Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Dear Bookworms,

I don’t normally find myself reading classic gothic noir novels but here we are. My aunt and I did a read along together and surprisingly- I enjoyed this one! (Our Wuthering Heights read along was not as enjoyable haha!)

Rebecca
By Daphne Du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

So begins the haunting tale of one womans recollection of her time as the second Mrs de Winter of Maderley. The beautiful Manderly, once known for its lavish and extravagant balls, and the beautiful mistress of the house, Rebecca de Winter, has been shut up and quiet in the months after her death. When Maxim de Winter remarries, bringing the new Mrs. de Winter home, the place is like a living museum, the late Mrs. de Winter can be found everywhere, in every room, on all the grounds. The second Mrs. de Winter spends her days wondering about her predecessor, trying to figure out what sort of woman she was, and if Maxim truly loves her, or just attempted (and poorly so at that) to fill the gaping hole in his heart after his late wife’s tragic boating accident. The new Mrs. de Winter is nothing like Rebecca. She is neither beautiful nor refined, and finds herself at a loss for how to enter this new world she knows nothing about.

First of all, its incredibly frustrating to try and write a book review when the book never even tells you the main characters name! We never find out what the new Mrs. de Winters first name is, and I suppose the reasoning being is simple enough - the entire novel is about her never living up to Rebecca de Winters legacy. It was truly amazing how Rebecca, while not even alive, was such an integral main character in her own right. Her life (and subsequent death) cast this shadow on the entire book, every character we meet shrouded in it in some fashion, all their actions propelled by this ghost of a woman in some way.

It was far more of a mystery than I was expecting- it wasn’t so much of a coming of age novel as a thriller which was an exciting change of pace from what I had been expecting. There were only a handful of characters, many of which were not likable in the least (perhaps a product of their time? The book was published in 1938 after all but it could have very well been design as well) but the new Mrs. de Winter has some things I could relate to, one being her insane ability to overthink any and all situations haha

This classic is definitely worth a read if you have never read it, and if it’s been awhile- worth a revisit!

Until next week!

XOXO,

Coco



Book Review: Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Wood

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read seemed so interesting and I was really excited to give it a read, unfortunately (for reasons I’ll explain below) it just sort of fell flat for me.

Kitty Hayward finds herself alone and quite penniless on the streets of NY City after her mother disappears from their hotel room and she is promptly asked to leave for her inability to pay for the room on her own. Having only recently arrived in NY from England a few days earlier with her mother, she has no clue what to do, or where to go. Sitting on a bench in the park, afraid and hungry, she happens across a strange man who decides to take her under his wing. Archie works for Magruders Curiosity Cabinet on Coney Island. A “freak show” if you will of strange and unusual people and props, this side show attraction is filled with a close knit and peculiar bunch. Her new band of friends promises to assist Kitty in finding her missing mother, but not before a strange sickness begins to ravage the city. As the city tumbles into chaos, Kittys hope of finding her mother (and finding her alive) dwindles, and streets of New York delve into panic and violence.

Ok, so as I said earlier, I really didn’t love this book, and part of that may have been my expectations going into it? I had assumed this book would be more focused on the unique characters from the curiosity cabinet taking Kitty under their wing, welcoming her and introducing her into the ways of their little family, all while helping her find her mother. What this book was more about, was a plague ripping it’s way across the city. It was dark and disturbing, and filled with violence and sadness. There were some pretty graphic depictions of death that I was just not expecting. I guess I was imagining more light hearted, maybe even comical? This was not that.

The book seemed overly drawn out, much longer than it really needed to be in my opinion. It was dark and sad, moreso than seemed necessary. Perhaps had I gone into it with a different mindset I would have found more enjoyment in it? I will say I did really enjoy the unique characters and their relationships with each other, that was probably the best part of the book to me.

If a dark historical fiction is your jam- this may be the read for you. Just don’t go into it expecting a happy ending for everyone, or any comedic relief from the dark and tragic plot line.

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco



Book Review: The Good Daughter by Karen Slaughter

Dear Bookworms,

The Good Daughter: A Novel
By Karin Slaughter

This week is another thrilling mystery by Karen Slaughter. I was blown away by Pretty Girls (check the tags at the bottom of this post to read that review) and just had to jump into another one of her reads.

Twenty eight years after a devastating tragedy in a small Georgia town ripped a family apart, two estranged sisters, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn find themselves back together again after another tragedy strikes again. A defense attorney like their father, Charlotte finds herself at the scene of what appears to be a straightforward case of homicide. Witnessing such a devastating crime, Charlotte is brought back to that night, twenty eight years ago, when she is forced from her house at gunpoint with her sister, her mother dead in their kitchen. Memories long buried and locked away, return and even more so when here estranged sister, Samantha (a patents and contract lawyer) comes back to town to help. The two sisters find themselves embroiled in a capitol murder case which when held under a microscope, isn’t as cut and dry as originally thought. The two women must work together to help a possibly innocent woman charged with murder, while fighting the demons of their past that have resurfaced after years of trying to forget.

