Comment

A White-Water Rollercoaster

IMG_0132.jpg


'The River' by Peter Heller

// Book Review //

I finished 'The River' a few weeks ago and needed a bit of time to really sort my thoughts and feelings before writing this review. A book that keeps you thinking after turning the last page can be a good sign that the author wrote a compelling story. Heller’s writing was so immersive that I felt as though I was a passenger in the canoe with the two main characters and instead of paddling with them, all I could do was to will them to safety. The author's descriptive prose felt like poetry at times while also reminding me of why I would never want to go on a wilderness canoe trip without a satellite phone (let's be real... I wouldn't want to go on a wilderness canoe trip for many reasons including bears, the absence of indoor plumbing, sleeping on the ground, foraging for your own food, fires, crazy people, etc.)

Throughout 'The River', Heller expertly intertwines themes of friendship, brotherhood, adventure, trust, loyalty, fear, protection of the innocent, survival, loss, self-defense, mental fortitude, conflict resolution and perseverance at all cost. I enjoyed the author's development of the two main characters as we experience the highs and lows of both their past and their present challenges. Even though I could guess what was around the bend (literally and figuratively) for most of the book, I had high hopes for a different ending. In summary, while I was happy to get out of the canoe when the story ended, this slim book holds a big adventure...

Have you read ‘The River’? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on this book!

Book Details:

Title: The River: A Novel

Author: Peter Heller

Publisher: Knopf

Format: Hardcover Book

ISBN: 978-0525521877


Comment

Comment

Anne of Green Gables for the Little Ones

IMG_6987 4.jpg

ANNE’S ALPHABET and ANNE’S FEELINGS BY KELLY HILL

// BOOK REVIEW //

Thank you to Tundra Books for these beautiful review copies!

Inspired by L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series, Tundra Books adds two new adorable board books to their Anne series. Fans of Anne of Green Gables will delight in the memorable moments captured in Anne’s Alphabet and Anne’s Feelings. For example, in Anne’s Alphabet, the reader is introduced to letters such as “K is for kindred spirit” and “M is for Matthew and Marilla”. Feelings such as “happy”, “scared” and “brave” are featured in Anne’s Feelings. The books are written and illustrated by Kelly Hill with charming illustrations that are a combination of sewing and embroidery. All four books are perfect gifts for any small child’s library!

Book Details:

Title: Anne’s Alphabet and Anne’s Feelings

Author and Illustrator: Kelly Hill

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Board Book

ISBN: 9780735262904 (Anne’s Alphabet) and 9780735262911 (Anne’s Feelings)

In  Anne’s Alphabet , each page features a letter of the alphabet accompanied by an adorable illustration.

In Anne’s Alphabet, each page features a letter of the alphabet accompanied by an adorable illustration.

An Anne-inspired book would not be complete without a reference to Gilbert!

An Anne-inspired book would not be complete without a reference to Gilbert!

Kelly Hill’s illustrations have the feel of stitching and embroidery.

Kelly Hill’s illustrations have the feel of stitching and embroidery.

Anne’s Feelings  is a great way to teach your children how to share their feelings.

Anne’s Feelings is a great way to teach your children how to share their feelings.

The details of each page are just adorable! I love the bumble bee!

The details of each page are just adorable! I love the bumble bee!

The feeling of wonder perfectly encapsulates Anne’s personality!

The feeling of wonder perfectly encapsulates Anne’s personality!

Comment

Comment

All-Time Favorite

IMG_E875C51DD069-1.jpeg

A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW BY AMOR TOWLES

// BOOK REVIEW //

Amor Towles’ mastery of the pen in ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ proved to be a blessing and a curse. I unequivocally adore this book for reasons I will attempt to articulate in this review while I am simultaneously left with the feeling that my reading life is forever ruined because I’m unlikely to find another book that meets this standard.

❤️

From incredible storytelling to unforgettable characters that are so well-developed that they move from a fictional form to a real-life presence, this book hits all the notes. Like a fine wine, I found myself savoring every line and passage in time from the first to the last page. The Count provided awareness, perspective and a charm so often absent in today’s culture. Alexander Ilyich Rostov will join my list of favorite fictional leading men. The rakish Rhett Butler and the high-brow Mr. Darcy (two of my favorites) could definitely learn a thing or two from the Count.

❤️

Towles expertly incorporates themes of friendship, loyalty, adaptation, camaraderie, remembrances, the power of ideas/poetry/cinematography, the contribution of Russian literature/music/food, the importance of character, the challenges of the collective, the priceless love between a parent and child, sacrifice, tyranny, liberty, truth, lies, and making order of the little things. I loved the variety and depth of the relationships Towles created. I will miss my daily interactions with the Count, Sophia, Anna, Marina, Emile, Andrey and Audrius. My favorite take away from this book, however, is the importance of perspective. From the mundane to those moments of insurmountable obstacles, our perspective directs our experience. A positive perspective propels us to find the good in otherwise undesirable circumstances which results in a positive impact within our sphere. In an interview, Amor Towles describes this perspective as the “will to joy”.

