Review: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Review: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

fullsizeoutput_316f

Title: Rule of Civility

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

fullsizeoutput_3170

Publish Date: July 26, 2011

Publisher: Viking Books, Penguin Books

Pages: 335

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Synopsis:

On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a jazz bar in Greenwich Village, when Tinker Grey, handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a tempered smile, happens to sit at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a yearlong journey as a Wall Street secretary towards the upper echelons of New York Society and into the executive suites of Conde Nast.

Even as Katey waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her life, she begins to realize how our most promising choices inevitably lay the groundwork for our regrets.

fullsizeoutput_316e

My Review:

I truly enjoyed Rules of Civility by Amor Towles! I loved the writing, and as a fan of Historical Fiction, I loved going back to the last night of 1937. It’s here that friends, Katey and Evey meet for a New Year’s Eve drink, only to meet the handsome and charming banker, Tinker Grey.

I loved Katey’s adventurous spirit and strong work ethic for a woman in the 1930’s. I’m not sure how I missed this gem, but I’m so glad I found it!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

“An irresistible and astonishingly assured debut about working class-women and world-weary WASPs in 1930s New York…in the crisp, noirish prose of the era, Towles portrays complex relationships in a city that is at once melting pot and elitist enclave- and a thoroughly modern heroine who fearlessly claims her place in it.”       -O, the Oprah Magazine

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Title: The Night Circus

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

Publish Date: September 13, 2011

Publisher: Doubleday

Pages: 387

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Cirque des Reves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway- a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love- a deep, magical love that makes the light flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

My Review:

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements  in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds and crimsons to be seen. No color at all, save for the neighboring trees and the grass of the surrounding fields. Black-and-white stripes on grey sky; countless tents of varying shapes and sizes, with an elaborate wrought-iron fence encasing them in a colorless world.”

My favorite thing about The Night Circus was the beautiful atmospheric writing! I literally felt like I was inhaling woodsmoke, and tasting caramel popcorn on my tongue. I loved the elements involved with the circus that appeared mysteriously. I enjoyed the story more in the first half of the book, but got confused towards the end about what was actually happening. I started wondering what if the past and present tense was all just a dream or was it reality. Overall, an enjoyable fantasy like I’ve never read before!

*To note, I read the physical book while also listening to the wonderful audiobook simultaneously for the ultimate reading experience.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

“Magical. Enchanting. Spellbinding. Mesmerizing.”    –Associated Press

“Erin Morgenstern has created the circus I have always longed for and she has populated it with dueling love-struck magicians, precocious kittens, hyper-elegant displays of beauty and complicated clocks. This is a marvelous book.”   -Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife

 

Review: We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

Review: We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

Title: We Were the Lucky Ones

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

Publish Date: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Viking

Pages: 416

Genre: Historical Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

Synopsis:

New York Times Bestseller

Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive -and to reunite- We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.

1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors of overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours or empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere.

My Review:

There are times when you read a book and it captures your heart from the very first chapter. We Were the Lucky Ones did just that for me, and it gave me hope during a very sad time in history. I fell in love with the entire Kurc family, Jews who were living in their hometown of Radom, Poland when the horrors of World War II began.

I think what was shocking the most while reading their story, was that it was all inspired by the actual true life story of this very family. It never gets easier to read about the events that took place during the Holocaust, but I grow to respect the Jews that endured this time even more as I find out more and more about what it must have been like in that living nightmare.

What a wonderful book, Georgia Hunter!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

“Love in the face of global adversity? It couldn’t be more timely.”       Glamour

“Georgia Hunter is just as courageous as the characters her writing will never let us forget.”                                        –Harper’s Bazaar 

“A gripping, emotional novel.”   – People, “The Best New Books”

 

Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

fullsizeoutput_312c

Title: Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

fullsizeoutput_312d

Publisher Date: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 309

Genre: Romance

Synopsis:

Most men can’t handle Hazel. But her best friend Josh isn’t most men. Don’t miss New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren’s new novel about two people who are definitely not dating..no matter how often they end up in bed together. 

