Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: In the Distance by Hernán Díaz (2/5)

22 Sep

I had no idea what to expect out of this book because, as usual, I didn’t read anything about it before picking it up. I liked to do that with book club books because I like being surprised. Maybe I wouldn’t have been waiting for something to happen for so long if I’d known that this was a journey novel and that there wasn’t going to be a central action story. Maybe, for once, this worked against me.

Cover image via Amazon

In the Distance by Hernán Díaz

Summary from Amazon:

A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels East in search of his brother, moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing West. Driven back again and again, he meets naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, Indians, and lawmen, and his exploits turn him into a legend. Diaz defies the conventions of historical fiction and genre, offering a probing look at the stereotypes that populate our past and a portrait of radical foreignness.

This book just didn’t work for me. I kept thinking something would change and I’d start to appreciate something I’d missed or I’d become interested in a new character, but it never happened. Håkan didn’t even make a strong impression on me. This book was very episodic and that’s not a structure that I usually like. I wanted more closure from the people he met along the way or for someone to come back into play late in the story to complete a storyline. I felt perpetually let down.

There were very few of these characters that I felt were realistic. Lorimer and Asa are the only people I liked and didn’t seem like they stepped out of a movie. The corrupt sheriff was probably similar to other men in the era, but he still came across as cartoonish. Håkan didn’t seem realistic at all and I felt he lived up to and deserved his legendary notoriety.  This is part of what made it so hard to like the book.

Lorimer was my favorite character. He was likable and smart. Even though he did some dumb things and put himself and others at risk, he had a vision he was trying to achieve and he went for it. He cared about other people, which was rare for someone in this book. I gained a lot of respect for him when he helped the native people who had been attached and learned from their elder. 

Asa was the most relatable character to me, but some of his character development was a bit unbelievable. He had a soft heart and I liked that about him. He was able to see the good in Håkan and was angry about him being mistreated. However, I didn’t understand why he had such a soft spot for Håkan. Håkan never denied the brutal things he was accused of because they were true. What made him fall for a man who never spoke and was known to commit murder? He put a lot on the line to free Håkan and I didn’t see his motivation.

Hernan Diaz
Image via the book website

The storyline with Asa and Håkan’s time in the desert were my favorite parts of the book. I liked Håkan alone and how he described his life at that time. I also liked to see him happy, even if it was fleeting, with Asa.

The time Håkan spent with the woman bothered me the most. I didn’t understand the motivation for taking him prisoner and what her larger issue was. She was angry but how she used Håkan was inexcusable to me. The fact that this plotline ended so quickly and violently made me dislike it even more. It probably didn’t help that this was early in the book and put a bitter taste in my mouth for the remainder of the story.

The audiobook was narrated by Peter Berkrot. While listening, I didn’t notice anything that bothered me about his performance. His pace was slow and he expressed Håkan’s sense of wonder of America well. It wasn’t until someone pointed out at our book club meeting that Berkrot’s voice wasn’t a good fit for the story that I realized I agreed. It was just a bit off.

Part of what turns me off to episodic stories is that they seem to lack an overarching theme. In this book, Håkan is trying to find his place in a new country. He tries working, following someone else, and striking out on his own. None of them seem to work for him. In the end, America isn’t for him and he decides that rather than try a different part of the country, he’s going to head home. I was a little lost about the theme here and the relevance of a lot of Håkan’s stops along the way.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book was widely well-received, so maybe I’m missing something. The lack of return to previous themes, characters, and events is what frustrated me with this book. It’s the old adage that if you introduce a gun in act one, it better go off before the play ends. I didn’t think this book delivered on that promise to the reader and I was frustrated for much of the book.

Not a hit for me. Two out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts: 
In the Distance by Hernan Diaz | North of Oxford 
Book rev. of Hernan Diaz’s In the Distance | Blog on the Hyphen 
In the Distance (Diaz) | BookReviewsbyCharles 

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Book Review: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (5/5)

14 Sep

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time. I really liked Eugenides’ Middlesex and wanted to read his entire backlog immediately. I read The Marriage Plot and found it was okay, but not what I had hoped for. I’d heard amazing things about this book and I’ve attempted to squeeze it in between other book obligations before but hadn’t been able to until now. I’m so glad I finally did and also got it to pull me out of a reading slump that was hard to shake.

Cover image via Amazon

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

Other books by Eugenides reviewed on this blog:

Middlesex (and Book Club Reflection)
The Marriage Plot

Summary from Amazon:

In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters―beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys―commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family’s fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time.

It’s interesting to me that the summary says the book takes place in Detroit because I don’t remember it ever being stated but I recognized my city well enough from the description. Anyway. This book was one of my favorites this year. The suspense was amazing. You know from the beginning that all of the Lisbon girls die by suicide, so that’s not ruining anything. The question is why. I’m not sure we ever get an answer. The story is told from a collective point of view of the boys growing up in the same neighborhood who are attending school with the girls and see their lives from the outside. I thought this was a fascinating way to tell the story and I really enjoyed the investigative method the boys had of looking into the Lisbon suicides.

