Book Reviews

I’ve been reading a lot recently so I decided to highlight some of my favorite recent reads. I can’t travel but with these books I was transported to over seven different countries. 

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

This book was incredible. It takes place in Milan during World War II.  The story is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. The best part is that it’s a true story. Sullivan wrote this novel as close to factual events as possible following the very real war hero Pino Lella (who is still living today). The novel transports you to the beautiful backdrops of Milan and the Italian Alps all the while being horrified about the terrors the Nazis imposed on yet another country. Italian stories are usually out of the WWII narrative and it was humbling to learn more about what they endured. I’m very grateful for Mark Sullivan stumbling upon Pino Lella’s story and recreating it for the world. Pino is someone who should be recognized and respected for his wartime efforts. THIS IS A MUST READ!

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

The second book by Martha Hall Kelly. By storyline this is technically a prequel to Lilac Girls, but it follows the main character’s mom a generation before. Lost Roses takes place during First World War. If I had to compare the two books I didn’t like this one as much, but it still well written and a good story. Kelly’s books follow strong female leads and this book gave more insight to beloved Caroline Ferriday’s family history. If you read Lilac Girls and enjoyed it, I think this is a must read. Kelly is also writing a third novel going back further in time to the American Revolution. 

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite 

I’ve seen this book everywhere recently and I’m so glad I picked it up. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down – this is literally a page-turner. The story takes place in Nigeria from the point of view of an older, responsible sister watching out for her younger, murderous sister. The chapters are short and you will fly through this one wondering what happens next. 

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Taking place in London this book is written as a before and present day story. Each chapter bounces between the past and present day. There’s so many cringe moments and you’ll be thinking “how can you be so stupid?!” while watching the story unfold. The twist at the end makes it a proper mystery story. J.P. Delaney acquired a new fan from me and I can’t wait to read more of his novels.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

I’m taking my own advice and I was inspired to read books off of the World Reading Challenge: Books Around The Globe lists. I wasn’t sure where to start as I’ve only read a couple of books off the combined lists from 2018 to 2020. The Sandcastle Girls is on the 2020 list. 

I enjoyed this novel because I learned about the genocide to Armenian people during the First World War. The main story illustrates scenes of Aleppo, Syria during the war. Although it’s not based on specific people the history of the war is very real and something I wasn’t aware of at all. The book is written in a women’s POV and many times I was rolling my eyes and cringing in how she was coming off. I would say that was my main dislike about this book – the woman’s voice was not believable.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is a classic most people read in school in the U.S. However, I never did so I’ve wanted to read it for a while. It’s considered an American classic taking place in Alabama on the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement. I also just read Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, which was the original manuscript Lee submitted for publication and takes place about 15 years after To Kill a Mockingbird. I wasn’t a fan of Go Set a Watchman.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

I love Liane Moriarty’s work. I usually can’t put down her novels and this one wasn’t an exception. I wasn’t exactly sure what this book was about or the purpose of the plot even whilst reading it, but I was entertained. The book follows nine strangers at a health resort retreat. You may not be sure where the story is going, but finding out more about the characters will keep you reading. 

Love You More by Lisa Gardner

I haven’t read any of Gardner’s books, but I really liked Love You More. I guess technically the characters are part of a larger series, however the book is also a standalone. It’s a mystery/suspense book that will keep you reading so you can find out what actually happened.

That was a roundup of my recent favorite reads. If you read one book off this list I urge it to be Beneath a Scarlet Sky.

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