5.26.2018

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford {Book Review}

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford is alternatively hilarious and heartbreaking. This story of New York City before it was a city will suck you right in! #books
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of Golden Hill free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Book:

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Published:

June 2016

PTH Rating:



Review:

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford is alternatively hilarious and heartbreaking. This story of New York City before it was a city will suck you right in! We follow the story of William Smith as he steps off a ship from the old world onto Manhattan island. He is a man of mystery who charms his way into the hearts of New York's inhabitants almost against their will.

We learn about Smith bit by bit as he struggles to make sense of the town of New York. Throughout it all, the reader is left wondering why Smith is there, whether there is any sense to his actions, and whether he could b any more charming. 

A few of my favorite lines from Golden Hill, which is written in the style of the period:

>“For what soul, to whom the world still is relatively new, does not feel the sensible excitement, the faster breath of expansion of hope, where every alley may yet contain an adventure, every door be back'd by danger, or by pleasure, or by bliss?”

>“When the winter takes hold we all huddle in each other's pockets.”

>“He laid his white right hand tidily atop his white left hand, on the tabletop. Smith smiled appreciatively, but still declined to come out to play. Septimus tapped the toe of his shoe on the floor. Tap-tap-tap: a foot tutting.”

As you can see, this book is full of wit, but also a whole bunch of sentimentality that hit me right in the feels. I highly recommend it to any fan of historical fiction, especially someone who enjoys a little bit of quirkiness in their novels.

4.08.2018

The Space Between the Stars by Ann Corlett {Book Review}

The Space Between the Stars is set in what is left of a post-apocalyptic universe.
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of The Space Between the Stars free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

PTH Rating:


Review

I was all set up to adore this book because I am a complete sucker for a post-apocalyptic story. In Ann Corlett's The Space Between the Stars, humanity has moved out into the universe, but a virus reduces the universe's population to just a few survivors on each inhabited planet. 

But where this novel lost me was all the other stuff. Our protagonist, Jamie, is extraordinarily petty in the face of the near-destruction of humanity. Entire passages are spent in what feels like an emotional/psychological check ins with all the characters, whether major or minor.

What I did love was the sweeping adventure of the story and the portions that focused on the state of the world when its population is decimated. It is always interesting to see how people would cope and cobble together a new world. 

3.28.2018

The Little French Bistro by Nina George {Book Review}

The Little French Bistro tells the story of Marianne Messaman, who starts the novel by trying to kill herself in Paris. I warned you it was melancholy! The novel tell the story from there and I don't want to spoil anything, but it involves.... a Little French Bistro. #books #bookreviews
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of The Little French Bistro free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

PTH Rating: 



I was a fan of The Little Paris Bookshop and its interminable love of all things bookish, but Nina George's latest book, The Little French Bistro just didn't hit the mark for me. I found it melancholy, then treacly, then insta-lovey.

The Little French Bistro tells the story of Marianne Messaman, who starts the novel by trying to kill herself in Paris. I warned you it was melancholy! The novel tell the story from there and I don't want to spoil anything, but it involves.... a Little French Bistro.

You know what I did adore about this book though? The food! Also, the clear love and admiration of the Breton culture made me want to hop on a plane and visit the region.

I also appreciated truly a story with a female protagonist who was later in life, but still swayed by an invitation for love and happiness. If you like your stories more on the sappy side and all tied up in a bow at the end, this one is for you!

2.18.2018

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee {Book Review}

Contemporary YA Fiction - Tash Hearts Tolstoy tells the story of what can happen when a web series goes viral
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of Tash Hearts Tolstoy free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Book

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Publication Date

June 6, 2017

PTH Rating


Review

Maybe I need to come to terms with the fact that I am not a fan of contemporary YA. While Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee was well-written, cute, and fun, it didn't grab me.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy tells the story of 17-year old Tash Zelensky and what happens when her low-budget web series hits it big. While I found that aspect of the book the most compelling, it fell away in the plot and the book focused more on Tash's internal struggles and the meaning of friendship.

I was left with questions, mostly because no one wanted to sort out what happened that led to conflict. Instead, they just wanted to turn the page. While that might be realistic, it was unsatisfying for me as a reader.

2.03.2018

The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron {Book Review}

{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of The Last Neanderthal free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Book:

The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron

Publication Date:

April 25, 2017

Rating:


Review

Sometimes you just don't connect with a book, even if it's well written. Such was the case for me with The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron. 

The dual narrative of this book is intriguing - we follow Rose, a paleontologist, as she uncovers two skeletons in cave in France. One skeleton is a more modern human and one is a Neanderthal. This discovery rocks the scientific world. The other story line is for Girl, who will later be one of the skeletons discovered by Rose. 

I ended up skimming the second half of this book after trying for weeks to connect with the story. Rose was unlikeable and Girl was unbelievable. The combination made for a story I just wasn't looking forward to reading.

Despite my personal feelings about the characters and story, I am interested in reading something else by Cameron, because I did enjoy her precise and detailed writing style.

12.03.2017

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout {Book Review}

The style of Anything is Possible is consistent with Strout's signature sparse prose and the characters seem painfully real. There are many stories that are dark, touching on taboo topics: incest, infidelity, molestation. Families are tested and raw emotions are often on display.  #books #reading
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of Anything is Possible free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Book

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

Publication Date

April 25, 2017

Rating

 

Review

Elizabeth Strout has an amazing ability to make even a simple conversation about something mundane seem incredibly poignant and meaningful. Anything is Possible is a collection of short stories, set mostly in small town, rural America that does just that.

If you've read the much-discussed My Name is Lucy Barton (see my review here), then you will recognize some of the names mentioned in Anything is Possible. Strout didn't feel done with the story of the people who populated Lucy's childhood, so wrote this stories about them. (I love a spin off.)

The style of Anything is Possible is consistent with Strout's signature sparse prose and the characters seem painfully real. There are many stories that are dark, touching on taboo topics: incest, infidelity, molestation. Families are tested and raw emotions are often on display.

Lucy Barton herself appears in one of the stories, but there is definitely no need to read My Name is Lucy Barton in order to fully appreciate Anything is Possible. However, reading these details about the lives of people from Lucy Barton adds a layer to the story - we never really know whether people are who they present to the world.

11.27.2017

Void Star by Zachary Mason {Book Review}

Void Star follows several characters, all of whom are living completely different lives in a post-apocalyptic sort of world. The reason for the chaos is shrouded in mystery, though we hear references to burning cities, entire swaths of land completely deserted, and epidemics.  #books #bookreviews
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of Void Star free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOOK

 Void Star

PUBLICATION DATE

April 11, 2017

RATING


REVIEW

Reading Void Star by Zachary Mason felt a whole lot like going down a rabbit hole. Once I wrapped my head around the fact that this sci-fi novel was going to have me in a constant state of confusion, I just went with it and I couldn't put it down.

Void Star follows several characters, all of whom are living completely different lives in a post-apocalyptic sort of world. The reason for the chaos is shrouded in mystery, though we hear references to burning cities, entire swaths of land completely deserted, and epidemics.

Despite the destruction of so much of the world, technology has moved forward exponentially. In fact, it has moved so far that mind implants have become a thing of the past and artificial intelligence has become the future.

This seems like a novel that people either love or hate because you never quite feel like you're on solid ground. I definitely fell into the love column and will be thinking about this story for quite some time.