Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts 100/5 Stars
As a general rule I am morally opposed to excessively long books. It is almost 1,000 pages long and the audiobook is just over 43 hours. I believe it is the longest book I’ve ever read and it is absolutely beautiful. It took me a long time to listen to the audiobook (the narrator is fantastic), not only because of the many hours but because I wanted to savor the story and the magic of Shantaram. It is described as a “mostly autobiographical” novel and this makes sense to me. The characters feel too real, too alive, for the book to be all fiction, and yet Lin feels too ideal to be real, which is reasonable because why wouldn’t you rewrite yourself as the best version you possibly could? I see a lot of reviews that say they couldn’t get into the book or didn’t like it so apparently it’s not for everyone, but it’s now one of my all-time favorites and I can’t wait to read the follow-up. This book satisfies my love for reading of adventure and has ignited an interest in India.
The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle 3/5 Stars
The Girl in the Mirror is an interesting read and I was definitely glued to it while reading (and read it quickly) but the whole time I was thinking about how I would have done things differently than Iris after her sister disappeared. I didn’t enjoy the characters mentioned in the book; the whole family has issues and that doesn’t make for an enjoyable read for me. I didn’t see the exact twists coming so it was nice to be surprised by a book. I’m glad I read it but it’s not one I’ll keep for rereading.
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher 4/5 Stars
A wonderful story about the woman who opened the original Shakespeare and Company in Paris, Sylvia Beach. It focuses heavily on her publication of Ulysses by James Joyce, which was interesting to me because I didn’t know really anything about that side of her story. I really liked learning more about Sylvia’s personal life A must read for Francophiles, readers, and those who love the Lost Generation.
The Lost Queen (The Lost Queen Trilogy #1) by Signe Pike 100/5 Stars
Set in sixth-century Scotland, The Lost Queen follows Langoureth, a real-life forgotten daughter, wife, mother, queen, and twin sister to the man who is believed to be Merlin. I don’t quite know where to begin with what I love about this book. I love everything. The love, characters, Old Ways, small, the relationship Langoureth has with her children, precious details about middle aged life in Scotland, Langoureth’s sacrifice of what she wants out of life to try to make it better for the people of her country. On top of an outstanding story, the fact that it is based on real people and real events (as best as the author could) really pushes it to the next level for me. I enjoyed the author’s note at the end just as much as the rest of the book.
The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen Trilogy #2) by Signe Pike 5/5 Stars
The second book in The Lost Queen Trilogy is different from the first in that we get POV from multiple characters. After falling in love with the story from Langoureth’s perspective, it took a little while to adjust but eventually I did and continued to love the story. I think this was the case for several reasons both historically and within the novel and the author did a great job with filling in gaps in history while still making imagined details feel real to the story. This is one of the strongest second books in a series I’ve ever read and I anguish in wait for the third book.
Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft 4/5 Stars
After reading Meet Me in Bombay last year I was so excited for this one to come out. Similarly to that one, this book took a while for me to get into. The first 40% was really sad and stressful for me, I think because Rose’s life was a mess and Walter’s future was so uncertain. Once we gained our footing in their story I was able to enjoy it more. I loved a glimpse into life on a cattle station in Australia in the 1940’s. There was still a lot of frustration behavior which took away from the story but ultimately I liked the book.
I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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