How tremendous the agony of unmade decisions.

M.L. Rio, If We Were Villains

Gisela’s review of Atheists Who Kneel and Pray

Same writing style, same complex characters, but a lot lighter than most of her other books. Because of this it is probably her most relatable book yet (personally, although I find something of myself in each of her books. Like the stalker I am, I always tweet out to her and ask her to stop reading my mind, but then I would deny myself being understood and I can’t have that).

I loved how she wove pieces of another one of my favorite books Fuck Love into the narrative and added even more meaning behind the quote “Live barefoot and fucking fight.” Every time I look back on that it just adds ire to the fire. I hope it becomes a rally cry for broken people everywhere.

Yara and David were beautifully broken people. And her character development with the two was not lacking. David was emotionally present and Yara emotionally distant – a “heartless romantic” (which is my new favorite description). Tarryn was able to convey how people jump through hurtles to get through their past hurt and hopefully make themselves better for it even after running for years. It gives me hope and I love it.

Side Note: I really really dislike Petra. I knew girls like her before and they are not my favorite in the world. Girls are supposed to support girls.

Gisela’s review of Atheists Who Kneel and Pray

Gisela’s review of The Bell Jar

4.5…

This book effed me up. I read it as a high school student, but now as an adult, I just understand it on a different level. Esther’s journey from internship to friendships to men to home to an asylum is harrowing. The way Plath describes, how she just feels nothing… nothing. Esther felt nothing! It broke my heart and I wanted to reach across the pages and let her know that I understood. Her thoughts on love and marriage and life resemble too closely to my own and if I could sit down and talk to any fictional character it would be her, Esther.

I’ve read many books that involved characters with mental health, but maybe The Bell Jar impacted me more because we all know what happened to Sylvia Plath. That is what effed me up. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it as I finished the book last night.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone. It can be slow at many parts, but you see her slow descent to this nothingness that she describes, and it’s frightening and all too real and will give you a new perspective.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the book… 

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

Gisela’s review of The Bell Jar

Gisela’s review of Salt to the Sea

I’m shedding a few tears while typing this, but believe me I ugly cried as soon as I was done reading Salt to the Sea. Ruta Sepetys has once again written a captivating historical fiction and made me completely live inside this book and the lives of the characters.

Salt to the Sea takes a perspective of World War II that I hardly ever get to hear about and it describes one of the worst shipwrecks in history. Beyond that, she tells the story from the eyes of young adults and the children that suffered these horrendous situations during the war. Each narrator – Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred (the bastard) had a voice that enraptured me put me in their shoes, made me live their unique experiences. The way their characters developed through book astounded me, secrets revealed little by little, and I couldn’t help the lurching in my heart that hoped for the best even though you know the history and how it plays out. BUT with that being said the book ended with hope, which is all we could ever ask for.

Ruta Sepetys had a gift for writing historical fiction that touches every corner of your humanity. You can see that she put many years and time and dedication into researching for this book. It paid off beautifully.

War is ugly. In this book we encounter Russians bombing Germans, Germans bombing Russians, families losing their homes, children losing their parents, mothers begging for people to take their babies, and so many more atrocities. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, in war, everyone loses. This is a bleak topic and disturbing almost all the time (I kept tearing up and gasping while reading) but it is important to always read about these kinds of stories. To remain educated. As the author mentions in the Author’s Note, is that it is important that we continue to tell these stories. We must continue, learn and to pass down the warning: Never Again.

Gisela’s review of Salt to the Sea

Gisela’s review of The Bird and the Sword

Do you like far off places? Daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise? Did you see what I did there? *chuckles to self*

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But honestly, Belle took the words right out of my mouth. The Bird and the Sword is all that and more. This is a Fantasy Romance book in its purest form. My first Amy Harmon book and I was not disappointed.

First thing, plot. Although I’m sure many of us grew up with fairy tales and sweeping fantasies I was always taken by surprise by the direction of the story. I could never predict what would happen. Our main protagonist, Lark is a girl of noble birth who has the power of a teller (someone who can use words and phrases to create magic), but because of a tragic situation in her past she is left without the ability to speak or use her words.

As for her writing style… it is gorgeous and lush and honestly very poetic. Words play a very big role in this book and is what ultimately causes much grief but also happiness.

Now for the fangirling moment – gosh the characters were just so beautifully written!!! Lark was beautiful and delicate. I’m used to reading about super strong ass female characters that can take down someone with a sword, but Lark has a different strength to her. Something quiet and subtly strong. Something you shouldn’t underestimate. I appreciated that. As for the King… *swoon.* He was so frustratingly cocky and gentle at the same time. I kept going back and forth between wanting to smack him and wanting to kiss him!

Over all the book was beautiful and a fast favorite for me. My only wish was that there was another book!

Gisela’s review of The Bird and the Sword

Gisela’s review of Victoria

I am a big fan of historical fiction and this was my first Daisy Goodwin book. I have heard nothing but good things about her writing and it was all justified! I enjoyed reading this book so much! I grew to love Queen Victoria after watching the movie with Emily Blunt and listening to the podcast by The History Chicks (which I really recommend listening to) and reading this book added to my love.

Like young ladies, Victoria has to handle overbearing parents, growing up, and meeting the one all while becoming the freaking queen at age 18!!! Humans are complicated creatures and when you add the responsibility of being a sovereign, well things can become chaotic. Goodwin’s depiction is pretty consistent with what I have heard about Queen Victoria and I’m happy that Victoria’s personality shown throughout the book. She was impulsive and made so many mistakes, but always owned up to them.

Some people do not enjoy historical fiction, but Goodwin’s writing style kept it fresh without taking away from the historical elements of the times. I kept looking things up to see how accurate it was and I was super pleased! The language was not stuffy at all and I think anyone wanting to learn more about the young monarch will enjoy this book.

Oh and the last few chapters, gahhhhh I couldn’t stop swooning!!! Nice subtle romance. *sighhhh*

Gisela’s review of Victoria