Book review // ‘The Rook’ by Daniel O’Malley

Hey all! Today I’m talking about a book I’d wanted to read for years. It’s called The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, and it was on a list of bestsellers/must-read books for the year of 2012, which was a hell of a lot of time ago. It had been on my Amazon list for years, and I just received it as a Christmas present.

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Book rec // ‘The House on the Strand’ by Daphne du Maurier

Hey all! Today I’m reviewing a new favorite book of mine, by a longtime favorite author, Daphne du Maurier, of Rebecca fame. I remember Rebecca as one of those books everyone actually liked to read in middle/high school, and of course she’s the author of the story-turned-Hitchcock-film The Birds (which, incidentally, is ten times more terrifying in print form). I bought a few of her books secondhand a few months ago, and decided to read The House on the Strand.

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Book Lust // Spring new book releases to watch for!

Hi guys! Today I have a Book Lust wish list post of all the new books I’ve been hearing about recently—new books in 2017 that I cannot wait to read. I love to keep an eye on new book releases coming out the same way I like to keep an eye on fashion trends. 😉 It’s always exciting to find new books and then I get to share them here! So these are the new book releases I can’t wait to get my hands on in spring 2017.

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Book rec // ‘The Glorious Heresies,’ by Lisa McInerney

Hello all! Today’s book review is called The Glorious Heresies by Irish author Lisa McInerney. Did you ever start a book with apprehension based on the description, and wonder if you’ll really like it? Or even be able to stomach it? That’s how I felt when starting this book—based on the description, I thought it would be too dark, too icky, too complicated for me. But what I ended up with was a book with unbelievably interesting and complicated characters, surprising plot twists, and themes of redemption, the nature of religion, and the choices we make that alter the courses of our lives.

the glorious heresies

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Book Rec // ‘Miss Jane’ by Brad Watson

Today’s book review is of the unusual, poignant, unforgettable novel Miss Jane by Brad Watson. I picked up this book on my birthday of this year, when I was just browsing around Barnes & Noble looking for a gift to myself! Miss Jane jumped out at me because of its beautiful peacock cover. Yes—I judge books by their covers and I am proud of it. Miss Jane immediately appealed to me because of its subject matter: a young woman with a genital defect finds freedom in her condition, and it’s set primarily in 1920s-30s Mississippi.

miss jane

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Holiday Reading List: Top 5 Books of 2016

If you’re looking for a good book to read this winter/holiday break, I’ve rounded up my favorite books that I read this year. I always like doing these year in review posts for myself as well, to look back at some of my favorite books of the year and what I would read again, gift to other people, and recommend to my lovely readers! So here it is, my top 5 books (of about 35) that I read in 2016:

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Book rec // The Book of Speculation

I believe in book magic. When I was younger I used to go to Barnes & Noble or other bookstores with nothing in mind, and see what jumped out at me. I firmly believe this is one of the best ways to buy books, and it almost never fails to bring me some gems that end up becoming some of my all-time favorite books. The Book of Speculation is one of those books.

the book of speculation

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Book rec // Crossing the Horizon, a book about female achievements

Aaahhh, a good historical fiction book is like nothing else. Crossing the Horizon by Laurie Notaro is a new release I’ve been hearing about for a long time, and I was overjoyed to get my hands on it. Crossing the Horizon made me laugh and cry, and it taught me dozens and dozens of things I never knew. I would highly recommend this new release for anyone interested in an excellent story, 1920s history, and the little-told story of the aviatrixes who competed with Amelia Earhart for the title of first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

crossing the horizonCrossing the Horizon has three main characters: the Honorable Elsie Mackay, the self-styled “Queen of Diamonds” Mabel Boll, and the beauty pageant star turned aviatrix Ruth Elder. All three of these women fought bitterly for the honor of becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic; as history knows, none of them were completely successful. But that doesn’t mean their stories should be lost to history. This incredible novel combines their stories in novel form, delivering an exhilarating portrait of their lives, loves, histories, and courageous endeavors to cross the stormy Atlantic in their tiny planes.

The action truly begins in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh, aka “Lucky Lindy” becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic by air. He was an immediate celebrity and set the world on fire with his achievements, and it was only a matter of time before people tried to emulate his feat. First, there’s Elsie Mackay, the daughter of an English earl and an impressive pilot. Her family is dead set against her plans to cross the Atlantic, for very good reasons: dozens have died attempting the crossing. Still, the meticulous, talented, and courageous Elsie is determined to be successful.

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Book rec // The Lesser Bohemians

Today I have a rave book review of a brand new release, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride. I was initially skeptical about beginning this book but I have to say, The Lesser Bohemians may be my favorite book of the year so far.

the lesser bohemiansThe Lesser Bohemians has a simple, almost cliché premise: an 18-year-old girl moves from Ireland to London in the mid 90s to attend drama school. She’s innocent but eager for life, and she finds herself engaged in a passionate, complicated, and challenging love affair with an actor twenty years older. He has a dark past and some very unsavory secrets. The story itself is fine, but the way it’s told elevates this book from the ordinary.

The most extraordinary and important thing to know before reading this novel is its language and style, which departs almost entirely from literary convention. It’s over 300 pages of the most gorgeous, evocative, stream-of-consciousness language that borders on being one very long poem. The literary style is not for every reader, and can be very challenging at times. I thought I would hate the style, and it only took me twenty or so pages for me to completely change my tune, believing it’s one of the most beautiful ways to tell a story. The style takes the trite subject matter and makes it real in ways I never thought possible. The style makes the characters—sometimes very abhorrent, flawed characters—lovable. The style reminds me of a mix of Howl and The Waste Land. I completely fell in love with the style once I committed to it, and this is definitely a novel you have to commit to wholeheartedly. Here are a few examples:

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Book rec // The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

When I first heard about The Velvet Hours, a new book by Alyson Richman, I have to admit I was like, “Great, another book about World War II. Another book about Paris. Cliche AF.” But seeing the dozens of four- and five-star reviews on Goodreads, I decided to take a chance. And this book truly impressed me. If you’re interested in excellent storytelling, historical fiction, Paris during the Belle Epoque, or just getting lost in a great book, check out The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman.

the velvet hoursThe Velvet Hours is set in two tumultuous and iconic periods of Parisian history: the Belle Epoque and World War II. The main character, a young woman named Solange, discovers that her father is adopted, and that her real grandmother is a rich, elegant woman named Marthe de Florian. Solange’s father encourages Solange to spend time with Marthe to distract his daughter from the passing of her mother, and because Solange wants to be a writer, and her father knows that Marthe has had an interesting life. Over the course of a year and a half, Solange gets to know her new grandmother, and Marthe de Florian regales her granddaughter with stories of her life, set against the sumptuous background of the Belle Epoque.

The narrative flips between Solange’s first-person narrative in 1939-1940 and Marthe de Florian’s third-person reminiscences. She tells Solange about her humble beginnings as a seamstress in Montmartre, her adolescent days performing onstage, and eventually becoming a woman of the demimonde–that half world occupied by courtesans, mistresses, and the like. Marthe meets and engages in a decades-long affair with a rich man named Charles, discovers her love for art and beauty, and becomes an elegant, accomplished woman who turns her life into a work of art.

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