Blog Tour Book Review: Miss You by Kate Eberlen

About Miss You

• Hardcover: 448 pages
• Publisher: Harper (April 4, 2017)

“If ever a couple was ‘meant to be,’ it’s Tess and Gus. This is such a witty, poignant, and uplifting story of two lives crisscrossing over the years, with near miss after near miss. . . . I couldn’t put it down.”—Sophie Kinsella

A wryly romantic debut novel with echoes of One Day that asks, what if you just walked by the love of your life, but didn’t even know it?

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Tess can’t get the motto from her mother’s kitchen knickknack out of her head, even though she’s in Florence on an idyllic vacation before starting university in London.

Gus is also visiting Florence, on a holiday with his parents seven months after tragedy shattered their lives. Headed to medical school in London, he’s trying to be a dutiful son but longs to escape and discover who he really is.

A chance meeting brings these eighteen-year-olds together for a brief moment—the first of many times their paths will crisscross as time passes and their lives diverge from those they’d envisioned. Over the course of the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus will face very different challenges and choices. Separated by distance and circumstance, the possibility of these two connecting once more seems slight.

But while fate can separate two people, it can also bring them back together again. . . .

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Miss You by Kate Eberlen. I received a free ARC copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

Miss You is a contemporary fiction novel about Tess and Gus. It is the story of their lives and the choices they make that lead them away and towards each other. It is told in their alternating perspectives throughout the course of many years and many heartbreaks.

When I first started reading Miss You, I immediately thought that it was going to be a cutesy contemporary romance, which I didn’t mind at all. As I continued reading it and got to learn more about our two main character’s lives and got to follow them through various heart breaks and struggles, I realized that this was so much more than what I had expected it to be. Instead of a cutsey romance, I got a story about two characters who make mistakes, struggle through every day life like the rest of us, do the best they can, struggle to grow up and find themselves, and who are obviously just SO meant for each other. As we read about them navigating their way through life, we can’t help but find ourselves rooting for them from the very moment they lay eyes on each other.

You would think that as the reader, I might have gotten frustrated that these two were at times so close to each other but just never made the connection or it seemed like fate had other plans for them at the time. There were moments where I just couldn’t help but hold my breath thinking THIS was the moment that they would look up, see each other and say “there you are, I have been looking for you.” But, I NEVER got frustrated with the pace of the story and I think it’s because Kate Eberlen is such a good writer. Her writing captured me immediately, it was descriptive in the way that when our characters were in Italy I could see the colors, taste the air and feel the excitement they felt. This continued throughout the story and it was a book that I just could not put down. It had me rooting for our main characters all throughout. Some heavy things happened in this book like grief, divorce, heartache, etc…just very real things that our characters had to deal with that very much mimicked real life and made them seem so real to me and made me relate to them so well.

As an adult it is easy to see how a story like this could happen in every day life and I think that made this story really seem magical to me, much more so than the insta-love stories that we very often get. I live in a big city but for how big it is, sometimes it seems very small when I find out that my husband has been friends with someone I have known for awhile as well or when I find out that we used to frequent the same restaurant and took vacations somewhere at the same time. This was the magic of Miss You and Tess and Gus, that reminded me that what is meant to be can sometimes always find a way.

If you are looking for a great summer read, give this one a go! 5 stars from me, I enjoyed this so much!

Photograph by Leanne Dixon

About Kate Eberlen

Kate Eberlen grew up in a small town thirty miles from London and spent her childhood reading books and longing to escape. She studied Classics at Oxford University before pursuing various jobs in publishing and the arts. Recently, Kate trained to teach English as a Foreign Language with a view to spending more time in Italy, a country she loves and has visited many times. Kate is married with one son.

Find out more about Kate at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Blog Tour Book Review: Red Leaves by Paullina Simons

About Red Leaves

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (April 11, 2017)

In the tradition of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History comes a suspenseful thriller from the international bestselling author of The Bronze Horseman—an utterly captivating story about four Ivy League students whose bizarre friendship leads to a twisted maze of secrets, lies, betrayal, and murder.

