The Loney by {Book Review}

7.20.2016

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley is a dark, creepy, and atmospheric book.
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of The Loney in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley left me feeling puzzled. This dark novel is more atmosphere than plot, more creepy that horrific, more suspense than thriller. I was expecting a grand twist, but if it was there, I missed it.

The story is told from the perspective of a young boy, whose only name offered in the novel is his last - Smith. He travels to a desolate area of England called The Loney on an Easter pilgrimmage with his family and members of his local Catholic parish. His older brother, Hanny, is disabled and their mother is banking on a miracle.

The writing throughout this novel is beautiful, lyrical, descriptive prose, but I kept waiting for the action to start. Facts and story lines would arise that I was sure would be important later, but which simply disappeared or petered out.

I think an atmospheric novel is just not the best fit for me. I need more plot and more characters to really get on board. However, if you love dark, gothic, creepy stories, this one could be right up your alley.

3/5

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar {Book Review}

7.18.2016

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar has a classic sci-fi feel and explores deep themes of war, memory, and technology, all within the setting of a far future space port.
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of Central Station in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

Reading Central Station by Lavie Tidhar was a singular experience. This novel tells the story of the people of Central Station, a space port near the city of Tel Aviv.

Many of the chapters were originally published as individual short stories, making Central Station read like a hybrid between a single narrative and linked short stories. As a result of this structure, though, a few story lines felt unfinished. It also reads like a sci-fi classic, which is right up my alley.

The world of Central Station is so realistically drawn by Tidhar that his descriptions of fantastical aspects of the future seem like references to completely commonplace occurrences. Of course there's a robot priest, preaching to appliances, cyborgs, and robots in the Church of Robot. Of course people live their lives with a node embedded, connecting them to everyone else in the digital world.

Central Station contained so many quotable lines that I was tempted to flood my feed on Litsy (I'm Madeline there if you want to follow me!). I'll leave you with one of my favorites in an effort to entice you to read this novel, which explores themes of love, war, memory, and technology:

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar has a classic sci-fi feel and explores deep themes of war, memory, and technology, all within the setting of a far future space port.

Read These Books {Quick Lit July 2016}

7.16.2016

YA Dystopia, World War II, embezzlement, geekdom, Millenial angst, and fairy tale adventures were all part of my reading life over the last month.
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARCs of many of these books in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

If you'd like to destroy your TBR list, may I recommend heading over to Modern Mrs. Darcy and checking out all the submissions to Quick Lit? It's terrible and wonderful all at the same time! Here's what I read this month:

YA Dystopia, World War II, embezzlement, geekdom, Millenial angst, and fairy tale adventures were all part of my reading life over the last month.
The Fire Sermon and The Map of Bones by Frances Haig - I was happy to find a new YA dystopian series to read! Check out my review here.

The Assistants by Camille Perri - Student loan debt stinks and you can commiserate with just how terrible it is in this novel. Check out my full review here.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave - I struggled to stop comparing this book to All the Light We Cannot See, but it was still a good read. Check out my full review here.

YA Dystopia, World War II, embezzlement, geekdom, Millenial angst, and fairy tale adventures were all part of my reading life over the last month.

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories #1) by Chris Colfer - Loved it, though there were a few references that seem a little racy for the 8-12 age ("harlot," "bimbo," "floozy," affairs, references to a boy being like a girl when very cold, etc.).

Armada by Ernest Cline - This novel by the author of Ready Player One was such a treat for fans of sci-fi and fantasy novels. Check out my full review here.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phoebe Patrick - This book was just so sweet, yet thoughtful, too. Check out my full review here.

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #0.1-0.2) - These were excellent backstories to choose from Red Queen. Although, it did make me anxious for the third book in this series!

Not Working by Lisa Owens - Being a lost soul can also be quite entertaining. Check out my full review here.

The Fire Sermon Series by Frances Haig {Book Review}

7.12.2016

The second novel in the dystopian YA fantasy series called The Fire Sermon, Map of Bones is outstanding on its own and a great bridge to the final novel in the series!
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of The Map of Bones in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

It came as no surprise to me when I discovered that the author of The Fire Sermon series, Frances Haig, is a renowned poet. I recently read the first and second installments of the series, The Fire Sermon and The Map of Bones. The final installment is due in 2017 and Haig has mentioned on her Goodreads page that she's working hard on it!

This dystopian YA novel has everything you'd want from the genre: cataclysmic event wiping out most of humanity, use of the terms Before and After to refer to said event, hierarchical society with mutations, and a bit of romance. But it has something more, too - beautifully lyrical and yes, poetic, writing.

Having read so many dystopian YA novels, I thought there would be nothing that could surprise me, but I was wrong. There are twists and turns here that are creative, but still make sense (which is not always true in this genre!).

It's pretty common for the second book in a series to fall short of the quality of the first, but that's not the case here. The Map of Bones improves on The Fire Sermon with cliffhanger chapter endings, song lyrics incorporated into the story, and a pretty epic road trip. I am looking forward to the next book!

The Assistants by Camille Perri {Book Review}

7.06.2016

Embezzlement is the way to pay off student loans in this story of assistants struggling with crippling student loan debt in Manhattan. Check out this review of The Assistants by Camille Perri.
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of The Assistants in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

The Assistants by Camille Perri will ring true for anyone shouldering the burden of onerous student loans and will provide a bit of revenge fantasy for comic relief. Just be prepared for a bit of frustration that these young Manhattanites fail to take responsibility for taking out the loans in the first place.

