Monthly Archives: June 2013

Seeds of a Daisy by Alison Caiola – A Review

Seeds of a Daisy  3.5 Stars
Wonderful little story about a actress who learns to think a little less of just herself when her Mum is critically injured in a car accident. A story about growing up and taking stock of what is important, even when you are an adult.

This is a very good fluff read. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of fluff. It makes you feel good, helps to access and review your own trigger points on the living scale and fluff when presented right leaves you with a happy ending where the main character goes on to face life as it is with lessons learned from tragedy that make a person stronger and wiser and more forgiving, which is always a nice ending to have.

This story had a lot more layers than I expected it to have and not all issues are resolved when you get to the last page. In fact, when you arrive at the end, you, like in life, realize it is only the beginning to a whole new story, a whole new you.

My main criticism is the cover; it just doesn’t match with the substance of the book.  I know the meaning behind the cover (and you will too when you read this book) but the look of it comes across as a very young YA novel, which it isn’t, so don’t judge the book by it’s cover.

Seeds of a Daisy planted me right in a little patch of joy for awhile, and hey, I’ll take a joy patch anytime. Reading a good story doesn’t always have to be something that wrecks my emotions. Sometimes it can be a nice gentle experience; reading this book was.

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The Dinner by Herman Koch – A Review

The Dinner  4 stars
This is one very sick twisted family!

In the first part of the novel you are introduced to the 2 brothers and their wives. Serge is a politician who does everything for a calculated reason and his brother, Paul, does not like him; that is quite apparent. Paul also does not like the place they are eating dinner at and the sarcastic humor directed at small portions, snobby waitstaff and overpriced menu items is often hilarious. It set me up to think I was in for a funny, albeit sarcastic read.

Whoa! Then comes the Main Course. And this book turns sick, in a creepy, violent crime way. And I was left thinking, oh my gawd, what happened to the bitching about food and family and the guy peeing in the stall next to you? (Yes, nothing escapes the rapier mind of Paul’s thoughts.)

As in all good families that are written about in mystery novels, this family has secrets that are ugly. And usually the ones you think are the least likely to be conniving and masterful are the ones that really are. How far are you willing to go to protect the ones you love?

I think I will pay a lot more attention to the conversations and people at other tables when I go out to dine after reading this gem.

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Among Others by Jo Walton – A review

AmongOthers  4 stars

This book got to me.

The main character is a young girl who’s survived a car accident but who’s life was shattered. She lives daily with chronic pain in a crippled leg and chronic pain in her heart because her sister was killed in the accident. As a result of that accident she is sent to live with her father, a man she had never met before, who left her mother because her mother was “mad”. This girl had grown up with her loving grandparents and extended family but now children’s services rules  that she is better off living with a biological father she has never met as opposed to extended aunts and uncles and relatives she has known her entire life.
Her father is just as confused with this new situation as she is. He and his aunts send her off to a boarding school where she doesn’t fit in. The only thing of comfort to her is her love of books and her belief in the world’s magic and fairie realm, that most people think overlook or out grow as they grow up and hurry on with their lives.

This book is written in diary form and like any real good diary, the story starts in the middle of a person’s life and is written about the todays and the hopes for the futures and the memories of the past. Like any good real diary it ends and you do not know what the next story will be or what the next line of the new diary will be. You only get to know what the writer of the diary wants to share and sometimes writing down events only is less painful than writing down feelings and memories.

This is one of those books where you get one of two lines written among many in a journal entry that seep out the pain, the hurt, the nature of the day, a piece of joy,the thoughts that dwell in the heart.

Categories: Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen – Book review

NorthofBeautiful  4.5 Stars

I picked it up and couldn’t put it down ~ an all night/day reading fest.

This is a book about change; internal and external. About recognizing wrongs in oneself and in situations and about awareness and letting go of false fronts.

It is told through the main character’s voice. The secondary characters are great, especially the mother ~ overweight, damaged through years of abusive bullying by her husband, no self esteem. The father is a bully, but a quiet, stay at home one, the kind that if you knocked on his front door and talked to him, you might not take notice of. He makes constant snide put-downs and hurtful remarks, but he has never hit anyone, so he can’t be all that bad, right?. Subtle, perverse meanness in daily attacks of withering down a person’s confidence, choices, etc., all in the name of “humor”, “lessons”, “telling it like it is”. Nothing wrong with him, except his two older sons left for college and never come home and they keep moving further and further away.

This book tells a story of things on the surface, things underneath, those we see and do not see, what’s acceptable, what needs to be hidden, what is for show, what is for real, choices that rock the boat and letting go and moving away from control. It is told through cartography, maps and art and through a through a relationship that’s not meant to happen but changes everything.

Categories: Book Review, Fiction, Young Adult | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Quarters of the Orange – A review

FiveQuartersoftheOrange  By Joanne Harris       5 STARS  

Joanne Harris has a wonderful narrative gift.

This is the story of Framboise and is told alternately between her at age 9 and her as a 64 year old women who has gone back home, finally after many years of not being able to. She harbours a dark secret that happened in the fall when she was 9 years old and as secrets often do, it has shaped her entire life in silence and hardness. This is the story of the secret now unravelling and of Framboise trying to stop the truth from being learned.

A beautiful rich read set in France during the German occupation just after the start of World War II.

One of my best reads of this year.

This book is now placed on my all time favorites bookshelf. The writing is rich and dark and Ms. Harris knows how to keep the mystery going. This is a superb first person narrative.

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