Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Confabulist by Stephen Galloway



The Confabulist TThe Confabulist weaves together the life, loves and murder of the world's greatest magician, Harry Houdini, with the story of the man who killed him (twice): Martin Strauss, an everyday man whose fate was tied to the magician's in unforeseen ways. A cast of memorable characters spins around Houdini's celebrity-driven life, as they did in his time: from the Romanov family soon to be assassinated, to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the powerful heads of Scotland Yard, and the Spiritualists who would use whoever they could to establish their religion. A brilliant novel about fame and ambition, reality and illusion, and the ways that love, grief and imagination can alter what we perceive and believe.

Although I enjoyed parts of this, I was left a bit disappointed. It seemed to skim over some topics and narrative ideas without really delving into them. This left me with a kind of hollow sensation, which in turn, places this book firmly into the “meh” category. 

There is obviously a great deal of research that went into this novel. We get lots of insider knowledge about magic tricks and about some parts of Harry Houdini’s life, but the author also glosses over some pretty crucial events. He tries to connect the life of Martin Strauss with Houdini and it just doesn’t quite work. The last quarter of the novel, in particular, makes little narrative sense. 

I didn’t hate the novel and I didn’t love it, either. The writing is lovely, but the plot is too thin and strung out to be effective. The short scenes and jumping from time period to time period does not help, either. Although I really wanted to be able to recommend this one, there are better novels out there.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Currently, I'm reading The Confabulist by Steven Galloway. It's an interesting fictionalized look at Harry Houdini's life. I'm almost done with it, but it definitely made an impression, not only because of the writing style, but also because there was a lot about Houdini's life that I had no clue about. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I wanted to share with you all some pictures from the book reading that I did this past Saturday at Books & Books here in Miami for my novel, THE ROSE MASTER. It was an incredible experience and I had a good turnout. Looking forward to doing it again soon!


 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I just finished reading a very interesting and disturbing book about a stalker called You by Caroline Kepnes. Definitely enjoyed this one.  Here is my review if you are interested.

You by Caroline Kepnes


YouLove hurts...

When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams.

Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect fa├žade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . .







This is a frightening and shocking story told from a stalker’s point of view. It really brings the reader into the mind of a man who is obsessed with a woman and it will seriously leave you with a healthy fear of meeting new people for a few days. 

The narrator’s voice is the best part of this novel. It is so distinct he becomes a real person to the reader. We can’t really trust what he says or thinks because he is a highly unreliable narrator, but we do get to feel some sympathy for him, which is surprising considering all the destructive aspects of his personality. The woman he obsesses over is Beck, who is possibly one of the most annoying characters ever written. She is flaky and spoiled, someone obviously damaged, but the ending is still quite a shock for all of us when it comes. 

If you are looking for a truly scary novel to read that has nothing to do with the supernatural but deals with a very real topic in our world, this is one for you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho

What if you live for the moment when life goes off the rails—and then one day there’s no one left to help you get it back on track?

 

Althea & OliverAlthea Carter and Oliver McKinley have been best friends since they were six; she’s the fist-fighting instigator to his peacemaker, the artist whose vision balances his scientific bent. Now, as their junior year of high school comes to a close, Althea has begun to want something more than just best-friendship. Oliver, for his part, simply wants life to go back to normal, but when he wakes up one morning with no memory of the past three weeks, he can’t deny any longer that something is seriously wrong with him. And then Althea makes the worst bad decision ever, and her relationship with Oliver is shattered. He leaves town for a clinical study in New York, resolving to repair whatever is broken in his brain, while she gets into her battered Camry and drives up the coast after him, determined to make up for what she’s done.



This YA novel is definitely one of the best written ones out there at the moment. It does, however, leave the reader with a bit of a hollow feeling that makes it lose some of the power it could have had as a narrative. 

Let me start by saying that the writing is beautiful. It is fearlessly honest, which is not always the case with YA novels, and it doesn’t shy away from describing sexual acts or violence. The characters are fully developed and very real, as well, making them stand out of the page from the very beginning. 

The only issue I had with the novel is that I didn’t really connect with it. I can see all of the positive qualities it has and how beautifully it was written, but it didn’t resonate with me. It left me with a bitter taste in my mouth which makes me unsure whether to recommend it or not. In the end, the best thing is to try it for yourself and see if you enjoy it.
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Musing Mondays




Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Althea & OliverLast night I finished reading an interesting YA novel called Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho. It was definitely a very different type of YA novel, and although it wasn't entirely my style, it had some very beautiful moments. The review is coming soon.