Review: Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

November 7, 2018
Waiting for Eden, Elliot Ackerman, MacLeod Andrews, InToriLex
Published By: Random House Audio on September 25, 2018
Format Read: Audio Book Edition (3hrs 27 mins) MacLeod Andrews (Narrator)
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Adult/ War
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Scribd
Waiting for Eden
Eden Malcom lies in a bed, unable to move or to speak, imprisoned in his own mind. His wife Mary spends every day on the sofa in his hospital room. He has never even met their young daughter. And he will never again see the friend and fellow soldier who didn't make it back home--and who narrates the novel. But on Christmas, the one day Mary is not at his bedside, Eden's re-ordered consciousness comes flickering alive. As he begins to find a way to communicate, some troubling truths about his marriage--and about his life before he went to war--come to the surface. Is Eden the same man he once was: a husband, a friend, a father-to-be? What makes a life worth living?


Content Warning: Graphic Descriptions of Torture and a Severely Injured Person


This is a short emotional book that packs a lot of punch. The story is told from a unnamed narrator's perspective who is watching over Eden's family after Eden is injured. Eden lays severely injured and unable to move in the hospital, while his wife Mary refuses to let him pass on. The narrator explains Mary's and Eden's relationship leading up to the present. He suggests that you should know Mary's story before you judge her decisions.

Eden is described as a likeable guy who has been forever changed by war but finds it preferable to family life. The characters lives are interwoven and well developed as unique but flawed personalities. The reality Eden faces after his injury is brutal and the author holds no punches immersing you into that experience. There are descriptions of gore included that have stuck with me.

I paused many times while listening flooded with existential questions. It's a slow burn which leads to twists I didn't expect. This  character driven novel used a number of scenes in Mary and Eden's past to explain their relationship. However the plot itself was slow moving. Despite wanting more to happen, I was engaged and invested in these characters. The narrator kept the intrigue going and I was emotionally moved by this tragic story.

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy character driven novels
- don't mind extensive descriptions of life after a severe injury
- enjoy philosophical musings with a dash of fantasy


Elliot Ackerman, InToriLex
Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. A former White House Fellow, his essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and Ecotone, among others. He currently lives in Istanbul and writes on the Syrian Civil War


Book Scoop October 26- November 2, 2018

November 2, 2018
This Cruel Design, (This Mortal Coil #2), Emily Suvada, InToriLex
This Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil, #2)
The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.

When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.

But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind. 
Family Trust by Kathy Wang
Family Trust, Kathy Wang, InToriLex
Family Trust
 Meet Stanley Huang: father, husband, ex-husband, man of unpredictable tastes and temper, aficionado of all-inclusive vacations and bargain luxury goods, newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For years, Stanley has claimed that he’s worth a small fortune. But the time is now coming when the details of his estate will finally be revealed, and Stanley’s family is nervous.

For his son Fred, the inheritance Stanley has long alluded to would soothe the pain caused by years of professional disappointment. By now, the Harvard Business School graduate had expected to be a financial tech god – not a minor investor at a middling corporate firm, where he isn’t even allowed to fly business class.

Stanley’s daughter, Kate, is a middle manager with one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious tech companies. She manages the capricious demands of her world-famous boss and the needs of her two young children all while supporting her would-be entrepreneur husband (just until his startup gets off the ground, which will surely be soon). But lately, Kate has been sensing something amiss; just because you say you have it all, it doesn’t mean that you actually do.

Stanley’s second wife, Mary Zhu, twenty-eight years his junior, has devoted herself to making her husband comfortable in every way—rubbing his feet, cooking his favorite dishes, massaging his ego. But lately, her commitment has waned; caring for a dying old man is far more difficult than she expected.

Linda Liang, Stanley’s first wife, knows her ex better than anyone. She worked hard for decades to ensure their financial security, and is determined to see her children get their due. Single for nearly a decade, she might finally be ready for some romantic companionship. But where does a seventy-two year old Chinese woman in California go to find an appropriate boyfriend?