Absolutely riveting read! This one was told in a series of flashbacks, both from Samantha and Charlotte’s perspectives of that night twenty eight years ago, interspersed with the present. Slaughter has a uncanny ability to create such drama and tension in her scenes, I would find myself literally holding my breath in anticipation. The book was a two fold mystery; as the reader, piecing together the events of the night their mother was murdered and the two sisters were taken from their home at gunpoint as well as what exactly happened with the murders Charlotte found herself at the scene of in the present. There were many twists and turns of which I was NOT expecting ( I’ll admit I gasped on more than one occasion).

If I wasn’t already hooked on Slaughters writing style and insanely amazing plots, The Good Daughter absolutely solidified that for me, I’ll definitely be reading more of her work (and guys- she’s got a lot out there!), and soon!

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

Book Review: The Cheaters Game by CJ Archer

Dear Bookworms,

Book 7 in the Glass and Steele series is another win in my book!

Buffalo Bills Wild West Show is doing a tour stop in London, and with it, a slew of American cowboys and sharp shooters invade the local tavern for drinking and gambling each night. Never one to pass up a chance to play cards, India, Matt, Duke, Cyclops, and Willie spend an evening hanging out and gambling with the shows cast. After a heated argument about suspected cheating with a sharpshooter, Emmett, ends in blows, the crew wonder if something more magical is going on. When Emmett turns up dead in the alleyway that very night, Duke is naturally named a suspect. India and Matt take it upon themselves to investigate the death in an attempt to clear Dukes name. It doesn’t take long before they realize magic is definitely in play, as the deceased is suspected to be a paper magician. There is no shortage of suspects from both the traveling show, and known magicians in town, and India and Matt once again find themselves embroiled in a dangerous mystery where the killer will stop at nothing to elude exposure.

CJ Archer has struck gold with this series! The possibilities for where this sleuthing crew can go and grow is endless. I am super excited to see where the spell casting goes with the introduction of the new character, Fabian Charbonneau. Watching India learn about and develop her magic is so fun to read and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here (I have a feeling she’s gonna be a bad ass). My heart literally melted at India and Matts wedding- I could write my entire review as one long swoonfest to these two but I will spare you the sap. Bottom line…#relationshipgoals. There was plenty of action, adventure, and near death experiences (of course- Archer knows how to get a readers adrenaline pumping!). I am eagerly awaiting the release of the next in the series (hurry up September 8th!) I’ve got my eye on the next budding romance, Catherine and Cyclops. I thoroughly enjoy each supporting characters development and plot lines just as much as India and Matt and those two are ones I’m keeping my eye on over the course of the next few books for sure!

Overall a truly magical read with the perfect combination of magic, action, romance, and mystery!

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

Book Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Dear Bookworms,

Alert! Alert! Another Gaiman review coming!

Fat Charlie Nancy lives a perfectly mundane life in London. He has a decent job (which severely under appreciates him) a pretty finance (who may only like him because her mother despises him), and a hugely embarrassing father to boot. He has never had particularly good luck, and while not “fat” can’t seem to shake the nickname his father game him when he was younger. Upon hearing that his father has passed, Fat Charlie makes his way to Florida for the funeral, thus setting into motion a series of events that will change Fat Charlies life forever.

This book definitely ranks up there for me in my top favorite Gaiman books for sure! It had an American Vibes kind of feel as we discover Fat Charlies father was actually a god and he delves into that side of his ancestry that he previously knew nothing about. There was that same dry sense of humor and wit that I have come to anticipate and love with any Gaiman read. The characters were all fantastic and quirky, sometimes borderline ridiculous- in the best possible ways. Watching Fat Charlie grow and evolve was both hilarious and heart stopping at times. No matter what the story, Gaiman has a way of making me really yearn to visit his versions of the world in each and every one of his books.

Add this read to your list friends, its a winner!

XOXO,

Coco

Anansi Boys
By Neil Gaiman

Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Dear Bookworms,

I feel like I am slowly making my way through all of Gaimans reads (because I am obsessed with him, check out the tags on this post for other reviews of his books) and this man never disappoints.

I’ll admit I have never seen the popular movie adaptation of this book so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was definitely a light, spooky read for kids and adults.

Coraline
By Neil Gaiman

Coraline mostly likes the new flat her and her parents have recently moved into, except for the niggling curiosity about the locked door which once opened, is bricked up. Having been told it’s nothing but the product of turning the once large home into a series of apartments, Coralines curiosity continues to linger. One dreary English day when she is stuck indoors with little else to do, Coraline takes the the key, opens the door, and finds the doorway no longer bricked up, but that it opens into a hallway. Following the hallway into the house next door, Coraline discovers a world mirroring her own, complete with it’s own Mother and Father; but this world is different….and dangerous. Coraline must use all her wits and her bravery to get herself safety out of this world and back to her own.

