My Review: Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

2924362First, I can’t believe this book was written almost 40 years ago!

Second, I can’t believe I haven’t bothered to read it up until now.

Third, it is worth all the hype.

Finally, a message to my dear Louis –

Louis, Louis, Louis…you are not a tortured soul…you’re just a big fat whiner…..get over yourself man…..

Bwhahahahahahahahaha

Brilliant book. Amazing really….

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My Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

10357575I started this book and I enjoyed it, but wasn’t absolutely in love with it. I became busy with life…or disenchanted with life…whatever….but for whatever reason, I set it aside after book one to pick up again at a later date…..that never happened…..until now. All I can say is I was a total fool for setting it aside. Book one was just a prologue for the real action in the second 2/3rds of the book. By the middle part of the 2nd book, I was enthralled with the entire thing. By the last part, I was in love.

This still might not be my favourite Murakami book, however, as always, I will have to soak it in and think about it before I can say that for certain. I love the concept of this book. I realise that some of what I am feeling is personal. Murakami doesn’t know me, so of course, this can’t be true…however, it amazes me how many of the things found within the cover of this book are things I have believed either now or at some point in my past. I don’t think one should ever be too old to believe in the unexplainable. No, I am not really saying that I believe there is some alternate universe. However, I do believe that we have connections with others that can’t always be explained. I also am okay with this enough now to just accept it for what it is…and no longer trying to rationalize it or explain it. Simply put, what is…is….

What strikes me most as I walk away from this book….having read the last page…..is that like him or not, Murakami is like no other. Truth be told….Murakami isn’t even like Murakami! Each book I’ve read by him has been so very different. Yes, he has reoccurring things that take place…mention of moon(s), sex, cats, alternate worlds…and love…most importantly love….but the style….the types of books…well they are just so different.

I love reading. I love discovering new writers. I can’t imagine a world that didn’t include reading. Of having a life that isn’t surrounded by book….

But I have to say, there might be an author or two that I love more…..there might be books that I love a bit more than some of Murakami’s works….but all that aside, if you told me I could only read one author for the rest of my days….well there is no hesitation in my mind that I would have to pick Haruki Murakami. There is no author that surprises me more with his beautiful writing. There is no other author that makes me *feel* more than Mr Murakami. It’s amazing just how much I feel whilst reading his books. I think Murakami is an author that the more you read, the more you appreciate and love…and seriously…I feel the same about his works as well. In other words, I think that if I ever read 1Q84 again that I will love it even more than I do at this moment…..and I am seriously in love right now…just saying….

Buy it now 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Random Book Muses Blog

My Review: Ruby by Cynthia Bond

24902492Can you remember the last book that you read that you absolutely loved? How about the last one you absolutely hated? The answer to that question for me is the same. Ruby by Cynthia Bond. The prose in this novel is simply put…brilliant. Bond really does have a way with words. Not only is it stunning, it is also filled with deep meaning and thoughts. It often demands of you to pause and relish in its aftermath. Because, yes…sometimes it is not just beautiful…sometimes it is also downright brutal.

I won’t go into all the plots and twists of this story…I will instead just list quotes and more quotes so you too can see exactly what I mean when I say Bond’s prose is both beautiful and brutal….

She wore gray like rain clouds and wandered the red roads in bared
feet. calluses thick as boot leather. Hair caked with mud. Blackened
nails as if she had scratched the slate of night. Her acres of legs
carrying her, arms swaying like a loose screen. Her eyes the ink of
sky, just before the storm.

Celia poured the steam back in his coffee.

Maggie cut her eyes against his face, her fists tight in her lap.
‘Beatin’ ain’t the worse can happen to a body.’ The orange tip of her
cigarette devoured the white.

Ruby felt the lonely before it came. Knew that for all she’d have to
face when she left this tiny shack, the lonely would be the worst of
it. She knew too that it was the thing each of them shared, only it
was waiting for them in different places. For Ruby it was a room at
Miss Barbara’s. For Maggie it was the minute after Ruby said good-bye.
And for Ephram, it was right here, right now. She felt how the lonely
never left him, not even sitting beside her.

