Fantasy, Fiction

Book Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

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The premise of this book is amazing. It’s 1969 and 4 siblings go see a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell people when they will die, right down to the age and exact date. With this information – Daniel, Varya, Klara and Simon- go ahead and live their lives with this information with Varya the only one who shares her age. They live their lives not knowing whether it was living out a destiny or a self-fulfilling prophecy. The book follows the life of each sibling and gives more insight into how they live.

With such a captivating cover, I feel like I saw this book everywhere and I had high hopes for this but unfortunately, this book was a let down. It had my interest in the beginning and I was curious to see how they would go ahead with life having an alleged expiration date, especially getting the info as teenagers. I feel like the first sibling story was quite interesting and captivating but as we progressively went through each sibling, it became more boring. By the time, we got to the story of the last sibling, I was bored out my skull and uninterested. There was so much focus on their work too, and while I got the connection, I just didn’t care.

Nothing about the writing stood out and it’s quite forgettable. I don’t have much to say about it to be honest. If this is on your TBR list, I honestly let you know that you won’t be missing much if you skip it.

Taynement

Book Related Topics

‘Tis The Season – Gift Ideas For The Book Lovers In Your Life

Christmas is right around the corner and with Thanksgiving over, this is the perfect time to talk about Christmas gifts! Finding gifts for that friend of yours who has an obsessive reading hobby with their head always in a book, it can be tough sometimes to figure out what to get them, especially when you don’t want to keep giving them only books year after year. We’ve come up with some gift ideas that we hope makes your gift shopping a little bit easier

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Giving your friend subscriptions to literary services is one of the best gifts you can give because they can use it to get books that they actually like and eliminates you having to guess and decide for them. Our recs:

COOKBOOKS

I love cookbooks (Leggy here!) and I have a ton of them that I read and do not even make a single recipe out of. I love the ones where the authors take the time to write the background of each recipe where I feel like i’m reading a book instead of just a set of instructions. I like funny and literary books from professional chefs and home cooks from all around the world, it gives me an insight into various cultures through food. Some of my favorites (and recs)for the year:

  • Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings books (the first is better than the second but they’re both still very accessible to the average cook)
  • Ina Garten’s “Cook Like A Pro” is super good (you can never go wrong with Ina)
  • Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines (Taynement actually got me this for my birthday!)

Also, there are plenty of cookbooks that are exclusively dedicated to recipes from books. How fun is that!:

  • The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinal Bucholz
  • The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black 
  • The Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature, and the Passages That Feature Them by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen

  • If cocktails are more of their thing hit them up with Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Ferdele. Besides the fun title, it is a fun cover.

STATIONERY 

Every book lover I know loves them some stationery. Our recs:

  • Beautiful journals for the beginning of the year, actual book lover’s journals that lets your loved one record their books and reviews for the year.
  • Personalized pencil and book websites that’ll let you print their favorite book quotes on any item you get. There are book lover’s post it notes, note cards, note pads, calendars.

So much you can do in this category. You can’t go wrong with this! Oh and etsy is a huge gold mine for gifts like these, they are a tad bit on the expensive side but on the plus side, you’d be supporting small businesses.

COFFEE TABLE BOOKS

Coffee table book add such beautiful visual components to fascinating subjects and interests. I love coffee table books and if I were a grown up I’d have one too! There are so many insightful, educative and funny coffee table books to choose from. Our recs:

  • The Barack Obama Pete Souza picture book is still one of my favorites and is a throw back.
  • The Diary Of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-portrait by Carlos Fuentes
  • The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big and Small by Kath Stathers
  • Buckingham Palace: The Interiors by Ashely Hicks (especially since people haven’t come down from the high of the Royal Wedding!)
  • Havana: Split Seconds by Abe Kogan
  • I Too Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 

JEWELRY 

Yes, we love the finer things in life too. There are so many literary inspired jewelry out there that are beautiful and so unique. Diamonds and books are forever so why not put them together? There are so many everyday accessories your loved ones wear that can be customized to show off their book nerd pride in really unique ways – bracelets, rings, necklaces, watches etc. Once again, Etsy is a gold mine for things like these. Our recs:

