Categories
Review

The Ringmaster’s Daughter

The Ringmaster’s Daughter by Carly Schabowski

Thanks to Bookouture for providing an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: July 7, 2020 ~ Genre: Historical fiction, romance

Synopsis:

Paris, 1940. Twenty-year-old Michel Bonnet lives on the edge of the law, finding work where he can breaking in horses on the outskirts of the city. But when the Nazis invade, Michel takes refuge as a stowaway on a rickety train bound for the rural south. It’s a journey that will change his life forever.

The train is property of Le Cirque Neumann – a travelling circus owned by the troubled and irritable showman Werner Neumann. Neumann offers Michel a job caring for the company’s horses – a lucky break, but with an unusual condition attached. Michel must keep to himself and never speak of what he sees behind the glittering curtain of the big top.

But as Michel finds himself pulled into the strange and wondrous world of the great spectacular it becomes more difficult to keep his promise. Why does the man with the performing monkey never speak, and the sword swallower turn his face away? Who are the silent, shadowy figures who flit like moths between the wagons when the sun is down? It’s clear that Neumann is keeping his performers hidden away… but why? And how can Michel win the love of the beautiful and exotic trapeze artist Freida – the graceful, green-eyed star of Neuman’s spectacular – when he’s been forbidden to even meet her gaze?

An emotional and uplifting wartime novel – perfect for fans of Water for Elephants, The Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Thoughts:

1940’s France, the backdrop of WW2, Michel finds himself packed up and fleeing a Paris that’s expecting the imminent arrival of the Nazis. Inadvertently thrown in with a circus troupe, Michel eventually is allowed to stay, care for,  and train horses for the performance. Michel, though various obstacles are thrown in his way, becomes close to many of the performers. Michel learns backstories of the close-nit group of outcasts and finds himself identifying and caring for them. 

I struggled with this story, as it carries such a promising premise but I just didn’t feel that it completely lived up to it’s potential. I love the WW2 backdrop and the circus atmosphere piqued my interest immediately.  Who doesn’t love a good circus story and make that circus shadowy and mysterious? Yes, please! However, I felt this story ultimately just wasn’t for me. 

The characters didn’t feel well rounded, nor did they develop as the story progressed. Though we were given the backstory to some of the characters I never felt connected to them in any way.  It was disappointing because I found myself wanting more from a character or a scene and just not getting it. 

What I did like most was how Michel worked with the horses, as well as the descriptive scenes of the cities and country side.  But when we get further into the romantic aspect, the horses fell by the wayside. When Michel joined the circus, events began to happen a bit too conveniently. Michel identifies two women he regards as attractive upon first stepping foot onto the train and eventually, both become his romantic partners in rather awkward ways.  I found the romance to be very insta-lovey. 

Overall, I enjoyed the descriptiveness and ambiance of this story but it did fall a bit short for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Devolution

Devolution by Max Brooks

Publication Date: June 16, 2020 ~ Genre: Horror, Sci fi, Thriller

Synopsis:

As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now.

But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing–and too earth-shattering in its implications–to be forgotten.

In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate’s extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it.

Kate’s is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity’s defiance in the face of a terrible predator’s gaze, and inevitably, of savagery and death.

Yet it is also far more than that.

Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us–and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.

Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it–and like none you’ve ever read before.

Thoughts:

Firstly, just let me say, anything set in the pacific northwest I will immediately want to read as I was born and raised in the PNW and reside in Washington State currently. I am but a couple hours from Mount Rainier and grew up camping, fishing, and horseback riding in these mountains. 

That being said, Big Foot is common lore in this area, though I’ve only ever considered it a myth. However, Max Brooks references some interesting citations from actual laws and written accounts published decades ago, prior to Sasquatch depicted in the media as stupid and the butt of the joke. Sasquatch was, at one time, in the very least a mysterious threat and at the most an unknown animal  in need of protection. 

