Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What's Next, Wednesday (100)

  •  To play along share a book you've been looking forward to reading, whether it's new or has been on your reading list for a while.


I'm looking forward to...

The French Adventure by Lucy Coleman. I'm hoping to add this one to my reading list because it sounds like such an easy and delightful read. A summer love story sounds perfect while waiting for warmer weather and lots of sunshine. Especially when these days are filled with to-do lists and errands and the need to spring clean. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Teaser Tuesday (311)

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading. It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday.


Intraterrestrial (Kindle 23%)
   - Nicholas Conley

"I need some kind of info, doctor, or I'm going to go nuts."
Dr. Blake nodded, consulted his chart, then awkwardly crouched down to her eye level. "Mrs. Helios, I have news about your husband."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Norwegian Wood

11297Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami is probably one of the strangest yet intriguing books I have ever read. Murakami utilizes a variety of themes to explore the love life and coming of age story of Toru. However, most of these themes are weighed down with the theme of death. As several characters in the novel commit suicide, I think Murakami uses the looming nature of death to highlight the difficulties of life. 

Toru is the main character and the narrator of the novel. He's a young college student who is learning to navigate the world of love, sex, and being an adult. His young adulthood has been heavily influenced by the suicide of his best friend that occurred a few years earlier. When he reconnects with his deceased best friend's former girlfriend, Naoko, Toru falls in love with her but must help her and recognize that she struggles with depression and (perhaps) other mental illness. 

Toru is a semi-likeable character as he's intelligent, morally guided overall, and mostly supportive of the few friends he has. I say 'mostly' because he does poke fun at his roommate and remains friends with a playboy, even participating in some one-night stands of his own. The main thing about Toru is that he is flawed so that makes him both relatable and influenced by the story's action. However, in that flawed nature, he isn't a very reliable narrator. He constantly doubts his memory which then transfers doubt to the reader. Within that doubt, readers still feel connected to Toru based on both his experiences and the emotions he evokes. Toru is a hopeful young man who is caught between a love of the past and a chance for love in the future. 

The entire story is a told as a flashback, as Toru relives the days of knowing Naoko because he hears a cover of The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood." While Toru tells the story, he seems to get lost and the present becomes the memory while the past fully takes over. Though this book is interesting and pulls the reader in from the beginning, it is incredibly sad with no real conclusion. For as much emotional investment the book requires, it seems that the payoff would be bigger. Or at least, the conclusion more clear. Overall, I was dedicated to this book and kind of disappointed with how it ended. I almost felt like I was being punished for making it to the end. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone and definitely not just anyone. In terms of literature, this book is interesting in the way it presents Westernization and cultural influences. However, I don't think everyone would be a fan. It's a book that requires contemplation and analysis to even begin to unpack everything that Murakami tackles. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

Friday, April 13, 2018

Everything She Lost

37531813After suffering a mental breakdown that nearly destroyed her marriage, Nina Taylor works hard to maintain her tenuous hold on sanity and be a good mother to her two young daughters. Despite her best efforts, she questions the possibility of a full recovery.

Single mom Deja Johnson struggles to overcome her troubled past and raise her young son. But her friendship with Nina brings more complications. What Deja is hiding could not only destroy relationships but endanger lives.

One traumatic night threatens to shatter Nina’s mind. With Deja’s help, she strives to maintain her mental balance. But as events spiral out of control, the women must find out if Nina is losing her sanity or if someone is plotting against her.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Alessandra Harris creates a confused and creepy web of deceit in her novel, Everything She Lost. Splitting the narrative between two main characters, Nina and Deja, give readers two sides of the same story... but one is untrustworthy while the other is mentally ill. This creates a story that readers doubt from the very beginning. 

Nina is a woman who is still recovering from a mental breakdown. As a reader, I liked Nina for her persistence, her focus, and the love she has for her children. She truly wants to be healthy so she can take care of her children. However, the situation she is in is not conducive to mental health. Her husband, Rodney, is cheating on her and she isn't aware of it. What makes it worse -- he's cheating on Nina with Deja, Nina's only friend. This sets up readers to immediately dislike Deja and it worked for me. Though I can see that she's trying to make a better life for her and her son, Miles, she's going about it the wrong way. When a person from her past threatens her, she reverts back to her previous way of handling things. 

Both of these characters do elicit sympathy from the reader, creating a connection from the beginning. Though as the story continues, readers can see the confusion mounting and a feeling of wrongness seeps from the pages. Suddenly it's Nina against reality and she doesn't know who to trust or who is telling her the truth. This is how Harris takes her novel to the next level, making the book suspenseful and the reader a little afraid to know the truth. The only downside was that the outcome was a bit predictable. There are only so many characters and once the reader starts narrowing it down, then there's only one solution that makes sense. 

The plot begins by introducing the relationships between the characters: Nina and Deja are friends while Deja is having an affair with Rodney, Nina's husband. A single text message prompts Nina to burst into Deja's house where she's being attacked by an ex-lover. In an effort to help, Nina accidentally kills the man. And all sorts of trouble follows layered with various side-plots and supporting characters. I think readers who enjoy suspense, thrillers, and unreliable narrators will enjoy this book. (It even has hints of a mystery.) I would definitely recommend for an entertaining read. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups