Coventry by Helen Humphreys

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Hey guys! I have been reading Coventry by Helen Humphrey’s for a book club that I am apart of, and I decided that I would review it. This book is a historical fiction that takes place during the First World War and moves on to the German attack of November 1940. It follows the story of Harriet, a widowed woman who lost her husband shortly after they wed in World War I, and Maeve, a mother who is desperate to find her son amongst the German attack in the city of Coventry. Check out the full description at Goodreads: Conventry by Helen Humphreys.

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The Writing Style: 

This is the first novel that I have read by this author, and I was amazed by the writing. As I was reading this novel, I couldn’t help but think about the stark contrast between the poetic, beautiful writing of Helen Humphreys in comparison to her devastating and dark atmosphere her story takes place in, during the onset of explosions and bombs and wreckage. The author utilizes descriptive language to draw vivid images in the reader’s mind. As I was reading, I could picture the city in which she described, and the ruin that became of it following the German attack.

 

The Plot:

The plot of the story was excellent. I love historical fiction, and I really enjoyed seeing how Harriet and Maeve’s lives intersected. I also liked the way the author was able to carry out this heavy storyline in such a limited amount of pages. I usually prefer long books as I feel that I have time to develop a connection to the characters, but Helen Humphreys accomplishes this by giving just enough detail about each of the characters and their history before the story began, that the readers are able to feel a sense of connection to them, and feel their pain as they experience these awful bombings. The story though was predictable to some extent. Right from the beginning I knew how Harriet and Maeve’s lives intersected, I’m not sure if the author meant to make this obvious to the readers or not, but nonetheless I would have liked more of an element of “surprise” or maybe a few powerful plot-twists along the way.

This novel was really sad and moving. The author did an excellent job of using both her compelling writing style and her plot, to convey the loss and the pain, as well as the fear that would have been present during this scary time in history.

Overall I give this novel 4/5 stars. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves historical fiction, and is looking for a quick and fast-paced read. I would also recommend this as a book club book, as it was for me, because there is a lot of themes to discuss in this novel where people may have different opinions or perspectives.

 

Blog Update

Hey guys! So lately in addition to reading tons of books, I’ve also been taking lots of pictures. This summer I plan on taking my camera everywhere with me, and wanted to share some of my pictures, so I have created a new category where you can go and view those. I will mostly be doing nature photography as Spring and Summer are my favourite seasons and prove to be beautiful to photograph!

Be sure to check out my category “Photography”.  Enjoy! 🙂

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The History of Love by Nicole Krauss – Book Review

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Hi everyone, I have finished the History of Love by Nicole Krauss, and thought I would share my review of it with you. It’s a lot different from what I’m used to reading, which is contemporary or fantasy, but that’s what made this book unique. This book has received a lot of notoriety for being compelling and beautifully written, however though I did like it, I found it to be a little bit confusing at times and hard to follow due to the stark contrasts in each of the character’s writing styles, and how they intertwined together. However, by the conclusion I did feel a little bit less confused as the author brought the three separate storylines together, and illustrated to the reader how they all fit together.

Brief Summary – 

Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother’s loneliness. Believing she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of its author. Across New York an old man called Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer. He spends his days dreaming of the lost love who, sixty years ago in Poland, inspired him to write a book. And although he doesn’t know it yet, that book also survived: crossing oceans and generations, and changing lives… (this is the Goodreads description which you can view on Goodreads here: The History of Love

Plot – 

The plot I have to say is good, it’s creative, and is basically a mystery. There were a lot of times that something happened, or something was revealed and I was surprised, which is one element that I really liked about this novel. I would even say that the plot focuses heavily on uncovering mysteries. The premise of a book about a book was also really intriguing, and a different approach to storytelling than seen in the vast variety of literature. The plot also was saturated with writers. Most of the characters were writers and authors, and often the construction of a novel goes behind the scenes instead of being brought to the forefront of the readers’ attention. I also liked the deeper themes that were introduced such as fear of being invisible, authenticity, and the contrast between humour and death.

Characters – 

The characters were also really well developed and thought out. It was interesting seeing the relationship that Nicole Krauss created amongst unlikely individuals such as Gursky and Alma – one an old man, the other a young teenaged girl.

Writing Style – 

Many people have argued that the writing style has to be complex in order to tell such a complicated story,  but I really wasn’t a fan of how Nicole Krauss actually wrote each individual character’s perspectives, This is the part that I think really confused me. However, I haven’t really read anything like this before, and maybe if I was exposed to this unique style of writing more, I would be able to follow it better.


Overall, I give this novel 3/5 stars, for having an interesting plotline but not always being the most easy to follow. I found myself re-reading some parts, and when I read a book, I don’t want to have to go back and re-read and spend too much time trying to figure out what’s happening.

**Sidenote ** I will be re-reading this entire novel another time, because I read most of it while recovering from a rather unpleasant and complicated wisdom tooth surgery (which I’m still recovering from), so that may have influenced my ability to fully understand and enjoy this novel.

