Many thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy of "The Social Graces" by Renée Rosen. I was given this book in exchange for my honest review.
I love hisMany thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy of "The Social Graces" by Renée Rosen. I was given this book in exchange for my honest review.
I love historical fiction that really delves into the time period. This book was a good look into the world of the super-rich of the Gilded Age. The Astors and Vanderbilts existed in a realm where there were no limits on what they could do, only what they allowed themselves to do.
Alva Vanderbilt and Caroline Astor are a study in contrasts: a rule-follower and a rule-breaker trying to find common ground. They circled around each other for decades, each trying to be the most powerful woman in New York Society. What's fascinating is how little they ever interacted. They were never friends or even co-conspirators. They were women who existed parallel to each other, though they could never escape the other's influence.
Rosen doe san excellent job conveying the tedium of the social merry-go-round of the era. There were times when I, like the characters, was exhausted by the idea of another ball, another mansion, another unfulfilling marriage. Didn't they ever want more? Or less? As it turns out they did. How they finally found peace is the best part of the story.
**spoiler alert** This book was disappointing after the first two in the trilogy. Those were books about magic with some romance in them. This was a r**spoiler alert** This book was disappointing after the first two in the trilogy. Those were books about magic with some romance in them. This was a romance with some magic in it. When it reached a point that a character was forcing two men to compete for her hand in marriage, I walked away. ...more
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!
I adore the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths so I wasMany thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review!
I adore the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths so I was delighted to learn that she is writing a series surrounding Harbinder Kaur. I enjoyed "The Stranger Diaries," and particularly liked DS Kaur's Indian-British family. Revisiting her world was a treat for me as a reader.
Like "The Stranger Diaries," this was a book about murder based on books about murder. Writers and fans of crime fiction die at an alarming rate in this book. Kaur is there for the professional investigation but there is also a quirky band of misfits who live the not-so-secret dream every fan of crime fiction has: to solve the crime themselves. Natalka, Benedict, and Edwin are a delightful trio and I hope they come back in future books.
This story was a fun peek behind the curtain of the publishing industry. When an author dies, editors, publicists, and other authors are all suspects. I enjoyed all the explanations of what it takes to make a book a bestseller.
If this book has a weakness, it's that Kaur tells us about the solutions to the mysteries after she has figured them out. I would have preferred that Griffiths show us the crime-solving with more detail instead of just giving us a look into Kaur's thought process. But perhaps that was the whole point: where crime fiction makes everything exciting, it all really happens inside an author's head.
All in all, this is a mystery that's a touch beyond cozy but not too grim or gory. It's fun and smart with characters you'll miss when it's over. ...more
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I typically love Jenny Lawson. Her first book espThanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I typically love Jenny Lawson. Her first book especially made me laugh until it hurt with her family tales and random tangents. I also love how she can be so honest and raw about her own chronic illnesses.
I wish she had chosen one of those things for this book and stuck with it.
While there were certain sections that were riveting, funny, and honest, other parts felt like she was trying to be all things to all readers. It’s as if she was worried we wouldn’t like her if she didn’t play new versions of her greatest hits.
Maybe it’s that I’ve changed and don’t enjoy her madcap thoughts on life as much now. Or maybe she has changed and that’s why she doesn’t capture the humor as effortlessly anymore.
Whatever the case, I wish I had enjoyed this book more than I did....more
Half the fun of historical fiction is the descriptions of clothes, food, and festivals. This author didn’t include any of that. It read more like CathHalf the fun of historical fiction is the descriptions of clothes, food, and festivals. This author didn’t include any of that. It read more like Catherine De Medici’s annotated datebook than a novel about a fascinating woman. ...more
"If I Had Your Face" by Frances Cha is captivating. Simply captivating.
I don't know much about South Korea or Korean culture so this story was an educ"If I Had Your Face" by Frances Cha is captivating. Simply captivating.
I don't know much about South Korea or Korean culture so this story was an education for me. The women in this book are all trying to navigate a world where there is no set path for success. They're limited by the old-world family status rules that still loom over society. Being poor, being an orphan, being the child of servants is a nearly insurmountable obstacle for them. Education, beauty, and talent don't exempt them from social rules meant to maintain the privilege of the elite classes.
The four women in the story connect as childhood friends, roommates, and neighbors. They all have different careers - a hairstylist, a sex worker, an office worker, an artist. Their pasts range from tragic to sordid and their futures are unknowable. They must work unimaginably hard to get by. But all of them find moments of joy and friendship with one another.
I loved all these characters and felt deeply invested in their success. The world they live in isn't fair. The ending of the book didn't feel like the end of their stories and I can almost imagine them out there, still living outside the pages....more