The only real characters in the story were the Lisbon girls. Because of the collective narrative voice, none of the neighborhood boys had much of a role. Since the girls didn’t narrate, we don’t know what they thought or how the felt about the boys outside of their conjecture. We don’t know what happened in their house when no one was there, either. There’s a lot we don’t know about the girls but we can gather that Cecilia likely suffered from mental health issues and the other girls should have seen therapists. I think the distance from the girls made them seem more mysterious and added to the sense of foreboding that lasted the entire book. I could picture girls like this in school and like my classmates, I didn’t know what happened at their houses when I wasn’t there.

Lux was my favorite character. I think we knew more about her than any of the other sisters. Her promiscuity made her more of a focus for many of the boys and it seemed fitting that her story occupied a large part of the story. She seemed really lost and confused and I could see why she acted the way she did. She seemed to want to be different after her sister’s death and didn’t know how to do that. I’m sure the other girls had a way of coping, but it wasn’t as obvious to the boys or as worthy of gossip.

It’s hard to say I related to the characters but I did on some level. I’ve felt like my parents were too strict or like life was too hard or that I had no one to reach out to. There were many times I felt like someone who knew me at school would have no idea what I was thinking about or what happened in my head or my house. I think we’re often surprised when we hear about the details of someone else’s home and the lives they have. When we’re young, we assume all other homes are like ours and I remember how shocked I was when I found out that wasn’t true.

Jeffrey Eugenides
Image via Harvard

After the initial suicide, I was in utter suspense. I thought they were going to come one after another, one per chapter, until the end of the book. I won’t give anything away here, but the suspense Eugenides created and the mystery surrounding the Lisbon home was amazing and kept me up a few late nights trying to see what would happen next.

There wasn’t a part of this book I particularly disliked. I think it showed how different people deal with grief and how we don’t know what’s going on in a person’s life, even when they live down the street. We can guess and we can try to intervene, but nothing is guaranteed to work. Everyone’s life is different and we may not ever understand why. I thought Eugenides approached this in a really good way. There’s never a solid answer for why the tragedy happened and the way he leaves it still feels like good closure to the Lisbon story.

There’s a lot we don’t know about other people. The boys in the neighborhood didn’t know what it was like to be a woman in the Lisbon household. They didn’t know how the girls interacted or how their parents treated them. They didn’t know the health of the girls or what they wanted in life. They knew a little about their likes and dislikes and the clothing they wore and the people they saw, but that was it. When they go to Homecoming, it’s the most the boys interact with the girls in the entire book. We never know about someone’s life or inner struggle and it’s impossible to guess.

Writer’s Takeaway: The suspense in this book was thrilling and I really enjoyed it. Knowing how it would end and waiting and waiting to see why it happened was really suspenseful and kept me turning pages and reading. I don’t think this format works for all books, but I can see how it works for some and is wonderfully effective in keeping a reader engaged.

A great book and the perfect one to get me out of a reading slump. Five out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts: 
A Postmodern Adolescence: “The Virgin Suicides,” by Jeffrey Eugenides | almostauthorblog 
Review – The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides | Love, Literature, Art, and Reason 
The Virgin Suicides | Flowers Between Pages 
‘The Virgin Suicides’ by Jeffrey Eugenides | The Afterword 

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Book Review: The Tory by T.J. London (4/5)

10 Sep

I heard about getting an ARC of the audiobook for this one almost too late. It was the last day to sign up and I’m glad I got in under the wire. London was in a writers group with me back in 2013-2014 time frame and I’ve seen her a few times since through a mutual friend we both made in the group. It’s been a few years since I saw her and workshopped with her and I know she’s been busy writing in the meantime. We workshopped a scene from her series at one point, but I can’t recall the details so I’m not sure if it was from this book or one later in the series. Anyway, it was fun to read something written by an author I know!

Cover image via the author

The Tory (Rebels and Redcoats Saga #1) by T.J. London

Summary:

His King or His Conscience…which will he choose?

It is the winter of 1776, and Captain John Carlisle, one of His Majesty’s not-so-finest, has gone back to the scene of the crime to right a wrong so dark it left a permanent stain on what was once an illustrious career and left a man broken, defeated, in search of justice…

In an effort to win back his commission, he must discover the true nature of the relationship between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Colonial Army. Undercover as a war profiteer, John travels to the treacherous Mohawk River Valley and infiltrates local society, making friends with those he’s come to betray. But a chance meeting with a beautiful half Oneida innkeeper, whose tragic history is integrally linked to his own, will provide him with the intelligence he needs to complete his mission—and devastate her people.

Now, as the flames of war threaten to consume the Mohawk Valley, John has the chance to not only serve King and country, but to clear his name. When the truth he uncovers ties his own secrets to those in the highest positions of the British military and threatens the very life of the woman he’s come to love, he will be forced to make a choice…

I’m a big fan of historical fiction but not a huge romance fan so I was iffy going into this book. I thought it started off strong and I liked the historical background for John’s character and the integration of the natives and Dellis’s plotline. Overall, the book set up well for a longer series. I had some minor quibbles with the relationship building between John and Dellis but I think the arc overall is strong. I enjoyed the political arc to the story a bit more, though. That’s just a preference.

I liked John’s character a lot. His back-and-forth loyalty between his duty and his heart was really interesting and I liked how it led him in two directions and how he reconciled that. I also liked that he wasn’t immune to injury. I didn’t get a sick pleasure from seeing him injured, but I get frustrated when the main character seems to come out of every situation unscathed so I was glad he bled. I didn’t find Dellis as believable. She seemed a little hot/cold at times without much logic for why she switched between the two. It made me feel a little lost during her arguments with John and I was always a bit confused about why she was triggered one way or the other.

