Book Review

Series Review: Gallagher Girls 

If you’re looking for some fun escapism this winter, I highly recommend the Gallagher Girls series of YA fiction books by Ally Carter, which begins with the first book I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You.

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This series follows the main character Cammie Morgan and her friends as they navigate their private high school, which is actually secretly a school for spies! They get up to all sorts of adventures, and I had such a fun time reading this entire series. Fans of the Pretty Little Liars series will definitely like this one because there’s plenty of mystery as well as relationship drama.

 

Book Review

Book Review: The Shop on Blossom Street 

If you love romance and knitting, have I got the book for you: The Shop on Blosson Street by Debbie Macomber.

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This book follows the lives of the knitting class attendees who join together at a Seattle yarn shop. It’s very heartwarming and touches on themes of love, loss, illness, motherhood, and female friendship. Yes, there are a lot of characters and components of this novel, but it’s so well woven together into a narrative that is truly inspiring as these very different women find that they can relate to one another and they form a beautiful support system within their small crafting group.

There are four main characters here, each with her own worries and concerns. I found that this is one of those rare books where I didn’t find myself interested in one character more than the others. I found myself rooting for each of these women and feeling genuine emotion for them when good and bad things happened to them. This is definitely a character-driven book that I think most, if not all, women will be able to relate to. I highly recommend it!

Well, that was my very last book review of 2017. Happy New Year and I’ll see you in 2018!

-XO

Tiffy

Book Review

Last-Minute Gift Guide for Book Lovers

Happy Christmas Eve!! I hope everyone has wonderful holiday plans with family and friends, but if you’re still looking for a last minute gift for a book lover in your life, here’s a guide for an awesome book in several popular genres:

For the Mystery Lover: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

This re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes is a fantastic read that’s sure to appeal to fans of Holmes and all types of traditional mysteries.

For for History Lover: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

This book shows the devastating aftermath of World War II by following the lives of three widows who have been forever changed by the war.

For the Romance Lover: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

When ordinary Louisa Clarke becomes the caretaker of a paraplegic man, she discovers how stagnant her life has become and finally learns the power of true love.

For the Fantasy Lover: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

In this book, a truly magical circus becomes the stage for a competition to see which magician has learned to be the very best, but even the players don’t know what’s really at stake.

For the Science Fiction Lover: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Video games and reality collide in this coming-of-age book about a virtual reality scavenger hunt with real-world implications for its players.

For the Horror Lover: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Is nature or nurture to blame in this tale about the aftermath of a school shooting and the mother who has to come to grips with what her son has done.

For the Contemporary Fiction Lover: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

When their inheritance is threatened, the Plumb siblings must come to terms with their financial and personal mistakes and decide how to change their own fate.

For the Nonfiction Lover: In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

This book chronicles human strength and resiliency while exploring the aftermath of the sinking of the USS Jeannette.

I hope this list can help you pick a gift for a loved one or even inspire you to pick something up for yourself. Have a very Merry Christmas!

-XO

Tiffany

Book Review

Cozy Corner: Hannah Swensen Mysteries 

The closer it gets to Christmas, the cozier my reading habits get! It’s just the happy time of year where I want to read lighthearted, fun things, so I’ve been reading a lot of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke!

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These books are absolute mind candy! They revolve around Hannah Swensen, the owner of the Cookie Jar bakery in idyllic Lake Eden, Minnesota. The 22nd book in this series will be coming out next year, so it’s quite well established as a series and has even resulted in a series of films on the Hallmark Channel based on these books (starring the delightful Alison Sweeney).

This series contains all of the typical traits of cozy mysteries: a relatable and down-to earth sleuth, a feline companion, a mildly dysfunctional but loving family, small-town charm, and a love triangle! Hannah expertly navigates her bakery business and amateur sleuthing as she tries to find justice for anyone murdered in quaint Lake Eden. The cast of side characters like the helpful Norman the dentist, the dashing cop Mike, Hannah’s fun best friend/sister, and her overbearing mother all make for a great series. I’d say that the mysteries in this series really take a backseat to the atmosphere and charm of the setting and characters. If you’re looking for an escape from reality and want something ultra-cozy, I would definitely recommend this series!

Book Review

Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake 

I think that deep down most people wish that magic was real. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I love magical realism as a genre. In magical realism, our world is infused with just a little bit of magic, which usually illuminates something about human nature. Recently, I read the magical realism novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.

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In this book, Rose Edelstein has a magical gift that is also kind of a curse: whenever she eats something, she can taste the emotions of the person who made the food. I think that the goodreads description sums up this book beautifully: “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them.” As Rose learns more about her gift and those around her, she has to reckon with the fact that people often try to hide what they’re feeling for a reason.

This is definitely a character-driven book that focuses mostly on Rose and her family dynamic. As they navigate their lives, emotions, and disappointments, Rose uses her gift to truly empathize with others and learn more about being human.

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was unique in concept and had some truly beautiful prose. If you’re looking for something psychological and very character-driven, I think you should give this one a try!

Book Review

Series Review: In Death by JD Robb 

Recently, I’ve become really enamored by the romantic suspense genre. There’s just something so great about the escapism that romantic suspense can provide, and it’s quickly becoming one of my great guilty pleasures. One series that I’m really loving at the moment is the In Death Series by J.D. Robb (a pen name of Nora Roberts).

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This series begins with the book Naked in Death and the 46th book in the series is slated to come out next year. So, if you like a long series, this one might be for you! This series takes place in the near future (the middle of the 21st century) and follows lieutenant Eve Dallas, a New York City cop. While the series does take place in the future, it’s not overly futuristic and I wouldn’t ever classify these as remotely science fiction. Rather, these books are crime-focused in a gritty, noir atmosphere where a tough as nails protagonist kicks butt by day and finds love by night with an enigmatic Irish billionaire and businessman.

I really love Eve as a protagonist. She is tough and has such raw passion for her job which is fueled by the memories of her abusive childhood. However, she finds love and healing from the wounds of her past. Now, I’m not ready for book 46 (I’m just on book 13) but I’m still loving this series and it doesn’t seem to be losing steam yet. Unlike other series where there is a dramatic love triangle that never seems to end, Eve and her relationships really grow and progress over the course of the series. Because of this, I definitely recommend reading these books in order.

This is a great series for anyone looking for a an exciting but somewhat dark mystery series filled with romantic suspense. I highly recommend it!

Book Review

Book Review: The Orchid House 

A coworker recommended the author Lucinda Riley to me, and I’m so glad she did! I’ve read several of her books and I’m so excited to be able to share one of them with you. So, today I’ll be reviewing Lucinda Riley’s The Orchid House.

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Just look at that gorgeous cover! I know I shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but I’ll admit that sometimes a pretty cover does make me more likely to give a book a try. The Orchid House is a sprawling book that contains a lot of history and romance. Like most of Riley’s books, this one is split in its narrative between the past and present as a present-day character learns more about her family secrets that date back to the 1930s.

Orchids, a beautiful plant that dies so easily under the wrong conditions, play a significant role in the story both literally and metaphorically. The family owns a greenhouse and the master of the estate is so fond of orchids that he travels to exotic locations to try to find the best orchids that he can take back to England. However, there are other reasons for his frequent travels, and when these secrets are revealed, his whole family dynamic is threatened and changed forever.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I don’t want to give away any of the secrets, but I will say that this book is an emotional whirlwind that ends in a very satisfying way. I definitely recommend this to people who enjoy historical romance with lush descriptions!