Blog

Posted in info, Reading

Book review: That Kind of Mother

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam.

(This sounds like spoilers but this is the first part of the novel.)

Rebecca Stone is a first time mother in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Her job is demanding and she quickly figured out that she needs help. A white woman, she hires a black nanny, Priscilla Johnson, who helps care for her son, continuing as he grows into a toddler. Two years later,  Priscilla becomes pregnant and then sadly dies during childbirth. Rebecca and her husband decide that since Priscilla was such a large part of their life, they want to adopt her son.  The story unfolds as this woman with two sons, one white and one black, that she loves equally, see’s how the world will treat them differently.

Oh Man, did I enjoy this book.

It’s a rare thing to say, but this one is about 300 pages long and it could of kept going. While the author did not end abruptly or anything,  there was still a lot more of these people’s lives that she could of covered. I’m kinda hoping that she decides to write a sequel, as I would want to know more about, what happens next?

Honestly, there wasn’t much that I can think of that I didn’t really like. The beginning of the story was a bit drawn out, as I already knew that Priscilla was going to die, it’s sad to say but I was waiting for that to happen. But it was a very honest look at a woman who was a new mom, trying to balance a career and care for a newborn baby. None of it was sugarcoated or made to look easier then it was. Again after Priscilla dies and Rebecca has a toddler and a newborn baby, this time around much harder because she had no help. Everything was brutally honest and that was quite refreshing.

Overall, I really recommend this book. It made me think a lot. I’m really glad I read it and I think I’m going to see what else the author has published.

7/10

What do you think? Have you read it? What’s your opinion?

~Ames

 

Posted in info, writing

Book review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore by Robin Sloan and Rodrigo Corral

This is going to be a disappointing review, as this is one of the books I legit struggled to finish. I wanted to like this book, I really did.

Alright, the book is about a man named Clay Jannon, a computer programmer who gets laid off. Since he lives in San Francisco, an insanely expensive city to live in, he gets a job working the night shift at a 24 hour bookstore. A very dusty old bookstore with an old owner.  The longer he works there, he realizes there are secrets, books that he’s not allowed to read and a mystery that’s around 500 years old.

Alright, the writing here is not bad and the idea is a good one. There’s this theme of old verses new, with technology (Clay’s girlfriend works at google and technology plays quite a role in the story) vs books. As one can guess, the mystery is around the bookstore and what exactly some of these old books mean. I like that. The plot is good and interesting and I always wanted to know more.

Also, the writing is good and has a good setting. I’ve personally been to San Fran and immediately felt like I was back there.  That was good, everything felt real.

The problem I had with this book was the characters.

I did not care one bit about any of the main characters. Clay, his girlfriend Kat, and his two forgettable friends that I don’t remember their names. I could care less what happens to them. And that’s a really big problem when I’m supposed to be invested this story.

And it’s a shame because the authors know how to write. It was clear that they had a well plotted out and interesting story with a lot of history going on here. The setting was good, but the people? Nothing. No connection to them. I had to force myself to finish this book. Which is such a shame because this book was recommended with glowing praise. And I had to fight myself to get through it, wasn’t even a long book.

The only character with any bit of promise was probably Mr. Penumbra. What’s worse is they wrote a small prequel that was included in the book I got. Part of me is curious to go read it, but I also am worried that it’s going to be more the same. I have so many great books I want to read and I don’t want to waste any more time with people I just don’t care about.

To be fair, there was nothing about them that I hated. But they just felt… so.. static? Clay is a programmer that is laid off and gets a new job. That’s all I can remember about him. Interesting backstory? No. Any quirk? Why are we rooting for him to solve this mystery? He is not personally connected to it. He could of walked away at any moment. And the same goes for the rest of them. His girlfriend, Kat? She works at google and has several copies of the same shirt. That’s it.

Nothing.

Sadly, I think this could of been a great book that I could of loved. And it has gotten some good reviews. Just not by me.

5/10

What do you think? Have you read it? What’s your opinion?

~Ames

Posted in info, Reading

Book review: The Nix

The Nix by Nathan Hill

Okay, I’m going to tell you a a secret. I have been sitting on this book for months. I got it last fall and it’s a big book, around 700+ pages. For several months, it sat on my book case and I just stared at it. It was recommended to me by the owner of a bookstore that I visit, but I just wasn’t sure.

Holy crap, I’m so glad I finally picked it up. This is a hard book to talk about as it takes place over the course of 40+ years and with a ton of characters, but stay with me, because it is worth it.

