Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor

No Time Like the Past (The Chronicles of St. Mary's, #5)No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heads up this review is sort of all over the place as I am rushing to get it done before I have to go to work.

Another delightful non stop adventure with Max and her gang of misfits. St. Mary's is up and running again and ready for all sorts of adventures. As usual there are plenty of laughs, fascinating historical scenes and of course everything will go tits up on numerous occasions. The dialogue and the characters are once again the highlight of this series. The witty exchanges between characters will keep you smiling on even the darkest of days. I really enjoyed some of the scenes between Ms Lee and Max in this installment. So snarky I dare you not to laugh out loud. Ms Taylor has a gift of balancing both light and dark scenes in equal measure. There is one scene that is so beautifully dark and sad and so marvelously written it will take your breath away. I learned a lot about Botticelli in this one which gave me a yearning to go do some further research. I don't want to give anything away but there is one scene that made me cheer out loud - trust me once you have finished reading you will not be disappointed. I enjoyed this one from the very first sentence to the delightfully sweet and funny ending. My favourite scene in all of her books so far is in this installment. All I can say is Markham and Leon and a kiss -- yes you heard me. My only complaint is that I no longer can call a Penis by its true name, it will be from now on be referred to as a Todger.

Favourite Quotes/Passages

"Whatever it is, you need to face it down. You give it a good kicking, because that's what you have to do. Then you walk away. And then you turn around, walk back and give it an even bigger one, just because you can."

'"Seriously it is the best you can do, No wonder Hunter won't give you the time of day'.. This is how you really kiss a girl. I smiled and lifted up my face, but he seized Markham in his arms, bent him over backwards, planted one firmly on the lips, and in walked Nurse Hunter. "

“Beautiful books, full of knowledge and beauty and ideas. All lost, thanks to a mad monk who, in the end, became a little too mad even for the church he served.”

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Rapid Fire Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next DoorThe Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fabulous book for a cold November Moncton day. Once I started I couldn't put it down, yup that is why we had Pizza for dinner kiddies. Lots of twists and turns and makes you think about what you would have done in a similar situation. Also really shows you that keeping secrets from those you love is insanely stupid and can make things blow out of control. I really felt for Anne as a Mom who too suffered with Postpartum Depression, it plays hell on your mental state. It was kind of nice just losing myself in a book for the day after working so hard getting our family settled in a new province. Also, there is a women you are going to love to hate. Cynthia is such a bitch! Now that being said I hated the last chapter so much I wanted to toss it across the room. I just did not buy it and figured the author sacrificed a good ending just to do the shock factor thing. I do think this one is going to fly off the shelf and will definitely be made into a movie. Great for those needing to just escape for a while and for those who aren't the biggest readers.

Favourite Quotes/Passages

"She must stop looking at the tabloids at the grocery-store checkout and comparing herself to all those celebrity moms and their personal trainers who look terrific at mere weeks."

"She knows how judgmental mothers are, how good it feels to sit in judgment of someone else. " (Reviewers note - word!)

“...nobody makes that much money without taking advantage of somebody. It's much easier to make money if you don't care who you hurt. If you have scruples, it's much harder to get rich.”

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor

A Trail Through Time (The Chronicles of St. Mary's #4)A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pompeii – any story that involves Pompeii is going to make me happy. Yes, I know that makes me rather maudlin, but stories involving Volcanoes interest me – not sure why, but they do. Yup Pompeii is on my bucket list – as well as Mt St Helens and Mt. Etna, Hmm wonder if in a past life I died at volcanic eruption – oooh or maybe I am a time traveler – oops I mean I investigated major historical events in contemporary time. This one doesn’t give you a chance to breathe – Its one damned thing after another (tee hee) and you are constantly on the edge of your seat. This one has tons of action, wicked humour and dialogue that is highly original. I could totally lose myself in this world - Oh Miss Taylor, you make me sad, this is a community that I would feel home in. She really shows you the humanity of historical events – that make it feel – more human -

I also feel that this book sort of tries to fix up some of the minor fuck ups in the first couple of books, Sort of saves her from some corners she wrote herself into. But hey what the hell do I know. You have read my reviews, you know I am totally all over the place.

My only complaint is, I always have urges for Chocolate, Tea and Bacon Butty (I have no idea what they are but – Ummm Bacon is always good) while reading. Hello, if you don’t love (or want to be) Max, I am not sure we can have a civilized conversation.

And also Swans, trust me – delightful

Favourite Quotes/Passages

An hour later, we’d indulged in the traditional St Mary’s ritual for dealing with any sort of crisis, which is to imbibe vast reservoirs of tea. "

“I personally think humans have got about as far as we can go. We're wrecking the planet. We're never short of good reasons to massacre each other. Wrong god. Wrong race. Wrong color. Wrong sex. I'm quite surprised a thoroughly pissed-off History hasn't waved a flaming sword and we're all back in caves in the snow, chewing on half-cooked mammoth. And even that's more than we deserve. No wonder we still can't get to Mars. I suspect the Universe is making damned sure we don't get the chance to contaminate other planets with our stupidity. It's keeping us on this one where the only thing we can damage is each other.”

