Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Best of Canada: "The Sky is Falling" by Caroline Adderson

I first reviewed The Sky is Falling in March of 2011 after it was shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writer's Prize.  It was also long listed for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Award, a Quill and Quire Best Book of 2010, A Globe and Mail Top 100 book of 2010, an Amazon.ca Top Editors' Pick of 2010, and a January Magazine Best Book of 2010.

One morning, Jane Z. opens the newspaper to see a face staring back at her that she hasn't seen in 20 years. She learns that her university housemate Sonia has been released from prison after serving her sentence for a terrorist attack.

Seeing Sonia's face returns Jane to 1983 when she rents a room in a house with Sonia and two others and is thrust into their world, one in which paranoia and fear of nuclear war lead them to form a non-violent anti-nuclear group called NAG.

As Jane and her roommates try stop the end of the world, while also completing their studies, a teenage runaway shows up at their home, and the group finds themselves propelled into taking the most daring action of their lives. When one of their own bombs unintentionally goes off they are forced to come face to face with reality.

The Sky is Falling is an incredible novel. I was drawn into this book right away and couldn't get my mind off of it. The book easily slips back and forth between the past and present to skillfully illustrate to the reader the naivete of the group members, especially Jane.

The book deals with universal themes such as social acceptance, fear, and the loss of innocence in a way that is both serious and humorous, as well as identifiable to the reader. From the moment you begin reading the characters may not be easy to identify with, but they draw you in, thanks to Caroline Adderson's beautiful writing.

The Sky is Falling may be about the past, but it parallels our post 9/11 world so wonderfully that it will have your mind working well past when you've turned the final page. I highly recommend this book and am sure that this will be one of my favourites of the year.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Best of Canada: "Touch" by Alexi Zentner

I first reviewed Touch in October 2011 after it was long listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.  It was also shortlisted for the 2011 Governor General's Literary Award, the 2011 Center for Fiction's Flahery-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the 2012 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and the 2011 Amazon.ca First Novel Award.  Zentner's second novel, The Lobster Kings, will be released in 2013.

Stephen, an Anglican priest, has returned to his hometown of Sawgamet, a northwest, north-woods boomtown gone bust on the eve of his mother's death. As his family settles in, Stephen finds himself confronting his past, its mysteries and its losses.

Alexi Zentner's Touch is a beautiful story of a pioneering family, the three generations that carved their place in the wilderness and the ways in which the wilderness remains forever imprinted on their lives. Monsters, witches and golden caribou roam the woods as the townspeople face love and death amidst the crippling cold of the logging town.

Evocative, stunning, haunting, page-turner - the perfect words to describe Zentner's debut novel. From the beginning I was drawn in and could not put the book down, which surprised me. From reading the book jacket this did not seem like a book I would be interested in at all but I gave it a try because of its Giller Prize nomination. This book proves once again why I love the Giller because it introduces me to incredible books I would have passed over otherwise.

The book jumps around between the stories of Stephen, his parents and his grandparents. Zentner's beautiful and descriptive language puts you comfortably in a harsh habitat and makes you feel as though you understand life in this unfamiliar terrain. His writing does what we ask of books, to transport us to new places and make those places a part of us. Easily one of my favourite books of the year.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vacation Time & The Best of Canada

It is vacation time!  For the next week or so I will be away from my computer, living it up with the family and enjoying the Olympics.  While I am gone I will be posting what I call The Best of Canada.  I will be picking some of my favourite Canadian books I have read since I started blogging and posting their reviews.  Hopefully you will find a good book you may have missed or be reminded of a book you wanted to read but didn't get around to!

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Between You and Me" by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

At twenty-seven, Logan Wade has left her unhappy childhood back in Oklahoma and is carving out a life in New York City.  But she's stuck at a job with long hours and continually going back to the guy who is not right for her when her friends are getting married and working on their careers.

Across the country, Logan's cousin Kelsey Wade is the biggest pop star in the world.  Her entire life is about promoting herself and pleasing her fans.  Her parents control her "brand" but Kelsey is looking for a new personal assistant and she thinks Logan is perfect the job.  

But Kelsey and Logan haven't spoken to each other in years, not since Kelsey and her mother left abruptly for Los Angeles leaving Logan to navigate her childhood without her best friend.  Logan knows there is a reason her parents tried to protect her from Kelsey's parents but she doesn't know the full story when she takes the job.  And as Kelsey's life unravels in a public and humiliating way, Logan needs to decide what is more important, her own life or her relationship with Kelsey.

Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus is an inside look at the life of a pop star, the struggles they have to maintain a normal life and the way it affects relationships.  Those who love to follow celebrity culture will really enjoy this book as it combines real life circumstances with fictional characters.  In fact, anyone with knowledge of what happened in Britney Spears' life over the last five years will see a lot of familiar incidents.  

I thought the idea behind this book was a great one but in the end it was poorly executed.  There was a definite lack of editing in the book, not just spelling mistakes but the fact that the book felt choppy and disjointed.  It was attempting to achieve too much in a small amount of space and this left me confused and uninterested through much of the book.  I couldn't understand the motives or emotions of characters or feel any real attachment to any of them.  It was a good look at the daily happenings of a pop star, but that is about all I got out of the book.

The reviews of this book seem to be hit or miss.  It is a good story and if you can get past the fast pace that leaves out a lot then this will be a good beach read.  But if you just can't handle disjointed writing you might want to pass.  Don't expect to like this one as much as you liked The Nanny Diaries.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"The Thing Around Your Neck" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In The Thing Around Your Neck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gives us twelve insightful short stories that take readers deep inside Nigerian culture as well as to the intersection where Nigerian and American cultures collide.

This collection is a beautiful portrayal of African culture.  It's about the people and their lives, their emotions, wisdom and the human struggles that occur for everyone.   Adichie's subjects are men and women, adults and children, both in Africa and the United States.  This book takes you beyond the Africa you see on television or in the media and shows you the people at the heart of it.

In Tomorrow is Too Far, a young girl reminisces about the summer her brother Nonso died.  Nonso was the favourite of their grandmother, and the young girl as well as her cousin Dozie felt the pain of jealousy.   But after 13 years, the true story behind her brothers death continues to haunt her.

In The Thing Around Your Neck, a young woman arrives in America after gaining a sought after visa.  But after her uncle molests her, she takes off on her own and ends up working as a waitress.  She falls in love with a patron, a white man whose interest in world culture is a surprise to her.  

In The Shivering, a young woman in America is concerned about the fate of her ex-boyfriend after learning he may have been in a terrible plane crash in Nigeria.  When there is a knock at her door, she finds comfort in the prayers of a fellow Nigerian who lives in her building but she has never met before.

The above three are my favourite stories from the book.  I enjoyed how all twelve of the stories presented different viewpoints but had common threads amongst them.  Adichie presents a very accessible Nigerian culture, one readers of all backgrounds can understand and enjoy.  

I did find that many of the stories ended a bit early for me or in what seemed to me like strange places.  Some left me hanging in a good way, leaving me wondering but satisfied.  Others left me wanting just a little bit more to tie up the story better.  But there is no denying that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a storyteller for this generation, a seasoned and talented author who will be one of our most prominent writers for years to come.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Well, I was correct in assuming I wouldn't get much reading done last week.  A last minute trip to Niagara Falls certainly sealed the deal on that one.  But it was an incredible trip, the kids had so much fun and everyone enjoyed themselves.  I know this week is also going to be a busy one but I'm going to try and squeeze in as much reading as I can, have my own little readathon of sorts.

Last week I read:
Completely Whole by Paulette Harper
Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicole Kraus (review coming soon.)

I also didn't get to participate in the Rebecca read along discussion as we left town that day.  It's okay though, I still haven't finished the book :(

I am currently reading (besides Rebecca):


A Door in the River by Inger Ash Wolfe
God Is More Than Enough by Tony Evans

Next I am reading:

I have no clue.  I just want to get those two books read and then I'll take a look at my to read pile.  I'm planning on a little vacation starting at the end of this week, where I plan to read through a stack of books with no thought or organization to it!

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Short Story Sunday: "Laundry Day" by Stacy Juba

When Gregg accidentally stumbles upon his neighbour's lingerie collection drying in her bathroom, he can't hide his fascination.  He never would have thought she'd be the type of person to wear that kind of lingerie.  And it gets him wondering if his wife would want to wear that kind of lingerie.

But then his neighbour is murdered, strangled with her own fishnet stockings.  And Gregg is caught up in the mystery of who killed her, afraid of when and where the killer might strike next.

