The Huntress

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The Huntress by Kate Quinn was amazing! This was the first novel I read by this author and I can already say I’ll definitely be reading her other books. The historical backdrop of WWII was as vivid as it gets, and her portrayal of the Night Witches (all-female night bombers) was unforgettable. I love when historical fiction authors uncover the history of women and bring their war efforts and bravery to the forefront of a story. Kate Quinn did this beautifully. Jordan, The Huntress herself, and Nina were all complex characters and so well developed throughout the entire novel. I was perhaps more drawn to Jordan because of her pursuit of finding the truth. Nina was such daredevil, and I found her short comments to Ian and Tony so hilarious and real. Her story is one of constant hardship and her journey in overcoming each one of them. Her continuous losses throughout the book, yet her resilience for survival made me love her character even more.

I thought the narrative at times lagged a bit, and I found the story somewhat longer than it had to be. But I’m also aware that the details were most of the time relevant to the narrative’s bigger picture.

I do have to say though, I devoured this book in about three days. I consider myself a slow reader, but there was just something about wanting to know what would happen next that kept me going. For the last 200 pages or so I was over the edge of my seat, and the explosive ending was definitely satisfying. I did see some of the twists and turns coming, but they were, nevertheless, fulfilling.

I recommend this book to lovers of history (especially WWII), historical fiction, and women’s fiction. I gave this book  5/5 stars! An amazingly gripping story.

 

Love,Giuli

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The Sisters Hemingway

Named after Ernest Hemingway’s wives, Hadley, Pfeiffer, and Martha, the Hemingway sisters could not be more different from one another. After a tumultuous childhood, one of loss and financial troubles, the three sisters reunite after over a decade in their childhood home after the passing of their Aunt Bea, who helped raise them.Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 12.32.25 PM.png

During their reunion, each sister has their own demons to fight. Throughout the course of a few weeks, new and old romances ensue, while a dark family secret lurks in the shadows of their childhood home, waiting to be uncovered. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the characters in it. They were believable and the choices they made sense. I related so much to Pfeiffer’s personality and career choices and loved to see her character unfold.

I do have to say that I was a bit disappointed with Hadley’s and Broody’s relationship because I felt it was too similar to a love story that’s pretty well-known (I won’t say which one because of spoilers, but if you want to know just DM me). Even some of their dialogue was similar to that other book/movie. Besides that, I thought the main narrative, in general, was original and the writing was great as well. The twist at the end was well executed without being too predictable.

I also felt that the town of Cold River read as a character in itself, which not all writers can manage to pull off. I think the setting is an oftentimes overlooked character, and the author did an awesome work in bringing the town to life. Something I would’ve liked to know a bit more was about the aftermath of the twist since the ending seemed somewhat rushed.

​I gave this book ⅘ stars.

Love,Giuli

The Curiosities

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 4.47.25 PM.pngThe Curiosities by Susan Gloss is one of those books that creeps into your daily life, making you wonder what the characters are up to while you’re not reading. I was completely invested in Nell and in the way she coped with the loss of her baby girl.

I’m a huge art lover and fellow historian, so getting a glimpse into the lives of the artists–Odin, Annie (my favorite one), and Paige was such a treat. Something I particularly loved about this book was the way Gloss portrayed the different stages of grief and how time is such an important factor in helping a person heal. I kind of wanted a less open-ended ending because the historian in me wants facts! But, I understand the reasoning behind this undefined ending (even though I want to know more)–I won’t spoil it though. Also, Josh is the best!

FYI: Miscarriage triggers. The copy that I read was an uncorrected proof, which is why I believe the synopsis states Lois as one of the artists when in the actual text her name is Paige. There might also be other inconsistencies that I don’t know of and will not know of unless I read the final copy. Who knows, maybe Gloss decided to give us a different ending. I gave this book 4/5 on @goodreads

What to Eat When

 

I have to be honest with you guys. I’ve never really paid much attention to what I eat and even less when I eat. I usually eat what I want and eat whenever I’m hungry. But something shifted last year when I had a health scare. I realized that the things I consume and how I take care of my body matters in the long run. Besides, making healthy choices for my body does help me feel more confident. After my health scare, I began exercising, something I hadn’t done in the 28 years of my life. I also started eating more consciously and began to feel better overall.
So, this book couldn’t come at a better time for me. I’m going through a time of change in so many different aspects of my life, and my health is definitely one of them.

What to Eat When is not a typical book I would read, but I have to say that I truly enjoyed learning about science! The writing is hilarious and relatable, and one of the author’s love for salmon only made me crave it more. I gave this book 5 stars because of how informative it is and because it actually helped me look inward and make conscious decisions to change some aspects of my eating habits. The authors explain the importance of not only eating the right things but also eating during the correct times.

​There are so many tips about what to eat in different situations. Some of my favorite ones, the ones I related to the most, were about what to eat when you’re stressed, hangry, sick, and when you’re on the go. And my ultimate favorite section was the “headaches” one. As a person who has suffered from chronic migraines for the past eleven years, I am actually eager to start implementing some of the tips this book provided for me. I can’t recommend this book enough!

Love,Giuli

The Eulogist

The Eulogist is about an Irish family that migrates to the US in 1818, settling in Ohio a “free” slave state. The narrative follows the family’s children–Olivia, James, and Erasmus, the different paths they choose, and what ultimately seems to be the plot of the book, helping slaves to freedom. I have to say that this book is beautifully written. The prose flows well, and the depictions of the places and situations aren’t overly explicit like some historical fiction novels usually are.

