The Immortalists

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**Thank you to Putnam for my free final copy in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

If you could know the date of your death, would you want to?

When my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer ten years ago, I met with a genetic counselor to assess my personal risk. Leading up to the decision, my husband and I discussed all angles of my choice and it brought on some very deep discussions. From the very beginning, there was no question in my mind that I would have the test taken – I wanted to be hypervigilant with my body because I believe that the sooner you recognize there could be a problem, the better. However, my husband, if given the same choice, was adamant that he wouldn’t want to know. He said he would refuse to take any kind of test that would tell him his chances of getting certain diseases or illnesses. While that thought process personally baffles me, I don’t begrudge him his choice.

While learning your liklihood of getting various diseases is not the same as knowing the exact date of your death, this book made me ponder what my choice would be if put in the same situation as Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon. If you’d have asked me in my younger years, I’m sure my answer would have unequivocally been, “YES!”, but as I’ve gotten older, I think I might resist the temptation.

As the children find out, knowing the date of your death could quite possibly change the very way you chose to live. This book is magical in every single way – from the psychic who makes these predictions to Benjamin’s writing. I was enraptured by the whole story from the very first line.

While the book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I found it to be such an enjoyable read and was so disappointed when it ended. I wanted to follow the siblings on their journey’s forever. I haven’t read Bejamin’s first novel, The Anatomy of Dreams, but I plan on getting my hands on a copy soon.

This was my first read of 2018 and it set the bar high. If this is setting the tone for the rest of the year, I’m excited!!

This book’s publishing date is Tuesday, January 9th. Be sure to pre-order or plan a trip to the bookstore so you can see what the buzz is all about!

 

The Essex Serpent

Two things totally made me buy this one: the cover! 😍, and a rave review from Annie B. Jones (she named it one of her favorite reads of 2017). Soooooo,

I strug.gled to get through this one.

I kept hoping the build up was slow in order to set the scene, but no, it was just slow all the way through. There was a lot of anticipation around this so-called beast, The Essex Serpent, but that plot line literally never came to fruition. I’m sorry, but when you name the title of a book after that which is being sought, there better be something there! It’s just hard for me to overcome a disappointment that big.

I enjoyed Cora’s character. She’s a quirky and unconventional protagonist who is easy to adore. Recently widowed from a man she wasn’t exactly head-over-heels for, she gains her independence in admirable ways. The story was somewhat saved for me by Cora, so I’m grateful for that.

The writing wasn’t terrible. There were glimmers of hope that the story was on the verge of turning around (that, quite honestly, is probably how I kept reading instead of abandoning it all together), it just never did.

This book had similar vibes to The Signature of All Things; however, where The Essex Serpent failed, The Signature of All Things totally delivered. If you were to chose, definitely go with Signature over this one!

(I know the calendar says January 2, but this was my last read of 2017 – slid right under the radar on NYE ⏰🎊. I’m just now getting it posted because vacation…🌵☀️)

Winter Street

Winter Street by: Elin Hilderbrand

Thank you to Hachette Books and my favorite book fairy, Lauren, for the free finished copy for review. All opinions are my own.

Winter Street has invaded #bookstagram and I can see why! Each of the Quinn’s work their way into your hearts very quickly and I found myself flying through the pages of this one.

What endeared me most about the Quinn’s is their ability to see past each other’s mistakes and to just love each other despite any wrongdoings or misgivings they may have. It’s unconditional love at its finest.

Winter Street ended with a cliffhanger, so I’m excited to continue the story as soon as possible!

 

After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, A Daughter’s Search

After the Eclipse by: Sarah Perry

“But a violent act is an epicenter; it shakes everyone within reach and creates other stories, cracks open the earth and reveals buried secrets.”

Whenever I read memoirs such as this one, I’m always struck by the human spirit’s will to survive. Unthinkable tragedies occur every day around the world, and when the phoenix rises from the ashes, I’m in awe of their determination. Sarah Perry is no exception to the rule: she was the only witness to the brutal murder of her mother, and with that role, came the heavy burden to avenge her mother’s death. Over the course of several years, Perry researched, interviewed, and relived that one horrible night that changed the course of her life forever.

“This was when I first learned that pain could yield beauty.”

Raw, intense, and honest, Perry writes a beautiful tribute to her mother, Crystal. While Crystal struggled to find a true and lasting love for herself, she never failed to provide a loving and devoted atmosphere for her daughter. This love would come to serve her well as Perry faced challenges of her own after her mother’s death. Shuffled from place to place, never again feeling like she had a place to belong, Perry fought for the truth of what happened that night – not only for her mother – but for herself as well.

“In the years after Mom died, so many things made me think of her; every detail in the world seemed to be associated with her. […] it is mostly gratitude I feel for the shadow of her presence.”

This book reminds me that there’s nothing quite like a mother’s love. It runs deep and permeates one’s entire being. Regardless of whether a mother is still alive or not, children inevitably feel their mother’s pulse running through every fiber of their being. It’s a bond that’s unbreakable – a bond that lends strength to her children and gives them the hope and determination they need to overcome the challenges they face.

One of Us Is Lying

Again, this may be due to the holiday stress, but this one didn’t live up to the hype for me.

I found the plot to be very predictable; however, I do believe I could have enjoyed it more had I read it at a different time.

I loved the concept of the plot (and the Breakfast Club vibe) because it isn’t one that’s been done before and it added an interesting twist to the reason behind it at the end.

I loved the characters and their dynamics with each other.

If you enjoy a good YA novel, you’ll like this one.

I wish I would have read it at a time when I was in a better reading place.

What were your thoughts on this one?

Spoonbenders

Spoonbenders was good, but not as un-put-down-able as I had hoped it would be.

I loved the concept of the story, but I’m not sure the author pulled it off. To be honest, for the majority of the book, I wondered if the family truly had any psychic abilities or if they were all just delusional about their abilities. Anyway, this one was just so-so for me.

I’m not sure if I’m just not in the reading mood lately (life has been so crazy busy between end-of-year school concerts, doc and ortho appts, Christmas preparation, shopping, and planning, etc etc etc) that I find myself struggling to want to pick up a book. Are any of you struggling with a desire to read in this lead up to Christmas or is it just me!? 🎄🎁

(Also, I apologize for the brevity of this review, but it’s all about compromise right now. Short = posted and that’s more important to me right now than nothing at all!)

The Light We Lost

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I wanted to love this one, but didn’t. (In full disclosure, romance/chick-lit is not my favorite genre to begin with.) Having said that, I disliked the main character, Lucy, very much, and anytime you can’t connect with the main character, you’re already in trouble. Gabe was a selfish jerk that clearly doesn’t understand the boundaries of a marriage (and, for the record, neither does Lucy). Darren was my favorite character of them all and that’s probably more out of pity than anything else.

Sooooo, none of those things really worked in my favor.

I will say that I enjoyed the author’s writing style very much. I definitely think she has talent (this was her debut novel), so I will give her next book another shot. I also loved the premise of the book –  9/11 is an event that most, if not all, Americans can relate to personally – however, the storyline just didn’t deliver for me.

According to the glowing reviews on Goodreads and #bookstagram, it seems as if I’m an outlier on this one. It is a quick read, and even though I didn’t end up loving it, I didn’t detest it so much that I put it down without finishing it. If you’re a fan of Nicholas Sparks, I think you’d enjoy this very much. Again, romance and chick-lit aren’t my preferred genre, but that doesn’t mean some stories won’t work every now and then. I’m glad I gave it a shot; however, I would have preferred to just check this one out from the library!