I am an avid fan of MacDonalds writing. I did, however, find this book challenging to read around midway. The daily grind of the protagonist was startI am an avid fan of MacDonalds writing. I did, however, find this book challenging to read around midway. The daily grind of the protagonist was starting to wear on me. I found it repetitive at times. Perhaps that was the point. Mary Rose was cracking under the stress of being a stay at home parent. I was thinking, "thank God I don't have small children at home." ... And I like kids. Granted, MR was under the stress of past demons. I felt that for much of the story she was trapped in her head and I was right there with her. It was an uncomfortable place.
In the end I found MacDonald's writing to be as intelligent and informed as always. She managed to pull me back into the story in the last hundred pages. Before that, like Mary Rose, I had just about hit my threshold of dysfunction and single parenting. With revelations about the past and a sense of redemption for each major character, I was satisfied with the outcome. This is an honest story about children, parenting, families, and mental wellbeing. There are so many pressures in day to day living. These factors were well represented.
While this was not an easy or light read, it was, overall, a good read. ...more
I found the story compelling. Though told from three different points of view it maintained a good flow and interesting dynamic. The author made it diI found the story compelling. Though told from three different points of view it maintained a good flow and interesting dynamic. The author made it difficult to not have empathy for all parties, including Max, the most outwardly flawed character....more
I received an advanced copy of "Motorcycles I've Loved," and thoroughly enjoyed it. From the beginning Lily reminded me of a dear friend who has trottI received an advanced copy of "Motorcycles I've Loved," and thoroughly enjoyed it. From the beginning Lily reminded me of a dear friend who has trotted the globe. The authors use of physics and mechanics as metaphors for living are unique and well thought out. We are all lost at times in our lives. I found it very interesting that a young woman's love affair with the iron horse eventually brought her back to herself. I would recommend this book to anyone with a sense of adventure or a desire to connect with self on a deeper level. ...more
Amazing read. Horrifying and uplifting. The strength of the human spirit is unbelievable. Amanda is awe inspiring. I can't imagine surviving one day oAmazing read. Horrifying and uplifting. The strength of the human spirit is unbelievable. Amanda is awe inspiring. I can't imagine surviving one day of what she went thorough, let alone 460.
This is a brave, honest account of a real life nightmare. Amanda's drive to find the good in people and each day, as a means of survival is remarkable.
I liked the Mary Magdalene history and the information about the "Maggies." I found there was too much supposition. I realize that given the amount ofI liked the Mary Magdalene history and the information about the "Maggies." I found there was too much supposition. I realize that given the amount of time that has passed, it is difficult to have proof of history. However, there were allot of "What ifs?" that seemed at times, a stretch. All in all, it was an interesting read....more
WOW! I would give this one 10 stars if I could. A tragic story that moved me to tears and also lifted me. A great illustration of how life is connecteWOW! I would give this one 10 stars if I could. A tragic story that moved me to tears and also lifted me. A great illustration of how life is connected and the past can't be buried. I loved it! ...more
Another great read from Louise Penny! Kept me guessing. Just when I thought I'd figured it out... WRONG! I'm looking forward to catching up with all oAnother great read from Louise Penny! Kept me guessing. Just when I thought I'd figured it out... WRONG! I'm looking forward to catching up with all of the adventures I've missed!
Anyone who loves a good mystery should read Penny! ...more
Michael J Fox delivers a fantastic "light-hearted" read, for those entering into the independence stage of their life. "A Funny Thing..." is a great cMichael J Fox delivers a fantastic "light-hearted" read, for those entering into the independence stage of their life. "A Funny Thing..." is a great choice for all high school or post secondary grads. It is also a great read for anyone who wants an uplifting reminder about the goodness in life, despite the harsh realities we are dealt.
At only 100 pages, this is a quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed it! ...more
I love the flow of Eggers writing. He always moves a story along rapidly and with an energy that holds my interest. "A Hologram for the King," is a goI love the flow of Eggers writing. He always moves a story along rapidly and with an energy that holds my interest. "A Hologram for the King," is a good read. Eggers description of place and people is multidimensional as always. I was rooting for the underdog, a likeable man who's either depressed or going through a life crisis. It's not the most cheery read. However, it's a real story about real people in a world that is geared towards corporations and deal making. I enjoyed the moments when the protagonist stepped out of himself and experienced life more fully. I wish the story had ended differently, yet it was a believable ending.
