Book Review: Maverick and Me by Katherine Schwarzenegger + Interview with Katherine

I received a copy of Maverick and Me from Worthy Publishing as a member of the Maverick and Me Launch Team. Katherine was kind enough to take a couple of minutes during one of her singing to briefly chat with me. Be sure to scroll down for my interview with Katherine. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

10.25sq2c.indd

Summery: In the heartwarming story of Maverick and Me, Maverick is rescued by a kind-hearted stranger after being dumped on the side of the road. The little puppy’s luck takes a turn for the better when young Scarlett meets him at an adoption event. Scarlett is so moved by Maverick’s story that she and her mother decide to give him the forever home he is looking for. Each year, millions of dogs find themselves in shelters and with animal rescues through no fault of their own. Maverick will help teach children about these dogs and empower even young readers to advocate for shelter pups.

Review: Maverick and Me is an adorable story of pet adoption. What I loved most was that Katherine used the story of her own rescue dog, Maverick, as the inspiration for the story.

5676f9_e4854e068ba142988eeec94c426991f6~mv2_d_1888_1327_s_2As a dog lover, and advocate of #adoptdontshop, I loved the idea that the book teaches children the importance of adopting animals.
While the story is fairly simple (after all it is a children’s book), about a rescue dog, Maverick, being adopted and finding his forever home, it is a great book. The illustrations were done by Phyllis Harris and were such a great addition to the story.

While Maverick and Me is a children’s book the heartwarming story along with5676f9_556b79fc0a444dc1826988edd44e7287~mv2_d_1861_1705_s_2 the beautiful illustrations makes this the perfect story for children, adults and animal lovers alike.

Interview with Katherine Schwarzenegger

Q: You said you wrote this book to get people into pet adoption. How did you get into adopting?
A: I’ve always been a huge animal lover. My sister and I fostered some puppies a couple of years ago and it was such an incredible and rewarding experience for me. I saw how kids reacted to it and I wanted to write this book. After I got Maverick I saw how kids responded to him and meeting him and the fact that you could get an animal that came with a story was so cool for a lot of kids. So I wanted to write the book to teach kids about animal rescue so when the time comes for them to get their first pet they might tell their parents to take them to a shelter instead of a pet store.
Q: what was the process like for writing this book?
A: Since I’ve done my first two books before I worked with my book agent and we just went around and pitched the idea to a bunch of people. I did a bunch of different drafts of the book because there are certain words that you use for children that you don’t use as adults. That was really interesting and fun and I had a really good time writing the book. Obviously part of it is based off my own experience with having my dog Maverick.
Q: Your an ambassador for the ASPCA. How did you get into that role and start working with them?
A: When I adopted Maverick I literally just started working with ASPCA and then became an ambassador for a lot of their programs and stuff like that.

SaveSave

Advertisements

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan Review + Interview

I am so excited to be reviewing The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Not only am I reviewing the book but both Heather and Jessica were sweet enough to answer a few questions. Be sure to check out my interview with them at the end of my review. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan Review

Summery: Inspired by Kate Middleton and Prince William. 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.

Review: Having watched William and Kate’s relationship from their St. Andrew days this story was very appealing to me. What was so fun was noting all the details and events that were taken from real life.
One of the best parts of this book was that, although it was inspired by William and Kate, the characters of Bex and Nick (as well as the other characters) where very much their own characters and not just caricatures of their real-live counterparts. Along with exploring how Bex’s relationship with Nick changes her the book also explores how her relationship with Nick effects her friends and family. While I didn’t particularly like Bex’s twin sister, Lacey, I like how Cocks and Morgan showed how their relationship changed and how Lacey was effected by Bex’s new relationship.
I loved how every chapter seemed to end in a little cliffhanger that just made me want to continue reading. At one point I had to put the book down because I was afraid I would finish it too soon and I didn’t want it to end.

Best Feature:
Freddie. Let’s be honest, who read The Royal We and didn’t love Prince Freddie? Since reading Outlander I have developed a love for good looking British red heads (Jamie Fraser) and Freddie is no exception. Freddie was charming and adorable and there was a big part of me that actually wanted Bex to end up with Freddie at the end.
 
