A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World Review

 

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

Synopsis:
My name’s Griz. I’ve never been to school, I’ve never had friends, in my whole life I’ev not met enough people to play a game of football. My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, before all the people went away, but we weree never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.
Then the thief came.
He told stories of the deserted towns and cities beyond our horizons. I liked him – until I woke to find he had stolen my dog. So I chased him out into the ruins of the world.
I just want to get my dog back, but I found more than I ever imagined was possible. More about how the world ended. More about what my family’s real story is. More about what really matters. 
GoodReads

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

** Please be aware that the Amazon links provided above are Affiliated Links, they are of no cost to you, I simply get a certain small % commission if you use my links to purchase the books **

 

My Review

This book was phenomenal, Griz is so innocent and naive and reading the character development felt like an honour. This is an epic journey and the future is so atmospheric that you imagine you are there with Griz and the findings and explorations are enthralling to read.

Right out the gate, you can tell this book is going to try and break your heart in record time. And of course, it does. But as always when I love a book that breaks my heart, it does it in the best of ways.

Fletcher has a truly transportive style of writing, there was something that made it haunting in the space between the written words. The vast expanse that is described just seems like something that you can conjure up when you think of say an abandoned theme park, but then to think of it on a global scale, that’s where the haunting part comes in and Fletcher doesn’t hold back any punches with it.

Griz is easy to connect with, especially given the narrative, with using the book as a diary it’s like Griz is speaking to you personally the whole time and you are seeing everything through his interpretation.

The plot twist was also so incredible if not one of the best plot twists that I have ever read. Why? BECAUSE I DEFINITELY DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!

Talk about just throwing the reader through a loop!

And the ending was perfection, truly, I just held this book after I finished and let it all wash over me. The haunting world of a future where infertility is our main downfall, the isolation that still includes adventure, and the heart of it all, Griz and of course Griz’s love for a dog [or two].

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this emotional and captivating tale! Thank you to Orbit Books UK For the copy, I’ll have a full review posted on my blog at a later date.

Buddha Da Review

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

GoodReads:
Anne Marie’s dad, a Glaswegian painter and decorator, has always been game for a laugh. So when he first takes up meditation at the Buddhist Center, no one takes him seriously. But as Jimmy becomes more involved in a search for the spiritual, his beliefs start to come into conflict with the needs of his wife, Liz. Cracks appear in their apparently happy family life, and the ensuing events change the lives of each family member.

My Review

Reading the synopsis I was intrigued by Buddha Da and I felt the need to see what exactly made up this book. Was it a book of spiritual growth? Was it more like the Glaswegian Eat, Pray, Love? Or was I about to find myself learning more about Buddhism than ever before? [And to be frank, it wouldn’t be that hard, my knowledge of it is minimal]

I can happily say it was a little of all of that and completely different than I expected, all rolled into one.

The story swivels from three POVs of the family members, Jimmy our Buddha Da, Liz his wife, and Anne Marie his daughter.  But the POVs do tend to stick more with Liz and Anne Marie.

Jimmy has felt a need to change something in him, and at first, all he thinks is that he is enjoying a bit of meditation, a man notorious for never finishing his projects, no one imagined he would take Buddhism to heart so much more than anything else. However, he’s met by resistance from his wife as he goes deeper into a world she can’t follow, her own journey is on a different path.

This isn’t just a book about the division of a family, and it’s not that Buddhism is the cause of it, it’s how people so often can change and sometimes it’s necessary to make a few mistakes along the way to do so. It’s a coming of age story of Anne Marie, it’s a spiritual journey for Jimmy, and it’s a journey to desires of the heart and mind for Liz.

I really loved this book and it made me quite the sentimentalist while reading it, and I can honestly say I love how the characters all had to find out their own truths without anyone giving them answers. The ending was perfect and I enjoyed reading this so much I knocked it out in a day.

