Book List 2014, Reviews

Review: The Girl in the Road

the girl in the roadThis wasn’t a book I was honestly sure I would like, because it’s not something that’s typically within my comfort zone. When it comes to dystopian novels I will admit I usually reach for a book that has a bit more of a familiar setting to me than the one found here in The Girl in the Road.

However with this book I found I was actually quite pleasantly surprised. The author has written the book so enriched with detail that if I tilted my head back and closed my eyes I could easily picture the setting without too many problems. The characters’ unfamiliarity with the setting only served to allow me to sink into this book further. It allowed me to empathize with these women, both of whom are strong in their own ways.

The good thing about these two characters as well, is despite the alternating chapters and the alternating timelines is that they are each written in a way that is distinctive and allows the reader to understand that they are now in the world of either Meena or Mariana. This was something I had worried about during the first few changes, as I tried to get a grasp on what was happening but was quickly able to identify each of them before their names were even mentioned.

The only thing that really took me out of the novel, which I quickly adapted to was the lack of quotation marks. However I respect the stylistic choice and by the end was not even phased by it as I whipped through the characters one by one.

This novel is recommended for anyone who likes a good dystopia with strong female characters, but also those who prefer to have their reading experience enriched by lush description of setting, characters and time line. In this novel Africa is a living, breathing character, as is India, with enough mysteries and action to keep even the least attentive reader enraptured.

Advertisements
Book List 2014, Reviews

Review: An Echo in the Bone and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood Combined Review

I hate to say this, perhaps because I am so late to the game when it comes to Diana Gabaldon and the Outlander series but I have never been so glad I waited so long to read a series.

an echo in the boneThe simple reason is this, if I had had to wait so long after An Echo in the Bone to read Written in My Own Heart’s Blood I would’ve gone insane. Seriously.

So here are my thoughts in no particular order.

 

 

 

  • Diana Gabaldon continues to handle the world her characters live in with grace and respect.
  • It is still so insanely well researched and I am so impressed by the depth of the research.
  • The suspense in these two novels in particular had me turning the pages rapidly in search of what would happen next.
  • Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser remains one of my favourite characters.
  • Jamie Fraser is still one of my favourites as well. That Bloody Man.
  • Ian appears to grow more and more with each novel which makes me happy.
  • It was refreshing to learn a little bit more about the quakers as admittedly that is not something I’m too familiar with but these two books left me wanting to learn more about that lifestyle in particular during that time in history.
  • William aggravated me in the beginning of MOBY but by the end I wanted to hear more about him.
  • I am charmed by these books and everything that occurs within them. While some people do complain about what they see as filler in the every day life chapters I actually enjoy them quite a bit because it makes everything a touch more realistic.
  • I can’t wait to read the next book, though I know I’ll have to wait four more years.

written in my own hearts bloodI have never been more happy, or moved so quickly through books of this size in a very long time. I’m enjoying it quite a lot.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books about time travel, who likes fantasy, or historical fantasy or just loves being dragged into a book by a plot that just doesn’t want to let you go, and you don’t want to let go of it.

Book List 2014, Reviews

Review: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

pillars of the earthThis was one of those books which I had picked up before and never really got into.

It was the next book title pulled out of my book tin, and I dove in with an intent to finish it. I then proceeded to tear through the book in 5 days.

This isn’t so abnormal for me, but what was abnormal was the genre. Historical fiction is not normally my thing though I’m finding now that my tastes are changing.

I think what drew me into this novel, and was so well researched was that this was a history I was familiar with. But what kept me in this novel was the characters.

The world build, made out of one which already existed was fascinating and great. But it was the characters who were so fulfilling, so alternately, good, evil and in the middle that made me care about what was happening in this book. I turned every page wanting Phillip, wanting Jack to triumph while sneering at the thought of those like Alfred, or William making it anywhere in the world. I shook my head at Tom Builder’s ignorance. and found myself smiling the slightest bit at the mentions of Thomas Beckett, having been to the martyrdom in Canterbury Cathedral myself.

I felt the emotions of the character, mourned with them, felt scorned by some and felt the triumph of others.

This book is amazing, and that’s all there is to it.

Book List 2014, Reviews

“Emancipation Day” by Wayne Grady

emancipation dayEmancipation Day by Wayne Grady

How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him? 

With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It’s World War II, and while stationed in St. John’s’, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled, romantic Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and is desperate to see the world. They marry against Vivian’s family’s wishes–hard to say what it is, but there’s something about Jack that they just don’t like–and as the war draws to a close, the new couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack’s family.

But when Vivian meets Jack’s’ mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her new husband gets called into question. They don’t live in the dream home that Jack depicted, they all look different from one another–and different from anyone Vivian has ever seen–and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack’s father, William Henry, he never materializes. 

Steeped in jazz and big-band music, spanning pre and post-war Windsor-Detroit, St. John’s’, Newfoundland, and 1950s Toronto, this is an arresting, heart wrenching novel about fathers and sons, love and sacrifice, race relations and a time in our history when the world was on the cusp of momentous change.

