Posts Tagged ‘chick lit’

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!

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

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