The Bookseller

ImageHugo Marston is the head of security at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.  When he sees his friend Max, a bouquiniste, kidnapped at gunpoint, and the police are seemingly unwilling to investigate, Hugo has to take matters into his own hands.  With the help of a beautiful reporter, an old buddy in the CIA, and eventually a wary police officer, Hugo will get embroiled in a mystery that spans the Holocaust, drug running and corruption.  As more and more bouquinistes turn up dead, he rubs elbows with wealthy and important citizens, thugs, and becomes a target of violence himself as he searches for the truth of what happened to his friend and why.

I had a lot of fun reading this book.  I got to learn a lot about bouquinistes (booksellers of old and rare books setup in carts along the Seine), about collaborators and resisters during the Holocaust, and to read about Paris in winter (seems like it’s always been spring or summer there in everything else I’ve ever read!).  Now I really want to go to Paris to browse both sides of the Seine, preferably while eating some delectable pastry! Although I’m sure it would still be better to go in spring or summer!

The story moved along quickly, some of the characters could have been more well-developed (and therefore more sympathetic, liked, or at least hated) and I did figure out the ending before the end, but it was still a joy to get there!  I do look forward to reading the next book in this series to see if there is growth in the character development and a little more surprise in the ending.

Title: The Bookseller: The First Hugo Marston Novel
Author: Mark Pryor
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 300
Publication: Seventh Street Books, October 2012

Just One Day

My resolution to not start a series until all of the books have been released went right out the window!  When I started this book I had no idea that there was going to be a second book, released in October, called Just One Year.  I didn’t realize it until I was half way through the book and happened to glance at the back cover – “Coming Soon!”  Seriously?!  Now I have to wait another 8 months for this story to end??  I HATE it when that happens!
just one dayAllyson is on a trip through Europe before starting college in the fall, boring, reliable, safe Allyson, when she meets Willem, a Dutchman performing Shakespeare, and agrees to spend a day with him in Paris.  Willem dubs her Lulu, and for that one day she allows herself to be, to feel, to experience, to love.

“Because that day with Willem, I may have pretended to be someone named Lulu, but I had never been more honest in my life.  Maybe that’s the thing with liberation. It comes at a price.”

When Allyson wakes up the next day and is unable to find Willem, she has to find herself.  Her one day in Paris changes her life and sends her on a year of self-discovery.

“Part of me knows one more day won’t do anything except postpone the heartbreak. But another part of me believes differently. We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.” 

Allyson is not the only character on a journey of self-discovery – her best friend tries on different personalities as casually as trying on shoes and abandons Allyson in the process.  Dee, her gay friend in college, is also trying to figure out who and how to be, who to show himself to, and what parts of himself to share.  Allyson’s mother is controlling and annoying, but as a mom myself I can appreciate her journey of figuring out who she is if her days are not absorbed with being Allyson’s mom.  How does a young adult break away and how does a parent learn to let go?

Just One Day was a joy to read (even if there is now an 8-month long cliffhanger!), although Allyson’s struggle to find herself does get a little annoying in the middle of the book where she seems to spend far too much time feeling sorry for herself and very little time trying to do something about it!  Having said that, I was racing to the end, found it to be a quick and enjoyable read filled with travel, friendship, and maybe even love…

   Title: Just One Day   
   Author: Gayle Forman   
   Genre: Young Adult Fiction
   Pages: 369
   Publication: Dutton Juvenile, January 2013