Book Day! [And Election Day in the U.S. - Please let the country not have fallen into shambles by the end of the day is all I have to say about that.] Somehow I managed to get through more than usual books last month despite all the life chaos due to moving and a busy work deadline. A couple of these were very quick reads though and I did have some extra reading time while traveling to and from Denver twice for work.
1) Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner. 3/5 stars. At one point in life my dream was to be an international businesswoman living in Paris, wearing Chanel suits and doing power lunches at famous restaurants. It turns out that lifestyle (and clothing style) was not for me. But I still mostly enjoyed this fictionalized version of Coco Chanel's life - From her poor rural childhood, through her early days making a name for herself in Paris before and during World War I, and up to her exile in Switzerland after being suspected of a collaboration during World War II.
2) Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. 5/5 stars. I've read all Ann Patchett's books and the last four, since Bel Canto, have all been so, so good. I'm not exactly sure why I like them so much. The characters? The writing? The plot? All of the above. This book skips back and forth through time to tell the story of two intertwined families. At first I was hesitant because lately I've just wanted to read books that tell one story from start to finish. But she weaves it all together so well. All her books are the kind that linger in my mind for long after I've read them.
3) The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger. 3/5 stars. This is a typical Weisberger story about a nice "normal" girl who gets caught up in the glitz and glamour of the rich & famous lifestyle only to find herself making morally questionable choices in search of ever more popularity and "success." The main character in this book is a professional tennis player, and there was a little bit too much tennis in it for me. Also I wish that the real love interest had been developed more during the book instead being relegated to the epilogue.
4) The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. 4/5 stars. I don't read much YA but I decided to give this one a try based on recommendations from Kristen and Carly. It is typical of many YA books in the super-intense love triangle between extremely attractive people, but the plot (a retelling of Arabian Nights) and the setting (the Arabia of myth and legend) made it unique. Do I think it's a little silly? Yes. But have I already read the sequel? Yes.
5) More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting by Serena B. Miller. 4/5 stars. This book is such a fascinating glimpse into the Amish culture. There is definitely something appealing in the slow pace and community focus of the Amish lifestyle, especially compared to the mile-a-minute, technology-driven world that most of us battle daily. Many of the Amish parenting "techniques" aren't tenable in an non-Amish (aka "Englisch") setting, but I appreciated the bullet points for Englisch parents at the end of each section with suggestions how to incorporate the ideas into "real" life. [Thanks to Brie for the recommendation!]
6) Lessons in Gravity by Megan Westfield. 4/5 stars. OK, I know that I'm not an impartial reviewer of this book because the author has been one of my best friends for almost 25 years, but I really did like it. It's a sweet love story about a rock-climber and a documentary filmaker in the emerging "New Adult" genre with a beautiful setting in the Yosemite valley. Go read it now! And look for her next book in 2017 with an equally adventurous plotline - Mount Everest!
As usual I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books! I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has been reading lately.