#FictionFriday: A Prayer for Owen Meany

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.

Welcome to another #FictionFriday, book lovers! The weekend is finally here. (Cue the angel choir) While I still have a lot of housework to do this weekend, I’m hoping to get quite a bit of reading done. Currently I’m reading through Carry On by Rainbow Rowell for my book club. Since it’s such a thick book I’m debating on adding a second book to my “currently reading” list. What do you think?

4473This #FictionFriday, I’d like to share with you A Prayer for Owen Meany. If you’ve been following my page for a while, you’ll know that I read this book last year. I’ll be honest, I’m not very familiar with John Irving’s writing and that’s simply because I’ve never read any of his books up until I picked up this one. I’d seen the movie Cider House Rules which was based off one of his books. But that doesn’t really count.

A Prayer for Owen Meany follows two young boys, John and Owen, in the 1950s and beyond. Owen is a strange boy with an abnormal voice and a belief in miracles. What do you do when your best friend believes he is God’s instrument?

I have to admit, I wasn’t immediately taken in by this book. It’s not something that I would have picked up on my own but I enjoyed it. It took a bit but eventually I was hooked wanting to know what happened to Owen Meany. I’m still not quite a fan of Irving’s writing but I enjoyed this book. Perhaps I’ll pick up another one soon. Any lovers of John Irving out there? If you have a book you think I should read, send me a message.

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.

Long Black Veil

31214015This review was a long time coming. It took me a bit to get through this book but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan tells the story of a group of friends who are connected by a haunting experience that changes them forever. There are a plethora of characters to follow who each have their own story. It was difficult for me to keep track of them all as the chapter jump between characters as well as time and location. I never fully fell in love with any of them. Because of this and the story jumping around so much, I quickly lost interest and would have to take long breaks from the book.

Boylan’s quite creative in her story and I think the concept is brilliant but it was poorly executed. The ending seemed rushed and thrown together. All in all, there was too much going on in the short 290 pages.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for review.

A Study in Charlotte

51Kt7MWjz2L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I picked up A Study in Charlotte a while back and have been looking forward to reading for quite some time. I’m a huge Sherlock fan and this book lived up to the legend, but don’t be confused. It can easily stand on its own as a whole new take on the Holmes-Watson relationship.

Brittany Cavallaro brings her own spin on the history of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson with all new characters to love. Even though it’s a retake on a classic, Cavallaro doesn’t leave out the wit and mystery that we’re so fond of from previous Holmes stories.

A Study in Charlotte brings to life Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the famous Sherlock Holmes. Studying in Connecticut at a boarding school, she meets her counterpart James Watson (yes, that Watson). It isn’t long before the two have found themselves in the midst of a murder case and they are the key suspects. In true Holmes fashion, Charlotte takes the lead in trying to get to the bottom of things while James becomes her sidekick. While Cavallaro borrows some stories from the original adventures, she manages to write her own version and the twist of a possible romance between Watson and Holmes adds a whole other layer to this novel.

Lovers of the original Holmes stories would do well to pick this one up! A Study in Charlotte is the first of a planned trilogy. I can’t wait to pick up the second installment to see what Cavallaro has planned for our tag team.

 

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.