A review of The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova (author of The Historian, The Swan Thieves), which was published on April 11, 2017 by Ballantine Books.
The Shadow Land is about Alexandra Boyd and her journey to Bulgaria to cope with the death of her brother; she planned on travelling for several weeks and then teaching English in Sofia. However, on her first day in Sofia, she found she had accidentally kept one of the bags of a family she was helping into a taxi: a bag containing the ashes of Stoyan Lazarov. On her journey to return this treasured urn, she unfurls a secret about this man that might not only destroy his family, but her as well.
Review of Neil Gaiman’s book American Gods, a personal favorite, originally published in 2001, as well as the show, premiered on April 30, 2017.
American Gods tells the story of the brewing tensions between the old gods and the new, between the gods of legends and the gods of the current age. It is the story of Shadow Moon, an ex-convict, and how, under the employment of Mr. Wednesday, he gets caught up in the middle of the storm.
A review of Fredrik Backman’s latest novel, Beartown, which was recently published on April 25, 2017 by Atria Books. Backman is the author of A Man Called Ove, Britt-Marie Was Here, and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.
At its core, Beartown is a hockey town. Hockey is the core of its very existence. The junior team has made it to the semifinals, the outcome of which will determine the fate of the town. If they win, they will be able to build up the hockey program even more and put their town on the map. If they lose, well, no one wants to think about that. When an incident occurs during the semifinals, the repercussions will shake the town to its very core.
Another month has come and gone. March brought snow and the long-awaited spring, within a week of each other. But now April is here, filled with the showers that will bring May flowers!
A recap of the books I read in March 2017 as well as the books I’m excited to read in the coming months!
A review of In Calabria, a new book by Peter S. Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn as well as Summerlong, among others). Published on February 14, 2017 by Tachyon Publications.
Claudio Bianchi lives alone, isolated on a farm once belonging to his uncle, staunchly determined to remain in the 19th century: all he counts among his technological possessions are a telephone and a small TV that sometimes gets news channels.
Life in quiet isolation suits Bianchi just fine…until one day he spots a pregnant golden-white unicorn on his farm, starting a series of events that will forever change Bianchi’s life.
A review of a short story collection, entitled Homesick for Another World, by Ottessa Moshfegh (author of Eileen). Published January 17, 2017 by Penguin Press.
Otessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World is essentially, to sum it up, a collection of short stories about horrible people. There’s a smatter of people who are drunks, bordering on being stalkers, insecure, unhappy in their relationships, recreational drug users, unhappy with their overall lives, and even one little girl determined to return to some other world. Moshfegh’s collection gives us a wide range of views from a wide cast of characters that, although they seem disparate on the surface, are really all looking for the same thing: a way to better themselves and escape their lives…
A review of Margaret George’s new historical fiction novel, The Confessions of Young Nero. Published March 7th, 2017 by Berkley Books.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar’s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman or child.
As a boy, Nero’s royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son’s inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.
While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become, an Emperor who became legendary.
With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy’s ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.