This read was a fairly quick one, but packed with adventure nonetheless! Gaimans characters and books always have such a unique feel and tone to them, and Coraline was no different. It was that perfect mixture of quirk and darkness with an entertaining plot line that kept me engaged from page one! This one could be read with kids, to kids, by kids, or adults and still be thoroughly enjoyed.

Definitely add this one to your reading list friends!

Until next week!

Book Review: Educated by Tara Westover

Dear Bookworms,

Educated: A Memoir
By Tara Westover

I know I may be late to the game here with this one considering it’s smash success last year but better late than never am I right?

I know I’m not one to typically read a memoir (unless it’s one by Jenny Lawson because she is my spirit animal) but man am I glad I picked this one up!

Tara Westover was 17 years old before she ever stepped foot in a classroom. One of six children born into a strict Mormon household in Idaho in the 80’s, her classroom was the junkyard her father scrapped from. Growing up, Tara was indoctrinated with end of days doomsday prepping. She spent countless hours with her mother canning fruit to put in their emergency bunker. Formal education was seen as nothing more than a way for the Illuminati to indoctrinate the next generation of “gentiles”. The medical establishment was a farce and all aliments from burns, cuts, strep throat, and cancer could be solved with homeopathic tinctures and realignment of the chakras, in the kitchen of her family home. Tara makes the life changing decision to apply to college and so begins her education. Tara not only learns all the things found in books she has never learned before (including all about the Holocaust), but learns about the intense dysfunction she grew up within. Tara learns who she is, and where her ideals lie in this captivating coming of age memoir.

The book was BANANAS y’all. I cannot even fathom growing up in the sort of psychotic dysfunction Tara spent the first 17 years of her life, but her memoir is written so vividly and with such thought to detail of emotion, eliciting all the senses, I could picture myself in her shoes. My heart broke for Tara, on so many different occasions as those she should have been able to trust to protect her unconditionally, time and again, broke that trust. I am honestly flabbergasted that all her siblings have survived into adulthood. The sheer dangerousness of working with her father in the scrapyard coupled with the fact that they never sought actual medical attention for extremely serious injuries - and all lived - is just astounding.

It also really put into perspective to me that our lives are a culmination of so many pivotal moments. Moments where our choices can put our lives on whole other trajectories. Sometimes we make these choices with the help and at the direction of others, but without that initial leap of faith, our lives could wind up completely different. Tara may just have easily lived out her whole life on that mountain in Idaho with a gaggle of children and no formal education. Making salves and tinctures with her mother, eventually taking over for her as midwife for the area. Instead, and through a culmination of choices, chances, and hard hard work, Tara ultimately earns her PhD from Cambridge University. It almost takes your breath away to consider all the times it could have, and should have gone differently.

Fascinating read that explores so many relevant topics ranging from mental illness, cycles of abuse, toxic masculinity and Mormonism, this is one that I would hands down recommend. In fact, I’ll probably be talking about this one in my yearly wrap up as a favorite for 2019.

Have you guys read this one? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

XOXO,

Coco


Book Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Dear Bookworms,

Pretty Girls
By Karin Slaughter

Good grief this was a heavy read. I did want to add a trigger warning to this one for extreme violence and sexual assault. If you are sensitive to those topics in a read, this one probably isn’t for you.

Two sisters, estranged for over twenty years after the disappearance of their oldest sister tore their family apart, are content living their vastly separate lives. Claire, a multi- millionaire trophy wife, spends her days playing tennis and arranging social events. Lydia, an ex-junkie with a teenage daughter and an ex-con boyfriend, owns her own pet grooming business, scrapping together to provide what she can for her daughter; she leads a quiet if comfortable life. It took her years after the disappearance of their sister Julia to get her life back on the straight and narrow.

Claire finds her life turned upside down after a botched robbery results in the death of her husband; and when the FBI starts snooping around her house asking questions about her husband, Claire isn’t sure what to think and starts digging herself. When Claire finds shocking evidence of her husbands vile, violent secret life, she reaches out to Lydia, after over twenty years. The two sisters find themselves wrapped up in something far more sinister and dangerous than either could have imagined. Connections are forged between their sisters disappearance over 20 years ago, and Pauls murder in that ally. The two are racing against the clock to connect the dots, before it’s too late and what’s left of their family is irrevocable torn apart.

