How to Build a Heart – A book review

How to Build a Heart – A book review

Remember a few weeks ago, I was on a reading spree? Yup, the rare occasion. So I picked up How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian on Netgalley and even I was surprised that I finished it so fast. But was it good enough? Read ahead to know more. 

About the book

Book Name: How to Build a Heart

Author: Maria Padian

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Isabella (Izzy) and Jack Crawford, Mami, Roz Jenkins, Sam and Aubrey Shackelton,

Setting: VirginiaThe United States of America

The plot

All her life Izzy Crawford has been moving between cities and she can’t wait to settle down at a house that she can call hers, with her hard working mother and younger brother. She has not still learned to process the grief over her father’s death in the Marines and moving away from his side of the family doesn’t help.

But her life is finally coming together. Izzy has made some new friends in her Catholic school, finds herself a spot in a cappella group and a hot and popular boy friend, Sam. Just one minor problem, none of them knows that she lives in a trailer park. 

Her best friend Roz, who also happens to be her neighbour in the trailer park, is the only one who understands her but Izzy’s mom doesn’t approve of her. And she has had a long time crush on Sam, which Izzy had known right from the beginning. 

So when the Habitat for Humanity offers to help them to build a house, she has a chance to make everything better. But that comes up with strings. You will have to read How to Build a Heart to know more about Izzy and her house building project. 

My initial thoughts

I was glad that romance was not the main focus of How to Build a Heart, even though it was a romance book. It is a family drama/reunion story, and I loved it as much. I liked the older females in the book and Izzy’s relationship with her newfound cousin. 

I didn’t like the main friendship in How to Build a Heart so much that I ended up not liking both Izzy and Roz. Izzy doesnt tell Roz anything and made it a point to keep Roz away from her life. And Roz in other hand was always mean to Izzy and literally threw a stone at her over a boy. Whoa! 

And they got over their fight so easily? Well, I didn’t buy that one at all.  Despite not loving the characters, I loved the writing style which was compelling and fast flowing. 

Things that worked for me

  • The writing was perfect and I didn’t put the book down even once. 
  • How to Build a Heart deals with difficult topics like poverty, racism, and grief and did a great job at it. 
  • I love a book with a good family reunion and How to Build a Heart has one!

Things that didn’t work for me

  • Izzy and Roz were both difficult to like right from the beginning. And it got only tougher.
  • I found it was difficult to adore Izzy and same, as Izzy had nothing in common with Sam.

Bottom-line

How to Build a Heart is a coming of age tale of a Latin American girl that discusses economic inequity, racism, friendship and of course love. I will definitely look out for more from the author.

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Let us chat

Have you read this one? Are there books that you liked event though you didn’t like their characters at all? And what have you been reading these days? Let us talk. 

How to Build a Heart – A book review

Review shots: A comic, poetry and World War memoir

It has been a while since we spoke about Non Fiction books here, hasn’t it? In the May’s edition of review shots I am going to talk about three different kinds of non fiction – a poetry from a new age poet that I love, a comic about us, and a world war II memoir. Did I pique your interest? So let us get started! 

Disclaimer

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sharing a copy for review and it no way affected my unbiased and honest opinion.

Love Looks Pretty on You

Author: Lang Leav 

Genre: Non Fiction – Poetry 

No. of Pages: 224

I am sure Lang Leav is no stranger to any of us. And in her sixth book she has brought her magic back. I kept underlining her and highlighting so many of her lines, especially the ones about abuse in relationships and being a strong woman. 

When my best friend told me

she was in love

my first thought was,

‘I hope he is good to her.’

And it suddenly occurred to me,

what I held in my heart for her

was hope, when it should

have been expectation.

I love that her prose/poetry has always been easy to read and relate. I have felt in her earlier works she talks a little too much about heartbreak and being in love for my taste, and there is nothing wrong about that and it is just me, not her. But she has proved herself as a matured writer in this one. 

Final thought: Though monotonous at times, the author moved past from the heartbreaks to more mature subjects. 

Recommended to: If you liked her previous works, this should be on your list as well

Book love

Author: Debbie Tung 

Genre: Non Fiction – Comic

No. of Pages: 143

Have you ever thought about the crazy things that you been doing as a bookworm? Of course I would not blame you because I do them as well. And this book is for you. I can’t recommend this enough to anyone who loves books.

Book love kept me grinning throughout the book because it was all true. And it was as if someone took a peek into my life and just drew them but in a less clumsy way.

