Reading

The Postmistress of Paris – Meg Waite Clayton | A Book Review

The Postmistress of Paris - Meg Waite Clayton

Title: The Postmistress of Paris

Author: Meg Waite Clayton

Genre: Historical Fiction

About the book: It’s a standalone following a young American woman named Nanée. She helps artists hunted by Nazis escape Europe by delivering information to those in hiding. Edouard Moss has left Germany with his daughter only to be sent to an internment camp in France. When their lives collide, Nanée puts herself in danger to help Edouard.

I received an advanced reader copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I like the title and cover. The premise piqued my curiosity, so I was looking forward to seeing what would happen. The pacing is slower at first, but it picks up as the story goes on.

Characters: Nanée and Edouard are likeable and easy to root for. I enjoyed learning about their past as well as watching them grow in the present. I also found the secondary characters to be interesting.

Quote:

“To have expectations was to open your heart to breaking.”

Writing: The book is inspired by Mary Jayne Gold, a Chicago heiress who worked with American journalist Varian Fry, helping to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France. It’s about 400 pages with short chapters written in the third person. The description and detail make the events seem even more vivid and real.

Final thoughts: The early references to art and photography confused me at first, but everything comes full circle. I didn’t know what to expect, but the ending is so emotional and fitting. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and romantic relationships set during World War II, check out The Postmistress of Paris.


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Reading

The Last High – Daniel Kalla | A Book Review

The Last High - Daniel Kalla

Title: The Last High

Author: Daniel Kalla

Genre: Thriller

About the book: It’s a standalone novel about a toxicologist named Dr. Julia Rees as well as a detective named Anson Chen. When multiple teenagers at the same party all overdose from fentanyl, Julie and Anson try to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs before more people die.

First impressions: I’ve never really read anything about opioids before, so I was interested to learn more. I like that the story is set in Vancouver. I thought it would be told from Julie’s and Anson’s point of view, but some chapters are about other characters.

Characters: The author explores how opioids and overdoses have far-reaching effects on many individuals. I didn’t find it difficult to keep track of who was who. I like Julie and Ason along with the diversity of the characters.

Quote:

“At times the loneliness gnaws at her, but the fear of losing everything all over again is worse than the thought of being alone.”

Writing: The book is a little under 350 pages long with short chapters. It’s an eye-opening read with some graphic and mature scenes. I enjoyed the author’s writing as he does a good job balancing description and dialogue.

Final thoughts: The ending is satisfying as it ties up loose ends. Now I’m curious to check out Kalla’s other books. If you want to learn more about drug addiction and how it affects different people, I’d recommend The Last High.


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This post contains affiliate links to Book Depository. If you make a purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Reading

Pick One: Fiction Tropes

Below I pit two fiction tropes against each other and pick the one I prefer.

Overly protective brother overly protective father?

Brother. I love this trope so much.

Haters to lovers or lovers to haters?

Even though I’m not the biggest romance reader, I enjoy a good haters to lovers storyline. Certainly more than love at first sight, gets married next month.

Haters to lovers or enemies to friends?

Enemies to friends. I’m here for platonic relationships.

Love triangle or love square?

I don’t love either, but I’ll go with a square. The more the merrier, I guess.

Rags to riches or riches to rags?

The former. I want characters to succeed.

A hero or an anti-hero?

Anti-hero. Not everyone can be brave and courageous or save the world, am I right?

Vampires or werewolves?

Thanks to Christopher Pike, vampire books gave me life as a teenager.

Funny friend or smart sidekick?

Give me both any day, but I often relate to a smart sidekick more. I’m just not funny.

Real dating or fake dating?

The latter all the way. It’s fun reading about people who have to pretend they’re in love.

I’d love to know which fiction tropes you would pick.

Reading

Confessions of a Book Reviewer

  • I don’t always remember to write a review after finishing the book. My memory isn’t what it used to be.
  • I copy the same template for all my reviews. My reviews would be a mess if I didn’t structure them.
  • I forget some details. Sometimes I’ve even looked up the protagonist’s first name.
  • I don’t take notes while I read. Maybe I should.
  • I love reviewing physical books. More often than not, they’re fiction. But hopefully one day, I’ll get around to reading more nonfiction.
  • I finish every book. I feel like it isn’t fair to the author or potential readers if I only read and review half the novel.
  • I use the same phrases in my reviews. There are only so many ways to say I recommend a book.
  • I don’t write in books. I can’t do it. At most, I’ll write on a sticky note to mark a specific passage or page.
Blogging

Why I Love Blogging

I love blogging. Here’s why:

The community

To be honest, when I first embarked on this journey, I never expected to meet such lovely people from around the world. As always, thank you for the continued support. You’ve inspired me more to keep going.