Worst Feature: Lacey. As I said before I didn’t really like Lacey. While I think Cocks and Morgan tried to make her sympathetic I just found her to be obnoxious and selfish. While she somewhat redeems herself at the end it was a “too little, too late” type of situation for me to really like her.
 
Overview: I absolutely loved this book. While inspired by the real life story of Prince William and Kate Middleton the characters were well fleshed and drawn out and very much their own. Each chapter ended in a way that made you want to keep reading. Aside from Bex and Nick my favorite character had to be Nick’s brother Freddie. Now I am just crossing my fingers for a sequel.

Interview with Heather & Jessica

Q: You guys started your website Go Fug Yourself back in 2004. How did the idea for that come about?
JESSICA: It was really all started as a joke, actually. Heather and I had gone to the mall one day, and we were highly over-caffeinated, and we just started riffing on how bad all the posters and ads happened to be — that maybe fugly was the hot new trend, the new pretty — and basically started the blog to amuse ourselves. We never thought it would ever be read by anyone other than our friends!
HEATHER: At the time, starting a whole blog based on one kernel of a joke wasn’t so far off the norm. You know how today, people start comedy Twitter accounts for, say, Angelina Jolie’s Leg, or whatever? Back in the olden days of 2004, people did stuff like that with websites.

Q: How did you go from writing for GFY to writing books?
JESSICA: Well, we wrote a book that was based on GFY way back in 2008, and a lot of editors we worked with when we were selling that book mentioned to us that, while that project wasn’t for them, they’d be interested to see anything we did that was fiction.
HEATHER: We jumped at the chance. Writing books, to me, always sounded like this amazing thing that OTHER people did. It never occurred to me that I might have a book in me anywhere — it sounded so hard — so the faith in us from editors was just the shove I needed to stop and think, “Well, why can’t we do it? Maybe we can!” I’m not sure I’d ever have had the guts without Jessica as my writing partner, though. We were each other’s support system as we navigated everything new and scary about putting this kind of work out into the world.

Q: What is the writing process like? Do you write different sections of the book separately or together?
JESSICA: Basically, we write a really, really detailed outline together — when you’re writing with another person, you have to make sure you’re on the same page, no pun intended — and then we trade off. One of us will write a chunk, then email it to the other person, who will edit that chunk before adding the next several pages to the story. And we trade the manuscript back and forth like that.
HEATHER: Particularly for The Royal We, both of us needed to be fluent in the voices of all the characters. We both needed to be able to write without constantly stopping and leaving blanks for the other person to fill in — it would have made for a much choppier draft, and we were on a tight deadline for a long book, so we didn’t need to put up any extra speed bumps. Besides, we never wanted to assign ownership of parts of the book to each other. Both our names are on it, and so we wanted it to be a totally melded product of the two of us. And it is. I am sure there are writing pairs who can split up characters or work out the whole process in a different way, and I’m not saying any of those other approaches are wrong, or detrimental, at ALL. It depends on who you are and what you’re writing, and given those factors, this was what made sense to us.
Q: What is a typical working day like for you?
JESSICA: It really depends on what we’ve got on our plates — if we’re working on a book, or on a freelance article, often we try to set posts for Go Fug Yourself the night before so that we can work on whatever other writing projects we’ve got happening during the day. We also often have interviews or meetings or business calls during the day. So every day is different, but they always involve a lot of typing.
HEATHER: Taking a break from typing one thing basically just involves typing something else for a while. It’s extremely easy to forget to get up and move around. I bought a standing desk recently because we spent the year of The Royal We glued to our chairs.

