Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Keeper'N Me by Richard Wagamese


Description:

When Garnet Raven was three years old, he was taken from his home on an Ojibway Indian reserve and placed in a series of foster homes. Having reached his mid-teens, he escapes at the first available opportunity, only to find himself cast adrift on the streets of the big city.

Having skirted the urban underbelly once too often by age 20, he finds himself thrown in jail. While there, he gets a surprise letter from his long-forgotten native family.

The sudden communication from his past spurs him to return to the reserve following his release from jail. Deciding to stay awhile, his life is changed completely as he comes to discover his sense of place, and of self. While on the reserve, Garnet is initiated into the ways of the Ojibway -- both ancient and modern -- by Keeper, a friend of his grandfather, and last fount of history about his people's ways.

By turns funny, poignant and mystical, Keeper'n Me reflects a positive view of Native life and philosophy -- as well as casting fresh light on the redemptive power of one's community and traditions.

Review:

Richard Wagamese is a "go to" author for me, I know when I open the pages that I’m going to be told a story by a powerful storyteller. Wagamese’s books are profound reads that always lead me to reflect on my own life as an indigenous person in Canada. My story is very different from Wagamese’s but I can always relate to the identity struggles and the broken and fragmented family history. When I heard that he passed away on March 10th, I was heavyhearted. I wanted to remember him but picking up a book of his that I hadn’t read, and Keeper ’N Me was what I needed.

Keeper ‘N Me is a story about struggles, the ability to power through and overcome. Garnet’s identity issues are heartbreaking. As a child, he was brought up in foster care, away from his culture, and he struggled with feeling alone. He was unsure about what it meant to be indigenous. The only people he saw that looked like him, were sitting on street corners panhandling. He didn’t even know what tribe he was from. He wanted to fit in somewhere and adopted a black lifestyle for awhile. Garnet’s character is largely based on Wagamese’s life. I also read his autobiography One Native Life, and I was able to see the similarities. Both books were captivating reads.

When Garnet is released from jail, he has the opportunity to meet his biological family and start to reconcile with them. He has a mother, brothers, a sister and extended family that have been waiting over 20 years for him to return home. They remember him as a little boy, but he has no recollection of them. The rebuilding of his relationships is gratifying. Garnet has to come to terms with his past, and decide if he wants to continue being a part of this family. It’s really his choice, and he grew up in the cities, a very different environment from being on a secluded reservation.

Overall, I loved this book and it wasn’t surprising. I haven’t picked up a Wagamese book that left me disappointed yet. His words are powerful, and his lessons are relatable. He stories touch your soul. Wagamese will be greatly missed among the indigenous community and I'm so happy that I found his books a few years ago. I think his books are for anyone who have struggled and want to overcome their situation. Life is full of ups and downs and we’re constantly learning and we have the ability to accept our past and keep growing as person.

RIP Richard Wagamese you have touched so many people, your stories will be greatly missed. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover



Description:

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

Review:

As a reader, who loved this book, I think you should go into this one not knowing a lot about the plot. The story was heartbreaking, powerful and thought provoking. I’ve read a few books by Colleen Hoover and this was my favorite. When I finished this book I was happy, I was sad, I was disappointed but satisfied. I was disappointed because it didn’t end how I wanted it, but it was the best possibly ending that it could have had.

I loved Lily’s determination, her drive and her realness. I really enjoyed the past and present storyline, it added depth and understanding to the currently Lily and where she has come from. It proves the added shock value to her currently situation. I also enjoyed her relationships with secondary characters. It made her real, and relatable. Her relationship with Ryle’s proved how unexpected life can be.


If I were to recommend one Colleen Hoover book, it would be this one. I thought it was well written, well thought out and it will leave you torn up. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

February Wrap Up



The Break by Katherena Vermette
It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid


I had a good reading month in February. I was stuck on The Break for about a week, but I put it aside and waited to pick it back up. When I did, I devoted a good portion of my time and I felt like I was able to really enjoy it. I'm excited to see Candy Palmater debate this book during Canada Reads. It's hard to "enjoy" a book like The Break, but it is an important book and I'm really glad I read it.
3.5/5 Stars 

