Book Reviews

The Nix

My Snotty Literati column for March is here!

Check out why you won’t want to nix Nathan Hill’s The Nix from your reading list!

The Nest

The NestMonths away from each inheriting a massive sum of money—life-changing money—Jack, Melody, and Bea Plumb learn the cash they have been counting on is gone. The Nest has been drained to cover up eldest, favorite, and married son Leo’s indiscretion involving a 19-year old waitress, a car accident, and rehab. This executive decision by Mama Plumb results in the already dysfunctional family kicking it into high gear.

Sweeney writes with a good balance cleverness and snark while weaving in some tenderness as the Plumb siblings’ secrets and fears unravel across the pages of this engaging debut. Jack has secretly borrowed against the vacation home he shares with his husband to keep his antiques business afloat. Melody and her husband are upside down on their mortgage and have twin daughters just a year from college, and baby sister Bea is a published author that had to return the publishing advance on her second novel when she couldn’t produce. In a nutshell, they all needed The Nest and are after Leo to get it back.

The Plumbs aren’t perfect. In fact, most of them are a bit self absorbed in the way that we all are. But Sweeney has crafted a family of imperfect people, who act in selfish, dysfunctional, unimaginable, sweet, and, ultimately human ways. If you need an escape, The Nest, is a great distraction.

3 Stars
368 pages or 11 hours via Audible
Fiction

2016 Summer Book Recs

SummerReads

The days are getting longer. It’s the perfect time to grab a cold beverage and a great book! Need some ideas?

Check out Snotty Literati’s 2016 summer book recs!

 

 

 

The Girls by Emma Cline

The GirlsHere’s some free advice: When you meet an author that wrote a book you love, love, loved and you ask him what book he recommends you should read next… read it… next. I am talking about Bill Clegg, author of last year’s NBA Finalist Did You Ever Have a Family, and the book he recommended I read, Emma Cline’s debut, The Girls.

It would also be good to make sure you have six uninterrupted hours, because The Girls will pull you in about as quickly as the book’s charismatic cult leader Russell Hadrick seduces our lost and impressionable protagonist, Evie Boyd. But, I am getting a bit ahead of myself here.

It’s 1969 in northern California and 14-year old Evie Boyd is bored, directionless, and seeking attention anywhere she can find it. Lazy summer days lead Evie to the park where one day she sees them. The Girls. Evie cannot take her eyes off of them, their dresses, their hair, and their utter insouciance–especially, the dark-haired girl Suzanne. Evie continues to see these strange and alluring older girls and quickly and naively assimilates with the group.

Evie finds herself on a black school bus riding out to “the ranch”, the next devotee of child molester, pimp, and cult leader Russell Hadrick (picture Charles Manson). Despite the rancid property and feral inhabitants, Evie can’t get enough. For the first time in her short life, she feels like she belongs. Cline does an exceptional job showcasing the vulnerability of young girls and the desperation that can lead to short-sighted choices with unimaginable consequences. The writing is exquisite, although a little heavy handed in the beginning chapters. Cline quickly finds her groove and keeps you invested in this literary page turner that is likely to be the hit of the summer.

This book will be published on June 14, 2016. Many thanks to Random House and NetGalley.com for making this book available to read and review prior to publication. 

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Me Before You

A Story a Day in May!

Short Story Month

Join me! May is Short Story month and I’m going to read a story a day for the month of May. 

Need inspiration or ideas? Gotcha covered right here: http://onelitchick.com/snotty-literati/a-story-a-day/

Would love more recommendations myself! What are some of your favorite stories or collections? Please comment below.

Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan

Green-IslandIn the opening pages of Shawna Yang Ryan’s Green Island, we are transported to 1947 Taiwan, a county overtaken by violence and fear as it succumbs to Martial Law. Here we meet Dr. Tsai and his wife, confined to their home as she’s laboring with their fourth child. Shortly after their daughter’s birth, Dr. Tsai is heard speaking out against the Chinese Nationalists. This public dissent results in his arrest and imprisonment on Green Island for more than a decade. He returns a shell of the man he once was, to a family that is struggling to embrace him.