Q: Tell us a little bit about what the research process for The Royal Wewas like?
JESSICA: Sure! We did a lot of research, because we wanted the book to feel authentic. That’s not to say we didn’t make any errors — I’m sure we did, as the only people who really know what it’s like to be on the inside of the royal family aren’t writing books about it! But we wanted to make sure we got as many of the logistics correct as possible. To that end, we read a lot of books — biographies, both authorized and otherwise; history books; a LOT of books about etiquette and about the various palaces in which we’d set the book.
HEATHER: We also took a trip to England in January of 2014, right when we were writing the first section, so that the locations and the feeling of the place would invigorate us. We didn’t want to write scenes in Oxford without walking the streets ourselves. I wanted Jessica to see Windsor — and frankly, I needed to clap eyes on it again myself. I grew up in England so a lot of these are places I’ve been several times, but I needed to see them again with a writer’s eye. And the Buckingham Palace tour is offered only on a very limited basis, so we knew we had to take that. When writing a book like this, we felt the reader would want the experience of being inside Buckingham Palace, and to us that had to come from as authentic a place as possible. We felt strongly that we couldn’t entirely make that up. Also, the tour ended with Champagne, so obviously.
Q: What was the most interesting/surprising thing you learned about William and Kate during your research?
JESSICA: I don’t know that I learned anything that surprising about William or Kate, because we weren’t really researching THEM. Although the book is obviously based on them, it’s only them in the loosest sense — we use a lot of the signposts of their relationship (meeting in college, the lengthy courtship, a break-up), but beyond that, almost everything that happens in the book is fictional. Most of our research was about logistics and location.
HEATHER: For me, the surprises were just in reading the biographies for inspiration, and realizing that I sympathize a lot more with Charles than most people do. Which isn’t to say I don’t think Diana was evil; just that I think she was deified and Charlies villified, when I think the truth is that both of them were equally accountable to the mistakes that were made, and that they were two people ill-suited to be wed and ill-equipped to handle each other. I found digging into a lot of that very illuminating.
Q: There were some loose ends and uncertainties at the end of The Royal We. Could there be a sequel in the future? 
JESSICA: Maybe! We’d love to write more about these characters — the honest truth of the matter is that this particular book needs to do well enough that our publisher would ALSO love us to write more about them.
HEATHER: I’ve always said we’ll only do it if we have the right story — we’d never do it just for the sake of it..
Q: Was there any point in writing the book that you doubted the ending you chose?
HEATHER: We took great pains to use the first part to sell people on Bex and Nick as a romance between two people who fell in love, circumstances be damned. And then with the rest of the book, we took pains to show that sometimes love might not be enough. Sometimes, life gets in the way; sometimes, there is too much collateral damage. We feel strongly that we landed in the right spot at the end, but we love hearing whether people agree with that! It’s certainly open for debate.
Q: Would you rather be Kate or Pippa?
JESSICA: I think they both have a bit of a tough path, actually — and this is something we explore in the book, that in a way Lacey (who is our heroine Bex’s sister) is collateral damage of Bex’s highly publicized relationship with Nick. On one hand, Pippa isn’t scrutinized as closely as Kate is, but on the other, she IS scrutinized and with none of the benefits. I think I would rather be Kate, simply because it appears (and I hope it is true) that Kate has a happy marriage and two healthy children, and a job of sorts that seems fulfilling.
HEATHER: I would probably also choose to be Kate, because I think the spotlight that’s on Pippa is much harsher and less forgiving. As much as we all know Kate would be endlessly mocked for breaking a heel or limping from a blister or whatever during a public engagement, many people would sympathize with her struggling with something so human. But for whatever reason, I don’t think people consider how weird it must be to be Pippa, and what a toll it’s taken on her to be the moth flapping around next to the flame. The headlines about Kate, I feel like I could brush off if I were her, but the ones about Pippa often seem a bit meaner and in her shoes I think my skin would be thinner. Even if her shoes, on balance, are probably cuter.
Q: If you has the choice between Prince William or Prince Harry who would you choose?
JESSICA: Well, if they both were single, I would choose William. As fun as Harry obviously is, William seems more likely to call you the next day.
HEATHER: William. The older you get, the more you realize that reliability is pretty freaking sexy.

JESSICA: Aha! That IS a spoiler.

Release Blitz: Resisting Roots by Audrey Carlan

Today I am so excited to be participating in the Release Blitz for Audrey Carlan’s Resisting Roots, the first book in her new Lotus House Series.

available-now-banner

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Lotus House, #1

cover

SYNOPSIS

Yoga instructor Genevieve Harper is a blond bombshell loaded down with responsibility and sacrifice. She makes the most out of raising her two siblings in the wake of their parents’ tragic accident. At twenty-four, she doesn’t have time to devote to a man…especially not the devastatingly handsome Trent Fox, who’s known for being a “player” on and off the baseball field.

