Book Review: The Witch’s Heart

The Witch's HeartBook Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

 

I was so excited to see this absolutely gorgeous book (props to whoever designed this cover) about Norse mythology and a witch. I love retellings and witches, so this was right up my ally.

After Angrboda angers Odin, she is left wounded and alone but makes a life for herself, deciding to stay out of sight and harm’s way. However, she falls in love with Loki and they have 3 children with fates that put them all in danger.

There is so much research obvious in this novel – and reconciling of the fluidness of myth. Angrboda is an interesting character, fiercely protective of her children, haunted by visions and glimmers of her past life, impatient with the world of the gods and their whims.

I enjoyed her friendships with the women who visit her, her independence, and her fierce loyalty, all of which make for some interesting ups and downs – joy and conflict.

The author writes beautifully and had me completely engaged, creating a wonderful picture of the world Angrboda lived. I didn’t even get confused with the world building, which can sometime be difficult in myth (and I appreciated the glossary at the end for more information). I happily and easily lost myself in this book.

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Book Review: Mother Mother

Mother Mother bookBook Review for Mother Mother by Jessica O’Dwyer

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Mother, Mother is the story of 2 mothers, the adoptive and the birth mothers, of Jack (born Juan). It’s the story of an international adoption from Guatemala during a turbulent time and touches on many issues: shady adoptions, ethics, adoption breakdown, interracial adoption, prejudice (against children of colour and of adopted children), and the ins and outs of adoption.

As an adoptive parent myself I was anxious to read this book and I did enjoy it. However, I felt I needed some time to digest it after reading. There are so many issues brought up and so many emotions.

I love that the book alternates point of view to include the birth mother’s experience. And the political environment and some of the unethical adoption practices of Guatemala was also an important part.

This book was certainly heartfelt and had the feeling of a memoir from Julie’s point of view at times – she’s the American adoptive parent. I liked her and felt for her and my heart certainly went out to her when people made thoughtless or “well meaning” comments about adoption, fertility, or her son.

However, the novel also felt a little disjointed to me. Maybe it was trying to cover too much and needed a bit more focus? Maybe it was the pacing? I’m not sure.

Either way, this is an interesting and compelling book about international adoption, both from the perspective of a birth mother and an adoptive mother, and it has some interesting commentary on how society views adoption and adoptive children.

And, for the record, adoption is not second best. Adoptive children are our children. We love them the same as birth children. Birth parents are parents too. Adoptive parents are real parents.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy.

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Book Review: The DNA of You and Me

The DNA of You and Me

A smart debut novel—a wonderfully engaging infusion of Lab Girl, The Assistants, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine—that pits the ambition of scientific discovery against the siren call of love.

How does smell work? Specifically, how do olfactory sensory neurons project to their targets in the olfactory bulb, where smell is processed? Justin McKinnon has hired fresh-faced graduate student Emily to study that question. What Justin hasn’t told Emily is that two other scientists in the lab, Aeden and Allegra, are working on a very similar topic, and their findings may compete with her research.

Emily was born focused and driven. She’s always been more comfortable staring down the barrel of a microscope than making small talk with strangers. Competition doesn’t scare her. Her special place is the lab, where she analyzes DNA sequences, looking for new genes that might be involved in guiding olfactory neurons to their targets.

To Emily’s great surprise, her rational mind is unsettled by Aeden. As they shift from competitors to colleagues, and then to something more, Emily allows herself to see a future in which she doesn’t end up alone. But when Aeden decides to leave the lab, it becomes clear to Emily that she must make a choice: follow her research or follow her heart.

A sharp, relevant novel that speaks to the ambitions and desires of modern women, The DNA of You and Me explores the evergreen question of career versus family, the irrational sensibility of love, and whether one can be a loner without a diagnostic label.

Review:
I loved that this book was involved in science and was a romance in a lab. The author clearly knows her stuff and had many detailed scientific explanations for what was being studied in the lab. I found this part of the book really interesting.
Unfortunately, the romance part of the book didn’t do it for me. I liked Emily well enough right up until she decides to compromise her scientific work so that she can keep the man she likes around. And then when her and Aeden do get together, their relationship is so strange as to be emotionally abusive, but she is willing to go with it because she loves him.
That was that for me and this book.
Thank you to Edelweiss+ for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: The Inbetween Days

The Inbetween Days by Eva Woods

From the author of Something Like Happy comes an uplifting and emotionally compelling novel about a woman in a coma fighting for a second chance at life, love and happiness.

Rosie Cooke is “in between.” In between consciousness and oblivion. Life and death. And though some say that when you’re near death your entire life flashes before your eyes, Rosie can’t remember anything at all—not even how she ended up in a coma. At least not at first.

Then something strange starts to happen. Rosie finds herself revisiting scattered moments from her past: a beach vacation, a play rehearsal, the day her brother was born. But why these memories? And what do they mean?

As each piece of the puzzle comes into focus, Rosie struggles to face the picture of her life that forms. But with every look backward comes a glimpse of what might be: A relationship with her sister. The opportunity to pursue her passion. A second chance at love. And Rosie just might discover that she has much to live for.

With bighearted emotion and comic sensibility, The Inbetween Days is a life-affirming novel about the little choices that determine our fate and our ever-enduring hope for the future.

Review:
The Inbetween Days was definitely an interesting read. I loved how all of the little choices that Rosie makes have a sort of butterfly effect and end up changing things for the people around her.
Rosie is in a coma and no one knows if she got hit by the bus by accident or if she threw herself in front of it on purpose. While in the coma, Rosie revisits certain pivotal memories in her life that help her to put her life into perspective, though by her own account, her life was pretty miserable.
I like how Rosie’s successes eventually become defined differently, not simply by how society as a whole would see them, but by how what she did inspired other people.
One of the issues I did have was how suicide was handled as a purely selfish thing instead of as a symptom of a larger mental health issue.
Thank you to Edelweiss+ for a review copy of this book.
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