January 2015 Book Reviews | Facades and Nuances: January 2015 Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January 2015 Book Reviews

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that books and I have a serious love affair which I want to broadcast to the world. Here are some books that I read and finished recently ( I read multiple books at a time which means it takes me longer to actually finish them) and my thoughts on them. I toyed with the idea of giving them numerical ratings but I have a hard time doing that. I'd rather just tell you whether I recommend it or not.

I picked up Juliet on a whim. I am not a fan of Shakespeare's Romeo and  Juliet (a 3 day love story between two teenagers in which Romeo is far more in love with the idea of love than actual love? No thanks.) but I couldn't get a hold of any other book. But I was pleasantly surprised. The premise is that our protagonist, Julie, finds out that a) she is a descendent of Giuletta (aka Juliet) and b) that the "plague on both your houses" might be still be in effect.
The novel switches back and forth between Julie and Giuletta. I am a sucker for historical fiction and Anne Fortier's take on the story of Giuletta and Romeo is SO MUCH more satisfying. Plus, the backdrop for both stories in Sienna, Italy which was described so wonderfully that I have decided that I want to live there.
There were some odd parts - the last half become an intense thriller, and I am not so sure that I liked how one of the characters just kind of conveniently disappeared.  The ending wasn't messy and most of the loose ends are tied up with a big fat bow by the end. The book can be described as a fast-paced, mild Dan Brown-esque novel that is perfect for someone trying to get back into reading.

Verdict: Recommended for the reader who wants to start reading again on a hammock drinking a tropical drink

I had watched her TED talks, followed her on Facebook, but still hadn't gotten around to reading any of her books. I think I was convinced that with a movie and the countless attention it had gotten it would be incredibly overrated. It was not. Overall, it was a good book. Elizabeth Gilbert was raw and personal about feeling completely lost and trying to find herself despite doing everything society said she had to do as a woman.
Granted, there were some parts that bored me, and some parts that seemed way to convenient and hard to believe ( is it really that easy to meditate and access the blue power?) but it was her journey and she shared it. At the same time, some parts were eye-opening and touching and she was able to meet some really wonderful people around the world. Plus, it's filled with lovely quotes and sentiments throughout including my favorite one -

“I look at the Augusteum,and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me to not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday I might have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough--but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the Eternal City, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.”

Her story is about accepting who you are - no matter how messy and imperfect and terrifying it is.

Verdict: Recommended especially for anyone going through an identity crisis/mid-life crisis to be read with some ice cream or gelato.

This was an odd one. I wanted to like it because Tiphanie Yanique is magical with her words and was able to quickly transport me to Virgin Islands during the time it is transferred to American rule. As I mentioned before, I love historical fiction and I enjoyed learning about this time period and history and I was looking forward to reading a saga that crosses generations with touch of magical realism. But, I did not enjoy the plot nor was I able to relate to the characters. There were only a couple of times when I did feel invested but they were short. It felt like the characters were going on their way and I was there reading along and enjoying the scenery.

Verdict: Not my cup of tea.

I am currently working on my Etsy which (fingers crossed) should be out in a couple of weeks so it felt appropriate to read how one woman was began by selling vintage clothing on ebay to founding the a million dollar clothing store called NastyGal. The book doesn't offer a set formula but it does offer some advice in terms of employment. As a whole, however, it establishes a certain mindset to achieve success. Plus, it's a fun read. Sophia Amoruso has this infectious, bouncy energy to her which seeps into her writing. Of course, it also has a plethora of quotes
One of my favorites?

“Even with no manager watching to give me a gold star, it was important to do my best. Who cares if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it? The tree still falls. If you believe that what you’re doing will have positive results, it will—even if it’s not immediately obvious. When you hold yourself to the same standard in your work that you do as a friend, girlfriend, student, or otherwise, it pays off.” 

Verdict: Recommended for the woman who needs a little motivation to start taking over the world with her choice of a warm, caffeinated drink (preferably chai).

I am torn on this one. The book confused me. It was going to be retelling of Snow White that explored race dynamics. And it did that - to some extent. There were some parts that could be compared to Snow White and while race was there in the story it felt superficial. It just seemed to accept that being or passing as white in 1953 was better than being black. I was excited throughout the novel because it seemed to be building up to something monumental. Instead, the book took a complete opposite turn in the last 20 pages, brought up the topic of gender and then ended abruptly leaving me confused and slightly disappointed. The book just felt like it had so much potential but it fell short.

Verdict: Not my cup of tea

What have you guys read lately? I would love some book recommendations!

This will be regular series of the blog, so check back at the end of next month to see more book reviews! You can stay in the loop by following me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Bloglovin'.

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