In "The Art of Crash Landing," we meet Matilda a.k.a. Mattie. She is an absolute mess. She's 30 years old and has yet to do anything with her life. ShIn "The Art of Crash Landing," we meet Matilda a.k.a. Mattie. She is an absolute mess. She's 30 years old and has yet to do anything with her life. She doesn't know what she wants and she suddenly finds herself pregnant and alone. She inherits her grandmother's house and begins to realize that she needs to pick up her own pieces of her life.
This is Mattie in a nutshell: "Most people would probably have a hard time totally f--king up their life in under an hour. But then again, I'm not most people. I'm amazing. I'm like some kind of f--kup savant." And I love her for it. This character definitely does not have it all together. She is sharp and hilarious and this often seems to get her into trouble. I loved following her through this book. Mattie feels like she could be a friend with the way that we readers are let into her life.
This author is a debut author and this book made me excited for what else the author might come out with. The writing of the book is good. Again, Mattie feels really real. I liked that the author chose to tell the story from Mattie's perspective. She gives Mattie a very real and very original voice that kept me entertained. This is a sparkling debut!...more
4.5 stars. "Pilgrimage" is the story of Gebirga of Flanders who has lost both of her parents. She feels a little bit adrift and isn't really sure what4.5 stars. "Pilgrimage" is the story of Gebirga of Flanders who has lost both of her parents. She feels a little bit adrift and isn't really sure what her life holds for her. The time is 12th century and therefore there not very many options open for women. She ends up joining a flighty young woman on a pilgrimage to Spain to follow the Way of St. James. This is a fascinating historical fiction that took me to a time and a place that I have seldom visited in my reading.
Characters are so important to me in my books! This book has a great main character! Not only is Gebirga a woman in a man's world, she is also blind which makes her life incredibly difficult during that time period. Her opportunities are even more limited because of what she cannot see. I loved this character. She is absolutely fascinating. The way that the author let us readers into her innermost thoughts really sold me on her. She's definitely a character that you're cheering for and hoping that everything will turn out well for throughout the book.
The writing of this book was good. Again, like I said before, I haven't read a whole lot of historical fiction set in the 12th-century and I really enjoyed getting to see the era through this book. The author includes a lot of historical detail that brought to life the pilgrimage that so many people took to travel to Spain, following the way of St. James. The idea of a pilgrimage is sort of foreign to me. I've read a little bit about them but I thought that the way that this book describes a pilgrimage with such detail really made me understand why people would be driven to go on a pilgrimage. The author makes Gerbirga's life come to life. This book is a treat for historical fiction fans! I am excited to see other books that the author comes out with in the future!...more
3.5 stars. "The Fragrant Concubine" is the story of Hidligh, a young woman who becomes mistress to China's emperor. The twist in the book comes when n3.5 stars. "The Fragrant Concubine" is the story of Hidligh, a young woman who becomes mistress to China's emperor. The twist in the book comes when not everything is as it first seems with her. She is asked to be a spy at the Emperor's court by Iparhan, a woman bent on getting even with the Emperor. She wants to use Hidligh to get her vengeance. The author uses a combination of myth and historical fact to weave a story of the fragrant concubine.
I love books set in places that I am not familiar with and with characters that are unlike others that I have read before. The setting was especially captivating to me. This book takes place in the 1700s in China, which is a time and location that I have not read much about. The author takes us into the court of the Emperor, a place that is filled with social rules and obligations. At first, Hidligh is not familiar with any of the rules she will have to follow. One of my favorite parts in the book is when Iparhan and her servants are trying to teach Hidligh how to be a proper lady.
The writing of the book was pretty good. I found myself wanting a little more action in some parts. There were a couple places where the narrative got a little long winded but for the most part, the book flowed nicely. I appreciated all of the historical detail that the author added to the book; it really pulled me into the story. Overall, this was a good read!...more
In "I Take You," Lily is supposed to be getting married to Will within the next week. Lily is nowhere close to being ready to settle down and she thinIn "I Take You," Lily is supposed to be getting married to Will within the next week. Lily is nowhere close to being ready to settle down and she thinks that this marriage thing might be a really bad idea seeing as how she jumps on any guy that comes across her path. This is a debut book that didn't quite hit the mark for me.
Characterization is important to me in a book. I don't necessarily need to like the characters but I need to understand at least where they are coming from. Lily is supposed to be a sassy and raunchy character; however, she comes across as insensitive and sort of juvenile. I just couldn't really understand why she treated people the way that she did throughout this book. She treats her fiancé badly. She treats her new in-laws badly. She treats her romantic conquests badly. She comes across as really immature. All we see is the insensitivity and nothing substantive. I was definitely looking for something more from her and definitely didn't get it.
