Have you ever wondered what life was like for your ancestors? Dana Franklin, a young black woman, living in 1970's California with her white husband KHave you ever wondered what life was like for your ancestors? Dana Franklin, a young black woman, living in 1970's California with her white husband Kevin, will have this thrust upon her as she finds herself repeatedly and against her will drawn back in time to pre-civil war antebellum Maryland. There she will save a young accident prone boy named Rufus Weylin, who's father Tom is an abusive plantation and slave owner only to then be drawn back to her own time. With every visit to the past, Dana will get to realize her place in a society that sees black people as inhuman and only good for slavery, selling, beating, and rapings.
Despite saving Rufus's life on numerous occasions, the young man will grow up to be a model of what is expected at the time, as a man capable of untold cruelty and shades of humanity. Dana is seen with distrust by many, as someone who makes herself a target of white people with her defiance and education, and seen as a black woman trying to be white by the Weylin household slaves. One terrible act of savagery when Rufus rapes his childhood friend Annie, (Dana’s great-great-great-grandmother), will brutally show the connection between him and Dana. Rufus craves forgiveness while seeing Dana and Annie as belonging to him. A few times with Kevin by her side, Dana will be on the receiving end of kindness to whippings and beatings, before trying with her husband to make sense of what she has experienced back in the modern world, after more and more time in the past.
This is a remarkable read that goes well beyond being a story of time-travel. Issues of ownership, power, gender, Identity, and the open interpretation of slavery in the not so distant past reign supreme. Meticulously researched, it is not hard to imagine this was indeed how it was in many parts of America in the early 1800's, with the Emancipation Proclamation years away and then the slow moves of progress towards egalitarianism. Effortlessly combining states of consciousness with slavery, Kindred is a brutal and gripping read that is an early contender for my favorite read of 2017....more
The Unseen World was a story that got under my skin in such a surprising way and left me begging for more. Despite being at its core a literary storyThe Unseen World was a story that got under my skin in such a surprising way and left me begging for more. Despite being at its core a literary story of the unexpected dynamics of family in what we do and don't know, it also touched on intelligence, both from our own minds and through technology. This mixture could have created a confusing mess but instead is a beautifully written tale with a memorable and truly satisfying ending.
Told out of order, Ada is an intelligent young girl who is raised by her quirky and brilliant father David, who works in a lab and often takes her along. Being home schooled, Ada's whole world revolves around David and his work colleagues and as a result is highly knowledgeable for her age but has little to no social interaction with kids her own age. When Ada starts to notice her father's forgetfulness little does she realize that it is the start of the onset of Alzheimer's disease, that will soon overwhelm him. Before then he would tell her while he still had his mental faculties intact, that there is a lot she does not know about him. Over the ensuing decades, she slowly uncovers David's secrets and why he did what he did.
This was a brilliant read that features a fantastic storyline of a family drama and how there are two sides to every story, and both of them need to be explored. The characters were also a triumph with Ada and David's sheltered relationship that spawned a growth in her little world with his slow demise. As a character study, this book highlights the traits and qualities distinguishing the lives, both human and AI like no other and is simply amazing. At times exciting, other times revealing, I adored this piece of literary perfection and I am sure you will too....more
It is a sobering thought to think about what would have happened had the allies of America, Britain, France, and Russia lost the second world war. AutIt is a sobering thought to think about what would have happened had the allies of America, Britain, France, and Russia lost the second world war. Author Philip K. Dick looks at this very eventuality in what is thought-provoking, and twistedly unsettling read. Say hello to a world that is beyond comprehension for anyone in this day and age. 1962 America, after it's defeat in the last great war is divided, with the Japanese occupying the West Coast (The Pacific States of America) and on the East Coast the German Third Reich reign supreme. The only respite from the uneasy conquerors is the neutral zone that stretches from the Canadian border all the way down to Mexico.
It will be a book that tells its own alternative history story that would be the main attention of a Japanese collector, Tagomi, and a young American woman named Juliana Frink. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy by Hawthorne Abendsen, is significant from any other at that time because it tells the story of how the Allies won the war and it's outcome. Writing such a prose is not surprisingly very dangerous. Adendsen is a man of legend. Some say he lives in a heavily fortified castle and he fought for America in the war. The book is not surprisingly hard to find in the occupied states and is a worldwide sensation. Fascinated by its words, Juliana will travel with an unknown truck driver called Joe to see Adendsen, oblivious to the man's real agenda.
