Giving Under-Rated Books Some Love! ♥ #1

Some of my favourite Youtubers have been talking about under-rated books that they loved, and they’ve inspired me to spread some love! The following books are those I’ve read and have the least number of ratings on Goodreads. I’d like to bring some attention to them so more people can enjoy a great read!

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Shooting Creek and Other Stories is an anthology of short stories written by Scott Sanders. This book only has 2 ratings on Goodreads, so it truly needs more attention. I gave it 4 stars.

Published March 2017 by Down Out Books

Mystery/Horror/Thriller

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I don’t like books with horses, and I don’t typically like romance stories, but somehow I absolutely LOVED Thief of Happy Endings written by Kristen Chandler. I gave this one 5 stars!

Published June 2018 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Young Adult Contemporary Romance

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Together at Midnight is another YA Romance novel that took me by surprise. I gave this one 5 stars.

Published January 2018 by HarperTeen

Let me know about your favourite under-rated books in the comments!

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The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker #SciFi #Netgalley

about the book winter

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Title: The Dreamers

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Expected Publication January 15, 2019 by Random House

Science-Fiction

In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned.

Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?”

My review Winter

“At first, they blame the air.
It’s an old idea, a poison in the ether, a danger carried in by the wind. A strange haze is seen drifting through town on that first night, the night the trouble begins. It arrives like weather, or like smoke, some say later, but no one can locate any fire. Some blame the drought, which has been bleeding away the lake for years, and browning the air with dust.”

The Dreamers is a stunning third person narrative that takes place near Los Angeles, in a fictional town called Santa Lora, California. Mei’s roommate, Kara, falls asleep, then over a few days her breath and heart rate slow, until she dies. After a few students fall into the deep sleep, their dorm is put under quarantine. The illness slips through the cracks and spreads throughout the town. As hundreds of people fall asleep and began to dream, we meet many people affected by the mysterious illness, who are trying their best not to infect the ones they love.

“This is how the sickness travels best: through all the same channels as do fondness and friendship and love.”

I was hooked after the first paragraph. The characters are extremely well-written. They feel like people I could know in real life. The connection to characters, pacing, mystery, description, and writing style work together to create a fantastic work of fiction.

The ending felt abrupt, and left me with unanswered questions.

The Dreamers is a memorable and entertaining read that I recommend to readers who enjoy character-driven, thought-provoking Sci-Fi novels with an open ending.

Setting: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Message: 4/5
Overall: 3.9

Star, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, RatingStar, Favorite, Orange, Outline, Rating

 

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

Professional Reader

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Karen Thompson Walker is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Age of Miracles, which has been translated into twenty-seven languages and named one of the best books of the year by People, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Financial Times, among others. Born and raised in San Diego, Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. She lives with her husband, the novelist Casey Walker, and their two daughters in Portland. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Oregon.” http://karenthompsonwalker.com/bios/karen-thompson-walker

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December Wrap Up…2019

This wrap up is real late. By trying to reach my goal of reading 75 books in 2018 I was reading one book after another the end of December, which left me behind on book reviews…and sooooo…I wanted to catch up on those book reviews before posting a wrap up. Therefore, not my fault. 😛

In December I read 9 books! I’m pretty sure that’s my best reading month ever. Not 100% sure on that, it might be a lie LOL

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Title: The Psychology of Time Travel

Author: Kate Mascarenhas

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Date Published: February 2019

Genre: Sci-Fi Mystery

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: City of Ghosts

Author: Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Scholastic Audio

Date Published: August 2018

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy (paranormal)

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

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Title: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Publisher: Atria Books

Date Published: October 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3)

Author: Matt Haig

Publisher: Canongate Books

Date Published: October 2018

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: The Glovemaker’s Daughter

Author: Leah Fleming

Publisher: Simon Schuster

Date Published: November 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: Man Gone Down

