Not My Kind of Nest: Nest by Esther Ehrlich

1 Comment

20170580

Nest

By: Esther Ehrlich

Released: September 9th, 2014 by Wendy Lamb Books

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Middle Grade

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: via publisher

What lengths would you go to make your life stay the same? How would you feel if the person you love most in the world stops smiling?

For eleven year old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her mother is everything to her. When her dancer mother gets a devastating diagnosis that stops her from dancing and smiling, Chirp doesn’t know what to do. Soon after, her mother spirals into a depression. Nest tells Chirp’s sometimes heartbreaking journey as she trudges through life during this time with adventure, escape, and self-discovery. It isn’t all bad, but it isn’t all good, either.

This novel deals with some very adult issues at the heart of this middle grade novel. The character may be a middle schooler, may behave like one, but the situations are anything but. I had a slight problem with that. I usually don’t read middle grade novels, so I am not sure if this is an usual occurrence. But, may did it take an adult turn. Too adult, I would say. It made me very uncomfortable reading it. As it is a spoiler, I am not at liberty to reveal it, but it made me dislike the book. I loved Chirp. She developed a nice relationship with the boy next. They had a cute conversation towards the end of the novel that I loved.  However, this was not enough to give this novel a better rating. What took place towards the later middle/end was too heavy for me. Not heavy for me as an adult, but heavy as me reading a middle grade novel. It isn’t something that I personally believe should take place for this age group. I don’t think they can handle it, grasp it, and it takes away from the rest of the novel because of that.

It was a big shocker for me. If this was a Young Adult novel, I don’t think the event, if you can call it that, that occurred, would have taken me so off guard, but since this is for a younger audience it did. I don’t think it needed to happen to get the author’s point across. Yes, what happened completely at the end was a great character development exercise, but could have been reached without what took place because of it.

Although I did not find this novel extremely heartwarming, I definitely can see where a reader can. This is, at its core, a middle grade novel, but too much of it is adult for me. But, if there wasn’t that one thing, this would have been a great debut for me. Like I mention before, the characters were great. The plot, for the majority of it, was pretty decent. It evoked the right emotions. It showed how powerful friendships could be. It was poignant, honest, and positive.

I am torn on recommending this book. There were some great positives about this book. But, the negatives were so negative. I really feel strongly about what took place that makes it too inappropriate for its age group. I can’t seem to get past that. But, at the end, it was uplifting. There was a positive message. I would say, look at the back. Think about it. It’s heavy. It’s mostly about mental illness; and, the affects it has on our loved ones. If that’s hard for you, I’d say pass. It gets emotional, just so you know.

Happy reading!

Advertisements

Dreams Do Come True?: John Dreamer by Elise Celine Book Review

2 Comments

20739303

 

John Dreamer

By: Elise Celine

Released: February, 2014 by Authorbuzz

Length: 203 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Seven chairs, seven strangers, one strange white room.  What ensues, is only in your dreams.

John Dreamer is simply about living out what you desire most; but not in the way you think. The first dream , one of the more intense dreams, is a brutal battle. One of the “strangers” is mistreated during the battle, and the weakest stranger protects her. It turns out it’s his dream, to be strong and tough. He succeeds, both there and in life afterwards, becoming an award winning scientist. He is the first to leave.  As the novel continues, more dreams are fulfilled, deeper secrets are revealed and connections are made.

My favorite dream sequence comes from the tough guy Ray. His was the most powerful and gut wrenching. It really hits you.  As each dream had, it had a great message in the end. Celine really leaves you with a good sense of the character, what they were after, and what they got. And better yet, what you can learn from them. Learn from them you certainly do.  Even with the characters that aren’t there for very long, there is great character development because of how well the dream sequence is written. You really see what the character is all about. At the end of each successful dream, you get a follow-up of each character, which is nice. You see how this really helped them.

Of course, there is a love story between the main character Andy and John Dreamer. At first I was weary of their romance because of a comment Andy makes. It’s a little nauseating. It’s about falling in love so fast. However, I quickly changed opinions. The love story became believable pretty fast. The twist at the end was great, too.

I really liked this book.  This is going to be a series. I will definitely continue reading this series. I hope you’ll give it a chance.

