Hey guys! I know that it can get to be a little confusing with all of these book reviews–especially if you follow more than one book reviewer, so I’m going to start doing bi-weekly or monthly updates on everything that I do here on the blog to keep you updated and make my reviews super easy to follow from now on! I’ll play with it and see which format works best!
As many of you may know, I recently finished my own work of fiction, Snakes and Ladders! HUGE sigh of relief–though, admittedly, for the first few days after it was done, I kept going back to it, opening the Word doc, then remember, “Navi, it’s done already!” So strange not having that project to work on after it’s consumed my whole life for so long! Must be a feeling similar to when a mother’s first child leaves the next: you don’t really know what to do with yourself, so you fluff and flutter around that child until they swat you away and say, “Mom, stop!” Then, you remember that you have other kids to tend to, and you have to let that first one go out into the world on its own! I’ll keep you guys posted on my progress with novel 2 and with my short story collection (which I so excited about)!
Meanwhile, a post by a fellow blogger Read it Here inspired me to let you guys know what I’ve been thinking, pondering, dealing with over the past few months:
I was one busy bee for several EXHAUSTING but FULFILLING MONTHS! I maintained 2 jobs in my field (well, kinda lol) while reviewing fairly regularly, finishing up my first novel and trying to have some semblance of a social life! Recently, I decided to give up being a Developmental Editor at a text book firm, PT, to try to make a career of what I truly love – reviewing. Likely, this stemmed from the arrival of my 30th birthday last month, and I decided to say EFF it; I want to do what I REALLY want to do! And I recently finished re-writing my first novel and have started pitching it to agents. The question then became, for me the same as it is for so many people who find themselves at a crossroads: Now what? Do I start tackling book 2 or the short story collection, or the reviews? Do I leave my current job for a role that’s actually in the field I want to be in–books and magazines?
With that being said, what it came down to for me was what truly makes me happy. I know, I know, it’s a bit of a cliche these days (“happiness,” I mean what even is that, right?) But I want to find joy in everything that I do, because life is already hard enough, stressful enough, sometimes painful enough. Trust me, it can all be done. Now, I’m so excited to say that I will be working with Padmore Culture Magazine as a guest blogger, while continuing my own reviews and writing, and that was made possible, partly, because I took that scary leap and did away with a job that wasn’t fulfilling for me at all. You just have to prioritize what means most to you AND prioritize your own goals for the future. If you have something on your plate that fits into neither of those categories, then it should be eliminated. Hope that helps any one of you guys who may also be pondering the same thing!
Lastly, here are the next few novels on my TO READ LIST. (This list is also on my Goodreads for those readers who also follow me there!) Feel free to skim to see the upcoming reviews, and DROP ME A LINE with suggestions of reviews you’d like to see!
In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.
As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.
Welcome to LA? Nineties’ Hollywood gets an Italian makeover in this poignant and ruefully funny coming-of-age novel featuring a teenage girl who’s on shaky ground in more ways than one.
Mere weeks after the 1992 riots that laid waste to Los Angeles, Eugenia, a typical Italian teenager, is rudely yanked from her privileged Roman milieu by her hippie-ish filmmaker parents and transplanted to the strange suburban world of the San Fernando Valley. With only the Virgin Mary to call on for guidance as her parents struggle to make it big, Hollywood fashion, she must navigate her huge new public high school, complete with Crips and Bloods and Persian gang members, and a car-based environment of 99-cent stores and obscure fast-food franchises and all-night raves. She forges friendships with Henry, who runs his mother’s movie memorabilia store, and the bewitching Deva, who introduces her to the alternate cultural universe that is Topanga Canyon. And then the 1994 earthquake rocks the foundations not only of Eugenia’s home but of the future she’d been imagining for herself.”
A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.
In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers.
Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.
Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.
From veteran online journalist and BuzzFeed writer Doree Shafrir comes a hilarious debut novel that proves there are some dilemmas that no app can solve.
Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he’s about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running and may turn his brainchild into a $1 billion dollar business–in startup parlance, an elusive unicorn.
Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news.
Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband-who also happens to be Katya’s boss-as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she’s been away.
Before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack’s bad behavior collides with Katya’s search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack’s scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it’s up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold.
An assured, observant debut from the veteran online journalist Doree Shafrir, Startup is a sharp, hugely entertaining story of youth, ambition, love, money and technology’s inability to hack human nature.
It is 2140.
The waters rose, submerging New York City.
But the residents adapted and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been. Though changed forever.
Every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island.
Through the eyes of the varied inhabitants of one building, Kim Stanley Robinson shows us how one of our great cities will change with the rising tides.
And how we too will change.
“An alt-futuristic hard-science thriller with twists and turns you’ll never see coming. I couldn’t put it down.” -Felicia Day, founder of Geek & Sundry
It’s the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure… Arrival… Delight!
Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-fifth century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980’s new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting.
Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.
The author of the stunning New York Times bestseller The Widow returns with a brand-new novel of twisting psychological suspense.
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn house by house into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women and torn between what she can and cannot tell.
The entangled pasts of two ruling class New England families come to light over three summer days on an island in Maine in this extraordinary debut novel.
1964. The Hillsingers and the Quicks have shared the small Maine island of Seven for generations. Though technically family—Jim Hillsinger and Billy Quick married Park Avenue sisters Lila and Hannah Blackwell—they do not mix. Now, on the anniversary of Hannah’s death, Lila feels grief pulling her toward Billy. Jim, a spy recently ousted from the CIA, decides to carry out the threat Lila explicitly forbid: to banish their youngest son, twelve-year-old Catta, to the neighboring island of Baffin for twenty-four hours in an attempt to make a man out of him.
Set during three summer days, Estep Nagy’s debut novel moves among the communities of Seven as longstanding tensions become tactical face-offs where anything is fair game for ammunition. Vividly capturing the rift between the cold warriors of Jim’s generation and the rebellious seekers of Catta’s, We Shall Not All Sleep is a richly told story of American class, family, and manipulation—a compelling portrait of a unique and privileged WASP stronghold on the brink of dissolution.