Olivia, the narrator, and the main character was my favorite, and Tilly came to a close second. I do have to say that I was hoping Olivia to do more in the fight against slavery, but I understand thScreen Shot 2019-01-30 at 5.29.30 PMat the author might’ve wanted to stay true to what women were allowed (or not) to do during the time period (1818-1890). Nevertheless, she was still depicted as a strong woman of the time and helped as much as she could.

I also think the immigration experience was not reflected enough in the book. Being an immigrant myself, I can imagine the struggles the family went through during the time, and this was a theme that was superficially touched on. Something that threw me off quite a bit was that every time one of the characters died, the way the author described the deaths was with little to no importance; this actually shocked me.

Nonetheless, the themes portrayed were interesting and the writing was good, so I’m giving it ⅗ stars. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre, but unfortunately, this one left me wanting more, both from the plot and the characters. Love,Giuli

 

The Great Alone

FullSizeRenderThe Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Ever since I read The Nightingale at the beginning of the year, I wanted to read more books by Kristin Hannah. My husband is the sweetest and got me a copy for my birthday, so I knew instantly that I needed to read it asap!

I started it back in June, but work was so hectic that I couldn’t really get into it, so I set it down and didn’t read anything for the entire month of June. After leaving work (for good this time), I decided to pick it up again and read it in two days! I honestly would’ve finished it in one but life happened…

Okay, now let’s talk about the book itself (no spoilers, don’t worry)!

But first, the short synopsis from Google: “Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.”

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This is a 450-page book, so Hannah spent the first 150 pages or so on character-building. I thought she explained the backstory of the main characters’ lives and the choices they made in the past fairly well and was thorough enough.

Leni, the main character, and daughter of Ernt and Cora, is a strong-willed teenager who every bookworm will feel identified by because she is one herself. Books become her escape from her stormy, horrid reality, and I think all of us #bookstagrammers have felt that way about books at some point in our lives. So I definitely loved Leni for that reason (and many more).

This book deals with the topic of mental health, most specifically of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the consequences of it when not treated. Since PTSD had not yet been recognized in the 1970s, Hannah focused on this aspect of what this disorder does to a person (and their loved ones) at its core. Personally, I had never read a work of fiction that described this topic in such detail, so l loved learning more. It was both heartbreaking and enlightening to see each character deal with the aftermath of each moment of horror brought on by the demons of Ernt’s past experiences as a soldier and as a POW.

Another aspect I enjoyed about the book was how Hannah portrays Alaska much like a character itself. Alaska’s beauty, as well as her danger, become Leni’s salvation as well as her condemnation (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme lol). She describes Alaska’s scenery as a harsh environment, where only those who truly belong will survive. Reading about the state made me want to visit and also made me never want to. You have to read it to know what I’m talking about!

There were also different strong female characters throughout this book, which I loved. Considering the setting was the ‘70s, feminist views abounded in the narrative.  Women like Large Marge, Thelma, Geneva, and Leni gave voice to those who in real life had none. I loved this SO MUCH!!!!!

In general, the writing was beautiful and the story broke my heart most of the time, but also gave me hope. Overall, this was a book about the endless sacrifices a person will undergo for love and the things one is capable of doing (or of enduring) because of it. Needless to say, The Great Alone is a book that will stay with me for years to come.

 

5/5

Legendary

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Legendary by: Stephanie Garber

It’s no surprise that legendary was going to be a fun read for me. I devoured Caraval and was eagerly waiting to read more about the cliffhanger that it left at the end. So when @magicbooktrap announced its May theme–Is It Magic, I knew Legendary was going to be the new release! I loved everything about that box, and if you haven’t already, check them out by clicking here! I also have a rep code you can use for your first time purchase and it will save you 10% off! Use GIULILAND at checkout!

Okay, so it took me a couple of weeks to get past the first 50 pages or so of Legendary (this is normal in my world of reading), but after I passed the 50-page mark, I was hooked and read it in three days!

The scene building was much less flowery than Caraval, which I appreciated because honestly, I thought Garber described things too much in Caraval to the point of having me roll my eyes. So I’m glad Legendary had more straight to the point descriptions, generally speaking. 

In terms of the characters, I’m so glad I gave Tella a second chance because I seriously disliked her in Caraval. In this sequel, however, we meet a more reasonable Tella, despite some decisions she made that put her in danger–but isn’t that the whole point of the story? Anyway, I enjoyed her character development and the outlooks she took when outweighing the decisions she had to make throughout her journey. Also, I enjoyed Tella’s relationship with Dante as well as her friendship/relationship with Jacks. In fact, I want to know more about Jacks! He was hands down my favorite character in this book, so I hope book three has more on him ❤

Something that fell short for me was the game of Caraval itself. During the first book, Scarlett had to go through overcoming numerous trials, but Tella’s journey was lacking in this sense. I honestly felt that she wasn’t really playing the game like Scarlett did in Caraval, and this disappointed me quite a bit. 

I’m giving the book a 3.8/5 because it didn’t quite make the ⅘ cut for me to be honest, and the four typos I found throughout the book also prevent me from giving it a 4 😦 

It was still entertaining!

 

Giuli ❤