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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 2015 Book Reviews

I am back with some more reviews on the books that I read (and finished) during this month (You can check out January's Book Reviews here!). I had a good month and I liked most of the books that I read. Have you guys read any of these books? What did you think of them? Leave a comment below!

I enjoy historical fiction and I read a lot of mystery books when I was younger and this book was a perfect blend of both. The story switches between two narratives and three points of view that are intertwined. One narrative is from the eyes of Cristina Roseti towards the end of World War 2 as she watches her idyllic life in Italy change as Nazis show up interested in some local ruins and begin to turn their home into their prison. The other narrative is from the eyes of detective Serafina Bettini, about 10 years, trying to determine who is killing off members of the Roseti family. The third narrative is that of the killer.

What I loved about this was how information was given out (well, for the most part). You learned information about the 1943 narrative in the 1955 narrative before they are played out and the entire time, you are unsure about who the killer is, what happened in 1943, and if Serafina will catch the killer.

Overall, I enjoyed it with a couple caveats. For example, the two close calls at the end seemed unnecessary and the eventual discovery of the killer. The ending seemed a little rushed and the tone was less passionate as the rest of the novel. I would, still, highly recommend this book!

Verdict: Read this book to stay up late at night trying to figure out who the killer is while planning to move to Italy.

I love hiking and after reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, I was open to the idea of reading more books about women discovering themselves in this era. It is for that reason that I truly respect Cheryl Strayed's story and the fact that she shared it with the world.

I didn't like it as much. But before I start, here is the premise - Cheryl Strayed's mother's death shakes her and her entire world as her family and her marriage fall apart. Four years later, she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on her own without any major training.

I enjoyed her descriptions of the trail, I was pleasantly surprised at how kind the people that she met were, and I was awed by her willpower. But, I struggled to finish it. A lot of the book consisted of her focusing on getting to the next stop where she could eat some food. Maybe that was the point of the novel, but it just seemed repetitive to me.

Verdict: Read if you really want to know what hiking is about but it wasn't my cup of tea

Oh, Jhumpa Lahiri. Her writing always leaves me a little sad and awakens my own muse and makes me want to write. This book, explores the idea and relationships of family starting with the relationship of two brothers. While Udayan  grows up to follow the Naxalite movement in India,  Subhash, goes to America to focus on science research. He returns to India following his brother's death trying to right wrongs and work for a new beginning with his brother's wife.

I liked Unaccustomed Earth more, but this novel is still a great read as it weaves through the character's complex relationships and explores the idea of family and belonging.

Verdict: Read for some beautiful writing but remember that this story will stay with you for a long time and will make you sad.

I can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading this book. Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Melon when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and within a year was told that he only had months to live.  He was asked to give a last lecture as a professor and he agreed. He titled it "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" was exactly about what the title implies. This book talks about the process of writing the lecture along with the nuggets of wisdom that he gives during the lecture.

In short, it's a guidebook on how to really live your life. I cried, and laughed, and cried again while reading this while simultaneously covering the entire book with little tabs on all of my favorite quotes (which was essentially everything). I just felt myself wishing that I could have met Randy Pausch.

Verdict: Highly recommended for those who want a guidebook on how to live a truly wonderful life.


  1. Great reviews. And... Since I've read all these books, I happen to agree with your point of view... About the Last Lecture - did you see the 'actual' lecture on video? It's on YouTube, I think. I also cried/laughed throughout. And I gave it to one of my best friends as a present. Don't forget to read the other Bohjalian books ;) Well done. Cheers, G.

    1. I saw like 20 minutes of it a couple of years ago, but then I got busy and forgot about it. I am hoping to watch the entire lecture sometime this weekend! All of the Bohjalian books are on my to-read list but then I get distracted by other books! I think I might be able to get my hands on Secrets of Eden.


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