Trent has the best hitting average in the league. Recently, he suffered a torn hamstring that takes him to the Lotus House Yoga Center for recuperation. There he meets the curvy, petite blonde with soulful black eyes and candy-coated glossy lips he’d like to do more to than kiss. He secures the flexible hottie for daily private lessons that ultimately show him how sensual the art of yoga can be.

Can love grow between a woman who’s rooted in her life and a man who resists any notion of staying in one place?

If you’re intrigued by the practice of yoga and desire a sensual, intensely erotic, and uniquely spiritual read with characters capable of performing pretzel-like sexual acts, the Lotus House series is for you. Each of the seven books can be read as a standalone but are better read in order. No cliffhangers. Books are erotic romances written for mature audiences 18+.

resisting-roots-teaser

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Audrey Carlan is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She writes wicked hot love stories that are designed to give the reader a romantic experience that’s sexy, sweet, and so hot your e-reader might melt. Some of her works include the wildly successful Calendar Girl Serial, Falling Series, and the Trinity Trilogy.

She lives in the California Valley where she enjoys her two children and the love of her life. When she’s not writing, you can find her teaching yoga, sipping wine with her “soul sisters” or with her nose stuck in a wicked hot romance novel.

Be Sure To Follow Audrey:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AudreyCarlan/?fref=ts

Website: http://www.audreycarlan.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/audreycarlan

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/audreycarlan/

Buy Links:

Kindle: http://amzn.to/23oW0JZ

Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1R8m6uW

Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1KAxHNH

Amazon UK Paperback: http://amzn.to/1nuGcFj

iBooks: http://apple.co/20ppcOz

Google Play Books: http://bit.ly/20C13V3

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1OTtNkP

Nook: http://bit.ly/1UL6HAJ

B&N Paperback: http://bit.ly/1ktwfFT

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1RTmfnB

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1TEbrtN

PlayBooks: http://bit.ly/20C13V3

REVIEW

BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

I really enjoyed Resisting Roots. It was a fun, exciting read that I got through in a couple of days. Carlan has written a great contemporary romance that is perfect for a relaxing day spent at the beach or poolside. It’s the perfect summer beach read. As someone who has taken yoga on and off for years the fact that the series revolves around a yoga studio appealed to me. I like that each chapter started with a different yoga pose. Carlan did a good job of introducing poses and terms to people who haven’t taken yoga classes before.

I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters Trent and Genevieve. There was a particularly steamy scene in the yoga studio that I sincerely enjoyed. Not only was Trent and Genevieve’s relationship fun to read about I also loved the relationships between Genevieve and her siblings as well as Trent’s budding relationship with them as well.

There were times when the relationship between Trent and Genevieve felt a little rushed. Their initial meeting and the buildup to the consummation of their relationship was very well paced. However, afterwards it seemed to jump ahead. There were certain things that I felt could Carlan could have had spill out into the second book instead of cramming it all into a single book. It seems as if she felt she had to cram Trent and Genevieve’s entire story into one book instead of spreading it out.

Overall I genuinely enjoyed Resisting Roots and am looking forward to the next book in the series, Sacred Serenity.

Release Blitz Organized By Bare Naked Words

11329860_450265248466621_8683038024367523958_n

Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

It’s been a while since I have done my last review so I am excited to share my review of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

9780670026616_p0_v1_s260x420
Summery: In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything-her family, reputation and life-in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.
Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him threatened…
Review: I really enjoyed this book. The story was really interesting and I liked how the two story lines connected through the portrait of Sophie.
Of the two story lines I have to say that I preferred Sophie/World War One storyline over Liv’s storyline. That is probably because I liked Sophie more and thought she was a more interesting character then Liv. She carries on with her life even through the hardships of the German occupation of her town and she is willing to do anything to protect her family. On the other hand Liv has seemed to shut down completely after the death of her husband. While Sophie is willing to give up the portrait in order to save her husband Liv, selfishly, refuses to give it up.
The one thing that I like the most was Sophie’s portrait, The Girl You Left Behind, that was painted by her husband, Edouard, before their marriage. I really wish that someone from the art department had painted it and used it as the cover for the book. I liked how for Sophie it represented the girl she was before the war and for Liv it represented her marriage to David.
One thing that bugged me was the ending to Liv’s story seemed very contrived and I really wish it had had a more realistic ending. The notion that Paul only discovered Edith at the very end of the trial seemed too convenient and just plain unrealistic.
 
