Review: Girl in Pieces | Portrait of a Sad Girl

Title: Girl in Pieces

Author: Kathleen Glasgow

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: August 30, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Mental Illness

Rating: 4 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

This is a morbid story from the first page. Everything that happens is bad and rawly portrayed. There is no romanticization or good here. I was initially intrigued by the synopsis but was by no means prepared for what I read. This book was just so much to digest and take in, I had to put it down multiple times just to process the overwhelming darkness blanketing each page. Mental illness, suicide, self-harm, rape, love, abuse are all ever so evocatively described. Literally everything that happens in this book is a trigger for an even greater disaster than the one that preceded it. This book shows what happens when too much happens too quickly. Life becomes difficult to bear and an entrapping nightmare that blurs one’s perceptions of reality and the reality of their minds.  Continue reading “Review: Girl in Pieces | Portrait of a Sad Girl”

ARC Review: Alone | Bizarrely, Dreadfully Illusive

Title: Alone

Author: Cyn Balog

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense

Rating: 4 Stars

I received an ARC copy of Alone in exchange for an honest review. Thanks goes to NetGalley as well as Sourcebooks Fire Books for this advanced copy which was recently released on November 7, 2017. Also, my apologies to NetGalley, the publisher and the author, Cyn Balog for the late posting of my review.

Dear fellow Babblers,

Alone by Cyn Balog is altogether thrilling, curious and strangely beautiful. Balog goes beyond authors to create a story that leaves readers puzzled, relieved, frightened, traumatized. The plot is unheard of. The writing style is quick paced and slow to climax; a paradox yes, a mistake no. The characters are disastrous and unknowingly on their way to their fate. The feelings provoked are doubt, sympathy hatred for things unseen. This chilling tale starts with the disturbing infatuation of a mother who inherits and old mansion, affecting her children’s contact with the outside world, especially her teenage daughter, Seda. Through Seda’s eyes we are trapped within the creaking rooms and dusty exterior of this place she fears she must now call home. All is sad, but quaintly uneventful until a group of friends lose their direction on their way to a winter resort. When these teens enter the mansion seeking safety, it is without pause that they enter a faraway, yet so close universe where fun is mixed with fear, and life becomes death.  Continue reading “ARC Review: Alone | Bizarrely, Dreadfully Illusive”

Review: A Blindfellows Chronicle | There Goes Another Amazing Read

Title: A Blindfellows Chronicle

Author: Auriel Roe

Publisher: Unbound

Publication Date: July 20, 2017

Genre: General Adult Fiction

Rating: 4 Stars

I was recently sent A Blindfellows Chronicle by the author, Auriel Roe in exchange for an honest review.

Dear fellow Babblers,

This is a novel, collection of short stories, sensual expression of intimate thoughts. I was left feeling satisfied and ready for more from the author. It’s not a book I would ever generally pick up, but upon meeting the author and chatting with her I became intrigued. What could such a quirky and kind person write? Despite the somewhat dense and scattered events and writing style of A Blindfellows Chronicle this book is the kind that takes you into the author’s imagination and confuses your perception between fiction and reality. In a narrative period of thirty years Roe visits many characters, personalities, and worlds, all which seem incongruent but naturally seem to fuse together with a twist of heartfelt emotion by the last page. Continue reading “Review: A Blindfellows Chronicle | There Goes Another Amazing Read”

Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean | I Hate Goodbyes

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Trilogy

Rating: 4 Stars


Dear fellow Babblers,

The trilogy, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a very unnecessary, extremely typically romance about boy meets girl – long story short: boy and girl fall in love – happily ever after So whats up with Delphine’s high rating? Umm… no one who has not read any of the books of the series will understand.

This trilogy is everything a girl, guy, teenager, fangirl/boy, bibliophile could ever ask for in a coming-of-age romance! Humor, drama, romance carry the reader through Lara Jean’s most transformative years of high school. Jenny Hann brings a delicately light end to the series, leaving smiles, heartaches, and ooos and ahhs just as she did in the two that preceded this one.  Continue reading “Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean | I Hate Goodbyes”

Review: Appearances | When Words Discover

Title: Appearances

Author: Michael Collins

Publisher: Saddle Road Press

Expected Publication Date: November 1, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Poetry

Rating: 4 Stars

Esse in Anima

We are each ourselves at the harbor:
Runners run, readers read, children play,

I wander within myself within
the world, nothing is even wrong

with the distant cars in their straight lines,
driving from lot to lot as people

walk between ducks who simply sit
in the sun – I have given my eyes

to deeply to the breeze this morning;
I nearly stepped on one of them

From how it looked, he would have let me.

Dear fellow Babblers,

I was recently sent Appearances by the author, Michael Collins in exchange for an honest review. This is a spiritually uplifting collection of poetry – not a genre I typically will review for, but I am so pleased with this small, yet harmonic book that I feel compelled to share it with my readers. The only sort of contemporary poetry I read is Lang Leav, so I was thrilled to discover Collins’ work. Where Leav’s appeal to nostalgia is directed to love and heartbreak, Collins’ brings nostalgia a step further in coalescing the heart with nature. Typically a Young Adult and Contemporary Fiction reviewer I was initially a bit skeptical going into contemporary poetry. *One day later*…. I’ve read and reread each poem over and over. These poems have touched my heart and have shown me the beauty and sadness that underlies time and it’s passing.

