5 Recent Reads

I promised you more book reviews, and here they are! I tried to pick of bit of a variety, luckily I have many to choose from. I’ll do my best to review every book I’ve read over this year if I can. All at once I’m usually reading 1-2 personal development books (something all Beachbody coaches do!), a fiction book, and usually a health related book, such as The Woman Code, which I’m reading now and heard about from a Jess Lively podcast! I also tried to mix up my fiction (I tend to love an author and keep reading their books) and I’m reading a classic that I never had a chance to read: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens!

 

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers on the Moors, #1)

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.

Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.

 

This book was a fun read! I kinda saw where it was going from near the beginning, but nevertheless I enjoyed reading the story. It’s definitely a little corny in parts and some of the characters and situations are a bit unrealistic in the sense that they seemed to fit their character’s stereotype a little too much (not complex enough). But it was fun and relaxing to read. Basically a historic/Christian version of chick-lit. I’m a fan :)

 

The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White

The Perfect Son

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.

A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.

As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.

 

This book took me forever to get through, but it was really interesting! I do feel as though parts were a bit too drawn out, but nevertheless I really wanted to know what was going to happen next! The author certainly did well with keeping up the suspense of how the story would continue, and created some pretty complex characters as well. After reading the book, I looked through an interview in the back and saw how much research the author did in mental disorders like Tourette’s and what that experience was really like for both the person with the syndrome and his or her family. I also loved that the book switched between characters’ points of view. Overall, it’s a little longer than I’d have liked, but a really good book.

 

Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Crooked Little Lies

Goodreads Synopsis:

On a cool October morning, Lauren Wilder is shaken when she comes close to striking Bo Laughlin with her car as he’s walking along the road’s edge. A young man well known in their small town of Hardys Walk, Texas, Bo seems fine, even if Lauren’s intuition says otherwise. Since the accident two years ago that left her brain in a fragile state, she can’t trust her own instincts—and neither can her family. Then Bo vanishes, and as the search for him ensues, the police question whether she’s responsible. Lauren is terrified, not of what she remembers but of what she doesn’t.

Unable to trust herself and unwilling to trust anyone else, Lauren begins her own investigation into the mystery of Bo’s disappearance. But the truth can prove to be as shocking as any lie, and as Lauren exposes each one, from her family, from her friends, she isn’t the only one who will face heart-stopping repercussions.

 

Oh my gosh, this book! Totally not what I expected! Talk about keeping you on the edge of your seat – I had NO IDEA how this was going to go! It was fascinating how the author slowly tied together the story, including pieces of the past as well as various points of view. It’s almost like the book is a mystery (okay, well it is…) and you’re given little bits of information as time goes on and then once you’ve finished it all makes sense looking back! I got this book for free through Amazon Prime and I’m so glad I ended up reading it. I definitely recommend it! It’s almost Gone Girl-esque, if you’re a fan of that book.

 

The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

The Fairest Beauty

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sophie has long wished to get away from her stepmother’s jealous anger, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be her chance at freedom – but can she trust another person to keep her safe?

Gabe knows he defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the orphan girl has stolen his heart. Though romance is impossible – she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else – he promises to himself he will keep her safe, no matter what.

When the pair are forced to run to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help – but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Can they find a way to protect Sophie while also safeguarding their hearts?

 

This is actually the second book I read by this author, after enjoying the first. I didn’t like it quite as much because it’s very clearly based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (which is intentional), but I felt like that took away some suspense. It was interesting, however, how her version was very different in many ways. I enjoyed the overall story and it was relaxing to read, however I do think certain parts were drawn out just to add in “lessons” (another Christian author) that weren’t really necessary to the story. It’s another cute fairytale light-read, so worth it if you’re in the mood for something like that.

 

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread

Goodreads Synopsis:

 “It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.” This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family–their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog–is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red’s father. Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler’s hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family.

 

Hmmm. I liked many parts of this book but also didn’t like a lot of other parts. I think that is partially because the characters were very real – they had their good characteristics but they had their flaws as well. It was honest, which can be good but at the same time I read to escape from the less fun parts of reality, which this book confronts straight on. One thing I did really appreciate was the changing back and forth between “now and then,” better explaining each character’s history and how they became the way they are. It’s a really interesting book and great if you’re looking for something with honest, multi-dimensional characters.

