Friday, September 20, 2019

Books I Read in August

To All The Boys I've Loved Before Series by Jenny Han
This series was the perfect summer read. They were quick to read and super enjoyable. The first two books are continuous with the second one starting immediately where the first ends and the third book jumps a year into the future. All three chronicle the love story between Lara Jean and Peter. Their story starts when Lara Jean's love letters get sent out, and she and Peter decide to pretend date. Peter agrees to move past his ex-girlfriend, and Lara Jean agrees to avoid talking to her sister's ex-boyfriend, who was also a recipient of one of her letters. The books cover their junior and senior years as they try to navigate a relationship that starts as a lie and then develops into something more. They're thrown curveballs when people from their past come back and when they need to decide whether or not going to two different colleges will affect them. I enjoyed this series because I think it covers a lot of relatable topics.
I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
I need to preface this by saying that I am fascinated with the story of Anastasia Romanov. It was one of my absolute favorite movies growing up (my mom bought me the Blu-ray DVD for Christmas when I was in high school). I did a research project on the Romanov's when I was a freshman in high school. I saw the broadway play my senior year of college. And I've listened to the My Favorite Murder episode about their execution. So I already knew a lot about Anastasia's life, and I was very excited to read Lawhon's novel about her but
This book was amazing. It's deemed historical fiction, so as I was reading, I kept saying, "Oh, this character/situation isn't real." But after a quick google search, I would find that the character/situation was real. Lawhon's author note offers more information about her research and the creative liberties she took to make the story more straightforward for readers to follow. But in my opinion, this book was only about 15% fiction. It was amazing to read about Anastasia Romanov's life in this form, and I would HIGHLY recommend anyone who enjoys historical fiction to give it a read. I went into the story knowing the truth, but the question of whether or not Anna Anderson is Anastasia Romanov is the main focus of the book. Lawhon's use of perspective and time will have you going back and forth on what you believe the truth is until the very last page. And then another question arises: No matter the truth, would we care about Anastasia Romanov if it wasn't for Anna Anderson?
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year now, and I knew I was going to love it because I loved Stalking Jack the Ripper, but for some reason, it took me this long to read it. The only good thing about that was I was able to read the third book immediately after instead of waiting for the paperback to come out (review coming next month). If I could transform into a fictional character, I would turn into Audrey Rose. She's brilliant, strong-willed, curious, but she also appreciates "girly" things like her dresses. I also find her view of society really interesting because her interest in forensics goes against societal norms, but her reactions to Thomas's courting advances can be very proper. To me, Audrey Rose is a fantastic feminist character, and I appreciate Maniscalco's ability to find that balance instead of having her role turn away from societal expectations completely.
In this novel, Audrey Rose and Thomas are in Romania trying to gain a spot at a prestigious school of forensics. While they're there, murders begin, and people start to think that Prince Dracula is back from the dead. Audrey Rose is a scientist who refuses to believe this, and she wants to prove it by finding the real killer. She and Thomas start looking for clues and finding themselves in dangerous situations as they uncover more truths than just the identity of the killer. The story also furthers the relationship between Audrey Rose and Thomas, which you could probably guess I absolutely love.
I love this book because the seriousness of the murders is balanced out by the humor and charm that Thomas Cresswell provides. Again, I think Maniscalco is a master at balance.


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