The Beauty

“We move, we surge, we dash and we flow, and we think that our furious beating upon the far shores of the universe means we are powerful. But we are only the crest of an uncontrollable surge in the tide.”

IMG-1956I had no idea what to expect when I started reading The Beauty. Honestly, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Aliya Whiteley has written an intriguing tale. The women are all dead, killed off by a strange disease, and men are all that is left. The age of humanity is coming to an end. But a young storyteller in a group of men, Nathan, has found what he believes to be their saving grace.

What follows is a story that is reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft’s works. After finishing The Beauty, I felt as if my brain and been taken out and played with. While I thoroughly enjoyed Whiteley’s writing style and poetic prose, I was left wanting. I wanted more details on the downfall of humanity, a more complete ending, just more. That being said, I was kept on the edge of my seat. The Beauty is indeed a unique story, unlike anything I’ve ever read. It will keep you thinking and you won’t be able to put it down.

All We Had

IMG-1718My mom is my best friend. We hadn’t always been that way but our relationship has grown to be that way. I know without a doubt she would do anything for me. As a mother myself, I would do anything for my kids.

Rita and Ruthie have a similar relationship. They have been dealt a crappy hand and life just keeps pushing them further down. Constantly on the brink of homelessness, Rita jumps from beau to beau in the hopes of keeping a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. But she eventually gets bored and it’s time to move on. Until one day she leaves a man and they find themselves broken down just outside of Fat River, NY.  Not having the means to fix their vehicle, they wind up working at Tiny’s, a small diner with a gas station run by a quiet man named Mel. There they find themselves in the midst of Peter Pam, a crossdressing waitress, and Arlene, the head waitress who gets hot flashes so severe she must find relief in the walk-in refrigerator.

Mother and daughter soon find themselves on an upswing. They’re making money, making friends, and eventually even have a roof over their heads. But it isn’t long before life deals another blow and Rita must find another unsuspecting man to provide for them. But this man is not one she’s dealt with before and things are at risk. How much will she sacrifice in order to keep them fed and housed?

All We Had is a beautiful telling of a mother-daughter relationship developing in the edges of poverty and reaching for the ultimate American Dream. Annie Weatherwax charms the reader with unique characters that bring laughter and heartache in her storytelling. While ultimately I enjoyed All We Had, I found it difficult to fall into Weatherwax’s writing style and cadence. But once I found a rhythm, I found I couldn’t stop reading. At only 257 pages, it was quick once I got into it. For all those daughters out there who are best friends with their mom, or for the moms that love their daughter unconditionally, definitely pick this one up!

#FictionFriday: The Age of Miracles

Welcome book lovers to the second installment of #FictionFriday!!!!

Coming-of-age novels have never really been my thing but I always manage to read at least one each year. I’m always surprised by how much they stick with me. But this one in particular really stuck with me. Perhaps it’s because there’s a bit of sci-fi mixed in.

age-of-miraclesThe Age of Miracles follows young Julia and her family as they face catastrophe, survival, and growth. One Saturday morning, Julia wakes to find that the world has suddenly stopped its rotation. Days and nights become longer, gravity is affected, everything is in disarray. In true coming-of-age style, Julia deals with distance between her parents and herself, first loves, betrayal, friends acting strangely. All of this on top of the changes happening in the world.

Karen Thompson Walker creates a beautiful story of a young girl facing the truth of life goes on even when the world has literally stopped.

I highly encourage you to add this to your reading list. I was blown away by Walker’s writing style with beautiful prose. This is a book that will stick with you long after you’ve read it. I find myself wanting to pick it up again and again.

And Then There Were Crows

IMG-1675Never look for a roommate on Craigslist!  I repeat, NEVER look for a roommate on Craigslist.

“…the guy waiting on the other side of my door was about to bring the whole thing to another level. A screw up of literal biblical proportions.”

Amanda Grey can tell you just how much of a bad idea it is. Living in NYC with her parents in a small apartment, Amanda is left to take care of things while her parents are traveling. But suddenly she’s run out of funds and decides to find a roommate to help pay for rent until her parents return. But who would’ve expected her roommate to be a demon?

And Then There Were Crows is filled with demons, angels, the usual fight between good and evil, and Mordor nachos. With biting sarcasm and surprisingly relatable characters, Alcy Leyva’s book will have you dying of laughter with every page. Following Amanda’s struggles as she tries to save the world (which yeah, is kinda sucky) with the help of her demon roommate, Leyva walks us through New York at the mercy of ethereal beings.

I could not put this book down. Every bit of it was perfectly executed. Fair warning: your sides will hurt but it’s so worth it. I can’t wait to see what’s next from The Shades of Hell series.

Futura: a novella

21jVaTxwrHL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Paris. The future. Things have changed. Technology has advanced. Nature has receded. Except in Paris, where they have managed to integrate both nature and technology to create a haven for all.

In Jordan Phillips’ fiction novella, we explore Paris as it could be in the future. There middle class is now successful and known as Basics. You are not required to work. In fact, cooking has even become a hobby as AI units known as the Invisibles take care of pretty much everything humans may need.

In the midst of all this technology, Ruby yearns for a baby. But after a failed relationship, how is she to get what she wants? Sure, the Invisibles can help but she prefers a bit of nostalgia in this. As Ruby wrestles with being happy in her life and wanting a little one to love, we see her day-to-day interactions in this new Paris.

While I enjoyed Phillips’ story, I was left disappointed. I wanted more. I wanted to see more of Paris in the new era, more of how things had changed. I feel Phillips simply skimmed the surface of this world she has created. I hope she one day decides to flesh this story out so we can go deeper into Futura.

The Bear and The Nightingale

25489134._UY1000_SS1000_This book has intrigued me for quite some time. I’ve heard some good things about it and was excited to finally add it to my list.

Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale is the first book in the Winternight Trilogy. The Bear and The Nightingale is set in Russia, where winters are hard and household demons run rampant. Vasilisa is the last born of her mother, and just like her mother she carries magic in her blood. She can see and speak with the wood spirits, the river goddess and even the vazila in the horsestables. But her stepmother is a Christian woman who fears the old gods and tries to bring her husband’s lands under a Christian rule. But in doing so, she puts everyone in danger. It’s up to Vasya to save her people and discover who she really is with the help of an unlikely alliance.

Arden weaves a tale of literary beauty and fantasy. While each character has about four different names, which can make it a bit difficult to keep track of them all, the story itself is beautifully written. Perfect for a winter read. I easily fell in love with the characters and the flow of the story had me staying up way past bedtime in order to finish another chapter. I highly recommend picking up The Bear and The Nightingale and I’m excited to read the second installment of the Winternight Trilogy.

Time’s a Thief

512g7Rgn-sL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_B.G. Firmani’s Time’s a Thief takes place in 1980s New York, and early 2000s New York. We follow Francesca “Chess” Varani through her years at Barnard. Coincidentally also where Firmani attended. Immediately we meet Kendra Marr-Lowenstein, a wild child from a high class family.  Chess is instantly taken with Kendra and her crazy ways. Throughout Firmani’s novel, we follow the ups and downs of Chess and Kendra’s friendship as well as just how deeply Chess finds herself in the Marr-Lowenstein family and the number they do on her.

While Time’s a Thief was easy to fall into and very easy to read, I found myself annoyed with the incessant lists of poets, composers, and literaries that seemed to add nothing to the story other than to flaunt Firmani’s knowledge. Beyond that, the novel read like a stream of consciousness writing. Very Bohemian and Kerouac-esque. I didn’t love the book but I didn’t hate it. I won’t give anything away but the ending seemed very bland to me as if nothing had actually happened through the entire story.

Still, if you’re looking for a novel to kill the time then Time’s a Thief is a good choice. As Firmani’s first novel it could use some work.

I received a copy of Time’s a Thief from NetGalley for review.

The Children

20170804_105908This book was difficult for me to get through. Not so much that it was a heavy read but more that it didn’t hold my interest. For those that know me, I’m a completionist, which comes in handy when I need to finish a book but just can’t find anything to keep me hooked.

The Children tells the story of a jigsaw family, one that has been split up and put back together but not quite correctly. The pieces sort of fit but there’s still some dissonance amongst them. Especially when Spin brings home his new fiance Laurel. In a family where no one talks about anything and secrets are being kept, how can a family move on from the past?

Ann Leary gives a cast of characters not quite unique and a story that for the first fourteen chapters doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Nothing seems to really happen until the last four chapters of the book. By that point, I had kind of given up hope on the story. I was never quite sure where Mrs. Leary was going with this family or what the endgame was. In the end, it was a mediocre story with an ending that seemed to be rushed and half-hearted.

The Handmaid’s Tale

9780525435006_p0_v1_s192x300I’ve wanted to read this book for quite some time. And with the release of the Hulu series, my desire to read it increased. So when my friend and I were putting together our book club list, we both had it at the top of our choices. I can see why it has taken the world by storm and especially in light of recent political events.

The Handmaid’s Tale drops you into a world where things have drastically changed. The Constitution is no longer in effect and religion rules. We follow a woman, a Handmaid, named Offred. Although that’s not her real name, but women now are called by their “owner’s” name. Women are no longer allowed to read, or write, or even form friendships. The Handmaids are even more strict about what women can and can’t do because the Handmaids have the important task of procreation.

It’s hard not to read this novel and see how the world could come to this point. Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986 and it holds lessons that are true even now. The characters are unique and it’s quite easy to become attached to our main character. While Atwood does a wonderful job portraying “what could be”, my one complaint is that the ending is too sudden. Understandably so, but I wish we had more to go on. I wish that at least a good majority of the loose-ends were tied up. While I would have prefered a more solid ending, I can’t ignore how timeless this story is.

The Hating Game

514sa3HcecL._SY346_Every now and then, I like to enjoy a romance novel. Usually I pick one of the historical ones simply because I like the setting as well as the chivalry that soaks every page. But this time, thanks to my book club, I picked up a rom-com that I probably wouldn’t have chosen if left to my own devices.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne was a whirlwind novel. Thrown into an office battlefield where two colleagues are trying to have the upperhand, Thorne introduces us to characters that are easy to love, or in this case, hate. Lucinda Hutton, assistant to one co-CEO of a publishing house, has dreamed of working for a publishing company since she was a young girl. Joshua Templeman, also assistant to another co-CEO of the same publishing house, disappointed his father years ago when he didn’t follow in the family footsteps. Both clash desperately as they vie for a new position opening up, one in which they would be the boss of the other.

Thorne creates a wonderful hate-love relationship between these two characters that eventually culminates in a breath-taking ending. While there are some steamy scenes here and there, the comedy throughout prevents The Hating Game to become “just another romance novel”. I found it incredibly hard to put down and enjoyed the flirtation Thorne creates between the reader and the characters she has developed.