Some folk say after time she come to love him. Others say she jes’
give in to shame. Me, I don’t know much, ’cept that he chased her all
the way to lonely. And once you make it there, ain’t too many choices
left.

By the time Ephram turned fifteen, he and Gubber were barely speaking
to one another. Ephram watched Gubber swell and grow and strain
against the fence of clothing, only to build a bigger fence, only to
strain, again and again. Gubber wouldn’t look at Ephram if they passed
in school or at P & K, and worse, when circumstance threw them
together, Ephram became the perfect foil for Gubber, a soft, weakened
thing to point out when collective fangs were bared. The fact that he
accomplished this with a chain of rebukes and thick jokes, and that
those actions had done more harm to Gubber Samuels than himself, was
not lost on Ephram. He’d watched Gubber swallow his kindness and shit
it out until all that remained was the waste of a good man.

Your daddy and me named you Otha. It means ‘wealth.’ You were your
daddy’s treasure from the time you were born until he died. He used to
say there were rubies buried deep inside of you. Remember, baby, don’t
never let a man mine you for your riches. Don’t let him take a pickax
to that treasure in your soul. Remember, they can’t get it until you
give it to them. They might lie and try to trick you out of it, baby,
and they’ll try. They might lay a hand on you, or worse, they might
break your spirit, but the only way they can get it is to convince you
it’s not yours to start with. To convince you there’s nothing there
but a lump of coal.

**Possible spoilers**

I’m still trying to figure out why I obviously disliked this novel so much when it’s clear that I also loved it just as much as I hated it. There is some black magic in this novel. That doesn’t bother me. There is also much abuse. Again, that didn’t bother me (well, it DOES bother me, but not a reason I disliked this novel). I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to suss it out…I think for me, Bond only touched on some areas (the Ruby that was in New York, Ephram’s sister, Maggie, Charlotte and so many other things) and yet she seemed to go on and on about others (Chauncy and the Dybou in particular). It’s almost as if Bond was trying to beat us with the worst of the lot to wear us down and overwhelm us. For me it just didn’t work. See, evil is evil. We all know that. We don’t need that shoved down our throats. But it’s the tragic that overtakes the good that really display just how evil that evil can get. It was all too lopsided for me. I realise that Ruby was overwhelmed with the evil….but the real tragedy was hidden into the why she was overwhelmed with it. It didn’t just happen. There were other’s involved. There were layers and layers that all conspired together to get to that point. What made the Reverend into the man he became? Why was Maggie so protective. Why did Charlotte run? Why was Celia so broken?

Yes, I realise that Bond touched on all of this….but that’s just it. She only touched on it. Yet she seemed to beat us over the head with Chauncy and Dybou without really going into the cause of their characters, only the effect.

I do realise that if Bond had given this novel the depth and care that it deserved that it might very well mean that the novel was twice it’s length. I wish that novel was written. There was so many things to be learnt in those missing pages. So much depth that her prose promised us. That is why, although I love it…I also felt cheated….and a bit bored with it….

Review copy provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now Ruby by Cynthia Bond

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My Review: Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

68494Hard to rate this one. I loved the story. I hated the main character of Isaac. I found him flat, boring, and a coward. However, Garuda is the one that I spent the entire book wondering about. I so wish this story had been told through his eyes. Garuda is one of the most complex characters I have encountered in a book. His story begged to be told. His voice demanded to be heard. If only Isaac had been the one in the background instead of Garuda…my entire thoughts about the book would be completely changed. Even with the shocking ending, I still love Garuda. Now THERE is a character worthy of his own entire book. I found myself only reading the parts of the book to reach the end of a part to just hear Garuda’s thoughts. Every moment I spent bored by Isaac was triple rewarded when I reached a part that I could hear Garuda’s thoughts. If Mieville had written as he did when Garuda spoke it would have been an all time favourite book…as it was, I’m just glad it’s over…

The ending of the book, which some would say, should have changed my opinion of Garuda and of Isaac did nothing but make me 100% sure….Garuda is a deep, multi layered character….Isaac is a f*cking pillock….that is all……

After reading this book I have no doubt at all that Mieville deserves all the recognition he has received for being a brilliant writer that no one else can match…based both on his voice, storytelling skills and originality….however, after reading this book I also have no doubt that he is just as deserving to all the criticism he has received as well…I don’t think I have every read such a brilliant book that was also made up of so much rubbish….

