Book Review: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

369 pages

ISBN: 9780593135235

Published 3/3/20 by Ballantine Books

Genre: Contemporary

Rating: 4 out of 5.

B&N | Amazon

Thank you to Goodreads for the finished giveaway copy. Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the early digital copy.

Goodreads synopsis:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

Written with Josie Silver’s trademark warmth and wit, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arise at life’s crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them. 

Review:

Tonight has felt much like trying to walk a tightrope. In fact, that’s a good analogy for how life is for me at the moment—I’m constantly standing on an invisible wire between two worlds and hoping like hell that I don’t plummet to my death. For a girl with bad balance, it’s hard work.

Trigger warnings: Death of a loved one, grieving, addiction to medication, miscarriage.

I know you’re probably asking, “Vivian, did you really give this four stars?”

Yes, I did give it four stars. I’m just as shocked as all of you, I think. I really found myself enjoying it the further I progressed. It’s just really cute, sad, and raw. It does get a little weird at some points (Lydia and delivering a baby), but I looked past them. They did mess with my rating a little if I’m being honest.

ANYWAY, I digress.

I’m sure you’ve heard by everyone that this a book about grieving. That’s basically all it us, but there’s actually a lot of growth with the characters that I didn’t expect.

Let’s start with Lydia, obviously. She loses her fiancé in a car accident he was in with his best friend, Jonah. She struggles to sleep because of it, so she ends up taking medication to help her sleep. She starts to dream about another life with Freddie causing her to become addicted. She soon realizes that the two lives are very different. She isn’t reliving the same memories she had with Freddie. Freddie doesn’t really act the way she remembered. As the story progresses, though, she notices more of what their relationship was about. She has to decide the right thing to do, which I found to be quite sad. This book did manage to break my heart a bit. I can’t imagine what I would do.

By the end of the book, she does have a lot of room to still grow, but I thought it ended in a good place. Nothing insanely sad about it.

If you thought I wasn’t going to talk about Jonah, then you’re wrong. He quickly became one of my favorite fictional love interests. He stuck with Lydia the entire time, even though he was dealing with the death of Freddie. He wanted to make sure that she was okay. I’m also happy that he got to live out a dream of his toward the end of the novel. He goes through quite a bit of growth as well, so don’t give up on him right away.

Jonah and Lydia do struggle in the beginning of the story because Jonah was with Freddie when he died, and Lydia has a hard time understanding it. She eventually loosens her grip. The good thing is that she doesn’t blame Jonah for the accident. She understands that what happened, happened, no matter how devastating it is.

There isn’t a handy grief blueprint. You don’t get over losing someone you love in six months or two years or twenty, but you do have to find a way to carry on living without feeling as if everything that comes afterward is second best. Some people walk up mountains, others throw themselves out of planes. Everyone has to find their own way back, and if they’re lucky they’ll have people who love them to hold their hand.

Overall, I recommend this novel, but it definitely won’t be for everyone. You need to have patience, and the ability to withstand a slow burn story. I really enjoyed this one, and I’ll probably check out anything else Josie Silver has written / will write. Go check this one out if you’re interested.


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NetGalley Checklist: Books Being Published in April

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Publication: 4/7/20 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

368 pages

ISBN: 9780593085424

Goodreads blurb:

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut. 

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Publication: 4/7/20 by Atria Books

352 pages

ISBN: 9781982136116

Goodreads blurb:

In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey

Publication: 4/14/20 by Berkley

336 pages

ISBN: 9781984804938

Goodreads blurb:

In a funny, insightful, and life-affirming debut, Brooke Fossey delivers an unflinching look at growing old, living large, and loving big, as told by a wise-cracking man who didn’t see any of it coming.

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Publication: 4/21/20 by Viking

432 pages

ISBN: 9780525429760

Goodreads blurb:

The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her. 

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

Publication: 4/21/20 by Ace: Berkley Pub

384 pages

ISBN: 9781984805997

Goodreads blurb:

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

He Started It by Samantha Downing

Publication: 4/28/20 by Berkley

384 pages

ISBN: 9780451491756

Goodreads blurb:

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

Thank you to all of the publishers / NetGalley for the early digital copies! I also won The Big Finish in a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to Goodreads as well.

Let me know if any of you would be interested in the books being released each month on my NetGalley checklist! This way it would make these a decent length without listing ALL of them in one post.


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Book Review: The Last Taxi Driver by Lee Durkee

Thank you to Tin House Books / NetGalley for the early digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

The Last Taxi Driver by Lee Durkee

280 pages (I don’t know how they got that number. My copy was 229 pages.)

