Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of Visits and Other Passages by Carol Smallwood

Readers used to poetry collections or volumes where the prose knows if it is fiction or nonfiction might at first be perplexed by the way genre boundaries are transgressed or redrawn this time around. But my bet is that those who come with a spirit of adventure will be rewarded by the irreverence and innovation on almost every page. Visits and Other Passages provides enough threads of a motif that knits up a quest myth, patterns of loss and recovery, and the power of visitation.

A review of The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

Coming in at just over 400 pages, the book moves at a quick pace despite being chock-full of details. The information is included to simply move the story along—Benjamin manages to keep the plot from becoming too heavy or dramatic. Overall, The Girls in the Picture is a fascinating read, recommended for both film and history buffs interested in the early 20thcentury.

A review of The Curse In The Candle Light Scarlet and Ivy by Sophie Cleverly

Through the changing of friendships and leaderships, Ebony soon calls all the shots and organises a party celebrating All Hallows Eve. At this party a truth is revealed and now Muriel has the upper hand, leading to a tight situation for the other girls. This situation involves breaking out of a cage, breaking a door and confronting enemies.

A review of Quill of the Dove by Ian Thomas Shaw

Canadian author Ian Thomas Shaw’s new novel Quill of the Dove proves that a writer’s memory is powerful enough to move laterally and create a searing vision of the contemporary Middle East. Shaw’s evocation of Lebanon, during the Civil War in 1982, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2007, illuminates the tragic consequences of the curve and the asymptote of West and East, never intersecting.

A review of Above an Abyss: Two Novellas by Ryan Masters

The writing in both these novellas is masterfully self-effacing. Nothing is forced and nothing draws attention to itself, yet it is all perfect, natural, necessary. It reminds me of the films of Kelly Reichardt, whose shots and compositions share the same sense of unexpected revelation amid the everyday.

A review of Unnatural Habitats and Other Stories by Angela Mitchell

Instead of anthropomorphizing animals, in this collection, people act like animals. There’s a closeness explored between humans and animals, sometimes wild, sometimes their pets. In one story about a young mother addicted to Oxy, she turns her face from her boyfriend’s meanness, “like I’d do with a wild dog, like if I avoided the eyes, that alone would keep it from lunging into me, snapping me at the neck and shaking me dead” (134).

A review of Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

Colin Thiele evokes strong emotions from the reader because he writes the right things at the right moments. He also has action after action, so the storyline doesn’t get boring. He creates intriguing characters, and how he describes them so well and how much emotion he puts into it really catches me.

A review of Kick Kennedy’s Secret Diary by Susan Braudy and The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher

Readers attracted by the Kennedy name will find that, of the two novels,Kick Kennedy’s Secret Diary by Susan Braudy is the more risque and sensational. Readers who want a love story should choose Kerri Maher’s The Kennedy Debutante. Those seeking an historical novel about a woman breaking free of convention and achieving things through her own hard work should look elsewhere.