Book Review | Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley

Authour:
Sarah Raughley
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
November 21st 2017
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
While I wasn’t too impressed with Fate of Flames, despite my initial excitement for it, I was intrigued enough to want to pick up the next book in Sarah Raughley’s Effigies series.

Like Fate of Flames, Siege of Shadows took a bit of time to hook me in. However, what I liked about this book was just how action packed it was. Since the majority of Fate of Flames was used to set up the world building, and mysteries and mythology of the Effigies there was more room in Siege of Shadows to focus on the relationships. Now that all four girls have come together and forced to work as a team it definitely brings out the more interesting dynamics. I also loved that we become more acquainted with the girls’ families, especially Maia’s uncle who proves himself quite useful to their cause. Of course there’s a bit of romance here and while I could have done without it, I did feel that there was a proper amount of build up especially from the previous book that the romance was all but inevitable.

As always, I love the Canadian and Toronto setting in the Effigies books! I also appreciate the diversity when it comes to the girls. Both the Canadian setting and the diversity is something that’s not often seen in YA novels, especially ones in the fantasy genre so it was definitely refreshing. Siege of Shadows has definitely upped the stakes for the Effigies and I loved how action packed it was. Also that ENDING!! Now I even more hooked and cannot wait to see where the series goes next, although I do hope that the “deaths” of all but one (for obvious reasons) in Siege of Shadows actually stick as they were incredibly emotional and powerful and it would be a cop-out if those particular characters survived.

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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Book Review | The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Authour:
Rachel Joyce
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
November 7th 2017
Publisher:
Doubleday Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I loved Rachel Joyce’s The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, as devastating, heartbreaking as it was and while I haven’t read any of her other books something about The Music Shop tempted me into picking it up. And fortunately I was given an advance copy shortly after hearing about it at the Penguin Random House Fall Preview.

Set in the 1980s, the book focuses on Frank the owner of a music shop who stubbornly refuses to get with the times and stock CDs (choosing instead to continue to own deal with vinyls). Among the cast of characters are his assistant  and his fellow neighbours who own various shops/businesses along the same old street and neighbourhood that has seen better days. I loved that this novel was inspired by the author’s real life meeting with a music shop whose owner was able to find the musical “cure” for her husband’s insomnia. This magical quality of being able to “know” what music a person needs to hear which is an ability that her protagonist, Frank also shares.

If I were honest The Music Shop started off a bit slow for me as I didn’t care about any of the characters. However, before long I found that I had been unknowingly drawn deep within the world and characters of the book. This may have been a result of the beautiful, whimsical prose. Or perhaps it was the fact that over time we get enough glimpses into the past of each of the characters helping us to understand why they are the way they are in addition to why people care about Frank a great deal.

While some may say that The Music Shop is an overly sentimental read, I loved that I was left with a warm feeling when I was finished with the book. It is a definite must read for music lovers and for people who are looking for an uplifting read that is within the along the same veins as The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin or even Katarina Blvald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend as it’s also about the power of the arts, and how when ordinary people get together and work together they can make the extraordinary happen whether it’s just for one person or for far more people than they could have ever anticipated.

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 | Glass Houses 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, Glass Houses is her 13th book in the Inspector Gamache series. She currently lives with in a small village south of Montreal with her dog, Bishop.

What is it about? A mysterious figure is haunting the village of Three Pines, and Armand Gamache, now the Chief Superintendent and Head of the Sûreté du Québec can’t help but feel uneasy. This is confirmed when a body is found leading to a court case with Ganache as a key witness. As the court proceedings continue, it’s clear that there is more to this homicide case than its initially seems. With the Crown prosecutor and Gamache almost at each other’s throats, regardless of the decision the outcome and revelations from this trial will have a much greater effect than anyone could have anticipated.

Where does it take place? While the mysterious figure and murder occurs in Three Pines, the trial in this book seems to take place in Montreal which is where the head office of the Sûreté and Palais de Justice are located.