Though it would hardly take an hour to finish this one, I would suggest to go through this book slowly and enjoy taking a laugh at yourself. 

Final thought: Catch yourself smiling at the quirky bookworm habits 

Recommended to: Must read for book lovers!

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Author: Diane Ackerman 

Genre: Non Fiction – Historical

No. of Pages: 368

I read The Zookeeper’s Wife for the A-Z reading challenge last year and I have no idea why I had not reviewed it until now, other than the fact that I forgot to. And there is a well known movie as well adapted from this historical drama. 

The invasion of Germany into Poland and the consequent bombing affected not only the people but also the animals that were held in the Polish zoos. The zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski save Jews by letting the stay in the empty cages. The Zookeeper’s wife follows the life of a ‘sorta’ family that socializes with ‘guests’ after the dark and caring for the animals during the day. 

I love reading the Holocaust and WW II novels so I quickly jumped at the chance to read this one. But I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to. There were more interesting parts, like where Jan tries to help the prisoners escape than the zoo life at home. 

Final thought: Interesting premise even if it is slow and dragging at places

Recommended to: History buffs.

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Have you read any of these books? Do you read poetry as much as you like to? What is your feedback ratio on Netgalley? Let us talk. 

How to Build a Heart – A book review

Adulting the right way!: Mini Reviews

As someone who loves to-do lists and makes a lists for making lists, in an attempt to control my chaotic life, I decided to read books that would help me doing that as the first books of the year. Yes I read three books already, and yes they were all non fiction. I am surprised too. 

All the three books are from Netgalley and I was waiting for the new year to begin with them. Now that is adulting right, right? Anyway let me get this pesky disclaimer done with, so that I can start with my monthly review shots!


Disclaimer

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sharing a copy for review and it no way affected my unbiased and honest opinion.


Hear truths to be who you want to be

Adulting 2019 non fiction

Book Name: Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

Author: Rachel Hollis 

Genre: Non Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 240

Let me start by saying that I have not heard or read about the author before I picked the book, and I did that only because of the hype it created in the blogosphere. 

In Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel talks about how the lies we tell ourselves hold us back and takes us through her own grief and trauma. ‘Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business’ is a quote we should all remember to tell ourselves. #GirlWashYourFace

I liked Rachel’s simple and no nonsense approach to the subject and her enthusiastic writing. And I never felt I was reading a memoir or a self book, the whole book gave a feeling like I was reading a blog and getting to know the blogger slowly and personally. 

The author doesn’t offer great advices or groundbreaking insights, yet I am glad this was my first book of the year. Yes it was inspirational as it was supposed to be, but this is more of a ‘things that worked for me’ kinda list so take it with a grain of salt. 

Final thought: Cheerful and motivational. Take it with a grain of salt.

Recommended to: Twenty something women entrepreneurs especially in a non traditional job.

Warning: May come off as spiritual and religious tone.


Plan your goals and keep at it

Adulting 2019 non fiction

Book Name: You Goal, Girl: A Goal-Setting Workbook (The Totally Approachable, Not-Scary Guides) 

Author: Elise Williams, Meleah Bowles

Genre: Non Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 188

You might have read my struggles with being organized and how hard I have been working to make this year and myself better organized. I am glad that Netgalley granted my request to read You Goal, Girl. 

The book is marketed as a workbook, and is rightly so. The writing is definitely motivating and the book itself is very colorful. I finished reading the book itself in less than an hour, but it is the worksheets that will need more than a cursory reading. 

The principles are fairly well known and pretty basic, and the book puts them in a clear perspective, thus makes working on them easier.

If you have a goal setting spreadsheet or a planner, incorporating these ideas into them will be easy. Or you can use these sheets for working them directly, if you have a physical print. 

Final thought: Basic goal planner that works if you want it to

Recommended to: Those who are beginners to goal setting and planning


Knowing why we do what we do

Adulting 2019 non fiction

Book Name:  Mastering Adulthood: Go Beyond Adulting to Become an Emotional Grown-Up 

Author: Lara E. Fielding

Genre: Non Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 224

While most of the books in the self help category tell what to do, Mastering Adulthood talks about why and how we do the things we do. It talks about identifying patterns in our behavior, emotions and reactions. 

Mastering Adulthood comes with exercises and QR links to videos which are interesting and will be helpful in the long run. The writing is cheerful yet a bit long winded at places. Some may feel it be patronizing. 