Author: Michael Thomas

Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat

Date Published: December 2006

Genre: Literary Fiction

🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Atria Books

Date Published: December 2018

Genre: Adult Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller

Page Count: 336

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

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Title: The Golden Compass

Author: Philip Pullman

Publisher: Yearling

Date Published: 1995

Genre: YA Fantasy

🌟🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

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Title: The Best of Us

Author: Robyn Carr

Publisher: Mira Books

Date Published: January 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

🌟🌟 Click here for my review

 

 

 

 

#Buzzwordathon Jan 14-20

I love Buzzwordathon because it has super simple challenges. This time around the “buzzword” is – Lie! Read books that have Lie, Lies, Lying, Liar in the title.

Hosted by:

https://twitter.com/booksandlala and https://twitter.com/myeyeshadowisod

Check out the Twitter https://twitter.com/BuzzwordAthon

My TBR:

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Published May 2017 by Delacorte Press

Young Adult Contemporary/Mystery/Thriller

Hardcover 361 pages

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The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

Published December 2016 by Mira

Mystery/Thriller

Paperback 334 pages

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The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Published by Penguin Random House Audio

Audiobook on Scribd

Narrated by Nicol Zanzarella

Length: 12 hrs 15 mins

 

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The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens

Published November 2015 by HarperTeen

Young Adult Contemporary Romance/Realistic Fiction

E-book 336 pages

 

 

 

My Most-Anticipated Books on the Canada Reads Longlist #ThursdayThoughts #CanadaReads

The Canada Reads Longlist has been released and it includes very compelling stories. Here are the books I’m most excited to read from the list:

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Homes: A Refugee Story

Written By: Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Young

Published May 1, 2018 by Freehand Books

Nonfiction, Memoir, Autobiography

In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life. They moved to Homs, in Syria — just before the Syrian civil war broke out.

Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was ten years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes tells of the strange juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy — soccer, cousins, video games, friends.

Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone — and found safety in Canada — with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria.”

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That Time I Loved You

Written By: Carrianne Leung

Published March 2018 by HarperCollins

Short Story Collection

Life is never as perfect as it seems.

Tensions that have lurked beneath the surface of a shiny new subdivision rise up, in new fiction from the author of the Toronto Book Award—shortlisted The Wondrous Woo

The suburbs of the 1970s promised to be heaven on earth—new houses, new status, happiness guaranteed. But in a Scarborough subdivision populated by newcomers from all over the world, a series of sudden catastrophic events reveals that not everyone’s dreams come true. Moving from house to house, Carrianne Leung explores the inner lives behind the tidy front gardens and picture-perfect windows, always returning to June, an irrepressible adolescent Chinese-Canadian coming of age in this shifting world. Through June and her neighbours, Leung depicts the fine line where childhood meets the realities of adult life, and examines, with insight and sharp prose, how difficult it is to be true to ourselves at any age.”

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An Ocean of Minutes

Written By: Thea Lim

Published July 2018 by Touchstone

Science-Fiction (Time Travel) Dystopian

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.”

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Life on the Ground Floor: Letters From the Edge of Emergency Medicine

Written By: James Maskalyk

Published April 2017 by Doubleday Canada

Autobiography, Medical Memoir

A celebrated humanitarian doctor’s unique perspective on sickness, health and what it is to be alive. In this deeply personal book, humanitarian doctor and activist James Maskalyk, author of the highly acclaimed Six Months in Sudan, draws upon his experience treating patients in the world’s emergency rooms. From Toronto to Addis Ababa, Cambodia to Bolivia, he discovers that although the cultures, resources and medical challenges of each hospital may differ, they are linked indelibly by the ground floor: the location of their emergency rooms. Here, on the ground floor, is where Dr. Maskalyk witnesses the story of -human aliveness—our mourning and laughter, tragedies and hopes, the frailty of being and the resilience of the human spirit. And it’s here too that he is swept into the story, confronting his fears and doubts and questioning what it is to be a doctor.
Masterfully written and artfully structured, Life on the Ground Floor is more than just an emergency doctor’s memoir or travelogue–it’s a meditation on health, sickness and the wonder of human life.

