Monday, June 13, 2016

Hummingbirds Fly Backwards by Amy Cheung | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Net Galley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

There was something entirely disappointing about Hummingbirds Fly Backwards--sure, there was/is solid writing, gorgeous cover art, a catchy title and opening sentence. But there is something incredibly flat about the entire story itself; constantly lacking something for me. I can't quite pinpoint all that was wrong with it because it did have a world of promise, but it just didn't work for me. I put it down often, wondering if it was just me, but looking now at its rating I see there is a general nod to how lackluster it felt in its reviews.

Although most people will disagree with me, I found one of the character's nature to be the novels biggest--perhaps, only--saving grace. Only one. She is unlikable as can be, but for this reader it was to the point where I couldn't help but to like her all the more for it. Sometimes you just can't connect with a character and their flaws, or their complete inability to connect with their reality, but you don't always have to. Chow Jeoi is an unlikable lead but that's just about the most charming thing about Hummingbirds Fly Backwards. While I didn't necessarily root for her, I did find myself feeling rather fond of her and her delusion, her flaws, and she is the only reason I gave the novel 2-stars instead of 1.


The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Net Galley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Although tales of star crossed lovers are common in all forms of entertainment, the forbidden romance trope is very much so a go-to when writing a love story. Many would argue that it is overdone and perhaps that is true, but in some cases the "I want what I can't have" element adds a little spice to a story and propels us into a world of romance and envy. The Memory of Us sports this trope and gives it a true, solid, heart that will have readers intrigued from the get-go.

There are quite a few things I should state, first, before tackling my review of this novel. First, is that it it is Di Maio's debut novel--a damn good one, at that, and I expect we shall be hearing more from her in the future. What's most striking about The Memory of Us is its delightful, realistic and heartfelt prose. Camille's words breathe life into the story and reader and will leave the audience feeling quite pleased throughout. Indeed, it is most easy to lose yourself in it. There's so much heart and warmth to the story that I promise you, readers, you will come out of it feeling something.


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon | Rating: ★★★★★

"I can bear pain myself," he said softly, "but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have.”

Diana Gabaldon's wildly popular Outlander series began in 1991 (as old as myself!) with its opener, also titled Outlander, and took us on a delectable tale of time travel, romance and strength. Its loyal fanbase has never wavered in its support towards the now-classic novels, and with that sort of love, curiosity is constantly sparked. Gabaldon is deserving of all the praise and interest and then some, and proves so within the first few chapters of this love story.

Due to renewed popularity through its Starz adaptation in late 2014, Outlander is just as popular as ever and quickly gaining new fans even now in the decades since is original publication. Which is fantastic and every bit of deserving. You see, if you haven't had the chance to pick up Outlander, you should know this: Gabaldon's writing is delicious, thrilling, sexy--captivating to the highest degree, therefore, it is quite easy to see why it is so beloved and continues to stand the test of time.

Its premise is simple: Claire Randall, a nurse from the 1940s, has just settled back into life with her husband after the war. Life seems to be back on the track to becoming ordinary again as the two lovers travel and embrace married life once more after being apart for so long.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Thrift Store Finds: Sunday Edition

Everyone who knows me, knows that I spend a lot of time at various thrift shops. A lot. Sometimes you have your hits and misses, but sometimes you can find a real gem on the shelves. I've found a few excellent additions to my shelves there, including brand spanking new stuff or occasionally a print from another country entirely. It all depends on where you go and how much effort you put into digging around.

This weekend was a surefire hit for me. I'll keep it short and sweet, but the shop near my house holds a lot of sales when it comes to their books. There are standard day sales, like every two weeks they have everything in the shop 50% off. A lot of weekends and weekdays, there's never really a method to it, they have various sales such as two books for a dollar, three books for a dollar, and sometimes even four books for a dollar. Of course, then there's the standard buy one get one free--and because the books are only $1 for paperback and $1.99 for hardcovers, you're sure to get a steal from their shelves.

When I saw the three for a dollar sign, I knew I had to pop in and was pleasantly surprised to find three incredible books. My favorite of my purchases? This print of The Sun King from the Folio Society. I really knocked myself out of the park with these three and can't stress enough how amazing thrift shops are when it comes down to purchasing books.


Stormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Net Galley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

"People trim their truth the way they want it, my love." 

Navigating a thriller can be an incredibly difficult thing to do for both writer and reader. You have so much you have to work with when it comes down to treading those waters: likable characters, suspicious ones, high stakes and suspense, and of course conclusions as you wrap up the mystery of it all. Stormy Cove, although not my favorite read this year, manages to hit all those marks and then some.

This, entirely, has to do with the vivid setting and the sparks of mystery within. Bernadette Calonego creates a delightfully unique thriller for us to get lost in and I can guarantee many moments in which the reader will be on the edge of their seats wondering what's next and who the bad guy really is. Toss in the complexities of a small town and the way its residence entwine with one another, as well the gossip that comes in tow of such.