Recipe for a Perfect Wife, by Karma Brown

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When I heard Taylor Jenkins Reid, who wrote Daisy Jones and the Six, raving about Recipe for a Perfect Wife… I put it on hold immediately. I think it is the perfect candidate for a self-isolation read!

This is a dual timeline novel. Alice is a modern-day married woman, who recently quit her job to write a novel, and stay at home. Her husband is wanting a child very badly, and Alice isn’t ready. When Alice and her husband buy a “fixer-upper”, Alice finds a box full of the old owner’s cookbooks. Then set in the 1950’s, Nellie is original cookbook and home owner. She is an incredible cook, has quite a green thumb, and is ruled by her husband. The parallels in these two timelines is what connects the story, and has the women starting to realize they need to take charge of their lives.

I just loved this book. Karma Brown gently brought up big topics such as, patriarchy, miscarriage, feminism, and identity. Alice, and Nellie’s characters were quite similar, stuck in a cycle of trying to please their husbands at the cost of losing themselves. I think this is a relatable storyline, as I feel like many women start to feel like that, regardless of how healthy their marital situation.

The chapters in this book were always lead by a quote coming right out of a 1950’s magazines, here’s one:

To be a successful wife is a career in itself; requiring among other things, the qualities of a diplomat, a businesswoman, a good cook, a trained nurse, a schoolteacher, a politician, and a glamour girl.Emily Mudd, “Women’s Finest Role,” Reader’s Digest, 1959

I thought this was just such a fun, thoughtful addition to the book. She also threw in recipes throughout the book that were from these magazines, ranging from Chicken à la King, to Chocolate Chip Cookies. I actually copied out a couple of these recipes, because the 50’s were a time when cooking and food were much simpler. There was none of this gluten-free, dairy-free garbage ingredients. It’s mostly stuff you could just pull out of your cabinet and get cracking on!

This book juggled heavy topics, but it was incredibly readable. I just wanted to be reading every minute to find out what was going on in these two women’s lives. I found the 50’s timeline really interesting, and would LOVE to hear more about Nellie’s life. I think this decade is fascinating, as women during the War were called upon to do the “men’s work” in the factories, and trades. Then after the War, these men came back, and said, hurry back into the kitchens, and making babies! To have such independence for years, to only have ripped away from you must have been so hard.

Anywho, that’s all for now. Stay home and read!

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano

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I had heard about Dear Edward on a couple podcasts lately, and when the synopsis involved a plane crash I was instantly intrigued. The fact that it has also been on a couple of the big book clubs list, like Read with Jenna, and Book of the Month is just another feather in Ann Napolitano’s cap… which she absolutely deserves! As always, this review is 100% spoiler free.

Dear Edward is the story of a 12 year old boy, who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. Edward, and his family had boarded the plane to move across the country. Along with Edward, you get to know several other passengers throughout the novel. There are two timelines in this novel, one being the story of the flight and it’s passengers leading up to the crash. Then the other timeline being the story of Edward’s life after the crash.

Oh man this story is so beautiful, and multi-faceted. You see at every angle just how a plane crash can happen in an instant, but the ripple-effect on the victim’s lives goes on forever. Edward is wrecked by the loss of his brother, and he seems stuck in a time in which his brother doesn’t age, but Edward is. And then Edward starts to approach the age in which his brother died at, it’s almost as if he can start living again. Up until that time, he seems stuck within his families deaths.

There are so many beautiful twists and turns in this novel. It’s not massive plot twists, but just a beautiful story in the way that Edward has learned able to grieve, heal, and grow from this event. His Aunt and Uncle sweep in to take him in, and raise him. I think Napolitano did a beautiful job of writing just how complicated this situation was, and could be. They are all looked at as hero’s, but also cursed by how the world views them. Edward, the sole survivor, and his Aunt and Uncle, the martyrs raise him, show the other side of this story and just how complex it is. The new family unit, is now faced with such a loss of family, but also the search for a new identity in the role they all play. And Edward is instantly given the task of having to live the lives of all the passengers who were killed.

