Paperbacks And Frosting

Book Club Selection: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

So as I mentioned in my last post, I just got married. One of the things I do with my husband to keep having fun and share each other’s interests is a book club. We take turns picking books and it can’t be the same genre he picked last or the one I picked last. It’s a lot of fun and we’ve been doing it for a while. I just realized I should be reviewing these books too. So the first one for this year was my pick.

11275The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
by Haruki Murakami
Pages: 607
Published 1997 by Knopf
ISBN: 9780965341981
From Goodreads: Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon.

Three books in one volume: The Thieving Magpie, Bird as Prophet, The Birdcatcher. This translation by Jay Rubin is in collaboration with the author.

I don’t know what I expected when I picked this book up. I’d heard about this book from a few different people and after showing my husband the back cover he expressed interest and I picked it. It was definitely not a book I would usually pick. I’m more into genre fiction and not straight literary fiction. Having majored in English, I’ve read my fair share of literary fiction. Every once in a while I like to go back and explore that world again though and this was one of those times. This was an interesting journey to say the least. The writing is incredibly smooth. By that I mean that I could just devour whole chunks of the book without it feeling like any time had gone by. There was no part of it (except for maybe some war flashbacks) that made me zone out or want to read something else. This is such a bizarre story but I wanted to keep reading and I honestly did find it hard to put it down. I felt so bad Okada and wanted his journey to end well. He was a great main character to share a head with and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to anyone looking for something new, especially if you’re like me and this isn’t your usual. I think you might be pleasantly surprised. I know my husband was a little nervous about starting it, since he hasn’t ever read anything like this and so far he’s been really enjoying it.

Cupcakes: Other FictionOther FictionOther FictionOther Fiction

Buy this from Amazon: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle[WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE][Paperback]

Juliette Crushes her TBR in 2016 #1: Queen of Shadows

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The first thing I want to do is apologize to my very few regular readers out there. I’ve been gone for quite a while, but I have a good excuse! I got married and went on a Disney cruise and got into a wreck and have been dealing with that aftermath! SO… I’ve been incredibly busy and unfortunately, something had to give. Because of the Disney cruise though, I’ve been reading up a storm and am ready to continue crushing my TBR pile for you, starting with…

18006496QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J Maas
Pages: 648
Published: September 1st 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
ISBN: 9781619636040
Summary from Goodreads: The queen has returned.
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…
She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

I enjoyed this book way more than I expected to. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t really enjoy the last book in this series so this book has been sitting on my Kindle starting at me for a while. I didn’t want to sit down with a book this big if I was going to have to force myself to read it. But one day I gave in and started it and was pleasantly surprised. Aelin is way cooler than she was in the previous books, even though I think it would be confusing that she has so many different names for any new readers that didn’t start in the beginning of the series. But she’s so much stronger and smarter and way more fun to read about. She still annoyingly feels way too romantically about every man in her life, but even that was toned down in this book. I think it was overall way deeper and more enjoyable than any other book in this series. There’s a reason it won the goodreads choice award, and it isn’t just because this series already had a major following behind it. Each relationship is explored and deepened and a lot of decisions that had been made earlier in the series are explained. It was a lot darker overall too, which I loved. The first two books in the series are very light. (Even though there’s a lot of murder. :P) But this last one is dark and beautifully written and I’ll be honest and say I had trouble putting it down when no other book in this series had done that to me. Sarah J Maas has proven herself to be a great writer and I’m now much more likely to pick up her other series. If you’re like me and don’t quite understand what the hype is about, give it another chance and give this book a shot. It’ll be well worth it, I promise.

Cupcakes: FantasyFantasyFantasyFantasyFantasy

Buy this from Amazon: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass)

Juliette crushes her TBR #3: Red Queen

17878931Red Queen

by: Victoria Aveyard

Pages: 383

Published: February 10th 2015 by Orion

ISBN:  9781409151173

From Goodreads: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

This book came with a lot of hype. I kept seeing pictures of it everywhere and the cover is just so pretty. It made me think this would be the next big book series for me and I was excited about actually not being too late to the party for once.