The book open with our main character, Samuel. His mother abandoned him and his father when he was 11 years old. Just one day, up and left. Almost two decades later, she suddenly resurfaces in the news of all places, having attacked a governor running for president. Things get more crazy when it’s revealed something happened to his mom back in the 60’s (when she was a college girl, before she married his father) and it all could be connected.

H O L Y  C R A P do I love this book.

I’ve talked about other author’s writing before, but this one takes the cake. Knocks it out of the park. How good is the writing? While the plot is good, it can be slow sometimes and at other times, takes detours to explore character’s motivations in an almost character studies. The writing is so good and the character’s are so interesting, I didn’t care. That’s how good.

I honestly cannot think of anything bad to say about this book. It’s a long one and took me almost a month to read, but man, am I glad that I did.

This is a rare 10/10 book. And looking at the awards and comments I’ve seen, it’s pretty clear that I’m not the only person who thinks this. Go out and read this book. It’s a great one.

Have you read it? What’s your opinion?

~Ames

 

Posted in Reading

Book review: Everything I never told you

Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng.

If you follow this blog (thank you so much!) you might know that a few months ago, I reviewed Mrs. Ng’s 2nd book, Little Fires Everywhere and oh man, did I love that book. It is a favorite of mine. If you haven’t read it, please do yourself a favor and go do so. I enjoyed it so much that I started looking for anything else she might of written and found this one.

Plus after I posted that long list of books that I need to read, I gave myself a kick in the pants and I finished this one this week. Yay!

(Minor spoilers from the beginning of the book. Also, This book is sad, really sad. I’m the kind of person who enjoys that kind of thing, but if you don’t and want to read happier things, this book is not for you.)

This book is about the Lee family, a Chinese-American mixed family living in a small town on Ohio during the 1970’s. Very sadly, at the beginning of the book, their oldest daughter, who’s 16, drowns in a lake next to their house. The book then dives into a deep character study and history of this family, up to what happened that led this young girl to take her own life.

Like I said, a sad book and not for everyone. 

What I liked. First, the writing. Holy crap, this lady knows how to write. The entire time I was reading, I was jealous of Mrs. Ng’s skills. She expertly weaves together this tale, one that in another person’s hands could fall apart or be boring. The plot isn’t really crazy with a ton of twists or turns, it’s the story of a family falling apart. But here, it works. I hung onto every word and couldn’t read fast enough, wanting to know what will happen next.

There honestly wasn’t anything I disliked about this book. It’s not that long and just a  great character study. Anything this woman writes, I will go out and buy to read.

9/10

What do you think, have you read this book? What was your opinion?

~Ames

 

 

Posted in info, Reading

Book review: The Husband’s secret

The Husband’s secret by Liane Moriarty.

I’ve been reading a lot of books by Liane Moriarty as of late, so here’s another one. This one is a difficult one to summarize as there’s a lot of stuff going on in this book.

This book, like I’d say all of her books, takes place in Australia. Cecilia Fitzpatrick is married with three children when she stumbles upon a letter that her husband wrote that says to only be read in the case that I die. Due to the fact that she can’t stop thinking about it and what it means, she does the one thing she shouldn’t. She reads it while her husband is still alive.

This small action has huge repercussions on herself and some other people who get pulled into this messy, tangled web.

First of all, I have to say that this kind of book is right up my alley. I LOVE stories with tangled secrets that are about families and all the problems that come with them. As we soon learn, the husband’s secret is a huge one, something he only wants people to know if he’s already dead. The fact that his wife learns and that it can get out is massive. Lots of crazy stuff happens and it is good.

Like always, Liane Moriarty’s writing and characters are very well done. There’s a few minor characters and situations that I wasn’t too invested in, but all the upfront stuff is very good. As we get deeper and deeper into the book, things get more twisted. And I was 100% into it.

One problem I had with the book is the opening chapter of this book was very disorienting and very difficult to get into, the same way with What Alice Forgot and to be honest, Big Little Lies opened. It throws you right into what’s happening and with very little explanation. As I had to do with WAF and BBL, I had to force myself to read through the first chapter even though I had no idea what was going on and what was happening. After that, everything made sense. As this is now the third time this has happened in her books, it’s something I’m going to keep an eye out for. It makes me wonder if anyone else had this issue.

But honestly, that was really the only issue I can think of right now. There’s a few minor nitpicks here and there, but nothing worth mentioning. This is a good book and I very much recommend. I’ve got a few more of her books and I will be covering them soon.

8/10

Have you read it? What are your thoughts?

~Ames

Posted in info, Reading

Up Next

So last fall, I gave a list of the books I would be reading next. While I haven’t finished that list (and boy did I add to it) I thought I’d write up the new list. Of course, I’m probably going to add to this one at random as well, but here’s what in my read next pile.