As Stanley’s death approaches, the Huangs are faced with unexpected challenges that upend them and eventually lead them to discover what they most value. A compelling tale of cultural expectations, career ambitions and our relationships with the people who know us best, Family Trust skewers the ambition and desires that drive Silicon Valley and draws a sharply loving portrait of modern American family life. 
Elevation by Stephen King
Elevation, Stephen King, InToriLex
Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others. 
The Proposal (The Wedding Date #2) by Jasmine Guillory
The Proposal, (The Wedding Date #2), Jasmine Guillory, InToriLex
The Proposal
   When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't the hard part--they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media blows up--in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can't be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes... 
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below

Review: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

October 23, 2018
A Blade So Black, L.L. McKinney, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Imprint on September 25, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (364 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy/ Retelling
Series: Stand Alone (for now)
Source: Karen from For What It's Worth Reviews
A Blade So Black
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.


Content Warning: Graphic Violence


This was written perfectly to appeal to black teens who never knew they could enjoy fantasy. Alice is a courageous teen who discovers her own power to kill monsters called Nightmares from the mysterious Wonderland. She has to grapple with real monsters in Wonderland while also dealing with the trauma of feeling unsafe and gun violence in her neighborhood. Alice's best friends are Courtney and Chess they make endearing jokes about race and try to empathize with her experience. All of the characters were well developed which added great realism and contrasted well with whimsical Wonderland.

I was pleasantly surprised by how multifaceted the plot and story was. Alice is tormented by guilt because she has to be supportive for her family while leaving for long periods to kill Nightmares. While she trains with her mentor Hatta to navigate Wonderland she has to deal with normal teenage hormones and romantic feelings. Alice is not the only one who is recruited from our world to hunt and kill Nightmares. Dee and Dum are Russian teenage boys who hunt Nightmares to keep them at bay, they work with Alice as she encounters evil in Wonderland. The magical grasses, bubbles and strange passage of time in Wonderland created satisfying world building. The action was believable and the fast pace kept me engaged the whole time.
"And to those black kids searching countless shelves and between endless pages, hoping to catch a glimpse of themselves in galaxies far away, fantasies long ago, and stories here and now: this one's for you. Shine on, and drive back the darkness."~Author's Note
The stakes are high, the villains are awful and the diverse representation was refreshing. Some of the romantic elements were less than perfect but that was a small part of the book. The ending left me wanting more after a cliff hanger. I'm hoping that this is the beginning of a new series because I want to return to these characters and learn more about how they will continue to battle the evils of Wonderland. This was a really enjoyable read I would recommend to all readers.

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy action packed and multifaceted fantasy's
- want to return to the wonderful whimsical Wonderland
- appreciate racial and sexual diversity


L.L. McKinney, InToriLex
Leatrice "Elle" McKinney, writing as L.L. McKinney, is a poet and active member of the kidlit community. She’s an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. She’s spent time in the slush by serving as a reader for agents and participating as a judge in various online writing contests.

Elle's also a gamer, Blerd, and adamant Hei Hei stan, living in Kansas, surrounded by more nieces and nephews than she knows what to do with. Aside from rockin' the Favorite Aunt thing, she spends her free time plagued by her cat--Sir Chester Fluffmire Boopsnoot Purrington Wigglebottom Flooferson III, esquire, Baron o'Butterscotch or #SirChester for short--or defending the realm from the enemies of Azeroth. FOR THE HORDE!



Sunday Post #24 October 14, 2018

October 14, 2018
InToriLex, Sunday Post
Sunday Post is a Book Blog Meme hosted at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a post used to summarize what has happened on your blog for the past week, and preview what's next.


Review: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Review: Point Blank by Alan King  

Book Scoop October 12- October 19, 2018


The Girls at 17 Swann Street, Yara Zgheib, InToriLex
The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib-  I am so excited I was sent this book to review. This is a poetic book about a woman seeking treatment for a eating disorder and trying to get her life together. 
OUT February 5, 2019 from St Martin's Press

Electric Arches, Black Queer Hoe, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work, InToriLex
Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing- This is a awesome poetry collection I picked up about black girlhood which includes visual art as well as prose. I'm also a huge fan of Eve's Twitter.
 OUT NOW from Haymarket Books

Black Queer Hoe by Britteney Black Rose Kapri- Another great poetry collection that should be on you radar. It's a great collection that explores sexuality and Identity.
OUT NOW from Haymarket Books
Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work (Jacobin) by Melissa Gira Grant- This is a short non-fiction book that challenges how we look at the sex trade. I've read a few fiction books about children and teens involved in the sex trade, so this piqued my interest.
OUT NOW from Haymarket Books

Her Body and Other Parties, What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky, Don't Call Us Dead, InToriLex
I'm so happy I made time to go to the Boston Book Festival this weekend. I was able to attend a panel with some of my favorite author's from this year.  They discussed why awards are important and shared their experiences judging and being awarded. I'll list my gushing reviews for them below: 
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado  
Don't Call Us Dead by Danez Smith- I haven't reviewed yet, but plan to, it's a unforgettable read, full of poetry and emotion. 

