Hello, everyone! I want to share some of my latest literature findings. Y'all may have picked up that I like reading a variety of genres and books, and this post definitely shows that haha. So, without further ado, let's talk books!
A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers, by Hazel Gaynor. This novel follows two stories, set several years apart: The story of two orphaned girls who live and work as flower sellers in the 19th century, and the life of a young woman who is working to help former flower sellers in the 20th century. Centered around the work of John Groom (here fictionalized as the character Albert Shaw), the lives of these women ultimately become intertwined and enriched. Family secrets, healing, fascinating historical expose, and a small, tasteful romance all grace the pages of this novel. I really enjoyed it; it was light reading about an area of history that does not seem to be touched often in literature. I recommend this book for teens and adults.
Call Me Princess, by Sara Blaedel. I'm still a bit in my "murder mystery" phase, and I liked this novel fairly well. The writing style was not my personal favorite, but the story was really interesting. Blaedel is a Danish author, and the story takes place in Denmark, which I loved-it was a very unique setting, with a culture that is entirely foreign to me! This crime novel follows Detective Inspector Louise Rick as she tries to track down a serial rapist that is victimizing women he meets through online dating websites. The story was very suspenseful, well-researched, and quite interesting. Also, although this was probably unintentional on the author's part, there was a subplot that showed how cohabitation is less-than-ideal. A dating couple lives together, but it ultimately strains their relationship. Yes, the book still treated cohabitation as something "normal" (which it shouldn't be, since cohabitation is not a good idea!) but at least it showed some negative effects from it. Due to profane language, mature themes, and several rape scenes, I would recommend this book for adults.
Husband-Coached Childbirth, by Robert Bradley (fourth edition). While I am not anti-medication, I really, really like the ideas behind natural childbirth, and my husband and I are trying to learn a lot about it so that we can-hopefully-birth Baby without medication this summer. This book is incredibly fascinating, for it goes through why natural childbirth makes sense, the importance of husbands coaching the childbirth, and some basic factors in birthing naturally. The one part about this book which I didn't like was that I felt like I had to take everything with a grain of salt. The author is so biased for natural, unmedicated childbirth that sometimes, it feels like he looks down on medicated childbirth-he'll talk about the limp, unresponsive babies from medicated childbirth vs. the robust, alert naturally birthed babies, and that kind of thing. This could be due to the fact that the book was originally written several years ago (I'm guessing the medications used have changed a bit since then), but I still wish that these parts had been edited and updated a bit. Some women prefer medication, and some need mediation-and there is nothing wrong with that! This little aspect aside, I really did like this book, and I look forward to reading other natural childbirth books in the coming months!
Crank, by Ellen Hopkins. I read this because one of the women who works at our apartment complex really wanted me to read it, so we could discuss it (it's one of her favorite books). To help build a bridge of communication between us, I agreed, but I didn't think I would like the book at all, or even read much of it. Aside from a couple of sex scenes I skimmed over, I read this entire book, and I liked it a bit more than I thought I would! Based on the true-life experiences of Hopkins' family, Crank is a set of poems that follow Kristina, a teenager, as she falls into meth addiction. Calling it "the monster," she struggles with this addiction and relationships throughout the story. This book is really relatable-not everyone struggles with a meth addiction, but everyone struggles with something, and many people battle addictions or have close family or friends who do. Reading through Kristina's eyes as she turns into "Bree," the meth addict, I could see how temptations pull us and sin draws us down. I don't know that I'd re-read this book again very soon, because it is very heavy, but it was good to read. Not only could I see a discussion of the struggle with sin (though this book is secular, so it's not called "sin"), but I could also see and try to understand what so many women-who I may even run into someday on a street corner or in a grocery store-go through and fight with. Because of a few sex scenes, some bad language, and drug addiction, I would recommend this book for older teens and adults.
The Bubble Gum Thief, by Jeff Miller. I really liked this book, guys-I think it is one of my more favorite murder mysteries that I've read. This story follows Dagny Gray, an FBI special agent, as she tries to catch the "Bubble Gum Thief," a man who has been pulling off a series of seemingly unrelated crimes across the U.S. that are escalating in intensity. In this story, you had no idea how things would go. After the fifth crime, what would the sixth crime be? Would there be a sixth crime? Would there be more than that? What's the pattern that the thief is using? This novel was fascinating, and I'm excited to find more books from this author. Due to some not-super-explicit sex scenes (why is fornication so normalized in literature?? Ugh!!!), a rape scene, a wildly inappropriate party scene, and some profane language, I would recommend this book for adults.
These Old Shades, by Georgette Heyer. I recently discovered Heyer's books, and I have really been enjoying them so far! She is an early 20th century author who writes a lot of historical romance, from what I've encountered. These Old Shades follows Justin, a duke, as he rescues a page (Leon) from an abusive situation. On a whim, Justin buys this page to work for him. Leon has incredible devotion and loyalty to Justin, and oh yes-it's discovered that he is really a "she." The transformation of Leon to Leonie is quite entertaining, and the relationship between Leon/Leonie and Justin is really sweet. I enjoyed this book; it was a fun bit of light reading! I love how old-fashioned the story and writing feels, and how it doesn't include sex scenes (see Emmy's recent post for more rants about sex content in literature). I recommend it for teens and adults!
I hope that you all have a wonderful start to your Monday!