HOME DECOR

This is for your friend who likes book and more books and would love to be surrounded by them at all times. Our recs:

GOOD OL’ REGULAR BOOKS 

If you are brave and want to take a chance on getting your loved one an actual book that they’ll love, it’s good to do your homework first. Try to find out what their favorite books and genres actually are before giving them a book you think they’d enjoy. When gifting books it is very necessary to not just give books that you enjoyed but consider if this is a subject they are interested in. Our recs:

  • We have so many recommendations on our blog by genres like cozy mysteries, romance novels, fantasy that you can’t go wrong as long as you do your homework.
  • Celebrity memoirs by people you know they like, for example the new Michelle Obama book “Becoming” is currently the best selling book of the year, Gabrielle Union’s “We Are Going to Need More Wine” is still one of my favorite collection of essays.
  • Anne Bogel’s “I’d Rather Be Reading”
  • A book about their favorite TV show like Kelsey Miller’s “I’ll Be There For You – the one about Friends”.
  • For the Beyonce lover in your life – Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley

BONUS

If you decide to give the gift of Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”, you could go all out and complete it with this journal and candle (below) that will provide inspiration for your loved one. These can be found here.

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This was a fun post to curate for us and we really hope you find something your loved ones will truly enjoy. Have a lovely holiday season!

 

leggy & taynement

 

 

photocredit
Chick-Lit, romance

Review: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory + GIVEAWAY WINNERS ANNOUNCEMENT!

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“I’ve spent so long being afraid of love, because the last time I was in love, the man I loved only loved one part of me, but not all of me, and I thought love meant having to sacrifice a part of yourself”

I quite enjoyed The Wedding Date earlier this year and like most romance writers who write multiple books a year, Jasmine has just dropped another one in the same series. This book came out a couple of weeks ago and it was my Book of the Month pick for November. Even though I added this book BEFORE it came out, I was no. 126 in my library. 126?! I just couldn’t wait.

It was such a delight to read. The main female character, Nik, is completely blindsided when she is publicly proposed to at a baseball game by her boyfriend of just 5 months. She says no, is rescued by the main male character, Carlos, and goes viral. Guillory is very big on having a lot of diversity in her books. Nik is an African American freelance writer while Carlos is a Hispanic doctor who is cute, polite, smart and loves to cook – the absolute total package. We get to see the two of them build a friendship, with a dash of sex. Neither of them wants anything serious and Nik is just looking for a rebound so they keep it casual for most of the book. You get to see the slow burn of their relationship and this is what I love about this book. You actually feel them falling in love and there is no mention of love at first sight or instant love which is a trope I can’t stand in romance novels.

“Deciding to spend your life together shouldn’t be a surprise”

I know a lot of people didn’t like the amount of sex in The Wedding Date and I think the editor or author listened and kept this to a minimum. There was more insinuation than actual sex.   The female friendships in this book was another thing I liked. Nik had a strong support system in her friends – Dana and Courtney- and they almost stole the show. They looked out for each other and were there every time she needed them. I also enjoyed how both the characters were already fully formed individuals who communicated very well. I hate miscommunication in romance novels. I’m reading about adults not teenagers!

I did not particularly enjoy the last 50 pages of this book. The way the author wrote the final declaration of love, especially the scene where Carlos realizes that he loves Nik, was bleh to me. It was hard to believe because it just didn’t jive with the character she spent more than 250 pages building. Carlos acted questionably and that part dampened my enjoyment of the book because I expected more from him. Her editor should have had her rewrite the declaration. It took my rating down a star.

You do not have to read The Wedding Date to read this. Yes, we know Carlos is Drew from The Wedding Date‘s best friend and the couple shows up a couple of times in this book but they don’t have prominent parts in this story so you should be fine. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would totally recommend it if you’re looking for something light and well written to combat this bleak weather we’re currently having. I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy

GIVEAWAY WINNERS

Now for the exciting part.