Books I’m currently reading and will review when I finish and remember to type up a blog about them.

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir- I just started this one a few nights ago! I’m very excited as I’ve read the first two in the series and enjoyed them very much. This is another one in the I shouldn’t of started a new one when I have so many half finished, but it just came out and I love this series. I’m actively reading this one.

Everything I Never told You by Celeste Ng. I’m about 2/3 of the way through this one and it’s so good. I am actively reading this one

The Nix By Nathan Hill-I’m about halfway through and I am loving this book. Expect gushing from the review. This is the book I have at work and read when I have long periods of sitting around and waiting.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware-About halfway through. Not actively reading right now, but I will get back to it once I finish one of the others.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore by Robin Sloan and Rodrigo Corral-I’m about 2/3 of the way through and honestly, am pushing myself to finish. Not actively reading right now, but I will get back to it once I finish one of the others.

Books that will be read next. (Note to self, stop reading so many freaking books at the same time.)

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam-I’m very excited about this one.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig- Also very excited about this one.

The Hypnotist’s Love story by  Liane Moriarty-I like her other books, so I decided to give this a try.

Sometimes I lie By Alice Feeney-Another one I’m very excited about.

Crooked Kingdom By Leigh Bardugo-Pretty excited. I read the first book and want to know more.

A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman-I have no idea what this is about, it was recommended.

What she Knew by Gilly Macmillan-I have no idea what this is about, it was recommended.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay-I have no idea what this is about, it was recommended.

Brother, I’m dying by Edwidge Danticat-No idea what it’s about, I picked it on the title.

 

So, that’s about it. I legit love to read and there’s a lot of good stuff to read out there. Someday I’ll post more about writing and how my writing’s going, but it’s weird since Im noy actively trying to get published right now? But for now, onward with reading!

Anything to recommend?

~Ames

Posted in info, Reading, writing

Book review: Six of crows.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

So, this is another book that I’ve had for a very long time. I tried reading the first chapter, but got overwhelmed and put it down like three pages in. Then I tried again over a year later, got through the first chapter, but put it down again. Finally, I picked it up and forced myself to read it again. This is where I finally got into the book.

As one could guess, I have a lot of thoughts on this book.

Six of Crows is a fantasy novel that takes place in the fictional city of  Ketterdam. Six thieves and thugs (who some have history with each and not all like each other) are hired to break into the most secure prison in this world, called the Ice Palace and free one very important man. As it’s said on the book jacket, it will be extremely difficult and hard to do, if they all don’t kill themselves first.

A few things about this book. The world building is fantastic. It’s well thought out, with a lot of small details. that make things pop. The issue I had is, apparently, she wrote a trilogy before this, featuring other characters, but set in the same world and I think you need to read that one first. I say this because while reading, there was a lot of background stuff I was confused about. For the most part, I understood the story and characters and such, but I felt like she had established her world already and wasn’t explaining all the finer details. I didn’t realize I needed to read those books first.

The other issue I had was with the naming scheme. I see this in fantasy all the time (including a manuscript Im reading for friend) is author’s feel like they have to make their names sound all fancy and hard to pronounce. The joke that the elf king has to have at least six apostrophes in his name, or it’s not fantasy. Well, that pops up here, with names and races like “Fjerdan” or “Drüskelle” or Fabrikator”. I know they look cool, but I have no idea how to pronounce these words.

Overall, I did like this book. The characters are very well done and she published a sequel, called Crooked Kingdom, which I just got so I can learn what happens to this group of crazy kids.

I’d recommend this book and I’m probably going to reread when I get a chance. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite, but I did enjoy reading it.

8 out of 10

What do you think? Have you read it?

~Ames

 

Posted in ideas, Reading

Book review: Bonfire

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter.

So, this book was not planned. I had never heard of it before a few months ago, but I love the TV show Jessica Jones (do recommend if you haven’t seen, it’s a great show.) and while watching season two, I learned that the star of the show just published her first book. And when I went down to the book store to pick up a new batch of books (I like to shop locally and support this independent book shop) the owner recommended it to me.

So, here we are.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, as a lot of times, actors ghost write or in general, are not that good at writing? So I went into this book completely blank.

Bonfire is the story about a women named Abby Williams, who is a environmental lawyer that grew up in a small town and got out as fast as she could. Until a case brings her back home and stirs up a decade old mystery.

This book is not bad by any means. Kyrsten Ritter can write and it shows here. While I wouldn’t say she is the best author I’ve ever seen, this is pretty good. Her writing style is sharp and to the point. I like that.

