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Search tags: Lisa-See
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text 2018-01-17 18:38
Reading progress update: I've read 7%.
Perish (A Gardiner and Renner Novel) - Lisa Black

 

 

The beginning pages...gruesome....but I like!!!

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review 2018-01-15 02:20
We That Are Left
We That Are Left - Lisa Bigelow

You can’t live in Australia for any length of time without hearing all about the Battle of Gallipoli and Australia’s role in WWI. But you can, apparently, live in Australia for a full decade without hearing much of anything about the Australian experience in WWII. Enter We That Are Left, which follows the lives of two Australian women in wartime.

 

I really liked this book for its educational value. I spent so much time Googling stuff and falling down WWII history rabbit holes. (Did you know they sold souvenirs salvaged from the wreckage of Japanese midget submarines that were sunk in Sydney Harbour? Or that some German POWs plotted elaborate prison breaks just for something to do, knowing all the while they were basically on a big island and there was nowhere to escape to? So many Google rabbit holes!) I give it top marks for expanding my knowledge of my adopted country’s history. Unfortunately, I found the history far more interesting than the fiction.

 

There’s no plot to this book, per se. It’s more of a slice-of-life historical focusing on the everyday struggles of Mae, a housewife and new mother, and Grace, a young woman working at a newspaper. Mae’s storyline tries to give insight into the lives of the families of missing/dead military personnel, while Grace’s storyline tries to give broader insight into the state of the country as a whole.

 

Mae suffers depression and denial after her husband’s ship, the HMAS Sydney II, goes missing and is presumed sunk. Thanks in large part to government censorship and the rampant rumor mill that strives to fill in the gaps, she spends much of the book refusing to get on with her life because her beloved Harry is surely a POW and must be trying to get home and is definitely not dead, nosiree. I think I might’ve liked Mae if I’d gotten to meet her at some other point in her life before the effects of war tore her to pieces. As it is, the reader meets her when she’s a whiny, judgmental, cranky pregnant lady, and then gets to know her as a whiny, judgmental, cranky, depressed war widow in denial. Maybe it was an accurate portrayal of someone in that situation, but not seeing enough of not-stressed-pre-wartime Mae, I didn’t have a frame of reference for how much war changed her. Long story short, I didn’t like her. At all. I found myself sympathizing more with the people around her than I did with her, and I don’t think that was the intent.

 

Grace battles sexism in the workplace as she pursues her dream of becoming a reporter. She wants to have a career in journalism and get her man, and she’s so full of pluck it oozes from her pores. I felt her character was the more interesting of the two, and it was a shame that her storyline was used primarily as an expositional tool for info-dumping historical events into the narrative. Putting her in a newsroom secretary/reporter role for this purpose was clever, but the drawback is that Grace is a passive observer most of the time. She sees the government censorship issue through the eyes of her employer. She hears about things like Japanese subs trying to bomb Sydney from other reporters. Even when she’s the one out there reporting, she often takes a back seat. (See for example the entire chapter on the Australian Women’s Land Army which, while educational, does little to move the story or Grace’s character development forward.) It’s interesting from an “I love how much I’m learning about WWII Australia” angle, but not so much from a “Wow, I love this character” angle.

 

Holy cow, I’m chatty today! But I have one more thing to say, and it’s totally inconsequential, but it made me laugh. The author says this book was inspired by her grandfather, who died on the Sydney, and her grandmother, who died before the ship was finally found in 2008. So basically, Mae and Harry are her fictional grandparent stand-ins. How awkward was it to write their sex scenes? O.o

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review 2018-01-14 17:28
Goldfish boy on his little tank...
The Goldfish Boy - Lisa Thompson

"12:55 p.m. That time was important. I don't know why it stuck in my mind but it did, even without writing down.

 

At some point after 12:55 p.m. on that bright, scorching day, Teddy Dawson went missing."

 

I got a thing for good Middle grade books, despite the fact that my professors and probably a few family members would tell me I am too old for them. I don't care. There's something fascinating about books that manage to entertain children, but still hold a message that can reach up to an adult.

 

 

The Goldfish Boy is definitely one of those books. While we have a mystery disappearance going on and a main character with OCD, both of those are represented well. Matthew never gets in the way of the police while running his own little investigation, and his problems with cleanliness don't suddenly disappears after his secret gets out. If you choose to write about children with disorders, Lisa Thompson has a lot to teach about it. 

 

Sentence: Really good! So far my challenge readings have been hits.

 

 

Book read as part of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards challenge.

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review 2018-01-14 00:00
Poison Kisses: Part 1
Poison Kisses: Part 1 - Lisa Renee Jones Lisa Renee Jones is the queen of breathless. Poison Kisses proves that. Seth and Amanda are intensely sexy. Their lambada of dangerous love and smart manipulation is the ultimate for any fan of cat and mouse thrillers. Not only are the characters seducing each other, their setting the bait to lure in the reader as well. The only flaw is that I have to wait to see what happens next.
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review 2018-01-10 02:48
Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Every Note Played - Lisa Genova

A special thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada, and Gallery/Scout Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

This stunning, raw, heartbreaking glimpse into the world of ALS from Lisa Genova will leave you emotionally spent and in awe of those living with this cruel disease, and in awe of their loved ones and the real-life superheroes that are their caregivers.  

 

Richard is a renowned pianist that sells out concerts all over the world, a fine-tuned instrument that executes his performances with precision and passion.  Fast forward eight months—Richard has been diagnosed with ALS and no longer has the use of his right arm.  The loss of his hand is like the loss of a true love, like his own divorce from Karina.  It is only a matter of time before it is his left hand, and the rest of his body.  

 

Karina hasn't moved on from her divorce from Richard, in fact she is stuck in limbo in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher.  It is easy for her to blame Richard for where she has ended up and for the dissolution of the marriage.  

 

When the disease progresses to the point that Richard is fully paralyzed, Karina reluctantly steps in to care for him.  He moves back in with Karina, in the home that they once shared with their daughter, Grace, who is away at university.  As Richard becomes a shell of a man he once was, the couple is forced to face their regrets head on and learn what it means to forgive.  

 

What I love about Genova's books is her ability to educate her reader, not only in matters of the heart and relationships, but about actual neurological diseases and conditions that most would not be familiar with unless they were affected personally.  She doesn't "dumb-it-down", instead she elevates her reader and empowers them with knowledge.  It is this knowledge that makes her stories rich, not only in information, but in character development, yet doesn't bog down the narrative.  Her writing is poignant, sharp, and captivating.  Lisa, congratulations on this book, and your continued success—it is always a pleasure to read and review your work.    

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