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Content by Heather Pearson
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Reviews Written by
Heather Pearson "Heather" (Ontario Canada)
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Something About Sophie: A Novel
Something About Sophie: A Novel
by Mary Kay Mccomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.13
11 used & new from CDN$ 8.90

4.0 out of 5 stars The Story Keeps Building Right up to the End, July 20 2016
This was a good story that kept me interested to the last pages.

Sophie Shepard is unexpectedly drawn into a story almost three decades old when a stranger invites her to visit him on his death bed. She arrives too late. She's then torn whether to determine what he wanted to tell her, or to let these secrets remain untold. Matters are complicated when she meets Dr. Drew McCarren, with whom she feels an immediate attraction.

I enjoyed watching the growth of Sophie's relationships with the various people she met in the small town of Clearfield, Virgina. They seemed to progress in a realistic manner and intensity.

Each time I thought I had figured out the mystery, author Mary Kay McComas added a further depth to it. At the onset, I thought it was a simple question of who was Sophie's birth mother. It became a story of small town dynamics and how the actions of a small number continue to ripple outward.


The Sudden Appearance of Hope
The Sudden Appearance of Hope
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars An unforgetable Read, July 18 2016
Hope Arden is forgettable. Not that there isn't anything remarkable about her, just that no one can remember her, not even her parents.

This is a great premise for a story and an appealing character. I really enjoyed the descriptions of how Hope had devised coping mechanisms to deal with this malady. She took full advantage of being able to redo first impressions. That's almost a super power.

Beyond how Hope coped day to day, the story fell flat. The slim plot was overwhelmed by the overly frequent descriptive passages. Author Claire North writes great descriptions from which I could picture myself in a situation/setting, but too many times I couldn't find a link between the story line and accompanying description. Wasted words.

A literary device used sparingly in a novel can be very effective, however, when used repeatedly it tends to lose it's impact. The first few times that Ms. North included definition of story terms, it was interesting and helpful. After employing this technique a dozen or two dozen times, I stopped reading them and skipped down the page to the continue the story. Same happened with the lists or were they free form poetry. They made no sense to me and added nothing to my comprehension nor enjoyment of the story.

Even though I didn't enjoy the writing style of this book, I keep pondering Hope's life. She is a fascinating character who I'd like to meet again in a short story.


Virals
Virals
by Kathy Reichs
Edition: Audio CD
8 used & new from CDN$ 10.71

4.0 out of 5 stars Good start to the series, July 17 2016
This review is from: Virals (Audio CD)
This is a teen version of the Tempe Brennan novels, but better. Tory Brennan is 14 and has moved to an island offshore of South Carolina. Her and her friends don't fit in at their school and tend to spend their ample free time together. One day they rescue a wolfdog from a research lab and unlease a sequence of events they couldn't have imagined.

I enjoyed this audio book. The teens acted just as I remember my kids at that age. They leap into situations with out considering the consequences. They let their emotions rule rather than logic. The parents are all secondary characters, the story doesn't need much input from them as the kids carry the day.

I liked the tie-in to the Temperence Brennan books. It gives an explanation for some of Tory's interests and knowledge that a typical teen wouldn't have. You don't have to have read any of the author's previous books to enjoy this one.

Author Kathy Reichs stretched the science enough to make the teens illness believable. With swine flu and bird flu having worked their way around the globe, why not an illness from an animal right there on Loggerhead Island. I thought that it added an interesting twist to the story that would appeal to the teen reader.

Cristin Milioti does a great job as reader for the audio book. The kids really did sound like young teens. My favourite voice was the one used for Chance, the indulged son of one of the wealthiest men in the area. I don't know how to describe a South Carolina accent, but his dripped of money and privilege. I listened to the unabridged version 9 hours 4 minutes.

The Virals series has grown to 9 books.


The Good Girl
The Good Girl
by Mary Kubica
Edition: Audio CD
Price: CDN$ 30.64
11 used & new from CDN$ 27.79

4.0 out of 5 stars But is it Stockholm syndrome?, July 7 2016
This review is from: The Good Girl (Audio CD)
You've probably watched a police drama where a person has been abducted and the family is shown making a televised pleas for the person's safe release. Author Mary Kubica takes us inside the police cordon, inside the abductor's lair and shows us in detail what happened during the abduction of school teacher Mia Dennett.

