Week 1 | Classics: Persuasion by Jane Austen

In my August Monthly Goals post I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to do this month was to read Classics and Non-Fiction. I’m going to try and read at least 3 (maybe 4 – one for each week) and share my thoughts with you!

This is my second Austen book. Last year I read «Pride and Prejudice» and while it wasn’t my favorite classic of all time, I really enjoyed it. «Persuasion», however, had a very boring beginning, and my mind kept wandering away from the story. 

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Traveling to Egypt | The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

When I was in high school I discovered one of Paulo Coelho books that took me on a trip through his stories and I literally became obsesses with «Veronica Decides to Die». I lost count of how many times I read that book. Looking back at it, I wonder if I was too young to read his novels, as they always made me feel almost hypnotized by his words and the powerful messages he sends through his work. 

After many intense years of constantly re-reading the couple of Paulo Coelho books I owned, I finally decided to take a break from them, and haven’t read anything by him until now.

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One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London | Great representation but poorly handled romantic relationships!

I wish I could say that I loved «One to Watch» by Kate Stayman-London… Sadly, it fell really flat for me. Maybe I should have known better and stayed away from a book inspired by the Bachelor TV show, which I’m not a big fan of. As much as I wanted to like Bea, the main character, her somewhat dubious behavior, and poorly handled relationships in the reality show context left a bad aftertaste. 

Now, don’t get me wrong! It wasn’t a total miss for me, and in fact, there were certain things that I liked a lot – for example, the plus-size women representation, the introduction of the asexual character, the lesbian friend (who was very smart about all the relationships I must say) and also seeing a fashion blogger who is not a standard 90-60-90. These were all great. But it definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | A true horror story that will make your heart beat faster!

Emer! Thank you so much for reviewing this book and for making me so curious about it! I honestly don’t think that I would have picked it up if it wouldn’t be because of your review. 

That being said, I didn’t quite like it as much as Emer did [make sure to read her review as well!] but I definitely enjoyed the suspense and horror bits Silvia-Moreno Garcia included in «Mexican Gothic». I think I’ve only read 1 or 2 gothic-ish books before, so this one was definitely a lot of fun.

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Beach Read by Emily Henry | Witty, entertaining and absolutely swoon-worthy! ❤

Why don’t I read rom-coms more often? 

I’m so happy that I decided to listen to many glowing reviews of «Beach Read» and request it on NetGalley! Guys, if you haven’t read this book yet, make sure to pick it up this summer. It’s such a fast-paced and funny book, that will make you feel the whole spectrum of emotions. 

For a while now I have been avoiding romances and women’s fiction only because a couple of last books in these genres I read last year were nothing special, and after finishing them I always wished I’d spent my time reading something else instead. But «Beach Read» by Emily Henry is a must-read book for every book lover out there, even if romance is not your favorite genre. 

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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett | The must-read book of this summer!

This book was phenomenal! It’s for a reason that many popular magazines and bookish media keep mentioning «The Vanishing Half» by Britt Bennett as one of the most-anticipated releases of this summer. I literally saw a dozen of 2020 summer reading lists with this book. 

It’s such an important book as well, especially with everything that is going on right now and the need that people feel to educate themselves on race and racial identity. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to read it and discuss it with all of you.

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The Paris Hours by Alex George | One day in Paris and four intertwined fates!

Happy Publication Day to «The Paris Hours» by Alex George!

In this new historical fiction, Alex George showed us the wondrous City of Love, Lights and Art, and four amazing stories that unwrap in a single day in Paris. If I’d need to describe this book in one word, the first one that comes to mind is “dreamy”. And while the story itself does not contain any sliver of magic, I was constantly in a dream-like state whenever I picked it up. 

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If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha | A picture of modern-day Seoul focused on current popular trends: K-pop and K-beauty!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an orphan and always need to prove yourself to the world? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to lose your voice and having to adjust to whole new life, a whole new world around you? Or having to do anything in order to support yourself and your family, even when that “everything” encompasses selling your own body?

«If I Had Your Face» is a debut novel, set in modern-day Seoul, South Korea, following four different women who live in the same apartment building. There is Ara, the girl who lost her voice and works in a hair salon while sharing her apartment with her childhood friends Sujin. Kyuri, the girl who works in a “room salon” [completely different from the hair salon!], a prostitute who made it to the top of that industry. Miho, an artist who is dating one of the wealthiest heirs in Korea. And finally, Wonna, the wife whose relationship is going through a rough time.

