Sisterhood Spotlight: The Miniaturist

I am a bit of a snobby reader.

I personally blame my education – I have a degree in English, which was a learning path littered with literature and high-brow criticism, and hours upon hours upon hours of reading and dissecting said reading. In the end? I know what I like. I know what I don’t like. And it all comes crashing into the fact that I have very little time to actually read. When I choose a book I am really picky – I need it to be well-written, I need it to grab me, I need it to not be too graphic (or my very impressionable brain will run away with all the gory details), and I need it to be fairly straightforward (Fantasy? Sci-fi? If it’s based in a world like ours, I have a shot…build a completely new world with an entirely new vocabulary to name every piece of it?? Either give me a glossary or you’ll have to wait until I have all my faculties again…which will probably be never).

That’s why I LOVED The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, a debut novelist who wowed me with her prowess, imagination, and finely spun tale.

The story is set in 1686 Amsterdam, where 18-year old Nella is newly married to her wealthy merchant husband. But when she arrives to her new life, where she expects to be the mistress of her domain, she is met with blow after blow, surprise after surprise, and in the midst of it all, a cabinet-sized replica of her new home.

This book pulled me in from the beginning, with writing that was strong, yet clear. Although it is set in the late 1600s, and in a different country, Jessie Burton does a superb job of bringing you right in the middle of the culture and world, without making you feel like you’re playing catch-up the whole time. And even though there is a glossary in the back (THANK YOU), I didn’t have to use it once while reading.

I loved the history, the opulence, the hardship, the class and race clashes, the clandestine love, the unrequited love, and the extraordinary, yet hidden, strength of the main character, Nella.

The writing was gorgeous and the story was thrilling. It was a book that was easy to read, made me never want to put it down, made me want it to end so I could figure out where we were going, yet made me wish it never ended so I didn’t have to leave the world. The last quarter of the book was so tense and emotionally taunt that when I finished reading, I had a lump in my chest that I had carried for days.

I fully recommend this book…and now I need to go write more of my own novel, because Jessie Burton? You’ve inspired me. Thank you.

~ Julia

Sisterhood Spotlight: Guilty Pleasures

We all have those dirty little secrets.

You know, those smut books we don’t talk about, but they are our favourite: Fifty Shades of Grey, Harlequin Romances, and books about cowboys and riding off into a sunset with him by your side, with a roll in the hay!

We all have them.

I do too, however, my favourite started off without the smut. My favourite is a series of supernatural romance, which is oddly enough found in most horror sections.

This series is not for everyone; in fact if you do not like werewolves, wereleopards, vampires, and necromancers, then you will NOT like this series at all.

This is all about the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

Starting off with just a woman who had to grow up too soon in life, and is more in favour of solitude because of it, these books take you on her path of self-discovery, with twists of mystery and, in about the fifth book, sex.

She is strong-willed, can wield a gun, and is not your average ‘china doll,’ as her looks would make you believe. She is a hard woman and a bit of a badass.

As Laurell K. Hamilton explains, “In a world where vampires, zombies and werewolves have been declared legal citizens of the United States, Anita Blake is an “animator” – a profession that involves raising the dead for mourning relatives. But Anita is also known as a fearsome hunter of criminal vampires, and she’s often employed to investigate cases that are far too much for conventional police. But as Anita gains the attention of the vampire masters of her hometown of St. Louis, she also risks revealing an intriguing secret about herself – the source of her unusual strength and power.”

The books have the most witty and sarcastic flavor. They are a treat to read and I for one love them.

Give them a try, if any of these words appeal to you!

Start at the beginning with Guilty Pleasures.

title_Guilty_Pleasures

~ Andreah