3 on a Theme: Coming of Age

Hi, readers!

Can you believe September is almost over? Where has the year gone?! I’m very excited we’re finally in fall and am setting aside lots of cozy reading time. Today I’m sharing three books that are coming of age stories. I previously shared a different set of three books on a theme (mental health) and you can find those recommendations here. I love reading coming of age stories. Even as I get older, I find that I still learn something new and am reminded of what it’s like to grow up. I’m also reminded that we’re all still growing up. I really enjoyed today’s books and I know you will, too!

Educated by Tara Westover (read my review here!)

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family.

But this summer is different.

Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

That’s it for today! What coming of age stories would you recommend?

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Hispanic Heritage Month Recommendations

Hi, readers!

Did you know we’re almost halfway the Hispanic Heritage Month? This celebration runs from September 15 to October 15 and honors Latino and Hispanic contributions. You can read more about Hispanic Heritage Month here. This year, the theme is ‘One Endless Voice to Enhance Our Traditions.’ Today I’m sharing four books that would be great to read during this time and fit this year’s theme nicely. Today’s books are set in various countries and cover different points in time. I enjoyed reading all of them and think you will, too!

I recommend…

The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles

Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music.

One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and for each, the only way out of the life to which each was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine each of their fortunes–and haunt their memories.

Traveling from Brazil’s inland sugar plantations to the rowdy streets of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro, from Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood back to the irresistible drumbeat of home, The Air You Breathe unfurls a moving portrait of a lifelong friendship–its unparalleled rewards and lasting losses–and considers what we owe to the relationships that shape our lives.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero.

Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous–it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton (read my review here!)

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

The Time in Between by María Dueñas

At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew.

Between War and Peace…

With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiancé, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes.

Between Love and Duty…

As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers’ wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.

That’s it for today! What books would you recommend for Hispanic Heritage Month?

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Review: The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

From the New York Times bestselling authors of The Forgotten Room comes a captivating historical mystery, infused with romance, that links the lives of three women across a century—two deep in the past, one in the present—to the doomed passenger liner, RMS Lusitania.

May 2013

Her finances are in dire straits and bestselling author Sarah Blake is struggling to find a big idea for her next book. Desperate, she breaks the one promise she made to her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother and opens an old chest that belonged to her great-grandfather, who died when the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat in 1915. What she discovers there could change history. Sarah embarks on an ambitious journey to England to enlist the help of John Langford, a recently disgraced Member of Parliament whose family archives might contain the only key to the long-ago catastrophe. . . .

April 1915

Southern belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter’s marriage is in crisis. Her formerly attentive industrialist husband, Gilbert, has become remote, pre-occupied with business . . . and something else that she can’t quite put a finger on. She’s hoping a trip to London in Lusitania’s lavish first-class accommodations will help them reconnect—but she can’t ignore the spark she feels for her old friend, Robert Langford, who turns out to be on the same voyage. Feeling restless and longing for a different existence, Caroline is determined to stop being a bystander, and take charge of her own life. . . .

Tessa Fairweather is traveling second-class on the Lusitania, returning home to Devon. Or at least, that’s her story. Tessa has never left the United States and her English accent is a hasty fake. She’s really Tennessee Schaff, the daughter of a roving con man, and she can steal and forge just about anything. But she’s had enough. Her partner has promised that if they can pull off this one last heist aboard the Lusitania, they’ll finally leave the game behind. Tess desperately wants to believe that, but Tess has the uneasy feeling there’s something about this job that isn’t as it seems. . . .

As the Lusitania steams toward its fate, three women work against time to unravel a plot that will change the course of their own lives . . . and history itself.

My Thoughts:

I think my favorite characters were Sarah, John, and Caroline. Sarah and John’s rocky first introductions were hilarious and charming. As they spend more time together, it became crystal clear that they are in love and absolutely perfect for one another. I also loved reading about Caroline and her torn feelings between her husband and her friend. This love triangle was well balanced, felt natural and realistic, and provided great drama. It took me longer to like Tess, but by halfway through the story, I was a fan. Tess is strong willed, courageous, and excellent at her job. Team W always writes interesting, different, and creative women and this book was no exception!

I really enjoyed the story here. I’m a big fan of books that switch between timelines and follow separate characters across time, and The Glass Ocean nails it! The Lusitania was not a familiar subject for me and I’m glad to have learned more about the ship and its horrific fate. Throughout The Glass Ocean I was impressed by how seamless the writing felt, especially considering this book has three authors. I’m not exactly sure how they divided up the process, but this book feels like one cohesive story. This book is well paced, exciting, and romantic. The 1915 time period was well researched and the authors gave enough detail to provide context, but not so much as to distract. The Glass Ocean is a very impressive novel that I definitely recommend!

