ARC Review: The Hawkman

Title: The Hawkman

Author: Jane RosenBerg LaForge

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Rating: 3 Stars

I received and ARC copy of The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War by Jane Rosenberg LaForge in exchange for an honest review. Thanks goes to NetGalley and Amberjack Publishing for this advanced reader copy which was released on June 5, 2018.

Dear fellow Babblers,

This book, just shy of 300 pages was gruesomely painful for me to get through, and I’m using the kindest words possible to explain how treacherous a trek this read was for me. It took me a whole four months, probably the longest I’ve ever spent reading a single novel. If it takes you this long to read a rather short book there is either a serious problem with your comprehension or you simply prefer to be happy than to put yourself through the pain of 280 pages filled with a story you simply, no matter how hard you try, cannot get absorbed into.

I was intrigued by The Hawkman by the cover art to be quite honest, with mystical creatures and alluring fonts. Even the synopsis, promising a tale of the world during the Great War, infused with a fairy tale imagination seemed promising of an instant classic. However, despite some interesting parts hear and there, The Hawkman proved to be a disappointing and tedious read for me.  Continue reading “ARC Review: The Hawkman”

Books To Remind You How To Never Stop Being Sad

Dear fellow Babblers,

There are several coping mechanisms and treatments out there whose sole purpose is to ease people out of their pain, suffering, sadness – all the pessimism infesting their lives one way or another. There is electric shock waves for the most extreme cases and some Hershey’s Kisses for the light, blue devil tears. One morning feeling like fresh sunny D and by evening aching for that cigarette ? Absolutely. That is what Power Yoga is for. And for those whose sadness turns to seething, rippling anger ? There is that $150 Equinox membership. For the poor souls grieving a loved one comes group therapy. And for the unlucky ones, unfortunate enough to crawl through life in a hazy blur of their own tears, day in and day out there is Prozac, Fluoxetine, medical Marijuana – the whole nine yards. Everything comes to how to be happy. How to live the most fulfilling life possible, hurting the least amount of people in the process of flying ourselves towards self fulfillment.

Sadness has existed in multiple forms and has been addressed and dealt with in countless ways,regardless of how one’s culture may choose to address and identify it. As a book blogger, my main area of interest and concern is on the treatment of mental illness by authors and how they use characters as victims of this serious, yet somehow overlooked illness, how plot is used to unravel and explore all the little yet detrimental symptoms of a mental illness and the ways in which an author’s writing and descriptions of their characters speaks, in and of itself, on mental illness.

As a blogger, writer, editor, academic, active reader, I have met and had several relationships with characters and have, throughout the years have been left with the scars, marks and, in conclusion, love and a certain intimacy with certain characters, their stories and the voices from which they were told. Here below I’m sharing with my readers not the books that I feel are therapeutical and relieve readers of their gloom. Instead these books are what I like to call “How To’s On How To Never Stop Being Sad.” Each and every one has touched my heart in one way or another, never fulfilling it, more often than not emptying it bit by bit. No one is ever in search of sadness but when they, or at least I, find it in between pages it is not a sort of sadness that breaks but rather one that bends, making the heart all the more stronger.  Continue reading “Books To Remind You How To Never Stop Being Sad”

Currently Listening To | Blue Devil

Dear fellow Babblers,

It’s been a blue devil of a week. A week of rain. A week of tears. A week of foolish burns over a toaster. A week of going home smelling like sour milk and banana bean smoothies. A week of developing a little crush on a special someone only to have those little flutters crushed with the piles of garbage I bring out of work every night. A week of muscle aches. A week of going to sleep at the hour the rest of the world is heading off to start their days. A week of misfortunes. A week of lies. A week of lonely nights. A week of wretched news. A week of hypocrisy. A week of feeling lost, alone – brutally left in a city that may never sleep, but alway feels to be sleeping to me. A week that has left me drowning in a puddle in a New York gutter left behind by my own tears.

On a happier note, I have a confirmed internship at a major magazine beginning my first week of school so, as I say, everything in my life may be aching, but nothing is broken and will ever be broken. With that being said, cheers to not-so-great weeks and to all the oh-so-great weeks to come!

And so here is to the playlist that has, despite everything wrong that seems to be unraveling in my life, still keeps my muscles from snapping, leaving me broken and hopeless. Because with music, there still remains a bit of pep in my trippy step…
          

 

Continue reading “Currently Listening To | Blue Devil”

ARC Review: The Dark Beneath The Ice

Title: The Dark Beneath The Ice

Author: Amelinda Bérubé

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Expected Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Horror/Thriller, LGBTQ

Rating: 2.5 Stars

I received an ARC copy of The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé in exchange for an honest review. Thanks goes to NetGalley, as well as the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire for this advanced copy which was recently released on August 7, 2018.