John was my favorite character and I feel like the series will overall be more of a character study of his situation and I look forward to that. He has a strong backstory and I think he’s leading toward a strong final showdown in the final book.

These weren’t characters I really sympathized with or related to. I find that often in historical novels. The concerns of people 250 years ago are quite different from mine today. I understood their desires and needs, though, so I still enjoyed the novel and seeing if they’d get what they wanted.

T.J. London
Image via the author

I thought John and his men were the most entertaining part of the book. I liked that they were able to maintain an upbeat attitude and that they stuck together when things got tough. They’re the team I’d want to be on in a war or an undercover situation.

I thought the fights between Dellis and John were a little too frequent. They seemed to end very badly but resolve when John got hurt or Dellis is in danger without the object of their fight being discussed too much. I didn’t feel her reasons for being angry with him were merited much of the time. Though when she got mad at him for being with Celeste, I was all for it.

I haven’t listened to an audiobook with four narrators in a long time and that was quite a treat. This book was narrated by Shane East (John), Tara Langella (Dellis), Marnye Young (Celeste), and Patrick Zeller (Rodger). I thought East sounded a lot like Sean Bean and I really enjoyed his narration. Langella was great as well. I couldn’t strongly distinguish between Langella and Young but Celeste wasn’t a huge player in this book so she didn’t have much. I have a suspicion she and Rodger will be larger players in later books so their voices will be more apparent as the series goes on.

John has a lot on his conscious throughout the book. He’s battling with something he regrets from his past, trying to do his job and follow orders, and also finds himself romantically entangled. He has to face his past soon because there doesn’t seem to be a way forward with Dellis unless he does. And his mission seems to be in jeopardy because of it as well. Facing his demons is sure to be a big theme for the remainder of the series.

Writer’s Takeaway: Historical fiction is hard. You have to know your time period well and know the culture of the place you’re writing, too. I think London has done this well. When I was in a writing group with her, I know she traveled to the parts of New York she’s writing about and I think that would be really helpful to learn as much as possible about the area and understand the geography of it well.

An enjoyable read and a well-read audiobook. Four out of Five Stars

BEFORE YOU GO! I took place in the media blitz for this audiobook and posted about it yesterday. Please check that out and find an opportunity to win a Tory Prize Pack. It’s free, go look!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Sign Up for Monthly Newsletters 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts: 
#MotownWriters Author Spotlight- T.J.London Historical Fiction Writer | Motown Writers Network 
The Tory + Giveaway! | Pursuing Stacie 

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Book Review: In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddy Ratner (3/5)

31 Aug

I picked this book up at a library used book sale years ago. I’m surprised I finally got to it, if I’m being honest. But there’s the silver lining to quarantine.

Cover image via Amazon

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

Summary from Amazon:

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours, bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. Over the next four years, as the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her childhood—the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival. Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

This was not a book I was able to dive into and finish quickly. The subject matter was so dark that I had trouble reading even a chapter at night before I slept, which is my primary reading time. I also struggled with the book initially because it was written from the point of view of a young child and books in this style often rub me the wrong way. I can’t completely explain why but it has been consistent for a few years. It was hard for me to start immersing myself in the book once I got past Raami’s style because the death of the book was so pointless. I wanted to have some closure to it, but that wouldn’t have been real. What happened to the people of Cambodia as so horrible that it would have been wrong to have a hopeful or happy ending.

Ratner admits in the author’s note that Raami’s story is more or less her own. I think her descriptions of the people she knew along the way are so distinct because she’s drawing from memory. Her mother, father, uncle, and grandmother were the most distinct to me and I thought they were wonderful.

Raami herself was my favorite character. We see her change quickly from an innocent young girl to a girl who’s learned the reality of life far too quickly and who is trying to make sense of senseless violence. She sees people killed, betrayed, and broken in a way no child should. Her Polio shields her from some things, but not enough for her to remain unchanged.

It was hard to relate to these characters. I’ve never lived through anything as terrible as the Khmer Rouge regime and I hope I never do. This is part of what was so hard for me about reading this book. I wanted to connect with these characters but the atrocities they lived through were too hard to imagine.

Vaddey Ratner
Image via the author’s website

The time Raami and her family spent living in the Buddhist temple was my favorite in retrospect. They knew something worse was coming, but they were able to be together as a family and love each other. There was a sense of foreboding and this was when Raami started to realize that their situation wasn’t temporary and it wasn’t going to go back to normal. Her voice started being less childlike and more mature which helped me enjoy the story more.

A lot of the book was hard to read because it was so dark. I didn’t dislike it because it was bad or inconsistent, I just couldn’t read it because of the content. The time spent building the riverbank was horrible. It was like reading a Holocaust memoir to hear about the conditions the people lived in and what they were forced to endure. Every page, I expected another tragedy and became less surprised when they came.

This is a book about survival. By merit of it being about a child, you assume that Raami will survive. But what she will endure and if anyone will make it through with her are the key questions. The lengths her mother goes to are extreme but necessary in their world. It made me think about what it means to be a mother and love someone the way Aana loved Raami.

