Friday, July 17, 2020

Favorite Movie > Book Recommendations

 Since Coronavirus sent us all into isolation, occasionally on Twitter and Instagram, I do this thing where I ask people their favorite movie and I recommend a book that I think they will like. Over the months I’ve created quite a list of movie to book recommendations. Many of their favorite movies are also based on books, but assuming they know this and have possibly even read that book, I try to give them something else. I’ve gotten some feedback that the recommendations have been received positively. Hopefully, I can inspire someone else to turn off the screen for a bit and pick up a new book. 

I’m going to start posting more of these movie to book recommendations each week.
If you have a favorite movie and would like a book recommendation, please leave a comment. For now, I’ve included a few that have been requested on Twitter. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

A Luminous Republic : Book Review

Many thanks to HMHBooks for the complimentary copy of A Luminous Republic 

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up A Luminous Republic  yesterday. From the first word I was transported to the jungle city of San Cristóbal and the arrival of the children. ⁣

No one knew where the 32 children came from and no one knew where they went at night. They spoke an indecipherable language. As they scavenged and stole and harassed people, they were initially a nuisance but then they turned violent and they needed to be stopped. ⁣

“...we too thought that our individual love for our children transformed them, that even blindfolded we’d recognize their voices from thousands of other children’s voices. And perhaps the inverse of that serves as confirmation: that the other children who slowly began occupying our streets were more or less indistinguishable versions of the same boy or girl, children who were ‘just like a hundred thousand other little boys’ and girls. Who we didn’t need. Who didn’t need us. And who, of course, had to be tamed.”

The story alone is intriguing and kept me on the edge of my seat. But the language and insights into the human condition are brilliant, thoughtful and I read so many passages aloud to Rand. I rarely annotate or mark fiction and yet I was pulling out my pen and post-it notes. ⁣

A Luminous Republic is poignant and philosophical and rather timely. It hit all the emotions—from fear to regret to decidedly uncomfortable with its apt observations. It’s size may be diminutive but its story and language are pertinent and important.

A Luminous Republic by Andrés Barba was first published in 2017 and translated into English and published by Mariner Books in April 2020. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Her Last Flight : Book Review

Thanks so much to William Morrow for a complimentary egalley of Her Last Flight by Beatriz Beatriz Williams consistently writes entertaining and dreamy stories that I can get lost in and her newest novel Her Last Flight was not an exception. 
Photojournalist Janey Everett is determined to uncover the truth about the disappearance of the legendary aviatrix Irene Foster who was lost on a flight over the Sahara Desert in 1937. ⁣Her journey will uncover much more than she bargained for. 
I started reading the book weeks ago and was immediately intrigued by the premise and the characters. I quickly read the first third of the book and then promptly forgot about it. (That’s the trouble with ebooks—out of sight out of mind.) Anyway, over the weekend I decided to get back to it. Saturday night, I completely devoured every word and before I knew it, I’d read the entire thing and it was 4am. ⁣
Her Last Flight may just be my new favorite of William’s books. The characters are brave and passionate and flawed and simply marvelous. Williams weaves intrigue and mystery into her love story—it’s well plotted with twists and reveals at the perfect moments. It’s not merely a romance between a man and a woman but a love affair between the world and aviation. She captures the public zeal for tales of the famous early pilots and their daring feats. ⁣
Her Last Flight is breathtaking and captivating as I too fell under the spell of the charming and irresistible Irene Foster. 

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams is published by William Morrow and releases on June 30, 2020. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Daughter of the Reich : Book Review

Thanks to @williammorrowbooks and @netgalley for the complimentary e-copy of the book. ⁣

There are many different ways to tell the World War II story and Daughter of the Reich by Louise Fein gives the reader a unique perspective. ⁣

Hetty Heinrich is the daughter of a high ranking Nazi and as the party gains more power, life seems to improve drastically for Hetty and her family. Her father gets promoted at the newspaper where he works and they move from their small flat to a spacious home in the best neighborhood. At school and in the youth groups, Hetty learns all the ways the Jews are destroying Germany. ⁣

Learning and even believing the propaganda and indoctrination, doesn’t stop Hetty from falling in love with Walter, a Jewish boy who was once her brother’s best friend. ⁣

I read Daughter of the Reich with my heart in my throat. Knowing the history, means knowing that there isn’t going to be an easy love story for these young people caught in a nation of danger and hate. Inspired by her family history, Fein tells an emotional and harrowing story of love and hate, evil and good, life and death. ⁣

The novel is engaging though it is long. It was interesting to read a different perspective and wonder about the kids growing up with the daily teachings in Nazi Germany. I did get frustrated by some of the foolish decisions of teens that put others lives in danger but I suppose that is often the way with teens who don’t fully understand the risks. Overall, it was worth reading and I would recommend it. I may have burned myself out on World War II novels for awhile though.

