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”

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”

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”

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”

Review: Men Without Women

Title: Men Without Women

Author: Haruki Murakami

Publisher: Bond Street Books

Publication Date: May 9, 2017

Genre: Short Story, Adult Contemporary

Rating: 5 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

Another masterpiece from the artful clever Haruki Murakami. Before reading Men Without Women I read Norwegian Wood (my review can be found here). I had just come back from a long non-blogging hiatus and I was frightfully anxious to begin writing reviews again. However, having not written in a while, I felt that I lost much of my imagination and inspiration for writing. I mean, book reviews doesn’t take the strenuous amount of creativity and strength that novel or short story writing requires but there’s still a lot of thought that goes into the process. With this in mind, I really wanted to ease my way back in with an author I already knew and have never felt let down by. Murakami is that author for me. Norwegian Wood carried me away and made me feel as though all the thoughts, troubles, feelings that I had in the past few months were basic nothingness. Like all feelings of euphoria, I wanted to feel this way again. I initially told myself that after writing my review for Norwegian Wood I would get serious and start on my list of author requests and ARCs but here I am writing this long beat-around-the-bush explanation just to say I did no such thing. I picked up more Murakami. This time I’m here with an eccentric collection of contemporary short stories, Men Without WomenContinue reading “Review: Men Without Women”

Review: Norwegian Wood

Title: Norwegian Wood

Author: Haruki Murakami (Translated by Jay Rubin)

Publisher: Vintage Books

Publication Date: September 12, 2000

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 4 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

This is going to be my first book review in quite a few months, my last being an ARC review of The Museum of Us close to four months ago, back in March. The reason being, I’ve been traveling and going through some serous personal and academic changes and self discovery, resulting in the majority of my energy being directed to myself and away from the book blogging community. I have been back in Los Angeles for a little over a week now and will remain here for the next couple of weeks before I fly across the country to New York in preparation of a masters program that I will be starting in September. I’ve been settling back into a calm, translucent life in my parents’ home, back in my childhood room of tower-high books and stuffed care bears all around me. It’s a luxury to be able to walk up and down my shelves and choose whatever I am in the mood of reading, unlike during my travels that I read whatever I could manage to get my hands on, or whatever was the cheapest and least had the least ridiculous cover.

I returned to the United States in low and glum spirits and I was a bit hopeless as to figuring out a way to cope as I’ve never been a girl good at coping and have always been rather hopeless at hoping. Books have always been my way of momentarily caging my sadness or sorrow which is exactly what I fell back on this time around. With the joy that I could finally for the first time in over a year pick a book off of my own shelf I chose a novel from my favorite contemporary author, Norwegian Wood by the legendary Haruki Murakami, and here is what I thought…  Continue reading “Review: Norwegian Wood”

Review: The Stolen Child

Title: The Stolen Child

Author: Lisa Carey

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Publication Date: January 12, 2017

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Fantasy

Rating: 3 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

A novel written of Irish folklore, The Stolen Child is a novel where desire meets fate and love meets betrayal. The synopsis is what intrigued me as I’ve never read a book on Irish myths so I figured this would be a wonderful read to not only enjoy but also learn something from. There is a lot of magical realism here, much of it quite dark and a bit creepy at times. I won’t say that I didn’t enjoy, but it’s not something I would pick up again or really recommend. The story itself was unique and well written so there’s nothing that should keep me from giving it a full five stars and pushing it in all my buddies’ faces. It just wasn’t my thing; there were quite a few quirks of the story that made me cringe and put the book down more than once.  Continue reading “Review: The Stolen Child”