Except I was disappointed. I listened to this book to and from work because that’s part of my plan to get more books read. I admit that I’m not always the best at listening to books, but I’ve been kind of on a roll with them lately and assuming they aren’t too complex and full of a bazillion characters I tend to keep up just fine.

This book made me long for the end though. I was so tired of the main character by the end of the book that I was kind of hoping the bad guys got her. I don’t know whether the voice actor just made her too whiny or if that’s how she was written. I’ll admit that this could be, but I don’t really think so. She just whined absolutely all of the time. She also had no sense of loyalty. It seemed like she’d complain about helping anyone and about people betraying her when she was just as quick to do that if she thought she’d have the most to gain out of it. She also was so angry about not being special all the time it made me want to hit her. She just wanted attention and validation ALL THE TIME. It got really hard to care about after a while.

I thought the world was really cool and I was actually pretty excited about the book when I started. About halfway through her whining had gotten to me and it was a struggle for me to finish the book. The different blood types and abilities were cool, but it seemed sort of unrealistic to me that she wouldn’t have had anything happen with her powers before it did. I think she would’ve noticed at least SOMETHING before. 

The weird thing about me is I don’t know if this is going to keep me from continuing the series. I’m probably gonna give the next book a shot to see if it gets any better for me. I know it has been very well received and is going to be a movie. 

Cupcakes:Paranormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban FantasyParanormal Urban Fantasy half

Posted by juliette in Cupcakes and tagged with , ,

16034235Juliette crushes her TBR pile #2: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Pages: 404

Published: May 7th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

ISBN: 9781619630345

From Goodreads: In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Buy this from Amazon here: Throne of Glass

My expectations were way way high for this book. I’ll admit I’m a fan of book porn and follow quite a few book instagram pages. This book is all over those. It already looks like a ton of fun, but that fact that it kept showing up in these pictures made me want to read it even more.

I was not disappointed. I also wasn’t blown out of the water. It was a lot longer than I expected and I felt like a lot of it could have been condensed to make the book more approachable for less experienced readers. But that’s okay because this book seems to be doing just fine being as big as it is.

This book gets criticized a lot for Celeana being obsessed with clothes even though she is this well-trained assassin. I have a couple arguments with that. First, people can like whatever they want and don’t have to fit neatly into specific boxes. Second, she didn’t choose to be an assassin. Who knows how her life would have gone if she could have done anything she wanted? She had no choice in what happened, but she did the only thing she could do and she became the best at what she was. That doesn’t mean she lost all the other parts of herself, like loving pretty dresses. Also, the author wrote this book probably knowing that her primary audience would be women. Don’t women love reading about the clothes? I don’t think there was anything wrong with this aspect of the book.

What I didn’t like very much was how she seemed to be attracted to every guy. Okay, maybe it was just two and I know love triangles are a big part of YA literature but it felt really forced to me. I didn’t really think her connection with either Chaol or Dorian was very strong and I didn’t really find myself wanting her to be with or fall for either one of them. For me, that’s a crucial thing. I need a good love story to at least be a good side story. I wasn’t feeling it at all.

The writing was pretty well done. I didn’t think the magic system that seemed to be being set up in this book was very unique or original. But it moved fairly quickly and strong female heroines are always good to see.

I’m surprised this book gained as much popularity as it did considering the lack of emotional connection that I felt. But maybe I’m the exception in this case and a tons of people feel differently than I do.

Reading this review back to myself it sounds like I’m giving it a bad review. I’m not, I actually really enjoyed this book and plan on reviewing the rest pretty soon. It’s rare that I’ll enjoy a book based on plot alone, but it feels like this book has a lot of potential and hopefully it’ll go somewhere great. :)

If you’re a YA fan or want to explore the genre this one would be a good one to pick up. It’s not whiny like some of the other books out there and it’s pretty solid, even if the love triangle makes me roll my eyes a bit.