Daughter of the Reich by Louise Fein is published by William Morrow Books in May 12, 2020. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Pretty Things : Book Review

Thanks to @randomhouse for the complimentary copy of PRETTY THINGS by Janelle Brown. ⁣

Nina went to college to avoid her mother’s life as a con artist but even with her degree she can’t escape getting sucked back into that world when her mother gets sick and needs help with the bills. Using her knowledge of antiques and art, she’s been stealing from the extreme rich. Now, hiding from the cops, Nina and her boyfriend, Lachlan plan the perfect heist—she knows just the heiress to target. ⁣

Soaring high on her fame and success as an Instagram Influencer, Vanessa has gone home to the family estate to lick her wounds and grieve after her father’s death and her fiancé dumped her for someone “more serious”. But she’s lonely so she rents out the caretaker’s cottage to a pretty, young couple. ⁣

PRETTY THINGS caught my eye months ago and has been calling to me from the shelf. I went in with high expectations of this novel and though it eventually veered off in a direction I wasn’t anticipating, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. ⁣

The characters are well developed and the reader comes to understand their motivations and deepest desires. Can you trust anyone? Is anyone really what they appear to be online? The plot moves consistently forward as it climbs the roller coaster before a breathtaking ride. I read the final 200+ pages without a break because I was so enthralled and wrapped up in Nina and Vanessa’s story. ⁣

PRETTY THINGS is intense. It’s a fun and thoroughly enjoyable read. ⁣

Have you already read it? Were you surprised by the direction it took?⁣

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Vanished Birds : Book Review

Thanks to Del Rey Publishing for the complimentary copy of
The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

A cargo ship lands on a source planet every fifteen years to load the crop grown exclusively there and transport it through Pocket Space. But time in Pocket Space is different and what is eighteen months to Nia on her ship is fifteen years to Kaeda on Umbai-V. They meet every fifteen years when Nia comes to collect another shipment. One year when Kaeda is very old, he asks Nia to take the mysterious boy who dropped from the sky.

I rarely read Sci-Fi books. It's just not the genre that I'm consistently drawn to. I'm not exactly sure why I was initially so intrigued and accepted a review copy of The Vanished Birds. However, I am so glad that I did.

I was entranced by the novel. I fell for the characters--emotional, brave, flawed and deeply human. The plot was new, fantastical and fascinating. It brought up existential questions. If you could periodically freeze yourself and live forever, would you? Is it worth it to sacrifice a soul to bring new life-changing technology to millions?

The writing is so lyrical and intoxicating, that I found myself routinely staying up later than I intended devouring page and page. It is a beautiful novel and in a world devoid of relationships, it ultimately glorified the human connections.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenex was published January 14, 2020.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Sun Down Motel : Book Review

Thanks to Berkley Publishing for the complimentary copy of 
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Carly's aunt was working at the Sun Down Motel in 1982 when she vanished. Her body was never found though most presumed she was dead. Now, Carly is taking a break from college, determined to figure out what really happened to her missing aunt.

Viv just needed to get away from home when she set out for NYC. She got as far as Fell, NY and found a job as the night clerk for a quiet, secluded motel. Viv soon discovers that the motel isn't as quiet as she first thought. Besides the paranormal disturbances at the motel, there have also been several young women murdered--their bodies dumped. Viv believes there's a connection and is determined to find out who is killing the girls and stop them.

I like ghost stories. Ghosts are spooky and unpredictable and can really push a book into the extra creepy zone. I like Simone St. James ghost stories. Her books are paced well so that I can devour them quickly. They're scary and thrilling but there isn't gratuitous violence. They're great for late, sleepless nights. They might even cause some sleepless nights.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James isn't perfect. There's some unnecessary overlap between Carly and Viv's stories. I could have used some more character development. However, I read the novel quickly and I enjoyed it. I was hooked from the first chapter. I found myself actually looking forward to reading time after being in a bit of a slump lately. The paranormal activity is creepy and the climactic scenes are sit-up-in-bed thrilling.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is published by Berkley Publishing and released on February 18, 2020.