 

The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne – Book Review

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I can’t believe that I finished this book in less than one day! There was just something about it that kept me reading and not wanting to put it down. If you don’t know that The Wrong Side of Right is about, it follows the story of Kate, who’s mother has just recently passed due to a car accident. She finds out that her father is a senator that is currently running for US President. She is quickly united with him and thrown into the midst of the US presidential campaign in which she is completely unprepared. She meets the current president’s son (who just so happens to be her father’s opposition in the race to the Whitehouse), and promptly develops feelings for him. Due to the political nature of their relationship they have to hide it from the press and from each other’s families in order to not disrupt the political campaign. However, Kate is faced with numerous challenges being inexperienced in the realm of politics, and on top of dealing with publicity, must also deal with the loss of her mother and the unraveling secrets of her family’s past, while trying to get to know her father not only as a senator, but as a real human being. This proves to be quite challenging, and she is faced with numerous barriers and setbacks throughout the novel that she must overcome if she wants to develop her relationship with her father outside of the political campaign.

I have to say that I just loved this book so much. I might even re-read it at some point. I just could not stop reading. The storyline was so interesting, and I felt so bad for Kate because in all reality her life kind of did suck. But I’m glad that she eventually found security and happiness with her new family (being the senator and his wife and children). It was super interesting that Kate’s mother was a polisci major, and worked on political campaigns in her college years. It was also really interesting how she worked for a non-profit organization later on. Anyone who knows me knows that I love politics, so for me, a book that combines politics, a forbidden romance, and relationship building (aka Kate with her new found father), was the perfect book for me! It’s been raining incessantly for the last few days, so I’ve been staying inside for the most part with tea, and just reading. 🙂

I also really liked the main character Kate. I feel like in YA a lot of the characters are really strong and opinionated and assert their opinions whenever they have the urge to. However, that’s not always reality. I felt like Kate sometimes didn’t always say what was on her mind, things that she didn’t always agree with, mostly because she didn’t feel comfortable to do sonin an unfamiliar political atmosphere, with a dad she didn’t even know. I feel like that added a layer of realism to the character, as not always will we be brave enough to always say what we are thinking even if we disagree with some underlying value or in this case, policy. On the other hand, Kate did sometimes give her opinion when it mattered which I think made for a good balance.

The romance in this book was so cute! I loved Andy so much and I really do think that him and Kate belong together. They have so much in common, both being thrown into the world of politics involuntarily, and because of this they really helped each other. It’s really cool how even though their father’s were opposing in almost every regard, they could put the politics behind them and just be themselves with each other!

I give this novel 5/5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who loves a forbidden romance, or US politics! I loved the way that Kate was able to finally distinguish her father from the senator that presented himself to the world. This book really illustrates how a career in politics can become so consuming, it can be difficult to separate work from your personal life and even your relationship with your family.

Some of my Favourite Quotes from the Novel:

“It’s amazing how much one person can change the world, even if they don’t know they’re doing it.”

“But it occurred to me suddenly that trust wasn’t an object, not something that arrived on your doorstep, solid and absolute. It was a decision, a leap.”

As a sidenote – isn’t this book so pretty? I just love the cover design. I can’t believe I found this gem of a book for only $6 on sale at my local bookstore, I’m so glad that I did.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick – Book Review

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Hey guys! I just finished Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick! I have mixed opinions on this one. I have to say that I did really enjoy the plot, the plot-twists, and the mystery, paranormal aspect of this book. I was intrigued by Patch’s character as he was mysterious and no one really knew his true intentions until near the end. There was a lot of elements of this book that were kind of creepy, like dark figures in ski-masks following around Nora the main character, causing havoc. I’ve read a lot of these types of books before and I thought I had a good idea how things would turn out, but I was wrong, which means in my view that the book was successful in keeping the reader guessing through its intricate plot twists. The plot was much more complex than the description of the book leads on to, which I thought was good! I also liked how Nora didn’t fall for this mysterious Patch right away and the author built up a more realistic development of their relationship, which is something that is often lacking in YA literature. I thought the author also did an amazing job of keeping the plot moving quickly, there was never a time in the book that I got bored, and I found myself getting through this book fairly quickly. However, one thing that I didn’t really like about this novel, was the main character Nora. For some reason, she just kind of bugged me. It seemed that she just couldn’t make one intelligent decision. For example, who wanders into a dark alley on the wrong side of town when they know there’s danger? She seemed to me to be somewhat naive. I also didn’t particularly like Nora’s mother, she was always absent, and she didn’t really seem to care that much about where Nora was and what she was doing. How are these creepy things happening in her house and she’s completely unaware of all of it, leaving Nora at night alone? Overall, despite the fact that I didn’t really love Nora’s character, I did really enjoy the rest of the book and the premise of the storyline and I probably will be picking up the rest of the series eventually. Maybe as the series goes on Nora will learn to make better decisions and we’ll see her develop as a character (hopefully).

Overall, I give this novel 4/5 stars. It was a perfect read during exam season, as it was  one of those guilty pleasure reads. Yes, it was a little bit cliche, there were a lot of YA tropes present, but nonetheless I still enjoyed it.

Some of my favourite quotes from the novel:    

“Keep in mind that people change, but the past doesn’t.”

“Patch wasn’t the kind of guy mothers smiled on. He was the kind of guy they changed the house locks for.”

“Patch’s eyes were black orbs. Taking in everything and giving away nothing.”

“Humans are vulnerable, because they’re capable of being hurt.”