When it comes to books, I love to be proven wrong. My indie bookstore in town had this novel as the chosen book for this month’s group discussion and I was prepared to be let down. I hate to say it, but most popular fiction is not my preferred cup of tea. I was so happy I ignored my reservations about this novel and decided to read it because it’s a gem of a story that shines brightly despite the dark and complicated themes that reside within the pages.
What makes a good mother? Should we be forgiven for the mistakes of our past? Is family truly a congruent concept or is it merely a social construct, one that punishes individuals that dare to not conform with the family mores and ideals? All of these ethical questions and more are explored in Celeste Ng’s beautiful and deeply moving novel, Little Fires Everywhere.
I am extremely proud of Ms. Ng (pronounced “ing” as per her Twitter account) for writing such a hypnotic, excellently written novel that seamlessly blends in amazing characterization, wonderful use of setting, and an engaging, visceral plot that keeps you turning the pages, salivating for more. I highly recommend this novel for any fiction lover out there. It is definitely one of the best novels to come out in the past few recent years.
…”Anyway, a few weeks before he disappeared, we got high together. He shot me up with heroin and cocaine, and I overdosed, or had some kind of allergic reaction This is going to sound crazy, but while I was unconscious I had some minor convulsions, during which I remembered being born. I remembered coming out of you. The passage through the canal, crowning, being delivered, the whole thing. Except it wasn’t a warm and fuzzy feeling – it was the most sickening thing I’ve ever felt or experienced. It was just…vile.”
Vacuum in the Dark spoke to the hurt, broken, and scared little girl that resides deep within me. Jen Beagin writes with the ferocity and stark, sobering realism that is reminiscent of Charles Palahniuk’s works. I struggled between laughing out loud and almost peeing my pants to almost falling to the floor and curling up into a little ball to whimper and cry. I wanted to hold Mona as I read her struggle to feel part of a world that she has no connection with, no matter how much she struggles to fit in. Ms. Beagin is a phenomenal writer with the amazing ability to write beautiful, flawed characters that are just like you and me. When Mona talks about where she is currently standing on the ‘Sui-Scale’, that broke my heart. As someone who has thought about killing themself nearly every day, I am grateful for writers like Jen Beagin who discuss topics that everyone wants to blissfully ignore. But the price of ignoring the real struggles of creative, kind people like Mona often leads to one fate: death. Thank you, Ms. Beagin, for sharing your beautiful words with us.
“Strange, she thought, how affected you are by malice when you’re a kid, how a mean word or look can unravel you, how devastating cruelty feels when you’re too young to protect yourself. But eventually, after all those defense mechanisms are firmly in place, it’s the so-called positive shit-mercy, not malice-that brings you to tears.”
The Professor’s Secret is another delicious, excellently written erotica by the amazing Ms. Ava Sterling. While I do enjoy her F/M erotica, I can’t deny that she writes lesbian erotica so amazingly well. I adored these two characters and the dialogue between the two of them had me salivating for more! If you enjoy erotica, especially F/F erotica, please do yourself a favor and read this sexy, scorching story.
You Only Love Me When I’m Suffering is a beautiful, raw, unflinching collection of poems that spoke to my heart and reminds me that I am not alone in my battle against the darkness of depression. Jon Lupin is extremely talented and I admire his veracity; his poems are so fluid and seamless and I just couldn’t get enough of them. As a fellow recovering alcoholic, I applaud him for speaking out against the disease of alcoholism especially since he is a male and alcohol is so intertwined with the rigid identity of masculinity. It takes strength and courage to share your pain and fears with the world, and Mr. Lupin proves that he is an amazing poet with the empathy and kindness that the world needs more of.
I really enjoyed this short but sweet and erotic story by Ms. Ava Sterling. She is an extremely talented writer and she has the skill of reeling me in and enrapturing me with her realistic characters and unique storylines. Two For One was no exception and I found myself loving every word. I love Angela, Jake, and Simon. The three of them have an amazing chemistry together and I only wish that I could read more of them because I found them to be so down to earth and sexy. 5/5 stars.
Going for Gold is the third installment in the highly erotic, expertly written Deep Desires series by Jane Caleb-Wood. I have to say that this was my favorite installment by far for its otherworldly eroticism and delicious setup. Gang bangs are one of my favorite subjects to read (and write) about in erotica but sadly, I don’t see it very often among my favorite erotic writers. So I was so ecstatic and extremely excited to read Taylor have a sumptuously erotic and divine night with seven men at the same time. Even though the story was definitely erotic, it was also extremely sensual, which is a hard feat to attain with erotica. (It’s also extremely difficult to keep track of all the sexy guys with no names in a gang bang scenario, so I have profound respect for Ms. Caleb-Wood for that.) If you haven’t read this series or any of Ms. Jane Caleb-Wood’s works, please do! And make sure to check out the lovely interview I had with her earlier this week.
I will never get used to how the right books will find me during the darkest of times. Reading I Find You in the Darkness by Alfa Holden was like reading one of my journal entries; a close dissection of my soul without any shame or remorse. It’s rare to find a writer that is brave enough to expose those parts that are too dark or scary to talk about: despair, shame, hopelessness, self-loathing. All subjects that plague my life along with millions of others around the world. But what is truly beautiful about Ms. Holden’s work is that she doesn’t condemn you for your emotions or thoughts like the rest of the world does; instead, she reminds you that it’s okay to feel. And most importantly, that you are never, never alone. I found myself on the verge of tears reading most of these poems and to me, they were like beacons of light among the thick, pervasive darkness that wants to claim my soul. Thank you, Ms. Alfa Holden, for sharing your beautiful, evocative poetry with us.
5/5 well deserved stars.