Friday, April 29, 2016

Coffee, Tea and Books: April Edition

Good Morning Everyone!

It's the last Friday of the month, so it's time for another book review edition! I read three books this month, which is about what I usually average. I'm reading a couple now that I'm almost done with; but didn't quite get finished, so they'll go in next month's review.

Ok, let's get started!

The Little Paris Book Shop:

3/5 stars.

This is a story about a Parisian man named Jean Perdu who owns a little bookshop in Paris that just happens to be on a barge called Lulu. Jean is somewhat of a Literary Apothecary. He just seems to know what book a person needs to read and when, even if they completely disagree. He's never wrong in his selections. He is a simple man, living a very minimalist life. He has up to this point only really loved one woman; but she is no longer in his life. He has a letter from her that has remained unopened for 21 years because he is afraid he already knows what it says, and can't bear the impending rejection and farewell that lies within it.
Eventually, Jean discovers that he will never be able to move forward unless he opens the letter and faces it head on. Unfortunately, when he does, he realizes he was all wrong about what he believed was in the letter. Thus begins Jean's journey to right his wrongs as best he can. He along with a perpetually writers blocked novelist, Max Jordan, set off on the Lulu to seek redemption, understanding or perhaps clarity. The people he meets along this journey are all parts to the puzzle he must complete. In the end, Jean comes to understand that his life took all the turns it as always meant to take.
I liked this book; but not as much as I was hoping I would. I found myself unable to recall really what had happened during previous reading sessions which tells me, what I was reading wasn't making a strong enough impression. The plot line was simple in theory; but proved to be a little more complicated in practice. I felt as though the story was weighed down a bit in the middle with characters and scenes that were not necessary to the development of the plot. Max's role in the story as a supporting character was not really justified until the last 1/4 of the book and then really only in a convenient way.
The book was saved somewhat, however, by its ending. It is just unfortunate that the path it travelled to get there was unnecessarily burdened.

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

5/5 stars

When I sat down and made my list of books for 2016 (yes...there's a list) I added six new releases to my list. New releases meaning having been released in late 2015 or some time in 2016. One of those books was The Secret to Hummingbird Cake  by Celeste Fletcher McHale. I'm not sure if the other new releases on my list are going to be able to measure up to this beautiful story; but I do know that they are going to have to try REALLY hard!
This exquisitely written story about the powerful life long friendship of Carrigan, Ella Rae and Laine is everything you hope it's going to be and so much more! It is genuine, and honest; funny and heartbreaking. It is the friendship you longed to have as a teenager and wish you could find as an adult; but at the same time, grateful you are spared the tragedy that occurs. Yes, I cried...more than once reading this story; but I also laughed out loud, and at times just sat in quiet contemplation soaking in this story.  I don't want to say too much about it because I don't want to spoil anything. Honestly, just add it to your TBR list, you will NOT be sorry!

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

4/5 Stars

This is my fourth Kristin Hannah novel and as always she did not disappoint! This is the story of a unlikely friendship between two adolescent girls that develops, grows, and changes over the course of 30+ years. I really enjoyed this friendship, especially the realness of it.  I love that it was filled with love and laughter; happiness and regrets, loyalty and betrayal. As a stay at home mom, I found myself identifying a lot of with Kate especially her struggles as she watched Tully succeed in her career. I think in the end though that Kate realized she ended up with the better life. The book did have a few minor flaws in it, which prevented it from being a five star for me. I wasn't as pleased with the ending as I would like to have been. This is a hard book to talk about without spoiling. If you're a KH fan, put it on your TBR list, you'll be glad you did. If you haven't read anything by her yet, this is a good story with which to start!

That is all for me today, my friends! I hope you find some time to relax and unwind with a good book this weekend. Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for another edition of Coffee Cafe!

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