Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt | Book Review

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt | Book ReviewTell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Publisher/Year: Random House- June 2012
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Adult Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Other Books From Author: None, this was her debut. WHY CAN'T SHE HAVE MORE BOOKS OUT!?
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book synopsis Fourteen year old June’s uncle Finn, her best friend and the only person who gets her, passes away from an illness that her parents are hush hush about and seem ashamed of. As she tries to grapple with the loss of the one person that means everything to her she finds a stranger reaching out to her — a stranger who knows Finn almost as well as she did..maybe even more so. June reluctantly spends time with him and together they try to heal from their mutual loss.

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Oh, this book! My heart. Do you ever read a book and feel like the weight of the world is just sitting on your heart the whole time? One of my favorite expressions to describe how I feel, from one of my all time favorite books, is as having “heavy boots.” Tell The Wolves I’m Home was excellent and completely made me feel a whole array of emotions.  Thank you, Margot, for letting me borrow it and pushing it on me!

It’s an adult fiction novel but the narrator is 14 years old and I found this just to be a most beautiful and heartbreaking coming of age story set in the 1980′s. There were so many things about this book that I loved that I feel like I can’t even begin to tell you about it all — the characters, the writing, this weighty grief that June has to work through and so many other little aspects of the plot.

Watching June deal with the grief of losing her Uncle Finn was so emotional because it was just all so complicated within the family and the public perception of Finn because of how he died! Finn died of AIDs and it’s back in the 80′s so everything is very hush hush and not as much public knowledge about it. Her and Finn were so close and June’s feelings towards him are kind of complicated and intense. Then she meets Finn’s boyfriend Toby, whom her parents kept a secret from her because they blame him for Finn dying, and from Toby she learns even more about her Uncle Finn — to the point where she feels like she didn’t even really know him in some ways and she hates having to had shared him with someone. I loved learning about Finn through June but also through Toby and Finn really became such a real character to me. I could feel the love just emanating from them.

While June and Toby’s friendship was one of my favorite parts of this novel, I also really loved the relationship between June and her sister even though I wanted to kick her sister in the face so many times. I love complicated sisterly relationships and this one was a thread throughout the story I was fascinated by.

It’s honestly just so hard to explain what I thought about this novel. It was just brilliant, touching and got me all choked up. I loved it! It’s a quieter novel but it moves along at a good pace and hooks you with the compelling characters and their dynamics.

book reviewsI loved Tell The Wolves I’m Home. It was just one of those really touching, complicated stories that broke my heart but also mended it in ways. I think it could be a good novel for YA readers who also like adult fiction — good crossover material! This book left a searing impression on my heart and I won’t soon forget it.

short book reviewTell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

 

for-fans-of-bookadult fiction, character driven books, coming of age stories, family dynamics + secrets, stories about grief, books that make your heart explode

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Save The Date: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 

landline-rainbow-rowell

* Release date according to Goodreads

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What Landline by Rainbow Rowell Is About:

Georgie + Neal’s marriage has been off for some time and she knows it has been. It’s not an issue of not loving each other but between jobs and kids and all somehow it just has gotten a little lost. When they are a few days out from leaving for Omaha for Christmas, Georgie has a huge work opportunity arise and she has to stay in LA for it. She assumes they’ll all just stay home but is surprised when Neal decides he and the kids are still going. Scared of what this implies, Georgie wonders if it has all fallen apart for good and if/how she can fix it….until she’s given an opportunity to talk to Neal in the past.

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for Landline by Rainbow Rowell:

1. Rainbow Rowell continues her trend of being able to write poignantly and candidly about all sorts of love: Every book of hers I’ve read (all but Attachments) just perfectly captures some intricacy of love in different stages/forms and all the beautiful messiness that comes with it. I loved that, while this was partly a story about a love going wrong, it’s also a story about falling back in love and remembering the first time you fell in love with that person as well…especially in the face of maybe losing it all. She makes love just come alive and feel true.