The most unnerving thing I can say about this book is despite being originally published way back in 1962, with the recent rise of Fascism is still scarily relevant. Writing an alternative reality about an alternate reality novel is one of genius and at times I wonder if the author had his own machine that could alter history as the America he presents is one that seems frighteningly plausible. Of course, had the Allies lost the war the world would not have been partitioned so cleanly, but this minor quibble is made up for by the ending. While most of the time I hate endings that don't resolve things, in this case, it leaves it open to coming up with your own conclusions, although a planned sequel never materialized. Overall The Man in the High Castle stretches the boundaries of speculative fiction and is a wonderful example of Sci-fi literature....more
It's been a long time between drinks for criminal profiler's Pierce and Rainie. Ignoring this year's short story, The 4th Man, you have to go back allIt's been a long time between drinks for criminal profiler's Pierce and Rainie. Ignoring this year's short story, The 4th Man, you have to go back all the way to 2008's Say Goodbye. Since then both have retired and taken to helping young people by being foster parents. Sharlah Nash is 13 and has had a troubled past. For the first five years of her life, Sharlah and her older brother Telly, lived in a chaotic household to drug and alcohol abusing parents. Her brother is her protector and effectively her guardian until one night when her father in a fit of rage kills her mother than fails in his attempt to kill his children after being beaten to death by Telly with a baseball bat.
After this terrible incident both would be separated, with Sharlah, being taken in by Pierce and Rainie and after numerous issues and being in and out of homes, Telly is given a final chance with Frank and Sandra Duvall. Both would seemingly find happiness in their new surrounding only to have that serenity blown away in a shocking spate of violence. Pierce and Rainey are brought in after the killing of two people at a convenience store. There is shock when it is established that the killer is seemingly Telly and after the dead bodies of his foster parents are found at the home alarm bells are ringing that he is on the rampage and will not stop till he is killed. For Sharlah and her foster parents, there is further cause for concern when recent pictures of his sister are found on Telly's phone. Is Sharlah's life in jeopardy or is she the key to everything that is happening?
It is no secret that I am an unabashed fan of Lisa Gardner's work. Sometimes that sees a fair bit of bias creep into my conclusions with overlooking certain aspects that are far from perfection. Sadly, though, notwithstanding it still being a solid thriller that was full on intrigue there was a few parts with the plot that left me cold. The most obvious being the psychological profile building of Telly that was layered with shaky theories that managed to complicate things at times excessively. Don't get me wrong, There was a lot to like about Right Behind You with great pacing and characterisation, but I just could not ignore the over the top amount of guess work used by Pierce and Rainie to protect Sharlah. ...more
Novel's about kidnappings are dime a dozen atm and I was intrigued to see how one of my favorite new crime/thriller writers would handle such a specifNovel's about kidnappings are dime a dozen atm and I was intrigued to see how one of my favorite new crime/thriller writers would handle such a specific type of crime. The opening scenes are familiar with a young girl coming to in unfamiliar surroundings and realizing she is being held captive. Emma has no idea who has abducted her, other than he calls her "Venus 6" and says to call him "Master". She will do her best to try and keep herself together psychologically and remain strong as her captor does his best to break her.
The stakes are high for investigating officers as Emma is a promising student at a top university and is the daughter of a well-known influential couple. When the bodies of five young women, all similar in stature to Emma are discovered alarm bells are ringing. All the girls have been brutally murdered and now the concern is unless concrete information can be found soon Emma will join them other girls as statistics. The only consistent from interviews is an old man and a red car, possibly an Audi. The clock is ticking and with dead ends, after dead ends, the prospects for Emma been found safely appear grim.
I am going to be totally honest here and say Portraits of the Dead was a combination positives and negatives, and while these will not stop me buying Mr. Nicholl's next book, that title will be on notice. On the plus side the baddy, just like with the authors previous two titles is one truly twisted individual who would send a chill down the spine of any parent of teenage girls. The atmosphere of the story is also chilling to the bone. Unfortunately, that is counterweighted by the writing that at times was completely over the top with its descriptiveness and left me skipping page after page. Finally, I still can't decide what I think about the ending. It just like the book as a whole was quite good, but could, in my opinion, have been better.
I am definitely in the minority with this review so, please don't let it stop you from reading this book and the author's previous titles that are both excellent reads.
This is the debut novel by Victorian author Favel Parrett and I found it to be a haunting and emotive read. It is the sought of story that once you geThis is the debut novel by Victorian author Favel Parrett and I found it to be a haunting and emotive read. It is the sought of story that once you get started it is nigh on impossible to stop, with a clear and simple writing style with the story narrated by two young brothers. I found myself instantly relating to the boys and rode a wave of emotions.
