Book Reviews

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

Sunday Sentence | February 28, 2016

Nora Ephron

“…the state of rapture I experience when I read a wonderful book is one of the main reasons I read, but it doesn’t happen every time or even every other time, and when it does happen, I’m truly beside myself…”

By |February 28th, 2016|Memoir|0 Comments

Fate and Furies

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is one of the most talked about books from 2015. After Snotty Literati read it, we couldn’t stop talking about it.

Check out our conversation about Fates and Furies and chime in with your own thoughts in the comments!

Fates and Furies Cover Image

Sunday Sentence | January 31, 2016

Maisie Dobbs

“Even if she hadn’t been the last person to walk through the turnstile at Warren Street tube station, Jack Barker would have noticed the tall, slender woman in the navy blue, thigh-length jacket with a matching pleated skirt short enough to reveal a well turned ankle.”

Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

Signs Preceding the End of the WorldEvery year, I try to read a handful of books I might not normally read. These aren’t books that are “out of my comfort zone” like zombie apocalypse, vampire YA stuff… but books that can expand my reach and reading experience. Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera is the perfect kind of book to do this.

Signs, written in Herrera’s native Spanish and translated by Lisa Dillman, tells the story of Makina, a young Mexican woman making the dangerous trek across the U.S./Mexican Border to deliver an unmarked package and find her brother. Marina’s brother crossed over a year ago, with the sketchy promise of land acquisition.

In just 107 pages, Herrara give us a glimpse into a world many of us don’t know, but may talk–or even argue–a lot about. It’s a world of many unknowns and uncertainties; and one that delivers a solemn punch about the realities of how humans choose to treat one another.

4 Stars

Soppy: A Love Story

So, I am a sucker for a sweet story. And one with cute little drawings too? Sign me up!

Soppy is the totes adorbs collection of Rice’s web comics that are based on real-life interactions with her boyfriend. The book will only take you a few minutes to read, but it will bring a smile to your face and put an “awwwwwwww” in your throat. I mean, look at these images. Am I right?

Soppy

I mean, right?

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