A confession…

Hi! Hello…taps microphone…it’s been a while! 

I started this blog with high hopes and aspirations of creating the book blog that I would want to go to as a reader. However, I quickly realized, as I began to write my first book review, and as I reread the words that I had written, that I was filled with dread and concern of what others would think of me.  Would they criticize my thoughts and opinions? Would they think I was a crappy writer? Would they make fun of my new adventure and ambitions? I thought ALL the things!

 

Who are these people? I don’t even know.  Perhaps my “friends” on Facebook–you know, the ones you went to high school with who you follow.  You know that there daughter just had a birthday or that their family just went on vacation but you wouldn’t actually go up and talk to them out in public.  Or perhaps my work colleagues who see my post promoting my blog and read it and judge. This fear of judgement caused me not to be as excited about this project as I initially was and cast this self doubt which honestly took all the joy out of it.  Heck, it hasn’t really even produced enough content to create any joy–or at least the space for joy. I was trying to mold myself into the version of blog writer that I thought I wanted people to see me rather than who I actually was (and even writing that right now seems pretty self righteous, I mean, I’m sure no one even gave it a second thought!).

 

At the same time, I discovered through Facebook notifications one day a large uptick in the number of followers on the Between Two Books page.  I thought…wow, I must be kicking ass…and then I thought…something doesn’t seem right. I then discovered that Between Two Books had mentioned by another Facebook page.  Upon clicking on that link to that Facebook post, I realized that my Facebook fame that day could be contributed to another famous book club that happens to have the same name. Ever heard of Florence + The Machine? You’ve definitely heard their music.  Anyways, Florence + The Machine has a book club also aptly named Between Two Books.  How I got to the Facebook name first is beyond me, but albeit, I did. This large upswing in “followers” could be attributed to a case of mistaken book club identity. Although I’m more than happy to have the hundreds that liked my blog page, I somewhat felt like a fraud.  However, I’m sure by now, that if you are indeed one of those followers that thought you were getting the Florence+The Machine’s book club, you have figured out by now that this is not that page.

 

BUT, I’m here to tell you that between the fear of feeling like people were judging me and that I had surreptitiously tricked people into thinking that this page was something that it wasn’t…I am Shaking it Off (I also love a good pun). I am no longer being held back by this judgmental fear–it’s silly to be honest.  I am going to put my true, authentic book loving self out there (including the cheesy books–you know, the guilty pleasure ones) and create the space that I want and one that I hope others will find helpful as well. I’m looking forward to sharing with you some books that helped with this self realization and this ever growing journey that I am on.  I hope you will join me.

 

Love,


Sarah

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The Sun is Also a Star: Bright and Dim

Nominated for GoodReads Best Young Adult Fiction of 2016, The Sun is Also a Star is a poignant, sweet take on young adult love while exploring much more complex adult issues. Natasha, an undocumented immigrant, finds herself facing deportation amid her father’s missteps. Unwilling to accept their fate, Natasha seeks out a solution at the local immigration office in New York where they live. Meanwhile, Daniel, an American-born son of Korean immigrants finds himself on his way to entrance interview with an alumni for Yale where his parents have determined he will study to become a doctor.

While Natasha and Daniel are facing very different futures, their paths cross by a series of events that Daniel questions as to whether or not fate and destiny exist. Are all of life’s moments carefully orchestrated to lead up to the next to impact outcomes and events? Nicola Yoon successfully weaves a novel that tackles important philosophical issues through witty banter, short chapters, and insightful side characters/musings. Natasha is delightful in her scientific outlook on life whereas Daniel is determined to make Natasha a believer in love.

Yoon provides an insightful look into immigrant life amid the backdrop of New York City. Natasha and Daniel’s journey takes place over one day that is richly layered with details and characters. Although this book is a relatively quick read, this young adult novel hints at more sophisticated issues. However, the saccharine ending places The Sun is Also a Star firmly in the Young Adult category.

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An Exaltation of Larks: A 2016 must read.

an-exaltation-of-larksAn Exaltation of Larks is both all-consuming and surprising.  After reading the description of this book, I was all in.  A multi-generational story of an immigrant and his journey to the United States, along with a love story–this book had all the makings of something epic.  Alejandro, a native of Chile, finds himself fleeing to the US parentless to live with his uncle.  Befriending another family, Alejandro is eventually taken in by another family, the Larks where he then falls in love with one of their daughters.  The build up to their relationship and the subsequent story building afterward is unlike any book that I have ever read before.  Simultaneously, you are also introduced to another character, Javier, whose story unfolds throughout the book.

This book is long…550 pages of exquisite character development.  I loved that this book was so long.  Once you start reading it, you don’t want it to end.  At the same time, with the multitude of characters that are introduced and developed, you will often find yourself asking how is this book going to end and how are these characters related.  It’s not often that I find myself surprised of shocked by books, however, this one is right up there. Suanne Laqueur’s details and plot planning throughout this book is something to be admired.  The details, many of which you may not pick up on (if you’re like me) won’t reveal themselves as important until much later in the book causing you to have many “aha” moments and appreciation for the author’s craftiness.  Although many books have these details, it’s not often that authors are able to do without being hokey or cute.