We learn the story from the perspective of several narrators. While it is usually the police detective who provides the story, here we are invited into Colin Thatcher's confidence where he shares his reasons for his actions. It's never as clear cut as one might imagine. It was interesting to learn bits and pieces of each person's history. Much more effective for Detective Gabe Hoffman to relate a bit of his past and me to draw the conclusion of "aha, that's why he became a cop".

I was moved by the scenes with Gabe and Mrs. Thatcher. They made me cry more than once. Why would I cry for the abductor's mother. Awesome power of the story that Ms. Kubica wove.

I thought I knew who was behind it all, but I didn't get it all right, I had some of the why, but not the who. This was an excellently twisted tale. Even the details of Mia and Colin's day to day existence were interesting to read.

I listened to the unabridged audio version. 10.6 hours. The four readers did a great job that really helped set the tone of the book.

This a wonderful debut novel and it shows great promise for future works by Mary Kubica.


The Last Orphans
The Last Orphans
Price: CDN$ 0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars interesting premise, but it seemed a bit hollow, June 30 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Last Orphans (Kindle Edition)
Shane Tucker was just talking with his aunt a few minutes ago and now she is dead. On his way to seek help in dealing with her remains, he finds more bodies, all adults. They're dead, all of them, all the adults. Thus starts the first book of a three part series by N. W. Harris.

Within hours of this disaster, Shane has dozens of children gathered around looking to him for leadership. Truth be told, he's at as much a loss as them, but he can't let them know or they'll fall apart. Along with some of the older teens, including Kelley and Tracy, he forms a plan to find shelter and help.

'All the adults are dead' is a frequent theme for YA post-apocalyptic novels. This one distinguishes itself by explaining how it happens, which I appreciated. From that point it sets a clear goal, though how it's to be accomplished is up to the kids. The story developed in a manner that seemed fitting for what teems might actually do. Stick with what they know and not too much bravado.

In typical YA fashion, this story moves quickly with lots of action and minimal details. We are introduced to many characters, but really only get to know a few of them in any depth: Shane, Kelley and Tracy. I felt bad for Shane when his aunt died, but then there were so many deaths, that I lost that feeling and never regained it.

For the most part, I enjoyed this story and kept reading late into the night, but the characters didn't make an emotional connection with me. They needed to exhibit more emotion, to reach beyond their shell shock. I still wanted them to succeed so that the story would conclude and I'd be finished reading their tale.


A Robot in the Garden: A Novel
A Robot in the Garden: A Novel
by Deborah Install
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.40
5 used & new from CDN$ 3.62

5.0 out of 5 stars I fell in love with this story, June 27 2016
Ben Chambers's life has been on hold since his parents died in a airplane crash several years ago. He dropped out of vet school and has yet to find a job. In fact, he even finds it challenging to take the garbage out on time.

One day when he does take out the trash, he finds a small robot named Tang in his back garden. The next day it's still there and Ben becomes determined to learn more about it. This is the start of an epic road trip and a trip to reclaim his life.

I fell in love with this story almost from the first page. It gave me a warm cuddly feeling throughout and Ben's attachment to the little robt was endearing.

Ben is a lost man and when he unites with the lost robot, they become a pair that pulls at the heart strings of the reader.With every mis-step on their quest I found myself cheering for them and hoping that the next leg would be kinder and would draw them closer to the needed resolution.

The idea of a road trip (including flights) with a robot who has knowledge of a toddler is appealing if fanciful. With the current status of robotic research, this book teeters on the edge of science fiction. At first, I thought this would be a YA story, but it's much more than that. Ben finds himself examining his life in regard to how he responds to Tang.As much as he had preconceived ideas about Tang, he also had many about himself and his marriage. While a robot can't solve his problems, he sure is a great travel companion and character.

A Robot in the Garden is the debut novel for author Deborah Install.


Where the Wild Things Are (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Where the Wild Things Are (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Max Records
Price: CDN$ 9.96
23 used & new from CDN$ 3.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth watching, June 26 2016
What a drab, dreary, depressing movie. It has none of the magic that the book has. I wouldn't let a youngish child watch this, it's too scary. Best part of the entire movie are the stick constructions.


Sweetest Kulu
Sweetest Kulu
by Celina Kalluk
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 13.67
27 used & new from CDN$ 5.94

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$ 17.83
4 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
34 used & new from CDN$ 8.26

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.


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