Book Review: Lovely War


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Julie Berry
  • Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
  • Page Count: 468
  • Date Started: May 9th
  • Date Finished: May 16th

A Brief Description

 A critically acclaimed, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates–and the hearts–of four mortals in their hands.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.

Hailed by critics, Lovely War has received seven starred reviews and is an indie bestseller. Author Julie Berry has been called “a modern master of historical fiction” by Bookpage and “a celestially inspired storyteller” by the New York Times, and Lovely War is truly her masterwork. 

Goodreads || Amazon


If music stops, and art ceases, and beauty fades, what have we then?

Julie Berry

My Review

This is a story that is told by Aphrodite the goddess of love, who is standing trial to show that love and war go hand in hand. The telling of this story was very unique and something I had not really seen before. It takes place in World War I and World War II. It really didn’t shy away from the atrocities of war and the destruction it caused to the lives of those that were involved.

The story is about two couples. One of the couples is James, a solider, and Hazel, a pianist. The other couple is Aubrey, a black pianist, and Colette, one of the only survivors of the massacre the Nazi’s committed on her village. The characters were pretty believable, they each had their own personalities and dealt with the war in different ways. I enjoyed the way that the romances developed, although James and Hazel’s developed VERY quickly. But, under the circumstances, you see just -why- it went so quickly. Regardless, I don’t LOVE insta-love, so I had to knock some stars off. I will say, I don’t usually read love stories because of the way that the romances tend to progress, but this one was satisfying and had just the right amount of tension and stakes.

The book had the themes of love, loss, grief, racism, PTSD, and the brutality of war. It showed a real and raw depiction of what life was like in 1910s Europe and how people of color were treated. One of the things I liked was that the main characters really called out racism and it did not go unquestioned on the page. The mental health representation is something I cannot speak for due to the fact that I do not suffer from PTSD.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this. I didn’t read it as quickly as I wanted to because classes have started for my semester and I’ve been far too busy to read. Overall, I gave this book 3.5 stars because while overall it was enjoyable, I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t rate it higher. This book was enjoyable, but it’s not usually the kind of book I enjoy. I would still recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction, sad stories, or love stories.

What have you been reading? Have you been enjoying it? Stay safe and healthy out there folks!
~Cam

Book Review: Fortuna


Rating: 4 out of 5.

  • Author: Kristyn Merbeth
  • Genre: Science Fiction/ Space Opera
  • Page Count: 506
  • Date Started: December 15th
  • Date Finished: December 22nd
  • Spoilers? No

A Brief Description

Fortuna launches a new space opera trilogy that will hook you from the first crash landing.

Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus’s shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship and the only home Scorpia has ever known.

But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia’s plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over.

Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight.

Perfect for fans of Becky Chambers and Catherynne M. Valente, Fortuna introduces a dazzling new voice in science fiction.

Goodreads || Amazon


Fear only makes us weak if we let it stop us.

Kristyn Merbeth pg 432

A Review

This book was a story about a family who are smugglers and the trouble that they get themselves into.

The story was a dual perspective, Scorpia, a rebellious, mostly drunk pilot of Fortuna, the family ship, and her brother Corvus, who went away three years ago to fight in a profitless war on his home planet of Titan. Now Corvus is back, and this puts Scorpia in jeopardy of losing her spot as owner of the family business.

Overall I enjoyed this book. The characters were rich, and the family dynamic was amazing to read about. Each character had their own distinct voice and opinions which made it especially fun to read when those opinions clashed.

The one thing I can say for certain is that Scorpia makes some pretty bad decisions. She puts her family, herself and many others at risk for very selfish reasons and she has a mean streak at times. All of that being said, I think this was all believable for her character and the story. She is a strong character who has strong held beliefs and opinions and she will not back down from them.

Another thing I liked was that this book had some pretty good LGBT-rep. There was a female/female romance and there was also a non-binary character who was referred with their correct pronouns (they/them/their) for the entirety of the time they were mentioned in the book. Albeit, they were not a main character.

All of that being said, I enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next in the series.

Have a great day!

~Cam

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Tropes


***Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018, where Jana posts topics in advance for other bloggers to make posts about. ***


Heists

Heists, thieves and sneaking around? Come on, what’s not to love? Six of Crows and The Lies of Locke Lamora have to be two of my faves fantasies out there, so it comes as no surprise that this is on my list.


Hard Exterior/Gooey Interior

I love a character who exhibits the rough around the edges, “tough boy/girl” exterior while inside they truly do care about others strongly and deeply. I always love a character who tries to project that they don’t care, but fails due to how they empathize /sympathize with those around them.


Strong Female Character

Do I really need to elaborate on why I need this trope in my life?


Non Linear Timeline

Alright alright, hear me out: I love non linear timelines. I love to see the juxtaposition between past and present, present and future etc. I love to see the how things were and how they are now. I love to theorize how they got that way, or why. My favorite example of this is The Handmaid’s Tale . It leaves a lot of room for theories and twists.


Hidden Royalty

I love a “you’re actually a queen/princess/prince/king story” I love to see how the person changes after they find out they’re a royal. To be honest, I love stories that include royalty in general.


Found Family

I love found family. As someone who doesn’t have a “traditional family” I feel found family in a very profound way. There’s nothing more heartwarming than finding unconditionally supportive friends who are closer than family, especially in books.


SPACE

If you couldn’t tell by my theme, and my blog’s name, I love anything space. I find the topic of space so fascinating and so brilliant that I am always drawn to science fiction and books set in other galaxies, planets, worlds etc.


Quests

I love a well built world, I love the mystery and intrigue of trying to figure out how to solve a world shattering problem. Quests allow me to explore a world, while also having some major problem solving take place.


Intrigue/Politics

I love a world that has intrigue, politics, backstabbing, oh the drama! I love a character who feels like a fish out of water navigating the courts of some far off kingdom as they try to hide their identity and fit in. I love it all. It’s just very entertaining to read, and I love to read about the politcal strife that kingdoms/countries undergo and how our characters react to it.


Hard Magic Systems

I love a magic system that has rules. I love a magic system that limits our character to a certain extent so they have to use their problem solving skills to come up with a solution to defeat whatever villain they are up against.


What about you? What some of your #TopTenTuesday tropes? Do you share any of mine? Do you dislike any of mine? Let’s discuss below! I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to keep reading. 🙂

~Cam