Book Of The Month is a subscription service that sends you one hardcover work of modern fiction per month for a 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’m turning my 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 and code FRIEND50 to receive 30% off a 3-month subscription to Book Of The Month (and I’ll receive a free book if you sign up through my link – win win).
The three titles I picked for my September 2016 delivery were A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles, The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and Circling The Sun by Paula Mclain. I enjoyed all 3 titles. They were quite different one from the other which was great for variety and also to try something new compared to what I typically read. Reviews are below.
A Gentleman In Moscow
by Amor Towles
Published: September 6th 2016
I absolutely loved A Gentleman In Moscow. It was definitely my favorite out of the three titles I received. It’s the story of a Russian aristocrat, Count Rostov, who is condemned to house arrest by a Bolshevik tribunal. The twist in the story is that the Count has to live out his sentence not in an actual home, but in a hotel called The Metropol, located in Moscow across the street from the Kremlin. From Count Rostov’s perch in his attic rooms at the hotel, the reader experiences decades of Russian history with and through the protagonist.
From the beginning I felt that Count Rostov was similar in many ways to the main character in my #1 favorite novel of all time – The Idiot by Dostoevsky. The protagonist of The Idiot, Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin, is different from everyone around him. In a world filled with corruption, greed, selfishness and immorality, he’s a genuinely good and selfless person, to the point that to others he appears as simple minded. Count Rostov is not quite as naive a character as the Prince, but like the Prince, he is trapped in a society that is changing and becoming more and more dissimilar to him. His personality hearkens back to a simpler time of good manners, attention to life’s little pleasures and somewhat conservative values. The Count does adapt slowly throughout the novel, but in some ways he’ll always represent the past in a beautifully nostalgic way.
Towles’ prose is almost lyrical and especially decadent when he’s describing Count Rostov’s enjoyment of perfect meals at the hotel’s restaurants. The Count becomes involved in various intrigues throughout his time at the Metropol, and his life changes profoundly with the advent of a new key character in the story nearly halfway through, which provides a significant twist. I felt the ending was left a little more unresolved than I would have liked, but I still absolutely loved the book. I highly recommend it and I’m going to have to pick up Towles’ prior novel Rules Of Civility asap.
The Woman In Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware
Published: July 19th 2016
I chose The Woman In Cabin 10 as my second Book Of The Month picks for September because I’ve realized recently that I really enjoy psychological/crime thrillers more than I previously thought I did. I think it was Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier that helped me realize I like the genre, and now I’m delving into it in modern fiction as well. In fact, there are several similar thrillers on my Fall 2016 TBR list that I posted earlier this week.
The Woman In Cabin 10 was a quick and easy read, with a good level of suspense, intrigue and danger without being truly scary to me. I’ve read reviews from others who had a hard time reading it at night or home alone, but I thought it was gripping without being really frightening.
The story follows Lo Blacklock, a travel journalist who takes her boss’ place for an exclusive press trip on a luxury yacht. The setup is a bit like Clue, with the introduction of the occupants in the different cabins (including the mysterious woman in cabin 10 next door to Lo’s cabin). It’s essentially a whodunit, but obviously one that keeps you guessing until the very end.
One of my favorite elements was the author’s use of news articles, police reports and emails interspersed in between the chapters to provide a sense of realism to different phases of the plot. Some of the supporting characters were better developed than others, who remained a bit shadowy, but overall the book kept me wanting to know more throughout. I would recommend it for a fast, entertaining page-turner.
Circling The Sun
by Paula McLain
Published: July 28th 2015
Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed reading this book. It was pretty well-written, had an engaging plot and a captivating strong female lead. It’s the fictional retelling of the life of Beryl Markham, a British-born Kenyan aviator and horse trainer who was a pioneer in the early days of aviation.
Within the book, however, Beryl’s accomplishments in aviation are actually a bit of an afterthought. Paula McLain shows Beryl starting to dabble in aviation towards the end of the book, but that’s about it. Circling The Sun is much more focused on Beryl’s life as a female horse trainer in a male-dominated field, and especially focused on her various romantic entanglements.
Beryl does seem to break through social conventions in her desire to become the first prominent female horse trainer in Kenya. She is also set on following her heart in her personal life, against the conservative opinion of the society of the time. However, her personal choices and the way she treats others are often questionable regardless of whether you have a 1920s mindset or not.
Ultimately, rather than appearing wonderfully emancipated, Beryl comes off as maybe a too self-centered and a too free with the way she treats others’ emotions. I found myself judging her a bit, like her societal peers in Kenya. I don’t feel like the book was a waste of my reading time but I wouldn’t recommend it to others. There are just too many better titles out there to read.
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