Welcome to Ivory Owl Reviews

Just browsing?
Click on any of the above photos to jump to one of my popular posts (on desktop version)

Want to see what's new?
Scroll down for my most recent posts (desktop and mobile versions)

Looking for something?
Use the search box in the right hand column (desktop) or at the bottom of the page (mobile)

Review: The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Marriage of Opposites
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
ISBN: 9781451693591
Number of Pages: 384
How I Got It: Book of the Month Club
Format: Hardback
Goodreads Description:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro; the Father of Impressionism. Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel's mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel's salvation is their maid Adelle's belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle's daughter. But Rachel's life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father's business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Fr├ęderick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France. Building on the triumphs of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, set in a world of almost unimaginable beauty, The Marriage of Opposites showcases the beloved, bestselling Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Fr├ęderick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.

My Review:
I was thrilled to receive this novel as a selection in the Book of the Month Club. It is similar to The Dovekeepers in that it is multigenerational and filled with dreamy settings, but I was wanting more of the magic realism Hoffman gave me in her previous novels. Hoffman did transport me to St. Thomas; full of exotic birds and unspoken caste systems, and Paris; full of gardens, art salons, and modern thinking. I love a book with a female protagonist and Rachel does not disappoint. She is stubborn and pushes the boundaries of acceptable behavior in her community. I would recommend this book to anyone loving lush settings and strong women in historical fiction. 

***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

12 October Releases I Can't Wait to Read

I doubt I will be able to read all of these, but these are the releases I'm most excited about for October!

Contract Children : Questioning Surrogacy by Daniela Danna (10/1)

Censored 2016 : The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2014-15 by Mickey Huff, Andy Lee Roth (10/6)

Final Chapters : How Famous Authors Died by Jim Bernhard (10/13)

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani (10/13)

Mass Disruption : Thirty Years on the Front Lines of a Media Revolution by John Stackhouse (10/27)

Plotted : A Literary Atlas by Andrew DeGraff, Daniel Harmon (10/20)

The Witches : Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff (10/27)

Notorious RBG : The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik (10/27)

The Looks of Love : 50 Moments in Fashion That Inspired Romance by Hal Rubenstein (10/27)

Media Moms & Digital Dads : A Fact-Not-Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age by Yalda Uhls (10/27)

Not For Tourists Guide to Chicago 2016 (10/27)

My Life on the Road : My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (10/27)

A Dozen Delicious October Releases

October is my favorite month and I can't wait to dig into these fabulous foodie releases! Yum!

Inspiration for Cooks by Emily Darcy (10/1)

Prohibition Bakery by Leslie Feinberg, Brooke Siem (10/6)

Food Gift Love : More than 100 Recipes to Make, Wrap, and Share by Maggie Battista (10/13)

The Southern Baker : Sweet & Savory Treats to Share with Friends and Family (10/6)

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime by Ree Drummond (10/20)

Sweetie Pie's Cookbook by Robbie Montgomery, Tim Norman (10/20)

Eating Words : A Norton Anthology of Food Writing by Sandra M. Gilbert, Roger J. Porter, Ruth Reichl (10/26)

The Southerner's Cookbook : Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories by Editors of Garden and Gun (10/27)

Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate (10/27)

Women Chefs of New York by Nadia Arumugam (10/27)

Rice, Noodle, Fish : Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture by Matt Goulding (10/27)

Food Whore : A Novel of Dining and Deceit by Jessica Tom (10/27)

Review: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

Title: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Author: Salman Rushdie
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
ISBN: 9780812998917
Number of Pages: 286
How I Got It: direct from publisher
Format: paperback
Goodreads Description:
From one of the greatest writers of our time: the most spellbinding, entertaining, wildly imaginative novel of his great career, which blends history and myth with tremendous philosophical depth. A masterful, mesmerizing modern tale about worlds dangerously colliding, the monsters that are unleashed when reason recedes, and a beautiful testament to the power of love and humanity in chaotic times.
Inspired by 2,000 years of storytelling yet rooted in the concerns of our present moment, this is a spectacular achievement--enchanting, both very funny and terrifying. It is narrated by our descendants 1000 years hence, looking back on "The War of the Worlds" that began with "the time of the strangenesses": a simple gardener begins to levitate; a baby is born with the unnerving ability to detect corruption in people; the ghosts of two long-dead philosophers begin arguing once more; and storms pummel New York so hard that a crack appears in the universe, letting in the destructive djinns of myth (as well as some graphic superheroes). Nothing less than the survival of our world is at stake. Only one, a djinn princess who centuries before had learned to love humankind, resolves to help us: in the face of dynastic intrigue, she raises an army composed of her semi-magical great-great--etc.--grandchildren--a motley crew of endearing characters who come together to save the world in a battle waged for 1,001 nights--or, to be precise, two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights.
My Review:
This is one of those books that is difficult for me to review. Rushdie's storytelling abilities are without a doubt magical. He is widely acclaimed for good reason, so I expected excellence. His story is a mix of fables and myths spun into an epic fantasy. It is full of alternate, invented history and told by an omnipotent narrator. There are stories within stories and lush, interesting word choices that had me re-reading sentences and smiling at the structure. And yet....I really disliked it. Reading it felt reminiscent of college and when you were told "This is Literature" with a capital L. It is not like anything else I have read and I always appreciate something different, but I did not personally enjoy it.

** I received a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. **