I had a really good reading month, one of my best in a long time! Most of my reads were shorter or easy or unputdownable (or some combination of all three!), which definitely helped.[Read more...] about Show Us Your Books Reading Recap — What I Read in December
I have had A Gentleman in Moscow sitting on my shelf for what feels like forever. I recognized it at a used book sale and scooped it up for a dollar. But then it sat there. The size really intimidated me. When I was presented with an opportunity to partner with the Book Club Cookbook for their Book Blends Bash, I knew now was the time to push myself to read it!
Well, I’m mostly just disappointed I waited so long to pick Amor Towles’ novel up! It was really quite lovely — almost a 5-star read. In it, we follow Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest by the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s. The rest of the story takes place in the Metropol, where the Count will be staying; to step out onto the street would mean being shot dead on the spot.[Read more...] about A Gentleman in Moscow + Dill Bread
Have you had a piece of technology totally crap out on you lately? It makes you feel so helpless. My laptop completely lost its mind yesterday. First of all, it took forever to finally get it to come on in the morning, and then, it wouldn’t hold a charge. Despite being plugged in constantly (I was afraid to unplug it), it remained at a 1% charge. Oh, and the fan wouldn’t stop blowing — it blew the entire day. Yikes.
All that is to say, sorry this post is late. I had the best intentions of getting it up according to my normal schedule. And now onto the book!
When I found out yet another Practical Magic prequel was on the way, I didn’t hesitate to get my hands on it. Obviously I loved The Rules of Magic when I read and reviewed that a few years ago. (It remains my most popular post… probably because of the recipe, but regardless.) Thankfully, Magic Lessons lived up to my expectations — it was exactly the story I wanted.[Read more...] about Magic Lessons + Courage Tea Cookies
I first heard about Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet on my favorite book recommendation podcast, All the Books, when Liberty Hardy raved about it. The concept sounded intriguing, but I didn’t add it to my TBR. I started seeing it more and more on bookstagram and decided to request a copy from the library, but by then the waitlist was quite long. Then, it won the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Someone I’d been following closely on Instagram had read it and was beyond excited that it won. This someone also happened to live less than a mile from my house. I knew I needed to read it.
So I reached out, asked if I could borrow her copy, and she generously said yes! I dropped by and picked it up off her porch, we chatted out the window for a few minutes, and off I went. If it weren’t for her, I may still be waiting on the library waitlist.[Read more...] about Hamnet + British Apple Pie
Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half was one of the most highly anticipated novels of 2020 — and not just by me, though I was certainly looking forward to it after reading her debut novel The Mothers a couple of years ago. Sometimes, when I’m really anticipating a book, I’m almost hesitant to actually pick it up. I’m afraid reality won’t meet my expectations (as with The Book of Longings). I am pleased to report The Vanishing Half more than lived up to expectations. In fact, it was almost a 5-star read for me… more on that later.
In Bennett’s second novel, her writing once again shines. She creates complex, interesting characters and vividly draws the world they live in. It’s the story of the Vignes sisters — identical twins — who grow up in a town called Mallard, a community made up entirely of light-skinned Black people. These sisters are so light they could pass for white. And one of them, Stella, decides to do just that. She leaves her twin sister Desiree behind and their lives diverge from there. Stella marries a white man who never knows her family; together they have a daughter named Kennedy. Desiree marries a dark-skinned Black man and gives birth to a daughter, Jude, who is the spitting image of her father. Stella's decision is complicated and its effects are profound.[Read more...] about The Vanishing Half + Lemon Cake with Vanilla Frosting
I’m not sure where I first heard of Fiona Davis’ latest historical novel, but I was immediately grabbed by the description. The Lions of Fifth Avenue is about a woman, Laura Lyons, who lives in the main branch of the New York Public Library with her family in 1913, and about her granddaughter who works in the same library 80 years later.
Like most other bookworms, I’m always interested in stories about books, bookstores, and libraries. The idea of living in a library, though? I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the story, and I was definitely a bit jealous of the Lyons family throughout. Because her husband is the superintendent of the library, they’re able to live in the apartment within the grand building. Though the Lyons family — Laura, her husband and their two children — live a happy life, Laura wants more. She enrolls at Columbia University’s journalism school, and her whole life changes.[Read more...] about The Lions of Fifth Avenue + Black and White Cookies