Blog Tour: The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin

3 Comments


The Beautiful American

The Beautiful American

(historical fiction)

by

Jeanne Mackin

Release date: June 3, 2014
at New American Library/Penguin

352 pages

ISBN: 978-0-451-46582-5

Website | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

As recovery from World War II begins, expat American Nora Tours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing daughter. There, she unexpectedly meets up with an old acquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller. Neither has emerged from the war unscathed. Nora is racked with the fear that her efforts to survive under the Vichy regime may have cost her daughter’s life. Lee suffers from what she witnessed as a war correspondent photographing the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.

Nora and Lee knew each other in the heady days of late 1920’s Paris: when Nora was giddy with love for her childhood sweetheart, Lee became the celebrated mistress of the artist Man Ray, and Lee’s magnetic beauty drew them all into the glamorous lives of famous artists and their wealthy patrons. But Lee fails to realize that her friendship with Nora is even older, that it goes back to their days as children in Poughkeepsie, New York, when a devastating trauma marked Lee forever.

A novel of freedom and frailty, desire and daring, The Beautiful American portrays the extraordinary relationship between two passionate, unconventional women. [provided by the author]
For reviewers’ attention: brief, very mild sex and violence

***

My Thoughts

The Beautiful American tells the story of two very different women in the span of over twenty years, from the early 1920s to after the second World War. Nora Tours is not an artist. She follows her photographer, High School sweetheart Jamie from New York all the way to Paris where they meet the celebrated Lee Miller–model, photographer, and surrealist Man Ray’s mistress. There, a foursome is formed. They take the city by storm. Soon, secrets start to pile up. Lee won’t acknowledge the past she shares with Nora that is tainted.  Soon, devastation and secrets revealed shatters the foursome, breaking them up.

This novel was an interesting read. I didn’t love it, as I had hoped to. However, I did like it. I liked the Paris years. Lee was an interesting, selfish, perfectly conceited side character that kept me wanting to read more. Having known a little about Man Ray, I enjoyed learning more about him. I found Nora to be boring, far too love sick for me. She had limited desires to work, make a name for herself, be anyone but Jamie’s girlfriend. Jamie, too, I felt was a flat character. He was a little whiny when he talked. He didn’t add much. I think Nora could have done better. I did feel somewhat bad that he wasn’t given better chances as a photographer, though.

The plot and structure of the story was interesting. The backstory took up a majority of the book, which I wasn’t too happy with. I did enjoy it, for the most part, but would have liked it broken up a bit. It didn’t flow as smoothly as it could if it was broken up better. It was written with the current problem given a chapter in the beginning, then the backstory kicks in for the majority, then the current problem randomly kicks back in. There wasn’t much fluidity to it. It worked okay, but it could have been better. Again, wasn’t a major issue, but did stop me from giving it four or five stars rather than three on goodreads.com.

I thought Mackin did an excellent job historically. I felt I was in Paris during that time period, meeting everyone. She did not slack on the details. She did a great job describing the devastation of the War, as well.  There are a lot of redeeming qualities about this book, but what she misses on, she really misses. I just didn’t feel the connection as deeply as I would have liked. I still would recommend this book as a good historical fiction novel because of the accuracy historically. I think you really feel you are there, in the past. I may just be too picky with the characters. There wasn’t anything immensely wrong with this novel. I hope you do give it a glance at.

Praise for The Beautiful American

Readers will rank [it] right up there with The Paris Wife?. A brilliant, beautifully written literary masterpiece???New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas

Will transport you to expat Paris and from there take you on a journey through the complexities of a friendship. Breathes new life into such luminaries as Man Ray, Picasso, and, of course, the titular character, Lee Miller, while at the same time offering up a wonderfully human and sympathetic protagonist in Nora Tours.Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist

Achingly beautiful and utterly mesmerizing. Sure to appeal to fans of Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife and Erika Robuck’s Call Me Zelda, or indeed to anyone with a taste for impeccably researched and beautifully written historical fiction. Jennifer Robson, author of Somewhere in France

Beautiful.A fascinating account of a little-known woman who was determined to play by her own rules.Historical Novel Society

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanne MackinJeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels set in France,
and has earned awards for her journalism
as well as a creative writing fellowship
from the American Antiquarian Society.
She lives in upstate New York with her husband,
cats and herd of deer,
and is still trying to master the French subjunctive.

Visit her website.

Follow Jeanne Mackin on Twitter | Facebook

Buy the book | on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books a Million | Google Play | iBookstore | Indiebound | Powells

Giveaway time!!

