing amazing along with her part time job. Trust me Peter household is not easy to manage. My heart went out to Kate. Poor thing did all without any support or help.

Her kids were lousy, ignorant and selfish especially teenage girls. They didn’t respect each other or elders, always wanted her mother to find their things they put somewhere. They were treating her like their personal maid and even dared to say they hated her on her face. I don’t know how Kate tolerated these brats. Her son was much better. At least he was cooped up in his room with xbox.

Her Husband, Brett was no better. I disliked him more than her kids and mothers. How could he not see what she was going through, how she was feeling about him, his mother and their children! And his behavior and thoughts after Kate’s big step at climax surprised me even more. Thank God mine is better and thanks to my years of training (Just as author mentioned in acknowledgement ;)).

Helen– the mother-in-law- always criticized Kate. Kate was never good enough for her. She sometime do things just to spite Kate. Beverly– the mother- was always miserable. She hated Christmas and made everybody around her miserable.

I have to say, Pepe– the poodle steal the show. Most of laughable moments were because of this little spoilt dog who had attitude higher than any other family member. He desperately needed training and a dog whisperer.

What I liked-

Writing was wonderful. It hooked me to story right from the beginning. The story was narrated from Kate and Brett’s POV. Kate’s POV said about her trouble and burden she felt at house. She had empathetic and realistic tone. It was easy to feel relatable with her when it came to her mother-in-law and her feelings. While Brett’s POV said about his own problems, work pressure and long hours that left him tired and frustrated. I could understand why he was ignorant towards his family but that didn’t justify his thought towards Kate.

Drama started from very first line with Kate’s announcement of her mother coming for Christmas. Now that’s big issue because her mother-in-law always come for Christmas. Both mothers disliked each other, avoided being in same room and that means one of the girl had to share room. It shouldn’t be issue as well but in this family everybody were at each other’s throats. Squabbling, disagreements, shouting, slamming doors was normal with two teenage girls, one almost-teenage-boy.  Moreover two mothers were going to be under same roof who could be worse than teenagers. You can imagine how entertaining this was going to be.

I was curious to see how they were going to survive and how worse it can be, what new drama will unfold and how much Kate’s nerves can tolerate. It was like hurricane was inevitable, I was just waiting and preparing for it until all the hell broke free from all direction. It was exciting to see what Kate will do about it and how she will turn this typical family Christmas into merry one.

Family dynamic was great. I so enjoyed characters’ descriptions, their characteristics and antics. Normal dysfunctional family is where everybody has reason to dislike each other but here they disliked each other without a specific reason and based on childishness so I don’t know if I should call it dysfunctional family. Oh, but their bickering and squabbling was fun to read. They were amusing.

What I liked most was their development. Specially Brett’s that came after climax. Climax was the best. Served everybody right. The moment of realization and remorse was different for all characters, some needed even more scolding and stern authoritative tone. Even Kate realized her mistake and felt guilt. Brett’s emotions were most heartfelt and I so loved him from climax to end.

End was sweet and lovely with merry Peters family Christmas, not a typical one I started with.

Overall, it was hilarious, dramatic, warm and festive romcom. This, so far, was best Christmas read. Those who love family drama wouldn’t want to miss this. I highly recommend this book.

Book Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Affiliate Link- Book Depository

Author Bio:

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LizDaviesAuthor1/

Twitter https://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or any book by the same author? What funny thing happened on Christmas that you still laugh over? Share your thoughts in comment-box below.

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#Review : Neither Here Nor There by Miriam Drori

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Neither Here Nor There by Miriam Drori
Publication Date:
May 17th 2014
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing Ltd
Genre: Fiction / Jewish Literature / Contemporary
Pages: 180
Stars: ★★★★☆

Love in an exotic setting.

Esty’s life was laid out for her from birth. She would marry one of a handful of young men suggested to her and settle down to raise a large family in a tiny space within the closed community of her parents, near to and yet far from the modern world. But Esty has decided to risk all by escaping while she still can. Will she make it to the other side? Mark, who is struggling with his own life changes, hopes that Esty will find a way through her troubles. He is fast falling in love with her. Separately and together, in Jerusalem and London, Esty and Mark need to overcome many obstacles in their endeavour to achieve their dream.

So much more than a romance. A tale of transformation.

