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Reviews Written by
Dana
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Blacklands: A Novel
Blacklands: A Novel
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great debut, July 18 2015
A psychological thriller of the highest order. The author engages all of the reader's emotions without resorting to sensationalism or gore. The characters are remarkable - each totally believable but completely different in personality and intent. It is hard to believe that this is Ms Bauer's debut novel. I will be on the lookout for more. Fabulous read.

My Secret Sister: Jenny Lucas and Helen Edwards' family story by Edwards, Helen, Lee Smith, Jenny (2013) Paperback
My Secret Sister: Jenny Lucas and Helen Edwards' family story by Edwards, Helen, Lee Smith, Jenny (2013) Paperback
9 used & new from CDN$ 14.85

3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Read, July 3 2015
This was an interesting book and a decent read. I have never been much of a golf fan but I think golf fans would be very intrigued with the story of Jenny Lee Smith and her search for her birth family. Much of the book is Helen's story with Jenny's story as support which makes sense as Helen had a such a dysfunctional childhood, which always makes a better story, and because it is also the story of the girls' mother, who raised Helen. Not a life changing book but certainly head shaking. It amazed me how many times the girls' lives crossed paths without them realizing at the time. I loved that the chapters were written so simply and with such clear voices. Having read their stories, I feel like I really like these women and wish them a wonderful future.

Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland
Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 17.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amanda's Story, June 26 2015
Having already read 'Finding Me' by Michelle Knight, I was interested to hear what the other women in Castro's house of horrors experienced. I tried hard to read this memoir for itself and not compare the two books as I read and will try not to compare them here. Each woman in the house had their own reality: the women were not held together or encouraged to develop relationships with one another until late in their captivity. It was interesting to me to read Amanda and Gina's reality as they shared space in this memoir. Each had a very different, but no less horrible experience. Especially after Amanda's daughter was born, the dynamic between Castro and Amanda was very different than his relationship with either Michelle or Gina. Both Amanda and Gina are painfully honest about their experience and I developed immense admiration for both, but especially for Amanda as a mother trying to make her daughter's life as normal as possible. I am not sure I could have supported a relationship between father and daughter as well as Amanda did but I am sure Jocelyn benefited from her mother's sacrifice. It would have been nice to hear more from Gina as I felt the book was weighted toward Amanda's story and I admit that I skipped over the parts of the book dedicated to Castro himself. I am sure there are people out there who will appreciate the background on Castro but I am not one of them. Over all this is a must read for anyone interested in how these women survived the horror they were forced to endure and for anyone wondering why no one was successful in finding them and rescuing them for the decade they were missing. Told in honest and respectful voices without attempts to sensationalize an already sensational story, 'Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland' is exactly that - a story of survival written, not by victims, but by survivors.

Inside the O'Briens: A Novel
Inside the O'Briens: A Novel
by Lisa Genova
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.40
40 used & new from CDN$ 19.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, June 14 2015
Still Alice has long been my favourite book. Not any more - it has been surpassed by Inside the O'Briens! Same author, same amazing writing style but there was just something more about this book. The characters are honest. They react in ways that feel right. I had heard of Huntington's before but had no real understanding of the hell this disease releases on its victims. The best part of this book, for me, was the ending - it was perfect. Thank you, Lisa Genova, for another winner.

Elizabeth Is Missing
Elizabeth Is Missing
by Emma Healey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.14
7 used & new from CDN$ 10.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Ride, June 6 2015
This review is from: Elizabeth Is Missing (Hardcover)
To think that this is Emma Healey's first book is astounding. The narrator is Maud, an 82 year old woman with dementia who believes her friend Elizabeth is missing. As the story unfolds the reader takes up residence in Maud's failing mind and gets stuck on the ride. Is it frustrating? Of course. As frustrating as it is for Maud to try and explain what is going on when she has trouble even remembering the name for the sitting things that you sit on. But it is also poignant and sweet and totally consuming. I can't wait to see what this author will come up with next. Maud goes down in my book as a favourite character for sure.

The Nightingale
The Nightingale
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, June 5 2015
This review is from: The Nightingale (Kindle Edition)
The Nightingale is absolutely one of my all time favouite books. I would describe it as an opus. Of course, Kristen Hannah is a great writer and her stories are always enjoyable but, with The Nightingale, she has truly outdone herself. It would have been so easy for this story to become formulaic or trite but the author managed to avoid all pitfalls and tell a meaningful, powerful story. I loved that there were good and bad characters on both sides. I loved that, as in war, no one was necessarily 'safe'. I loved that the story was told as a flashback but the reader wasn't dragged back and forth through time chapter by chapter. About half way through the book, I realized I was making assumptions about the narrator that may or may not be true and this added another dimension to an already engaging novel. It is a story that will stay with me, filled with characters that now have place in my heart. I only hope the movie does it justice.

Coyote
Coyote
by Colin Winnette
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.17
18 used & new from CDN$ 13.12

4.0 out of 5 stars Intense, April 17 2015
This review is from: Coyote (Paperback)
This is a little book I won't soon forget. The characters have no names and, in the end, I am still unsure as to what really happened but the voice of the story is strong, intense, insane, very powerful. At the beginning, it all makes sense but unravels as the story goes forward. I was caught up. Not something everyone will enjoy but I certainly did.

Station Eleven
Station Eleven
by Emily St John Mandel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 41.71
19 used & new from CDN$ 37.12

5.0 out of 5 stars Ms Mandel has a new fan, April 2 2015
This review is from: Station Eleven (Hardcover)
Not my usual genre and I loved it! Extraordinarily well written and so possible. I wish I had know before I read it that every word is written for a reason and has meaning. Fabulous.

A Spool of Blue Thread
A Spool of Blue Thread
by Anne Tyler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.40
5 used & new from CDN$ 17.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Family Saga, March 14 2015
This review is from: A Spool of Blue Thread (Hardcover)
I was thrilled to win a copy of Anne Tyler's latest book. It had been on my TBR list since before it was even available. Having read it now, I can say that it was not my favourite of Anne Tyler's books. The characters were fabulous and I did really love them all (Denny has a special place in my heart) but the story just didn't speak to me as much as some of her others have. The story line hopped around between generations which I found distracting. A linear story line would have made more sense to me. The one important thing I did take away from this novel is that we don't really know our parents until they are old - and then we may not know them as well as we think we do.

Susannah Morrow
Susannah Morrow
by Megan Chance
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.00
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Intense, March 2 2015
This review is from: Susannah Morrow (Hardcover)
Megan Chance really brought the Salem witch trials to life. With a mix of historical fact and well written fiction woven together the madness of the times comes to life with intensity. I have read many portrayals of this time in history but never have I been so moved or involved. It astounds me that an entire state could be caught up in something so insane. I wanted to shake some sense into them all. If I have any criticism, it would be that the ending was not as satisfying as I had hoped. Still a fabulous read.

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