***

Click on Entry-Form to enter the giveaway:

Entry-Form

Visit and follow each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour
will give you 5 extra entries each time!

5 copies:
print for US/Canada residents only.

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, GUEST-POST, EXCERPT

The Beautiful American - banner

Blog Tour and GIveaway! A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

5 Comments

Displaying Paris Apartment banner.jpg

A Paris Apartment

Displaying Paris Apartment cover.jpg

by

Michelle Gable

 [Women’s Fiction/Historical Fiction]

 Release date: April 22, 2014

at http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250048738

384 pages

ISBN: 978-1250048738

Author’s website | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER!

Bienvenue à Paris!

When April Vogt’s boss tells her about an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been discovered after being shuttered for the past seventy years, the Sotheby’s continental furniture specialist does not hear the words “dust” or “rats” or “decrepit.” She hears Paris. She hears escape.

Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder’s repository. Beneath the cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine, and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there’s a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque, Giovanni Boldini. And then there are letters and journals written by the very woman in the painting, Marthe de Florian. These documents reveal that she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly April’s quest is no longer about the bureaux plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It’s about discovering the story behind this charismatic woman.

It’s about discovering two women, actually.

With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan’s private diaries, April tries to uncover the many secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into Marthe’s life, April can’t help but take a deeper look into her own. Having left behind in the States a cheating husband, a family crisis about to erupt, and a career she’s been using as the crutch to simply get by, she feels compelled to sort out her own life too. When the things she left bubbling back home begin to boil over, and Parisian delicacies beyond flaky pâtisseries tempt her better judgment, April knows that both she and Marthe deserve happy finales.

Whether accompanied by croissants or champagne, this delectable debut novel depicts the Paris of the Belle Epoque and the present day with vibrant and stunning allure. Based on historical events, Michelle Gable’s A Paris Apartment will entertain and inspire, as readers embrace the struggles and successes of two very unforgettable women.

What do you do after your husband cheats, your marriage is in shambles, and you have the immediate chance to go to Paris for work without him? You go. 

April is struggling. She is on the verge of drowning in a marriage where she avoids having the talk. She just avoids. And avoids. Maybe it’ll go away, the truth. But, it won’t. When her boss sends her to Paris on a last minute assignment, she thinks this is the perfect escape. Again, she avoids. What she finds is bigger than anyone ever expected. How she handles things starts to change as she becomes enthralled by the dead Marthe de Florian’s life lessons. What does she learn? That, you will have to read the book to find out.

The dual perspectives were great. There wasn’t one I preferred over the other, which is surprising for me because I normally can choose pretty easily. I found both women to be completely three dimensional. They both had their flaws, faults, and amazing attributes. Marthe was brilliant, ballsy, and brave. April was a more modern, albeit a little more conservative version of her. Both women were entertaining. Marthe more so at times with her vulgar language and adult escapades. It was the twist revolving around Marthe that I really loved. I won’t say what it was, but man I loved it. It was really surprising, but made sense. I was caught off guard. And, to think it is actually true blew my mind even more. So, maybe I did like Marthe more. Her life was definitely more interesting. Boldini never painted April.

April had her pluses, though, too. She had a somewhat creepy Frenchman after her, sort of. She had her marriage problems. She was more of a today’s woman. It doesn’t make her less interesting. But, when you find out Marthe’s origins, she becomes ever more interesting. Sorry, April. But, April has got sass! She really stands up for herself. I was impressed with how she transforms herself throughout the book.

This was a phenomenal debut. It was entertaining while informative, the characters were extremely well written and developed, the transition between story lines were seamless, and it leaves you wanting more. I can’t recommend this enough. It was such an engrossing read that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pass this up. Next time you are thinking of buying a book, look into this one. You won’t regret it.