2. GOD HER WRITING: I just love how Rainbow Rowell writes and Landline is no exception. I love her dialogue. The insertion of some humor. How it makes me feel. And these beautiful sentences that just make you stop in your tracks. I even read a passage to Will and I NEVERRRR read him things from what I’m reading.

3. Lots of thinking re: my own marriage and really any relationship that’s important: It’s easy to be complacent and take people for granted. To not try harder to keep your love ignited and fall into bad habits. I’m early on in my marriage and things are wonderful but this was such a raw and honest portrayal of how one day you could wake up and be in a place you don’t want to be in your marriage because little by little you let it slip away.

4. She just keeps proving she can write anything: This is her 2nd adult book and 4th book total and everything of hers I read is so wonderfully different and I never know what to expect with her but each time I fall in love in my own way with the book and the characters. They are the books that linger for me and keep me up at night. 

5. She makes this THING work: There’s an element to this book, how Georgie communicates with him in the past, that COULD be super corny and she just makes it WORK. So well. Never felt corny.

 

Who Should Save The Date: Rainbow Rowell fans, people who also read adult fiction, people who like love stories that are a bit messy but beautiful

 

A Sneak Peek: “You don’t know when you are twenty-three. You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten — in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems” (this is taken from the advanced copy and could be subject to change)

Be on the lookout for my FULL review closer to the release date where I will flesh out my thoughts a little more!

 

Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Putting it on your TBR list? What’s your favorite Rainbow Rowell book thus far if you’ve read her?

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie | Book Review

20130709-165427.jpgBook Title/Author: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
Publisher/Year
: William Morrow 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance – “Chick Lit/Romantic Comedy”
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Spin, Forgotten, Hidden

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I got this out from the library!

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Blythe is by all means a successful — she’s in her early 30′s, she’s got a great job as a columnist for a magazine, she’s working on a deal for her book and she’s got a great social circle. The only thing she is missing is that special someone to share her life with. She’s had her share of bad relationships and the latest one ended in her leaving him because he cheated. On her way to start her new life alone she comes across a business card for what appears to be a dating service for when she decides she may be up for dating again. Anne hits rock bottom when her best friend gets engaged and she feels like she is going to be forever alone so she decides to call the dating service and see what happens. What Anne finds is that it is actually a very exclusive service that isn’t there to get you a date but rather to find you a husband — it’s an arranged marriage service that comes with a hefty price tag. She thinks it is absurd at first but after a lot of thought and research she decides to give it a go and soon she’s on her way to Mexico to meet and marry her husband.

I read Arranged by Catherine McKenzie on the beach and it was SUCH a perfect beach read. I originally had her novel Spin as a pick on my Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag list but it came into the library too late so I picked this one up since it was available! It was so FUN and such a deliciously good page turner and I enjoyed every single page!

Arranged is told in 3 parts and I don’t even know which one is my favorite. Part 1 is learning about Anne’s love life and her finding out about this whole process and agreeing to it. I was certainly plenty intrigued about the whole service and how it works though I, like Anne, was very skeptical. Part 2 is Mexico which was equally, if not more,  compelling as she meets her husband. As a reader, I was so eager to see if there would be chemistry between them and how awkward it would be. Part 3 is life AFTER the resort and that is where it gets to be even more of a juicier page-turner.

It was easy for me to feel for Anne. Sure, I met Will when I was 21 but pretty much all my friends were in serious relationships and I was just bouncing around so I always felt like an old maid. I know lots of people in Anne’s position — she’s in her early 30′s, doesn’t have a serious relationship and all her friends are getting married and having kids. It’s hard to feel like you are stuck in a whole other universe while all your friends are “moving on.” I felt that when we were the only unmarried couple in our group. I could feel Anne’s desire for what her friends had — true love — and I love how this story was so honest & funny about the things we do to find love. While most of us probably have not considered  arranged marriages, we’ve all done something or ignored something in our quest for love.

