Tag Archives: 5*

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

Review of The Wolf Road, by Beth Lewis

The Wolf Road

I won a copy of Beth LewisThe Wolf Road from Library Thing.

Description from Goodreads:
In the remote wilds of a ravaged land, Elka has been raised by a man who isn’t her father. Since finding her wandering in the woods when she was seven, he has taught her how to hunt, shoot, set snares and start fires–everything she needs to survive. All she knows of the world outside is gleaned from whispers of a cataclysmic event that turned the clock back on civilization by a hundred and fifty years and reduced governments and technology to shambles, leaving men at the mercy of the elements–and each other. 

Everything changes when Elka learns that the man she has been calling father is harboring a terrible secret. Armed with nothing but her knife and her wiles, she decides to escape his clutches and sets out on a long journey to the frozen north in the hope of finding her long-lost parents. 

But as the trail of blood and bodies grows in her path, Elka realizes that daddy won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she’s going to survive, she’ll have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about what he’s turned her into.

Wow, I really liked this. I consider it one of my very few five-star reads of the year. It wasn’t perfect. There are a few convenient occurrences, the wolf is too anthropomorphized and I thought it dragged a little at certain points, but these are small complaints. I adored Elka’s narrative voice and her no-nonsense character. The taut story telling kept me invested and the way it all unfolded was marvelously paced. All in all, I can’t wait to read more of Lewis’ work in the future.

What I’m drinking: French pressed, decaffeinated black coffee of no notable blend or brand.