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Book Flame

Blogs about books

Category: Uncategorized

February 10, 2023

“Review of ‘Dinosaurs’ Book: What Readers Think”

by Tony C. (Parkville, MD): "Dinosaurs" by Lydia Millett should fire its PR team because it makes the story sound aimless, yet it hooked me immediately. A gentleman walks from New York to Phoenix (you read that correctly) and starts anew after a failed relationship. Our protagonist, Gil, has a lot of money and has the upward mobility and flexibility to move across the country on a whim. He develops a bond/obsession with the family in the glass house next door. Think "Little Fires Everywhere," not "Magnolia".

The title pertains to Gil’s bird-watching and often ponders how some evolved into birds while others disappeared. He "people-watches" similarly and feels equally detached from their interactions. Thoughts of the family next door consume him. We find Gil very intriguing, as he has accumulated wealth and seems to have a knack for giving advice and helping others. His own life appears to hinder him the most, however.

Like "Little Fires Everywhere," character development occurs so gradually that you will care about what happens to Gil before you realize why, partly because so much of his energy goes into helping others with their problems. I think that the author’s purpose, in part, is to show what someone would do if finances, time, space, and familial responsibilities were not obstacles. Who would you be in that situation, and what would change? What priorities would you have?

We do not learn much about Gil’s family background until halfway through the book. Many events shaped who he was and enabled him to up and abandon the life that he had. His ex said that he "did nothing" despite his extensive volunteering. The author, therefore, has a lot to say about altruism and trust, as the recipients of Gil’s philanthropy and kindness often respond in such a way that would make lesser people give up on helping others.

I gave thanks to the advertisers because the story was engaging but lacked a genre; therefore, I had no idea what to expect from page to page. Gil floated in and out of so many lives and learned about humanity that way. If you like character studies, look no further than this work. I understand if it is not to everyone’s taste since it does not fit into any little boxes. I could not wait to pick it up again and see where it would take me next.

February 9, 2023

“Review of ‘The Man Without a Face’ by a Reader”

by Rod Davis: Essential reading on Russia today and the war, how this current gangster state became, it pulls together a lot of threads, the evidence is compelling and shocking. As someone who has watched the collapse of communism and the USSR since 1960, it reveals a lot that wasn’t known. Rather, information was deliberately confused and misrepresented by ‘western’ bias, so few people knew anything for sure. This book fills a lot of gaps. I found it fascinating. A brave author. thank you Masha.

February 8, 2023

Reader Review: “Maureen”

by Shetreadssoftly: Maureen by Rachel Joyce is a very highly recommended character study of Maureen, the wife of Harold Fry, and represents the third and final book in the series that began with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry followed by The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Joyce never set out to write a trilogy but Maureen is an excellent addition to the previous two novels and a wonderfully moving novel that stands on its own.

Harold is now seventy-five and Maureen is seventy-two. It has been ten years since Harold made his six-hundred-mile journey by foot to see a friend and the two have settled into a comfortable and even loving relationship. But the story doesn’t end there. Now his wife, Maureen, has her own pilgrimage to make. She wants to see Queenie’s sea garden where there is a sculptural tribute or memorial to their son David, who killed himself thirty years earlier, as well as one to Harold.

Maureen, however, is not Harold. She is prickly, standoffish, opinionated, easily irritated, and, well, not a people-person. Her journey, by car rather than foot, perfectly highlights their differences. She doesn’t easily warm up to people and speaks her mind way-too-often. The hurdles she faces are quite different from those Harold faced, but they are truly a challenge for her.

I truly loved this final novel focused on Maureen. It is wonderfully focused, poignant, and perceptive character study of Maureen, with all her flaws, misgivings, and doubts. She is still trying to deal with the loss of their son, David, even though years have passed. She feels a strange compulsion to make this journey and see Queenie’s garden, but she is completely unsure of what she will find and how she will react. Her reaction is surprising, but in the end life changing for Maureen.

Maureen highlights the skill, empathy, and insightful details Joyce provides for her characters. While reading, even when Maureen is being especially difficult, Joyce also provides an avenue for readers to empathize with her and her curmudgeonly attitude. This is a short novel with a powerful impact.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House via NetGalley.

February 7, 2023

“Review of ‘You’ll Forget This Ever Happened’ by Reader”

by Susan Peterson: Laura Engel’s story is a familiar one if you grew up in the 60s south or actually in most any town in the 1960s. You may have your own memories of a baby born and then taken; or memories of a friend or a relative who mysteriously disappeared and then showed up the next year a bit diminished and very rebellious. Or your experience may only come from the stories of caution told around kitchen tables by grandmothers.

Laura did the unthinkable in the early 60s south; she became pregnant and, by that action, threatened to sully her family’s name forever in her little hometown where everyone knows everyone and everyone goes to the same church. Her parents tried to shotgun a wedding and when that failed, they took her to a home for unwed mothers in another state to give birth. Of course, she was forced to give the baby up for adoption. And, though her parents and her grandmother assured her she would forget. That didn’t happen. No, she didn’t forget nor did she forgive…at least not for a very long time. And, she internalized that trauma and she never forgot the little boy she had in that home.

Imagine Laura’s emotions when 50 years later she is contacted by the son she has never known! And, further imagine the joy of learning that he wants to know her and his family. Laura tells her story and lets you in on the emotional rollercoaster she rode for a very, very long time.

Laura’s tale is that of a sad chapter in our social history; when women and young girl’s were held to high standards but were not given the tools to cope with the emotions and challenges of of their teenage years much less the knowledge! When sex was such a forbidden topic it was a rare parent who talked to their daughters and explained or discussed their sexuality. It was also a time when young girls bore the burden of their mistakes and the young men were allowed to "just be boys".

This is a book worth reading and perhaps sharing with a daughter or a granddaughter. It will provoke a lot of discussion, that I can promise.

February 6, 2023

Reader Review: “Lessons in Chemistry”

by Wick McLaren (St. George): I’m 76, l’m a man and l loved the book. I don’t know how many of you reacted the way l did. I couldn’t keep my emotions in check. I sobbed, l smiled but most of all l was sorry l had come to the end of the book. Thank you Bonnie Garmus for giving us such a wonderful story.

February 6, 2023

A Look Back at February 6, 2023: What the Lit Hub Daily Had to Say

“Will this book, like so many cultural products made by creatives of color, be expected to somehow prove the viability of Black novels in the marketplace?” Debut author Laura Warrell on publishing while Black. | Lit Hub Memoir Rapid-fire reviews of the literary adaptations that premiered at Sundance, from the dazzling (Eileen) to the disappointing […]

February 6, 2023

“Live Your Best Lie”

2/11/2023 @bookish_bibliophile IG Review I am so excited to be a part of the LIVE YOUR BEST LIE by Jessie Weaver Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! Make sure to check out my post and enter the giveaway! LIVE YOUR BEST LIE (Volume 1) (Like Me Block You) is written by Jessie Weaver and […]

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