Book Review, Dystopian 0 comments on The Handmaid’s Tale – MARGARET ATWOOD

The Handmaid’s Tale – MARGARET ATWOOD

The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood

A woman describes her life in the Republic of Gilead, a dystopian society where an authoritarian Christian extremist regime has transformed the United States into a nation that operates by a caste system. Offred, named after her master ("Of Fred"), is classified as a handmaid and is therefore subjugated to sexual servitude to help curb infertility. Each month during the time of her ovulation, Offred must have ceremonious sex with her assigned commander (while his cold-hearted wife is required to be present ) in hopes that she may conceive of a child that would belong to the couple. Though women are forbidden to read and write, Offred uses this narrative to reflect upon her current life and directly compare it to the time before, when she was still a working woman, a loving wife and a devoted mother. It was a time, when she was still independent and free.

We are living in an era that has enabled an openly misogynist man to become president. Backed in part by alt-right religious fanatics, Trump’s administration actively works on dismantling protections for minority groups, including women. Reading Margaret Atwood’s 1986 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” against this backdrop strikes a particularly sensitive chord with me. Her story is set in a world that represents my worst fears, a world where I’m no longer allowed to follow my passions such as reading, writing and filmmaking, and where I have been forced to relinquish autonomy over my own body. Continue Reading “The Handmaid’s Tale – MARGARET ATWOOD”

Book Review, Contemporary Fiction 0 comments on The Summer that Melted Everything – TIFFANY MCDANIEL

The Summer that Melted Everything – TIFFANY MCDANIEL

The Summer That Melted Everything Book Cover The Summer That Melted Everything
Tiffany McDaniel
St. Martin's Press
July 26, 2016

Fielding Bliss, a sullen and lonesome elderly man, reflects upon the summer of 1984, the year he made friends with a peculiar drifter boy named Sal. Upon his arrival in Breathed, Ohio, Sal identifies himself as the devil claiming to be answering Fielding’s father’s invitation calling for the devil.

At first, no one believes Sal. He’s but a sweet 13 year-old black boy in soiled overalls. But as strange, fatal events unfold in town, the people of Breathed begin to look to Sal as a scapegoat.


This is Tiffany McDaniel’s debut novel, and let me tell you… that is one hell of a novel! Set in the Midwestern town of Breathed in the mid-80’s, The Summer That Melted Everything is a story about the strange happenings surrounding the arrival of a young black boy. True to time and setting, we are thrust into a saga that tackles everything from racism, prejudice, small-town mob mentality, homophobia, and HIV/AIDS. It’s easy to want to turn my back on a narrative that normalizes these cringe worthy characters, but McDaniel manages to infuse so much compassion and empathy in these people that I find myself strangely drawn to the anti-heroes of her tale. Continue Reading “The Summer that Melted Everything – TIFFANY MCDANIEL”

Book Review, Crime/Thriller, Sci-Fi 5 comments on The Martian – ANDY WEIR

The Martian – ANDY WEIR

The Martian Book Cover The Martian
Andy Weir
Crown Pub

After a freak accident, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on planet Mars. His shipmates have left him, not knowing he is still alive, and Mark has two choices: either succumb and die a lonely death or put his engineering and botany skills to good use and figure out how to live on Mars. He chooses the latter and becomes the sole living being on the planet. After months of solitary existence, Mark is able to harness his ingenuity to get back in touch with his teammates. Now planet earth must do everything in her power to bring The Martian back home.

What a fantastic, entertaining novel. Do not expect literary nuggets, but if you’re in for an emotional planetary ride, this is your book. I was always at the edge of my seat and found myself laughing out loud more than once. The geek in me is pleased and my interest in sci-fi is deepened.

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Book Review, Crime/Thriller 5 comments on The Girl on the Train – PAULA HAWKINS

The Girl on the Train – PAULA HAWKINS

The Girl on the Train Book Cover The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
Psychological Thriller, Fiction
Riverhead Books (Hardcover)
January 13, 2015

Every day, alcoholic divorcee Rachel takes the train from the suburbs into London, pretending to go to a job that she's been long fired from. The train always stops at the same signal, one that lets her take a peek into the old life she once had with ex-husband Tom. She fools herself into avoiding staring at Tom's new life with Anna, the woman he had left her for and began a new family with, by letting her eyes drift to a couple a few houses down, who exhibit the perfect hopeful image of true love. She affectionately calls them Jess and Jason, though those aren't their names. When Meghan, Jess's real identity, goes missing, Rachel thinks she might have seen something, but she can't put the pieces of her memory together. For the first time, she sees her alcoholism as the crutch it really is, costing her not only her sanity but also the clarity around Meghan's disappearance as well.

It’s not enough to be a gripping and jumpy novel. Often, the most successful stories are the ones that remind us of our darkest selves or make us revisit moments in our lives that we thought we had safely left in the past. Good novels make us regurgitate our experiences. We project the nadirs of our existence onto works of art, from a distance at first. If the writing is good and doesn’t distract, we will feel the narrative with every fiber of our bodies.

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Book Review, Writing Craft/Creativity 0 comments on The War of Art – STEVEN PRESSFIELD


The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles Book Cover The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield
Psychology, Writing Craft
January 1, 2012

"In this powerful, straight-from-the-hip examination of the internal obstacles to success, bestselling author Steven Pressfield shows readers how to identify, defeat, and unlock the inner barriers to creativity. The War of Art is an inspirational, funny, well-aimed kick in the pants guaranteed to galvanize every would-be artist, visionary, or entrepreneur.

There is honor in writing.
But don’t be a one, unless you’re prepared to suffer through years of rejection, financial burden, and critique from peers that make your heart sink to the bottoms of your feet.

Thus, I repeat: There is honor in writing.

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Book Review, Memoir/Biography 0 comments on Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight – M.E. THOMAS

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight – M.E. THOMAS

Confessions of a Sociopath Book Cover Confessions of a Sociopath
M. E. Thomas
Biography & Autobiography
Pan Macmillan
May 23, 2013

Drawn from the author's own experiences; her popular blog,; and scientific literature, this is part confessional memoir, part primer for the curious. Written from the point of view of a diagnosed sociopath, it unveils for the very first time these people who are hiding in plain sight.

Ever been in conversation with a total narcissist asshole and wonder “What the hell is going through your head right now?” Confessions of a Sociopath is your chance to peek into the mind of an extremely unsympathetic, self-aggrandizing person.

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Book Review, Contemporary Fiction 0 comments on The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – HARUKI MURAKAMI

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – HARUKI MURAKAMI

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Book Cover The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin

A young man named Toru Okada looks for his wife's missing cat. He finds himself searching the well that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo, and soon encounters mysterious characters.

Books essentially are time capsules. A writer can commune with us from any time period and from any locale. Stories transcend space and time. Sometimes without rhyme or reason. That is the case with Haruki Murakami’s excellent 1994 novel “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.”

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