Spiderweb by Penelope Lively (32)

This is another great story for adults by the great story writer Penelope Lively.

This is a story that will entrance the reader and keep her reading until the last page is turned.

All her life, Stella Brentwood has considered herself a bird of passage.

As an anthropologist she studies social networks — in the villages of Nile Delta, Greece and Malta, and the community of on Orkney Island. She has known love, but she remains alone, by choice and by chance.

Now retired, she has decided to buy a home, to root herself in the Somerset Landscape.

Her retirement plans signify a new phase of stability but Stella finds life in the West Country as subtle and elaborate a social system as any other she has encountered. She is absorbed by the emotions aroused by new and old relationships — with Richard, the prosaic widower of an old college friend, whose baffling overtures take her by surprise, and with Judith, an archaeologist whose relationship is in flux.

The hamlet that is not her home proves itself deceptive — an apparently tranquil backwater where the tensions within a dysfunctional family build to a destructive climax.

I lobed this book and will recommend it to all my friends!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


Posted in Award Winning Author, Fiction, Lives of Women | Leave a comment

A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively (31)

I have been reading a few Penelope Lively books. So, I will review 3 of them in this sequence of reviews.

This is a wonderful book with just the right of balance of humor and mystery.  What a winning combination.

Penelope Lively is a wonderful story teller, one that I will return to over and over again over the years.

This is a junior reader. But I enjoyed the story just as much…

Maria is always getting lost in the secret world of her imagination. So, when she begins to hear things that nobody else does, she’s not sure if they are real.

Then Maria finds a Victorian embroidered picture, and feels a strange connection with the ten-year-old girl, Harriet, who stitched it.

As Maria becomes more absorbed in Harriet’s world, she fears that something tragic took place. But did that really occur? Or, is it just a young girl’s imagination going wild?

I loved this tory from start to finish!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Award Winning Author, Fiction, Mystery | Leave a comment

The Flying Troutman’s by Miriam Toews (30)

This is a story that will keep you reading until you have the read the last word.  I just loved this book.  It is intriguing and wonderfully written.

Hattie has just been dumped by her Paris boyfriend. Her sister, Min, is going through a particularly dark period. Mini’s two kids, Logan and Thebes, are both not talking and talking way too much, respectively.

So, when Hattie receives an SOS call from eleven-year-old Thebes, she grabs the first plane home. There she discovers that Min is on the way to a psychiatric ward, and Hattie assumes responsibility for the kids.

She quickly realizes that she is way out of her league, and hatches a hare-brained plan to find the kids’ long-lost father. With only the most tenuous lead to go on, she piles Logan and Thebes into their Ford Aerostar, and armed with some art supplies, a mondo pair of headphones and a cooler full of food, they hit the road and head south.

What ensues is a frantic expedition during which Hattie attempts to reconcile a tricky past with Min. Logan carves cryptic messages into the van’s dashboard. Thebes makes and distributes oversized novelty cheques to anybody who needs one and the threesome discovers that while freedom has its costs, it also has its payoffs.

At once hilarious and heartrending, this book tells the story of a fractured family on the verge of spinning off its axles and a road trip that just might keep them together.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


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Shattered by Dani Pettrey (29)

This is a story that is well written and engrossing. It is a story that will also haunt you for a while as well.  This is Book 2 in the Alaskan Courage.

This is a story about how important siblings are to each other, especially in time of need.

When her prodigal brother’s return to Yancey Alaska is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family but he’s also sworn to find the truth. And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth puts Landon’s career in jeopardy.

When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself–and from whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada’s rugged backcountry.

Not only does their long friendship seems to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Sweet Jesus by Christine Pountney (28)

This book is dazzling and original and it is written by a new writer from Toronto.  There are so many great writers in Canada and I am SO glad that new writers are seeing how important it is to share what they have stored inside their hearts and souls.

It is a great story that is witty and emotional with piercing observation. The story is set on Vancouver Island, in Toronto, and in the American Midwest. It tells the story of three siblings who, in the week before the 2012 US presidential election, reunite and set off on a journey that will transform their lives.

Connie Foster is a mother of three young children. She learns that her husband’s attempt to maintain their lifestyle has led them to financial ruin.

Her sister Hannah Crowe, a writer, is desperately wanting to have a child. But the man she loves is determined not to. Zeus Ortega, their much younger adopted brother, who left the family home when he was fifteen, is living in Chicago with his boyfriend and working as a therapeutic clown in a children’s hospital.

Prompted by a heartbreaking loss, he quits his job and decides to search for his birth parents in New Mexico. Together, the three siblings head south and, on the way, they visit a mega-church in Wichita, Kansas, where their mother, Rose who had a powerful faith experience.

What unfolds is a captivating story about three people bound by family ties and caught between loyalty and desire, searching for wholeness and finding something more real in its place.

The story is human and infused with sparkling intelligence and dark humour. The story reveals all of our foibles and our graces.

This story also shows the importance of compassion and how it goes a long way to mending a heart in the absence of certainty.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Christian Values, Compassion, Empowerment, Grace | Leave a comment

The Big Book of Canada: Exploring the Provinces and Territories by Christopher Moore (27)

This book is a treasure throve of information.  Through illustrations and information from the author, this book is a must read for all Canadians. I learned so much about our great and vast country from this book. It is quite immeasurable.

From Nunavut’s Barren Lands to the Torngat Mountains of Newfoundland, from Quebec’s Saguenay Fjord to the pingos of the Northwest Territories, this book explores the many fascinating places that make up Canada.

The author, Christopher Moore is one of the country’s foremost historians. He brings each province and territory to life, drawing together history and politics, the famous and the infamous, the people, places, and industries that have defined a nation.

For good measure, the author has added a few fun elements into the book such as a recipe for poutine rapee, a Newfoundland dictionary, and a roster of daredevils who’ve braved Niagara Falls among them. He adds these details as a way to spice up this fact-filled text.

The book is lavishly illustrated with more than 140 modern and archival photographs and 110 original pieces by the well-known artist Bill Slavin. The book also contains maps of each of the provinces and territories, a list of further readings, and a useful index.

Together, this book is a great read for young and old. It can also be used for school projects.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Canada, Cultural Diversity, Culture in Canada, Geography, History | Leave a comment

Until it Fades by K. A. Tucker (26)

This a modern-day Cinderalla-like story.  I love stories like that. They are captivating and keep you reading until you have completed the book.

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals. She wants to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed date, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the policy have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has rescued: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame, and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, especially on  national stage. So, she hides her identity.  It works, but only for a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. There’s an immediate connection, and its more electric than the bond of two people who endured a traumatic event. Its something e=neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle, something she is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine–perhaps before the spark fades?

What a great story!

Rating: 5 stars

Posted in Author from Ontario, Emancipation, Empowerment, Friendship, Love | Leave a comment