Book Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Hey Blogland,

As promised, I’m back and ready to talk about this book. Bear with me though because I am super sleepy and wiped out after an almost 2 hour Walk ‘n’ Talk with Madhu.

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars

guernsey

In an unusual turn of events, I became aware of this book after my husband suggested we watch the Netflix adaptation for Valentine’s Day. This was strange for two reasons. One, I watched a movie. I’m really not a big movie person and have to be cajoled to sit for longer than 30-minute intervals. I just don’t have the attention span for most films. Two, I watched a movie knowing it had been adapted from a book I HAD NOT READ. I am eternally vetoing Trevor’s movie suggestions because “I want to read the book first”. But this time he plied me with steak (NY Strip cooked to perfection) and baked potatoes and salad.  I was too hungry to argue, and I have to admit, the trailer had me intrigued.

Well, I liked the film so much that I immediately put the book on hold at the library, and took it with me on our trip to Cincinnati. I figured it would be the perfect vacation read. Entertaining, fluffy (Fanfic speak for zero drama, pure domestic bliss), and since I already knew the plot, easy to put down when it came time to adventure in a new place.

Turns out, there was enough the movie left out to keep me hungrily flipping pages as I read letter after letter from a wide and lovable cast. Guernsey is entirely Epistolary, which was really fun to read. I think the last Epistolary novel I read was Frankenstein in college, and it was a bit more labor-intensive than this. I do think the book actually

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I mean, look at him.

benefited from my having watched the movie, because I already knew and could see all of these characters as I read their letters. Particularly Sidney and Isola. Well, and Dawsey of course.

 

But, you’ll notice that the book only got 4 stars. And here’s why:

I don’t think the book would have been half so successful if I hadn’t seen the movie first. I think it would have been a bit boring. And I didn’t like that Markham turned out to be a bit of a jerk after all, when in the film he wasn’t. I didn’t like the fact that Juliet felt jealous of a freaking HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR because she thought Dawsey liked her. And even though Juliet acknowledged how messed up that was, it still felt gross.

I think the book was all right, but that the Netflix movie took what was there and vastly improved on it. I just wish the whole storyline about Isola’s Grandma and Oscar Wilde had made into the film. Though, I understand why it didn’t, since it literally served no purpose other than to be entertaining.

So, yeah. A fun read, worth an afternoon or two if you want a story that makes you smile and lets you turn your brain off for a bit. If you’d rather reserve your reading time for more challenging or thought-provoking things, I’d say just watch the movie. Which I never, ever say.

guernsey

I could go on forever about the movie. It’s become an instant favorite, and hit a lot of the same beats as the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice (which I adore). Apparently I’m a sucker for a quality period romance, particularly if it’s a slow burn. They’re both movies that thrive on subtlety, where glances and small touches convey more than the dialogue and I CANNOT GET ENOUGH.

And, it turns out, all of that is super hard to convey in a series of letters. Maybe that’s why the book fell a little flat for me.

 

See y’all on Monday.

 

BZ

Book Review- Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Hello Blogland!

To say Book Club met last night would be generous. Two of us met, and I was the only one who read the book.

Needless to say there wasn’t much discussion happening. But, I promised a book review, and I’m not deferring it for a whole month.

So, let me preface this by saying that Hush, Hush is not my typical reading fare. Usually there’s magic, and swords, or some sort of weaponry, and though I never shy away from romance, it’s rarely the focal point of the stories I read.
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So, the entire concept of Hush, Hush is that angels are real. Which has me immediately interested. There are angels, and we learn there is a hierarchy within their society, Archangels at the top, Angels of Death somewhere in the middle, and apparently Guardian Angels falling low on the totem pole.

And where there are angels, there are those that have been disgraced, those whose wings were stripped from their shoulders, and who fell from grace. Quite literally, Fallen Angels. These creatures walk the Earth, appearing as humans, but are immortal. They don’t have physical sensations, and so can never truly join in the human experience.

But, when an Angel sleeps with a human, it creates what’s called a Nephilim. These are also immortal, but are much closer to being human. They have interesting abilities but have no affiliation with God or the Devil (both of whom are conspicuously absent from this book).

Being Nephilim sounds rad, right? Oh, except for the fine print that says that, for two weeks during the Hebrew month of Chesvhan, Fallen Angels will assume control of your body so they can party it up like humans.

Talk about awkward.
vulnerable

Anyway, the main character is 16 year old Nora Grey. She seems a reasonable enough teenager at first. Focused on school, one good friend, but socially capable. She’s likable, at least initially.

And then we meet Patch, the mysterious transfer student that Nora gets paired with in Biology. Really, at this point, I have to wonder how many biology teachers are responsible for teenage romance.

And that’s really my biggest problem with this book. It’s riddled with clichés and tropes. Now, that doesn’t necessarily make a book bad, if its aware of its hackneyed status and is poking fun. But Hush, Hush isn’t so tongue in cheek. In fact, it reads like someone took Twilight, and instead of Vampires went with Angels. Over protective boyfriend fully assembled.

So why did I keep reading?

Honestly, because Patch is a really good character. He’s interesting, complex, and probably the only one in the entire book that seems fully fleshed out. I want to know more about him and his world. If Fitzpatrick had written this for adults and completely developed the angels and their hierarchy, then followed Patch on his quest to become human, it would have been a great book.

Instead, for unknown reasons, Patch, an immortal Fallen Angel, has fallen for a 16 year old girl with a sliver of Nephilim blood.

Puke.

Anyway, he’s mysterious and gets into trouble often. But Nora is inexplicably drawn to him. Yet again, a hapless female child is “meant” to be with some overpowered immortal being. And, so far, there’s no apparent reason as to why.

So, as the story continues, Nora has a string of close calls, and she thinks it’s Patch’s doing. But she continues to talk to him and find herself in situations where they’re alone. Because she’s sixteen and dumb, I suppose. There’s no other reasonable conclusion.

But, it turns out that Jules, the love interest of Nora’s best friend, is a Nephilim sworn to Patch. Basically meaning that come Chesvhan, Patch gets dibs. Well, Jules knows that Nora is very distantly related to him, carries his Nephilim blood, and if he kills her, Patch will become human, which is what Patch wants. This will also keep Patch from possessing Jules every year, and make him vulnerable to Jules.
nephilim

So, Patch’s original plan, before he ever really knew her, was to kill Nora so he could be human. That’s why he enrolled at her school. Honestly, don’t question it, it just makes your face scrunch and your head hurt. Just shrug and keep reading.

But, he gets to know her and he falls for her and yadda yadda. So, instead of letting Jules kill her, Nora tries to jump from the rafter of her gym (she was being hunted by Jules so it wasn’t just some whimsical suicide attempt. At least there’s that.), but Patch saves her, unable to let her die for him.

And that gives him his wings back, making him her Guardian Angel.

A little convenient, but all right. Patch dispatches (hehe) Jules, and they go about their lives. Until book 2! Which I’m currently reading and generally disliking.

Now, I do want to say that I didn’t hate this book. It’s… it’s like watching a movie and thinking, “wow, this is terrible. Like really bad. But, dammit, I’m having such a good time.”

That was my exact experience with this book. Plus, Patch is a compelling character, and the dialogue is pretty good. I laughed a lot, not just at the corny bits either.
crescendo

But, I am having a hard time with the second book, and am only continuing because I need to know what Patch is up to. I don’t really care about Nora at all. It’s the dark lurkings and secret nature of the world of Angels that has me turning pages.

Anyway, thanks for getting this far. You should be hearing from me soon, with a review of the sequel, Crescendo.

Until then Blogland!