There is a big plot twist in the book which I hated. I won't go into details in case you want to read it! Lily basically uses this twist to justify all of her bad behavior. It definitely didn't work for me. The plot twist felt a little unrealistic. This is a book about a lot of immature people.
I did like the setting of the book. Most of the book does take place in Key West, and some place I've always wanted to visit. The setting did meeting with the action a little bit and kept me reading. ...more
"Girl Waits with Gun" is the story of Constance Kopp, one of the country's first female deputy sheriffs. The book mostly takes place in the early 1900"Girl Waits with Gun" is the story of Constance Kopp, one of the country's first female deputy sheriffs. The book mostly takes place in the early 1900s with a couple flashbacks to the late 1800s. The book centers on Constance and her sisters mostly. The book starts with a bang as the sisters' buggy is hit by a really mean, slimy factory owner who doesn't want to pay for the damages. His unwillingness to pay sets off a chain of events that move this funny and witty historical fiction forward.
Constance is a fantastic character! I loved reading about her and I loved how the author brought her to life. Before reading this book, I was not familiar with Constance at all but I like the way that she was portrayed in this book and would love to read more about the real-life person. Constance definitely wants to be the master of her own destiny in a time when so many women really did not have that ability because of social norms. Constance seems to constantly be testing the boundaries and protecting her sisters. She is definitely a heroine that you can cheer for!
The writing of this book was really good. The author takes a true story that I don't think too many people know about and brings it to life. Constance is definitely an unsung hero of her time. This book only covers up to when she becomes a deputy sheriff (does that mean that there could maybe, possibly be a sequel???). The author obviously did a lot of research in order to not only make the readers see what Constance's world was like but also to bring the characters to life. The book is told from the perspective of Constance, which really brought me into the book. It's no wonder that this book is getting as much buzz as it has been getting!...more
"Trumbo" is the story of Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood screenwriters targeted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, headed by Joseph"Trumbo" is the story of Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood screenwriters targeted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, headed by Joseph McCarthy. The 1950s were a very tenuous time politically for the United States of America. The country was still reeling from everything that happened during World War II and the Red Scare was making waves around the world. An overzealous Congress attacked many innocent people in the name of trying to figure out who the communists were in Hollywood. Trumbo was one of the screenwriters that was caught up in all this and was originally blacklisted. This is his story.
This book is being re-released as there is a movie soon to come out about Trumbo that stars Bryan Cranston, star of "Breaking Bad." It's no wonder that this book is being made into movie because it really is both an interesting and important story to tell. To me, so many of the things that happened during the 1950s and the Red Scare are a really scary part of American history. This country was founded on the principles of freedom and independence and some of the ways that Congress tried to silence anyone who had a different opinion than themselves was incredibly scary. Trumbo was a very outspoken guy who wrote stories and pamphlets and wasn't afraid to speak out about his beliefs. Unfortunately this got him swept up in McCarthy's witchhunt.
The author of this book drew on many first-hand accounts from Trumbo and those that knew him well. We definitely get a great sense of the man. Before reading this book, I really didn't know much about him. I knew that the Red Scare and the likes of Joseph McCarthy ended up ruining the lives of those that were named and those that "named names" during crazy congressional hearings. Trumbo is one of the screenwriters that was black listed and he had to physically remove himself from the country so that he and his family would be safe. Even with the political climate today, I'd like to think that something like House Committee on Un-American Activities isn't something that could possibly exist. As with any history, I think it's important to be aware of it so that we can never repeat it. The author did a great job of bringing Trumbo to life and I'm definitely glad that I read this before seeing the movie!...more
"Girl in the Woods" is a memoir by Aspen Mattis, a girl who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail by herself after she is raped on the second day at"Girl in the Woods" is a memoir by Aspen Mattis, a girl who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail by herself after she is raped on the second day at college. Her rape sends her into a tailspin, which is easily understandable. She feels like there has to be something that she can do it in order to feel like herself and feel safe again. She decides that a trip on the PCT it is the best way to do that. I love hiking but the thought of hiking that much is incredibly daunting to me. Aspen goes into a lot of detail about the reasons that she decided that it was best for her to step away from college and try to hike from Mexico all the way up to Canada. This is a story about picking up the pieces and finding yourself.
