Tag: Book review.

Book Review – Suicide Stitch, By Sarah L. Johnson

I happened upon this book one day on one of my frequent trips to Chapters. The author, Sarah Johnson, had a table set up and was signing books. At first glance I thought –– short stories, that’s not really my thing, but I’m so glad I picked up a copy!

Out of the eleven stories in this book my favourite are: I Am Lost, and Five-Day Forecast.

I Am Lost, features my favourite type of storytelling: the unreliable narrator! It’s the story of a couple, determined to live free of things that cramp their style or tie them down – when the unexpected happens; a pregnancy. The author whisks you back and forth between past and present, and only at the end do you piece together what really happen. Viewing the outcome through murk clouded glasses.

Five-Day Forecast: This is a story about two broken souls, at least that’s the way I saw it: an exotic dancer and a child of divorce. Each day, for four days, the dancer finds the child huddled by a chain-link fence, in frigid temperatures, near her house. Though their conversation might seem mundane, there are moments that scratch at the raw parts of both their lives. On the fifth day, the boy doesn’t show at their usual meeting spot. The coldness of that day can be felt though the pages.

I absolutely love reading all the stories in this book! I give it a 5 out of 5!

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Dark Fantasy is not my usual genre of choice, but I’m so glad I took the chance on this book!

Where do I start …

necroThe main characters, Maldren (love the name) and Ayla, aren’t your ‘A’ typical heroes. Maldren, is a bit of a buck the tides, head strong, Necromancer. He has ambitions for promotion in his guild, but keeps getting passed over. For those of you who don’t know what a Necromancer is, it ‘s – in general, a magic practiced by a witch or sorcerer. This magic centers on being able to communicate and/or conjure magic in regards to the dead.

Ayla, is Maldren’s new apprentice. She’s young, from a rich family, inexperienced … everything that gets on Maldren’s “got-to-go” list. But – things change, the story develops, and you can’t help falling in love with both these characters.

Each scene is vividly written, taking the reader there; to the battles, to the sewers, and back to places a little less rough around the edges. Many times when reading this book, I found myself glancing back at the cover. Graeme Ing couldn’t have picked a better image for this story!

I give this book a 4 out 5! And would recommend it to any fantasy loving reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I was given an advance read copy of this book for a fair and honest review.*

 

I like to write book reviews as soon as I finish reading the book, while it’s all still fresh in my mind. Though it’s been a few days since I’ve finished this one, I’m am not worried about forgetting it’s intricacies. This is one of those books that stays with you for a while. The characters, their trials, the love, the heartache; choices made by fictional characters that by the end of the book are all too real.

The Edge of Nowhere, a historical fiction novel by C. H. Armstrong, that will take you on a journey of what it was like for a young widow and her combined fourteen children and stepchildren to survive in the 1930’s dust bowl era.

Spoiler Alert!

 

The beginning of the story starts with a letter written by grandmother, Victoria Hastings. At the end of this prologue there is a line that sums up the entire book so beautifully.

“Remember me not as your hostile and overbearing grandmother, but as a woman who refused to be a victim.”

Indeed, Victoria Hastings, refused to become a victim. Through harsh circumstances, Victoria survived to become a woman, almost emotionally unrecognizable from her youth. This story will make you feel the love, hate, and everything in between that Victoria felt.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars! And would recommend it to anyone who likes women’s fiction, or historical fiction.

 

Book Review – Blues for Zoey – By Robert Paul Weston

I picked up this book on recommend from the manager at my local Chapters store, and was not disappointed. If you’re a fan of John Green’s Paper Towns, I’m sure you’ll like this book by Robert Paul Weston.

The main character Kaz, works at the Sit’N’Spin laundromat, saving every penny he earns for college. At least that’s what he tells people. He’s really saving his money for his sick mother who needs special medical care they can’t afford.

Through chance, Kaz meets Zoey. A quirky musical genius, who plays an instrument that resembles a homemade crucifix. As their relationship develops, you can tell there’s something Zoey is hiding. A shaded past? An underlying agenda? I won’t spoil it for you.

Robert Paul Weston has cleverly crafted a twist in this book that surprised even me. I give Blues for Zoey 4 out of 5 stars, and would recommend it to any fan of YA fiction who likes a surprise ending.

Book Review – The Storyteller’s Daughter. Where The Story Begins.

By Sharon Dawn Selby

 

I had the honour of receiving a signed paperback copy of this book from the author, in exchange for a fare and honest review. As much as I can, I try to read indie author books. Not only to support my fellow indie authors but to hopefully be the first to discover a great story.

Although Sharon Selby has written other works, this book is her first work of fiction, classified as juvenile / young adult fiction. After reading it, I would say an appropriate age range of readers would be around 11-13, as the language and content is mild.

This book starts out fast from the gates. The main character, Skye, abruptly losses her parents in a questionable car accident. No one seems to investigate her parent’s death at all. Documents are signed, the family house is packed up by movers, and Skye is left to live with a creepy family friend.

