The Geography of You and Me: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithLucy and Owen meet in an elevator trapped between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City highrise during a citywide blackout. What could have been an ordinary night spent alone in the dark becomes a shared moment of wonder for Lucy and Owen. Together they explore a Manhattan that looks more like a party than a crisis before admiring the shockingly bright stars over Manhattan’s skyline.

But after that one magical night, Lucy and Owen find themselves pulled in opposite directions. Literally. Owen and his father head for points west while Lucy and her parents move to Edinburgh.

Lucy and Owen don’t have a lot in common to start with. They don’t even know much about each other. Still their relationship plays out across the miles in the form of postcards and sporadic emails. Although both Lucy and Owen try to move on they soon realize an unfinished something keeps pulling them back to each other in The Geography of You and Me (2014) by Jennifer E. Smith.

The Geography of You and Me is a delightful story of an unlikely long-distance relationship and an ode to the joys of travel and old-fashioned correspondence. Smith brings the wonder and frustrations of a New York blackout delightfully to life in the opening pages. The evocative prose just gets better from there as readers travel across the country with Owen and across the Atlantic with Lucy.

The story alternates between Lucy and Owen’s perspective to offer insights not just into their correspondence but also into the relationships both have with their parents. As much as The Geography of You and Me is a romance it is also an anthem for family and communication. With Lucy coming from a well-to-do family and Owen being on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum, there are also some interesting moments about privilege and what that can mean in modern life.

Smith offers nods to social networking and emails while also hearkening back to the simpler and often more sincere communications found in postcards. It is highly likely readers will seek a new pen pal or join Post Crossing after finishing this cheerfully well-traveled novel.

Possible Pairings: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, All I Need by Susane Colasanti, Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson, The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten, Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altedbrando

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things I Want

Top Ten Tuesdays img by Miss Print

I’m a lucky duck and already own quite a few bookish things. So this list can actually be boiled down to one awesome site with several options:


Litographs use the entire text of a book to create blocks for iconic images from books including Anne of Green Gables and Around the World in 80 Days among other options.

As an Emma I feel obligated to have an interest in items featuring Emma by Jane Austen (see also this Kate Spade “Emma” notebook I simply had to buy myself). So, obviously, I desperately want something from the Litographs Emma line.

I am leaning strongly toward buying this shirt but the poster and tote bag are equally tempting.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

(Image made by me.)

Cruel Beauty: A Review

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeNyx was raised to marry a monster. She has always known she would marry a beast on her seventeenth birthday. She has been betrothed to the Gentle Lord since the disastrous day her father’s bargain blew up in his face–as bargains with demons generally do.

Nyx has been training for just as long to kill the Gentle Lord and free her people from his curse which surrounds their kingdom. It’s unlikely Nyx will survive this mission. Sometimes she isn’t even sure she will succeed. But isn’t it a worthy goal to die saving her people? Isn’t that something a normal girl without hate coursing through her veins would be eager to do?

As she is dressed and dragged through a sham wedding, Nyx is far from eager.

Inside the Gentle Lord’s castle she expects to find a ravening demon and a heap of ruins. Instead Nyx finds luxurious surroundings and Ignifex–a husband who is an charming as he is infuriating. As she learns more about Ignifex and the strange shadow that follows him everywhere, Nyx is torn between her sense of duty and her sense of what is right. The longer she spends in the castle, the more likely it seems that Nyx has had everything very, very wrong in Cruel Beauty (2014) by Rosamund Hodge.

Cruel Beauty is Hodge’s first novel.

Hodge draws on Greek mythology and fantasy elements to create an enchanting world filled with magic and demons; a world where bargains always have a price.

Nyx is a flawed, selfish heroine. And, given her upbringing, understandably so. She is realistic about her own faults as well as the limitations of her surroundings which makes her a very prickly, often angry, narrator. She isn’t always sympathetic but never doubt that she is interesting.

