Tag: Contemporary

Book Review: The Man Without Shelter by Indrajit Garai

The Man Without Shelter
Author:
Indrajit Garai

Published: September 5, 2022
119 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 2- December 10, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Lucy, a young lawyer, is on fast track to partnership in her firm. Arnault, a convicted felon, leaves prison after two decades through a piece of evidence in his favor. The two of them come together during a rescue operation at the centre of Paris, and then they go on with their separate lives.

Months later, their paths cross again at a camp for migrants on the edge of Paris.

Jessica’s Review:

Though short, The Man without Shelter took way to long for me to read. This was all on me as I was adjusting (and still am) to working at a new office location with a longer commute. I found myself more tired shortly after the immediate move, but will hopefully become fully adjusted soon. Part of it is also this time change and it getting dark so much earlier! Needless to say, I would like to re-read this one again in a much shorter time!  But back to the book:

I enjoyed this novella! The beginning gets straight to the point with Arnault’s sudden release from prison after 20 years!  It is listed as a ‘sudden and immediate’ release at 3am, which I had a hard time believing. I can’t see someone being released without any help in the middle of the night.  But this start really pulled me in as a reader!

With Arnault’s release, I instantly became “Team Arnault” and rooted for him the whole story! He was released due to DNA evidence and we go along with him as he leaves the prison and tries to start life on the outside. But it’s much harder than expected because he doesn’t even have a current ID and has many issues getting that. 

With this novella, Garai shows us a part of Paris that many of those fortunate will never see. We experience the homelessness, migrant camps, despair and violence that some experience daily.  In addition to the social elements given, Garai also gives us a legal drama, which I enjoy. 

We also have Lucy’s story where she is emerging from scandal in her law firm and gets in over her head while trying to help Arnault.   Their two stories come back together and I really enjoyed the ending. It seemed — or maybe it was just this reader hoping — that there will be a continuation to this novella.

I received a copy from Garai’s assistant to read and review in my own time, which I unintentionally did.  It was a pleasure to read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Fairy Tale
Author: Stephen King

Narrator: Seth Numrich with Stephen King
Published:  September 6, 2022
Audiobook: 24 hours 5 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 2-14, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets Howard Bowditch, a recluse with a big dog in a big house at the top of a big hill. In the backyard is a locked shed from which strange sounds emerge, as if some creature is trying to escape. When Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie the house, a massive amount of gold, a cassette tape telling a story that is impossible to believe, and a responsibility far too massive for a boy to shoulder.

Because within the shed is a portal to another world—one whose denizens are in peril and whose monstrous leaders may destroy their own world, and ours. In this parallel universe, where two moons race across the sky, and the grand towers of a sprawling palace pierce the clouds, there are exiled princesses and princes who suffer horrific punishments; there are dungeons; there are games in which men and women must fight each other to the death for the amusement of the “Fair One.” And there is a magic sundial that can turn back time.

A story as old as myth, and as startling and iconic as the rest of King’s work, Fairy Tale is about an ordinary guy forced into the hero’s role by circumstance, and it is both spectacularly suspenseful and satisfying.

Jessica’s Review:

Fairy Tale was a risk for me as I knew it is in the fantasy genre. The first part is contemporary then it goes fantasy. I started it on my commute home one day and by the time I got home I was 1000% in love with Charlie, Radar, and Mr. Bowdich. Charlie and Mr. Bowdich meet by chance: Charlie hears the dog who formerly frightened all the neighborhood kids when they were younger constantly barking. The dog is up in age now and not as frightening, but Charlie looks to see what’s going on and Mr. Bowdich has had an accident.  From here starts the part of the novel I loved: The three-way relationship that forms between Mr. Bowdich, Charlie, and the dog whom we learn is female and her name is Radar. 

This beginning contemporary part is for anyone whom is an animal lover. I absolutely love Radar, and if I ever get another dog that is of the Shepard breed or similar, its name will be Radar! There is also intrigue and a mystery as well in this section.   This isn’t giving anything away since it is in the book description, but Mr. Bowdich dies and Charlie inherits the house and then learns Mr. Bowdich’s many secrets, among them the existence of a shocking new world, and the entrance to it is in his shed.

I was still interested in the journey to the other world and part of Charlie and Radar’s adventure there.  But this is a bit of a spoiler Charlie becomes separated from Radar and then I begin to lose interest in the story as this is where the fantasy part of the novel kicks in. Fantasy is just not for me! There also became so many more characters I couldn’t really keep track. Part of the story became a mesh of The Hunger Games and Divergent with characters fighting to the death. This second part just wasn’t for me. 

I guess I just needed a story of ‘a boy and his dog’ as the first part was. There are some difficult scenes involving Radar as she is nearing the end of her life and I was trying to prepare for that, I was so invested with Radar. There is a rush for Charlie to get Radar to the  Sundial to… well you must read to see what happens!   It’s very good, trust me!

The narrator is Seth Numrich and he did a very good job! Mr. King himself makes an appearance as Mr. Bowdich in the cassette tape Charlie listened to! I was not aware that King was going to have a small part, so I realized it was him and ‘Whoa’d!’ Being it was Mr. King himself narrating it actually distracted me from what was being said. I guess I fan girled a bit hearing his voice. 

Overall, if you enjoy contemporary and fantasy I think this will be the novel for you to read! Or even fantasy and a boy and his dog’ story this one will be for you. It just wasn’t fully for me.  Like I said, this one was a risk, and overall, I am glad I read it for the first part of the novel. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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Audiobook Review: Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Friend Request
Author: Laura Marshall

Narrator: Elaine Claxton
Published: September 5, 2017
Audiobook: 11 hours 10 min

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Listened To: November 14-21, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

A paranoid single mom is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist.

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.

Jessica’s Review:

This one is a debut novel that had promise for me from the book description, as it has dual timelines which I always enjoy, but it just didn’t deliver for me.  Louise just wasn’t likeable and she went full in on this friend request from Maria Weston, who may or may not actually be dead.  She basically dropped everything and started living in the past. A past that involves peer pressure and bullying to an extreme.  Friend Request shows how the past can haunt you years later with the decisions you made. 

There is also a 25th high school class reunion, which brings her full on in the past as well.  The twists and turns just did not work for me and I was curious enough to see how it was going to end.  It also shows how social media can be a detriment to us all, but we are still taking part in it. 

I did enjoy Elaine Claxton’s narration of the novel. 

I would look into another of Marshall’s novels to see if it works for me more than Friend Request did.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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