I was blown away by Stevens’ debut, Still Missing, and I couldn’t wait to read more from her.
Never Knowing is told in a similar fashion as Still Mis I was blown away by Stevens’ debut, Still Missing, and I couldn’t wait to read more from her.
Never Knowing is told in a similar fashion as Still Missing: The story is recounted through sessions with the protagonist’s therapist. Sara Gallagher is a 34 year-old single mother to a six year-old, Ally, living in Nanaimo, British Columbia. She is also engaged to a successful lodge owner named Evan. Sara was adopted and, after many years of trying to conceive their own child, her parents went on to have two daughters of their own: Lauren and Melanie. As a young girl of four when Lauren was born, Sara remembers the way that her father looked at Lauren…the way he never looked at her. Sadly, Sara’s father never treated her with the same love and devotion as his biological daughters.
Curious about her biological parents, Sara writes to the Province’s Vital Statistics Branch to ask for their names. The response is that her biological mother is Julia Laroche, and an internet search under this name leads her to a real estate agent in Victoria. The agent advises that she often receives calls that are meant for the “other” Julia Laroche, who is a university professor. When Sara tries to call her, Julia tells her not to call her again. Sara can’t help herself, and she attends one of Julia’s university classes. She also follows Julia to her home when she leaves the university. Sara learns the shocking truth that her mother was raped by a serial killer known as the Campsite Killer, who is still on the loose. Julia has changed her name in an effort to hide from the killer because she still fears for her safety. Someone leaks the information to a website for local news, and not only is Julia’s identity revealed but also the identity of Sara and her biological father. The Campsite Killer sees the information and knows that he has a daughter, and he won’t stop until he gets what is his.
Stevens' sophomore novel is not quite as gripping as her debut, but it is still really good. Sara is a great character, and I really felt for her. It must have been terrible for her to see her father play favourites, and it makes sense that Sara would be driven to know more about her biological parents. I think that she is searching for that parental bond or connection that she never felt with her adoptive father. Stevens spins a great yarn, and my only complaint is the way in which it is told: Because of the manner in which we hear the story, some of the suspense is lost because we know that Sara survives in order to tell the tale!
I am still a fan of this Canadian author, and I am looking forward to reading her third novel, Always Watching, which was released last month.
Unfortunately, I think the narrator missed the mark with this one. Carrington MacDuffie made Sara sound so whiny and selfish, and it really put me off the book at first. I had to go back and actually pay attention to Stevens’ prose instead of the way that MacDuffie vocalized Sara’s character and came to realize that it was the narrator’s portrayal rather than the author’s that made the character sound this way. MacDuffie’s voice is also much better suited to a middle-aged character rather than a young mother in her early thirties. This is one of those rare cases when I would say pick up the book and read it instead of listening to the audiobook. ...more
Joy Ridderhof was an American missionary who recorded the bible into different languages on phonograph. She founI read this book aloud to my children.
Joy Ridderhof was an American missionary who recorded the bible into different languages on phonograph. She founded Gospel Recordings in 1941 and travelled to places that no other missionary would go in order to capture the spoken language of remote tribes. As of 2008, the company has produced recordings in over 5,700 languages!
This is a great Christian biography, and my children and I enjoyed it! Joy is an inspiration to us all.
I am thankful for books like this that explain the history of dinosaurs from a creation, rather than an evolutioI read this book aloud to my children.
I am thankful for books like this that explain the history of dinosaurs from a creation, rather than an evolution, perspective. Butt quotes passages from the Bible that confirm the existence of dinosaurs during biblical times and explains how dinosaurs could have been taken on the Ark.
This book combines five previously published single titles, which include: How Animals Live, How Birds Live, HowI read this book aloud to my children.
This book combines five previously published single titles, which include: How Animals Live, How Birds Live, How Things Began, How Machines Work, and How Your Body Works. My kids love non-fiction books, and this book covered a lot of information! Bearing in mind that the book was published 18 years ago, some of the information is outdated.
