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December Blog Update

After the craziness of October, it was nice to have a calmer month at work in November. Though this was after we hosted a major work gala on the 1st of November. Since work had settled down quite a bit, I was able to meet up with some old friends to catch up and enjoy some good food.

Unfortunately, there will be no new blog posts this month. However, I will be back in full force come the New Year. My goal is to post at least twice a week, and I’ve already started scheduling several posts for 2017. Check out the photo below for a sneak peek of some of the book reviews that will be coming to you in the New Year. I’ll see you all in 2017!

Book Review | Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

everAuthour:
Erin Summerill
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
December 27th 2016
Publisher:
Harcourt Childrens Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
If you read my Raincoast Fall Preview post, then you would recall that Ever the Hunted was one of my most anticipated Fall/Winter 2016 releases. Thus I was beyond excited when I was approved for an e-galley of it.

Initially, Ever the Hunted was everything I was expected from it. The world building and descriptions were exquisite and the plot was compelling. I found myself speeding through the first half of the book. However, somewhere along the way I became slightly bored with the story. The protagonist, Britta wasn’t as kick butt as I hoped and her romance wasn’t as swoon worthy as I thought it would be. That being understood I did delight in the revelations and reveal of Britta’s past in addition to whom her mother and what it means to her. And I also found her voice and reactions to be refreshing, realistic given her age and situation.

Overall I felt that maybe the synopsis of Ever the Hunted (or rather my interpretation of it) misled me a bit into thinking that the book would have more of a revenge twist in addition to a cat and mouse type of dynamic between the lead and the guy who was accused of killing her father. Instead, I found that the entire misunderstanding was cleared up early on, leading to a jump into the romance aspect of Cohen and Britta’s relationship which for the majority was lacking in chemistry. All that being understood, however, Ever the Hunted does a decent job at setting up the premise for the series and the ending, while confusing also left me a bit curious as to what will happen in the book following in the series.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

sunalsoAuthour:
Nicola Yoon
Format:
ARC; 349 pages
Publication date:
November 1st 2016
Publisher:
Delacorte Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m probably one of the few bloggers who did not pick up Everything, Everything. To be frank, I didn’t feel that the book was for me. However, the person I passed my advance copy of the book to (my cousin) remains obsessed with the book as are several other bloggers who I know.

Yet Nicola Yoon’s sophomore novel, The Sun is also a Star had a synopsis that had me intrigued. And despite its comparisons to Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, a book which I could not finish I actually thoroughly enjoyed The Sun is also a Star. For those of you who have read both, you’ll definitely be able to appreciate the obvious similarities between the two, however The Sun is also a Star truly does stand out as its own unique story.

Taking place all in a single day, The Sun is also a Star tells not only the love story of Natasha, a teenage girl who wants to save her family from being deported and Daniel the younger son of a Korean immigrant family struggling to live up to his parents’ expectations but also the story of those they meet on their adventure. Dispersed among the chapters telling Natasha and Daniel’s story are short chapters on various cultural, scientific and historical topics in addition to the stories of the other characters.

What I loved about The Sun is also a Star is that Natasha and Daniel both feel like real teenagers facing real issues, including the cultural struggles that ring true for those of us who were not born in our current country or who are the children of immigrant parents. I adore how families are portrayed in the novel and it’s refreshing that we are given the back story to characters like Natasha’s father and Daniel’s father who on the surface both appear to be difficult men.

Another thing I adore about the book, was Nicola Yoon’s prose which made for some gorgeous and heartbreaking storytelling. Though the story at times was disjointed and non-linear, I appreciated the fact we are given glimpses into the futures of various characters. Furthermore, I liked how Yoon demonstrates that we are all connected, and how one person’s decision can have major impacts on another’s life without them even realizing it. It makes the reader stop and consider how their actions can affect others. That being said the lawyer in the book annoyed me to no end, and it was heartbreaking how his actions ended up affecting both Natasha and Daniel.

