Weekly Wrap-Up

Do you suppose it's possible for us to already belong to someone before we've met them? —Juliet Ashton
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WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK

Guernsey on Netflix. Forgive us for still swooning. We may or may not have watched the manuscript/letter scene multiple times and counting. Between that and having just read Dear Mrs. Bird, we're awash in British adoration. Wouldn't it be lovely, dear readers, if we could all go to Guernsey and London together? Perhaps it's time we started Tours with Two at Twenty-Seven—who's in? We'll keep you posted on tour dates and destinations. Don't think we don't mean it. To tide you over, we thought we'd shower you with a little love from the other side of the pond. 

Swoon

Be still our London-loving hearts.

Cheerio Chap

We'd welcome this fella in our house anytime.

Shakespeare in Love

When it comes to wedding/anniversary gifts, it's hard to top the Bard.

A Lovely Frock

Johnnie never disappoints.

Ardent Adoration

Union Jack never looked so good.

Cup Cake Toppers

Someone throw us a party with these STAT.

Winston for the Win

We do love our Winnie.

Book Bag Upgrade

Happy books, happy reader.

London, Baby

Start 'em young.

Mini-Review Monday

"What is the lasting damage when you believe the warm spot you were just sleeping in will be your grave?" —Michelle McNamara, I'll be Gone in the Dark

Two Mini-Review Mondays in row? That has got to be a record. It would appear we're on a blogging roll around here. How long will it last? Nobody knows. Let's just revel in it while it's happening, shall we? Here are two of my latest reads:

True Crime

Wanna be scared to death? This book's for you. I don't dabble in this genre often, my last (and only other) foray was In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Years later, I still haven't recovered. But alas, desperate times; desperate measures. When you start a road trip on little to no sleep, you need a page-turner—one that reviewers rave will keep you on the edge of your seat. It did the trick all right. Maybe a little too well as I couldn't sleep well after arriving at my destination. Michelle McNamara's writing is a gift we all are left wanting more of. Sadly, she passed away suddenly before the book was published. I've a feeling she would have loved Stephen King's generous praise: “A brilliant genre-buster.... Propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading.”

4 Star Fiction

Okay, probably at least four and a half. We're pretty stingy with our fives around here, but bottom line: this is a very good read. Sam Hill is born with ocular albanism to parents that rival Auggie Pullman's—and he's blessed with a couple of friends as stellar as Auggie's too. It's a story of learning to see ourselves through the eyes of those who love us best and coming to realize that even the ordinary can be extraordinary. These are characters I'll long remember. I wholeheartedly recommend. 

Posted by Rachel

Weekly Wrap-Up

"When a teacher calls a boy by his entire name, it means trouble." —Mark Twain

WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK

Back to school. Or as some refer to it, the most wonderful time of the year. If you've got littles heading to kindergarten, Owen by Kevin Henkes is a must. As is Chrysanthemum. And for those who find themselves in sticky situations where the teacher calls them by their entire name, Lily's Purple Plastic Purse to the rescue. Henkes: don't do school without him.

We've rounded up a few other essentials to ensure this is your kiddo's best year yet:

lunch cards

be the hero of the lunch table

backpacks

cuteness overload

backpack/lunch

from london with love

colored pencils

crayola upgrade

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pillow talk

for a daily boost of confidence

comp books

sage advice

lunch box

old school

Pitch-Perfect Pleasure

“Bunty and I had decided that if the Germans invaded London and broke in, we would push [Bunty’s hideous globe-shaped drinks cabinet bequeathed by her grandmother] down the stairs at them. The full extent of the British Empire was featured in a rather confident orange and we thought it would make them wonderfully cross.”
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Did someone say Guernsey Literary Society? God Bless You, Netflix! Looks like I know what I’ll be doing Sunday night.  Yep, you heard that right: Sunday night. Rachel will attest I’m a night owl—the midnight hour is no problemo—but I can barely spare the minutes lately. Woe, woe, woe is me. Won’t someone throw me a pity party, complete with corn, duds and cokes at mi casa on Sunday? Maybe you can pack some pillows behind my back while you’re at it?  I sound like a girl in need of a good mollycoddle right about now. Let’s be honest: who doesn’t need an excess of chuckles and charm in their lives?  

