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Profile for Heather Pearson > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
Heather Pearson "Heather" (Ontario Canada)
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Sweetest Kulu
Sweetest Kulu
by Celina Kalluk
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 13.68
27 used & new from CDN$ 12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet story I could read again and again, June 21 2016
This review is from: Sweetest Kulu (Hardcover)
I was looking for some board books for my new niece and was attracted by the lovely cover of Sweetest Kulu by author Celina Kalluk an Inuit throat singer.

The story tells of the gifts given to a newborn by the animals of the arctic. The language is gentle and flowing and had a calming effect on me. I learned that the word Kulu is an Inuit term of endearment. How perfect for a baby book.

Little Kulu is dressed in a teal outfit on each page as is a different arctic animal. I particularly loved the pages with the arctic char, the snow bunting and my absolute favourite was the narwhal beluga page. If I could have a print suitable for framing, that would be the page. The book is illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis.

This book provides plenty of material for both parents and children to enjoy. As the child grows older, they can learn the animals, colours, flowers and even play act the feeling that are introduced. This is a book that I could enjoy reading again and again.

City of the Lost
City of the Lost
by Kelley Armstrong
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.84
5 used & new from CDN$ 8.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Great location, twisted plot., June 20 2016
This review is from: City of the Lost (Hardcover)
There are some situations in life where the best course of action is to run far and hide deep. Casey Duncan killed a man years ago and now this past is catching up with her. Her friend Diane needs to hide from an abusive spouse and has heard about a place where they would both be safe.

Sheriff Eric Dalton from the elusive Rockton, Yukon needs a detective in his town as even people seeking to hide commit crimes. Brutal crimes.

I liked Casey from the first. She is an action oriented women. She doesn't let things fester, rather she acts and gets them resolved. She is also smart, which helps make her a good detective. Casey is mostly an open book, where as Sheriff Dalton is a closed and locked volume.

As a detective story, this fondly reminded me of those written in the 1950s and 60s where the investigator had to rely on intellect instead of electronic gizmos to solve the case. At first I thought this would be a relatively easy case for her, but the more she learned, the more she found she didn't know and that not everyone was who they seemed. At one point I fingered the ultimate culprit, but then dismissed that ideas as further details unravelled and redirected by focus.

There was one setting in the book that creeped me out. I could truly imagine the panic I would feel in that situation. I couldn't wait for that section to end.

This is a well written novel and a departure for author Kelley Armstrong from her other worldly characters created in some of her earlier books. The stories of Casey, Eric and Rockton will continue in the next book in this series tentatively titled A Darkness Absolute.

The Three-Body Problem
The Three-Body Problem
by Cixin Liu
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.14
31 used & new from CDN$ 8.57

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story line but hard to read, June 18 2016
This review is from: The Three-Body Problem (Paperback)
I've long suspected that governments carry out secret projects. In this novel, author Cixin Liu imagines the Chinese have sent their own alternate message out into space and they received a response. The general public know nothing of this, though one group seeks to use this knowledge for their cause.

While I enjoyed the essential plot of the story, there was a sense of not understanding that hounded me through the entire book. It started with not knowing about the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, and then not being able to follow the scientific explanations. A paragraph or two explaining the basic of the Cultural Revolution would have helped immensely or at least assured me that I knew all I needed to follow the plot. The author is obviously quite a bright man, though I felt he had trouble writing about science in terms that a non-science reader could fully understand. The plot makes sense even if the reader doesn't understand all the science, but for me, I hate skipping paragraphs for that reason. I want to read and understand the entire book.

Professor Wang Miao is almost an interesting character. He doesn't want the role he's been forced into, though he realizes he has no choice but to make the best of it. Police Detective Shi Quang stopped short of being an amazing character that you loved to hate. I didn't make an emotional connection with any of the characters in the book. Their personalities didn't emerge during the telling. I don't know whether this is the fault of the author or they were lost in translation to English.

Unfortunately this book was not a winner for me. I did finish reading as I wanted to learn what happened, but I have no desire at this point to read the next instalment in this trio.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk
by Kelli Estes
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.79
29 used & new from CDN$ 10.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Tenderly told tale basic on a tragic event, June 16 2016
History is kind to the victors because they write the books. In this book, author Kelli Estes tells the story of those who were vanquished, that of early Chinese immigrants to the American west coast areas.