Eight-year-old Harry lives with his older brother Miles and their abusive Abalone fisherman father in Southern Tasmania. With his eldest brother Joe having moved out, Harry relies on his brother for companionship, but for the most part, lives a lonely existence. Miles reluctantly goes often with his father fishing and has to bear the brunt of his emotions. Miles has his own crosses to bear, on the one hand wanting to protect his brother, all the while wanting to do the things ordinary teenagers do and try to come to terms with his mother's death. Harry being so young does not remember his mother's passing, but for Miles, he cant escape it and is deeply affected.
Reading Past the Shallows it was not hard to be sympathetic for Harry and Miles. Both had to endure the wrath of their cruel father. I just wanted to get them away from the terrible situation they found themselves in at such young ages. They would have to deal with all that life can throw at them with revelations and inevitable devastation. Overall this is a moving read about family and love and how tragedies can unhinge them.
I going to be totally honest and say that I am a major Anna Kendrick fan and as a reader, I was impatiently waiting for her memoir Scrappy Little NoboI going to be totally honest and say that I am a major Anna Kendrick fan and as a reader, I was impatiently waiting for her memoir Scrappy Little Nobody to be released. Now that I have read it I will say that this is one of the best non-fiction books I have read in a long time and makes me respect her even more (if that's possible). From the opening page, Anna held me in her spell with her honesty, wit, and sense of self-deprecation that was simply impossible to resist.
Told through a collection of humorous essays, Anna takes's us on an unforgettable journey of a unremarkable upbringing, from a young age, through her early teenage years performing in theatre and Broadway, to the big-name Hollywood blockbusters like Pitch Perfect and the Twilight Saga. Anna to her credit tells with great clarity her long and hard road to success in her field in what is as far away from a Cinderella story as humanly possible (and I am happy for that).
With razor-sharp wit that is consistently funny and entertaining, Kendrick is an actor that epitomizes relatable. It is not hard to picture yourself sitting down with her at cafe chatting away while drinking a cup of tea. Of course, you would most likely have the rest of the customers they're looking at you concerned like there's something wrong with you while you laugh uncontrollably (good luck finishing your drink). With stories that range from cringeworthy to hysterical to inspiring and everything inbetween, this was a ride I simply did not want to end....more
Ruth Clare's childhood was a far cry from the idyllic lifestyle of young girls her age. From the day she was born RuthMy enemy. My beloved. My father.
Ruth Clare's childhood was a far cry from the idyllic lifestyle of young girls her age. From the day she was born Ruth encountered a man who had experienced the hell of the Vietnam War and then kept it going with terrible outcomes for his family. For Ruth, her older sister Kersten and her younger brother David, life consisted of walking on eggshells wondering wich dad they would encounter on a day to day basis. On good days he was jovial and happy, but more often not he would pounce on any supposed mistake and beat his children. For Ruth, this was the only father she had known and he would have a profound effect on her and the family.
Clearly, this was not a situation that could last, and it was no surprise that Ruth's parents would divorce but even with her father gone the ripple effects would be pronounced. First, her mother would become an alchoholic and then her father two years later, would attempt to kill his ex-wife. For a young girl like Ruth, this was a confusing and damaging time. She hated her father with a passion for what he did to the family but could never shake comments from loved ones who said he was a different man than the one who went to Vietnam.
Later on in her life and with a young family of her own, Ruth would make a determined effort to find out why her father became the man he was. After talking to many veterans around the country, Ruth came to realize that her father was doomed to have his life ravaged by PTSD right from his first training and with the horrors he seen and an unappreciative home on his return, tragically made him and thousands of others into men who could not let go of the war in their heads. These revelations left Ruth with surprising empathy for a man who caused her so much pain when all she wanted was to be loved. Unflinching, chilling and at times unnerving, this is an eye-opening story about the how war can not only destroy a person but also leave a trail of destruction with future generations. ...more
The truth is not always black and white and can, in fact, be many varied colours.
Chief Inspector Bish Ortley life is going down hill. Divorced and susThe truth is not always black and white and can, in fact, be many varied colours.
Chief Inspector Bish Ortley life is going down hill. Divorced and suspended from his job, he will get a call that will almost give him a heart attack after being informed that a bus his daughter Bee is in across the channel in France has been bombed. After racing over with his mother Saffron, Bish is relieved to discover that his daughter is unharmed. But others are not so fortunate with a number of teenagers killed and injured.