*** Note: I won this book in giveaway ***

Neither Here Nor There was simple romance that was made beautiful because of its setting in Jerusalem. Story revolved around Haredi Judaism, Esty’s struggle who left the orthodox ways, challenged its beliefs and lifestyle to live life of secular that can have meaning, freedom, and love. It was about struggle of transition in lifestyle; orthodox vs tradition, secular and extremism; strength and determination; going against the flow; understanding different culture and adopting the best in it.

What I Liked:

Book started with Esty leaving her parents’ home, culture she knew and grew up in to discover new life, life of secular, a life in which she can have freedom to make choices, actually live it and enjoy it rather than getting married, take care of house and giving birth every year. But it was never easy, she was in middle situation, Neither Here Nor There, after leaving her family. What challenges she will face in this in-between path? Will she able to cross it and transform into lifestyle of other side? Can she cut off with her family and friends? How her decision will affect her family? Will she discover new friends and true love? It was great to discover answers to all these Esty inner turmoil.

I believe she was lucky to find good people on her way towards new lifestyle. It wouldn’t be this easy for all.

I loved theme of this book. Author portrayed lifestyle and belief of orthodox people so well. It was not just about differences between orthodox, secular, and traditional but was about extremism. Being extremist is most dangerous and not just for orthodox but for secular as well and this controversial matter was well conveyed here.

Esty learned many things through her observation of secular world, different lifestyle and people she met. The doubts she had for what she was taught in schools and by community before leaving the old world proved right, she saw secular world is not that bad as she was taught, she could see how people in her community are following their belief not because they fear God or because they were pure and other are malign but because they want to please others in their community.

Every chapters ended with the question, doubts Esty and Mark had regarding their life and relationship that made me think about the situation, about community and their age-old beliefs, religion along with them. Characters turmoil, struggle and emotion was the central part of the story.

Romance was simple. It didn’t have that juicy drama or complicated issue we usually read in romance novel but it was nice to see both Esty and Mark evolve, taking baby steps in their relationship. They had some simple and realistic issues, Esty trying to adopt new world and Mark trying to go slow and let her grow out of her discomfort but I liked how they both made efforts to strengthen their bond.

Turns in the book were good. It made story interesting. I did guess those endings but it didn’t affect the ending. I liked the happy ending.

Why 4 Stars:

As I said things were comparatively easy for Esty. In real life there might be lot of problems and I was little annoyed character didn’t see things realistically. She should have expected the problems she faced and when her sister thought to follow her footstep she felt wrong about it! Come on, that’s clearly selfish.

Overall, it was interesting, insightful and unique but simple contemporary fiction that dealt with controversial subject. I recommend this book. It is short, fastpaced that you can finish in one sitting.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you Think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Have you read book dealing with controversial or religious issues? Which are they? Recommend me your favorite book in this theme or genre.

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Weekend Read

Hello Readers! I hope yo u all are enjoying weekend. I keep answering Goodreads on Twitter ‘What I’m Reading This Weekend’. I thought why not to share it on blog as well. Truth to be told, I haven’t written post since 2 days. I have review ready but I’m planning to post it next week and I want something quick to post. So, here is the book I just started reading-

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Love in an exotic setting. Esty’s life was laid out for her from birth. She would marry one of a handful of young men suggested to her and settle down to raise a large family in a tiny space within the closed community of her parents, near to and yet far from the modern world. But Esty has decided to risk all by escaping while she still can. Will she make it to the other side? Mark, who is struggling with his own life changes, hopes that Esty will find a way through her troubles. He is fast falling in love with her. Separately and together, in Jerusalem and London, Esty and Mark need to overcome many obstacles in their endeavour to achieve their dream. So much more than a romance. A tale of transformation. 

I won this book in giveaway. It’s just 180 pages, pretty short that I can finish in a day. I read only few chapters and I already like the setting.

What are you reading this weekend? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to TBR?

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#Review : Era of Undying by Emilie Knight

Era of Undying by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: January 19th 2018 by Createspace
Genre: Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 202
Stars: ★★★★☆

There hasn’t been a Blood Warrior for decades. Everyone assumed they were extinct and couldn’t return. Turns out they were just in hiding. Pen chose to revert back to her nomadic life after the death of her family. Life was always safer that way, away from people. Now she’s been caught and odd occurrences have been happening in Ichorisis. People are surviving horrible injuries and illnesses that they shouldn’t be. Now that Pen is under custody of one of the several kings she’s been sent to fix the problem. Whether she wants to or not. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Era of Undying revolved around a blood warrior- Pen and her survival in the world where blood warrior were extinct, her nomadic life and adventures in the Undying world. It was about grief, guilt, accepting death and loss of loved ones, righting the wrong and adventure.