Inara Erickson has inherited her aunt's estate and plans to turn the large home into a boutique B&B. While renovating, she finds an intricately embroidered sleeve. She suspects it might have historical significance and turns to professor Daniel Chin to help uncover its provenance.

I could not stop listening as the hidden story of the mistreatment of Chinese immigrants was unraveled. Many unethical and even criminal acts were committed and had be lost or buried in time. The story moved quickly once Inara and Daniel started uncovering the clues to the truth.

I was captivated by this tale. Once I started listening, I didn't want to stop and would find excuses to keep listening to the audio book. Narrator Emily Woo Zeller brought the characters to life for me even long dead Mei Lein. She presented her in a calming voice but was clearly able to invoke the anguish that she must have felt during her most trying times.

It was interesting to read how both Inara and Daniel handled the deceit of their ancestors and how they learned from those came before them. We don't have to repeat the lies and faults of our ancestors, we can forge our own futures.

While The Girl Who Wrote is Silk is a work of fiction, it is loosely based on an historical account of the fates of Chinese immigrants to the American west coast.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by Emily Woo Zeller. 12 hours 21 minutes. Blackstone Audio.

The Light Between Oceans: A Novel
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The audiobook made me feel as though I was there while it was happening, June 14 2016
After witnessing the autrocities of WWI, Tom Sherbourne seeks the solace of running a remote light house offshore of southwest shore of Australia. During his shore visits he meets and falls in love with Isabel. After courting, they settle into married life. Their domestic bliss is challenged by two miscarriages followed by a still birth. Life reaches a critical point when a rowboat reaches their shore with a tiny baby crying out for care. Do they seize this opportunity to have the family they have longed for.

I loved this book. It explored a lifestyle I can never lead, living on a remote island with no social contact for six months at a time. It takes a unique person to want to live this life. I enjoyed learning of Tom's story and why he felt compelled to live on the island. I was less entranced with Isabel, though she was a woman in love who would follow her man anywhere specially if it was far from her parents home. It lead me to several times when I had to ask myself what would I have done were I in their situation.

I listened to the audiobook as read by Noah Taylor. 10 hours 22 minutes unabridged. Mr. Taylor's accent made me feel as though I really was in Australia, not sitting in my living room in Canada. He easily met the challenge of voicing the rough sailors and the more refined and educated city people.

The Ghost Bride: A Novel (P.S.)
The Ghost Bride: A Novel (P.S.)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A most original tale, June 12 2016
This is a most original story. It is set during 1890's colonial Malaysia and young Li Lan is being considered to become the ghost wife to the recently deceased son of wealthy Lim family. I found this concept intriguing and unsettling at the same time. I kept wondering what kind of life she could have as wife to a ghost.

Then the tale gets complicated, enter the deceased man's cousin Tian Bai and another mysterious man Er Lang. It takes the rest of the story to unravel the stories of these men and their ties to Li Lan.

Throughout the story I keep hoping that Li Lan's father would get his act together and behave like a caring parent instead of hiding in his room and smoking opium. Fortunate for her, she has Amah, her nanny to guide her, not that teens are known for listening to the advice of their elders.

I was captivated by this debut novel the entire tale. Each time I thought I knew where it was leading, a new spirit or twist would show and the direction would change. Once I started, I didn't want to put it down. I can't wait to see what surprises will be found in future works by author Yangsze Choo.

Birdie
Birdie
by Tracey Lindberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.28
5 used & new from CDN$ 7.14

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent debut novel, June 10 2016
This review is from: Birdie (Hardcover)
Birdie is one of those people who fell through the cracks even when everything was done right. It didn't help that she felt she didn't deserve the good that happened in her life.

She is a likable character that I quickly found myself caring for. I wanted her to succeed.

She had three good women in her camp, as well as her mother and grandmother during her younger years. Her aunt Val, her cousin Freda and her employer Lola. They each loved her for their own reasons, yet only Val understood where Birdie was at and what internal road she was travelling. It wasn't a spirit quest, but rather a dream quest.

