Books · Reviews

The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis

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This post is going to talk about a few different things, but all of them are important and fun and if you like books at all you will enjoy this. I started a new job at the beginning of the school year. And my job is a 25 minutes drive from my house, on a good day (Today it took closer to 45). Because of the commute I decided to start listening to podcasts again. I recently found out about What Should I Read Next? by Anne Bogel and I’m in love. Every episode I’ve listened to has been fantastic. She has such interesting guests and the most soothing voice. But at the end of every episode she has her guests tell her three books they loved and one they disliked and from there she recommends books to them. The Masterpiece: A Novel by Fiona Davis was a book that she recently recommended to a guest. At first I was weary but excited. A book about an old art school in Grand Central? A mystery? The book came in pretty fast at the library and I was excited but nervous to pick it up. Mystery isn’t my thing. Boy am I glad I read this. Fiona Davis is a master at weaving together two stories.

I read this book in a few days. I couldn’t put it down. I simply had to know what was going to happen. I love art history and I think that is why I was particularly drawn to this book. While it isn’t 100% true, the Grand Central School of Art was real and the two main characters were loosely based off of real artists who worked at the school.

The story begins with Clara, a young illustration teacher struggling to make ends meet. She is working at the school but is on the bad side of the director. About fifty years later, we find Virginia, a woman who has recently gone through a divorce, a mastecotmy, and a drastic life change. She gets a job at the information box at a now, failing and dirty, Grand Central Terminal. The story weaves through these two women’s lives in relation to Grand Central and how they both navigate difficult situations. An interesting mystery is revealed, with some strange characters along the way. Very fun for those of you who are into art related books.

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Books · Life

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

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According to my Goodreads account, I read this book roughly one year ago. Despite the negative reviews, I loved it that first time I read it. It’s funny and engaging and is seriously making me consider moving to Denmark. I think it may have also contributed to the fact that my husband and I went to Iceland for our honeymoon. I may be a little Scandi-obsessed.

I think it is important to note that I almost never re-read books. There are a select few that I will, i.e. any of the Harry Potter or Nancy Drew books, Perks of Being A Wallflower, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Tuck Everlasting (two of which were almost ruined due to a leak). But a work on non-fiction? No way. But I recently saw this book on Goodreads again and was like

Hey that book made me so happy when I read it the first time, let’s try this again

I have to say, it’s doing the same magic that it did a year ago. I love this book. The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell is just plain great. Yes, there are flaws with the book, as there are with many books we love. But this one is just great. It’s funny and shows an outsiders perspective to living in the “happiest country in the world.”

I think that we, as Americans, can learn a lot from a country that doesn’t aim to kill it’s residents with work. The Danes do as much work as they can in a shorter period of time, there is no reward for being the last one to leave the office. This re-read came at a perfect time as my husband and I are in a period of flux and are trying to decide what we want to do next. I’m hoping that we will use what I’ve learned in this book and live a little more Danishly.

Books · Reviews

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

I don’t want to write a long review of this book because EVERYONE has been writing reviews of this book. I never read The Nightingale: A Novel, but upon reading a few descriptions and listening to reviews of The Great Alone: A Novel  on a few of my podcasts I figured I would give it a try. I am so glad I picked this book up. It had me in tears at the end. What a heart wrenching read. It was a tad bit predictable in the end but totally worth the read.

Books · Reviews

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Nothing I’ve read by Christina Lauren disappoints and this book was no different. There was so much hype surround the release of Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating that I was a little worried. But the story was just as wonderful as the beautiful cover. This book capped my weekend in which I managed to finish 3 books! (The Year of Less, Hey Ladies!, and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating) I think this had to do with the fact that all three books were fantastic and kept my attention. So, Josh and Hazel…acs_0078

Josh and Hazel met in college. There is a string of interesting and embarrassing (for Hazel) anecdotes about their time there, the most memorable being the time that Josh was Hazel’s TA and she decided to email him about a paper while she was still pretty out of it from a wisdom tooth removal. Fast forward a decade, and the two hadn’t seen or spoken to each other since college.