Cupcakes: FantasyFantasyFantasyFantasy

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with ,

Juliette crushes her TBR pile #1: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

153008

Pages: 1015

Published: September 5th 2003 by Tor Fantasy

Buy from Amazon: Kushiel’s Dart (Kushiel’s Legacy)

From Goodreads: The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassing beauty and grace. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good… and the ensuing race that rose from the seed of angels and men live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay is a young woman who was born with a scarlet mote in her left eye. Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission… and the first one to recognize who and what she is: one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one.

Phèdre is trained equally in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber, but, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze. Almost as talented a spy as she is courtesan, Phèdre stumbles upon a plot that threatens the very foundations of her homeland. Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further. And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair… and beyond. Hateful friend, loving enemy, beloved assassin; they can all wear the same glittering mask in this world, and Phèdre will get but one chance to save all that she holds dear.

Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel’s Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new.

 

Yay! Let’s get started crushing my TBR pile!

I’m also open to suggestions for things I should add to the pile. Leave me comments or email me at paperbacksandfrosting@gmail.com.

The first book I chose was Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. I chose this because these books have kind of called my name for a long time. I’ll see them at the library or at the bookstore and just want to take them home with me. They’re very pretty. I didn’t know much about them except that they were controversial and a fantasy. I love fantasies and am always looking for new worlds to explore.

This is a fantasy unlike any other I’ve ever read. But before you freak out and expect it to be because of the sex, let me stop you right there. Yes, sex is a part of this book, but it isn’t the main theme in this book. While we’re on the subject though, let’s get it out of the way since I know that’s what most of the people looking to read this book want to know about. Yes, it’s kinky and not regular vanilla sex. It’s not romantic either, but all of it is necessary to the story, which is something I loved. I hate when sex is in a book just for it to be there. It should mean something to the story. It definitely does in this book. But it’s not as prevalent as the other reviews of this book would make you believe. This is not a small book. It’s a ton of pages and the percentage of those that have sex scenes written on them is very small. It’s also not as graphic as you may think by reading some of the reviews. I’ve read books with regular vanilla sex in them that had scenes that were a lot more graphic and made me way more uncomfortable. But like I said, this isn’t regular vanilla, so if you’re squeamish at all about that kind of stuff, then unfortunately this may not be the book for you. It is essential to the plot and you’d miss a lot if you had to skip over everything.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get down to the more important things. 😉

This book is complicated. I’m not good at billions of characters and this book does have that. This was one of the big downsides of this book for me. I knew it would be as soon as I opened it up. There are lists of characters that take up multiple pages in the beginning. That’s a huge red flag for me, but I know that doesn’t mean the story isn’t good, so I dove right on in anyway. I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the book has a lot of characters and I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I didn’t get confused. I did. Quite a bit. I’m a tough reader though so I managed to keep up with the story and enjoy it even with that confusion.

The relationships in this novel are awesome. My favorite part about any story I read is the connection I feel between the characters. This book has a ton of that. Not only can I feel the connections but I can feel the differences in all of them. That’s the sign of an incredible author right there. In everyday life you the relationship you form with one person is going to feel different than the relationship you form with another person, but that doesn’t mean they’re not equal in their value to you. I could feel all of that in this story. Phedra’s heart is so big and she feels so much and I could feel all of those complexities and I loved it.

There is also a lot of intrigue and scheming and all of that good stuff in this novel. I’m normally not as big a fan of all of that, but for the most part I liked it in this book. Not 100% of the time, but most of the time. If you are a fan of GoT and are looking for another series to tide you over, I think this is one you should definitely pick up. The world is just as rich and there’s just as much scheming.

The other downside for me is the fantasy element is actually quite light. Yes, this is clearly a different world and it runs differently than our own, but there isn’t magic or dragons or anything like that. That was slightly disappointing to me and maybe that’s my own fault. I don’t like researching books much before I pick them up. I think that gives away too much of the story and takes that element of surprise away from me. So yep, no magic, that made me sad, but it is a very rich new world I was able to explore.

With all that being said, my review of this book is positive. I’d say pick it up if you’re a fantasy fan and aren’t intimidated by long books or sex. It’s a fun read and the world is great to get lost in. Overall, I’d recommend it and plan on continuing the series.

