Category: drama

Title: Cape May

Author: Chip Creek

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I was given an advanced readers’ copy of this book by the publisher, Celadon Books. Thank you so much!

               I started alternating between library books and review copies, so when I was finished with The Vanishing Stair, I decided to push Cape May to the top of my stack. This book is fantastic, gorgeously written and full of heart and emotion. I wouldn’t put it any particular genre; to me, it was a drama. But I absolutely adored it. The prose was gorgeous, the pacing breakneck, and I loved the way that it was a coming of age story. Lush, emotional, painful and satisfying, I loved this debut from a brilliant new talent! Chip Creek has penned an unforgettable first novel that had me in awe. I was crying, laughing, cringing, and there were several times that I had to close the book and walk away to process my feelings.

               Cape May opens with two young, lovestruck newlyweds, Effie and Henry, on their honeymoon. Given Effie’s uncle’s beach house for the week, they are drunk on one another. But boredom begins to set in when they realize they’ve come to the oceanside town on the off-season when there is no one there. But their ennui is soon alleviated when they become friends with three bored, young rich people: effervescent, bubbly Clara, smooth jokester Max, and his younger half-sister, Alma. Pulled into the drama of these strangers, Effie and Henry soon find their young marriage in jeopardy, and they must decide if their new love is worth saving…

               This book was wonderful and nearly perfect. It came as a surprise in the mail, and as soon as I was done with The Vanishing Stair, I dove in. The prose was gorgeously wrought, and the pacing was breakneck. I was utterly seduced by the empty seaside town of Cape May; the setting was vivid and beautiful, and I could almost taste the salt in the air, feel it fall on my skin. I also loved all of the characters in this book, particularly Effie, Henry, and Alma. This book was beautiful, seductive, and erotic; it was a debut that swept me away and stole my heart. Watching Effie and Henry ingratiate themselves into this group of wealthy, bored young people were both stunning and painful. As the book went on, I found my heart breaking, for Effie, in particular. This book was about fidelity, lust, marriage, and friendship, but most of all, it was about watching a new marriage crumble in the summer heat. I really didn’t like Henry as the book went on; he was foolish, selfish, and was rationalizing his indiscretions in the worst, possible way. By the end of the book, I hated him. But the ending saved the book for me; I loved the way that it ended. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, lush and seductive, and I loved every moment of it, even the ones that were painful and made me cry. The bottom line: A beautiful, poignant novel about lust, fidelity, marriage, and desire, I loved Cape May! Next on deck: The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton!

Author: Muhammed Khan

Rating: 5/5

Buy: Amazon US

         Amazon UK

Stunning. Stunning. Stunning! Thank you so much to my librarian for showing me this book because it was phenomenal. I Am Thunder is a brilliant YA novel focussed on the prejudice against Muslims and the threat of radicalisation from the viewpoint of a high school student. Muzna has lived her life with her strict parents showing her that she is Pakistani first, Muslim second and British last – if at all. After moving schools, she meets a boy who treats her like she will become something, and she discovers freedom. It sounds quite fluffy at this point but (without spoiling anything) events begin to take a dark turn as she is torn between the hate people give her, and the possibility of hating them in return.

My knowledge of Islam is limited, which is why I was so keen to pick up this book. I’m an atheist, but understanding religion is something I not only find fascinating, but essential as well. Muzna is from a background of conservative Islam, trying not to obviously be religious due to their fear of prejudice. Firstly, I found this heart-breaking. To know that people feel the need to hide who they are in fear of hate is shocking – and I hope books like this can show the awfulness of Islamophobia and bring about change. 

Radicalisation is not something often depicted in novels, especially YA. However, this book shows how slowly it can weed into a person – without them really realising it; how sly extremists are when it comes to manipulation. But what I appreciated in this book is that Muslims were treated as the victims, not the masterminds, of this radicalisation. This is how people should be viewing extremism! It’s horrific that terror attacks are caused by people using religion as an excuse, and the people who truly believe in this religion are taking the fall! 

Even with the themes aside, I Am Thunder is  an excellent YA novel. The language is so colloquial and readable; time past so quickly whilst I was reading it! The plot develops quickly, but almost under the radar, so that you can’t really tell how intense things are until it hits you like a train. 

The author is own voice, so I hope that he is able to portray an honest experience of being a British Muslim. However, if you don’t agree with the way themes are tackled in this novel, please tell me and I’ll add your thoughts to this review. But otherwise, this read was both enjoyable and enlightening – an emotional rollercoaster.

Currently Reading: Hit by Lorie Ann Grover! I just finished Forest of a Thousand Lanterns last night, and I realized I’d like to get the book club out of the way, so here we go! I’m kind of nervous because the prose is a little overwrought and the plot seems like it’s stretched thin, but I promised I’d read it for my book club ladies, so. What are you guys currently reading this week?

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao Review: undefined

Currently Reading: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by @lbardugo I’ve had this reserved at the library for over a year now; since I’ve known of its existence, really. I’m so excited! I finished Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia on Thursday, and I’ve been working on this ever since. I’m little more a hundred pages in, and I’m in love with it. A brand new, feminist, badass take on one of my favorite DC heroines? Yes, yes, please, I am all for this, and I can’t wait for more in this brand new, promising series! What are you guys currently reading this weekend?

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia Review

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero Review

Currently Reading: Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero! I just finished When I Am Through With You this morning, and it gutted me in the best kind of way. I’m definitely a fan of Stephanie Kuehn now, guys! Yay for brand new authors! Now on down the library stack, I go! I’m about forty pages into this, and I’m already loving it. Think Supernatural mashed with Scooby Doo and a ton of pop culture references and humor, and you’ve got something close to Meddling Kids. Plus, anything that’s an homage to one of my favorite childhood cartoons, and I’m all over it. Shout out to one of my libraries hooking me up, and Val, it’s so good so far, I can’t wait for you to read it! What are you guys currently reading this weekend?

When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn Review

Because You Love to Hate Me by Ameriie Review