Title: The Age of Light Author: Whitney Scharer Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Expected Publication Date: February 05, 2019 Genre: Historical Fiction Rating: 5 Stars I was recently sent an ARC of The Age of… More
Title: Gazelle in the Shadows
Author: Michelle Peach
Publication Date: April 26, 2018
Genre: Adult Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
I was recently sent a copy of Gazelle in Shadows for an honest reviews. It is a debut novel from former diplomat with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Michelle Peach. This is a self-published title which was released April 26 2018.
This is a thoroughly reflective illustration of life in Syria under the governmental unrest of the early 1990s – a brutal regime producing fear, anxiety and rage amongst those caught beneath it. It is a thriller and suspense; definitely not a book that I would ever have picked up browsing in a bookstore, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it.
Set in the mid nineties, Gazelle in the Shadows follows the life of a young, and perhaps a bit naiive British college student, Elizabeth Booth who is an Arabic student at Durham University. Like any college language student, she decides to go abroad immerse herself in Arabic language and culture. She finds herself in Damascus. A new world presents itself to her in this ancient city. It is place of humility and generosity, bazaars and street markets, warm air and natural beauty. She easily assimilates, quickly making friends, excelling more than ever in her studies and soon attracts the attention of a young native.
Elizabeth’s naïveté however leads her into danger before she even lands in Damascus. During her flight over Elizabeth makes the acquaintance of a flight attendant, Asim and his friend Hassein. A friendship hastily evolves and results in the two men committing themselves to serving as a sort of body guard for Elizabeth. From here a spiral of events occurs. What starts off as an easy friendship and love affair turns progressively questionable. Incident begin to occur around her as she gets progressively caught up within a mesh of lies, deceit, empty promises, and dangerous political activity in the form of terrorism.
Quite frankly, Elizabeth is a bloody idiot. She commits herself to a study abroad program in a politically unstable country and doesn’t even have the logical sense to find a place to live. Instead, she basically throws herself into the arms of two strangers who could be anyone, like seriously, ANYONE, and entrusts herself in their freaking care. Like, for real?!?!?! That in and of itself is a serious red flag, like, girl, have you know brain? I mean, I’m all for believing the best in people but try to have some sort of boundaries! She makes friends and love interests spark without her ever fully even knowing the crowds in which she is involving herself. This leads to endless trouble for her as her trust and curiosity begin to take a backslide.
The narrative time of the novel is rather short, but in that short period Elizabeth gets mixed up in a lot of evil going ons. The author’s political background definitely manifests itself in the ways in which she so accurately illustrates Syrian politics, history and culture. She paints a beautiful portrait of the troubled Middle Eastern city, offering readers a narrative that parallels so much of the disastrous happenings goin on in Syria even today. By following the life of rather dumb college student, Peach retells Syrian history and in this way, blurs the lines between fiction and reality. I really enjoyed learning so much of Syrian culture through this book and even found the brief diary entries between the chapters riveting, rendering the book “un-put-downable”.
Although the ending was pretty predictable (even from the first page I knew, it wouldn’t end well for Elizabeth), I found it to be an extremely enticing read. So many questions were swimming in my mind as I read: Will Elizabeth make it home from school? Will she even make it to school? Does Hassein even really love her? Who are all these woman Hassein is introducing her to ? Gazelle in the Shadows is a thought provoking tales that keeps readers at the edge of their seats in a new world where nothing is as it seems.
(Book image credits go to Goodreads)
I recently published my very first article for elle.com. As a Young Adult reader/fan girl/enthusiast, I follow trends and enjoy anticipating new releases both from The New York Times Book Review, Goodreads, as well as from some of my favorite book bloggers. Continue reading “12 Books Like The Hate U Give | elle.com”
Ever since I started interning for ELLE Magazine, in the Book Features department I have been adding countless titles to my To-Read Goodreads shelf. Although I do try to aim my reviews specifically towards YA and mental health specifically, not all from this shelf fall under either category so I’m sure there is even something for the posh literary enthusiast roaming around out there between Balzac and Hemingway. I have been coming across some amazing adult fiction, literary fiction, and even a couple plays here and there. It’s awe-inspiring all of the books that are being published in the coming year. What with 2019 just around the corner, I thought what better way to look towards a fantastic new year of of drop diets, women empowerment and new hairdos than with a new Goodreads reading list for readers ?
Since Trump has taken office, close to two years ago now, our world, the world of the next generation has undergone changes that we, as a nation, had believed we’d already passed. In a nation pretty much developed from immigrants, Trump wasted no time in closing the US border to entrants from several nations, most being majority-Muslim nations in the midst of their own revolutions. White supremacy and issues of racism that we thought we have overcome have suddenly reemerged, no doubt having some correlation with the leader of our nation. Our youth, the next generation of entrepreneurs, engineers and supreme court justices are growing up in a time of change and societal unrest. And we are not the only ones affected or who care about this. I may not be a teenager, but I still read Young Adult books, but it is not how I remember it. YA as a genre has changed and is now a reflection of school shootings, racial inequality, gender inequality, sexual abuse, political corruption, internet privacy – everything that we have grown so accustomed to to the point that we look at it as the new norm in our nation. Continue reading “YA Under Trump”
Title: All the Lives We Never Lived
Author: Anuradha Roy
Publisher: MacLehose Press
Publication Date: June 14, 2018
Genre: Adult Fiction
Rating: 4.5 Stars
All the Lives We Never Lived is a stunning achievement of Anuradha Roy, being his fourth novel. It is a beautiful overlapping history that explores love, secrecy and the definition of family. This book, about halfway through began to remind me of Donna Tartt’s, The Goldfinch in the way that the story of a mother who is really only briefly actually present in either of the books is told by their sons, sick with longing ofr their presence and their maternal love. Continue reading “Review: All the Lives We Never Lived”
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”
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”
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”