The Sun is also a Star is infinitely more than your average love story, sure it’s the story of Natasha and Daniel but it’s also the story of their parents without whom they would not exist. It’s also the story of all the other people in the book. After all, your story is without a doubt your story, but it does not exist alone. As humans, we are constantly interacting with others, all who have their own stories that are just as important as yours. Reading a book like The Sun is also a Star reminds us that no one story is any less important than another and that you should never discount the stories of others.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Authour:flames
Sarah Raughley
Format:
ARC, 353 pages
Publication date:
November 22nd 2016
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The moment I heard it about a book that was pitched for fans of Sailor Moon, and Avatar in addition to featuring a group of kick butt female leads, I was in and Fate of Flames became probably my most anticipated YA title from Simon and Schuster’s fall catalogue.

Fate of Flames is about four girls who all have control over an element resembling fire, water, or air. What’s intriguing about these girls is that there are always four of them, when one dies, another girl comes into her powers in addition to all the memories of her predecessors. This brings us to our protagonist, Maia whose effigy powers awaken during a lockdown at her school. This causes her to realize that her predecessor, the fire effigy has Natalya has died. She is at that point quickly thrust into the world of the effigies and fighting phantoms.

What I enjoyed about Fate of Flames was that it incorporated modern elements in a fantasy/science fiction story. Social media is a major element in the story, as are online forums which Maia tends to go on even before she became an effigy. I also liked the fact that Maia existed as a fangirl before she became an effigy as it makes this more relatable. Interestingly enough, I think the book took a realistic approach to how someone who is a fangirl transition into become one of the “heroes” they looked up to. Maia is definitely out her comfort zone, and it was refreshing to have a protagonist who doesn’t just easily adapt into her new powers and her role as a fighter, especially since it’s clear that Maia did not have any pre-existing badass attributes or abilities. Unfortunately, not much happens in Fate of Flames, the reader is thrown a great deal of history/backstory and information with little explanation. Furthermore, there isn’t much fighting until the near the conclusion of this book. Maia, the protagonist is incredibly useless for the majority of the book and instead her role is relegated to gathering the other effigies. Once the four girls, Belle, Lake and Chae Rin are gathered that’s when the story proceeds to move forward.

Overall as a first book in a trilogy, I’d consider Fate of Flames to be a decent read. I just hope all the hints, back stories, and mysteries lead up to a thrilling and satisfying story. My interest is definitely piqued, at least for book two which I hope will focus more on the girls learning to work more effectively as a team. Fate of Flames is a book for those who desire a female group focused fantasy novel that is refreshingly light on the romance.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? David Casarett, is a physician, researcher, and tenured associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness is his first work of fiction, and the first novel in the Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series. He currently lives in Philadelphia.

What is it about? Ladarat Patalung is a nurse-ethicist (someone who “guides” her fellow nurses and physicians on matters of clinical ethics), and not a detective nor did she ever want to be one. However, when a series of murder victims are patients at her hospital she must act fast with the help of her assistant and a kind detective and figure out what is happening or her hospital’s excellent reputation with be ruined.

rooster

Where does it take place? Set in Northern Thailand, this book is filled various details about the culture and lifestyle of the people living in Thailand. And while it was fascinating learning about a country I only vaguely heard about before, I did find that having a lot of details tin the book was somewhat distracting as I would often put down the book to google various dishes and plants mentioned throughout the book.

Why did I like it? Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness stars a nurse Ethicist, Ladarat who find herself playing the role of detective. Before reading this book I had no idea what a nurse ethicist did.  Thus, it was interesting to have a protagonist whose day job was a nurse ethicist at a major hospital.

What I liked about Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness was the fact that Ladarat did not have any superhuman like special skills, instead she was just a very observant person. This was something that I could relate to, as I often people watch when I’m out in public. Another thing that was done well were the various descriptions of Thai food and culture. I never gave much thought to Thai culture, but reading about it has made me interested in learning more about the country and perhaps visiting it one day. Through his writing, it is obvious that the author has a deep love and respect for the people and culture of Thailand. Although he does tend to compare Thailand to America quite a bit in the book.

While Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness does take some time before it picks up, it was overall a decent read. The author does a good job at capturing the voice of the female protagonist, and it’s definitely evident that he has a medical background which he brings to the novel making the story come alive more.

When did it come out? September 13, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Winter + Spring 2017 Preview Picks

On Saturday September 10th, Raincoast Books held their Winter and Spring 2017 Teen Reads preview event for their upcoming titles. While I normally would have attended the in person events (there’s one in Toronto as well as one in Vancouver where the Raincoast Books offices are located). This time around due to a family emergency, I was forced to attend the event via Google Hangout. And while my laptop and internet had glitches which made me fall behind in the presentations, fortunately I was able to keep up by following the #TeensReadFeed hastag on Twitter at the same time. Anyways below are my top anticipated titles from the Raincoast preview:

1. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

wires

This one is a give, and probably my most anticipated 2017 title (of all the ones I presented during the preview. I love graphic novels and am looking forward to seeing Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew making appearances in this book. Also Iko was a character that pretty much stole every scene she was in during the Lunar Chronicles series so it’s great to see her finally get her own story. Anyways this is the first volume of a two volume series and it will be out on January 31st.

2. Things I Should Have Known by Claire Lazebnik

things

So this book sounds right up my alley what with the quirky romance and sibling relationships. During the preview we were told that the idea for this book came from an article the author wrote about the difficulties that her son with autism had in dating. I haven’t seen many books touching upon this subject so Things I Should Have Known definitely has me intrigued.

After special guest, author Mary E. Pearson spoke, the people at Raincoast Books asked all participants three questions. Below are the three questions and my answers, feel free to chime in below in the comments with your own answers:

 

  1. What book are you most anticipating? Of all the titles presented, I’d have to say without a doubt its Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer. Two other titles from Raincoast Books I’m eagerly anticipating that weren’t mentioned during the preview are The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord and The Truth about Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo.
  2. What book are you reading now? At the time of the preview I was reading The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon.
  3. What are your favourite books of the year so far? A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (one of her bests to date)

***

fall-preview

Back on the first day of October, I had the pleasure of once again visiting the amazing office of Penguin Random House in downtown Toronto. This time it was for their fall preview where we got to hear from Jackie and Evan about all the exciting Fall titles that were already out as well as those that will be in stores later in the Fall.

There were also two special guests at the session I attended, one was Shari Lapena the author of The Couple Next Door while the other guest was author, Kyo Maclear who spoke about her upcoming book Birds Art Life Death: A Field Guide to the Small and Significant. Everyone then received an advance copy of the book which will be out in February.

In addition to the Fall titles, we got a sneak peek at some Winter titles as well and I thought it would be nice to share with you guys some of the Winter titles that I’m looking forward to.

1. Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

bookslive

Fun fact, Will Schwalbe was technically the first author I met as a book blogger. His memoir, The End of Your Life Book Club inspired me to start a book club of my own with my mother…and while that has not yet happened, I’m still looking forward to the recommendations that can be found in Books for Living. Pitched as a book for those who are curious as to what others are currently reading, it sounds like a perfect read to me.

2. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

wrongtodays

Elan Mastai was one of the many authours who had an introduction video at the fall preview. In his, he was “apologetically” Canadian. The premise of All Our Wrong Todays sounds incredibly intriguing as it mixes science fiction elements like time travel with elements of more realistic fiction like relationships and life in general. I’m curious to see as to whether the protagonist will choose to stay in the new world (our version of 2016) or head back to the one he came from, the 1950s

3. How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

bawse

I recently got into iiSuperwomanii’s videos and I’m slightly obsessed. Lilly is just so relatable and hilarious, and I love that we are both alumni’s of the same university and program. With this title, I’m more excited to get my hands on the audio book as it would be way cooler to listen to her actual voice as it’s what I’m used to with her YouTube videos.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Faithful by Alice Hoffman

faithAuthour:
Alice Hoffman
Format:
Egalley
Publication date:
November 1st 2016
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Before Faithful, I’ve only read one book by Alice Hoffman which was Aquamarine, a book I read back when I was in elementary school. Thus, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Faithful besides gorgeous prose.

