Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

November 2, 2017
Intorilex, Book Review, Difficult Women, Roxane Gay, Shory Story, Grove Press Published By: Grove Press on January 3, 2017 
Format Read: ARC Edition (272 pages)
Genre: Short Stories/Feminism/Contemporary
Series: Standalone
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.



These stories broke my heart  and wrung me out. The best writers make characters speak to you  and these characters pulled on emotional threads. The different stories find ways to remind you of what makes us all human. These women struggle through unimaginable pain, and find a way to survive. They are sad but they have not resigned themselves to the tragedy they experience. I was refreshed to read one story told from the "wrongdoers" side. The story made me sympathize with someone who acts evil out of selfishness and that is a powerful thing.
"It was a dark, ugly thing to see such greed cloaked in false good."
I cried while reading. I had to stop in places because words pulled at me when I wasn't ready. Over and over these women's lives are described as seamlessly crafted around others at the costs of themselves. Many of these stories describe the uncomfortable need to satiate others and leave scraps for yourself. Black women too often find themselves trying to ignore and survive so many layers of oppression. These stories describe how oppression can intersect and how women strive to live with the consequences of it.
"Instead of speaking, I remained silent. Words cannot fill the faithless with faith."
Read these stories if your ready to take a hard look at how heartache affects women's lives. Roxane Gay has left a lasting impression on me and I'm excited to read more of her work. All of these short stories engaged and challenged me in a positive way. I'll be thinking about these characters for a long time. I would recommend this for fans of diverse contemporary stories with feminist themes.


Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.

Monday Musings: Boston Bookfest 10/30/17

October 30, 2017
Monday Musings, Boston Bookfest, InToriLex, Book Blogger


I have been reading but shamefully haven't posted to my blog since September. Well I'm back from another unplanned hiatus,and I'm grateful to my readers who have reached out and checked up on me. I'm excited for all that I have planned for November. I'm hoping to end my year productively reviewing  some great titles.
I recently dealt with some pressing family issues, but I feel recharged and ready to tackle my never ending To Be Read book pile. The Book Riot Ad network ended this past September, so I no longer will have ads on my blog. This is not a huge deal because I blog as a hobby. However I hope to dedicate more time to InToriLex so I can reach more readers. I have also started a few writing projects and have been overjoyed to practice my craft.

This past Saturady I browsed the vendors in Copley Square at the Boston Bookfest. I grabbed a lot of free totes, a great free t-shirt and new books. 

There was a packed schedule of lectures with wonderful authors throughout the whole weekend.  I wasn't able to attend any lectures but I was happy to chat with vendors about books.

It was great to see some smaller indie publishers out in full force. They had activities for kids and the weather was amazing. I was hoping there would be more vendors, but I understand how a outside festival in October may not be appealing. The New England Science Fiction Association gave out books for free and had a number of titles for sale. I'm happy I got to do some book browsing and learn more about the book community in Boston.
Have you read any of the books I picked up? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Scoop September 1- September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017
Book Scoop, Book News, InToriLex, Man Booker 2017
Book Industry News, Links to Sift Through & Short Stories

Happy GreenPeace Day!!!


Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art (via a bit of very contemporary skulduggery and skull-diggery), Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means.

Autumn is the first installment in Ali Smith's novel quartet Seasonal: four standalone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are), exploring what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative.

From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, and a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.


Same Kind of Different as Me
Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s; a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver's life was still hopeless—until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together.

But slavery takes many forms. Deborah discovers that she has cancer. In the face of possible death, she charges her husband to rescue Denver. Who will be saved, and who will be lost? What is the future for these unlikely three? What is God doing?

Same Kind of Different As Me is the emotional tale of their story: a telling of pain and laughter, doubt and tears, dug out between the bondages of this earth and the free possibility of heaven. No reader or listener will ever forget it.
Future Home of the Living God
The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.


Henosis by N. K. Jemisin
Egg Laying Queen by Kristen Arnett

Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below.

The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

September 14, 2017
The Punch Escrow, Tal M. Klein, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Geek & Sundry on July 25, 2017
Format Read: ARC Edition (319 pages)
Genre: Science-Fiction/ Thriller/ Humor
Series: Standalone
Source: Giveaway Win
The Punch Escrow
It's the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We've genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure... Arrival... Delight!

Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980's new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he's accidentally duplicated while teleporting.

Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.



I didn't know what to expect from a futuristic hard sci-fi thriller. However I was pleasantly surprised with the good pacing and humor. It is hard to find books that bend genre's in a workable way but this book  did. The protagonist Joel's sarcasm and relatable reactions to things balanced out a book that included foot notes on futuristic world history.  The world building was fantastic, because every time I wondered how that would actually work, it would be followed by an explanation. The world building read well because the writing was good, it never read like filler or rushed exposition.
The characters in this book include a multi-faceted travel agent, Yoel (Joel's double), an ancient cult leader and a mad scientist. The characters were realistic and flowed together and apart nicely. Joel's epic journey to find himself  and survive the people who each want to use him for his own agenda included action, banter and romance. Hard scif-fi does not have to be boring, this book tells a human story in a future world where humans can upgrade themselves into something else entirely.
"Even if I were capable of gauging my state of mind objectively, I could only determine such things in retrospect."
The short cliff hanger and song titled chapters kept me engaged and made me wish this was a trilogy. I liked the book so much I was able to read a chapter that was left on the editing room floor (thanks Mr. Klein). The use of footnotes was done sparingly, but it would have helped the whole book stay in line with it's hard sci-fi know it all feel, if the author used them throughout. I don't know what the future of teleportation will be, but this gave some really cool imagery and ideas of how it could work. I would recommend this to fans of awesome hard sci-fi thrillers with humor and heart.


