Giveaway + Audiobook Review – Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Giveaway + Audiobook Review – Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
Giveaway + Audiobook Review – Idaho by Emily RuskovichIdaho by Emily Ruskovich
Published by Random House, Random House Audio
Publication date: January 3, 2017
Genres: Literary Fiction
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Length: 10 hours and 35 minutes
320 pages
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Publisher

A stunning debut novel about love and forgiveness, about the violence of memory and the equal violence of its loss—from O. Henry Prize–winning author Emily Ruskovich.

Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho, where they are bound together by more than love. With her husband’s memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade’s first wife, Jenny, and to their daughters. In a story written in exquisite prose and told from multiple perspectives—including Ann, Wade, and Jenny, now in prison—we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny's lives, of the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and of the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character in Idaho.

In a wild emotional and physical landscape, Wade’s past becomes the center of Ann’s imagination, as Ann becomes determined to understand the family she never knew—and to take responsibility for them, reassembling their lives, and her own.


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided. This small income goes back into my blog, so I can continue to create fun content for you. I appreciate my readers and make it my goal to be up front and honest. Thank you for supporting my blog! ♥

Emily Ruskovich’s IDAHO is haunting, atmospheric, and heartbreaking, yet manages to leave you wanting more of its beauty. Rarely does a book leave me with this persistent feeling of loss upon finishing, but Idaho did. Through beautiful prose, strong character development, and exquisite storytelling, Ruskovich delivers a novel that will stay with you.

Told in multiple points of view in a non-linear way, Ruskovich introduces you to Wade, Jenny, their two daughters, and Ann. Wade is now married to Ann but used to be married to Jenny, who is serving a life sentence for the death of her and Wade’s daughter, May. Years later, Ann is still haunted by the events that lead up to May’s death and their other daughter, June’s, disappearance.

At its heart IDAHO is a story of grief and loss but also about what it means to forgive yourself, redemption, and accepting and giving love. IDAHO reads almost like a mystery novel, this element a faint pulse driving the novel. Ruskovich slowly and methodically reveals what happened that day on the mountain where May died and June disappeared. This one event shattered the lives of all involved and reverberated through people who weren’t even present when it occurred, trickling down over decades and leaving a void in the lives of many.

Part of what makes it so emotionally effective is Ruskovich’s prose. Her writing is striking, each word intentionally chosen to fit the scene and the mood. Additionally, Ruskovich’s storytelling is also noteworthy. The story moves around in time, often switching perspectives, but this was necessary. She reveals pieces of characters’ pasts with an exacting precision and the right time for the story as a whole. It was truly amazing.

It’s hard to put into words how I feel about this book. Part of the awe of this book is the feeling you get upon finishing—a deep loss of these characters’ lives and moments you’ve witnessed as a reader that you want to experience anew.

There is an inherent sadness and loss in Jenny’s character. What made her character arc so effective was the way Ruskovich developed her character through the lens of her cellmate, Elizabeth. It was so brilliant. Even though we enter Jenny’s mind, the reader isn’t left with an answer as to why she did what she did. We can only speculate. I alternated between actually crying and being on the verge of tears when reading the scenes in the prison. Elizabeth and Jenny’s relationship was so deeply moving to me, there’s is relationship born out of the simple act of needing to love and be loved by another person in a cold sterile environment that’s complete void of love.

If you’re a reader who needs to have every question answered—the who, what, when, and most of all the why—then this may not be the novel for you. How May died is answered, but the reader is never given a clear, crisp picture, why it happened or what exactly happened that led to to it. But I don’t think it’s necessary important to the story at all. It’s the fact that it did happen and it is the driving force for the story and these characters.

I recommend this novel without reservation to lovers of character-driven stories, to those who appreciate rich character development, and who delight in feeling moved. The ultimate goal of any writer—I think—is to make their readers feel something. I felt this novel immensely and the ending, while simple, was so full of meaning, heart, and hope.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Audio for providing me with this audiobook for review.

