Verb Vixen

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Monday, June 23
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Even In Paradise- Chelsey Philpot
When I read Even in Paradise, it was my fourth book of the day. I picked it up thinking it would be a novelty, an easy contemporary which I crave in the summer. Don’t let the cover fool you, this book is not easy. It is the kind of book that leaves you permanently altered, the words sinking under your skin like a tattoo. The “secret” was evident to me from the beginning, but it didn’t matter because I was as fascinated with the Great Buchanan’s as Charlie was—pulled into their wondrous web.
The book is clearly influenced by The Great Gatsby (which is referenced in the book itself); I’d say it’s a parallel story, but more than that it joins in a conversation with Gatsby that I find enchanting. At time the prose rivals Fitzgerald’s, maybe exceeds it in its simple beauty. Each and every character draws you in and charms you into loving them. The twists and turns of the story, every emotion, every separation, every occurrence is as much your own as they are Charlie’s. I could not have put the book down I was so ensorcelled.
No, this book is not easy. It leaves you with questions that burn deep in your gut and with answers that seem to wriggle just out of your grasp. It leaves you uneasy, broken, hopeful, but mostly it leaves you with a desire to live deeply.
It is my second MUST READ of the year and certainly a book that will haunt the edges of my consciousness. I’m glad of that though; we’ll just let it linger there at the edges as it unfolds secrets and subtleties.
Overall: A+
Even in Paradise is due out from HarperTeen October 14th. Pre-Order your copy here. 
ARC provided gratis by HarperTeen at BEA.

Even In Paradise- Chelsey Philpot

When I read Even in Paradise, it was my fourth book of the day. I picked it up thinking it would be a novelty, an easy contemporary which I crave in the summer. Don’t let the cover fool you, this book is not easy. It is the kind of book that leaves you permanently altered, the words sinking under your skin like a tattoo. The “secret” was evident to me from the beginning, but it didn’t matter because I was as fascinated with the Great Buchanan’s as Charlie was—pulled into their wondrous web.

The book is clearly influenced by The Great Gatsby (which is referenced in the book itself); I’d say it’s a parallel story, but more than that it joins in a conversation with Gatsby that I find enchanting. At time the prose rivals Fitzgerald’s, maybe exceeds it in its simple beauty. Each and every character draws you in and charms you into loving them. The twists and turns of the story, every emotion, every separation, every occurrence is as much your own as they are Charlie’s. I could not have put the book down I was so ensorcelled.

No, this book is not easy. It leaves you with questions that burn deep in your gut and with answers that seem to wriggle just out of your grasp. It leaves you uneasy, broken, hopeful, but mostly it leaves you with a desire to live deeply.

It is my second MUST READ of the year and certainly a book that will haunt the edges of my consciousness. I’m glad of that though; we’ll just let it linger there at the edges as it unfolds secrets and subtleties.

Overall: A+

Even in Paradise is due out from HarperTeen October 14th. Pre-Order your copy here

ARC provided gratis by HarperTeen at BEA.

Tags:   #i read #books #ya #young adult #Young Adult Fiction #ya lit #even in paradise #chelsey philpot #harperteen #contemporary #the great gatsby #gatsby #epic reads


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Friday, May 18
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TLC Blog Tour: The Chaperone

The Chaperone- Laura Moriarty

A captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both.”

A historical fiction about my favorite city, set in the roaring 20’s, with an irreverant female character? IN.

In all seriousness though it takes a higher level of excellence in an adult fiction to win my respect. I’m not quite sure why that is, perhaps because I’ve spent so much of my life reading classics. The Chaperone met my high standards ensuring its place on my shelf as a book that I will go back to repeatedly. It is impossible of course to set a book in 1920’s NY and not be compared to Gatsby. And there was something Gatsby-esque about The Chaperone—-the question of morality, the midwest to NYC transplant, and oddly enough, the weather during certain scenes reminded me of Gatsby as well.  That being said The Chaperone goes on to cover such a breadth of history from minute details to unveiling a whole world I didn’t know existed (spoiler: orphan trains). After reading, I felt like I actually understood life in 1922 apart from the cliche flapper girls, rum runners, and speakeasys we’re all familiar with. Cora is such an empathetic character and her transformation and growth may be the most convincing I’ve read to date. Louise Brooks is both riveting and infuriating but delightfully realistic for a 15 year-old girl. There is a plot twist somewhere in the middle of the book that blindsided me and I loved that! I also loved these little gem sentences I found throughout the book that so beautifully got to the heart of a thought (some reminded me Fitzgerald and others of Steinbeck):

"…she was a grown woman, a modern woman, smart and fearless of judgment, a lovely sparkle on the blade of her generation as it slashed at the old conventions."

"This life is mine because of good luck. And because I reached out and took it."

"The young can exasperate, of course, and frighten, and condescend, and insult, and cut you with their still unrounded edges. But they can also drag you, as you protest and scold and try to pull away, right up to the window of the future, and even push you through."

My only real critique is the end—-as we follow Cora through the dust bowl, Depression and World War II into the 1960s, I felt rushed which was so different from the pace of the rest of the book.  I may be alone in this but I’d rather not know what happened to Cora et al. than to have so much of her history packed into so few pages.  That being said, this book was a delight to read and one that I will be recommending throughout the summer and fall to all who have ears to listen.

Overall: A

The Chaperone is due out from Riverhead Hardcover on June 5th.  You can pre-order your copy hereThank you to TLC and Riverhead books for letting me be part of this great tour!

About the Author: Laura Moriarty earned a degree in social work before returning for her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She was the recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and is now a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas, and is at work on her next novel.

Be sure to check out Laura’s website and her Facebook page!

picture of Laura

THE TLC TOUR: Don’t forget to stop by the rest of the tour stops for awesome interviews, reviews, giveaways and more!

Tuesday, May 1st: Sophisticated Dorkiness

Wednesday, May 2nd: bookchickdi

Thursday, May 3rd: From Left to Write

Friday, May 4th: Rayment’s Readings, Rants and Ramblings

Monday, May 7th: Frenzy of Noise

Thursday, May 10th: Bewitched Bookworms

Friday, May 11th: The Well-Read Wife

Monday, May 14th: Fire and Ice

Tuesday, May 15th: Book Journey

Wednesday, May 16th: Babbling About Books and More

Thursday, May 17th: Workaday Reads

Friday, May 18th: An Avid Reader’s Musings

Friday, May 18th: Verb Vixen

Saturday, May 19th: Midnight Book Girl

Monday, May 21st: Never Too Fond of Books

Tuesday, May 22nd: The Compulsive Reader

Wednesday, May 23rd: Kritters Ramblings

Thursday, May 24th: Literate Housewife

Friday, May 25th: Paperspines

Monday, May 28th: Sassymonkey Reads

Tuesday, May 29th: Picky Girl

Wednesday, May 30th: Chaos is a Friend of Mine

Thursday, May 31st: An Unconventional Librarian

Friday, June 1st: The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness

Tags:   #i read #books #adult fiction #historical #historical fiction #1920s #nyc #kansas #laura moriarty #riverhead books #tlc book tours #book tour #the chaperone #the great gatsby #gatsby



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