One lucky winner has been chosen in the Heart of the Matter Giveaway!
Congratulations to: Esme
One lucky winner has been chosen in the Heart of the Matter Giveaway!
Congratulations to: Esme
Here is the second half of my favorite books for the year! (Part I here)
6.) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – Todd and I were bored one night and decided to see what movies/mini-series’ we could watch on instant Netflix. We watched a BBC version of Gaskell’s North and South and I was enthralled by it! North and South is the story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale, and the goings-on of the working class people of the small urban city they live in. Thornton, a mill owner, is trying to keep his mill running amidst strike and union talks. Margaret Hale, the daughter of a curate in the South of England, is forced to move to Thornton’s home town when her father decides to leave his job as a country curate and become a tutor. Thornton becomes a fixture in Margaret’s daily life, as her father becomes his intellectual tutor. The two are filled with misconceived notions about the other due to their upbringing and constantly argue and throw slurs at each other. Somehow through it all they come to realize their true feelings for each other and fall in love. I have often heard Gaskell compared to Jane Austen; while they do share some similarities, it’s their differences that I find interesting. Austen satirized the life of the upper-class while Gaskell wrote about the plights of the middle and lower classes. I truly loved this book because of the realism that engulfed it. Gaskell was a truly superb writer and I cannot recommend this book enough!!
7.) A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs – I was already a huge fan of Augusten by the time this book was published, making this book a must buy for me. I finally got around to reading it recently and was blown away by it. Augusten writes memoirs that just grip you. His life is truly fascinating and with the way he writes, you can’t help but become engrossed in his story. A Wolf at the Table focuses on his early life living with his mother, father, and sometimes present older brother. (His older brother is John Elder Robison, author Look Me In The Eye) His early days were strife with an alcoholic father, one who tried to murder him, possibly on more than one occasion. This memoir is filled with deeply sad and troubling situations, situations I’m sure have scarred Augusten in his later years. While this memoir is darker than his other ones, it’s one of his best. It’s a no holds barred account of a childhood most people would wish to forget. For my full review click here.
8.) Darcy’s Voyage by Kara Louise – So yet another Pride and Prejudice sequel makes my top ten list. Shocking. HA. Anyway, this was one of the most original retellings that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Darcy and Elizabeth are thrust into each other company aboard Pemberley’s Promise, a ship headed towards America. Elizabeth is off to see her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and Darcy is picking up Georgiana. Elizabeth gets sick aboard ship and is struggling to get better below decks with all the other sick passengers. Darcy realizes that the only way she can get better is to be taken away from the rest of the sick passengers, and that the only spare bed is in his room. For propriety’s sake he suggests to Elizabeth that the two marry and that once back in England he will file the necessary paperwork for the two to have an annulment, with none the wiser of their fake marriage. As you can guess the two fall in love with each other but have no idea how the other feels, since most of their marriage is a show for the other passengers. Upon the ship’s arrival they are separated not sure if they will ever see each other again. It is on their return to America that Austen’s original plot begins to come into play. As I stated earlier this retelling was so unique and I truly enjoyed the change of pace that it offered me. For my full review click here.
9.) The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – I re-read this book every single year. I absolutely LOVE it. (I’ve even convinced Todd to begin reading it! See here) When most people hear the name Boleyn thy think of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. Most don’t know she had a sister who supposedly bedded the king before her. The Other Boleyn Girl follows Mary’s story as she finds love, loses love, becomes a mother, is used by her family, and is betrayed by her own sister. Philippa Gregory is truly a master at writing historical fiction. Her novels are fascinating fusions of true history, embellished dialogues, and rich characters. You love to hate her antagonists! I truly cannot speak highly enough of this novel. Even if you are not a fan of history you have to give this novel a try. Gregory writes history but adds the dramatic flare to it to make it fascinating to read. Definitely check it out and add this to your to-read list.