Tal M. Klein, author and musician, was born in Israel, grew up in New York, and currently lives in the Detroit area with his wife and two daughters. When she was five years old, his daughter Iris wrote a book called I'm a Bunch of Dinosaurs that went on to become one of the most successful children's book projects on Kickstarter --something that Tal explained to Iris by telling her, "your book made lots of kids happy." Iris then asked Tal, "Daddy, why don't you write a book that makes lots of grownups happy?" Tal mulled this over for a few years, and eventually wrote his first book, The Punch Escrow. It won the Inkshares Geek & Sundry Hard Science Fiction publishing contest, and was the first book published on Legendary Entertainment's Geek & Sundry imprint. The film rights for The Punch Escrow have been acquired by Lionsgate. James Bobin (Flight of The Conchords, The Muppets) has been attached to adapt and direct.  Twitter

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

August 29, 2017
Book Review, F.C. Yee, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, InToriLexPublished By: Amulet Books on August 8, 2017
Format Read: Advanced Readers Copy (310 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy/Mythology
Series:  Standalone
Source: Shelf Awareness Giveaway
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo's every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…



This book was so much fun to read. If I'm speaking in terms of dinner courses, this reads like fried ice cream. The characters are likeable and the humor is memorable. Genie Lo is a formidable force who tries to fight monsters from hell, while crafting herself into a competitive college student. Her character is head strong in a brutish but relateable way. I could only imagine how I would react to learning I have super powers. Quentin is a friend who is full of surprises and a great guide for Genie about how to navigate this new life that crosses worldly dimensions. It was a pleasure to read about a female protagonist who was unapologetically bad ass.
"I'm going to rip his balls off and shove them in his eye sockets."
The author does a great job of describing characters and developing them quickly. The only criticism I have of this short but satisfying book is a lack of world building. The book did fit in action, humor, Chinese mythology and even some romance. But I really wanted to learn more about the leaders and major players described in caring for Heaven and Hell. The pacing was great and every detail helped move the story and kept my face stuck to the book. I liked the focus on the Asian Community and their unique experiences.There are far too few books that focus on marginalized communities, and this was a great one.

This books ending made me hopeful for more action packed adventures where characters cross Heaven and Hell. The mythology described never read like exposition but was presented well as integral part of Genies adventures. The powers and action described stretched my imagination in ways like never before. I would recommend this to fans of Young Adult action packed fantasy, featuring diverse characters. 


F.C. Yee is currently the author of THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO. He will hopefully be the author of more YA books in the future.


Book Scoop August 18- August 25, 2017

August 25, 2017
InToriLex, Book Scoop, Weekly Feature, Book News
Book Industry News, Links to Sift Through & A Short Story


Beyonce Will Release a $300 Coffee Table Book

The President's Arts and Humanities Committee Resigns 

Native American Literature's Living Con Job

New Book Will Profile Women Who Shaped Trump 


Existential Reading List  
Memoirs of a Polar Bear
Memoirs of a Polar Bear stars three generations of talented writers and performers―who happen to be polar bears.

Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous as both circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. In chapter one, the grandmother matriarch in the Soviet Union accidentally writes a bestselling autobiography. In chapter two, Tosca, her daughter (born in Canada, where her mother had emigrated) moves to the DDR and takes a job in the circus. Her son―the last of their line―is Knut, born in chapter three in a Leipzig zoo but raised by a human keeper in relatively happy circumstances in the Berlin zoo, until his keeper, Matthias, is taken away...

Happy or sad, each bear writes a story, enjoying both celebrity and “the intimacy of being alone with my pen.”
Fiction and Non Fiction For Every State

Author's Side Hustle

Great TV Shows and Books to Read Post  
The Sound of Things Falling
Juan Gabriel Vásquez has been hailed not only as one of South America’s greatest literary stars, but also as one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. In this gorgeously wrought, award-winning novel, Vásquez confronts the history of his home country, Colombia.

In the city of Bogotá, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by legendary Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The article transports Antonio back to when the war between Escobar’s Medellín cartel and government forces played out violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above.

Back then, Antonio witnessed a friend’s murder, an event that haunts him still. As he investigates, he discovers the many ways in which his own life and his friend’s family have been shaped by his country’s recent violent past. His journey leads him all the way back to the 1960s and a world on the brink of change: a time before narco-trafficking trapped a whole generation in a living nightmare.

Vásquez is “one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature,” according to Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, and The Sound of Things Falling is his most personal, most contemporary novel to date, a masterpiece that takes his writing—and will take his literary star—even higher. 


Rhymes with Feral” by Alex Higley  
 Did I miss anything in the Book World this week?
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