Told from a third person, omniscient perspective, Faithful is the story of a woman named Shelby, who struggles with immense guilt when a car accident leaves her best friend brain-dead while she is virtually unscathed. As a result, Shelby spirals downwards and engages in countless self-destructive behaviours before she is slowly able to come to terms with the fact that she “survived”. What I liked about Shelby’s story was that Shelby undergoes lots of terrible things yet in the end she is able to come out of it as a stronger character. It just goes to show that no matter how broken somebody may be, they can eventually come back from it.

Another story element I enjoyed within Faithful were the female relationships. In particular, the friendship between Maravelle and Shelby was incredible and I adored the way that Maravelle’s family gradually became a substitute family to Shelby. It was touching to witness her begin to care for others all while assisting her in her journey of learning to love herself again. The other central relationship throughout the book was Shelby’s relationship with her mother. It was lovely watching their relationship evolve over time and their bond becomes stronger as both grew older and begin to understand each other better.

In spite of the fact that I enjoyed Faithful for the reasons mentioned above, there were two things that I wasn’t fond of. One was the romance in the book, the relationship in the conclusion felt underdeveloped and if I were to be honest, this book would have been more than fine without any romance plot. The other thing that made me slightly uncomfortable was what happens to Shelby’s friend, Helene. Despite being brain-dead she is kept “alive” on life support so that people can come to and worship her for miracles. While it is understandable that her parents are unable to let go of their daughter, it’s also depressing to read how she is kept alive like this after having read about what she was like.

Faithful, is a powerful novel that demonstrates how amidst all the tragedy, loss, guilt, and shame there can be love, hope and perhaps even a “rebirth” of sorts. And that “magic” does exist and in manifests itself in unexpected ways in real life. All in all it was a fairly quick and engrossing read that I would recommend to readers who love stories of redemption and stories with dogs!

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

WWAuthour:
Sam Maggs
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
October 4th 2016
Publisher:
Quirk Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m a total history buff and I love learning about kick butt women whose accomplishments have been mostly lost to history, thus this book was the ideal read for me. Furthermore, it made for a perfect companion for Jessica Bennett’s The Feminist Fight Club, which was the other book I was reading at the same time.

Sam Magg’s Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History showcases an array of pioneering female scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors many of whom I was unaware of, like Dr. Okami Keiko (the first Japanese woman to get a degree in Western medicine from a Western university) and Dr. Anandibai Joshi (the first woman physician) who were actually well acquainted with each other. I also loved reading about Dr. Marie Equi, who was a birth control advocate and not afraid to get physical to defend what’s right.

In addition to the 25 women that were featured there were also various mini biographies in addition to interviews with women who today are working in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field. Overall, Wonder Women was an entertaining read due in part to the illustrations as well as Maggs’ witty commentary throughout the book of the women featured. And I appreciated how diverse the women were in the book as there were women of various races, sexual orientation and status. A great read for young girls and anyone who is looking for a bit of inspiration.

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | My (Part-Time) Paris Life: How Running Away Brought Me Home by Lisa Anselmo

ptparisAuthour:
Lisa Anselmo
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
October 11th 2016
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
As someone who has a close relationship with her mother, I can’t even begin to imagine my life without her. As a result, I felt this book would resonate with me as the author loses her mother to cancer, and it forces her to re-evaluate her life after having lived with a mother who always needed to be in control.

