“We are the books we read and the things we love.”
Rachel and Henry were best friends, however everything changed when Rachel moved away to a new home by the sea. Three years later she is back and working at Henry’s family’s bookstore, Howling Books, a comforting place filled with secondhand books where visitors leave notes and letters to strangers and loved ones. Rachel is grieving a terrible loss and Henry is struggling with his plans and desires for the future. It is against the backdrop of Howling Books that they embark on figuring out themselves and what they mean to each other.
“… words do matter. They’re not pointless. If they were pointless then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history and they wouldn’t be the things that you think about every night before you go to sleep. If they were just words we wouldn’t listen to songs, we wouldn’t beg to be read to when we’re kids. If they were just words, then they’d have no meaning and stories wouldn’t have been around since before humans could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words then people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them.”
Words in Deep Blue is a lovely YA book that explores love, grief, the pain of loss, and the beauty of words. The writing is wonderful, and the author relates each feeling and experience in a relatable way that evokes emotion and understanding. Certain aspects of the story can be a little frustrating, particularly when it comes to the character of Henry, however there is a feeling of realness to all of it that reads like real life behaviour. My favourite aspect of the novel was the Letter Library section of the bookshop that contains books in which people have left notes and letters. Such a beautiful idea and used effectively throughout. A heartwarming and touching novel.
“You must know that feeling when it’s raining outside and the heating’s on and you lose yourself, utterly, in a book. You read and you read and you feel the pages slipping through your fingers until suddenly there are fewer in your right hand than there are in your left and you want to slow down but you still hurtle on towards a conclusion you can hardly bear to discover.”
2017 was filled with a lot of wonderful books, and choosing the top favourites, as always, is not an easy task. Looking back, there are quite a few books that I not only loved reading, but that left an impression and that I would happily reread over and over again. Here are my top seven of the year! Continue reading “A Year in Review: Favourite Books of 2017”
Whenever I go see a movie based on a book, it is usually with a mix of excitement and apprehension, especially when I am a big fan of the book. I initially read Murder on the Orient Express many years ago as a kid when I was discovering my love of mystery novels, along with my love of all things Agatha Christie. This particular novel was one of my favourites (it is a classic for a reason), and one that was very memorable. The trailers for the movie were really well done, and I was more than happy to revisit and reread this classic Poirot mystery before seeing it come to life on the big screen. So, does it live up to the book?
Let’s start with the positives. The movie itself looks beautiful and is visually impressive. From the landscapes to the look of the characters, it is quite stunning and has a very grand feel to it. Kenneth Branagh is simply wonderful as the famous detective, Hercule Poirot and his performance is the absolute highlight of the movie. Simply wonderful. Continue reading “Murder on the Orient Express: Does the movie live up to the book?”
I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing, Chasing Eveline, a sweet and touching new YA novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. Author Leslie Hauser was kind enough to answer some questions regarding the novel and her work. Enjoy the interview, and check out the original review here!
1. Congratulations on your debut novel, Chasing Eveline. Can you give us a quick overview of the story?
Thank you! Chasing Eveline is about 16-year- old Ivy Higgins and her quest to
reunite 80s Irish rock group Chasing Eveline. Ivy’s mom left two years ago, and while Ivy wavers between sadness and anger, she knows she’s not ready to lose her mom forever. So she gets it in her head that if she can reunite her mom’s favorite band, not only will she keep her mom alive in her life but she may even be able to find her.
2. Where did your inspiration for the story come from?
Music was my inspiration for this novel. I love music. I can’t tell you how many iPod mixes, mixed tapes, burned CDs I’ve made for every kind of occasion in my life. So many important moments in my life have been colored by music. So Chasing Eveline is a big love letter to music. Continue reading “Author Interview: Leslie Hauser”
“The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.”
