Just One Damned Thing After Another

I got this book because of the title. And it completely delivers.

It is by no means literature, but it a rip-roaring, time-travelling, laugh-out-loud adventure. I enjoyed the heck out of it even while pretty depressed- so that’s saying something.

Unfortunately, it is part of a long series so now I’m committed to something big. But even as a stand alone, the story was good. Plus the protagonist is awesome. She’s funny, tough, and smart.

I’m not going to tell you anything else because each chapter had me gasp and go: ‘no way!’ And I want you to have that experience too.

The Magicians

The dry spell has passed! I have just finished ‘The Magicians’ by Lev Grossman.

The reviews claim it is an adult ‘Harry Potter’ which I have heard before, and was skeptical, but this book really delivers. Seventeen year old Quentin is whisked away from his boring and frustrating life to Brakebills a school of magic in Boston. The place is full of horny teenagers with varying magical skill and a seemingly indifferent cast of teachers. He makes friends and pushes limits, always searching for what will finally make him happy.

Upon graduation his friend group embarks on an adventure to save Fillory- a magical land which sounds suspiciously like Narnia. This happens in the last third of the book so be prepared for a lot of reading before the action begins. Despite the story being a little slow, Quentin is an interesting and relatable character. There is no sugar coating here- his emotions are real and raw.

In the tradition of fantasy novels the book ends on a cliffhanger forcing you to read the whole series. I will keep you posted on the sequel.

Recommendations Please!

Okay people, I haven’t written a book review in a LONG time. This is not because I have stopped reading. It is because I haven’t read anything worth reviewing. I don’t often abandon a book in the middle, I usually tough it out to the end- you know, just in case it magically gets better. I have already jumped ship twice this month.

Our library is STILL closed so I have to know what I want and order it, or buy it on kindle. There is no browsing or scoping out the ‘popular reads’ shelf.

Unfortunately the deals on kindle are deals for a reason. I have come across some good ones but most are so bad I’m annoyed I spent 99c on it!

I like accurate historical fiction and fantasy mostly, bonus points if the book is a bit of both. I also read the ‘heavier’ literature that speaks about the human condition. I love anything that exposes me to other cultures or times.

Help a girl out and comment with your recommendations! I’m getting desperate here!

Three Dark Crowns

I wanted to wait until I finished the series to review these books but I just can’t! This fantasy series by Kendare Blake is mind-blowing. The world she has created is so rich and satisfying. The magic is clearly explained and has logical outcomes.

The series centers around a group of girls who have been born to destroy their sisters in order to claim the crown. The culture in the book is female-centric. Women hold the power and make the decisions for families and principalities. Their religion is also based on ‘the Goddess’.

Each sister has a different magic (as do all the people who support her) and throughout the series they learn to harness it and use it to their advantage. Each type of magic is valued for different reasons.

Seriously people, even if you’re not really into fantasy try this series out. The writing is great and the story moves briskly. If you’re into the fantasy genre prepare to have your world rocked.

Winter’s Bone

I just inhaled Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. It’s a short book so it was easy.

People, the writing was so beautiful I HAD to keep reading. I NEEDED to know what he was going to say next. I hung on every word, every vivid and unique description.

I was sad when it ended- I could have read his writing for days. It also made me re-evaluate my own writing. I must start describing things more creatively!

The story, of course, was also interesting. It’s set in the Ozarks and features many poverty-hardened characters who are using violence and drugs to get by and live with ‘honor’.

Do yourself a favour and read this book.

Apparently, a movie has been made starring Jennifer Lawrence. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I will reserve judgement until I’ve seen it.

Furiously Happy

I just finished Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.

I had been so excited to read this book when it came out, but initially the cover price was a bit steep. Luckily it was on sale on amazon prime days and I snatched up a copy for my kindle. I started it right away. Expecting my mind to be blown.

It wasn’t.

Most of the book feels like your watching an episode of the Gilmore Girls (fast and witty dialogue). And the rest is badly written ‘life advice’.

Yes, I know that’s what I write so I should shut up. But I was expecting some new insights, or at least some decent writing.

I will admit I had a few out-loud laughs in the early chapters before I got a bit jaded. I had to force myself to finish it.

In sum- not worth the money, but if you can borrow a copy and want to read about unrealistic shenanigans mostly involving taxidermied animals by all means go ahead.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

I finished a book on my vacation that has left me feeling so many things I could not write a review right away.

Please know I only review books that impact me. You know the ones that leave you lying awake at night wondering, or just reliving those wonderful and terrible moments.

This book certainly fulfills all these criteria.

Image result for all the ugly and wonderful things

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is beautifully crafted. The writing is rich and engaging. The subject matter on the other hand leaves one unsure what to feel. When it first became clear what was going on between the main characters I literally put the book down and went: “huh”.

I don’t want to spoil what becomes the central plot line so that’s all I’ll say. Pick up at your own risk, but know that you will be brought into a world different from your own.

The Astonishing Color of After

I just finished this book- or should I say: I just devoured this book.

Emily XR Pan masterfully created a story in which it is unclear if magic or mental illness is at play. The teenaged protagonist must cope with the loss of her mother to suicide after a long and painful battle with depression. She is convinced her mother has taken the form of a red bird who is trying to tell her something. Her search takes her to Taiwan to learn about her mother’s heritage.

While in Taiwan strange and wonderful things begin happening all around Leigh. While it seems as though she may be coming unhinged there are some tantalizing physical clues that argue she is not.

Of course, there is a love story woven throughout the book, but it has its own magic and is not an afterthought.

Leigh is beautifully developed and has her own teenaged complexities. You find yourself rooting for her very early in the story.

I will warn that the book speaks very frankly about severe depression and suicide which could be triggering. The story is told from the point of view of a child with a parent suffering. This dynamic was very interesting.

I got my copy on Kindle