Hazel Bradford knows she’s a lot to take- and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met- when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes- to when she sent him an uninteligible email while in a post- surgical haze. Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them..right?

fullsizeoutput_312b

My Review:

“I know I’m like Pig-Pen in Charlie Brown, and I have chaos around me, but it’s like he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t need me to change or pretend to be someone else. He’s my person. He’s my best friend.”

I loved these characters so much! Hazel is quirky and fun, no filter what so ever. I love that about her. I also love that she is able to pull straight laced Josh out of his shell. I love their genuine friendship that forms. Overall, this was such a fun, light-hearterd read!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

“With exuberant humor and unforgettable characters, this romantic comedy is a standout.”                                              –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“In Lauren’s hilarious standalone… Lauren finds the perfect balance between charming moments and sultry episodes.”        –Publishers Weekly

Recognition:

September 2018 LibraryReads selection

Review: Verity by Colleen Hoover

Review: Verity by Colleen Hoover

fullsizeoutput_30fe

Title: Verity

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

fullsizeoutput_30ff

Publish Date: December 7, 2018

Publisher: Hoover Ink, Inc

Pages: 333

Genre: mystery & thriller

Synopsis: Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes  all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

fullsizeoutput_3100

My Review:

4.5 stars for Verity!!!

Wow that was a mind fu*k of a book if I ever read one! I devoured this book up in basically a day and I’m still in a book hangover trying to process what I just read. Wow wow wow is all I can say.

First off, it’s amazing thay CoHo has the talent to write such a vast area of genres, and now she can add suspenseful psychological thriller to the list! Not going to lie… there were some creepy AF moments ion here that had me scared to read in the house by myself ha. Kudos for a great plot line and those twists!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

Sexy. Twisted. Consuming. An Amazon charts #1 bestseller.

“Warning: Verity is not going to melt your heart. It’s not going to fry your soul.” – Kindle Crack Book reviews

“This isn’t a book, it’s a visceral experience.” – B. B Easton, bestselling author

Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

fullsizeoutput_30fc

Title: The Wicked King

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

fullsizeoutput_30fd

Publish Date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Little, Brown, Brown Books

Pages: 336

Genre: YA fantasy

Synopsis:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong. 

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control.  But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

fullsizeoutput_30fb

My Review:

“A king is a living symbol, a beating heart, a star upon which Elfhame’s future is written. Surely you have noticed that since his reign began, the isles are different. Storms come in faster. Colors are a bit more vivid, smells are sharper. When he becomes drunk, his subjects become tipsy without knowing why. When his blood boils, things grow.”

I enjoyed The Cruel Prince, but I adored The Wicked King! The push and pull angst, love to hate relationships between Cardan and Jude, is still very present. I loved the atmosphere that the undersea brings, and I loved that we get to see a bit more vulnerable side to Jude. So good! I feel like I was just savoring every last bit of this book before the end.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.

Review: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Review: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

fullsizeoutput_30bf

Title: Maybe in Another Life

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

fullsizeoutput_30c0

Publish Date: July 7, 2015

Publisher: Washington Square Press, Simon & Schuster

Pages: 342

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold- with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guest room. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

My Review:

I discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid after falling in love with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and decided right then and there that I would make my way through all of her books this year. Starting with Maybe in Another Life.

“Maybe there are other lives for me out there, but I can’t imagine being as happy in any of them as I am right now, today.”

A wonderful story about what life might look like if you took a different path.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

A People Magazine Pick, US Weekly “Must” Pick, Named “Best Book of the Summer” by Glamour, Good Housekeeping, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, PopSugar, Working Mother, Bustle, Goodreads

 

 

Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

fullsizeoutput_30b9

Title: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

fullsizeoutput_30ba

Publish Date: September 4, 2018

Publisher: Harper

Pages: 262

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tatowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two years, Late witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism- but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

Then Lale meets a young woman prisoner, named Gita, and he vows to survive the camp with her. A vivid, harrowing story the testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions. Will love be enough?