PRAISE FOR A PARIS APARTMENT

“With its well-developed, memorable characters and the author’s skillful transitioning between story lines…this stunning and fascinating debut will capture the interest of a wide audience but particularly those interested in stories about women behind famous men like Melanie Benjamin’s The Aviator’s Wife or Nancy Horan’s Under the Wide and Starry Sky. Highly recommended.” –Library Journal (starred review)
“A charming read about a fascinating history and the woman behind it.” –Historical Novel Society

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Displaying Paris Apartment - Michelle Gable.jpg

Michelle Gable is a writer and also a mom, wife, financial executive, sports-obsessed maniac (Go Chargers! Go Aztecs!),

Southern California native, barre class fiend, tennis player, and card-carrying member of the Chickasaw Nation.
She grew up in sunny San Diego and attended The College of William & Mary,
where she majored in accounting as most aspiring writers do.
Throughout a career that started in public accounting and then moved to private equity, then investment banking,
and ultimately to the head of FP&A for a publicly-traded software company, Michelle continued to write. And write and write.
Her first novel was released on April 22, 2014, her second scheduled for Spring 2016.

Michelle currently resides in Cardiff by the Sea, California, with her husband, two daughters, and one lazy cat.

Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter 

 

 

Told in Reverse: The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai Book Review

Leave a comment

18693644

 

The Hundred-Year House

By: Rebecca Makkai

Released: July 10th, 2014 by Viking Adult

Length: 352 Pages

Genre: Fiction

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: via publisher

 

Makkai tells an original family saga in reverse in The Hundred Year House. From family suicide to mysterious deaths, and an old artist colony filled with secrets, The Hundred Year House doesn’t disappoint with the amount of secrets. In this family comes first drama, you learn what it means to be a Devohr.

There was plenty to take in, in this novel. There were the general plot lines of the characters: Doug and his struggle to write his book while hiding the fact that he’s become a ghost writer for a popular teen series that is a little embarrassing; there’s his wife, Zee who is doing her best to secure a spot for “jobless” Doug, by implicating a fellow professor for stuff he isn’t doing. Then there is the couple living with them that are slightly minor. Plus, there’s Gracie, the mom, who is blocking Doug from finding out about certain things that happened in the artist colony.

This novel was intriguing, while a little lackluster for me. I found myself reading it days in between. It didn’t hold my attention as well as I had hoped it would. Although, it did get better in the end. The beginning was slow. Would this be a book I would recommend, no I don’t think so. It took too long for me to feel invested. The characters weren’t my favorite. The plot was a little interesting, though. I liked the ghost haunting the house, but that was not a sub plot that was fully developed, unfortunately.

What Everyone Thinks They Know: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu Book Review

4 Comments

16068341

The Truth About Alice

By: Jennifer Mathieu

Released: June 3rd, 2014 by Roaring Brook Press

Length: 199 pages

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction– bullying

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Alice Franklin was one of the popular girls. She wore pencil skirts and fitted tops. She was pretty without trying very hard. She was wanted. That’s what got her in trouble. It started at a party, where it always starts. Alice “has sex with two boys in one night” according to one of the recipients who texts his best friend. That slut. If it was just sex, she’d be a slut. But, weeks later the boy with the loud keyboard dies while sexting Alice in a car crash. Now, not only is she a slut, she is a slut who kills the superstar quarterback because she can’t keep it in her pants. How could she! The Truth About  Alice isn’t her story, but the story of four people who think they know the truth; only one is right.

Alice doesn’t get to defend herself in this unique take on he said/ she said. Told in alternating voices of the girl who threw the party, Alice’s then best friend, the best friend of said dead guy, and a guy who wasn’t there but may know something, this novel gives us a look at what bullying is really like. Each voice is different. The party thrower focuses more on herself rather than Alice. The best friend throws Alice completely under the bus because she doesn’t want to be a loner like she was at her old school again. The best friend of dead guy is just idiotic, and the shy, wasn’t even there guy, is the only great character; also, with the only narrative that has Alice speak albeit briefly and in little sentences.

You might not believe me, but I loved this book. Really loved this book. I thought Mathieu did an excellent job writing about High School bullying; and, how hurtful rumors can be. Alice is not the only person who has been slut shamed, whether or not the rumor was true. She went from looking pretty, being herself, to wearing pants and a hoodie zipped up, hiding her head. This isn’t a rare thing, unfortunately; and, Mathieu captured it masterfully. The reader is taken through the whole journey of the development of the rumor to discovering the truth. It’s a heart breaking story, with only a small happy ending.

