June 9, 2020

Reviews: Paris Never Leaves You + Jo & Laurie + Hood

pub 8/4/2020 by St. Martin's Press
Fiction - Historical
Received ARC at ALAMW
⭐⭐ 2 stars | Paris Never Leaves You really seemed to be right up my alley. It follows Charlotte's life in Paris during WWII as she worked in a bookstore while caring for her daughter Vivi, and their life in the present, which is set in 1950s New York. Now she works at a publishing company but not everything she faced to get here is behind her. Remnants from the past unexpectedly pop up and her daughter is suddenly very curious about their history. For the first 10 chapters, I was hooked. I wanted to know exactly what happened to Charlotte in Paris that she couldn't come clean about. But as the chapters went on, my interest waned. Charlotte and Vivi felt kind of flat and a more in-depth look into their mother-daughter relationship was missing (but needed!). In each time period, Charlotte and Vivi have individuals helping them. I will say their past acquaintances were more interesting while their current day "friends" felt very one-note and seemed to bring out the worst in each of them. By the end, I didn't empathize with Charlotte or Vivi very much and overall was very disappointed by how the story concluded.

Do I recommend? No, I can't say that I do. I didn't hate the book but I just thought it was okay. I think there are better books out there that delve into the same time periods.


pub 6/2/20 by GP. Putnam's Sons
YA - Historical - Retelling
Received ARC at ALAMW
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | I'm just going to put this out there – I get there's a lot of snark about this book being glorified fan fiction and how Louisa May Alcott never wanted Jo and Laurie to be together for a reason. Well, whatever her reasons were my childhood self always hated that they didn't end up together (in the 1994 movie and the book) and clearly Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz felt the same way. Jo & Laurie far exceeded my expectations. It's well-written, fun and brought to life familiar characters in a way that still felt true to how I remembered them but fresh at the same time. I could actually see this version being played out in the original and quite frankly, I much prefer this ending. It focused a bit more on Jo March as an author and I assume drew inspiration from Alcott's life as well as she wrote Little Women. Jo's first book has become a bestseller and with that comes the pressure from her publisher and fans to deliver an equally good sequel, preferably with a happily ever after for all the sisters. Naturally, she's experiencing writer's block with the pressure and goes to New York with Laurie for a week of inspiration. Instead Laurie proposes and as the original story goes, Jo turns him down. What happens afterward though really warmed my heart and gave me all the feels because we got to see more of Jo's innermost feelings, moments with her sisters and family, and of course, how things end with Laurie.

Do I recommend? Absolutely! I know that some people will never give this a chance simply because of the pairing, which is a shame. I genuinely loved this!


pub 6/8/20 by Disney-Hyperion
Young Adult - Fantasy - Retelling
Received e-ARC from pub
⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars | Hood is a standalone retelling of Robin Hood, or more accurately it's a continuation. Isabelle of Kirklees leads quiet life with her mother Marian inside a convent but when she gets arrested for defending innocent villagers she becomes the target of King John's ruthless right hand man, the Wolf. Marian helps Isabelle escape and with little fanfare tells her to find the father she never knew, Robin Hood. As she's still reeling from this bombshell and running for her life, she eventually joins forces with Merry Men who will lead her to Robin. She discovers more of her family's history (and enemies), what the Merry Men stand for and a chance to figure out what her path is. It's definitely on the light and adventurous side and never delves too deep into each of the character or their origin story. It stays fair superficial throughout but I didn't mind it. It's a quick, fun romp that certainly entertained me even if it didn't necessarily become a new favorite.

Do I recommend? I do! I've always enjoyed the tale of Robin Hood and I enjoyed seeing this YA take on it.


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