Thanks to an old friend, Bish finds himself reluctantly drawn into the investigation as a liaison with the families of the victims. One of the kids on the bus, seventeen-year-old Violette LeBrac draws much interest from Bish. Firstly she is not even meant to be in France and instead be in her native Tasmania. Secondly, her mother Noor, is in jail in connection with the bombing of a London supermarket committed by her grandfather 13 years ago. Lastly, Bish himself helped put her away.
As the media around the world clues in on to Violette and comes to their own conclusions about her, Bish is stunned to find out that she and one of the boys on the bus, Eddie has disappeared. Despite the most obvious conclusion being that they could not have gone far, they have in fact, somehow made it across the channel. For Bish trying to find out why Violette and Eddie ( who seemingly only met for the first time on the trip) would go on the run, sees him look into Violette family with surprising conclusions that force him to question the people he has worked for and his own actions.
I will be honest in say this is the first book by Aussie author, Melina Marchetta I have read (I know, amazing). I knew she has made a name for herself as a YA writer and was intrigued to see how she would go with what is a big right-hand turn. I am pleased to report for the most part this is a great read that never failed to keep me engaged. The characters for one was superb. Violette for one was fantastic as a young girl with maturity beyond her years and Bish despite his many flaws was someone you grew to love.
Unfortunately, there was one Elephant in the room when it came to issues that prevented me from giving the book 5 stars. That being the sheer number of characters, that managed to totally bamboozle me at the start. Then when the story settled down I still had to re-read certain sections as Violette's complex families secrets slowly revealed themselves. Other than that there is nothing I can really poke holes at. While it would be stretching it to call Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil a thriller, there is no denying this is intense read that will appeal to fans of the authors work and those looking for an intriguing and heartfelt read....more
Is it possible for a book to be just too grim and depressing? That is the question I was asking myself after finishing reading this sombre tale aboutIs it possible for a book to be just too grim and depressing? That is the question I was asking myself after finishing reading this sombre tale about young males trying to survive in dismal condition. Set predominantly in Rome after the end of WWII, we get to see an Italy far away from what most would want to acknowledge, with slums, piles of garbage everywhere, black market deals, hunger, and violence. Amongst this chaotic reality, Riccetto and his friends do their best to make something for themselves only to have themselves swallowed up be their surroundings.
Inevitably Riccetto will become more and more estranged from his family as crime takes a grip on him, with petty theft, violence, and prostitution becoming a part of his daily routine. Despite the bleakness of everyday life he and his friends will hold on to an almost naive hope for improvements in their life.
This was a story that I could only digest in small doses. The main reason for this being that the lives of the characters were just so dire and unfortunate. Don't get me wrong, the writing was exquisite and full of emotion with only subtle hints of Didacticism. Sadly though that was not enough for as much as I tried, I just could not get into the narrative that at its heart is a wonderful snapshot of history but had little more to offer....more
I am trying hard to think how to describe this book in a sentence and the best I can come up with is "two steps forward, one step back." There is nothI am trying hard to think how to describe this book in a sentence and the best I can come up with is "two steps forward, one step back." There is nothing particularly bad about the story other than I was constantly shaking my head in disbelief at the main characters with their inactions and how they treated one and other.
seventeen-year-old Sophie's parents are in shock after she is brought home seemingly drunk by police officers after a night out with friends. Her mother Karen is alarmed by comments made by her daughter about her friend Amy who was with her. The next day Sophie's parent's apprehension continues to grow as she has no recollection of what happened the night before even though she had been brought home earlyish. Karen is furious with Sophie's so called friends as she believes they abandoned her. Things take a sinister twist when Karen finds out that Amy is missing and after a body is discovered it is identified as another girl with Sophie that night Erin.
For Sophie's parent's things just don't add up, with Amy showing up and with her friend Dan insisting they called a cab for Sophie and they saw her get in it. Then why was she found by police incoherent walking the streets? For Karen, who suffers from agoraphobia after she was attacked two years later this is almost too much to bear. Things become even worse when Sophie after being confronted by her mother admits to being stalked with the horrible thought of could the person who murdered Erin know be targeting Sophie and is there a connection with Karen?
I know what you are thinking. This sounds like a pretty good thriller I am describing but alas there was a number of issues I just could not ignore with Saving Sophie. Firstly while I could understand not talking to the police early on, I thought over time when it became obvious that Karen and Sophie were way in over their heads this should have happened. The police in truth were a bit clueless even if they did have the excuse of being met with a wall of silence and misinformation. Throw in the fact it was practically impossible to find a likable main character and you have a story that for all its redeemable features left me feeling a little flat....more