Max Brooks does an amazing job of blurring the lines of fantasy and reality in this story. As mentioned above, some citations included in this book are real and easily accessed through a quick google search. The author does a good job of mixing actual reported encounters of Big Foot and fictional journal entries, which led to this compelling account of a creature with consistent behaviors; Brooks then filled in the rest with known primate behavior and there you have it, a plausible creature who has thus far hidden itself from the world but could emerge at anytime. This made the story entirely immersive for me as the narrative made sense and painted a cohesive picture of a beast who may have evolved with jungle primates but migrated to our part of the world.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I don’t often read horror novels but had to make an exception for this one because of all the reasons listed above. And it was definitely a horror story with moments that had me feeling so much for the characters that I just had to take a break. Admittedly, I shouldn’t be reading horror in the middle of my work day so take that with a grain of salt. 😉 I hope Brooks continues to write stories about mythological beasts because I will absolutely pick them up.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
New Release

New July Releases

It’s that time of the month again. Time to be thinking about which preorders are coming in and which do I want to prioritize. I was lucky enough to read a few July ARC’s, some of which I have posted reviews, such as The Shadows (July 7th) and Burn Our Bodies Down (July 7th). Both were amazing books that I highly recommend!

Listed below, you will find my most anticipated books and a little snippet about each book as well. I hope you will find some new books in this list and increase your tbr! 🙂

Find Me

Author: Anne Frasier

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: July 1st

This book sounds so exciting! In this mystery thriller a convected serial killer has finally offered to take detectives to the graves of his victims but only if his estranged daughter, Reni, comes along for the ride. As a young child, Reni played a lost little girl who lured concerned women to their deaths.

Creepy!

All These Monsters

Author: Amy Tintera

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: July 7th

Seventeen-year-old Clara is ready to fight back. Fight back against her abusive father, fight back against the only life she’s ever known, and most of all, fight back against scrabs, the earth-dwelling monsters that are currently ravaging the world. So when an opportunity arises for Clara to join an international monster-fighting squad, she jumps at the chance. (synopsis)

This sounds freaking awesome and I’m so here for it!

Survivor Song

Author: Paul Tremblay

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: July 7th

“Fresh and surprising. Survivor Song may be one of Tremblay’s best— beautifully detailed, viscerally frightening, and deep with emotional resonance.  —Dan Chaon, New York Times bestselling author of Ill Will

A riveting novel of suspense and terror from the Bram Stoker award-winning author of The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts. (synopsis)

This will be my first Tremblay and it sounds so good! A rabies-like illness is sweeping the world, making people attack each other. The protagonist is pregnant and must get to the hospital before the illness overcomes her. It sounds like an intense ride!

The Patient

Author: Jasper Dewitt

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publication Date: July 7th

The Silent Patient by way of Stephen King: Parker, a young, overconfident psychiatrist new to his job at a mental asylum, miscalculates catastrophically when he undertakes curing a mysterious and profoundly dangerous patient. (synopsis)

I read the first few chapters of this one and I’m hooked! I must know what happens next. 😀

A Peculiar Peril

Author: Jeff VanderMeer

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Publication Date: July 7th

An epic about three friends on a quest to protect the world from a threat as unknowable as it is terrifying. (synopsis)

Not only does this book have a gorgeous cover, it’s also by the author of the southern reach trilogy. I loved Annihilation and Borne. Jeff VanderMeer writes these amazingly creative sci fi stories, I just love to get lost in.

Well Behaved Indian Women

Author: Saumya Dave

Publisher: Berkley Books

Publication Date: July 14th

From a compelling new voice in women’s fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams. (synopsis)

I’m excited to get to know these women and watch as they navigate life.

Year Of The Witching

Author: Alexis Henderson

Publisher: Ace

Publication Date: July 21st

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut. (synopsis)

A forbidden forest where magic and spirits reside. Oh you know we must go there!

Ashes Of The Sun

Author: Django Wexler

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: July 21st

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world, in the start of Django Weller’s new epic fantasy trilogy. (synopsis)

No more must be said. I’m all in!