This collection is separated into five parts, compromising a total of 49 exquisite verses. I will not attempt an analysis into the nitty gritty of his work, but lets ust call his writing style a Romantic mixture of Wordsworth and Keats. Each poem brings together the human body to its surroundings, be it fog, the sea shore, or the forests as a means to appeal to man’s dependence on nature, its static position, as well as its changing with time and seasons.

It would seem that the narrator is on a path to self discovery and with each verse, seems to come closer to his purpose as he becomes increasingly aware of the world in which he exists. The poems grow increasingly intimate and sensual as Collins traverses a variety of human emotions by means of his contact with nature. The speaker goes below the artificial surface of appearances in what seems like and intervention, or shall we say, interaction with his mind, heart, spirit, memory – all elements of his very persona – as a means of seeking solace and bliss through the promising, ephemeral moments granted by the world which envelops him.

I was very impressed by the style and use of language in each of the poems. They were powerful, evocative and had an altogether cacophonous tone which made them at once thought provoking and mind blowing. Collins uses vivid imagery such as “fleshy snowflakes,” “orange framed in a tangerine haze,” and “sun dancing snow,” reflective of his observations and musings on the past. All distinct, what renders these descriptions similar is their non permanence. Snow does not last, horizons do not remain orange, snowflakes get carried away come spring. Time changes the world and what unites humanity to this world is the mere fact that time affects all, nothing beautiful is permanent, and nothing young remains young; all must decay, change, and undergo transformation, therefore uniting nature and man into a singular, solid world.

Collins tests and plays a lot with form. Some appear to follow similar to an Alexandrian or Shakespearean sonnet while others are more inventive and seem to be free verse. I believe I read each poem just about a dozen times, all in different tones, including different pauses as a means to differentiate its sound and how the reading process would affect my connection and emotional reaction to the poem. There were subtle changes with each reread and I’m planning to read it again soon; this collection really is, that beautiful, not good, but beautiful. The intricacies and fleeting moments which we give little to no regard to in our everyday life is delicately placed on the forefront of Collins’ vision. He scrutinizes and beautifully recreates the world which we know, but in more translucent color. These poems are heartfelt and give one a sense of awe and delicate bliss, something that seems to fade, change, and intensify with time.

I would encourage all readers, no matter one’s genre preference to read Appearances. I’m more of a Young Adult and Contemporary reader so believe me when I say that this collection has that sparking enchantment that every reader looks for. It’s crisp, fresh, and evokes the sensibilities in a way that could transform one’s perceptions of themselves, who they were, and who they will be. With several references alluding to the soul and multiple reminiscent standalone verses which turn the eye away from the self and towards the horizon Appearances is a stunning read. I’m extremely pleased and honored to have been given this copy from the author and will be looking for more of his writing in the nearby future – more to come!

Yours Truly,

(Book image credits go to Saddle Road Press)

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why | 13 Moments Leading Up to One Timely Suicide

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication Date: June 14, 2011

Rating: 4 Stars


” For the longest time, from almost day one at this school, it seemed that I was the only one who cared about me.

Put all of your heart into getting that first kiss…only to have it thrown back in your face.
Have the only two people you truly trust turn against you. Have one of them use you to get back at the other, and then be accused of betrayal.”

Dear fellow Babblers,

Tell me: is it possible that a single stack of pages onto which patterns of letters, forming fluid and meaningful sentences, could be capable of touching my heart in a way that not even a person has ever managed to accomplish before? This is exactly how I feel upon finishing 13 Reasons Why. From beginning to end of this raw, perhaps romanticized, novel about a victimized girl, Hannah Baker, recounting the 13 individuals who, in one way or another, served as catalyst for her fatal decision, my throat was in knots and tears were on the verge of flooding my eyes. And let me tell you why…  Continue reading “Review: Thirteen Reasons Why | 13 Moments Leading Up to One Timely Suicide”

Review: The Little Friend | A Portrait of Tartt’s Mississippi

Title: The Little Friend

Author: Donna Tartt

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Publication Date: October 22, 2002

Rating: 4 Stars

Dear fellow Babblers,

I recently finished The Little Friend and though I’ve had nothing but the very best to say about Tartt thus far through my previous post (How to Review a quasi Proustian Novel: Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch) as well as the comments I’ve been leaving all over other book reviewer’s posts about The Goldfinch and The Secret History, I can’t say the same will be done with The Little Friend in terms of narrative. BUT I stand by my theory of Tartt’s utterly vivid descriptive style that sweeps us into an imaginatively evocative world that we would otherwise have no access to.
So… rather than feed y’all some lengthy review recounting the numerous plot turns (dare I call them disappointing?) and sporadic alterations of focalizers (dare I call the shifts confusing?) that occur in this 555-page world, I figured I would instead paint you a panorama of the stiflingly idle and overbearingly tainted Alexandria, Mississippi where the story unfolds…  Continue reading “Review: The Little Friend | A Portrait of Tartt’s Mississippi”