ISBN: 9781947793392

Published: 3/3/20 by Tin House Books

Genre: General Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5.

B&N | Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Written by a former cabbie, The Last Taxi Driver is a darkly comic novel about a middle-aged hackie’s daylong descent into madness, heartbreak, and murder. Lou—a lapsed novelist and UFO aficionado—drives 70-hour weeks for a ramshackle taxi company that operates on the outskirts of a north Mississippi college town among the trailer parks and housing projects. With Uber moving into town and his way of life fast vanishing, his girlfriend moving out on him, and his archenemy-dispatcher suddenly returning to the state on the lam, Lou must keep driving his way through a bedlam shift even when that means aiding and abetting the host of criminal misfits haunting the back seat of his Town Car. Shedding nuts and bolts at every turn, The Last Taxi Driver careens through the highways and back roads, from Mississippi to Memphis and back, as Lou becomes increasingly somnambulant and his fares increasingly eccentric. Equal parts Bukowski and Portis, Durkee’s novel is an homage to a dying American industry.

Review:

Actually I am a demolition derby of revved-up opinions crashing into each other.

This book is 100% dark humor. If you aren’t used to the ability to brush off tough topics such as suicide, then this might not be for you. Dark humor isn’t my niche, but my brain definitely understands it a bit more than slapstick or blue comedy. Since this is about a cab driver, I expected those types of jokes to pop up. There is a lot of profanity, which doesn’t bother me, but if that bothers you then maybe take caution or just don’t read it.

With all of that being said, this book is genius. I know I didn’t give it five-stars, but I could appreciate what it did. The characters were all so raw, real, and interesting. There was a lot of drug talk, and for a person who lives in a part of Kentucky with that being a pressing issue, this is an accurate depiction. 

Lou, the cab driver, seems like he would be independent. You assume he wouldn’t take orders from anyone, but he is quite opposite. The whole book he gives in to all the demands thrown his way, making him lose his mind. He’s constantly thinking about past cab rides he has given to a slew of different people. He even deals with the raging part of driving. There were so many comments woven through this book that made me cackle. I have terrible road rage, and I wanted to rip the pages out of the book, make copies, and tape them to windshields of terrible drivers. Don’t worry, it was very inclusive with the different types of drivers that are out in the world. 

This has pretty good ratings on Goodreads, and I don’t blame anyone for loving it. It’s well-written and funny. I understand that it won’t be for everyone, but the community that does enjoy it has every right to. Would I read it again? Possibly. I don’t think I understood everything that was thrown at me. I also didn’t get the point of the ending, but then again, I’m not a critical reader. 
I would recommend this to a specific type of reader. It won’t be for everyone.


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Blogmas Day 26 – Book Review: On the Corner of Love and Hate (Hopeless Romantics #1) by Nina Bocci

Happy BLOGMAS Day 26!

On the Corner of Love and Hate (Hopeless Romantics #1) by Nina Bocci

Published: 8/20/19 by Gallery Books

336 pages

ISBN: 9781982102036 (paperback)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Thank you to NetGalley / Gallery Books for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

B&N | Amazon


Goodreads Synopsis

What’s a campaign manager’s worst nightmare? A smooth-talking charmer who’s never met a scandal that he didn’t like.

When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and mayor of her town—asks her to help rehab Cooper Endicott’s image, she’s horrified. Cooper drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, and she can’t say no to him without him finding out the reason why: Cooper and her have a messy past. So Emmanuelle reluctantly launches her father’s grand plan to get this Casanova someone to settle down with and help him lose his lothario reputation.

Cooper Endicott wanted to run for Mayor, but he never wanted the drama that went with it. Now that he’s on the political hamster wheel, the other candidates are digging up everything from his past. Even though he’s doing all the right things, his colorful love life is the sticking point for many of the conservative voters. He wants to win, badly, and he knows that if he wants any chance of getting a vote from the female population, he needs to change his image. The only problem? He might just be falling in love with the one person he promised not to pursue: the Mayor’s off-limits daughter.


Review

At the end of this, we’re still whatever we were before. No matter how ugly or how pretty. We’re Cooper and Emmanuelle. Whether you’re mayor or back in the office driving me insane. We’re still us.”

Emmanuelle Peroni

Writing |

I thought that the writing was inconsistent at times. It would talk about one thing and then something raunchy would come out of a character’s mouth. It caught me off guard a few times. Other than that, it was written quite well. It wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before.