There you have it. Once again, so many good books and so little time! Which books are you most excited for in July?

Categories
Review

Burn Our Bodies Down

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Publication Date: July 7, 2020 ~ Genre: Horror, Thriller-Mystery

I was provided an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s.

Synopsis:

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Thoughts:

This book was so much more than I expected. I went into it thinking ya thriller, but what I got was horror, sci-fi, and mystery all rolled into one. 

I couldn’t help feeling for the main character Margo. She’s like so many patients I see in my therapy practice; severely wounded by childhood trauma and as a result, viewing the world a bit differently. Trigger warnings in this book include emotional abuse such as gaslighting-manipulation, and depictions of bodily violence/death.

Margo has managed an insecure attachment with her mother for seventeen years. Learning to navigate her mother’s emotional reactivity includes never again asking about family, about her mother’s childhood, or about where she came from. Margo’s mother made it clear, questions such as those would not be tolerated.

Eventually, Margo finds a clue that sets her on a path to answers but they may not be exactly what she’s hoping to find. Margo is looking for what she’s never been given; warmth, acceptance, love. Margo finds a grandmother who looks a lot like her mother, a lot like herself, and even more unanswered questions.

The town of Phalene, where her grandmother lives, has seen better days. Power paints a picture of a dusty, hot landscape, with weird crops of corn and something unnatural in the land. Margo quickly makes a friend in a neighbor, Tess, who seems ready to help at all costs but as Margo and Tess set out to find answers, will the cost be too much to bear?

I enjoyed reading this story. I thought Margo was very much a result of growing up with an abusive parent. I applauded Margo’s tenacity as she was able to find the courage to take steps beyond her mother’s manipulation to find the answers she needed and set out for herself. Margo does make some interesting choices but I thought Power did a good job of explaining Margo’s rationalizations and ultimately they led to exciting events.

Overall, this was a quick and exciting read! I liked the pacing and felt the story becoming progressively weirder as it went, which made the book fly by.  I haven’t picked up Wilder Girls but now I’m thinking I will. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Review

The Shadows

The Shadows by Alex North

Publication Date: July 7th 2020 ~ Genre: Thriller-Mystery, Horror

I won an ARC copy of this book via bookishfirst.com

Synopsis:

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…

Thoughts:

Reading on, beware of spoilers!

Picking up The Shadows is returning to the ominous world of the Whisper man. Detective Amanda Beck is called to duty again to solve a gruesome murder, eerily resembling the murder of a teen 20 years ago. These are not typical murders, however, these murders more accurately resemble sacrifices. 

Paul is the POV the reader is introduced to in the beginning of the book. We follow him through his early teen years and the events of the first murder. In those early years, Paul finds himself thrown into the delusions of a teenage boy, Charlie. Only a fierce loyalty to his friend, James, keeps Paul involved in Charlie’s plot to bring his world of imagination terrifyingly to life. Though James can’t seem to remove himself from the group of found friends, Paul is eventually pushed too far and leaves the group and his friend for good. 

In adulthood, Paul is still running from the trauma experienced in his childhood. All Paul could hope for is to wipe his memory clean of the murder and the events leading to the murder. Paul returns to his hometown to visit his dying mother, as she is admitted to hospice. Everything comes flooding back and Paul must choose how involved he wishes to become as he learns even his mother was connected.

One drawback I experienced while reading this book is an absent connection to the characters. I wished the characters were a bit more developed but I understand the possibility of an unreliable main character may have clouded the process. Also, this book can be confusing. I got to a certain point, learned something new and then was like, wait, how did those previous events occur? I had to go back and reread chapters but I still feel confused. I’m interested to see what others think of these chapters. Please click the little comment icon at the beginning of this review to tell me about your experience with this book. I’d love to chat about it.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Shadows. Alex North never fails to set a suspenseful tone in his books, which propels the reader through the chapters. His descriptions of the environment and how it affects the characters causes the reader to sit on the edge of their seat while reading, absolutely sure something heinous is about to occur at any moment and that’s usually the case.  😉

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Home Before Dark

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Publication Date: June 30, 2020 ~ Genre: Mystery Thriller

Synopsis:

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

Thoughts:

Reader beware! Spoilers ahead!

