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Her Literary Salon - Get Lost in a Book with a Dame Who Just Can't Stop Reading

‘Two Sisters’ by Mary Hogan

I  am the middle child in a family of three girls, so it is no shock that I am drawn to sister stories – sisters who love each other, sisters who hate each other, sisters who hurt each other, sisters who give up everything to protect each other – as long as there are sisters, you can bet I will give the novel a try. Enter stage left, Mary Hogan’s novel, ‘Two Sisters’.

'Two Sisters' by Mary Hogan

The two sisters of this story’s title are older sister, Pia, and younger sister, Muriel. Muriel and Pia have a bitter and rivalrous relationship, largely due to their mother, Lidia – a spoiled, selfish, cruel, priest-seducing, less-than-stellar mom. The gist of the plot circles around over-weight and imperfect Muriel who was cruelly treated by both her mother and sister all through her formative years. Muriel was made to keep the family secrets, namely that perfect daughter Pia was in fact the result of a secret sexual affair between Lidia and her priest, while Muriel was the daughter that Lidia never really wanted.

I wanted to feel bad for Muriel. I wanted to feel outraged for her. That never really happened. And while I strongly disliked her mother Lidia, I really liked Muriel’s sister, Pia. I cared most about Pia and her struggle, her story. Even though Muriel is meant to be the heroine and main focus of this sister tale, I was most satisfied when I was reading about ill-fated Pia and generally uninterested when reading about Muriel and evil Mom, Lidia. Pia’s character was well-developed and intriguing, she was a combination of selfishness/perfection and selflessness/helplessness. Although she was cruel to Muriel, she was still incredibly likable and more relatable that any other character that author, Mary Hogan, created.

As the novel came to a close, I really didn’t care what happened to Muriel, or Lidia, or the mother/daughter relationship. I was done with the story, several chapters before the ending, at the conclusion of the sisters’ reconciliation and ability to finally forgive and accept each other. I placed down this book feeling as though I might have read this story wrong. Can you read a story wrong? Literature professors might say yes. Or is the ability to internalize a story how you chose and explore traits of humanity through fictionalized characters the real beauty of literature? Ultimately, Mary Hogan’s story made me think, and that is all I really want out of a book anyway – so I say, give this story a read and let me know what you think.

Salon Summary

RECOMMENDABILITY: 3 {out of 5} stars | ★★★☆☆
REPETITIVE READABILITY: 1 {out of 5} stars | ★☆☆☆☆
RATING: 4 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★☆

{This novel was gifted to Her Literary Salon by William Morrow/Harper Collins Publishers.}

Perfect Passages: ‘Lost Lake’ by Sarah Addison Allen

Perfect Passages: 'Lost Lake' by Sarah Addison Allen

‘But relying on one person for your every need is so dangerous. One set of hands isn’t enough to keep you from falling.’

‘Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me’ {A Pictorial Review}

'Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me' {A Pictorial Review}
'Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me' {A Pictorial Review}
'Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me' {A Pictorial Review}
'Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me' {A Pictorial Review}
'Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me' {A Pictorial Review}
'Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me' {A Pictorial Review}

Salon Summary

A fantastical exploration of fashion, color, beauty and reality – a completely and totally immersive collection. Bravo, Miles. You only want me ‘to love you’ … well, darling, I do. I really do.

RECOMMENDABILITY: 5 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★★
REPETITIVE READABILITY: 5 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★★
RATING: 5 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★★

‘City of Lost Dreams’ by Magnus Flyte

‘Geniesse das Leben ständig! Du bist länger tot als lebendig!’
Constantly enjoy life! You’re longer dead than alive!

'City of Lost Dreams' by Magnus Flyte

I find that my most pleasurable reads are those novels filled with well-written and engaging characters – characters who are unique, surprising, and likable. I most especially enjoy a book where even the villains are memorable. In Magnus Flyte’s ‘City of Lost Dreams’ every character is so full of life and such joie de vivre you can’t help but get lost in their stories. Studious and brave Sarah, immortal and witty Nico, sexy and loyal Max, and innocent but brilliant Pollina create a dynamic cast and take a reader on an action-packed journey through the modern day cities of Vienna and Prague.

A combination of Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ and  J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ – with a decidedly adult twist – the book is historical, fantastical, imaginative, original, and an all-around 300 pages of fun. The story combines real and imaginary historical figures and events into a not-completely realistic but still believable tale of music, history, art, time-travel, alchemy, friendship and love.

Honestly … not a book I would have ever chosen for myself; but in the end, one I thoroughly and surprisingly enjoyed. My only regret was reading book two in the series prior to reading book one – but seeing as I normally read the last chapter of every book first, this really was a very small regret/inconvenience. Well, I’m heading off to the library to pick up book one now and I recommend you do the same.

Salon Summary

RECOMMENDABILITY: 4 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★☆
REPETITIVE READABILITY: 2 {out of 5} stars | ★★☆☆☆
RATING: 4 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★☆

{This novel was gifted to Her Literary Salon by Penguin/Viking Books.}

Perfect Passages: ‘Call Me Zelda’ by Erika Robuck

“Not longevity. Not peace. Not some chloroformed happiness. Not tranquility. They are all such common goals … No. I want audacity. High color. Total independence.”

'Call Me Zelda' by Erika Robuck

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