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Profile for Heather Pearson > Reviews

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Content by Heather Pearson
Top Reviewer Ranking: 334
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Reviews Written by
Heather Pearson "Heather" (Ontario Canada)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

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Smoke
Smoke
by Dan Vyleta
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.67

3.0 out of 5 stars Story got lost in the middle when it turned to the adults, May 24 2016
This review is from: Smoke (Hardcover)
This book imagines a world similar to ours, but one in which sin is noted by the offender's body emitting smoke. The greater the sin, the darker and oilier the smoke. Children are born into sin and smoke almost continuously.

Soon after enrolling at an elite boarding school, Thomas is befriended by Charlie, a future earl, who takes him under his wing and helps him to learn to control his smoke. The both strive to avoid Julius, the school bully, who has never been seen to emit smoke.

I was fascinated by this storyline. A visual manifestation of sin. Soon we learned that it was not so clear cut and that there was more at play. For instance, how could Julius bully other students, yet not smoke himself. Were noblemen really that good; they never smoked publicly.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book while it remained focused on the boys. Once it strayed into the adult realm, the storyline got mired in cloaked discussions of politics, faith and scientific investigations. I found this confusing, not knowing who sided with whom and whether anyone was looking out for the interests of the general public. As I reflect back, I still can't decide whether it was that I didn't understand what the adults were up to or that the story had veered from the boys that disappointed me more.

Why did smoke have to be good or evil, it seemed to me that it was simply a fact of life. Once people with power found a way to make money from it, then it became like any other commodity regardless of the impact that it had on peoples lives and well being. Even though I wasn't thrilled with the entire book, the idea of smoke has stuck with me and I keep pondering what life would be like if we smoked.

"B" is for Burglar (Kinsey Millhone Book 2)
"B" is for Burglar (Kinsey Millhone Book 2)
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars good plot with unexpected twists, May 14 2016
It should have been easy, go to Florida, get the sister to sign the papers then return home and collect a pay cheque. Of course it didn't turn out that way for Kinsey Millhone; Elaine Boldt was no where to be found. Like a dog with a bone, she wasn't about to let go of this case until she got to the bottom of it.

I didn't expect to enjoy this mystery as much as I did. Kinsey is growing on me. She's a hands on kind of gal with a wry sense of humor that appeals to me. She's tenacious, but knows when to take a step back and let her target make a mistake and reveal him or her self.

This is only the second book in a long series, and I suspect that at least a few characters will make repeat appearances. I rather like Rosie, owner of her favourite diner. I can imagine trying to order a meal there and being told by Rosie that she will bring me what I need to be eating, that I don't get any say.

I listened to the audio book as read by Mary Peiffer, 7 hours 42 minutes unabridged. Ms. Peiffer does a good job of reading both the male and female characters. She really brings out Kinsey's blunt nature and sets a good pace without rushing.

I look forward to reading more of Kinsey's investigations.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars didn't want to let this grumpy man go, May 8 2016
How did Ove, a grumpy Swedish man, become dear to my heart in less than three hundred pages. I have to mark it down to the brilliance of debut author Fredrik Backman.

When I first started reading this book, I thought the language seemed a bit stilted and unwelcoming, sort of like Ove himself. I put it down to the author writing his native language and then the translator Henning Koch, himself a Swede, putting his own spin on the words. After a few pages I grew used to the writing style and started to fall in love with the book and it's unique character.

Ove is a good man, he's worked hard all his life, is true to his adored wife and diligent in meeting his own exacting standards. He never got into the habit of cultivating friends as his wife provided all the company and companionship he ever thought he needed.

His new neighbour Parvaneh didn't know this and wasn't about to be told she couldn't be his friend. She didn't set out to totally disrupt Ove's life, but that's what happened with her simple neighbourly requests. I loved watching her little intrusions into his orderly life and plans. All the little nudges and tweaks resulting in cascade of change.

