ARCs Update: Reviews (Vladimir, Our Wives Under the Sea)+ Received

Hello readers!

Some interesting titles this week, as I try to read a few ARCs to compensate for the stuff I just received, and now I’m back to 80% rating! Success.


Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

Pub Date 1 Feb 2022

This is a dark, provocative debut, and I LOVED it. Vladimir is the story of a woman in her 50s whose husband is being investigated for his relationship with students in the past, and she becomes obsessed with a new professor in her University (the eponymous Vladimir). This novel has such an incredible, addictive voice and it’s just such fun to read. I could hardly believe this is a debut, the writing was just so electrifying and bold.

One of my my favorite things was how the main character is this complex, unlikable, self-absorbed woman and how her relationship with Vladimir is about her objectifying him and projecting her own desires on him, which is an interesting shift from so many novels where it’s the male protagonist obsessing over a younger, beautiful woman. She is stuck in her thoughts and learned behaviors when it comes to sex, politics and power, from a time when women were trying to become sexually liberated, and this often comes in conflict with the views on sexuality and power dynamics from younger generations (like her daughter and her students). It’s just such a perceptive look into generational differences and gave this novel a depth I was not quite expecting. Vladimir really got me thinking and adjusting my perspective and getting into the headspace of the main character – which is always the sign to me of a brilliant novel. There was no way I was going to give this less than 5 stars. It was just such an enthralling read that had me talking about it nonstop for days. I just recently got a physical copy of it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

Pub Date 3 Mar 2022

This is one of those books that the cover matches perfectly the actual vibes of the story. Our Wives Under the Sea does atmosphere really, really well – its sad, romantic tone is interwoven with magical elements and make this such a beautiful read. It tells the story of Leah, a marine biologist whose research expedition goes awry and she finds herself at the bottom of the ocean with two crewmates, no power and no idea if they will come out of this alive. Months later, Miri is trying to cope with the Leah that is returned to her, alive but not the Leah she remembers.

This was a quielty heartbreaking story about grief and letting go. I adore magical realism which revolves around water themes, so this was truly a pleasure to read. The only reason why this isn’t a 5-star read is that I needed a little bit more, this was a little bit too quiet for me, and I think I will forget about this book very soon, even if at the moment of reading it, it did touch my heart.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Received ARCs

Daisy Darker is by the author of Rock, Paper, Scissors, which I read last year and it was SO entertaining, so I’m very excited to read this new book by Alice Feeney. The cover is giving me strong Lucy Foley vibes, too.

I’ve been seeing My Pen is the Wing of a Bird a lot around lately and it really caught my attention (comes to mind the review at Books and Bao, which really convinced me to pick this up! Really looking foward to this one.

I was SO excited when I received Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata, although I’m a bit nervous that it’s a collection of stories, which historically tends to not be my cup of tea. But I trust the author and I think her style really works for short stories, so I have high hopes for this!

Finally, I also received In a Garden Burning Gold, which is Rory Power’s first adult fantasy and I did not expect to be accepted for it but oh my god I want to read it immediately!

5 thoughts on “ARCs Update: Reviews (Vladimir, Our Wives Under the Sea)+ Received

    • There is an alternative cover, the UK version I think! But yeah, this was a Choice. I must certainly have driven away many potential readers who thought this was romance/erotica and not a litfic…


  1. I loved Our Wives Under The Sea, glad that you liked it as well. I think it will stay with me. Vladimir sounds great. I was approved for Life Ceremony on Netgalley but they sent me a proof of the wrong book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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