With apologies to my book followers, this summer has been filled with beautiful, sunny days and I have been a bit slow with my book reviews! In order to catch up, I am doing a summer blitz, grouping together some shorter reviews into one post.
50. Emily Climbs (L.M. Montgomery) – For a long time, I have meant to discover the Emily stories after enjoying the Anne of Green Gables series. I was not disappointed, see the combined review of the 3 books in the series: here
51. Still Waters (Amy Stuart)
I have been privileged to meet Amy Stuart twice. She is gracious in sharing her encouragement to other writers and could be the woman next door. She is a mom (of boys) so we know that she is busy, and a teacher, yet has been able to publish not one, but two novels! She is a role model for her family and for aspiring writers.
I enjoyed reading her first novel, Still Mine, which was a book that kept me turning the pages, anxious to learn the plight of the girl who had disappeared. In Still Waters, Clare returns as an inept investigator, nursing her wounds from Still Mine and hoping to uncover what happened to a missing woman and her young son. As Clare becomes enmeshed in the community of High River she discovers that everyone has a secret!
This book is the second in a trilogy and I am looking forward to the next instalment!
53. The Breadwinner (Deborah Ellis)
It was terrific to meet Deborah Ellis at the Brantford Public Library where she shared her experiences, as an author, travelling to other countries and helping others that are less fortunate, to a crowd of adults and children. I had never read any of her books which are geared to middle-grade students and enjoyed the tale of Parvana, a young, Afghan girl, taking great risks to support her family after her father was put in jail by the Talib.
The book is a great introduction to injustice in the world and should help students realize how lucky they are to live in Canada. The author’s commitment to assist others is evident in that all the royalties from The Breadwinner are donated to Women for Women in Afghanistan which is a charity dedicated to the education of Afghan girls in refugee camps in Pakistan.
54. The Story Girl (L.M. Montgomery)
As I slowly enjoy the novels written by the beloved author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, I listened to the audio version of The Story Girl. Unlike the Anne and Emily characters, the children in this book are not orphans. They are spending a summer with their cousins while their father works (it was not all rosy as they had experienced the loss of their beloved mother). The children enjoy time exploring Prince Edward Island and are kept under the spell of the Story Girl who weaves elaborate tales to keep them occupied. The Story Girl is a book that kept me smiling and thinking of a simpler time when children played outside, shared stories and were not held captive by the technology of computers, cell phones and video games. It was a delightful “read” as I discover other books written by of L.M. Montgomery.
55. The Great Atlantic Bucket List (Robin Esrock)
As we considered our summer plans, we enjoyed pursuing The Great Atlantic Bucket List which shared many fun experiences on the East Coast. The author had clearly enjoyed all of the locations and adventures including whale watching, kayaking and forward-facing repelling down a cliff. The book contained many ideas for dining, travel and enjoying a family vacation. It is a great resource for anyone considering a trip to the Canadian Maritimes!
56. The Plant Paradox (Stephen Gundry)
In my efforts to live a healthy lifestyle, I was curious about the Plant Paradox. It was written by a doctor, actually a cardiac surgeon, so one would think that it would have been supported by peer reviewed research. Although there were some interesting ideas at the beginning of the book, I grew more and more disillusioned as I listened further into the narrative. The author completely lost me when he spoke of plants “protecting themselves”, of his patients who had been able to cure themselves from cancer through diet and how ALS patients could stall their disease from progressing. I am glad that this was a borrowed audio book as I would not have liked to support this kind of writing at a time when many are looking for quick fixes to weight loss challenges.
57. Cat’s Eye (Margaret Atwood)
Cat’s Eye was our July book club pick. Meetings during the peak holiday season have limited attendance and of the 4 of us, who were able to join, none of us had finished the book by the meeting date. I would go on to be the only one to finish the book which was chosen in honour of Canada Day.
It was not my favourite Atwood book to read but I did enjoy the way she focused on the richly described characters with little focus on plot. Written in 1988, it was a slow read taking me two weeks to finish, but her prose is so lovely and I was left pondering the experience of Elaine Risley as she participated in a showing of her art and reflected back on her unique childhood experiences, the cruelty of young girls and her experiences with past lovers that led her to her art.
Margaret Atwood is speaking at Stratford and I am looking forward to hearing this energetic author speak in September!
58. The Outsider (Stephen King)
No author can rival the great Stephen King for his creepy tales that keep readers on edge! I still remember sneaking his book, Christine, under the covers and reading into the wee hours of the night as a young teen… regretting it later when my parents left in the middle of the night to go to the hospital, leaving me in charge of my younger brothers, in our country home… thinking of that devilish car!
Until I was finished, I had not realized that this book was linked to his Mr. Mercedes trilogy. I was kept hostage reading for two days until I had finished the thick book and was left thinking about the arrest of Terry Maitland, popular Little League coach. The case seemed cut and dried with Terry’s DNA all over the victim and crime scene until their was plausible evidence of Terry’s alibi including DNA and sightings at a conference.
In true Stephen King style, the reader is kept turning the pages, trying to understand what supernatural events are occurring and who is responsible. After reading The Outsider, I will now have to circle back to the Mr. Mercedes series.
These are a few reviews of my summer reading. What are you reading? What have been your favourite summer reads? Have you read and enjoyed any of the books in this post? Please feel free to comment below and enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer reading before the frenetic back to school days begin!