As the star player of Dartmouth College’s women’s basketball team, Kristina Kim is beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. But though she’s just 21, Kristina has already had her share of heartache, loss, and dark secrets that haunt her. She’s best friends with Conni, Albert, and Jim, but the only one who seems to really know her is Albert. With long dark hair, tattoos, and a rebellious streak, Albert doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clean-cut Ivy Leaguers. Like Kristina, he has his share of secrets—secrets that are beginning to unravel this intimate circle of friends.

One wintry Thanksgiving weekend tragedy strikes…

When Detective Spencer O’Malley goes to investigate something suspicious at the foot of a steep hill on Dartmouth’s campus, he doesn’t expect that the frozen, naked body found in deep snow would belong to Kristina Kim—the remarkable young woman he met recently who entranced him. Now Spencer will never know if the chemistry he had with her was real. All he can do is find her killer.

Spencer is pulled into the strange, complex web of the surviving friends. Many important questions about Kristina’s murder cannot be answered, such as: why did none of them report her missing for nine days before her body was discovered? The more Spencer digs, the more clear it becomes that each of the three has a motive for killing Kristina. And as Spencer, seeking justice for a dead girl, is led down a labyrinth of deceit, every new revelation proves more shocking than the last….and more dangerous.

“Simons handles her characters and setting with a certain skill, creating mystery from the ordinary, protected lives of these Ivy League kids, slowly peeling away their deceptions to reveal denial, cowardice, and chilling indifference…an engrossing story.”—Publishers Weekly

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review of it.

In Red Leaves we meet Kristina Kim – star basketball player, dog owner, long time girlfriend and best friend. Beneath the surface of Kristina and her group of friends are betrayal, forbidden love and a mountain of secrets. When a students body is found on campus, all the secrets are brought to light.

Red Leaves is my second read written by Paulina Simons, although both were in two different genres. I find it fascinating when an author can successfully write in multiple genres like Paulina can.

That being said, Red Leaves drew me in with the Prologue but lost me somewhere in the beginning of Part One. For the first 100 and so pages, I was tempted to DNF it but I’m a completionist and I like to give books chances. Part One was definitely lost to me, it was slow and not much really happened, although after finishing and being able look back at the story and how it unfolded I can see why Part One was included as it provides background and knowledge about the characters and their relationships that really does serve to make us think certain ways as the mystery of the “whodunnit” unravels. 

The story definitely picks up in Part Two and finally caught my interest a little more and I was glad to be experiencing the story from a fresh perspective,  once that happened the rest of the book went by quickly and I actually ended up liking it after all. One thing I really enjoyed about thus book was that I always doubted my guesses about “whodunnit”. Always. It was never predictable for me.

Overall, I gave this book three stars, it may not have been exactly  for me but I did find some enjoyment in it. If you like a slow paced mystery you may want to give this book a read but if you are into fast paced thrillers, this may not be your taste. Paullina Simons writing in this book was just as good as I remember in the last book of hers I read, I hear people discuss a few of her books and I am still planning on reading some more of her work. 

Happy reading everyone!

Photo by Renaissance Studio

About Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Find out more about Paullina at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

Book Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

23308087Title: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Format: eARC through Penguin First to Read
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Rating – 5 stars!!

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

I received a free copy of the Flame in the Mist ARC from Penguin’s First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

Flame in the Mist is set in feudal japan and follows a young girl Mariko who has been betrothed to one of the emperor’s sons. On her way to meet her betrothed, her litter is attacked and she is presumed dead. Survival instinct kicking in, she escapes and due to the climate of the time, dresses as a boy in order to move around freely and embarks on a quest for revenge.

Prior to being approved an ARC, I had heard about this book and that it was a Mulan retelling. I definitely saw the Mulan similarities but this story is definitely it’s very own. I loved this book. I thought it was so unique and done very well. I loved the theme of female empowerment that is woven throughout the entire book – we see this in Mariko’s making her own decisions and taking her life into her own hands during a time when women were treated like property and not allowed to make their own decisions.