The Lion Seeker vividly illustrates what it was to come of age in a landscape of political unrest and social corruption.
The Lion Seeker is Kenneth BoThe Lion Seeker vividly illustrates what it was to come of age in a landscape of political unrest and social corruption.
The Lion Seeker is Kenneth Bonert’s first novel, and Knopf Canada’s only title in 2013’s “New Faces of Fiction” program. His short stories have appeared in Grain and The Fiddlehead. The South African born writer now calls Toronto home. While working as a journalist his articles appeared in the Globe and Mail, National Post and other publications.
Within the first few chapters of The Lion Seeker I was put in mind of Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner.” In that both stories are (unbelievably) first novels. Both main characters (young boys) are coming of age during times of historic brutality. (The Kite Runner is set in Afghanistan during the fall of the Monarchy to the collapse of the Taliban.) Both stories examine ethnic tensions. Finally, both stories had me hooked immediately. Beyond these comparisons, the stories are stand-alone, exceptional, originals.
Bonert delivers a knowledgeable portrait of the many facets of African/Jewish, rich/poor, black/white existence, during the sociopolitical unrest leading up to and during Hitler’s regimented slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents. Through lyrical prose, authentic vernacular, and vivid landscapes the reader is delivered to Africa, in all of her brilliance and brutality.
Isaac Helger is the son of Jewish immigrants, living in Doornfontein, Johannesburg. His mother, Gitelle, is his greatest influence in life. She instills in Issac a need to be clever and successful. His mission in life is to provide her with a fine house of their own, and to help her rescue her family members, which remain in Lithuania, before Hitler’s regime invades. These duties drive Isaac in most of his actions. He doesn’t want to be “a stupid.” When his desires couple with lest than ethical people, many things go wrong. He is often led astray. There are also family secrets that haunt Gitelle: Secrets that have left her mentally and physically scarred. Secrets Isaac is desperate to know.
Isaac’s beliefs change throughout the pages. His youthful understanding that whites are superior to blacks is challenged many times when he begins to understand loyalty and see first hand which culture is more loyal to their brethren. This belief is fractured completely with the onset of Jews being seen as inferior to pure whites. This is just one facet of his education on his journey from boyhood to manhood. Isaac is no saint. He tries the easy road to riches and working hard for riches. Neither path is smooth. He concludes that, “Men are worse than dogs.” He learns about the class system, bigotry, broken promises, heartbreak, moral corruption, and lies. He becomes jaded and vengeful… his actions teach him about the relentlessness of regret.
The Lion Seeker is delivered in three parts. By the final page of part two, Isaac has made a decision that is morally devastating. His character and the story seem beyond salvation. Then a revelation:
“How a lie can feel more solid than the truth when it makes its own. The rightness of it calms him right through. It’s how it should be…”
The final third of the story is about actions being revealed. Isaac learns the harsh lesson that the journey towards the goal is more important than attaining the goal. A quest for revenge brings to light family secrets, forgiveness and path towards redemption.
People work with the tools they are given, for better or for worse. Life is difficult enough without living during a time of war and persecution. It’s hard to know what any of us would do in that landscape. Our families and our environments give shape to what we become… the rest is up to us. The Lion Seeker is a story about life choices and it is worth reading! ...more
Ann & Nancy Wilson forged a path and changed the face of Rock & Roll, while Remaining relevant for four decades: They proved to be more than jAnn & Nancy Wilson forged a path and changed the face of Rock & Roll, while Remaining relevant for four decades: They proved to be more than just, “pretty good for a couple of girls.” They’ve been kicking ass and taking names!
Kicking & Dreaming (itBooks/Harper Collins) is a must have for any fan of well crafted music. It’s a no-brainer that Heart fans will love this book. However, it also delivers great insight into what it was to be women in a male dominated, sexist, industry; as well as some fantastic behind the scenes stories from the 70s’s forward. There are lots of familiar names, and amusing stories in this tome, including recollections of time spent with: The Rolling Stones, Stevie Nicks, Elton John, Van Halen, Def Leppard, and Bono.
