Monthly Wrap Ups

February Monthly Wrap Up + Beauty obsessed humans, Hemingway, a two star read and a murder mystery

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Hey everyone! It’s my first monthly wrap up EVER on Fawn & Fern and I’m so excited to share the books I’ve read this month. I’ve read a few great books, a good book and a book I wish I hadn’t even started. Keep reading to find out!

February went by SO FAST. January was probably the longest month of my life. I’m getting married in June, and March means I’ll be a married in THREE MONTHS. To be honest, I’ve been so anxious about it that reading is one of the only things that takes my mind off of everything.

To start the month I began Everless by Sarah Holland on audio book. This was my first audio book ever and I’m not going to lie… I struggled to get through it. I think it had a lot to do with the voice of the narrator and also it just felt boring. There was no chemistry between ANY of the characters. I couldn’t find much of anything to like about any of the characters, which is saying a lot. I had not liking books, but this was not my cup of tea. I gave it two stars.

One of the better books of the month was The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. You can read my review here. My oh my, this was filled with people who were borderline obsessed with how they look, teacup animals, a crazy pants villain and a main character who, although full of herself at first, always wants to do what’s right.

For a historical non fiction book I read Love & Ruin by Paula McClain. Let’s just stay it has started a Hemingway obsession. Not to mention it features kick ass main character Martha Gellhorn.

Last but certainly not least, The Broken Girlsby Simone St. James. I never pictured myself enjoying a mystery/paranormal book but man, I really got into this novel. It actually got me into watching more crime shows on Netflix (currently watching The Killing!) so there’s that.

Out of the four of these, The Belles and Love & Ruin were my favorites. I’ve already started reading three books at once for March (omg I’m insane) so stay tuned for a TBR post!

Book Review

Book Review – The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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I’m still in awe of this beautiful novel. It’s rich, full of fantastic characters, flowery writing, minimal lovey dovey scenes, and a political world based on people’s need to be perfect and beautiful. I loved the concept of this story. It wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. The characters had real flaws, and the villian was definitely full fledged crazy pants. I really enjoyed this read and can’t wait to read the next book.

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle, the most treasured type of human in her country. She is destined to be the favorite, the Belle chosen to work with the royal family and do all their beauty work. However, her plan doesn’t work out and she ends up second best. Until the royal family decides to change that, as easily as they do their appearance. Camellia soon learns that being the favorite has severe consequences…. and those consequences could cost her her life.

This world was so intriguing. The descriptions were a little TOO much at first, I was almost getting lost in them. However, once you get around the mid point of the book they become less and less. I love, love, loved the detail of the beauty work. How they changed body types, how they painted faces, how the person getting the beauty work usually had to drink a tea to ease the pain. It proved the point that beauty sure is pain. The teacup animals were probably my favorite part, and the fact that their mail was sent via small balloons… just awesome!

The story line was somewhat slow in pace, but very interesting none the less. I didn’t see the ending coming at all. I liked how it wasn’t “Camellia saved the sleeping queen and all was well”. There is still a lot that is going to happen with this series and I honestly can’t wait to read more.

There wasn’t a ton of lovey dovey scenes , but there are two love interests. I like that it really didn’t take away from the story at all.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a YA Fantasy read that differs from any current releases on the market, as it is mainly about how beauty consumes people and sometimes being perfect comes with consequences.

 

Book Review

The Broken Girls by Simone St.James – Book Review

What a fantastic mystery filled with paranormal experiences and suspense. This novel had so many layers that fit together like puzzle pieces and an ending that actually surprised me quite a bit. I hardly ever read thrillers since they give me anxiety but I really LOVED this one.

Fiona Sheridan is a journalist that can’t shake the murder of her sister Deb twenty years ago. With the help of her journalist father and police officer boyfriend, she’s determined to find out if the man convicted of murdering her sister was truly guilty. This takes her back to Idlewild Hall which is being renovated by a mysterious woman… but why? The novel flashed back and forth from 2014 and 1950 and is very fast moving and suspenseful. There are paranormal elements that really add a dynamic layer that makes this thriller different from any I’ve read personally.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC! This title comes out in March.

Book Review

Book Review: Love & Ruin by Paula McClain

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Paula McClain truly wraps and weaves you into the world of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn with her newest novel, Love and Ruin.

Marty Gellhorn is a woman of courage and tenacity. She is a writer by trade and throws her all into her work. She is continuously let down by the men in her life, including her distant father, who sees her work and love life as self destructive. After her father passes away, Marty and family travel to Key West. They meet Ernest Hemingway at a local bar by chance, and he and Marty start a friendship that completely changes her life, in more ways than one.

This novel covers many years, including the years Marty and Ernest spend as war correspondents. While I know this was an essential part of the story, it was the only part that did not completely hold my attention. McClain’s writing is truly wonderful. The descriptions are elegant and intriguing, especially the scenes set in the house Marty and Ernest shared in Cuba. The relationships Marty had with Ernest’s children were beautiful and nurturing, an aspect that can’t be ignored from the story. Even the relationship between Marty and Ernest was raw and beautiful, although at times very trying.

Towards the end of the book we go through the demise of Marty and Ernest’s relationship, one that would free Marty but show the beginning of the end of Ernest Hemingway. It was tough to read after many pages overflowing with their partnership, but it was done well. It showed the true courage of Marty, which I believe was the best outcome of a sad ending.

Book Lifestyle

What Harry Potter Means to Me

What Harry Potter Means To Me:

Nearly everything I remember from my childhood includes reading. Whether it was reading under the table during class (I never got in trouble!), rushing through my homework so I could read at night, or begging my Mom to bring me to the library. Reading took up so much of my life that I don’t remember much else.

Out of all the books I read, the most memorable series was Harry Potter. I could completely lose myself in the books – spend hours and hours laying flat on my bed, letting my imagination run wild with Harry, Hermione and Ron.  I could finish an entire book in less than a day. That was back when I had no responsibilities, of course.

But what truly has me remembering this time in my life was who bought me these books. My Memere was one of the happiest, funniest and smartest ladies I have ever known. I remember waiting patiently every time a book came out in the series… waiting for her to drop it off and for me to dive deep into the world of Hogwarts. My Memere didn’t have a lot of money, but she was always able to buy me Harry Potter books. Some of my fondest memories include staying at her house and eating ice cream sundaes. She made the best sundaes – even had special glasses specifically for her favorite ice cream treat. She bought chocolate sprinkles specifically for me, since everyone else preferred rainbow.

She passed away in March of 2013 from cancer. It happened quickly, and I felt, and even feel now, that I could never thank her enough for helping my childhood love of reading. A few weeks ago I saw a grandparent buying their grandchild a copy of Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone, and my heart burst with joy. I almost said “Good choice!” but kept silent. I took that as a sign my Memere was present and telling me to get some ice cream and get back to reading.

What does Harry Potter mean to you?