The romance element was simply breathtaking. In connection with that I am SUPER happy that Mariko was not the squeaky clean, pure main character that we see in a lot of stories. She was very real. She was a badass that had no problem standing up for herself and did not succumb to what anyone wanted her to be, but she also had moments where she doubted herself and her strength. Through that she always found strength within herself, which was amazing.

The writing was absolutely beautiful, this was undoubtedly one of my favorite reads of this year so far.  It does end rather abruptly but I was okay with that since I know there is going to be a second book. I felt like a lot happened in this one and the stage was set for some really big things to happen. I cannot wait for the second one and my only complaint is that I will have to wait awhile since this book won’t even release until May. I definitely have a lot of questions like the magical elements we see and where this comes from and what happens with Mariko, plus a few more that I won’t mention because of spoilers.

This was my first Renee Ahdieh book and now I am very interested in reading her other novels. Flame in the Mist is published on May 16th so definitely check it out!

Book Reviews & Feature: Wait for the Rain and Bridges by Maria Murnane

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I hope your work week hasn’t been too stressful like mine has. I, for sure, am ready for the weekend! Luckily, I was able to read some really great books this week and am in the middle of reading some pretty good ones as I type this post!

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of reading both Wait for the Rain and Bridges by Maria Murnane. I’d like to send her a big thank you for giving me the chance to read her books in exchange for my honest review of them.

Wait for the RainDaphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.

As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.

With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.

I kicked off the week by reading Wait for the Rain which is a contemporary fiction novel about Daphne, a recent forty year old divorcee who is still grieving for the loss of her marriage and the life she built. In this book, she reunites with her college best friends, the other two members of the “Three Musketeers”. They embark on a girls vacation to the Caribbean and it happens to be just what Daphne needs to reignite her spark!

I loved this book! I am totally in the mood for contemporaries at the moment and after reading this book (and Bridges), I have come to the realization that I really enjoy contemporary stories centered around groups of female friends. I love the friendship dynamic in these books and how the women are so uplifting to each other. Sure, like any group of friends, they have their rocky moments but they are ALWAYS there for each other.

I literally finished this book in a day and had alot of fun reading it. I was hooked almost immediately and just really fell in love with these characters, especially with Skylar…she’s the woman I want to be. This book pretty much had everything in it that I want to read in a contemporary.  I was SO happy that Daphne and Clay happened. But what I love most of all is that although what happened with Clay was great, it wasn’t ever the central focus of the story. I really appreciated that. I loved the bit of romance thrown in but I appreciated that the book stayed true to the core theme of friendship, empowerment and self discovery.  This is a PERFECT summer read so if you are looking for a book to take with you while you sunbathe at the beach, this is definitely one that I would recommend. 4.5 stars.

34602230It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

Immediately after reading Wait for the Rain, I dove right into Bridges where we follow the same set of friends during a Bachelorette weekend for Skylar, my favorite of the three. For various reasons, the girls have just gotten busy and fallen just a bit out of touch so another reunion is definitely due. They each are at seemingly pivotal and different stages of their lives and reconnecting with each other in Skylar’s home of New York where she has basically built herself an empire seems like the fun filled vacation that they all need. It is a weekend filled with fun, cocktails, messy date stories, reunions with former flings, tears, and lots and lots of love.

While I loved Wait for the Rain, I think Bridges is my favorite of the two and it may be because, even though Daphne is our main character, I still love love love Skylar and this story is set during her bachelorette weekend. After having read the book prior to this one, I knew that I was in for a treat when I started reading this book and I was right. I loved being back with the girls again. I swear that I feel like these girls are my best friends which I think is a testament to the great writing of these books. Also, I did want to make sure to mention that you don’t have to read Wait for the Rain in order to full enjoy Bridges. While there are allusions to events from the first book, they are completely explained and you never feel like you missed anything. Bridges can definitely stand on it’s own.

