Saturday, October 24, 2020

Book Review: The Summer Sail By: Wendy Francis

 "A sail away to a tropical island. Yes, it was just the thing she needed.
She hoped her roommates would say yes" 

Book Title: The Summer Sail
Author: Wendy Francis
Amount of Pages: 294 
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
From: Publisher 
I was not paid for this review 

Summary (From the back of the book)
Three best friends reunite for a summer vacation they will never forget - but not for the reasons they expect. 

When Abby decides to renew her wedding vows for her twentieth anniversary on a cruise to Bermuda, she invites her best friends and former college roommates, Caroline and Lee to join her. As the ship pulls away from the pier, everyone is looking forward to an idyllic week of lounging by the pool, sipping cocktails, and reminiscing. 

If only it were that easy...

Caroline, a magazine editor, wonders when and if her longtime boyfriend, Javier, will propose. If he doesn't get his act together on the cruise, she may just leave him. Lee, a single mom, desperately wants to win back the affections of her daughter, Lacey, who has returned home from her freshman year of college as a bit of a monster. And happily married hosts Abby and Sam are hiding a major secret from everyone, including their twin sons, Chris and Ryan. 

As tensions flare and the fairy-tale ceremony threatens to unravel, three women will discover if their bond of friendship can sustain them in life's uncharted waters. 

Wdebo's Review: Sometimes you just need one of those summer reads especially now when the season is quickly changing from Fall to Winter. This novel was light, fast and fun - a great book to bring to the beach and just laze around and flip through the pages. Though there were some hiccups during the story, it was definitely a nice and quick read. 

I was thoroughly impressed by the friendships that were presented in the stories. The bond the roommates shared that had spanned for many decades is truly enviable. It made me wish that I have those sorts of strong relationships when I get older as well. 

While the relationships between the characters were great I found certain characterizations to be lacking. Some of the characters were written in a more stereotypical light especially in terms of the children. It definitely was written from the point of view of an older person who is trying to act younger without much conviction so it turned pretty cringey at times in terms of tone and mannerisms. Additionally, each roommates story was wrapped up too perfectly. Everything seemed to fall into place a bit too well and was slightly too idealistic for me. 

However, I do have to commend the fact that the story was written about three best friends who are all in different stages of life and relationships. It's rare to see that celebrated all at once but it is important since not all of us are in the same stages of life even if we are the same age and that is totally fine. 

Cafe Cover Chat: I find the cover to be cute - definitely makes you want to be on a sunny cruise. (B) 

All in all, a fun and quick little read - perfect to bring as a beachside companion. 

Grade: B

Wdebo :) 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Book Review: The Lost History of Dreams By: Kris Waldherr

 "'In speaking of love, we speak of intangible things. Like ghosts.' Her tone turned uneasy. 'Thus, that which we love haunts us with possibilites, with denied yearnings like a ghost. The closer we approach, the more they elude.'" 

Book Title: The Lost History of Dreams 
Author: Kris Waldherr 
Amount: 320 
Release Date: April 9, 2019 
From: Publisher
I was not paid for this review 

Summary (From the Back of the Book): When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is found dead in his bath one morning, the task of burying his body falls on his estranged cousin, historian turned post-mortem photographer Robert Highstead. The chapel stipulated in De Bonne's will, a stained-glass folly set on the Shropshire moors, was built over a decade earlier to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada, and has since remained closed to all outsiders-especially the rabid, cultlike fans of De Bonne's last book, The Lost History of Dreams. 

Only Ada's grief-stricken niece, Isabelle, holds the key-but she refuses to unlock the glass chapel unless Robert agrees to her bargain: before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record the real story behind her aunt's ill-fated marriage over the course of five nights.

Sweeping and darkly atmospheric, The Lost History of Dreams is a Gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs the line between past and present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death. 

Wdebo's Review: This book has been sitting on my shelf for the past year and I was unfortunately only able to get to it now just due to how my last year of grad school was going. When I finally picked it up I found that it definitely took a bit to get into the story. The details of everyone's stories just got quickly thrown in without much background to help pillow it. However, as the story went on more and more ends started to get tied up and was much easier to follow. However, I felt that even though the ending explained a lot of the mystery surrounding certain people it was just not as satisfying as I was hoping for because it felt so rushed. 

For example, Robert's ability to daguerreotype the dead was randomly brought in to show how he was able to bring his dead wife to life but the past of that was never really expanded on. It just seemed like a big topic that was randomly brought out and ignored. I really wish the amount of details and fluff would have been cut down to allow the true important points to develop properly. 

Out of all of the stories that were told I did love Ada and Hugh's the most. Something about it just drew me in more so than all of the other ones. I think it might be the fact it was told in a deliberate story telling aspect that truly made it more enjoyable the other ones. I do have to also note the fact she was able to blend different story telling voices into one was very impressive. 

Cafe Cover Chat: Pretty average cover that is not enticing (C) 

All in all, although this was not the most exciting nor polished story there were some admirable qualities and moments that shined through. 

Grade: C+

Wdebo :) 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Book Review: Bunny By: Mona Awad

 "Kira pats my back, the handle of the bloodied ax still in her little fist.
'Welcome to Workshop, Bunny'" 

Book Title: Bunny
Author: Mona Awad
Amount of Pages: 305
Release Date: June 11, 2019
From: Bookstore

Summary (From the back of the book): A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, Samantha Heather Mackey is utterly repelled by the rest of her graduate fiction writing cohort at New England's elite Warren University: a clique of unbearably saccharine yet sinister rich girls who call each other "Bunny" and seem to move and speak as one. 

But everything changes when Samatha receives an invitation to the Bunnies' fabled "Smut Salon" and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door - ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samatha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies' world and begins to take part in their monstrous experiments, the edges of realities begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the bunnies will be brought into deadly collision. 

Wdebo's Review: After seeing so much praise for the book and receiving a glowing recommendation from the girl behind the counter who rung up my book, I was very excited to start it. However, maybe it was because of the heavy buildup I was given but although I enjoyed it, I don't think I did to the degree I was promised.   

The whole book was pretty much like some sort of weird fever dream. It starts out slow and slightly pretentious with its unnecessarily flowery and sometimes difficult to follow speech. Suddenly it bops you on the forehead with its introduction of the Bunnies' activities and starts jerking you back and forth with wild fantasies and situations. I do have to state that the conclusion was not something I saw coming. I appreciated it because that does not happen to me often. It was still enjoyable even though I shut the book thinking "what the fuck just happened?"

The characters themselves were not too memorable, all slight caricatures of themselves. But maybe that's the point? A satire of these stock characters we consistency see within literature. The throng of mean girls who are so unattainable it is presented in a supernatural light. An awkward, bumbling and at times antisocial protagonist who brings to light all of the insecurities inside of ourselves. And finally a dark, brooding girl who acts distant but is essentially very needy. Samatha herself is not the most likable protagonist but the journey she takes us through was, in a word, fascinating. 

Cafe Cover Chit Chat: I like the simplicity of the cover and its contrasting colors. Also a fan of the font - it's soft and sharp all at once. (B+) 

All in all, an at times confusing but others deliciously fun read. Don't go into it with any expectations but just enjoy the ride it ends up taking you on. 

Grade: B+

Wdebo :)