*Drumroll please*

 

The winners are:

 

Estti E. and Edirin!!!!!! 

Congratulations guys! Please visit www.theluxecandles.com and DM via twitter or instagram to let us know what scents you would like and where to send to. Thank you all for your participation. Till the next giveaway, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Book Related Topics

Giveaway! – The Luxe Candles

Hi Guys!

The Holidays are practically around the corner and in the spirit of thanksgiving, we would like to say thank you to you guys who are kind enough to read and support us by working on a giveaway with The Luxe Candles. Made in the USA with a Nigerian entrepreneur, The Luxe Candles is a line of hand poured scented candles. Made with a blend of paraffin and soy wax it allows for a long lasting, cleaner burn and the quality fragrance oils allows for amazing fragrances.

Okay, so about the giveaway. There will be 2 winners and they will be receiving 3 candles each. 2 of them will be the scent of their own choice and the last candle will be the lime-basil-mandarin scented candle inspired by the novel, Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan.

How To Enter:

  • Follow @theluxecandles on Instagram
  • Follow @nightstands2 on Instagram (if you are already following that’s fine, just do the step above)
  • Leave a comment on this post letting us know what book you are currently reading. Be sure to also leave the handle you used to follow on instagram, so we know who to contact if you win!
  • Visit www.theluxecandles.com to pick out the scents you’d like
  • The giveaway is open to everyone but you MUST have a U.S mailing address for your candles to be mailed to you.

Eazy peezy, right? The winner will be announced on Monday, November 19. Don’t forget to share and tell a friend and feel free to make purchases. Never too early for Christmas shopping! Good luck!

romance

Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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The Kiss Quotient is a debut romantic novel by Helen Hoang with protagonists, Stella and Michael. Stella is on the spectrum, she has Asperger’s syndrome and struggles with all that comes with being autistic. She has a hard time socializing with people, struggles with touch from other people, obsessive over things etc. With all of this, it’s no surprise that Stella struggles with romantic relationships. All her sexual encounters have been torturous for her and her mom decides to let her know that she is ready for a grandchild. A coworker makes a passing remark to Stella that she needs to learn how to seduce a guy and she takes it seriously.

Cue Michael. The escort Stella hires to help teach her how to be good in bed. Michael is not an escort by choice. He is in over his head in debt. Devoted to his family, especially since his Swedish dad left (his mom is Asian) and mired by personal baggage. As an econometrician, Stella is used to being able to predict behavior but all that is out the window when she meets Michael.

I liked this book. It usually won’t be a book I’d pick on my own but a friend recommended it to me and I needed something very light. It really is basically a rom-com in book form. For those familiar with Mills & Boons, it’s a modernized version. Meaning it followed the basic formula of boy meets girl, they hit it off superbly, misunderstanding drives them apart and they eventually get it together. This is not a spoiler because this is not hard to figure out when you start the book.

The book reads like it is YA because honestly it comes off a bit juvenile. For example, phrases like “he palmed her sex” or “he tried to control himself from spilling” are used BUT it is definitely not YA as there were very many sex scenes that were graphic. The author only referred to penis as cock in the entirety of the book and some how that made me laugh.

If you read this book, you are going to have to HEAVILY suspend belief. Because as soon as she meets him, she suddenly has no issues with touch or tongue in her mouth and is a sex pot. It’s a little unbelievable that they liked everything about each other and nothing annoyed them about the other. I kept wondering whether Stella was Asian but eventually figured out she was white.

I will say though, we constantly say representation matters and sometimes when it doesn’t apply to ourselves we forget all the kinds of representation that matter. The author Helen Hoang was just recently diagnosed as being on the spectrum 2 years ago at age 34 and it helped her in writing the book. I saw a review in which a reader only via reading this book did she associate the symptoms mentioned with herself and she felt so seen. I thought that was such a great thing.