Dear fellow Babblers,

I’ve read very few ARCs in the last few months as I have devoted my time and energy to traveling, relocating to New York and focusing on personal physical and mental wellness. I’ve mainly kept my reading schedule close to my most beloved authors along with some rereads here and there. However, reading the Goodreads blurb of this new title, now one of the most trending amongst the Young Adult reader community I just couldn’t help myself. This short teaser offered by Goodreads gave me oh such high hopes for an epically thrilling read. I was sadly disappointed with no greater sinking feeling than being misled and sadly disappointed. A book of such great potential but has been executed in such a way that the horror is nothing more than banal mockery, attempting to match up to Paranormal Activity and Black Swann.  Continue reading “ARC Review: The Dark Beneath The Ice”

Currently Listening To | Romance

Dear fellow Babblers,

Happy Friday to you all. I started a new job this week and just got offered and internship position at an academic publisher. Everything is going swell and simply well on my side of the world. But this sort of happiness is rather superficial isn’t it. It’s all because of a job here, another sticker to add to my resume there. Those moments, those feelings that make life worth living is what I would give just about everything I have now for. That feeling of fulfillment and content for love, no matter what form it chooses to arrive in. However for the life I have lead up to this point love usually leaves, never stays. No matter how much I achieve and put my mind to there’s no denying that sometimes the world gets a little lonely without an “other” to share all of my happiness and a piece of my heart with.

How many of you have, after a successful day or upon receiving exciting news have picked up the phone or sent your significant other a text just because all of your happiness is bursting from your lungs and can no longer keep it it? And how about for those moments where nothing in particular is going on but you send that special person some love just because you feel like it ? I remember, just about a life time ago when these little fantasies I’m having now were actually happening. And now I stroll through life alone, hands a little shaking, gazing towards a place so close, yet too far beyond me as those around me stroll by, sometimes by me, sometimes in front of me, sometimes through me, almost like I’m not even there, a phantom of what once was.

With everything that is changing and going on in my life it would be nice, not necessarily vital, but nice, to have someone to share it with. I wouldn’t call it being lonely exactly but rather a longing for a soul to offer some of my own soul with. Yes, that’s it, an aching sort of longing for something, like a little bit of sugar to make my bliss a little bit sweeter.

For a week of longing, a playlist of romance is exactly what has been keeping my pep in my step. A little Nat King Cole here and some Yann Tiersen there. A melody of heartbreak on Monday, a passionate harmony on a Tuesday only to be repeated with more heartbreak on a quiet and still Thursday night… This playlist has, at least for this week, has at least temporarily filled some sort of void still throbbing deep inside me, somewhere in the cusp between my heart and my soul that I never knew was empty until now, when everything that should be making me happy, is not.
Here are some of the romantic lullabies and forget-me-nots that have carried me in a translucent sort of daze through a slow and lazily passing August week.

                                    Continue reading “Currently Listening To | Romance”

Review: An American Marriage

Title: An American Marriage

Author: Tayari Jones

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Social Rights

Rating: 4 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

A sad, tragic love story; a couple so deeply in love but whose timing destroys their lives. An American Marriage is one of the most highly anticipated novels of 2018 earning itself a spot on the Today Show as well as the Oprah list. A novel of love, rage, heartbreak and all that causes and results from it, this is a raw piece of work. Though a work of fiction if someone was to tell me this was nonfiction I would easily believe them. That is how realistic the plot and characters came across to me. Even the themes discussed – racism, human rights, marriage and family – all growing into deeply debatable issues in today’s progressive society, were explored and intricately opened, welcoming the reader into a global debate. The story was not a happy story, nor were any of the characters happy characters but it gave a deep reflection into everyday life and the issues and risks that come along with just getting out of bed every morning.  Continue reading “Review: An American Marriage”

Currently Listening To | La-La Land

Dear fellow Babblers,

This is going to be the first post part of the ‘Currently Listening To‘ category of my blog. My reading habits are about eighty percent dependent on my mood. I am what is to be called a “mood reader.” While I usually stick within the genre of Young Adult circulating around a theme of mental illness, I am basically what you could call a ‘mood reader.’ Sometimes I read because I’m nostalgic for earlier, perhaps more happier times in my life while other times I read just because I want an excuse to lay in bed all day with a Coca Cola. I always have a book nearby with numerous titles taking up space in my kindle. It goes without saying that books take up a large part of my life so it’s only natural that how I feel on a day to day basis is a partial result and becomes a partial cause of what fictional universe I’m currently dreaming myself to be traversing.

