Review: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Lydia Bird is living a happy, normal little life–she has a good job, a wonderful fiancé, Freddie, and the usual daily dramas of buying groceries and being in a relationship. And then everything stops: Freddie is killed in a car crash on his way to pick up his best friend, Jonas. Her world bottoms out.

Lydia retreats from the company of her sister, her mother, and from Jonas, the only other person who understands her loss. Alone and adrift, she seeks a small amount of solace in the sleeping pills her doctor prescribes for her, which give her relief in the form of abnormally deep sleep. But they also come with an increasingly complicated gift: Whenever she takes a pill, she emerges in another world. A world in which Freddie is still alive.

And so Lydia returns again and again to the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. In one, her relationship with Freddie and her friendship with Jonas move along as scheduled, and in the other, that same friendship begins to become something else, something very unexpected and yet thrillingly familiar.”

REVIEW:

I read One Day in December last Christmas and knew immediately that I needed to read The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. It sat for awhile honestly because I knew it was going to be a tougher read just because of the subject matter. I’m glad I finally just opened up the book and read it though. Don’t expect a simple, light romance when picking up this book. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is about grief and how this character deals with picking her life back up.

The two lives mentioned in the title are the two worlds that Lydia is straddling. Her everyday life in which Freddie has died, and her sleeping pill induced life where Freddie is still alive. The book bounces between the two worlds regularly. I really liked the “Sliding Doors” aspect of this novel, and enjoyed that the author didn’t really try to explain how this sleeping pill induced life was happening. Personally I enjoyed the “awake” chapters more, even if at times the subject matter can be difficult. I enjoyed Lydia’s relationships with her sister and mother and how close they are. I could see what the ultimate outcome was going to be, but was happy with how the characters ended up there. Overall, I really enjoyed The Two Lives of Lydia, it was way different than any other “romance” novel I read this year. I loved how they handled her grief. You will cry reading this book, it’s guaranteed.

RATING: 8/10

September Wrap-Up

September had a wide variety of books. It had some fantasy, some contemporary fiction and some romance.

September Books:

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout
No Offense by Meg Cabot
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Favorite Book of the Month: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book I’m Still Thinking About: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Easiest Read: No Offense by Meg Cabot
– finished in 24 hours

Hardest Read: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
– hardest read in terms of subject matter, the dealing of grief was often heavy at times and this book had me openly weeping.

I really enjoyed all the books I read during September. I’m excited to start my October books, I have a couple of spooky books lined up to get me in the Halloween spirit.

Happy Reading!

Review: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Rodham is a novel that explores the question: What if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton? In 1971, Hillary is a young woman full of promise. She is attending Yale Law School, involved in student activism and women’s rights. While there she meets Bill Clinton, a handsome and charming fellow law student. Bill is already planning his future political career. In each other, they find an emotional, physical and intellectual partner that neither has previously experienced.

In the real world, Hillary followed Bill to Arkansas, where he proposed several times; though Hillary said no several times, she eventually accepted and became the Hillary Clinton we know today. In this novel Hillary ultimately chooses a different path. Hillary endures a devastating breakup with Bill after feeling doubt about their prospective marriage. Over the next several decades she sets her own path in the political world, one that has her crossing paths with Bill Clinton more often than she would like.

REVIEW:

I was fascinated from the synopsis alone. Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye my entire life. I have always been aware of her and her husband. I remember knowing that the President had done a bad thing, but being too young to fully understand the full scope of the scandal. As I got older I never truly understood why Hillary stayed with her husband after the White House scandal, especially after learning that this wasn’t his first “indiscretion”. This novel weaves a fictional tale through actual historic events.

It is interesting to see what things still happen in this alternate timeline (Barack Obama is still elected in 2008), and what changes (Bill Clinton drops out of the ’92 race, thus George Bush Sr. gets re-elected for a second term). The book explores the themes of loneliness, the quest for political power and the compromises that must be made on that quest, the frustrations associated with female ambition. The decisions made by this novel at times feel crazy, but still very interesting to read. One decision made was how Donald Trump was included in the 2016 presidential campaign. It is different from what actually happened in 2016, but with how incredibly awful he is as a person and President this felt especially uncomfortable to me. This novel, while obviously a work of fiction, helped me understand Hillary and Bill’s relationship a bit more. It made me more willing to understand why she stayed with him, and how important it is to find someone who challenges you in the best way. Overall, this novel was fascinating and even a couple days later I’m still thinking about it.