Overall, I recommend this book. As Leggy would say, “It’s a good palate cleanser”. I read this book in two days and I am not a fast reader. If it matters to you, The Kiss Quotient was a finalist in the romantic fiction section of Goodreads Year End Awards. Not surprisingly, the film rights to the book has been optioned. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Taynement

Fiction

We Chit Chat: Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

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“Unfairness is a far more natural state in the world than fairness”

Taynement: It’s been months but I finally finished the sequel to Beartown which I loved! (it was my favorite read of 2017)

Leggy: Yes, finally. How was your reading experience?

Taynement: When I first started, I kept wondering what the point of the sequel was and you can’t get lightning in a bottle twice. Then, I think somewhere around chapter 20, something switched and I don’t know why I ever said that and I was all in.

Leggy: I felt that way through out the book. Why did he feel it was necessary to write this sequel? I think he’s a fantastic writer and don’t get me wrong, It’s hard to read a Backman book and not think this man is so damn talented but I do not think this book added anything to the Beartown universe. It wasn’t a story that needed to be told.

Taynement: I beg to disagree. If we look at it from that point of view, honestly all sequels that aren’t part of a series would be stories that didn’t need to be told. His fantastic writing made it a story I didn’t know I wanted. He was able to carve out a focal point and theme of community.

“Culture isn’t just what we encourage but what we allow to happen”

Leggy: How did you feel about Maya’s family in this book and the journey each of them took?

Taynement: The one thing I liked about this sequel was how real it was. More specifically, about the many struggles we all face in life and how it’s easily misunderstood. I’ll just say right now that my least favorite character was Peter Andersson. What a coward.

Leggy: He was my least favorite character too. I couldn’t stand the passages that were about him. He was honestly a terrible husband. He was way too obsessed with the game at the expense of his family. At some point, I felt like he was willing to put his family through anything horrible for a game in a town that hates him so much. I would have moved. He should have moved. His wife sacrificed so much for him and he expected her to keep sacrificing even when it became her turn to shine.

“It’s impossible to measure love, but that doesn’t stop us coming up with new ways to try”

Taynement: The book has always focused on the hockey obsession and their devotion but at this point i’m not sure what he was getting out of it, that he was willing to put his family through what they went through. But that shouldn’t be surprising, he was totally a man, super selfish. The obsession I could deal with, they all were obsessed. He kept harping on their obsession but I could see what each person was getting out of it except Peter.

Also, thinking about the rivalry between Hed and Beartown I kept thinking this is kind of ridiculous and it suddenly occurred to me that the depiction in the book could be seen as a metaphor of where we are as a country with the left and right wings.

Leggy: The way the grownups participated and escalated the situation blew my mind. I think my favorite character in this series is Benji.

Taynement: He was definitely my favorite in book 1 but I think my favorites kept alternating. There were a lot of likable characters. I liked Zackell, the new female coach, also Kira.

Leggy: I liked Zackell too. And I really like Bobo’s family, that is one family that you don’t expect to work but they do and they love and protect each other so fiercely.

Taynement: Which goes back to the book being all heart. Because Kira was real – a strong woman just trying to keep it together. She’s lost a child, she’s had a daughter raped, an obsessive husband and she’s still trying to be a career woman but she was scared of nothing.

Leggy: I absolutely agree. I felt frustrated for her most of the time. Just seeing her life getting more and more complicated and her having to turn down taking shots at her dream for her family.

Taynement: Can we talk about Backman’s writing? How does he do it? This book solidified that he is the answer now whenever I’m asked “Who is your favorite author?” This is his third book of his I like.

Leggy: Backman is a fantastic writer. Sometimes, I’m like you’re just showing off now.

Taynement: Ha ha ha ha and I bet he isn’t even trying. The point where the book does a turn for me there are so many events that I felt my heart was being squeezed till the end of the book.

Leggy: There are so many quotes that just hit you in the heart and mind you, Tayne, these books are all translations!

Taynement: Yes! (which is why I have them sprinkled over this post for a taste) So I was going to to touch on this. Is he still great in Swedish or is it the translation that makes him great?

