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.

 

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Book Review | 10:04 by Ben Lerner

Authour:1004
Ben Lerner
Format:
Hardcover, 244pages
Publication date:
September 2nd 2014
Publisher:
McClelland & Stewart
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“If there had been a way to say it without it sounding like presumptuous co-op nonsense, I would have wanted to tell her that discovering you are not identical with yourself  even in the most disturbing and painful way still contains the glimmer, however refracted, of the world to come, where everything is the same but a little different because the past will be citable in all of its moments, including those from our present present happened but never occurred.” (p. 109)

I was first introduced to Ben Lerner’s writing from his debut novel, Leaving the Atocha Station which came out in November 2011. Leaving the Atocha Station was about an American poet on a fellowship in Madrid. His second novel, 10:04 Learner blurs the line between fiction and nonfiction to tell a story of a writer living in New York who has achieved unexpected success who finds out he has a potentially fatal medical condition. To complicate matters even further, his best friend wants him to have a baby with her through artificial insemination.

As always Lerner’s writing style is fascinating and thought provoking. And while there is not much, other than a basic plot, he builds upon the story by making it more interesting through the difficult questions his characters ask which provide the readers much to think about. I often found myself pausing after every few sentences to take in everything that has been mentioned and to reflect on what it means to me. And while I definitely could not relate to his characters in the book, I admired how they were written to be imperfect people. Another element that I felt added to the reading experience was the employment and references to works of modern art in the novel. Lovers of modern art would probably take pleasure in the numerous references to and photos of modern art pieces incorporated throughout this novel.

On the other hand, the one element of the book that I was not the biggest fan of when it came to this book was the storytelling method employed in this book. There was a bunch of jumping around from the protagonist’s story and to the short stories that he writes, and there is even a time skip that occurs near the end without much warning. However it works for this book, and I suppose I understand why it was done the in the manner that it was.

Overall 10:04 was an extremely intriguing read, and not at all what I had initially expected it to be. In fact the ending, while meant to be satisfying left me realizing that I had grown attached to these characters. Thus while 10:04 is not something every person may enjoy, I would suggest that if you are a fan of contemporary literature and/or of introspective novels that you give 10:04 a go. 10:04 is definitely not a book that should be rushed, be rather it is one that should be taken in gradually so that you don’t miss a thing.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Waiting for the Man by Arjun Basu 

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 Mondays | The Case of the Love Commandos by Tarquin Hall

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly 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.

Authour:lovecommand
Tarquin Hall
Series:
Vish Puri #4
Format:
Ebook, 761 pages
Publication date:
October 29th 2013
Publisher:
McClelland & Stewart
Source:
Own Copy

Synopsis:

The Love Commandos are dedicated to helping lovers from different castes marry for love in spite of India’s millennia-old caste prejudices. But when a would-be Romeo from the Untouchable caste is kidnapped, the Love Commandos turn to Vish Puri for help. Has his fiancée’s father made good on his promise and done away with him? Or is his disappearance the result of other forces at work? It falls to Vish Puri to find out. Unfortunately, he’s not having a good month. He can’t locate a haul of stolen jewelry. He’s been pickpocketed. And the only person who can get his wallet back is his interfering Mummy-ji.Things only get worse when he discovers that his archrival, Hari Kumar, is also trying to locate the abducted boy — as is a genetics research institute exploiting illiterate villagers.

As the story moves from the pilgrimage site of Vaishno Devi to the “Moonlight Garden” in the shadows of the Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest monument to love, we see India’s past and future collide in ways that will change Puri and his undercover operatives forever.

Review:

“Puri wasn’t one to jump the gun. His father had drummed it into him from an early age never to assume anything. Gather the facts and weigh up the possibilities before drawing conclusions, he’d always said—advice that had proven both invaluable and wise.”

This was one of my waiting on Wednesday picks in 2013, and when I finally got myself a copy I was really excited to read it. I love stories set in India and this being a mystery I was sure I would love it. The mystery in this book was a very interesting one that examined arranged marriages, and the role of the caste system in India which still is prevalent in many areas there. Also featured in this book is a real life organization called “The Love Commandos” which just like in the book helps couples from different castes who want to get married.

For the most part with the one exception of Chetan who I found annoying, I liked the numerous characters that appeared in this book. In particular I love Mummy-ji and Face cream both of whom were strong and clever characters in their own right who didn’t need to be saved by anyone. As for the main character, Puri I didn’t love him as much as I thought I would although I do admire how he comes to his conclusions and how he was able to admit it when he’s wrong about things. I did love that he showed some growth at the end when he was able to admit he was wrong in his prejudice.

The mystery which involved murder, kidnapping and a shadowy organization was well written and attention-grabbing especially near the end where things became more thrilling and action paced. However maybe it’s me but I felt like there were way too many subplots going on for one book. It wasn’t confusing or anything but it was a bit hard to keep up and took away from how enjoyable I found the book. Also there was much less humour than I had anticipated which was surprising. Still maybe it’s because my expectations were too high that I didn’t completely love this book although I did like it enough to want to pick up more books in this series. If you’re going to pick up this book, and you’re not familiar with the culture or language in India I should tell you that there is a glossary at the very end. As I was reading an eBook version of this book I didn’t notice it until after I was done the book and I could have really used a glossary for some of the terms. There are also some really mouth watering recipes at the back of the book that foodies should definitely check out. All in all if you want something different in mysteries and don’t mind a huge cast of characters and many subplots in one book you should definitely pick up this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

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