Cupcakes: FantasyFantasyFantasyFantasy

Posted by juliette in Book Review and tagged with

It’s time for me to get a fresh start.

I’ve been in a reading slump for far too long.

For the two people who read my blog I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t been posting and I apologize for that. I keep thinking that I’ll revamp the entire website and make it more exciting and new and those changes never happen. As much as I love the flood of books running this review site brings me, and as much as I love the new authors it has introduced me to, I’m burned out on not reading all of the books I’ve been meaning to.

So I’ve decided to make the reviews I do entirely different. I have a TBR pile that’s just way too long. Right now on Goodreads the list is in the 900s I’m pretty sure. I’ll provide the list for you here:

I need to get through these and I know that doing so will get me over the reading slump and back into what I really enjoy doing. I want to do the series of crushing my TBR pile in video form, but right now I simply don’t have the tools for that. I will be posting reviews of each book I finish from my TBR pile on here in my series, Juliette crushes her TBR pile!

I also just purchased a Kindle. As a long time Nook owner, this was a big adjustment for me. And I hate to admit it, but I absolutely LOVE it. It’s so much fun and I’ve actually sideloaded the Nook app onto it, so I have all of my books in one place. It’s wonderful. It also makes it so much easier to download all of the free books that are out there. Bookbub is tons of fun and I follow a few blogs that alert me to free books in my favorite genres. So of course along with my giant TBR pile, I now have a growing collection of Kindle books that I’m sure I’d never get to unless I buckle down and make myself. That brings me to series number 2, which will probably never be in video form, Juliette reads all of the free Kindle books!

I hope all of you stay with me through this change. I think these new series of reviews will tons of fun and I know I’m going to have a blast writing/making them for all of you!

Here’s to new adventures!

Juliette

Posted by juliette in Uncategorized

The Unlikely Lady

22929513Pages: 352

Published: May 5th, 2015 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN: 9781250042095

From Goodreads: Miss Jane Lowndes is a confirmed bluestocking. She’s convinced that if she can wait out her parents’ demand that she marry, someday she can be a confirmed spinster and hold intellectual salons, her fondest dream. No man wants a bluestocking for a wife, after all. And that’s exactly the way Jane likes it. In fact, she’s invented a fictitious chaperone to help her achieve that purpose.

Lord Garrett Upton is a devil-may-care confirmed bachelor. He’s lived through the war, and now that he’s back in London, he intends to enjoy life to the fullest. Marriage is certainly not a part of that plan. He’s known Miss Lowndes for years, and the two of them have long engaged in a war of words. Jane’s latest scheme to pretend she has a fake chaperone is none of his business . . . until her desire to involve herself in a scandal becomes all too personal.

When Garrett and Jane mistakenly kiss at a wedding party masquerade, their well-documented dislike for each other is turned on its ear. And when a devious widow, who will stop at nothing to have Garrett, plots to keep them apart, will their desire for each other overcome their dreams of remaining unattached?

 

I got this book from the author in exchange for an early review and let me just say…. wow! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! This book exceeded my expectations and they were already pretty high. Jane is definitely someone I would want to be or at least be best friends with. I don’t want to be a spinster, but I definitely agree with her about books being the best company. Also, can I just say that Garrett is my favorite hero of all time? He really is. I don’t want to give too much away with this review, but let me just say if you’re a die hard bookworm like I am, you’re going to adore him as well. He’s dreamy and wonderful and everything we could hope for in a guy.

I read the first two books in this series and I absolutely loved them! I loved this one even more! This one was definitely my favorite. So if you’ve read the first two, you’ll want to pick this one up in May because it’s everything you’ve loved about the first two and more. If you haven’t read any of this books, then pick one up, especially this one, because you’re in for a treat! I’ve devoured all three and they’re a wonderful and funny escape from reality. The writing is quick and clever and just so much fun. Inside this book you’ll find characters you care about and relate to and a romance that feel real and genuine. It’s so hard for me to find romances where I feel like the hero and heroine have an actual connection. I felt it in this book so much and I wish that I had more books like this one to devour. Seriously, if you’re looking for a fun escape and something great to read look no further!

