Book Reviews and Canadiana

Book reviews!

Wait, ROW80 first -- I'm still falling behind on blog comments. I read 'em all, those who drop by here and all the fellow bloggers I visit, but having time to leave a comment is another matter... Haven't had a chance to format those Wallace letters and ask for a new batch either. I've been reading a lot, though, and did a bit of plotting for a story of my own. I have this crazy idea that I might do Camp NaNoWriMo in June!

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend

I haven't finished this one yet. So far it's a bit rambling and not as tight, if that's the right word, as her Adrian Mole books or The Queen and I. I'd have preferred a focus on the main characters, whereas the constant parade of secondary characters dilutes the impact of the story.

Yes, the main character, Eva, really does take to her bed! But her point of view isn't very strongly told. There's a precursor to this in The Queen and I, when Prince Philip refuses to leave his bed; the contrast between his mood and his wife's strength was very well detailed. Eva is alternately calm and angry, yet the reader is never invited fully into her thoughts, and the points of view of the other characters are doled out in snippets. It's hard to hang one's reader empathy hat on one character, so the entire novel seems disjointed. We'll see how the final third plays out.

HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner -- The Pinch Hitter's Guide to Cooking Without Gluten or Dairy by Kait Nolan

I love chatty cookbooks; they're almost as good as a novel. Nolan's voice is strong and authoritative; you know she's tried and perfected every one of these recipes and that none is a space-filler (as some recipes seem in other cookbooks). A few recipes in, I'd almost forgotten I was reading an allergy-related cookbook -- the dishes sound so yummy!

This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him -- especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next.
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn’t exactly welcoming.
Riley doesn’t trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both!

Hard to believe this is the eighth Whiskey Creek novel; have I really read that many? This one's a breezy read with less tension than some of the others. The stakes in the story aren't as high for the two main characters; it's almost as though they've suffered enough in their backstory, and now the reader is invited to hear of their redemption.

Phoenix is a very likeable character, strong and determined and kind, and it's lovely to see her win through and earn a bit of the good stuff she deserves. Some of the scenes are a bit heavy on the tell rather than the show, but overall the story flows at a good pace. Novak does a great job capturing the point of view of Phoenix and Riley's teenage son Jacob -- it's fun to guess whose story will be next in the series; Kyle or Baxter, or maybe even the next generation? I'd like to hear more from Jacob!

Meanwhile, I've been busy at work -- and music helps a lot! I've made a few new playlists on YouTube. This can be a frustrating exercise, as not every song you think of is on there, and after you've made a playlist, you have to keep curating is as songs come and go based on copyright enforcement or users' slack attitudes. Here's my newest, a sample of some Canadian bands in roughly alphabetical order:

What have you been reading or listening to?


Yeah, that's a bummer when you can't find a song. Every video should be on YouTube.
Editors At Work said…
Yes, if some books take too long it's not tight to keep a reader hooked.

Liked this post.
dolorah said…
I've been reading blogs, and catching up on some of my forgotten TV shows.

I'm getting there on the reading :)

I like the cook book for food allergies. I have those, so should probably learn to cook for them.
Zan Marie said…
A new story, Deniz? Oh, goody!
Cindy Scott said…
Some potential new reads; I like acquiring new authors/books. I seem to never run out of books or things to read.

I'm doing the 2015 A to Z challenge. Awesome! I'll see you there. :-)

Hope you have a good week.
DMS said…
Awesome that you have been doing so much reading! Thanks for sharing some of your recent reads with us. :)

Hope your writing is going well.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks for dropping by all!
Hope your reading and writing is going well too :-)

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