Book Review | Love and Chaos by Gemma Burgess

Authour:lovechaos
Gemma Burgess
Format:
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
Publication date:
February 25th 2014
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Griffin
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“The only thing that will give your life meaning is the people around you. Create a circle of support that will keep you afloat when you feel like you might drown. A life raft. That’s what your friends are. A life raft.” (p. 184)

When I first heard about this series, I was excited to get into it as I am extremely close in age to the girls. In addition, there are not that many books that follow the lives of characters in their twenties right after they’ve finished their postsecondary education.

Love and Chaos is the second book in the Brooklyn Girls series by Gemma Burgress, and it follows the adventures of Angie, who in the first book was seen as the wild party girl who often was drunk, and was best friends with Pia the protagonist in the first book. I actually didn’t like her character in the first book so I was surprised that I actually fell in love with her character in Love and Chaos. In fact, I adored her more than Pia who honestly often got on my nerves in Brooklyn Girls. I believe that the main reason why I felt more affection for Angie was because I could relate to her on so numerous levels, such as how despite her tough exterior, she was secretly a romantic. In addition, I could relate extremely well to her struggles in finding a job and how she hides her all her struggles and vulnerabilities with a tough exterior. I loved seeing her grow throughout the novel and watching her become more considerate of others as she starts to open up more to the other people, especially the girls that she lives with, even though she initially mocked them for their closeness.

All in all Love and Chaos is probably one of my favourite reads this year for the summer as it has a nice balance of realistic vs. dramatic storytelling. I love the fact that even though there is romance and love it isn’t the sole goal for any of these girls, which wouldn’t be realistic as they’re only in their early 20s and have other worries and concerns as well. After reading Love and Chaos, I am excited for the rest of the books in the series, in particular, I cannot for the book that will focus on Julia’s story just cause I came to adore her character so much more in this book. So if you’re looking for a series that is more about the characters in their twenties and focuses more on female friendship and goals rather than romantic relationships then you should definitely try this series.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman

afterimgoneAuthour
Laura Lippman
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 334 pages
Publication date:
February 11th 2014
Publisher:
William Morrow
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Laura Lippman’s After I’m Gone is one of those books that slowly creep up on you and sucks you in without you even realizing it. Well at least that was the case for me. When I first started reading it, I thought the premise was interesting, but the pacing was a bit slow. In fact, I felt like I was waiting for the story to pick up at the beginning.

I think what I disliked about the start of the story were the chapters that focused on the past and on characters such as Bambi and Michelle whom I did not like early on. However, both grew on me at the present time as it was clear that they have matured and evolved over time and they truly did care about their family. There were also a great number of chapters told from the perspective of other characters connected to Felix and I found that they worked because they gave us more clues as to what actually happened in addition to giving readers more characters to suspect that were responsible for Julie’s death.

What I did like throughout the book were the chapters that took place in the present where readers are introduced to Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez who is a retired detective working on the cold case that is the murder of a woman named Julie who was the mistress of Bambi’s husband, Felix Brewer. I enjoyed reading those chapters more because they focused on the investigations and Sandy was a more likeable character than several of the other major players in this book. In the end my most favourite part of this book was the lead up to the reveal of the killer, as the two timelines start converging it got me excited to see who murdered Julie. And while the identity and motive of the person who killed Julie was not shocking it was definitely satisfying and made perfect sense.

What started off as an ordinary story slowly grew into a more complex story over time. As well, I was surprised to discover that After I’m Gone is for the most part loosely based on the true story of Julius Salsbury, who was the head of a large gambling operation in the 1970s. Like Felix in After I’m Gone, Julius disappeared and left behind his wife and three daughters when it looked like he would be caught. However in real life there wasn’t a murder. Knowing this after I finished reading After I’m Gone makes this book all the more fascinating and I wonder if it would have affected my reading experience if I had known about this before I started reading the book.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Blood Always Tells by Hilary Davidson

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Paris Letters by Janice Macleod

Authour:parisletter
Janice Macleod
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 258 pages
Publication date:
February 4th 2014
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
This was the second memoir I read that was set in Paris but Paris Letters is definitely a much different story than We’ll Always Have Paris. Here we have a young woman who finds herself disillusioned with her day job as a copywriter in an advertising agency. Eventually she figures out a way to put aside enough money so that she could get by without working for a bit. These are outlined in a list which is included in the back of the book and includes things like selling her finished paintings, using all her free samples and inviting friends to go for hikes, coffee or frozen yogurt instead of waiting for them to invite her out to eat at an expensive restaurant. Of course this works and she is able to finally quit her job and travel.

I loved the travel elements in this memoir mostly because I can absolutely relate to some of her fish out of water experiences, as my knowledge of French pretty much consists of what I learned up until first year of college. I also loved that the author was Canadian as it makes her story at least initially more relatable.

Fittingly as the story takes place in Paris, France there is some romance in this book as Janice meets Christophe, a French speaking Polish butcher who she says kind of looks like Daniel Craig. I thought the way Janice relates their encounters and interactions with each other were really cute.

Paris Letters is a beautiful book both in its story as well as the many watercolour illustrations included in the book, and although they are in black and white, the cover is however in colour and it is gorgeous. I love how Janice comes up with the idea to create handwritten letters with beautiful illustrations about her life in Paris to fund her life in Paris. And to be honest I kind of want one now.

This travel memoir is a perfect read for both those who are a bit of a hopeless romantic as well as those who want to redesign their lives and fancy themselves as artists or some kind of creative person. Without a doubt I want to travel to Paris even more after reading this book.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.