In The Assistants, Tina Fontana is an assistant to one of the most powerful men in the country, but makes a measly salary that can in no way cover her expenses and student loan payments. After an accounting mix up, she ends up blundering her way into an embezzlement scheme with her co-workers that spirals out of control.

At its core, this novel is fun and escapist, but with a nugget of the sad truth facing our country: the ballooning costs of college and resulting student loan debt. coupled with a tight job market, means that many young workers no hope of paying off. This novel imagines a way out for people in that situation and only requires a few felonies to get there.

3.5/5 Stars

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave {Book Review}

7.05.2016

 Everyone Brave is Forgiven tells stories of World War Two you haven't read a million times.
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of Everyone Brave is Forgiven in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave tells a story primarily of World War II London, during the Blitz (technically The Battle of Britain) at the beginning of the war.

The sense of bleakness, despair, and chaos kept me turning pages in the alternating stories of how three main characters experienced the war. Two were at home in London and one was stationed on Malta. These are stories of WWII I haven't read a million times, though it's hard for me to label them refreshing given the subject matter.

Throughout this novel was not only the sense of "carry on" that we associate with the British during WWII, but also a tremendous amount of gallows humor. It is a study of what people had to do to stay alive and the price they paid for doing so.

Cleave also injects discussions of racism, class tensions, and elitism, which are not common aspects in the WWII novels I have read. Speaking of which, I think all WWII novels will suffer by comparison to All the Light We Cannot See and I struggled not to compare the two while reading Everyone Brave is Forgiven. But Everyone Brave is Forgiven stands solidly on its own as an example of beautiful prose and rich character development.

Which Book of the Month Are You Choosing? {And a 30% Off Coupon Code!}

7.01.2016

The July 2016 Book of the Month Selections are good ones! The Girls, Rich and Pretty, Sleeping Giants, Love that Boy, and Missing, Presumed.


{If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

My goodness, this month's selections for the Book of the Month subscription box are so good! If you'd like to sign up for this month's selections, get 30% off a 3-month Book of the Month memberships + Free Tote and Sunnies with code SUMMER30.

Book of the Month allows you to pick one of five books, which have been selected by a panel of judges each month. A celebrity judge is usually involved - this month it's Arianna Huffington. I usually pick whatever Liberty Hardy recommends, but I have already read her pick this month!
The July 2016 Book of the Month Selections are good ones! The Girls, Rich and Pretty, Sleeping Giants, Love that Boy, and Missing, Presumed.

The Options:

Let's take a look at each selection.


The July 2016 Book of the Month Selections are good ones! The Girls, Rich and Pretty, Sleeping Giants, Love that Boy, and Missing, Presumed.

Love That Boy by Ron Fournier (Selected by Arianna Huffington)

From Amazon: LOVE THAT BOY is a uniquely personal story about the causes and costs of outsized parental expectations. What we want for our children—popularity, normalcy, achievement, genius—and what they truly need—grit, empathy, character—are explored by National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who weaves his extraordinary journey to acceptance around the latest research on childhood development and stories of other loving-but-struggling parents.

The July 2016 Book of the Month Selections are good ones! The Girls, Rich and Pretty, Sleeping Giants, Love that Boy, and Missing, Presumed.
From Amazon: A page-turning literary mystery that brings to life the complex and wholly relatable Manon Bradshaw, a strong-willed detective assigned to a high-risk missing persons case.


The July 2016 Book of the Month Selections are good ones! The Girls, Rich and Pretty, Sleeping Giants, Love that Boy, and Missing, Presumed.

The Girls by Emma Cline

From Amazon: Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.


The July 2016 Book of the Month Selections are good ones! The Girls, Rich and Pretty, Sleeping Giants, Love that Boy, and Missing, Presumed.

Rich & Pretty by Rumaan Alam

From Amazon: As close as sisters for twenty years, Sarah and Lauren have been together through high school and college, first jobs and first loves, the uncertainties of their twenties and the realities of their thirties.

Sarah, the only child of a prominent intellectual and a socialite, works at a charity and is methodically planning her wedding. Lauren—beautiful, independent, and unpredictable—is single and working in publishing, deflecting her parents’ worries and questions about her life and future by trying not to think about it herself. Each woman envies—and is horrified by—particular aspects of the other’s life, topics of conversation they avoid with masterful linguistic pirouettes.

Once, Sarah and Lauren were inseparable; for a long a time now, they’ve been apart. Can two women who rarely see one other, selectively share secrets, and lead different lives still call themselves best friends? Is it their abiding connection—or just force of habit—that keeps them together?

With impeccable style, biting humor, and a keen sense of detail, Rumaan Alam deftly explores how the attachments we form in childhood shift as we adapt to our adult lives—and how the bonds of friendship endure, even when our paths diverge.


The July 2016 Book of the Month Selections are good ones! The Girls, Rich and Pretty, Sleeping Giants, Love that Boy, and Missing, Presumed.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

From Amazon: A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

My Pick:

I have already read Sleeping Giants (see my review here), so I'm down to four options. I have heard an unbelievable amount of buzz about The Girls by Emma Cline, so I think that'll be my pick this month.

Which one are you selecting?