 

Review - Idaho by Emily Ruskovich


GIVEAWAY

Since I loved this book so much, I partnered with Random House to give away a hardcover copy of Idaho. This book touched me and I still find myself thinking about. I want to share this gift with one of you. So if this sounds like something you’d like feel free to enter!

To enter: Please leave a comment on this review and tell me one thing that makes you happy (aside from books). This is open internationally. Giveaway will be open until March 21, 2017 at Midnight CST. Winner will be chosen at random through random.org.

Hardcover Giveaway - Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Related posts:

Books for your to-read list!

New and Upcoming Book Releases via Reading Books Like a Boss

Try Prime for Free

Advertisement - Links to an affiliate link

Audiobook Review – All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Audiobook Review – All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Audiobook Review – All Our Wrong Todays by Elan MastaiAll Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Published by Dutton Adult
Publication date: February 7, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction
Narrator: Elan Mastai
Length: 10 hours and 5 minutes
380 pages
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

All Our Wrong Todays is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.

There’s no such thing as the life you’re “supposed” to have…

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed…because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

Story Locale: Toronto, San Francisco


Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something through the links provided. This small income goes back into my blog, so I can continue to create fun content for you. I appreciate my readers and make it my goal to be up front and honest. Thank you for supporting my blog! ♥

ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS is compulsively readable and addictive. I enjoyed this book so much—think of it as a modern-day Back to the Future meets Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Maybe in Another Life. Wonderful storytelling and compelling characters made this story completely entertaining, a page-turner, and joy to read.

One of the things I liked about this book was Tom Barren. The narrative reads like Tom is telling you the story of his life. His witty quips, sense of humor, and self-deprecating tendencies made him endearing and engaging. I liked him right away, despite his obvious character flaws. Elan Mastai developed his character so well, creating a fantastic character arc for him with room to evolve—and change he did! He goes from being a self-described “loser” and slightly selfish to the hero who saves everyone.

This novel is categorized as science fiction, so I was concerned that some of the technical explanations would go over my head or weigh down the story. Not so! Elan Mastai does a fantastic job of weaving in the detailed passages surrounding quantum physics and time travel while making the story easy to digest and fascinating! The novel addresses some of the inherent problems in time travel such as the issue of the earth’s constant movement.

Mastai’s storytelling is especially noteworthy. Everything about this book felt fresh, new, and different. I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter, as some chapters end on mini-cliffhangers. A good amount of my enjoyment stemmed from the questions that the novel poses. If given the chance, would I go back in time to change something from my past, without knowing the potential consequences? What would it be like traveling to a world with remnants of your own but wholly different?

Aside from Tom, there are great side characters in Penny and Greta that make the story that much more addictive and fun. Those characters were interesting and relatable but all had flaws that made them realistic.

Romance lovers will enjoy this sci-fi time travel novel colored with romantic elements. Tom changes the time space continuum over a broken heart and manages to find Penny again. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is. In addition to the Goettreider Engine, love was Tom’s constant, which is sort of beautiful to think about. It was the thing that was rooted in his mind no matter what version of today he was in.

Audiobook Comments:

I listened to this book almost entirely in one sitting while driving to visit a friend in Kentucky. The author narrates it and I thought it was really great! When I saw that it was the author as opposed to a regular narrator, I have to admit that I thought maybe it wouldn’t be as entertaining but Elan Mastai gave a great performance. The benefit to having an author narrate the book is that he or she has the chance to deliver the lines the way h/she envisioned it. I really liked the way Mr. Mastai brought Tom to life because he wasn’t the most likable guy in the beginning but his performance combined with the aforementioned character development made me feel for Tom and endeared me to him. If you’re looking to listen to this book, give it a go!

Thanks to Penguin Random House Audio for providing me with an audiobook for review. This was a fun listen!

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Related posts: