Category Archives: Reviews

Book Review: Anything is Possible.

Fair warning, I did not finish this book, so this review is short.

Anything Is PossibleAnything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This one is going on my “Couldn’t bring myself to finish” shelf.

I feel bad about it because I really enjoyed the first one, but this felt more disjointed, and it was hard for me to keep up with which character was which as it pertained to the original story. I pretty much lost it right after the story of the Pretty Nicely girl who was rude to a student. I made it through that one (because I remembered how she tied into the original story), but then it started to fall apart.

While in the beginning, it was obvious that what connected the characters was their connection to the original story, and to Lucy’s book, specifically, after that one story, the connection seemed less sure. What had been an interesting look into the lives/perceptions/futures of characters mentioned in the first book, turned into a disjointed group of stories with very little hope to cling to. The further in I got, the darker and more hopeless I felt for these characters, and that is not something I want to subject myself to.

I sincerely hope that something uplifting happened, but, as I said, I couldn’t bring myself to finish this one.

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Book Review: Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep BlueWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At first glance, it’s the typical rom-com type scenario: Girl (in this case, Rachel) loves Boy (Henry), Boy loves Other Girl (in this case, Amy), and then hilarious hijinx ensues. Then, as you read it, you realize that there are many really wonderfully complex layers!

Rachel is dealing with the loss of her brother, which creates an obvious rift between her and almost everyone she knows and interacts with. Meanwhile, Henry has broken up with the girl he thinks is “the one,” and also is faced with the possibility of losing the one thing that his family loves: their bookshop. Throughout the book, we are faced with whether or not the two will end up together, or if Rachel is too broken to even be normal, let alone fall (back) in love, or if Henry will ever realize what a jerk Amy is so he can see Rachel as an option.

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Book Review: My Name is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy BartonMy Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lucy Barton had a hard life growing up well below the poverty line in a rural town (Amgash, IL), but she somehow managed to escape. Many years, a marriage and 2 kids later, she finds herself hospitalized for what should have been a routine surgery and her mother has come to visit. This book is her stream of consciousness retelling of how that visit affected her.

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Book Review: The Immortalists

The ImmortalistsThe Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a group of siblings finds out the day they’re each going to die, it has an interesting effect on how they each live their life. Will they live it to the fullest? Or will they become overly cautious and not live at all? The book discusses these ideas as we follow each sibling up until their death, and then switch character perspectives to follow the next in line to die.

When I first picked up the book, I was interested in the premise, but not sure if I would enjoy it all that much. While I did enjoy it a great deal, it wasn’t the wow that I was expecting based on some of the reviews I’d seen prior to picking it up.

One review, in particular, however, pointed out that the most exciting stories were the first two, the stories of the ones who died first, and I must say I agree with it.

Fair warning: beyond this point are some very vague spoilers. 

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Book Review: Cinnamon and Gunpowder

Cinnamon and Gunpowder: A NovelCinnamon and Gunpowder: A Novel by Eli Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book took considerably longer than I expected to finish. Not because it wasn’t good (it most definitely is a good book), but because of the complexity in it. In brief, this a traditional pirate story told from a non-traditional perspective. We follow the experiences of one Owen Wedgwood, chef, from the point of his capture by the Mad Hannah Mabbott, a red-headed sea wench of a pirate who has only two goals: vengeance and to capture the Brass Fox, an equally as notorious pirate.

Through Wedgwood’s eyes, we learn about the duplicitous nature of not the pirate world, but the world of the Pendleton Trading Company, run by one Lord Ramsey, the late former employer of the protagonist. Wedgwood must cook for the pirate queen Mabbott once a week or else die in whatever horrible way only pirate minds can think up.

As the story progresses, Owen’s views on what is right and what is righteous began to shift to match his shifting loyalties as his relationship with Mad Mabbott and the rest of the crew change from captor and captive to companions and more.

It is an excellent read and has a great lesson about not judging simply based on the reputations heard from others, but it was more difficult than I had anticipated.

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