We Are Called To Rise – UPDATED

My current read, We Are called To Rise, is drawing to a close and I must say it has been one of the most compelling reads of the year for me and considering we are 6 months in that must be saying something. It is because of this that I have slowed down the pace in order not to finish it in a blur.

One of the reflections I have taken from this read is how close I was to not reading it. I didn’t choose it. It didn’t even make my top three from the long list of options given on the monthly book review email.

(the top three for this month, in order of preference, were; How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran. Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Mutiny – Laurie Penny. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton. These were fiction, non-fiction and fiction respectively.)

Unfortunately this list is heavily reliant on the traditional ‘first come, first served’ and I happened to miss the email coming out by a full weekend. Blast. The boat was well and truly missed. So, at the request of my editor, I opted for one from under the ‘Fun & Romance’ umbrella and like it or not the genre automatically takes me to phrases like ‘beach read’ and ‘another Nicholas bloomin’ Sparks’. Well, I have been proved wrong. Hats are being eaten all over the shop.

Or maybe my snobbery still stands. It may be that this book is being marketed specifically to the holiday market as one thing when actually it something entirely different.

I think this is a fun book because I think books are fun. Reading is fun. Put me in a book shop or library with unlimited time and resources and fun will preside.

But the question is, is the story fun? No. It is thought provoking and initially gripping. In places it is desperately sad yet also quite rousing in terms of human compassion and strength in adversity. While these are great attributes to have they do not scream ‘fun’. Fun, to me, is the light hearted reads you get, those ones that make you giggle on the bus or titter at your desk at lunch. The likes of Love, Nina, Where’d you go Bernadette and How to Be a Woman. Many people may want to splutter into a cocktail whilst lying on a beach, covered in factor 50 and praying the sun gods decide not to burn them on that day.

So whilst this is billed as romance/fun, and it is not quite that, it is great. Laura McBride has done a sterling job. If you normally avoid the genre this has been billed as – read it. If you normally like your books with a tinge of romance and giggles I suggest pushing through with this one as it may just take you away from a life of potentially mediocre reads.

REVIEW

We Are Called To Rise is the debut novel by Las Vegas based author, Laura McBride, following the lives of four very different characters as their stories circulate up to, and including the aftermath of, a life changing incident that ripples through each and every one of them.
McBride writes from the different view points of each of her Las Vegas based characters; middle aged Avis, struggling with an imminent divorce and a war torn son while Bashkim is an eight year old Albanian boy with immigrant parents and a strong sense of responsibility. Alongside them is Luis, a troubled soldier suffering from PTSD and a world of other issues and Roberta, a volunteer caseworker helping the lost and soon to be lost children of Las Vegas.
With these character’s perspectives McBride creates a desperately sad tale that still manages to encapsulate a sense of hope and positivity through the gloom.
An excellent read that will cling to you long after you have closed the book.

9/10

Olive Kitteridge

Not so long ago I threw my self into short stories mainly for a change of pace and also because I adore what is not said in a short story. Where your own brain takes you as the atmosphere of that particular tale lingers before you delve into another.

It was because of this that faithful Amazon* suggested ‘Olive Kitteridge – A novel in short stories’ by Elizabeth Strout. Intrigued was not word.

Anyway, long story short. I loved it. I loved the intertwined lives and the different perspectives of the cold and harsh Olive who in the next breath could be loving, forgiving and a desperately heartbroken woman.

 

So I was nothing short of giddy at the thought of HBO giving it a mini series.

 

Giddy does not cover seeing that BILL MURRAY, no less, has been linked with the cast.

 

 

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3012698/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

 

 

I am waiting for a date.

 

 

 

 

 

*I will battle my Amazon demons in my own time thank you very much. When I am earning more than minimum wage I will no doubt make up for my betrayal of all things ‘indie book shop’.

Blood Whispers

On a monthly basis I receive a book through the internal post at work which I get to read (keep!) and review.

This one didn’t blow my mind, so I’d say 7/10 was pretty damn generous.

See below.

 

Blood Whispers is the follow up to Sinclair’s debut Seventy Times Seven and fans of this ‘fast and bloody’ style will no doubt be thrilled by this follow up.

Keira Lynch, successful lawyer to the down and outs of Glasgow, finds herself embroiled in the life of Kaltrina, a prostitute on the run from a ruthless Serbian gang leader. She is no stranger to unrequited violence, with the tale of her own background unravelling behind her, yet only seems to be getting herself deeper and deeper into a world of lies and corruption in the present as the plot unfolds and she is left wondering who she can trust and, more importantly, who is watching her every move.

This novel packs a certain punch and has a pace that keeps you guessing. A web of names, relating to gang members, police officers and CIA personnel, not to mention the protagonist’s past, does lead to a little over kill but Sinclair has managed to muster enough intrigue to push through to the end of the book.

7/10