This is what happens when you let men go off by themselves. They don’t have a bloody clue. They might be able to fold maps but they certainly cannot read them. I should have drawn him something in crayon which said, “I am here.” He was off enjoying a bit of a holiday while half a volcano was falling on me.”

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Rapid Fire Review: A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

A Second Chance (The Chronicles of St. Mary's, #3)A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one will rip your heart out, but its going to be ok - trust me. This one had me snorting with laughter, yet a few seconds later I was bawling my eyes out. My favourite part of this one was Teddy Penrose, quite the naughty little fella. The dialogue between him and Max was quite the highlight and also made me feel the darkness of the second half of the novel a little more deeply. As usual there is plenty of wicked dialogue to soothe some of the darker moments, but friends this one is going to play with your emotions. Also a fun little aside, I got an email from my son while listening that he had to make a miniature of the Trojan horse -- there is a big part of me wants to mess with the design for him.

Favourite Quotes/Passages

“Oh, and you’ll be thrilled to hear, Dr Dawson, although too excited too remember to film the first race, definitely got the second – what little there was of it – but it quite clearly shows you head-butting a giant cheese and falling flat on your back and showing your drawers. There’s talk of putting it on YouTube. Unless you cough up. I hear the going rate is $50.”

“Once again, I was lost in an unfamiliar emotional maelstrom. However, there’s a St Mary’s ritual for dealing with this sort of thing. ‘Any chance of a cup of tea?

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary's, #2)A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had a hard time rating this one, I loved it but it has some slight problems that take it from being a perfect five. I would say its more of a four out of five. My main complaint is that it jumps around a lot and had me confused at times -- but hey that often happens when it comes to time travel books. This one takes a bit of a dark turn, but at least there are some brilliant moments of humour that offset the darkness. I enjoyed getting to know a bit more about the background of some of the secondary characters and it was very fast paced. I also love the idea of going back in time and being able to witness memorable events and see historical figures in all of their humanity. Ok, I could do without the reality of the smells, lack of hygiene and misogynistic attitudes of course. The highlight of this series is of course the witty dialogue and delightfully unique characters, which make you care less about some of the plot holes that happen when dealing with time travel (oops sorry, should not use the phrase time travel, Max would be so disappointed with me.

Favourite Quotes/Passages

“Dr Maxwell. Why are you wearing a red snake in my office?’ ‘Sorry, sir. Whose office should I be wearing it in?”

"In this century. as in any other, men wore the comfortable, practical stuff, and the women wandered round expiring underneath over-decorated tea-cosies and with inadequate footwear."

"I really wasn't looking forward to this, but you can't condemn someone to death and then disown the consequences."

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

The Witches of New York
By Ami McKay
Knopf Canada
ISBN: 978-0-676-97958-9
Buy from Indigo

Description: The beloved, bestselling author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure is back with her most beguiling novel yet, luring us deep inside the lives of a trio of remarkable young women navigating the glitz and grotesqueries of Gilded-Age New York by any means possible, including witchcraft...

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom ('Moth' from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it's finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and "gardien de sorts" (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan's high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions--and in guarding the secrets of their clients.

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor's apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind?

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches' tug-of-war over what's best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force.

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they're confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

The Good Stuff

  • Witches, ghost, women's rights, 1880's New York, what is not to love
  • The mood of the story is marvelous, I felt like I was right there.  A perfect book for reading tucked under a fluffy blanket on a cool fall night
  • The heroines are marvelous.  Likable, flawed and I felt a real connection to them (Ok and I sorta wish I could be a witch) 
  • Her writing is absolutely exquisite and haunting.  I felt transported right into the time
  • I am very intrigued by Adelaide and have already ordered The Virgin Cure in order to  learn more
  • I want the tea shop to be real and I want to go there,  To hang around with like minded women - I think in this day and age we are missing this kind of community of support
  • History interwoven with witchcraft inspires you to want to know more about what women went through during this era
  • Just an exquisitely written tale that you can lose yourself in - and that my friends is such a wonderful thing

The Not So Good Stuff

  • A bit jumpy at times and confusing at times - but keep in mind that I am still in the midst of moving into a new house, However, I felt like it was missing a cohesion of story
  • I wanted more, I wanted everything tied up which is making me think McKay is going to write a sequel and if she doesn't I may be disappointed

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Time and progress had caused these unfortunate souls to be forgotten, but their restless echoes had lived on, rising up through the cobblestones and pavers, acting as ghostly ether, provoking fear and dark thoughts. This is what happens when the dead don't get their due. This is what happens when the past is ignored."

"The middle-aged doctor was far from being without sin, but he liked to (no, he needed) to feel that things he did and said and thought served to subtract from the overall chaos of the world.  There was enough nonsense to go around these days without him adding to it."

"She'd never thought of writing as an act of defiance, but those two marks proved it to be so.  Her need to leave something of herself was overwhelming.  If she was to die here, she wouldn't let him forget she'd live,"

4/5 Dewey's

I received this from Penguin Random House in return for an honest review