Cupcakes: Historical romanceHistorical romanceHistorical romanceHistorical romanceHistorical romance

 

I’ll add a link to Amazon once the book is released!

You, In Your Green Shirt

81ri6M1yg5L._SL1500_by: Barbara Monier

Pages: 142

ASIN: B00CD9HBQM

From Goodreads: YOU, IN YOUR GREEN SHIRT, by Barbara Monier, follows a woman coming back to life after the disintegration of a twenty-plus year marriage. The book opens with Madeline Bruno and her family sitting around the dinner table as husband Dick recounts his fascination with a new female employee. Within a few quick, jabbing lines, 14-year-old son Jack accuses his father of being “involved” with her, 11-year-old daughter Kate hurls insults, and Madeline has retreated into a fantasy that her once-beloved husband has turned into a giant, scurrying cockroach.

As Madeline struggles through each incremental breakdown of her lovingly-created marriage and world, she is alarmed to find herself having vivid fantasies about her daughter’s music teacher. At first feeling that this must be an aberration and indictment of her maternal skills, she gradually allows herself to experience long-numbed feelings of desire for connection. Encounters with the musician, both real and imagined, become more and more playful, flirtatious, and sexual, such as when she attends his very formal concert and imagines hurling herself from the balcony directly into his lap below.

Ultimately Madeline realizes that this largely-fantasied “relationship” has served its purpose; it has enabled her to be ready for the real world of middle-aged, post-millennium dating and men. Neighborhood friends talk her into trying the internet dating scene, which she tackles with utter trepidation but also determination and gusto. Madeline wades through on-line dating profiles. She unravels the protocol of first encounters via e-mail and phone. She has her first “first date” in more than twenty-five years, wandering through a shopping mall with a man before dissolving into tears back in her car.

When daughter Kate notices that the neighborhood “catch” has his eye on her mother, Madeline is more than a little skeptical. But when a four-year friendship between Madeline and Bud crosses the line into romance, the results move quickly from heated passion to an aftermath of woeful regret. Back to the online dating scene, Madeline meets Robert, a long-divorced business owner with a dog Madeline ultimately feels far more affection for than his eccentric owner. Though Robert becomes somewhat of a steady beau, they both agree they should keep the door open to meeting others.

The final chapters of the book find Madeline meeting an internet date at a local coffee house, her fantasies once again taking hold of her as she envisions a new life with him, fully recovered and wholly alive. But it becomes clear that her fantasies are actually memories here. She is telling this entire story to Jim, the story of everything that led to this moment, when she would meet and fall in love with him.

 

This story was incredibly well-written and fun. I didn’t want to put it down. I love the way this author can draw you into a story. This is the second story I’ve read and reviewed from this author and I think I liked this one even more than the last one. It goes in depth to Madeline’s mental illness and I’ve always found that type of topic fascinating. This story really gives you an insight into what she’s going through and makes you feel for her. The transitions between fantasy and present were extremely well done. I found myself getting excited each time it happened because I was loving the story so much and wanted to keep reading. I would recommend this story to anyone who is looking to get sucked into and immersed in a world that is not their own. I love getting inside other people’s heads. Especially when it is realistic and really makes me feel like that person like this book did. This book should be getting more attention. If you’re looking for something new to read, pick this up! :)

