Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

A lot of the books I find to read either happen by accident, I hear about them on Instagram, or while roaming the book store. This was kind of an accident and kind of something I had heard about on Instagram.

I wasn't aware of this author until the last couple months and the reason I was aware of it was because I heard about her through a couple posts made by a blogger I really like. Thing was, Flannery O'Connor apparently had written things of a more specifically religious nature and while that's not really my thing, I was interested in her writing anyway. 

I found this in the fiction section of my library totally by accident one day as I was wandering through the bookshelves. I saw her name on the spine and I figured, why not! This was her first book.

This one does have a religious bend to it, but it's fiction, and it's a story. I picked this up totally to experience her writing, which was totally great, but I think a lot of it went over my head. 

It's about a guy named Hazel Motes who is basically looking to get away from God without actually being able to. He even starts his own church, but can't actually get away from God at all. He meets a blind man and his daughter, and a strange guy who has "wise blood". I don't want to say more really, because I don't know how much I'd be giving away that people may not want to know before hand. With this book, I don't even know what the spoilers are and what they aren't.

There was no doubt a deeper meaning to this story than I was getting, and I think maybe since I missed it, it left something to be desired once it was done. It felt almost like a book we had to read in school, one of those ones that feel intense but in an old time period that we can't connect with, about people who live lives we never will. 

Coming out the other side I'm not sure what to make of it. It was dark, strange, and weird. Her writing was wonderful otherwise I don't think I would have finished this book based on the story. Her writing kept me glued to the page even though I had no clue what was really going on. I hopped over onto Goodreads to see what people were saying and I guess the consensus is its a Southern Gothic novel, and no one can say a whole lot about whats going on either. 

Recommendations: If you want to read something out of the norm, looking to experience different writings, and different stories, then read this. This isn't the book for the usual book worm. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

This book has been all over Instagram and because it's classified as a young adult book I didn't really look into it too much at first. I still have a bit of a thing when it comes to reading young adult books, but I am expanding my horizons and enjoying it.

This book was no exception. I loved this book! It was fun and easy to follow. Best part was that it was a western, written like a western with the lingo and the mannerisms. It was lovely. I totally wasn't expecting that when I first picked it up and it was a nice surprise!

I hate to admit it, but all the years I spent living at home with my parents and only having one t.v. meant that I watched a lot of western movies with my dad, and I actually kind of enjoyed them. There was another series I read last year that followed two cowboy brothers around that I really quite liked too.

Vengeance Road follows Kate Thompson, a young woman, in her pursuit of the men who killed her father. She must follow them as they travel towards the location of a hidden gold mine that was written in a journal they stole from her father to seek her vengeance. There's murder, intrigue, a bit of surprising turn of events, and a whole cast of interesting characters that take you on a ride through gold mining country back in the day. It was thoroughly enjoyable!

Now, I know what you might be thinking, that since this is a young adult book that it's perhaps something more sweet and innocent then westerns really are, but it's not. There's death and killing without apologies. Yes, there is a little bit of love thrown in there, but it's not a sweet light western following just a regular sweet girl. This is grittier than that, and I loved it!

There is a new book coming out by this author later this year that is in the same western style, but sadly it doesn't feature the same characters. Everything gets wrapped up at the end of this book but there is always more to know! New characters or not, I will be reading it. I love this old western style with which the author uses to add a little something extra to her books.

Recommendation: Read this if you love good stories, if westerns pique your interest,  and if you're looking for something different. This book will not disappoint!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood

Stop reading right now if you are totally sick of Miss Fisher's murder mystery reviews. I'd apologize, but honestly, I'm not really sorry I'm reviewing another one! They are just too much fun!

This one was a little different than the usual ones. This one featured an old friend of Phryne's from her time spend in the war. The interesting thing was her friend now has a companion who, as it turns out, is a little like another famous mystery character that most of us know and love! (He resides at 221B Baker street) It might actually bother hard core Sir Conan Doyle fans, but although it was obvious the relationship between her characters was based on those famous men, they were still written different enough to be their own separate entities.

