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!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Rapid Fire Review: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a CrimeBorn a Crime by Trevor Noah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fascinating, thought provoking, poignant and hilarious. Honestly I am so out of touch these days I had actually never heard of him until my friend Michele posted about his book. What she said intrigued me so I checked out the audio version. I must thank Michele for this, as from the very first word I was hooked. First off he has a lovely south African accent that I could just listen to for hours, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Its a little bit coming of age, a little bit history lesson of Apartheid and what that really meant and a set of insightful essays that challenge your beliefs and perceptions of the world. His stories are at time hilarious, at at other times heartbreaking and sweet. Truly fascinating and a must read for everyone. Let me tell you, it will make you think of crime in a different way. Sorry this is so brief but things are busy these days, but I still wanted to bring this one to your attention. My fav so far this year.

Favourite Quotes

"it's easy to be judgmental about crime when you live in a world wealthy enough to be removed from it"

"My mother didn’t believe in self-pity. “Learn from your past and be better because of your past,” she used to say, “but don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter.”

“In society, we do horrible things to one another because we don’t see the person it affects. We don’t see their face. We don’t see them as people. Which was the whole reason the hood was built in the first place, to keep the victims of apartheid out of sight and out of mind. Because if white people ever saw black people as human, they would see that slavery is unconscionable. We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others, because we don’t live with them. It would be a whole lot harder for an investment banker to rip off people with subprime mortgages if he actually had to live with the people he was ripping off. If we could see one another’s pain and empathize with one another, it would never be worth it to us to commit the crimes in the first place.”

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Rapid Fire Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again after finishing a truly brilliant novel I am at a loss to find the words to express my love of the work in question. Jen recommended this book to me years ago and finally got around to reading it and so glad I did. This novel is quite unlike anything I have ever read before, which doesn't surprise me as Gaiman is one of the most original writers around. Gaiman has a gift for creating worlds and characters that are out of this world, yet so familiar and life like. Now, I cannot lie, some of his writing is far above my intelligence level, but eventhough I may not understand some of the inner meanings and analogies, the story itself shines through for me to enjoy. The characters are unique, multi-layered and sprout some truly delightful dialogue. The plot - well, trust me, you will never know what will happen next. The basic moral of the story being about the struggle between tradition and modern innovation. Was going to go into more about this but I want you to experience it for yourself. Highly recommend this to anyone who likes something truly original.

Favourite Quotes/Passages

"There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous."

"What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore, it knows it's not fooling a soul."

“There's none so blind as those who will not listen.”

“Say 'Nevermore,'" said Shadow.
"Fuck You," said the Raven.”

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rapid Fire Review: The absolute true diary of a part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Again one of those times I wish I was more articulate in expressing the right words to explain why you all need to read this. A perfect novel for all ages and something that needs to be read and taught to our young people (FYI my 15 yr old read it for school and told me all about it) Loved how it didn't talk down to kids or force a moral down your throat but kids will at the same time might start to feel a bit more sympathetic to the Native community. It is raw and tackles some very difficult subject matter, but it is done with humor and honesty. At times I was crying and laughing at the same time. The book is worth the price alone for the chapter dealing with books and boners. Tears running down my eyes from laughter - it was so raw and hell it makes sense. This my friends is now one of my all time favourite books. And also my fellow Canadians we need to talk about this - lets get out from behind our guilt of what are ancestors did and actually help our fellow man. Since I don't have the words, here are some brilliant quotes from the novel -- I could have posted at least 50, but I don't want to ruin it for you.

Favourite Quotes/Passages

“I used to think the world was broken down by tribes,' I said. 'By Black and White. By Indian and White. But I know this isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: the people who are assholes and the people who are not.”

"My grandmother had no use for all the gay bashing and homophobia in the world, especially among other Indians. "Jeez," she said, Who cares if a man wants to marry another man? All I want to know is who's going to pick up all the dirty socks?"

“We Indians really should be better liars, considering how often we've been lied to.”

“I didn't literally kill Indians. We were supposed to make you give up being Indian. Your songs and stories and language and dancing. Everything. We weren't trying to kill Indian people. We were trying to kill Indian culture.”

