Mini Reviews: March 2017

Life has been crazy busy for me the past few weeks between working, reorganizing my house, and planning for a wedding. Happily enough, I’ve had plenty of time to read while sitting on the train every day. I haven’t had much time to sit down and write, so instead here are a few mini reviews for books I’ve read in the last month!

 

Except the Dying

Except the Dying – Maureen Jennings

The Toronto-based Detective Murdoch series is the basis for the Canadian television show Murdoch MysteriesThis period novel focuses on Detective William Murdoch as he investigates the death of a servant girl. I enjoyed the feel of this novel, as it was darker and grittier than any historical fiction I’ve read – and certainly more grim than the show. The novel drives you to discover who is guilty, and I was pleased that I was guessing until the end.

Rating: 4 / 5

 

The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena 

A couple goes to a party next door, leaving their six-month-old daughter at home. When they come back to find her missing an extensive police investigation is launched. Soon, everyone is a suspect, and everyone is pointing fingers. The novel has plenty of plot twists and multiple bait and switch scenarios, but the characters seem distant, and I couldn’t connect with them or their actions. While I was curious to find out what happened, I was never quite shocked or surprised enough to really love the story.

Rating: 3 / 5

 

Bonds of Wire

Bonds of Wire: A Memoir – Kingsley Brown

This collection of memories comes from Kingsley Brown, a Canadian Royal Air Force pilot in WWII who became a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft III, the location of the Great Escape. Brown was part of the forgery committee for the Great Escape, but his stories don’t focus on that. Instead, Brown shares moments of laughter, friendship, and kindness, focusing on heartwarming memories that surface even during the darkest of times. Brown shows us moments of pure humanity, and the bonds that men can create behind the wire.

Rating: 4 / 5

 

And finally…

I Don’t Wanna Be Sad – Simple Plan

This is the song that has been getting me through the past few weeks and I just had to share it. Simple Plan is my favourite band, and they’re Canadian! This song always puts a big smile on my face. I love putting in my headphones and cranking this up while I’m at work to help power through those tough projects. And hey, my boss has only caught me dancing once!

 

Canadian, eh?

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this year I’ve decided to read all Canadian works, whether that means novels set in Canada or books written by a Canadian author. Over the past two months I’ve been looking into what books I might want to read and making a great to-read list, which you can find on my Goodreads page. (Of course, this list is far too long for me to read everything in a year, but… all well.)

Interestingly enough, while I was creating this list I kept running across familiar sounding names: Kenneth Oppel, Jean Little, Karleen Bradford, and Kit Pearson, to name a few. These authors were staples in my childhood, and I had no idea that they were Canadian.

The Nine Days Queen

I absolutely loved these authors growing up. As a kid I was fascinated with the story of Lady Jane Grey because of Karleen Bradford’s novel The Nine Days Queen. Bradford’s writing led me down a wonderful path, and reading novels such as Lionheart’s Scribe led me to some of my favourite authors like Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones.

Kit Pearson is a name I have always associated with the Dear Canada series, and historical novels in general. In fact, Pearson’s The Sky Is Falling is one of the first World War II books that I can remember reading. Between Karleen Bradford and Kit Pearson’s novels I grew to love historical fiction, a love that I still have today.

Silverwing CoverMeanwhile, Kenneth Oppel single handedly made me fall in love with bats in Silverwing. It has always been one of my favourite books and to this day I still watch the evening sky and hope to see a bat swooping past.

I had no idea that working on my Canadian reading challenge would bring back so many wonderful childhood memories. It made me happy to realize that much of my childhood reading was influenced by Canadian authors. I’m sure that there are more to discover, and I’m very much looking forward to it.