Why did I like it? Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series has become somewhat of a tradition for me. As every year I look forward to the next book in the series. Once again, Louise Penny does not disappoint with her latest book. Glass Houses starts off differently compared to the other Gamache books that I’ve read. Beginning in the present with Gamache as a witness in a trial in Montreal before moving back to some time back when mysterious and silently threatening figure first appeared in Three Pines, Glass Houses manages to move back and forth in time without too much confusion for the reader. With its unexpected twists and turns throughout, I loved how the trial was only a minor piece of a more exciting and clever plot.

Like all of her books, Glass Houses excels at being thrilling and shocking yet also uplifting and (subtlety) hilarious when you least expect it. Perhaps it was partly a result of the authour’s personal loss during the writing of this book, but I found Glass Houses to be incredibly heartbreaking yet so full of love and warmth at the same time. And getting to visit Three Pines and be right there with all the characters that I’ve come to love like Gamache, Jean Guy, Isabelle Lacoste and even Ruth has made it even more sad to have to say goodbye to them once more. However, I’m hoping we’ll get see them soon in a year and hopefully in a new book as I’m intrigued as to where the story with go next after the ending in Glass Houses.

When did it come out? August 29th 2017

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 | Righteous by Joe Ide

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?  Joe Ide is a writer who is of Japanese American descent. His debut novel, IQ was inspired by his love of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories in addition his early life experiences of growing up in South Central Los Angeles, an economically depressed area with a largely black population and an area where gangs and street crime were far from uncommon. Ide currently lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife and their Golden Retriever, Gusto.

What is it about? Isaiah Quintabe’s aka “IQ” has always felt that there was more to his brother, Marcus’ death than what was found. Even with his newfound “fame” and success as a PI, this is one thing that continues to haunt him. Now ten years later, he finds himself forced to confront his past when his late brother’s girlfriend reaches out to him asking for his help in finding her sister, a compulsive gambler.

Where does it take place? IQ’s latest case takes him from his Los Angeles neighbourhood of East Long Beach to Las Vegas, Nevada a city that has the potential to be both gambler’s paradise as well as hell.

Why did I like it? As always the writing and world of Isaiah Quintabe aka “IQ” is a gritty one, and nothing is held back in the writing and the details of the story and characters. Though it took a bit of time, I ended up enjoying Righteous more than the previous book in the series. I liked that some time has passed and that characters like Dobson and Deronda were given more compelling character development and backstories that made them more sympathetic and “human”. My favourite thing about Righteous though, would be seeing how IQ’s brain works to “connect the dots” and put all the tiny clues and details together to finally solve the mystery behind his brother’s death. Now that that part of his past has been settled, it will be interesting to see how he goes about moving forward in his life and what direction this series heads to next. Fast paced and action packed, Righteous will be enjoyed by those who loved IQ and even those who haven’t read the first book but are looking for a different kind of mystery series.

When did it come out? October 17th 2017

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 Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Authour:
Cynthia Hand
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
October 24, 2017
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Publisher Social Media: 
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Okay, confession time The Afterlife of Holly Chase is my first Cynthia Hand book. I am aware of how much love her writing gets like with the Unearthly series or even with her work on My Lady Jane, however I wasn’t really enticed to pick up one her books until I read the synopsis for The Afterlife of Holly Chase. I adore Christmas as a holiday and a modern YA retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol sounded perfect to me!

Holly  to me felt like your typical, albeit spoiled teenager. While I could understand Holly’s actions, I couldn’t relate to her for the most part. That being said, I did like how she was able to eventually open up to her colleagues at Project Scrooge. And I did enjoy the twist at the end regarding the latest “Scrooge”. I also appreciated the fact that while there is some “romance” in the book it doesn’t play out in the typical way which I found refreshing for once.