I adored the travel aspect of the book, as I always do in the books I read. Although, I must confess I have never been to Paris and it had not been high on my travel priority list for some time. However, My (Part-Time) Paris Life: How Running Away Brought Me Home made me reconsider my hesitations about visiting “The City of Lights”. This may also be a result of the drool worthy, glorious descriptions that the author provides of the various foods she samples while in Paris and France.

One of my favourite sections in My (Part-Time) Paris Life was the chapter titled, “Le Dating Game”. I enjoyed this chapter for the reason that Anselmo acknowledges that dating is difficult, especially in another country with a different culture. And it was refreshing to glimpse her reflections on her past and acknowledge how her tight relationship with her mother has affected her love life. I especially love that in the end she came to the conclusion that she needs to embrace her independence and to become re-acquainted with herself as an “individual” before embarking on any serious romance.

And while I wish there was more to her story and adventure in the book, I’ll definitely be checking out her mini web series. Highly recommended to anyone who loves a good, self-searching memoir about dealing with grief, and learning to just let yourself be happy in life. If it hasn’t crossed your mind to visit “La Ville-Lumière”, it definitely will after reading this book.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

wangsAuthour:
Jade Chang
Format:
ARC; 354 pages
Publication date:
October 4th 2016
Publisher:
HarperAvenue
Publisher Social Media:
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The Wangs vs. World was a title that I was especially looking forward to this fall as it centres on an Asian American family embarking on a road trip after the patriarch, Charles Wang loses his fortune.

Unfortunately my unfair expectations of this book coupled with all the buzz surrounding it lead The Wangs vs. World to be a bit of a disappointment for me. For instance, this book was marketed as being hilarious and yet I seldom found myself laughing. Additionally the majority of the book seemed to drag on forever and it wasn’t until near the conclusion that the pacing sped up immensely. Speaking of the ending, without spoiling too much I will say that it came about in a rather unexpected way and it definitely made me wonder if things were left a bit too up in the air.

That being said, there were a few parts of the book that did work for me. One was the relationship between the three siblings. Of the three, I liked Saina the best and it was nice watching her character grow as the novel progressed. I think my favourite scenes in The Wangs vs. World were the ones where we see the siblings all with unique personalities interacting with one another. The interactions were hilarious and it was heartwarming to see how loyal they were to each other. For that reason, I liked the section where the family was in China and it was unfortunate that the section needed to be cut short as I liked watching them all together in one place and bonding as a family.

Jade Chang’s writing at times was reminiscent of Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asian series, which fortunately assisted in moving the story along during certain sections. However, unlike Crazy Rich Asian there was no translation provided for all the Chinese dialogue (at least not in my advance reader’s copy). This only served to alienate me more from the characters as it’s difficult to connect with both the stories and characters when so much of their dialogue is another language that you are not familiar with. Though some of their conversations may be understood vaguely through the context, it still takes away from the main story.

Overall, while it did not work for me mostly since it was not the humourous novel, it was marketed as, The Wangs vs. World still was an interesting look a one family’s Asian immigrant experience and was a decent effort for a début novel.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

November Blog Schedule

nov-collagenov-collage2

Finally October is over! Though to be honest it wasn’t as bad as I expected, slightly hectic but not too overwhelming. Somehow between all the event preparations and working various events, I still managed to have some fun as well. I went to a couple of IFOA (International Festival of Authors) events in Toronto and I even got to attend a Fall Preview at the Penguin Random House Offices.

This past month I’ve gotten really into the Poke food trend, thanks to my co-workers. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what Poke is, its basically a sushi bowl and was something that originated from Hawaii. Fortunately for me, a bunch of new Poke places have opened up downtown. My top picks would have to be Pokeito (which my coworkers LOVE) and The Poke Box. Other than food and bookish stuff, I’m gotten news that my work team may be expanding. Which is both cool and slightly daunting, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

I hope you guys enjoy the coming posts this month, and feel free to let me know your thoughts, I’ll be on hiatus next month but I’ll be back in full force come January. As always, thank you for visiting my blog.