I didn't know what to expect when I started this book; I have heard so many good reviews and recommendations though nothing specific. I'm glad I didn't let the awkward beginning scare me away as this was a most rewarding read that I would have been sorry to miss. I really hope that there are lots of Parvaneh's out there knocking on their neighbour's doors

A Man Called Ove
A Man Called Ove
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, May 6 2016
This review is from: A Man Called Ove (Kindle Edition)
How did Ove, a grumpy Swedish man, become dear to my heart in less than three hundred pages. I have to mark it down to the brilliance of debut author Fredrik Backman.

When I first started reading this book, I thought the language seemed a bit stilted and unwelcoming, sort of like Ove himself. I put it down to the author writing his native language and then the translator Henning Koch, himself a Swede, putting his own spin on the words. After a few pages I grew used to the writing style and started to fall in love with the book and it's unique character.

Ove is a good man, he's worked hard all his life, is true to his adored wife and diligent in meeting his own exacting standards. He never got into the habit of cultivating friends as his wife provided all the company and companionship he ever thought he needed.

His new neighbour Parvaneh didn't know this and wasn't about to be told she couldn't be his friend. She didn't set out to totally disrupt Ove's life, but that's what happened with her simple neighbourly requests. I loved watching her little intrusions into his orderly life and plans. All the little nudges and tweaks resulting in cascade of change.

I didn't know what to expect when I started this book; I have heard so many good reviews and recommendations though nothing specific. I'm glad I didn't let the awkward beginning scare me away as this was a most rewarding read that I would have been sorry to miss. I really hope that there are lots of Parvaneh's out there knocking on their neighbour's doors.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful story, May 6 2016
This book made me mad, it made me cry, it made me want to hug my children and their friends. This book made me want to say thank-you to those who see beyond the surface to the real person underneath.

Leonard is done, he wants the pain to end, he doesn't want to be here any more. The emotional abuse he has suffered doesn't show on the outside, but he is hurting all the same.

This book looks at the damage we inflict on each other. From bullies at school, to parents who are oblivious to the needs of their children. Just because there aren't any cuts nor blood, it doesn't mean that there isn't hurt and Leonard is definitely hurting.

Forgive me, Leonard Peacock puts the reader inside the head of a boy who is depressed and doesn't know how to cope any longer. Everything that he did came across as so very real. The bargaining with himself, doing things he thought would punish his mother, saying anything just to get by for another day, another hour, another minute.

The desperation, the cries for help were all there, would anyone notice. At the same time, he puts up a solid front of being okay, of not showing weakness. The book also looks at the support network for our children. Kids can reach out to parents, teachers, neighbours, even strangers on the street is they see the slightest glimmer of hope.

From the opening paragraphs I was hooked. I didn't want to put it down. I listened to the audio book as read by Noah Galvin. unabridged - 6 hours 19 minutes. It was an excellent choice as there were many times when the tears were flowing and I wouldn't have been able to continue as I couldn't wipe them away fast enough.

Forgive me, Leonard Peacock is a strong story and should be widely read in a group setting. Parents reading it with their teens need to be open to discussing the situation and educating their family about depression and how to get help.

In Canada, call the Kids Help Line toll free at 1-800-668-6868

Unbound: A Novella (The Amoveo Legend)
Unbound: A Novella (The Amoveo Legend)
Price: CDN$ 0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars ok story ,but Zach comes across too strong at times, May 2 2016
I enjoyed parts of this story, learning about the shifters and their long standing feud with another family and even the bonding with a mate. I didn't like the character of Zachary. He first states he has no intention of mating and then bam, he's she forward and demanding about it not giving Annabelle space to breath. He was far too over the top to want to read about.

Little Women
Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 4.87
83 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars My reading time is too valuable to spend on this book, April 23 2016
This review is from: Little Women (Paperback)
dictionary definition of insipid: narrator of Little Women
I listened to an hour and a half of the audio version and it was painful. The four girls are so spoiled and unworthy of being written about. They complain about being poor, yet they live in a warm, snug house, with food to eat every day, a house keeper and changes of clothes. Even when they meet a truly poor family they still feel hard done by.

I can't possibly listen to another minute of this story

to clarify, i think the reader of this audio book did a good job for the part I listened to. She was enthusiastic and had good characterizations of the various characters.