Gah! This book! It’s just so up my alley and I knew I would love every minute of it!

If you love stories about haunted houses, ghosts, and mysteries I think you’ll love this book.

I was so excited to get my hands on a new Riley Sager so it was a no-brainer pick for my BOTM. The book arrived at my door step and I waited a full 10 minutes before diving in.

Home Before Dark is told in two timelines. In the present we follow Maggie in adulthood as a home renovator, and in the past, we follow Maggie’s father Ewan, as he tells the tale of the House of Horrors through his book. Ewan’s narrative is supposed to be a nonfiction account of the experiences of his family’s 3 months living in the house prior to abruptly leaving, without any belongings, and never returning. Ewan’s book quickly becomes a best seller and the house, as well as it’s previous occupants, gain notoriety.

Maggie is more than a little skeptical of her father’s account. The reader learns of Maggie’s exhaustive attempts to get to the truth of the story throughout her life, and follows along as Maggie is repeatedly dismissed by her parents and given a generic response for each question she poses. Maggie blames the “Book” for the divorce of her parents and for a turbulent relationship with her father.  The narrative is a dark cloud over the family, imposing and divisive. 

To her surprise, Maggie inherits the house after her father’s death, and learns of his involvement over the years with the house long after her family supposedly left for good. Maggie decides to face her past and discover the truth once and for all, deciding to live in, renovate, and put the house up for sale. Maggie’s father’s dying words ring in her head as she opens the door to the house, “It’s not safe there, not for you.”

This book has so many twists and turns, at one point I was completely convinced the house was haunted and Ewan’s story was truth then at another, I believed it was all lies and someone was staging events. I was constantly on the edge of my seat just turning the pages, needing, like Maggie, to understand fact from fiction. Although, a couple of the twists may be fairly easy to spot, I didn’t fault the book for predictability. I just loved the ride!

Overall, I can see this book as a movie and it’s no surprise its already been optioned. I think it was only a matter of time before Hollywood discovered the magic of a Sager book. This is one of the few books I will keep and reread over the years for it’s ghosty goodness. In my opinion, it couldn’t be better; I give it all the stars! 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Categories
Review

The Book of Koli

The Book of Koli, by M.R. Carey

Publication date: 4/14/2020 ~ Genre: Science fiction, fantasy

Synopsis:

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

Thoughts:

The premise of this book sounded intriguing and so imaginative when I first learned about it. It’s based around a futuristic world with scifi and fantastical elements. I’m happy to say this book absolutely did not disappoint. I sympathized with the protagonist, Koli, from the beginning and his struggle to shape his world.  

The story is told as if a future Koli has sat down with you to tell you his tale. I felt a closeness with Koli’s character due to the writer’s choice of delivery. Koli’s speech is also a bit different, as one would assume language has been shaped through the ages and differences now exist.  The speech did take a bit of getting used to but eventually just became a part of Koli’s charm.  

Through events of Koli’s early years, the reader learns the inner workings of the village and environment beyond. Roughly half the book takes place within the walls of the village, which are very necessary as the plants beyond the walls are carnivorous.

I think the idea of plants that eat flesh intrigued me the most about this book. I mean, how would one even survive when plants wanted to eat you and trees can move to catch animals and people as they pass? The answer is very carefully.

We follow our protagonist Koli in his early teen years just as he’s getting ready to complete the “testing” to find out if he will be chosen to wield old world tech, which is viewed almost as magic in his village. Unfortunately, nepotism is rampant in Koli’s village and he’s hopeful but unsure if he even has a chance to “waken” a piece of tech. Koli unearths truths which lead him to take things into his own hands for better or worse.  

