Posts Tagged ‘Change of Pace’

Sunday Book Review: Doomed and Ariel

As a regular feature to my blog, Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. While on Goodreads and Amazon, I give books a star rating, I don’t do stars here. I just say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week. I get most of my books from conventions from the author or bookstores, but as per FCC regs, I do mention if I received a book for free.


This week the two books I read couldn’t be more different. My husband is on a Chuck Palahnuik kick right now, and the second book I picked up on a recommendation to relax my brain.


Doomed by Chuck Palahnuik Published by Anchor House, July 2014

51g4k83vm2bl-_sx323_bo1204203200_What in the Hell did I just read? Maybe it’s horror? Maybe its satire? On the book, a reviewer from the Guardian calls it a morality tale.  When I finished it, my husband asked if the book was good. I answered it was strange.

I can’t say whether it was good or bad. I will say, I feel like I should do a writing exercise and analyze Palahnuik’s style. The Basic Premise: A gritty and dark telling of God versus the Devil told via the experiences of the chosen one: Madison Spencer.

What did I like? The novel follows a dead girl named Madison through Palahnuiks slick, visceral sometimes shockingly funny storytelling style. Palahnuik’s descriptions of her life before death, her parents and no religion except that of the celebrity culture are filled with satire.

What didn’t I like? The novel follows a dead girl named Madison through Palahnuik’s slick, visceral sometimes shockingly funny storytelling style. Madison doesn’t really have her own voice she is speaking with Palahnuik’s voice. She would alternatively used vile descriptors or kiddy phrases. But so we don’t forget that she is actually a thirteen year old girl, she repeats “Yes, I know X word.”

If you want to read something different or just want a morality tale with a razor’s edge of wit than this book is for you.


514vfhamfol-_sx331_bo1204203200_Ariel by Fia Essen, 2015

I am not big into “chick-lit”, but Fia Essen’s books are always a cool refreshing glass of water on a hot day.

Ariel, the title character, broke up with her boyfriend and is struggling financially. I enjoyed the fact that the romance is the subplot while the rest of Ariel’s life: work, family, friends are actually the main plot. There is a bit of mysterious element to Ariel which I enjoyed.  With the help of the Muse Agency, she is on a path of self discovery and the ability to love again. But what is the Muse Agency? Why are they so secretive? How do they know so much?

I described Essen’s first book Change of Pace as a beach read, Ariel is also a beach read, but now there is more confidence and strength in Essen’s prose. “There had been a time when I could sprint across rough terrain in stilettos without faltering, but those days were long gone. Few occasions now called for fancy footwear. I was out of practice and my toes were wildly objecting to being squished into such cruelly narrow vessels.”

Essen, Fia (2015-03-30). Ariel (p. 24). Summer Solstice. Kindle Edition.

So if you are looking for a fun beach read, give Ariel a shot.

Update: I believe Change of Pace might be out of print. I looked for it on Amazon for the link and it is no longer listed. 


Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think!

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48Fourteen Scavenger Hunt Featured Book: Change of Pace

48Fourteen Scavenger Hunt!!!!

Hop between each author’s blog/website and collect the highlighted clues.Then go to the link above and enter the raffle.

 The book which I am featuring on my blog today is Change of Pace by Sofia Essen.

COP

I read this book back in April of 2012 when it was first released. Here is my original review:

Essen’s debut novel is a wonderfully light beach read. The synopsis begins: “What do you do when you get dumped, fired, and turn thirty in a single unfortunate week?…”

While the beginning moved a bit slow with relaxing shopping trips and drinking wine, this worked well as it mimicked the life that Essen was describing on Crete compared to Anna’s previous life in New York. The novel is written in first person, so the reader won’t always know what is going on with other characters and why, but Anna is an interesting narrator and it adds to the fun of watching her learn about Crete, her family and herself.

If you want a book that is upbeat and an enjoyable read, this is the book for you.
Now, I would also like to add that I have sometimes thought of Essen’s descriptions of life on Crete and the relationships between the characters over the past nine months. Though it is a wonderfully light book, the images stick with you.

 ****

 COP2

Synopsis:

What do you do when you get dumped, fired, and turn thirty in a single unfortunate week?

You book the last available ticket on the next plane to Greece. Or at least that’s what the normally unadventurous Anna Cox does in a moment of uncharacteristic spontaneity. When she panics as she belatedly realizes that not booking a hotel room in a country she knows nothing about might not have been the best or smartest idea, the charming and easy on the eyes Englishman in the seat next to her comes to her rescue – he takes her to the rural island village in Crete that he calls home.

As Anna settles into village life, she learns that change, even the unwanted and unexpected kind, can be a good thing. She begins to see that there is always more to any story or person than meets the eye, including herself. In Crete, where time moves differently and days float and blend into one another, Anna finds the courage to discover who she really is, open up to strangers, and to fall in love without holding back even though she might get hurt.

Praise for Sofia Essen and Change of Pace:

“Sofia Essen’s vivid descriptions of Crete, its culture, cuisine, and people, transported me there and made me feel like I was on a free holiday.” ~ Lady Jayne’s Reading Den

 

“The writing was simply brilliant, especially during the first half of the book…It was sarcastic, witty and emotional when need be.” ~ Fani, Goodreads

 

“The writer’s brilliant use of irony as a structural element of the plot ushers in an aura of unpredictability…”~ Malcolm Livera, Amazon

 .

“This is a wonderful story of love, change, letting go, and taking a leap of faith.” ~ Eva’s Sanctuary

cop3About the Author:

Sofia Essen has spent twenty years as an expatriate. She is presently on an indefinitely extended vacation on a Greek island. Living in a place that is as inspiring as it is perplexing is what made her pickup a pen and write Change of Pace. Her other interests include long walks with her Yorkshire Terrier.

