Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

Genre: YA fiction

Review: Okay, so admittedly the premise of this book sounds depressing. A cancer survivor, Hazel, isn't living her life. Her life has a clear sell-by date, but her mom forces her to go to a corny cancer support group. There she meets Augustus. They bond over discussing favorite books and they are there for their mutual friend when he's going through a hard time. Together, they set out on a quest to meet Hazel's favorite author. Despite my summary that in now way captures the essence of the novel, I hope you'll read it. The voice is unique, the writing is biting, witty, and fast-paced. 

This book will also be a movie starring Shailene Woodley!

Check out this article:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The best of Marian Keyes

The Mystery of Mercy Close
by Marian Keyes

Genre: Women's fiction

Review: I picked up this book because it looked funny, and I was in Ireland; I'd enjoyed Keyes work before, and looked forward to being transported on train rides with a light, funny novel. It turned out to be so much more. Hilarious, yes, but following private detective Helen Walsh as she tracks down a missing member of a washed-up boy band on the eve of their reunion concert proved to have unanticipated depth. Humorous and well-plotted, this novel also explores Helen's current and past episodes of depression. I have never read a better description of the reality of depression, and I found the novel hugely inspiring! As a writer, Keyes keeps getting better. 

Song to read by: "Bad Girls" by MIA, in honor of Helen being a pretty badass private detective

Just One Paris!

Just One Day
by Gayle Forman

Author of If I Stay
and Where She Went

Genre: YA fiction

Review: A teenage girl sets out on a tour of Europe with her best friend, the summer after senior year. Her best friend is trying out new identities in preparation for college, but she isn't quite ready to break out of her routine, organized lifestyle. Until she meets a beguiling Dutch actor, Willem, and follows him to Paris on a whim. Just one day there will change her life. This isn't a story about being swept away by a boy; it is a story about finding herself and who she wants to be. 

**There will be a follow-up novel that tells Willem's story

Santa Montefiore writes again!

The Woman from Paris
by Santa Montefiore

Genre: Women's fiction

I love this cover, but take a look at the UK edition:

Review: Montefiore once again evokes peaceful settings as she describes gardens in detail and gives one a sense of the power and joys one can find in appreciating nature. However, the setting isn’t the main event; delightful and complex characters, family conflicts, misunderstandings leading to humorous effects—all the ingredients for a good, old-fashioned English country estate drama. A family gathers together after the patriarch has passed away…the story takes off from there. The love stories and spiritual insight I’ve come to expect in Montefiore’s work are fulfilled in this novel as well. Phaedra especially is rendered wonderfully as a character. 

Author website: Here you can read about the details for her next book, Secrets of the Lighthouse

Back from Europe!

Hello everyone! 

I am back from Europe, a three week long trip, with many literary adventures under my belt. I read a novel by Marian Keyes while in her hometown of Dublin, Ireland, walked the streets of Edinburgh where the cozy mysteries of Isabel Dalhousie (by Alexander McCall Smith) are set, climbing Arthur's Seat, viewing the dramatic black Salisbury crags with a view of the Firth of Forth.

We even visited the Elephant Cafe in Edinburgh where JK Rowling wrote much of the first Harry Potter novel! I drank a pot of Earl Grey tea there and read the fan graffiti, of how Harry Potter books had affected many lives, in the bathroom if you can believe it!  Walking in the Grey Friars cemetery nearby, we found the grave of Tom Riddell, aka Voldemort. 

I read William Wordsworth poems, "I floated lonely as a cloud," in the Lake District at a cozy b and b beside a castle, in the place where he once roamed the fields, cloud-watching. 

Overall, I loved browsing bookshops like Hodges Figgis in Dublin and discovering new authors and books that had not yet made it "over the pond."

Many book reviews to come!