Reading Roundup! (Feb/March)

Hullo all! I missed last month’s reading round-up, not because I wasn’t reading, but because most of the books I read were for research. Somehow I didn’t think you wanted to know what I thought of Greenwich Village Stories, Edie, and Greenwich Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues. (Spoiler alert: All were very interesting .)

I did manage to squeeze in three terrific books as well as a craft book in between the research.

LOST IN PARIS by Elizabeth Thompson — This book will be out in early April, and I highly recommend it. It’s a charming story about family, trust and how people aren’t always who you think they are. In the beginning of Lost in Paris, Thompson introduces readers to four generations of the Bond family, all of whom have very defined personalities. There’s the dutiful daughter, the unreliable mother, the loving grandmother, the sweet, old-fashioned great grandmother. By the end, these roles have been challenged and changed. The underlying lesson is that people (and relationships) have many facets. A light mystery and the romantic streets of Paris give the story extra depth. This is my pick of the month.

(I received an advance read of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you to Simon and Schuster.)

THE GHOST MAP by Steven Johnson — For 10 days in 1854, cholera ravaged the Soho district of London, wiping out entire families. Two men, Dr. John Snow and Rev. Henry Whitehead set out to determine the outbreak’s source and as a result gave birth to modern epidemiology. The book demonstrates how the social issues of the time such as overcrowding and poverty created an environment ripe for an epidemic as well as describes the various medical and governmental roadblocks Snow and Whitehead faced — all in an entertaining fashion. I learned a lot, and I wasn’t bored.

MALIBU RISING by Taylor Jenkins Reid — I adored Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, so as soon as I saw Reid had a new book, I was all over it. Set in the mid-80s, Malibu Rising follows four famous siblings,Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit Riva, as they prepare to throw the party of the year. Over the next 24 hours, each of them grapple with issues of fame, love, infidelity, sexuality, alcoholism and parental abandonment. By the time the party ends, none of lives will be the same. Reid does a great job with the lead character, Nina, who, as the elder sibling, has sacrificed everything for her siblings. I was rooting for her to get her act together. The second half of the book is chaotic and bounces from character to character. This is a very definite creative choice on Reid’s part, and while the writer in me appreciated what she was trying to do, the reader in me wasn’t as big a fan. It’s definitely worth sticking around for the resolution though. I got a little teary.

This is another advanced read, due to hit shelves in June, in time for beach weather. Thank you Netgalley for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review.

PAINTING THE PAST by the editors of the Copperfield Review — If you have ever thought of writing historical fiction, this is the perfect starting place. Painting the Past takes you through a quick overview of the writing process from idea to research to execution. Note: This is a very basic book, geared toward the beginning writer.

Netgalley provided this book in exchange for an honest review.

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