Brilliant Book Titles #259

first you write

Blurb: 

‘What a lovely thing this is: a book that delights in the sheer textural joy of good sentences … Any writer should read it‘ Bee Wilson

Thoughtful, engaging, and lively … when you’ve read it, you realise you’ve changed your attitude to writing (and reading)’ John Simpson, formerly Chief Editor of the OED and author of The Word Detective

The sentence is the common ground where every writer walks. A poet writes in sentences, but so does the unsung author who came up with Items trapped in doors cause delays. A good sentence can be written (and read) by anyone if we simply give it the gift of our time, and it is as close as most of us will get to making something truly beautiful.

Enter acclaimed author Professor Joe Moran. Using minimal technical terms, First You Write a Sentence is his unpedantic but authoritative explanation of how the most ordinary words can be turned into verbal constellations of extraordinary grace. Using sources ranging from the Bible and Shakespeare to George Orwell and Maggie Nelson, and scientific studies of what can best fire the reader’s mind, he shows how we can all write in a way that is clear, compelling and alive.

Whether dealing with finding the ideal word, building a sentence or constructing a paragraph, First You Write a Sentence informs by light example: much richer than a style guide, it can be read not just for instruction but for pleasure and delight. And along the way it shows how good writing can help us notice the world, make ourselves known to others and live more meaningful lives. It’s an elegant gem in praise of the English sentence.

Moran is a past master at producing fine, accessible non-fiction‘ Helen Davies, Sunday Times

Joe Moran has a genius for turning the prosaic poetic‘ Peter Hennessy

Autopsy by Donte Collins

autopsy.png

I read a lot of poetry collections, and a fair amount I don’t finish, and of the ones I do, a fair amount I wish I hadn’t.

This is not one of them.

This blew me away. The precision, the lexical linguistics, the imagery, the goddamn precision – it’s all here. I’ve had this book on my desk for a month or so as I haven’t wanted to return it to the library, despite having read it. Twice.

I’m also now thinking of buying a copy.

Autopsy is a book about grief. It is exactly the right length and hits all the marks it should. It opens with a wonderful prologue, which, although appears to not, actually sets the scene well – the narrator in the uber with (not his, but) someone’s mother. Also, I sent this opening to my nephew to get him to read more poetry as I knew it would make him laugh:

DON’T TELL YOUR UBER DRIVER YOU’RE GOING TO AN ORGY

besides, her name is diane & she only has this job
because her niece says she should be more social

This book is not despressing, as you might think, being about grief. It is a beautiful rumination on losing a mother, on being a gay black man who lost his mother. It is also experimental with form, in that best way (a way that works, and seems almost unnoticeable). And for anyone who has grieved you will recognise every word and line.

It’s almost impossible to pick one poem out as an example, as they are so interlinked, but I’ll leave you with this:

LONG STORY SHORT
after Mary Lou Collins

someone who is dead now taught you
how best to clean up your blood. then
how to clean up blood when it is not
your own. how to push from your elbow
properly sweep a floor, spell c o n t I n u e

three syllables donte, go on & like a god
or a bird, or a boy salted with grief, you
want the earth to kneel for you, want every
clock to confess its slick motive. to say,
suddenly, that death is only a joke

the earth’s biggest punchline. she’s been
gone 15,840 minutes & you have felt the
godless storm of each of them, are waiting
for your mother to walk into her funeral, to
sit next to all of her children at once, to lean
into the soft of her shoulder, for her to whisper
it’s okay son, i’m here now, i’m here

—–

You can reserve a copy on South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Making the Cut by Anne Malcolm

making the cut

Blurb: 

Gwen Alexandra does not need a man in her life. Especially not a man who looks like Chris Hemsworth and Joe Manganiello’s love child. One wearing leather, riding a Harley, and covered in tattoos.

Gwen can bet every pair of her Manolos that Cade Fletcher is trouble. From the moment she meets him, the attraction sizzles between them. Gwen has a problem when it comes to attractive men in motorcycle clubs. The last one she got involved with almost killed her.

After healing physically, Gwen decides to get a new start in a small town, half a country away from the man who nearly cost her her life. She isn’t in town five minutes when she runs into Cade, a man that is too sexy and dangerous for his own good.

She tries to keep away from him, to ignore the attraction between them. But the biker has other ideas, soon she is in way over her head. Her heart, and her life are in danger once again.

Review:

5 New Beginnings Stars 

Making the Cut starts of quite graphic, with a brutal attack on Gwen. Not for the faint hearted I tell you. Not only is she attacked but it’s by her biker boyfriend. Fast forward a year and Gwen has decided she needs to start all over again somewhere new. She moves along with her best friend Amy and they open their dream shop. Gwen has no intentions of getting involved with anyone anytime soon, but life has a way of dropping things in your path whether you want them of not.

Cade Fletcher knows Gwen will be his, but Gwen wants nothing to do with him. Not only has she swoon of men, She will never go near a biker again. But Cade knows Gwen will be his, she puts up her walls but he has every plan to knock them all down no matter how long it takes.