Although I am well out of High School, and the politics of it, I can see this book as still being relevant. Kids are still cruel. People are being bullied all the time. I think this is a perfect novel to be taught in schools.  See, kids, this is what happens. Do you want to be such and such? Do you see what he/she is doing to Alice? Having Alice not speak in this novel, although it sounds like it wouldn’t work nor be beneficial in teaching a lesson, it does the opposite. Here’s how: you meet Kurt. Kurt is not popular, a total nerd, and the only one who befriends Alice. Yes, he had a crush on her, but his narrative becomes so much more. It brings reality to all the other nonsense you read from the other three people.

At first, I was apprehensive when I found out Alice never gets a chance to defend herself against these rumors, but as I continued reading, I understood why. If you choose to read this book (please do!) you’ll get it, too. Sometimes, these rumors have nothing to do with the victim. They just happen to be with the target. You need to understand the person who is the bully. It completely works. You don’t feel sorry for these people, I sure didn’t, but you get it. You understand where rumors start, develop, and take off full force. This approach is certainly a risk, it may not work in fiction all the time, but Mathieu did it well.

I highly recommend this book. I read it in one sitting; it’s that good. You just want to find out the truth. You know one of them knows, but which one. You will be surprised at who and why. There are three good plot twists that I enjoyed. Little zingers I didn’t see coming. The end was also very good. I loved it. I hope you read it. It’s a book not to be missed, in my opinion. Plus, if you know someone in High School, or are in High School yourself, this will be a great novel for you, I promise!

These Princesses Sure Can Dance: The Girls at The Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine Book Review

4 Comments

17158540

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

By: Genevieve Valentine

Released: June 3rd, 2014 by Atria Books

Length: 288 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction- Roaring Twenties / Fairy Tale retelling- Twelve Princesses Dancing

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

It’s the era of Prohibition. The flappers are a dancing. The men are sneaking in their booze. In Manhattan, twelve sisters stay holed up in their house upstairs. Never to see their father, only when they are individually called upon to be married off.  Dying to get out of their house, the “general” eldest sister Jo, concocts a plan to drag them out dancing every night. Nothing but worn shoes and out of style dresses.  It’s the only thing that keeps them sane. But, their father has other plans for his daughters. Plans of marriage that doesn’t fit with their dancing lives. 

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is the marvelous retelling of the well-known fairy tale “The Twelve Princesses Dancing”. What makes this novel special, and sets it apart from other retellings, is the era– the glitz, the glamour, and the sneakiness of all of it. Women were just starting to fight for their rights. It’s the perfect time for deception and the freedom these twelve girls/women are seeking. There is no better era, I believe.

 I absolutely adored this novel. I loved the characters, all twelve of the girls. Jo, the eldest, was my favorite. She grew the most out of all of them.  She had the most to lose and the least to gain. I also liked the second set of twins, Lily and Rose. I liked them because one of them was a lesbian. Why do I like that so much? Because think of how bold that is. o develop a lesbian character set in that era? It worked. It pushed the limits, yes. But, it wasn’t too much, too little, or too uncomfortable. It was perfect. It made sense one of them would be. I just liked it. I liked the character, herself, too. How daring she was. She wears pants! That’s a big deal and step.

There isn’t much I can critique about this book. The plot flowed nicely; the characters, although plenty, were developed nicely; and, the setting seemed historically accurate. I can picture Zelda Fitzgerald reading this book today and loving it. Valentine was able to reanimate the roaring twenties and bring back that life that was once alive.  I can’t recommend this book enough. This was truly a joy to read.  I hope you pick this book up. You won’t regret it.

Older Entries Newer Entries

Travel in Retrospect

Geographers don't get lost; they merely explore.

Read Voraciously

Devouring words one page at a time.

Creative-Lee Designed

Getting through life one craft at a time.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

The Original 24 Hour Readathon

stampingwithreneetorres

Independent Stampin' Up! Consultant

My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Attack Of The Quarterlife Crisis

Because suddenly you wake up one day and realize you're an adult

An Unconventional Librarian

Those who are clever, who have a Brain, never understand anything.

November Notebook: A YA Lit Blog

Updated Sundays & Wednesdays

Glenn Hates Books

Brutally Honest Book Reviews

Roof Beam Reader

A Writer and His Reading

Michelle Gable, Writer

Fiction and Finance

Words And Peace

Book reviews and good books for you to read

Pages And Tea

Because life is better served with a good book and a cup of tea. Book reviews and general bookish writings. I love many genres, so all manner of books may appear on my blog.

retrohipmama

vintage inspired creativity

Squeakerchimp

Vintage and Retro Emporium