We are pleased, in general, with most Usborne books. They are brightly coloured with detailed illustrations.
This is the first book in the Darkness Rising series, which is a sister series to the Darkest Powers trilogy. Although the Darkest Powers trilogy hasThis is the first book in the Darkness Rising series, which is a sister series to the Darkest Powers trilogy. Although the Darkest Powers trilogy has concluded, it is my understanding that some of the characters from that trilogy will be featured in a new trilogy along with some characters from the Darkness Rising trilogy.
Maya Delaney is a 16 year-old teenage girl who lives in a very small town with an approximate population of 200 residents on Vancouver Island in Canada. St. Cloud Corporation owns the land that the town is built on, and they established a top-notch medical research facility. Everyone who lives in Salmon Creek is employed in some fashion by St. Cloud. Maya’s father, Rick Delaney, is a park warden and wildlife rehabilitator, and Maya often helps her father care for the injured wildlife that he brings home. Cougar sightings are nothing out of the ordinary, and the Delaney family is often visited by Marv, a resident tom with a ragged ear that seems to have taken a liking to Maya.
Maya’s past is a little bit of a mystery because she was abandoned at a hospital in Portland after she was born, so little is known about her biological parents. Her physical attributes suggest that she is at least part Native American.
Maya’s best friend is Daniel Bianchi, whose father is an abusive alcoholic. He frequently stays over at Maya’s house when his father is on a bender. I suspect that Daniel is in love with Maya but, if that is the case, there is no romance between them in this book! Daniel was actually dating Maya’s friend, Serena, who drowned the previous summer in the lake. The circumstances surrounding the incident are very strange, although the casualty was ruled an accidental drowning. Maya was with her when it happened, and she swears that it was like something pulled Serena down into the water from below. When Maya jumped into the water to try to save Serena, she felt something moving around her legs.
Rafael (“Rafe”) Martinez is the resident bad-boy, and he seems to have a thing for Maya. She soon discovers that Rafe’s bad boy image is just that, and she starts developing feelings toward him. She has dreams of running at top speed through the forest, often alongside Rafe. One day while the two of them are out in the forest, they come across a cougar that has a mysterious patch of darker fur on its flank that is in the shape of paw-print. Maya is intrigued, since she has a birthmark on her hip that is also in the shape of a paw-print. Rafe also has the same birthmark! Surely, these cannot all be coincidences!
Maya’s paw-print birthmark has faded as she has grown older, and she wants to have it tattooed so that it is more visible. Her mother takes her to a tattoo artist, Deena, who specializes in traditional tattooing. Deena’s aunt catches one look at Maya’s paw-print birthmark and tells her that the reason why her parents didn’t want her is because she is a witch: Yee naaldlooshii. It means “skin-walker.”
Armstrong is a new-to-me author. I have read nothing but praise for her Women of the Otherworld series, which is on my TBR list. However, I was completely unfamiliar with her Young Adult books. The Gathering was a bit of a slow-starter for me, but it picked up in the latter half of the book. What I enjoyed the most about the book is the strong parental bond between Maya and her parents. Maya is extremely level-headed and responsible, and she looks up to her parents and wants to please them. How refreshing! Maya’s parents allow her to have some independence, and they do a fantastic job of straddling that fine-line of being authoritative but not overbearing. Armstrong also tackles the subject of alcoholism, and how the child of an alcoholic is affected. I thought she handled this sensitive topic beautifully from Daniel’s perspective, and I love how Maya’s family is so supportive of Daniel and their concern for his safety and well-being.
A word of warning that no clear answers are given at the end of the book, which ends on a cliff-hanger. The second in the series, The Calling, was just released this month so I am glad that I don’t have to wait long to find out what happens next! I suspect that Armstrong was laying much of the groundwork for the series in this book, and I have high hopes that the next one will have more action. I am intrigued enough in the series to want to read not just the Darkness Rising series, but also the Darkest Powers series.
MY RATING: 3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it! ...more