Tag Archives: 5*

Review of Peter Darling, by Austin Chant

I received a copy of Peter Darling, by Austin Chant, from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is. 

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

Oh, how utterly marvelous! I have to be honest, I’m not generally a fan of retellings; I just so rarely read one I think improves on the original. Peter Darling looked more like a sequel than a retelling though, so I decided to take a chance and read it. I am so glad I did.

I loved almost everything about this. I thought Pan and Hook were charming, and Peter and James even more so. I liked how it makes the reader think about the nature of growing up, how you can never really go back, identity, longing, love and loss. The writing is on point and it’s well edited.

Personally, I had a little trouble with Peter and Wendy being the same individual, as they are quite distinct in the original Peter Pan. However, the way Barrie conflated wife/mother in the original Wendy is one of my strongest and most uncomfortable memories of that book. So, this merging of characters might not be so difficult for other readers. It’s certainly creative and wonderfully done.

I would love to see Ernest get a book, since I curious how his life will turn out. All in all, Chant has just made my radar. I’ll be looking for more.


Review of Bob Stevenson, by Richard Wiley

Bob Stevenson

I won a paperback ARC of Richard Wiley‘s Bob Stevenson through Goodreads:

Description from Goodreads:
Dr. Ruby Okada meets a charming man with a Scottish accent in the elevator of her psychiatric hospital. Unaware that he is an escaping patient, she falls under his spell, and her life and his are changed forever by the time they get to the street.

Who is the mysterious man? Is he Archie B. Billingsly, suffering from dissociative identity disorder and subject to brilliant flights of fancy and bizarre, violent fits? Or is he the reincarnation of Robert Louis Stevenson, back to haunt New York as Long John Silver and Mr. Edward Hyde? Her career compromised, Ruby soon learns that her future and that of her unborn child depend on finding the key to his identity. 

I’m approaching my 300th book of the year (It’s Sept.) and I bet I haven’t given a dozen books five stars. But Bob Stevenson deserves it. Heck, I’d probably give it five stars for Gerard alone, who has to be the cutest, most genuine character I’ve read in a while. He was a true pleasure to read and I adored the way people accepted him into their lives and loved him too.

But the rest of the characters were of interest as well. Ruby, who finds herself in a baffling and embarrassing situation. Archie/Bob who is fighting his own demons. Dr. Utterson and Bette, who provide the necessary sidekicks, along with Dad and the nun. All engaging in their own way. Granted, you never get to know them deeply, but they fulfill their role succinctly.

The writing is marvelous. I laughed repeatedly at the dry humor. The fact that you’re never wholly sure where the surreal stops and the actual paranormal might pick up kept me biting my nails. Lastly, I was thrilled to see non-white main characters and people successfully functioning with disabilities. All in all, a real winner for me.

What I’m drinking: My husband makes amazing coffee. He uses an aeropress and puts a dollop of heavy whipping cream in it. Yeah, heaven. I read Bob Stevenson while one on the go, and Hubs sent me off with the ambrosia of life.

Review of The Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney

The Glorious Heresies

I received a copy of The Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney from Blogging for Books.

Description from Goodreads:
One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight . . .

Biting, moving and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland’s twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family.

Wow, that was a head trip and one hard read. I could generally only read a couple chapters at a time before needing breathing space. In fact, I read several other books in the time it took me to finish this, and I’m usually a literary monogamist; preferring to read one book at a time.

But despite being gritty and hard to face at times, it’s a stellar book. It kind of has a similar feel to J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, except I think it pulls off spotlighting the humanity of the destitute and desperate better than Rowling did.

The characters are fleshed out and human, most of them screw-ups of one sort or another, all constantly cheating one another and themselves in the process, knowingly or not. The plot is twisty enough to keep you interested, but not so much as to feel contrived. And the writing is magnificent! Really, if you are a literary fiction reader, who likes their fiction a little on the dark side pick this up.

What I’m drinkingLoyd Rich India Orange Pekoe Black Tea