Book Reviews · England · goodreads · Readathon · reading challenge · Recap · Summary

Snap Review: Invisible River by Helena McEwan

Title: Invisible River

My rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

When Evie and her father say good-bye at the train station, they are both on their own for the first time since her mother’s death. But Evie is not lonely for long. At art school in London, she is quickly caught up in colors and critiques, gallery visits and sketching expeditions. She finds fiercely loyal friends-Rob, pragmatic and pregnant; Bianca, dramatic and Italian; and Cecile, the sidelined ballerina-and stumbles tentatively toward a relationship with Zeb, a second-year sculptor with hair blue-black like a crow.
But when her father arrives in the city, sour with alcohol and slumped on the doorstep of her new home, Evie must determine what she owes her past, and how it will shape the life, and the art, she’s trying to create.
Gently and genuinely observed, written with painterly beauty, Invisible River is an unforgettable novel of the mysteries, desolations, and heart-soaring hopes of entering adulthood.

Continue reading “Snap Review: Invisible River by Helena McEwan”

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Book Reviews · England · goodreads · In Theaters

Snap Review: Belle – The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne

Title: Belle – The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice

My rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

The illegitimate daughter of a captain in the Royal Navy and an enslaved African woman, Dido Belle was sent to live with her great-uncle, the Earl of Mansfield, one of the most powerful men of the time and a leading opponent of slavery. Growing up in his lavish estate, Dido was raised as a sister and companion to her white cousin, Elizabeth. When a joint portrait of the girls, commissioned by Mansfield, was unveiled, eighteenth-century England was shocked to see a black woman and white woman depicted as equals. Inspired by the painting, Belle vividly brings to life this extraordinary woman caught between two worlds, and illuminates the great civil rights question of her age: the fight to end slavery.

Continue reading “Snap Review: Belle – The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne”

England · monday muse · To Be Read

Monday Muse (6) – Shakespeare’s Principal Plays

muse

A friend of mine from book club and I are taking an English Literature course next Spring!!! After my experience this semester, we though a higher upper-level course would be more beneficial for mature discussions and learning so we have decided to go with (drumroll please)…..

SHAKESPEARE!

I feel that it is pretty safe to say most of us have experienced Romeo and Juliet (at a bare minimum) when learning about Shakespeare. However, I honestly have not delved into much other than that. Of course I’ve heard of the other titles that are referenced frequently and/or adaptations have been made, and that is where I’ve stopped. Plays aren’t my go-to genre of reads, and that’s why I feel I need to take this course. Additionally, Shakespeare’s works have been launch points for present-day writers. It would be great to dissect the origin of some plots.

Here is what I’m guessing we are going to read (I’ll post the syllabus when I receive it!):

  • The Taming of The Shrew
  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth
  • Henry V
  • The Tempest

A double-win is that some of these will count for my Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge 🙂 It will be great to taking someone I know (especially since we are in similar times of life and can potentially relate to different experiences moreso than traditional undergraduate students). I’m still on the fence of whether I want the class to count for credit or if I’m only auditing. The syllabus will determine that – it’s a class of 30 and if there are group projects I’ll be doing the work for them anyway so might as well get credit! Wish me luck!

Any advice for reading through Shakespeare?

England · To Be Read

TBR Tuesday

tbr royal

Title: The Royal We

Author: Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Why it’s in my pile:

Recently, the story of Will and Kate has been fascinating to me. I was young when Princess Diana passed away and haven’t followed the family until Will and Kate’s wedding and then when they had their two beautiful children. On Pinterest, a few of my friends have boards dedicated to Kate. I didn’t know where the fascination was coming from because I didn’t know their story. One night, I watched on Netflix William and Kate and finally understood. It really is a fairy tale romantic story! Not to say that this romance novel is an exact tale of Will and Kate but it is quite a resemblance!

Synopsis:

“I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they’ll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next.”

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

Book Reviews · England

Book Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

afteryou

Title: After You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Published: 2015

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction/Chick Lit

Format: Book borrowed from the library

My rating:  3/5

Review:

“How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .”

After falling in love with Will Traynor and Louisa Clark, I was not sure how I was going to adjust to this story fresh off of Dignitas. The story picks up 2 years after his death and Lou is a mess, rightfully so. Lou still has reservations about herself and what she is capable of, and without Will, she feels that she has lost the drive to be and do more. Although, yes this is a sequel, I felt that this story could survive on its own as there were numerous flashbacks and memories from the past of both Will and Lou that we who read Me Before You had previously known – which was a great reminder for sure, and an excellent way to keep the stories in line. I felt that this go around had what I was expecting – a blast from the past (in an odd way), the struggle to move on and have peace with ones lost, and finding yourself when all hope was lost. So I was not surprised by a majority of the narrative which was a bit of a letdown though the storytelling was on point and painted a picture of Lou’s life and that of those around her.

There potentially could be a third installment of this series as Lou resolves some of her hesitations and heads in a different direction, an adventure of sorts. However, I do not believe one is needed. I appreciated the end of Me Before You because it did leave me wondering but allowed me to come up with my own rendition of Lou’s future. The same with the ending of After You, I feel that there is some resolve but also room for us as readers to dream of what comes next for Lou – a life we couldn’t exactly pinpoint in the first novel but still anticipating what is to come.

“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible”

Read After You  if you like the themes of:

  • Family
  • Love
  • Moving On
  • Teenage Angst