Reading The Afterlife of Holly Chase in July definitely gave me the Christmas “feels”. While at times it seems like the story was trying too hard in its attempts to be a retelling of an old classic tale, I felt that overall it was handled in a way that captured the spirit of the original novel. Additionally I adored the characters who worked at Project Scrooge and while the ending may come off as a bit too clichéd with it’s sweet yet bittersweet tone, I liked that it was realistic in that while Holly doesn’t automatically become a good person instead she continues to try to be a better person. The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a book that is isn’t too overly sentimental and yet it may still get you in the Christmas mood.

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 | Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Authour:
Gabrielle Zevin
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
August 22nd 2017
Publisher:
Algonquin Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I adored Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and was intrigued by the synopsis of Young Jane Young as it focuses on the relationships between mothers and daughters.

Young Jane Young is told through multiple perspectives, starting with the mother of the titular “Jane” who is actually Aviva Grossman, a former intern who had an affair with the Florida congressman she worked for. Afterwards, we are filled in on what happened to Aviva now going by the name, “Jane’s” before moving on to the perspective of Embeth, the congressman’s wife. I also liked that we see how Jane’s decisions still have an impact on her life several years later. And it’s interesting how the author chooses to have the last chapter in the book be styled in a Choose Your Own Adventure manner as it gives the reader greater insight into “Jane’s” thought process when she was younger. However, this was a bit confusing at first as I was reading an e-galley copy and couldn’t turn the pages, though I eventually realized that it wasn’t actually a chapter where the reader is actually given the opportunity to “choose” what happens as “Jane” has already made her choices.

It’s wonderful to have women be the dominant voice in this kind of political narrative for once, and Zevin does an excellent job of making each woman feel like a real person that the reader can empathize with. An engrossing, and a surprisingly empowering read at times, Young Jane Young takes the refreshing approach of focusing on the women who are affected by a political scandal making it equal parts entertaining and enlightening.

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

Midweek Mini Reviews #8

You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle by Paul Benedetti

Continuing my pattern of reading collections of personal essays, I decided to pick up Paul Benedetti ‘s You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle. This book is a collection of his past columns for The Hamilton Spectator where he writes about his life, family and of course his neighbour Dave. Maintaining a good balance of being heartfelt, witty, hilarious and self-deprecating Benedetti’s writing at times reminded me of the writing style of the late Stuart McLean’s. Touching on every happenings in his life, there is definitely something that everyone can relate to in this collection of essays.

Well written and organized in a short and simple way, You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle is most certainly a book that was made to take along with you on vacation or even for a weekend at the cottage.

This Time Around by Tawna Fenske

For those looking for a light, sweet contemporary romance Tawna Fenske’s This Time Around definitely does the trick. I adored the setting and all the characters, especially Jack’s daughter, Paige (who stole every scene she was in and even some that she wasn’t in) and Allie’s new friend, Skye. Furthermore it was difficult not to root for Jack and Allie as they were perfect for each other.

The only issue I had with this book was the conflict with Allie’s family and the money she discovers, I found it incredibly frustrating that she just kept on making poor decisions when it came to that. However, this was offset by the absurdity of what else she finds in her grandmother’s attic as it seems every character was finding something there.

This Time Around, is one of those warms that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy in the end, and I like how it shows that the life you expected might not be the life you get and how sometimes it’s the unexpected that leaves us pleasantly surprised.

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 | A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Authour:
Krystal Sutherland
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
September 5th 2017
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The pitch is what lead me to pick up Krystal Sutherland’s sophomore novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares. I’m always up for sharp and witty banter and fun characters.

However, upon starting it, I came to realize that A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is not your usual type of contemporary YA. Instead, it incorporates supernatural like elements, giving the story more of a magic realism/horror vibe similar to The Addams Family. That being said, I definitely appreciated the weird and quirky cast of characters and the various phobias of the Solar family and how they dealt with them in dysfunctional ways. Furthermore, I liked how “Death” was portrayed as an actual, physical character in this book and how even “Death” has to die at some point showing that nothing is forever.

Despite A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, being a refreshingly odd YA novel I found it difficult to connect to the characters. As a result, I wasn’t really a fan of the romance even though I loved the protagonist’s interactions with her brother and best friend. Still, I did appreciate how Jonah assisted Esther in her mission to tackle her fears and break the family “curse”.

