Monday, October 26, 2020

Review: A Hobbit, A Wardrobe and a Great War

This book was put on my radar by Bookstagram and I am so happy it did! I absolutely loved this book. Obsessed. Listened on audio and immediately bought a copy knowing I would re-read many times in the future. The title of this book is slightly misleading as the book talks about but doesn't truly focus on the friendship between JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis but that didn't make me love it any less. It starts with a decent WWI history and moves into how the war affected them and how they viewed the world afterwards and a lot of this came from their faith. 
Thursday, October 22, 2020

If You Don't Like These, Then I Have Questions...

One day Hannah and I were talking--shocker--and we got on the topic of how much Goodreads and Instagram reviews have helped shape our TBR and what books we've read. Somebody talking passionately about x,y,z book made me look into and I found I've loved it too because it has certain elements I'm drawn to. Or how a book does not sound like it would be something I'm into but a great review made me rethink my thought on not reading it. So the TL;DR of this conversation is we got to a point where we said, are there any books that if somebody dislikes you kinda side-eye and question it? Thus...this post and photo was born.

The majority of books I've read and loved, I could understand how somebody would not like it or find an aspect too annoying, etc.. I can rationalize somebody's dislike of a book 95% of the time...and yet...there's a small collection of books we both got down to that we love and feel so passionately about that if you don't like said book...I have questions for you.

--Please note, you can 100% dislike my chosen books, this is supposed to be funny and light-hearted and make you think if you have any books you love so much that somebody not liking them feels like a personal attack--

So, my books. Are as follows: 

HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS by Katherine Center--You guys, this book means so much to me. Every element and aspect of the heroine Helen's character speaks to my soul. Her journey to find happiness by way of extreme hiking spoke to my heart. The writing is fantastic. Everything about this book works for me.

SAVING FRANCESCA by Melina Marchetta--This book is a placeholder for all of Marchetta's books because seriously there is not a bad one in the bunch. You can have a favorite but you have to love them all. FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK is really what I wanted to choose but since fantasy can be very tricky for people, I wanted to highlight a contemporary of hers.

MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins--I have heard so many people say they disliked this book of the series and to you good sir, I say, you are wrong. This book and series is perfection in book form and I will not hear a word about any of it.

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak--This book...oh, this book. Breaks me and builds me back together. Never have I ever felt such a visceral, soul-deep reaction to how an author writes. The cleverness of Death narrating and the observations he makes about humanity never cease to blow me away with its genius.

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor--A bold choice, I'm aware, but there is something so magical yet real about this book and series. I can picture it so vividly in my mind's eye when I'm reading and when I think about it. The unique premise and world that Taylor creates is so interesting and different than anything else I've ever read and she is the only author who makes me fantasize about having doe's legs, antelope horns, and wings. Le sigh.

WHO'S THAT GIRL by Mhairi McFarlane--Like Marchetta, McFarlane is an author I will ride or die for and I have MANY QUESTIONS FOR YOU IF YOU DON'T LIKE HER. Again, you can have a favorite but how can you not love them all?!

There you have it! Now I have to know, what books do you have that you love so much if somebody doesn't like, you have some questions for them??

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Review: One to Watch

I was absolutely ecstatic to read ONE TO WATCH because it had so many elements that I love. Body image issues, a plus-size/normal size woman, reality TV; my trash TV heart was just all over it. This book was freaking phenomenal. I loved every minute of it. Bea is a plus-sized fashion influencer and after a drunken online rant of their Bachelor equivalent show, she is asked to be it's star. Obviously anybody that knows the Bachelor franchise knows nobody is on this show that is over a size 2 so there was a lot to develop. 
I loved how the author handled the plus-sized heroine in the public eye. It broke my heart so many times but also lifted it up. I think that it was shown very realistically how brutal it can be. I love books dealing with body image and weight and self-love because I have had—and still struggle with—weight and body image issues, so when I get to read a book that handles this subject realistically I feel like I'm working through my own issues and it almost feels like therapy to me. I almost never wanted this book to end, I loved it so much! 

I was rooting for Bea the entire book; I laughed with her, I cried with her, I was angry with her, I cheered with her. I hated the men who judged her and the trolls who came for her but Bea was such a great blend of realistic human nature, part self-deprecating, part hopeful beyond, part fatalistic, which I think we all have within us depending on the circumstance. 

The reality TV component fed the petty dragon inside me. I am an only slightly ashamed lover of The Bachelor franchise because I just love trash TV. I loved the nods and parallels to the real-life Bachelor show--Reality Stefan, anyone?--and I'm always a fan of behind the scenes of how these shows actually run and how people are manipulated. 

And finally, I loved the clothes. I loved reading about the clothes. I loved imagining the clothes. I loved thinking about shopping for the clothes. ALL OF IT! The fashion, Bea, the trash TV show, the discussion of maturity and adulthood measured by romantic relationships is also another theme I loved and related to, the different men and relationships, EVERYTHING! If you've stayed with me, read this book!

Rating: 5 Stars | Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Dial Press | Source; Format: Bought from BOTM subscription
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Review: What I Like About You

This book had Kelly's heart written all over it, book blogging, Instagram'ing, and baking. There were other elements that really resonated with me as well but I'll get to those. Halle is living with her grandfather for her senior year and has a very successful blog and Instagram called One True Pastry where she pairs books with cupcakes--hello, amazing!--but she uses an alias for her online persona for many reasons. Anxiety, her grandmother's infamous name in the book world, privacy; but when she comes face to face with her online bestie Nash, she freezes and doesn't tell him his online BFF is Halle is real life...eep!
I don't mind a good miscommunication in a storyline...if it isn't dragged out unnecessarily. I have so many things I loved about this book but I like to start with the negative and end with the positive. Two things really bothered me with this book and held it back from being almost 5 stars for me. One of those things is a moderate spoiler--stop reading now if you don't want to know--and that is how long she keeps her identity a secret. Oh. My Lanta. WAY too freaking long! It got to the point of ridiculous and I was not happy about it, this could have been a much tighter and shorter book and honestly, should have been. 
Monday, October 5, 2020

Review: code name hélène

Female spies is all you really have to say to get me interested in a book. And that's really all I needed to hear when it came to me seeing CODE NAME HÉLÈNE around the book world. The fictionalized version of the true story of Australian born Nancy Wake, this book grabbed me from the first. The writing was both stark and emotive, bringing me close to tears at multiple points while reading. Nancy was a force to be reckoned with on the war front but was still a woman. What I mean by that is she didn't feel the need to compromise her a woman and her vulnerabilities, many times playing them up for a purpose—red lipstick anyone? 

 Her wit, bravery, and willingness to do whatever needed to be done to help people in need was incredibly inspiring. That she made so many personal sacrifices along the way only made her story that much more meaningful and heartbreaking. I was gripping this book white-knuckled I was so invested in her story and what happened to her. I also absolutely loved the two timelines of before and during the war and how we eventually met in the middle to make it come full circle.? Read this book if you love female spies, inspiring stories, and womens’ moments in history.? 

 Rating: 4.5 Stars | Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday books  | Source; Format: physical borrowed from library