❤️

I whole heartedly recommend this book to all readers! I am looking forward to hearing Amor Towles speak on his book tour in San Francisco on June 4th!

❤️

Have you read this lovely book? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Comment

Comment

Purrrfect

IMG_5750.jpg

MISS MINK: LIFE LESSONS FOR A CAT COUNTESS BY JANET HILL

// BOOK REVIEW //

Thank you to Tundra Books for this beautiful, complimentary review copy!

Miss Mink is a cat Countess who turns to her happy, content cats to learn their lessons for living a purrrfectly satisfying life. This book offers twenty positive life lessons that are applicable to both children and adults alike. The lessons include: “make your goals bigger than your fears”, “chase your dreams”, “build strong friendships and you will always have the support you need” and “love others, but don’t forget to love yourself too”. The illustrations add a whimsical, creative and charming air to the story. Although this book is recommended by the publisher for kids 4-8 years old, Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess would be a wonderful addition to any cat-lover’s library!

Additional photos of the beautiful cover, end paper and illustrations are featured below…

Book Details:

Title: Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess

Author: Janet Hill

Illustrator: Janet Hill

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Hardcover with dust jacket

ISBN: 9781770499225

The hardbound cover beneath the dust jacket is beautiful!

The hardbound cover beneath the dust jacket is beautiful!

The cat print end papers are a purrrfect addition!

The cat print end papers are a purrrfect addition!

The artwork is delightful and charming!

The artwork is delightful and charming!

I love Lesson 6: Make your goals bigger than your fears!

I love Lesson 6: Make your goals bigger than your fears!

The life lessons presented are great for children and adults alike!

The life lessons presented are great for children and adults alike!

Comment

Comment

A Basket of Raspberries

IMG_5684.JPG

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

// Book Review //

Thank you to Flatiron Books for this beautiful, complimentary review copy!

For the photo, I tied this book in a bow but not the big, fluffy, glittery bows I prefer. I am hoping (much like the characters in the story) that my writing of this review will help me better understand why I have such mixed feelings about this book. 

I’ll begin my review with what I enjoyed about Anne Youngson’s epistolary novel, Meet Me at the Museum.  First, I thought Anne’s writing was thought-provoking, reflective and authentic. I love her analogy of raspberry picking. She writes, “Whenever I pick raspberries, I go as carefully as possible down the row, looking for every ripe fruit. But however careful I am, when I turn round to go back the other way, I find fruit I had not seen approaching the plants from the opposite direction. Another life, I thought, might be like a second pass down the row of raspberry canes; there would be good things I had not come across in my first life, but I suspect I would find much of the fruit was already in my basket.” Our path in life is the result of the choices we have made. By choosing one direction we are in essence not selecting another. Our reflection (and that handy post- 20/20 vision), can be both celebratory and somber. This little book makes a big statement to live life with no regrets. The author also  includes themes of self-reflection, loss, grief, second chances, remembrance, role fulfillment, self-discovery, friendship, being present in the moment and finding joy in the small things.

So what is there not to love? The premise could be charming from a simplified description… Two strangers meet via letter writing and form a bond of friendship (which ultimately could lead to love)… however, the subject that brings them together is a dead, preserved ancient criminal with a noose around his neck? Every time the Tollund Man was mentioned (and physically described) I kept thinking that it felt like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom meets Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail? It just didn’t work for me.

All-in-all, I will read Anne Youngson’s next novel. Her writing is lovely and her themes are heart-felt.

How about you? Have you read Meet Me at the Museum? What are your thoughts on this book?

Trigger Warning:

If you are uncomfortable reading books that contain adultery, you may want to avoid reading this book.

Favorite Quotes:

“Whenever I pick raspberries, I go as carefully as possible down the row, looking for every ripe fruit. But however careful I am, when I turn round to go back the other way, I find fruit I had not seen approaching the plants from the opposite direction. Another life, I thought, might be like a second pass down the row of raspberry canes; there would be good things I had not come across in my first life, but I suspect I would find much of the fruit was already in my basket.” 

 “Our letters have meant so much to us because we have both arrived at the same point in our lives. More behind us than ahead of us. Paths chosen that define us. Enough time left to change.”

“I am writing to you to see if you can help me make sense of some of the thoughts that occur to me. Or maybe I am hoping that just writing will make sense of them.” 

“You have a gift for finding joy in small moments, which is a thing I used to have, but have lost…” 

Book Details:

Title: Meet Me at the Museum

Author: Anne Youngson

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781250295163

 

Comment