My Review:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a story of two ordinary people, living in an extraordinary time, deprived not only of their freedom but their dignity, their names, and their identities, and it is Lle’s account of what they needed to do to survive.”      –excerpt from the Author’s Note

4.5 stars for The Tattooist of Auschwitz!

I can easily see why this book was a Goodreads Choice nominee in 2018. A fast paced Historical Fiction love story, I devoured this book in pretty much one sitting. Based on the true story of Lale and Gita, imprisoned together  at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1942.

Although I’ve read a few WWII books by now, I really enjoyed this true story about love conquering all, even in the midst of such a terrible time in history. I recommend this book to any fan of historical fiction, or looking for a lighter story that is lighter on the history, and heavier on the romance.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

“A perfect novel for book clubs and readers of historical fiction.”     – Publishers Weekly

“An extraordinary story of love so fierce it sustained people enduring the unimaginable.”              –Jenna Blum author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family

Review: True Places by Sonja Yoerg

Review: True Places by Sonja Yoerg

fullsizeoutput_30b7

Title: True Places

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

fullsizeoutput_30b8

Publish Date: January 1, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Pages: 347

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Synopsis:

A girl emerges from the woods, starved, ill, and alone..and collapses.

Suzanne Blakemore hurtles along the Blue Ridge Parkway, away from her over scheduled and completely normal life, and encounters the girl. As Suzanne rushes her to the hospital, she never imagines how the encounter will change her- a change she both fears and desperately needs.

Suzanne has the perfect house, a successful husband, and a thriving family. But beneath the veneer of an ideal life, her daughter is rebelling, her son is withdrawing, her husband oblivious to it all, and Suzanne is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. After her discovery of the ethereal sixteen year old who has never experienced civilization, Suzanne is compelled to invite Iris into her family’s life and all its apparent privileges.

But Iris has an independence, a love of solitude, and a discomfort with materialism that contrasts with everything the Blakemore stand for.  Is Suzanne destined to save Iris, or is it Iris that will save Suzanne?

My Review:

“Sometimes it takes a stranger to show you what should be obvious, how far you’ve drifted from who you want to be, from what’s right for you, your true place.”

True Places was a wonderful story, about a girl named Iris, who only knew the ways of the world through nature and living alone in the woods. It’s also the story of a woman named Suzanne, who has lived her own life through her husband and children’s needs, forgetting her own, and trying to live up to those expectations of her Mother’s.

Together, Iris and Suzanne happen upon one another, and they discover their true places all along, as Suzanne helps mend Iris and brings her into her world, and Iris helps to heal Suzanne, and remind her of her own dreams she once had.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

True Places is a beautiful reminder that though we may busy ourselves seeking what we  want, what we need has an uncanny way of finding us.”     – Camille Pagan, bestselling author of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences

 

Review: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Review: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

fullsizeoutput_30b5

Title: The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

fullsizeoutput_30b6

Publish Date: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Pages: 449

Genre: Mystery

Synopsis:

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Elevyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able to identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted. The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it. Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.

My Review:

“Every day after this one is a gift. I just have to keep walking until I get there.”

You clever, clever, little book. 2019 is already shaping up to be a good reading year for me! Reading books like I’ve never read before, which is a very wonderful thing.

I think the best way to go into reading The 71/2 (or 7 depending on where you reside) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, is blindly. It brought me into a game of sorts, trying to discover the murder that would take place over and over each time Aiden Bishop wakes for the day. Another chance at solving the puzzle. I felt like this book was one part Downton Abbey, one part Clue, one part Groundhog Day, and one part “I have no idea what is even going on right now”, but it all comes together to solve this mystery in the end. I do still have some questions, but I’ll save this for another day.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Praise:

“Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day…quite unlike anything I’ve ever read, and altogether triumphant.” – A.J Finn, #1 New York Times- bestselling author of The Woman in the Window