I selected The Book Of Essie as my June 2018 Book Of The Month pick, and then added two more books to my shipment for that month – The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and a copy of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve read and absolutely loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (my rave review here). I just added it to my June Book Of The Month box so I could have a hardcover copy of the novel at home, since I originally read it as a library ebook.
Since I ended up DNFing The Kiss Quotient only 4 or 5 chapters in (unreadable for me because of the cringe-worthy romance novel writing), I decided to just review The Book Of Essie as a stand alone post instead of putting together a whole June 2018 Book Of The Month post.
The Book Of Essie made up for my not being able to get through The Kiss Quotient. It was a complex novel that captivated my interest with an original premise and enough plot twists to keep me reading. See why I gave it 4 stars in my review.
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I had a lot of new novels to choose from when I was picking five fiction titles to include in my September Book Releases post, and The Seclusion was a relatively unlikely candidate. It’s a debut novel from a new author but has been racking up positive reviews on Goodreads and had what I felt was going to be a captivating and currently relevant premise.
Turns out I was right! I found reading The Seclusion equal parts fun and disturbing. The dystopian future in which the narrative is set is plausible enough and sufficiently related to our current political situation to be extra creepy. The book ends with a final cliff-hanger that left me wanting more. Read my full review to find out why.
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We’ve entered a bit of a Crazy Rich Asians craze these days – and deservedly so. I was very excited to see a movie with such a diverse Asian cast go into production and more recently to see it perform so well at the box office. It’s very encouraging to witness audiences continuing to respond positively to good story lines and interesting characters regardless of their origin.
When I decided to read Crazy Rich Asians a few weeks ago, so that I could review the book and the movie side by side, I wasn’t sure whether I would like the book. I’m definitely not a chick lit or romance novel fan, so I was worried it would feel much too superficial and light for me. I ended up finding the novel enjoyable though with some softer points, but the movie actually outdid the novel for me. It was the perfect, sweet, entertaining romance comedy, like the ones I loved to watch in the 1990s and 2000s that are rarely matched nowadays. Read more about my thoughts on the novel and movie below.
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For an Italian, and especially a Milanese like I am, Leonardo da Vinci is kind of the ultimate cultural symbol. It’s true that he was born in Florence and spent part of his life there, but he also lived for multiple years at different points of his life in my hometown of Milan. While in Milan, under the protection either of the Sforza family or the conquering French, Leonardo had a significant impact on the city, from it’s canals to its artistic heritage.
Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs has been gathering dust on my shelf for a while now (I’ll get to it eventually), but when I learned he had published a biography of Leonardo da Vinci, I immediately felt drawn to reading it. The biography was wonderful (full review below) and it was such a great coincidence that I finished it just ahead of my yearly summer trip to Milan. You pretty much can’t round a corner in Milan without happening upon a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit or one of his works. I’m sharing some images from the Leonardo3 exhibit I attended a few days ago that featured spell-binding re-imaginings of some of the designs Leonardo left us for machines he envisioned.
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I’ve definitely fallen off my blogging schedule recently but, a while back, I had requested to participate in the blog tour for a historical mystery called Call Of The Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks. The blog tour was organized by Anne at Random Things Tours and the publisher was nice enough to send me a paperback ARC of the novel, which was just released at the end of June.
Iwas not familiar with the author but I was intrigued by the plot teaser and felt I would likely at least enjoy the novel. However, the book ended up far exceeding my expectations. Brook’s writing has strength and depth to it beyond what I would have thought to find in a run-of-the-mill historical mystery, and the atmosphere of the novel was suggestive enough to transport me to a cold dreary marsh even in these past sunny 90 degree heat days we’ve been having in LA. Find out more below!
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I attended the LA Times Festival Of Books for the first time this year and I’ve already put together a recap post for my first day at the festival, including all the talks I listened to and the books I was able to get signed. You can see my Day 1 Recap here.
This is the recap post for Day 2 – when I had the chance to hear quite a few very well known authors speak about their work. Compared to Day 1, which was mostly nonfiction focused, the Day 2 conversations I picked were all centered on fiction.
By my second day at the festival, I was old hat at getting from one speaker event to the next, and at knowing to leave the auditoriums five minutes into the question portion to make sure I was right at the front of each book signing line. I hope you enjoy this second recap and I can’t wait till when I get to attend the festival again next year!
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