Book Reviews: The Whalebone Theatre, The Rom-Com Agenda, Spare & You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty

I am very behind on posting my full book reviews (short and sweet star ratings you can always get on goodreads) .. so there will be a lot of these coming soon.

The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn

Goodreads blurb: One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, it belongs to the King, but twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household—her sister, Flossie; her brother, Digby, long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor; Maudie Kitcat, kitchen maid; Taras, visiting artist—build a theatre from the beast’s skeletal rib cage. Within the Whalebone Theatre, Cristabel can escape her feckless stepparents and brisk governesses, and her imagination comes to life. As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman, World War II rears its head. She and Digby become British secret agents on separate missions in Nazi-occupied France—a more dangerous kind of playacting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.

My take: 3.5 out of 5. I really loved some things about this book and some where just a bit much. I am a fan of a multi generational storyline so this was up my alley but it just felt disjointed at some points. I liked it, I just didn’t love it for the amount of effort it took. I obviously loved the theater aspect of it, and how much more interesting it would have been if we focused more on that. A cool appreciation of Cristabel that I loved – most of books in antiquity the interesting people are men.

The Rom-Com Agenda by Jayne Denker

Goodreads blurb: STEP 1: Find yourself.Leah Keegan is used to being alone, especially after taking care of her sick foster mother for the past year. But now there’s nothing keeping her in the sweet town of Willow Cove. It’s time to move on. Again.

STEP 2: Win back the one who got away Eli Masterson thought he and Victoria were meant to be together until she decided to jet off to Rome for a year. Eli is determined to win her back. But how?

STEP 3: Become a romantic hero. Changing Eli’s physical appearance is easy, but to turn Eli into the sophisticated-yet-vulnerable ideal man, his girl pals force him to watch classic rom-coms. And take notes.

STEP 4: Fall in love?. Inadvertently drawn into the makeover scheme, Leah ends up being Eli’s guide through the wild world of meet-cutes and grand gestures. Even though she believes Eli doesn’t need to change a thing about himself. Even though she just might be falling for Eli . . . and Eli falling for her.

my take: 3 out of 5. The idea as a concept is super cute and as a rom com lover I love the idea of using rom coms movies as education. However the concept failed in a couple of aspects in execution:

  1. The list could have been so much better curated as to the why the movies were included and also have some better additions. what movies do they include: Better off dead , Princess Bride, Love Actually, Say Anything, Pretty Woman, The Notebook, Pride and Prejudice, Dirty Dancing, His Girl Friday and Charade. I can start by saying the lack of Nora Ephron is key here. Also all the 90s teen romcoms 😉
  2. Eli is great from the start so you really fail to understand why did he needs a makeover ? And there the premise becomes flawed from the start. The growth that needs to happen is just not significant enough.

Spare by Prince Harry

Goodreads blurb: It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is that story at last. Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with anger, with loneliness—and, because he blamed the press for his mother’s death, he struggled to accept life in the spotlight. At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn’t find true love.Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple’s cinematic romance and rejoiced in their fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother. . . . For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty. A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.

my take: 4 out of 5. I mean you have definitely heard about this book ad nauseum so do you really need my take on it? Maybe not, but sorry to say you’ll hear it anyways. Speaking of hearing, do not read this book, get it in audiobook, having Prince Harry himself narrate his own story gives it a definite plus. I actually really enjoyed this book as it gave me a very interesting perspective. And I have discussed it with many a fellow readers and I think my take has been also seen by other people. Here is a man that underwent some serious trauma as a kid in a setting that did nothing to heal his trauma. A lot of what happens, whether you agree with or not, you can at least understand where he is coming from. Why he does the things he does. The story about him believing his mother was alive for years was so dismal and heartbreaking. Also his fear of loss makes you see why some actions that might not appear as rational to us, make perfect sense for him. I think this books doesn’t necessarily expect you to agree with him, but hear his voice and I think that is done admirably. The big bad wolf of the whole book (apart from the tabloids) is Camila. I was not a fan before, and after reading this book, ooof.

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Goodreads blurb: Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again. It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career. She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.

my take: 3.75 out of 5. I still don’t know if I liked this book, but I found it very interesting and that is something, because it is a hard book to read. A book that I feel is important to read as it has different voices and defiantly a not traditional romantic storyline but it is still hard. The conversations, the language and the situation are rough, messy and not beautiful. But then again so is life.

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