Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cozy Up With Coffee

The temperature changed drastically in NYC. I know people across the US have had snow, so we can't complain here, but it is quite chilly out there today! As everyone knows, today is the ING NYC Marathon, so I'm sure the runners were enjoying the brisk fall weather.

Today is the perfect day to cozy up in a blanket with a book and a cup of coffee or tea. I've heard of a lot of great books coming out this fall, so I'm going to share some recommendations with you.

I'm currently readying Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger and I'm loving it. It's about two twins that live in the US that are inseparable and are left their aunt's flat in London after she passes. They've never met this aunt and don't understand why they were left the apartment, but they go live there anyway. There are terms, however, to accepting what was left to them. They have to live there for at least a year and their parents cannot set foot in the apartment. The girls get involved in the lives of those that live in the building and realize that there is much still alive in Highgate (where the apartment is), even possibly their aunt.

My mom is reading The Husband's Secret and she keeps telling me how good it is and that I have to read it. The synopsis from GoodReads says that the book is about a woman, Cecilia Fitzpatrick, who opens a letter that is meant to be read after her husband's death and it contains his deepest, darkest secret - something so horrible it would destroy not only the life you created together, but others' lives, too. She finds it before he dies and it changes her life completely.

Lookaway, Lookaway is a novel by Wilton Barnhardt that's supposed to be funny, entertaining, and a good overall historical fiction (which is one of my fav genres). Another synopsis based off of the GoodReads summary: A high society couple, Jerene Jarvis Johnston and Duke, lives in Charlotte, NC where old Southern money and older secrets meet the new wealth of bankers, boom-era speculators, and carpetbagging social climbers. Steely and implacable, Jerene presides over her family’s legacy of paintings at the Mint Museum; Duke, the one-time college golden boy and descendant of a Confederate general, whose promising political career was mysteriously short-circuited, has settled into a comfortable semi-senescence as a Civil War re-enactor.
As the four Johnston children wander perpetually toward scandal and mishap. Annie, the smart but matrimonially reckless real estate maven; Bo, a minister at war with his congregation; Joshua, prone to a series of gay misadventures, and Jerilyn, damaged but dutiful to her expected role as debutante and eventual society bride. Jerene must prove tireless in preserving the family's legacy, Duke’s fragile honor, and what's left of the dwindling family fortune. She will stop at nothing to keep what she has—but is it too much to ask for one ounce of cooperation from her heedless family?

One of the most popular books out right now, John Green's The Fault in Our Stars is on my to-read list (I actually have one on GoodReads and you should, too). A coworker recommended it and said it's one of the best books she's ever read, but she sobbed the whole time. Not a bad thing. The GoodReads summary says "[d]espite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten."

Jacob Tomsky's Heads in Beds is supposed to be hilarious, which means this is another perfect read for after the chaotic semester comes to an end! According to GoodReads, Tomsky wasn't planning on going into the hotel business, but he became a valet parker for a luxury hotel in New Orleans (my fav city aside from NYC of course) and ended up working in hospitality for over ten years. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&M's out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. In Heads in Beds he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know.
Prepare to be amused, shocked, and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on in the valet parking garage, the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets—not to mention the shameless activities of the guests, who are rarely on their best behavior. Prepare to be moved, too, by his candor about what it’s like to toil in a highly demanding service industry at the luxury level, where people expect to get what they pay for (and often a whole lot more). Employees are poorly paid and frequently abused by coworkers and guests alike, and maintaining a semblance of sanity is a daily challenge. 
This book is a must-read at some point!

This is my inability to let go of teen fiction coming out, but I'm planning on reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell when I need an easy read (and after this semester I'll definitely need an easy read over Christmas break). Rainbow Rowell's website has the following plot summary: 
Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fanfiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

 This is a classic that I haven't read yet, so at some point I have to. People rave about it and others say it's not all it's cracked up to be, so I'm planning on making that decision for myself! That's the way I am with movies and restaurants, too. I'm not one to strictly stick to reviews because people have such different taste that it's impossible to be able to listen to other people about everything. Case and point:  The Artist won the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year in 2012 and I'm pretty sure I'd rather rip my hair out than watch a silent film, but who knows! Maybe I should give it a shot..
So back to The Alchemist by Paulo Cohlho... It's about following your dreams, traveling, and treasure.  An Andalusian shepherd boy, Santiago, believes a recurring dream to be prophetic and travels to a nearby town, Romani, to discover its meaning. A gypsy there tells him there's treasure in the pyramids in Egypt; this is a story about Santiago's journey.

Lauren Conrad did a "Tuesday Ten: Fall Reading List" and It's Not Love, It's Just Paris by Patricia Engel was included on it. This is Engel's first novel and it received quite a bit of praise. It's about an American girl who is out and about in Paris and navigates the intoxicating a treacherous complexities of independence, friendship, and romance. 

Hopefully you can find something to cozy up with on your e-reader this weekend or your heading to the bookstore to pick one of these great reads up now. Enjoy this chilly, relaxing (hopefully) Sunday!

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