Both of these books are super fast reads. I started Bridges in the evening and before I knew it, it was four in the morning…I just couldn’t go to sleep without finishing it. Once again, I appreciated that through Daphne’s struggles she finds happiness and hope in herself, her friends and in her future – never in a man which I think is freaking awesome.

Bridges was released just this week so if you are interested in purchasing it, you can do so over at this Amazon link: Purchase Bridges by Maria Murnane. I definitely recommend both of these books if you love contemporary fiction especially those that have heartwarming female friendship, female empowerment themes and self discovery. They’re both full of laughs, drama and feels. I want to be them when I’m in my forties. 5 stars to Bridges!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday and Friday…and an even better weekend. Thank you for stopping in and as always, Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour Book Review: A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

About A Simple Favor

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: Harper (March 21, 2017)

“Riveting and brilliantly structured, A Simple Favor is an edge-of-your seat domestic thriller about a missing wife and mother that relies on a rotating cast of unreliable narrators to ingeniously examine the cost of competitive mom-friends, the toll of ordinary marital discontent and the fallacy of the picture-perfect, suburban family.”—Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author

She’s your best friend.

She knows all your secrets.

That’s why she’s so dangerous.

A single mother’s life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

A Simple Favor is a remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. Darcey Bell masterfully ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Simple Favor by Darvey Bell. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it. 

A Simple Favor is a domestic thriller that centers around the disappearance of Emily. It s a psychological thriller, which is something that I have had a taste for in the past few years (much like the rest of the world with the success of novels like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train). While I try my hardest not to make comparisons between these specific books, I do believe that this one definitely shares the same genre.

I love that in this book, we are immediately thrust into the thick of the story where we find out that Stephanie’s best friend Emmy is missing. I had a love/hate relationship with Stephanie and her blog. I’m not into mommy blogs because I’m not a mother but I’m sure if I was I might be interested in them. That being said, I do like the inclusion of a different format within the book, for me including some other type of format rather than traditional narrative is super creative and just draws me into a story that much faster. It also makes it seem like a much faster read and essentially makes it like candy for me. I just literally soak up the pages until an hour later I’m sitting in my chair with a finished book. That happened to me with this book. I love a book with alot of character introspection, secrets and surprising reveals – definitely got that with this book.

Immediately I could pick out little things that just felt wrong in Stephanie’s blog posts so that was SUPER interesting and made me want to keep reading. It’s always interesting, I think, to view a main character through the eyes of the rest of the characters in our story and that very much happens in this one as we receive the story from a couple of different perspectives. This was an entertaining story that absolutely captured my attention. Though I wasn’t wild for any of the characters in particular, I did love following them and the myriad events that unfold throughout. Very intriguing plot that I definitely think would work well on the big screen as it has been acquired by Fox 2000 which is something to look forward to.

This is a debut novel so I anticipate what the author may have in store for us next. Although not completely comparable, I do think fans of unreliable narrators like in Girl on the Train, would enjoy this story!  4 stars!

About Darcey Bell

Darcey Bell was born in 1981 and raised on a dairy farm in western Iowa. She is a preschool teacher in Chicago. A Simple Favor is her first novel.

Follow Darcey on Twitter.

Blog Tour Book Review: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

About The Women in the Castle

• Hardcover: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (March 28, 2017)

Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope your week has been wonderful thus far! I have had a crazy busy week with work and school (even though I had most of Monday off this week! The good news: I’m not sick anymore! Also good news: I am having a wonderful time reading some really great books.

This week I had the pleasure of reading The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. I received an ARC from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

The Women in the Castle is a historical fiction novel set in the period around and during World War II. It is told in the alternating perspectives of multiple characters in the story, men and women but really centers around a group of women who find themselves raising their children together in a castle, their husbands dead and just trying to survive and build a life. That is all I will say about the events of the book as I do not want to give spoilers!

