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weekly wrap-up 2/15

How was your Valentine’s Day? Mine involved pizza and fancy new gadgets (new phone for me, new tablet for Matt). I also finally felt justified in taking the majority of February off – there was a horrible snow storm yesterday, so it was wonderful to (for once!) be able to stay snuggly warm inside while everyone else had to be out in the cold.

Oh well. Spring is just around the corner, right? …right??

FROM THE LIBRARY
The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
For months now I have been on a MASSIVE Hapsburg/Sisi kick, thanks to a book I’ll be telling you all about next week! The Fortune Hunter came out over the summer and despite the fairly low ratings it’s received, I’m still looking forward to it. The story centers on Sisi’s (the Empress) relationship with Bay Middleton. In real life, I have no idea whether the two had an affair or not, though he was her pilot when she hunted in Ireland. There’s actually a rumor that he might have fathered Clementine Hozier (later known as Mrs. Winston Churchill)!

FOR REVIEW
The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
In 1966 Kathleen Eaden published The Art of Baking, the go-to cookbook. Now five amateur bakers are battling to become the new Mrs. Eaden. I’m a huge fan of cooking/baking competitions so this one is right up my alley! (Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!)

Witherwood Reform School by Obert Skye
YAY MIDDLE GRADE! I’m always thrilled when a new Middle Grade novel finds its way to my door. Two siblings play a trick on their nasty nanny…and wind up at the strange Witherwood Reform School where the halls are monitored by creatures and the doors are always locked. (Thank you, Henry Holt and co.!)

In Case You Missed It
Although I was initially hesitant to read this one, Sally Hepworth’s The Secrets of Midwives surprised me! I’m a sucker for multiple narratives (especially when there are multiple eras as well) and read this one in a single sitting. It’s not without its flaws, but don’t let the title scare you off like it did to me!

Rhiannon Frater’s Dead Spots was another novel that shocked me. After narrowly avoiding a deer, a woman pulls off to the side of the road and finds herself in a world built on nightmares. Once you enter a dead spot, there’s no going back, and as the world slowly feeds off Mac’s fears, she becomes more and more determined to find a way home. Again, this one wasn’t without some flaws, but for a relatively larger novel it read incredibly fast!

In a huge upset, Jonas Karlsson’s The Room enraged me and wasn’t anything like the quirky, inventive novel I had expected. A man finds a secret room in his office building that no one else can see. Doesn’t that sound interesting?? Unfortunately, the main character completely destroyed anything good with this one. Egotistical and narcissistic to legendary proportions, there was absolutely nothing about Bjorn that made me want to keep turning the page which is sad when a novel is less than 200 pages.

But then, like an angel descending from the heavens, John Vaillant swooped in with The Tiger and I just HAD to post my review on Valentine’s Day. Okay, so maybe a man-eating tiger isn’t the most romantic thing, but this book was so much more than that. In my review (one of the longest ever posted on the blog!) I described this as one part true crime, one part thriller, one part anthropological study, and one part character exploration…only the characters here are real people. There are history lessons, scientific studies, entire chapters all about the amazing amount of creatures that inhabit this patch of land. Since reading this book I haven’t stopped talking about it and it skyrocketed Vaillant to the top of my autobuy authors list!

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