hello, it’s me

Hi Everyone! Happy third night of Chanukah, a belated Merry Christmas, and a happy first night of Kwanza! I just wanted to post a quick update for you all. I apologize for being MIA for the past two weeks. I’ve honestly been in a bit of a funk and haven’t done much reading but I’m finally back to feeling like myself again.

At the moment, I’m reading A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman because I just needed his wonderful prose and quirky characters to lift my spirits. Seeing as though I’m tearing on through that, I should have another review up for you guys in the next couple of days. I’ll also be posting a complete list of all the books I read in 2016 with ratings and a TBR list for 2017.

Thanks for not forgetting about me & happy reading! 🙂

Review of The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

After being in a bit of a reading slump, I was desperate for a read that would absolutely enthrall me and The Wonder by Emma Donoghue did that and more. Set in the 19th century, an English nurse named Lib is summoned to a small Irish village to observe a young girl who, according to her family, hasn’t eaten anything for 4 months. As people flock from all ends of the earth to witness the miracle girl, Lib makes it her mission to uncover the secrets behind Anna’s survival without proper nutrition for such an extended period of time.

I was immediately captivated by this novel. Donoghue expertly creates an air of mystery surrounding Anna’s “miraculous” existence that was was realistic, but still extremely intriguing. I particularly loved the various dichotomies that Donoghue wove into this novel. The stark contrast between English Protestants and Irish Catholics during this time period served as a beautiful foundation for a story that wonderfully portrayed how difficult it can be to manage the dissonance between religious and scientific truths. Despite the fact that Anna’s existence goes against all the scientific information that has been instilled in Lib, she is still alive and well which forces Lib to question the sanctity of her own beliefs.

Although this book moved at a slower pace than I am typically drawn to in a psychological thriller, I honestly couldn’t put it down. I simply had to know how Anna continued to survive and which of the many flawed characters in her inner circle were responsible for this “divine intervention” and Donoghue’s incredible storytelling abilities kept me guessing until the very last page.

Ultimately, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder completely redefines the genre of psychological thriller. I absolutely devoured this book and encourage anyone and everyone to move this novel up to the top of your reading list. Donoghue’s incredible storytelling is simply not something any reader should deprive themselves of any longer.

Let me know your thoughts on The Wonder or any of Emma Donoghue’s other works in the comments below! 🙂

5 out of 5 stars

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Review of The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

After the tremendous amount of praise surrounding this novel, The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang was yet another book I purchased and immediately bumped to the top of my reading list. However, this novel became yet another “notable” book of 2016 that failed to strike a cord with me.

In this novel, Charles Wang is a Chinese immigrant who has carved out a very lavish life for himself, his second wife Barbra, and three children Saina, Grace, and Andrew with the tremendous success of his cosmetics empire. However when this comes toppling down with the rest of the market in 2008, Charles decides to return to his homeland and reclaim his ancestral lands that were confiscated under the Communist regime. Before he can do this, he first pulls Grace and Andrew out of their respective schools and drives cross country in his first wife’s vintage car to Saina’s upstate New York home, which becomes the overall focus of the novel.

Although the premise of this novel seems to lend itself to endless humor, I was less than amused. While I commend Ms. Chang on her ability to create five main characters with such distinct voices, I found all of them to be quite unlikeable and therefore struggled to really empathize with what they were going through as a family. I was also very frustrated by Chang’s decision to write parts of the novel’s dialogue in Chinese. While I understand the desire to create an authentic portrayal of a blended Chinese-American home, I found myself lost in translation at key moments in the novel. In fact, I’m honestly still at a loss for what exactly happened in regard to Charles’ health and his ancestral lands because of how much Chinese riddled the last few pages of the novel.

Ultimately, reading The Wangs vs. The World was very comparable to my experience reading The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Just when I started to warm up a bit to these utterly unlikeable characters, they did something inexcusable which left me questioning why I even bothered to continue reading. Despite all the hype surrounding this novel, I would definitely not recommend it.

Let me know in the comments below what your thoughts were on this book!

2.5 out of 5 stars

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November Wrap Up & December TBR’s

Happy December everyone! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving last week and an overall awesome November. Below is a recap of the books I read this month and my reading plan for December. I apologize that didn’t exactly stick to my TBR list from this past month. I’m hoping to get to the books I didn’t get to in November in December!

Let me know in the comments below what you’re most looking forward to reading this month!

November Wrap-Up:

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Frederik Backman
5 out of 5 stars 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
5 out of 5 stars 

The Mothers by Brit Bennett
4 out of 5 stars 

The Underground Railroad by Colton Whitehead
2 out of 5 stars 

The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang
(reading now–first review of December!)

December TBR:

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam

Sleep Wise by Dr. Daniel Blum (to be released: 12/27)

The Mortifications by Derek Palacio

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett (to be released: 1/3/17)