If you’re a fan of books all about personal journeys and don’t have a problem with understanding Glaswegian speak [ 😉 ] then I recommend this book to you!

Four cups of coffee from me! This new paperback edition is stunning as well so doesn’t hurt to have a pretty book inside & out.

Thank you to Canongate Books for sending me a copy to read and review in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

We Hunt The Flame eARC Review

Another review, I know, I know, I promise guys, non-review posts are coming! I just want to get some of these out before the books are out there. [In this case, before it hits UK shelves]

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

GoodReads:

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Glossary & Pronunciation Guide

 

This book was built upon layers and layers of lush landscapes, history, and culture. This was a work we all needed to help diversify the pool of fantasy, and the writer’s style is strong and enchanting. I found myself really pulled into this world, there was such a darkness in the shadows and in the characters that I loved and I praise them for not being always good or always sure, they were not just morally grey as people so often are but conflicted and constantly striving to do right [or wrong/what they think is right] and that’s important in a YA fantasy. It’s not a quick light read but engrossing and dependent on the reader’s desire or ability to get lost in its words.

I would have rated it five stars but there were times where I felt the pacing was a bit skewered, not necessarily in the plot but within the love interests and their personal journies. That and I do feel like some parts stretched on, but honestly, that could easily be attributed to me being impatient while reading this because I really wanted to know how things were going to turn out. I will be waiting -impatiently of course- for the next book.

I did adore all the characters though and cannot wait to read the next book, their zumra was amazing and there was not one character I disliked in the book, not even the villain. Faizal did a great job creating these characters and such an enriching world.

The worldbuilding as I mentioned earlier was ‘lush’ and that would even be an understatement. There’s such a history and knowledge in her writing that it’s hard to believe these lands don’t actually exist and the journey of the characters is much like every good fantasy, one of adventure and for a noble cause, well in a way a noble cause. There are many trials for them all and bonding in a land that holds more power than anyone could imagine.

We Hunt the Flame switches between the POVs of Zafira and Nasir, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to know more about Kifah. She was by far my favorite character though, I loved them all and Altair was definitely a hoot!

On a whole there was little to no fault in this read for me, I give it four full cups of coffee

Thank you to NetGalley and PanMacMillan for an egalley in exchange for my honest review.

House of Salt and Sorrows Review

Hey guys

Just gonna start August by dropping this review.

You’re welcome btw.

 


ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

GoodReads:

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

 

My Review

 

This was everything this spooky bitch wants in a YA gothic retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses. [Pardon my language]

First off let me tell you all the gowns and slippers made me want to rush out and make a Pinterest board, Craig does a fantastic job of describing the clothing and without going overboard. [Can you even go overboard with fantastic pretty slippers and gowns though?]

I loved the cast of sisters, as someone who is one of three girls, I may not have 11 other sisters but I definitely felt the sibling relationships on a spiritual level. There are times where you just want to take a poke at your sister who can also be your best friend. It did take me a couple of chapters to get everyone organized in my head as there are so many, but then again in the original tale they didn’t really bother with names so this is already an improvement in the story in my opinion.

Craig also kept the magical heart of the story, all the favorite parts of the original tale were weaved into Craig’s and you would think she may have written both tales, and considering this is one of my favorite tales, that’s high praise from me. [I need to know, Erin, did you write the original under a false name, is this you in a past life?]

Annaleigh was our narrator, the middle of the sisters, well, middle of the 12. I adored her and rooted for her the whole time, and at times I was protective of her and wanted to give Camille a nudge and say ‘quit it.’

I enjoyed Fisher, their childhood friend. I won’t’ say any more on that.

And uh, Cassius is now probably one of my favorite characters, ever.

There were special bonds with some of the sisters and each relationship was different between them and Annaleigh which was important, Verity was adorable and as one of the three graces she stood out the most to me after Annaleigh, and then Camille.