Characters

Pen was strong, independent and fearless fighter but she was loner. Her pain of loss and guilt was undying and empathetic. Her blood magic was interesting and awed me. As I read her story I could see her gift from her perspective, it was more like curse than blessing. Her denial of death and yearn to get her loved ones back was understandable but as she got more close to her mission, she could see the right thing and started to accept the truth and reality. If you like your heroine fierce, practical and who doesn’t go down easily, you will love her.

Captain Tellus was great in the book. He had morals, ethics, was great fighter, and trusted man of king. He was stern and influential but was soft at heart. He didn’t judge Pen for what she has done and listened her story and understood her emotion. I liked him for that. He stood up for her even though he could easily turn back. I wished to see something develop between Tellus and Pen but alas, there is not romance, just friendship.

Characters were developed but they were reckless. Their story was most interesting. I liked some side characters even though they were not exactly likable.

What I Liked-

Books was third person narrative. Writing was easy to read, easy to imagine the world and follow the story. Book was fast paced and pretty short that one can read in one sitting. Plot and the world was impressive. Author drives readers right into the world of undying and blood magic.

Book started with Pen trying to rob in the countryside of Ichorisis, she got caught and ended up in prison. To be free her only option was follow king’s order, go on mission with captain Telllus to find out why people are not dying, what caused this undying era.

Their journey was adventurous and action-packed. They had to find their path based on the myth, follow the river towards its source, the land of dead, find the goddess of death, and restore the world to normal. They had to pass through thieves, thugs, bandits and cannibals who did everything to make their journey interesting and difficult.

I liked the world. People with different hair colors, interesting names for places- Ichorisis, Acheron, Skiachora, Stymphalia, Potamus, Kalymnos and some more. Most interesting was Pen’s blood magic and the main theme of the book, undying which intrigued me read more, to find out what actually happened and how Pen and Tellus are going to restore normalcy. Some scenes were dark gruesome. There was lot of blood spilling, killing, severing limbs and beheading and people not dying didn’t help. It made things even more gruesome.

I liked the message behind the story. Death is sad and miserable thing but not dying is not the blessing, at least not for those who are suffering from disease or infection or with severed limbs and heads. Both Pen and Tellus saw people’s torment and agony on their journey and through their perspective we get to know even death is important in life and so is accepting the death of loved ones, accepting natural order of life cycle.

Twist and turns and suspense was nicely written. I couldn’t guess where story was going, what might have happened, and reason of undying until the climax. The answers were surprising. End was sad and tragic, not exactly what I expected.

Why 4-

Everything was good, nicely written but it didn’t wow me! I constantly felt there’s something missing, I cannot exactly pinpoint it. Maybe because of less depth in world, there was enough information on blood magic and its history but it was not detailed. A bit longer book won’t hurt.

Overall, it was different, gripping, fast paced, dark fantasy that I will recommend to readers of this genre.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read it already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Have read any fantasy that has blood warrior or has undying theme? Tell me about your favorite dark fantasy.

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#Review : Vox by Christina Dalcher #100words

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Vox by Christina Dalcher
Publication Date:
August 23rd 2018 (first published August 21st 2018)
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Science-Fiction / Dystopia
Pages: 327
Stars: ★★★★☆ [4.5]

Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
This is just the beginning…not the end.

Let’s try something #100words review. Count starts now…


What would you do if you are prisoner of your own country? Government take away your voice? No passport, No jobs, no money, friendship or freedom. You can’t speak more than 100 words. Phone, books, reading, writing is banned. But all of this is only for women. I’m not hardcore feminist but this surely boils my blood. 

Vox was mind-blowing dystopian science-fiction that had this terrific world where all of the above was possible, not just possible but was in existence. It was about feminism, oppressive government, hypocrisy and sexism, standing against tyranny to save family and loved ones.


But that 100 words are not enough. I want to write more. I don’t know how women even spend a day in this world speaking just 100 words!

It’s kind of book that one can go blind and enjoy the ride. I don’t know from where I should start. I’m speechless. Was it really a debut novel? Because it didn’t feel like one. It was so well thought, well written and well executed.

Book opened with Jean telling about the pure movement in country. How it started, how people thought it just passing phase and one man’s fancy that turned viral and became country’s reality and every women’s nightmare, how it not just changed whole country, shut up women but also affected her house and her kids’ mentality, especially her eldest son. She almost started to accept her reality, started hating not just the man who started this ridiculous movement but men of her house as well and then opportunity knocked at her door. The more she went along with what she was asked/forced to do and offered in exchange for her work, the more she discovered about government’s sinister plan.

Apparently they were not happy with what they took away. They wanted more… what will Jean do to save herself, her family and other women? Can only one woman bring change?

I absolutely loved this setting. This is the world I don’t want be transported to, not even in dream. I was just 30 pages into the book and I thought this can’t be possible but author showed that it was not completely impossible. You may think women can’t possibly have agreed to it, there will be drastic effect on country’s economy if they take away women’s job, surely men will speak up for their mothers, sisters, wives or daughters, there will be march, protest, violence against government, people will leave the country… wrong, wrong, wrong!!! Everything was well thought. It was horrible, sickening, and outrageous to see conditions of women, creepy rules and punishments, and level sexism.

I could not stop thinking who the real villain here was, the initiator of pure movement, Reverend Carl (I still don’t get from where he got this insane idea!), the stupid president, or the men of states? How can whole country could have followed it in so less time? Money, family, love, power, and ego, whatever their reason was, it just didn’t feel manly and right. But maybe man in their place might have done same in real life. But I was glad to see that not all lost their mind.

Jean was amazing in this book. Her voice was strong, effective, provocative and so real. Her feeling touched my heart. It was easy to see this man ruling world through her eyes that succumbed me into the story deeply. Not just the world she lived in but her private life was also complex. Her relationship with her husband, her kids, and friends was narrated perfectly. I liked back stories of Jean’s life. Her monologues perfectly represented her state of mind that had all jumbled up feeling, love, hate, frustration, disbelief, hope, hopelessness, determination, and guilt. I was surprised to see her not going mad.

She and all other characters were developed. I liked Jackie and Lin. They were inspiring and influential. Their strength was admirable. At first I didn’t like Patrick, but I liked him in second half. There were many characters you will hate in this book and some will surprise you.

The best moments in the book that really stopped me while reading book was Jackie’s warnings about the change, Jean’s realization- how wrapped up she was in her life (that Bubble reference was so apt), how it was too late to do anything, how she and all around her realized there was no way out and how soon things can change the world.

I liked the message behind the story. We should vote and if we don’t and something bad happens you can’t really blame government; we should not ignore the world for our own selfish gains; raise your voice, join the protest and resistance whenever necessary because it counts, every single person and voice, even small effort can impacts/bring the change.  

There were many surprises. Twist and turns were good. Half of the time I could not anticipate what will happen next. Climax was amazing and I liked the end.

I read in acknowledgement author said, ‘I hope it makes you a little bit angry. I hope it makes you think‘. I would say she did brilliant job because it not just made angry I was erupting volcano. Okay that’s over the top but yes I was furious and was thinking a lot. I also I told whole story to my husband and asked some questions to know what he will do in Patrick’s situation (harmless questions you know) and he was like, ‘Oh God, now this feminism thing will go on for a week… Did I give you money to buy that book?… Remind me to read blurbs of books you are reading so I’ll be prepared next time.’ 😉

Why 4.5-

Trust me I was going to give it 5 stars until climax. Important scenes in climax and end, were not detailed or felt rushed. I expected more, little little bit detailed, not just to imagine how the plan was executed at the meeting and what exactly happened there.

Overall, it was mind-blowing, provocative, suspenseful, gripping, terrific and disturbing dystopia, Sci-Fi novel. If you still haven’t read this book, just get it.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read it already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Do you like to read Sci-Fic and Dystopia novels?
What do you think about the ‘Vox world and 100 words quota? I saw many compared it to The Handmaid’s Tale? Do you agree with it, have you read Handmaid’s Tale? Have you read any falling in this theme? If so, recommend me your favorite book.

Share you thoughts in the comment-box belo

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