“You know why you can never rely on men? Because they love men. No one loves men as much as men do. They can’t even watch sports if it’s not played by men”

Leggy: He has to be so damn fantastic in Swedish because he’s so huge in Sweden. We’re just getting him now because A Man Called Ove was translated and did so well here but he’s been big there for so long. Can you imagine if he’s even better in Swedish? Like how is that even possible?

Taynement: It’ll be too much! Can’t tell you how many quotes I have highlighted. I don’t remember how the first book went but I also enjoyed how he went deep into the minds of the individual characters. For example: how a character explained why he was impulsive and what it’s like in his brain, or how Bobo explained how everything outside of playing hockey is so hard but in the rink he knows who he is.

Leggy: The premonition in a lot of the passages was nerve wracking because you know something terrible is coming and you’re just holding your breath wondering who it’s coming for.What did you think about Maya’s brother’s storyline? I was really frustrated by his actions because I kept wondering why he was doing what he was doing and why nobody was noticing?

Taynement: I think it could have been better but then what could be? It’s not easy being the overlooked child and I think the not noticing was to highlight the disintegration of Peter and Kira’s marriage.

Leggy: That’s true. How did you feel about the way it ended?

Taynement: Much better than Beartown! I think it wrapped everything up while giving an epilogue in a subtle way BUT why the caginess on who Zackell’s father is? I don’t want any more sequels!

Leggy: I loved how Beartown ended. I was satisfied with the end of that book. I think this is the last book in this universe, at least I hope it is because I don’t think I will be reading another one.

Taynement: Can I say I totally see this being a movie? Did you know A Man Called Ove is being remade in English with Tom Hanks? The Swedish one was nominated for an oscar.

Leggy: Really? I actually think that book would make such a good movie. That’s one of the things I thought when I read it even though I didn’t love it, I thought it would make a much better movie. I’m excited about that.

Taynement: Anyway, loved loved loved this book. I want to give it a 4 stars because it took sometime to rev up but I might forgive that and give it a 5, we’ll see.

Leggy: High praise. I gave it 3 stars. I enjoyed it but honestly, I could have done without it.

“When terrible things happen, most people become waves, but some people become rocks. Waves are tossed back and forth when the wind comes, but the rocks just take a beating, immovable, waiting for the storm to blow over”

Leggy & Taynement

Fiction, romance

Book Review: The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

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The Perfect Couple is centered around Benji’s and Celeste’s fairytale, high society wedding in Nantucket. It’s wedding season there and this Island is overrun with tourists and wedding guests alike when the maid of honor is found drowned on the morning of the wedding day by the bride herself. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield–and no couple is perfect.

Through the investigative work of Chief Ed Kapenash, an unraveling of the many alibis and a host of memories from multiple perspectives, Elin takes us back to the beginning—to how Benji and Celeste came to be the perfect couple set to say “I do”. We find out how they met, how their relationship progressed to the proposal. We find out the dirty secrets and the secret love affairs between the most surprising characters and everyone takes a turn being a suspect. Was this drowning a murder or an accident?

Hilderbrand is the queen of beach reads (all her book covers are people sitting in front of the ocean) and multiple book releases a year, this woman knocks them out like books are going out of style soon. In fact, she already has a new book out just a couple of months after this one (4 months to be exact). She is also quite good at writing such distinct characters that actually make you feel things. I did not care for the main character, Celeste, her actions and the holier than thou attitude were just too much for me to take. I know that good people do bad things but I got tired of being told how good, kind and so independent she is while watching her make shitty decisions that would hurt her supposed fiance if she is ever found out.

If you’re looking for a murder mystery book, this really isn’t it. I mean there is an investigation for 24 hours and you quickly realize that this was just a plot by the author to tell us about family secrets and forbidden love. This is chick-lit through and through. I could not stand the love at first sight story line between two of the characters, it was dumb and it was a bit insulting to the reader’s intelligence. I rolled my eyes so hard during all their interactions and did not root for them at all. I thought they were selfish and hurting people whose intentions were clear and pure just for their own stupid gain. Also, the end was pretty anti-climatic for me.

I gave this book two stars. It was a quick read and I think if you’re looking for something easy to read, this is the book for you.

 

Leggy.