Review: Stoner by John Williams

Bollocks!!!!

That’s all I can think of about this book. Yet I give it 5 stars! Ha!

I know people like Stoner exist. You have a young man who is, if not happy to work on his family’s farm, he is at least not unhappy. There’s not much doubt that his parents are the same. That their parents were the same as well. Hard workers and not much for complaining. Then Stoner goes off to college and a simple reading of literature changes everything. I found it a bit sad that Stoner couldn’t even imagine a new life until someone said it out loud first.

That’s due to my own personal experience. Books have always been what sparked my imagination and desires. Then there is Stoner. Moved as much as he can be and still left for someone else to imagine a different future for him.

Then there is his wife. Eyy eyy eyy. How I did not like this woman. But yet again, you see Stoner, more or less resigned to his fate…until once again, someone imagines a different life for him and he suddenly moves ahead and makes a change.

The entire novel is like this. Who am I to feel sorry for Stoner? Any disappointment he meets in life he just gets on with it. He doesn’t dwell on it time and time again. He is just resigned to his fate. He doesn’t shake his fist and yell at the Gods.

He proves a man strong in his convictions. He doesn’t back down. But nor does he make waves.

What makes this book such a compelling read? Was it my desire to finally see Stoner stand up and wave his fists in defiance?

Well I certainly hope not, or else I would be well disappointed.

I listened to this book on audio, and the narrator did a superb job with the reading. However, John Williams is an amazing writer. How the hell do you evoke so much emotion from what you do not write as compared to what you do write. Somehow, Williams does exactly this. That is why the narrator is so brilliant as well. Stoner, the narrator and Williams himself leave it to the reader to be outraged and to wave their fists at the Gods, whilst all three of them just simply carry on. If anything we are like the hare, flighty and weaving all about, whilst they are the tortoise that just plods along steady as they go.

I have wanted to read this book for about 5 years now. All the while I was angry at myself for not being motivated to actually start it. Now that I’ve read it, I’m even more angry at myself for not having started it sooner. And yet….

I am disappointed that I’ve finally read it. It really is something to be savoured. It’s such a difficult book to pin down. It’s difficult to explain. It’s difficult in so many ways…

But it’s not difficult to love…even though it might be very difficult to explain just why…

As you’ve always heard, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for…Stoner is that quiet one sat in the corner. That person whose story is bigger than they let on…

This story is one that is so much bigger on the inside of your mind than it appears on the pages of the book…and isn’t that the very best kind?

Don’t put it off…read this one…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Stoner by John Williams

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Review: Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake #1) by CJ Sansom

138685I don’t know if it’s because I now live in England (American) but I absolutely love these period novels. I’m in the middle of a couple different historical series that take place in England, so I figured I might as well add one more. I’m very glad I did! This was so interesting to me. In one of my other series I am learning about King Alfred and his devotion and obsession with religion. In this novel we have a very different setting. It’s only a half a century (Ha! ONLY) but Henry XIII is very much against religion. I found (and always have) the ways religion is used by men to further their own desires extremely fascinating. Even more so because there are so many people who honestly believe in religion and only have the best intentions…

This is one such story…The main character is a hunchbacked lawyer named Matthew Shardlake. He is a devout man and has, I believe, honourable intentions. He is sent by Thomas Cromwell and the King to investigate a murder at a monastery. Shardlake has believed he was fighting on the side of good. However, the more time he spends investigating the murder the more he starts to wrestle with his own moral dilemmas. There are so many things he starts to question about the way things are being handled by Cromwell, a man he has always admired.

As Shardlake sees the men and women of the monastery as individual people, he questions the side he is on. He starts to see the politics behind the religion and isn’t at all sure where he stands any more..

Shardlake has never had an easy life..he has be a social outcast, if only by his physical deformity..now he must face being an outcast, and perhaps worse, but questioning in his mind the activities of those above him..

It will interesting to see what happens next to Matthew…he is a hero that I find strongly drawn to…I really look forward to continuing on with this series…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy your copy now Dissolution by CJ Sansom

Review: My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

01 mf
What a fun story! I’ve been a historical romance kick lately. When I saw the title of this I knew it was going to be cute. I was so right.

Gillian Dryden’s is not happy with the thought of changing herself to find a husband. In fact, she’s content with never having one. But for her mother and grandmother she has agreed to let the Duke of Leverton help her fit in better. But she’s not going to make it easy on him.

Charles has no time for this silly girl, who is quick tempered and outspoken, but once he’s around her, he is quite intrigued and very much drawn to her. Now most of the time they mix like oil and water, but that is where the fun lies. No one can predict that words that will leave her mouth, or the behavior she portrays. For that day in age, some were rather cringe worthy.

