Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Review: The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam

About the Book
At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

My Review

Everything from the very beginning of this story captivated me! The cover was the first thing to attract me. The soft colors, the beautiful dress and St. Basil’s Cathedral in the window. Then the synopsis completely hooked me with tales of love, honor, and the beautiful setting of Russia. Overall, I was very happy with this book and would highly recommend it.

The story follows the real life romance of Natalya Goncharova and famous poet Alexander Pushkin through her eyes. The story begins with his death and then goes back in time when Natalie is 16 and is meeting Alexander for the first time. Don’t worry, his death isn’t a spoiler. It is public knowledge how he died, and it is in the synopsis!

I really enjoyed following their love story and I thought Natalie was a very relatable character. In the beginning of the story, she is a young 16-year-old girl. Her mother expects her to act like a lady and find a husband with money, but she would rather read, write and marry for love. I thought she was a great character, and knowing she was an actual real person, made her even better!

I usually don’t read and enjoy historical fiction books, which is weird because I am a history teacher, but again, I really enjoyed this one! I am happy that I discovered a new author and I am excited to read more from her! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review and Giveaway: Luna Rising by Selene Castrovilla

Luna Rising by Selene Castrovilla

Publisher: Last Syllable Books

Expected Publication: April 25, 2017

Life begins at thirty-eight for Long Island mom and writer Luna Lampanelli, when she kicks her secretly gay husband to the curb. She's got her freedom, but what she wants is love.

Luna knows she doesn’t need a man to exist, but try telling that to her heart. Against the advice of Sunny, her snarky best friend, and Jiminy, the cautioning voice in Luna’s head that just won’t shut up, Luna sets course to find a mate.

Luna speed and on-line dates her way into several short-lived, surreal relationships. There’s Ari, the humorless Israeli who refuses to assimilate – to America, and to humanity. There’s Alex, the young and handsome ex-crackhead who informs Luna he doesn’t want to be monogamous while they’re in bed. There’s Memphis, the wild-eyed sadomasochist. There’s Red, angry and crippled, who becomes the catalyst for Luna to join Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.

But before Luna can proceed to recovery, she meets the elusive but oh so appealing Trip. He’s emotionally unavailable and has the Madonna-Whore Complex, but how can Luna (aka “whore”) let him go when she enjoys his dry wit so much, and his naked body even more?

Humorously haunting and packed with unspeakable truths, Luna Rising follows a woman's funny and heart-breaking struggle to relate with un-relatable men and an un-relatable world, and to figure out something even more un-relatable: herself.

Luna Rising: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble    

My Review:

I was really excited to get a copy of this book! I loved Selene Castrovilla other stories, Melt and Saved By the Music so I went into this book with high hopes! I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. I loved the writing and the characters and I definitely recommend this story!

Right off the bat I felt connected to Luna. Luna grew up in an Italian family on Long Island and I am also from an Italian family who grew up on Long Island. I don't get to read many stories that take place on Long Island, so I was very excited to find out that this story did! Luna is in her late 30's and has two little boys. She was very realistic. She loves her children and her family, but she also loves to have fun. I loved reading her being a mom, and I also loved how she could have a life away from her sons. 

The most interesting and original part of this book was the STATS on each character. I loved it! It was a really cool way to introduce the characters and tell the reader a bit of information about them. I don't think I have seen that in a book before. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. A single mother trying to find herself and fall in love is something that many people can relate too. Luna Rising is a well written, original, funny story and I definitely think that you should read it! 

About the Author:

Selene Castrovilla is the award-winning author of multiple narrative nonfiction picture books and young adult novels. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons and too many cats. Visit her website: www.SeleneCastrovilla.com.


$25.00 giftcard to Amazon or Book Depository (international)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Tour:

Feb 1st - A Nook for Books
Feb 2nd - Her Book Thoughts
Feb 3rd - A Leisure Moment
Feb 10th - A Chick Who Reads
Feb 14th - The Invisible Diva
Feb 16th - Reese's Reviews
                                         Feb 24th - vvb32 reads

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: Pop Painting

I am definitely not what you would call artistic or creative. I usually don’t even understand most art pieces, but I absolutely loved this book. I loved looking at all of the beautiful art work the most.

What was so awesome about this book is it gives you step by step instructions on how to paint like Camilla. I really felt like I was in the room with her and watching her create.

I highly recommend this book, whether you are an artist or not. It’s a beautiful book and I think anyone can enjoy it.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for review*

Friday, February 19, 2016

Quick Review: Dear Luke, We Need To Talk, Darth

I was very excited to read this book. It sounded so funny and original and I loved every single moment of it! The author takes different pop culture references, movies, TV shows and songs and creates original stories for each one. I think my favorite was what exactly was Jay-Z's 99 problems! I highly recommend this book. You will not be disappointed. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

By Anna-Marie McLemore
St. Martin’s Griffin
On Sale: September 15, 2015
Hardcover: 978-1-250-05865-2/ $18.99 USD
eBook: 978-1-466-87323-0 / $9.99 USD


The Night Circus meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning young adult novel about two teens who fall in love despite the almost impossible odds against them.

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family's show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it's a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace's life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.


I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

The Weight of Feathers is a beautifully written story about two feuding families whose children fall in love. One family is from the sky, one from the water. The story is slow paced, but I was interested, which made me want to keep on reading.

I really liked the two main characters, Lace and Cluck. I wasn’t a fan of their families though. Both families are traveling performers, and they always meet up at this one location. They try to stay away from each other, but after Cluck and Lace accidently touch, their lives begin to change.

I felt really bad for Cluck. His family was so horrible to him, and he just took it! I was hoping that he would gain confidence as the story progressed. I really liked him and Lace together. They brought out the best of each other.

Overall I really enjoyed The Weight of Feathers and I am looking forward to reading more from this author!


Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine's cratelit, Camera Obscura's Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review.  The Weight of Feathers is her first novel.


“McLemore’s prose is ethereal and beguiling… The enchanting setup and the forbidden romance that blooms between these two outcasts will quickly draw readers in, along with the steady unspooling of the families’ history and mutual suspicions in this promising first novel.” —Publishers Weekly

“Readers beguiled by the languorous language—a striking mix of French and Spanish phrases, wry colloquialism, lush imagery, and elevated syntax—will find themselves falling under its spell. The third-person narration alternates between Lace and Cluck, doling out twists and building to a satisfying, romantic conclusion.” —Kirkus Reviews

In this tale of magical realism, the magic is so deftly woven into the fabric of the story… Told with skillful poetic nuances, this Romeo-and-Juliet story of forbidden love will entice fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle who wished for a little more romance.” —School Library Journal

Anna-Marie McLemore's debut novel is a very imaginative modern-day romance akin to Romeo and Juliet and is infused with the whimsy of magical realism.” —RT Book Reviews

An air of mysterious fantasy enshrouds the whole book, pulling the reader through it as if in a spell. McLemore is a writer to watch.”—The Guardian

You've never read a love story quite like this one. Anna-Marie McLemore has created in entirely imaginative world and rich characters that will pull you in as if she's spinning magic herself.” Bustle

With prose as magical as its characters, The Weight of Feathers is an exciting debut.” —Paste Magazine

McLemore’s debut novel has ties to Romeo and Juliet, David Almond’s mythical Skellig, and the real-life performances of Cirque du Soleil.” —Booklist


Anna-Marie McLemore

St. Martin’s Griffin


Amazon: http://bit.ly/WOFAmazon           
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/WOFBN
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/WOFBooksAMil

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