Mini Book Review: Universe of Two by Stephen Kiernan

Universe of Two is based on the life of the young mathematician, Charles Fisk (called Charlie Fish in this novel), who was unknowingly recruited to work on the creation of the atomic bomb. Charlie is only eighteen, and recently graduated from Harvard, and it’s not until much later into the secret project when he realizes what exactly he’s doing for the ‘war effort’, and thus struggles with his conscience and the moral dilemma of it all.

Beginning in 1943, this book is, for the majority of the time set during the war. It alternates between Charlie’s perspective in third person, and his musician girlfriend, Brenda’s, in first person, and I found this gave an added dimension to the storyline.

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Book Review: Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

A girl comes of age against the knife. She must learn to bear its blade. To be cut. To bleed. To scar over and still, somehow, be beautiful and with good enough knees to take the sponge to the kitchen floor every Saturday. You’re either lost or you’re found.”

Betty ~Tiffany McDaniel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Betty by Tiffany McDaniel

4.5/5 Stars

Wow. This book is both painfully hard and utterly heartbreaking, as well as a powerfully beautiful work of literature. It goes without saying, that this book broke my heart. I think what made it more hard to digest, was knowing this book was based on the author’s mother, Betty’s life.

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The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

Its been awhile since I posted, and also some time since I did a proper book review, even though I’ve been keeping track of the books I’m reading on my instagram. I’m hoping to get back into the flow of book reviews as I’ve already read four books this month and have many more on my book cart waiting for me to read.

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline came in for me at the library and I devoured it between that afternoon and the next. I simply couldn’t put it down. Set in the 1840s, this novel tells the story of how female convicts were banished to Australia for the slightest offence, such as stealing a silver spoon or for simply being pregnant out of wedlock.

This is a story of hardship and heart-wrenching loss, cruel injustice and discrimination, as well as also being a story of perseverance and resilience in spite of opposition, and the powerful bonds of friendship and togetherness in the face of trials.

There are three main characters in this book, and each of their stories are equally heartbreaking.

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Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

Goldengrove devoured my sister every time I closed my eyes.”

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

Goldengrove is a privately owned institution designed for those in need of mental health care. From the outside it appears to be a tranquil, welcoming place for rest and recovery. However, it may not be as healing as it seams.

Set in the late 1880s in a time where many outrageous treatment practices for mental illness were being performed, Woman 99 by Greer Macallister portrays what life was like in a mental health institute or asylum of that day.

Charlotte and Phoebe Smith are two close knit sisters of a wealthy and privileged family in San Francisco. Image is everything to their mother, and they must put on the best front, or risk embarrassing the family name. When the older sister, Phoebe begins to show signs of recurring mania and melancholy, her parents commit her to a nearby asylum run by family friends. Just like that, Phoebe is locked away, cut off from corresponding or visiting with her family, almost as if she wasn’t part of the family in the first place.

Desperate to get her sister back, and believing Phoebe has been wrongfully admitted, Charlotte devises a rash and impulsive plan to get her sister back. She will become a patient of Goldengrove and she will find her sister and bring her home. Feigning despair, Charlotte enters as ‘woman 99’. Now she is only a number, and with her unknown identity she hopes she can locate her sister. However, once admitted, Charlotte realizes its much harder to get out than in.

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