March | April | May - Book Review
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have been reading up a storm while in quarantine. I often get questions from my followers on book recommendations, so I've decided that at the end of each month I am going to do a review on each of the books I have read.
In a previous post of mine I mentioned how I started implementing reading back into my life, because for so long I couldn't get myself to pick up a book. The ultimate game changer for me was subscribing to Book of the Month Club in order to keep on a schedule month after month. Along with receiving a BOTM read I also swap books with friends and family members to mix genres up and discuss the stories with others. Although my absolute favorite genre is historical fiction, I've been putting in the effort to try different types of writing.
Below are the books that I've been reading over the past few months with a brief overviews of what they are about and what my thoughts are on them. I have also included links for each book bringing you to Amazon if you would like to purchase them.
By: Lily King
Time period: Late 1990's
Brief overview: Revolving around the sudden and unexpected death of her mother, Casey is an aspiring writer who has been working on her first novel for years. Through many months of heartache, anxiety and working a job that she absolutely hates, Casey meets two very different men who she has a romantic connection with. While trying to finish her novel, figuring out her love life, and becoming a "true adult" she is learning how to balance many new aspects of her existence in Massachusetts.
My thoughts: I thought this book was quirky and a bit of an easy read. It lagged in certain places but eventually takes off. It was interesting getting into the mind of an aspiring writer who is just trying to figure out how to get by in life. It definitely highlights mental health and the struggle of losing a parent with a fun aspect of romance. All in all, a cute, quick read!
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
By: Melanie Benjamin
Genre: Historical fiction
Time period: WWII - 1940's
Brief overview: A story about Blanche and her husband Claude Auzello who is the director of the Ritz hotel in Paris. The Auzello's live at the Ritz as they run the place full time. The hotel is the best of the best and is always filled with famous stars like Ernest Hemmingway, Truman Capote and Coco Chanel. All is glamorous until 1940 when the Nazis roll into Paris and take over the Ritz to use as their headquarters. The Auzello's are to take care of these Germans as if they would any guest. While this story highlights Blanche and Claude's lives and marriage over time, it also gives us a glimpse of how they are both part of the Resistance, yet secretly keep this information from each other.
My thoughts: I LOVED THIS BOOK. Because it is historical fiction, it is right up my alley. The most special thing about this story is that every single character is a real person. Even Blanche and Claude Auzello! The author did a phenomenal job researching every detail that occurred at the Ritz during this time and the lives of each character. I do think that the writing is a bit dense and it takes some time to work through, but the story overtime evolves into something unexpected (which is always cool). I was entranced by the details of how WWII affected the Ritz. You will not be able to put the book down towards the end and will want to book a night at the Ritz in Paris for yourself (once quarantine is over, of course).
My rating: 5/5 stars
By: Lucy Foley
Time period: Current day
Brief overview: With different views from the bride, best man, maid of honor, and a plus one, this story is about a wedding taking place on desolate island off the coast of Ireland. All seems picture perfect but once the group joins on the island and the wedding kicks off you start diving deeper into each character's life and how they all interplay with one another, which eventually leads to an unexpected murder. But who and for what reason?
My thoughts: This was a page turner! I'm not one for a murder mystery but I wanted to give a different genre a go and I'm glad that I did. I loved the different stories of each character and how they ended up all connecting. It was so much fun linking the facts together and it makes me wonder how writers do this so well. It was the perfect balance of eery and playful.
My rating: 4.5/5
By: Melanie Benjamin
Genre: Historial fiction
Time period: Primarily in the 1950's
Brief overview: Based around two hero characters, Truman Capote (American novelist) and Babe Paley (well-known socialite / best dressed hall of fame) this story focuses on their friendship and living within New York's high society in the 1950's. In addition to Babe, the storyline also focuses on Truman's friendships with his other high society ladies, know as his "Swans". Filled with lots of gossip, roaring parties, and very glamorous, complicated lives, this book is something you wished you could dive into and actually be a part of.
My thoughts: Again, I LOVE historical fiction. Another fun book to research all of the characters, because they are all real people (you can even find pictures from specific parties mentioned)! This was my second book by Melanie Benjamin that I read within in a month. I loved her writing and how she researched so many details about the past (like The Mistress of the Ritz). I was instantly drawn in to the wealthy lives of Truman and all of his Swans. It opened my eyes to well-off people in society who actually lived lonelier lives than we would have ever imagined. Again, this writing is a bit dense but the amount of detail and feeling put into it is incredible.
My rating: 5/5 stars
By: Rufi Thorpe
Time period: I believe this takes place in the early 2000's.
Brief overview: This story is about two unlikely friends, Bunny and Michael, who become close unexpectedly and can be themselves without apology. They are both seen as outcasts of sorts; Michael because he is gay and Bunny because of her large stature for a teenage girl. Life is mostly normal until an accidental violent act occurs and life for both gets turned upside down. This story focuses on friendship and the lengths to which we would stay loyal to these friends in uncertain times out of the bond of love.
My thoughts: This was completely different to what I thought it was going to be for some reason. I was super surprised by the direction this took, but it was very eye opening in a good way. It makes you think about your friendships, how much you love and value that person, and how much you would do for them. The end of this book was good but a bit too wrapped up in my opinion. It seemed as though it were a Game-of-Thrones-vibe where the author just decided it was time to form an ending and it was done rather quickly. All in all, very thought provoking and a good read!
My rating: 4/5 stars
What I would like to know: Do you have any book recommendations that I should dive into?