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!

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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

Review: The Trial, by Franz Kafka

the trial franz kafka

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Classic, Dystopia, Literary

Goodreads / Amazon

This is one of the books that German students seem to get quite often for their High School language studies, and I am very sorry for all the teenagers being subject to this complex novel. I went into it without much knowledge of the plot, and in fact I do recommend you go that way into it! The next paragraph, as per my usual reviews, has a short description of the synopsis, but please feel free to skip it if you’d like to read the book in the dark. Also skip the last part of the review (helpfully called Spoilers) to not have too much of the story revealed 🙂

The Trial is the story of Josef K., a bank worker who one day wakes up to find out he is being arrested for a crime that he is sure he didn’t commit, and doesn’t know the nature of. He then tries to find ways in which to make his case and obtain an acquittal, but there is never any progress, and just a long, maddening, pointless process full of contradictions. Continue reading

Review: The Vegetarian, by Han Kang

The Vegetarian Han Kang

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction

GoodreadsSkoob / Amazon

When I picked this book up, I expected a tale about a woman with mental illness, and how it affected her marriage and family – that is what I had read in the blurb. But The Vegetarian isn’t about that – it’s deeper and darker.

Yeong-hye is not exceptional in any way. She’s quiet, obedient, not specially pretty, and moves along her day being a dutiful wife. The novel being with the husband’s point of view, who is the first to witness Yeong-hye’s mental state deteriorating. It starts with a dream. After that, she cannot eat meat anymore, nor eggs or milk. At first, her husband tries to persuade her to stop the madness as she throws away all the meat in the fridge, but she won’t be persuaded. This act is taken as shocking and shameful by her husband and family.  Continue reading

Review: As Good As True, by Cheryl Reid

As Good As True Cheryl Reid

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Historical Novel

Goodreads / Amazon

In this debut novel, Anna waits in the dark, terrorized, as her abusive husband yells for her at night with increasing rage, and then dies of a heart attack. As she tries to hide her relief, she now has to deal with the consequences of his death and make peace with her past. As a daughter of Syrian immigrants living in segregated US in the 1950s, her white neighbors were not too fond of her, and once suspicion arises of her having something to do with her husband’s death, Anna is in great danger.

Continue reading

ARC Review: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction

Goodreads / Amazon

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Little Fires Everywhere was one of the books coming out in 2017 that I was most looking forward to! And did Celeste Ng deliver. She certainly did.

Noriko at Diary of a Bookfiend and I started reading this book basically at the same time, and we chatted about it and let me tell you – her thoughts on it are spot on, she writes beautifully and you should definitely read her review! Continue reading