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

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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: 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: A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, by Eimear McBride

a girl is a half formed thing eimear mcbrideRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Literary Fiction

Goodreads

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is a story of a young woman whose brother has survived a brain tumor, and now tries to navigate through life knowing he is different and less intelligent than others. It explores what it’s like to be a girl completely on her own, facing religious struggles, suffering trauma and just trying to cope but finding yourself always going back to the unhealthy behaviors that help you forget.

First of all, this book has quite serious trigger warnings – I am listing all of those I could remember down below and unfortunately reading them includes spoilers, but I would not advise a reader to go into this book without knowing that you’re in for an emotional, brutal ride. If you are sensitive to some topics, check the TWs below before picking it up, ESPECIALLY if you’re a sexual assault/rape survivor. Continue reading

Mini-Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

the strange and beautiful sorrows of ava lavender

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Magical Realism, Literary Fiction, Young Adult

Goodreads 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is well-known among book bloggers and booktubers, a gorgeous magical realism story about Ava Lavender and her family, who has generations of pain and magic in their history. Her family seems to be cursed to fall in love foolishly. Ava is born different, and is mistaken for an angel by a pious man.

This book is written beautifully, and I specially liked the descriptions of the baked goods in the family’s bakery. Made me hungry! This short book packs the story of four generations of this family very well, it never felt too short at all. There is so much beauty, pain, prejudice, love and betrayal, it’s very emotional and I was addicted to this.

The magical realism part, however, bothered me a little. Perhaps because I’m Latin-American, I expected the magical realism to be executed differently. I wondered if it was perhaps fantasy instead, but it isn’t quite. That made me frown a bit, but it’s a pretty good book in any case! I was very impressed by this debut!

Review: Ghost Wall, by Sarah Moss

ghost wall sarah moss

Rating: ★★★★★

Genres: Literary Fiction

Goodreads

Ghost Wall is the story of a group of students, a professor and a local family who want to re-enact the life in the Iron Age in Northumberland. As they become more and more involved in the re-enactment, tension builds and threatens to explode into violence.

Ghost Wall is one of the most impacting books I’ve read all year and I am sure this will stay with me for a long time. First of all, the writing is absolutely beautiful, and it’s all I want from literary fiction – nothing pretentious, but gorgeous nonetheless and with so much nuance to it that I surely missed a lot of details on this first read. Continue reading

Review: Remembered, by Yvonne Battle-Felton

remembered yvonne battle-felton

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Literary fiction, Magical Realism, Historical Fiction

Goodreads

This is such a beautiful literary work, I am so glad to have picked this up!

It’s 1910 in Philadelphia and Edward is in the hospital. His mother has no idea if he will make it through the night, although it does not look likely – so his other mother, his biological one, insists that it’s time he knows of the story of his family. She is a ghost, but a very outspoken one who will not rest until her family’s history is passed on and Remembered. Continue reading

Review: Bottled Goods, by Sophie Van Llewyn

bottled goods sophie van llewyn

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Literary fiction, Magical Realism, Historical Fiction

Goodreads

Bottled Goods is one of the most interesting and unique books in the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 Longlist! It tells the story of Alina, who lives in Romania in the 1970s and is suffering the aftermath of her brother-in-law running away from communist Romania and leaving her and her husband to deal with the suspicion, interrogation and violence.

A bit under 200 pages, this took about a couple hours to read, and I highly recommend it to people who love a bit of magical realism! This was my favorite part about the book, how seamlessly the author managed to add magical elements to an otherwise heavy story, adding some whimsical and funny moments. Continue reading

Review: Everything Under, by Daisy Johnson

everything under daisy johnson

Rating: ★★★★★

Genres: Literary Fiction

Goodreads / Amazon

Everything Under is the story of a woman in search of the truth about what happened all those years ago, before her mother left. She has spent the last sixteen years forgetting, but now she has found her mother again and the memories return from those days on the river, the monster they feared and the dark secrets hidden beneath the waters.

The places we are born come back to us. They disguise themselves as words, memory loss, nightmares. Continue reading

Review: The Water Cure, by Sophie Mackintosh

the water cure sophia mackintosh

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Literary Fiction

Goodreads / Amazon

This is one of the most talked about feminist dystopias of the year, and the blurb had that “toxic masculinity” was literally a toxic that made people ill, and thus this community set itself away from the rest of the world in order to survive. The story is, however, not a dystopia but rather a cult story. I picked it up because I love feminist SF, but this was not SF at all, and I think a lot of other people might be confused by that, too. So, now that this is out of the way, to the review!

The Water Cure is the story of a family that lives in an island where toxic things like emotion and desire, dangerous things to a woman in the outside world, are to be purged out of the body. Only love for each other must remain, measured and cautious.  To do that, the three sisters, their mother and father go through therapy sessions – including near-drowning, screaming and allotted crying time. As the only man in the island and therefore immune to the toxics of the outside world, the father goes to the mainland for supplies. One day when he disappears without leaving a trace, their world is shaken. And when men arrive in the island begging for sanctuary, the very emotions they have worked so hard to suppress come to surface. And that means they are all in danger. Continue reading