Mini-reviews: The Velvet Hours + Alterations

pub 9/6/16 by Berkley
Adult - Historical Fiction
Received from Tandem Literary
The Velvet Hours was inspired by the real discovery of an abandoned Parisian apartment. Alyson Richmond takes facts, theories and her own imagination and gives it a spin that truly intrigued me from start to finish. It's told between two perspectives, in two different times. There's the present with Solange Beaugiron, a young woman living in Paris when Europe is on the brink of war. She starts to regularly visit her grandmother, Marthe de Florian, who shares the details of her life with Solange. Marthe is the other perspective and we get to see first-hand what her life was like as a sophisticated courtesan. Both women are fascinating and different. Marthe blazed her own path and while it's one most people may not be quick to boast of, she owns her life and every decision she's made with intelligence, poise and flair. In comparison, Solange lives more quietly but no less passionately. She's curious, smart and an aspiring writer. We learn each of their dreams, heartaches and romances. But most of all, I loved their relationship. That bond between grandmother and granddaughter is very close to my heart and that's probably what stuck with me the most.

Do I recommend? Yes! If you love reading Paris, history and family, I would recommend checking this out.

pub 12/6/16 by Bloomsbury Spark
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received from pub via Netgalley
I can't resist a book based on Audrey Hepburn or any of her movies so when I found out that Alterations was a retelling of Sabrina, I had to read it. It's a modern take in which aspiring-chef "Sabrina" is now fashionista Amelia Blanco. When her grandmother enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship, it means two things things: incredible opportunities and a chance to "get over" Ethan Laurenti. Her family lives on their estate as employees but Amelia has always hoped he'd be her boyfriend one day. Luckily, this internship is exactly what she needs. We get to see her meet people with similar interests and watch her come into her own style. I actually wish more time had been spent at fashion school. We kind of breeze through her classes and the transition between days felt jarring at times. Honestly, before I knew it we were back in Miami and while Amelia is certainly more confident, she goes back to mooning over Ethan. Until she agrees to help Ethan's awkward but geeky-cute brother Liam create a fashion app. It's when Amelia and Liam's friendship blossoms that I felt a bit more invested in the book. Still, I knew how the story would go (having seen the movie) and I didn't mind that at all but, I did feel like something was missing. It was cute enough but I just felt like there were a lot of missed chances to give Amelia's character more substance, not to mention learn more about her family and friends and even the Laurentis themselves.

Do I recommend? It was okay. I didn't dislike it but I didn't quite like it either.

1 comment

  1. I really, really want to read The Velvet Hours now! I had my eye on it after seeing it mentioned in a post, but now that I've seen your thoughts, I'm convinced I would enjoy it. Will definitely be checking it out!


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