Writer’s Takeaway: The one thing I didn’t like about the book was the childish point of view at the beginning. It kept me distant from Raami and her concerns for longer than the author intended and made the book one I struggled to sit down with initially. I can’t blame Ratner for my inability to read such about such horrible conditions. If they’re true and that’s what happened, I’m glad she wrote it the way she did.

Overall, an important book but not one I’m going to rush to recommend. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts: 
In the Shadow of the Banyan – Novel | Jack Rice 
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratnery: | Z Wonderland 
Book Review:”in the Shadow of the Banyan” Vaddey Ratner | Writing and Travel 

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Book Review: The Narcissism of Small Differences by Michael Zadoorian (4/5)

24 Aug

I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of Zadoorian before we read another of his books about a year ago. He’s a Detroit-based author and his books have been well received. With our book club selections limited to those available on the Hoopla platform, our previous selections went out the window and our leader chose this book for our August meeting.

Cover image via Amazon

The Narcissism of Small Differences by Michael Zadoorian

Other books by Zadoorian reviewed on this blog:

Beautiful Music (and Book Club Reflection)

Summary from Amazon:

Joe Keen and Ana Urbanek have been a couple for a long time, with all the requisite lulls and temptations, yet they remain unmarried and without children, contrary to their Midwestern values (and parents’ wishes). Now on the cusp of forty, they are both working at jobs that they’re not even sure they believe in anymore, but with significantly varying returns. Ana is successful, Joe is floundering–both in limbo, caught somewhere between mainstream and alternative culture, sincerity and irony, achievement and arrested development.

Set against the backdrop of bottomed-out 2009 Detroit, a once-great American city now in transition, part decaying and part striving to be reborn, The Narcissism of Small Differences is the story of an aging creative class, doomed to ask the questions: Is it possible to outgrow irony? Does not having children make you one? Is there even such a thing as selling out anymore?

Parts of this book felt so real that it hurt. Living in Metro Detroit like Joe and Anna, I felt the setting very intimately. I also felt the workplace setting Ana inhabited and the stresses of a job that she didn’t love. I also related to Joe and his desire to make a living from his creative endeavors. I’d love to be able to do that but I feel I’m more accurately caught between Joe and Ana, being Ana while wishing to be Joe. This book was only hard to read because it felt so real and captured the hardships of modern living so vividly. It was well written and had me pulling up the file whenever I had a chance.

Joe and Ana were very realistic. I could see how they’d get caught in their ways from their 20s, finding that 15 years later, they hadn’t made a transition that most of their peers had and wondering if it was too late. Is there an expiration on getting married and having kids? Should there be? I just hit 30 myself and I can see a lot of my peers struggling with this and trying to decide if/how/when to make these same decisions. Ana’s coworkers are well-drawn as well. I loved Adrian and wondered if I could be friends with her. I think we’ve all known a Bruce in our work history. I’m thinking of a man from my first job and it helped Bruce come to life having that reference point.

Ana was my favorite and I really related to her. Maybe it’s a same-gender bias, but I felt her story more than I did Joe’s. I hated that people assumed she was having a relationship with a coworker because they spent time together. I’m someone who tends to have more male friends than female and I hate when that assumption is made about me. I work hard, like Ana, and the frustrations she had from people who seemed hell-bent on making work a nightmare rang true to me, too. Zadoorian captured the corporate world very well in his story.

Michael Zadoorian
Image via Amazon

I enjoyed Ana’s work life and her experiences with Woman Lyfe. They were just so corporately horrible that it was fun to read. I’m sure most working people have had an experience with a coworker or client who was difficult, but not to the extent of these women. Also, I loved that the horribly-privileged-white-woman character was actually named Karen. It was a bit cliche, but also so perfect.

Ana’s secret-keeping from Joe really bothered me. I’ll avoid saying what that secret was to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say there’s a big secret. I was frustrated that she wasn’t open and honest with him and then even more frustrated when Adriane told her to keep the secret from Joe. I’m a big advocate for not lying in a relationship about anything or keeping any secrets. It tends to become a bigger issue like happened with Ana and Joe. I think they’re very lucky their relationship was saved.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Patrick Lawlor. I think he was a good choice for this book. His voice for Ana wasn’t my favorite, it seemed a little too diminutive, but not enough that it took away from the book. He did great reading the big moments of the book and dramatizing the things that were dramatic.

The question I asked of this book is if Ana and Joe needed to grow up. They’re adults by merit of their age, but some of their tendencies are more often associated with someone in their early 20s. If they need to grow up, what are things grown-ups do? Does Joe need a real job, does Ana need to lie about her age and act younger to get ahead at work, and do they need to get married? In the end, I think the answer was ‘no.’ These two are perfectly functional and making a life together in their own way. If they decided to make changes, it was because they wanted to, not because anyone was making them do it. They were happy with the life they’d built and didn’t need anyone telling them what to change about it to make it ‘better.’

Writer’s Takeaway: This book was a great description of contemporary romance. Today, relationships aren’t as linear as they once were. There’s no pre-defined time to date before getting married and the stigma around cohabitation has lessened. But this does bring with it problems of defining what a relationship looks like and where it’s going. Zadoorian captured this is such a real way and I really appreciated a book depicting an experience I see a lot of my peers going through.

A great book that swept me away, though in the world I live in now. Four out of Five Stars

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Review: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans (2/5)

11 Aug

I’m not sure if life’s getting me down or if I’ve had a bad run of books but I’m feeling a reading rut at the moment. This book didn’t help. I usually fly through audio and counted on flying through this one to finish in a week. I only just made it, finishing Sunday before my Monday book club meeting. And it was a bit more of a struggle than I would like.

