Thursday, November 3, 2016

Review: The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma


Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She's even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.

When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya's entire life changes.

Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American.

As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned. Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path.

The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart.


I have been in sort of a book funk lately and this book snapped me right out of it! I loved how although it gives off a contemporary feel, I learned many things about another culture (Indian/Hindu). Despite the main character being Indian-American I really felt like she was a very relatable character to me. I also enjoy short chapters, because every book I read with short chapters I fall in love with. (ex. Jenny Han's To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before).

Nithya was a great character, and I thought it would be great if I could be friends with her in real life. I also thought Sophie was very sweet and I loved how she asked so many silly questions during the Indian wedding. I also loved the descriptions of the Indian wedding, I definitely would love to see one in person!

James was awesome, the way he is like a knight in shining armor to Nithya. I loved their awkwardness at the beginning, felt so lifelike to me.

When I first started this book I thought it was going to take a dark turn, and I am so glad it didn't. Nithya really is lucky that James comes to the rescue. I could see this happening to other people in real life, because if you have good friends they should be watching you and making sure you don't run off with strangers.

If you like contemporaries and learning about new cultures, you should definitely pick this one up! I loved Annika Sharma's writing style.

I rate this one 4 out of 5 stars!


Annika Sharma was born in New Delhi and brought up in the United States, where she moved with her parents as a baby. A proud alum, she graduated from Penn State University with dual degrees in Biobehavioral Health and Neuro-Psychology, and minors in Biology and Human Development and Family Studies. She received her Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education before pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer, landing her agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group while daylighting as a preschool teacher. The Rearranged Life, her first novel, was written in the month before graduate school.

Annika, a Gryffindor and Scorpio, spends much of her time dreaming of adventure, working on her next book, going on Starbucks runs with family and friends, shopping online and watching superhero movies.

The Rearranged Life, will be hitting shelves on May 15th, 2015, published by Curiosity Quills Press.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreads | Twitter


Lone Star Book Blog Tours Presents: The Fisher King by Melissa Lenhardt with Guest Post & Giveaway




Melissa Lenhardt
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Date of Publication: November 1, 2016
Number of Pages: 380
Scroll down for Giveaway!
When the dust settles in this Texas town, who will be left standing? It’s been six weeks since Jack McBride’s life went to hell: the resolution of his first case as chief sparked a countywide drug war, his brother Eddie rode into town with a pocket full of cocaine and trouble on his mind, his estranged wife returned from her one-year sabbatical determined to win him back, and Ellie Martin ended their brief affair. To the Stillwater natives, the increase in local crime can be traced directly back to the day the outsider McBride took the job, and they’re gunning to get rid of him. One particular group is led by Joe Doyle, a successful local businessman who’s running for city council against Ellie and her plan to revitalize downtown. Now Jack has discovered proof Doyle is the biggest crime lord in the county, and, with murders piling up and the drug war intensifying, Jack suspects the crimes aren’t business, but personal—and he’s the target. The bitter election and Jack’s investigation spark old rivalries and new jealousies, making Ellie and those who love Stillwater most wonder if it’s even worth saving.


A fast-moving whodunit with compelling subplots and an appealing protagonist who’s likely to keep winning fans.” -- Booklist

“The Fisher King is a haunting novel about different people’s claims on a place, and the power struggles, violence, and deception they use to seize it. Dark and ominous, the novel strikes the perfect mood and will be sure to appeal to fans eager for more of McBride’s adventures.”
— Foreward Magazine 

“[T]his combination of police procedural and romance puts the pedal to the metal and revs up the action.” -- Kirkus Reviews 

“Melissa Lenhardt’s Jack McBride is a complex and fallible protagonist you will root for. In The Fisher King, McBride takes on small town greed and corruption to his own peril in this sexy, gritty, and gripping thriller. A terrific new series!” —Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones series

“Lenhardt draws you so deep into Stillwater, Texas, you’ll think you live there and know everyone in town. In-depth characters, finely drawn descriptions, and a sure-fire plot make The Fisher King a very satisfying addition to the Texas crime fiction scene.” —Terry Shames, Macavity Award Winning author of The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake

“Melissa Lenhardt’s second Jack McBride novel, The Fisher King, is a terrific soap opera of an East Texas noir. A riveting tale of disgrace, betrayal, and redemption. . . . Lenhardt writes a hard story with a soft hand. Evocatively descriptive and painfully believable, The Fisher King is Peyton Place meets The Godfather in small-town Texas. Top notch.” —James W. Ziskin, author of the Ellie Stone series”

CLICK TO PURCHASE  * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Indiebound *
Who is The Fisher King?

And, no. It’s no Robin Williams.

If I didn’t get the title from the Robin William’s move, where is it from? Glad you asked!

Two places, as a matter of fact. When I was writing The Fisher King I read an article on Salon about Joan Didion’s 1989 essay, “In the Realm of The Fisher King,” about the Reagan White House and the rise of neo-liberalism. The main idea of Didion’s essay—Reagan was a figurehead while people behind the scenes ran things—struck a chord because it was exactly what I was writing in Stillwater’s sequel. In fact, the overarching theme of the books is the banality of corruption, and how people will look the other way, forgive a lot of ills, when it serves their purpose, or the ills don’t affect them. Do the benefits of corruption sometimes outweigh the uncertainty and upheaval to the system when it’s rooted out? I don’t answer this question in The Fisher King, and don’t necessarily plan to answer it in the series. I’m not sure there is a right or wrong answer to the question. I suspect the answer will vary depending on how much you benefit, or suffer, from corruption. It’s interesting to ponder, especially in the environment we’re living in at the moment.

Curious about the inspiration for the title of Didion’s essay, I discovered the myth of the fisher king was an Arthurian grail myth, with possible roots in Celtic mythology. From Wikipedia:

In Arthurian legend the Fisher King, or the Wounded King, is the last in a long line charged with keeping the Holy Grail. Versions of his story vary widely, but he is always wounded in the legs or groin and incapable of moving on his own. In the Fisher King legends, he becomes impotent and unable to perform his task himself, and he also becomes unable to father or support a next generation to carry on after his death. His kingdom suffers as he does, his impotence affecting the fertility of the land and reducing it to a barren wasteland. All he is able to do is fish in the river near his castle, Corbenic, and wait for someone who might be able to heal him. Healing involves the expectation of the use of magic. Knights travel from many lands to heal the Fisher King, but only the chosen can accomplish the feat. This is Percival in earlier stories; in later versions, he is joined by Galahad and Bors.

Amazingly, that worked for the story, too. So, The Fisher King as a title works on two levels, one more direct than the other. To answer the question at the top: yes, there is one specific person who the title refers to. I’ll be curious to discover who readers think it is after reading the book!


Melissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.




November 1 - 10, 2016
Guest Post 1
Guest Post 2

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