Connect with Sofia:

Blog: http://diversereader.wordpress.com/

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5819497.Sofia_Essen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DiverseReader

48fourteen: http://www.48fourteen.com/users/sofia-essen

Where to buy Change of Pace:

48fourteen: http://www.48fourteen.com/catalog/change-pace

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Change-of-Pace-ebook/dp/B007UKXE06/

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Change-of-Pace-ebook/dp/B007UKXE06/

Excerpt from Change of Pace:

Tiny nudges my leg with his nose impatiently. He wants his walk, and he wants it now. I put his collar on him and we head out. Instead of turning right outside the gates, I turn left on impulse and begin to trek up the steep hill behind the village. Half an hour later, I stop and look down at the village. I spot the bed and breakfast—it looks like a dollhouse from up here. As my eyes rove over Drapanias, my mind stops spinning at last. When I ask myself the same questions that I’ve been asking myself for days, I finally have some answers.

Why am I still on this island? I’m still here because I’ve fallen in love with the village below me and its inhabitants. Should I go home? They say home is where the heart is. So I’m going to trek back down the hill to the village. I don’t have everything figured out yet. But knowing where I want to be is a start. I want to stay in Drapanias for as long as I can, which means I’m definitely going to start looking for a job. And even though Daisy is right about me craving consistency in a relationship, at the moment, I crave Alex more.

Feeling both mentally and physically refreshed, I practically skip downhill. I jog up Villa Drapanias’ driveway behind Tiny who is in a hurry to get his breakfast, which Jane should have ready and waiting for him by now. I unclip Tiny’s leash from his collar and he zooms toward the main house while I continue to my guesthouse. When I open the door and step inside, I’m greeted by a sight that evaporates every remaining ounce of angst I’ve harbored over the past few days – Alex standing in the middle of room, wearing nothing but a threadbare towel around his waist.

Our eyes meet across the room. Without a word, he comes toward me and suddenly I’m forgetting everything but the feeling of his arms around me and his lips on mine. His touch ignites a fire in me and a hunger for him that makes me dizzy. When he lifts me up and carries me to the bed, I feel like I’ve been drugged. Alex is the drug, and I want more. And knowing he wants me just as much as I want him when we’re together like this is a powerful high.

Readers can win a copy of seven books featured, and two runners up will get a book of their choice! Check out the rest of the great books and blogs at the 48Fourteen Scavenger Hunt!!!!

 

Special Guest Interview with Sofia Essen

Another excellent special guest to my blog! Sofia Essen has graciously agreed to answer some questions about her experiences writing her debut novel Change of Pace which I read and reviewed last week.

What have you learned as a writer? What is the hardest part of being a writer?

I’ve learned that otherwise relatively normal people, myself included, turn into raving lunatics prone to panic attacks when they decide to become writers. Emotions run high when something you’ve created and nurtured, whether it’s a short story or full-length novel, is ripped from your hands and suddenly not within your realm of control anymore.

I completely agree with your there! So what was some of your inspiration/sources for Change of Pace?

I never intended to write a book. But when I was sitting in a café in a small Cretan village one afternoon, watching a couple of tourists desperately trying and failing miserably to order a cup of coffee, I said to myself, “This place would be a great setting for a book.”

How does it feel to live in a foreign country?

After almost 20 years of bouncing around Southeast Asia and the Middle East, I’m used to being a foreigner. I’m a foreigner in my country of birth at this point too. Being expatriated for so long and relocating as often as I have makes a person adaptable. But I have to admit it took me a while to adjust to being in Europe again after such a long absence.

How many languages do you speak? What do you use everyday?

I was born in Sweden and I do speak Swedish, but it comes out sounding very stilted. My Thai is fairly fluent. I can converse in Greek unless the person I’m talking to goes on a spirited political rant (it happens). But I think and dream almost exclusively in English.

What are you reading right now?

Tanamera by Noel Barber. It’s one of my favorite books. Barber captures the deceptively romantic era of Colonial Singapore perfectly.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

That’s a difficult question to answer! I often find I love one book by a certain author and feel the rest of his/her work doesn’t measure up to it. It’s easier for me to name my favorite books: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Tanamera by Noel Barber, Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, The Pelican Brief by John Grisham.

What is your next project?

I’m working on several projects. But since the words “write what you know” are currently imprinted on my brain, I’m focusing on a story about a woman who has been a lifelong expatriate and is looking for a place to call home.

Extra Info:

Sofia Essen lives with her 3-year old Yorkshire Terrier in Crete. Change of Pace is her first novel. You can find her at http://sofiaessen.blogspot.com/

The last book in the Reading Rampage Change of Pace by Sofia Essen

Hello faithful readers, so Change of Pace is most likely the last book in my two week reading rampage.  Tonight is the Jet City Drink and Draw and I have some other things I would like to do before ending my time off and going back to work. Yes, I’m looking at you my disorganized bathroom closet/laundry area. I would also like to springify my patio, however the temperature keeps dropping.

All right back to the review:

Essen’s debut novel is a wonderfully light beach read. The synopsis begins: “What do you do when you get dumped, fired, and turn thirty in a single unfortunate week? You book the last available ticket on the next plane to Greece. Or at least that’s what the normally unadventurous Anna Cox does in a moment of uncharacteristic spontaneity…”

While the beginning moved a bit slow with relaxing shopping trips and drinking wine, this worked well as it mimicked the life that Essen was describing on Crete compared to Anna’s previous life in New York. The novel is written in first person, so the reader won’t always know what is going on with other characters and why, but Anna is an interesting narrator and it adds to the fun of watching her learn about Crete, her family and herself.

If you want a book that is upbeat and an enjoyable read, this is the book for you.
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