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

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