By comparison, Nyx’s new husband Ignifex is decidedly dull. Their romance, such as it is, is never quite as believable as this premise demands.

Ultimately the biggest problem with Cruel Beauty is that the underlying premise feels very seedy. Nyx is meant to seduce Ignifex and then kill him–essentially prostituting herself to save her people. The preoccupation in the first fifty pages with making Nyx look a delectable bride and easy to strip come the wedding night is decidedly uncomfortable.

This story should have a strong heroine and that heroine should be Nyx. She rails against the lot she has been given. She is furious about the societal constraints that have shaped her life. Then she meets her husband and tears open her own dress saying she is desperate for his touch to deflect any consequences from threatening to kill him. It all felt very clumsy and disagreeable.

Aside from the character issues, Hodge works with a lot of source material in Cruel Beauty. There are several references to Greek myths and fairies in this supposed retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Toward the end elements of the legend of Tam Lin also appear. While all of these things are interesting and have the potential to create a wonderful story, together it became a rather jumbled world with a lot of moving parts to follow just to understand the background of the story.

Possible Pairings: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Entwined by Heather Dixon, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Week in Review: April 13


This week on the blog you can check out:

I lost control of this month’s post schedules for a minute but I think it’s back under control now. *confetti*

I also spent all of Monday convinced it was Tuesday (only to face inevitable crushing disappointment when I realized my error). That’s set the tone for most of the week.

I’ve been very lazy and haven’t written anything but blog posts this month. I haven’t worked on my cross stitch or the afghan Mom gave me to finish because she found a better pattern to work on. I’ve just been a lump basically.

I read The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst this week because I was lucky enough to get a shiny arc and you will be hearing more about that next month.

Planning continues in an amorphous, non-planning way for BEA. In other words: I’m thinking about clothes to wear, purses to use, and I bought a phone charger.

I am slowly being buried alive by books despite keeping up a good clip of anywhere from one to four books a week. BUT I will prevail. (right?!)

How has your week been?

I’m reading a book with a firm obligation deadline next. But what should I read after? Pretty Girl 13 or Scat or The Body Finder?


April Photos in New York

The title might need some work but since I’m blogging daily this month and get to do whatever I want (since it is my blog) I thought I’d share some really awesome photos I’ve taken recently. (As ever, these are photos I took myself. Please do not take/share them without credit.)

First, here is a sparrow I met on the way to the library who essentially posed for this photo he was so cooperative:


Next a couple of shots of the Empire State Building as seen from Madison Square Park:



And finally I leave you with a photo I took of my mom’s favorite building, the Flatiron Building:


Linktastic!: 4/11/14 Edition

This Linktastic! post has so many cool things that it cannot even be categorized!

In which I share a poem I wrote about friends

I was originally going to pair this poem with a different review–but that one isn’t scheduled until June and upon further thought, this does work with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.

Okay so I love writing poems. And I love using them to tell stories. This is a sad story about a friend who wants to me more than friends and the narrator. Who does not. The idea was bouncing around in my head for a while not quite clicking. Then I looked through one of my old college textbooks on poetry writing (because I am that person) and I saw the format for a pantoum. And it clicked.

I like pantoums a lot because they let me shuffle lines. Sestinas and other poems that only demand word repeats are always harder for me and, often, I don’t like the rhythm as much. In retrospect this probably could have worked as a villanelle but for now I’m happy with this form.

Just Friends: A Pantoum
I tell you again and again.
“You are my friend.”
But you never hear what I say.
You hear murmurs from a life we aren’t in.
You are my friend.
Drowning in moments you refused to take.
You hear murmurs from a life we aren’t in.
I can’t stand still waiting for you.
Drowning in moments you refused to take
Saying things again and again that I can’t return.
I can’t stand still waiting for you.
I can only give this one part of me.
Saying things again and again that I can’t return.
But you never hear what I say.
I can only give this one part of me.
Even if I had more—it wouldn’t be for you.

(This poem is an original work by me. Copyrighted. Please don’t steal it.)