Buy it now Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

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My Review: Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

NPHHave never really been a fan of NPH…but that’s only because I’ve never really watched him and I am not one to follow celebrity gossip. I had no clue he was married and had children. I barely knew he was gay to be perfectly honest…..NO…..my home is not under a rock on the moon!

Now that I have made my disclaimer, I will say, I really enjoyed this book. It was a pretty quick read. I loved the “choose your own ending” type of books….and this was no exception…haha….really, he did a brilliant job with that. It could have been a complete disaster. But really, isn’t that how his whole life (up to this point) story goes? There are so many different events that NPH has been though that many others would have handled differently….I think many of his choices could have ended in complete disaster. However, he seems to meet them head on and always seems to come out the other side, if not gleaming, well….at least confident that he made the correct choice for HIM….that’s perhaps what makes him so attractive and successful. He doesn’t seem to bend to the rules (even whilst he is, indeed, bending to the rules). He is confident, even in his uncertainty…

He is refreshing in his honesty. He doesn’t make apologies. He doesn’t try to back-step and cover up any wrong mistakes. He stands a bit straighter, throws back his shoulders, brushes off any lint, and steps fully into the spotlight and proclaims, “here I am”. He doesn’t seek the spotlight and demand everything be about him….but damnit, he won’t back down and he’s not afraid to make his feelings heard in a very loud and unquestionable way. I have to admire that. Here we have a guy that should be worried about his personal image. It’s how he makes his living. But his take it or leave it, I am who I am is what is so utterly refreshing about him. He leaves no doubt that if push comes to shove, the fame and hollywood image is nothing he is not willing to sacrifice for love of his family.

Yes, it took him a long time to get there. I imagine it was never easy for him. But unlike many childhood actors, he seems to have kept on a somewhat straight (haha…see what I did there?) path to get to where he is. He didn’t crash and burn. He didn’t use his success as an excuse to make poor decisions. Now that he knows who he is, he makes no apologies and remains true to himself. That is sometimes very hard for anyone to do….let alone someone that is so securely in the public spotlight….Bravo, NPH….I might not have been a massive fan before, but I sure am now…..well done you….

Review copy provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

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My Review: Personal (Jack Reacher #19) by Lee Child

leehmmmmm….what can I say? I love Jack Reacher. I love Lee Child. I’ve been a massive fan from the very start. I’ve recommended his books to dozens of people…probably hundreds! I’ve shared countless books with neighbors, co-workers and friends. I pour a cup of coffee and I think of Reacher. I buy a new toothbrush and I think of Reacher…..

But I didn’t care for this book at all. Actually my least favourite book of Reacher. I’m the type of person that buys books on pre-order. Lots and lots of them. However….there are only two authors I actually READ on release day…..John Sandford and Lee Child…..Usually I read Lee’s in a single sitting….no more than two days….This one took me over two weeks to muddle through it.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this one is so different for me. It’s taken me a bit, but I think I figured it out finally. Reacher wasn’t on his own. I understand he’s been part of makeshift teams before. However, even as a team member he was always on his own….working for himself….because he wanted to correct some wrong in the world. This book was full of politics. It was just bogged down. The story line just got lost in all the politics and the conspiracy and back office deals. Reacher felt like a puppet in this novel. He had no personality.

I won’t continue on…except to say that I was totally bored with this novel. I wouldn’t have even finished it if it were not a Reacher novel. That makes it a very sad day in the life of a long time Reacher fan….