The writing was very accessible and straightforward which was perfect for a beach read and had characters that were easy to relate to but not in an obvious way. I was taken off guard by something that happened in Part 3 (I didn’t read the summary of this book closely) but after that I found that it remained pretty predictable to what I expect like how it is when I’m watching a romantic comedy and I didn’t mind that. I rooted for Anne the whole way through to find her true love and her story, while unconventional, was something I could relate to and loved watching unravel.

Ultimately Arranged was the fun, breezy romantic comedy I had hoped it would be for a beach read but I was really impressed with the smart and honest insights into the ups and downs of finding someone to love and loving– desire, loneliness, being vulnerable, trusting after you’ve been hurt, etc. It satisfied the need for a romantic page-turner filled with some laughs but also tackled the subject of marriage and love in an insightful and honest manner. It was a very unique and unconventional love story and I enjoyed it so much! Definitely recommend if you are looking for a fun romantic comedy or a good beach read!

 

Arranged-Catherine-McKenzie


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Did you like it, dislike it or feeling mixed about it? Did you see THE BIG THING coming? I just didn’t (but I also didn’t read the summary). Have you read any of her other books?? Which one should I read next? I have Spin from the library now so I’ll probably start there!

 

Review: Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Book Title/Author: Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
Publisher/Year
:  Plume 2012
Genre: Mystery/historical fiction – Adult Fiction
Series
: No
Other Books From Author: The Violets of March, The Bungalow

Amazon| Goodreads | Sarah Jio’s website |

I checked this out from my wonderful library. LIBRARIES ARE COOL, y’all!

 

 

 

Told in alternating perspectives, Blackberry Winter tells the story of two woman, decades apart, but whose stories become intertwined when a freak weather phenomenon in May, a blackberry winter, unearths an unsolved kidnapping from the 1930s. Vera Ray is a single mother who is struggling to pay rent with her low paying job as a maid at a ritzy hotel. With no way to pay for childcare, she tucks her three year old son in bed to work the night shift, only to return home to discover that there has been a freak snowstorm and Daniel has gone missing with only his favorite teddy bear left behind. Almost 80 years later, Claire, a reporter and wife in the midst of a failing marriage, wakes up to Seattle covered in snow and her boss wanting a great feature connecting the blackberry winter of today to the one in 1933. Claire finds the story of the missing child that went unsolved and sets out to find out what happened as Vera’s story becomes personal to her — even more so than she’d ever realized.

I really, really loved Blackberry Winter! It was a captivating story that and has made me a huge Sarah Jio fan with just one book. The way the two women’s stories were intertwined and told in alternating chapters really worked for me as I learned more about each women & their life in smaller pieces — which really piled on the suspense! I was so invested in both Vera & Claire’s stories that I’d finish one chapter and be all, “Oh man! I don’t want to switch perspectives” but then immediately be absorbed in the other woman’s story.I loved learning about Vera’s back story and how she became a single mother (umm rather swoony and then completely heartbreaking) while simultaneously learning more about what happened to her and Daniel through Claire’s investigation. That storyline REALLY got to me and Sarah Jio knows how to deliver bits of answers in a way that you can’t help but hastily read because you really care so much about what happened.

I was afraid I wasn’t going to really connect with Claire with the nature of the fact that so much of what she does in the book is help us learn more about Vera and Daniel but Sarah Jio really made her into a character I loved as she had so many of her own heartbreaking issues to deal with that really drew her to this story. While obviously her investigation about Vera was the shining storyline, I thought that Claire’s marital issues and the unfortunate accident that happened in their life was really interesting and I loved the healing that went on throughout the story in different ways. The only thing that I will say is that sometimes I thought things were a little bit too much of a coincidence but not in a way that really detracted from the story at all. But besides that, this book was fantastic & I’ll be reading all of her books!

 

Blackberry Winter was the perfect blend of mystery and historical fiction, laced with romance, and a serious page-turner. The  pieces of the mystery were revealed in that way that just makes on ravenous and the two intertwined stories were heartbreaking and beautiful. Truly a moving story that will leave you a bit misty-eyed while reading about Vera’s story — both through the back story & Claire’s investigation. Sarah Jio has just such smooth & exquisite writing — the unraveling of the mystery, the scenes that make your heart ache, the amazing characterization & more — it was just all so deftly and wonderfully written. Even if you typically don’t read adult fiction, I’d recommend still checking this one out!

