Monday, February 25, 2019

"Why We Lie" by Amy Impellizzeri

Rating: ⭐⭐✰✰✰

Jude Birch is a newly elected Congressman with all the best intentions. So why does it appear that he’s hiding something from his new wife? When Jude is shot in the head as an innocent bystander in what is being called a “gang-related shooting” the doctor informs Jude’s wife, Aby, that Jude no longer has the ability to lie. Will Aby finally discover what Jude has been hiding from her? Was the shooting really an accident? Will the secrets of Aby’s past be exposed? 

I so wanted to love this book but it just wasn't for me. The cover is beautiful and I appreciated how the author examines all of the reasons that we tell lies and makes you question whether honesty is always the best policy. There are definitely some good book club discussions that could come from this. I found the time line to be a bit muddled though and didn't connect with any of the characters. If you're a lover of political novels give this one a read and let me know your thoughts!

Thank you to Amy Impellizzeri and to the Tall Poppy Writers for allowing me to read an advance copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

"The Last Year of the War" by Susan Meissner

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Two American born fourteen year old girls, Elise Sontag and Mariko Inoue, meet at an internment camp in Texas during WWII and make an instant connection. The girls are separated when Elise’s family is repatriated back to Germany. A lot of times when I’m starting a book I have a hard time keeping track of who’s who, but each of the characters in this story are developed beautifully so that they’re each unique and easy to remember, even the peripheral characters. I haven’t come across any other novels that delve into the internment camps and I don’t think I ever knew that families were actually traded. I appreciated learning about this unique perspective of the war. While I enjoyed reading it and and wanted to see what would happen, the story moved a bit slowly for me and I didn’t find myself emotionally invested in it. Don't let this deter you though - judging from the other reviews I'm definitely in the minority in that aspect! Thank you to Susan Meissner and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 11, 2019

“The Au Pair” by Emma Rous

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

While mourning the recent death of their father, twins Seraphine and Danny Mayes discover a photo of the day of their birth showing their smiling parents and only one baby. Hours later their mother commits suicide by jumping from the cliffs behind Summerbourne, their beautiful seaside home. Where was the other baby? Why did their mother commit suicide when she looked so happy in the photo and why are there so many strange rumors about twins born at Summerbourne? All of the answers are unfurled in the alternating voices of Seraphine in 2017 and Laura, the au pair, in 1991.

I enjoyed reading this well-paced novel and found myself trying to puzzle out how the story might end in between reading binges. I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of the peripheral characters, especially between the two time lines and found the ending to be a bit implausible but otherwise thought it was a good read.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

“The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Nightingale is the story of two sisters living in war-torn, German-occupied France. The choices they have to make and the things they have to see and survive are truly heartbreaking but they can't stop and dwell on those feelings. We often hear about the things that men have to go through during a war but the battle that the women have to live through is just as real and they need to make choices that affect not just themselves, but their children as well. I sometimes have a hard time with the Historical Fiction genre because I feel like I'm reading a history book rather than a novel but this was not the case here. Kristin Hannah does a fantastic job of immersing you in the time period so you feel like you're there living it, not here learning about it. This is a great book club pick as well - there are lots of controversial "What would YOU do" discussions to be had.

UPDATE: I had to bump this one up to the full 5 stars. You know how sometimes you read a book and it takes awhile to process it? This book was not a light read by any stretch. There's a lot of dark in the world and I try to avoid it during my leisure/reading time so I was in a bit of a fight with this one when I finished it. For me, what makes a 5 star book is one that really has a lasting impact which is hard to gauge when you've just put it down. It sticks with me and makes me want to re-read it (or re-listen to it especially after I've heard the Audible version of this is even better than the paper version with the narrator having the perfect French accent). Don't miss this one!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"Schooled" by Gordon Korman

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✰

Capricorn Anderson has spent his whole life living in a hippy commune called Garland but when his caretaker Rain breaks her hip he is placed with a foster family while she heals and gets his first taste of society - middle school style. I read this book with my 11 year old daughter who was reading it for school and we both enjoyed it very much. It was endearing and funny. The "cool kids" at school attempted to pick on Cap but he lives by his own rules and the things they do never get to him. Instead the other kids start to see Cap's down-to-earth style and laid back attitude as being pretty cool.