The challenge

I’ve come to realize that I enjoy being challenged. It’s nice to express myself and exercise my imagination. Obviously, some days are tougher than others, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The control

I like calling the shots and doing things my way. So I get to take the credit when I succeed. But I also take the fall when I fail. I don’t want to blame anyone else for my failures.

The creativity

I get to experiment all the time. Going forward, I aspire to be even more creative, especially with my fiction and poetry. I’m still learning to trust the process.

What do you love about blogging?

Creative Writing

Heavy Heart | A Short Story

Her heart was heavy. So was her mind. She sat alone, more than one hundred people sitting around her.

Mara didn’t register anyone else in the room except for one person. A boy she didn’t even know. He was a stranger to her and her to him. But she couldn’t help but feel as if she knew him personally, on some deeper level. Mara had a hard time understanding why she felt the way she did.

Mara knew his full name, a feat of nothing to her. He had said his first name when introducing himself to another classmate. In her memory, she could recall that day easily. She found out his surname with the help of Facebook. It took her a few minutes. A few minutes of her life she will never get back. But her heart had no regrets.

She focused on her breathing. In. Out. Mara clutched her red binder to her chest.

A part of her tried to convince herself that she was wrong. That the boy she met wasn’t the boy sitting a few rows in front of her, talking to another girl. Another part wanted to reason with the more logical side of her brain. That the boy she wanted wasn’t the boy she needed. Besides, she didn’t need anyone. Not a boy, not a friend. Mara had herself. That’s all she ever had. All she needed.

To make her feel better, Mara attempted to tell lies. Lies she never believed and wouldn’t start believing now.

Class was halfway over when her heart finally began to break.

Creative Writing

Collision | A Short Story

They bumped into each other. Literally.

He blasted rock music using earphones. His eyes diverted, his ears covered.

She had a book open, her eyes scanning the words and her mind in a different world.

Their arms brushed before they collided. The unexpected human contact startled the two, although they expressed their surprise differently.

She slammed the book shut as her eyes darted upwards. He took a step back and held up his hands.

That was the first moment they laid eyes on each other.

A sensation came over her. It wasn’t a feeling or a longing. She felt strange. The girl couldn’t begin to explain the experience.

She stared at him standing across from her.

Around her, other people continued to move, but she stopped.

People had places to be, people to see. She had no where to go.

He had been moving. Sprinting to be exact. The young man shuffled his feet.

Sweat dripped down his forehead and nose.

His mind was in a different place.

The two smiled at each other. They went about their day without another collision.

Creative Writing

Walk Away | A Short Story

I knew it was going to be a hard conversation. But I wish it didn’t have to be.

“It’s over,” she told me.

“We can make it work.”

She shook her head.

“Why not?” I asked.

“It just can’t, okay?”

I crossed my arms, heaving a sigh. “You haven’t even tried to make things work—”

“I have,” she interrupted. “I’ve tried. Trust me.”

“Try harder,” I mumbled under my breath.

That made her head snap up. “What did you say?”

“Nothing.”

Her head bowed forward. “You deserve better.”

My mouth opened, but no words came out. I didn’t expect to hear those words, especially from her. I didn’t know what to say next.

“Sorry.”

A shiver sent the hairs on my arms stand up. “Don’t apologize.”

“None of this is your fault,” she whispered.

I had a good idea of what she was trying to imply. “This isn’t your fault either. Nothing is.”

Her eyes darkened like the sky when a cloud conceals the sun. “I’m a mess.”

“No, you aren’t.”

She held up a hand. “This has been so hard.”

“Everything good in life is.”

“Everything in life also ends.”

I didn’t disagree with that.

“It’s over, okay?”

As much as I didn’t want to, I nodded. “Okay.”

She patted my arm, forcing a smile. “Take care.”

“You too.” I watched her walk away. She never walked back into my life.