This was a really enjoyable read, I could feel their connection straight off and was really invested in the both of them throughout the book. This was mainly told in Gwen’s POV, but it had a few parts in Cade’s POV. I would have liked more. I also love great secondary characters and this book was not short of them. Amy was brilliant and so where a lot of others. A line up for other books within this series which is very smart. Also free on kindle unlimited.

This was my first read from Anne Malcom and it definitely won’t be my last, I’m dying to read the next book in the series.

Brilliant Book Titles #258

normal people

Blurb:

A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018

‘The best novel published this year.’ Times

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.

This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.

—–

You can reserve a copy at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #257

french exit

Blurb:

The new novel from the Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Sisters Brothers

‘DeWitt is in possession of a fresh, lively voice that surprises at every turn’ Kate Atkinson, author of Transcription

‘My favourite book of his yet … Dizzyingly good … A triumph from a writer truly in the zone’ Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette

French Exit made me so happy … Brilliant, addictive, funny and wise’ Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less

Frances Price – tart widow, possessive mother and Upper East Side force of nature – is in dire straits, beset by scandal. Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there’s their cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral lawyer whose gruesome tabloid death rendered them social outcasts.

To put their troubles behind them, the trio cut their losses and head for the exit. Their beloved Paris becomes the backdrop for a giddy drive to self-destruction, helped along by a cast of singularly curious characters: a bashful private investigator, an aimless psychic and Mme. Reynard, friendly American expat and aggressive houseguest.

Brimming with pathos, warmth and wit, French Exit is a one-of-a-kind tragedy of manners, a riotous send-up of high society and a moving story of mothers and sons.

—–

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Adler by Jessica Gadziala

adler pic

Blurb: 

He decided it was time to retire, settle down, become something nice and tame. Like an arms-dealing biker in some town called Navesink Bank. He could get behind that lifestyle.

He’d anticipated a lot of things. Drinking. Brotherhood. A little action peppered in here and there to keep things from getting too dull.

But there was one thing he hadn’t planned on.

A woman moving in across the hall from him. The way something within him recognized something inside her. A past. Secrets. Darkness. Hidden behind thick walls, impenetrable shields, and a biting sort of confidence.

He damn sure couldn’t have prepared himself for the sudden and uncharacteristic urge to force his way into her life, get her to open up to him, feel comfortable enough to give her all the dark and ugly parts of his past. And – dare he even think it – plan a future with her.

You know… if she would stop disappearing for weeks at a time without a clue as to where she was going…

Review:

5 Milkshake Stars

I’ve been looking forward to Alder’s story for so long.

Adler and Lou take a while to come together, but while we are waiting for them to get their crap together we get some many LOL moments along with some very series and heartbreaking moments. Lou story is hard to take but even with it she is one kick-ass, taking names kinda woman. A leading lady I love to read and you can’t help but love Adler and I loved their chemistry.

While Adler and Lou are getting together we get glimpses of previous books, one being the story of V and I could see other scenarios playing out that we didn’t get a clear picture of before.

As always this is another 5 star Henchmen book for me! Jessica’s books are on KU so there is no reason not to one click with her books!

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Kylie Scott

it seemed like agood idea

Blurb: 

“Addictive like all Kylie Scott books, you’ll swoon, laugh, ache, put your life on hold, and compulsively read until the wee hours of the night—only to reread the whole thing the next morning. Perfection!” – Katy Evans, New York Times bestselling author

Returning home for her father’s wedding was never going to be easy for Adele. If being sent away at eighteen hadn’t been bad enough, the mess she left behind when she made a pass at her dad’s business partner sure was.

Fifteen years older than her, Pete had been her crush for as long as she could remember. But she’d misread the situation—confusing friendliness for undying love. Awkward. Add her father to the misunderstanding, and Pete was left with a broken nose and a business on the edge of ruin. The man had to be just as glad as everyone else when she left town.

Seven years later, things are different. Adele is no longer a kid, but a fully grown adult more than capable of getting through the wedding and being polite. But all it takes is seeing him again to bring back those old feelings.

Sometimes first loves are the truest.

Review:

4 Heartwarming Stars 

Adele used to spend the summers with her dad, and while there, she became friends with his coworker/friend, Pete. Pete is 15 years older than Adele, In Pete’s eyes they were friends and nothing else would come of it. When Adele turned 18, she thought that he would welcome her with open arms and they would live happily ever after…

Now it’s been 7 years and Adele is back for her dad’s wedding. This will be the first time she’s been back since the ‘Pete incident’. She is no longer a little girl at 25 and all grown and Pete, Well Pete is still as delish as he was back then. But it seems like he hasn’t forgotten the incident and he has no plans to be friends.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time was very entertaining, funny, Flirty and sexy love story. Kylie Scott is one of my go to writers and she didn’t let me down with this book.

