Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Book Haul and Books Read (Precious Cargo, The Ever After, Shrewed, Laura & Emma)

Book Haul (Precious Cargo, The Ever After, Shrewed, Laura & Emma)

Welcome to Mailbox Monday/Stacking the Shelves. I'm happy to be sharing my new books. This Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia and hosted here. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Last week, I didn't pick up too many books but I am excited about the books that did come into my house. These are all eBooks, since I mostly read on my Kobo. I purchased one book, and the three others are digital advanced reading copies.


Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson

Advanced Reading Copies

The Ever After by Sarah Pekkanen
Shrewed by Elizabeth Renzetti
Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead

I read two books, and started a third.

Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: Still Life by Louise Penny

Review: Still Life by Louise Penny
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Released: 2005
Pages: 293
Source: Personal Book
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Goodreads Description:

Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

With this award-winning first novel, Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces--and this series--with power, ingenuity, and charm.

My Thoughts:

I had high expectations going into this read, and I was left disappointed. The story started off strong with the death of Jane Neal, living in a small town every one is shocked and wanting to figure out what happened. Three Pines was a wonder setting, I love reading about small towns. Since it does take place not far from where I live, I was all the more interested and connected with the story. It started to fall apart towards the middle, when the pace slowed down. 

Inspector Gamache really helped hold the story together for me, and he is the reason why I would try this next book in this series. The death of Jane puts the whole town under the spotlight because they live in such a small community. There's lots of misleading clues that leaves the reader guessing and trying to pieces together what happened. Initially, the hunting community was thought to have killed Jane accidentally which I thought was plausible. However, the hunters kept getting back handed comments because they were hunters. That's was frustrating to me, because hunting is a huge part of my family. It in no way makes you a bad or heartless person, it's a tradition and a source of food. It's not a reflection of you as a person. Then, I read comments about the French and English and how a "french" person would never do this or that. I've lived in Quebec my whole life, and that annoyed me to no end. The story continued to fall apart for me. I don't feel like the differences between English and French have to cement that the story takes place in Quebec. It felt forced.

Overall, the mystery was good. I stayed engaged and wanted to figure out what happened. Inspector Gamache was a great characters, and I loved Tree Pines. I would hope the second book is more faster paced. The parts that annoyed me, probably wouldn't annoy others but they really distracted me and took away from the story. I will try the second book, and hopefully it will work out for me. I've heard such positive things about this series, I really went in with alot of expectations. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

"You're often going to be the only Indian in the room, so you'd better get used to it." 
-Sherman Alexie

Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Released: 2017
Pages: 457
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Description:

A searing, deeply moving memoir about family, love, and loss from the critically acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award winner.

When his mother passed away at the age of 78, Sherman Alexie responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is this stunning memoir. Featuring 78 poems, 78 essays and intimate family photographs, Alexie shares raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine--growing up dirt-poor on an Indian reservation, one of four children raised by alcoholic parents. Throughout, a portrait emerges of his mother as a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated woman. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is a powerful account of a complicated relationship, an unflinching and unforgettable remembrance.

My Thoughts:

Sherman Alexie is an author that needs to be read and I need to read more of his books. His book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is one of the most banned booked. It's a book I can tell you when I first read, and where I was when I read it. It's still vividly in my mind. This memoir was just as impactful for me. While this book does deal with his relationship with his mother, we hear about his childhood, growing into an adult, and becoming a husband and father. 

 He grew up on a poor reservation, chose to go to school off the reservation, and lived essentially in two worlds. When Sherman Alexie starts to live a more urban life, he mentions "you're often going to be the only Indian in the room, so you'd better get used it it." He summed up my entire life, and it brought tears to my eyes. I realized that Diary of a Part Time Indian must have been based on his life. I hadn't realized this before. His relationship with his parent's were complicated. While his father was an alcoholic and his mother a recovered alcoholic, he had more resentment towards his mother. Grief can only be met when you're actually going through it, and it's interesting to see how he navigates through this phase of life. 

Both Sherman and his mother suffered from bipolar disorder and they clashed. Sherman was diagnosed, where his mother was left untreated. At one point they stopped talking, and Sherman can't remember why. That's just how their relationship went. They were alot alike in some ways and both stubborn. His mother was also a liar, who told different stories to different people.  The truth cannot be uncovered in her death. While this book is heartbreaking, you can feel the love and loyalty. He states that his mother would love to have known he wrote a book about her, even it it showed her in a darker light. The fact that it was about her, was all she needed.  Alexie's humor shines through and lightens the emotion. The blended poetry and prose is very well done. It's also very readable and relatable. I'm really happy that I read it, and will definitely reread it at some point. I would actually like to try the audiobook.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Book Haul, Mailbox Monday, Stacking the Shelves

I have another book haul that I would like to share with you. I will also be linking to the Mailbox Monday and Stacking the Shelves weekly posts. This week is a round up of books purchased through Kobo*, Advanced Reading Copies and a library book. 