Ann Napolitano was inspired to write this story when she was listening to the news about flight that had crashed on it’s way from South Africa to London. One 9 year old boy survived, and she was perplexed by how his life could go on. She admits to being nervous flyer, and had done a ton of research on plane crashes, and listening to recordings of black boxes… which I think could only make you a more nervous flyer!! I love hearing some insight to the writing process, and if you do too I listened to a great podcast interview on Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books, with Ann Napolitano. Check it out if you are intrigued!

Anywho, that’s all for today!

Happy reading!

What I’ve Been Reading

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January has been a good reading month for me! Not only have I been reading lots, but for some reason, I’ve been reading lots of great books. Hence the reason that I’m doing a quick lit review for you… I just couldn’t keep up with the longer reviews over the past week. Anyhow, below I’ve got some great book reviews spanning a bunch of different genres. I think that you may be able to find something that you will want to read!

What I’ve Been Reading

The Innocents

The Innocents, by Michael Crummey. (5 stars). When a bookish mentor suggests you read something, you just do. This book is an incredible story of survival based in 1800’s on the Newfoundland coast. A brother and sister are orphaned at a young age, and left with the struggle of surviving this harsh landscape. They have to confront the lack of just about everything, and the two are also tested by their loyalty to each other. The writing is incredible, and the story will have you hooked… although some of the subject matter had me grimacing quite a bit!

Regretting YouRegretting You, by Colleen Hoover. (4 stars) Sometimes your palate just needs a cleanse, so I decided to pick up this one based on it’s lighter cover. Ooph, was I wrong… but I loved it. Regretting You is a mother/daughter story, in which the two are struck by a family disaster. This story is a little bit of a love story, a family story, and a struggle with grief. As their grief is deepening, their once close relationship seems to be pushed further apart. It’s their journey back to each other. I really loved this story, and even though the writing seems somewhat light, it is actually quite heavy. I recommend this one for sure. And now I’ve put a lot of Colleen Hoover’s backlist on hold at the library!

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and MeWild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me, by Adrienne Brodeur. (4.5 stars). Well, the subtitle of this memoir made me go hmmmm. Adrienne was woken up at 14 years old in the middle of the night by her mother, who was hosting a dinner party with their families closest friend. Her mother tells her that Ben (her husband’s best friend) kissed her. And then you follow the story of an affair, and the destruction of trust and relationships. Although this sounds depressing, Brodeur’s writing is as delicious as her food descriptions throughout the book. This memoir is intriguing, especially as a mother, to see from the outside how complex mother/daughter relationships can be. Highly suggest this one, and would love to hear from you if you’ve read it!

The Turn of the KeyThe Turn of the Key, by Ruth Ware. (4.5 stars). Oh man, I’ve had my little bookish nose up in the air, and been avoiding reading what I thought was just commercial mystery fiction. Well this story is engrossing, and unputdownable. It reminded me so much of Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier (which is one of my favourite books of all time)… Just a big old, beautiful, haunted house!! Rowan is down on her luck, and stumbles upon a great live-in nanny job for four children in remote Scotland. After she’s applied, and aced her interview… she thinks she’s landed the dream job. Until the ghosts of this big old house start playing tricks on her… and when someone dies it’s all goes horribly wrong.

A Quote to Ponder:

I’m going to leave you with a quote that’s from Wild Game. I’ve heard this quote before, but when it marked the beginning of a chapter in this book I was reminded of just how true it is. Hindsight really is 20-20.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

—Søren Kierkegaard

Mourn Not your Dead, by Deborah Crombie

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This is the fourth book in the Kincaid & James series that I have been slowly working through. If you don’t know anything about my reading life, know this one thing… I believe it’s VERY important to read a series in order! So if you haven’t read the first three, get started at the beginning. This series follows the personal and procedural life of two British police detectives who are partners.

Mourn not Your Dead starts at the cliffhanger on which the last one, Leave the Grass Green, left us. Gemma and Duncan have both had some personal matters happen in which they are a bit flustered with. Then they get put on a call of investigating the brutal murder of a police commander of the Scotland Yard… who is not well-liked among the department, and within his own social circle resulting in a lot of suspects. Gemma and Duncan slowly start to try to put the pieces together to find out who the killer in their community is.