Two If by Sea
Two If by Sea
by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.76
28 used & new from CDN$ 22.26

4.0 out of 5 stars A solid story about who we call family, April 22 2016
This review is from: Two If by Sea (Hardcover)
The opening passages of this book grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I read with both dread and fascination the rapid chain of events resulting in the turmoil of Frank's life and knew I had to keep reading, I had to learn more and see what this upstanding former police officer would do.
Frank Mercy has everything he wants, a loving wife with a baby on the way, a job he enjoys and welcoming inlaws, in a blink of an eye, mother nature takes it all away. Still in shock from his losses, he reports to his job and helps to save others affected by the tsunami. After rescuing a three year boy whose family was swept away, he feels compelled to claim him as his own. He knows this is not the right thing to do, as the same time, deep in his soul, he also knows that he can't relinquish this boy.

Each time the story line seemed to calm down, author Jacquelyn Mitchard threw in a new twist that set me on edge once again. It was hard to find a peaceful moment where it felt safe to put the book down.

I enjoyed the characters in this story. Frank had seen everything as a cop, and the events surrounding his new son, Ian, didn't phase him for long. He took it all in stride, just as a good parent should. Claudia was a surprise. She had no idea what she was in for when she first approached Frank, but being a strong woman, both physically and mentally, she quickly adapted. The responses of the children seemed appropriate for their ages and situation. I never for one instant felt that they should have responded differently.

For me, this book was all about family, both the one you chose and the one you actually end up with. Instead of giving up and succumbing to a long downward spiral of mourning, he accepted what he did have and moved forward. He forged new bonds and expanded his definition of family. This story gave new meaning to the saying 'it takes a village to raise a child'.

The Scorpion Rules
The Scorpion Rules
by Erin Bow
Edition: Audio CD
Price: CDN$ 35.58
15 used & new from CDN$ 12.41

3.0 out of 5 stars Too little hope - spoiler warning, April 19 2016
This review is from: The Scorpion Rules (Audio CD)
I did not 'get' this book. From the first, it was obvious that there was no hope for the children, so why bother with the story. I was confused by the audio between who were computer characters and who were human. I really wanted to love this story, as Erin Bow is a wonderful story teller, but the audio version left me flat and confused.

Those who oversee this world, strive to keep the various jurisdictions at peace by demanding that each leader surrender a child to act as a "hostage of peace". These children, housed at the Precepture School, are well cared for, educated and are released when they turn eighteen. However, should their nation enter into war before that time, then his or her life is forfeit.

I kept hoping that Ms. Bow would introduce a twist on the fate of the hostages, that she would find a way to keep them alive. During their years at the Precepture, they were taught about statehood and politics and they formed life long bonds with the children who were the future leaders of opposing states. These children should have been kept alive as they were the best equipped to keep the peace. Kill the war enabling parents and install the peace hostages as the new leaders. Don't keep killing the children leaving the inept parents alive to surrender yet another child as hostage.

I listened to the audiobook as read by Madeleine Maby. 10 hours 13 minutes - unabridged.

I found her voice characterization confusing. The voices she used for the computers were smooth and lilting, yet for some of the child hostages, she used broken, halting voices which reminded me of the way William Shatner speaks in some of his roles. Each time one of the girls spoke like this, I thought she was one of the computers. Very confusing. This helped to spoil my enjoyment of the book. I honestly feel that I would have enjoyed this story more had I read a paper copy.

What I did enjoy was the normal aspects of the children's lives. They worked the Precepture farm for agricultural produce and cared for the herd of goats. If you have ever watched goats, their antics are primers for laughter. The goats in this story were no exception and they served to diffuse some of the tense situations the hostages found them selves in. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to overcome the despair I felt for the children's plight.

Wait for Me (Montgomery Brothers)
Wait for Me (Montgomery Brothers)
Price: CDN$ 5.38

4.0 out of 5 stars A sweet story, April 17 2016
I read this book serial fashion, a section by email each morning over three weeks. After a few days, I was eagerly looking forward to that mornings installment. It was enjoyable getting to know Emma and Lucas and how they would work out their budding relationship. Even though this is not a new story line, I found it well written and it kept my interest till the final paragraphs.

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