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stories, poems, and essays by angel hench

love, from the author

Interactions with my favorite authors? Yes, please!

So smart that authors watch their social media and take the time to respond. I work in a bookstore and find that I often recommend books by authors who interact with readers. Just another level to consider when writing your own book!

Natasha pulley tweet
Natasha Pulley payed attention to a couple of my tweets regarding her book, The Bedlam Stacks. Read it if you get a chance. It comes out in August 2017.

 

Touchstone Books Tweet
Even publishers are getting in the game! Touchstone Books liked my tweet about The History of Bees coming to bookstores in August 2017.

 

One of my favorite authors, Jennifer McMahon, commented on my Instagram.

 

My tweet about her book, Alice, was liked by the author, Christina Henry.

This is the full Instagram post for the tweet above.

Into the Water – a book review in 200 words + an outrageous cast list

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

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Into the Water (ITW going forward) by Paula Hawkins is a book about two women who have drowned in…the Drowning Pool. It is here, legend holds, that witches were drowned and countless women have committed suicide.

Early in ITW, Hawkins uses a compelling story-telling device. She tells the story in one character’s viewpoint, in the next chapter shows us the same events from another’s perspective, and then that character takes over the story until the next chapter. If this way of writing was sustained throughout, ITW would be spectacular!  Unfortunately, this is not the case. Paula Hawkins, she of Girl on the Train fame, has written ITW from the point of view of ALL of the following:

Danielle ‘Nel’ Abbot (deceased) – via a manuscript of her unpublished book
Jules Abbot – sister to Nel Abbot (also called Julia often/confusingly)
Lena Abbot – daughter of Nel Abbot
Mark Henderson – teacher
Erin Morgan – inspector
Nickie Sage – charleton or medium
Helen Townsend – wife of Sean
Patrick Townsend – father of Sean
Sean Townsend – inspector
Josh Whittaker – brother to Katie
Louise Whittaker – mother of Katie
Lauren, Libby and Katie (deceased) – drowned women
(Feel free to print this list and use it while reading the book. It may be the only way you can remember everyone and how they relate to the story.  I found myself looking back to earlier chapters to figure out who was speaking well into the middle of the book.  While compiling the above list, I had to refer back to the book to figure out the cast and how they related to each other – even after finishing the book!)

Hawkins would have better served her characters, and her readers, had she focused solely on Jules’ and Lena’s viewpoints and Nel Abbot’s manuscript.

Having just finished reading, I can tell you that I am truly, deeply disappointed with this ending. The only real twist in ITW was related to the reason behind the two sister’s bitter, long-lasting feud.  After this first startling reveal, I expected sweeping revelation after sweeping revelation to close out the novel. Unfortunately, I was only to be let down by the resolution of the rest of the story lines – and no remaining shocks, surprises, or twists to hold my attention to the end.

 

Read it? Let me know if you agree with my review in the comments below!

Rating: 55/100

Buy In the Water at Barnes & Noble

Buy Into the Water at Amazon

Night by Elie Wiesel – goodreads review

NightNight by Elie Wiesel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has been on my list for a long time, and I wish that I had read it sooner. It is not for the faint of heart as it covers Elie Wiesel’s journey during World War II in several German concentration camps. His battle is heart-breaking – from the Jewish community who couldn’t fathom what was happening to the terrible journey forced on prisoners right before the German surrender.

The disbelief of the Jewish community, even as they were being persecuted, brings to mind the current political/world situation and how easy it is for people to make excuses for the actions and beliefs of others, even if they are stated out-right and in bold type. Chilling.

Though I’ve read other similar accounts to Wiesel’s, I found this one particularly moving as we see him lose his faith, both in his God and in other people. I know that he eventually comes back to his faith from reading about him, but the amount of personal anguish he shares is riveting and unbelievable. It is no wonder he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in 1986.

If you have a few hours, I highly recommend you read this slim book. It is well worth your time. For me, I plan on reading the other books in Wiesel’s trilogy, Day and Dawn, as soon as I’m able.