Turns out that Hazel’s good friend is actually Josh’s sister. Hazel has always known that her eccentricities were too much for Josh, but it may be just what he needs to get himself out of a funk. Hazel and Josh start up their friendship just where it left off in college. They then decide to set each other up on a series of terrible double dates, each only getting worse then the one before.

I don’t want to give away too much, but obviously they end up together. It’s a romance. This book is fantastically steamy, but it does take awhile to get there. The build up is hilarious and more then worth it. If you enjoy this read, I suggest picking up Roomies, also by Christina Lauren. These two seriously know how to construct the perfect romance. Hijinks, heat, and a ton of hilarity.

Life · Surprise Wedding

A Love Letter to My Husband

As many of you may remember, my husband and I had a surprise wedding almost a year ago. If you didn’t read about it before, you can read about it now. (Here and Here) But two weeks before that day, we got legally married. It was a fairly routine and rather unremarkable day. We went to the courthouse and about 20 minutes later we were legally husband and wife. I can’t imagine us doing this any other way. And even a year later, I’m still glad that we did what we did.

I could lie and say that this year was filled with a lot of wonderful firsts and that we bought a house and both have fantastic jobs but that wouldn’t really be my style. Our first year of marriage was filled with a lot of paperwork, the loss of a job, two trips to the hospital, one really perfect trip to Iceland (minus some travel anxiety beforehand), a move (not to our own house), crying, laughing, and love. It’s been one hell of a ride, but I don’t think I would trade it for anything.

As someone very wise once wrote, they say the first 12 years are the hardest. So we’ve only got 11 more to go.

Books · Reviews

Hey Ladies! by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss

Hey Ladies! The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, And Way, Way Too Many Emails was a hilarious read. It also hit a little too close to home, as I was one of these women last year (If I had to pick a character, I’d be Gracie, who ends up distancing herself from the group because of how toxic the friendship is).

I had to remind myself throughout this book that it was supposed to be ridiculously satirical, otherwise I would have been offended with just how stupid these women sounded. One character claims to not know that there is internet and/or phones available in Europe. Another constantly books expensive outings and expects all of her friends to be able to afford it and then reimburse her. The MOB decides to get everyone very expensive gym memberships and plans to award a prize to “the biggest loser.”acs_0076

This book reminded me of how I feel when I watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey. It goes against everything I believe in but I just cant stop watching or reading in this case. I finished this book in a single day. It’s not difficult as the entire book plays out via email and text message.

Overall this is a hilarious book, depicting the ridiculousness that surrounds weddings these days. Who hasn’t been asked to be part of wedding that you knew you couldn’t afford? Or that ruined a friendship? Very relatable and very satirical, so don’t take this too seriously.

Books · Reviews

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

This book was originally published in 2013. I guess I am pretty late to the game in reading it. To be completely honest, I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up sooner. Now that I have finished the book I can honestly say that I loved it!

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I finished this book while on a stationary bike at the gym and I actually worked out longer then intended because I wanted to get to the end of this book. The last 100 pages really amped up the entire story and I know that I will be picking up the next installment of Nick and Rachel’s story. This book had everything, mystery, intrigue, catty women, unbelievable opulence and a few love stories. I honestly can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this read.  Despite being a little over 500 pages, I read this book in just four days. I could not put it down.

The tantalizing tale follows two average New York professors, Nick and Rachel. They’ve been quietly dating for two years when Nick asks Rachel to go to Singapore for the summer with him. Rachel plans to spend time with Nick’s family and to see where he grew up. Little does she know, Nick is basically Chinese royalty and one of the countries most eligible bachelors. Hijinks ensue when they touch down. I don’t want to give away too much because this book is jammed pack.

Have you seen the movie and read the book? What did you think? I’ve heard nothing but good things about the movie and I’m dying to see the opulence come to life!