So I ended up giving this book a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. I enjoyed reading it although it definitely was hard for me to read it at times as most stories that take place in this time period are just because they tend to have some really heartbreaking but important content. This book was no different in that respect, there was definitely some heartbreaking and terribly tragic events that transpired but it was also interesting, suspenseful and at times hopeful.

This was the first book I have read that shows the events of WWII through the eyes of German citizens who were staunchly against Hitler’s ideals and regime from the start. It also showcased the perspectives of people who were very pro Hitler from the beginning which evolved into them realizing too late what they were actually supporting.   It was just a very interesting and affecting story. WWII stories for me are always glimpses of the absolute worst of humanity with pockets of goodness shining through like the people who opposed such cruelty and tried against all odds to save lives. I think the author treated really difficult themes really well.

The only thing I had a little bit of a hard time with was the timeline. I love stories with multiple perspectives but this one also had an alternating timeline where it wasn’t told in a straight line type of narrative but rather, it jumped around and back and forth through time. It wasn’t super difficult for me to follow but I can see how it might be difficult for some readers. It did help that the dates are provided but I found myself having to back track and connect the years and months to create a picture of the timeline in my mind to make sure I was getting events in the right order.

I loved the writing and I empathized with all of the characters and felt especially connected to Benita and Martin – what they go through and where they end up. There were alot of pieces of this story that were gut wrenching for me, I didn’t need to put the book down which is something I find myself doing every now and then with WWII books that include descriptions of human cruelty to the Jews but I did have to close my eyes, take a deep breath and move forward. Things that also affected me in this story were the sexual slavery of women in wartime, cruelty to children and some things I consider examples of animal cruelty.

I love reading books in this style that show the affects of WWII on the lives of so many and the evolution of their life and beliefs throughout. I definitely recommend this book to readers that love historical fiction or are interested in reading more historical fiction based in WWII.

Photo by Lesley Unruh

About Jessica Shattuck

Jessica Shattuck is the award-winning author of The Hazards of Good Breeding, which was a New York Times Notable Book and finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Glamour, Mother Jones, Wired, and The Believer, among other publications. A graduate of Harvard University, she received her MFA from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Find out more about Jessica at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

17347382Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Length: 734 pages
Format: Paperback (15th Anniversary Ed.)
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Rating – 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the pivotal fourth novel in the seven-part tale of Harry Potter’s training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal — even by wizarding standards.

And in this case, different can be deadly.

I finally read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire! For the very first time! I have previously seen the movie (which seems to be a theme this month lol) but it’s been awhile so I forgot almost everything in it. This book was definitely a little more hefty in size than the previous Harry Potter books so it took me almost a month to read it, especially since I had to read so many other books this month so I had to keep putting it down and picking it back up.

In book four, we journey back to Hogwarts with our normal cast of characters except now our main crew is noticeable older and starting to deal with the normal growing up stuff like hormones i.e. Harry’s attraction to Cho and Hermoine/Ron’s growing feelings for each other. The brunt of the story takes place during the Tri-Wizard tournament that Hogwarts is hosting where three champions from three wizarding schools will compete for the Goblet of Fire and a large sum of prize money (not to mention bragging rights). The wizarding world is thrown in an uproar when Harry Potter’s name bursts forth from the Goblet naming him as the fourth wizard to compete when there should only be three. He is also under the age requirement of seventeen. This, unbeknownst to many, is just part of Lord Voldemort’s dark plot to return to power and Harry finds himself once again, face to face with his enemy.

I looooooooved this book! I definitely hated having to put it down and pick it back up again a few times towards the beginning but once I picked up back up for good, I COULD NOT put it down and actually stayed up until four in the morning reading it this weekend because I just couldn’t bear to put it down again.I think this is my favorite of the four I have read so far. It had everything…danger, betrayal, action, grief, death, suspense, and even a little bit of romance. I definitely feel like the first HP book was great, but the story and the writing just get progressively better and better with each book. I loved this story, loved spending more time with these characters, hated losing Cedric…but  I loved this book! Five stars! I cannot wait to start book five this month!