Cover image via Goodreads

Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

Summary from Amazon:

Riffling through a cupboard, Matilda Simpkin comes across a small wooden club—an old possession that she hasn’t seen for more than a decade. Immediately, memories come flooding back to Mattie—memories of a thrilling past, which only further serve to remind her of her chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign, she was a militant who was jailed five times and never missed an opportunity to return to the fray. Now in middle age, the closest she gets to the excitement of her old life is the occasional lecture on the legacy of the militant movement.

After running into an old suffragette comrade who has committed herself to the wave of Fascism, Mattie realizes there is a new cause she needs to fight for and turns her focus to a new generation of women. Thus the Amazons are formed, a group created to give girls a place to not only exercise their bodies but their minds, and ignite in young women a much-needed interest in the world around them. But when a new girl joins the group, sending Mattie’s past crashing into her present, every principle Mattie has ever stood for is threatened.

This book fell very flat for me. I didn’t connect with Mattie from the beginning and the Flea’s description had me off base the entire time so I failed to enjoy the characters from the go. I liked Ida and her character was strong but that wasn’t enough to carry the book for me. The main plot, with a battle between Mattie’s Amazons and Jacko’s Empire Youth League, seemed silly to me. It was a proxy war between two women who never had their own words. I felt the ending was very rushed after such a detailed start and it fell flat.

The characters seemed well described, I just didn’t like them. Ines was very hard to like and I think that’s what made the whole book feel forced. Mattie’s efforts to get Ines engaged in the world around her were a lot to stomach and seeing how much she hurt Ida in the process was hard. It made me lose respect for Mattie. After looking out for Ida so much, it seemed hard to believe she’d cast her aside so quickly.

Ida was my favorite character. She worked hard and was very smart. When the book started, I didn’t realize how prophetic it was that she was fired for correcting a client. She learned fast and proves how capable she is through her education and commitment to the Amazons. You want good things for her and when she falls on hard times, you want to sympathize with her. I thought she carried the story.

The Amazons reminded me of the Girl Scouts of America so I was engaged in the idea of the group Mattie was putting together. I enjoyed the Girl Scouts. My brother was a Boy Scout and I liked that I got to camp and do archery like him. It was a fun and memorable part of my childhood. I understood the attraction for the girls but I don’t understand the comparison to the Empire Youth League. The two groups seemed to have very different aims and I can’t imagine they’d attract people who were looking for the same things.

Lissa Evans
Image via the NY Times

The field day was a great scene. I thought the scavenger hunt was well done and the tension Evans created in it was good. I hated how the whole thing went down, but I think that was the point. It was supposed to upset me and it clearly upset so many of the characters.

The ending bothered me a lot. It felt very rushed. Most of the book covered about a year, but the final two chapters covered five. It seemed like a bit too much to me with a lot of time crammed into the book. It felt like Evans wanted to end the book with the women’s vote, but it was a bit contrived at the same time. The ending just didn’t seem to fit the story to me.

The audiobook was narrated by Jane Copeland. I thought she gave a good voice for Mattie, but she didn’t blow me away. Her reading of the other characters were very similar, except for Ines. It was a bit bland and I wondered if it contributed to how I felt about the book as a whole. It felt like she was trying to affect a period-specific way of speaking which I’m not convinced was accurate.

Mattie feels like she’s getting old. She’s no longer the militant suffragette she was and is unsure how to keep up the vigor she once felt for the movement. She thinks the Amazons will make her proud and help her continue to feel like she’s making progress toward a better future for women. Her failure there shuts her down and it’s not until years later that she’s revitalized. We all feel like we’re getting older and losing our energy. I feel like I’ve lost energy during COVID. It’s a natural process and we can only fight it so much as Mattie eventually learns.

Writer’s Takeaway: My biggest complaint about this book is the beginning. Introducing Mattie and the Flea during a lecture was not engaging. I especially did not like meeting the Flea like this. The way she was described made me picture her as old and frail instead of young and healthy. I couldn’t picture her and it was a struggle for me the entire book. The ending wasn’t for me either and disliking those parts made it hard to enjoy the middle.
(Note: It was pointed out to me after this review was posted that we meet Mattie and the Flea before the lecture scene, which starts around 24 pages into the book. I was working off of memory and apologize for my mistake.)

Overall, not one I enjoyed. Two out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Old Baggage by Lissa Evans – A Review Revived in honour of the paperback edition! | The Northern Reader
Old Baggage by Lissa Evans | For winter nights
FICTION//Old Baggage- Lissa Evans | The Bookish Badger
Old Baggage – Lissa Evans | The Book Jotter

Book Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (5/5)

10 Aug

I have mixed feelings on slowly going through this series. On the one hand, it means that now that I’m ready for the final book, it’s out and I can dive in as soon as I want. On the other hand, I could have fallen in love with this characters years ago. This series has been so much fun and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’m looking forward to writing this gushing review.