Let me start off by saying this was a fantastic read. The attention to detail, the twists and turns (THE TWISTS AND TURNS!) made for an absolutely riveting read. It was deeply chilling and disturbing; I got literal goosebumps while reading. Beneath all the horrible violence and evil, there was a bravery and resilience that was reaffirming to read. Despite what the two sisters were up against, they fought. And I don’t mean physically (although there was that and it was oh so satisfying) but they fought with their minds and they fought to not give up. There were moments that I was sure one or the other would crumble under the pressure, but their resilience always shone through. They leaned on each other when they were too overwhelmed to handle the pressure and isn’t that what’s so special about relationships with those we love? We shoulder the burdens when they can’t carry them anymore and they do they same for us. This read a fast paced ball of action, there were literally no dull moments.

Slaughter definitely has me hooked (and man what a name for a crime thriller writer huh?) and I will be sure to add her other novels to by never ending TBR list.

Until next week my friends!

XOXO,

Coco

Book Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Dear Bookworms,

First of all, let me just say (ashamedly) that I have watched, and re-watched, and re-re-watched this movie dozens of times. This one ranks right up there with Princess Bride for me (GASP!). So it pains to me say that upon originally seeing the movie (and the millions of times watching it after) that I had no clue it was originally a Gaiman book.

Stardust
By Neil Gaiman

Needless to say when I found out it was a book I HAD TO READ IT. When i realized it was by Gaiman, I knew I would love it probably even more than the movie.

Tristran Thorne lives in the small quaint town of Wall, England. Named so for the stone wall which divides the town from the land of faerie. The wall is guarded day and night with strict instructions not to let anyone pass, except for when the market comes, once every 9 years to set up in the meadow just outside the town, in the land between Wall and faerie. In the hopes of winning the most beautiful girl in towns affections, Tristran Thorne sets off on an adventure in faerie to bring his beloved back a fallen star. Little does he know, the fallen star isn’t just a lump of metallic space rock, but a young woman. And he isn’t the only one seeking her out. Others search for the star as well, but for reasons which will do her great harm. Meanwhile, the King of Stormhold has passed and his remaining sons are on a quest through faerie in search of his bewitched jeweled necklace, for whoever of the Stormhold blood finds it first, will hold all the power of Stormhold and become it’s next reigning king.

This book has stolen my heart all over again with love for the story of Tristran and Yvaine. While there are marked differences between the book and the movie adaptation, it was still the story I have loved for so many years (which was a relief- I was secretly nervous I wouldn’t enjoy it having seen the movie so many times- usually it’s the other way around for me!) It was expertly crafted and woven together with the various different elements that played into the story of Tristran and Yvaine. It was almost as if their love for each other was written in the stars from the beginning (you see what I did there?)

There was that signature wry and dry humor a plenty which I have come to expect and enjoy with Gaiman’s reads. The only critique I have with the difference to the movie is that I really, thoroughly enjoyed Robert DeNiros character (the captain of the ship that caught lightening for all you all who have seen the movie) and all the time Tristran and Yvaine had on the pirate ship in the movie which just wasn’t the same or as prominent a part in the book. Pirate part aside, the book was simply magical and wonderful and now I feel the need to watch the movie to be with the characters again, for just a little longer.

I will say, the audiobook version I listened to (read by Neil- hands down one of my favorite narrators) had a really lovely interview with Neil at the end that made for interesting listening. He discussed how he came up with the idea for the story and the different stages of its genesis. Fascinating listen!

As a side note- I know the movie is family friendly but the book is more for older teen/adults.

Until next week!

XOXO,

Coco

Book Review: Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Dear Bookworms,

Every Last Lie
By Mary Kubica

Another Mary Kubica book for the win! Check out the tags below to read a couple other reviews of her previous novels (they are all fantastic).

Clara is reeling from the sudden death of her husband Nick. The police have ruled it an accident- speeding combined with a sharp turn resulted in a deadly collision with a tree, killing him on impact but leaving his 4 year old in the backseat with nothing but a scratch. Just days postpartum with their second child, Claras world is rocked. Unable to pick up the pieces, grieve, and move on with her life, Clara begins digging into the events leading up to Nicks death, convinced someone must have run him off the road on purpose. Clara uncovers shocking information about her husband in her quest to discover what exactly happened. Did she know her husband at all? She will not rest until she uncovers every last lie.

This one was told in alternating perspectives, the present with Clara and the past (spanning a few months past) with Nick. I enjoy this style of storytelling, particularly with a mystery. It’s a fun and interesting way for the reader to make discoveries and piece together clues. The book had a different feel to me than Kubicas previous novels, but it was just as enticing and enrapturing of a read. Claras grief was palpable in Kubicas writing. I cannot even imagine what that must be like, to lose my husband and find myself not only with a large hole in my life, but to find out that my partner was hiding secrets. Kubica sets up the plot nicely, with a wide array of potential villains and motives and the ending was once again not what I had expected. There were a few loose ends that I don’t feel were very well tied up (no spoilers but feel free to jump into the comments if you want to discuss!) but nothing that hinder the plot line.