If you’re after chuckles plus charm, and Guernsey makes you hanker for more, have no fear. One of our favorite 2@27 followers (and thoroughly stellar human I adore) sent good books after she visited me and my boy in the hospital.  She must have known that I could use a happy distraction from the cuts and the swelling and the scars. AJ Pearce’s Dear Mrs. Bird was pure delight. British bliss. You’re going to love big-hearted Emmeline Lake, an aspiring journalist with puffy dreams of becoming a lady war correspondent during the London Blitz. She constantly gets herself in a twist. When she unwittingly accepts a job as a glorified typist for an outmoded termagant who isn’t afraid to wear feathers, Emmeline does the unthinkable: she secretly responds to her boss’s advice column, as if she were her. Pearce’s charming debut novel has been compared to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, so it seems fitting to let Annie Barrows have the last word on this fine read—“Funny, fresh, and touching, Dear Mrs. Bird is a pitch-perfect pleasure. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to read a book that seems to live properly in its era.” 

p.s. You’re bound to love Emmeline’s spirited bestie named Bunty too! 

p.s.s. Looks like Guernsey isn't the only one headed for the screen.

Posted by Tracy

Our Kind of Holiday

“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”

We can't think of a finer fake holiday than National Book Lovers Day—and what better way to celebrate than reading all day and staying up until midnight pacific time to watch Guernsey on Netflix the minute it drops? I'll stock up on the duds; you bring the popcorn. Adding to my giddiness level is the fact that the movie is chock-full of Downton Abbey stars. Worlds are colliding in a glorious way. This is shaping up to be a jolly holiday, indeed.

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Posted by Rachel

Mini-Review Monday

The month of August had turned into a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzled.” 
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

It's hot, people. As in so hot I'd weep, if I wasn't afraid it would dehydrate me. I've got not choice but to stay inside and read. My life may very well depend on it. Here are a couple of my latest lifesavers:

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Still looking for a beach read I love as much as Big Little Lies, and while this one didn't end the search, it's not too shabby as page-turners go. Something in the Water checks off all the summer read boxes: characters you care about in perilous situations with a plot that will keep you guessing to the very end. Fair warning: it may keep you up at night. Also fair warning: there are some f-bombs dropped.

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I've been meaning to read Allie and Bea for a while now, based on the recommendation of a friend. It did not disappoint.  I found myself cheering on Allie and Bea at every turn, and I bet you will too. Think of it as the sleeper hit of the summer so far. My only complaint: the ending felt rushed and a little forced.

Posted by Rachel

Hello Universe, Goodbye Screensi

"People don't want to listen to their thoughts, so they fill the world with noise."
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Rachel was right: we do take summer vacation seriously around here. Me and the kids headed for the mountains for a minute. Apparently, I'm not like most people because I do want to listen to my thoughts and drain my world of noise. (Well some noise, I do have kids in tow.) I hoped my kids would ditch screens for trees. But I had to coax. Needless to say, I was delighted when they willingly put down the controllers to finish our latest read: Hello Universe.

I feel like a fraud anytime I recommend a Newberry. Clearly, it's been labeled a winner by experts—I'm just simply saying I second that emotion. But maybe you, like me, haven't heard of this one? I happened upon Erin Entrada Kelly's third novel when I perused through Costco's books. The cover's disclaimer that some friendships are meant to be piqued my interest because I believe that's gospel truth. Hopefully, my boys learned something more about friendship, courage, and discovering their inner bayani (hero). Maybe they're even convinced there are no coincidences? What can I say? This book was as good as the woods and the sound of the babbling brook outside my window.

p.s. I loved Lola's stories within the story.

Posted by Tracy

New York, A Birthday, And My Best Read So Far

"I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance." Nora Ephron
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Hi there. It's been a while. Did we fail to mention that we take summer vacation seriously around here? You know what else we take seriously? Birthdays. And Tray just had a big one. So we celebrated big in the Big Apple because if anyone deserves a New York soiree, it's Tray. The only thing better than that skyline, a night spent with Hamilton, and Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding was simply being in the same zip code as Tracy. She is good for the soul, especially mine. Throw in her lovely sister Nin and our dear friend Kym, top it off with a little Captain Craig and Lady Di, and you've got the makings of a magical holiday. It was one for the books.

Speaking of books and magic, it's only fitting to talk about my latest favorite read in a post about one of my favorite humans. And of course, as is the case with so many books I love, Tray found it first. It's a gift, I tell you. Lucky us for being the beneficiaries. 

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The Librarian of Auschwitz is based on a true story about a real-life literary hero named Dita Kraus, who at the young age of fourteen, risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust. If you're a book lover (a redundant question), then you will love this book. Not to say this is an easy read—there were times I had to stop listening and weep. No, not easy, but hauntingly beautiful and immensely important. And hopeful. As Dita reminds us, "In a place like Auschwitz, where everything is designed to make you cry, a smile is an act of defiance.” You will smile. And you will even cheer. Because even in the darkest of places, "for the time the story lasts, the children stop being in a stable full of fleas, they stop smelling burned flesh, they stop being afraid. During those minutes, they're happy." Books are magic. And this one, just like Tray, is pure gold. 

Posted by Rachel