Novel Ideas: March 2017

“She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” – Annie Dillard

Book reviews from March 2017

Welcome to Novel Ideas March 2017 edition. Novel Ideas is a round up of mini reviews for other books we read this month, as well as snippets of future posts and other bookish news.

From the Stacks: Kirsten

“The two of us, we’re the best kind of disaster. Apples and oranges. Well, more like apples and machetes.”- Brittany Cavallaro, A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – I really enjoyed the first book in the Charlotte Holmes Trilogy. I’ve mentioned before that I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan (review). This story was different from the others because it takes place in modern times and the central characters are the teenaged descendants of Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson. The adolescent angle leaves room for error in Holmes’ deductive reasoning skills. Watson is also a more fleshed out character that has deductive reasoning skills of his own. The novel wraps up nicely and the characters solve the mystery leaving enough open ends to allow for a sequel. 4 stars.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – THE hot book of 2016. This story reminded me a great deal of The Nest. I found it interesting and would definitely recommend it, but it did not live up to the hype it garnered, in my opinion.

“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.” – Kiera Cass, The Selection

The Selection Series

The Selection by Kiera Cass: I needed a fluff book to read while tackling Lilac Girls and Zookeeper’s Wife. This series is like cotton candy. The perfect remedy for the darkest parts of the other books. I love this series as much now as I did when I first read it.

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett – I loved, loved, loved this book. Think Fates and Furies (review) meets Life after Life (review). The story of Eva and Jim takes three separate paths. From when they first meet at University until they die, each time in their life unfolds in alternating stories. A little hard to follow at first, it becomes increasingly easy as the stories depart in their various directions. The book was a study in the paths untaken. It also showed that what makes us happiest now, might be the worst for our future. This book depicted real life and how love can change and grow or diminish. I cried at all three endings because I invested so much in Eva and Jim’s story. 4.5 stars.

From the Stacks: Jackie

“I knew what happened in fairy tales. The strong survived while the weak were eaten alive.” – Alice Hoffman, The Marriage of Opposites

Review of Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman  I love Alice Hoffman and this book definitely did not disappoint me.  Marriage of Opposites is an amazing story about Rachel  Pomie, the mother of Camille Pissarro (the father of impressionism).  Rachel is an orthodox  Jewish woman living on the Island of Saint Thomas. The story follows her amazing life through two marriages, beautiful friendships and many children. This is a beautiful and fascinating tale.  4 stars

Singing Fire by TL Martin –  TL martin gave me this book to read for free in exchange for an unbiased review.  I have to say that I really enjoyed the book.  The newest fad of witches and vampire stories doesn’t seem to be slowing down and this story really did not disappoint me.  There is just enough romance to satisfy and left me wanting more! There is action and excitement and I have to say that I was surprised with the twists and turns the book took along the way.  I have read a number of highly rated books lately that attempted at suspense and fell flat.  This book was a very pleasant surprise.  I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series Raining Fire.  I really enjoyed this book and recommend it as a light and fun read.  Perfect for a guilty pleasure!!! Four stars

“I didn’t know you this morning, and now I don’t remember not knowing you.” – Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star

Review for the Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon –  This Young Adult Novel is smart and well written.  I loved reading it.  Yoon has done something very difficult with this book.  She switches back and forth between a few different narrators and still manages to maintain the flow of the  story.   The different voices add to the story and provide perspective from multiple views.  We will be doing a complete review of the book when we have our book club for this book on April 23rd!!! Be sure to read it and come share your perspective on this great book!!!!4.5 stars

Halfway (Aspiration for deliverance #1)  by Lokesh Sharma( ARC)- I was given this book to read in exchange for a review and as much as I wanted to enjoy it, I thought it was just ok.  It was a very short book which is not a problem in itself except that I feel it ended abruptly in the middle of the story.  The book disappointed me. 2.5 stars

“Burning a bridge, as any tactician will tell you, sometimes saves more than it costs” – Kathleen Rooney, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Review of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
Lillian Boxfish by Kathleen Rooney
– This is a Book of the Month Club book from January of this year.  This book could be an amazing movie.  It is not the type of book that you “can’t put down” because it takes place in New Year’s Eve 1984 with flash backs to the past. But, it is an incredibly interesting and very well written book.  Lillian Boxfish takes the reader with her through a look at New York city through the ages.  I really enjoyed this book.  4 stars

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover– I really enjoyed reading this book even though it was not at all what I thought it would be.  This is a book about domestic abuse and the many ways it can present itself.  I thought this book was well written and as light as it could be considering the subject matter. 3.5 stars

“We Royals are pretty fucked up. We’re good in bed, but out of it? We’re like a stage four hurricane.” – Erin Watt, Paper Princess

Fabulous YA series Paper Princess by Erin Watt

The Royals  Series by Erin Watt (The Paper Princess Series)– I read this entire series in 2.5 days when I needed something light.  After turning to our fluff read post to find the perfect read, I fell in love with this series.  The story  is unrealistic and over the top. It seems to be another Twilight Series fan fiction (unattainable boy,  tight knit family, girl wins him over).  The formula is tried and true though! 4 stars

Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro– Kirsten had such good things to say about this book that I decided to read it as well.  I really enjoyed it.  Although I am not a Holmes Connoisseur like my friend, I am looking forward to reading the next installment!

“I watched her face switch among the radio stations of memory.” – Diane Ackerman, The Zookeeper’s Wife

Review of The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman

Zoo Keepers Wife by Diane Ackerman– I loved this book and I am so glad that I listened to this one. Suzanne Toren  reads it beautifully.  Her wonderful accents and pronunciation of the words I surely would have butchered with my attempts added to the book.  This is an extraordinary tale of courage in a dark time. Kirsten read and reviewed it too. My rating 3.5 stars

Next Month:

To Be Read: Kirsten

I’ll be talking about Lilac Girls next month and I’m almost done The Lake House! I picked up Happily Ever After from the Selection Series and I’m planning to read that as well. I’m also hoping to read some of my backlist including the Night Circus. After 2 WWII books this month, I’m planning on lighter reads for April.

To Be Read: Jackie

I never got to read Americanah this month and I really hope that I can get to it in April.  I also want to read One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica woods and the Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick.  I also plan on reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak, I let you go by Clare Mackintosh and Kirsten’s pick for me, Rebecca by Daphne Du MaurierA little ambitious? Perhaps.  But I’m optimistic- mostly that I will have enough time so all the reading that I want!!!

To Be Watched:

We are looking forward to the premiere of The Circle based on Dave Eggers book of the same name.  I’m also going to attempt to make it through Me Before You even though I had mixed thoughts on the book. Jackie is reading Rebecca and I’m going to make her watch the movie (Directed by Hitchcock) as well! We are looking for more book to screen recommendations, so send them in!

Beyond the Bookends:

Looking for a fun way to pick your next read? Epic Reads has the best quiz to help. Pick your favorite Girl Scout cookie and they will give you a book recommendation!

Great news! Amazon is turning Underground Railroad into a TV Series. Even better, ‘Moonlight’ Director Barry Jenkins is going to write and direct the adaptation!

Think you are a fast reader? Take the E-reader speed test from STAPLES and see if your read speed is closer to a college professor or 5th graders!

Book reviews for the month of March