Tag: literary fiction

Book Review: The Fairies of Sadieville, by Alex Bledsoe

fairies
Image belongs to Tor books.

Title:  The Fairies of Sadieville
Author:  Alex Bledsoe
Genre:  Fantasy…ish.
Rating:  4/5

When graduate students Justin and Veronica find an old film cannister with three words on it, “This is real,” they aren’t prepared for the film inside, which shows a girl transforming into a winged fairy. Justin is desperate to find a topic for his thesis, so the two set out to find the mysterious Sadieville, a town that vanished off the face of the earth over a century ago.

In rural Tennessee, everyone seems to have secrets. Secrets that point to the Tufa, a clannish group with dark skin, dark hair, and white teeth. They all look similar and they seem to have an unusual affinity for music. But not everyone likes Justin and Veronica asking questions, although Tucker Carding seems happy to help them—for reasons unknown.

Soon, Justin and Veronica find a secret, hidden for years, that will have all the Tufa asking a question they never dreamed of:  if they could go back to their homeland of Tir na nOg, would they?

I should probably say that this is the first Tufa novel I’ve read. That really didn’t matter, as I was able to follow the story/history with no problems at all. This read like smart literary fiction with a fantasy element. The setting here is tremendously well-done, with Appalachia full of living, breathing life on every page. I really enjoyed reading this, and highly recommend it!

Alex Bledsoe grew up in Tennessee and now lives in Wisconsin. He’s the author of the Eddie Lacrosse novels, the Firefly Witch novels, the Memphis Vampires novels, and the Tufa novels. His newest novel, The Fairies of Sadieville is the final Tufa novel.

(Galley provided by Tor Books in exchange for an honest review.)

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Book Review: The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin

immortalists_1
Image belongs to Penguin/Putnam.

In 1969, the Gold family lives on the Lower East Side in New York City. Life is normal, boring even, until the four children hear a neighborhood rumor that a local gypsy can tell you the exact date you will die, and decide to see for themselves. After all, what could it hurt? It takes some time, but they finally track down where the woman lives. They must see her alone, so one by one, they enter her shadowy apartment and listen to her words. They never tell each other what she says, but they never forget their dates.

Simon escapes the trap of familial expectations to find love as a dancer in San Francisco. Klara, who has dreamed of magic her whole life, finds reality overpowering, and becomes a magician in Las Vegas. Daniel has a steady future as an Army doctor, but finds the expectations of his job may be more than he’s willing to give. And Varya becomes a researcher in longevity, seeking to unlock the key to a long life, despite the dreariness of her own.

All of them are shaped by the gypsy’s words, and seek to prove her prediction wrong, but sometimes fate is inescapable.

Let me say, first of all, that I think The Immortalists simply wasn’t a good fit for me. I was very intrigued by the premise, and I love family-saga stories, so it seemed a good match. However, the book is told in four segments, one for each character, and I never felt like I really connected with any of them. Briefly, yes, but not enough to truly enjoy the novel.

Benjamin’s writing is lovely and evocative; I could practically smell the streets of San Francisco and feel the heat of the spotlights, but I never connected emotionally with the characters. I did read this quickly, so perhaps, in a different frame of mind, my experience would have been different.

Chloe Benjamin is an award-winning author from San Francisco, California. The Immortalists is her newest novel.

(Galley provided by Putnam/Penguin Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

#TheImmortalists

 

Two Days Gone, by Randall Silvis

two-days-gone
Image belongs to Sourcebooks Landmark.)

Randall Silvis is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels, a play, a screenplay, and numerous essays. His newest novel is Two Days Gone.

Thomas Huston is a best-selling author, a respected professor, and an involved family man. He’s invested in the community, and people love him. So, when everything changes in an instant, and his wife and three kids are found brutally murdered and he vanishes—making him the prime suspect—detective Ryan DeMarco wants to know why:  why would this man, who seems to have everything, suddenly snap?

DeMarco knows Huston, and doesn’t believe the man capable of the brutal murders. But if Huston is innocent, where is he? Why is he hiding? And what did he uncover while researching his newest novel? The questions far outnumber the facts as DeMarco races the clock to uncover the truth about the life of Thomas Huston.

Two Days Gone has the lyrical feel of literary fiction, yet it’s also a murder mystery. Thomas Huston is an enigma; driven and loving in his life “before,” haunted and determined in the “after.” The characters live and breathe on the page, and had me up late into the night to see where the story was headed.

(Galley provided by Sourcebooks Landmark.)

The Summer that Melted Everything, by Tiffany McDaniel

 

the summer that melted everything
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.)

 

Tiffany McDaniel is a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist, as well as an author. Her first published novel is The Summer that Melted Everything.

In 1984, a summer heat wave swept over Breathed, Ohio and changed everything. Or was it the devil that did the changing? Fielding Bliss is just a kid, a kid whose dad issued the devil’s invitation. No one thought he’d actually show up…

Sal is bruised and battered, but he looks like a normal 13-year-old kid. Except for his claim to be the devil. But Fielding takes him home, where he’s accepted into the family. The rest of Breathed isn’t quite so accepting. As the heat wave continues, strange things start happening, and soon everyone starts believing the fanatic who urges the devil’s destruction. The Bliss family is dealing with their own personal demons, but soon their crisis and the town’s become one, as the fate of Sal hangs in the balance.

The Summer that Melted Everything is an evocative, descriptive novel that will have the reader sweltering along with the characters—and wondering, too. Is Sal really the devil? What’s causing the unfortunate accidents sweeping through Breathed? And when will the madness—and the heat—end? This is a gripping novel that floats along like a lazy summer’s day, then explodes into action like fireworks across a night sky.

(Galley provided by St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley.)