I took a week off to reset a few things in my life. I haven't been working out, reading or blogging and I definitely needed the break. Spending sometime not so worried about everything I had to do everyday, helped me remember why I'm committed to pursuing so many things in my life. I've been taking driving lessons which is a huge fear of mine I'm taking head on. I have bad driving anxiety and really struggle to feel confident so I plan to take as many lessons as I need. I'm excited to be back this week and am happy I received some great books recently. 


Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman-This is a sequel to Scythe, I'm really enjoying exploring this fascinating world where immortality is achieved in a world controlled by the all knowing AI, the Thunderhead. This is a great series for fans of action packed, sci-fi, dystopias. 
Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman- I'm listening to this on audio and really enjoying it. It's a quick 3 hour book about three lives, one of which is confined to a hospital bed, half alive after deploying to war.  

How did your reading go this week?

Book Scoop September 28- October 5, 2018

October 5, 2018
InToriLex, Book Scoop, Weekly Feature




When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen
When We Caught Fire, Anna Godbersen, InToriLex
When We Caught Fire
  It’s 1871 and Emmeline Carter is poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. Between her father’s sudden rise to wealth, and her recent engagement to Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Emmeline has it all. But she can’t stop thinking about the life she left behind, including her childhood sweetheart, Anders Magnuson. Fiona Byrne, Emmeline’s childhood best friend, is delighted by her friend’s sudden rise to prominence, especially since it means Fiona is free to pursue Anders herself. But when Emmeline risks everything for one final fling with Anders, Fiona feels completely betrayed.

As the summer turns to fall, the city is at a tipping point: friendships are tested, hearts are broken, and the tiniest spark might set everything ablaze. Sweeping, soapy, and romantic, this is a story about an epic love triangle—one that will literally set the city ablaze, and change the lives of three childhood friends forever. 
Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
Dry by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman, InToriLex
The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.
Under My Skin by Lisa Unger
Under My Skin, Lisa Unger, InToriLex
Under My Skin
  What if the nightmares are actually memories?

It's been a year since Poppy's husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run through Manhattan's Riverside Park. In the immediate aftermath, Poppy spiraled into an oblivion of grief, disappearing for several days only to turn up ragged and confused wearing a tight red dress she didn't recognize. What happened to Poppy during those lost days? And more importantly, what happened to Jack?

The case was never solved, and Poppy has finally begun to move on. But those lost days have never stopped haunting her. Poppy starts having nightmares and blackouts--there are periods of time she can't remember, and she's unable to tell the difference between what is real and what she's imagining. When she begins to sense that someone is following her, Poppy is plunged into a game of cat and mouse, determined to unravel the mystery around her husband's death. But can she handle the truth about what really happened?
The Flame: Poems Notebooks Lyrics Drawings by Leonard Cohen
The Flame: Poems Notebooks Lyrics Drawings, Leonard Cohen, InToriLex
The Flame: Poems Notebooks Lyrics Drawings
The Flame is the final work from Leonard Cohen, the revered poet and musician whose fans span generations and whose work is celebrated throughout the world. Featuring poems, excerpts from his private notebooks, lyrics, and hand-drawn self-portraits, The Flame offers an unprecedentedly intimate look inside the life and mind of a singular artist.

A reckoning with a life lived deeply and passionately, with wit and panache, The Flame is a valedictory work.

"This volume contains my father's final efforts as a poet," writes Cohen's son, Adam Cohen, in his foreword. "It was what he was staying alive to do, his sole breathing purpose at the end."

Leonard Cohen died in late 2016. But "each page of paper that he blackened," in the words of his son, "was lasting evidence of a burning soul." 
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below
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