RATING: 7/10

Review: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

There has been a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and a queen of blood. One to bring about the fall of the world, and the other the savior of the world. Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save her best friend, who just happens to be the crown prince, after he is ambushed by a group of assassins. She reveals her powers and now must endure seven elemental trials to determine which queen she is.

One thousand years later, Queen Rielle is a well know legend and fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. She is a bounty hunter for the Empire, the Dread of Orline. She has always been a little special, but has always hid that ability. Women are now disappearing, and her mother is unfortunately one of them. To find her, Eliana teams up with a rebel captain and discovers the true horrors of the Empire.

REVIEW:

Furyborn was all over bookstagram and sparked my interest. The story is told through alternating perspectives of Rielle and Eliana, as we jump back and forth in time. I thought that both Rielle and Eliana are well thought out and interesting narrators. I enjoyed Rielle’s chapters a bit more, because I felt like she is a narrator that you don’t always get to read in YA Fantasy. She has a real darkness to her character that is fully explored, and I really enjoyed it.

I think that this book definitely checks a lot of the YA Fantasy boxes. Some elements of it are fairly predictable, but I think that this series has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see where it goes, especially if they really explore Rielle’s darkness. I recommend this if you are looking for a new fantasy series.

RATING: 7/10

Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

A comedy about eight strangers brought together by a pretty terrible bank robber who discover they have more in common than they originally thought. An apartment viewing goes horribly wrong, when a failed bank robber barges in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage.

The police soon have the building surrounded, and the media have begun their live coverage of the hostage situation. The bank robber begins to panic because this is not what they planned for at all. With stakes rising, the eight strangers begin to reveal more about themselves to each other. Soon the robber must decide whether they should go face the police or stay in the apartment with eight impossible people.

REVIEW

This was my first Fredrik Backman novel, but I had heard wonderful things about them. Since I am an anxious person myself, I knew I needed to check out this book. Anxious People bounces around between different narrators as you slowly try to figure out how these two cops lost the bank robber. However as you get further and further into the novel, that loses its importance. These people and their relationships with each other become so much more important to the reader.

This novel is laugh out loud funny and absolutely heartbreaking at times. It shows the depth of human emotion and compassion for strangers and our loved ones. This book does delve into heavy topics such as suicide, depression and obviously anxiety. They are handled with care. I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes you can get swept up in the chaos of the world, and this book was an important reminder of how special friendships and relationships are to our lives.

Overall, I really enjoyed Anxious People. It was a little slow to start, and I had to get comfortable with Backman’s writing style, but after that I completely devoured this book. It made me laugh and cry. I definitely recommend!

RATING: 8/10

Review: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Everything Poppy has ever been told and believed in is a lie, including the man she has been falling in love with. Now she’s living among people who see her as a symbol of everything they hate. Poppy doesn’t even really know who she is outside of being The Maiden. Then there’s him, Casteel Da’Neer, or as she thought she knew him, Hawke. She had begun to fall in love with Hawke and those feelings didn’t just disappear, but she also feels betrayed. She doesn’t want to just be a pawn in the Prince’s plan.

Casteel needs her alive and healthy for his new plan, to end a war before it starts. While Poppy needs Casteel to help find her brother Ian, and determine whether he is has become a soulless Ascended. Unrest has begun in Atlantia, while they wait for their Prince to return. The Descenters want her dead, The King wants to use her to send a message, but something is happening with Poppy. As the love between Poppy and Casteel grows, so do her powers. They are changing right before her very eyes. Poppy begins to wonder if maybe if there was something more to attack on her family when she was a child. On top of everything, the gods have taken interest in Poppy and Casteel.

REVIEW

Wow this book! I really enjoyed From Blood and Ash, but I completely loved A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. Poppy really comes into her own and discovers who she is outside of being The Maiden. Poppy becomes this fearless heroine, who realizes that she deserves love. I loved the relationship between Poppy and Casteel. You can just feel the love and passion they develop for each other over the course of this book. I really love their relationship and how it evolved in this book. I also enjoyed Poppy’s developing friendship with Kieran. Also, Alstair drove me crazy. You could tell that he hated the idea of Poppy and Casteel together, and he tried to play it off as him being concerned for Poppy.

My only issue with this book, and it’s very minor, is that I couldn’t connect with Poppy’s determination to get her brother back. I understand that it is another thing that Poppy and Casteel have in common, and that he is the only family that she has left. However, we know almost nothing about Ian. We learn more about Casteel’s brother, than we ever learn about Ian.

Also that cliffhanger! I know that A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire just came out, but I need the next book immediately! Jennifer L. Armentrout has easily become one of my favorite authors just from reading this series. I both couldn’t put this book down, but also wanted to savor this book.