Books Purchased

American War by Omar El Akkad
Brother by David Chariandy
The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

Advanced Reading Copies

Alternate Side by Anne Quindlen
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

Library Books

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

I'm picked up American War since it is on the shortlist for Canada Reads. I'm hoping to get through all the books on the list but I'm not sure I will. Brother was on the longlist and it was on sale through Kobo, I couldn't resist. I'm really hoping to get to Red Clocks soon because that book has been so buzzed about. I hope you have a great reading week!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Atria
Released: 2017
Source: Library
Pages: 391
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads Description:

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

My Thoughts:

Ever come across a book that you wish would pause time so you can just read? This was that book for me. I wanted to put every thing on hold, and just read. Evelyn Hugo's story was truly mesmerizing. I couldn't get enough. I was hooked! Warning: You will want to binge read this book. Evelyn has no one left, her daughter has passed and she's ready to finally tell her story. She's stayed out of the media, kept a low profile and Monique is summoned to write her biography. As we go through Evelyn's life, and each story, you get caught up in her world of glamour but also heartbreak. She came from nothing; when her mother passed away, she was desperate to get away from her abusive father. Her mother always told her Hollywood would be a way out, and Evelyn found her way out. She was ruthless and made sure that she got what she wanted.  There are many layers to this story, and each one is unique and nothing that you would expect as a reader. I felt like I was kept in the dark throughout the story, because I didn't know what was coming next.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Review: The Bootlegger Blues by Drew Hayden Taylor

The Bootlegger Blues by Drew Hayden Taylor

Publisher:  Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Released: 1991
Source: Personal Book
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Book Description:

This new comedy by the author of Toronto at Dreamer's Rock and Education Is Our Right is about love, family, and what to do with too much beer.A Set on a reserve, it follows the plight of Martha, a church-going, teetotaling woman who finds herself stuck with 143 cases of beer after a church fundraiser fails. A She decides to bootleg the beer, to the horror of her son Andrew, nicknamed Blue, who is a special constable on the reserve.Meanwhile, Andrew has fallen for a young woman he thinks is his cousin, and his sister Marianne is bored with her Indian Yuppie husband and finds herself attracted to a handsome dancer at the powwow.The pace is fast and vigorous in this romantic situation comedy. 

Book Thoughts:

It's been a long time since I picked up a play, but I really need to do it more often. I thoroughly enjoyed this play. It was quick, it was fun, and very memorable. This play is cloaked in humor about love and family. It's sets the tone, and readers will immediately get to know the characters. Set on an Ojibway reserve, the play centers around Martha who is a great character. She's follows some bad advise from a fellow committee member and know that she was set up to fail. She's the matriarch, she's strong and she refuses to fail. She doesn't want to give her "friend" the satisfaction of seeing her fail. At the same time, she's dealing with every day family life. She dips her toes in, but largely lets them figure it out themselves. 

I laughed throughout of the play. While it was written to be set on any reserve, I think it would work well with any small community. There's town gossip, large family trees and questionable "friends." The plot is simple, not complex or heavy. It's a play that will leave you entertained and wanting to check out more of his works.  Drew Hayden Taylor did a reading at my Cegep many years ago and his visit stayed with me. I didn't know any native writers at the time, I was seventeen and he was one of the first that I heard about.  He also wrote Motorcycles and Sweetgrass which you might be more familiar with. You can read my review of Motorcycles and Sweetgrass here

Monday, February 5, 2018

Mailbox Monday (The Marrow Thieves, The Debutante, Son of a Trickster, 13 Reasons Why)

Welcome to Mailbox Monday/Stacking the Shelves. I'm happy to be sharing my new books. This Mailbox Monday was started by Marcia and hosted here. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Last week, I had 7 new books enter my home, really it was my ereader... I read exclusively on my Kobo. This seems like a good mix of books, which is what I like.

The Marrow Thieves by Chertie Dimaline (Library) 
The Debutante by Kathleen Tessaro (Purchase)
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson (Library)
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Library)
Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys (ARC)
The Baby Plan by Kate Rorick (ARC) 
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan (ARC)

The Marrow Thieves is from my library and I'm so excited to read it. It was shortlisted for Canada Reads 2018. It sounds like an interesting read, and I'm hoping to get to it in February. Dangerous Crossing is also on my tbr this month. It's a new release and doesn't that cover just draw you in? I'm really curious about that one. I was happy to receive Anatomy of a Scandal because I've been trying out more thrillers and finding that I really like the genre.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Review: The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford

Review: The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford
Publisher: William Morrow
Released: 2015
Source: Library
Rating: Recommend, Read it!


An amazing talent makes her debut with this stylish psychological thriller—with the compelling intrigue of The Silent Wife and Turn of Mind and the white-knuckle pacing of Before I Go to Sleep —in which a woman suffering from bipolar disorder cannot remember if she murdered her friend during a breakdown.

Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia's death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.

Is murder on her mind - or is it all in her head?

The closer she comes to piecing together shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her . . . or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again? A story of marriage, murder and madness, The Pocket Wife explores the world through the foggy lens of a woman on the edge.


The Pocket Wife was good. I really enjoyed reading this one. When Dana wakes up from a drunken afternoon, she hears sirens outside. The ambulance pulls up at her neighbors house. She walks over and discovers that her friend Celia has been killed. Dana doesn't remember a whole lot from this afternoon but she knows she was drinking with Celia. She may have been the last person to see her alive.  If only she can piece together her memory and remember the afternoon... As evidence starts to point toward Dana, it doesn't look good. 

Readers learn that Dana is bipolar and her manic episodes start to flare up. She becomes so unreliable as a narrator that you don't know if she's telling the truth. You really do feel for her though. Dana keeps the reader guessing. The Pocket Wife is full of complex secondary characters that really help build the story. Dana's husband is not the supportive type and she has no where to turn. Her marriage is falling apart, and Dana is on the verge of losing herself. 

This story was not predictable, but the ending didn't leave me blown away. I thought Crawford did an amazing job putting readers in Dana's head. It worked really well, and kept me engrossed in the story. I'm happy that I finally got to this one, and I will definitely read more from the author. She has another book called The Other Widow. If you're looking for a quick read, that will keep you guessing. This is a good one.