Will I wait for the next book? Damn right. Will I read it right away? Damn straight I will. This is one book out of almost 2 dozen…..it’s not the end of the world….I’m still a loyal fan and I still have massive love for Lee Child and Reacher…..I will still be putting on a pot of black coffee next time he comes to town…

If I could say one thing to Lee Child it would be this….Forget your editors….forget your fans…..go back to your one new book every May…..forget the second book in the fall….yes we bitch and moan about the wait…..yes, you can make more money by writing more books….but really, Christmas only comes once a year and we’ve all survived our childhoods of waiting for Santa all year long…….The Real Jack Reacher is worth the wait as well……please…please…..go back to once a year and spend that extra 6 months giving us the REAL Reacher….not just words on a page….

That is all…..

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Buy it now Personal by Jack Reacher

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My Review: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

tell

I thought how that was wrong and terrible and beautiful all at the same time.
― Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

This quote is exactly how I felt about this book. There is no doubt that this will go down as an all time favorite of mine. What a powerful read for me. I want to go out and buy multiply copies and give it to all the people I love. I want to hand out copies to complete strangers. I want just one person to read it and then turn to me and say, “I understand what this book means to you, I feel it too.”

I usually start a book and it’s easy enough for me to tell if I am going to like it or not. I can tolerate an okay story if the writing is “quote worthy.” It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I can get lost in words if the author writes them in a lyrical way. This book was no exception. I fell in love from the start. This book sang to me! As I read along I loved the writing I was witnessing. Yes, I was not just reading words on a page….I was feeling as if I was present in Brunt’s imagined world. However, at the same time, I thought, this is a really a pretty cool book and I’m really enjoying it, but there’s no way I will be able to review it. The story was too hard to put into words. Many times, as a book goes along I lose some of my passion for it. As I went further along in this book, I was surprised to find that my love for the book was not easing off. In fact, my love for it was growing in leaps and bounds. My despair at trying to figure out how to start a review also changed. Now the story wasn’t too hard to put into words, it was simply too big! How could I encompass all the emotions that this book evoked from me and put it into mere words?

Proof that there are worlds and worlds and worlds on top of worlds, if you want them to be there.
― Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

Brunt has masterfully given us so many stories on top of stories here. Is this a story about the ignorance of AIDS in the 80’s and the assumptions people made born out of that ignorance? Is this a story of family rivalry? Or of family love? Is it a story about the bond between sisters? Is it a coming of age story of a single young girl? Or is it the story of two lonely people that find a way to hold on to one another to overcome life’s grief? Is it about courage? Or sorrow? Loneliness? Acceptance? Regret? Acceptance?

She was wired into my heart. Twisted and kinked and threaded right through.
― Carol Rifka Brunt, Tell the Wolves I’m Home

Brunt has somehow taken these separate amazing stories and twisted and kinked and threaded them right through the reader’s very heart and made them into one…..how does one do that? How is it possible for this to be a debut novel? Surely there must have been bit of magic involved!

What strikes me most about this book is just how well Brunt was able to capture what being a teenager was like for me. I felt as if I had traveled in some time machine….that I was transported back to my own life as a teenager….forced to re-live all those thoughts and fears I had. I remember all those same feelings that June and Greta were feeling. The self-doubt. The selfishness of not being able to see the world beyond how it affects me. Ultimately this was June’s story and we only had her viewpoint to follow. This story could have read so differently if it had been Toby or Greta’s voice that we heard. Some parts of me wish it had been the type of book that was told from multiple viewpoints. That feeling came from my own personal greed. I was so able to climb inside the character of June. I wish I had been allowed to also climb further inside the characters of Greta and Toby as well. How different my life might had been had I been privy to their thoughts and insights at the time…it really is something when an author is able to transport you to another place and time….to make you feel as if you are no longer a reader, but instead, you are present, living this story, just as if it were your own…..

Please don’t let all the hype and the great reviews of this book deter you from giving it a chance. Sometimes you run across a book that not only lives up to all the hype….to a book that truly deserves all the hype….sometimes you also run across that a book totally and completely captivates you and takes you by surprise…..

This is that book! Read it! I dare you to!

Buy it now Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Random Book Muses Blog