Cupcakes: Other FictionOther FictionOther FictionOther Fiction

Buy this from Amazon here:You, in Your Green Shirt

Snake the Gypsy

18147257by:Mikal O’Boyle
Pages: 156
Published: June 20th, 2013 by Black Rose Writing
ISBN: 9781612962245
From Goodreads: Enchanting and full of adventure, the story of Snake
the Gypsy, narrated by an elderly Snake, is a recounting of her life
as a young girl. It begins with a lonely gypsy girl who is ostracized
by her own nation and is neglected by her unsympathetic mother. Times
seem very hard for her as she struggles to find happiness in life
until she finally befriends an extraordinary snake who follows her,
protects her, and even dances with her during her rigorous training
sessions. When the time comes for Snake to enter into the Loce, the
bi-annual gypsy festival, a horrible fate befalls the gypsy girl and
her snake, deserting her in a place she is unfamiliar with, but she
soon discovers that things have become even worse as she has stumbled
into the midst of a war between two very unlikely beings. After nearly
enduring a painful death, losing her heart for the first time, and
sacrificing herself for a hopeless cause, Snake the gypsy continues on
to become the elderly woman who narrates the story. The only question
is, how true is a gypsy’s story?
This story was actually quite fascinating. I love stories that have
rich backstories that add depth to characters. I felt incredibly close
and connected with Snake by the end of the story. There were a lot of
part in this book that were difficult to read in the sense that they
were emotionally painful. The story itself was wonderful though. I
think Snake is a fantastic character and this story is tons of fun
because it rides that line between being believable and complete
fantasy. It’s exciting and engrossing. It’ll make you want to keep
turning pages and want to ignore real life. It’ll also make you feel
like you should be grateful for the life and family that you have. If
you’re looking for something different from your normal genre, give
this a try, you might be pleasantly surprised. :)

Cupcakes: Other FictionOther FictionOther FictionOther Fiction

A Little Birdie Told Me

91ZiTyuDQ2L._SL1500_by: Barbara Monier

Pages: 184

ASIN: B00CDA9U3I

From Goodreads: A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME, a novel by Barbara L. Monier,
takes place over the summer and fall of 1972, in the six months
leading up to narrator CATHERINE’s sixteenth birthday. Thrust headlong
into an identity crisis when her mother reveals that she had actually
planned to marry someone else, Catherine decides to begin a journal in
an effort to find solidity and permanence in her own life. Hilariously
funny, impetuous, impatient, sometimes annoying and always remarkable,
Catherine freely quotes literature, pops pills, and casts her eye
unflinchingly around her world as she takes the reader through a
unique coming-of-age tale.
During the awkward summer in which Catherine is just barely too young
to get either a paying job or drive, she learns that her fraternal
twin sister Lizzy has been accepted at a prestigious dance academy and
will be leaving home, separating the sisters who had begun their
lives, Catherine muses, “so close that every bit of our bodies was
pressed tight tight together, a time when we didn’t even understand
that we were two different people, but just felt somehow that we were
one being with an extra bunch of limbs.”
As Catherine’s mother continues to drop hints about a former life and
a lost love, Catherine decides to undertake her own detective mission
to piece together the puzzle of her mother’s past. As she scours the
nooks and crannies of her home, she finds remnants of her own
childhood as well as her mother’s youth. When Catherine ultimately
discovers a large bundle of letters from her mother’s former lover, as
well as a handful that her mother wrote to him, she encounters a young
woman who seems to be an entirely different person than the mother she
knows.
Catherine sneaks the letters from their hiding place every chance she
gets and pours over them in her room; meantime, a very confused
cardinal continually attacks his own reflection in her window.
Catherine becomes nearly obsessed with both her mother’s story and the
troubling behavior of the bird, her feelings for each one paralleling
the other as she moves from concern, to anger, to frustration.
Set quietly against a background of radically shifting times – the
near end of the Vietnam War, racial tensions, changing sex roles and
more, A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME is ultimately a deeply affirming story.
At the book’s end, as Catherine lay in traction following a car
accident, she has learned lessons from her own experiences, her
mother’s, and from the relentless bird; she is ready and resolved to
move forward in a fully realized, fully embraced life.

I loved this book and it probably got me into more than a little
trouble at work. I didn’t want to stop reading it. I can’t really
explain what it was about this novel, but I found Catherine to be
fascinating. It wasn’t really that I could relate to her, but I found
her interesting and wanted to continue seeing the world through her
eyes. It is incredibly well written and makes you think a little
harder about your own life. It’s absorbing and rich in emotion. Anyone
that is as much of a coming of age story as I am will love this book.
It’ll bring you back to your own sixteenth birthday and maybe make you
think about it a little differently. I loved the letters and what they
revealed about Catherine’s mom. It hit home that you don’t always know
everything about your parents and that there may be secrets there that
you would never guess. I think that anyone looking for a good story
should pick this up and dive right in. :)

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