Book Review | After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel

after the winter cover.jpgAlternating focus between a male and female protagonist, After the Winter is a story of the human conditions of obsession, love and loneliness. The Cuban man lives alone in New York City with his OCD and gets together once a week with an older girlfriend. The Mexican post grad lives in Paris and loves her apartment’s view of the cemetery as she falls for an ill Italian neighbor. Both the man’s and woman’s stories are compelling, forcing the reader to question if and how they will intersect.

Nettel’s writing style is immediately inviting. Though not overly simplistic, her sentences are clear, evoke imagery and create dynamic characters. The book flows smoothly while still being easy to pick up and put down with frequent chapter breaks. Recommended for introspective romantics or those who appreciate a well written, quick read. After reading this text, I would be interested in reading other works by Nettel. Check it out from a library near you!

*Fans of After the Winter holidays, may enjoy The Story of a Brief Marriage by Geir Gulliksen (2018).

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Book Review | You All Grow Up and Leave Me by Piper Weiss

you all grow up and leave me cover.jpgRelaying her experiences as one of the teenage tennis players coached by Gary Wilensky, You All Grow Up and Leave Me relives Piper’s coming of age in early 1990’s New York City. As a Jewish girl attending private school, she shares specific memories from her adolescence including times with friends, family and Gary, as well as her emotional journey into adulthood. While the book is billed as focusing on the “Gary story” of teenage obsession, it’s actually more of a memoir of Piper’s coming of age and personal social issues.

Weiss’s writing style drew me in more than the story of this memoir. Her words lay bare a character from the past who only she could access and share. The directness of the text is very appealing. Weiss does a good job interweaving all of the facets of her early teen years in a story that becomes more than just a memoir because of it’s relation to a publicized scandal. This book would appeal to readers of coming of age memoirs or those interested in true crime. Check it out from a library near you.

I received an uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

museum of modern love cover.jpgInspired by an actual Marina Abramović exhibit that took place in 2010, The Museum of Modern Love explores the definition of art and speaks about love over the long haul, examining some of the complications that come with an aging relationship. After the protagonist’s wife slips into a coma, he spends his days visiting a rare exhibit at the MoMA entitled The Artist Is Present. He is a composer of musical scores for films and is in a slump as he finds himself separated from his wife. As he observes museum visitors silently experiencing Abramović, he begins a silent journey of his own.

For those who appreciate art fiction, this will be an enjoyable read. The story is entertaining and with chapters that shift focus among them, each of the characters receives the right amount of emphasis. Readers who’ve experienced difficulty in a loving relationship should be able to relate to the text on multiple levels. Check it out from a library near you!

*Fans of The Only Story, may enjoy The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Siegal (2014).

Book Review | Feast : True Love in and out of the Kitchen by Hannah Howard

feast cover.jpgIn this memoir, the reader joins Hannah for her voyage from the end of high school, through college and into the professional sphere. While Hannah deals with an eating disorder that governs many parts of her life, she also relates interesting food service industry experiences in New York City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Beyond a mere love of food, Hannah’s romantic entanglements are also included and provide for a well rounded and engaging account.

Feast is a very well written and easy to approach text. Howard is clearly very knowledgeable about food, and does a terrific job sharing some of that knowledge without coming off as snobby or condescending. This book draws the reader in from the start and between the food, relationships and Hannah’s struggle with body image, certainly keeps the reader engaged. While most readers will know about anorexia or bulimia, the compulsive or binge eating that Howard deals with may be new to many. Recommended for those who love food, those struggling with eating disorders, or just fans of a good read with a solid female protagonist. There are currently no library holdings listed for this book, but they may eventually appear here.

I received this Kindle ebook as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | The Futures by Anna Pitoniak

futures cover.jpgProtagonists Evan and Julia meet while attending Yale and then decide to move to New York City together after graduation. Previously a star on the hockey team, Evan has some adjustments to make to fit into his finance job at a prestigious hedge fund. Julia comes from a well-off family in Boston and with their connections lands a job as an assistant at a non-profit. She struggles to fill her time while Evan works increasingly long hours, and can’t quite manage to keep herself out of trouble.

Pitoniak’s first novel is quite impressive. The writing style fosters an intimate relationship between the reader and the protagonists. With chapters alternating point of view between Julia and Evan, it is easy to understand the how and why of what they are each feeling. Revealing scenes from alternating view points also help the story to flow successfully without bias. In addition to following on their relationship, another major focus of the book is the business deal that Evan negotiates in his hedge fund work. Fortunately, this is handled in an accessible manner that will allow all readers to remain interested, even those with no financial background or interests. Highly recommended for those interested in reading about interpersonal relationships of twenty-somethings in New York City. Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt

rebels like usAgnes Murphy-Pujols has just been uprooted from her active life in Brooklyn halfway through her senior year in high school to move with her Irish mother to a small town in Georgia while her brother attends the Sorbonne and lives with their Dominican father in Paris. Feeling like she got the raw end of the deal, Agnes is equally pissed at her mother for “cheating on” her father, despite their separation, and stressed out at having to deal with fitting in at a new school. Luckily, her looks and fiery personality draw the interest of ultra-popular Doyle and they flirt their way through the semester. The book’s focus becomes more racial when Agnes finds out about her new school’s tradition of segregated proms and tries to create change.

At nearly 500 pages, Rebels Like Us is one of the longest YA books I’ve encountered. The writing is solid and the characters well developed. It’s likely to please those interested in a romance novel with a few tangents. While the book bills itself as focusing on racial issues, those really take a backseat to the relationship between Agnes and Doyle. That said, their courtship does not seem to be given adequate attention as an inter-racial relationship. Some important issues are broached, which could serve as a catalyst for thought in some young minds, but nothing new or earth shattering is really presented. A shorter length may have worked better for this piece, which is a bit slow to get going and does seem to go on for a while. The novel could actually work well as the basis for a film. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading Rebels Like Us, you may be interested in The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras (2016).

Book Review | Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney

brightpreciousdays.jpegProtagonists Russell and Corrine have been married for years and are parents to school-aged twins. In New York City, he runs a publishing house and she works in the non-profit sector dealing with food redistribution. Both have, at times, strayed from their marriage, but they pride themselves in having weathered storms together. When a publishing faux pas lands Russell’s business upside down, and Corrine can’t keep her bloomers on, it’s a question of whether the storm will be too much for this couple to bear.

I was not aware until after reading this book that it was the third installment by the author about the protagonist couple. Bright, Precious Days works well as a standalone novel. Enough information about the couple’s history is woven into the text that they can be understood without further background. Mostly, I found this book to be an enjoyable read, though in some places I felt details or descriptions were overdone. The text would certainly be of interest to those wanting to read about the lifestyle of New York’s rich. Ultimately, the story made me contemplate people’s values and worth, leaving me with a somewhat hollow feeling. Check it out from a library near you.

I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.