Cover image via Amazon

Before the Devil Breaks You (Diviners #3) by Libba Bray

Other books by Bray reviewed on this blog:

The Diviners (Diviners #1)
Lair of Dreams (Diviners #2)

Summary from Amazon:

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They’re more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward’s Island, far from the city’s bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten–ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they’ve ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation–a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

I’d forgotten that I was in love with Evie and Sam. I forgot how much I loved getting a chill up my back while I listened to this series. I’d forgotten how much fun super long books can be! This book was a pure joy from beginning to end. It could have easily suffered from some middle-book-syndrome, but I found it wonderful. It’s setting up for a major final battle and I’m excited about it.

The characters are amazingly diverse in this book and we dig into it even more. Either I’d forgotten or it was newly revealed that Ling is LGBTQIA+. I find her incredibly interesting, though I’ll admit I was skeptical of a character introduced in book 2 and how she’d fit into the group. I think Bray has done well and my skepticism is long gone and I’m back to admiration. All of the other characters are great because they seem so unique. I like that they’re all keeping something back, all of them not showing their full hand. It keeps them very dynamic and keeps me very interested in them and seeing how they develop.

Libba Bray
Image via Facebook

Theta was my favorite character this time around. She had a lot to deal with between Roy and Memphis and I could really feel her stress and anguish. She had a lot of different pressures weighing on her and I thought her behavior was very appropriate to the situation she found herself in. I wish she’d opened up to Henry a bit more, though. I think that the relationship was strong enough to take it.

These characters are just starting to push away from their childhood and into their adult lives more fully and I related to that. They’re pushing away adults who cared for them and venturing out on their own. It seems young, knowing many of these characters are around 18, but that’s also very appropriate for the 1920s. This isn’t exactly a coming-of-age story, but it’s a reminder of life after college for me. Well, except for the ghosts. I didn’t run into any ghosts.

Theta’s showdown with Memphis and Roy was my favorite part of the book. I loved how forgiving Memphis was able to be when faced with the truth and realization of what Theta did for him. I think her character will come into play in a big way in the final book and I really look forward to her future with Memphis.

Mabel’s story was the least compelling for me this time around. Her fight with Evie seemed unnecessary and I think it pushed her way too far toward radical than it should have, knowing her character. I knew something extreme was going to happen the more she broke away from Evie. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll stop here.

The audiobook was narrated by January LaVoy, who did the first two books. She’s incredible in this series. Honestly, the voices she does for Sam and Evie are so different that I’m amazed it’s the same person. She’s very talented and I look forward to hearing her bring the series to a conclusion and then searching out some other books she’s narrated.

The Diviners have to trust each other a lot, which can be hard to do. We see them grow into a ‘framily’ during this book and their reliance on each other is incredible. I think that reliance and trust are going to be very important in the end. Every paragraph I write is making me want to forget my other books and just dive into the end of this series!

Writer’s Takeaway: When writing, a writer is always advised not to ‘head hop,’ to go from one character’s thoughts to another’s within scenes. That’s Bray’s style and she makes it work. Within one scene, we might get two or even three characters’ thoughts, especially when the topic touches on something that they are keeping secret or something that makes them nervous. It’s so well done that I’m not sure I’d notice if I wasn’t looking for it.

A great book and one that’s got me excited for the series to continue. Five out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
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Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray | the words gremlin
Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners, #3) | Belle of the Library
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray | Review | ambsreads
Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) Review (Audiobook) | bookloversblog

Book Review: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (4/5)

4 Aug

I gave my reading buddy a short list of books for this time around and from that she picked Mandel’s latest, The Glass Hotel. I’ve read two Mandel books before and had mixed feelings so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one. A friend of my husband gave this book a solid review so I figured I should go in open-minded.

Cover image via Amazon

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Other books by Mandel reviewed on this blog:
Station Eleven (and Book Club Reflection, and another Book Club Reflection, and meeting the author)
The Lola Quartet

Summary from Amazon:

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star lodging on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme, moving imaginary sums of money through clients’ accounts. When the financial empire collapses, it obliterates countless fortunes and devastates lives. Vincent, who had been posing as Jonathan’s wife, walks away into the night. Years later, a victim of the fraud is hired to investigate a strange occurrence: a woman has seemingly vanished from the deck of a container ship between ports of call.

I liked 95% of this book. The ending was a bit much for me. I’ll get to that later. The majority of this book was lovely. I adored the characters. I cared about them. I understood how their lives interacted and what was important to them. It was lyrical in Mandel’s style. It incorporated her knowledge about art and her love of Canada in a great way. I liked how she drifted across time and space. And I was always curious about the Glass Hotel.

I felt the characters were real. Vincent came from a very upsetting background and her drifting through life seemed realistic to me. I thought Mandel went into the psychology of those involved in the Ponzi really well. Those chapters made me almost feel bad for the people involved until I remembered how much they ruined the lives of the investors. It helped me understand the complexities of white-collar crime and what Jonathan was involved in.

Vincent was my favorite character. She was a chameleon and I loved seeing the different parts of her life. We see her on her own, working as a bartender in her hometown, and then it seems like within seconds she’s been whisked away to a life of luxury that’s almost impossible to imagine. Seeing her return to suddenly to bartending and cooking was a bit shocking, but it made sense for her. I never doubted it for a second.

Oddly, Paul was the most relatable person in the story for me. I think it was his anxiety. I can’t say I’ve been in situations like he has, (stealing intellectual property, being indirectly responsible for a death), but his anxious responses resonated with me. He was constantly afraid of being ousted as a fraud, being blamed for something gone wrong. I constantly fight those fears. I understood how debilitating they can be.