Characters |

Emmanuelle Peroni: Father is current mayor of Hope Lake, PA. Cooper is an old friend who is running for Mayor. He drives her insane, but her father insists that she run his campaign. She agrees but no one can know that she’s doing it. She keeps him involved with the community. She slowly starts to find that she has feelings for him.

  • She watches Bob Ross on Netflix which gave her points in my book.
    • She was probably my favorite character if I had to pick one. She has a good head on her shoulders and she cares for the ones she loves. Emma kept Cooper afloat the whole book.

Cooper Endicott: Running for Mayor. He has a colorful past with the ladies. It has gotten him in trouble more often than not.

  • I hated him at first, just like Emma did. He is cocky, arrogant, and lazy. Then he changes when Emma becomes his campaign manager. He actually sees how great the community actually is.
    • He’s terrible at staying away from cameras.

Kirby: Opponent of Cooper in the Mayoral election.

  • Doesn’t play a huge roll in the novel. He’s a huge jerk though. He’s just there to serve as the “villain”.

The Jacksons: Haley Jackson, JOE founder and the majority stakeholder’s wife, is the woman who Cooper has a scandal with. They eventually agreed to work with Cooper again. Another “scandal” is revealed, but it’s debunked. No worries!

Whitney: Emma’s old roommate, now Cooper’s fake lawyer girlfriend. She makes him look good during the campaign.

  • She’s a total brat toward Emma for no reason. Emma definitely has jealous tendencies toward her but that doesn’t matter in the end.

Story |

It’s another meh romance novel for me. This reminds me of Red, White & Royal Blue in the political sense. I knew that it dealt with politics but it completely took over. I wanted more romance and smut. Do not go into this expecting sexy. It’s far from it. It’s just a buildup of back and forth sexual tension, an accidental passionate kiss, and a cute resolution. It drags the whole way and speeds up tenfold at the end.

The story isn’t horrible, but I don’t typically understand much about politics. It lost me. I hesitated to pick this up for months, and I’m sad it really did nothing for me.

There was a Golden Girls reference made, and I’m pretty sure that was where the third star came from. I love the Golden Girls! Dorothy was probably my favorite out of all the girls.

Overall |

The writing wasn’t bad, the characters were actually decent, but the story didn’t do what I expected. Not enough romance for me. There’s something in me that wants to read the next one though. Is that bad? I’m just curious to see if anything changes.

Do I recommend this? Probably not. It might be great for people who are entering the romance genre or people who don’t like a lot of smut in their romance novels.


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The End of the Year Book Tag – 2019

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I’m not quite sure who the creator is for this one. If anyone can answer that, then leave it in the comments. I wasn’t tagged, but I figured this would be a great time to do this.

Are there any books your started this year that you need to finish?

I have DNF’d quite a few, but these are the ones I want to pick back up, eventually.

The Heart Keeper by Alex Dahl

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior

At the Wolf’s Table by Rosella Postorino

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

No, I pick up whatever I want to any time of the year.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Not for this year. There are quite a few coming out at the beginning 2020 that I’m excited for.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

Is there a book that you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

I’ve heard so many good things about The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. I really want it to become a favorite. I’m nervous to start it though.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

I have thought about a few things here and there. I’m trying not to think about how this year is already almost over!

I’m not tagging anyone, but feel free to participate!


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Book Recommendations from Six Different Genres

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I never give book recommendations, and I felt it was a good time. I haven’t read enough to give you some from a particular genre, so here are six various genres. I even included a few Young Adult books, even though I don’t read Young Adult much anymore. There are a lot of you who do, and I respect that, too. Anyway, here are my book recommendations!

Historical Fiction 

40776163. sx318  The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

18143977 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

36529552. sy475  Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

41952185 The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung

Fantasy 

15329 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

33 The Lord of the Rings seriesby J.R.R. Tolkien

29588376. sy475  The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

68428. sy475  The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Contemporary 

34273236. sy475  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

41880044 The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

32620332. sy475  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Young adult contemporary  

30038906. sy475  The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

40714769. sy475  Dig by A.S. King

Science Fiction (Dystopian) 

32758901. sy475  All Systems Red by Martha Wells

41940388 The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

170448 Animal Farm by George Orwell

Young adult Dystopian 

28954189 Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

Thriller/Mystery/Horror

41837243. sy475  Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

40489648. sy475  The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

40605223. sy475  I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

40121959 Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Romance

39555142. sy475  Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

42201431 The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

40189670  Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

See any of your favorites on here? Least favorites? Let me know in the comments!


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