Certain understandings are passed as truth throughout Koli’s village to allow those within the village to feel secure even in a dangerous world. However, once Koli is beyond the walls, he’s pushed to his limits to survive, makes alliances, and he eventually learns the reality of his situation. The reader watches Koli grow, become insightful, and develop into the hero of this story.  I was elated when Koli didn’t shrink from what needed to be done but rose up to meet it. The book culminates with Koli and his friends, taking the first steps to begin Koli’s vision for a better world.  

This was an entertaining story from beginning to end. I’m excited to see what happens to Koli and his friends as he attempts to ensure the future of humanity. Also, we only have to wait until September for the second book! Yay! Highly recommend!

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Chosen Ones

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Publication Date: 4/7/2020 – Genre: Adult, Sci fi, Fantasy

This ebook was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read this book.

Synopsis:

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

Thoughts:

What happens to the hero of the story after she/he is done saving the world? Is it all glory, celebrity, and wealth? What are the ramifications of the decision to save the world and is it possible to return to a normal everyday life? 

I feel like Roth set out to answer these questions and provided the reader a glimpse into the life of one of those young adult heroes we read about who are thrust into the spotlight to save the day and after they do, the story fades to black with no further knowledge of what the character then endured as a result of the traumatic and stressful event of, you know, saving the world.

Sloane is our main protagonist throughout this story and, early in the book, we’re provided with a slice of life look into her everyday. Matt, Ines, Ester, and Albie are the four other chosen ones who, together, took down The Dark One and we watch the group experience addiction, depression, and PTSD. I appreciated receiving only Sloane’s point of view throughout this book as I feel the author could have attempted to write the views of each character but, for me, that just wouldn’t have worked. I felt connected to Sloane and understood her behavior from a deeper level, which would have been missing with a multi POV format. 

Some of the criticisms of this story describe slow pacing but that wasn’t my experience. I enjoyed observing the character’s lives after the descent of The Dark One and viewing their new normal. I’ve read lots of chosen one stories so I feel like I’ve seen that before, this after-saving-the-world aspect is new and interesting!

The slice of life doesn’t last long anyway and soon we’re thrust into a new predicament and our characters must, yet again, save those around them from dire circumstance. This, however, is a different take and a completely different dimension; think multiple paths, multiple versions of self, string theory and I loved it! The aspect of multiple dimensions fascinates me. I feel like the very possibility of multiple dimensions opens up unlimited possibilities.

It is possible to get confused at points, however if you keep reading events become clear. I thought the end wrapped up nicely. Actually, from the way the story concluded, I believed this to be a stand alone but, looking at goodreads, I noticed there will be a second in the series and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m excited to revisit the characters but it concluded so well, do we really need another? I don’t know. You’ll have to determine that for yourself. Let me know what you think of this one, as it seems there’s a lot of conflicting opinions. Overall, I really enjoyed it and will read book two to see how the story develops.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Untamed

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Ten is when the world sat me down, told me to be quiet, 
and pointed toward my cages: 
These are the feelings you are allowed to express.
This is how a woman should act.
This is the body you must strive for.
These are the things you will believe.
These are the people you can love.
Those are the people you should fear
This is the kind of life you are supposed to want.
Make yourself fit. You'll be uncomfortable at first, 
but don't worry--eventually, you'll forget you're caged. 
Soon this will just feel like: life.
~Glennon Doyle, Untamed

Publication Date: 3/10/2020 – Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

Synopsis:

There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves. 

For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.

Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.

Thoughts:

Beautifully inspiring and effortlessly relatable; I want everyone I know to read this book.  Such a breath of fresh air!

In childhood, I remember watching my grandmother serve my grandfather every meal. I watched my mother cook, clean, and work a full time job outside the home. It was expected and one wasn’t to question, though I did and loudly.

