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review 2017-06-23 16:00
On Canaan’s Side ★★★☆☆
On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry

I had a lot I wanted to say about this book, as I had just finished it, but then I got into a long, work-related conversation with a colleague, and now I find my brain mostly empty of thoughts where this book is concerned. That, perhaps, is a good indicator of how deeply affected I was by it. Mostly how I felt, by the end, was as though I was covered in a heavy smothering blanket of depression. Perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps that was the author’s goal in writing this book. When I read “literary” novels, this seems to be how I most often feel, with the second most common emotion being impatient annoyance. The latter is most common in the ones that I’m not even able to finish reading.

 

On Canaan’s Side seems to be about grief and loss and the pointlessness of actually making human connections in life, when at the end everybody you loved is gone or has betrayed you in some way. There is some beautiful language and gorgeous descriptions of setting and emotions. The author chose to express some of these in stream-of-consciousness style of run-on sentences that literally went on as long as 1 ½ pages of text. Fortunately, these were mostly confined to the first and last few chapters, with the middle third of the book written in a snappier style that moved the plot and story (such as it was) along in a more tolerable fashion.

 

When I was a teenager, we had a saying that encompassed all the angst of that age: “Life’s a bitch, and then you die”. That’s pretty much how I felt by the end of this book.

 

Hardcover version, purchased as a circulation discard from a Friends of the Library sale. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoloy challenge, for the square Trains, Planes, & Automobiles 14: Read a book that involves overseas travel, or that has a suitcase on the cover.  There is a brief description of the main character’s overseas journey from Ireland to America, and two other characters journey overseas for the Vietnam and Gulf wars.

 

Previous Updates:

6/29/17 182/272 pg

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text 2017-06-19 14:18
On Canaan's Side: 182/272 pg
On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry

Finally, the pace is starting to pick up. I'm starting to think I'll never be done with this book.

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review 2017-03-29 17:08
ARC Review: Olive Juice by Tj Klune
Olive Juice - T.J. Klune

Sorry, Tj. I love you, I do, but you should already know why I'm struggling with the words while writing this review. I'm not even sure you should expect anyone to review this book coherently. You know this, don't you? Don't you? I'm almost certain you're reading this review and others like mine, maniacally laughing at us. You are, aren't you?

For all you folks out there, thinking about possibly buying this book - yeah... you want to. You do. Because you need to read this.

Please don't read any spoilerish reviews before reading this book. It's best to go in fully blind, just like I did, with only the blurb as a hint, for maximum impact.

Read this, I BEG YOU!

This is Tj Klune's best work yet. The emotional depth, the realism of it all - I haven't got words to describe it.

Read this. Don't even hesitate.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-02-26 23:18
Search the Shadows ★★★★☆
Search the Shadows - Barbara Michaels

Amazingly, this is the first Barbara Michaels I’ve ever read. It was a good page-turner, and the mystery was satisfyingly atmospheric in its gothicness and twisty with its misdirection. The romance, however, felt sort of tacked-on at the end. I was pleased to have a romance with an intentionally unlikeable heroine, for a change. She’s rude and selfish, snide towards all other women, and feels very little sense of guilt over neglecting her relations. She also does not hesitate to use any tools available to her to achieve her own ends, including people. But of course, she is also beautiful and unaware of it, feeling that her dark coloring makes her unattractive in comparison to her fair-skinned and fair-haired mother. This makes pretty much every man she encounters willing to

literally

(spoiler show)

walk over fire to help her.

 

I read this for the 2017 Romance Bingo. It fits the Gothic Romance square, as it has most of the elements of gothic literature, except the usual supernatural one, if you discount several characters who seem to have almost psychic thought connection or leaps of intuition. 

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review 2017-01-04 18:04
Book Review: Rejoice, Dammit by Kaje Harper
Rejoice, Dammit - Kaje Harper

Absolutely gorgeous writing for an absolutely wonderful story about second chances at love, family, and living again, with fantastic characters and a very nice plot. Loved it.

 

This was my own copy that I purchased for myself. 5 happy, Christmasy stars!

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