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All Our Wrong Todays

Written By: Elan Mastai

Published Feb. 2017 by Dutton

Fantasy Sci-Fi (Time Travel)

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.”

To see the entire Longlist visit: https://www.cbc.ca/books/here-is-the-canada-reads-2019-longlist-1.4969716

The Best of Us #NewBook #BookReview #ContemporaryRomance #Netgalley

In Sullivan’s Crossing, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr has created a place where good people, powerful emotions, great humor and a healthy dose of common sense are the key ingredients to a happy life. Sullivan’s Crossing brings out the best in people. It’s a place you’ll want to visit again and again.”

 

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41882190

Title: The Best of Us

Author: Robyn Carr

Published January 8, 2019 by Mira Books

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Page Count: 336

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41882190-the-best-of-us

Dr. Leigh Culver loves practicing medicine in Timberlake, Colorado. It is a much-needed change of pace from her stressful life in Chicago. The only drawback is she misses her aunt Helen, the woman who raised her. But it’s time that Leigh has her independence, and she hopes the beauty of the Colorado wilderness will entice her aunt to visit often.Helen Culver is an independent woman who lovingly raised her sister’s orphaned child. Now, with Leigh grown, it’s time for her to live life for herself. The retired teacher has become a successful mystery writer who loves to travel and intends to never experience winter again.When Helen visits Leigh, she is surprised to find her niece still needs her, especially when it comes to sorting out her love life. But the biggest surprise comes when Leigh takes Helen out to Sullivan’s Crossing and Helen finds herself falling for the place and one special person. Helen and Leigh will each have to decide if they can open themselves up to love neither expected to find and seize the opportunity to live their best lives.

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The Best of Us, fourth book of the Sullivan’s Crossing series, takes place in a small town called Timberlake, Colorado. It’s the perfect place for Dr. Leigh Culver, who recently moved from Chicago looking for a more relaxing lifestyle. She’s selfish, judgemental, and has a lot to learn if she’s going to open her heart for local pub owner, Rob. Rob’s son, Finn, is in his first serious relationship during his last year of high school. Leigh’s Aunt Helen is a retired teacher and author, who raised Leigh after her mother died when she was young. When Helen comes to visit Leigh she strikes up an unexpected relationship. This quick read is a character-driven, feel-good story about friendship, family, and romance.

There are a lot of characters, many mentioned in the first chapter. It felt like an overwhelming info-dump. I almost gave up reading when I was almost a quarter into the book because I wasn’t enjoying the writing style at all, however, something happens and that’s it – hooked till the end (and even shed some tears).

Sullivan’s Crossing, the campground owned by Sully, is a charming place. Sully, a 72-year-old, is my favourite character. He’s smart, gentle, kind, and funny. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series (and had no idea it was part of a series when I requested the ARC on Netgalley), but I would like to read more stories by Carr if they take place at Sullivan’s Crossing.

There were many little things that made this story feel very dated:
1. Referring to salad and diet coke as “girl food”
2. “doesn’t look like he could’ve been the kind of kid to get picked on” because the kid was good-looking.
3. Why in the world would a 34-year-old woman bring her Aunt on a first date?
4. What’s the problem with an unmarried pregnant woman?

I recommend this one to adult readers who enjoy a sweet romance story.

Setting: 3/5
Plot: 1.5/5
Characters: 2.5/5
Writing: 2.5/5
Message: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.4

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

Professional Reader

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Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, eleven-time #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost sixty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. The third novel (THE FAMILY GATHERING) in her fan-favorite new series, Sullivan’s Crossing, will be released in April 2018. Robyn is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 and in 2017, VIRGIN RIVER was named one of the HarperCollins 200 Iconic Books of the past 200 years. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada.”

www.RobynCarr.com

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New Year’s Book Tag #TagTuesday

New Year’s Book Tag

Creator —> Bookables https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DnIOkVX_Xk

Questions

1. How many books are you planning to read in 2019?

Last year I read 75 book, this year my goal is 100 books.

