2018 Book Haul #3: All these books are beautiful.

It has been a while since I posted my last book haul but if I wait any longer to post this one, writing it would take forever. Because I went overboard. But I have also read quite a few of the books I bought already, so that’s at least something.

So Sad Today by Melissa Broder

29213247Blurb: So sad today? Many are. Melissa Broder is too. How and why did she get to be so sad? And should she stay sad?
She asks herself these questions over and over here, turning them into a darkly mesmerising and strangely uplifting reading experience through coruscating honesty and a total lack of self-deceit.
Sexually confused, a recovering addict, suffering from an eating disorder and marked by one very strange sex fetish: Broder’s life is full of extremes. But from her days working for a Tantric nonprofit in San Francisco to caring for a severely ill husband, there’s no subject that Broder is afraid to write about, and no shortage of readers who can relate. When she started an anonymous Twitter feed @sosadtoday to express her darkest feelings, her unflinching frankness and twisted humour soon gained a huge cult following.
In its treatment of anxiety, depression, illness and instability; by its fearless exploration of the author’s romantic relationships (romantic is an expanded term in her hands); and with its inventive imagery and deadpan humour, So Sad Today is radical. It is an unapologetic, unblinkingly intimate book that splays out a soul and a prose of unusual beauty.

Why I bought it: I adored The Pisces so much (my gushing review is here), I needed to read this ASAP. And I also loved it. Continue reading “2018 Book Haul #3: All these books are beautiful.”

Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

38206879Verdict: Fast-paced, fun, but slightly lacklustre.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Thriller

Published by Random House, Ebury Publishing, July 12th, 2018

Find it on Goodreads.

Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…

I had a lot of fun reading this, and fun was really what I needed. I read around 250 pages in one sitting (something I rarely do); I also went to bed way too late because I just needed to know how this one ends. But, this book really does not hold up to scrutiny and there were a couple of things that did not work for me.

When Emma was 13-years old and spending her summer at a camp for rich kids, her three roommates disappear. Now, 15 years later, Emma is a painter who has been painting and then painting over her friends for years, when she is invited back to the newly re-opened camp. Hoping for closure she accepts the invitation, but things might not be as idyllic as they seem.

I highly enjoyed the dual timelines (this is something I often adore) and thought Riley Sager brilliantly used this to develop his story. I did however grow increasingly annoyed at the way Emma withholds information from the reader. This is difficult to achieve in first person narration and here it did not work for me. Another thing that annoyed me about the narrative voice is the way in which people, especially women, are described. Emma is 28 and talks about herself and other women in the story as both old and spent, which, you know, grated. Especially when contrasted with the way the only significant male figure in the story is described: because obviously he just got hotter. While I understand why Emma might project her self-loathing onto her looks, I don’t buy that she would think this way about other women. Speaking of self-loathing – I also thought Emma’s guilt was maybe a bit over the top because, I mean, she was 13 when everything happened. The way people kept holding her behaviour as a kid over her head did feel a bit unneccessary.

In general I thought some of the characterization worked a lot better in the past than in the present. I thought Emma’s relationship to Vivian (one of the girls who disappeared in the past) was done excedingly well. I had a very similar friendship as a teenager: my best friend was both the best and the worst person possible for me. When she wanted, spending time with her felt radiant, she was funny and brilliant and unbelievably charismatic (I used to half-joke that I have never met a boy who didn’t fall in love with her – something that wasn’t as funny when she set her eyes on somebody I quite fancied – this happened more than once), we had so much fun. But, and here she is similar to Vivian, she could also be cold and uncaring. Riley Sager captured this part of (some) teenage friendships so unbelievably well that in contrast the weird mirroring with the girls in the present really did not work for me at all.

The book was well-written in a way that I just flew through. I could picture the camp perfectly and got a great sense of place and mood. I also enjoyed the mystery side to the story, for the most part. I did think that a couple of developments were a bit too convenient but overall, I did enjoyed my time with the book.

I received an arc of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Ebury Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Round Up 2018 Vol. III

It is time again for me to post a round-up of all the ARCs I have received on NetGalley; at least this time it took me three months for such a post to be necessary which I am counting as a win. I really am trying to be a bit more selective when it comes to requesting ARCs. You can find my earlier round ups here and here.

Still to be read:

39899065The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Publication Date: June 28th, 2018

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Blurb (from Goodreads): A vivid, touching and original debut, following the effects of an extraordinary catastrophe on very ordinary people.

In the middle of a market in India, a man’s shadow disappears. As rolling twenty-four-hour news coverage tries to explain the event, more cases are discovered. The phenomenon spreads like a plague as people learn the true cost of their lost part: their memories.

Two years later, Ory and his wife Max have escaped ‘the Forgetting’ by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods in Virgina. They have settled into their new reality, until Max, too, loses her shadow.

Knowing the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up what little time they have left before she loses her memory completely, and desperately follows her trail.

On their separate journeys, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure. But neither could have guessed at what you gain when you lose your shadow: the power of magic.

A breathtakingly imaginative, timeless story that explores fundamental questions about memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human when your world is turned upside down.

Why I requested it: I have been intrigued about this for what feels like ages. It sounds absolutely magical and I cannot wait to see whether it is.

Continue reading “ARC Round Up 2018 Vol. III”