Personally, I loved the pacing but I can see where it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. This isn’t a fly by the seat of your pants book, she takes time to build intricacies within the world she’s built you and let me tell you, someone better say ‘return to the salt’ when I go out of this world lol. But really, this has moments of all actions and lulls between and I loved the lulls, the periods where everything was quietly built up and brought to this peak that I won’t talk about because, well, spoilers.

The descriptions of Churning (a bit like a yuletide festivity) were some of my favorites, the lanterns and puppets described made me ache to see them in real life.

Craig was a master at descriptions in general, the world, the clothes, the creepy parts, and omg there was so much creepy in this book it made my dark little heart so happy. It gives you the chills a bit, especially in the first half of the novel when it’s all shrouded in mystery.

There is a bit of a whodunnit element, so you have that, mixed with beautiful gothic vibes, paranormal creepiness, and dancing princesses and you have a ‘five cups of coffee’ read for this girl.

I preordered months ago and if you’re interested there’s still time to preorder, this book comes out August Sixth!

**I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion…so…Thanks for the free book, @PRHGlobal

Pros:
-Pretty clothes
-Dancing
-Gorgeous world building
-Creepiness galore
-Mystery and intrigue
-Sisterly love

Cons:
-Can be a slow build up for those looking for a quicker paced read
-You may not love the spooky vibes as much as I do
-The book isn’t longer lol, I WANT MORE!!!!!

Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence, death, murder, mention of suicide, gore, loss.

 

At the Narrow Waist of the World: A Memoir -Review & Author Q&A-

ratingiconratingiconratingiconratingiconratingicon

GoodReads:
Raised by a lively family of Spanish Jews in tropical and Catholic Panama of the l950s and 1960s, Marlena depends on her many tíos and tías for refuge from the difficulties of life, including the frequent absences of her troubled mother. As a teenager, she pulls away from this centered world—crossing borders—and begins a life in the United States very different from the one she has known.

This lyrical coming-of-age memoir explores the intense and profound relationship between mothers and daughters and highlights the importance of community and the beauty of a large Latin American family. At the Narrow Waist of the Worldexamines the author’s gradual integration into a new culture, even as she understands that her home is still—and always will be—rooted in another place.

Today I’m reviewing a memoir that was a really powerful read for me.

It was written with such fluidity that I forgot that this wasn’t just a beautiful novel of fiction. Marlena takes you straight into the heart of her culture, of Panama, and most importantly, her family. There are some similarities over various Hispanic cultures and so I really connected with Baraf’s story, things were so easy to understand on more than just a reading intake level.

Marlena has provided translations where they fit best and in some cases, as many who speak more than language know, some things just get lost in translation and those phrases are left untouched but easy enough to figure out the gist within the context for those who don’t speak Spanish.

There really is a poetical feel to it and you get lost in the words and pages. Marlena is unabashedly and unashamedly honest about her feelings, her experiences, and the bonds with her family. The family history completely intrigued me and I thought this book was simply beautiful.

It’s not often I have read books that I connect with on a cultural level, though admittedly there are vast differences between my heritage and Marlena’s, there are somethings which connect and overlap between the cultures and having a memoir reflecting that at all was quite important to me. I didn’t know how much it meant to me until I was reading it.

This memoir though isn’t just for those with similar cultural backgrounds, it’s also a great read to understand someone coming to terms with their own memories and family history, nothing world shocking, but instead, so common and relevant that most can connect to her through her familial interactions, especially the bonds between siblings and parents. Also, it takes a look at grief and that it does linger, and Marlena does a great job with writing it with such a lyrical ease.

Thank you to Marlena Maduro Baraf and She Writes Press for a chance to read this in exchange for my honest opinion. And thank you for a chance to interview.

A more in-depth review plus interview will appear on my blog at a later date, and this review will go up on Amazon upon Publication.

A heartfelt and poetical memoir ❤️

You’ll be able to buy this wonderful memoir come August [6]!!