Laundry Day is a short story offering by mystery author Stacy Juba.  It's an entertaining read, a little bit racy, a little bit of mystery.  I think it could have felt a bit more suspenseful but the ending definitely packed a punch which makes it a great read.  This is my first introduction to the cozy mystery genre and it definitely has my interest now.

Laundry Day is available for free download for Kindle here.  It also includes short excerpts of Stacy Juba's full-length mystery novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, Sink or Swim, and Dark Before Dawn.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Juliet in August" by Dianne Warren

Cool Water by Dianne Warren was originally released in Canada in 2010.  It has now been released in the US under the title Juliet in August.  Here is my review of the book from October 2010.

Welcome to the town of Juliet, Saskatchewan, population 1011. At first glimpse you would think that there isn't much to this dusty oasis. But a closer look at some of the inhabitants show that this town is full of life and that its people are its heartbeat.

Lee is a young man, afraid to take responsibility of the the farm suddenly left behind to him by his adoptive parents. Bank manager Norval is carrying the weight of his clients, many of whom are at risk of losing everything, while dealing with his own inadequacies. Willard, who runs the local drive-in, is developing feelings for his sister-in-law Marian who continues to live under the same roof as him despite the death of his brother. Vicki and Blaine are the parents of six young children and are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads. Hank and Lynn's decades long marriage is threatened by the discovery of a small piece of paper in Hank's pocket.

Over the course of twenty-four hours these characters will face their troubles head on and discover that even in the most difficult of times, when they've lost their way, they will continue to move forward.

Cool Water is a beautiful book about everyday characters with everyday problems who show us that even in the simplest of surroundings, life still moves along in a complicated manner.

I wasn't sure of this book at first, if it would hold my attention, but I was drawn in quick and fell in love with these characters. It reminds me of the line from the Corner Gas theme song "you think there's not a lot going on." Being from the "big city" I would have thought that of a place like Juliet but this book shows you that while our surroundings may be different we all still struggle with similar problems as we move forward.

Cool Water is a lovely read. It is quick, engaging and heartwarming and is a great example of Canadian fiction.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Gathering of Waters" by Bernice L. McFadden

In 1955, young Emmett Till was murdered in Money, Mississippi for whistling at a white woman.  Tass Hilson was young and had just made known her love for Emmett when the events that led to his brutal murder took place.  The two experienced one kiss only to have him taken away hours later.  To escape these haunting memories, she marries and relocates to Detroit.  But forty years later, she returns to Money where she is reunited with Emmett in spirit form and at last the two lovers can be together.

It is the town of Money, Mississippi that is the narrator of Bernice McFadden's Gathering of Waters, a mystical and magical tale of life and death and the ghosts of the past.

This novel combines history with fantasy as it shares the stories of the families of Money and the threads that tied them together throughout the decades.  In this novel, the ghosts have their stories heard and a voice is given to the soul of the town.  It is a unique and intricate spin on the historical narratives that are so ingrained in our minds, even if we didn't experience them firsthand.

This book is story-telling at its finest.  It's powerful, honest and full of spirit and soul.  It begins years before Emmett arrives in Money but shows the common ties that run through a town, the way lives are interconnected and the way spirits continue to have influence long after the bodies have left the world.  This book will give your imagination a run with its heartbreaking imagery and beautiful words.

I must admit that I was unsure in the beginning whether I would like this book given the fantasy tone of the novel.  But it was just such a unique take, being narrated by the town, that I couldn't help but be drawn in.  Even though I read this book weeks ago, it has still stuck with me for its stand-out story-telling.  It was difficult to put down as I found myself engrossed in that magical place between the living and dead, bodies and spirits.  It's a well-crafted story that will have you spellbound right to the end.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

It's Monday!  Another week of HOT temperatures, another week of hiding inside by the air conditioner.  I'm not complaining though, you'll hear enough complaining about the weather from me in the winter time!  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Last week I:
Didn't do much reading.  The week started out well but I couldn't keep up that stamina.  So I read:
Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity by Michael Coren
The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (review coming soon)

I am currently reading:

I am still working on Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier for the read along on Tuesday at Book Journey.  I am really enjoying the book but haven't been able to give it the time it needs.  I'm really hoping I'll be done by tomorrow!

