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Search tags: General-Fiction
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review 2017-06-17 22:16
Quick and Easy.
His Royal Secret - Lilah Pace

So the book ends in a cliff hanger, virtually insuring that I immediately buy the next book to find out the end of the story. The manipulation!

 

I bought it though....lol

 

This was a easy and enjoyable romance, and was a nice break from the dreary world.....and that's all I ask for with romance novels.....that and believable couples and good sex scenes. 

 

So putting it all together...I was very happy and this book is a success.

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-06-12 00:40
DNF at 19%
Poison Pills: The Untold Story of the Vioxx Drug Scandal - Tom Nesi

I only read part one of this book, but I feel I got the basic outline on what happened. The writing is not really compelling in narrative; rather than unraveling the story in a coherent manner, the author throws all the different plot points at the reader all at once in a badly written newspaper-like tone. Dry, incoherent, and disorganized adds up to a boring read.

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review 2017-06-07 10:25
Review: Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
Not My Father's Son: A Memoir - Alan Cumming

Content Warning: involves scenes of child physical abuse

 

Alan Cumming's memoir is an unflinching look at the physical, mental, and emotional toll that child physical abuse takes on the child later in life and how one man went about healing from the abuse. I really liked how the book was structured; each chapter is set up in a then/now format, so there specific moments highlighted and how that moment resonates in the now.

 

The book follows three storylines, all with the theme of fatherhood: Alan's father/abuser is dying of cancer and drops a bombshell on Alan and his brother that they must figure out if it is true or not; Alan's time on the BBC documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? as he explores the life of his maternal grandfather; and how his first marriage ended after his wife and him explored the idea of parenthood and his mental breakdown. All while talking of difficult topics such as the abuse and his mental health low points, there are lines of sparkling wit that Cumming is known for to lighten the mood a touch (OMG, that Patty Smith/Mary J. Blige/Harvey Weinstein story was hilarious!). Cumming is honest in that he sought out professional therapy and that his healing was in a constant state of progress throughout the highs/lows of his career.

 

Definitely recommend.

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review 2017-06-01 16:04
Cereus Blooms at Night (Mootoo)
Cereus Blooms at Night - Shani Mootoo

This multiple award nominee from the mid-1990s was not familiar to me until I found it on the "100 Novels That Make You Proud to be Canadian" CBC list. Like many books on that list, this one is Canadian-ish, in that Mootoo was born in Ireland, grew up in Trinidad and at the time of publication was dividing her time between Canada (Vancouver) and the States. This novel is entirely set in the Caribbean (Trinidad, I assume). However, the original publisher was Canadian (Press Gang Publications). The copy I have is from Grove Press in the U.S. There is a brief mention of Canada as an emigration destination for a minor character.

SPOILERS AHEAD

So that's what it's not. Here's what it is: horrifying, and yet disarmingly poetic. At the centre of the story is an abusively incestuous relationship, father-daughter, and a rather Psycho-like discovery of the father's corpse in the family home, still inhabited by his mentally deranged daughter many years later. The discovery is made by a childhood friend and later suitor who failed Mala/Poh-Poh miserably by backing away when he first became aware of the abuse.

A framing device of the gentle development of a relationship between a gay male nurse and the transgender son of the failed suitor makes it all a bit more palatable, as does vivid and at times rhapsodic description of the natural world. The natural metaphors are heavy throughout the book; insects quite literally pervade every page, with little textual decorations of ants, beetles and other bugs acting as chapter breaks, etc. I actually found that a little discomfiting - but it was entirely appropriate to this set of characters and circumstances, for both Mala and Ambrose, her verbose and foreign-educated suitor (an entomologist), are intensely interested in insect life. And, then, of course there is that blocked off room where the body lies...

I think this is very obviously a first novel, in that, like the tropical setting, it is almost too brimming with all sorts of themes and ideas - about gender roles and non-conformity, and abuse, and religiosity, and the cruelty of conformist communities, and humans in the natural world, and the dream-splitting of the self to cope with the intolerable, and the evanescent flowering of passion (the title), and more. By the end, we have hopes and pleasant imagery for the second generation in the frame story. That, I think, is how this novel get away with having such a truly dark heart.

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review 2017-05-27 22:51
The Girl in the Red Coat - Kate Hamer

A solid and readable novel about a child, Carmel, who goes missing. Not a mystery, since the book is told in alternating short chapters, one from Beth, the mother's POV and one from the child's. The reader's interest is held by wondering how both will cope and what Carmel's ultimate fate will be. And perhaps that's where the tension lagged someone for me. I was far more intrigued by the Carmel's story than the mother's.

 

In Beth's chapters I kept waiting for her to be haunted by the images of what might, indeed, have befallen Carmel. Murder? Abuse? Slavery? But, while Beth is understandably gutted and obsessed with finding her daughter, she dwells more on her own possible complicity and what's actually happening to Carmel doesn't enter her mind. That felt off to me, unless the author is implying she's a narcissist.

 

There are come gaps in the narrative. For one thing, the child ends up on another continent and yet we are never told how she gets there, although she was clearly drugged. No one on a plane or boat, train or customs office thought to question this odd 'family' of little means and obviously-mixed parts? How did they afford fake papers? Birth certificate? Passport? Was she smuggled in a container? It felt as though the author simply couldn't figure out a way to do it, but wanted the religious sect that kidnapped Carmel to be based in the US. Very odd.

 

Then too, Carmel never felt in any serious danger. A tough and unpleasant and sad and awful spot? Sure. But not enough for thriller material, and not psychologically deep enough to stand up against similar books by other writers such as Ian McEwan's CHILD IN TIME, for example.

 

But, it's a quick afternoon read and this is the season for such things.

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