 

What are you reading now?

What’s one book on your “to read” list?

Book Reviews are BACK!

I know, I know, how does a girl read 100 books in a year and not manage to post a single review? Probably because by the time I think about posting a review, I’ve already read three other books… And then the pile of books to review becomes overwhelming, so I just push it to the back of my mind, and then I end up tripping over a giant pile of books and breaking my arm. Not really, since I read them on my kindle, but you get the idea. Metaphorically. Aaaanyway…

Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)

Just One Day – Goodreads Synopsis:

Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate,Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

Just One Year: Goodreads synopsis:

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

 

Obviously these are two different books, but since I read them both (and the novella that sums up what happens after the second book) I thought I should review them together. I actually read them about a month apart because I really liked the first book, from Allyson’s point of view, and I thought reading the same time period from another point of view would just be boring. Well I was wrong. Very wrong. It was like reading an entirely different book (okay it was, literally 😉 ), but by that I mean an entirely different story.

This might be a “young adult” series (college age), but it was beautifully written. There were so many little intricacies between the two and within each story that you have to really be paying attention to if you want to pick up on them. Little things that brought the whole theme of the books together. They were about fate, timing, the inability to control everything, and finding yourself while looking for someone else. I really appreciated all the characters in these stories, even the smallest character was well written and developed. No person was superfluous, they all had a role to play in each other’s lives.

Can I say I loved these books? Because I did. A lot. They may not be classics or award winners, but they tell a simple story in a beautiful and exciting way.

 

What is the most recent book you read? 

What is your favorite “classic” novel? 

Book Review: Picture Perfect

I’m a huge fan of Jodi Picoult and after reading almost every book of hers a few years ago, I still had Picture Perfect left on my “to read” list. I guess it just didn’t sound interesting by the book title. However, I’m a little OCD so I wanted to read it just to be able to fully complete her collection of books. Well, I’m really glad that I did!

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect follows the story of a young woman who is found with amnesia and goes back and forth between “after” the accident and the years leading up to it, telling her story and that of both her husband and another man who becomes integral to her life.

I have to say this book drew me in almost instantly. I was about 30% through and thought I was almost done, but then looked and realized I had SO much more. I love books like that – it means that they aren’t boring and that the storyline is really complex. I think many chick lit type books I read, or books split up into trilogies, tend to have shorter story lines, so it was nice to have one that was longer. We really got a look into the characters’ lives, backgrounds and why they behave as they do.

I think a big part of this book is also about understanding why women stay in negative relationships (haha trying to not give anything away!). I have to be honest in that reading the story I was actually hoping they’d stay together, that the author made me truly understand how easy it is to push aside the bad when you have so much good. This book was fascinating. I highly recommend it!

 

Book Reviews Are BAAAACK!

I know, I know, it’s been WAY too long since I’ve done book reviews and after hearing several women at Blend Retreat say they love my blog because of them… I realized I should probably start catching up. Remember that time I said I was going to read 100 books in 2015? Welp, I’m still at it! We are officially 5 months through the year and I have read 43 books! Right on track and ready to roll! I seem to have a period of a couple weeks where I barely read and then two weeks were I just go crazy and can’t put books down. All in all it’s working out. Anyway, let’s get to those reviews!

 

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

#GIRLBOSS

Goodreads Synopsis:

At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS.

This aspirational book doesn’t patronize young women the way many business experts do. Amoruso shows readers how to channel their passion and hard work, while keeping their insecurities from getting in the way. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work.

She’s proof that you can be a huge success without giving up your spirit of adventure or distinctive style. As she writes, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”

Oh. My. Gosh. BUY THIS BOOK! Seriously, I loved this book! I am soooo not a non-fiction reader, I love my novels and I love to get lost in them. Anything else is a struggle for me to read. But let me tell you, I flew through this book. I really appreciated Sophia telling her whole story of how she got where she is today, adding in pieces of advice and showing the reader how she’s just as “real” as the rest of us. She just had an idea with something she loved and she dove in. Highly recommend!

 

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Vanishing Girls

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

This book was pretty good! I wasn’t sure what I would think since it’s more of a young adult book, but by the end I was convinced. Halfway through I was unsure if this was just another silly teen drama but… Ah I can’t give away any spoilers but it was pretty good. It’s also a really fast read – I finished it in under 3 hours one Sunday… If you want a fun and interesting book to take on a plane or for the beach, grab this one!