I will say that moments got a little weird, a little overly sexual is the best way to describe it, and although I could have done without a lot of that bit there in the middle, it was a good book.

The mystery might have been a little secondary to the storyline of the two gentlemen, which, depending on what you read these books for, can be a little tiresome. I, for one, love the stories about Phryne and her entourage as much as I like a good old murder mystery. A bit of drama and romance is alright by me (at least when it comes to these books!)

There was a choir, a ghastly murder (or two), some romance, old flames, new flames, spies, the war, and much more in this one. All in all I'd have to say it was a pretty darn good book!

Recommendation: As always, lovers of murder, of old time divas in spectacular clothing, women living life to the fullest for themselves, and a great story will love this book and this series as a whole!

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Elven Tales: The Company of the Rose by Fabi Ghittoni

Let me start off by telling you that I was given an e-book form of this book by the author to review.

I came across Fabi on Instagram and through following her I found out she was looking for reviewers for her new book called The Elven Tales: The Company of the Rose. Anything to do with Elves and other creatures like that I am all over it, so of course I asked if I could read and review it!

This book is about a girl named Prudence who is going about life as a normal girl living with her best friends family. After being attacked, she finds herself in a new place with new creatures who are telling her she needs to help them stop this evil being Alanel who has escaped from prison. She must help retrieve the King's runes and learn about who she really is in order to save Arkana. She is aided by the warriors who make up The Company of the Rose who are by her side through the harrowing journey. It's got action, adventure, a little intrigue, and a lot of fun.

First off, the book is gorgeous! It's really stunning! Even the pages are beautiful! It's just an amazing looking book. Every chapter had a different picture in shades of grey on its chapter page and it was just visually interesting to read.

Now, have you ever been so excited about a book that you had to immediately explain the whole entire story to a friend in order to get them to understand how great it was? Well, reading this book felt a little like that.

There were moments where everything was sped up so quickly that I found myself being a little left behind in some places. Like the story teller was saying, yes, those moments are important to the story, but so is this and this and this and this. Like a friend was hurrying to get to her favorite part and didn't have time to slow down and explain it all.

Some parts of the book totally slowed down though, and I felt like I was actually with the characters experiencing what they were experiencing (which is what I love). There were a couple places towards the end that totally grabbed me up and really engaged me which is why, if I had to give this book a rating, I would give it a 3/5.

The bones of this story were so good though. It was such an interesting idea and I was excited to see how it was going to turn out. I did feel though that I had many questions that weren't getting answered and that did take away a little of the fun for me. All in all, it was a good first book from a new author.

Recommendation:  Check this book out on Goodreads and on Instagram. If you are interested in the synopsis, don't pass this by. You kind of have to work with this book for it to work for you, but the story is pretty cool!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

I've seen this movie a bunch of times but I never had the opportunity to read the book that inspired it.

The book is the true account of what Susannah experienced when she went into treatment with a mental illness. I have always found books and stories like this to be interesting. We all live different lives and being able to look into the lives of others can be enlightening and moving experience. 

Now, the movie is a little more dramatic and embellished than the book (the real story) was. Part of me is so happy that is the case. If you've ever seen the movie, it's got some parts that really kind of grab you and shake you up. Thankfully, those parts weren't experienced by the author in quite the same way. I could explain but I won't go into more detail because I am so against spoilers of any kind.

This was a super easy and quick read for me, and I was totally wrapped up in it when I was reading it. It's really an open window into the lives of those who experience mental illness. 

There are copies of records from the institution from during her stay inserted into the book that I thought were pretty darn cool to see. I do like how much the movie told the story of these characters and did them so much justice though, and I recommend both the movie and the book. 

Recommendation: for those who are interested in the lives and experiences of those touched with mental illness, this is something to read!