Book Review :: Searching for Grace Kelly by Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan’s new novel Searching for Grace Kelly follows the lives of three unlikely friends in 1950’s New York City attempting to navigate romance, friendships and all the challenges in between.  Laura, Dolly and Vivian encounter very different types of men, turning their ambitions, goals and life perspectives on end.

Callahan paints a beautiful environment with his descriptions of 1950’s New York City.  The entire feel of the book is glamorous and lush.  While I felt he tried a little too hard in the first few chapters to set the stage (too much name dropping), it was an education on the time and effective.
The tone of the book was… quiet.  Don’t take that to mean slow or boring.  What I mean is the pace was on point with the movement of drama at the time and it progressed with ease – in a tantalizing way.  Callahan has a way of building suspense without writing a thriller or being overly dramatic.  The novel felt real and accurate.  True to the time and the people is was meant to represent.
And the ending… was shocking.  There’s no other word for it but shocking.

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

The fourth of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon fiction, Inferno follows Langdon on an adventure that takes him from Florence to Venice.  However, this time, instead of just figuring out riddles left behind by a crazy scientist, Langdon must also put together the pieces of 36 hours of lost memory.  Centering around the tales of Dante’s epic poem Inferno, Langdon must once again save the world from impending doom.

My favorite part of this Langdon adventure is he doesn’t immediately have all the answers.  While loyalty and trust are always themes in Brown’s novels, this one is unique in Langdon interacting with people he has no recollection meeting.  His puzzle pieces consist primarily of what he’s being told by those around him.  The twist at the end is superb!

I still would not rank this one above Angels and Demons or The Da Vinci Code.  However, it is a must read.  Get it here.

Book Review :: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is a historical fiction about the marriage of Ernest and Hadley Hemingway.  The story starts at their first encounter and ends their journey at their last parting.  Told from Hadley’s perspective, the reader gets to experience a classic, sweeping romance.  The story is only that much more intriguing if you know how it ends from the beginning.

I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t put a book down like this.  I was sneaking reads on my breaks and taking the book every where with me.  Knowing that Hadley was Hemingway’s first wife made the book all that more intriguing because I was constantly waiting for her breaking point.  McLain did extensive research on the Hemingway’s and it truly showed in her writing, which was colorful and engaging.

As a woman of my generation, I didn’t necessarily find Hadley to be relatable but, simply, interesting.  I found her thought process to be frustrating, though incredibly historically accurate.  Being of an empowered generation, it is sometimes difficult to look back and relate to the behaviors and thoughts of women before me.  However, I have a deep appreciation for that, despite her time, Hadley still stood up for herself and her happiness in the end.  By the end of the novel, I found I had a great affection for her.  Team Hadley!

I highly recommend this book.  It’s a great beach read AND a cozy by the fire book.  Check it out.

Book Review :: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Now I understand.

Now I understand why Ernest Hemingway is considered one of the great American authors.

The Sun Also Rises is beautiful illustrative of the Lost Generation and the morality shifts of a post-World War I world.  Though I still struggle with Hemingway’s rambling prose, I enjoyed this allusion to key character points and use of bullfighting as a powerful symbol.  Not going to lie, there were enough layers to this book that I had to pull up Sparknotes to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Outside of being an awesome piece of literature, the story is entertaining.  Who doesn’t love a good love triangle and fist fight?!  The main character Jake is wonderfully tragic and you truly do root for him.

If you haven’t read The Sun Also Rises yet, I highly recommend it. Get it here.

Book Review :: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

As much as I would like to give a properly analysis to this American classic, my reaction can be summed up best by this scene from Silver Linings Playbook.  *Spoiler Alert: He gives away the ending.*

Hemingway’s writing style was new and different for me.  My mind took a while to adjust to the cadence and context of conversations versus thoughts.  One minute you’re in Henry’s mind.  The next you’re reading dialogue – without the punctuation.  It was odd, but by mid-book I really enjoyed it. Get it here.

I’m making my way on to The Sun Also Rises, which I’ve heard is a completely different feel.  We’ll see if I want to throw that book out the window as well.