Tag Archives: Grief

Review: Days of Awe

Days of Awe

Days of Awe
By Lauren Fox
Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780307268129, August 2015, 272pp.

The Short of It:

Life goes on even when you feel like it shouldn’t.

The Rest of It:

I read this one far too long ago to remember all of the wonderful details but I STILL remember how I felt while reading it and I remember having all kinds of love for it.

The story is simple but the characters and the way they are woven into each other’s lives, are not. The story opens with the funeral of Isabel Moore’s best friend, Josie. Isabel and Josie, both middle school teachers and as close as friends can be, have done everything together so when Josie is killed in a car accident, Isabel’s world is turned upside down.

Isabel’s grief is all-consuming and yet, on the outside it’s not terribly apparent just how bad off she is. Her husband can’t deal with her anymore and can’t understand why she is unable to move on from this. But inside, she’s quietly falling apart. Especially when she learns that Josie’s life was not picture perfect either.

I really enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed it because it perfectly captured that moment of grief where you can’t figure out how to live. The presence of Josie is everywhere for Isabel and she’s stuck between mourning her and not liking her for the things she did prior to her death.  The events  leading up to her death force Isabel to question if she really knew her friend at all. How does one move on from this?

There is a slight meandering quality to the story but it felt right to me. When you lose a loved one, you find yourself floating through life and the narration has that same feel. Isabel is just floating along, trying to make sense of her loss and I must say, her pain is quite evident and raw and just so tangible.  The author did a really good job of capturing all that angst. I highly recommend it.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review & Giveaway: The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot

The Last Pilot 
By Benjamin Johncock
(Picador USA, Hardcover, 9781250066640, July 7, 2015, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Amid the excitement of space exploration, one couple is forced to deal with a horrible tragedy and the aftermath that it leaves behind.

The Rest of It:

The story centers around Jim Harrison and his wife Grace. Jim is an Air Force test pilot in Muroc, California on a base which later becomes Edwards Air Force Base. He’s a member of the New Nine, which is the first group to fly manned missions to space. As you can imagine, this is a very exciting time for them all.

Grace is not your typical Air Force wife. She worries, but she seems to know deep down, that things will turn out okay. But things are not okay. Jim and Grace suffer a terrible tragedy and it’s threatening to tear them apart. Grace desperately needs Jim during this time, but Jim chooses to bury himself in work.  How can you help another person when your own grief is too heavy to bear?

I really liked this novel. The excitement of space exploration is what grabbed my attention initially, but this couple’s situation really stayed with me. Not to mention the casual mentions of real-life astronaut Jim Lovell and larger-than-life Pancho Barnes. Barnes, who seriously steals the show in this one, could be the subject of her own book. She runs a bar, flies an airplane and basically knows everyone and better yet, seems to know exactly what everyone needs.

This knack of hers comes in handy more than once.

This was a smooth read for me. Even without the use of quotation marks, the writing and dialogue flowed effortlessly. Yes, there might have been a little confusion on my part when more than one character had the same name (two Jims, two Graces) but I quickly figured out who was who.

Overall, I really enjoyed this debut from Benjamin Johncock and I would absolutely read his work again. Check out his website here.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy, check out the details below.


This giveaway is for one copy of The Last Pilot and is open to the US and Canada. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the publisher. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on Sunday, July 26, 2015 (pacific). I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! (giveaway has closed!)

: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.