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Dana
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Guardian
Guardian
by Natasha Deen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.79
4 used & new from CDN$ 8.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Great YA, Nov. 30 2014
This review is from: Guardian (Paperback)
Any time I pick up a book by Natasha Deen I start with great expectations. With Guardian, she managed to exceed my expectations by leaps and bounds. I loved this book. It is important to note that I am NOT an e-reader fan. My copy of Guardian is electronic. Somehow I managed to get so totally lost in the story that I forgot I was reading my computer, I forgot I was sitting in my living room, I was in Dead Falls, Alberta with Serge and Maggie.

Any time you pick up a book by this author, you can be sure that the writing will flow well, the story will be consistent and the editing will be perfect. Guardian is no exception to this rule. I love a book that makes you forget you are reading and instead pulls you in to live the story. Guardian did that for me.

The theme of bully/victim dynamics is relevant and important, especially in the YA world. In Guardian, Natasha Deen proposes a solution to this problem in communication and understanding. A great message for both sides of this problem to consider. She doesn't excuse the bully in any way or diminish the pain of the victim and still manages to resolve the issues in a realistic way. I am traipsing dangerously close to spoiler territory here so I will stop, but know that this book is one of the best YA books I have read in a long time.

Blue Chameleon
Blue Chameleon
by Emily Gravett
Edition: Board book
Price: CDN$ 9.99
12 used & new from CDN$ 3.32

5.0 out of 5 stars fun colour learning, Nov. 27 2014
This review is from: Blue Chameleon (Board book)
Blue Chameleon is lonely. Follow him as he tries to find a friend - and learn a few colours along the way. My 14 month old grandson loves this book and you will too.

A Walk Across the Sun
A Walk Across the Sun
by Corban Addison
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.99
22 used & new from CDN$ 8.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening, Nov. 18 2014
This review is from: A Walk Across the Sun (Paperback)
It is always a treat when words on a page move the reader so completely that she wants to move on to action. The story of Sita, Ahalya and the other girls in this novel are fictional characters but the situation they find themselves in is all too real for so many girls and boys, men and women. Corban Addison has succeeded in bringing to the surface a subject that many would have remain underground. No one wants to think about human trafficking but it happens everywhere as is represented so well in 'A Walk Across the Sun'. For me, the story of Priya and Thomas was secondary. I didn't really care much about them except as far as they impacted the lives of Sita and Ahalya. Their story didn't take anything away from the book it just remained secondary to me. Certainly my life and outlook has been changed from reading this book - and isn't that what the best books do?

Out of The Easy
Out of The Easy
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, Oct. 31 2014
This review is from: Out of The Easy (Kindle Edition)
A truly lovely book. I was left feeling uplifted and entertained. The characters were fabulous and I loved them all - even the ones I loved to hate. There is just enough detail and hints at 'taboo' subjects to start young minds thinking without doing damage. Respect for others is a recurring theme and well presented. All in all a book I wish had been around when my kids were younger.

The Silent Sister
The Silent Sister
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, Oct. 26 2014
This review is from: The Silent Sister (Kindle Edition)
There are so many good things about this book that I hardly know where to start. - the writing: Diane Chamberlain is a master. The writing is clear and flows beautifully. It is the kind of writing that draws you in and makes you forget you are reading. The reader is just taken along on the ride that is the story.
- the characters: The first impression of each character gives us a hint of who they are, or maybe not. Then as the reader is drawn in, layers begin to emerge in each character's personality. These are definitely NOT two dimensional characters.
- the story: How well do you know your parents? Your family history? There is so much that Riley believes is true or that she has experienced that is brought into question as she cleans out her childhood home after her father's death. She will discover truths about herself and her family that will bring into question her whole sense of self. There are just enough twists to keep it interesting without becoming so unreal as to lose the faith of the reader.
All in all, just an excellent book.

Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 16.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must read, May 23 2014
I was hesitant to pick this book up. I didn't really want to know what happened to any of the women in Ariel Castro's (hereafter referred to as 'the dude') prison. I wasn't after some sensational, disgusting account of abuse and slavery. The deciding factor for me was seeing an interview with author Michelle Knight. What a feisty, down to earth woman! So it was with trepidation I turned to the first page. Michelle starts her story from the beginning - her beginning. We are introduced to a little girl living a life of sadness who, somehow discovers faith and hope and refuses to let either go. She is discreet in her description of the hell she ended up living in for 10 years, which I truly appreciated. In telling her story, she manages to make the abuse understood without having to stoop to specifics. The real story here is how Michelle managed to hold on to her faith, her hope and her true self no matter what 'the dude' did to her. I am in no way saying she didn't have and doesn't continue to have issues to work out - who wouldn't!! But her attitude and fierce will to heal and be happy serve as inspiration to anyone who has ever been through hell; to anyone who has wondered 'why me'; to anyone who has dared to take their life for granted. Michelle's story ends up being an uplifting reminder that we can not only survive, but bloom no matter what happens in our lives.

Gone Girl: A Novel
Gone Girl: A Novel
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, dark, dark, May 17 2014
Despite seriously rough language, this book is worth a read. The 'first part' is a good mystery; engrossing; from here it looks like it will be a good, keep you guessing type story. A lot like others out there but well written. Then you get to the 'second part' and your mind gets blown. The story turns from a good mystery into a full blown, Hitchcock-like psychological thriller. And one of the best psychological thrillers I have read in a long, long time. The 'third part' moves the book into the realm of 'dark'. Never boring. Gone Girl deserves every bit of the hoopla surrounding it.

Underlake
Underlake
by Kia Heavey
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.92
10 used & new from CDN$ 8.92

5.0 out of 5 stars captivating, March 28 2014
This review is from: Underlake (Paperback)
When I was a young teenager, I read Beverly Cleary’s Fifteen and loved it. Ms Cleary seemed to capture everything I was feeling during those turbulent years. That feeling is also perfectly captured in Kia Heavey’s new novel Underlake.
I suppose the appropriate genre for this captivating book would be ‘young adult Christian literature’ but don’t let the Christian literature label turn you off. The religiosity of the story is simply a part of fifteen year old Katie Welch finding her way and discovering what works for her. As she says herself ‘That works for me but it doesn’t have to work for you. The whole point is that we are individuals’ (pg293) What a wonderful concept for us all to embrace. The problem for Katie is that realizing this truth, and implementing it in her life, does not mean that those around her understand or are willing to do the same. Her mother and closest friends feel rejected and hurt. Only John understands.
Underlake is the first book I have read in a long time that has completely captivated me. I loved Katie and her Underlake friends. I was frustrated and angered by her mother and society friends. John I had some trouble with: at times I adored him as much as Katie did and at other times I was suspicious of his motives. It was harder for me to accept him as another teenager trying to find his way. But however I felt about the characters, I was always thinking about the story; I couldn’t wait to get back to it and see what would happen next. The story pulled me in and held me captive. Kia Heavey has that effect on me; her writing style speaks to my heart.
If I had to pick one negative thing about Underlake, it would be that it took so long to get a comprehensive description of what Katie looked like. By then I had already started to picture her in my mind and Kia’s description of her didn’t match the picture I had in my brain.
Biggest positive is that the author doesn’t leave the reader hanging at the end of the book. Everything pulls together and the reader is left satisfied.
I loved this book and, without hesitation, recommend it to readers of all ages. We can all learn something from Katie’s outlook and from John’s redemption. It is a story, and a moral, that will stay with me. Great job Kia Heavey!

Jubilee's Journey (The Wyattsville Series Book 2)
Jubilee's Journey (The Wyattsville Series Book 2)
Price: CDN$ 5.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Ms Crosby does it again!, Dec 3 2013
Jubilee's Journey is the second of the Wyattsville books and, although I didn't think it was possible, even better than the first. You can read Jubilee's Journey without having first read Spare Change and keep right up with the story and characters. Just a warning, though, if you do that you will have missed out on another really good read.

Bette Crosby never disappoints! She tells great stories with loveable, relatable characters - and this is no exception. I defy any book lover to start this book and not fall completely in love with Jubilee and her brother, Paul. Their loyalty to each other is tried as they are faced with a variety of situations, people and choices that have the capacity to either destroy or uplift.

I found myself totally immersed in Wyattsville and it's cast of characters. This is a town that I want to live in. Ms. Crosby paints such lively pictures with her words that the story leaps off the page and creates a movie in the mind. Although Jubilee's Journey avoids the graphic sensationalism that is so popular these days, I hesitate to label it 'Christian literature'. It is not preachy or obvious but many of the characters are clean living, God fearing people: a refreshing change both from the more main stream Christian literature and the 'in your face' sex and violence books out there. One to put on your to read list.

The Gilly Salt Sisters
The Gilly Salt Sisters
by Tiffany Baker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.39
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.26

4.0 out of 5 stars great escape, Nov. 10 2013
This review is from: The Gilly Salt Sisters (Hardcover)
This was the first book I have read by Tiffany Baker - truth be told, I picked it up at the book store because something about the cover 'spoke' to me. Sometimes I make really good impulse buys and this was definitely one of those times. What an enjoyable book! It was a worthwhile escape full of characters that will stick with me. The only issue I had with the story was that I really disliked Dee. I could have done without her completely except that I don't know how else the lives of the other characters could have been shaken up to such a magnificent extent. The 'suprise twist' wasn't much of a suprise to me either. I figured it out pretty early - even so, I enjoyed playing along and watching until all of the players had also figured it out.

Along side of a really good story, I enjoyed learning about salt: the salt served to add flavour to the story. Ms Baker skillfuly weaves the salt through the lives of the inhabitants of Prospect. It becomes the tie that binds the people together and also the catalyst that almost destroys them.

In answer to Jo's questions:

My first memory is having xrays after breaking my collarbone as a young child and crying for my Daddy.

I love my husband completely.

I thought I'd find a love story - but I found so much more.

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