the-girl-in-the-peach-tree-book-review

Book Review – The Girl In The Peach Tree by Michelle Oucharek-Deo

The Girl In The Peach Tree by Michelle Oucharek-Deo   ♥♥♥♥   Retails for $12.99, here. Tea Pairing: Pure Leaf Black Tea with Peach.

Let’s face it. More and more often people are turning to their phones and tablets to pass the time on the subway, their lunch breaks and during that burst of energy we all get right before it’s time for bed (I know you know what I’m talking about here!) But while a game of Candy Crush seems like a good way to ignore the hundreds of other people around you, what it doesn’t do is make you think or slow down time or inspire you to reflect on your life. And if I’m being honest, these are all things that everyone should be doing now more than ever.

So what then will inspire you to take a step back and evaluate where you’re at in your life? What will ask you if you’re truly happy and living a life that’s actually right for you? What will remind you that you are special and deserve everything you want in the world? This. Book.

the-girl-in-the-peach-tree-book-review

The Girl In The Peach Tree is Michelle Oucharek-Deo’s first novel and you can tell–for two reasons. The first, is (unfortunately) because there are typos–yes, grammatical errors and words spelled incorrectly. Unless you’re an editor like me, chances are you won’t even notice them and they won’t take away from the story. There are only six after all (yes, I counted) and for this I blame the publishing company editors who neglected to proofread for one final time.

The second reason is because Oucharek-Deo poured her heart and soul into this novel. And because of that, it truly is beautiful. The story of Maya, a 25 year-old girl who realizes on a whim that she was not happy living her life the way it was and set out on a trip to change that, is captivating. It is a story of the pieces of a person’s life coming together through a puzzle of pain, love, travel, betrayal and friendship.

girl-in-the-peach-tree-book-review

The way in which the story is written is what makes it so special. Oucarek-Deo has figured out a form of writing that can turn minutes into hours and show us the purest form of narrative. The story is full of occurrences of serendipity, which at first made the logistical side of me angry that the story was not relatable to real life. But as the pages went on the story showed me that what I had been thinking was wrong, and my life was more relatable to that of the main character than I thought.

This story has touched me in a way that could only nudge me in a positive direction. Life is a beautiful experience and it is more so when we remember to be grateful for all we are blessed with. The Girl In The Peach Tree reflects a similar style of writing to A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (my absolute favorite novel). As Oucharek-Deo continues her writing career I look forward to following along, and am hopeful that there will be a sequel to this book. x

Stay Classy! xx

Book Review – Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Orlando by Virginia Woolf    *****    Retails for $10, here.

OK, so before you keep reading I want you to do me (and yourself) a favor. Close your eyes, take a reaaaally deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it out. Open your eyes again. Feel better yet?

This sensation of slowing down time is something that I get from meditating, yoga and reading. I’m been doing a lot of this trio lately and I think it’s been working pretty well for me. It really does wonders to take some time out of your day to reward yourself with a little “me time” and relaxation.

I guess the title of this blog post is a little bit of a white lie. I won’t be reviewing Orlando – I couldn’t critique one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century on one of her most popular works. I can however, and will, tell you that the first few chapters of the novel were written with beautiful language, but I found something lacking in the story. By the middle of the novel I understood what was occurring and by the last chapter of the novel, I was thinking about which of Woolf’s books I would read next.

16106006_889650094404780_5949930313126023486_n

I don’t think I’ve ever had a favorite chapter of a novel before. Nor do I think that any single quote has ever struck me as one did on these pages. This quote brought the book to life and made it timeless, so-to-speak, especially because of the recent political events occurring in the U.S. these past few weeks.

For what more terrifying revelation can there be than that it is the present moment? That we survive the shock at all is only possible because the past shelters us on one side, the future on another.

Take another deeeep breath and absorb the effervescent meaning of that quote. It’s brilliant. And it’s relevant. This present moment, to the majority of the United States of America, is entirely terrifying. The women of this country are threatened of losing some of their rights. The safety of our country’s minorities is once again at risk. We, as an entity, do not feel that we will be protected or respected.

Many of us, have found so much fear in the event of Trump’s leadership that we’ve taken to protests. The Women’s March was just the beginning. I’ve seen posts about these “new age suffragettes,” calling people to stand up for what we believe is right and shut down what we believe is wrong. Our past shows that we’ve done it once before, and our future shows that there is hope that we will, one day, be able to put our trust in our leadership again.

16114507_889650114404778_7397248305266915323_n

The entire last chapter of Orlando is full of this timeless wisdom that Woolf integrates within her story. To me, it is this chapter that makes the entire novel worth reading.

P.S. Follow Class and the City on Instagram! x

Stay Classy! xx

Cookbook Giveaway: Bowls of Plenty by Carolynn Carreno

Hi guys! I hope you had a *~ wonderful ~* second week of 2017. I’m so excited to announce this cookbook giveaway, which will certainly help you reach your healthy eating goals for the New Year!

