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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 2018-02-19 01:30
How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson
How Hard Can It Be? - Allison Pearson How Hard Can It Be? - Allison Pearson

A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is Pearson's part two of the Kate Reddy series—oh how I've missed you, Kate!  I actually liked this book better than the first, which I think is an anomaly to like the sequel better than the original.

Kate Reddy is re-entering the work force after being at home with her children because her husband, who appears to be suffering an identity crisis, has gone back to school.  To bag the job, she lies about her age.  She is feeling the pressure from the much younger workforce, from her demanding mother, ailing in-laws, her contractor, and from her sullen teenagers.  And to top it all off, her marriage is F-L-A-T, flat.

How hard can it be to face 50, your husband's mid-life crisis, and to restart your career?  Pretty hard I would say, especially when you are shouldering the entire household workload as well because your husband is useless, and you are also feeling strangled not only from your shaping garments, but from your obligations.  

Kate is every woman, whether old or young, as she embarks on this often hilarious journey of self-discovery—she's more than just a career woman, mother, sister, friend, or wife.  She is as smart as she is funny, she is sassy and strong, and above all, resilient.  With every turn of the page, you will be rooting for Kate and wishing she was your friend.

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text 2018-02-16 18:51
Landmarks - Robert Macfarlane,Roy McMillan,Penguin Books Ltd

Why did I read it?  When first published, several people recommended this book to me, and it was recommended more than once by some.  I imagine those recommendations came because of my like of the natural world, and of language.  I have no idea why, but I put it on my 'wish list' and then my 'to be read</i>' pile, but never actually started it; these decisions I now regret.

What's it about? With the Oxford Children's Dictionary removing words relating to nature, e.g. acorn, in favour of technological terms, Robert Macfarlane explores the United Kingdom in search of those words to describe, and connect us to the natural world.  Connection.  That is the key to this book.  In a time, and place which seems to breed disconnection, this book seeks to reunite us with a deep love for landscape, and language.


What did I like? Every single word, and most especially the glossaries.  Rich in words and landscape, there is so much to enjoy, and explore in this book.  I listened to the audio book, which is rather nicely done.  I did query a few of the Gaelic pronunciations - being a learner of the language, not a native speaker, I may not completely comprehend the dialectal nuances.  I am very pleased I opted to purchase the Kindle edition, too, so I can explore those glossaries at my leisure.

Oh, the joy I found in this book: learning new words for phenomenon I had no idea might even exist; remembering 'childish' the way children use language to describe their surroundings; and discovering new Gaelic words I wanted to include in my (ever-expanding) vocabulary.  

The narrator, Roy McMillan|, did a splendid job.  I'm afraid I have no idea of the name of other gentleman whose voice was used to read out various words, but his voice gave  luscious contrast to Mr McMillan's smooth tones.

What didn't I like?  I could find no fault with this book.  I find fault with myself for not reading it sooner.

Would I recommend it? Yes! Yes! Yes!  Not necessarily the audio version though - not because it is not well read, but because once you've read the book, I'm pretty sure you'll want to keep it to hand to pore over the word glossaries, and then add to your own.

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text 2018-02-13 01:47
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage

A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This debut by Zoje Stage will not be for the faint of heart. Baby Teeth is a deeply disturbing psychological thriller told in alternating point of view between Hanna, a silent and disturbed seven-year-old, and Suzanne, her barely coping mother.

Hanna is conniving and precocious and is beyond her years mentally. She is able to play her parents off one another for her own gain as well as at the torment of her mother. When she is around her daddy, who she wants to marry, she is a sweet and silent angel that is eager to please. In the care of her mother, she is evil and violent, and plays on her mother's fear of her.

Suzette loves her daughter, but is exhausted both mentally and physically, and like her marriage, is breaking down. Hanna is home schooled so Suzette rarely gets time away from her. The little girl is becoming more conniving with each passing day—she has turned their family dynamic upside down by making Suzette look crazy and neurotic. Suzette fears that there is something seriously wrong with her daughter and that Hanna is too much of a threat to her at home.

Stage takes the reader down the rabbit hole that is is Hanna's mind. It is a dark and twisty ride, and as mentioned will not appeal to all readers. If a creepy kid story is your bag, you will love it. If stories about demented children are not your thing, I suggest you pass. I have to be honest, this is not something I would have normally picked up, but was intrigued by the cover and synopsis. After reading, I'm on the fence. The story is well-written and captivating, but there was a lot of suspension of disbelief—for a seven-year-old, Hanna is far too advanced and this was distracting from the actual story.

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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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