Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Narrator: Ethan Hawke
Published: March 31, 1969
Audiobook: 6 hours 2 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: August 3-7, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber’s son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. As Vonnegut had, Billy experiences the destruction of Dresden as a POW. Unlike Vonnegut, he experiences time travel, or coming “unstuck in time.”
“And so it is”… Slaughterhouse Five was not for me. For me it seems that Vonnegut is an acquired taste. Slaughterhouse is a short book but also a very hard read. I only finished it because it is a book club read, I most likely would have never picked it up otherwise. Maybe my opinion of it will change after we have our meeting on this one and I hear what the other ladies have to say.
Maybe it was that I did not know the history of Dresden or I am not a fan of symbolism, but it just did not work for me. The novel was also non-linear which can make it harder to read if you are not enjoying it. And then there are aliens and time travel…. Slaughterhouse is a classic that most people seem to enjoy but I just really struggled. It is semi- auto biographical for Vonnegut as he served during WWII.
I listened to an older audiobook version which was narrated by Ethan Hawke. His narration was fine, and it actually helped me get through listening. There was also an interview with Vonnegut. The main thing I got from that interview is that Vonnegut is NOT Billy Pilgrim. Billy Pilgrim was based off of a real person: Edward R Crone Jr, who actually died at Dresden. That was interesting to find out.
Though not for me, maybe this classic will be for you. “And so it is”…
Forgive Me Not
Author: Jennifer Baker
Published: August 15, 2023
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 30-August 19, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
All it took was one night and one bad decision for fifteen-year-old Violetta Chen-Samuels’ life to go off the rails. After driving drunk and causing the accident that kills her little sister, Violetta is incarcerated. As a juvenile offender, her fate is in the hands of those she’s wronged—her family. With their forgiveness, she could go home. But without it? Well…
Denied their forgiveness, Violetta is now left with two options, neither good—remain in juvenile detention for an uncertain sentence or participate in the Trials, potentially regaining her freedom and what she wants most of all, her family’s love. But the Trials are no easy feat and in the quest to prove her remorse, Violetta is forced to confront not only her family’s pain, but her own—and the question of whether their forgiveness is more important than forgiving herself.
Forgive Me Not is a YA novel with a bit of dystopian touches that shows the problems the juvenile justice system (and also our adult system) has in regards to sexism, racism, classism, and more.
We have two povs: Violetta and Vince. They are siblings and Violetta (also called Letta) made a huge life changing error: She did some underage drinking and driving. There was an accident and she killed her seven year old sister in the process. Therefore Letta is in detention. The chapter’s from Letta’s pov include how many days she has been in detention. Vince’s pov shows how many days since Letta has been in detention. This was we have two povs: The ‘victim’ and the ‘offender’.
In this world that both Violetta and Vince live in, underage offenders serve in detention while they await their sentencing. This sentencing comes from the victim/ family of the victim. The choices the victim’s side has:
Serve hard time upstate
‘The Trials’ where the offender has to prove themself.
In Violetta’s case she is the offender and her family is the victim with the loss of her little sister. With the two povs we get to see both sides of the story: ‘offender’ and ‘victim’.
There are so many issues dealt with in this story. In addition to the issues with the justice system which we see extreme injustices with one particular character we also experience drug use/abuse, peer pressure, LGBTQ representation and a variety of family dynamics.
Vince seems to be the ‘dream child’ to his parents, but he is far from perfect himself with a variety of problems of his own. Some of these issues are left open even though we do have a reasonable conclusion.
I highly anticipated ‘The Trials’ and what was going to happen. The family of the ‘victim’ chooses the type of trial(s) the ‘offender’ goes through but not what the Trial is made up of. Everyone’s Trial is different and had no idea what to expect for Violetta. This is where the dystopian elements come in to play. Could this possibly be what juvenile offenders deal with in the not to distant future?Overall, this is a powerful book that will be the cause of discussions and more. Will Violetta’s family be able to forgive her for what she did? Even more so, can Violetta forgive herself with the decisions she made that changed so much.
Many thanks to the publisher for granting me a copy to read and review via Bookish First.[Top]
Curves for Days
Series: Big Love from Galway #1
Author: Laura Moher
Published: August 22, 2023
Audiobook: 10 hours 23 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: August 11-16, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars
Rose Barnes has got curves for days—and to Angus Drummond, the big, bearded contractor working on her new house, she’s the perfect thorn in his side. Little does she know Angus is perturbed on a daily basis by his attraction to this cheery, smart-ass woman with her sunshiny enthusiasm, her kindness, and her beautiful body.
Angus feels he has a debt to pay to the world and doesn’t deserve love until he pays it. Best to keep his mind on his work and his hands to himself. But the more Rose sees of Angus’s gruff, honorable thoughtfulness, and the more rusty laughter she surprises from him, the more she wants him too.
As their unlikely friendship becomes love, antagonism turns to partnership, and Rose’s house becomes a home. But Rose is keeping a secret that could blow up everything with Angus, and sure enough, it comes to light at the worst possible time…
This was a book that is 1000% written for me! I adored it nearly completely and identified with the FMC (female main character) Rose. Rose is plus sized and this is just a feel-good book with a great deal of body positivity and women of all sizes need that!
Rose is extremely relatable (I think any woman who is of a larger size in any end will identify with her). She is also friendly and helpful, and some women will love that she has a mouth on her and will use any and all the expletives she feels she needs, intended or not! She has a quarter jar and puts a quarter in it every time an expletive is said. She would be a rich woman if that jar was full but…. This isn’t a spoiler as it is mentioned in the first few lines of the novel, Rose actually is rich due to a winning $80 million lottery ticket left to her!
Due to her circumstances Rose has trust issues and a past with a traumatic experience, she finds herself in Galway, North Carolina and decides to start over there. She meets Angus who is Mr. Grumpy who ends up working on her new-to-her house. We have the sweet and grumpy trope here! This book is a slow burn with some steam to it! And dang, it was steamy enough for me! It was probably a level 2 of 5 for the steamy scenes. I don’t think I would be much steam-wise for the serious romance reader, but we do have open bedroom scenes.
I really enjoyed the growth of the relationship between Angus and Rose. Even though he is grumpy he is also a Mr. Softy at heart. They both have issues that have to be worked out. Curves for Days is a bit deceptive with the cover as there are many serious issues brought up, and this would be the trigger warnings:
Veterans’ issues including PTSD and suicide
The veteran’s issues that Angus deals with and his work with veteran’s is very important and going in I had no idea this was going to be a romance with serious issues throughout. These issues that veterans experience and are unable to get help are really brought to the forefront of this book. Our veterans’ really need so much more done for them than what is done now. Bravo to Moher for bringing attention to this.
The only thing I didn’t really like was the given ‘third act conflict where I was becoming less of an Angus fan. I am totally #TeamRose and adore her! By the end of the novel, I was very happy!
Both Paul Bellantoni and Michelle Price did a fantastic job with their narrations as Angus and Rose. They really brought both of those characters to life for me. And I really liked Bellantoni’s voice!
I really enjoyed this first in the series and look forward to the next book that comes… Next April! It seems so far away now, but will be here before I know it!
Many thanks to the publisher for granting me an alc (advanced listening copy) to listen to and review. I really enjoyed this one![Top]