***

November 3  The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang
November 8 My (Part-Time) Paris Life: How Running Away Brought Me Home by Lisa Anselmo
November 10 – Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs
November 15 Faithful by Alice Hoffman
November 17 Winter Preview Picks
November 21 – Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett
November 24 – Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
November 29 – The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
November 30 – Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Book Review | Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett

femAuthour:
Jessica Bennett
Format:
ARC; 293 pages
Publication date:
September 13th 2016
Publisher:
Harper Wave
Publisher Social Media:
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

I first heard about Jessica Bennett’s Feminist Fight Club from this quite epic book trailer, where a woman has to “defeat” various scenarios/rounds in a video game. Despite being non-fiction, I found this book to be a witty, entertaining and quick read that can be accessible to even readers who typically do not read non-fiction. This is due to the writing style which is not pretentious or overly preachy. It also helps that there are hilarious illustrations and diagrams that give readers a break between pages of text.

The book itself is divided into six different sections (along with a few other mini sections and a glossary at the back of the book). The six core sections are: Know the Enemy, Know Thyself, Bobby Traps, Get Your Speak On, F You Pay Me, and  WWJD – What Would Josh Do (aka “How to Carry Yourself with the Confidence of a Mediocre Man“). Within each section an issue or scenario/example is presented before being followed by some practical, and useful advice and tips on how to tackle the issue or how to act accordingly.

Regardless of your background, there is something for every young woman to relate to in this book. I personally loved the Know Thyself section in addition to the Get Your Speak On section as there was a great deal of helpful information in those two sections that are applicable to me and my current circumstances. And for those who have the option to negotiate their work but are terrified or unsure of how to start, the F You Pay Me section is a must read. Finally the last section, WWJD – What Would Josh Do is hilarious yet true and genuinely helpful. The back cover of my review copy for Feminist Fight Club describes it as “Lean In for the BuzzFeed generation” which I believe is accurate since the writing and illustrations would definitely appeal to this particular group of 20-30 something year olds. If you’re in need of an empowering read, I would definitely recommend purchasing Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Don’t I Know You? by Marni Jackson

don't knowAuthour:
Marni Jackson
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
September 27th 2016
Publisher:
Flatiron Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Written by Canadian journalist, Marni Jackson’s Don’t I Know You? has an intriguing premise to it. Rose McEwan is an ordinary woman who lives a fairly regular life except for her various random encounters with random celebrities among them, Joni Mitchell, Meryl Streep, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Taylor Swift.

While the first chapter where Rose encounters John Uplike was weird and to be honest, slightly creepy the following chapter with Joni Mitchell made up for it although I hated how passive Rose was. This was generally the tone of the book, a few of the encounters were strange while others were charming and cute. My favorite story in the collection is, probably, Mister Softee where Rose first encounters Leonard Cohen for the first time. I loved that it concerns family and dealing with death, and while it was a simple story it was incredibly poignant. The Reading featuring Meryl Streep and Exfoliation with Gwyneth Kate Paltrow giving Rose a facial in addition to Free Love with Joni Mitchell were all memorable and were close runner-ups. And obviously the final chapter with a featuring a canoe trip that Rose takes with Leonard Cohen, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Taylor Swift stood out as the most unrealistic yet charming of all the stories in this whimsical collection.

Being a Canadian myself, I love that the author takes the time to highlight the various sights and sceneries that can be found in Canada. Thus whether intentional or not, it felt as if this collection of stories served as a homage or even a “love letter” to the country itself even if the book wasn’t completely set in Canada. Don’t I Know You? is a book that I’d recommend for those who appreciate short story collections that are slightly unusual yet charming throughout.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

hategameAuthour:
Sally Thorne
Format:
ARC; 372 pages
Publication date:
August 9th 2016
Publisher:
William Morrow
Publisher Social Media:
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
When I first heard about Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, I thought it would be the perfect summer read for me since I do love a good romantic comedy. Furthermore, my contact at Harper thoroughly enjoyed it, describing it as “a romantic comedy movie in a book, think a movie with the likes of Anna Kendrick and Zac Efron”. (By the way I would totally watch that) Anyways, just as she predicted I did end up enjoying The Hating Game.

