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: The Vanishing Half

Book Review of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

 

I’ve heard so much about this book and have seen it all over Instagram – and the cover is certainly eye catching. I finally picked it up and am so glad that I did.

This is the story of twins, Stella and Desiree, who are Black but are light skinned so can pass as White, which one of them does. This is pretty much all I knew going in and was pleasantly surprised that the book was so much more than this. Spanning from the 1950s to the 1990s, this book follows 4 main narrators, Stella and Desiree, but also their daughters, Kennedy and Jude.

The exploration of vanishing is done through multiple ways, not just through race and I loved how all of the story lines interconnected around this theme. There are so many reasons that people hide parts of themselves and Bennett touches on some of these in really thoughtful ways (I won’t spoil anything here).

The book also focuses on what it means to be Black and discrimination. Some of that was honestly hard to read, but necessary all the same.

I was totally invested in this story and the characters, even when I disliked them and their choices (which is something I love, well rounded characters who challenge me). This book is well written, engaging, and sweeping (and gorgeous).

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Book Review: Glimmer As You Can

Glimmer As You Can by Danielle Martin

 

This interesting historical fiction takes place in 1962, revolving around 3 key characters, Madeline, Lisa, and Elaine.

Madeline owns a dress shop and turns it into a safe space social club for women at night called the Starlight. She also has secrets from a bad marriage. Lisa is a young stewardess who wants to settle down and get married. Elaine is an ex-pat in a volatile relationship.

All 3 women find friendship and support at the social club where we get to know a whole raft of interesting characters. But Madeline’s ex husband returns and creates trouble for the Starlight and puts the women at risk, upending their lives.

I enjoyed reading about the history of the time and experiencing life through the eyes of these women. Martin did a great job of portraying this time, how women were treated, and what their lives were like.

I did struggle a bit with the pacing of the book, especially in the middle. The tension certainly picked up in the second half as the story changed and the peril increased. However, the Starlight felt like a wonderful place I would like to visit myself.

Overall, I did enjoy this story of friendship and life of women in the 1960s.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy.

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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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