Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty, is a treasure found on the sale shelves of the local library. I have to admit, part of the reason I bought the book is because of the author’s name–what bibliophile wouldn’t want to read a book by Moriarty?

Six adults, three children, and one dog all go to a barbecue together. While there, something unspeakable happens. Something that effects each person in different ways and threatens to pull apart lifelong friendships and ruin marriages.

Liane Moriarty does an excellent job portraying each of these individual characters as individuals. Almost every character in this book, if they have more than one scene, becomes the point of view character at one point or another, but it’s never confusing. It’s told third person limited, with these alternating points of view, and I fell into the heads of each character as I read their individual chapters.

The book also alternates between flashback and present day, with “The day of the barbeque” in front of the flashbacks. In this way, little after little of what actually happened that day is interspersed with the characters dealing with the aftermath and trauma. In this way, the reveal takes place almost entirely over the course of the book, and we learn intimately about each character.

I love how Liane Moriarty leaves little clues as to what happened scattered throughout the book before the reveal. And let me tell you, dear reader, I was so sure I figured it out. I practically gloated when I picked up a phrase here, a reaction there, an exclusion there, in the present-day chapters. And then…and then…

I was wrong. Yup, I had picked up on all these clues, and gotten some minor details right, but the big, all-important, “What happened on the day of the barbecue?” I was dead wrong.

I’d encourage you to go to your bookstore, or your public library, and request or purchase a copy of this book. Written in a similar style as a whodunnit murder mystery, but with much more emphasis on the inner lives of the characters, it is full of heart, heartache, and was obviously a labor of love.


The Church of Dead Girls

the church of dead girls

It was one of those rare books that grabbed me from the very first moment, the very first sentence.  I’d found this book at a thrift store, or maybe a library book sale.  I forget which.  But I’d held onto it because, according to the cover, Stephen King said it was, “Very rich, very scary, very satisfying.”

And People Magazine had said, “Tantalizingly sinister…Dobyns hooks us from the very first sentence.”

And New York Daily News promised, “It’s unlikely there will be a better novel this season than The Church of Dead Girls.”

Did…did we read the same book?

I mean, sure, the prologue of The Church of Dead Girls, by Stephen Dobyns, was spellbinding, and the first half of the first chapter was great, but after that…well, I felt like doing this the entire time: Continue reading “The Church of Dead Girls”

The Vines We Planted

When I originally said I would review The Vines We Planted, by Joanell Serra, I fully intended to read the book in a couple of days and then review it the day after. Then life happened, my world got a bit crazy (in all good ways, eventually), and I couldn’t dedicate the time I wanted to reading and reviewing books. That was back in May. Now it’s August, on the cusp of September.

I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.

But now I’m back! So let’s get started! Continue reading “The Vines We Planted”

Walden Two

walden two coverThanks to finally opening up on my Twitter account about my book blog (sorry, I’m not comfortable linking my twitter handle here just yet), one of my followers recommended the book Walden Two to me.  After a few false starts and distractions, I finally buckled down and took the book out for a half hour per night until I finished it.  It’s certainly not a book I would have picked on my own, which is perfectly fine.  After all, expanding my horizons by reading outside my comfort zone is something I’m working on all the time (well, not all the time, but at least little by little).

Walden Two, by B. F. Skinner, is a terrible novel.  If you are looking for something with good plot, engaging dialogue, and fully realized characters, do not pick up this book.  Though set up as a novel, it is more of a novelized version of Skinner’s treatise on the optimal Utopian society based upon behavioral science and behavioral conditioning.  I kept reading, thinking that someday, sometime, the exposition-via-dialogue would end and Skinner would show us how Walden Two (the fictional utopian community) worked instead of telling us.  After all, the book started promisingly enough, with our introduction to Professor Burris pretending he remembers two of his old students, who have returned from war and hope to find a place to live not dictated by the ever-shifting ever-hazardous environments created by warring politics.  It was humorous, intriguing, and just the hook that I needed to be drawn into what I thought would be engaging lessons via prose.

Alas, it was not to be.

This review shall be split in two parts: critiquing the novel, and critiquing the ideas presented. Continue reading “Walden Two”

Thy Brother’s Blood

thy brothers blood cover

Okay peeps, time for a moment of honesty: this book took me nearly two months to read, and it’s taken me a week to formulate my thoughts for this blog post.  I’ve got my cream soda ready for a sip; and as I don’t drink alcohol, this is serious business.  The only way I could be more serious is if I had chocolate milk on hand to fortify myself.

I was asked to review Thy Brother’s Blood by someone who has sent several wonderful books my way.  I was warned that it was controversial in content and literary in nature.  Always up for a challenge, and always thirsty for exposure to different cultures, I eagerly accepted.  And I promised I would write a review, which is why I’m here now. Continue reading “Thy Brother’s Blood”

The Agitated Heart Book Review

the-agitated-heart-cover“Christopher Jacob Arnold sought peace for many days.”

So begins J. Scott Bronson’s novella, The Agitated Heart. This short book provides what many longer works lose in their lengthiness: concise language, yes, but rich, deep characters, situations and themes that make you think, a stillness that engulfs you after you’ve read. Continue reading “The Agitated Heart Book Review”