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.

Book Reviews

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

The Realm of Possibility

Synopsis from Goodreads:

One school. Twenty voices.

Endless possibilities.

There’s the girl who is in love with Holden Caulfield. The boy who wants to be strong who falls for the girl who’s convinced she needs to be weak. The girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have. The two boys teetering on the brink of their first anniversary. And everyone in between.

As he did in the highly acclaimed Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan gives us a world of unforgettable voices that readers will want to visit again and again. It’s the realm of possibility open to us all – where love, joy, and the stories we tell will linger.

 

I actually have no idea how I came across this book… but it is basically filled with poetry-styled short stories and song lyrics written by one person but from the point of view of several different people, all who end up being interlinked with one another. It was definitely different from what I normally read, but it was nice to expand outside of my typical genre.

 

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

Before We Met

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hannah, independent, headstrong, and determined not to follow in the footsteps of her bitterly divorced mother, has always avoided commitment. But one hot New York summer she meets Mark Reilly, a fellow Brit, and is swept up in a love affair that changes all her ideas about what marriage might mean.

Now, living in their elegant, expensive London townhouse and adored by her fantastically successful husband, she knows she was right to let down her guard.

But when Mark does not return from a business trip to the U.S. and when the hours of waiting for him stretch into days, the foundations of Hannah’s certainty begin to crack. Why do Mark’s colleagues believe he has gone to Paris not America? Why is there no record of him at his hotel? And who is the mysterious woman who has been telephoning him over the last few weeks?

Hannah begins to dig into her husband’s life, uncovering revelations that throw into doubt everything she has ever believed about him. As her investigation leads her away from their fairytale romance into a place of violence and fear she must decide whether the secrets Mark has been keeping are designed to protect him or protect her . . .

 

Oh my gosh, this book was crazy! But in a good way! I seriously was dying the whole time trying to figure out what in the world was going on with her husband! It’s kind of creepy to think you can be married to someone and then suddenly realize you don’t really know them at all. Hopefully this doesn’t happen to often in real life…

 

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand

The Matchmaker

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dabney Kimball Beech, the 48-year-old fifth generation Nantucketer, has had a lifelong gift of matchmaking (52 couples still together to her credit). But when Dabney discovers she is dying of pancreatic cancer, she sets out to find matches for a few people very close to home: her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech; her lover journalist Clendenin Hughes; and her daughter, Agnes, who is engaged to be married to the wrong man.

As time slips away from Dabney, she is determined to find matches for those she loves most – but at what cost to her own relationships? THE MATCHMAKER is the heartbreaking new novel from Elin Hilderbrand about losing and finding love, even as you’re running out of time.

 

I just finished this one on Saturday and it was another good book by Elin Hilderbrand. I really love how the book switches back and forth between the present day, and then telling stories of all the people the main character, Dabney, “matched.” I don’t want to put any spoilers in here but I do have to say I didn’t looooove how quickly she gave in to a certain temptation and then avoided dealing with it. But again, I’ve definitely never been in that situation! I also really loved Agnes’s love story (Dabney’s daughter) and how the author allowed Agnes to see what was really happening to her with her fiance. Definitely a cute book!

 

Do you feel like you read different books during the summer as opposed to the winter? 

What is the most recent book you read? 

Book Reviews

More book reviews! I keep thinking that I’m getting exhausted by reading and take a break, and then a week later I’m diving into new books! So far I’m keeping up with this whole 100 books in a year idea!

 

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

Wreckage

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lillian Linden is a liar. On the surface, she looks like a brave survivor of a plane crash. But she’s been lying to her family, her friends, and the whole world since rescue helicopters scooped her and her fellow survivor, Dave Hall, off a deserted island in the South Pacific. Missing for almost two years, the castaways are thrust into the spotlight after their rescue, becoming media darlings overnight. But they can’t tell the real story—so they lie.

The public is fascinated by the castaways’ saga, but Lillian and Dave must return to their lives and their spouses. Genevieve Randall—a hard-nosed journalist and host of a news program—isn’t buying it. She suspects Lillian’s and Dave’s explanations about the other crash survivors aren’t true. And now, Genevieve’s determined to get the real story, no matter how many lives it destroys.

In this intriguing tale of survival, secrets, and redemption, two everyday people thrown together by tragedy must finally face the truth…even if it tears them apart.

 

This was such a good book! Sometimes it can be so easy to judge other people, saying what you would or wouldn’t do when put in a certain situation. This book reminds you that you really don’t know. You don’t understand what it’s really like to go through certain things and to not judge people for the choices that they make, knowing what they know when they make them.

Beyond this overarching lesson, this book was really intriguing – the reader continually gets hints as to what happens on the island, but you find out slowly throughout the book as two characters are telling the story to a reporter. I liked that it kept me guessing and also kept me very interested. I had a hard time putting this one down!

 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

Goodreads Synopsis:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

 

Whoa. Just, whoa. This is one of those books where when you get to the end, you look back over everything and realized that the truth was there all along, you just couldn’t see it. I enjoyed this book because of the mystery, the intrigue, and the beautiful family and place covering up the hidden, raw and real emotions. I can’t even tell you the one bit I didn’t like or I’ll ruin the whole thing!

This book was beautifully written, switching back and forth between the present time and various memories, all from the viewpoint of a young woman who is trying to piece together a summer that she’d forgotten. Definitely worth the read!

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? 

 

YES! I LOVED THIS BOOK! I had heard so many great things about this author’s works that I was disappointed when I finally read Eleanor & Park. But Fangirl is a whole other story. I think one reason I enjoyed it so much is because I could really identify with the narrator – I loved Harry Potter (no where near as much as she likes this “simon snow” character) and I was incredibly socially awkward. Haha, again maybe not like she is, but still.

I just felt like this book was real but at the same time gave me those excited, giggling moments that make you smile and want to keep reading and reading. When I picked up this book I needed something that would pull me, that would make me love the characters and that would give me a happy ending. This was the novel, and I really loved reading it.

 

Were you a Harry Potter fan growing up? 

If you were stuck on an island, who would you pick to be with you? 

Book Reviews

More book reviews! I’ve definitely slowed down with reading novels as I’ve been working a little more behind the scenes on Beachbody and my blog, but I’m still chugging along!

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice

Goodreads Synopsis:

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life–and her relationship with her family and the world–forever.

I’ve talked about this book before during Thursday Thoughts so I’ll keep this brief, but this was a GREAT book. A must-read, for sure. I haven’t personally known someone with alzheimers so being able to read this book from the point of view of someone with the disease was an incredible way to understand not only what it would feel like to have the disease (or a fraction of!) but also the point of view of the family members and how difficult it really is to handle.

The book was very realistic and well written, and not only was it about alzheimers, but the characters in the story were very well developed. Her husband and each of her children had their own stories and character development and it made the story feel even more real because of their different reactions. I highly recommend this book because it’s a way to understand alzheimers, but through a story rather than more scientific reading.

 

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey

Goodreads Synopsis:

A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

 

I’m a big fan of Jane Austen’s and I was looking forward to reading another book of hers. At first it was hard to get into solely because of the language, however after a while I got used to it and found myself speaking in “old english” in my head… haha that’s when you know you read too much.

I find when I read anything by Jane Austen or anything Jane-Austen-esque I compare it to Pride & Prejudice, which is one of my favorite novels. Haha and this is a little unfair because not only have I read it a couple times but I’ve watched the movie a million times as well as the movie with the director’s commentary… so I know every little nuance in the novel.

BUT back to this one – I can’t say I thought it was as good, but it was a fun book to read. I liked that the main character was a little young, naive and curious, but at the same time surprisingly insightful. I felt the ending was a bit abrupt, but otherwise I liked the pace of the book. Now I’m wondering if it was made into a movie… haha even one of those great BBC ones (which I love…).

 

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Silver Girl

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing – because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.

Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie’s had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can’t offer complete escape, and they’re plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie’s brother Toby – Meredith’s high school boyfriend – arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had.

Set against the backdrop of a Nantucket summer, Elin Hilderbrand delivers a suspenseful story of the power of friendship, the pull of love, and the beauty of forgiveness.

 

I was really expecting this book to be more of a fluffy beach read, but boy was I wrong! I was so impressed with how the author would write flashbacks into Meredith’s past to not only tell us about the history of the characters, but also as a way for Meredith to realize through hindsight that her relationship with her husband wasn’t what she thought it was at the time. I felt like Meredith and her friend Connie’s thoughts and emotions were raw and real – nothing was held back and nothing felt fake. All the characters felt well developed, and the story kept me interested and wanting more the whole way through the novel. I definitely recommend this book!

 

Do you ever read books written before the 1900’s? 

Weird question, but is there any disease you wish you knew more about?