This book was by far the funniest historical romance I remember ever reading. The banter between the two main characters had me smiling almost non stop. It was a bit like enemies to lovers mixed in with friends to lovers. Banter all over the place. Two people, who are used to doing things their own, are now forced to work together for a common goal. Things are bound to get messy.

This is my first Vanessa Kelly, but I know it won’t be my last.

~Melpomene

Buy My Fair Princess HERE

Review: My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels #1) by Elena Ferrante

Layout 1Whilst I really enjoyed this book, I still have to wonder what all the hype is about. The beginning is what kept me going though page after page. I really want to find out what happens to the two girls…

I did enjoy Elena’s story of growing up. Not so much Lila’s. I don’t know. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t understand both girls. I do. To me, it’s just so obvious that Lila is a survivor and she neither needs or wants our pity. She is one with a lonely life…no matter how many people she will surround herself with later on in life…however, I strongly believe that the lonely life is one she has chosen willingly to have all that she wants in life….don’t understand? Read the book…

Elena on the other hand….She is a survivor as well….but her survival is based on her hard work…and I don’t think she will ever feel like a survivor or as a success…no matter how much fame or wealth comes her way. She will always be looking for some other fulfillment that I fear will never come…

Okay, so maybe I did like the book a bit more than I realise after writing this review…

However, I still feel sorry for one girl…so much so that I want to shake her because I am so angry. Elena is like another Melanie (GWtW) and Lily is Scarlett…I don’t have much patience for either type of girl really….

There are other ways in life to survive….

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

01 aba Yep. This is going to be another fun series by Ms. Ward.

There is no better word, to describe this family, than to say it’s dysfunctional. I mean the stories and behaviors of these people are downright shocking! At one point I was cringing and then tearing up a bit. There are so many puzzle pieces that need to be found, it’s CRAZY!! I have so many ideas but when it comes down to it, I bet they’re all wrong. So I’m going to hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

I’ll admit I was a bit lost and confused with the first few chapters. I’m so used to the BDB, so learning new names and places was a bit daunting for me, but then I figured it out.

“I can’t change what happened and I know there’s no going back…all I ask is that you don’t fall for appearances, okay? You’ve had ten years around this family, but I’ve been with them and the people who surround them all my life. That’s why you’re the one I want. You’re real. You’re not capable of being what they are and that’s a very, very good thing.”

Watching the drama unfold was exactly like a soap opera would be. Intrigue, romance, lies, and above all, secrets. Lots and lots of secrets.

I can’t wait for the next book!!!

~Melpomene

Buy The Bourbon Kings

Review: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

2552Okay, confession, I don’t even know what “beat lit” is….and if this is an example, I don’t want to know any more.

If I understood “beat lit” would it make me love this book? Appreciate it more? I don’t think so. I didn’t find it well written. I didn’t find it interesting. I didn’t find it anything except me glad to finish it. I saw lots of sex, some more sex, some sex with adults and minors, some drugs, some thieving, more sex, lies, disregard of promises and responsibilities….rinse and repeat…

Please don’t tell me it was the generation. Please don’t tell me it was a rebellion against society and the government. Please don’t tell me I don’t understand. It might have been different if all of what was portrayed was mutual and done with honesty between both parties…but to me it just stank of the selfishness of some parties on various levels….

If you’re more enlightened than me and you know it, feel free to bask in that knowledge whilst I bask in the knowledge that I didn’t enjoy any of this book…

Call if my own personal rebellion of the “American Classics and Beat Lit”…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Review: The Shadow by Sylvain Reynard

01 a122 I have missed William and Raven. So I was super thankful to receive an ARC and find out what happens.

Between the Curia and a traitor in the midst of the Consilium, it’s up to William to do what needs to be done to protect his city and the woman he loves. But in doing so, he may lose the Raven, no matter what he does. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place.

I’ll admit, I was a bit overwhelmed with all the character names, since some had two, and kept having to go back into my notes to recall who was who. All the while trying to figure out who was the traitor. But let me tell you, I was wrong in my guess.

For some reason, I wasn’t pulled into this one as much as The Raven. Perhaps it was more suspenseful and less sensual. Now, don’t get me wrong, there was romance, but not like Gabriel’s romance. Heck, I doubt anything is like Gabriel’s romance. But this was more about solving the city’s problems and less about the romance. And that’s fine, but not what I was hoping for. But it was still very good and I look forward to the next one.

Speaking of Gabriel, there was a few scenes with him that made me happy. However, seeing Gabriel scared wasn’t my favorite part. To me, he should always be strong and a mighty protector. Seeing him nervous and scared irked me. Not sure why. It was totally warranted. But I just didn’t like it.

Silly me, I thought this was the last book. I was mistaken. So I can’t wait until the next book! William and Raven need a HEA. Well, I need them to, at least.

~Melpomene

Buy The Shadow (Florentine series).
Get caught up with The Raven (Florentine series Book 1).