Me and Mandel

Vincent’s time in New York was my favorite. I thought it was very interesting to hear how she blended into Jonathan’s world and how much of an imposter she felt like when she did it. What a strange place to find yourself plucked from nothing and thrust into such a different world. I can’t imagine a world where money is so expendable and where things are readily available in that way.

The ending of the book bothered me. I’m going to talk about it so skip this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers. I think I just didn’t get it. I’ll say that I don’t believe in ghosts or the supernatural so that might be why the ending wasn’t for me. I didn’t like that there was a spectral plane where the dead walked around, visiting each other and the living. I didn’t understand how Paul and Jonathan could be in tune with that plane and no one else. For me, it took a very solid, bound-to-reality book, and gave it an other-worldly feel right at the end and it threw me off.

I think the characters were always looking for somewhere they felt safe. For Vincent, I think it was Caiette which is why she returned there to bartend. Jonathan took her away and she didn’t feel safe again. Turning to the ocean was the closest she could come to her ocean-side home. Jonathan felt safe in money and he lied to keep himself surrounded by it. Paul never felt safe. Seeking that sense of safety drove the characters to do what they did, be it good or bad.

Writer’s Takeaway: In the Mandel books I’ve read, the characters are often seeking something they can’t describe. I think this makes for a very dream-like feeling to a book, where there’s something ephemeral, just out of reach. Mandel has a way of describing their search for that thing in a way that never feels lost; it’s always purposeful.

I enjoyed this book up until the very end. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts:
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The Glass Hotel | Necromancy Never Pays

Book Review: Chasing Water by Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides

28 Jul

I’ve had this book on my shelves for a long time. I’ve talked about it before, but I’m a big fan of my local bookstore, Literati, and I’m even more excited that one of the owners used to write for a swimming magazine and has a lot of famous swimmers visit the store to promote their books. Anthony Ervin was the first swimmer I met in this capacity back in 2016. He was doing a press tour for his book, co-written with Constantine Markides, and had just won the gold medal for the 50 freestyle at the Rio games. It was one of the coolest M&Gs of my life.

Cover image via Amazon

Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian by Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides

Summary from Amazon:

Ervin won a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games at the age of nineteen. He is an athlete branded with a slew of titles including being the first US Olympic swimmer of African American descent, along with Jewish heritage, who also grew up with Tourette’s syndrome. He shocked the sporting world by retiring soon after claiming two world titles following the 2000 Olympics. Auctioning off his gold medal for charity, he set off on a part spiritual quest, part self-destructive bender that involved Zen temples, fast motorcycles, tattoo parlors, and rock ‘n’ roll bands. Then Ervin resurfaced in 2012 to not only make the US Olympic team twelve years after his first appearance, but to continue his career by swimming faster than ever before.

I’ve been swimming since 1999 and I’ve always loved following the sport. The 2000 Olympics are the first I remember vividly watching. While I don’t remember Ervin’s race in particular, I remember falling in love with my swimming icons and I’ve been following them ever since. Ervin was a big name at the 2012 games in London, talking about a come-back 12 years in the making. (I embedded the race below, they mention it when he walks out. Spoiler, he comes in 5th.) He was an old man by pro swimming standards and even making the finals was crazy. Flash forward to 2016 and the Rio games and his feat seemed even more amazing. But this book focuses on what happens outside of the pool more than inside it. (I’ve embedded that one, too. It makes me cry every time. Especially after reading this book.)

Ervin is very honest and real about his life. It wasn’t the typical athlete’s journey. He always seemed to resent his talent growing up and after Sydney, he fell into sex, drugs, and rock and roll. That’s not the person you expect to come back and win Olympic gold. His story had a lot of soul searching and it was sometimes hard to read. As a swimmer, I’m absolutely repulsed by smoking, a habit Ervin had for both marijuana and tobacco. As an athlete, I avoid risks that could end in injuries like motorcycles, which Ervin rode hard and crashed. He seems hard to believe. His journal entries and writing from the times show his state of mind and how confused he seemed to be. Markides’s journalistic narration was a great way to connect these writings and show how Ervin morphed with time.

Me, my friend Evan, Ervin, and Markides. Evan and I are wearing Ervin’s Gold Medals from the 2016 games.

I loved hearing about Ervin’s mother. I thought she was such an interesting character. She was very controlling, as some mothers are, and pushed her boys to be great. I thought she gave Ervin a good structure and the ability to be disciplined. Perhaps he rebelled against her. But in the end, he still found the structure and discipline she’d equipped him with to be an Olympic champion.

I related to the athletics and training Ervin went through. I was shocked at how many practices he missed in college and that he could stay on the team with that track record. When he buckled down and swam, I could relate. That’s how I train for swimming and triathlon. It’s long, grueling, and wonderful. It’ leaves you hungry enough to eat an entire casserole by yourself. I related to the grind and how when you’re in it, it’s the best thing ever.

Ervin’s return to swimming was so inspiring. It’s something that doesn’t happen in swimming, a sport that favors young athletes. The first swimmer I remember making epic comebacks was Dara Torres, who swam her 6th and final Olympics in Beijing at the age of 41 (yeah, crazy). I embedded the relay she anchored and won Silver below. I bet you didn’t think this book review would also be a swimming history lesson, did you? Comebacks like Torres and Ervin are rare, but they’re so inspiring. Our bodies atrophy as we age, but we can keep them working and performing, even at a world-class level, when we try. Achievement isn’t just for the young.