Next I am reading:

Between You And Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicole Kraus
Completely Whole by Paulette Harper

I definitely want to read these two this week.  I have a feeling I'm going to have a similar time as I did last week reading wise so I'm not going to put any more books on the list.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Short Story Sunday: "The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone" by Emily Giffin

We first met Darcy when she was planning her wedding to Dex in Emily Giffin's debut novel, Something Borrowed.  And though she wasn't always a person who was easy to love we felt for her when Dex called off the wedding, leaving her for Darcy's best friend since high school, the always good girl Rachel.  And then we tagged along and watched Darcy move on and grow up in the sequel, Something Blue.

Now, we can go back in time to Darcy's high school days and learn all about her past in The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone by Emily Giffin.  This short story follows Darcy from her freshman year to senior year, and adds a little more backstory to the relationship between Darcy and Rachel we see in the two novels.

The story wasn't bad.  It's written in a diary format and so the language and artistic extras give it the feel of snooping in a teenage girls diary.  Darcy can definitely get on your nerves, but it's a nice glimpse into her early years.  It doesn't add a whole lot to the books, but considering it's been years since I read them, it was a nice little visit.  It definitely made me want to pick up the books again.  If you haven't read either of Giffin's books, you will probably find yourself wondering what the point of this short story is.  It would all read very well if you start out with this introduction and then read the novels.

The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone is available for download to Kindle for free here.  It also includes a sneak peak at Emily Giffin's new novel Where We Belong

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Breakdown" by Sara Paretsky

Shape-shifting raven Carmilla, Queen of the Night, is the latest fictional sensation sweeping the lives of girls all over the world.  One night a group of tween girls in Chicago hold an initiation ritual in an abandoned cemetery as part of their Carmilla Club.  The group include daughters of some of Chicago's most powerful families.  But while there, they come upon a corpse, stabbed through the heart in a vampire-style slaying.  

When V.I. Warshawski is called by her cousin to bring the girls home, she doesn't realize that she is about to stumble into an elaborate murder investigation, one that involves a fellow investigator, illegal immigrants, mental illness, right-wing politics, television pundits and more bodies.

Breakdown by Sara Paretsky is the fifteenth book in the V.I. Warshawksi series, and the first book of the series I have read.  I love the fact that this series has been going on since 1982 and I can see why.  V.I. is a tough, no nonsense investigator who is highly likeable for her commitment to justice.  She is an excellent series character and I can see why these books have developed such a following.

The plot of this book was timely.  It hits the current climate of right-wing politics in America hard and doesn't pull any punches.  It's like a look at the effects of Fox News, if Fox News had too much caffeine that morning.  It's a little over the top but at the same time an interesting commentary on what politics could become.  

I picked up this book after seeing ads and reading reviews of the series that promised page-turning action.  As someone who is new to the mystery genre but really enjoying what I have been reading, I looked forward to this one.  I have to admit it did disappoint a little.  I found it took a little long to get into all of the action and there was a lot of time spent building up background to the story.  While it did pick up in the middle, I found the end wrapped up a little too quick and a little too neat.

That being said I'm not overly disappointed with this book.  I like the way a bunch of different people with different circumstances were all tied to the same investigation, making it difficult for the reader to figure out the mystery.  I like that V.I. is not your typical investigator.  It seems that this is just not one of the best in the series.  I don't caution you to stay away from the series or this book, instead I suggest starting with an early novel if this is your introduction to V.I. Warshawski. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  It's a great way to meet book bloggers, find out what they're reading and other bookish goodness!

Last week I:
Attended a luncheon at the Random House of Canada offices to celebrate the release of Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles.  Myself and five other bloggers were invited to have lunch with Karen, listen to her talk about the process of writing the book and gush over how much we loved the book (because it is a-mazing!)

Meeting Karen Thompson Walker 

(click on titles for reviews)
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood
Destiny's Divas by Victoria Christopher Murray

I am currently reading:

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity by Michael Coren

Next I Am Reading:

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

What are you reading?

Short Story Sunday: "Swim" by Jennifer Weiner

Ruth moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of being writer.  And her dream came true when she became a writer on a hit television show.  For unfortunate reasons though she leaves her job and to support herself takes on freelance writing jobs.  But these aren't the jobs she would like to be putting on her resume.  As she spends her time helping high school students write their college entrance essays she can't shake her disappointment and heartbreak.  And so she takes to the pool, swimming lap after lap, trying to wash away her feelings.  But when an unexpected client asks her to help craft his online profile, Ruth learns the importance of diving into life headfirst.

