Book Review & Giveaway: Late Lights by Kara Weiss

Book Review: Late Lights by Kara WeissLATE LIGHTS
by Kara Weiss

Fiction: Novella
Colony Collapse Press, June 13, 2013
Paperback, 123 pages
Source: TLC Book Tours

Late Lights is a novella-length book that reads like a collection of linked short stories about three childhood friends, Monty, B.J., and Erin, who are trying to figure out their relationships with each other in their late teenage years. Monty has been in and out of juvenile detention for years, B.J. is a sexually confused tomboy who can’t come to terms with her changing body, and Erin is struggling to figure out how her wrong-side-of-the-tracks friends fit into her privileged life. Continue reading

Audiobook Mini Reviews: Memoirs

Last week I posted a few mini reviews of audiobooks I’ve listened to in the last few months/year. Today I’m back with Round 2! This post rounds out all of the audiobooks I’ve listened to (or can remember listening to) with the exception of The Hunger Games trilogy, which I think will get its own post. Anyway, it turns out that I really like listening to memoirs by funny ladies, because that’s what three of these four books are. Without further ado, I present Audiobook Mini Reviews: Memoir Edition. Continue reading

Quotable Friday: from Life After Life

“The mountain panorama was the backdrop to every photo taken here, the backdrop to everything. At first Ursula had thought it beautiful, now she was beginning to find its magnificence oppressive. The great icy crags and the rushing waterfalls, the endless pine trees — nature and myth fused to form the Germanic sublimated soul. German Romanticism, it seemed to Ursula, was writ large and mystical, the English Lakes seemed tame by comparison. And the English soul, if it resided anywhere, was surely in some unheroic back garden — a patch of lawn, a bed of roses, a row of runner beans.”

— Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Audiobook Mini Reviews

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I’ve gotten into audiobooks in the last few months. There was some great discussion in the comments about what we look for in audiobooks vs. print books and about some of our favorite books to listen to on audio.

I realized that I haven’t actually reviewed any of the books I’ve listened to on audio, so I thought I’d do a post briefly discussing some of them! Continue reading

Book Review: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
LIFE AFTER LIFE
by Kate Atkinson

Fiction
Reagan Arthur Books, April 2013
Hardcover, 529 pages
Source: Library

Okay, I know Life After Life has been reviewed about 800 bagillion times and you’ve all read it already and there isn’t anything I could possibly add to the conversation… but I read it and loved it, and now I want to talk about it.

If you’ve somehow missed the buzz surrounding this book, I’ll lay out the premise for you. Ursula Todd is born on a snowy night in 1910 but dies immediately because the umbilical cord is wrapped around her neck and the doctor doesn’t get to the house on time. However, she gets another chance at life; she is reborn into the same family on the same winter night, but this time the doctor arrives early enough to save her. She lives a few years longer before drowning on a family outing to the beach. Again, she starts her life over. This is the pattern the novel takes; each time Ursula is reborn, her life takes a slightly different path. Sometimes she makes decisions that prolong her life, and sometimes it’s differences in other people’s actions that change the course of her life. Continue reading

Book Review & Giveaway: This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila

This is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana KahakauwilaTHIS IS PARADISE
by Kristiana Kahakauwila

Fiction: Short Stories
Hogarth, July 9, 2013
Paperback, 240 pages
Source: Publisher, via TLC Book Tours

Kristiana Kahakauwila’s fiction debut is a gorgeous collection of stories about Hawaii. Most of us think of Hawaii as a tourist paradise of leis, luaus, and surfing lessons, but the islands Kahakauwila brings to life have a different flavor. Her Hawaii is a little bit gritty, a little bit dirty. It’s home. Continue reading

The Beats of Summer: The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

The Dharma Bums by Jack KerouacTHE DHARMA BUMS
by Jack Kerouac

Fiction
Penguin, 1978 (Originally published 1958)
Paperback, 244 pages
Source: Purchased

I first read this book three years ago, and Jackie’s lovely musing recently inspired me to re-read it for Roof Beam Reader’s The Beats of Summer event!

The Dharma Bums is a novel about Japhy and Ray, a pair of Zen Lunatics with different approaches to their Buddhism. While Japhy is wild and joyful, springing from girls’ beds to mountaintops and planning to lose himself on a mystical mountain in Japan, Ray is a more serious character who struggles with his philosophies and his efforts toward detachment. Continue reading