Category Archives: Book List 2014

Review: The Girl in the Road

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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.

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

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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.

Review: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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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.

“Emancipation Day” by Wayne Grady

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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.