Book reviews

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the events that unfurled in Ottawa last week. Our hearts are broken for the family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo. From what I’ve seen, most of the people of our country are dealing with this tragedy with dignity and respect, and it makes me proud to be Canadian. This was hopefully the act of a very disturbed individual, and I hope that this doesn’t change the character of openness and welcome we enjoy in our home country.

Speaking of Canada, X has developed an adorable/sort of unsettling Canadianism – he apologizes to everything. I hear him muttering Sorry under his breath as he walks along (well, it sounds more like Showwy, but you know). I was just wondering where he actually learnt that, when I apologized out loud to a plant. So there you go.

I’ve been back to my books, and have a bunch to review – some pretty good, some terrible. Nothing that’s going to take your breath away here, but there are some worth reading. Some that are not worth any of your money or time, they are so bad, so consider yourself warned.

Personal Demon, by Kelley Armstrong

Book description: Tabloid reporter Hope Adams appears to live the life of an ordinary working girl. But in addition to possessing the beauty of a Bolly-wood princess, Hope has other unique traits. For she is a half demon- a human fathered by a demon. And she’s inherited not only a gift for seeing the past but a hunter for chaos- along with a talent for finding it wherever she can. Naturally, when she’s chosen by a very dangerous group for a very dangerous mission, she jumps at the chance…
The head of the powerful Cortez Cabal- a family that makes the mob look like amateurs- has a little problem in Miami: a gang of wealthy, bored offspring of supernaturals is getting out of hand, and Hope is needed to infiltrated. As spells, astral projections, and pheromones soar across South Beach, Hope weaves her way through its elite hot spots, posing as upscale eye candy and reading the auras of the clientele- and potential marks.

My review: I usually really like Kelley Armstrong. I’m a fan of her Women of the Underworld series and am really happy they made a TV show based on it, Bitten. And also stayed pretty true to the book. Personal Demon, though, was a little disappointing for me. Armstrong was telling two different stories with this one, and I found it a little disjointed. Also, I was looking for a trashy good time and this one was … less trashy (less sexy) than many of her other ones. So all in all it gets a meh. I hope the next in the series is a little more exciting.

Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberley McCreight

Book description: A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter’s life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can’t believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who’s never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate’s faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she’d done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school’s roof in an act of “spontaneous” suicide. At least that’s the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn’t jump.

Sifting through Amelia’s emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall’s roof that day-and why she died.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It’s about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

My review: Okay, actually this was a really good read. I found that when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, and what more could you ask for in a mystery. I loved how the plot unfolded. I loved the depth of the secrets uncovered. I’ve actually had several deep conversations about issues brought up in this book, like how far into your child’s privacy do you go in order to keep them safe, and the influence of technology on our children’s innocence and privacy. It was really good. I would recommend this one to anyone. Although the subject matter does make it occasionally emotional – or that might just be my pregnancy hormones talking.

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty

Book description: Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

My review: Another good read, and another one that occasionally got me a little emotional. I liked the themes of balancing secrets, and what concessions you’re willing to make in order to keep loved ones safe. I also really liked the ending, although I suspect not everyone will. Recommended, but if you’re only going to read one of these, go with Reconstructing Amelia.

Shiver of Light, by Laurell K. Hamilton

Book description: Merry Gentry, ex–private detective, now full-time princess, knew she was descended from fertility goddesses, but when she learned she was about to have triplets, she began to understand what that might mean. Infertility has plagued the high ranks of faerie for centuries. Now nobles of both courts of faerie are coming to court Merry and her men, at their home in exile in the Western Lands of Los Angeles, because they will do anything to have babies of their own.

Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, is a more dangerous problem. He tried to seduce Merry and, failing that, raped her. He’s using the human courts to sue for visitation rights, claiming that one of the babies is his. And though Merry knows she was already pregnant when he took her, she can’t prove it.

To save herself and her babies from Taranis she will use the most dangerous powers in all of faerie: a god of death, a warrior known as the Darkness, the Killing Frost, and a king of nightmares. They are her lovers, and her dearest loves, and they will face down the might of the high courts of faerie—while trying to keep the war from spreading to innocent humans in Los Angeles, who are in danger of becoming collateral damage.

My review: This book was profoundly disappointing. I used to love Hamilton’s Merry Gentry books, when I was in a specific mood. Like, specifically looking for horror erotica. This book did not deliver on so many levels, it’s embarrassing. I like how the first books in this series were dark, often disturbing and very sexy. That’s what I was looking for in this book, and waited a long time for it – there was like a five year wait for the next one to come out, so you think you could do a better job with it.

First off, I’m not sure this was edited AT ALL. The writing was a joke and there was so much repetition it made me wonder if Hamilton was just trying to get in a word count and be done with it. A tip – she could have actually written about something. Anything. There was no plot whatsoever. Nothing happens in this book. No plot was forwarded. People just stood around having awkward conversations.

And you would think that at least there would be sex to make up for it. But no. This book was about babies, and how Merry just had a baby so can’t have sex. Like I need to be reminded about this. All that happened is babies were cuddled and no sex was had. This book was supposed to be escapist, Hamilton. I can’t believe I spent money on this. It’s insulting. I will not ever read any of her books in the future.

Rant over. Don’t read this book.


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