Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Author: Gail Honeyman

Publisher: Viking – Pamela Doorman Books

Publication Date: May 09, 2017

Genre: Adult Fiction, Mental Illness

Rating: 5 Stars

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, and a fine one at that. The title speaks for the novel: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She has her very basic needs met she has food,, water, a job, a roof over her head; many people out in that cold world have it a lot worse. For her, this is all just dandy and it’s how most people lead their lives. However, from an outsider looking in, Eleanor Oliphant is completely not fine. I personally felt an overwhelming sense of empathy for the poor soul.  Continue reading “Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”

Review: The Perfect Nanny

Title: The Perfect Nanny

Author: Leila Slimani; Translated by Sam Taylor

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: January 09, 2018 (first published in French on August 18, 2019)

Genre: Adult Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Murder

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Named one of the best ten books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Leïla Slimani’s instant national bestseller, The Perfect Nanny is a chilling, unusual story that kept me up for 3 evenings with the creepy, unsettling knowledge that something bad was on its way. It is one of those subtle, quiet stories that psychologically gets under your skin and racks your brain in a way that leaves you at the same time deeply disturbed and intensely vulnerable.  Continue reading “Review: The Perfect Nanny”

Review: Little Fires Everywhere

Title: Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Genre: Adult Fiction

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a story that will leave readers smitten. It is filled with several scenarios that bury deep into the intricacies of life, and bring about several questions such as what it means to be a mother, where the line should be divided between neighbor and friend, and how far one should be willing to go to pursue their dreams. The novel explores definitions of love and family, and what it means to sacrifice it all on a whim. It confronts the brutal realities of life and leaves cracks on the surface of the layers we often choose to protect ourselves with, for the sake of avoiding questions about who we are , and who we are to those around us.  Continue reading “Review: Little Fires Everywhere”

Review: Sharp Objects

Title: Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn

Publisher: Broadway Books

Publication Date: July 31, 2007

Genre: Adult Fiction, Murder Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Rating: 4.5 Stars

A dark, disturbing, internal-demon-producing novel by the infamous Gillian Flynn. Sharp Objects is the Gone Girl author’s debut monster of a title and is, in every possibly imaginable way, a creepy, cold, and cloying work in and of itself. It took me about two weeks of self-reflection to really muster up the courage to sit down and write an actual review of the thriller.
Continue reading “Review: Sharp Objects”

ARC Review: Watching You

Title: Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: December 26, 2018

Genre: Adult Fiction, Murder Mystery, Suspense

Rating: 5 Stars

I was sent Watching You by the publicists over at Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks goes to Atria Books as well as the author, Lisa Jewell for this advanced reader copy that is to be published tomorrow, December 26thContinue reading “ARC Review: Watching You”

ARC Review | The Age of Light

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 Light by the publicists at Little, Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review. This work of historical fiction by Whitney Scharer is expected to be published on February 05, 2019.

The Age of Light is a captivating and exhilarating narrative that keeps readers emotionally invested up to the very last page. Masquerading as historical fiction, the novel recounts the life of Vogue model turned photographer, Lee Miller and her relationship with Man Ray, one of the most influential figures of the Dada and Surrealists movements ensuing Paris in the 1930s.  Continue reading “ARC Review | The Age of Light”

Review: Gazelle in the Shadows

Title: Gazelle in the Shadows

Author: Michelle Peach

Publisher: Self-Published

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.

Yours Truly,

(Book image credits go to Goodreads)

Review: Men Without Women

Title: Men Without Women

Author: Haruki Murakami

Publisher: Bond Street Books

Publication Date: May 9, 2017

Genre: Short Story, Adult Contemporary

Rating: 5 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

Another masterpiece from the artful clever Haruki Murakami. Before reading Men Without Women I read Norwegian Wood (my review can be found here). I had just come back from a long non-blogging hiatus and I was frightfully anxious to begin writing reviews again. However, having not written in a while, I felt that I lost much of my imagination and inspiration for writing. I mean, book reviews doesn’t take the strenuous amount of creativity and strength that novel or short story writing requires but there’s still a lot of thought that goes into the process. With this in mind, I really wanted to ease my way back in with an author I already knew and have never felt let down by. Murakami is that author for me. Norwegian Wood carried me away and made me feel as though all the thoughts, troubles, feelings that I had in the past few months were basic nothingness. Like all feelings of euphoria, I wanted to feel this way again. I initially told myself that after writing my review for Norwegian Wood I would get serious and start on my list of author requests and ARCs but here I am writing this long beat-around-the-bush explanation just to say I did no such thing. I picked up more Murakami. This time I’m here with an eccentric collection of contemporary short stories, Men Without WomenContinue reading “Review: Men Without Women”