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is without a doubt an incredibly unique and mysterious novel. There are often times where the reader is left to question what is truly happening vs what is in one character’s imagination. And while I did not truly connect with the story, I do believe it leaves its reader with a good message about facing your fears head on.

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 | I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson

Authour:
Erin Carlson
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
August 29th 2017
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’ve only seen a few of Nora Ephron’s films, although I will admit that I’m a fan of her writing more than I am of her movies. However as a person who loves rom coms, I can definitely appreciate what she has done for the romantic comedy genre. Thus I was, why was looking forward to picking up Erin Carlson’s I’ll Have What She’s Having: Nora Ephron and the Three Movies that Changed Romantic Comedy.

Written from an omniscient yet also objective and observer-like perspective, reading I’ll Have What She’s Having akin to watching a biopic/documentary of Nora Ephron and her most well-known filmography. With my interest in writing, I loved that readers are given a glimpse at the behind the scenes happenings of several of Ephron’s most iconic movies in addition to Ephron’s early life and upbringing.

Reading through I’ll Have What She’s Having, it’s clear that author has truly gone out of her way to conduct an extensive amount of research to ensure that the voices of all the “players” in the three movies seem authentic and believable. I also appreciated learning tiny tidbits about the Ephron family, such as the “Tao of Phoebe” (Nora’s mother) which is all about owning your slip ups and making it into a story where you appear as the “lead”/”hero” as it helps us to understand how Ephron’s upbringing shaped her writing and as a result her films.

Fans of Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail and even film lovers in general who grew up with these movies will definitely feel nostalgic after reading this book. More than just an homage of one of the most notable and distinctive voices, I’ll Have What She’s Having also reads as a “love letter” to movies especially those in a genre that is often looked down upon.

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 | In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody

Authour:
Jessica Brody
Format:
e-Galley
Publication date:
August 8th 2017
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I truly enjoyed, Jessica Brody’s A Week of Mondays, and was intrigued by her latest book for its “sliding doors” like premise. Every person has their what-ifs moments and it’s fascinating to explore the idea of alternate universes that are created because of a different decision or choice a person makes.

In the case of In Some Other Life we follow Kennedy Rhodes, who regrets turning down her acceptance into the prestigious Windsor Academy after she discovers her boyfriend (whom she initially gave up Windsor Academy for) is cheating on her with her best friend! After an accident leads her to “fall” into an alternate universe, she gets to realize for herself what her life would be like if she had chosen to attend Windsor Academy.

I liked that there was no easy fix, and that a few things still stayed the same in her “new” world despite her making a different choice. I also found it hilarious, that her genius little brother was the one constant between both worlds and that it frustrated him to no end. I also enjoyed the dynamic between Kennedy and Dylan which made me wish we had just a bit more of their interaction together. And finally I found it refreshing to that this book featured a father who works at home while the mother is the primary breadwinner as this isn’t something you see as often in fiction or in YA novels.

 That said In Some Other Life was a fairly predictable story that prone to dragging on a little especially in the beginning of the book. However, I did like that the message was that although we may have regrets our choices they make us who we are. Additionally, even if you went down another path in your life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that things will go exactly how you imagined after all the universe is just that unpredictable.

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 | The Late Show by Michael Connelly

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? Michael Connelly has written around 27 books, and he is best known for his known for Bosch and Haller series. Before becoming a best-selling crime writer, he was formerly a newspaper reporter. The Late Show is the first book in his Renée Ballard, which features a fierce female detective.

What is it about? Renée Ballard is a former homicide detective who now works the “late night” shift in Hollywood as “punishment” for daring to file a sexual harassment complaint against her supervisor. This book focuses on two cases that she can’t let go of, one being the assault of a prostitute who is left for dead and the other being a bar shooting. Despite neither being in her jurisdiction, Ballard becomes relentless in her pursuit for justice especially when those close to her get dragged into the cases even if its to come at the expense of her career.