 

You May Also Like: Kate MortonLucinda Riley, The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rassmussen (it has that some sort of amazingly revealed mystery without being an overly “mystery” book — great characters, stories that make a mark on your heart, etc). 

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you guess how they were tied together? Have you read either of Sarah Jio’s other novels?  Which one should I tackle next?

Review: I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

*Originally posted 6/25 (my 2nd review ever!) on my blog but didn’t migrate over in my WP switch*

Oh, Ed Kennedy. I feel your pain sometimes. Ordinary, no talents, no expertise, no grand accomplishments. Everyone around you is doing great things and you just remain stagnant. All the days run together and become unable to be distinguished from one another.

I don’t really know what expectations I had for this book. I had LOVED The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It was moving, felt honest, and unique. I guess I think maybe my only expectation for this book was to be moved.

The general storyline was intriguing enough. Our ordinary “hero” Ed finds himself smack dab in the middle of a bank robbery along with a couple of his smartass friends. After this incident he finds his world rocked when a mysterious playing card shows up at his door with 3 names and addresses on them. And there begins his journey as “the messenger”..

As the messenger, his life intersects with strangers and familiar people alike that he must figure out what message he needs to deliver each particular person. Some of his messages are quite easy to figure out while others even put him in danger. And meanwhile the question still remains– who the mysterious person is that is behind the cards?

Zusack manages to deliver a moving story that becomes the ultimate message, in my opinion, for humanity. I feel like sometimes I need a good reminder that anyone, no matter how ordinary you are, can do something good to help someone and that it is just a matter of having the confidence in yourself to do so. I love thinking about how interconnected we all really are.

I loved the development of Ed throughout the story. It gave me great joy seeing the confidence he gained with each message and I loved how he handled every lesson from each person that he touched. I also found the cast of characters that he interacted to be dimensional as well and I could picture them in my head and see different scenes play out.

In all, I really enjoyed it. Did I love it as much as The Book Thief? Absolutely not. But they are totally different books which I just think is a testament to how incredibly powerful Zusak can make every story whether it’s about a girl during the Holocaust or an ordinary joe like myself.

Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream

Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream is set up by chapters which count down the last 30 days of Clementine’s life as she plans and prepares for her suicide. Each chapter chronicles her day as she goes about her business to prepare and plan for her impending departure – things as mundane as cleaning out her refrigerator to finding a new owner for her rambunctious cat and making contact with her estranged father. Along the way there is drama, unearthing of secrets and quite a few things that could derail her plan. Mostly it’s hilarious, despite you’d think the tone would be with a book about suicide, but it’s also a little heartbreaking when you learn more about Clementine’s life. You just want to save her.

It’s a strange experience reading this book. As you are reading you become, like her, more and more at peace with her decision so to speak. I wouldn’t say I was rooting her on in her suicide but you find yourself almost accepting of it in the strangest way and you keep reading on swiftly to see if she actually goes through with it. I have to applaud the author for writing in such a way that you take on that resignation and feeling of peace that Clementine has in her decision.

Clementine herself was such a strange and interesting character! She’s snarky, a free spirited artist, quite ballsy & altogether just memorable. I felt as though some of her reckless actions and interesting decision making really mirrored her commitment to going through with her suicide. Why care about what you eat when you aren’t going to be alive in a few weeks? One night stands…not a problem when you don’t have to worry about the repercussions.

There were a few things that prevented this book from being stellar or awesome. Sometimes some of the descriptions of the mundane things…were just TOO mundane and I’d find myself skipping over a half of page to get to a part where she’s being hilarious in her observations or something. My other problem came with the ending. I’m not going to say much but it was not really satisfying to me. I can’t explain it without giving things away…but I just felt very underwhelmed.