Best Feature: Sophie. Of the two main characters I have to say Sophie was my favorite. Out of the two female characters Sophie was the strongest. She carried on with her life despite the German occupation and was willing to give up the portrait to save Edouard.
 
Worst Feature: Modern storyline. The only thing I liked about the modern story line was that it brought up the question of ownership of items stolen during wartime. I didn’t like the character of Liv and felt that the World War One storyline held it’s own without having a second story running parallel. Plus the ending of this storyline was too contrived for me.
 
Overview: Overall I thought this was a great book. While I didn’t particularly like the modern storyline or Liv I think that Sophie’s storyline definitely made up for it.

Book Review: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

It’s been a while since my last book review so I am happy to be back with my review of The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

17802724
Summery: The lives of Cecilia, Rachel and Tessa are interwoven in this thought-provoking novel about how well we really know our spouses-and, ultimately, ourselves.
Review: I picked up The Husband’s Secret after reading Moriarty’s other book What Alice Forgot. At first I was surprised at how different the ending were: What Alice Forgot has a more upbeat/optimistic ending while at the end of The Husband’s Secret there seemed to be a lot of unresolved issues. But all in all I think that the ending was fitting for the story.
Out of all three women I found myself really liking Cecilia the most. I liked how she balanced being a mother, a businesswomen and a wife. I liked how when Cecilia finally finds out the secret her husband has been keeping from her it’s not the secret you would think (i.e. infidelity).
 
Best Feature: Secrets. As you can tell from the title the characters in the book (especially the husbands) have secrets. I liked how the book explored wether or not it was better to keep a secret and how the keeping/or sharing of those secrets changes a person’s life. I particularly enjoyed how at the end Moriarty also shows how it’s sometimes the things we don’t know that change our lives as well.
 
Worst Feature: Rachel. While I can’t image what it would be like to loose a child I found it very hard to feel sympathetic towards Rachel. Instead of trying to move forward with her live she seems content to wallow in her grief and to continually remind everyone that her daughter was murdered. She’s so caught up in the child that she has lost that she ignores her other child that is still alive.
 
Overview: I really enjoyed this book a lot. I thought Moriarty did a good job exploring the whole idea of how the sharing and keeping of secrets can affect someone’s life as well as how well does one know one own’s spouse.

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

This is probably way overdue but I have finally written my review on The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Summery: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

 

Review: There is really nothing more I can say about this book except, “I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK”. What really makes this story was Hazel and Gus. This is probably my favorite relationship in YA and Gus definitely makes it into my Top Ten Fictional Boyfriends list. My favorite part has to be the witty banter between Gus and Hazel. For me there where so many great moments between Gus and Hazel that I really have a hard time choosing just one but I think, for me, Gus’ pre-funeral has to be in my top five.
One of the things I really liked about the book was how Green was able to write about a serious issue, such as cancer, yet still add humor into the story. I really appreciated how Green doesn’t sugar coat how sick Gus gets towards the end.
Was it just me or did the ending seem familiar to anyone else:
Best Feature: Hazel-Grace. I loved Hazel-Grace as the narrator of the book. She brought a lot of humor to the story. The banter between not only her and Gus but her and her parents was great and had me laughing.
 
Worst Feature: Nothing. Like I said before I freaking loved this book and there was nothing I didn’t like about it. If there was one issue I had about the book is that sometimes the banter between Gus and Hazel
 
Overview: I repeat “I LOVED THIS BOOK”.

