ARC Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina GeorgeAuthor: Nina George
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
400 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC  of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Crown for letting me read this!

I am so sad about this one. From the synopsis, I thought this book was going to be absolutely perfect for me, but The Little Paris Bookshop is not at all what I was expecting. Perdu owns a literary apothecary, from which he “prescribes” books to people based on what they need from the book. He uses his ability to find the exact book a reader needs, even if it means forcing them not to buy something else. But he’s still haunted by an ex-lover from twenty years ago, and when he finally reads the letter she left him so long ago, he decides to take off and visit the South of France. Doesn’t that sound perfect for a book and travel lover??

The Little Paris Bookshop had an absolutely wonderful start. Perdu’s Literary Apothecary and the neighborhood where he lives in Paris are enchanting and I honestly wish I could visit his book barge – how cool would that be?! I loved the descriptions of his ability to prescribe the perfect book and the eclectic cast of characters that live in his building. Even twenty years later, Perdu is still heartbroken over his lost love, and the emotions he feels are quite beautifully and sadly described.

But then Perdu reads the letter from his lost love, Manon, and everything changes – for him and for the reader. He decides to set sail for the town where Manon was from, along with a bestselling author with writer’s block and eventually a lovesick chef. The story turns into this long, rather boring trip along the Seine with stops at cute little towns along the way. I really enjoyed seeing all these towns, with their underground tango clubs and interesting people. But after a while the story bored me. I was not longer enchanted by Perdu, especially because the whole literary apothecary thing is only really mentioned at the beginning. From about 50% to 75% of the way through, I was flipping pages as quickly as I can because I was bored. I wasn’t expecting this to be a romance in the most literal sense, and I’m not much of a romance girl. But there are a lot of people who are. I can see the merit in this one and I know a lot of people will fall in love with it. I can even see myself liking it a lot more in the future. Possibly. If you’re a romance fan, and would like to travel to France for a little while, check this one out.

At the end of the novel, we get “Jean Perdu’s Emergency Literary Pharmacy: From Adams to Von Arnim”. This was hands down my favorite part of the book. Books prescribed for certain “ailments” such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for “a sense of humor failure” or 1984 because it “reduces gullibility and apathy.” I wanted more!

The bottom line: Not what I was expecting or really in the mood for. It had a beautiful literary beginning but then fell a little flat for me from there. Much of the middle was dull and rather tiresome to read, in all honesty. I am so sad too because I really wanted to like this book about books.

Rating: 4 – Eh. This is bad.

ARC Review: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty LoganAuthor:  Kirsty Logan

Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian

Publisher: Crown Publishing

Publication Date: May 19, 2015

320 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

Do you ever read a book that is just so beautiful you almost can’t describe it? That’s The Gracekeepers for me. I’ve been wanting to read this book for months, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest by it. How to put it into words though? Okay… Look at that cover. See how it’s both intriguing and a little strange? Calm and peaceful but somewhat disturbing? That’s this book. This book is all of those things and so much more.

I was sucked into this world of damplings (those who live on the sea) and landlockers (those who live on land) as soon as I started reading. Sometime in the future most of the land has vanished and a vast majority of people now live on water, travelling from island to island to trade or in the case of North, the main character, to perform as part of a travelling circus. The politics and dynamics of this world were fascinating and through North, the bear-girl, and Callanish, the gracekeeper, this world was brought to vivid life. Gracekeepers are those that perform a Resting ritual to lay damplings who have past to rest in the ocean. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful and haunting the descriptions of those Restings were.

I just loved this story. Kirsty’s prose is gorgeous and lyrical and I could barely put the book down because I was so enchanted by it. Her world building is fantastic. I had a few hiccups with understanding what had happened to the world as there’s no real explanation for why the world is mostly water. Also, you guys might know how much I love Scotland, and The Gracekeepers weaves in some Scottish folklore and mythology which I adored.

All of the characters were so well done that even the ones I hated, I loved. I thought it was smart that the POVs rotated throughout the book; we didn’t just get North and Callanish’s POV, but also the clowns, the ringmaster, an acrobat, and several others. None of them felt like I was reading the same character. Each was distinct and well-done (my favorite might’ve been the clowns for their description of the ringmaster’s wife as a “horse-bitch”). My only complaint here is that I wanted more time with each of the characters, especially Callanish, to learn more about them.

The bottom line: The Gracekeepers is a magical book. It will enchant you from its first page. It felt like a fairy tale of sorts, and I would highly recommend it.

Rating: 8 – Freaking fantastic

Waiting on Wednesday: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty LoganPublisher: Crown Publishing

Author: Kirsty Logan

Release date: May 19, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A lyrical and moving debut in the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood, introducing an original and commanding new voice in fiction.

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.

Why I’m excited: I know Kirsty, but that’s not why I’m excited. “Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales” – you guys know how much I love Scotland. A circus. A name like Callanish. Loneliness, isolation, joy, and hope. I can’t even tell you how much I want to read this one. It sounds really wonderful, and I am definitely looking forward to reading The Gracekeepers. Plus, look at that beautiful cover. Can I just have it now, please and thank you?