Sparked by visions, and strange changes to family photos, Skye is swept up on a journey to find out more about a past that’s been hidden from her. She discovers a history filled with magic… and the art of Seanachie story telling.

I liked the fresh ideas portrayed in this story. Before reading this I knew nothing about Seanachie’s and their lore. Sharon Selby really takes the reader in to the Seanachie world.

I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars. The only reason being, that I found the story to slow in the middle and towards the end, and found it difficult to keep my interest.

Book Review – The Yellow Hoods, Along Came a Wolf – By Adam Dreece

The Yellow Hoods

Through serendipitous chance I stumbled upon this wonderful book by author Adam Dreece. The Yellow Hoods – Alone Came a Wolf is the first in a five book series, three of which are published to date. This book is classified as emergent steampunk, which is for ages 9 to 12. Even though this book is for a younger crowd, I still enjoyed it very much. I’m also told that this series progresses with the reader, turning in to a more pre-teen/young adult type read in the following books. So, it’s a series the can grow with the reader.
Adam Dreece has artfully combined the fairy tale and steampunk genres together in a new and refreshing way. For any reader who hasn’t experienced steampunk fiction yet, this book is a wonderful introduction into that world.
There were many parts of this book I liked, one of which was the author’s play on words with his characters names. LeLoup… The Big Bad Wolf. Egelina-Marie and Bakon… Eggs and Bacon. And of course Bakon’s brothers, Bore and Squeals… the three pigs. But, my favorite part of the book came on page 172.

(SPOILER ALERT)

The main character Tee, has just vanquished her foe LeLoup. Her mother and father have come to find her face down in a pile of leaves. She rolls over, checks herself for injuries, and admits to her parents that LeLoup is defeated by the yellow hoods. Then her mother asks her…

“You forgot something,” said Jennifer.
“What’s that?” asked Tee.
“Your triumphant La-la,” answered here mom, sweetly.
Tee thought about it for a moment. For years, Tee had added her special exclamation to things she’d done – but none of them had been as serious as this.
Sitting on her dad’s knee, and looking at the trees and their enchanting, colored leaves, she said, “Mom, I think I might have outgrown it.”
Her parents hugged her tightly.

This is the exact moment in the book when Tee starts to turn from child to adult. It’s the first glimmer of realization that things are serious and not just fun and games. I love coming of age moments in books! They are my absolute favorite.
As the author recommends, so do I, this is a book series for ages 9-99! I give this easy, fun read a 5 out of 5 stars.

 

Happy Reading.

Still Alice

Book Review – Still Alice, by Lisa Genova

This book is an amazing work of fiction, depicting the life of a Harvard psychology professor who’s diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The main character, Alice Howland has built up an impressive career for herself, she’s written books, been a keynote speaker at countless events and has mentored many in her field.

I loved the fact that the story was written from the prospective of Alice. It makes the journey from a fully functioning brain to full onset Alzheimer’s that much more vivid. The way Alice describes the daily happenings in her life is spot on to how the disease takes its toll.

This book stirred up some questions in my own life. Such as, if you could be tested for the genetic mutation that causes Alzheimer’s, would you? Two of Alice’s children got the test done, one did not. I think I would group myself with the child who did not get the test. For many reasons, I don’t would not want to know.

I fully understand the ravages of this disease, having seen both my grandfather and father cecum to it. As of yet, there is no cure for it. So I consciously try to live my best life being as healthy and happy as I can, hoping Alzheimer’s is not in my future.

I’m not sure I would recommend this book to a reader who has someone with Alzheimer’s disease in their life. This story is a very real portrayal of the disease. I had to stop reading a few times because it was just so sad.

BUT, for writing a compelling story that needed to be told, I give Still Alice 5 out of 5 stars. But be warned… This story might hit a little too close to home.

 

I'll meet you there

I’ll Meet You There – By Heather Demetrios

Where do I start with this book? If I could give it more stars than 5 out of 5 I would. From the cover design to every emotion packed chapters, this booked had me up at the wee hours still reading. Now that I have discovered Heather Demetrios writing style, I’m eager to read more of her  books.

So… let me tell you about this book. The story stars off at a high school graduation party in Creek View, California. The typical Creek View girl would have a double wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and a dead end job at a fast food chain to look forward to after graduation but, not Skylar Evans. She has a 4.0 GPA and a full ride to art school come fall. The only thing separating her from her dream of art school, is her reality in Creek View.

Skylar Evens deals with the harsh realities of living below the poverty line, a mother that’s more like a child, a best friend with a baby, and falling in love with a boy who’s just as broken as she is. Through working at the aptly named Paradise Motel, Skyler meets Josh. Josh, has just returned for fighting in Afghanistan, missing a leg from an IED. His PTSD, and her troubles at home, put them both in an isolated state only the other is able to reach.

Their story is a powerful experience of the empathy felt for those we love.

I recommend this book to readers who also like the works of John Green as the style is very similar.

5 out of 5 stars!