August 22, 2017

God Is In The Pancakes: A Rambling Review

7447005God Is In The Pancakes by Robin Epstein

This book ended up being more intense than I was expecting. The quandary that Grace faces is one I can imagine being extremely gut-wrenching, with no easy answers. It brought home to me how important it is that in Canada physician-assisted dying is now legal (with strict criteria that must be met).

I really liked the main character Grace; she was a thoughtful, independent teen girl who strove to (usually) do the right thing – and yet she wasn't perfect. Her reflections on everything going on in her life felt very realistic and I could often relate to her mindset, even if I did not always agree with her choices.

Her relationship with Mr. Sands really stood out as unique in a YA novel; often we see peer friendships and romances being explored, but it's rare to see an inter-generational relationship. Having candystriped for a year in high school, this was a personal touch for me. There was one particular gentleman who was my favourite patient – just as Mr. Sands was for Grace – and who was such a lot of fun to spend time with. There is so much about a hospital setting that is depressing, but this story definitely highlighted that building a connection with a patient there can brighten it.

Sidenote, but: the speech-language pathologist in me was wondering why they didn't try some augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) methods with Mr. Sands as his ALS progressed to affecting his speech. There are technologies available nowadays that can operate voice output devices with eye movement only, for instance. Instead it seemed like he just wasn't given any means to communicate anymore!


4 shooting stars. 


 

August 3, 2017

The Midnight Rose: A Rambling Review (Adult)

18143789The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley

I quite liked Anahita's voice and the historical chapters; in particular, the sections set in India felt fresh to me (I've read very few books with that setting). However, the modern-day sections dragged and I just found the conversations so boring and wordy. The dialogue seemed stilted and inauthentic at times. Generally, I think the book could have been pared down a lot more, to streamline the plot and avoid needless repetition.

I also found the story took a weird turn into the Gothic at the climax (spoiler, highlight to read: the whole scene where Rebecca is abducted by Lord Astbury) — I enjoy Gothic atmosphere and storytelling when that's what I'm expecting, but here it seemed a little out of place. There was also a psychological element that was explained in a confusing and potentially inaccurate way (
spoiler: Lord Astbury was referred to as having schizophrenia, but then Dr. Trefusis kept mentioning his alter ego/personality, which sounds more like dissociative identity disorder. They are two very different disorders!).

Overall, the historical chapters told through Anahita's voice felt real and compelling, but the story was let down by the modern-day counterpart. Given that I picked this up since it's a similar style of storytelling to Kate Morton's novels, I have to say: this book suffers for the comparison. 


3 shooting stars.

 

August 1, 2017

Flights of Fantasy 2017 Reading Challenge




Okay, so I've decided to join the Flights of Fantasy 2017 challenge! (Better late than never, right? I know I am too late to officially sign up, so this is just an announcement of unofficial participation, lol.) This challenge is hosted by Alexa from Alexa Loves Books and Rachel from Hello, Chelly. I participated in this challenge last year but failed to reach my goal :(

This year, I've already read about 15 fantasy books, so I figure, if I sign up now and aim for 25, that's achievable... *crosses fingers*

Books on my shelves already that could qualify for this challenge include:

- Red Queen
- Defiance
- Stray
- Strange Sweet Song
- Shadows on the Moon
- Monstrous Beauty


July 27, 2017

The Crowns of Croswald: Unboxing Video!

I was contacted by author D. E. Night's publicist the other day about her upcoming middle-grade fantasy The Crowns of Croswald, with an offer to send me a "magical book surprise." Of course, with that description, how could I resist?

So without further ado, here is the unboxing that I filmed! Thanks very much to D. E. Night and her publicist for sending this my way :)


July 24, 2017

The Fault in Our Stars: A Rambling Review

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

11870085I'm no longer practically the last person on Earth to have not read this book! This is one of those books that I think is objectively quite well-written, but I just didn't emotionally connect with, personally. (No, it did not make me cry.) Hazel was a likeable protagonist who felt human and distinctive, and since she is the narrator we get to know her the best; yet even so, I still didn't feel as close to her as I would have liked.

A lot of this book is composed of conversation and Hazel's musings, so not that much really happens plot-wise (except for a few key events). I knew going into it about the spoiler ending (has anyone managed to escape that spoiler by now?) so that was not a surprise.

I found some of the philosophical observations on life a tad lofty and pretentious at times (which at least the characters are aware of), but I did find a lot of them true to life, acknowledging human reactions that often get swept under the rug or covered up by our society. That was one of the things I liked best about this book, that it was quite blunt about how it cut through the "socially acceptable" layer of human responses to get at how people actually think and feel.

3.5 shooting stars.



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