*The Fault in Our Stars movie comes out in theatres on June 6th. Two things I know for sure about the TFIOS movie is 1. Shailene + Ansel= adorable and 2. I will most likely be sobbing like a baby throughout the entire film. Until then…*

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

This is my review for the detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). Although Rowling wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith I will be referring to the author as J.K. Rowling. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
url

Summery: Down on his luck private investigator Cormoran Strike is living out of his office and down to one client when he is hired by a man named John Bristow to investigate the apparent suicide of his adopted sister, supermodel Lula Landry.
 
Review: When I first heard that J.K. Rowling had written a detective novel under a pseudonym I wasn’t exactly rushing out to buy it. But when it was chosen as my book club book last month I was actually excited to have an excuse to read it.
While I was reading I got so caught up in trying to figure out who the murderer was that it wasn’t until I finished reading the book that I realized there wasn’t a lot going on plot-wise in the book: it was mostly just Strike interviewing Lula’s friends and family. I loved the descriptions of not only the different characters but of London itself. Rowling does a great job of describing the different people Strike meets during the course of the book. Many of them (especially Evan Dunfield) seem as if they could be based on modern day celebrities. However, despite the whole investigation being about Lula I felt like at the end we didn’t really know her so it was really hard to really care about her. I wish Rowling would have explored her a little more especially the whole mental illness aspect of her character.
I don’t know if Rowling did it intentionally, so that she would have more to draw on in the next book, but there were a lot of loose ends that hadn’t been tied. They never really explained why John had hired Strike in the first place. I mean if you had gotten away with murder why hire a P.I. to investigate. Also I felt that there was some unresolved tension between Strike and Robin that I really hope is explored more in the next book.
 
Best Feature: Cormoran Strike. Out of all the characters Strike was my favorite (that’s not surprising since he’s the main character) mostly because he was the most drawn out (again not that surprising). I thought his whole backstory is very interesting, his whole relationship with his parents and his sister, and his time in the army.
 
Worst Feature: The reveal. While I was surprised by who the killer turned out to be I felt as thought the big reveal at the end was a little bit anti-climatic. Although to it’s credit it very much reminded me of one of those old film noir detective movies when the detective (or P.I.) would confront the killer then proceed to tell the killer (and the audience) how he did the murder.
 
Overview: After reading this book I can understand why Rowling wrote this book under a pseudonym because coming into this book know it was written by her I had very high expectations. Overall I enjoyed the book. I don’t usually read detective novels but I am glad I picked this one up. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series because I feel very invested in the character of Strike and want to see what happens next with him (and Robin).

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

It’s been a long time since my last book review so I’m glad I finally got around to actually writing a new book review for the blog. For my second book review I decided to do The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Since I liked the format for my review of Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin I decided to stick with that for this and my other upcoming reviews. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

night-circus-the

Summery: The Night Circus is the story of two young magicians, Celia and Marco. From childhood they have trained by their two mentors to compete in a magical competition.. The setting for this competition is a traveling circus. As the circus travels around the world Celia and Marco begin to fall in love, unaware that the competition can only be won by the last person standing.
 
Review: I absolutely loved this book. The opening line was probably my favorite opening line from any book I have read: The circus arrives without warning.” Automatically my minds starts firing off questions: where did the circus come from?, why did it come without warning?. It is definitely the type of opening sentence that grabs an audience. Even the name of the circus is enticing: Le Cirque des Reves,“The Circus of Dreams”. What I loved the most was how descriptive Erin was when describing the circus and it’s various tents. It just made me wish the circus was real so I could explore all the different tents.
The book was told from three different points of view: Celia and Marco’s, Bailey’s, and a third point of view. (The third POV seems to be the reader itself and is written as if the reader is entering the circus as an observer) Because Bailey’s timeline was out of order with Celia and Marco’s it was often confusing when you would jump from one POV to the other. For example you would have a Celia/Marco chapter taking place in 1884 then the next chapter would be Bailey in 1897 then back to Celia/Marco in 1885. I would often have to skim back to the previous chapter just to remember where I was in the book.
I liked that the romance between Celia and Marco was very gradual. Throughout most of the book Celia and Marco had very little face to face interaction with each other. Their romance really occurred through the circus. Each new tent they created and added on to was a love letter to other.
I happened to really enjoy the ending of the book. I liked how when Alexander asks Widget to tell him a story Widget begins his story with the very first line of the book: “The circus arrives without warning.” It almost made me wonder if it was Widget who was telling the story the entire time since he is able to see the past and was always making up stories for Poppet. It was great how in the last chapter (told from the reader’s point of view) ended with the realization that the circus is still continuing to this day when the reader picks up a business card that says “Mr Bailey Alden Clarke, Proprietor bailey@nightcircus.com“. The addition of the email address makes it clear that the reader is in a modern time unlike the rest of the book that took place in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. It became obvious that Poppet was the new fortune teller (since she was able to see the future) and that Bailey took over as the manager of the circus.
 
