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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

By the time they all sat down…she questioned if she should even tell him. It was too easy to imagine him overlooking the specificity of Hanna’s ominous words in favor of celebrating the achievement of speaking. Or, knowing Hanna, she’d screw up her face, puzzled, and act completely baffled by Suzette’s announcement and pretend it never happened. Whose side would Alex take then? Even Suzette thought it more likely that, mired in worries, she’d misinterpreted what she saw and heard. A nightmare mingling with life, not reality.

WOW. I can’t even tell you what I’m feeling right now, because this book is a tsunami-tornado of emotions and impressions and fears and doubts… First, let me say right off the bat – this will NOT be a book for everyone. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers turned off by the subject matter, questioning why anyone would write – or read – a book about evil in children or a mother-daughter dysfunction so severe that it literally ends in blood and tears. This is a tough book at times. There is a lot of dark, taboo, disturbing stuff brought into the light here, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But my goodness, the story is so well crafted that it would be a crime if it stayed in the dark…
Continue reading Book Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Book Review: Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine

What an AMAZING story this was – and so utterly original! McAlpine has created a meta-tale about writing, characterization, and the vagaries of life (real and imagined) that is not only a delight to read, but also a delight to analyze…

Woman with a Blue Pencil is a brilliant imagining of what happens to the characters who are cut from a work in progress. But more than that, it is an interwoven tale about the process of writing, compromise, editorial direction, American history, the nefarious nature of timing, and the lies we tell each other to keep daily life plodding along in the direction we want it to go… In prose so crisp it could cut bread, McAlpine weaves together a working manuscript, a tale just to the left of said manuscript, and the letters between an author and his editor about said manuscript into a whole that is so much more than the sum of its parts that the cliche sounds even more ridiculous than usual, yet remains perfectly apt – a gestalt realization that I didn’t self-edit, despite almost doing so several times (largely because of the very nature of the book it describes), that I recognized as such even as I was writing it… Continue reading Book Review: Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine

Guest Book Review: Louisiana Catch by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Another Sharon review for you today. If you haven’t already seen them and you’re curious, you can find her other reviews here. Have a good one and enjoy today’s feature!

Social media is a hot topic in today’s world – as is the importance of empowering women to share their strong voices in our modern world. Sweta captures the aforementioned topics with zest, passion, and insight that are rare finds in fiction today – let alone in one novel.

I’m going to give you the blurb on this one, because I think it’s important to understand what Sweta Vikram aimed at – and succeeded in – accomplishing with this fantastic book:

“Louisiana Catch, Vikram’s debut novel (she has 11 other books of poetry and non-fiction) is being published April 10, 2018 to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The book draws from Sweta’s experience as a health counselor for abused women, where she employs yoga and mindful meditation as a means to heal.

Continue reading Guest Book Review: Louisiana Catch by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Book Review: Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern

This is such a fun series… I’ve read and reviewed the first two books in the series (reviews here and here), and when the author asked if I would be interested in the third, it was an easy and obvious yes. Derry O’Dell is a lovely character who finds herself in the most unusual circumstances. Said circumstances *should* by rights render the stories unbelievable. Derry has the most appalling luck, managing to stumble into violence, death, and mayhem more often than any regular human being should. Yet somehow, despite the exceptional events, the stories always feel genuine and manage to stay just this side of over-the-top in the final analysis, regardless of how many bizarre occurrences befell the crazy-fun cast along the way.

In this, the third installment, Derry once again finds herself at risk of being overshadowed by her Madam Tulip persona (the psychic character that Derry portrays for fun and remuneration, an more often than not the actual reason for the scary oddities that so often beset the actress). She also once again manages to balance herself and her alter ego, blending the skills of the two into a coherent, entertaining, problem-solving whole. Continue reading Book Review: Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern

Book Review: Kill the Angel by Sandrone Dazieri

This series was a great find for me. After requesting this title, I hurried to read the first (Kill the Father). I’m very glad I did, I think I would have been a little lost if I hadn’t known the full backstory. There is SO MUCH going on in these books… The characters are complicated and battered (actually, more like fairly well broken). The plot lines are so tightly interwoven that teasing the threads apart is all but impossible until the very end – and even then, there are nearly as many unanswered questions are there are revelations. The violence is fairly graphic and the threats and painful truths are darkly difficult to stomach at times. It should make for a convoluted, depressing, uncomfortable read – but somehow it all comes together in a masterful way that renders the sum of its parts into a glorious whole that kept me frantically flipping pages even when I wasn’t entirely sure where I was or what was happening… This is a feeling that, upon reflection after finishing the book, feels intentional rather than a result of my personal reading style/experience; off-kilter is, after all, pretty much the name of the game for Dante and Colomba. Continue reading Book Review: Kill the Angel by Sandrone Dazieri

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