Friday, December 11, 2015

Review: The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson

The Star Side of Bird HillThe Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First let me talk about the cover on this novel - it's so amazing! Just jumps off hte shelf at you! And it's perfect for this novel! It just rocks! This was a fascinating take on the coming of age story and it centers on two girls who face a lot of challenges as they maneuver through family, friends and community.

The representation of teens in this novel was really fantastic - it offered a balanced view of them which I found refreshing. Teens can be so challenging and putting that myriad of emotions onto paper can be difficult, I'm sure. Naomi Jackson excelled at that in this novel.

The characters were so fleshed out and realistic - flawed in all their beauty. I loved the character of Hyacinth (the girls' grandmother) who really had that charm and strength that a good grandmother should have. Her devotion to her girls was one of the most beautiful relationships in the novel.

I loved how this novel helped to teach me a bit about Barbados and the challenges someone might have after living in America and coming to live in Barbados. The novel explored family, friendship, and depression so well. Although not a fast paced novel, this was a nice, gentle exploration of interesting people and their interesting lives.

I highly recommend this novel - it's so good! I can't wait to read more of this novelists work in the future!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review: Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Bellweather RhapsodyBellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a quirky little book! I really was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Although the characters were more one dimensional than I usually like, the story itself (and it's quirkiness) made up for that for me. It did feel a bit like the author pulled in some familiar things to create her world and characters - characters and event like Glee, a huge hotel with history like in the Shining (but without the horror) and a murder mystery right out of Agatha Christie!

I found the playfulness of the novel and the characters to be its greatest asset. I was curious about how things would play out but also interested in the story along the way. The humor and quirkinmess really made it memorable to me.

I don't think this is for everyone but I do think it was charming and interesting. Definitely worth your checking out to see if it's something you might like!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Review: The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

The Things That Keep Us HereThe Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel has been on my Nook for what seems like ages but the cover image had me convinced it was one novel ... and it was something completely different. This isn't in any way a fluffy, family drama sort of book as the cover indicated to me. This is a family drama that's built around a pandemic taking over the world. And it's really quite good. Not perfect but infinitely readable and interesting.

I found myself a bit frightened given the fact that the events in this book are very realistic ... and could easily happen at any time. That gave the book a sense of urgency that I really enjoyed!

I wish there had been a bit more on the pandemic, to fill in some of the openings but I suspect that the author wanted to put the reader in the same place as her characters ... where things are happening but the infrastructure that we rely on for information is no longer in place.

All in all, I enjoyed this novel and recommend it. It's a unique take on the 'end of the world' tale.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review: Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy

Where All Light Tends to GoWhere All Light Tends to Go by David Joy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this dark and atmospheric novel. Although not a new concept (the story itself has been told elsewhere), I did find this a very good novel. Southern fiction focusing around a family impacted by meth and how it's changed them. In many ways, this is a simple coming of age story but it is even better as a cautionary tale. The impact of poverty and crime played out with this cast of characters was fascinating. Like I said, nothing revolutionary - but a solid story with compelling stories. This novel is dark and gritty - there is little to be uplifted by. However, there is a great deal of soul to this story and I found it to be a good read. I recommend it if the dark and gritty appeals to you.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders: A Novel by Julianna Baggott

Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders: A NovelHarriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders: A Novel by Julianna Baggott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this novel - such a great story about three generations of women. I loved how the story unfolded and how the author used Harriet Wolf's books to tell that story in a really unique way.

There is so much texture in this novel - both in the characters and the world that Baggott has created for those characters. Everyone is flawed and interesting and come across quite real. It was a fun and interesting adventure!

I definitely recommend this one ... it was such a pleasure to read!There is a mystical sort of feel to this novel - it's lyrical and even magical. I found it unlike anything I've ever read. This would be a great book for a book club to read and discuss!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Review: Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Who Do You LoveWho Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel! It really spoke to me but perhaps that is because it has some parallels to my own relationship with my husband who I consider to be my soul mate. We have been in and out of each others lives since I was 14 but I always knew he was the one.

Anyway, back to the novel ... it's a really well paced story, that allows you to get both character's perspective of what's been happening. I think this is a heartfelt and beautiful story about the paths life takes and how we never know where we'll end up! I think the love story was very realistic and honest. It felt real.

I really enjoyed this new one from Jennifer Weiner! I did miss her trademark funny dialogue which I didn't see much here but overall, yet another good book from her!