Where does it take place? Hollywood, LA the city of angels aka “Tinseltown”.

Why did I like it? I was both wary and excited when it was announced that Michael Connelly would be coming out with a new series, this one featuring a female detective. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about as once again Connelly brings it! His writing is sharp as always and the story is excellently plotted. I loved that Renée Ballard is a fierce, complex and unrelenting character and that right from her introduction, we see how she truly cares about helping others. She even goes out of her way to help those she knows who have cases that would otherwise get lost in the pile of other police cases. Furthermore, I enjoyed the portrayal of Renée’s employment situation as it highlights how difficult it can be for women working in a male dominated field and how unfortunate it is that those in a position of power can abuse their authority. That being said, I appreciated the fact that while she may be continuously dismissed and mocked, at the end of the day, even her superiors can’t help but acknowledge just how talented Renée is at her job. I’m definitely looking forward to more Renée Ballard books, as I’m intrigued to see where her character goes next.

When did it come out? July 18th, 2017

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 | Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

Authour:
Hala Alyan
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
May 2nd 2017
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Last year, I read a couple of books by Israeli authours so this year I thought I should try getting a different perspective by reading a book written by a Palestinian writer. Fortunately, I stumbled upon Hala Alyan’s Salt Houses through an excerpt included in Publishers Lunch’s Buzz Books 2017: Spring/Summer.

Salt Houses is a story about the Palestinian diaspora, and rather than focusing on the war and violence in the Middle East, the novel instead chooses to tell the story of a Palestinian family over several generations. What results it’s a glimpse of the various family members, and how they are separated as a result of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict in addition to how each member survives in their own unique way. Unfortunately because of the way the story is told, we do not get a full glimpse into the majority of the characters and their development. Still, enough detail and information have provided over the various years that one can easily piece together the significant events.

Hala Alyan who is also a performer in addition to being a clinical psychologist and a writer brings many of her talents to her début novel, making Salt Houses an enchantingly beautiful and poetic novel that takes its readers on a difficult but unforgettable journey. Even now as I write this review days after I’ve finished the novel, the character of Alia and the haunting imagery of the last scene in Salt Houses still remains clear in my mind. Highly recommended if you love reading culturally, rich and diverse family sagas.

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 | Heart of the City by Robert Rotenberg

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? Robert Rotenberg is a Canadian, Toronto based criminal lawyer and writer. Best known for legal thriller series, and for using real life Toronto locations in his book, Heart of the City is the fifth book in his Detective Greene series.

What is it about? It’s been some time since Ari Greene was falsely accused of murdering his lover, and although he was cleared of the charges he ended up fleeing Toronto. Now he’s back, but no longer as a homicide detective. Instead he finds himself in two new roles, one with his new job in construction and the other as a father to his newly discovered daughter. However, try as he might to avoid his past life, it seems like he can’t escape the call of murder and crime. This time however, the murder victim is condo developer Livingston Fox, who is technically his boss’s boss. As Greene once again finds himself at another crime scene, he is reunited with his former protégé, Daniel Kennicott and ends up becoming a part of the investigation.

Where does it take place? Ari Greene is back home in Toronto! And Heart of the City takes place in the Kensington Market neighbourhood.

Why did I like it? It’s been awhile since I’ve read any of Robert Rotenberg’s books. That being said, however, it was relatively easy to jump back into Ari Greene’s world and the characters of Rotenberg’s Toronto. Heart of the City was an incredibly well-written and fast paced mystery, especially as the chapters are all short in length. I also love that like all the other books, this one is set in Toronto as it was interesting to see real life places that I’ve been to or seen featured in a work of fiction. Furthermore, I like how Heart of the City focused on the real estate market and urbanization which are actually very real issues in Toronto at the moment.

