‘The Girls,’ the book of the summer

The Girls, by Emma Cline, is one of those books you can’t help but hear about everywhere. From a new author, this book has been extremely hyped up the last few months. Finally, after trying in vain to score an ARC, I went out and spent actual money on a hardcover copy of this book because I simply had to read it. And my initial reaction to it? Meh.
the girls
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Book rec // ‘The Woman on the Orient Express’

Hey all! Book review here, of a new release entitled The Woman on the Orient Express. If you like Agatha Christie and historical fiction, you’re going to want to read about this new release!

the woman on the orient expressThe Woman on the Orient Express is set in 1928, during Agatha Christie’s impromptu visit to Mesopotamia, i.e. Iraq. She travels on the Orient Express to escape her failed marriage to Archibald Christie (who is set to marry his mistress in a few days’ time) and the embarrassment of her “disappearance” and scandal that occurred two years earlier (her very own “Gone Girl” moment!). While on the Orient Express traveling to Iraq, she meets two women: Katharine Woolley and Nancy Nelson. All three women are harboring huge, life-defining secrets that haunt them, but all three eventually forge deep bonds of sisterhood and learn about themselves during the journey.

Halfway through the novel, Christie and her three-dimensional companions do reach Baghdad, and thus the second half of the novel is a glittering and realistic portrait of life in the Middle East during the late 20s. We visit a Bedouin camp, a Yazidi temple, open-air markets, and learn about the customs, lifestyles, and traditions of the Iraqi people during this time. The main portion of the novel is set on an archaeological dig at Ur, where Agatha Christie eventually met her second husband, Max Mallowan. And it is also the place where Christie absorbed enough material for half a dozen (or more) of her novels set in or inspired by Mesopotamia and the dig at Ur.Read More »

Book rec // The Girl at the Lion d’Or

Hey all! A book recommendation today for anyone who loves character-driven novels with romance and history! So, that’s definitely me. I stumbled across this book called The Girl at the Lion D’Or a couple years ago at my favorite bookstore, Westsider Books. I like thrifting at secondhand bookstores because you find books that have been forgotten or lost, and you can find some true gems.

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My Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review (spoilers!)

I have been counting down feverishly to the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for MONTHS, and on Saturday night at midnight, like so many other die-hard Potter fans around the world, I finally got my hands on it.

harry potter and the cursed child review

I don’t need to explain what this eighth story means for Potter fans: it’s like coming home, revisiting the magic we fell in love with when we were kids, and feeling like that magic won’t ever end. It meant reading more about the characters and where they ended up, and for me, it meant being immersed in that amazing world again. And even though this story is only in the form of a scriptbook, most of us had little to no doubt that the last story would shine as bright as the other installments. However, after reading the book, a lot of people felt a little disappointed. Here’s what I thought.
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Book rec // ‘The Last Days of Night’ review

Raaave review coming! If you’re into historical fiction like me (I would say I’m more obsessed), then I would absolutely recommend a new release called The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. Set in the late 19th century, The Last Days of Night really intrigued me because it promised a fictional account of a subject I didn’t know so much about: the legal and dramatic battle between George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison to answer one very important question: Who invented the light bulb?

the last days of nightIn school, we learn that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but the truth is actually muddled, confusing, and varied. The narrative of this book is from the perspective of a man named Paul Cravath, a Tennessee-born New York lawyer who, at 27, is a precocious partner in a law firm with a lot to prove. He’s approached by George Westinghouse—and threatened by Thomas Edison—to lead a countersuit against Edison for the right to manufacture the incandescent light bulb.

Sounds dry, but within the historical narrative is intertwined drama, attempted murder, glitzy New York parties, THE Nikola Tesla, and a snapshot of New York during the Gilded Age. I ADORE New York fiction because I grew up here in the ‘burbs (and attended college in Manhattan and the Bronx) and so New York was always my playground, and I absolutely love reading about the history of what I consider “my city.”
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Book rec // ‘Overlapping Lives’

I picked up Overlapping Lives, by Andrew Dicker, on a whim. I was looking for a quick read, something not too long or difficult, and what I found instead was an unconventional group of stories that really challenged and excited me. I would definitely recommend this book, and here’s why.

overlapping livesoverlapping lives

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New book // ‘We Could Be Beautiful’ review!

Today, a book review! This new release (it comes out today) was on my recent summer TBR—by Swan Huntley, here’s my We Could Be Beautiful review.

we could be beautiful reviewWe Could Be Beautiful is about a 44-year-old rich woman named Catherine West. Catherine is all about the luxury and the privilege: she’s got a perfectly immaculate West Village home stocked with fine art, the best furniture, and a whole lot of hired help. She gets $80k a month from her trust fund, has a mother slowly succumbing to Alzheimer’s, and the thing that Catherine wants more than anything is to be married and have a child. Enter William Stockton, an impeccably dressed and well-spoken businessman who meets Catherine at an art gallery. It was love at first sight. Or was it?

Called “psychological,” this book aims to fully portray several characters in all their depth, foibles, and idiosyncrasies. There’s Catherine, who thinks she’s moral and strong, but who is actually petulant, childish, spoiled, privileged, and completely farcical. There’s William Stockton, a man who seems perfect but who is absolutely too good to be true. And then there’s Catherine’s sister Caroline, more honest and self-aware than her sister, and much more aware of her own privilege.
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Book Lust | 2016 book releases to watch for!

Summer, for me, is all about how many books I can read on a beach, on a plane, or even through audiobook on my commute. Even though I’m trying to save money, these are four new 2016 book releases I cannot WAIT to get my hands on. I’ve been in desperate need of new books to read, thanks to a year-long book-buying drought. Breaking the fast now!

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Book Rec // ‘Villette’ by Charlotte Brontë

Next on my to-read list for this year was a Charlotte Brontë novel I’ve been meaning to read since college: Villette. I’m slowly working my way through my classics shelf via my Over Drive app (yay for audiobooks!) and I’m happy to have read this amazing book.

Jane Eyre is the Charlotte Brontë novel most people are familiar with, but this one, Villette, was Charlotte’s last novel and her most autobiographical. Even though it took me forever to read, this classic is a must-read!

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Book Rec // ‘The Mistletoe and Sword’ by Anya Seton

Anyone who has read this blog before knows I am obsessed with historical fiction. It may be my favorite genre ever, and one that I have been reading since I was in eighth grade. I think that good, accurate historical fiction is the best way to learn history, and is also one of the most entertaining kind of novels because you learn more than you would from textbooks, and anyway, the romantic in me absolutely loves imagining and reading about previous eras. Who doesn’t?

And in keeping with this year’s resolution to shop a whole lot less, read more, and most important, read the books I already have, when I was given a whole, lazy Saturday at home one weekend, I reached into my shelves and drew out a book I bought in 2012, one that I hadn’t ever opened before, and one that is by one of my favorite authors: Anya Seton.

Anya Seton was a successful, bestselling historical fiction novelist in the 1950s, known best for her works Katherine and The Winthrop Woman. But she also wrote a slimmer, young-adult novel named The Mistletoe and Sword. At 250 pages, this book was the perfect size to devour in a day. Here’s what it’s about.
the mistletoe and sword
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