Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by @john_boyne

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Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

After many recommendations from blogger friends (and especially from Renee), I finally sat down and read one of the most popular books this past year. And no, I didn’t read it all in a sitting, but I could have. It’s THAT good.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies was a beautiful, funny, sad, poignant and ultimately inspiring saga that tells the story of Cyril Avery, a young Irish boy who’s adopted by Maude and Charles -a very peculiar couple-. After getting to know her birth mother and her circumstances, we get to see him grow up, make friends, fall in love and find out who he really is. This book spans many years and is set in Dublin, Amsterdam and New York…

This is one of those books that I wish I hadn’t known anything before I read it, so I will be brief today. This is an absolute gem of a novel. It’s hilarious at times (seriously, the dialogues were witty and laugh out loud funny) and it will also make you cry. After all, aren’t those the best stories? Plus, there are lot of fun coincidences that made it even more enjoyable.

This was not a short book, but I flew through it like it was. It’s one of the most captivating sagas I’ve ever read and I would recommend it to absolutely everyone. Cyril Avery isn’t perfect and he behaves in a selfish way more than once, but I felt like I was inside his head and I could totally understand why he did those things.

In the end, crime fiction and mysteries are my favorite type of books, but John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies made me forget about those for two uforgettable days.

Doubleday, 2017

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Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo @tjenkinsreid

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Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career. Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Last year, I saw that a lot of blogger friends were reading a book called The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (x. x, x). I don’t know why, but I wasn’t really interested until I started reading the reviews, perhaps because of the title. However, you all know I’m a big Hollywood fan and every review I read made me more excited about this novel. And it was definitely not what I expected at all. It was better.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was one of my favorite books that I’ve read recently. I hadn’t been so addicted to a non-mystery book in a long time. This was a compulsive read, one of those you can’t put down because it’s so fun, dramatic and completely captivating. A well-written soap-opera that you don’t ever want to finish.

This is the story of famous actress Evelyn Hugo and the relationship between her and her seven husbands. Who was Evelyn’s true love? The narration is told in a pretty unique way, which was one of my favorite aspects of the book. Evelyn Hugo, after decades of silence, decides to give Monique Grant the truth about her life. Monique is a relatively unknown journalist and doesn’t know why Evelyn chose her. Thus begins the story of Evelyn Hugo, who narrates every chapter of her life story, beginning with her first husband.

I loved the structure because you got to judge every one of Evelyn’s husbands and decide who was your favorite. She was a fascinating character, albeit she made some terrible mistakes. Hers seems like an easy life at first sight, but it wasn’t, not really. I loved how every character in this novel (even the ones you hate with all your heart) has virtues and flaws. No one is perfect, and that makes them more realistic in my opinion. This was a book where both the plot and the characters were fantastically crafted.

After finishing the book, I realized I didn’t want it to end. When a great story like this one spans so many years, you can’t help but fall in love with the characters and it’s sad to see them go. This book touched many themes that I didn’t expect… and it tackled them beautifully.

Atria Books, 2017

Review: Three Things About Elsie by @JoannaCannon @BoroughPress

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Three Things About Elsie tells the story of 84-year-old Florence, who has been lifelong friends with Elsie, who has fallen in her flat and waits to be rescued. As she tells her story, we find out she has a secret, a secret she promised she would keep forever. And Florence is worried her forever is now.

Last year I read The Trouble With Goats and Sheep and it instantly became an all-time favorite. I fell in love with Joanna Cannon’s writing and her two main characters. The story was sweet, funny, poignant and overall beautiful. Three Things About Elsie was one of my most anticipated reads this 2018 and I wanted it to be my first this year. And I have to say it was a fantastic book!

It’s funny because when I read the blurb of this novel, I thought: “well, this is definitely not similar to TTWGAS at all”. However, as I kept reading about Florence and Elsie, I realized Three Things About Elsie was actually super similar to her previous novel. The structure: two female friends investigating despite being total amateurs and hence facing several obstacles. The humour, the witty dialogue, the innocence, the meaning of friendship…

The plot started off a bit slow but it gradually got more and more engaging. In my opinion, Three Things About Elsie keeps getting better as the story progresses. There was some gaslighting, excellent (and hilarious) dialogue and a few chapters narrated by a couple of secondary characters. Joanna Cannon has the ability of making you care about everyone she writes about, she excels at crafting vulnerable characters that will forever stay in your mind.

I particularly enjoyed the book’s structure, featuring Florence’s present chapters where she foreshadows what she thinks is going to happen and then switching back to one month before the incident, when it all started. I couldn’t wait to know what was exactly going on. This is contemporary fiction, but it has a mystery at its heart.

There was a particular aspect about this novel that I found extremely predictable in the way that we’ve all experienced this type of ending before. And it works, it certainly does, but I’m afraid it’s not going to surprise me anymore, which yes, it’s kind of sad, but then again it’s my fault because I overthink every small detail I read. Don’t worry, because there were plenty of other small surprises, and there was one tiny detail which wasn’t even relevant in terms of plot but it made me all tear-eyed. And it wasn’t the only time I cried. The last sentence of the book was so beautiful…

I have no issues with this book whatsoever, but I did love The Trouble With Goats and Sheep a bit more, maybe because it was the first or because I can’t resist a quirky child narrator. But Three Things About Elsie is a wonderful and lovely book that I would recommend to everyone.

Netgalley, The Borough Press, 2018

#ThrowbackThursday I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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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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Surrey: Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. East Yorkshire: Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home. But who is he, and how can she trust a man who has lost his memory?

I Found You was one of those tiles I wanted to read based on blogger reviews. I bought it this past summer and I couldn’t wait to start it and see if I enjoyed Lisa Jewell’s writing as much as everyone else did. I must say I was instantly engaged and I loved the story from the very beginning. The peculiar family, the man from the beach, Lily’s missing husband, the flashbacks… All the stories were interesting and I couldn’t wait to know how they’d come together.

This wasn’t a dark book, and I kind of appreciated that. I’d say it was mostly contemporary fiction with a mystery touch. And that’s okay, because I wanted something like this to finish 2017. However, even if the themes weren’t that dark, there was a character who was pretty scary and I loved the way he was written.

My issue with I Found You was that I thought the last section of the book to be rather unsurprising. I wasn’t shocked by anything, I don’t know if I was expected to believe Frank was someone else, but I never had a doubt. Despite my disappointment, I still think this is a deeply entertaining novel and I’d read another book by this author without a doubt.

#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.