Anyway, this same logic applies to the tunes booming from my headphones. Always, there is a book peaking out of my purse. Similarly, I am always with headphones in my ears. Whether I’m at home, waiting in line at Trader Joes or walking down the street to school there is something always playing in my ears. Music, just like books plays a huge part of my life as it’s always there when I want to groove, dream of a life not mine, block out the world around me, feel as though I’m not alone in my sadness, discover some feelings I never knew to be burrowed inside of me.

La-La Land. Ever heard of this phrase ? I’m sure you have. All bibliophiles are notorious for choosing to live in “La-La Land” over the reality so clear and distinct before their very eyes. All through my childhood, adolescence and now straight into my early adulthood I never managed to shake that habit of losing myself in my thoughts. I tend to get some sort of random idea in my head and for an unpredictable amount of time become so obsessed with it that I almost, well, just about entirely lose focus of what I’m even doing. My mind begins to spin as I imagine alternate universes, becoming infatuated with all of these “what-ifs.” Sometimes these alternate universes bring me to my past, other times they whisk me away off towards the future and in rare cases they take me into the body, mind and world of someone, or something not me at all. While where where I am taken by these these initial thoughts always seem to take me by surprise as they develop like a spider weaving it’s web, the thoughts themselves are always the result of a feeling and these feelings, if not sprouting from books can be traced to music.

How I feel comes in waves, sometimes high sometimes low, with a soft hum edging it towards far into La-La Land, what I’ve been calling an ‘alternate universe.’ I’m sure we all come in and out of La-La Land, sometimes willingly, others by the force of reality pulling us back to our lives’ obligations. The slightest sensation can affect this. For me, music influences my flights in and out of La-La Land, and I’m sure it does for all of you as well. Below I have put together my La-La playlist, or the songs that take me back and forth between the pink sidewalks and purple clouds of my imagination and the blue sky and green grass of my reality. Upon listening to some of these tracks maybe you’ll be taken to a place like Narnia or maybe you will just get bored and skip to the next song, it all depends on your own alternate universe idea. Either way, I hope at least some of these songs bring you to a whirlwind of possibilities and make you dream, just as it does for me.
                         Continue reading “Currently Listening To | La-La Land”

Top 10 Tuesday: Sensory Reading Memories

Dear fellow Babblers,

Hello there and happity-dappity Tuesday! Today has been a wonderfully humid day here in New York but that is not to say that it has not been a day filled with wonders, blessings and hope. I moved here less than twenty four hours ago, having arrived at JFK Sunday evening, heading straight to Upper Manhattan. Between then and now I have visited the greater half of Brooklyn, Harlem, Queens and much of Manhattan in search of an apartment. Being a first timer in New York the areas and neighborhoods as listed online meant nothing to me. It wasn’t until I found myself sitting in the subway watching the turns, entries, and exits through different parts of the city that the anxiety and suddenly realization would kick in that I had absolutely no idea where I was going and where I would end up. Just when I was at my wits end, pulling my hair out, screaming in my pillow, very near tears last night I found my new home. I moved into my cozy little room early this morning and since then have gotten to know my neighborhood and even found a job not even a two minute walk from my bedroom window.

Officially now living here in New York, thinking back to a little over a year ago when I graduated from UCLA and everything that I have seen, done and felt since then feels like many moons backwards. Between getting through emotional hardships, making difficult career decisions and living out of a suitcase, as of lately I have been reminiscing upon my life: childhood, adolescence and early adult and while all that I have mentioned peeks into my mind, I can’t help but also connect many of my memories to some titles that I have read whose story continues to live on within me. And that is why today I am here, after this very long introduction to take part in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which discusses all things bookish, bringing together book bloggers from all over the world. I usually don’t do these memes as I like to keep each of my posts original and just, you know, stick with my own vibes as my writing always reflects what is going on in my mind and life regardless of it is a book review or life update. However, feeling the way I am at the moment, nostalgic and dozing off to another time, this week’s topic seems just what I need.

The purpose of today’s Top Ten Tuesday is to bring back to conscious those special titles that gave you all the feels, evoking your sensory emotions, becoming a part of who you are, keeping a special place in your heart. Whether it be books read repeatedly during adolescence, those you read once during a road trip but made you feel a way you never had before, or even those you read during an airplane ride thinking you were just trying to escape the blabber mouth lady sitting next to you. Whatever the time, place and reason, these books are, in and of themselves proof of the life a book can take in each and every one of us.
Continue reading “Top 10 Tuesday: Sensory Reading Memories”