Monday, December 26, 2016

Apocalypse All the Time by David S. Atkinson



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What would happen if there was an apocalypse almost every other day? We would become used to it and even become bored with our constant doom-and-gloom life. That is the premise of this unique novel that creates a dystopian world that still does not feel as far off from where we are in the world today. That is one of the best things about this story: it manages, even in its absurdist style, to capture some of the reality of what we are living now. The way we have become dulled to the everyday tragedies that make up our world is represented clearly in the book’s pages.

The writing is fresh, with the author keeping the pace up in a comfortable way. For me, the one thing that could have been improved was the two or so chapters at the beginning that give us the backstory of the world in which our protagonist is now living. All of this information, with the many kind of apocalypses that have passed through, could have been given to us in flashbacks or scattered in other ways throughout the story. By giving this information all at once, I think it pulled us away from the immediacy of what the protagonist was experiencing at the moment. Other than that, the writing keeps us turning the pages, waiting to see what other craziness the novel has in store for us. 

There are plenty of laugh out loud moments and you will be cheering our protagonist on as the climax nears. If you are looking for a unique novel that packs quite a philosophical punch, this is one to consider.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen is one of my favorite fairy tales. It features a relatively strong female lead and a villain that is menacing and violent.
As with any of these ancient fairy tales, there are a lot of plot holes and issues with the narrative. This edition does what it can with the beautifully moody illustrations to provide a cohesive whole that while not completely succeeding, allows the reader to become more immersed in the feel of the story. This is definitely an interesting version to share with children or fanciful adults in your life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis


https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1448752778l/27209140.jpgI'm a bit conflicted in how I feel about this book. The starkness of the landscape in which it takes place and the grittiness of it appeals to me very much. I love a strong heroine, which Elka is, and I liked the writing style. The plot lines, however, get a bit tangled up. The first half or so of the book offers the strongest plot moments, with the rest becoming a bit more convoluted. 

I think the biggest problem that is the villain. His actions are not explained as fully as it is necessary to make him a three dimensional character. Some of his actions feel random, like they are just happening because the story needs them to happen. This occurs throughout the book, as well, with Elka many times doing the opposite of what she just said she was going to do just because it is the only way for the plot to move forward.
We really don't get much world building, either. We know this is a post-apocalyptic world, but we don't really know what the rules are in this new world. It would have been nice to learn a bit more about it.
The end also feels rushed. Everything kind of comes together at the last minute and it takes Elka a few second to deal with the villain who has plagued her from the beginning. If it makes sense, it is too built up and at the same time not built up enough.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bradstreet Gate by Robin Kirman

It’s hard to avoid comparisons with Tartt’s The Secret History. Both novels take place in Ivy League schools and both involve a murder that upends the main characters’ lives. this story, however, does have a different way of tackling at the event, with the reader being tossed back and forth in time.

This novel tries. Hard. But it is plagued with unlikable characters with whom the reader feels little to no sympathy, making it impossible to grow too interested in their struggles. The writing is well paced, however, with tight plotting that makes the novel move at a nice pace. There were some missed opportunities when it came to sub-plots that might have made the characters come alive a bit more, which adds to the novel’s frustrating element.

It is a quick read, I suppose, but if you really want a novel that delves into what this one tries to, read The Secret History.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The VegetarianBefore the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

This is a book that is brutal and difficult to put down once you start. The stark writing style emphasizes the cruelty that fills the pages, making every page really hit the reader squarely in the stomach with its gut-wrenching prose.

The main character is not someone we get too know very well. We see everything she does through the eyes of the people around her, who are all unreliable narrators. The only times we get an inkling into what she is thinking is when we read her dream sequences, which are full of poetic violence.

If you are looking for a story that will linger within you for a long time after you finish, this is the one to choose.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Eleanor by Jason Gurley



 Eleanor

 1985. The death of Eleanor's twin sister tears her family apart. Her father blames her mother for the accident. When Eleanor's mother looks at her, she sees only the daughter she lost. Their wounded family crumbles under the weight of their shared grief.

1993. Eleanor is fourteen years old when it happens for the first time... when she walks through an ordinary door at school and finds herself in another world. It happens again and again, but it's only a curiosity until that day at the cliffs. The day when Eleanor dives... and something rips her out of time itself.

And on the other side, someone is waiting for her.


This book melds gorgeous writing with fantasy elements and creates something wholly new. It is a portrait of grief and redemption, and is one of the loveliest reads I’ve picked up this year. 

The story travels back and forth through time, and because two of the characters have the same name it can throw the reader every once in a while, but otherwise it is not as complex to follow as the jumping dates might suggest. There are moments of real heartbreak in this book, so if you are looking for something light to read, this isn’t it. If, instead, you want something that will make you think and will make you feel, then this novel is a wonderful choice.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Time Chamber by Daria Song


The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring BookThis is a lovely coloring book appropriate for adults as well as kids. It features stunning drawings that just beg to be colored in  and many fun items to search for throughout its pages. You will enjoy the time you spend within its pages. This is a sequel but can be enjoyed alone.