Green Island, narrated by Dr. Tsai’s youngest, and unnamed, child, is an epic journey of historical fiction and political unrest spanning 60 years and two continents. I was hooked immediately and found myself angry, saddened, and frustrated by the horrific events at the hands of power-hungry, fear-mongering people. Ryan has crafted a truly engaging story of family bonds and betrayals that will keep you turning the pages and thinking long after the last page is read.

4 Stars

Sunday Sentence | March 6, 2016

Green-Island

 

“Babe squalling at her breast, her robe falling open, she chased them down the alley until one of the boys finally turned, and with no sign of hesitation, leveled his rifle at her.”

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

f5b0e41325260a2b830f6a706700852bEarlier this month, I snagged a deal on Living Social that got me a three-month Audible.com membership for just $8.00 per month. Normally, a membership runs $14.95 per month, so it was kind of a no brainer: a discount involving books that I could read while I drove to work when I couldn’t normally read? Uhm, okay. Sign me up.

I downloaded Karin Slaughter’s Pretty Girls, as my first “read”. I thought a mystery would be a good pick for an audio book, because I wanted something that would keep my attention and have enough action to keep me engaged in this consumption format. Well, let me tell you what. Pretty Girls was a perfect audio pick; and I realized this when I had to pull over at one point to catch my breath. Yeah, that really happened.

Pretty Girls centers around sisters Claire and Lydia, sisters whose lives were irrevocably changed when their older sister Julia was kidnapped and never found. Fast forward 20 years and the sisters don’t speak and live vastly different lives: Claire is married to one of Atlanta’s most successful businessmen, and Lydia is working to maintain sobriety while raising a daughter on her own.

It was the tragedy of their sister’s disappearance that drove them apart and the murder of Claire’s husband that brings them together. The reunion is hardly welcome, and the two women must now navigate life with old wounds ripped open and new secrets as Claire learns her husband’s murder was not a simple random act of violence.

Pretty Girls is not for the faint of heart. It’s gritty, gristly, and gruesome. It will make your heart race and plummet. If you are new to audio books, I highly recommend listening to voice actor Kathleen Early read this dark and twisted story that will stay with you long after the last word is spoken.

4 Stars

 

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Infinite HomeIf supermodel Kate Moss and superpopstar Taylor Swift had a love child, I am convinced it would be Kathleen Alcott. But super looks aside, this young woman is super talented and has written what I am confident will be one of my favorite books this year. And because I loved it so much, I want everyone to read it and love it just as much as I did! I loved it so much that if you read it and don’t love it, I probably won’t be able to take it, and I certainly won’t want to hear about it. But I will still like you. Probably.

Kathleen Alcott’s Infinite Home is the story of misfits and castaways connected by their physical home—a New York brownstone managed by Edith, a widow, who is estranged from her adult children. Edith’s residents include Edward, the depressed stand-up comic who is no longer funny; Adeleine, a gorgeous and anxious agoraphobe, who connects to life through things, not people; Thomas a young artist rediscovering life after a stroke; and my favorite, Paulie, a thirty year old man living with Williams Syndrome and the innocence and wonderment of a child.

At the start of Edith’s declining health, her absent son Owen intervenes seeking to evict everyone and take over the building. This threat creates fear, connection, and experiences the the tenants could have never imagined. The result is at times humorous and heart wrenching.

The writing is lovely. I went back over a number of the passages… needing to savor them more. Passages like these:

Regarding Edith’s husband’s death:

“In the first months without him, Edith marveled at how many different types of quiet there could be.”

A glimpse of the endearing Paulie:

“One night he got out the Christmas decorations Claudia had asked him to please leave in the closet for the rest of the year and he pulled out the string of white lights that pulsed. He brought them up to Thomas’s floor and bunched them into a knot and put them in a big glass jar and plugged them in right next to his door. Hell thought Thomas would like how he had put everything bright in one place and tangled it all together.”

It’s because of sweet Paulie, that I want to travel to see the magic of the fireflies. Read Infinite Home and you will want to go too.

5 Stars