One of the (small) issues I had with this book is this character, Abby, feels almost exactly like the character Ritter plays on Jessica Jones. Changes the name, get rid of the superpowers and a bit of the backstory and boom, they are the same. This isn’t a bad thing, as both are very good characters and well written, but I had a hard time separating them in my mind. I wish there was something that would make Abby less like Jessica.

The only issue I really had with the plot was something happened to a girl a decade ago. She’s supposedly missing. When we find out what happened to her (near the end of the book, I won’t spoil it) it didn’t really matter to me. There wasn’t enough character development for me to care about her. Abby goes on and on about how this girl was so mean to her in high school, so I didn’t sympathize with her when I learned the twist. This is a bit of an issue.

Other then that, I did like this book. It’s pretty short (like 280 pages) so I read it very quickly and enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I would go back and reread it, but I would recommend it.

Have you read Bonfire? What did you think?

7.5 out of 10.

~Ames

Posted in ideas, info

Random thoughts.

Vague title is vague.

This post really doesn’t have any point, it’s more just me regurgitating thoughts about writing and what I personally want to see more of in novels. Have I done this before? Maybe, I don’t remember.

Anyway,

I’ve mentioned this before, but I personally don’t like romance stories. Mostly because, they’re boring and predictable. And this is not what I want in the media I consume. It’s okay when it’s a background plot, but usually, the main plot will take a backseat to a will-they-won’t-they. And this is boring because there’s only two ways it can go, either they get together, or they don’t. And most of the time, you can tell which way the book is going.

I can’t say I hate all romance because I have seen a few select that I actually do enjoy. A long time ago (almost a decade now) I read a book that involved the enemies to friends to lovers plot that took place in the 1840’s. One in which the couple married early in the book (an arranged marriage) and absolutely hated each other. The girl ran away a total of four times, only to be dragged back by her husband because he’s sticking to this miserable thing. I found it interesting because they didn’t actually become lovers until the very end of the novel. They were friends for the 2nd act of the book, when she ran away a 4th time and that time, he let her go. She then lived by herself for three years where she realized she did love him, went back in the last chapter and they lived happily ever after.

I also recently read a short story where two incredibly snarky people kinda hate each other have a short, train-wreck of a relationship that involved a lot of fighting, hate sex, breaking up and then getting back together only to be repeated a few days later. It wasn’t until friends of both parties were like, whoa, this is a really bad idea, staged an intervention, massive blowout fight before the unhappy couple realized they really brought out the worst in each other and split.

Both of these felt different to me and was probably why I enjoyed reading them.

But personally, the relationships that I enjoy reading about is, is sibling relationships. Not in an incest way (ew) but just how siblings relate to each other. There’s so much ground that can be covered. Siblings can love each other, hate each other, be estranged, have never met, have been separated and reunite. It’s so different from a romantic relationship because you can’t choose your family and can completely never get rid of them.

Sure, you can cut them out of your life and refuse to talk to your siblings, but they’re still your family.

In short, I feel like romance and novels that involve massive plots about weather or not the couple will get together has been done to death. Novels about siblings and all of those crazy relationships is personally what I want to see more of.

Anyway, that’s my random post for now.

What would you personally like to see more of in media, novels and T.V shows?

~Ames

 

Posted in info, Reading

Review: What Alice Forgot

What Alice forgot by Liane Moriarty.

So, after I read Big Little Lies (and loved it) I decided to go back and read some of her earlier books. While none so far have been as good as BLL, I still enjoyed reading them.

Alice starts the story on the floor on a gym, with a head injury. After she’s rushed to the hospital, she’s told she’s 39 years old, is getting divorced and has 3 children. The only thing is she doesn’t remember anything from the last ten years. She thinks she’s 29, only remembers being pregnant with her first and is madly in love with her husband.

Okay, the premise is not that unique. It’s been done before, but with an experienced author, it actually works pretty well. The character of Alice is interesting, because she legit has no idea why she hates her husband and what’s going on in her life. As one would expect, she’s met all kinds of people in the last decade and things aren’t going the way she thought they might.

It also starts to be implied that the person she turned into isn’t someone she wants to be.

I liked the characters and the plot. There’s nothing spectacular here, but it isn’t lackluster either. There wasn’t any massive issues I had with the book either, it was just a bit predictable and I’ve seen this done before. But the writing and character development was so good, I couldn’t help but stick around.

Overall it’s a good book, a fun read. I would recommend this book. it’s not a tense or suspenseful book, but just one that I enjoyed reading and thought was enjoyable . I probably wouldn’t re-read this book, but that’s okay.

7/10 stars.

What do you think, have you read it?

~Ames