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 | Poles Apart by Terry Fallis

polesapartAuthour:
Terry Fallis
Format:
Advance Reader Copy
Publication date:
October 20th 2015
Publisher:
Douglas Gibson Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’ve always considered myself to be a feminist, and after hearing that Terry Fallis’ fifth novel features a feminist blogger, I attempted to acquire an early copy of his book to read and review for this blog. Fortunately the Fourth Annual Ontario Book Blogger Meet granted me the opportunity to pick up an advance reader of Poles Apart which I promptly started almost immediately after I had it in my possession.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Terry Fallis, he’s a Canadian writer who is known for his hilarious novels. In his latest novel, Poles Apart he tells a different type of tale as we follow Everett Kane an aspiring writer who ends up creating the feminist blog, Eve of Equality that becomes viral. As a fellow blogger, I loved that I could relate to several of the tools and strategies that Everett employs as he creates and maintains his blog. (With the exception of my blog becoming viral) Additionally, I discovered several useful tips for bloggers that I was unaware of before reading Poles Apart. Furthermore, while I was unable to connect to most of the characters in the book I did enjoy the character development that Everett’s dad undergoes though the course of the novel.

Overall, Poles Apart touches upon an extremely vital issue which is how men can also participate in the fight for equality between sexes. And I believe Terry Fallis illustrates this point brilliantly in the character of Everett “Eve” Kane as one of the reasons that Eve refuses to come forward as the creator of the feminist blog is that he doesn’t believe he’ll be accepted and he doesn’t feel that as a man he should be the face of feminism. However, in the conclusion the novel does an excellent job of showing how everybody can be a part of the fight for women’s rights. Thus, while I cannot say that Poles Apart is my favourite Terry Fallis novel (that title still belongs to No Relations) I can however say that it is a cleverly written and entertaining novel that is absolutely worth checking out.

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 | No Relation by Terry Fallis

Authour:norelate
Terry Fallis
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 395 pages
Publication date:
May 20th 2014
Publisher:
Douglas Gibson Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
So who here has a weird name? Who here shares a name with a famous person? And who here has both? As in an odd name that is also the name of a well–known celebrity? I’m lucky that I have a fairly normal name though the same can’t be said for the protagonist in Terry Fallis’ latest novel, No Relation and many of the characters he encounters.

Earnest Hemmingway aka “Hem” whose name sounds a lot like a certain famous American writer, is a copywriter and aspiring novelist who recently has had a string of bad luck in his life on top of his chronic writers’ block. Unemployed and suddenly single, he finds he has a lot of free time and uses it to form a “support group” of sorts called “NameFame” for people like him meaning people who share a name with a famous person. As a result the reader gets introduced to many interesting and hilarious characters such as a hot tempered Indian man named Mahatma Gandhi who hands out butterscotch candy when apologizing for his sudden outbursts and Diana Ross, a woman who works for the NYPD, and who has an amazing voice but can only sing when drunk because she gets severe stage fright otherwise. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I loved this cast of well written, wacky supporting characters as the whole group is like a group of true companions who are always true for one another when they need it like when a bunch of members get together to devise the “Ernest Hemingway Exorcism World Tour” plan to help Hem get over his writer’s block. I fell in love with almost all the characters in the NameFame group and couldn’t help but root for them throughout the book.

Another thing I loved about this book was how it portrays family relationships as both complicated but importance influences in our lives. Hem is the heir to a major underwear company although he doesn’t want to take over as CEO. On the other hand his younger sister wants the job and seems like she’d be the best candidate for the job but because she isn’t the first born son her father refuses to acknowledge her as the best candidate to take over the family company. This is a major conflict in the book and I kind of liked how it played out in the end as the entire Hemmingway family realizes they need to do a better job of communicating with each other.

Terry Fallis does a good job of highlighting the challenges of sharing a moniker with a famous player. He makes you feel sorry for some of the characters at times but he also doesn’t take things to seriously and thus the readers can see that despite a few extreme situations the characters themselves aren’t afraid to poke fun at themselves because of their names. The only thing I wasn’t really a fan of was how it kind of seemed like all the characters in the NameFame group were paired off by the end which felt a little bit unrealistic and convenient though I get that it plays into the idea of tying up all loose ends by the book’s conclusion.

This was an amazing book that I adored because it had me chuckling throughout. I would recommend No Relation to anyone looking for a fun Canadian book to read.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Up and Down by Terry Fallis

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