Book Review: He Knew a Firefly by Smita Bhattacharya

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He Knew a Firefly by Smita Bhattacharya centers on Akshara who has the ability to see the futures of the people she loves. However her “gift” is more of a curse than a blessing as it seems that every life she touches is thrown into turmoil. Akshara must try to light the dark paths of her loved ones before fear and guilt consume her.

Bhattacharya writes in a graceful, almost lyrical style that I’ve rarely encountered in past novels and this poetic talent is certainly her strong suit. Seriously, her writing is exquisite.

I also really enjoyed having a glimpse into some of the different cultures of India. The author does this with ease, even adding words from her native tongue into the dialogue of the story without losing her English readers.

Where I encountered some problems was in the plot. Bhattacharya has created three loosely connected stories, all tied together by Akshara’s relationship with them which in theory is great however I found the storylines were somewhat difficult to follow. Because of this confusion, it made it hard to connect with some of her characters.

If I were to give a rating on the story alone, He Knew a Firefly would get 3 cups of java. However, because I feel that Bhattacharya’s writing itself is so beautiful, I have given the novel a 4 out 5 cup rating.

NOTE: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Upcoming Events

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Season’s greetings everyone!

I don’t know if it has been this way for you, but December has been absolutely bananas on my end! I’ve been working extra hours to have time off with the kids which means my house is a disaster zone and I haven’t finished my gifts but I’m thankfully starting to see a light at the end of this snowy tunnel.

That being said, I haven’t forgotten you and would like to announce two upcoming events that will be happening soon on the blog. First, an interview with author Nicholas Conley. I recently reviewed his novel Pale Highway and it was absolutely fantastic so I’m very excited to discuss his inspiration for his novel. Secondly, author Jamie Thornton will also be joining us to talk about her upcoming novella Eradication, the fourth installment in her Feast of Weeds series. I reviewed the first book, Germination, which is a kick-ass, non-apologetic zombie thriller. All of this on top of some new reviews coming your way. So yeah, I’m stoked.

In the meantime, I recommend you curl up with a good book, cup of spiked eggnog and enjoy the holiday season!

Cheers!

Book Review: The “She” Stands Alone by Nadine Keels

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The “She” Stands Alone by Nadine Keels is a cute novella about bibliophile Sheridan Jones; a woman who has been scorned by love and decides instead to date herself.

I really liked the message of this story; you need to be cool with who you are before you can fully invest in a relationship with someone else. In short, it’s ok to be single. Its advice so few people follow and yet it makes perfect sense.

Also, the awkward interactions between Sheridan and mailman/neighbor Eugene were funny. He may have been a tad too short for Sheridan’s liking but I was rooting for Eugene!

What didn’t I like? Honestly, I wasn’t crazy about the cover art. If I had been scrolling through the Kindle store, I would have likely passed on buying this book and that would have been a shame.

If you like a clean romantic comedy, I recommend giving The “She” Stands Alone a try.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange with an honest review.

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Top 5 Christmas Books That Will Get You Into the Holiday Spirit!

Season’s greetings everyone! Inspired by the new fallen snow in my hometown, I decided to share with you my top 5 Christmas books for the young and old this holiday season.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

How could anyone not love Dr. Seuss? More importantly, how could this children’s book not be included in everyone’s top 5 Christmas list? The story of this grumpy green creature is a classic in North American homes and let’s just lay it all out there; Dr. Seuss was one badass philosophical dude. If your knowledge of this tale is through film, do yourself a favor and go pick up the print version.

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The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

Yes, it’s more than a little sappy but what would the holidays be without some warm fuzzy feelings around a yule log fire? The message of this book is simple; love and cherish your family while they are still here. It reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. Fair warning – keep of box of tissue handy. You’ll be needing it!

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This has to be one of the best known Christmas tales there is. Everyone knows (or is at least familiar with) the story of the cheap, cold-hearted Scrooge who, when confronted with his memories and the future that awaits him, changes for the better. Albeit the style of writing may be a tad confusing (why so many semicolons, Dickens?) however it remains one of my most beloved classics of the season.

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The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

This is one of those children’s books that has the ability to bring up a large element of nostalgia in its adult readers. And although some critics have said they feel the story appeals more to adults than children, my kids love the book and we read it every holiday season. Additionally, the gorgeous illustrations found in the book were created by the author himself and it’s great to see such multifaceted talent.

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The Little Match Girl – Hans Christian Anderson

Ok, if this book doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you’re a freakin’ robot. Obviously, I’ve only read the English version and not the original Dutch; however I’m convinced the essence of the story has remained intact. Without spoiling the ending, I feel that it’s important to give potential readers a heads up that this tale doesn’t exactly end the way most kids are used to. That being said, it’s a beautiful story which is why I still chose to include it in this list.

There you have it, folks! I hope you pick up some of these books and cozy up with them and a cup of hot Irish coffee this holiday season. And please, comment below and share you favorite Christmas/holiday books with me as well!

 

 

Book Review: Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley

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Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley tells the story of Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Schist, a brilliant man whose mind is slowly slipping away due to Alzheimer’s disease. With a new horrific virus hitting the human race, Gabriel knows that he may be the only person capable of finding a cure –as long as his mind remains intact.

Let me say this: Pale Highway is like nothing I’ve ever read before. At once a sci-fi, it remains at its core an intimate look at a man’s struggle with a devastating disease. Conley’s style of writing is solid but his greatest talent lies in his character development. The journey of getting to know Gabriel was absolutely touching. Conley has openly said that his work in a nursing home was a huge inspiration for Pale Highway and his connection to the patients shines through in his writing. It’s personal, it’s heartbreaking, it’s immensely frustrating and at times it’s even funny.

I especially like that for most of the novel I wasn’t 100% sure that Gabriel was a reliable narrator. With the character’s questionable visions (there are talking slugs, people) and the sudden presence of mysterious newcomer Victor, Conley expertly has his readers second guessing everything they were so sure of.

The novel’s vivid depiction of life as a nursing home resident is unapologetic. Seriously, it will make you want to visit whatever loved ones you may have in this type of situation. By reading the book however, the reader will soon realize that Pale Highway itself isn’t nearly as wheelchair ridden as its characters. This is a fast-face, can’t-put-it-down thrilling read as Gabriel races against the clock to find a cure.

I highly recommend Pale Highway to fans of sci-fi, thrillers and to anyone with a soft spot for Alzheimer’s patients (and talking slugs, of course).

Note: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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