Ordinary Magic by Cameron Powell

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful mom! This memoir tells the story of a man, Cameron Powell, and his mom, Inge, who has cancer. Many of the passages come from his journal and his mother’s journal. Early in the book, they set off to walk the 500 mile Camino de Santiago, as a sort of play for forcing Inge’s cancer into remission. I really liked this part of the book- it’s inspirational, the descriptions of the Camino were bright and vivid and it sounded like a fantastic experience. That ends about halfway into the book and then it tells the story of what happened after walking the Camino, which is, unfortunately, a bit dull at times and also a lot more somber than the first section.
However, Cameron Powell is such a relatable guy, and his memoir is candid and poignant which makes up for the parts that start to get boring. This is a lyrical journey about the wonderful relationship between Cameron and Inge and the lovely journey that is life. And I quite want to walk the Camino de Santiago after reading it.

I was provided with an e-copy of this book via the author in exchange for my honest review.

The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!), and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker. 

Whisked away to his world–an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince–Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted. 

The Enchanted Sonata is a beautiful book that blends The Nutcracker and the Pied Piper, perfect for the winter holiday time. The romance was very cute and realistic, and I love all of the characters. Clara was brave, funny, and relatable, and you really get to see her develop through the story from a lovesick little girl into a courageous, smart woman. The prince was very likable and always wanted to do the right thing. Even the antagonist is well developed with a clever backstory. 
The dialogue and humor were a bit dull, but the world building was amazing! I loved how it whisked you away to the vivid world of Imperia- from the forests to Polichinelle’s candy shop to the royal palace. I also really loved the way the author wrote about the music that was played in the book. A wonderful, lyrical book that I would recommend to any musician or lover of fairy tales.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exhange for my honest review.

Deseré by Maria McKenzie

Image result for desere maria mckenzie

Deseré tells the story of a young, beautiful slave girl living on a plantation in South Carolina. Her master has given her permission to marry a slave from a neighboring farm. But before this can happen, Masta Jeremy dies and his nephew inherits the plantation.

Anthony, the new owner, is immediately dazzled by Deseré. And so begins a whirlwind, dramatic romance.

Four stars. This book was a quick read and really interesting. Much of it was set in Paris (the rest in South Carolina), but all of the scenes were vividly described. It was obvious that the other really did her research about this period in the antebellum South, and I was able to learn a lot without the story sound like a history textbook. The author has such a beautiful writing style, and I loved the romance aspect of the book- though I do think it was a little fast to be realistic. Deseré is such a strong, brave character, and I liked handsome, charming Anthony and all of the other people as well, like Deseré’s friend Addie. The characters weren’t flat at all, with their own struggles and personal decisions to make. The climax was interesting- a bit strange, though- and I loved the ending. Overall, a beautiful, fast-paced story filled with romance and drama. I would definitely recommend this to any lover of historical romance.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. 

Favorite Books of February

I managed to read seventeen books in February (still don’t know how I did that).

Here are some favorites:

Image result for save the date morgan matsonSave the Date by Morgan Matson

Charlie’s sister is getting married and all of the siblings are coming back home for it, causing lots of drama and problems. This book is so funny and a really cute, lighthearted read! I really enjoyed meeting all of Charlie’s relatives and friends and seeing her amazing sibling relationships.

Image result for the immortalistsThe Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Four kids visit a woman in New York City who says she can predict the day they will die. This book follows their lives as they decide what to do with this information. Each sibling’s story was so interesting, and it was an interesting take on the question, “Would you like to know when you’re going to die?”

Image result for sourdough bookSourdough by Robin Sloan

I thought this book sounded a little weird when I first picked it up, but wow, it was amazing! Lois starts baking sourdough bread using a starter from her mysterious neighbors. This project takes her to a vibrant underground market where technology and culture intertwine. Such an imaginative book that kept me turning the pages!

Image result for the vanishing stairThe Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

This is the second book in the Truly Devious series (the first book was one of my favorites last year) and I was so excited for its release! This definitely lived up to my expectations. If you haven’t heard of this series, it’s about a girl who is trying to solve a kidnapping/murder at a boarding school, and I highly recommend it!

Image result for every note playedEvery Note Played by Lisa Genova

Every Note Played is a heartbreaking story about a famous pianist who has ALS. This book really opened my eyes to the harsh realities of living with this condition, and included some really interesting character dynamics- for example, the main character is a sort of horrible person that you don’t want to feel bad for.

Hope you guys are having a great start to 2019!