2. Name 5 books that you didn’t get to this year but want to make a priority in 2019.

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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

 

 

 

 

 

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Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

 

 

 

 

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

 

 

 

 

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Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

 

 

 

 

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Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

 

 

 

 

 

3. What genre do you want to read more of?

Classics! In particular, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Ulysses, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Big Sleep.

4. Name 3 non-book related goals for 2019.
– journal every day
– sleep more
– spend more time outside

5. What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

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Willow by Wayland Drew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. One word that your hoping 2019 will be:

LOVE

 

The Golden Compass #Bookreview #Fantasy

The Golden Compass is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I started reading it with my son, but ended up finishing it on my own after realizing it’s a little too mature for a nine-year-old.

“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”

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Title: The Golden Compass

Author: Philip Pullman

Published April 1996 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1995)

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: 399

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.”

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The Golden Compass is an epic adventure that begins in a parallel universe at Jordan College in Oxford, England. Lyra is a twelve-year-old girl who lives at Jordan College with her daemon Pantalaimon. Every human has a daemon, which is a physical representation of the human soul. The daemons of children can change forms, but once the child becomes an adult the daemon remains in the same form. She was left at Jordan College by her Uncle Lord Asriel, a military leader. Lyra’s best friend is a kitchen boy named Roger Parslow, who goes missing. There are many missing children, and Lyra believes they’ve been taken by The Gobblers. One day a politician named Marisa Coulter comes to Jordan College talking about a trip North. Lyra knows her Uncle Lord Asriel has gone North and wants to find him. She agrees to go with Ms. Coulter and be her assistant. Before she leaves she’s given an alethiometer (the golden compass), and believes it is her mission to give it to her Uncle Lord Asriel.

“It lay heavily in her hands,the crystal face gleaming, the brass body exquisitely machined. It was very much like a clock, or a compass, for there were hands pointing around the dial, but instead of the hours or the points of a compass there were several little pictures with extraordinary precision, as if on ivory with the slenderest sable brush. She turned the dial around to look at them all. There was an anchor; an hourglass surmounted by a skull; a bull, a beehive…..Thirty-six altogether and she couldn’t even guess what they meant.”

With the help of Farder Coram and John Faa, Lyra travels to the North where she meets new friends like an armored bear named Iorek Byrnison, balloonist Lee Scoresby, and my favourite character, witch queen Serafina Pekkala. I wanted more about her, and am hoping the next book gives me more of her back story and life.

“You are so young, Lyra, too young to understand this, but I shall tell you anyway and you’ll understand it later: men pass in front of our eyes like butterflies, creatures of a brief season. We love them; they are brave, proud, beautiful, clever; and they die almost at once. They die so soon that our hearts are continually racked with pain. We bear their children, who are witches if they are female, human if not; and then in the blink of an eye they are gone, felled, slain, lost. Our sons, too. When a little boy is growing, he thinks he is immortal. His mother knows he isn’t. Each time becomes more painful, until finally your heart is broken. Perhaps that is when Yambe-Akka comes for you. She is older than the tundra. Perhaps, for her, witches’ lives are as brief as men’s are to us.”

Although Lyra is brave and smart, she’s also a spoiled brat without manners. The characters felt flat to me, lacking personality, and desires, I just couldn’t connect with them.

“We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.”

The writing itself is stunning. The world-building is pretty good, although there are some things left unexplained (such as daemons). The plot is relatively fast-paced, creating an exciting story that had me hooked from the beginning. There’s a lot of debate about the anti-religious themes. A nun in the book does say Christianity is a “powerful mistake”. In interviews Pullman has said things like he is trying to undermine Christianity through his work. The Golden Compass is about the search for Dust, which basically represents sin. Children have no “dust” on them, while adults do. The villains in the book are trying to find a way to prevent Dust. Does this novel have anti-religious concepts, yes, however, I feel like it didn’t add or take away from the narrative. The main problem with this book is that it is too mature for kids, yet immature for young adults.

“Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.”

Imaginative, exciting, whimsical, The Golden Compass is a great fantasy novel about spirituality, morality, the human soul, and science versus religion, that I recommend to anyone fourteen-years-old+ who like a plot-driven story with an unlikable protagonist.

“So Lyra and her daemon turned away from the world they were born in, and looked toward the sun, and walked into the sky.”

 

Setting: 3.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 2.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Message: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

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In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family. Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years. He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories. Pullman has received many awards for his literature, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for exceptional children’s literature in 1996, and the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2006. He is most famous for his His Dark Materials trilogy, a series of young adult fantasy novels which feature free-thought themes. The novels cast organized religion as the series’ villain. Pullman told The New York Times in 2000: “When you look at what C.S. Lewis is saying, his message is so anti-life, so cruel, so unjust. The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt. At one point, the old professor says, ‘It’s all in Plato‘—meaning that the physical world we see around us is the crude, shabby, imperfect, second-rate copy of something much better. I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife.” He argues for a “republic of heaven” here on Earth.

In 2007, the first novel of the His Dark Materials trilogy was adopted into the motion picture The Golden Compass by New Line Cinema. Many churches and Christian organizations, including the Catholic League, called for a boycott of the film due to the books’ atheist themes. While the film was successful in Europe and moderately received in the United States, the other two books in the trilogy were not be adapted into film, possibly due to pressure from the Catholic Church. When questioned about the anti-church views in His Dark Materials, Pullman explains in an interview for Third Way (UK): “It comes from history. It comes from the record of the Inquisition, persecuting heretics and torturing Jews and all that sort of stuff; and it comes from the other side, too, from the Protestants burning the Catholics. It comes from the insensate pursuit of innocent and crazy old women, and from the Puritans in America burning and hanging the witches—and it comes not only from the Christian church but also from the Taliban. Every single religion that has a monotheistic god ends up by persecuting other people and killing them because they don’t accept him. Wherever you look in history, you find that. It’s still going on” (Feb. 2002). Pullman has received many threats by ardent believers over his choice of subject matter.

http://www.philip-pullman.com/

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Man Gone Down #Bookreview #literaryfiction #ownvoices

On the eve of his thirty-fifth birthday, the unnamed black narrator of Man Gone Down finds himself broke, estranged from his white wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend’s six-year-old child. He has four days to come up with the money to keep the kids in school and make a down payment on an apartment for them in which to live. As we slip between his childhood in inner city Boston and present-day New York City, we learn of a life marked by abuse, abandonment, raging alcoholism, and the best and worst intentions of a supposedly integrated America. This is a story of the American Dream gone awry, about what it’s like to feel preprogrammed to fail in life and the urge to escape that sentence.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/79420.Man_Gone_Down

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79420

Title: Man Gone Down

Author: Michael Thomas

Published December 2006 by Grove Press, Black Cat

Genre: Literary Fiction, Cultural

Page Count: 431

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It took me three starts to finish this book, and the only reason I persevered is because my 2018 New Year’s Resolution was to finish the unfinished.

Man Gone Down takes place in New York. The main character is an educated black man struggling to overcome his past and provide for his wife and children. As a white woman I feel like it’s really important for me to read books like this. This beautifully written novel provides a powerful message about discrimination, dignity, perseverance, marriage, and family. Trigger warnings for child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, abandonment, and hate crimes.

Although the story is compelling, I had a hard time connecting with the characters. The main character kept making strange decisions, which made it really hard to understand his motivations. The other characters felt one-dimensional. The writing is self-indulgent, confusing and repetitive.