At the beginning of the book, I couldn't follow what was happening, sort of like the confusion that Birdie was feeling in her life. Within a few chapters, I was so wrapped up in the telling that I was weeping. I can't pinpoint one particular reason for the tears, rather it was the accumulation of all she had been going through. The story wasn't all gloomy by any means. The references to the long running television show The Beachcombers brought found memories to mind and made me smile along with Birdie.

I thank author Tracey Lindberg for inviting me into these women's complex lives. Each of the was on a journey and they needed Birdie to help them move along to their next stage, just as she needed them to care for her physical body while she tended to her spiritual one. This is a moving debut novel and hints at wonderful literary future for Ms. Lindberg.

Hero of a Highland Wolf
Hero of a Highland Wolf
by Terry Spear
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.33
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A good tale and lots of kilted highlanders to love, June 7 2016
If you happen to be a fan of brawny men in kilts, then this is the book for you. Grant MacQuarrie and his clan have cared for Farraige Castle for decades, now they are to meet it's new owner Colleen Playfair. They have made plans that are sure to scare the poor lass and have her scurrying back to the States with her tail between her legs.

Colleen knows she just has to spend a year in Scotland to fulfil the requirements of her father's will. Her alpha personality should help her overcome any challenges that arise.

I enjoyed this book from the first pages. As soon as author Terry Spear described the shirtless highlanders clad in their clan kilts, I was hooked. Stir in some romance, clan rivalry and wolfish romps and it's a winning combination. Did I mention that the clans are all shifters? That does add some interesting twists to the story, but for me, it really does come back to those kilted highlanders.

The Doomsday Book
The Doomsday Book
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars And history repeats itself - great read, June 1 2016
This review is from: The Doomsday Book (Kindle Edition)
Today it's Ebola, yesterday it was Aids and in the fourteenth century it was the Black Death. Kivrin is an ardent student of the middle ages and is traveling back to the 1320 for a two week study trip. She's studied the languages, customs, and religion, has had her inoculations, nothing has been left to chance. The time machine even has a mechanism that won't allow for her to be dropped in a time that would/could create a paradox. All will be well as long as she is sent to the correct date.

oops.

Something has gone very wrong. Kivrin is not when she is supposed to be and the man who operated the machine is deathly ill. There appears to be plague in both the 14th and 21st centuries.

Time travel and plague, two of my favourite genres in one novel. Even though the book was published in 1992, it has stood the test of time well. Author Connie Willis imagined the use of video phones for communications, but missed with portable phones. I was amused by some of her characters continually running between buildings and locations to immediately reach each other. Oh for a cell phone.

While Kivrin was the character who time traveled, I was more interested in Professor James Dunworthy, who tutored her about the middle ages and really made her trip a reality. Not only was he book smart, but also world smart when he stepped up at the university and kept it from falling apart as the current time crisis developed. One of my favourite characters, was the 14th century priest. I kept wondering is he truly was a man of god, or was he someone else.

The Doomsday Book finally answered a long stand time travel question. Can you travel back in time, interact substantially with the denizens of that time and not affect the future. This is a well written book that kept me reading late into the night several days in a row. I don't regret the missed sleep one bit.

The Travelers: A Novel
The Travelers: A Novel
by Chris Pavone
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.25
32 used & new from CDN$ 10.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you wonder how close this is to reality, May 29 2016
This review is from: The Travelers: A Novel (Hardcover)
Being paid to travel the world should be a dream job, but one small change in the arrangements and it could become a nightmare. Will Rhodes is a travel writer and enjoys his many overseas assignments with Traveler magazine until he sits with Australian adventure writer Elle Hardwick at a function in France. From the moment he meets her, until the conclusion of the novel, Will it thrown into a crazy world where he has to question the validity of everything he thought he knew before hand.

This is my kind of action story. It all seems reasonable, as though Will really could be the fellow working from the next desk. He does his job well, is likeable and Ifound myself cheering for him to climb out of this deep hole he's found himself in. Each time I tried to put the book down, I would delay and and bargain for just one more chapter.

The best, and possibly worst thing about this plot, is how close it could be to reality and I'll never know. After have read and loved Chris Pavone's debut novel The Expats, I knew that I'd be on the edge of my seat with The Travelers.

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