View all my reviews

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Instagram Writing Challenge – @cerynnmccain #cmdecemberchallenge

The Fall Guy – a book review in 200 words

The Fall Guy by James Lasdun

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When Matthew comes to stay with his wealthy cousin, Charlie, for the summer, all things appear idyllic. Matthew, Charlie, and Charlie’s wife, Chloe, laze around the pool, read, play games, and dine on amazing meals sourced from local ingredients (this seems to be very important).

Matthew tells us that he prides himself on being true to his feelings, to experiencing them and scrutinizing their origins. (This being self-aware comes from years of therapy.) So, it comes as no surprise that he’s in love with Charlie’s wife.  While “accidentally” following Chloe one day, he discovers that she’s cheating. Matthew spends much of the rest of the book following Chloe and her lover, trying to figure out what his next move is, all the while making worse and ever more horrible choices surrounding his actions.

The book definitely kept me reading.  You eventually realize that Matthew is a pretty unreliable narrator, and I wanted to find out what Matthew would ultimately do.  The backstory between the cousins is intriguing and promises many big reveals.

Unfortunately, when the big moment comes – the one big reveal is less than breathtaking. A lot less.

And, I still need to know – what happened to Matthew’s father?!?

Read it? Let me know if you agree with my review in the comments below!

Rating: 60/100

Buy The Fall Guy at Barnes & Noble

Buy The Fall Guy at Amazon

Apropos of Nothing

This post originally appeared on the site 2bestfriends.net, where I and an incredible, amazing woman blogger write letters to each other that we are too lazy to actually mail. Please visit and follow when you have a moment! Enjoy!

2bestfriends

My dearest, my beloved, my life-long friend:

So, I finally found the motivation to look at our site and write a bit of something, and what do I find but the words that you left two weeks ago that were exactly what I needed to hear on THIS day. Funny, how we work, together. I don’t know what universal force made it so that we would be in each others lives, but I thank them wholeheartedly for you every day.

I’ve always been envious of how you live in the moment; how you are yourself, no matter what; how you take on the world, on your own terms, and never compromise your beliefs.

I only ever wanted to fit in this crazy world, you never tried to.

And, so, I am struggling to figure out who I am again, still, a full three years after my life blew up…

View original post 400 more words

Un-born and Un-broken

​If I’d have known what

waited on the outside, 

I might have stayed 

un-born,

my youthful ignorance 

un-shattered,

my heart un-broken,

my world un-altered,

I’d have floated away, 

peacefully, 

until the end of me.

Everything Old Is New Again, flash fiction

I took the 16-word flash fiction writing challenge. You should try it, too!

Sweetbitter – a book review in 200 words

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

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I am torn, conflicted.

Sweetbitter is beautifully written, a book I felt inclined to mark and quote and share.

But, I hated every single character. It felt like real work to get through the novel. I felt stuck. Perhaps that is what the author intended, for the reader to feel as though they are 22 again and moving through that world of flurry and uncertainty, with everything transitory and unimportant.

“Pain is what we know. It’s our barometer of reality. We never trust pleasure.”

The main character, Tess, is a conundrum. She moves to New York by herself and lands a job at a busy, exclusive restaurant. Brave, right? Strong, yes. Yet, she cannot stick up for herself, neither protecting her soul nor her body. She is beautiful, yet has no self-confidence. Full of determination, but cares for nothing. She is solitary, but yearns for love.

“The posture of a woman who had stood in a casual spotlight in every room she’d ever been in, not for gloss or perfection, for self-possession. Everything she touched she added apostrophes to.”

Sweetbitter is an uncomfortable read about a girl so unsure of herself it is painful. But, whenever I felt inclined to stop reading there would be a sweet still moment of solitude or a small moment of victory, and I would read on, mining for those nuggets of truth hidden within the text about a girl in a tough industry, tough world.

“Get out of your head. If you don’t, you’ll always be disappointed.”

You, see! I cannot decide if I hate or love this book. Have you read it? What did you think?

Rating: 85/100

Buy Sweetbitter at Barnes & Noble

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