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In an Instant by Suzanne Redfearn | I haven’t cried that much in a long time

I love it when the ARCs I choose end up on my favorites of the year list. It doesn’t matter how many of them might not be the best, and how many I might DNF during the year, because there are always a couple that will stand out in the best way possible. 

After reading «In an Instant», I will read anything Suzanne Redfearn publishes in the future. Atmospheric and utterly heartbreaking, the story of the Millers family made me cry multiple times, the tears of sadness and joy. 

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Saving Missy by Beth Morrey | Is it really for readers of «Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine»?

This happens every single time! The publishers pitch the book as “perfect for readers of…” and I immediately fall for it, especially when they reference it to «Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine», which was my favorite book of 2018.

Will the readers of «Eleanor Oliphant» find similarities and love «Saving Missy» just as much?

My answer is No. BUT! (there is always a “but”, isn’t there?) «Saving Missy» has the same feeling of warmth and wholesomeness as «Eleanor Oliphant» did. So if you loved it because of how attached you grew to the character and how much you wanted her to do well, «Saving Missy» will be perfect! However, don’t expect any mysteries or funny moments. 

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid | The tale of “good intentions”!

Reading in December hasn’t been the best so far. This has been one of the busiest months of the year, with many extra hours at work, many blog posts to prepare for the end of the year, and just, in general, the whole hustle and bustle of Christmas season. I’ve spent too many hours at the malls trying to figure out Christmas gifts for family and friends, and I still didn’t buy all of the things I wanted.

«Such a Fun Age» was a perfect book for this busy time of the year. Captivating and engaging, this novel brought to light many important subjects in an easy-to-read way.

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Life After Life by Kate Atkinson | When the quality of the book didn’t match my enjoyment

«Life after Life», the winner of the Goodreads Choice Award in 2013, is a mesmerizing historical fiction with the element of time-traveling. It was a perfect read for the colder days, which transported me to England during the First and Second World Wars, where we followed the Todd family and discovered how different choices, little missteps, and decisions could affect the life course in very drastic ways.

Ursula Todd was born on February 11th, 1910, and she died on that same night. However, under different circumstances, Ursula Todd was born on February 11th, 1910 and she lived. 

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Dear Lily by Drew Davies | The perfect book to take on a trip to Copenhagen!

When I finally get my stuff together and plan a trip to Copenhagen, this is the book I will bring with me to read on the bus, airport and on the flight! Touching, witty and very emotional, it’s a perfect book to space out, lose yourself in someone else’s life, and enjoy the hustle and bustle of traveling.

Set in Copenhagen, Denmark, «Dear Lily» is a collection of letters from Joy to her younger sister Lily, where she recollects her experiences of moving to a different country, getting a new job, finding friends and dealing with mundane struggles of everyday life.

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang | A disturbing allegory of women’s place in the Korean society

I didn’t like it… 

Here, I said it. I honestly don’t think there is a single person out there who read this book and said: “I liked it”. Yes, most can appreciate the writing style, the story, the meaning behind it, but OMG, it was weird. 

I also don’t think it’s a good book…

There are certain stories that I read and not necessarily love but, as I said, appreciate the thought and the deeper meaning. However, if the author had to resort to disturbing and pornographic content to explain her point of view and present this allegory, it doesn’t compel me to know more about the real-world problem. In fact, it does the complete opposite, making me want to run away and not face these issues.

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Normal People by Sally Rooney | An unsettling story about sex, love, and relationships.

«Normal People» by Sally Rooney is not an easy book to review. I’m still not entirely sure if I liked it or not. 

Does it really deserve the 5-star rating I’ve given it immediately after turning the last page? I can’t answer this question yet.

There are books that instantly become our favorites, and there are books that will stay with us for a very long time, the little plot details engraved in our memory. Even though you won’t be reaching to re-read those books any time soon (or ever). That’s how I felt about «Memoirs of Geisha» that was an extraordinary reading experience and one of the first adult books I’ve ever read, and that’s also how I feel about «Normal People» by Sally Rooney.

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