We’re all struggling with the negative political news these days, and I really wanted to read Alyssa Mastromonaco’s Who Though This Was A Good Idea? as a political palate cleanser. I wanted it to transport me back to the wonderful years of the Obama White House, when things happened in an organized fashion (largely thanks to Mastromonaco herself), and the POTUS was a steadfast and comforting figure.
I loved learning more about Mastromonaco’s role both during Obama’s campaign and in the White House. As some one who is obsessed with organizing, it was pretty dreamy to hear about the work of someone who was responsible for figuring out the logistics of a jam-packed schedule like that of the President. Mastromonaco is also truly an inspiring figure for women thanks to her incredibly significant accomplishments in a male-dominated field at a very early age.
I struggled with the memoir’s structure and tone, however. It left me wishing that Mastromonaco had either employed a more experienced ghostwriter in helping her craft it, or that she had stuck to the political memoir aspect of it and dropped the self help portions. I recently found out that the book has been optioned by Mindy Kaling’s production company to be turned into a film, and I can see how Mastromonaco’s life would translate into a very compelling feature. While we wait for the screen adaptation, read my review of Mastromonaco’s memoir below.
Read more →
I was first introduced to Selina Siak Chin Yoke’s historical fiction novels when The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds became available as one of Amazon’s Kindle First deals ahead of its release in late 2016. If you’re not familiar with the Kindle First program, it offers 4 to 5 titles each month among which Amazon Prime members can download one for free a month ahead of its actual release.
I was drawn to The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds that month as my Kindle First selection because it was a historical fiction novel set in a time and place I hadn’t read much about before. It also promised to be a family saga rather than having the romance-novel undertones of some historical fiction novels. In this I was definitely not disappointed.
When I was contacted about reviewing Selina Siak Chin Yoke’s second novel in the series – When The Future Comes Too Soon – I knew I wanted to jump at the chance and finally pick up both books back-to-back. I didn’t really know what to expect but ended up being pleasantly surprised by how robust and well-developed the novels felt for a new author. Find out more in my reviews below!
Read more →
Why the cake in the post image you ask? This week was Novels And Nonfiction’s one year anniversary! I actually created the blog in July of 2016, but my first post was on August 3rd 2016. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been blogging for a whole year (probably because I took a break from February to May due to my new job), but I do feel a lot more experienced in creating content and promoting it semi-effectively. There’s still a lot to learn but the process so far has been more than rewarding.
I’m also one week away from my well-deserved vacation home to Milan to see my family. I’m a bit undecided as to whether I’ll put blogging on hold for the week or not. Usually I go for two weeks but this time I’ll be there for just over one week, so I want to make sure I’m primarily focusing on spending time with family and eating the equivalent of my body weight in Italian food every. single. day.
Remember that you still have until this Sunday at midnight to enter my giveaway for a hardcover copy of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. For the three ways to enter, see my blog post on my May 2017 Book Of The Month reviews.
Without further ado, here are this week’s links!
Read more →
I’ve had my fare share of trials and tribulations with audiobooks. I must have started at least 10 that I’ve decided to stop listening to within the first few chapters. Typically the issue was either a narrator whose voice really grated on my nerves, or a story that was not captivating enough in audiobook format. I typically listen to audiobooks on my morning commute, so they have to be really engaging or I’ll end up getting distracted by traffic or my thoughts on the day ahead.
Enter Wolf Hall. From the first few sentences I knew I had found my audiobook holy grail. Apparently, what really works for me is an amazing British actor narrating a tale full of passion, subterfuge, politics and inner turmoil that reminded me of the TV series The Tudors (which I loved) only honestly much much better. Where The Tudors feels superficial and glamorized, Wolf Hall is gritty and relatable despite its scope. Mantel’s novel has also been turned into a TV mini-series itself – starring Mark Rylance as Cromwell and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII – but after watching half of an episode a year or so ago, it just didn’t capture my attention. I may have to give it another shot after how much I loved this book.
If you’ve been struggling to find an audiobook that will hold your attention, I would recommend that you give Wolf Hall a try.
Read more →
Book Of The Month is a subscription service that sends you one hardcover book per month out of five selections for a low monthly subscription fee. You can add 2 more titles to your monthly delivery for $9.99 each, and the price overall is very cheap for full-size hardcovers.
Book Of The Month is not paying me to promote their service. I just love it so much that I’ve turned my monthly deliveries into a feature on my blog 🙂 I do encourage you to try it though, because if you like hardcovers it’s a great deal.
You can use my referral link to sign up if you’re interested in trying it. You’ll get your first three months for just $9.99 each plus a cute tote. And I’ll get a free book when you join. Win, win!
When it comes to my April 2017 Book Of The Month selections, I enjoyed all 3, though I thought The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Into The Water by Paula Hawkins were more solid picks than Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. Find out why in my review below! And don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a brand new copy of The Nightingale on Instagram and Twitter!
Read more →
I’m only a few weeks away from my annual trip home to Milan to visit my family for the summer, and I’m getting super excited. For anyone out there who hasn’t traveled to Italy yet – don’t go in August. I pick times during the year (August and December) when my family has more time to spend with me due to vacation, but they are pretty much the two worse times of the year to visit my home country.
In August, the mosquitoes in Italy are enormous and out in full force, and the region I’m from – Lombardy – turns into humid wetland very similar to Thailand. the area surrounding Milan is actually filled with rice paddies because the plain it sits in is surrounded by mountains that trap in moisture from the coast. Sounds picturesque but really it’s just muggy.
I typically spend all my time indoors sitting in front of the air conditioner, and you know what that means! Lots of leisurely time to read, in addition to two 11 hour flights, which also helps. I’m planning to tackle three of the biggest baddest books sitting on my TBR so stay tuned for reviews of those. In the meantime, here are this week’s links!
Read more →