Overall another fantastic read!

XOXO,

Coco

Book Review: Oleah Chronicles Truth by Michelle Johnson

Dear Bookworms,

This read was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Oleah Chronicles: Truth
By Michelle Johnson

Life seems pretty normal for 16 year old Angel Seriki; school, friends, gossiping about boys. That is until the mysterious Zander Black shows up. A transfer student from a prestigious private school, Angel seems to form a strange connection with him immediately. The two are drawn to one another in a way Angel cannot explain. Ever since his arrival at school, Angel has been plagued by nightmares and strange hallucinations, and her seemingly normal life begins to get a whole lot more complicated. As details from hers and her parents past come unraveled and brought to light, Angel finds herself squaring off against an unimaginable foe and a decision that may result in her leaving her life as she knew it behind forever.

Pretty solid read! You all know I enjoy a good contemporary fantasy/supernatural book and this one definitely scratched that itch for me. Johnson builds a pretty unique world in Angels backstory and I am looking forward to seeing even more of that in book 2 (which thankfully I have handy to dive into!). The Oleah are a unique race and I enjoyed the feline shapeshifting aspect. They ooze a certain regal strength that played well in the plot of the book.

The characters were all pretty likable including Angels best friend, Julie. She was the perfect sidekick, spunky and loyal- we all need a Julie in our life! I did find myself slipping into swoon mode, like Angel, the more I read about Zander. He has the strong yet gentle charisma that really makes for a perfect love interest of a character. Despite having her life turned upside down, Angel seemed strong and brave in a way that I feel will only continue to grow as the series (and her character) develops further.

My only drawbacks to the book were that I could have done with a little bit more plot development in the building of Zander and Angels relationship, it seemed a tad rushed at times as was the build up with our villain. I would have enjoyed more cat and mouse between the two factions, really building that tension and anxiety. I’m hoping the remainder of the series can do that for me.

Overall a good read- one that I would recommend to my middle grade readers and up!

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco





Book Review: Grenade by Alan Gratz

Dear Bookworms,

So last year I devoured a number of books by Alan Gratz (look for the tags at the bottom of this post to check them out!), falling in love with his ability to tell the tales of those broken by war, putting faces and stories to the countless unnamed who didn’t make it to tell their story themselves.

Grenade
By Alan Gratz

Grenande takes place during WWII at the battle of Okinawa. Ray, a young mid western farmer turned solider is just a freckled faced boy when he lands on the beaches of Okinawa with the sole mission to get home alive. Hideki is an even younger boy, Okinawan pulled from school and made to join the Blood and Iron Student Corps who was given 2 grenades and a mission. One grenade to kill as many Americans as you can, and one to kill yourself. Told through alternating chapters between Ray and Hidekis perspectives, the reader comes to realize the two, while fighting on opposite sides of the war, are actually not so different.

Gratz has such a unique way of bringing history to life within his stories. They are chalk full of history and facts but in a way that feels very natural and engaging. This book more so than his others really highlights the effects of war on people, soldiers in particular. Grantz does an amazing job of humanizing each solider, from both sides, showing that their similarities far outweigh their differences. Fear turned them into monsters, Japanese and American alike, but we can choose to overcome that fear and remember our humanity. Poor Hideki broke my heart. To be so young, to lose so much, to be forced to make impossibly hard life or death decisions was gut wrenching. I was awed by his sticktoitiveness and unrelenting bravery in the face of so many adversities.

An important read, bursting with history and the effects of war on the human psyche that I recommend to my readers of all ages.

Until next week friends

XOXO,

Coco


Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Dear Bookworms,

This charming fantasy stole my heart this week <3

Every year The Protectorate sacrifices it’s youngest citizen to the witch of the forest, for without the sacrifice (they are told) the witch would destroy them all. Every year, Xan, heads out to rescue a baby from certain death, found within a ring of holly trees. Making the journey to the free cities with the babe in tow, she nourishes the baby with starlight along the journey. She carefully selects the perfect family for the abandoned child, ensuring it will be forever loved and cared for. This year, however, Xan accidentally feeds the child moonlight instead of starlight, thus enmagicking her. Having fallen in love with the child on her journey, she heads back home, having claimed her for her own. With the help of her tiny dragon, Fyrian and her loyal Swamp Monster, Glerk, they raise the magic child, now Luna in a home filled with love and magic. As Luna grows, so does her magic. In an effort to protect Luna from herself and to protect those around her, Xan puts a spell on Luna to contain all her magic within until her 13th birthday. Meanwhile in the Protectorate, a mother grieves her child, never giving up hope that she will one day find her daughter, taken by the Sisters. Unbeknownst to her, as Luna nears her 13th birthday, change is coming, and not only within herself but within the Protectorate as well. A man has set out to kill the witch to protect his child which is to be this years sacrifice, and Luna must venture out on her own to save those she loves.