Final Thought: Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream was a good read! It wasn’t a favorite by any means but it was refreshing and I’m glad I received a copy of it from the publisher. It was such an interesting read being inside the head of a character who has made peace with herself and her decision to commit suicide. It’s comical read, despite the subject matter, and I found myself giggling quite a lot. I couldn’t put it down until I found out whether or not she went through with it! Recommended for lovers of contemporary women’s fiction who want something refreshing and unique!

Review On A Post-It:

Find it on Goodreads or Amazon

Review: The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni

Book/Author: The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Publisher/Year: Putnam Adult 2010
Genre: Adult Fiction (but I think it would have great crossover appeal for readers of Young Adult Literature)

The House of Tomorrow is about a teen boy named Sebastian who lives with his grandmother in this dome on top of a hill. His grandma is way into Futurism and the teachings of Buckminster Fuller and so he is certifiably an oddball character as he is homeschooled and has been brought up in a very unconventional, quirky way with very little interaction with other people and certainly not any kids his own age. This all changes when a scary event leads him to the Whitcombs who have a boy Sebastian’s age who on the outside is a punk loving kid with a bad attitude.

I wanted to love this book more than I did. This was the sort of book that was like, “Ok good book. Glad I read it. But I wish I felt more about it than I actually do…or probably should.” I think maybe it was the hype I had seen for it..I don’t know. I really enjoyed the character of Sebastian because he certainly could be King of the Oddballs and I think that anyone who really enjoys genuinely quirky characters would fall in love with him! I really loved the relationship between Sebastian and Jared because they are both such outcasts in their own way and have both understood what it is like to live a bit of a sheltered life. All of the characters were really lively in fact and I loved Sebastian’s interactions with them all. Even the briefest of characters were written with such extraordinary depth – like the record shop owner or the kids in the youth group. I loved how music just pulsed through this book – the love and appreciation for it, that first time discovery of music that is able to awaken every sense within you and the bond that a mutual love for creating music and listening to music can form.

While I thought the whole Futurism thing was interesting as part of the plot, I felt some of the book got bogged down by it while I was reading it. I felt like I was getting some info dumps that I just didn’t care about. I wanted to get into the heart of a story rather than learn about these teachings. Get past that first part that had a lot of the teachings and it gets much more interesting but they really did slow me down. I also felt like there was something deep and profound I was supposed to be taking away from the book, and while I did find a few nuggets, I mostly felt like it’s the type of book that could easily be one of those ones that are overhyped for how profound it is. Like, “omg look how deep I am!”

The Final Thought: The House of Tomorrow really was a good read but not the great read that I had hoped it would be. I am glad that I picked it up! There is something quite profound within the pages and Bognanni is a really great writer whose style I could see being really popular. It kind of reminds me of books like The Catcher in the Rye or like The Perks of Being A Wallflower with the characters and the coming of age story. If you love music (especially punk rock!) this book would be a really excellent read!

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Three Rivers Press 2001
Buy it here; Read more about it here.

You know how sometimes you read and liked a book but don’t know what to say about it? NOT THIS BOOK!! This is one of those times where I am furiously putting fingers to keys to implore you to FREAKING READ THIS BOOK. I have to because there is only so many times I can tell my fiance that “I EFFING LOVE THIS BOOK!” before he finds me irritating as hell and before I get annoyed that he isn’t taking any action to read this amazing book.

When I bought this series for my sister back in 2008 IN THE ADULT SECTION, after many many people on Goodreads recommended them for lovers of chick-lit, I never thought I’d read them or find them making my way on my sacred favorites list. EVER. I was pretty did not read anything resembling chick-lit at this stage in my life. My suggestion to you if you haven’t read these books: Forget any label you’ve ever heard about these books — chick-lit, YA or Adult fiction — and read them NOW! Experience the hilarity and awesomeness that is Jessica Darling.