15966156_882001205169669_2478830904326672088_n

Written by Carolynn Carreno, a James Bear award-winning journalist, Bowls of Plenty is the kitchen aid you need to help you plan your meals for the week, work with meal prep and make the most out of your leftovers, and learn to create hearty yet healthy meals that are perfect for the whole family. This cookbook is full of ingredient alternatives and new and exciting options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. I can’t wait to try out some of her beautiful recipes myself!

Want to win this cookbook? Here’s what you need to do! (I’ll be selecting the winner in exactly one week!)

  1. Make sure you’re following this site via WordPress OR E-mail!
  2. Like Class and the City on Facebook.
  3. Follow Class and the City on Instagram.
  4. Leave a comment on this post sharing one of your New Year’s Resolutions! x

Stay Classy & Good Luck! xx

 

Book Review: The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck        ****        Retails for $9.00, here.     

To be completely honest, it has been quite some time since I have finished a book that doesn’t have anything to do with school. I’ve been telling myself the only time I can start to tackle the stacks of unopened books on my shelf are in my spare time – which seemed to be non-existent. Well, it was about time to kick that notion to the curb, stop whining and do something that made me relaxed and happy. I started shutting down my computer a half hour before bed each night and made an effort to read a hard-copy book for pleasure. Fortunately, I picked The Wedding Shop by New York Times best-selling author, Rachel Hauck, who created a beautiful story that spanned many decades.

15871727_878639578839165_549926704710321412_n

This book captured my attention from the very start, portraying one of my favorite types of stories (like in All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr). The book starts off in a modern-day time period and incorporates stories and characters from the 1930’s, both in the small close-knit town of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee. Two would-have-been romances, two budding romances, two female entreprenurs and tense family relationships; the parallels that Hauck creates between the characters are beautifully threaded together in a way that keeps the mystery of how they are connected going until the very end of the story. In one way it shows that we are all connected to one another and that the world is smaller than we think. In another it shows that kindness and perseverance are what can help us reach our goals, in the end.

15780776_878639618839161_2928160721193529804_n

The story surrounds the mystery behind an old wedding shop. An almost thirty-year-old former air force captain hits a hard spot in her life and moves home while deciding what her next step is. The story intertwines with the hardships of the shop’s previous owner – a determined young 1930’s girl who also fears love and is more comfortable with the idea of work. The parallels begin to envelope one another as the stories continue to develop, showing that time may not separate us in all the ways we may think.

15894381_878639558839167_7068841046277183479_n

I commend Hauck on her work and found her writing to be beautiful and easy to follow. I devoured a few chapters each night and woke up still invested in the characters and story. This book is a must-read for those who enjoy a hint of vintage historical fiction and romance, connected with a bit of modern flair.

Stay Classy! xx

Coffee Is Not My Cup Of Tea

12289549_676133579089767_1727533665222606067_n

Obviously, cold weather equates to grumpy people. Chilly days are unpleasant by definition. Gloomy clouds bounce around the sky and contribute to an unhappy society. They make people bundle up in pounds of clothing just so they can sweat when entering a heated building and still freeze with every gust of cold wind that blows down from the control centers above.

But even the grumpiest person needs to learn how to cope if they don’t want to be unapproachable, fired from their job or even just so they can stay on good terms with their friends and family. For many, the answer is in the tealeaves, literally.

People need to drink more tea!

If you haven’t picked up on it already, I’m a tea lover through and 11140033_676133602423098_4171763640332512481_nthrough. I have stash of a wide variety of tea bags in my room and prefer sipping on multiple cups throughout the day to get my caffeine and a sense of calm. Of course, tea is nothing without hot water and nothing makes me simmer more than waiting for water to boil. When I first tried out Rosewill’s Stainless Steel Water Kettle I realized that I’d been totally missing out.

First of all the Rosewill electric kettle (I have Model # RHKT-15001) is incredibly stylish. (Who knew electric kettles could be classy??) I have the white kettle, and was delighted when I first used it and discovered that when you turn it on part of it lights up a iridescent blue. Not only am I in love with the design, but the kettle holds the perfect amount of water (1.5L) for multiple cups of tea so you don’t need to keep refilling. Using 1500 watts of power, the kettle brings water to a boil in a matter of minutes. In my own experience, it takes about a minute, which saves SO much time compared to my previous kettle!

12289468_676133632423095_4563701602647720590_nAs the temperatures keep dropping (it’s snowing today in Chicago and London!?) snuggling in bed with a cup of hot tea, a fabulous book and some fuzzy socks is going to become more and more enticing. Give yourself a break for convenience and go out and purchase this electric kettle (it’s okay to spoil yourself!) it retails for $59.99 and you can get it on rosewill.com.

Also—all of those books featured in the photos are AMAZING (and totally different from each other) and I’m going to have reviews up for them soon for all of my bookworms 🙂

There’s certainly nothing more agreeable than tea and a good book!

Stay Classy! xx