Jogging with the Great Ray Charles
Book Review / August 19, 2017

Title: Jogging with the Great Ray Charles Author: Kenneth Sherman Genre: Poetry Publisher: ECW Press Release Date: October 11th, 2016 Format: eBook Pages: 88 Source: NetGalley A poetic masterclass from a writer at the height of his craft  Kenneth Sherman’s work has always displayed a vibrant lyricism, so it’s no surprise that his powerful new collection contains a number of poems with musical motifs. In such pieces as “Clarinet,” “Transistor Sister,” and the book’s titular poem, Sherman ponders our human transience while searching for “a voice to stand time’s test.” Sherman also confronts health concerns in a language that is Shaker-plain. The book concludes with the sombre, compassionate, and truly remarkable seven-part “Kingdom,” a meditation on the plight of the dispossessed. In a Globe and Mail review of The Well: New and Selected Poems, Fraser Sutherland notes, “Sherman always seems to be listening to the voice of Canadian soil and landscape at the same time as he is attentive to the great European metaphysical theme of the soul in conflict with the world and time.” So it is with Jogging with the Great Ray Charles. Sherman has also included three brilliant translations of Yiddish poets that appeared in the Malahat Review’s “At Home in Translation”…

It Started With Goodbye
Book Review / May 3, 2017

Title: It Started with Goodbye Author: Christina June Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Blink/Harper Collins Release Date: May 9th, 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 304 Source: NetGalley Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way. A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules. -via Goodreads Amazon   I am a firm believer than your experience with books changes based on external factors. Yes, some books will always be amazing, but some books are better or worse in the…

Threats of Sky and Sea
Book Review / March 15, 2017

Title: Threats of Sky and Sea Series: Threats of Sky and Sea, #1 Author: Jennifer Ellision Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Smashwords Release Date: May 16th, 2014 Format: eBook Pages: 360 Source: NetGalley Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree’s father is thrown in jail—along with the secrets from his last mission as the King’s assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share. Desperate to escape before the King’s capricious whims prove her and her father’s downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It’s a good trade. And she has faith she’ll get them both out of the King’s grasp with time. But that was before the discovery that she’s the weapon the King’s been waiting for in his war. Now, time is running out. To save her father’s life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father’s past before the King takes…

We Should All Be Feminists
Book Review / March 8, 2017

Title: We Should All Be Feminists Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Genre: Essays Publisher: Anchor Release Date: February 3rd, 2015 Format: Paperback Pages: 49 Source: Library First Published: 2012 In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists. (via Goodreads) Amazon   I had seen Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDxEuston talk before. But, in light of everything happening around the world, and today being International Women’s Day, I felt like I needed to reconnect with it on my own time. And at my own pace. It was time to pick up the published text. An eloquent and personal essay, We Should All Be Feminists addresses Adichie’s experiences as a woman experiencing internalized, culturized, and socialized misogyny on varying levels. I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my…

Golden Son
Book Review / March 4, 2017

Title: Golden Son Series: Red Rising, #2 Author: Pierce Brown Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Del Rey Release Date: January 6th, 2015 Format: eBook Pages: 430 Source: Owned As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within. A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles…

One for the Money
Book Review / February 18, 2017

Title: One for the Money Series: Stephanie Plum, #1 Author: Janet Evanovich Genre: Mystery Publisher: Scribner Release Date: August 24th 1999 Format: eBook Pages: 320 Source: Library First Published: August 26th, 1994 Pestered by her close New Jersey family, Stephanie Plum offers to catch high-school crush Joe Morelli, cop turned bail jumper, for her cousin Vinnie’s company. She questions “working girls” to find the missing girlfriend of vicious prizefighter Benito Ramirez while Joe secretly watches her back. Ranger mentors her and supplies vehicles when hers explode. Amazon   I have been waiting for this book to come in from the library for over 6 months. SIX MONTHS. I added it to my TBR based on recommendations from friends, as with most of my books. I was looking for something light and fun, and Stephanie Plum came up. Unfortunately, what I found within the pages was an inventive story that was executed in a dull fashion. It’s apparent to me from the start how things will end, and I predict this formulaic pattern will continue through the now 20+ books. Stephanie Plum is down on her luck. When I say “down on her luck”, I mean pawning her own furniture in…

Bone Crossed
Book Review / January 26, 2017

Title: Bone Crossed Series: Mercy Thompson, #4 Author: Patricia Briggs Genre: Urban Fantasy Publisher: Orbit Release Date: February 3rd, 2009 Format: eBook Pages: 300 Source: Owned By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for. Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she’s out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won’t be Mercy’s blood Marsilia is after. It’ll be her friends’. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Note: Being the 4th book in a series, there are some very minor spoilers for the previous books below. Here you can find my review for book 1 Moon Called.  Our 4th episode: In which Mercy really gets a handle on her ghost-talking-seeing thing and gets into a crap-ton of trouble. Again.  Bone Crossed picks up literally where the last…

Zita the Spacegirl
Book Review / January 18, 2017

Title: Zita the Spacegirl Series: Zita the Spacegirl, #1 Author: Ben Hatke Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: First Second Release Date: February 1st, 2011 Format: Graphic Novel Pages: 192 Source: Library Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye. When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest. Zita the Spacegirl is a fun, captivating tale of friendship and redemption from Flight veteran Ben Hatke. It also has more whimsical, eye-catching, Miyazaki-esque monsters than you can shake a stick at.  (via Goodreads) Amazon   The curiosity of children is what always leads them to push the big red button. We know you shouldn’t push it. Everyone knows that. But the temptation is so great… Can we really ever help ourselves?…

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