Lullaby Road

IMG_1630I have never read any of James Anderson’s novels. But I was sent Lullaby Road for review and was a little disconcerted finding out that it was a sequel. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow the story having nothing to go on from the previous book. However, that worry was unfounded.

Lullaby Road stands well on its own. Following Ben Jones in his truck along highway 117 in Utah made for some interesting adventures. The desert can do some strange things to a person’s mind as we are shown time and time again. Ben himself even has to contend with what the desert has made of him. From the very beginning we are thrown into a strange situation. Ben has stopped by his transport station to pick up a load but also winds up taking a child and a dog that won’t leave its side. As he struggles to make his run with the child, the dog, and his neighbor’s infant, he must also solve a major mystery and a web of lies that has entwined most of the small towns linked by his truck route.

James Anderson has a way of pulling the reader into the story and making them comfortable. Like a warm bed on a cold winter morning, Lullaby Road was hard to get out of. While I wasn’t particularly happy with the ending, I can’t help but applaud Anderson’s ability to weave a tale of intrigue, suspense, and sarcasm.

I was given this book from Blogging for Books for review.

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.

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.

The Thirteenth Tale

81KOIdTwCVLWhen I picked up The Thirteenth Tale, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The blurb on the back doesn’t give much for a reader to go on which I suppose adds to the mystery of the book itself. I’d never read any of Diane Setterfield’s work and was curious as to her writing style and storytelling abilities. Honestly, I’m so glad that this is the first of her books that I picked up.

The Thirteenth Tale is an intriguing novel of twins. We’re introduced to Margaret Lea, a young woman who works in her father’s antique bookshop as well as being an amateur biographer. One day she is contacted by the elusive Vida Winter, the world’s most prolific storyteller. Miss Winter has also never told her true story to anyone. But suddenly, she’s decided to tell everything to Margaret. As her story unfolds, Margaret finds that amidst the mystery of this author, they have something in common.

Setterfield manages to create a web of intrigue among all of the characters. She picks at your brain and carries you through this mystery until the very end. All in all, a very unique story and one I would highly recommend, especially to book lovers.

This Too Shall Pass

41q362Ic4QL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Have you ever wondered how your life would change once your parents are gone? For daughters, when their mom passes away we lose more than a parent, we lose a friend as well. This Too Shall Pass explores a daughter’s grief as she handles her mother’s passing with the help of some odd characters.

Milena Busquets attempts to tell a story of romance, grief, and laughter. However, she falls short. In this small book, just over 130 pages, she drags on and on about Blanquita’s grief. I had a hard time getting through this book and didn’t enjoy it. There were far too many characters with their own problems to keep track of. While her writing style is commendable, there wasn’t much to enjoy about the story itself. I could not feel Blanquita’s grief or her loss of control as she dealt with the death of her mother. It was hard to get attached to any of the characters in this story.

That being said, if you’re looking for a short book to grab and read, This Too Shall Pass may be the book for you. Just be sure you have the gumption to push through and finish it.