Secrets of Worry Dolls by Amy Impellizzeri

This book is a balmy shower of love, finding oneself, coping with grief and finding the strength to keep going and living. I am so grateful to have found about Amy Impellizzeri’s book from my bookstagram friends.

First of all, the writing style is soothing and real, these are the first impressions that come to my mind when thinking about this book. The worry dolls element is unique and adds complexity and depth to the story and even an element of supernatural. I really love such in a novel that is apparently about just life and common people.

The plot is beautiful woven, I really think the author is gifted and understands a lot about grief and love, and how these two come together.

Mari is kind, strong in a deep sense, psychologically messed up by everything that happened in her first 20 years of life. I had no idea about the attrocities committed during the civil war in Guatemala. I will probably read more on the historical part.

Lu is thoroughly affected by the lack of communication and affection during his childhood, though the twins had some really good years together with their parents. There was always the shadow of “sickness” from Mari’s side, some unknown deep affection, a secret. The girls were too young to understand worries.

Tragedy after tragedy, leave their marks on Mari’s psychological well-being and deeply affects the relationship with the remaining daughter Lu. There is a lot of learning and searching for the truth in this story, forgiving and realising the reasons behind a life of secrets.

I recommend yhis book whole-heartedly, to those who are in the mood for Women Fiction sprinkled with all of the above. The novel can be too much if one is not in the mood for sadness and characters searching for deeper meanings.

Advertisements

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The world created by Leslye Walton, largely the house on Pinnacle Lane, is a magical haven, a false secure place or a house of cards ready to crumble at the first firm touch from the real world. This is a heart-breaking story, with so many elements of beautiful wonder and sheer cruelty at the same time, I found it a bit forced.

Ava is the picture of innocence, a girl just wanting to be like everyone else. She doesn’t want her wings. She wants to be normal. It was so touching and comforting that she had a good friend and also a boy who fell in love with her. Nevertheless, Ava is probably the symbol of marginalized people, though more so due to the perception of their immediate family and environment they grew up in.

The climax was horrific and it just blew the house of cards completely. Was it because, reality is so much tougher than magic? Why are there monsters among good people? I did not want to believe that really happened to Ava, it was so unnecessary. I wish I could ask the author why she thought the plot that way.

Setting aside the climax, the rest of the novel is without doubt fabulous. I recommend this to everyone with a bit of patience to find out why and how a girl is born with wings and how love and life can play out for her.

Are you a boy or are you a girl by Sarah Savage

51X0Rhtd42L

This little book is a great tool for assisting parents and educators about gender equality and differences. It will certainly spark some great discussions among bigger children, I expect it is best for kindergarten age. The illustrations are a bit sketchy, though it could be due to my ARC copy. Nevertheless, the drawings are able to highlight and show the essence of the book.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The scent of rain by Anne Montgomery

This must be the year of depressing reads! The Scent of Rain will chill and shake you to the core, as the book is portraying life in the Mormon Fundamentalist cult, where kids are abused in the name of religion and the Leader is a maniac pedophile!

Anne Montgomery’s writing style is soothing and real. I especially liked that the story is told from multiple POVs, with heart warming surprises here and there. The author managed to weave beautifully both horror and love, and the faith in human beings who care ultimately for the moral right.

I missed more of Adan’s background, though I understood that the central character is Rose. Her story is the main trigger of disturbia, having an eye opening effect for the normal people living alongside the cult, who’ve been ignoring the horrors for long years.

I say this is a must read! The book is utterly captivating and mature, managing to bring the reader close to the happenings in a sort of magical way, though honestly I would never consider going there in person.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Into the water by Paula Hawkins

The Girl in the Train made me long for this second stand alone novel by the acclaiming writer Paula Hawkins. I admit I had huge expectations, yet not prepared for the witchcraft part and the intricate development that made so many “troublesome women” drown/be drown Into the Water.

I was surprised I could actually make it to the end of the book. This confusing psychological thriller is full of riddles and muffled voices, poorly penned characters and two complex mysteries to solve. Now that is quite the tricky situation. Despite its boring style (slow narrative and many POVs) and the strangely disconnected links all over the place, despite the “wait a minute this guy said what previously?!” — this is still a page turner!

Toddlers are a**holes by Bunmi Laditan

It took some time considering the rating of this one. It is just such a well written book that I had to give the proper number stars. It’s judgemental and sarcastic and under no circumstace should you read it as black on white, rather take it with a pinch of salt.

People, it is supposed to be ironic and sarcastic, or at least I really really hope so. Nevertheless, it is an awesome little book meant to ease the tension of raising a toddler.
Now go read it!

My name is Caillou by Christine l’Heureux

51SBzaNHLLL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

This little book is so adorable, the reader falls in love immediately with Caillou, through his stories and the cute illustrations.
The only suggestion, probably the wording should be more creative. I imagine that in French it sounds more natural.
I plan to check out the other Caillou books fo my son, preferably in hard copy. I am curious of they were published in more languages.
All in all, we loved this delightful book with my son. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Publishing Date: May 16th, 2017

The absence of Evelyn by Jackie Townsend

A book for the soul, with candid references to loneliness, love above all in unusual ways, relationship struggles and longing for identity. I enjoyed this one slowly, with endless cups of tea and crumble cakes.

Evelyn’s absence itself is a character in its own right, a strong presence paradoxically. I was especially imoressed by Townsend’s skill to bring such strong connections together through the memory of someone dear.

All characters are beautifully portrayed, each in his own right, with weaknesses and so many hopes. Somehow it seemed to me that the novel is a lot about hope. For Olivia hoping to find her identity by pursuing her dream. For Carlotta hoping to find her dad and the meaning of her own family relationships. For Rhonda is hoping to get some closure about the lies and truths throughout her life. For Marco is probably hoping he doesn’t ruin anyone else’s life like he mentioned it; though I believe his secret hope is to find himself again and accept the importance of relationship with his daughters.

This novel is deep and thoughtful like a cup of green tea at sunrise, with specs of wishful thinking and candid realisations. In a book club it could spark so many discussions. I recommend it to everyone who enjoys this type of writing, as describe throughout my review.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

House of Names by Colm Tóibín

IMG_20170416_185424_088House of names by Colm Tóibín is a heartbreaking retelling of the story of Clytemnestra and her children. A novel full of vengeance, strong-willed characters, all plotting each other’s fate.

In my opinion, the strongest is Electra, who learned from the most powerful villains how to organise, calculate and rule the fates of others. Tóibín’s style is objective, each character tells its own version of what happened, adding their own feelings.

In the beginning I thought I completely understood Clytemnestra up to the final act. Then, Aegisthus’ actions also seemed well-meaning and calculated, yet proved as vengeful and personal as befitting a villain. Then I started to put my hopes into Orestes, only to realise that his friend Leander had the reins of what would happen next. And still, Electra proves it all in the end. What a captivating read, I honestly wouldn’t have thought I could enjoy it so much, it being based on an old classic I was not too fond of.
The novel will be published on May the 9th 2017 and if you like retellings of old classics you should definitely give it a try. It’s sublime ! Colm Tóibín proved to me yet again how talented he is.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Scribner for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.

Lalibela’s wise man by Matshona Dhliwayo

This is a beautiful novella, full of wisdom and learnings. It somehow automatically reminded me of Coehlo’s Alchemist, with a plot set in nowadays’s consumerism world.

I started it one evening and could not put it down until finished. This says a lot about the simple and witty style, able to quickly captivate the reader.

What I found very impressive were the tasks given by the wise man and the rich information on Ethiopian culture and people, despite the short prose. It made the book unique and thoroughly enjoyable.

I would like to thank the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.