Brilliant Book Titles #256

my ex life.jpg

Blurb:
David Hedges is having an unusual midlife crisis. His boyfriend, Soren, has left him for an older man, albeit a successful surgeon. His job-helping the spoiled children of San Francisco’s elite get into college-is exasperating. As his life reaches new lows, his weight reaches new highs. The only good thing he has is his under-market-value apartment that has a view so stunning he is the envy of all of San Francisco. But when the landlord finally decides to sell-to Soren and the surgeon courtesy of his supposed realtor friend-David hits rock bottom. Across the country, Julie Fiske isn’t having a much better time herself. Carol, the woman (younger, of course) that Henry, her second husband, left her for, is downright likable-more likeable than Henry was. The bills that she files by throwing into the back seat of her car keep piling up-so much so that she has turned her rambling home into an illegal B&B in the seaside tourist town where she lives. Her sullen teen daughter adamantly refused to apply to college (as David says, “I’m always drawn to sadness in teenagers, which I take to be a sign of intelligence. What teenager with half a brain looking at the condition of the planet they would inherit wouldn’t be sad?”). And Julie can’t seem to quit smoking weed (Why should she? It’s the one good thing she has). Henry lays down an ultimatum-if Mandy doesn’t start applying to college, she’s going to come live with him and Carol. And then Mandy surprises Henry, and stuns Julie, by saying she’s been working with David Hedges, Mom’s first husband from long ago. It’s a lie, but a good one, and, Julie thinks, not a bad idea. So when Julie calls David up out of the blue and asks if he’ll help Mandy, he says of course. And when Mandy tells David he should come visit them and stay in one of their B&B rooms, he surprises everyone, including himself, by accepting. Soon David and Julie are living together and in many ways pick up exactly where they left off. But while the chemistry between them is still there, and they can finish each other’s sentences, there’s one conversation they never finished that is unavoidable.

Brilliant Book Titles #255

how to write

Blurb: 
Named a Best Book by: Entertainment Weekly, Wired, Esquire, Buzzfeed, The A.V. Club, Book Riot, PopSugar, The Rumpus, My Republica, Paste, Bitch, Bustle, Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Review of Books, The Coil, iBooks, and Publishers Weekly

From the author of The Queen of the Night, an essay collection exploring his education as a man, writer, and activist–and how we form our identities in life and in art.

As a novelist, Alexander Chee has been described as “masterful” by Roxane Gay, “incendiary” by the New York Times, and “brilliant” by the Washington Post. With How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, his first collection of nonfiction, he’s sure to secure his place as one of the finest essayists of his generation as well.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is the author’s manifesto on the entangling of life, literature, and politics, and how the lessons learned from a life spent reading and writing fiction have changed him. In these essays, he grows from student to teacher, reader to writer, and reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, an activist, a lover, and a friend. He examines some of the most formative experiences of his life and the nation’s history, including his father’s death, the AIDS crisis, 9/11, the jobs that supported his writing–Tarot-reading, bookselling, cater-waiting for William F. Buckley–the writing of his first novel, Edinburgh, and the election of Donald Trump.

By turns commanding, heartbreaking, and wry, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel asks questions about how we create ourselves in life and in art, and how to fight when our dearest truths are under attack.

Heart of Glass by Nicole Jacquelyn

heart of glass

Blurb: 

The next standalone novel from Nicole Jacquelyn about love, friendship, and forgiveness.

Henry Harris was living his dream as a staff sergeant in the Marines. When he’s killed in action, his devastated family is in for one more shock: he had a daughter they never knew about.

Morgan Riley has been raising Etta on her own, and that’s always been fine by her – until Henry’s brother Trevor arrives on her doorstep, willing to do anything to help and make up for his brother’s mistakes. Their attraction feels wrong, but Morgan can’t seem to turn him away.

Trevor is suddenly in too deep. He has always wanted a family, but Etta and Morgan come with complications. Yet as Etta brings them closer together, Trevor begins to imagine giving Morgan and Etta the life his brother never could. But he wonders if Morgan will ever learn to trust another man with her heart, especially a man whose last name is Harris.

Review:

4 Heart of Glass Stars 

Books one and two in this series were two of my favourite books. They both had all the feels and I could not wait to get my hands on Heart of Glass.

Trevor and Morgan have both experienced loss in their lives. Trevor has lost his brother, someone he loved and trusted. A brother who left his family a huge surprise when he died. Morgan and her daughter are the big surprise. Henry has left his pension to Morgan to look after is daughter and Morgan is expecting his family to come get it back. What she isn’t expecting is for Trevor to walk into her life. Heart of Glass is a real slow burner, with Trevor battling between his loyalty to his brother and his family to his growing feelings for Morgan. Although I’m a little clueless as to how his feelings grew so quickly with very little connection to Margan.

Why in the hell did certain people have such easy lives when the rest of us had to fight for every piece of happiness we could grasp? And then, when life was ready to give us something good, why was it so hard for the have-nots just to accept it? Why was I standing in the arms of a man I cared about, one who’d forgiven me for treating him like crap, and I couldn’t even hug him back?

Nicole Jacquelyn writes the best emotionally books that has you feeling all the feels but this book was not like the first two in the series. It didn’t have the angst and only a small amount of emotion. Yes it was an enjoyable read however the ending was a little abrupt and I would have loved to have seen an epilogue.