10.) Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin – This was a great, quick, fast-paced book that I really enjoyed reading! Something Borrowed tells the story about Rachel, her best friend Darcy, and Darcy’s fiancée Dex. Rachel and Darcy have been best friends their entire lives, doing almost everything together. Growing up next-door to each other in Indiana, they have been in a constant competitive friendship all of their twenty-five years together. Rachel has learned to put Darcy’s needs and wants before her own to curb the competition. Darcy on the other hand still feels the need to one-up not only Rachel but everyone she knows. On Rachel’s thirtieth birthday she drinks too much and winds up in bed with Dex. Rachel begins to feel guilty knowing what she did to her best friend was wrong. The more and more she thinks about it she starts feeling less and less guilty as she realizes that in fact it’s her who is right for Dex and not Darcy. Rachel begins thinking back to her history with Dex. The two went to law school together and became good friends. They never dated because Rachel never thought she was good enough for him. She introduced him to Darcy and the rest was history. Rachel receives a phone call from Dex the day after they slept together and begins to get weird vibes from him. He is not sorry that they slept together, nor does he feel guilty about it. The two begin secretly seeing each other and realize that they are absolutely perfect for each other. Rachel must decide if she is willing to risk her friendship with Darcy to be with the one she loves, or give him up and go back to being the friend in Darcy’s shadow. Truly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it as a great beach read! You can check out my full review here.
Well there you have it my readers! My favorite ten books for the year. Leave me some comments below and let me know what your favorite books of the year were!
The beginning of Something Blue begins the same way Something Borrowed ended, just told through the eyes of Darcy. Darcy has canceled her wedding with Dex, has been sleeping with Marcus, and is pregnant with his baby. She heads over to Rachel’s apartment to tell her everything that has happened and finds her ex-fiancée Dex hiding in Rachel’s closet, in his boxers. Completely flabbergasted that her plain jane best friend Rachel is sleeping with her ex, she runs from the apartment yelling back at them to never speak to her again. Running to Marcus’ apartment she tells him everything and tries to forget about everything. She tries her hardest to get Marcus to be the man she needs, but he would much rather be a man’s man. He’s into video games, sloppy dressing, crap restaurants, and just being a complete slacker. Darcy is realizing that Marcus is not the man she thought he was. She is regretting leaving Dex and is trying to think of ways to get him back not believing he has any feelings for Rachel. She convinces Dex to come pick up some things from their former apartment and tries to woo him. Dex tells Darcy he loves Rachel and that he’ll never love her again. Darcy can not get over the fact that Dex wants Rachel and becomes truly lost; her friends want nothing to do with her because she’s pregnant, she’s broken up with Marcus, and she’s in a fight with her parents.
“For the next few days I cranked up “I Will Survive,” Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign,” and other inspiring songs as I racked my brain, trying to come up with a plan, a way to escape the shame of so much rejection. I needed a fresh start, a change of venue, a new cast of characters.”
It is with this thought that Darcy calls her friend Ethan in London and asks if she can come and stay with him for a while. Ethan agrees to it but makes her well aware that he does not want to discuss Rachel and Dex with her. (Ethan is good friends with Rachel as well as Darcy and doesn’t want to be in the middle). Darcy heads over to England and realizes, with the help of Ethan, that she isn’t that great of a person. Ethan and Darcy have a huge fight and Ethan tells Darcy what a horrible friend she has been, and had the tables been turned Darcy would no doubt have no problem sleeping with Rachel’s fiancée. Darcy truly digs deep and realizes she needs to change herself before giving birth and wants to prove to Ethan that she can be a good person.
People say that Something Blue is the better between the two novels. I’m going to have to disagree and say that I enjoyed Something Borrowed much better. I can understand why Something Blue is a favorite. It’s a story about redemption. You want to see Darcy redeem herself and become a better person. You want her to find love and happiness. You want her to become the person she’s always had the ability to be, but chose not too because of her upbringing.
I really enjoyed the larger role that Ethan played in this novel, as he was a great influence on Darcy. When I started reading Something Blue I was worried about how much I would enjoy the novel, considering it was focused on Darcy. The journey that Darcy takes is incredibly relatable. When life gets tough people re-evaluate their lives, their relationships, their friendships, etc. I began feeling for Darcy: wanting her to succeed, wanted her to find love, to find friendships. As she began succeeding in those sections of her life I began liking her character more, which in turn allowed me to enjoy the novel. I definitely recommend reading the novel, especially if you’ve read Something Borrowed.
4 out of 5 Stars
“The call that was supposed to bring closure only ushered in more uneasiness. And a tiny little stirring inside me, a stirring that I resolve to squelch. ….as I wait on the subway platform, my mind returns to our kiss in the elevator. The feel of his hair. And the way he looked sleeping in my bed, half covered by my sheets. Those are the images that I remember the most.”