One of the reasons I enjoyed it was that I could relate to the characters who both work in an office environment in fairly administrative roles. Additionally, if you are a book nerd too, you’d be able to appreciate the fact that Lucy and Josh both work for a large publishing house that was merged from two smaller publisher houses. Coincidentally (or maybe not), the situation reminded me of when quite recently, Penguin and Random House merged and became Penguin Random House. Anyways, there are numerous book and publishing references that I book bloggers and publishing nerds would appreciate.

Another time I found refreshing about this book was the relationship between Lucy and her boss, instead of a stereotypical evil boss Lucy as a boss that truly looks out for her well-being and wants to mentor her. There are, however, numerous stereotypes and the CEO that Josh works for could definitely fall into the “horrible” boss category. That being said, while the story is predictable, the banter between the characters is amusing and the chemistry between Josh and Lucy is definitely hot and steamy. And while Josh made me uncomfortable in the instances where he became jealous as he was kind of terrifying, he does help Lucy stand up for herself and she does bring out the softer side to his personality. All in all The Hating Game is a rollicking ride of a novel that is basically catnip to readers who are fans of the hate “turned to” love trope.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Louise Penny is a former journalist and radio host with the CBC. The authour of the best selling Chief Inspector Gamache series, A Great Reckoning is her 12th book in the Inspector Gamache series. She currently lives with her husband, Michael in a small village south of Montreal.

What is it about? Armand Gamache has finally decided his next steps after retiring as Chief of Homicide division…cleaning up the Sûreté academy known as “the last shit pit in the Sûreté.” However, when the one professor that posed a threat to his mission to “clean up” the academy is found dead, he finds himself the main suspect. Not to mention, with the dead body, a copy of an old, odd map is found the exact same one that Gamache was gifted with on the first day of his new job by his friends in Three Pines. Enlisting the aid of the four young cadets who happen to also be suspects in the professor’s murder may be a risky but necessary move when it comes to this investigation. Along the way more secrets will be revealed including the one involving Gamache and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, one of the cadets and a protégée of the murdered professor.

recokening

Where does it take place? Those familiar with the Inspector Gamache books, will definitely remember Three Pines. Three Pines is a fictional, idyllic village located somewhere in Quebec that has the constant, unfortunate luck of attracting murders. In addition the book is also set in the Sûreté academy.

Why did I like it? It seems like every time I find myself in a summer slump and there’s a new Louise Penny to help me get out of said slump. With the exception of A Long Way Home, Penny manages to surpass her earlier book with each new one being better than the last. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but with every new Louise Penny book I open it fills me with a warm feeling akin to coming home after some time away. I adore the village of Three Pines and all the characters who live there and I relish every opportunity I get to check in and see how they are all doing.

One unique thing about A Great Reckoning is how it explores what comes after for a character who has already held a position of immense power and prestige and has since left that place. It was refreshing to see the author explore this stage of life as we rarely get to see this in books. Another thing I enjoyed was that this book shone a light on the complicated relationship between Gamache and Brebeuf. Since I didn’t start this series from book one thus it was fascinating to see how deep their relationship ran and how Brebeuf’s betrayal affected both men. One of the themes that always rings true in these books are how we are all human, flawed and prone to making mistakes and no one not even Gamache is immune to this. All that being said, my favourite element of this book is the reunion of the “dream team” and I’ll admit that I let out a squeal when it turned out that Gamache and Beauvoir would once again be working together.

Overall, A Great Reckoning featured exquisite writing as always coupled with compelling characters, both new and old in addition to an intriguing setting and case. A Great Reckoning is a definite must read for mystery lovers and fans of Louise Penny.

When did it come out? August 30, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

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