Book Thoughts: Paint it Black


I’m trying to think of other things to do on here, but my life has not been that interesting as of late.  Also I’m still learning my way around wordpress. The Highlight of my week is that I applied for graduation! It’s official now. School is in full swing again now and things are getting crazy. I will try to think of more creative book related or writing related post but until then here is another review for you!

                                  “What happened to a dream without a dreamer?

I have heard many positive reviews for White Oleander by Janet Fitch and if Paint it Black is an indication of Janet Fitch’s writing style, then I will definitely be reading more from her.

Paint it Black takes us back in time to 1980s Los Angeles. Josie Tyrell left her home in rural Bakersfield for the L.A. punk scene. She makes a living as an art model and a student film actress. She attends rock shows, and wild after parties. That is the life she knows and she is comfortable with it. Then she meets and falls in love with Michael Faraday. He introduces her to the world of art, poetry, classical music, and literature. Michael makes Josie feels worthy and valuable and begins to dream of a life of glamour and sophistications. Then she receives news that Michael has committed suicide and with that call Josie’s dreams and heart come shattering down. She develops a strange relationship with Meredith, Michael’s famous pianist mother. Although, each of them blames the other for Michael’s death, they are both equally left battered by it. Josie must find a way to pick herself up from the darkness threatening to harm her life and find a way to rebuild.

Paint it Black’s darkness makes it very difficult to read at times. Suicide is a personal subject for me, and I could understand Josie and Meredith‘s pain. Janet Fitch handles grief in such a raw and open way that for anyone who has ever lost someone especially to suicide relives that pain through Josie. The feelings of blame, regret, and confusion were so real that I had to step away from it for a bit.

I’ve read many books about grief; however, none of them touched me the way that Paint it Black did, and I think that is because of Fitch’s writing. There is some truly gorgeous writing here with some insightful metaphors and beautiful descriptions that allow for some beauty to a tragic story. I can’t say that I loved the characters, but I was invested in their story. I liked how despite Josie’s grief her personality is still visible. She is a girl with a rough life who thought she had found release only to spiral into something deeper and darker than she could have imagined. There were times when I didn’t like her decisions, but I was always rooting for her. In the end, Fitch doesn’t give her the happy ending, but she leaves her in a good place.

Overall a solid read, and I look forward to reading White Oleander.

Side Note: If any of you are on Goodreads Janet Fitch is leading the discussion for Pain it Black on the F-word group  forum.

Book Thoughts: The Mark of Ran

the mark of ran paul kearney sea beggars

5 stars for me. I’m usually very stingy with my stars, but I definitely feel that this one deserved it. It was so good!! You know those books you read that when you finish them you wonder why they have been buried under a rock? Well those were my thoughts after I finished the incredibly good and sadly underrated The Mark of Ran.

In the land of Umer, The Creator and an ancient race of beings with untold powers once lived alongside humans. The Creator disgusted with what humans had become abandoned them and to fend for themselves. Rol Cortishane has grown up listening to these stories through his grandfather. He lives in isolation in a rural fishing village with his grandfather and his grandfather’s strange companions. One day the village turns on his grandfather and Rol is forced to flee. He escapes his village and takes refuge in the tower of Michael Psellos. Psellos is a strange man who claims to know secrets from Rol’s past. In the tower he meets Rowen, a beautiful yet mysterious girl who trains him to be an assassin. They fight to learn the secrets of their past, and what their place is in the future of the world. However, that knowledge may cost them a high price.

I’ve been in a fantasy kick lately, and I picked this one up on a whim. The synopsis grabbed my attention, although I had never heard of it I decided to give it a try. I know that hardcore fantasy fans fans love their books huge, and that might be why The Mark of Ran often is overlooked in comparison to writers like G.R.R. Martin. Trust me though this one deserves some love.

Paul Kearney is a fantastic storyteller. The Mark of Ran held my attention the entire time, and the writing was superb Many things happened in the book, and none of them felt rushed. He sprinkles in the right amount of magic, action, and mystery that the reader is always entertained. Much of the novel takes place at sea or on a ship and naturally there are nautical terms. However, Kearney’s writing does an excellent job of walking the reader through the maritime lifestyle in a way that you may not understand what he is talking about, but you don’t feel left out.

Finally what I loved best. The characters. Everyone was so interesting and multidimensional. I thought Rol was a great protagonist and he like many reluctant heros lives with internal conflict. However, he is a very decisive person. He makes his decisions and sticks to them. As for Rowen, I feel very intrigued by her story. I’d be very interested to see things from her perspective, and I hope we learn more about her in The Forsaken Earth.

Overall a fantastic read. I highly recommend it to fantasy lovers but not exclusively. This book can be enjoyed by many. I will definitely be checking out more by Paul Kearney.

August wrap up

The booktubers do their monthly wrap ups in which they show all the books they read that month. I’ve decided it would be fun to start doing that on here.

So I fell into one of the worst reading slumps towards the end of July, and it continued on into August. I had been reading like a maniac the entire year trying to complete my 80 book challenge and once that was done I sort of just crashed. However, the guilt of staring at my overflowing bookshelves and not reading got to me. I told myself that I had to take advantage of all my free time before I started  my last year of college. Despite my laziness I mangaged to finish 6 books, and here they are alongside their star ratings. I provided links to my goodreads (feel free to add me)reviews of them if anyone is interested. My favorite of the month was The Gargoyle; it had such a lovely blend of of writing, characters, and plot. It was the kind of book that leaves you thinking about it long after you’ve closed its pages. I love when I find those kinds of books! I highly  recommend if you like  gothic lit and historical fiction with a twist.

What did you read this month?

  1. Etiquette and Espionage. by Gail Carriger **
  2. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky *** (Didn’t do a review)
  3. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson ****
  4. Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho ****
  5. Angela’s Ashes  by Frank McCourt **
  6. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley ****

august wrap up

Trying Something New

My name is Anasylvia, and I am a bibliophile.  For years I have been observing the book blogging community from afar, and I have now decided to finally give it a try. I started writing reviews on tumblr, but among the grumpy cat gifs and the endless pictures of libraries I didn’t think it was the right place for them. I figured it was time I tried something new, so I’ve decided to have my little corner dedicated to book related things. However, other posts may creep up from time to time. I am not a proper critic, so most of my reviews will consist of things I liked and things I didn’t. My taste in books is very varied, so you can expect there to be a little bit of everything.  All I ask from a book is that it takes me far away.