Tuesday 23 June 2015

#PUYB #BookReview - You Won't Remember This by Kate Blackwell #ShortStories

About the Book 

The twelve stories in Kate Blackwell’s debut collection illuminate the lives of men and women who appear as unremarkable as your next-door-neighbor until their lives explode quietly on the page. Her wry, often darkly funny voice describes the repressed underside of a range of middle-class characters living in the South. Blackwell’s focus is elemental—on marriage, birth, death, and the entanglements of love at all ages—but her gift is to shine a light on these universal situations with such lucidity, it is as if one has never seen them before.

In “My First Wedding,” a twelve-year-old girl attends her cousin’s Deep South wedding, where she discovers both mystery and disillusionment and, in the end, finds she’s not immune to her family’s myth of romantic love. In “Heartbeatland,” when a young woman’s husband dies suddenly, she refuses to sell his Jeep to an importuning gay neighbor. The more she clings to the Jeep—and to the memory of her beloved David—the more he becomes someone she doesn’t recognize. In “Queen of the May,” a former belle looks for ways to assuage her loneliness in her large new house in the empty Carolina sandhills.

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About the Author 

Kate Blackwell began writing fiction after a career in journalism. At first she wrote stories in order to learn how to write novels, but the strategies of the short form proved a pleasure all their own. She fell in love with the challenge of the story: compressing a life into twenty pages, finding the right ending. The twelve stories in her collection, You Won't Remember This, were written over twenty years. The short story "isn't just a short read versus a long one," she says. "I see it as the literary voice of the individual, the solitary, whose pain and longing often go unheard. My stories reveal the inner life of someone I wouldn't otherwise know. What I find is never what I expect."

My Review

"You Won't Remember This" is in the end a book about memories. As we move from childhood to adulthood, the memories we take with us are sometimes the most insignificant of things. A particular event, a smell or a person that everyone else seems to have forgotten. In a compilation of short stories, the author expertly shares these moments.

Personally, reading some of the stories made me think of my own memories so yes, I was definitely sucked in by the author's writing. The stories that appealed to me the most was "My First Wedding" and "Duckie's Okay." The former shares memories of the narrator's first wedding and her own marriage while the latter focuses on a single mother trying to make ends meet.

Aside from the theme of memories, the other common component in the stories were that they linked dysfunctional family relationships. The characters are all flawed in their own way which of course brings the reader back to theme of what you will remember about a person.

Would I recommend this read? Definitely. Whether you like Southern based American stories or not, this is a book for your heart and soul. Must, must read.

Overall assessment:
Content: 5/5
Editing: 5/5
Formatting: 5/5
Pacing: 4.5/5

Offensive content?: Based on language and settings, I would recommend this book for anyone aged 18 and up.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

#PUYB #BookReview - '89 Walls by Katie Pierson @katiedoodles58 #YA #Romance

About the Book 

Seth spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS that’s killing her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity. College-bound Quinn is finishing high school on top. That cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class, though, makes her doubt herself and her old assumptions. When their passionate romance takes them both by surprise, they keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs and each other—in the clear light of day.
Amazon Kindle
About the Author 

Katie Pierson freelances for local non-profits, using her background in public policy and grassroots organizing to overthrow the patriarchy one introverted step at a time. When she's not writing fiction, she returns library books, makes soup, and tries to be cooler than she really is by hip-hopping at the YMCA. She lives with her husband and two daughters in a suburb of Minneapolis. You can reach her through her website, www.katiepierson.net, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/89walls/, and on Twitter @katiedoodles58.

My Review

The eighties is a memorable time for many and where significant events were concerned this book was spot. The author included politics and world events in the story with ease. The characters became part of this backdrop and most older readers were able to take a walk down memory lane. Be it through research or her own experience, the author was able to invoke the feeling of 'where was I when this happened?'

What took me back about this book was that at some points the story felt cramped. Too many things were happening at the same time to the same people. You had the politics, the romantic relationship between Seth & Quinn and his mum. All big topics and in some chapters, one topic was sometimes sacrificed to make way for the other.

This is not necessarily a bad thing but for me, it felt a bit cluttered. Otherwise this was a good read where the author's words flow freely and her characters are lifelike.

Would I recommend this read? If you like a good portion of politics from the past couple with a strong teen romance, this is the book for you.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Formatting: 4/5
Pacing: 3.5/5

Offensive content?: Based on language and settings, I would recommend this book for anyone aged 18 and up.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.


Sunday 14 June 2015

#LifeIn7Words - Blueberry Pie

Picture by Grimarika 

1. Dessert
2. Comfort
3. Sweet
4. Fruity
5. Crusty
6. Summer
7. Cream

Sunday 7 June 2015

#LifeIn7Words - Frozen

Picture by Mark 22
1. Disney
2. Toys
3. Let It Go
4. Childhood
5. Parenting
6. Life Lessons
7. Good versus Evil


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