Swim by Jennifer Weiner was originally published in the short story collection titled The Guy Not Taken and is the prequel to Weiner's just released novel The Next Best Thing.  This is a very sweet story, one that pulls you in right from the start (which is important in a short story, right?)  The character of Ruth as well as her grandmother are heart-warming and loveable.  

This story is free on Amazon Kindle right now.  If you've never read a book by Jennifer Weiner, I highly recommend starting with this and then picking up The Next Best Thing afterward.  You will be hooked on her writing.  And if you haven't read The Guy Not Taken, pick that up as well, Weiner is just as wonderful writing short stories as she is novels.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What My Child Is Reading

What My Child is Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns where we share what our children are reading (hence the title!)  I don't review children's books but I think it's a great way for me to share which ones are being read in my house.

Both of my kids signed up for the summer reading program at our library and are eager to get a start on earning their stickers.  Here are some of the books we read this week:

Big Pig and Little Pig by David McPhail - this one my daughter is reading to me.  It's easy and repetitive, perfect for beginner readers.
Llama Llama Mad At Mama by Anna Dewdney - this one is too cute!  The little llama is mad he has to go shopping with mom.  It rhymes so it's fun for the little ones and great about teaching little kids about tantrums.
 Goal! by Mina Javaherbin - a group of boys in South Africa get a brand new soccer ball to play with.  Both of my kids are really into soccer right now so they like this one!


Mon Petit Livre de Mots and Mon Petit Livre de la Nature from Scholastic.  We're using these books to practice my daughter's vocabulary words during the summer.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Book Blogger Hop!  It's THE place for book bloggers and readers to connect each week.

It's hard for me to believe it's Friday already.  With no school this week and Canada Day falling on a Sunday, making Monday the statutory holiday with everything closed, I totally lost track of the days of the week!  For some reason, I keep thinking tomorrow is Monday....every day.

This weeks question is: If you could be a character from any book, who would you be?

When I was a kid there were so many characters I wanted to be - Stacey from The Baby-sitter's Club, Elizabeth or Jessica from Sweet Valley Twins, Aurora from This Place Has No Atmosphere (I wanted to live on the moon!)  But now, that's a much harder question.

There are so many fantastic characters out there to choose from.  I would love to be a character like Evie Flynn in The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond who moves to an entirely new area and runs a little place on the beach.  Or Catherine Parkstone in The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton, who moves to a tiny hamlet in France and sets up a small business.  It's not the idea of running away from life that I'm going for but the idea of picking up and moving the family somewhere new.  That is an adventure I would love to take.

What character would you like to be?

"Yours Truly" by Kirsty Greenwood

Natalie Butterworth is newly engaged and ready to settle into the comforts of family life.  A people pleaser, Natalie just wants to live a quiet life and if she has to tell a few little white lies to not rock the boat then she will do so.  Until one night, Natalie finds herself accidentally under the spell of a pub hypnotist.  Soon those little white lies are no more, as she has been hypnotized into telling the truth anytime anyone asks her a question.  This doesn't just have the potential to get a little messy, it ends up threatening her impending marriage!

Natalie and her friend Meg decide they must track down the hypnotist before her wedding is called off and they head to a small Yorkshire village to find him.  But when they arrive they discover he's left town in a hurry.  The locals offer their help but this turns out to be even more trouble.  And when the snow begins to fall with no end in sight, the girls are trapped in the village and a desperate Natalie is forced to face the truths about her life head on.

Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood is an irresistible debut novel.  I immediately took to the character of Natalie.  I can't even imagine what would happen in my life if I would have to share exactly what I'm thinking whenever anyone asks!  I love the concept of a girl who has trouble speaking up being hypnotized into never telling a lie.  I also really enjoyed throughout the book when the other characters knew they could use that to their advantage.

There is tons going on in this book - crazy family members, family secrets, wannabe pop stars, pubs in danger of closing down, snowstorms, controlling boyfriends, gangsters, tacky weddings - but it all fits together wonderfully to create one funny story.  There were many laugh out loud moments including the one where Natalie's fiancĂ© Olly asks her how good things were after a night of passion.

I liked how this book was set in the UK city/area of Manchester (though I've never been there my love of Coronation Street has given it a spot in my heart.)  I've read quite a bit of British chick lit but never one set there.  There's definitely a lot of references/language that are unique to the area but don't let that put you off this book if you're not familiar with it, it doesn't take away from the book at all!  I think my only "criticism" of the book was that the backstory of the hypnotist could have been a bit more developed.  At the end of the book, I wanted to know more about what his deal was!