Sloppy Firsts, where do I even begin? I read this book in the course of 24 hours and has been one of the only books that I’ve read that managed to make me giggle OUT LOUD every couple of pages. I couldn’t keep it in and I even let out a loud snort which embarrassed my fiance. Truly, Jessica Darling is hilarious, witty and makes astute observations about high school and adolescence that really is quite humorous.

I remember reading Judy Blume when I was younger and felt as though her books were written based on my inner thoughts and life events. Jessica Darling is certainly a voice that will resonate with most women as she gives an authentic voice to all of our past insecurities, firsts, messy relationships and more. There were so many parts in this book that I could relate to and that is what makes Jessica so special. No matter who you were in high school….you can find her easy to relate to. No doubt, Jessica Darling has become one of my all time favorite characters EVER. She’s not perfect at all but she is still so strong and smart and, even though sometimes she falters, she knows who she is! She comes to her realizations realistically and I love that her life doesn’t involve being a skank or thinking she is nobody without a boyfriend. She is like any normal teen who worries about guys, even obsesses over the slightest thing, but she does not live, breathe, nor find her worth in guys. MY KIND OF GIRL.

Oh and Marcus Flutie. I had to fan myself while reading parts that included him. He’s got that sexy confidence going on and I love it. He’s interesting and not cookie cutter. I love that he’s not the most attractive, god-like guy in Jessica’s mind and I love the quirky way in which their relationship progresses. I was pretty much salivating all over my book towards the end when we get to know him more. My only qualms..MORE I WANT MORE. Do realize how god-like Marcus Flutie has become?! I wanted more of him because what we got to know…he’s an intriguing guy and I have so many picture of drool worthy men in my mind. I never thought dreadlocks would be a sexy factor BUT HOT DAYUM…I can just see him with all his dreadlock hottness. With how this book ends, I can’t wait to see what happens between them!

My Final Thought: Whether you like YA or Adult fiction, read this. I don’t know what is ACTUALLY categorized as I have only ever seen it in the adult section but this shouldn’t matter because this book is THAT good if you appreciate genuine coming of age stories that will make you die laughing from the witty, snarky musings of a teenage girl of whom you’ll vicariously relive high school all over again in all of its embarrassing, awkward, confusing glory! One of the greatest romps through adolescence that I’ve ever had. It’s just so realistic (umm hello PARENTS in the picture rather than teenagers running amok) and I found myself cringing, laughing, rolling my eyes, rejoicing and squeeing right along Jessica.

Review On A Post-It:

And if that doesn’t entice you..here are just a SMALL SMALL percentage of the great passages in this book:

“You can only be in a bad mood for so long before you have to face up to the fact that it isn’t a bad mood at all; it’s just your sucky personality.”

“Am I the only creature with a vagina who thinks that weddings are ridiculous? I’m going to elope. Just me, my hubby, and a minister on a beach in Jamaica.”

“Then a lightning bolt shot straight through my skivvies. Sha-ZAM!”

“This is my new hobby. I watch my life depart minute by minute. I anticipate the end of everything and anything — a conversation, a class, track practice, darkness — only to be left with more clock-watching to take its place. I’m continually waiting for something better that never comes. Maybe it would help if I knew what I wanted.”

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster- March 2011
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Adult Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review

So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
Simon & Schuster – March 2011
Adult Fiction

A young girl disappears from a rural town in upstate New York and, when the body turns up five months later, new-in-town reporter Stacy Flynn thinks this story will be the break she’s been looking for and a much needed shift from the story about the environmental impact of the dairy farms that are the bread and butter of this town that she was previously working on. Stacy becomes even more of an outsider when she suspects that it could be someone that lives in the town rather than a drifter like everyone else seems to think. Affected by the death of a peer, Alice Piper, a very smart and unique girl whose family is seen as outsiders for being a bit eccentric, starts trying to come to her own conclusions about who Wendy’s murderer is. Alice must decide if she should get involved to make things right or should she just go about her business like everybody else?


On one hand, this was one of the most psychologically thrilling and suspenseful books I’ve read in a while. And on the other hand, I could not get through this novel. It just took me so long and I found myself not really dying to pick it up. I know this sounds weird but that was the way my experience was.