This series is really growing on me, the minute I finish one, I put the next one on hold. I really enjoy the britishness of them. Mourn not Your Dead was really atmospheric, giving me all the cold, wet, mysterious feels. The reader is getting to know more about Duncan and Gemma by this instalment, and I find that I am wanting to know more about their personal lives with each novel. This is what I love about a great series. I find myself wondering what these characters are up to throughout my day!

What I also really like about this series is that Deborah Crombie writes about food and drink very well. I think that sometimes this gets skipped over in books, but when someone can write about food really well it makes you want to cook something lovely for yourself. Or get up and pour yourself a glass of red wine in my case. This is something that Louise Penny also does a fantastic job of it, and I think that’s why this series gets compared to hers frequently.

“I could do with a bit of that.” Kincaid sipped his wine, holding it for a moment in his mouth. The flavours exploded on his tongue – buttery rich, with a touch of the oak found in good whiskey, and beneath that a tiny of flowers. The sensation was so intense that he wondered if he were experiencing some sort of perceptual enhancement.

I’m going to continue to read this series, and just slowly plunk along and enjoy it. It’s not ground-breaking fiction by any means, but these novels inserted in between books that are a bit heavier seems to be the perfect combination for my reading life.

Until next time, happy reading!

What I’ve been Reading Lately

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Just like that 2019 is coming to a close! This month has been wonderful for so many reasons, with a lot of really great books… and also some not so great ones. All in all, this year has been my best reading year yet. More to come here as I will be doing a yearly wrap up, and a look ahead very soon. But in the meantime, I urge you to take a look at your reading life in 2019 and how you want to move ahead with it in 2020.

Now, onto the books…

What I’ve been Reading:

Beyond the Point: A NovelBeyond the Point, by Claire Gibson. (4 stars). This novel follows three women that are attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They are brought together by the rigorous training, but also somewhat plotted against each other, until 9/11 happens. After the tragic events on 9/11, these three women are pulled in different directions, but bound together by their friendship. I really liked this novel, and the perspective of the U.S. military was fascinating. It covers really big topics like heartbreak, grief, and forgiveness. This novel almost makes you crave to be part of a team, and the bonds that the characters in this novel had made.

The Snow Child: A NovelThe Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey. (5 stars). The most perfect novel for  this time of year. Based on a Russian fairytale, Jack and Mabel are recent settlers in Alaska during the 1920’s. They have come to the understanding that after years of trying to have a child, they will not be able to… and it is pushing them apart. But in a spontaneous moment during the first snowfall, Jack and Mabel make a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone, but they glimpse a young child running through the trees. Like I said, this novel is perfect. Ivey really summed up the desperation of wanting a child, and the grief that comes with infertility. It’s as if this novel has transported you to Alaska, and breathed life into a magical fairytale.

What the Wind KnowsWhat the Wind Knows, by Amy Harmon. (3 stars). Anne Gallagher grew up listening to the stories her grandfather told her about his homeland of Ireland. When he dies, she takes his ashes to his childhood home. Anne has been consumed with learning about the history of the Easter rising prior to this trip, and becomes literally thrown into the middle of it. Somehow she finds herself pulled into history, and learns first hand some of the history she has been studying. This novel had so much potential… but I just found it a little long, and dragged out. Two things that have my interests peaked now though are Yeats’ poetry, and doing some more reading on the Easter Rising.

The Bromance Book Club

The Bromance Bookclub, Lyssa Kay Adams. (2.5 stars). I needed a palate cleanser awhile back, and in most cases a smart romance is always perfect. Ugh, this one didn’t really satiate that need. Gavin plays baseball in the major leagues, but even though he is hitting it out of the park in ball… his marriage is not. His wife Thea has let it slip that she’s actually been faking it in bed their whole relationship, and Gavin flips out. Well, this is the last straw for Thea, and she asks for a divorce. Gavin reaches out to his friends who decide to let him into their “book club”, which includes cheesy romance novels. The book club believes that men could learn a lot about women, if they just took the time to read them. Like I said, this wasn’t my favourite, but it did cleanse my palate for some deeper reading.

A Quote to Ponder:

Although What the Wind Knows wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, I did think that Amy Harmon had put a lot of thought into this book. I really appreciated the poetry that opened every chapter, and some of the sentences were really thought provoking. The quote below really stuck with me and made me reflect.

