Published by Viking (3.5.2019)
Genres: New Adult, Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook, 471 pages
Length: 12 hours, 57 minutes
Narrator: Jayne Entwistle, Allan Corduner, Julie Berry, Dion Graham, Fiona Hardingham, John Lee, Nathaniel Parker, Steve West
It's 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She's a shy and talented pianist; he's a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it's immediate and deep--and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.
Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who's played Carnegie Hall, he's a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that's before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who's already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.
Thirty years after these four lovers' fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.
This was a book club pick, and something I would have never touched in a million years on my own. I have never been a fan of historical fiction and usually avoid it at all costs. So, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by this one! The audiobook was FANTASTIC!
I didn’t enjoy the flashbacks a whole lot, because that’s where the historical part really shone through. I didn’t care all that much about Hazel and James or Aubrey and Colette. It was set in 1917 in war times which is 100% not my jam. I was in it for the present time, where Aphrodite was on trial for adultery and was speaking to her husband Hephaestus. Aphrodite is telling the story of the lovers in 1917, so there was a lot of disconnect for me emotionally because it had already happened (in addition to being historical/war fiction, which always makes me disconnect anyway). But, a book narrated by Greek gods is 100% my jam, lmao. It was a very strange and interesting mashup, with the mythology and fantastical element of the Greek gods mixed with a historical wartime love story. It was definitely a unique read!
If you are interested in reading this one, I 10/10 recommend listening!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books (5.18.2021)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Audiobook, 360 pages
Length: 10 hours, 26 minutes
Narrator: Patti Murin
Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.
But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.
At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.
Welp, I finally read a Christine Lauren book. And it was extremely meh, lol. This was another book club pick. I do read romance on rare occasion, when I’m in the mood for something fluffy. But this was a pretty bland, average romance in my opinion.
Everyone knows I adore enemies to lovers. It’s my favorite trope! But this one didn’t really work for me. They start off hating each other, but I felt like Jess’s hatred was a bit over the top. It also moved too quickly and was missing that slow burn that usually is present with enemies to lovers that makes me adore it so much. I never felt any chemistry between them. The storytelling felt lackluster overall and I didn’t care about anything that was happening, the characters least of all. The concept was interesting, though! I liked the idea of a DNA tested dating app that gives you a compatibility percentage with your matches.
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Published by GP Putnam's Sons (8.14.2018)
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Contemporary
Format: Audiobook, 384 pages
Length: 12 hours, 12 minutes
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.
But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.
In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures.
I didn’t love this one like I was hoping to. The hype for this book is UNREAL. I expected a lot more out of it, and to be honest I found the writing to be a little bit dull and you have to suspend belief sometimes for the story to work. But, I still enjoyed it for the most part. (Listening to the audio version probably helped with that.) Kya’s story is heartbreaking and poignant. It’s hard not to feel for her with everything she goes through and the constant loss she endures, although the emotional connection for me wasn’t as strong as it should have been. I liked that it was told in two different timelines, and that you only get snippets at a time to piece the story together. The murder mystery and impending trial add a bit of a drive to the plot that keeps you going.
I did love the ending, though! I feel like it was unpopular with a lot of people. I found it a bit predictable – I expected that last scene to come and was just waiting for it – but I still thought it was awesome. View Spoiler »She plays the victim for SO LONG, convinces everyone that she’s innocent, even makes them feel guilty for blaming her…and she did it all along. I kind of loved that last scene where it revealed that she still had the necklace and implied that she actually did kill him. I was just waiting for it! I do kind of wish we’d seen a bit more of her teeth a bit sooner than after she actually died, but whatever. « Hide Spoiler
I saw the movie after I’d read it too, and it was pretty good! I felt like they stuck to the book very well, and the changes they did make made sense at least.
Side note: Jumpin’ was my FAVORITE. View Spoiler »I teared up when he died. I was PISSED that they skimmed over his death in the movie. « Hide Spoiler
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5
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