Firstly, the premise was interesting from the beginning to me. Immediately in the beginning of the story it points to something Alice did in the course of this novel and wanting to know what this big thing she did WAS really propelled me throughout this story. I also, from the get-go, obviously wanted to know who the killer was and what this town was hiding. Those things kept me going and the whole story that unraveled was honestly just a crazy suspenseful ride! The whole ending with Alice was insane and I just could not brace myself during the reading of the last part of the book!


But on the other hand, what kept me from truly getting into this novel was the fact of how confusing it all was. I don’t mind novels from multiple perspectives or that switch back and forth in time (The Time Traveler’s Wife) but this one seemed super disjointed and confusing to me especially in the beginning. It was all over the place…from this character to that character to a character from when she was 5 to now and back again. I seriously could have gotten some whiplash from all the changing perspectives and time periods. I kept getting confused of who characters were and where we were in the story and it was annoying because I felt like I kept having to go back and figure out things that I was reading. For whatever reason, this novel just slowed me down with the style…which is unfortunate because typically this does not happen with multiple narrators or switching back and forth. 


I thought the moral and social issues that arose in this book were fascinating and unsettling. The story truly felt like something that could have been taken from your nightly news which is probably why I found it so disturbing..albeit there was much more drama in this book. I found it to be of much more substance than other crime thrillers that I’ve read and much more “literary” but unfortunately the style really just put a damper on my overall enjoyment. I honestly pushed myself to read through it just so I could find out what the heck happened! Was it worth it? In some ways but I’m not sure I would feel bad if someone would have just told me the ending. Ultimately, it packed quite a punch that I wouldn’t have gotten from someone just telling me what happened.  

 

 



* This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Question: Has the style of a book ever ruined a perfectly good story for you?

Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

I was really ecstatic when I heard that that David Levithan was writing an adult novel because I love me some David and I read quite a bit of adult as well…and because it was about loooove. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew if it was like most of David’s novels I’d feel some sort of connection to it.

The Lover’s Dictionary was SUCH an interestingly lovely read that I DEVOURED in a day. Each page contains a passage of prose that reflects a word from the dictionary and it is written as though it is a dictionary entry. The passages range in length, some being a sentence or two and some being half of a page long, and follow the love story between a nameless narrator and his lover. You feel kind of a distance at first because you are only seeing snippets (not chronologically) of their love story and because they ARE nameless but you find yourself reading these intensely intimate thoughts and raw emotions and this couple becomes so exposed as the book gives glimpses into some of the most joyful and exciting times in their relationship as well as some of the most difficult and trying times in their relationship.

This book was really such an honest portrayal of the many facets of love as it examines the joys, the doubts, the heartbreaks, the sacrifices and the different nuances and quirks in the love affair between two people. Some passages made me laugh, cry and reflect on my own relationship as certain feelings or situations would hit close to home. The writing was exquisite and I found myself bookmarking page after page thinking that each passage was my new favorite only for it to be dethroned by another.

Some I wanted to share:

 
ineffable, adj.
these words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convoy. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.
autonomy, n.
“I want my books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together”
 
placid, adj.
Sometimes I love it when we just lie on our backs, gaze off, stay still.

There are SO many wonderful lines and passages in this book but I tried to pick some shorter ones that stood out in my mind.

My final thought: This book was a gem! Upon finishing it I just held it close to my chest because I was amazed at how raw it was and how much I connected with it. I thought of the moments that made my heart flutter in my relationship, I thought about the doubt and the act of learning how to trust in a relationship, the beauty in the mundane and the wonderful journey love really is despite how hard it can be to love and let yourself be loved in a relationship. The prose was something to be savored and I have no doubts that I will read this book again as it has a permanent place on my shelf. Levithan’s delivery was creative and I found the his connection to each of the words to be genius. I’d recommend to lovers of adult fiction who don’t mind something different and who don’t need to be wooed by a fast moving plot.

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