We turn memories into stories, and if we don’t, we lose them. If the stories are gone, then the people are gone too.

After the Flood, by Kassandra Montag

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After the Flood has literally been flooding (pardon the pun) my Instagram feed, and seems to be in every bookstore up front and centre. I put off reading this book, because as someone who is anxious about climate change, and how the world will be while my offspring grow up… this premise terrified me. But one look at that beautiful cover, I decided to flip it open. 200 pages later that morning, I couldn’t put it down.

After the Flood is a post-apocalyptic novel set a century in the future in which a global flood has flooded the earth, leaving just the mountain tops above water. Myra, a mother of two, has one daughter, Pearl, with her, and the other daughter, Row has been kidnapped. Flash forward 7 years, and Myra and Pearl go on a mission to finally try to find Row who she has recently found out may still be alive. Countries fall apart, governments collapse, people are raiding supplies… the world and the people in it have to decide to either crumble, or move forward.

Wow. This book was fantastic! The story was so believable, even though (fingers crossed) it’s not something that could happen. It’s an incredible journey, and the scenes with fishing and sailing, are just so well-written that you feel as if you are experiencing it along with the characters. There are sweet moments that every parent can relate to, and then there are wicked fight scenes that your heart is racing through. The real message throughout this novel is that people can do hard things. To go from a culture of excess in which we actually purge our belongings to “tidy up” and give away to the goodwill, then all the sudden have nothing. And actually nothing, not even toothpaste. Could you adapt? Could you survive? There may come a day when google won’t be here… will we have taught out children how to get through hard things? Emotionally, and practically?

One of the best parts of this novel is the characters. There are just so many strong female characters, in which they are fighting with knives, and using their practical knowledge to survive. I just loved it. Myra is the ultimate mother, and she feels so much guilt which I found pretty relatable… even in my really comfortable position reading on my couch.

Children think we make them, but we don’t. They exist somewhere else, before us, before time. They come into the world and make us. They make us by breaking us first.

It’s shocking that After the Flood is a debut novel, although Montag has written short stories, and poetry in the past. She says literally dreamt this story up while pregnant with her child. She kept having recurring dreams about a massive flood in her state of Nebraska, and just how scary that would be with children. People who enjoyed Station Eleven, The Road, or Atwood’s novels, will LOVE this one!

Anywho, until next time… happy reading!

 

Cilka’s Journey, by Heather Morris

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Cilka’s Journey is the long awaited sequel after Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz. If you haven’t read that one yet, just do and thank me later… my review of that one is here. It’s a story of love that started in an improbable situation, and against all odds survived. I was reluctant to pick this one up for a couple reasons, but mostly for the saturation of WWII, and Holocaust fiction in the last couple years. Eventually, I caved and decided to read it when I reflected on who Cilka was in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Cilka was a background character in The Tattooist, and based on a real person. Cilka Klein was 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Soviet soldiers, but because of her “job” she was sentenced to a labour camp on being a collaborator. The labour camp, Vorkuta gulag, was in Siberia. She was sentenced for 15 years, and had multiple jobs while there. Beyond making a large impact for the betterment of the prisoners there, she also met the man who later becomes her husband.

This is a story is told in a very similar fashion to The Tattooist, which I think readers will really enjoy. The story jumps back and forth between her time in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and now her time in Vorkuta. If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Cilka was forced to choose either to become a prostitute for a head officer in the camp, or her own death. She chose to live, and unfortunately for her, choosing to live meant she had to be raped, and become an overseer to the women who were ultimately going to be sent to the gas chambers. Throughout this novel, Cilka is constantly haunted by the guilt and shame of her past. During her sentence at Vorkuta it seems she is trying to redeem herself for this haunted past. She becomes a nurse, and saves many people. She also tries to change the protocols within the hospital, and succeeds multiple times.

Then when Cilka least expects to find love, she does. This is the clencher to the story, and it sets her up for almost an “happily ever after” of sorts. Unfortunately, this is the part of the story that I lost interest in. I found Cilka’s experience as a nurse much more fascinating. The love story I think is really interesting, because it is based on her real life, but I just found that the writing kind of lagged here.

