Category: Fiction

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

August 16, 2014 Fiction, Literary, Review, Translated Fiction 20 ★★★★

Colorless Tsukuru TazakiTitle: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Author: Haruki Murakami
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: This book was written in the same beautiful, dreamy style I loved in 1Q84, but the ending felt a bit less climactic and a bit less resolved.

In high school, Tsukuru Tazaki was part of an inseparable group of friends. Coincidentally, the other four students all had colors in their name and Tsukuru didn’t, a fact that he found significant because he also believed himself to be the most average of the group. About a year after Tsukuru moved away, his four friends cut off all contact with him and refused to explain why. When, many years later, Tsukuru meets a woman he cares for deeply, he realizes that he needs to understand what happened with his friends before he can move on and believe he might be loved by someone else.
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2 A.M. At the Cat’s Pajamas

August 14, 2014 Fiction, Magical Realism, Review, Women's Fiction 16 ★★★

2 A.M. At the Cat’s PajamasTitle: 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas
Author: Marie-Helene Bertino
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: I enjoyed this book’s quirky characters, descriptive writing, and creative plot but the magical realism felt tacked on and the ending felt unfinished.

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.” (Source)
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Henna House

August 12, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Women's Fiction 13 ★★★★

Henna HouseTitle: Henna House
Author: Nomi Eve
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: This was a beautiful, poetic, inspiring story. I loved both the rich historical setting and the exciting foreshadowing.

Adela’s father’s health is failing and he’s desperate to find her a husband. As a Jewish child, if she is  isn’t betrothed when her father dies, she will be take from her family to be raised by a Muslim family instead. Just when Adela is giving up hope, her uncle arrives with a handsome son and an aunt who teacher her about henna and the woman’s world her harsh mother has never let her be a part of. However, when Adela’s family is forced to flee to Aden, she will begin to discover herself only to be betrayed by those she loves.
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

August 6, 2014 Contemporary, Fiction, Literary 23

228044Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Author: Mark Haddon
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: The writing style of this book was unique and fascinating, but the plot felt incomplete.

Although Christopher has an incredible memory for factual information, he has a hard time understanding human emotions. He’s smart and logical, but also very sheltered. When he discovers that his neighbor’s dog has been killed, he decides to emulate his favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes, and try to find out who is responsible. In order to investigate, Christopher will have to do things outside his comfort zone and what he learns may be even more frightening. Read more »


This Is the Water

August 5, 2014 Fiction, Literary, Thriller, Women's Fiction 19

18781340Title: This Is the Water
Author: Yannick Murphy
Source: from publisher for TLC book tour
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Although I found the second person narration a bit distancing, I thought the author used this perspective very creatively for a writing style that was both beautiful and unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

Swim team mom Annie worries about her marriage and enjoys that one of the fathers on the team flirts with her, even though she feels old and even though he’s married to her friend. She worries about her brother’s suicide and whether or not such things run in her family. She worries that her girls aren’t confident enough and whether or not she’s done enough for them. But when one of the girls on the swim team is murdered and Annie discovers a secret which could help catch the man who did it, all her other worries seem trivial by comparison.
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How To Build a Girl Read-Along – Part 4

August 4, 2014 Blogger Events, Contemporary, Fiction 8

caitlin moranWe’re up to chapter 20 and things are really picking up! Be warned, spoilers below. So far, the experience of reading this book for me has been very different from anything else I’ve ever read. I feel emotionally invested in Johanna. I care when she’s sad and get excited when she’s happy and do all the worrying she should be doing about STDs and unwanted pregnancies and pervs she might encounter going home with random guys. However, I also feel like an outside observer who’s just really, really curious where this is all going. Johanna’s life is so crazy and different from mine and I can’t wait to see what happens. Read more »


Big Little Lies

July 29, 2014 Thriller, Women's Fiction 12

19486412Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Liane Moriarty has outdone herself, creating three believable women who face some of the toughest challenges women commonly face then combining their moving story with a riveting mystery.

We begin Big Little Lies with the knowledge that someone has died at the parent trivia night under suspicious circumstances. Through flashbacks we get the perspectives of several characters, but the story focuses on three friends who are intimately involved in what happened that night. Madeline is concerned about her daughter choosing her ex-husband over her, still hating him for walking out on her when their daughter was born. Jane is a timid single mother, secretly worried her son might not be as sweet as he appears, given her past. And Celeste and her husband, with the perfect life and perfect marriage, might just be hiding the darkest secrets of all.
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Soundbite Sunday – The Way of Kings

July 27, 2014 Audiobook, Fantasy 7

The-Way-of-Kings-610664Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Narrators: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Rating (Story): ★★★★★
Rating (Narration):★★★★★

Many authors do one thing exceptionally well: world building, character creation and growth, or an intricate plot. Brandon Sanderson does an incredible job at all three. The world is very unique, with creatures and a magic system I never could have imagined. The world and the magical system are also notable for their internal consistency. The creatures described seem like the sort that would evolve together. The magical system follows clear, consistent rules. The world building take place through slow, constant information sharing, in parallel with both an epic, world-wide conflict and moving personal stories. The story wasn’t always straight forward or predictable and I loved the unexpected obstacles which forced every character to grow and change in order to succeed. Read more »


All I Love And Know

July 22, 2014 Fiction, Literary 21

All I Love and KnowTitle: All I Love And Known
Author: Judith Frank
Source: from publisher for a TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This book rocked my world with it’s unbelievably moving portrayal of flawed, believable characters fighting through a tough situation.

Matt Greene and Daniel Rosen have overcome many challenges to be with one another, including their differences from one another and Daniel’s parents’ belief that Matt isn’t good enough for their son. However, nothing they’ve faced previously prepares them for the events set in motion when Daniel’s twin brother and his wife are killed in a bombing in Jerusalem. Even though Daniel’s brother and his wife wanted Matt and Daniel to raise their children, they face strong opposition from their family. As they fight for custody, Daniel also struggles to grieve while Matt tries to be their for Daniel, even as Daniel shuts him out. Read more »


In Praise of Hatred

July 17, 2014 Fiction, Translated Fiction 6

18630509Title: In Praise of Hatred
Author: Khaled Khalifa
Source: from publisher via LibraryThing
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Although this was beautifully written and gave me some insight into life in Syria, it was mostly confusing and disjointed.

Set in the Syria in the 1980’s, In Praise of Hatred tells the story of a young muslim woman whose name is never given. Facing scorn from her secular classmates and the conflicting views of her variably conservative family members, she takes refuge in hatred for those who are different from her. As her uncle’s become involved in trying to overthrow the regime, she herself becomes increasingly radical in her views. Alongside her coming of age story, we also learn about the many dramatic romantic liaisons and fascinating histories of her family members. Read more »