First of all, I listened to this one on audiobook and the narrator, Christina Moore, absolutely killed it! She brought so much life and individuality to each of the characters and the story as a whole that I was literally held hostage listening to her tell this tale. I fell in love with each and every one of these characters. Xan and her infinite kindness and compassion, Luna with her eager hunger for knowledge and exuberant energy, Glerk with his steadfast loyalty, Fyrian and his larger than life personality and carefree whim, Antain and his search for meaning, the madwoman and her never ending hope, and honestly my favorite character even if her role wasn’t as pronounced, Athean. Athean was clever, endlessly kind and compassionate, and stood up to a powerful institution in an act of bravery that was so bold it was breathtaking. Honestly she was my favorite (although Fyrian was a close second! I want a tiny dragon friend of my own!). Barnhill does a wonderful job of telling each of these characters stories individually until the culmination of events leads all their journeys to the pinnacle of the plot; so well done!

Wonderful storytelling and one I recommend to all my readers of all ages!

Until next week!

XOXO,

Coco



Book Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Dear Bookworms,

Fair warning, this book is pretty deep and heartbreaking but so worth the journey.

This book was written based on interviews with Holocaust survivor, Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov and tells the tale of his time imprisoned in a concentration camp and becoming the tattooist in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Lale used his position as the tattooist which afforded him extra rations and the very rare, if still limited, freedoms to walk the camp unmolested by the Nazi guards. In a place of terror and death, Lale makes an unlikely connection. A terrified woman, Gita, presents herself in line to be tattooed and it is then and there that Lale falls in love. Over the course of the next couple of years, Lale does what he can to protect Gita. Using his position as Tatowierer he is able to secure her a job in the administration offices. He smuggles her and her bunk mates extra food and even develops his own smuggling ring of food and medicine with the help of a local (free) man who works as a construction worker in the camp. Surrounded by death and misery, horrors that we can only imagine, Lale survives, and love blossoms and grows in an unstoppable riptide. The two cling to the idea of a future in which they are free, and truly able to begin a life together.

One thing that honestly never ceases to amaze me when I read these stories (like in Born Survivors), is the ability of the human spirit to not only withstand/survive such unimaginable horrors, but to continue to forge meaningful connections and find something beautiful in all the misery. People who literally have nothing, willing to share their tiny morsels of food with those around them. Skin and bones, carrying the weight of their friends too weak to stand. The unrelenting will to survive that kept people going, day in and day out. This book did such a good job of showing just how incredibly powerful one simple act of kindness can be, the ripple effect that literally saved untold lives.

“He who saves the life of one man saves the world”

If ever two souls were meant to be together, it was Lale and Gitas. Surviving the concentration camps and finding each other again after the war when they had been separated by countless miles and obstacles is nothing short of miraculous.

This book will make you weep but give you hope. Hope in love and the resilience of the human spirit. Hope in the small acts of kindness that can save the world.

Be kind to one another friends.

XOXO,

Coco



The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Dear Bookworms,

If Neil Gaiman wrote a dark version of Narnia with a dash of The Wizard of Oz- this would be it.

Twelve year old David is still mourning the loss of this mother, and adjusting (not so well really) to his fathers new wife and his new half brother. While a war wages on in Europe, they are tucked safely into a house on the countryside where David pours his time into his books. He begins to notice whispers from the books, of which only he can hear and one night, finds himself sucked into another world through a crack in the wall of a sunken garden in the yard.

This world is strange. From the wolf/human hybrids (descendant of a girl in a red cloak), to the seven socialist dwarfs, and the crooked man who seems to be lurking around every corner, David fights to survive in this strange world, coming soon to realize things weren’t so bad afterall at home. Davids storybook characters have seem to come to life, albeit grotesquely, and he isn’t sure he will ever be able to find his way home again.

Overall this was an enjoyable read, if dark and twisted at times. It was full of some of the most well known fairytales many of us have grown up with, with a warped, twisted edge to them. There was plenty of action and danger and something very nostalgic about childhood. Wanting to run away into a book is a feeling I am very familiar with, and to see David do just that was almost like living out a childhood fantasy. Davids progression from a petulant( if grieving) child, into a selfless and brave young man was really fascinating to read.

Also gotta give a shoutout to the audiobook narrator who really lent a great theatrical feel to the whole read. Steven Crossley really did the book justice with his performance!

Any fans of Neil Gaiman are sure to love this read, and is one I would for sure recommend to any of my readers middle grade and up!