Another thing that I loved about this book was that many of the relationships the characters have are very unconventional.  It was refreshing to read something new that challenged the way I previously viewed relationships.  This book, although very, very different, was reminiscent of All The Ugly and Wonderful Things—both in content as well as my love for the writing.  I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone but I will leave you with this: behind All The Ugly and Wonderful Things, this was the second best book that I read this year.  An Exaltation of Larks will make you want to find someone else who has read the book so that you can discuss it.  Any takers?

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Broken Prince: Royal cliffhanger hangover

Broken PrinceIt’s here! It’s here!  I don’t know how you have survived the MONTHS of anticipation after the cliffhanger of a book that was Paper Princess.  The highly anticipated sequel, Broken Prince, does not disappoint.  In fact, the only disappointing thing is how hard of a book this is to review.  Not because I didn’t love it, but because I don’t want to spoil it.  And it’s not that far into the second book when you get to the first big spoiler, the first among many.  What I can say is that, thankfully, we don’t have to wait that long to find Ella.  (Hint: she didn’t get that far)  In the first book, Paper Princess, I said that book reminded me of a cross between Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl.  For Broken Prince, I would add the TV show Revenge into the mix.  Remember that show?

Revenge

Gosh…it had the craziest story lines but you still couldn’t stop watching!  This is how I feel about this series.  Just when you didn’t think anything else could go wrong…plot twist!  Broken Prince goes Revenge in the very first chapter and just like the TV show, you have to keep watching, err reading, to find out what happens.

Revenge son of a bitch gif

           How I felt reading the plot twists.

I loved that we found out more of Gideon’s story in Broken Prince.  Although the twins play minor roles in this book, I definitely wouldn’t mind a spin-off series all to their own.  Easton is still in the mix and he deserves his own book series too.  And if you think that author Erin Watt didn’t leave you wanting more after the first book, then book two delivers a cliffhanger for all cliffhangers.

Looking at you, author Erin Watt.

Looking at you, author Erin Watt.

Fear not though, book three is due out in October.  If you are looking for a series to capture your attention in the same vein as Gossip Girl, you will not be disappointed.  Until October…..XoXo.

Revenge help us all

Till October.

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2016 Summer Reading Recs

2016 Summer Reading Recs
The Girls

The_Girls

 1. The Girls  by Emma Cline

Why it made the list: This title is sure to be one of the most talked about books this year.  Teenagers, a cult, and California.

Synopsis: Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader.
Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.


2. Modern Lovers by Emma StraubModern Lover

Why it made the list: Who can resist this beautiful cover? From recent best-selling author of The Vacationers, college friends turned adult neighbors with their own kids and the drama that ensues over a summer.

Synopsis:  Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.
Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed.


I Let You Go3. I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

Why it made the list: A modern-day murder mystery and a grieving mother.

Synopsis: I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.


4. Full Share by Eliza FreedFull Share

Why it made the list:  The quintessential summer read and bargain priced! Set in the summer with richly developed characters, read my review here.

Synopsis:  Nora Hargrove’s post-grad life includes a horrific entry-level job, a cave of an apartment, and a strict avoidance of all interpersonal relationships. She knows only one thing about herself–she wants to be left alone.

Avoiding her mother’s forced family time, she seeks solitude on her own terms. In a poorly ventilated, overcrowded Dewey Beach rental, she discovers there’s no place to hide. Not from yourself, not from your life, and not from love. This is the story of Nora Hargrove’s full share.


Before the Fall5. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Why it made the list: Written by the Emmy-winning creator of the tv show Fargo, this plane crash thriller is bound to leave you captivated…

Synopsis:  On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members–including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot–the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. Continue Reading

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A Sweet Read: The Problem With Forever

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Don’t you love the cover of this book? The book cover, coupled with the book description, made me immediately intrigued. The Problem with Forever follows Mallory’s journey as she is adopted out of foster care after suffering a horrible tragedy. As a method to cope with her PTSD, Mallory no longer speaks and is homeschooled. In an effort to prepare for college and assimilate to being in public, Mallory enrolls in a public high school for her Senior year. Facing her fears and anxiety of being in public, along with the typical high school pressure, Mallory is fighting an uphill battle.

Mallory’s journey takes a turn when she unexpectedly finds herself in class with a boy that has strong ties to her time in foster care. When Mallory reunites with Rider, her childhood protector, things do not go as planned. Jennifer Armentrout weaves a story that is slowly revealed over time. Some would argue that perhaps this book was too slow. I found the story to have major angst potential although, in reality, the angst was very mild. Mallory’s connection with Rider is obviously very strong and one that lasts over time and tragedy that unfolds throughout the novel. However, some parts of the story felt unbelievable to me. Coupled with a few plot holes, if you are looking for a young adult high school based novel with mild angst, The Problem With Forever is a cute read that will do the trick.

 

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