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A glimpse into a bygone era

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

There is perhaps no song that stirs emotions quite like Auld Lang Syne and this book completely captures the essence of the lyrics. While it's a traditional song to hear on New Year's Eve, it's the experiences between those New Year's celebrations that truly give it meaning. For Katey Kontent, the year 1938 turned out to be a doozy, and her decisions in that year made way for who she would ultimately become. The beauty in this is how it rings true for all of us: our decisions, the people that come and go from our lives, these things shape us and the dawn of each New Year is the perfect time for reflection and nostalgia for the days (and people) of yore. #Audible1

1 person found this helpful

Rebecca cover art

A masterpiece

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

There is no feeling like reading a classic novel for the first time and instantly comprehending how it has stood the test of time. This piece of gothic fiction, first published in 1938, is filled with elements sure to captivate any reader: an old English estate, a creepy housekeeper with a "skull's face," and an overall sense of mystery and foreboding.

Despite Alfred Hitchcock's film adaptation and resulting horror connotation, Rebecca is also reminiscent of a Brontë novel. The book is simply brilliant. The way in which du Maurier reflects the perceived inferiority of the second Mrs. de Winter, by never giving her name, to Rebecca, who is repeatedly spoken of in each chapter, on nearly every page, is ingenious. Just as the shadow of Maxim de Winter's first wife looms large over Manderley and his second marriage, Rebecca is also a main character in the novel despite having been dead for almost a year before the narrative begins. #Audible1

Alan Doyle is a fabulous storyteller

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

I listen to audiobooks on the regular and I was excited that Alan Doyle’s first book, Where I Belong, was available in that format. In 2014, when it came out, not a lot of Canadian publishers had yet hopped on the audiobook bandwagon. The topic of audiobooks is important here for a few reasons. To start, Doyle writes his books in a conversational tone. This isn’t to say they wouldn’t make great books to read as well, but they work fantastically in audio. What’s more, Doyle narrates himself. I often shy away from audiobooks read by the author, as not everyone has what it takes to narrate. Doyle, thankfully, is an anomaly in this regard. These factors combine to create something magical, like you have Alan Doyle sitting right there in the passenger seat, as you drive along listening intently.

Where I Belong tells the story of Doyle’s childhood and young adult years, right up to the formation of Great Big Sea. His second book picks up right where the first left off. It’s the story of Great Big Sea from the early years touring Newfoundland to bigger and better gigs right across Canada. It’s clever how he intersperses his tales from across the country with tidbits from around the island. Alan Doyle is a wonderful ambassador of Newfoundland to the rest of the country and beyond. His books truly are a delight. #Audible1

An important book about the First World War

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

An important book about the First World War that takes you right into the trenches of that time. The narrative follows two best friends, Cree snipers named Xavier Bird and Elijah Whiskeyjack, as they fight through some legendary battles, and more poignantly, the emotional turmoil that results.

Boyden’s style of writing is beautiful, but on the whole, I did not love Three Day Road. There’s too much trench warfare, too many grisly details. It’s just not my favourite thing to read about. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to face these brutal truths and reach outside our comfort zone. It’s important to reflect on these tragedies of the past so we might learn to do things differently next time around. #Audible1

Not your average YA fantasy

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

The Giller short-listed Son of a Trickster turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Some have labelled it YA, but I disagree that a teenaged protagonist means a book belongs in that fluffy genre. Jared may be a young adult, but his problems are anything but the usual high school drama. Not only does he abuse drugs and alcohol to the extreme, but Jared learns that his mother is a witch and his real father a Trickster. #Audible1

1 person found this helpful

A thing of beauty

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-13

The author John Gardner famously declared that there are only two plots in all of literature: someone goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town. In this quiet novel, two strangers, through different circumstances, arrive in the reclusive wilderness camp of three old men who have turned their back on the world. The story that ensues is one of broken people, love, and healing.

Originally written in French by Jocelyne Saucier and translated by Rhonda Mullins, the writing (and the English translation) is a thing of beauty. The tone is gentle and pulls the reader into the story. One of the men is a survivor of the great Matheson fire of 1916 and, as the plot unfolds in the present (the setting is actually mid-nineties), more and more details of his past are unearthed.

This book is a short one and definitely worth the effort. #Audible1