This ensemble narrated book, based in the 40s and 50s really hit something inside of me, surprising me and pulling me in. Each character, given their own narrative had their own unique point of view of events that happened, giving a full fleshed out picture of what happens when someone might not be willing to accept who they are. It reflects the length we go to as people, to possibly escape our pasts, but inevitably some pieces of it end up engrained in our future.

It is easy to tell that this book, in some ways is autobiographical, and it is so well written that all of the characters become people to sympathize with.  Whether it’s Jack, who really is a little boy lost, not matter what decisions he tries to make. Or Vivian who is so naive and yet one of the warmer characters in the novel. William Henry was the one who I felt the most sympathy for, as he made wrong decisions, left and right and didn’t quite know what to make of his son until it was far too late.

It was also a good, albeit sad reflection of racial relations in both the U.S and Canada which really fleshed out the realism in the book.

This book also made me fall in love with it because it is a Canadian novel, with settings so close to me, and the area I live in. It was simply a well written, well woven tale.

Good for:

Those who love a good historical book with a strong basis in reality.

 

 

Book List 2014, Reviews

Quick Reviews

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon ★★★★

This book was a little hard for me to get into at first, given the different setting in the beginning but I soon found myself once again falling down the veritable rabbit hole, nervous for the characters and enjoying every minute of it.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon ★★★★

This book, the fourth in the series was definitely not hard for me to get into, as I slid right in and began reading (and sometimes researching) about the different locales, characters growth which is aplenty and enjoying the pleasure of being safely in this time while traveling through a time very different from our own. I was very sad to realize I was unable to yet get the next book in the series.

Must Love Otters by by Eliza Gordon ★★★
This book was very cute, and a fun, funny read. There were more than a few times I found myself laughing out loud at Hollie’s antics, and found myself falling a little bit for Ryan.

 

Book List 2014, Reviews

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book had captured my attention so quickly, that I was a little surprised and dismayed when this one didn’t as well. It was a slow burn for me, as the story and characters slowly wrapped themselves around me and pulled me in.

Jamie is as conflicting as always for me, often doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, or the right thing for the wrong reasons. And his actions sometimes, even in the historical context have been known to make me wince.

Claire is daring, and courageous and similarly so heartbreakingly wonderful and yet flawed.

In this world Diana Gabaldon has created something that can suck you in, whether it’s gradual or not. She has created characters that are never perfect, never without flaws and will not hesitate to make you care for at least one of them.

View all my reviews

Book List 2014

The She Hulk Diaries

The She-Hulk DiariesThe She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was a really quick read once you can manage to get into it, but I found so much of it to be a bit problematic. I wanted to see it as a fun romp but really I was disappointed.

I found the weight shaming in parts of the book to be distracting from the actual plot, and there were many different grammatical errors and spelling mistake throughout that were also quite the distraction.

I just didn’t like this as much as I thought I might, and was left with a feeling of, “That’s it?”

View all my reviews

Book List 2014, Reviews

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t expect to like this book, nor did I expect to stay up until 4 am this morning in a desperate bid to finish it, or spend my morning when I did awake doing much the same.

Claire is a character who I can get behind, she is stubborn, passionate, intelligent and yet at times so irrational that it’s enough to make me (and Jamie) crazy. But I love her. She is awesome.

Jamie is someone I liked almost immediately, able to picture him so clearly in my mind’s eye and enjoying every moment of it.

There were some scenes in this book that I did have a problem with, but I won’t mention those here as I know that is a certain amount of this novel which only happens because of the time it is in.

It’s not a perfect novel. The sex scenes are often outrageous, and the attitudes of the men concerning but it is fun.

View all my reviews

Book List 2014, Reviews

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This remains one of my favourite books, upon yet another re-read. The world build is so fantastic, and so welcoming and yet foreboding all at the same time.

The characters are easy to love. Sam with his ernest need to protect Frodo, Merry and Pippin with their steadfast loyalty and their sense of adventure which does begin to crumble. Gandalf with his intelligence and wisdom. Aragorn. Legolas.

And the language, and messages within this book always stay with me. I think years from now I’ll still recall lines and passages and rejoice in knowing them.

“The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present,” in particular is a line I love.

View all my reviews

Book List 2014, Reviews

A Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin

A Game of ThronesA Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not really a reader of fantasy books, though I found this one easier to read than most. It’s not due to a lack of descriptive language, but rather the quick pacing of the novel. Every chapter is a short story, from a different characters point of view, which I enjoyed immensely because it makes it so well rounded.

There are characters who I love, such as Arya, and Ned as well as others, but even those I detest such as Cersei are fleshed out. I found the characters emotions were well written into the plot, so that I could identify as a reader in some small sliver of a way.

My only qualm with this book would be the sex scenes which are horridly written, often cheesy and often problematically written.

I also found it interesting, upon this re-read to see how much of this book actually did end up in the series.

View all my reviews