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Search tags: contemporary-fiction
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review 2017-06-23 18:47
The Female of the Species (Mindy McGinnis)
The Female of the Species - Mindy McGinnis

Series: N/A

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (2016)

Genre(s): Mystery, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

 

Me: cool, it's batgirl! Kick-ass, dude!

Also me: damn, insta-love... why? WHYYYY?

Also me: why is everything so freaking rushed?

Also me: yea, well want rushed? I can't connect with the characters.

Also me: I have the notion that I should be weeping at the ending, but I can't make myself care all that much. I did cry in that part about the puppies tho.

So, basically, great idea, but everything was so rushed I had no time to connect to the characters, they had no time to gain depth and the story had no time to take off. Superficially explored themes of rape culture, sexism and pedophilia. I'll say that the author was successful in showing how rape culture is so pervasive and it's just in the little things.

Could have been a really "food-for-thought" kind of book. It just felt confusing and a jumble. Just wasn't for me, I guess.

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review 2017-06-13 03:33
The Life and Deaths of Blanche Nero
The Life and Deaths of Blanche Nero - Ken Bingham

Blanche Nero's life has been punctuated by a series of important deaths.  At fifteen years old, Blanche's father was executed for the killing of their neighbor.  This death caused Blanche to have an interest into her father's past and sparked a curiosity for violence and death .  After excelling academically in high school and college, her mother's death provides enough money for Blanche to go to Med School.  Blanche is able to train with the best doctors in the field and becomes a successful trauma surgeon at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.  After Hurricane Katrina hits, Charity closes and Blanche takes a leave to Venice.  In Venice she rents a flat and befriends Ludo, or more precisely, Count Lorenzo Ludovici.  Ludo is dying of AIDS, but before he goes Ludo has a secret to reveal to Blanche that will unravel the mystery behind her father's death.  Ludo's death will also open up another door for Blanche to move on with her life.

 
From the moment Blanche's father murders their neighbor, I was pulled into the mystery of the Nero family.  The name Blanche Nero literally means 'White Black.'  From Blanche's birth, everything has been one or the other, black or white, no grey.  Throughout the book I did wonder if her father gave her the first name of White to try to lessen the black of his name.  Blanche's character lives her life very directly.  The writing brought me back and forth between Blanche's present as a 60 year old woman in Venice and her past growing up in Almesboro and throughout her schooling.  She is looking back at her life and examining her choices through a very mature lens.  Throughout the book death and violence are recurrent themes.  However,  through Blanch eyes, the deaths are drawn in a different light, without much meaning or emotion, but with advancement; that is until Ludo.  Ludo is exceedingly charming and a little frustrating with the slow reveal of his relation to Blanche's mystery.  Ludo's dignified ways create the perfect illusion to begin to introduce Blanche to the black spot in her father's history that I couldn't even begin to piece together until the very end.  In addition to the curious mystery, the Venitian culture and city is brought to life through Blanche and Ludo's travels as well as it's darker history.  Overall, an engaging story that weaves together death, secrets and their impact on our lives. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
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review 2017-06-10 20:26
Speak, Memory, by Vladimir Nabokov
Novels and Memoirs, 1941-1951: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight / Bend Sinister / Speak, Memory (Library of America #87) - Vladimir Nabokov,Brian Boyd

(Review for Speak, Memory only: four stars)

 

It was a pleasure to read Nabokov after so long. I forgot how easy it is to get carried along by the flow and particularities of his prose, sometimes to the point of losing the meaning of what's being expressed. Speak, Memory is a kind of memoir of Nabokov's childhood through his family's exile in Europe following the Russian Revolution. I learned (or was reminded of) a lot that sheds light on his writing, such as the fact that he had synesthesia (syllables and letters had colors). He read and wrote English before Russian but later lamented that his English skills did not match those in Russian (if only I read Russian!). At one point he states that once he used a detail of his life for his fiction, it felt like it was no longer his.

 

If you're familiar with Nabokov, you'll enjoy the passages detailing or referencing his passion for butterfly hunting. In fact my favorite line in the book concerns it: "America has shown even more of this morbid interest in my retiary activities than other countries have--perhaps because I was in my forties when I came there to live, and the older the man, the queerer he looks with a butterfly net in his hand." Lol, indeed.

 

I was less interested in some of the earlier chapters that focus on his extended family, but there were still fascinating stories to be had, and his prose is always worth it.

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review 2017-06-07 21:55
Our Short History
Our Short History - Lauren Grodstein

Title:  Our Short History

Author:  Lauren Grodstein 

Publisher:  Algonquin Books

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Five

Review:

 

"Our Short History" by Lauren Grodstein

 

My Thoughts....

 

"Our Short History" really deals with a subject that is somewhat hard to talk about...dying.  This author does a very good job in presenting this mesmerizing, hear wrenching told story. What will a mother do when she finds out that she doesn't have long to live [fighting stage IV ovarian cancer] and she has a son who was just six year old.  Karen writes a book for her son who was just six year old to be read by his older self.   This was definitely one of those 'tearjerker' reads.

 

What will happen when Jake ask hims mother to find his dad?  Now Jake wants to meet his father which presents problems for the mother,  Karen.  What will she do because there is a history that did not turn out well between Karen and Jake's father?  Will her sister still be able to take care of Jake as it had been planned now that the father has come into the picture.  This is a very emotional read that will give the reader quite one complicated relationships with all of these characters: from Karen, Jake, Jake's father [Dave] and Karen's sister. Now, I did say that this is sad story however, do be ready for a little humor at times, very absorbing and so memorable and even thought provoking in this mother-son relationship.

 

This author really gives the reader one beautifully well written story that is so very raw as her son 'resonates and Karen's bravery in facing her illness is so very admirable.  With that all I can say is that this story "Our Short History" was one story that I will not forget anytime soon.   I will say after all that had gone with between Karen and her ex boyfriend [Dave], her illness and her life she had not chosen for herself I could definitely  understand why she felt the way she did about this whole situation.  In the end we see that this wasn't about the 'life Karen had given her son but the live he had given her.'

 

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review 2017-05-28 13:57
creepy
Pictures of You - Diane M. Dickson

atmospheric and creepy book about a lodger with an obsession.

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