Review: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong

on earth were briefly gorgeous ocean vuong

Rating: ★★★★★

Genres: Literary Fiction

Goodreads

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is Ocean Vuong’s beautiful collection of thoughts, memories and impressions written to his mother. He explores his childhood, the story of his mother and grandmother and what they sacrificed and lost to the Vietnam war and then moving to the United States in search of a better life.

I did not know what to expect of this book when I picked it up, although I heard amazing things about it, I did not even know anything about its story at all. And it blew me away. Continue reading

Advertisements

eARC Review: The Bird King, by G. Willow Wilson

the bird king g willow wilson

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Goodreads

I have received an eARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve owned an eARC of this book for such a long time, but then got less enthusiastic about it and forgot it existed for months. Then I read someone say that this author’s books were fast-paced and quick to read and I decided well – might just pick it up. I’m so glad I did!

The Bird King is the story of Fatima, a concubine to the last Sultan in a reign at war with Spain, and Hassan, a mixed-blood map-maker who has magical abilities. When the Spanish Inquisition demands that Hassan, who they deem a heretic sorcerer, be given to torture and certain death, Fatima knows she must run away with him, even if it means treason and never seeing again the palace she calls home. But it means to her also freedom, and that is something she’s willing to give up a lot for. Continue reading

Mini-Review: White Houses, by Amy Bloom

white houses amy bloomRating: ★★☆☆☆

Genres: Historical Fiction, LGBT+

Goodreads

White Houses tells the fictionalized version of the true story of Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok’s affair in the 1930s all the way the end of Roosevelt’s life.

I bought this book on a whim, as it was not really on my radar at all, but a FF book with real historical characters, glamour and political drama? I was sold immediately.

I enjoyed reading this book and ended up finishing it in a day – it’s around 200 pages only, so easy to fly through. Still, I found myself not really excited about the story and not really feeling emotionally connected to the characters a lot. Eleanor was such an interesting character, but her personality and her relationship with Hick felt told rather than shown. I really hoped for more glamour and more political drama.

The book spends pages and pages on Hick’s childhood and teenage years, but it all felt sensationalized and not entirely true either. The entire circus part was not something I could find about her when doing a quick research, and I would much rather have had more of the book dedicated to the Depression and to Eleanor’s political career.

All in all, while an interesting book, I was hoping for something different, and it failed to wow me.

Review: Tangerine, by Christine Mangan

tangerine christine manganRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction

Goodreads

In Tangerine, Alice is unhappy with her life in Tangier, Morocco. The beautiful, warm city cannot seem to let her breathe and she loathes to leave her flat – but the arrival of her old friend Lucy is about to change all of this, although perhaps not for the better.

This is a very atmospheric, glamorous read, one of those books set in the suffocating heat that make you feel suffocated, too. I didn’t know what to think of this book in the beginning, the plot and writing style giving off vibes of The Talented Mr. RipleyBased on a True Story and Bitter Orange, so it did not feel original. The plot twists were not difficult to foresee either and, although entertaining, I did not think the book was particularly unique or excellent. Continue reading

Review: Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata

convenience store woman sayaka murata

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Literary Fiction

Goodreads

Convenience Store Woman is the story of Miss Furukura, who has been working at the same convenience store for the past eighteen years. Her life has not changes since her twenties, and that is how she thrives: she knows what the store needs, the correct level of enthusiasm to greet costumers, and what to say when. But as she gets older, the pressure increases for her to get married, changes jobs or, preferably, both. When she meets a man at the store looking for a wife so he can comply to societal norms, she sees in him the perfect convenient relationship to also get friends and family to accept her. But this bitter, small-minded man will create chaos in her perfectly orderly life, and perhaps not for the best. Continue reading

Review: In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

in cold blood truman capote

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Non-fiction, True Crime

Goodreads

In Cold Blood tells the true story of the gruesome murder of the Clutter family, and the subsequent hunt for the killers.

I’ve been looking forward to read this for a while! In Cold Blood is Truman Capote’s most famous work, the last book he ever finished, and has been on my list for many years now. I decided to pick it up as an audiobook, and I’m a bit disappointed to say that it’s not a book that worked for me in audio. I’m sure this influenced in some capacity my enjoyment of the book in general. It’s not that the narrator isn’t good, he is, but the writing style sounds pretentious and a bit repetitive when read out loud. Continue reading

eARC Review: Murder Theory (The Naturalist #3), by Andrew Mayne

murder theory andrew mayne

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Thriller, Crime

Goodreads

Murder Theory is the third book in The Naturalist series, following Dr. Theo Cray as he gets involved with another strange case… this time, a series of senseless murders apparently disconnected from each other take place not that far apart, except – all the murderers have no history of violence and no reason to commit the murders at all. They all look vacant and have no memory of what they did. What if there’s something infecting them, affecting their brains and making people attack loved ones? What if someone is spreading this infection on purpose? Continue reading

Review: Dig, by A. S. King

dig a s king

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Young Adult, Literary Fiction

Goodreads

I first heard of this book from one of Ariel Bissett’s channel and was immediately drawn to the cover – then the synopsis sounded intriguing. I was not sure what to think of literary YA fiction, as it made me think of books like The Catcher in the Rye (which I dislike), but since then I heard a few more positive reviews about it and decided to pick it up.

The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grandchildren. Continue reading

Review: Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

dry neal shusterman jarrod shusterman

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Young Adult Thriller

Goodreads / Amazon

Dry is the story of Alyssa, a teenager whose normal life gets disrupted irrevocably when the drought suddenly turns into an apocalypse: the taps go dry. There isn’t water anywhere, the markets have been emptied out and there is a promise of violence in the air. When her parents go missing, things become far worse, and now Alyssa must do whatever it take to save herself and her little brother.

I haven’t read many YA thrillers before, and this left a very good impression! The main difference to adult thrillers is definitely the main characters being teenagers and, on top of the problems caused by the lack of water, they also had to deal with crushes and thinking about school, and also the less graphic violence present on the book. Continue reading

Review: The Girl Who Was Taken, by Charlie Donlea

the girl who was taken charlie donlea

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Thriller

Goodreads

The Girl Who Was Taken is the story of two girls: one missing, one who came back. One night, Nicole and Megan disappeared, and two weeks later Megan escaped her captor. One year later, Nicole is still missing and Megan is now a national sensation as the book telling the gritty details of her kidnapping and brave escape.

On the surface, this is not any different from all other thrillers of girls being kidnapped, abused, killed, of which the whole genre is quite saturated. But really, I was very pleased to find out that this does not use the Dead/Missing Girl Trope as most other books do, but instead gives voice to different girls in this story, including the victim, and putting them first. Continue reading