Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People's HousesPublisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Pages: 240
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: February 23, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled.

My Review:

Wow, this book was a lot more than I was expecting, and in such a small little package. There is such a large story found in this book and it was so mesmerizing for me.  This book connects four people together in such a short amount of time, and the way they all end up helping one another is what makes this story so beautiful.

I am not too sure on how to review this book because there is just so much that happens, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock brings alive a tough time in Alaska. When I started this book I wasn't too sure if I would really get into, but as I continued and slowly got to know each of the characters better I was falling in love and I wanted to know how they would grow over the course of the time.

What I really loved about this story was how Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock writes a beautiful story about people dealing with some tragic situations. And yet this is also a story about the strength of family and how no matter how difficult a time you may be going through, those are the people that will be there for you in the end. This is the type of book that you really need to keep working with, don't give up on the story because you will find yourself falling for the characters, and wanting to see them come out on top.

I can't really talk about these characters without giving away too much information about everything that happens, but this book takes place over a year and readers see the characters through each season and watch how little by little each character changes and grows up. I think in some ways Dora was one of my favourites because she had such a substantial growth over the course of the novel.

This was a book I picked up because the cover just screamed out to me and the title was so odd that I knew I needed more information, and it is a book that I can see staying in my heart, it's just one that you need to invest yourself in and don't give up on. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review: The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy

The Blue HourPublisher: Atria Books
Pages: 368
Received: Received a copy from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 16, 2016
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Robin knew Paul wasn’t perfect. But he said they were so lucky to have found each other, and she believed it was true.

She is a meticulous accountant, almost forty. He is an artist and university professor, twenty years older. When Paul suggests a month in Morocco, where he once lived and worked, a place where the modern meets the medieval, Robin reluctantly agrees.

Once immersed into the swirling, white hot exotica of a walled city on the North African Atlantic coast, Robin finds herself acclimatizing to its wonderful strangeness. Paul is everything she wants him to be—passionate, talented, knowledgeable. She is convinced that it is here she will finally become pregnant.

But then Paul suddenly disappears, and Robin finds herself the prime suspect in the police inquiry. As her understanding of the truth starts to unravel, Robin lurches from the crumbling art deco of Casablanca to the daunting Sahara, caught in an increasingly terrifying spiral from which there is no easy escape.

With his acclaimed ability to write thought-provoking page-turners, Douglas Kennedy takes readers into a world where only Patricia Highsmith has ever dared. The Blue Hour is a roller-coaster journey into a heart of darkness that asks the question: What would you do if your life depended on it?

My Review:

When this book was offered to me, I wasn't too sure if I would like it. But I know I can trust those that say based on what you like I think you'll like this story. This is a book about a couple that is definitely far from perfect, and I believe that is what makes this book so interesting. I will say there doesn't seem to be a lot of growth for the characters, but yet in a way Robin does learn a lot more about herself through this journey in a different world.

I absolutely loved the descriptions of the Morocco and how different of a place it is compared to here. Robin must travel lengths to find out exactly what has happened and to find the truth. Along the way many secrets are revealed to Robin, some that will change her life forever and it is hard to tell how things will be handled in the end.

This is a very difficult book to discuss because I don't want to give away the story and what happens. I can say that Douglas Kennedy takes readers on an incredible journey through Morocco and gives readers a view of a different culture and how difficult it can be being an American in this place. I felt a thrill while reading this book, following Robin on her journey to learn more about her husband and also watching as she travels this place alone, the dangerous things that lurk around every corner for her being a woman alone.

I devoured this book in a short time, but I do wish there was a little bit more to the end. I wanted just a bit more information on Paul and everything that happened. But all in all I think readers are left with this view that you can still move on after a difficult time. This is a story about new beginnings and learning how to take care of yourself. I truly enjoyed this story and everything Robin learned about herself and why she gets herself into situations like she did.


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