Heather Morris has been receiving criticism on the fact that it may not be the most historically accurate. Morris has spoken out defending this by saying that she has actually interviewed Lale for the first novel, and then for the sequel interviewing the people who surrounded Cilka. Because Cilka had already passed away before Morris started to write this, she had to rely on the sources that surround her. Not only had Morris done interviews, but she also did her research on the records that were kept at the camps, and also at Vorkuta gulag. Obviously Morris had to take liberties to write a fictional novel. I wish people would remember that the reason so many people read it, is because she has written a beautifully told novel…  that is fiction based on some facts. It is a great story, and I think so different from the WWII/Holocaust novels that we have been reading lately.

Anywho, that’s all for today. Until next time, happy reading!

What I’ve been Reading Lately

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Hey there bookish friends!

We are officially halfway through November, and I thought I’d share a couple of short reviews with you today. There are some great books below, and in a wide range of genres. Hopefully you can find something in the reviews below that may strike your interest… or maybe you’ve read one of these and have more to say! I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if so leave me a message in the comments.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately:

Jonny Appleseed

Jonny Appleseed, by Joshua Whitehead. (4.5 stars) This was our Book Club’s pick, and I probably would never have thought to pick this one up if it weren’t for that. So glad I had the chance to read it. Jonny identifies as a Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, and he is fresh off the reserve and finding his way in the big city. Trying to survive Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who is struggling with alcoholism and past traumas. This novel is a recollection of his memories in the week before he must return to the reserve to attend his stepfather’s funeral. This book is full of triggers from body issues, sexual abuse, addiction, you name it, this book has it. But it’s also full of beautiful moments, and sweet memories of hid grandmother!

After the EndAfter the End, by Clare Mackintosh. (5 stars). This is the first novel I’ve read by Clare Mackintosh, and from what I have heard it is a completely different approach for her. Pip and Max are one of those couples who everyone knows will make it. That is until their young son gets sick with cancer. Then when their son’s survival is put into their hand’s to decide his fate, they can’t agree on which future they want for him. This novel brought on a flood of feelings, an ugly cry, and an appreciation for the people in my life. It’s the type of book that makes you realize that great fiction can teach us how to be better humans. It can teach you how to live, how to love, and how to deal with the situations life throws at us. Lastly, it’s important to note that Mackintosh was inspired to write this novel because of her own heartbreaking life events.

The Friend Zone

The Friend Zone, by Abby Jimenez. (4 stars). For so long I wound not have dreamt of picking up anything in the “romance genre”. But it seems that there are a plethora of really insightful novels coming out in this genre… this one specifically is full of important issues, and big feelings. Kristin is a spunky, and will do anything for her best friend, Sloan, who is getting married. Even though she is going through her own medical issues, she has dedicated herself to Sloan’s wedding… and then she is introduced to the best man, who makes the wedding planning much more fun. Then Kristen finds out there is a lot that is standing in the way of her feelings for Josh. Like I said, don’t let the colourful, fluffy cover fool you… this novel covers big topics like infertility, loss, and grief.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life

Dear Girls, by Ali Wong. (4 stars). If you haven’t watched Ali Wong’s Netflix special Baby Cobra, stop what you are doing and go watch it!! This memoir is written in letters to her two young daughters on what she’s learned about life so far. These letters reveal stories that range from her wild child days, single life, and reconnecting with her roots. Her stories are laugh out loud funny, and at times really emotional. I really liked this memoir, and I would probably like it more if I didn’t feel like she stole my idea for the memoir I’d like to write one day!

That’s all for today, and Happy Friday to you! Here’s to hoping the weekend brings you some cozy, reading time.

 

 

Quick Reading Recap

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Over the past six weeks, I’ve been doing a ton of reading and snuggling my wee newborn. Unfortunately, what I haven’t been doing is keeping up with writing about what I’ve been reading. So, I’m giving you today a quick fire of what I’ve been reading lately… and then I will get back to normal posting!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately:

A Better Man: A Chief Inspector Gamache NovelA Better Man, by Louise Penny. (5 stars). Oh goodness, to say I was excited about this release is an understatement. I pre-ordered it to make sure I would have my hands on it the day it came out! This is the Three Pines series, which I adore. Gamache is back at it, and this time as the water levels are rising and there is a flood warning out all over Quebec… a body turns up. Gamache’s team rushes to solve the crime, as the town of Three Pines is praying that they don’t become below the rising waters. This book is amazing, and even the acknowledgement is beautiful! Penny tells such a poetic mystery, and has you wanting more the minute you finish this book. Let’s all just say a little prayer that Louise Penny keeps on writing.