 

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Redeeming Love

Goodreads Synopsis:

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does … the One who will never let her go.

So I had never heard of Francine Rivers until I “stalked” a girl’s bookshelf during my small group. Once I mentioned this book to friends, apparently EVERYONE knew her work! When I was reading the book I kept thinking that it felt like a romance novel set in the Wild West… but then never got to the “juicy part.” Well, I found out that’s because she WAS a romance novelist and then became a Christian and that changed her writing. I really enjoyed reading this book. It made me admire the main male character and then both love and hate the main female character. In my mind I kept saying “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” but as the book went on I learned more and more about why she ran away from good things in her life. I definitely recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for some chick-lit with a Christian twist 😉

 

The Look of Love by Sarah Jio

The Look of Love

Goodreads Synopsis:

Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn’t believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed. Inspired by the classic song, The Look of Love is utterly enchanting.

OH MY GOSH SO GOOD! Haha clearly I have high opinions of all of these books! But really, this book so so cute! I really enjoyed how the different types of love developed between people in the story and how her own life developed over the year. It also wasn’t as predictable as I expected as so many things kept throwing me for a loop! Another highly recommended book!

 

 

My Summer Reading List

2015 summer reading list

1. The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life

The Best Day of Someone Else's Life

Synopsis:

Despite being cursed with a boy’s name, Kevin “Vi” Connelly is seriously female and a committed romantic. The affliction hit at the tender age of six when she was handed a basket of flower petals and ensnared by the “marry-tale.” The thrill, the attention, the big white dress—it’s the Best Day of Your Life, and it’s seriously addictive. But at twenty-seven, with a closetful of pricey bridesmaid dresses she’ll never wear again, a trunkful of embarrassing memories, and an empty bank account from paying for it all, the illusion of matrimony as the Answer to Everything begins to fray. As her friends’ choices don’t provide answers, and her family confuses her more, Vi faces off against her eminently untrustworthy boyfriend and the veracity of the BDOYL.

Eleven weddings in eighteen months would send any sane woman either over the edge or scurrying for the altar. But as reality separates from illusion, Vi learns that letting go of someone else’s story to write your own may be harder than buying the myth, but just might help her make the right choices for herself.

 

2. Garden Spells

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)

Synopsis:

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

 

3. Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love

Synopsis:

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does … the One who will never let her go.

 

4. Secrets of a Charmed Life

Secrets of a Charmed Life

Synopsis:

She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one—because it was all she really wanted to see…

Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden–one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, one million children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…

 

5. This Is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You

Synopsis:

The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.

Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.

As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant.

 

6. The Chaperone

The Chaperone

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestseller and the USA Today #1 Hot Fiction Pick for the summer, The Chaperone is  a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922 and the summer that would change them both.
 
Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.
 
For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.

 

7. A Most Inconvenient Marriage

A Most Inconvenient Marriage

Synopsis:

Having fled a difficult home life, Civil War nurse Abigail Stuart feels like her only friend in the world is sweet but gravely wounded patient Jeremiah Calhoun. Fearing he won’t survive, the Confederate soldier’s last wish is that Abigail look after his sickly sister at home. Marry him, return to his horse farm, and it’ll be hers.

Left with few choices, Abigail takes him up on his offer and moves to Missouri after his death, but just as the family learns to accept her, the real Jeremiah Calhoun appears–puzzled to find a confounding woman posing as his wife. Jeremiah is determined to have his life back to how it was before the war, but his own wounds limit what he can do on his own. Still not fully convinced Abigail isn’t duping him, he’s left with no choice but to let the woman stay and help–not admitting to himself she may provide the healing his entire family needs.

 

8. #GIRLBOSS

#GIRLBOSS

Synopsis:

At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS.

This aspirational book doesn’t patronize young women the way many business experts do. Amoruso shows readers how to channel their passion and hard work, while keeping their insecurities from getting in the way. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work.

She’s proof that you can be a huge success without giving up your spirit of adventure or distinctive style. As she writes, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”

 

9. Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins

Synopsis:

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set ofCleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

 

 

10. All The Bright Places  

All the Bright Places

Synopsis:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.