Unlike the earlier books in this series, in Heart of the City there are less characters and perspectives which helped make the story more focused and less confusing to the reader. I also found the introduction of the character of Allison, Greene’s daughter to be a welcomed addition to the cast of characters. I like that she had her own storyline, but still was connected to the case. And while I was slightly disappointed by the ending and the identity and motive for the murders, overall Heart of the City was a solid read that left me curious to see what will come next.

When did it come out? August 1st, 2017

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

Midweek Mini Reviews #7

One Brother Shy by Terry Fallis

I’ve been a fan of Terry Fallis’ books since I’ve read Up and Down so I was excited for this one especially as it features twins! (For those of you who don’t know the author is also a twin in real life) Anyways, One Brother Shy was a well written and heartwarming story about family and moving on from your past. As with his earlier novels, Fallis’ trademark humour once again is evident within the pages of One Brother Shy in addition to his talent for writing scenes that are funny but also shockingly dark like the “Gabriel” incident in this book. I loved that in addition to family One Brother Shy touched on other topics like bullying, trauma, the effects that viral videos have on their victims. And despite liking the where the book Alex leaves at, I do wish we got to spend more time with Alex, Matt and the rest of their family. One Brother Shy is a great vacation read that’s not too light and not too dark, and bonus points for it being Canadian of course. Also while the book is good, I’d highly recommend you check out the podcast of One Brother Shy. Read by the author himself, you definitely feel more connected to the story, the world and Alex when you listen to the podcast.

Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini

Having found, Katie Heaney’s earlier books fairly enjoyable I was really looking forward to her newest book, Public Relations which she co-wrote with her friend, Arianna Rebolini. I love a fun, light romantic comedy, especially for the summer and I was eager to dip into this tale of a faux showmances.

Unfortunately, this one was a bit of a disappointment. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, although I did appreciate how the novel chooses to focus on Rose’s job in PR giving us an insider look at what goes on behind the scenes of a public relations firm. And I can definitely relate to her working an entry-level job and trying to work her way up the ladder. That being said, however, the characters and the majority of their relationships were often frustrating at times. Furthermore, I couldn’t stand the character of Archie Fox, who was supposed to be the intended love interest, as he came off as pretty spoiled and condescending and I couldn’t really see his appeal.

So while I didn’t hate Public Relations, I will admit it just wasn’t for me. I do think that Public Relations is a book that may appeal to the millennial crowd and someone who is looking for a read that’s light on romance and heavier on celebrity culture and PR.

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 | How to Fall in Love with Anyone by Mandy Len Catron

Authour:
Mandy Len Catron
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
June 27th 2017
Publisher:
Simon Schuster
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Don’t let the title fool you, Mandy Len Catron’s How to Fall in Love with Anyone is definitely not an instruction manual. Instead it’s a memoir and a collection of essays on the authour’s life as she examines our ideas of love through her own personal relationships.

In case you haven’t heard of her, Mandy Len Catron is best known for her 2015 Modern Love essay that was published under the same name as her first book, this book. I love personal essays, and have been lately getting into them so I was excited for this collection, especially as it stems from her famous essay where she write about how she and an acquaintance answered the questions from Arthur Aron’s psychological experiment on love, and how the two fell in love.

While I hoped for a light, albeit realistic examination of love and the romantic myths that we create, I was slightly disappointed to find that the book focused more on the authour’s dysfunctional relationships. Nevertheless, I did like how the book expanded on her Modern Love essay thus giving us greater insight into the authour’s past and family in addition to how she ended up at the place she did when she tried to “recreate” the famous Arthur Aron experiment. Another minor issue I had with this book was how often the book jumped from the authour’s personal story to referring to academic theories. This may it initially difficult to get into the book, though with some time I was able to adjust to the constant transitions.

How to Fall in Love with Anyone is a fascinating examination of how our idea of what “love” is supposed to be is shaped by several factors, and how that can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I loved that the essays, especially the one titled, “I’m Willing to Lie about How We Met” made me stop and think about how the so-called “love stories” affect me personally and affect how I view my own personal relationships. How to Fall in Love with Anyone is an insightful read for anyone fascinated by the human condition known as “love”.

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