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review 2017-01-12 19:11
A Little Depressing Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life: A Novel - Hanya Yanagihara

*I am so behind with my reviews :(  I actually finished this in December. Good thing I took notes!

 

If you’re feeling a little too thrilled with your life and need to tone that shit down a bit then this book is the one for you. It’s basically 700+ pages of pain and anguish and intense self-loathing. Are you ready?

 

This is the tragic story of a broken man named Jude and his closest friends. Jude is a man surrounded by people who love him deeply but alas love never seems to be quite enough to help him completely overcome his horrible past. Jude’s early life was one of devastation. I’m not going to rehash any of the horrible things that Jude experiences in his childhood. I had to suffer through it all, bit by bit, as it was slowly doled out throughout the course of the book, so if you want to know what happens you’ll have to do the same! Just know that it never gets too graphically gross and it easily could’ve gone there.

 

I see lots of people calling this tragedy porn and such but I don’t feel that way but then again I’ve been reading dark fiction for far too long. Read for yourself something like The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum (which was based on a true crime) and you’ll see what I mean. This story deals more with the inner turmoil and lingering trauma of those earlier cruelties and how they’ve shaped Jude into the person he is in his adult life. It’s not entirely believable, especially the final tragic childhood event, but it’s a compelling character study nonetheless. Still, it is not a book I will ever wish to revisit. Honestly, if I hadn’t been listening to it on audio, I have no doubt that I would’ve DNF’d it because was way too long for my personal liking and I didn’t have the deep emotional cathartic release that everyone else has seemed to have experienced. But, you know, I have cats.

 

 

I persevered because I listened to it on audio and I can listen to almost anything if I am enjoying the narrator and the story isn’t completely deplorable. Oliver Wyman narrated my version and he did justice to the work and kept me hooked even through the sloggy, meandering bits. His voice oozes emotion and was calming to me for the 32+ hours he was in my head telling this sad, sad story.

 

Yes, you read that right. Thirty Two + hours!

 

It was a grueling exercise in self-torture and there aren’t any truly happy moments in this entire book. They are all tainted by Jude’s sorrow and inner torment. With that said, I didn’t think it was the most tragic story ever told as I’d been led to believe and I am disappointed that it didn’t break my heart. I was kind of looking forward to that. Perhaps all of the “it’ll break you” talk beforehand left me with too high expectations or perhaps it was because I forecasted too many of the reveals long before they were revealed? At any rate, I give the story 3 – 3 ½ stars and the narration 5, settling on an uneasy 4.

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review 2016-11-03 22:20
The Year of Ice - Brian Malloy

I don't even know what to say about this one.

 

Kevin, to be completely honest, is a jerk. I know he has his reasons and sometimes he's funny and relatable. But other times he's just a complete asshole and I didn't like him. Come to think of it, pretty much everyone is an asshole at some point in this book.

There's no romance at all, and although I appreciate that it was a much more complex coming of age story, I really wish there was a romance. Kevin could use some happiness. (For the record, I kind of ship him and Tommy).

 

Tl;dr version- I didn't particularly like this, and I wouldn't recommend it. It's not a bad book by any means, in fact at some parts I did enjoy it. But overall I wish I'd read something else.

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review 2016-07-15 02:54
Willful Machines - Tim Floreen

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that. This book, I admit it, it surprised me. I wasn't expecting to care about Nico and Lee so much. I wasn't expecting all the twists. I wasn't expecting to reexamine my thoughts on the rights of machines/robots.

 

I wasn't expecting Willful Machines to be so good. But it was. What a pleasant surprise.

 

Omg, Nico and Lee are the cutest couple ever. It can get a little insta-lovey, but overall I thought it was cute and sweet.

 

Let's talk about characters: Lee annoyed me sometimes, I'll admit it. Like when he snapped at Bex, or he yelled at Trumbull. But despite that I still care about him. And Nico! Nico is so cute!! I just want to give him a big hug.

 

This book made me cry. Which means it was a good book. Now, I like my HEAs. But I can live with sadness as well, and I love it when a book makes me cry.

 

I really enjoyed Willful Machines. Yet despite that...There's still a few flaws with this book.

 

First of all, the tension between Lee and his dad is never resolved. Does Lee's dad accept him or not? I want to know! Considering fear of his dad's reaction is the main reason why Lee doesn't come out, the fact that once his dad finds out it is never addressed annoyed me.

 

Secondly, the ending is hella abrupt. I don't mind open endings, but this just ended so abruptly. I would like just a little bit of closure, please.

 

Also, Nico! Nico, my poor baby *sobs*. No spoilers, but if you've read the book you know what I'm talking about.

 

Tl;dr version- there were a few flaws, but despite that I still really enjoyed it

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review 2016-04-22 16:56
Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates
Daddy Love - Joyce Carol Oates

I picked this audiobook up blind at a local library sale because I recognized the author name and, well, I’m not one to leave a cheap audio sitting on the sale table. Maybe this experience will teach me because right about now I’m feeling like I’ve been punched in the heart.

 

photo knockuout_zpsdquocu17.gif

 

For those who remain unaware, as I was, and would like to remain that way, you may not want to read any further (though I don’t at all recommend this unless you want to send yourself into a debilitating state of depression). I thought I was tough enough to handle anything. Turns out I was not.

 

photo toughguy_zps2k0nixxt.gif

 

This book is about child abduction and does not flinch away from the pain, brainwashing, torture and tragedy inflicted on an innocent five year old for six years by a man who is a monster posing as a preacher. It’s also about the fallout that emotionally ruins the boys’ parents, who at the beginning of the story are deeply in love and very happy, but slowly begin to drift apart from the despair. If you are feeling just a wee bit too happy with your life and want to tone it down, oh about a zillion notches, this story will do the trick. It is awful. Not the writing but the subject matter. I can almost guarantee that when you finish, you’ll feel worse than this:

 

photo dead_zpsqfzgezlg.gif

 

I think I am traumatized. I honestly do not know how to rate this story. Devastating things happen in it that will haunt me forever but the writing and the emotions it evokes force me to give it a four and ½ but I can’t really recommend it. If you have children, dogs or a heart you may want to steer clear of it.

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review 2016-04-02 17:20
NetGalley Review - Sleep Sister
Sleep Sister: A page-turning novel of psychological suspense - Laura Elliot

Having really enjoyed The Betrayal, by the same author, I was intrigued by this book. I love the cover, and thought the blurb sounded interesting.

I was a little unsure how I’d get on with reading about child abuse. I’ve read some pretty heavy books over the years, but this particular subject is one I would tend to avoid. However, on this occasion I decided to give it a go.

Although I read this book to the very end, it definitely wasn’t for me. There were some interesting characters, but I did feel there were too many characters for me to keep track of. The plot was interesting, but didn’t progress in a way I would have hoped. The book also seemed much longer than I was expecting. I’m not sure if it is particularly long or whether it just felt like it was.

This story is dark, heavy and somewhat depressing. I kept wishing there was more revenge and justice, but the focus was much more on the dismal lives of those deeply affected by abuse, and the impact that had on those around them. Perhaps that was the intention. It is more realistic that way, rather than some sort of false escapism that I hoped would be injected into the book. I suppose there is no escaping certain things in life, and abuse is one of them.

Just writing this review, and remembering details of the book is making me feel more depressed. It feels like this book weighed too heavily on my heart. I’m sure many authors spend a lifetime trying to achieve that intensity of emotion in their readers, so that is a job well done.

If you enjoy slow burning family sagas and don’t mind them being quite dark and depressing, then I would recommend this book.

I would like to thank the publisher, Bookouture for allowing me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1595223282
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