Happy Christmas!

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Happy holidays everyone! 😊 Thank you for reading my blog this year, I really appreciate your support. Mini-hiatus until I publish my top reads of the year next week… Have fun with your family and friends and enjoy your bookish presents!

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Review: The Road to Bittersweet by Donna Everhart @wordstogobuy @KensingtonBooks

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Set in the Carolinas in the 1940s, The Road to Bittersweet is a beautifully written, evocative account of a young woman reckoning not just with the unforgiving landscape, but with the rocky emotional terrain that leads from innocence to wisdom. For fourteen-year-old Wallis Ann Stamper and her family, life in the Appalachian Mountains is simple and satisfying, though not for the tenderhearted. While her older sister, Laci—a mute, musically gifted savant—is constantly watched over and protected, Wallis Ann is as practical and sturdy as her name. When the Tuckasegee River bursts its banks, forcing them to flee in the middle of the night, those qualities save her life…

The Road to Bittersweet came exactly at the right moment for me. This past month has been a bit difficult because of work stuff and I tried to keep myself busy, so I didn’t read as much as I usually do. However, I loved this book from the moment I started it, and even though it took me almost a week to finish it, I must say I adored every page. I had a feeling it would eventually drag a little because of the slow pace, but the truth is that it kept me engaged the whole time. I highly recommend it.

The Education of Dixie Dupree was one of my favorite books last year and I was excited to dive into Donna Everhart’s new novel. That being said, I was instantly surprised when I started reading it because although both books are set in the southern United States, in my humble opinion, they have nothing else in common. Dixie Dupree was a tougher read, dealing with darker themes and featuring a more cynical perspective. On the other hand, The Road to Bittersweet had more of an “epic” feeling and I think it was much more hopeful and innocent in some ways.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a happy book. It’s actually so dramatic that for the first 50%, I kept wondering how could anyone endure so many tragedies and still be willing to go on. I loved the Stamper family and wanted them to be happy, but Donna Everhart kept making that particular goal less clear with every page. So I guess the title fits perfectly, since this novel truly felt like a journey. The Road to Bittwesweet tells us all about Wallis Ann’s coming of age (although not your usual one by any means) and how families never give up, even under the worst of circumstances.

The book was emotional (I cried when something terrible happened) but it never felt overly sentimental, I think it portrayed everything in a very realistic way and I loved the writing. As for the characters, Wallis Ann was amazing, I loved everything about her and I could understand her jealousy and insecurities as well. She was fourteen years old, after all. She was the main protagonist of the story, but it was nice to read about Laci, Seph, the parents, and Clayton too.

All in all, this was such a beautiful book that I would recommend it to all those looking for a different kind of historical read, one that deals with a family’s struggle to live happily ever after. I removed part of the blurb because I feel it reveals way too much and it’s better to read it without knowing some things.

Edelweiss, Kensington, 2017

#ThrowbackThursday Out of The Easy by @RutaSepetys

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Renee @It’sBookTalk began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of our old favorites as well as sharing books that we’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. I’ve wanted to join this meme for a long time and I thought it would be a great idea because it forces me to read books from the TBR and not only new releases. And, of course, I can also include some old favorites!

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It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test. With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

I’m having so much reading books that had been on my TBR for years!

This week it was Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys and I absolutely loved this sweet and unforgettable story. This is a book that could’ve been a tough read because of the subject matter but I actually found it quite funny at times. And undoubtedly, the best word to describe Out of the Easy is “charming”. I was so captivated by the characters and the setting that I didn’t want it to end.

Josie was a lovely character to read about and the supporting characters were also incredible. Also, I don’t remember reading a better first paragraph in a long time. I was instantly hooked.

My mother’s a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She’s actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute.

Overall, this was such an entertaining book… okay, so maybe it’s not full of action and keep in mind that the story isn’t original by any means, but Ruta Sepetys’ writing was one of the best I’ve come across lately. Of course, I immediately added her other two novels to my list.

Book vs Film #4 The Light Between Oceans

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

A couple of years ago I read a beautiful book called The Light Between Oceans and I still think about it today. It was a historical fiction novel and I hadn’t read anything quite like it. The book had a classic touch and it felt like something that could’ve been written fifty years ago. It was quite an emotional read and it made me cry not once or twice but actually several times. Plus, I love stories where a dilemma is presented and good people make mistakes. This is one of those. I just couldn’t hate the characters even if I didn’t always agree with their decisions. I understood everyone.

The film wasn’t super different in terms of story (not like Practical Magic or Brooklyn) but it changed some aspects of the book and I think it made it harder to connect with the main character because the suffering wasn’t as extreme as I had experienced when reading the novel. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed (maybe that isn’t the right word) the film because of the wonderful setting, the emotional performances by Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz and the way it made me feel. Plus, it was only the second film where I’ve seen my boyfriend cry, so there’s that. And believe me, we watch A LOT of films. I cry at like 60% of them, so you don’t have to trust my tears. But you should trust his 😉

 

#ThrowbackThursday The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

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Renee @It’sBookTalk began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of our old favorites as well as sharing books that we’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. I’ve wanted to join this meme for a long time and I thought it would be a great idea because it forces me to read books from the TBR and not only new releases. And, of course, I can also include some old favorites!

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“Dear Anna, What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I’m so sorry”— The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle’s suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life. Yet there was so much they didn’t know. With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle’s friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives – and the life of a desperate stranger – with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

This book had been on my TBR for a very long time, so when it finally came the moment to read it, I was excited. I’ve said before that Diane Chamberlain’s writing always manages to keep me hooked from the first pages and I love the way she crafts her stories. This was one of her most popular books and it certainly had me addicted, although it wasn’t the best book I’ve read by her.

This book reminded me a bit of Desperate Housewives because of the premise, I think the author was definitely inspired by that show, because the similarities are pretty obvious. This was a tragic and sad novel, and my main issue was that it had too many twists. Okay so everyone knows I love to be surprised, but I felt like Chamberlain was trying too hard here. Way too many coincidences for my taste. And the whole transplant thing was a big no. It’s a pity because I really loved the first part of the story where the two friends start investigating and the overall idea is great, but there were a few things that prevented me from loving The Midwife’s Confession as much as I had hoped.