Nick by Michael Farris Smith

Since I’ve been more plugged-in to the world of literature, I’ve learned all about how copyrights usually last about 100 years for classics. The Great Gatsby has reached it’s end of copyright this year, and thus begins the awesome world of new related stories.

Thank you Little Brown and Company for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s periphery, he was at the center of a very different story-one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I. Floundering in the wake of the destruction he witnessed firsthand, Nick delays his return home, hoping to escape the questions he cannot answer about the horrors of war. Instead, he embarks on a transcontinental redemptive journey that takes him from a whirlwind Paris romance-doomed from the very beginning-to the dizzying frenzy of New Orleans, rife with its own flavor of debauchery and violence. An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know but few have pondered deeply. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to paralyze even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.

This is written as a prequel to The Great Gatsby. As a reminder, Nick is the narrator in that story. This tale is all about his emotional journey through World War 1 and how it impacted others around him. I love when an author’s writing style matches the emotions of the characters. This book does an amazing job at that! It’s a dark read as it accurately portrays how WWI changed so many souls and shows how they are learning to be human again in the aftermath of it. This comes highly recommended if you love reading about this era and enjoy the classic novel.

4/5 Stars

Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? By Mark Hyman

Thank you Little Brown for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Dr. Mark Hyman’s Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? revolutionized the way we view food, busting long-held nutritional myths that have sabotaged our health and kept us away from delicious foods that are actually good for us. Now, in this companion cookbook, Dr. Hyman shares more than 100 delicious recipes to help you create a balanced diet for weight loss, longevity, and optimum health. Food is medicine, and medicine never tasted or felt so good. The recipes in Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? highlight the benefits of good fats, fresh veggies, nuts, legumes, and responsibly harvested ingredients of all kinds. Whether you follow a vegan, Paleo, Pegan, grain-free, or dairy-free diet, you’ll find dozens of mouthwatering dishes. With creative options and ideas for lifestyles and budgets of all kinds, Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? is a road map to a satisfying diet of real food that will keep you and your family fit, healthy, and happy for life. 

I think what I appreciate most about this cookbook is that it caters to so many different diets. It’s pretty cool to be able to pick up a cookbook and have multiple people on a variety of different diets benefit from it. On the other hand, I had a hard time finding recipes that I could actually put onto the table. Some of the recipes had ingredients that aren’t easy to find or just had way too many ingredients. I’m all about simplicity and lots of flavor. This didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I also am really fond of books that have pictures for each recipe. This one had beautiful pictures, but not enough (in my personal opinion). I value Mark’s intelligence in the nutrition field and have learned a lot from him, so I am excited to try a lot more of these recipes when I get the chance.

3.5/5 Stars

The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

This is one of those books that has the most gorgeous cover that attracts anyone to want to read it!

Thank you Little, Brown and Company for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: The French Riviera – 25 years ago: One freezing night, as her campus is paralyzed by a snowstorm, 19-year-old Vinca Rockwell, the most beautiful and glamorous girl at her prep school, runs away with her philosophy teacher, with whom she has been conducting a secret affair. She will never be seen again. The French Riviera – present day: Once inseparable, Thomas, Maxime, and Fanny—Vinca’s best friends— have not spoken since graduation. But when they receive a notice from their old school, detailing plans for a new gymnasium and inviting them to come to a class reunion, they know they must go back one more time. Because there is a body buried in the gym’s walls…and they’re the ones who put it there. What really happened that long-ago winter night? Now nothing stands in the way of the truth.

Guillaume is one of France’s best selling authors so I was really excited to get a chance to broaden my horizon in reading international fiction. This was a bit different than I anticipated, but not a bad read! I’m a high school teacher so I’m all for anything that deals with schools. I’ve attended a few of my high school reunions personally, but this was nuts! What a cool thriller! Lots of timelines and characters to keep track of, but a great ending.

3.5/5 Stars

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe

Dry humor and awkward social experiences in growing into adulthood? Sounds like a fun, easy read!

Thank you Little, Brown and Company for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Lizzie Vogel lands a job in a local dentist’s office after answering a classified ad for a “mature lady with a strong interest in dental issues.” The job comes with an apartment of her own, as well as an eccentric boss, a high-strung coworker, and the occasional call to perform light dentistry herself. It also provides Lizzie with an introduction to Andy Nicolello, young man of her dreams: handsome, kind, slightly indifferent. Lizzie seizes her chance to find love and soon begins calling him her boyfriend even though they have never so much as kissed or sat next to each other on the sofa. Navigating the new waters of adult life (conquering homesickness, learning to drive, hosting a dinner party, making bold-or tragic, depending on the viewer-fashion choices), Lizzie arrives at an unexpected, and unexpectedly moving, destination.

I am new to the Lizzie Vogel series, but I thought this was clever and witty! I was giggling throughout and appreciated the 80s vibe appropriately represented. I was pleasantly surprised at how detailed the dental descriptions were and thought it entertaining as a biologist myself. I have a hard time relating to English references and found a few things to be very far-fetched, but still enjoyed the read.

3.5/5 Stars