RATING: 10/10

Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Miryem is from a family of moneylenders, but her father is a sympathetic man who will take any excuse when people cannot pay him. It has brought his family to the brink of poverty. Miryem decides to take matters into her own hands, she sets out into the village to claim what is owed to her family. She gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.

When an ill-timed boast is overheard in the forest by the king of the Staryk, a magical race of creatures who seem more ice than human, she attracts his attention. She will forever alter the lives in two kingdoms. Miryem is given a seemingly impossible task, and her life becomes intertwined with a local peasant girl and the daughter of a local lord.

REVIEW

The was my first Naomi Novik novel and I wasn’t disappointed. I really enjoyed the blending of myths and fairy tales to create this stand alone adventure. Miryem is an interesting heroine, at times she is gold hungry and over confident which is what gets her into trouble, but her actions do feel justified and her arguments are valid. Our three heroines are all from different stations in life, and each have much different experiences with magic.

I do wish the book had been completely from these three viewpoints. Once she began to add in additional viewpoints I lost interest at times, and struggled to get through those chapters. There is always the risk taken when doing a story from multiple viewpoints. It just frustrated me, because I was flying through this book until the additional viewpoints were added about halfway through and then it really slowed me down.

Overall, I enjoyed Spinning Silver. It is a well written, well-paced fantasy novel. It makes me excited to check out other adventures written by Naomi Novik.

RATING: 8/10

Getting to Know Your Blogger!

Since I have been posting for a couple months now, I feel like I should share more about myself. This way you can really form a connection to who is reading and reviewing all these books.

Name: Kerry
Age: 29
Instagram: @kerryreadsthings

I have a dog named Nymeria, she’s a chihuahua/jack russell mix, who is named after Arya Stark’s direwolf. I adopted her a couple years ago, and she is my constant companion.

I grew up right outside of Philadelphia, in Bucks County, PA. I have also lived in Florida and NYC. I went to Wagner College on Staten Island, where I graduated with a degree in Arts Administration. I love film, tv and theatre. I’ve worked in the theatre industry for the last couple years, but would love to get back into film production.

My best friend and I, this is my favorite picture I have ever taken in Disney.


I used to work for Disney. I was a Cast Member in Disney World. While there, I worked in attractions at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I then transferred to Entertainment, where I was a Character Attendant in Magic Kingdom. I worked with a bunch of different characters during my time there, including talking Mickey. I have a ton of stories from my time working there and plenty of advice on what is worth your time in the Parks.

Taken on Christmas Day, since I was working with The Beast

I’m very close with my parents, and talk to them everyday. I’m obsessed with Star Wars. The original trilogy is my favorite in terms of all three movies, but The Last Jedi is my favorite movie of the entire series. I grew up watching a lot of Anime, and Sailor Moon has always been my favorite. I even have a Sailor Mars tattoo (because she is my favorite scout).

I also adore The Muppets!

That’s just a little bit about me! Maybe we have something in common? You can always reach out to me here, or on Instagram. I’m always willing to chat about books, or that new show you binge watched.

Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Louise le Blanc fled her coven two years ago, and is now hiding in plain sight, in the city of Cesarine. She has become a thief to survive. In the city, witches are hunted. They are the stories told to scare children. The city even has an elite witch hunting force, The Chasseurs. So now she is hunted by her coven, but also must keep away from the Chasseurs.

Reid Diggory was an orphan, taken in by the archbishop. His whole life he has been trained and taught to hunt witches. It’s the one thing in life he can depend on. Unfortunately for him, his world is turned upside down when, due to circumstances outside of his control, he finds himself now married to Louise le Blanc. Reid is unaware of Lou’s powers, and Lou thinks she might be safest of all amongst her enemies. However war is brewing, and as feelings develop between Lou and Reid, choices must be made.

REVIEW

Ah, enemies to lovers. It’s always one of my favorite troupes. I saw Serpent & Dove all over Bookstagram, and quickly added it to my TBR list. I think this book is well plotted out, and the characters’ actions are genuine. Every characters actions are believable with the current situation they are in. I loved the banter between Lou and Reid. Their romance is a slow burn in the best way.

I also really enjoyed the friendship between Coco and Lou. I love that they bicker, but they always come back to each other. Another important thing is that Coco is actually around for the whole book. A lot of the times with these Young Adult fantasies, you have a female friendship at the start but once the love interest is introduced that female friendship disappears.

Overall, I really enjoy this book and am excited to read the sequel Blood & Honey. If you enjoy witches and enemies to lovers romances then this is the book for you.

RATING: 9/10