Hearing how Ervin wondered for years was difficult. He moved across the country, swimming and playing music, doing drugs, and doing nothing. It was hard to read about someone who clearly felt lost and had no direction. If someone had told him during that time that he had another Olympic gold in him, he never would have believed it.

Ervin’s story is one of redemption and persistence. He was forgiven from the time he spent away from the sport and the people who helped him when he was lost continued to support him and help him find direction. He came back to school to study English, something he loved. Eventually, he returned to the pool where he could chase his dream again. Unlike in 2000, it didn’t come easy. He had to come in 5th in 2012 to win gold in 2016.

Writer’s Takeaway: This is a book with two authors. Ervin’s part makes up about 20% of the story. He uses his writings from the time and his memories to write. I’d call it a narrative non-fiction style. It contrasted well with Markides’ journalistic writing. He connected the dots where there was missing information and brought in other people from Ervin’s life to share a different perspective. It was a great combination of two voices to create a story.

A strong story about a legendary athlete. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Review: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (4/5)

14 Jul

Our book club is still meeting virtually so all of our selections need to be available digitally. This means we’ve completely scrapped the schedule we had planned out in January and we’re going month-to-month as the selection from our digital library changes. This was a last-minute pick but one a few of our readers had heard of and that one was in the middle of. I hadn’t heard anything about it but began it as soon as I could.

Cover image via Amazon

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Summary from Amazon:

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere—even back home.

I have a very mixed reaction to this book. I liked Cussy. I liked Jackson. I liked the characters I was supposed to and disliked the ones I should dislike. I thought everyone’s motivation made sense. I thought the setting was good. However, I struggled with the story. More than half the book seemed directionless to me. Cussy was visiting her patrons and being hunted, unsuccessfully, because of her skin color. Her first marriage ends (this isn’t a spoiler, it’s in the first few chapters). I couldn’t understand if this was a love story, a survival story, or a story about loving your skin no matter what. It felt directionless and I lost interest when I couldn’t find a character goal halfway through. I wanted to like this book more, but I just couldn’t.

I hadn’t read the summary before I read the book, so I was a bit surprised when Cussy was introduced. I’d never heard of the Kentucky Blue People. (It’s a crazy Google search if you have five minutes to spare.) I liked how Queenie and Cussy became partners against racism in their town. Colored meant anyone who wasn’t white so Cussy faced the same discrimination and hatred as her Black coworker. Jackson was a great character, though a bit shallow. I think his time away from Troublesome should have been explored more to understand how he became so open-minded, but he was a very good man.

Harriet was my favorite character. I didn’t like her, but she was my favorite. The petty little things she did to be mean to Cussy made me laugh and I knew that every time she came into the story, there would be a smile on my face. It’s easy to write a character who’s so dislikeable and have them seem comic. Harriet never did. She always felt what she was doing was for the good of her community and that she was following her religious convictions. She didn’t think she was being mean, just fair. Cussy knew how to handle her and never let her mean words bother her which made me happy every time. But I understood how people like Harriet can exist, and how they still exist today and how racism is racism, no matter what race. Harriet highlighted how ugly racism is.

I’ve never experienced racial discrimination the way Cussy did; the closest I can come is sexism. In athletics, I’ve had men underestimate me because I’m a woman and then get mad when I’m faster than them. It’s ugly when it happens and uncomfortable. Cussy had to face that head-on so often. She was very brave.

Kim Michele Richardson Image via Amazon

I can’t think of a part of the book that I really enjoyed. I kept waiting for a plot to emerge and was frustrated when I couldn’t find one for so much of the book. This is part of why I can’t give this book five stars. Nothing really stuck out.

The details about almost all of Cussy’s patrons bored me. I was waiting for all of them to come back into the story in some meaningful way, but only Angeline and Willie did. Everyone else was part of a crowd and was mostly unnecessary to the climax scene where they appeared. Meeting the patrons felt like half the book so this really started to wear on me.

The audiobook was narrated by Katie Schorr and I thought she did an amazing job. I have family from Kentucky and her accent, pronunciations, and inflections were spot on to how my family speaks. Part of this could be how well the author wrote the dialogue and speech, but Schorr did an amazing job bringing it to life.

This book seemed to be more about themes than a plot. The strongest one to me was being comfortable in your own skin. When Cussy fines a ‘cure’ for her skin color, she’s still not accepted. She has to find a way to be comfortable as herself and realize she’s fine just the way she is. She can have everything she wants and needs without changing. Some of it was a little too convenient, but it was still a good message.

Writer’s Takeaway: Plot! I struggled to find a plot in this book. The exposition took half the book, the rising action was confusing because there wasn’t a clear goal or central event. And the climax was a little drawn out and it became a bit muddled which part of it was supposed to wrap up the undefined central conflict. This is something I had to work on a lot with my novel so it frustrated me when it seemed so lost in this book.

Overall enjoyable and entertaining, but it left me feeling a bit jumbled. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1920-1939 time period for the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson | Words with Rach
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, Katie Schorr (Narrator) #FFRC2020 | Carla Loves to Read
ARC REVIEW: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek- by Kim Michele Richardson | It’s All About Books