Ann and Nancy (with the aid of bestselling music biographer, Charles R. Cross) take turns narrating this honest account of their lives from childhood to present day. There is also input from family, friends, and music collaborators, such as Lynn Wilson, Sue Ennis, Roger Fisher, Michael Fisher, and Kelly Curtis (Pearl Jam). With fast pacing and thoughtful prose, Kicking & Dreaming is a fantastic read!
A large part of the duo’s success can be attributed to growing up in a tight-knit family unit. Though there were stresses in the home, with an often-absent US Marine father, and a take care of everything mother, it is clear from their memories that the Wilson’s were a family that loved and respected each other. “The Big Five,” as they affectionately referred to their collective, was a team: for better or worse. The three Wilson sisters, Lynn, Ann and Nancy were raised by John “Dotes” and Lois “Lou,” with values and an understanding of the importance of family and community. Coupling this with a huge passion for creating, it is no wonder that Ann and Nancy have had staying power all these years. Of course, a huge amount of musical talent doesn’t hurt either.
Ann and Nancy are candid about the ups and downs of a life in Rock & Roll. There is a darker side and neither shy away from the demons they dealt with. Ann talks about being bullied for a stutter and her weight, during adolescence. She was also bullied for her weight, by the press, during the last 2 decades. She is frank about her battles with both weight and alcoholism. Nancy shares her struggles with infertility, and insecurity, as well as the downfall that can be associated with being a hopeless romantic. Both ladies have triumphed over their demons, found joy in motherhood, and have come away stronger and more determined to be authentic in their music, which is what Heart has always been about.
The Wilson’s share insights into the inspirations for some of their best-known hits, who they love collaborating with, and what works/doesn’t work. Whether it was traveling back roads in a small van, to play dive bars, or taking international flights to play sold out arenas, the soul of Heart has always been about creating music that moves. Ann and Nancy continue to do this today, with the release of their 14th studio album, “Fanatic” (Legacy Recordings/ Sony Entertainment). This record harkens back to the early, more organic rock of Heart. It’s less polished and grabs you by the gut. Life, love and family are the inspiration for the new songs. Fanatic was recorded with Grammy-winning producer Ben Mink and features the duet “Walkin’ Good,” with Sarah McLachlan. The songs range in musical style and as always; the Wilson sisters thread them together in a way that feels completely natural. At 61 years old, Ann still hits the high notes! At 57 years-old, Nancy still delivers fantastic rhythm guitar and flawless vocal harmonies. Fanatic is another must have for those who enjoy fine music!
On a personal note: I have been a fan of the Wilson Sisters since I heard my cousin’s copy of “Dreamboat Annie,” way back in 1976.
“Heading out this morning into the sun. Riding on the diamond waves, little darlin’ one. Warm wind caress her. Her lover it seems. Oh, Annie. Dreamboat Annie, my little ship of dreams…”
Though I was only 8 years old, and didn’t completely understand what the words meant, I knew it was the most beautiful harmony/melody I’d ever heard. Then came the crunching guitars of “Barracuda,” that fantastic run in “Crazy On You,” and the most mind-blowing vocals… I’ve been hooked ever since. When I hear/see the sexuality driven, auto-tuned, chart toppers that pass for hits today, I know I was blessed to be a kid in the 70’s: back when talent was the “whole package,” as apposed to packaging being the whole package… with little or no substance. So maybe this review is a little biased… but I dare you to read “Kicking & Dreaming,” and listen to “Fanatic,” and NOT BE MOVED! ...more
I wasn't sure I liked this one as much as the previous three Marc Edwards stories. Then I did like it, then... a murder and as it was coming to a closI wasn't sure I liked this one as much as the previous three Marc Edwards stories. Then I did like it, then... a murder and as it was coming to a close... I was back to thinking, "not sure this is as good as the others." then a twist! And yes, once again Don Gutteridge delivered the goods. I'm giving it 5 stars because, the moment I turned the last page I wanted to read the next one; which is not available until 2013.
A character that continues to evolve while maintaing the core of his integrity, is a rare thing. Character and storyline have held my attention and left me wanting more for 4 novels.