Wrap Up:

Overall, I loved this book! I also enjoyed these authors’ previous joint effort, The Forgotten Room. The Glass Ocean will sweep you off your feet from the very beginning and keep you hooked until the very end! Despite being over 400 pages, I finished it quickly. I highly recommend this book, especially for fans of Beatriz Williams and Kristin Hannah.

This book is…

surprising

emotional

breathtaking

witty

a page turner

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: historical fiction

Page Count: 416

ISBN: 0062642472

Available here from IndieBound.

Have you read The Glass Ocean? What other historical fiction novels would you recommend?

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Banned Books

Hi, readers!

Did you know that next week is Banned Books Week? You can read more about it at the American Library Association website. Personally, I think the notion of banned books is absurd. It is the responsibility of literature to challenge readers, to offer new world views, and to share lived experiences. I don’t think one person should get to decide for another person if a book is appropriate for them to read.

Today I’m recommending five banned books. Many of these books are considered classics and all, for one reason or another, were banned. I think these books are worth reading and worth recommending. At the very least, read them so you can decide for yourself if you like them or not.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin’s daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the confines of her domestic situation.

Aside from its unusually frank treatment of a then-controversial subject, the novel is widely admired today for its literary qualities. Edmund Wilson characterized it as a work “quite uninhibited and beautifully written, which anticipates D. H. Lawrence in its treatment of infidelity.” Although the theme of marital infidelity no longer shocks, few novels have plumbed the psychology of a woman involved in an illicit relationship with the perception, artistry, and honesty that Kate Chopin brought to The Awakening.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

What do you think about banning books? Have you read any of the books mentioned above?

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Bookish Things To Do In Fall

Hi, readers!

Happy first official day of fall! I love fall, mostly due to the changing leaves, sweater weather, and signs of the winter season to come. The weather is still above 85 degrees in Colorado, so it doesn’t feel like fall yet even though it now is fall.

Today I’m sharing ten bookish things that are great to do this time of year. These activities will have you reading books and loving reading all season long!

1. Read a book set in fall. Need recommendations? Check mine out here.

2. Build a reading nook in your home, or outdoors!

3. Head to the park, find a comfy spot under a big tree, and read poetry. Maybe read some out loud to the squirrels?

4. Make a literary Halloween costume! Maybe Mary Shelley and Lord Percy Shelley for a couples costume?

5. Take a leaf peeping drive and listen to an audiobook.

6. Make caramel apples a la Snow White. But maybe don’t poison them?

7. Start a book club with your friends! It can be virtual or IRL.

8. Attend a book signing at your local bookstore! Be sure to snag a selfie with your favorite author.

9. Throw a literary party! BookRiot has some great ideas to get you started.

10. When cooler weather hits, curl up on the couch and watch some literary film adaptations! I shared my five favorite books to film/tv here.

What bookish things do you like to do in the fall?

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Fall Book Recommendations

Hi, readers!

September is really flying by! What with tomorrow being the first day of fall, I thought I’d recommend some great books to read during the next few months. While there’s never a bad time for reading, the weather has cooled off enough in the fall to make for pleasant outdoor reading. I really enjoyed all five of the books I’m sharing below, and highly suggest them to everyone!

I recommend…

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.

Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s first novel—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen’s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical novel pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.

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Review: Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

One moment will change their lives forever…

Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.

Who knows the answers?

The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.

My Thoughts:

I love that J.T. Ellison writes layered novels. The plot is never as simple as it might appear, and Tear Me Apart is no exception. The race to save Mindy’s life is difficult on its own but the question of the identity of her biological parents is made even more demanding. Almost everyone in this story lies at least once, making it tricky for the reader to know whom to trust. While I did guess part of the conclusion, I certainly did not have everything figured out. As someone who reads a lot of mysteries and thrillers, I consider a book a success if I don’t see everything coming at the end. I flew through this story in just a couple days, determined to reach the ending. Tear Me Apart is a wild ride.

The characters in Tear Me Apart are well rounded. I had no difficulties picturing each character and empathizing with them. And I’m glad that Ellison allowed these characters to feel all kinds of emotions. There is a considerable amount of shock as lies are finally revealed, but everyone still wants what’s best for Mindy and has to balance their feelings. I especially liked reading about Mindy, who is inspiring, mature, and also still a kid trying to cope with maybe never skiing again, learning she has leukemia, and that her parents aren’t her biological parents.

Ellison knows how to write strong thrillers. Much like Gillian Flynn (read my review of Sharp Objects here!), she plays with stereotypes of how women can act and what women can do. Tear Me Apart features several different women who are likeable, troubling, kindhearted, and dangerous. Ellison also knows how to keep a thriller moving. With short chapters and flashbacks, Ellison keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, making this novel a quick read.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I’ve read a few of Ellison’s other novels, and always enjoy her work. As a fun surprise, much of this story is set in Colorado, and I loved recognizing locations and descriptions! I would definitely recommend this book, especially for fans of Karin Slaughter.