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco

The Book of Lost Things
By John Connolly

Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Dear Bookworms,

This one has been on my TBR since it’s release last year and I can’t believe I have just now finished it!!

THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING.

Set in the land of Orisha, Zelie Adebola grew up in life filled with magic. Marked by their stark white hair, those gifted by magic from the gods could perform truly incredible feats. Power over fire, water, earth, metals, health, even death, their power was greatly feared by the monarchy. King Saran found a way to kill magic and all the magi with it, including Zelies own mother. Watching her mother being dragged from her home and hung from a tree limb is a memory that haunts her to this day, over a decade later. When a simple trip to the capital for trade turns into a flight for her life with a runaway princess and a magic scroll, Zelie finds herself at the center of the fight to bring magic back and rise her people up from persecution and tyranny.

The only thing I am mad about with this book is that it’s over and I have to wait until December to read the second. Adeyemi built an absolutely incredible world that is so robust and filled with life that jumping into it feels like I am stepping into a real time and place in history. The sounds, feels, smells just ooze from her words, utterly captivating. This unique story has all the essential elements of a superb fantasy but with such a wonderfully different flare. African lore and mythology reign supreme and are the focal point of the plot, and what a rich and mesmerizing history it is. Her characters emotions came across so well in the text I found myself shocked to the core with how viscerally i could feel their pain, fear, worry, and even love. This is a novel riddled with fierce and brave characters (and some really vile villains) who truly come to life in Adeyemis words.

I have already pre-ordered my copy for book 2 on Amazon (even though I am cursing the December release date).

This book is a perfect fantasy that not only serves to entertain, but to inspire.

And inspired I was.

Until next week friends, be good to one another.

XOXO,

Coco

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Dear Bookworms,

What a wonderful read this was! I can honestly say I had never heard about the “orphan trains” from American history and wow, how eye opening. It is definitely a topic that I will be digging into after this read.

Orphan Train
By Christina Baker Kline

When 90 year old Vivian Daly needs someone to help her clean out her attic, the task falls to rough around the edges Molly. Molly is a foster kid who has one foot out of the door in her current placement due to her recent run in with the law. Cleaning out the attic seems a boring if easy job for Molly to complete her community service hours. The hours spent with Vivian going through the mementos of her life begin to forge an unlikely bond between the two women.

In the early 1900’s a young Irish immigrant (our very own Vivian Daly) finds herself an orphan after an unfortunate apartment fire kills her parents and siblings. Along with thousands of other children during this time period, young Vivian finds herself aboard the orphan train, headed to the Midwest in the hope of finding a kind family to take her in. So begins Vivians journey across the vastness of the Midwest with only her meager belongings and the strength of her spirit.

This book was told in alternating time periods; with Molly in the present day, and Vivian in the early 1900’s into present day. My heart hurt for both girls, orphaned and alone in the world trying to not only survive but make a way and forge an identity. They each experienced heartbreak and pain, but their shared resilience and fortitude seemed a common thread in both their lives, separated by decades. Their stories were one of thousands of stories, both from the time of the orphan trains to the current foster system in the United States. Klines writing was detailed and heartfelt, and I couldn’t read fast enough!

I highly recommend this read, it was full of emotions and an absolute page turner.

Until next week!

XOXO,

Coco

Book Review: Faeries of Saizia by Tonya L Chaves

Dear Bookworms,

This weeks read was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review. (Another Beep review! The Bloggess fan club is such a talented tribe!)

Faeries of Saizia
By Tonya L. Chaves

In the land of Saizia, two young fairies, Avery and his best friend Zaria, find themselves in trouble after venturing into the forbidden Eerie Hollow. Stumbling upon a secret chocolate production and a pair of elves, the two fairies are at a loss for what to do. Should they tell Queen Yamani? Continue to investigate alone? Curiosity wins out and Avery and Zaria soon find themselves in too deep when they are discovered snooping by the evil King Thordon of Eerie Hollow. In an effort to save themselves from having their wings ripped off and enslaved by King Thordon for breaking the century old truce to keep their kingdoms apart and secret from one another, the fairies accept a mission. If they succeed, they live, if they fail they belong to King Thordon. The two must venture out past the boundaries of anywhere they have ever been to retrieve a special seed. Their journey is rife with adventure and danger. With only their wits and determination, can Avery and Zaria complete their mission? And will King Thordon betray them in the end?

What a fun read! This one is perfect for all my middle grade readers and up and is filled with all things magical. There are fairies, elves, dragons, and magic- what more could you want?! I was tickled over the fairy speech patterns and colloquialisms. “Leaping Lizards!” is one exclamation that I hope to introduce into my everyday vernacular. Saizia was truly a wonderful world to dive into, and I’m not gonna lie, some place that i would like to live. There were some neat twists and turns that I was not expecting which kept me on my toes. (I would love to read a prequel about the events leading to the fallout between Saizia and Eerie Hollow and the truce to remain separated forever!)