Overall this is a strong debut novel.  Kirsty Greenwood is the editor of chick lit website Novelicious and you can tell from this book that she understands the genre perfectly.  I highly recommend putting this book on your summer reading list.  

Yours Truly is an e-book available for download on Amazon Kindle here.  You won't find another book as fabulous as this one at that great price.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker

Eleven-year-old Julia is dealing with the trials and turmoil that comes with being an adolescent girl when life takes an extraordinary turn.  One Saturday morning, Julia and her family along with the rest of the world awake to discover that the rotation of the earth has begun to slow.  At first, they don't think much of i, but as time goes on the days and nights become longer and the world begins to feel the disastrous effects.

As the light begins to last for days then weeks at a time, the birds and plants to begin to die.  People take ill from what is only known as the sickness.  Neighbours become divided between those who go by the clock and those who go by real time and soon turn against each other.  But life goes on and Julia must continue to navigate middle school, friendships and her first love as she adjusts to the uncertainty of the new normal.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker is an extraordinary debut novel set apart by its original concept and beautiful writing.  It examines the tenderness and intricacies of life set in a time of catastrophe.  The book shows that it is during the upheavals that we really see the beauty and simplicity of it all.  

This book has been given quite a few labels since it was released, two of the biggest being YA and Speculative Fiction.  What I found most beautiful about this book was the way it transcends labels and genres.  As I read the book I wondered if I was reading a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a dystopian future or was I reading a dystopian novel through the eyes of a young girl.  The answer is both.  Both themes are connected in ways I haven't seen in a novel and they create a beautiful story that I feel can't be labelled as one genre.  So don't let those things scare you off if you don't typically read those kinds of books.  

The concept behind this book is such an incredible one - the rotation of the earth begins to slow.  It's not an immediate disaster, it doesn't result in immediate lawlessness.  The characters have the time to wrap their heads around what is going on and adjust as best as they can.  It really takes the reader inside the story as you become totally convinced that this could actually happen.  

I love that Karen Thompson Walker chose an eleven year old girl to be the protagonist of this story.  Children have such a different view than adults and if it had been through the eyes of an adult, I think it would have had a lot more anxiety and worry to it.  But by having the protagonist tell the story, looking back at the year she was eleven years old when it all began, we're able to see it through someone who is able to view it with wonder, who finds the politics of the middle school bus stop just as important as the rotation of the earth.

This is the first book I have read this year that I have given five stars to.  The writing is beautiful and captivates the reader through the entire book.  And it's one of the most unique stories I've read in a while.  I'm in awe of the fact that this is a debut novel and I look forward to what is next for Karen Thompson Walker.

I received this book courtesy of Random House of Canada.  The opinions expressed above are purely my own.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Hello Monday!  Today my little guy turns 3 years old!  We'll be celebrating with cake, presents, and family tonight and I'll be wondering where the time has gone!

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  I love how organized it keeps me with all my reading.  Between this meme and my iProcrastinate app, I'm actually somewhat put together.

Last Week I Read:
Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden
Swim by Jennifer Weiner (short story that precedes her new book The Next Best Thing)
Starring Me by Krista McGee

I Am Currently Reading:

 The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

What I Plan To Read Next:

Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood
Destiny's Divas by Victoria Christopher Murray
The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day! Here's to a Summer Full of Reading Goodness!

Happy Canada Day!!!  What a beautiful day for family, fun, and fireworks!  It's great to be Canadian!  For those of you who are elsewhere in the world and are curious about some Canadian history, I highly recommend going to YouTube and searching for "A Part of Our Heritage."  You'll find some awesome clips we call Heritage Moments that teach you about the amazing things Canadians have done over the years.

Canada Day for me always feels like the official start of summer.  School finished a few days ago and we now have two months of freedom.  I'm not in school anymore (haven't been for a while) but being married to a teacher and with one of my children already in school, my life still revolves around the school year calendar!  So I think it's time to take a look at my summer reading list.

Challenge Reading
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
1984 by George Orwell
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Chick Lit Fun
Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood
The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner
Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Christian Fiction
Destiny's Divas by Victoria Christopher Murray
The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund
Harsh Pink by Melody Carlson

Of course, I hope to read a lot more than that this summer.  But these are the books I definitely want to get to during the vacation time.

What does your summer reading list look like?