Recently, I listened to the Serial podcast for the first time and was completely hooked. So when I read the premise of Are You Sleeping I had to read it right away. This psychological thriller focuses on an old murder case that becomes the subject of a wildly popular podcast, and slowly unravels the lives of those involved. Josie Buhrman has done everything she can to escape that time in her life and the attention that came with it. The murder of her father shocked the town, and soon after her mother ran away to join a cult, and the relationship between the two sisters fractured, seemingly beyond repair. Ten years later, Josie is living a completely new life in New York, when a new podcast that is attempting to reexamine the case of her father’s murder becomes a mega-hit. This not only brings unwanted attention, but also raises many doubts regarding the case that Josie has been struggling with.
“Reconsidered: The Chuck Buhrman Murder was splashed in bold red letters across a fuzzy black-and-white picture of my father. It was the headshot he had used for work, the one where he looked less like an actual college professor and more like a caricature of one, with his tweed jacket, crooked eyeglasses, and thick black beard. The faint twinkle in his eyes threatened to undo me. Daddy.”
Are You Sleeping is told from Josie’s perspective, along with transcripts of the podcast and tweets/messages of its many listeners. It is a fairly quick, easy read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The storyline is interesting and the way the author incorporates the podcast and social media is very well done, adding to the already compelling nature of the mystery itself. A large part of the novel is dedicated to examining the dynamics of Josie’s family, so there are times where it doesn’t feel too much like a mystery/thriller. However, it is all very readable that you can’t help but be completely immersed in the storytelling. This is a solid escape read and a good mystery.
“In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.”
A man with no memory of who he is. A single mother who takes him in against her better judgment. A young newlywed whose husband has gone missing. And a two decade old tragedy that comes to surface. These components create an intriguing mystery that captivates as it seamlessly travels between different perspectives and time periods.
Alice is a single mother living in a British seaside town, and one day notices a man sitting on the beach outside her home. She soon discovers that he has no idea who he is or where he comes from, and with much trepidation, she decides to invite him in.
During this time, in London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose is desperate to find her missing husband who failed to come home from work. Having been married only three weeks and new to the country, she is very much alone, and soon learns from the police that her husband never existed.
Twenty-three years prior these events, young teens Kirsty and Gray are at their cottage for the summer holidays, when young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. This leaves Gray very uncomfortable. There is something about the situation, and this man, that simply does not seem right.
I Found You is a compelling novel with interesting characters, and is very easy to get lost in. Each perspective and timeline is intriguing in its own way and the pieces assemble quite nicely to reveal the big picture. If you enjoy mystery and character driven novels, this is a great choice. I wouldn’t go into it expecting a fast-paced thriller with lots of twists and turns because it could be end up being disappointing. Overall, a well-written and page-turning novel that is definitely worth a read.
“I suppose one of the reasons we’re all able to continue to exist for our allotted span in this green and blue vale of tears is that there is always, however remote it might seem, the possibility of change.”
Yes, Eleanor Oliphant is completely and utterly fine, thank you very much. She leads a well structured life, with a set routine that consists of frozen pizza and vodka on the weekends and weekly chats with Mummy. Her job is one that she has held for many years, since graduation in fact, and she is content to be just where she is with things just the way they are. Or maybe not. When Eleanor meets Raymond, the new IT guy at the office, she is not impressed with his manners or hygiene. However, an unlikely friendship forms after they save Sammy, an elderly man who fell on the sidewalk. Soon, Eleanor finds herself stepping outside of her well structured routine, and slowly facing her past and healing long-hidden wounds.
“I simply didn’t know how to make things better. I could not solve the puzzle of me.”
Eleanor Oliphant is a protagonist that will stick with me for quite some time. I tend to be hesitant to read books with, what might seem like, rather irritating main characters. On the surface, Eleanor is not very likeable as she significantly lacks any social awareness. However, the author does a fantastic job of introducing her as a character and then slowly revealing her past, which unveils the reasons for her being the way she is and her struggles. There are plenty of humorous moments in the novel and plenty of heartbreaking ones. The more I got to know Eleanor the more invested I became in her journey and efforts to come to terms with the past, while bettering her present. As the story progressed I simply couldn’t help but root for Eleanor Oliphant. This novel is emotional, incredibly endearing, and one that I will happily keep rereading.