Thanks Tonya for a really fun read, one that I will be sure to recommend to all my fantasy lovers! (Also, where can I get my copy of Human History and Other Mistakes to Learn From because clearly we need a refresher over here in the human world.)

Add this one to your reading list folks! It’s a goodie! See you guys next week!

XOXO,

Coco


Book Review: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Dear Bookworms,

My cup overflowth with joy at this book.

Seriously guys….my heart!

Book Three in the Dark Artifices series picks up right where book 2 leaves off (you can read up on both book 1 and 2’s reviews first find the tags at the bottom of this page!) The Blackthornes are mourning the death of Livia , Julian takes drastic measures to extinguish the fire of his forbidden love for his parabatai Emma, a sickness has seeped into the world mortally weakening warlocks, and the Black Volume of the Dead has been stolen and taken away to Faerie. With little time for mourning, Julian and Emma embark on a dangerous covert mission to Faerie in order to bring back the Black Volume of the Dead before civil war breaks out in Alicante. When the two unexpectedly find themselves hurtled into an alternate reality, Thule, they come face to face with a horrible, twisted version of their world, one they may not survive. With all the forces of the world bearing down on them, they must work together to survive this land, get back home, cure the blight that is slowly spreading throughout their land sickening the warklocks, and stop the bigoted newly elected Head Counsil before their community is ripped apart. With the threat of the parabatai curse looming ever nearer, Julian and Emma seem to be fighting an uphill battle.

Cassandra Clare is a writing goddess. Her books are so intricate, deep, and well written they are one of my favorite worlds to get lost in. Clare has no limit to her ability to weave tales so complicated and heart wrenching that you find yourself utterly immersed and completely addicted. To stop reading is physically painful people! You just don’t ever want to leave her universe! At 880 pages there is no lack of action and plot development. She broke my heart countless times, filled me with hope, kept me on the edge of my literal seat throughout the entire book. Her ability to build worlds is truly remarkable and I am convinced she is a warlock sharing a piece of Shadowhunter to us mundanes. There was quite a bit of character development with not only Julian and Emma but Christina, Mark, Keirian, Diana, Ty, and Kit. Everyone, while fighting towards the common goals of the larger arc of the plot, also went through immense personal growth, experiencing their own personal struggles to get there. Clare once again touches on issues prevalent in today tumultuous political climate. Themes like bigotry and xenophobia were woven within the plot and was very reflective of some of the issues we face even today. The complex and diverse relationships found within not only this book but the series as a whole is filled with an honestly and depth that was really amazing to read and watch unfold. I fell in love with Chistina, Mark, and Kierian. Their love was so pure and so honest. I swooned over Diane and Gwyn and the quiet strength of their relationship. And obviously Julian and Emma, that relationship has driven me crazy for 3, 800+ page books and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I’m sure it goes without saying considering this entire review has been one long fangirl squeal but if you haven’t read any- PLEASE add anything and everything Shadowhunter to your TBR. You will hate me because it will consume your life but you will love me forever for pushing you to jump into this world you will never want to leave.

Until next week!

XOXO,

Coco

P. S I would also like to take a minute to point out how stunning the inside of the book jacket and all of the art interspersed throughout the book is. It is absolutely amazing!

Book Review: Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell

Dear Bookworms,

Pillow Thoughts
By Courtney Peppernell

After reading Rupi Kaurs two books of poetry last year I have definitely been more intrigued to pick up and explore this genre some more. This book popped up as an Amazon Prime freebie so of course I gave it a whirl.

Pillow Thoughts is a collection of poetry and prose broken into 10 sections. All deal with love, heartache, loss, and self worth. Peppernell delves into all the various aspects and emotions that come with falling in love. The heartache when it ends, the butterflies when it’s new, the beauty in the comfortable mundane-ness of a relationship. Peppernell explores feelings of self esteem and self worth, something that everyone has struggled with at some point in their lives. She has a simple yet heartfelt writing style that was easy and relatable. She captures complex feelings and emotions in a way that is easily digestible and enjoyed. I could see myself in much of her work. Here are a few passages that I really connected with:

“ There are little pieces of happiness and they are scattered through your day. So take a basket with you as you step outside, fill it up with all the little pieces, and bring it back inside. Take a moment, just by yourself, take out all of the pieces, and place them on your shelf”

“ Of all the tragedies on this earth, there is none more tragic than a person who cannot see their worth”


Even if your sadness

feels quite heavy

the truth is

it’s just a paperweight

Learn to turn the page”

Overall an enjoyable, quick read, one that can be revisited and felt anew with different stages in life. Definitely recommend this to my poetry fans (and like me- new to the poetry game!)

Until next week!

XOXO,

Coco