Why do women find it honorable to dismiss ourselves?
Why do we decide that denying our longing is the responsible thing to do?
Why do we believe that what will thrill and fulfill us will hurt our people?
Why do we mistrust ourselves so completely?
~Glennon Doyle, Untamed

The subjugation of women is not new. We have been fighting since the first woman decided to stand up and shake her chains, tired of living in quiet servitude, believing there’s another way. Glennon shows readers how she recognized the memos of society and how she rejected them; how she ultimately found herself, without them. And it’s amazingly empowering!

I find it impossible to read this book and not examine my own life and choices. What familiar roles have I accepted as a wife and a mother to make my family’s lives easier? What gender roles have I perpetuated from the examples passed down to me? In what ways am I disappearing and how can I become a model for my children? Each person will have their own questions arise from reading this book and they will not be easy to answer but they will be important. Glennon prompts readers to answer these questions honestly and humbly, from within.

I appreciated the author’s view of the limitations placed upon our boys and men. Emotional restraints silencing the tears of men and telling them to man up rather than experience emotion organically, in the here and now. No, men are to suppress emotion and see it actualize in those pesky defense mechanisms of Freud’s. Women are not the only one’s indoctrinated and we must teach our sons another way.

Everyday I work with women who have been disregarded by people and society. Those who should love her the most have thrown her away, over and over again. These women are living on the fringes of society, managing in the only way they know how; surviving. My work involves listening and providing unconditional acceptance as well as illuminating choices, another path, and empowering. Most of my patients started numbing at such an early age and for so long they do not know who they are. This book will be a tool I utilize with my patients to help them see the ways they have been tamed and the ways they can break free. 

Overall, this book is wild, beautiful, and frightening, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Categories
New Release

New June Releases

Half the fun of reading books is the discovery!

At least, this is true for me. I don’t know about you but nothing is quite as satisfying as learning about a new book that sounds like it was written just for me and then preordering it. Anytime my favorite youtubers upload videos featuring new releases, I’m one of the first to watch. So, of course, I want to start a regular blog post featuring my most anticipated new releases for the coming month.

Agnes at the end of the World

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 9, 2020


Agnes must choose between the only life she’s ever known, living inside a cult at the whim of a madman, or on the outside where a deadly virus is killing the population at an alarming rate.

The synopsis compares this book to The Handmaids Tale and Wilder Girls. Thus far, the goodreads reviews are really promising. I think this book may be a five star for me.

My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3)

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: June 2, 2020


This book is likely on many readers most anticipated lists. This is the third book in the saga of “Jane.” The previous two books being, My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane. In this latest edition of Jane, we follow Calamity Jane through her trials and tribulations, which will no doubt be absolutely hilarious in the best of ways.

The Obsidian Tower

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: June 4, 2020


Destined to one day rule the kingdom, Ryx must solve the mystery of her unstable powers and save her family from destruction.

I don’t have to know anymore than that. I’m here for all the fantasy escapism right now. Bring it on!

Mexican Gothic

Publisher: Del Rey

Publication Date: June 30, 2020


Silvia Moreno-Garcia also wrote Gods of Jade and Shadow which I still need to read. (It’s on my TBR shortlist) Mexican Gothic sounds equally if not more intriguing. Set in 1950s Mexico, our main protagonist Noemi travels to a mysterious mansion, which is also the home of her newly-wed cousin, in an attempt to save her from a perplexing threat. Not all is as it seems.

Mysterious mansion, eerie atmosphere, creepy side characters — this is right up my alley! Fingers crossed it’s a book of the month pick!

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

Publisher: Redhook

Publication Date: June 23, 2020


I don’t have much to say about this one, I mean, it involves magic! What more needs to be said?

Historical fiction and fantasy combine in this alternate take on history. I’m always up for a little magic and excited to dive into this immersive story. Early reviews look promising!


This list could go on and on so I better stop here. What are some new release books you’re excited to read in June? I’m sure I missed some so please comment down below with your most anticipate books. I’d love to add more to my list! 🙂