Final thought: Do not let the title fool you. It goes well beyond the adulting that we rant about.

Recommended to: Anyone who is into mindfulness, yoga and CBT


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Adulting 2019 non fiction

Let us talk

Do you read non fiction? Have you read any of these books? What was your first book of the year? Let us talk

How to Build a Heart – A book review

Book review: Kawaii Doodle Class

Generally my mid week posts involve discussions or tags where we get to talk a lot. But not today. In fact I am gonna have a cheat day and talk about a book. No, it is not going to be a review in my usual sense. To be honest this is not going to be a book that I read normally. Curious? Keep reading. *excited grin*

I saw the review of Kawaii Doodle Class somewhere and I knew this was the one book that could solve ALL my problems. Well, not solve all my problems but at least make me forget my worries about the long pending reviews of books I have received for reviewing or the ones on my TBR shelf. Who am I kidding? Those are not my worries. I love that I have loads of books to read and review. Okay.. I mean whatever worries I had, Kawaii Doodle Class made me forget. Intrigued? Read on.

Kawaii Doodle Class reviewDisclaimer: Thanks to the Author and Netgalley for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. 

Growing in a family that is inclined very much towards arts and crafts, I have always believed I had to have a creative vein. Even when my several attempts on arts have proved otherwise, I hold on to the hope that some day I would find some art form that I might be good at. So I requested the book that promised to teach step by step instructions to draw these cutest doodles with so much to lose. Yeah Kawaii literally means cute. 

First of, the whole book was DAMN CUTE (I know I am overusing the term). The step by step instruction made it even for a craft challenged person to follow, though there were a few redundant steps. Hey who cares, they look adorable. The book teaches to draw day to day items like food and drinks, holiday things and even monsters. I personally loved the monsters (That doesn’t mean I draw them any better). 

The entire book may have been for a younger generation but that would not stop you (adult, I mean) from enjoying it all the same. This can surely be a great gift to young and adults alike. I can already think of at least 2-3 people who would enjoy this. I can’t stop gushing over this overtly adorable book. Grab Kawaii Doodle Class already, I say.

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How to Build a Heart – A book review

Book Review: Standard Deviation

They do say opposites attract, don’t they? Maybe they are right. But do they stick together when the roof falls? No, I am not talking about the teenage crushes where the hot headed guy falls for the shy bookstore sales girl. I am talking about older ones, the real life adults. Do they genuinely like each other’s quirky characteristics or are they gritting their life through?

Book Name: Standard Deviation
Author:  Katherine Heiny
Genre: Fiction – Drama
Characters:  Graham, Audra and Mathew Cavanaugh, Elspeth Osbourne, Bitsy, Clayton.

Setting: New York, The USA

Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author and Netgalley for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The narration follows Graham’s voice through his married life with Audra, a vivacious busybody who is 15 younger to him. While Graham is a despondent middle aged man, Audra is one of those outspoken women who puts you at ease as soon as you meet her and then becomes your friend for life. Her life is no wonder full of ‘friends, acquaintances and other people that Graham never knew.’ They have a 10-year old son Mathew who has Asperger’s and is obsessed with origami. Their life has no dearth for adventure between arranging play dates for Mathew and hosting house guests who were on a break from their spouses.

Standard Deviation

We follow their lives through weddings, deaths, infidelity and United Nation days. Graham feels out of place in the grand plans of Audra and her friends that he seeks recluse in his cold, emotion free first wife, Elspeth. Audra wants to be friends with her as well. Being with both the women he had loved Graham realizes the vast differences between them. What does a man need – the ever glowing sunshine or the cool detachment? Read on Standard Deviation to find out.

If you are looking for a storyline with twists and thrill, you are in for a sore disappointment. In fact, there is no plot. We get a wry, whimsical glimpse into their life. It is often funny, not in the way that would make you laugh out loud (though I did once or twice) but that makes you chuckle.

Review Standard DeviationMaybe we had had too many books with the female point of view lately that it was so refreshing to hear a male voice talking about his view of life. Graham’s thoughts about parenthood and infidelity would be easier to relate as they are not accusative, but in a funny quirky manner.

Some may find the pace of the book to be slow and drag, especially in the middle where the narrative becomes too generic that probably spoke of the satirical opinions of the author rather than Graham. But it again gains momentum towards the end, which was rather abrupt.

If you loved books like I Feel Bad About My Neck or High Fidelity, grab this satire Standard Deviation and spend your afternoon chuckling with delight.