The Temptation of Gracie

The Temptation of Gracie, by Santa Montefiore.  (4 stars). Gracie is a widowed, grandmother living a quiet life. Her ambitious, executive daughter Carina, barely visits, and Gracie hasn’t spent much time with her granddaughter Anastasia. When she finds an advertisement for a weeklong cooking course in Tuscany, she surprises everyone by going… and Carina and Anastasia decide to join her. It’s in Tuscany where they begin to develop stronger familial bonds, and find out about Gracie’s past romance/life she had in Tuscany as a young woman. This book was a great book to be able to sit down, have a glass of wine, and get lost in. I enjoyed it, but I did find myself wanting just a little more depth.

Akin: A Novel

Akin, by Emma Donoghue. (5 stars). I received this novel upon begging Harper Collins for a review copy. I am a big fan of Emma Donoghue, and was so excited when it turned up on my doorstep. It’s a quiet story about an elderly man, Noah, and his great-nephew, Michael, who he ends up with because there is no one else to care for him. This all happens days before he is flying out to Nice, which happens to be where he lived as a young boy during the end of WWII. When Noah decides to take Michael to Nice, what they find out is there is more to Noah’s childhood story than he thought. I really loved this book, and what I didn’t expect was the hilarious dialogue between Noah and Michael. I highly suggest this one, and think it’d be great book for a book club to read!

The NeedThe Need, by Helen Phillips. (4 stars). Two things about this book… it’s both incredibly readable, and weird. Like so weird, that I stopped myself a couple times to say, f*#$ this is a weird book… but what’s going to happen next. The book opens to Molly, home alone with her two children, after a long exhausting day of work… and then she hears footsteps in the living room. For days Molly has been hearing footsteps, and noises, and is convinced someone has now broken into her house. From here, the reader is on a wild ride, and you will find yourself feeling the need to talk about this one after reading!

The Thorn BirdsThe Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough. (3.5 stars). This is a bit of a throw back, but this novel has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years… then with the cooler weather I had started to crave a big, old book to really dig into. The Thorn Birds is a romantic, atmospheric saga of the Cleary family. It goes through several generations of the family, and all the ups and downs that are in real life. It works through several characters and the decades of their lives as they are approaching their ultimate end. This novel is almost considered a classic, I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t put it on the MUST READ list. What I did enjoy was really digging my teeth into characters, and their plot lines.

A Nearly Normal Family: A NovelA Nearly Normal Family, by M.T. Edvardsson. (5 stars). For all the people who have been craving a dark, twisty, Swedish novel… well here it is. This was is the perfect novel for fans of the Dragon Tattoo series, and also for the changing weather. This is a literary, courtroom thriller, that is also seriously creative. It’s premise is that  perfectly normal parents of Stella are now putting the pieces together of why she has been convicted of a brutal murder. Told from each family members perspective at some point in the novel, you see this trial from all sides of the story! I LOVED this book, and can’t wait to hear more people talking about it.

A Quote to Ponder:

I’m going to leave you with a quote from A Better Man, by Louise Penny. I think that Penny’s character, Chief Inspector Gamache is such a beautiful person, and honestly he reminds me of my Dad. He says the most insightful things, and this quote below is just so true.

“Consequences,” said Gamache. “We must always consider the consequences of our actions. Or inaction. It won’t necessarily change what we do, but we need to be aware of the effect.”

Anywho, that’s all for this quick fire session. Hope you can find something you would enjoy reading from these novels!

 

Baby News & What I’ve Been Reading!

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Hey Friends!

First off, I feel the need to apologize to you… I’ve been a bit absent. Still reading, but some life changes have stalled my blog writing. We welcomed a beautiful baby girl to our family about a week and a half ago, and oh goodness, I am so in love, busy, and tired!! We named our little babe Alice, and if you know Canadian Literature, you will know that Alice Munro is practically a Queen. I’ve always loved her work, and her ability to embed a story into your soul. Luckily, my husband loved the name as well!

