Saturday, July 30, 2016

Room by Emma Donahuge

 Since Brie Larson took home an Academy Award for the film adaptation of this book,  I finally decided to give it a read on audio. Room is told from the point of view of 5-year-old Jack, a boy who has lived his entire life in captivity with his mom in a shed.

I did this on audio and at first I was like nope, nope, nope when I heard  narrator Michal Friedman's 5-year-old boy voice. But once you settle into the story-- it works. I think the little boy voice is close to her speaking voice because she has also done some chicklit with a similar tone. She did a great job and her voice is so unique. I was sad to see she died a year after this came out

This audio is a full cast dramatization where each character has their own voice actor . I’ve haven’t heard a production like this before, but it works well since there is so much back and forth dialogue.

While there are some suspenseful and emotional moments in the story it also gets really dull in some places, especially the last 40 percent. Donoghue juxtaposes this terrible thing through innocent eyes--in the book Jack doesn’t realize the full extent of his situation. It was such a smart decision.There were moments when this book was light  and  added some needed levity because woman-being-kidnapped-by-men-and-raped-and-then-forced-to-give-birth-in-captivity is a thing that happens a lot IRL and it is horrifying.

Seriously, why are men allowed to run the world ?

Overall I thought this was good, but not great. I think the reason it gets so much attention is because of how much this topic was in the news between Jaycee Duggard being found and sentencing of Elizabeth Smart's kidnappers.  

I’ve already put the movie on hold at the library and I can't wait to see how it’s adapted. I actually just got the movie off hold but returned it because I haven't been in the mood to re-live this story and I feel like taking away Jack's filter is just going to make this story even more Nightmare Fuel-y.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Tote Bag Giveaway !

Can you believe it's been 5 years since Ms. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children came out ? And that the film is coming out t his year ?  To celebrate the 5th anniversary,  Quirk is letting us host a giveaway this lovely Miss Peregrine's tote bag ! Here's to #5PeculiarYears.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also check out the contest Quirk is running for fans of the series over at All you need to do is submit your Miss Peregrine fan art, cosplay, shelfies, or selfies to be entered to win a number of prizes ! 

And if you haven't seen it already check out the trailer for Miss Peregrine's !

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Audiobook Review: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

You'd think after reading seven In Death books about the surly and biting New York City detective Eve Dallas that reading about Hannah Swenson, a sleuthy cookie shop owner in a small Midwest town, would be a cake--er--cookie walk

And it is.

 But the more I thought about it the more I realized that Hannah Swenson is pretty scary. Cause when the local milkman is found shot in an alley Hannah (because her brother-in-law is investigating)  gets swept up in the case as she finds clues, makes  connections and solves the murder !

Hannah does all of this on the down low because I guess that's a trope of cozies ? I honestly don't know. I mean it's just kind of strange that she just waltzes around with her bags of cookies and bribes people into telling her their secrets and alibis. People seem to tell her EVERYTHING while she's loading them up with carbs. No one questions why she is so nosy. I'm pretty sure her curly red hair is so big because of all the secrets

Honestly, the book just didn't do it for me plot wise.  It felt like the whole plot was a checklist of ruling out possible suspects with a few "humorous" interludes for transitioning. I got kind of confused keeping track of all the names.

The performance was pretty solid, but the editing on the audiobook was spotty in some places. When I put my earbuds in I could hear the edits and the narrator swallowing.

While this mystery didn't hit my sweet spot I certainly can't wait to try my hand at making some chocolate chip crunches.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

With all the discussion surrounding #ownvoices and representation in publishing I know some readers will be turned off this book because Ben Winters is White and judging by his Twitter feed is like all of this writer's woke ex-boyfriends. That said, I saw Attica Locke praising this book and I thought I’d give it a try.

 Spike Lee has this mockumentary C. S. A , about an alternate future where slavery never ended. Well, Underground Airlines is in that kind of world. It’s the 2010’s and there are still 4 Southern states where enslaving Black people is legal. We meet Victor, a runaway slave living in the North who has been conscripted by the US Marshall Service to locate and return runaway slaves to their owners. His latest mission takes him to Indianapolis, but he soon discovers this case isn't all it seems.

 Winters really built out this world well and there are so many little details about the global effects of slavery in the US. He slowly unravels this alternate history without it feeling plot dumpy--it's kind of amazing. Winter's is known as a mystery writer and he keeps this is mystery noir sensibility as we trail Victor on his latest case. The second half of the novel moves at a thriller pace and I couldn't stop reading.

I think Winters handles race well and I like the way he subverts the White savior trope. Several times characters make fun of  liberal White people for Mockingbirding--trying to save Black people so they can be seen as a good person.

My small complaint is that the plot twists seemed a little random at times and my biggest complaint is Winters can’t seem to write complete or complex female characters. Even in his Last Policeman series, women always end up being moms, or sisters or wives. They are never integral to the plot and don't have (I hate using this word) agency.

This was a tough read for me  because of the topic, but I'll be curious to read this book again in its finished form sometime in the future, it's not the kind of book I can re-read again right away. This was the first time I'd read a galley that was so clearly an in-progress work and I do want to see how final book shakes out.

Overall I thought Underground Airlines was a unique take on the mystery thriller genre with a haunting world that kept me up at night.

So...there is a lot of  speculative race fiction in publishing this year with Blackass by A. Igoni Barret about a Nigerian man who wakes up white and Into The White a YA bout the same thing except with  a teenage girl. I suspect this has to do with a shift away from writing The Struggle and towards dismantling ideas about privilege.

Also, can we talk about how this UK cover feels a little too on the nose ?

*Galley recieved at BEA


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