I love memoirs especially when they are written by people who do things that I could never never fathom doing in my own life. I love to live vicariously through those authors. This is definitely one of those books where you do live vicariously through the author because they give so much detail about everything that they have to face on this journey. This book in a lot of ways reminded me of "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed, another one of my favorite books. Aspen is definitely running from a lot of different things when she takes on her hike but the hike helps her come to terms with some of the more difficult things she had to face in her short time at college. I liked how honest she was with the reader. You feel as if you are reading somebody that you know's innermost thoughts and they are holding nothing back.
This is definitely an extreme version of someone trying to find themselves and I don't think that the way that Aspen does it is necessarily going to be for everyone but this is such an important book for anyone who has gone through something where they think that they're never going to recover. I read it very quickly because I could not tear myself away from the pages. This was a great memoir and I definitely recommend it to readers looking for a good adventure story and a story of redemption!...more
In "Cold Feet," our protagonist, Emma, is the result of a not very good relationship. Her mother is a super career woman and an absent mother. Her fatIn "Cold Feet," our protagonist, Emma, is the result of a not very good relationship. Her mother is a super career woman and an absent mother. Her father has never been a part of her life. Emma loves her fiance but her chaotic family life makes her wonder if marriage is everything that she thinks it is. With her best friend, she'll embark on a journey to explore love and family.
The thing that really stood out to me in this book is that Emma's voice feels so authentic to me. There were a lot of places where I felt like Emma was talking to me as a friend. The author really brought me into the story with Emma's voice. Using the first person point of view worked so well for this one since Emma's inner thoughts and insecurities are so important to what happens in the book.
This weekend is my 5 year anniversary with my husband and I really thought the author did a great job of capturing what it's like to have all of these very intense thoughts prior to getting married. Smart people don't jump into things without carefully considering what they are doing. We get to see Emma confront things that so many others confront in real life!
This is a really smart look at self-discovery and love. The writing is sparkling and definitely kept me entertained. I read this book very quickly and wanted more. I will be awaiting other things that come out from this author....more
3.5 stars. "Dream Things True" is a Romeo and Juliet-esque story about two very different teenagers. Evan is the all-American boy. He has everything h3.5 stars. "Dream Things True" is a Romeo and Juliet-esque story about two very different teenagers. Evan is the all-American boy. He has everything he has ever dreamed about. His family is also quite socially conservative. Alma is an undocumented girl from a Mexican family. They fall for each other very quickly but things are not easy for them. ICE raids their town and everything they know will change. This book is a ripped from the headlines young adult fiction!
The author uses the characters as the driver of a conversation about immigrant issues and how everything is not always as clear cut as some of our politicians would like us to think it is. This book provides a good start to learning about some of the issues that affect our country today.
I did like the main characters. I liked how the author was able make them feel real. The secondary characters are a real treat. I especially liked Alma's tight knit family. The author gives a lot of detail about them so that even the secondary characters stand out!
I love what this book was trying to do with bringing a timely social issue to the attention of young adults. This book is definitely informative but sometimes the narrative suffered a little because it seemed as if the author was trying to cram so much information into the book that the book got bogged down. There were definitely a few places in the book that felt like an information dump of sorts, which took me out of the story. This book is definitely a good example though of how even fiction can be educational (something that I have always known!!!).
"Little Woman in Blue" is the story of May Alcott, sister of Louisa, who is the author of "Little Women" (one of my very favorites). She became very f"Little Woman in Blue" is the story of May Alcott, sister of Louisa, who is the author of "Little Women" (one of my very favorites). She became very famous for it and what I didn't realize is that a lot of the inspiration for the book came from Louisa's own life. The book leaves a sour taste in May's mouth as she doesn't like how here character, Amy, is portrayed. This is a look at the complex relationship of sisterhood with all of its love and rivalry.
I was drawn to this book because I love "Little Women." I love how historical fiction can give you a great introduction to some really interesting lives. Also I'm fascinated by stories of sisters. I have two sisters who are the most incredible sisters and friends that I could ever ask for and I feel very lucky that I have them. May and Louisa don't have nearly as loving relationship. They care for each other but there is a lot of sibling rivalry between them. They both want very different things in life and to some degree they both seem to judge each other what they do and do not want out of life. The author gets us super close to their lives and the characters, especially May and Louisa begin to feel like friends.
I didn't know much about Louisa May Alcott's life or her family before reading this book. I definitely did not realize that May was an artist in her own right. I loved getting to know all of them through this book. The author's historical facts was really wonderful and kept me entertained and turning the pages. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future!...more