It Happens All The Time was another book that was hard to "enjoy" but it was a great read. The subject matter is so important and really draws you in. Amber and Tyler have been best friends since childhood. Tyler has loved Amber for a long time, and wished for more. One drunken night their friendship is ruined, when Amber asks Tyler to wait, and he doesn't. Amber doesn't know if it was her fault, but her raped her, and now she's terrified of him.
5/5 Stars

I saw The Hating Game over and over on booktube and blogs. I thought I should pick it up for a fast weekend read. It was so good. I've really been into contemporary romances lately, and this one was excellent. When I first started reading it, I thought it would be really cheesy...nope. I really enjoyed it.
5/5 Stars

Maybe In Another Life was another excellent read. I loved the parallel worlds that showed two possible ways a person's life can go, according to the choices they make. Go home with the man, or go home with your friends, each life decision has it's own consequences. One isn't necessarily worst than the other, just your life turns out different.
5/5 Stars

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review: Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse


Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Pages: 264
Released: 2006
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5



Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days finding and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the German army invaded. Her illegal work keeps her family afloat, and Hanneke also likes to think of it as a small act of rebellion against the Nazis.


On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person: a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such a dangerous task but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations—where the only way out is through.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Let's Chat | Books| Toddler | Shows


Reading:

This weekend I started reading It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany. I love her books, and couldn't wait to get to this one. I believe it releases next month. I was reading The Break for Canada Reads but I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere with it. It feels like the type of book that I really need to sit down and read in order to really understand what is happening. I'll pick it back up soon. Reading is for me, and if I feel stuck because I'm not liking the book that I'm reading...put it down. I don't like feeling stuck because my current book isn't making me want to pick it up. I'm a mood reading, and not liking a book doesn't mean it isn't a good book- it just means I'm not in the mood to read it.

I've also been checking out alot of books from my library and review books. I want to get better at reading ARC's. I primarily use Edelweiss and Netgalley. I might try to sign up for some blog tours and really try to get back into having a blogging schedule.

Toddler Life

Caleb is such a smart little boy. He amazes me every day. When he loves something, he wants to know all about it. He's currently interested in dinosaurs. He loves learning all the different names, and facts about them.

This weekend we went to a Hunting/Fishing Exhibit and Caleb had a blast. He got to fish from a kiddie pool and he tested out all the ATV's. We're still working on toilet training. It comes and goes. He seems to do much better at home than daycare. It's coming along, and we're being patient.



Shows:

I downloaded Riverland on Netflix and want to start watching it. I keep seeing people commenting about it on twitter. I've mostly been watching Big Bang Theory on CraveTV in the evenings. I also want to get back into This is Us. I forgot about it for a few weeks. I still watch quite a bit of youtube when I'm cleaning, folding laundry and stuff like that. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Upcoming Releases: The Bridge Across the Ocean and Secret Sisters


The Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner (March 14th)

Edelweiss Description

Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, and Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy, join hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to be reunited with their American husbands. But when the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.


Story Locale: San Diego, France; Belgium, Germany

Secret Sisters by Joy Callaway (June 21st)

Edelweiss Description

A Paperback Original
From the author of The Fifth Avenue Artists Society comes this unforgettable historical novel based on the founding of the country’s first sororities

Illinois, 1881: Whitsitt College sophomore Beth Carrington has two goals to fulfill by the time she graduates: obtain a medical degree, and establish a women’s fraternity, Beta Xi Beta, that will help young women like herself to connect with and support one another while attending the male-dominated Whitsitt.

Neither is an easy task. The sole female student in the physicians’ program, Beth is constantly called out by her professors and peers for having the audacity not to concentrate on a more “fitting” subject like secretarial studies. Meanwhile, secret organizations are off-limits, and simply by crowding together in a dank basement room and creating a sense of camaraderie, she and her small group of fraternity sisters risk expulsion.

In order to have the fraternity recognized, she knows she needs help. She turns to the most powerful student on campus: senior Grant Richardson, Iota Gamma fraternity president and the scion of a Whitsitt family—a man she’s only acquainted with because of her longstanding friendship with his fraternity brother Will Buchannan. Staunchly traditional, Grant doesn’t see the purpose of this women’s organization, but captivated by Beth, he agrees to give her a helping hand. What she doesn’t know is how many will stop at nothing to keep her burgeoning organization out of the record books—and who she can actually trust along the way.

As Beth fights for her beloved Beta Xi Beta to be recognized, she will uncover deep secrets about the college and those who surround her, and will have to put both love and friendship on the line so that history can be made.