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review 2018-02-19 01:56
Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer
Here So Far Away - Hadley Dyer Here So Far Away - Hadley Dyer
A special thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I don't like to give negative reviews, especially to a Canadian author.  My mother also taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all.  But here is my dilemma...as a reviewer, I am obligated to provide feedback. 

So here goes...I couldn't relate to the main character, George, at all.  The dialogue was trite, and the story itself was simply not engaging and at times bordered on ridiculousness.  For me, it was a struggle to even finish. 

Dyer really needs to up her game in this genre.  There are so many outstanding YA novels out there that are deserving of your time.  Here are some of the ones that have left me completely gutted and honoured to have read them: The Hate U Give, All the Bright Places, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, A List of Cages, One Half From the East, and Andrew Smith's Winger and Stand-Off.  

That being said, Dyer is a champion of literacy here in Canada, and I admire her efforts and contributions to the children's book industry.
 
 
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review 2018-02-05 03:03
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
The Perfect Mother - Aimee Molloy The Perfect Mother - Aimee Molloy

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Harper for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

A mommy group dubbed as the May Mothers meet at a park twice a week to discuss being new mothers, swap stories, alleviate their anxieties, and offer advice and support.

 

It is one of the hottest summers on record.  As a break from the heat, and the babies, the members decide a night out is in order at the local hip bar.  Winnie, a single mother, had never left her six-week-old infant, Midas.  One of the May Mothers offers up her babysitter so that Winnie can join them, insisting everything would be fine.  On this stifling Fourth of July, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted right from his home.  Midas is missing and the police are asking disturbing questions that are putting Winnie's private life on display and the media can't get enough.

 

None of the other members are particularly close to the guarded Winnie, yet three of them will go to great lengths to help find her baby.  Secrets are exposes, relationships are tested, and the mothers are scrutinized.  

 

All I can say is, what a surprise!  My only criticism is that I was unsure about Nellis she even British?  When we are introduced to the character, she is described as "British" but half way through the book, it says that "Gemma is from Nell's hometown in Rhode Island; she went to the rival high school." and also Ian, who works with Nell, says "I gotta tell you, and I mean this sincerelythe British accent?  Genius.  I seriously had no idea."  Did I miss something?  Is she not British? 

 

Apparently this book will be adapted for the big screen and will star Kerry Washington (um...yes, please).  Molloy's novel is also eagerly anticipated as one of this coming summer's must reads and I would definitely recommend it as well.    

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review 2018-01-31 14:43
Circe
Circe - Madeline Miller

[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss.]

A few years ago, I had read and really liked “The Song of Achilles”, and I had high hopes for Miller’s “Circe”. I wasn’t disappointed.

A retelling of myths surrounded Circe, daughter of sun-god Helios and nymph Perses, this novel focuses of course on the eponymous character, from a much more humanised point of view, making her closer to us and easier to root for. I haven’t brushed up on my Greek mythology in quite some time, and my memories of what I knew about Circe were a bit foggy, but I quickly found my marks again—the deities she’s surrounded with, the mortals she meets (Odysseus being the most famous), as well as slight variations (although I don’t remember reading myths where Circe and Daedalus meet, that was definitely a touching addition, and not an illogical one anyway).

I do remember how, when I was much younger and got interested in Greek mythology, most of the legends I read were the usual male-centric ones, with figures like Circe or Medusa presented as antagonists, somewhat evil and monstrous, impediments to the heroes’ journeys. So whenever I get my hands on a retelling from their point of view, and it happens to be humanised and qualified *and* well-written on top of that, as is the case here, I’m definitely happy about it. Here, turning Odysseus’ men is much less an act of evil than a way for Circe to defend herself before the sailors do to her what previous sailors did (and she doesn’t do it immediately, she does ‘give them a chance’ and studies them first to see how they’re going to behave). Here, the heroes are larger than life, but through Circe’s gaze, we also see their mortality and the imperfections that go with it, the difference between what the bards sing of them and the men they actually were.

No one is perfect in this story; not Circe herself, not the gods, not the humans. In a way, even though half the cast is made of immortal deities, this novel is a study of humanity. Circe’s voice—a voice the gods perceive as shrilly, but is in fact, all that simply, a mortal’s voice, soft and weak compared to theirs—has a haunting quality, too, thanks to the poetic and evocative prose that carries the story. And so it takes us through her contradictions, her pain and hopes, her realisation that she’ll never get her father’s approval, her exile, and her lingering her regrets at what she did in the past (Miller went here with a version similar to Hyginus’, making Circe the cause to Scylla’s transformation, as well as Glaucus’ through her first act of witchcraft). From a little girl neglected by her parents and bullied by her siblings, she goes through life making mistakes, angry and exiled, but also learns from this, and becomes in time a wiser person, who won’t hesitate to stand up for what she cares for, using her magic to better ends.

This read was perhaps a little confusing without more than just a basic notions about Greek mythology (the glossary at the end helps, though). I’m also not entirely happy with the ending, which I probably would have enjoyed more had it been reversed. Nevertheless, I found it mostly enjoyable and enthralling.

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review 2017-12-31 18:23
The Art of Running in Heels (Chinooks Hockey Team #7) by Rachel Gibson
The Art of Running in Heels - Rachel Gibson

 

Ms. Gibson scores a victory with The Art of Running in Heels. Lexie and Sean make it easy not to take life to seriously. In a world of unnecessary reality shows, needless celebrity and heartbreaking current events, it's tales like Running in Heels that make you sit back and take notice. A flighty bride on the run finds her prince in the most unexpected of places. The first time I read a Rachel Gibson novel I fell in love. Through kooky characters and over the top situations, she provides wisdom. In this case she shows the benefit of loving yourself, despite what others believe. A lesson we're never too old to learn and share.

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review 2017-12-18 23:27
About That Kiss (Heartbreaker Bay) by Jill Shalvis
About That Kiss - Jill Shalvis

 

What makes reading fun is watching an author explore new directions. About That Kiss is Jill Shalvis veering into new territory, but reminding readers, she has the talent to back it up. While keeping with tradition and seducing our socks off, Joe and Kylie add some mystery to the lovable canvas of Heartbreaker Bay. What began with a kiss grew in a most intriguing way. From a scene stealing dog, to a curmudgeonly father, a flighty mother and a missing penguin, Ms. Shalvis keeps the charm while adding a hint of suspense. What I enjoy most about the crew from Heartbreaker Bay is that they show how love can build a family. Blood may not bind them but heart does.

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