Book Review | Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney

brightpreciousdays.jpegProtagonists Russell and Corrine have been married for years and are parents to school-aged twins. In New York City, he runs a publishing house and she works in the non-profit sector dealing with food redistribution. Both have, at times, strayed from their marriage, but they pride themselves in having weathered storms together. When a publishing faux pas lands Russell’s business upside down, and Corrine can’t keep her bloomers on, it’s a question of whether the storm will be too much for this couple to bear.

I was not aware until after reading this book that it was the third installment by the author about the protagonist couple. Bright, Precious Days works well as a standalone novel. Enough information about the couple’s history is woven into the text that they can be understood without further background. Mostly, I found this book to be an enjoyable read, though in some places I felt details or descriptions were overdone. The text would certainly be of interest to those wanting to read about the lifestyle of New York’s rich. Ultimately, the story made me contemplate people’s values and worth, leaving me with a somewhat hollow feeling. Check it out from a library near you.

I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | White Fur by Jardine Libaire

white fur arcWhite Fur takes place on the East Coast in the early 1980’s. Born-rich Jamey drops out of Yale after falling for Elise who grew up in the projects. For these two it’s like a spark at first sight and then, the more time they spend together, the deeper they fall. Jamey wants nothing more than to get away from his controlling 1% family who use their money for manipulation, while Elise cares only about being with the man she loves. As the two become one, they attempt to cocoon themselves away from their previous lives.

My plot description doesn’t do the novel justice. This book was better than I’d expected. It kept me engaged and wanting to read more. Libaire’s writing is clear and easy to follow, but maintains an artistic edge. Descriptions allow the reader to visualize certain passages, and some sections are graphic, but this is done in a gritty manner that is inoffensive to sensitive readers. White Fur would appeal to those interested in reading a magnetic love story or a story of boy-meets-girl from different social classes. This title is planned for release in May 2017 by Hogarth Press. I received an advance reader’s edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | Paradime by Alan Glynn

Paradime was an enjoyable read for me. This book tells the story of Danny Lynch upon his return back to New York from a contract in a mess hall in Afghanistan. Things are a bit out of sorts between him and his girlfriend Kate and as he tries to readjust to civilian life working a kitchen line job, he happens upon a man who seems to be his identical twin. Doppelgänger Teddy Trager is a tech start-up sensation who seems to have it all: money, fancy car, and a sexy, successful girlfriend. Danny stalks Teddy until lines blur and it’s no longer clear which man is which.

Glynn, author of Limitless, has penned a successful psychological thriller in Paradime. The novel is interesting from the start, easy to follow and well written. Though none of the characters are particularly likable, they are all tolerable and the flow of the story carries the narrative. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an advance reader’s copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Pictorials | Chinatown, New York City – market month photo 29

ny 027.jpg

Fish market in Chinatown. 2005. New York, New York, USA.

Book Review | What it Was Like by Peter Seth

book cover - what it was like by peter sethThis teenage love story begins at a summer camp in upstate New York when the Columbia bound narrator meets beautiful, wealthy high schooler Rachel. What it Was Like tells the story of how the two got to know each other, fell in love, dealt with obstructions to shakily maintain a distance relationship, and ultimately paid the price for wrongdoing. Seth keeps the secret of what exactly goes wrong between the two for almost the entire book while he writes about their all-consuming love by focusing on concrete events.

Being a fairly long novel at over 450 pages, this book took me a while to get through. The beginning, while something I could relate to having previously been a summer camp counselor, was a bit slow and did not immediately draw my attention. The narration of the book is in first person, chronological and very easy to follow. Physical and situational descriptions are adequate for the reader to draw mental pictures. These positive things said, the book was a let down for me. Overall, the word melodramatic comes to mind. The emphasis was so great on concrete events that I felt character emotions could have used more attention. I was looking for more of a love story that would lead me to feel something. This book could be appealing to those dealing with sociopath partners. Check out the book or ebook from a library near you.

Book Review | Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk

cover beautiful you

In Beautiful Youaverage 20-something Penny Harrigan stumbles into billionaire C. Linus Maxwell and a strange relationship begins. Penny has failed the bar more than once and her law career is worse than at a standstill. Things look up when Maxwell flies her to Paris to live in his penthouse and wine and dine with who’s who of high society. Penny loses control when Maxwell introduces into their relationship a series of erotic gadgets he’s invented. As the final test subject before they hit the market, Penny feels responsible when women begin losing their lives and careers to new pleasurable addictions.

The novel seems divided into two parts. At times the first half reminded me of Fifty Shades and the second half of Tom Robbins stories, but each of these authors proved more successful. While Palahniuk tells an inventive tale that flows better than most of his recent works, it is no match for his original novels (think Diary, Survivor, Choke, Lullaby…). This book is a quick read with a story that decently holds the reader’s interest and includes a few plot twists. The plot and sexually graphic content may be off-putting to some readers, but as other reviewers have noted, the story is fairly unique. If the jacket description sounds inviting, check it out from a library near you.

Book Review | Hikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff Backhaus

book cover Hikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff BackhausIncorporating Eastern and Western cultural elements, Backhaus’ well crafted breakout novel is an enjoyable and memorable read. Hikikomori and the Rental Sister relays the tale of withdrawn Thomas, his desperate wife Silke and the rental sister hired to be his friend, Megumi. Thomas has withdrawn from the outside world and imprisons himself in his locked bedroom for a crime he feels he committed. Silke continues to go to work and live in the apartment with Thomas though she has not seen his face in three years. At wit’s end she hires Megumi in a final attempt to coax Thomas out of his room and back into the world of the living. As an outsider, Megumi is able to connect with Thomas and an unexpected relationship grows between the two of them.

This book jumps right in without unnecessary background information. The story is immediately interesting as the reader is given a view into quite an unusual situation. Focus shifts between Thomas and Megumi providing for an important change of narrative scenery. Backhaus gives adequate description of the characters to bring them alive, but without bogging down the text with superfluous detail. The prose are tight and clear. I stumbled on this book accidentally at the library and picked it up because I’ve been waiting for Haruki Murakami’s newest book to be released in English this August. Fans of Murakami will appreciate the relationships that Backhaus develops here coupled with the desperation the various characters face. Check out Hikikomori and the Rental Sister from your local library.