This book is…

fast paced

a page turner

surprising

unputdownable

well written

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: thriller

Page Count: 368

ISBN: 0778330001

Available here from IndieBound.

Have you read Tear Me Apart? What other J.T. Ellison novels would you recommend?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

5 4 3 2 1 – #21

5 Articles I’m Reading

11 Mystery Novels That Don’t End With a Dead Girl.

I’m always here for Agatha Christie quotes.

Let’s talk about domestic violence in romance novels.

Nancy Drew books were racist.

The National Book Awards announced their long list!

4 Shows/Movies I’m Watching

The Blacklist

Grey’s Anatomy

Sharp Objects

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

3 New to Me Books

The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

2 Books I’m Currently Reading

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial by Maggie Nelson

1 Quote

“An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.” – Agatha Christie

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Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Somewhere in South America at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

But what begins as a life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

Ann Patchett has written a novel that is as lyrical and profound as it is unforgettable. Bel Canto is a virtuoso performance by one of our best and most important writers.

My Thoughts:

It’s difficult to describe the plot of Bel Canto. Ann Patchett certainly knows how to write a layered story! Yes, Bel Canto is about a terrorist plot. But by the end of the novel, this is a story about love, friendship, and joy. This shift occurs slowly over the course of the story and happens for the reader just as it does for the characters. In this way, Patchett allows the reader to imagine what the reader might feel if they were either one of the hostages or terrorists in this book.

I adored almost every character in Bel Canto. My favorite, of course, was Gen the translator. I don’t see how anyone could read this book and not adore Gen! Patchett’s choice to include so many languages in her plot and a first-rate translator presented many entertaining and beautiful challenges. And of course, I fell madly in love with Roxanne and Mr. Hosokawa. Despite their language barrier, these two are warm, considerate, and beautiful people. I enjoyed reading how their relationship changed over the course of the story.

Bel Canto has many layers, and stories evolve as Patchett focuses on different characters at various times throughout the novel. Each sentence is so perfectly worded. It’s clear that Patchett poured a great deal of thought into every single word choice. I also love the title of this novel. Bel Canto, of course, refers to Roxanne’s singing, but I think it applies to every character, as well, not just ones who can sing. Bel Canto seems to apply to everyone with a voice, or a dream, or a wish. It’s something about pure intentions.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I loved this book! Bel Canto is my first book by Patchett and I’m greatly looking forward to reading more of her backlist. I devoured this book but also never wanted it to end! I recognize that I’m a little late to the game with this one but I’m so pleased I finally read it and I encourage everyone to pick it up. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

This book is…

lyrical

exquisitely crafted

memorable

heartbreaking

surprising

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Genre: fiction

Page Count: 318

ISBN: 0061565318

Available here from IndieBound.

Have you read Bel Canto? What other Ann Patchett novels would you recommend?

I am an affiliate with IndieBound and as such, receive a tiny commission should you choose to click through any of the above links and purchase the book(s). Thank you for supporting A Word is Power!

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart… without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling… and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

My Thoughts:

I’m a huge fan of stories with governesses winning over their wayward charges. Case in point, who doesn’t love The Sound of Music?! And so when I read the summary for The Governess Game, I knew this book would be my cup of tea. The Cinderella vibes made for a breath of fresh air to the romance genre, as did the inclusion of two younger supporting characters. I loved that Alexandra’s career and hobby played such a central role in this story, which really rounded out her character.

I cannot think of a better word than charming to describe the characters in this book, but the word doesn’t do them justice. These characters are lovely, heartwarming, memorable, and delightful. Alexandra is a wonderful heroine. I enjoyed her wit, choice of hobbies, and kind hearted nature. Chase is purely wonderful. I found him to be particularly funny! I especially adored Chase’s young wards. I was constantly laughing at their antics and wanting to reach through the pages and give them a hug.

The story starts off strong-and in a bookshop, no less! Despite being almost 400 pages, The Governess Game moves quickly. Dare certainly has no issues with pacing and is an expert at adding romance, intrigue, and humor at just the right moments. From the very beginning, Tessa Dare tells us that Alexandra and Chase are good people, and then Dare demonstrates that through their words and actions. Dare’s strong writing is what really makes this book shine.

Wrap Up:

Overall, I loved this book! Tessa Dare is one of my favorite romance writers and her newest book does not disappoint. Dare works within conventional romance tropes to update the genre and push boundaries. I highly recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for a lighter and quick read.

This book is…

charming

laugh out loud funny

sexy

endearing

a quick read

Publisher: Avon

Genre: romance

Page Count: 373

ISBN: 0062672126

Available here from IndieBound.

Will you read The Governess Game? What other romance novels would you recommend?

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