Anywho, enough baby spam. Quickly I also wanted to chat about reading seasons. Do you ever feel like you sometimes you just go through a season in which you need some great fiction? Well, right before I had Alice, there was literally no way I could get into something deep, and introspective. So this summer has been the season of some fun fiction. Some were deeper, some were lighter, but I hope that you have found something in my posts that made you want to run out and grab one of these books!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately:

A Stranger in the HouseA Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena. (3.5 stars). Tom comes home from work, to find Karen, his wife, gone. She’s left in a hurry, with no phone, no purse, and dinner ready to cook on the counter. Tom eventually finds out that Karen’s been in a car accident, and ended up with a concussion… conveniently forgetting everything from that evening… even though the police suspect she was up to no good. As her memory slowly returns, the secrets of that night unwind, and she finds herself as a suspect in a murder. I enjoyed this thriller, and Shari Lapena can really write a suspenseful novel that will leave you on turning the pages so quickly. I did find that it didn’t really have a ton of depth to it, but it’s the perfect beach book. Easy, peasy thriller.

The Stationery ShopThe Stationary Shop, by Marjan Kamali. (4 stars). Based in 1950’s Tehran, in the middle of a tumultuous political time, Roya and Bahman meet in the magical, literary shop that Mr. Fahkri owns. Their budding romance blossoms alongside their love for Rumi’s poetry, and their passionate views on politics. As the tension in Tehran increases, fate pulls their relationship apart and they are separated for nearly 60 years. Then, fate once again pushes them back into each other’s lives. I really loved this literary fiction novel, and with the descriptions of delicious food, and also the history of the country’s political tensions, I learned a lot!

The Chelsea Girls: A Novel

The Chelsea Girls, by Fiona Davis. (3 stars). I’ve read every book Fiona Davis has published! She has the undeniable talent to write an amazing story, with an entertaining history lesson. This one, was unfortunately, not my favourite of hers. She novels have always been about a famous New York landmark, and this story features two women… Hazel and Maxine, who met during WWII when they were acting on the stage for soldiers. Hazel goes on to write a play, and Maxine an actress, but when Maxine’s past starts to come out it’s clear that their greatest obstacle isn’t getting an award winning play… it’s politics. Set in the McCarthy era in which artists were blacklisted, and sentenced for possible involvement in communism, this book had moments that were interesting. But it didn’t really pick up until 200 pages! Two cool things that I really made this book interesting were the subtle references that Janis Joplin also lived at the Chelsea Hotel, and also that Fiona was inspired by Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids… which I need to read.

The Bookish Life of Nina HillThe Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman. (4 stars). Nina Hill is a bookseller, in a failing bookshop, who struggles with anxiety and luck in love. She’s an only child, growing up with not knowing who her father was… until one day she finds out her father has died. And Nina suddenly is thrusted into a very large family, with siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. As if this isn’t enough stress for Nina, she has met a man. Tom, who is perfect, and Nina is completely terrified of the possibility of pursuing a relationship with him. This book is so cute, it’s every booklover’s delight. After reading this book, I developed an even longer To Be Read List, that now includes The Prophet, Pride and Prejudice, and The Thorn Birds.

The Stranger Inside: A Novel

The Stranger Inside, by Lisa Unger. (5 stars). I received this book from Harper Collins Canada as an advanced copy in exchange for a review… Oh goodness, am I ever glad I did!!! I’ve never read a book by Lisa Unger before, but I will be reading her back catalogue now for sure. Rain is living the perfect suburban dream. A new baby, a dreamy husband, and a secretive past! Rain was a news journalist before having a baby, and when an old story resurfaces it brings back all the feelings of chasing a story, and her secretive past starts to slowly bubble up. This book is SOOOOOO good, it’s a thriller that’s so creative, and almost has tones of the HBO tv series, Dexter. I loved it and will be putting it into the hands of all my mystery/thriller fan book friends! It’s publication date is September 17th, so put it down on your list!!

A Quote to Ponder:

This is a quote from The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman and I re-read it, and thought I need to copy this one down. Nina quotes a line from The Prophet;

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.”