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Rapid Fire Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok this series so far is brilliant. The writing is par none and the world building is extraordinary. I am not going to lie, it is far above my head and more for the real Fantasy novel aficionado, but the characters and dialogue make it enjoyable for even someone like me. First off if you do not love Delilah Bard, I am afraid we cannot be friends. For those who know me, you won't be surprised why I love this feisty damaged heroine, she is such a little spitfire (Reminds me a little of Caelena from Throne of Glass series). This one will keep you on your toes as it is fast paced and leaves you on the edge of your seat on many occasions. Also, the author has a true gift for the unexpected. You are never going to know what is going to happen and that my friends is true talent. Often I know what is going to happen and in this case - nope, she surprised me on many occasions. And don't get me started on the dialogue between characters, true perfection.

Favourite Quotes/Passages

“The world is neither fair nor right, but it has a way of balancing itself.”

“If these men worshiped anything, they worshiped magic, which she supposed would be heresy back in Grey London. But then again, Christians worshiped an old man in the sky, and if Lila had to say which one seemed more real at the moment, she’d have to side with magic.”

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Rapid Fire Review by Emily St. John Mandel

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fascinating, well written, Canadian ( you must remember any mentions of Canadian places makes us Canucks all tingly and stuff) and a tad too literary for this sweet simpleton. It reminded me of times as a cross between The Stand and The Passage (also got a kick later in the novel where the author actually implies the novel The Passage) -- which by the way is a compliment as I highly enjoyed both of these novels. It is fast paced, the language is beautiful and well its full of Shakespeare, you cannot help but enjoy it. The writing was so vivid that you felt like you were acually immersed in the story. I loved how it expressed the idea that without art, life is empty. Now that being said it was beautifully written and very Canadian Literary (Yes I know that isn't a word, but I am not that intelligent and cannot find the exact word for what I am looking for to express a feeling) but it felt empty at times in terms of characters that you felt a connection to.
Ok, I know this is silly, but like I have felt while reading other dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories - not enough time has gone by for things to have turned this much to shit in terms of knowledge. (That being said I have no real idea what would happen so you can always just ignore that comment)

Favourite Quotes/Passages

"Jeevan's understanding of disaster preparedness was based entirely on action movies, but on the other hand, he'd seen a lot of action movies."

"First we only want to be seen, but once we're seen, that's not enough anymore. After that. we want to be remembered."

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Rapid Fire Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Princess DiaristThe Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Won't lie I didn't love this one as much as I wanted to and thought I would. I have read all of her other works and have adored them all. I just found this one a little rambling and all over the place. Now its not all disappointing, there are some very wise observations and some wickedly funny commentary. Also it was interesting reading about her thoughts and feelings during the filming of Star Wars. It also made me quite sad as I always felt a wee connection to her and I never got the chance to meet her. I almost had the chance but I chickened out as I didn't want to have to pay for her autograph and felt silly just going to say hi. I really should have because I wanted to thank her for being so open about her mental health issues and well just for showing us how a real princess should be. That's right kick some imperial ass and trade witty repartee with a scruffy looking nerd herder. That is a princess I can get behind
I did really enjoy her take on Comic-Cons etc and her enjoyment (and hell I can imagine how she really told some of the stories about them to her friends and family) of all of the fans she has met over the years of doing lap dances (Yup you have to read, so you can truly understand)

You will be missed Ms Fisher

Favourite Quotes/Passages

"Please!" I interrupted. "You don't have to apologize for my looking older to your daughter after forty years. I look older to me, too, and I don't apologize to myself-though perhaps I should."

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Flight Path by Paul Grescoe

Flight Path: How WestJet Is Flying High in Canada's Most Turbulent IndustryFlight Path: How WestJet Is Flying High in Canada's Most Turbulent Industry by Paul Grescoe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Figured my last book of the year had to be about the company that I was just hired for and start working for them in the new year. Fascinating story and obviously well researched. I did find reading it at times to be a bit of a challenge as it jumps around a bit and some of the writing is stilted. That being said it did make me feel inspired to start working for them. They seem to be a company that truly understands that to make a company successful and make your customers happy, you hire the right people and you stand behind them and treat them well. Author does a great job at explaining PACT and how it was a fabulous solution about the problems of Unions (FYI I am a huge oppressor to Unions after having to work in a Union environment for 9 years) Unions do nothing really to help out employees and it often leads to only employees doing the bare minimum instead of inspiring them to be the best they can be. Also impressed with what the company does to help those who are scared of flying. Good background information on an inspired company.

"If you look after the employees, your guests are looked after, and if you look after your guests, you look after your shareholders. It's a pretty simple formula."


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