“I wonder if this is what it feels like, falling out of love: feeling yourself fading out of existence – the gray sky, the coffee shop limbo – everything a way station of sorts. Making promises you know you can’t keep. Making promises – period. People in love shouldn’t have to vow or demand, petition or exhort. Nothing. Not even question. No collisions with your surroundings or yourself – you move gently, unknowing, in time.”

I’m not sure who would enjoy Man Gone Down, however, it did win the International DUBLIN Literary Award in 2009. From the Goodreads reviews I get the feeling that people either “love it or hate it”, so I say give it a try because Man Gone Down is an important book.

Setting: 2/5
Plot: 1/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Message: 3.5/5
Overall: 2.3 rounded down to 2 on Goodreads

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“Thomas was born and raised in Boston.[1][2] He studied for a bachelor’s degree at Hunter College in New York City, where he now teaches, and for a master’s at Warren Wilson College.[3] He currently lives in New York City,[2] claiming to have never had a proper job although he has worked in several areas, including bars, restaurants, construction, pizza delivery, on film sets and driving a taxi.[4] Thomas is married and lives with his wife and three children in Brooklyn.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Thomas_(author)

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Watching You #BookReview #MysteryThriller #AtriaBooks #Netgalley

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41219211

Title: Watching You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Published December 26, 2018 by Atria Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Page Count: 336

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41219211-watching-you

My review Winter.png

A murder has taken place. A woman is dead. We don’t know who killed her. And we don’t know who was watching.

The stunning cover of Watching You gives the impression that it tells the story of someone watching others through the window, and that’s exactly what this book is about.

“Because that’s the thing with getting what you want: all that yearning and dreaming and fantasizing leaves a great big hole that can only be filled with more yearning and dreaming and fantasizing.”

Joey (Josephine) is a twenty-seven-year-old living with her boyfriend, brother, and brother’s wife in a charming Bristol suburb. Joey becomes infatuated with her neighbour, Tom, a fifty-one-year-old who lives with his wife, Nicola, and teenage son, Freddie. Freddie is socially-awkward, is on the Autism spectrum, and is obsessed with observing people in the neighbourhood. One of Tom’s students, Jenna, lives with her mentally-ill mother who is paranoid and captivated with watching everyone. Jenna is suspicious of Tom’s behaviour and thinks he has an inappropriate relationship with a student.

“Voyeurism was a form of control, like mental abuse, like rape, like bullying. It was nothing to do with the physicality of the action, and all to do with the feeling of power it gave the perpetrator, the balancing out of delicate ids and egos.”

If you don’t like unlikable characters, then this may not be a good choice for you.

Watching You is an intense story with short chapters, and intriguing characters. I was trying to figure out the mystery the entire time, and was mind-blown when everything was revealed. The idea of characters being watched, or watching others gives this thriller a creepy feel. Highly recommend!

Setting: 3/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Message: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.9/5 Rounded to 4/5 on Goodreads

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*

about the author winter.png

Lisa was born in London in 1968. Her mother was a secretary and her father was a textile agent and she was brought up in the northernmost reaches of London with her two younger sisters. She was educated at a Catholic girls’ Grammar school in Finchley. After leaving school at sixteen she spent two years at Barnet College doing an arts foundation course and then two years at Epsom School of Art & Design studying Fashion Illustration and Communication.

She worked for the fashion chain Warehouse for three years as a PR assistant and then for Thomas Pink, the Jermyn Street shirt company for four years as a receptionist and PA. She started her first novel, Ralph’s Party, for a bet in 1996. She finished it in 1997 and it was published by Penguin books in May 1998. It went on to become the best-selling debut novel of that year.

She has since written a further nine novels, as is currently at work on her eleventh.

She now lives in an innermost part of north London with her husband Jascha, an IT consultant, her daughters, Amelie and Evie and her silver tabbies, Jack and Milly.”

smitten 4 fiction winter.png