Book Review: The Wild Heavens

The Wild Heavens book with a blue tree backgroundBook review for The Wild Heavens by Sarah Louise Butler

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This is a beautifully written book, set in the wilds of Northern BC – and the descriptions of nature and the wildlife are certainly an amazing reason to read this book. It takes place over the course of a day, with reflections back into Sandy’s life and childhood, creating a dual timeline.

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Sandy’s grandfather had seen a sasquatch years ago and has been on the lookout for it ever since, instilling the same curiosity in his granddaughter, Sandy. This is a meander tale of their lives in an isolated cabin in the wilderness, how nature and the sasquatch has shaped them.

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The relationships in the book are lovely and well done – parents, children, friends, lovers – they are all authentically done. The author managed to explore a wide range of humanity with a very few characters. I really felt for Sandy and her quest to find the sasquatch and the life she wants to live, watching her come into her own.

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There is a mystical aspect to the book, revolving around the sasquatch, but also around nature itself, which is a character in itself. The descriptions are lush and beautiful and well worth reading for any nature lover.

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Thanks so Edelweiss and the publisher for the review copy.

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Book Review: The Glass Hotel

The Glass HotelThe Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

Review:
I really wanted to love this book, but, unfortunately, I didn’t. The plot sounded interesting and mysterious, the setting wonderful, the author talented.
However, for me, this book was too meandery and the plot was not very strong. The story was told from various points of view over time, but it was all too loose for me.
There were good elements. The mystery of what happened to Vincent and who etched the mysterious words on the glass had potential. But somehow I didn’t bond with the characters.
The setting was amazing. As someone who has spent a lot of time on the West Coast of BC, this was my favourite part.
Parts of this book were good, but overall, this just didn’t come together for me.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: Kingdom of the Blind

Book Review: Kingdom of the Blind

Kingdom of the BlindKingdom of the Blind (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #14) by Louise Penny

The entrancing new crime thriller featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, from number one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny

When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will.

Armand never knew the elderly woman, and the bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects the woman must have been delusional – until a body is found, and the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem far more menacing.

But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into the events that led to his suspension has dragged on, and Armand is taking increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. As he does, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots – and the terrible things hiding there.

Review:

I enjoy this series and this book was good, but not great for me. I got tired with all of the sentence fragments and the constant refrain of “junkies, whores, and trannies”. All of those words are outdated so were hard to take. I also didn’t really enjoy the good looking versus the ugly contrast going on with some of the characters. The story, however, was interesting and the mystery was a good one. I liked the play on the word “blind” throughout the book. The conclusion was set up well.

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Book Review: Woman on the Edge

Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

A moment on the platform changes two lives forever. But nothing is as it seems…

‘Take my baby.’

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes forever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or was something much darker going on?

Pulse-pounding, heartrending, shocking, thrilling. This is one book you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

Review:

This psychological thriller by Samantha M Bailey was a fun, page turning book that definitely kept me on the edge.
The story alternates between Morgan in the present, who has just had a baby thrust at her by a stranger in the subway station who then proceeds to jump, or was it pushed?, into on oncoming train and is killed. The woman implores Morgan to take care of and love her baby. Morgan, who has struggles of her own, wants nothing more than a baby and is instantly bonded to this one, determined to protect it.
The alternating story is Nicole in the past. She is the woman in the subway with the baby. We follow her descent into paranoia and learn why she made such a desperate decision.
However, along the way, there are many unexpected twists and turns. I loved how the characters developed and found Nicole’s postpartum struggles well done. Occasionally, I found Morgan a bit predictable and frustrating, but also liked how he wasn’t going to leave her fate up to anyone else.
The author did a great job weaving together past and present to bring the characters together on the train platform on that fateful day. Definitely a thriller that kept me guessing.
Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the review copy of this book.

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