Best Feature: The Circus. Erin did such a great job describing the circus and it’s different tents that it almost felt real. I really couldn’t decide which tent was my favorite: the ice garden, the wishing tree, or Widget’s tent.
 
Worst Feature: Pacing. There were times when the pacing was a little slow and I really had to push through. It was also a little confusing when the chapters would skip from one point of view from another because I would have to go back to the last chapter just to reorient myself.
 
Overview: I really enjoyed this book. I absolutely loved Erin’s description of the circus. While I like the Celia and Marco story line I loved reading Bailey and the reader’s parts because you really got to discover more of the circus during those parts. While the pacing was a little slow at times it was such an engaging story that you had to find out what was going to happen next.

Book Review: Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

For the first book review for this blog I decided to do Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. As I said this is my first book review so I am trying out a structure to my reviews. This may change as I go and become more comfortable writing my book reviews. Be Aware: This Review Contains Spoilers.

heart-of-the-matter-giffin-emily-9780312554170

Summery: Heart of the Matter is the story of two women, Tessa Russo and Valerie Anderson. Tessa is a stay-at-home mother of two children. She is married to Nick, a pediatric surgeon. Valerie is a working single mother of a six year old boy, Charlie. One day a tragic accident causes both Tessa and Valerie’s lives to converge.

Review: On the whole I thought this was an interesting (if not completely original) story. What I liked most about the book was that it was told in alternating points of view: Tessa and Valerie. In most stories that deal with infidelity we only get the wife’s perspective so the fact that Giffin tells the story from both the wife and the mistress’ point of view was refreshing. However it didn’t make me feel very sympathetic towards Valerie.
In fact I had a hard time liking either Tess or Valerie. I found both characters to be unsympathetic and annoying at times. Throughout the book Tessa complains that she is unhappy as a stay-at-home mother yet she doesn’t do anything to change her situation (as in taking a part time job). The only reason I felt a little sorry for Tessa was because her husband, Nick, was cheating on her. But I really have to give her credit because unlike Nick she actually seemed to want to work on the issues in their marriage.
In the beginning Valerie seems unhappy in her role as a single working mother yet she seems to close herself off to others. The only people she allows into her life are Charlie and her twin brother. I really felt that  by beging a romantic relationship with Nick she was acting selfishly  She knew from the start that Nick was married yet she still brought him into Charlie’s life knowing that he wasn’t going to be a permanent feature in his life. I feel that she didn’t love Nick so much as she love theidea of Nick. I also feel that Nick didn’t really love Valerie for herself but loved that she reminded him of Tessa when he first met her.

Best Feature: Alternating Points of View: The best feature for me was the alternating points of view. I liked that you got both sides of the story which made it a more interesting read. I only wish I had liked Tess and Valerie more.

Worst Feature: Nick. I didn’t like Tess or Valerie (no matter how hard I tried) but I really couldn’t stand Nick, Tessa’s husband. He seemed unhappy in his marriage yet, unlike Tessa, he didn’t seem to want to work on their issues. A couple of times in the book Tessa states what a great father Nick is yet instead of wanting to spend time with his own children he would rather leave them at home with a babysitter so he can be with Valerie and Charlie. For some reason this upset me more then his cheating on his wife. If there was anyone I felt bad for in this story it was Tess and Nick’s children.

Overview: I really did enjoy this book. I would have enjoyed it much more if I could have liked Tessa and Valerie more but overall it was a fun read. I think what made the book for me was the fact that you got both Tessa and Valeries point of view. I think that more then anything else this is what made the book more interesting because you were able to see the story from both sides.