 

Interview/Q&A

 

  1. When did you know/decide that you would write a memoir?

It was a surprise to me. I’d taken a first creative writing course late in my life, and from an early assignment I uncovered a memory from my childhood. After that I couldn’t stop. It was not a decision. It happened. I do think writing the memoir originates from a nostalgia for the place of my birth,

 

  1. I loved how you so clearly captured the heritage and culture of your family, did you have to do much research into any of the family history?

There are several books written about the historic community I come from. I had pretty much read them all, and also several books about the history of Iberian Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Inquisition in the late 1400/1500s. So I had a general sense, but I still had to check my facts, because you can make mistakes when you try summarizing things. I also interviewed elders in the family for some very specific details of more recent times–but still before my time.

 

  1. After writing this, did your family read it? 

This is a perfect question. And I am not sure I can answer it fully yet. My sister and brothers were very supportive when I started writing this. We went through a lot together so I think we are closer than other siblings. Four of the “chapters” were published in literary journals and some in the family read those. One of my children has read parts. The other not. However, I have a huge extended family that lived these stories and knew the same people. I’ve yet to see how they will react. I will be in Panama for a book fair very soon and will find out. My mother’s best friend is still living and I adore her and I don’t want to hurt her. Her feelings are probably that you don’t say certain family things in public. I pray she will understand.

 

  1. What was your writing process for this and how long did it take you to write it?  

I would say writing, rewriting, and editing took about 5 years (and if you’ve read the book you know that I don’t use a lot of words). My process was taking out words that were not essential. Other writers tell me that I lean towards poetry. I wanted the reader to fill in the gaps with her own connections. (This was not a conscious thought.)  By the way when I got up in the morning and went directly to the empty page. If I got distracted with a little chore or two, I lost the day. I still struggle with this. The trick is not to look at your phone before you start, if you can possibly do this.

 

  1. What is your next writing project? Do you have anything planned in particular?

I have this vague notion that I’d like to try fiction to see what I could invent, also to study poetry seriously, and I am definitely continuing with interviews with Hispanics all over this country, something that I started several years ago. 

 

  1. Do you think this helped you to cope with your own memories, was it cathartic for you? 

    Yes. Halfway through I felt driven to discover who my mother was really and realized she was flawed and also very human and wonderful. As an adult with not the same need for her that I had growing up, I can see her more clearly. Writing the memoir cleared up the old hurts and made me more confident. 

  2. Would you change anything about writing this if you could? It was such a personal read, and I really felt so connected to your memories while reading it. I would say it was incredibly brave to write such an honest memoir. 

Thank you so much for saying this. I don’t think I would change anything.

 

I would like to say thank you all for giving me the opportunity to read this.

I am so happy that this resonated deeply with you. I think a reader who is keyed in to the words and images and understands and connects is the greatest gift a writer could receive.

 

 

About the Author

 

Author Website

 

Soy panameña y americana. Can you split the two? Born and raised in Panama, I chose to leave my tiny land for Los Estados Unidos de America—a newly minted immigrant. I was in my late teens. In my thirties, I swore allegiance to the country I’d adopted and became an American. I raised a family and worked as book editor at Harper & Row Publishers and McGraw-Hill Book Company after which I studied at Parson’s School of Design and established my own design studio. In the last ten years I’ve dedicated myself to the compelling art and craft of writing. I’m a devoted alumna of the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute.
Two loving sons have given me two amazing women as daughters-in-law. I am married to a funny, Brooklyn-born man. Life is strong. I endure the Mets. I love orchids and cats.
At the Narrow Waist of the World: a memoir is a mother-daughter story about mental illness and healing. Is mental illness fixed, or does it move in and out of focus? Mine is a story about forgiveness and acceptance. About leaving home and looking back and finding it again.

The information and photo have been taken from Marlena’s website which can be found:

Here

 

Publisher information can be found:

Here