book review, book review, Books, books, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Book Review: Women Talking by Miriam Toews

 

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I know that I normally only posts Mondays but in celebration of reaching 100 followers I decided to do a Special Thursday post!!!! I am so grateful for all of you that follow, comment and like my blogs. Here’s to another 100 followers and more importantly all the book reviews and lists to come. (PS I’m super excited about some of my future content 🙂

There is a lot of hype around Women Talking so I picked it up at the library and gave it a shot. Miriam Toews is a Canadian author! Represent!!! Miriam also wrote A Complicated Kindness and All my Puny Sorrows. Funny enough this book is about the Mennonite community and she was the daughter of Mennonites. Women Talking is based on true events of 2005-2009 in the Manitoba Colony. A group of women stood up to the oppression they faced in their community. It was super interesting to see each woman’s view regarding leaving and how their lifestyle affects their thought process.

 

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So the premise of the novel starts off with 8 women in a Mennonite colony getting together to discuss their future. They find out that the Mennonite women were being drugged and raped by the men in their colony. As per their culture they are not allowed to stand up to the men. They, for obvious reasons have issues with this. They want to protect themselves as well as their children. They don’t want to feel prisoners in their own home fearing for their lives. So these 8 women from 2 families meet in a barn to discuss their 3 option: say nothing, stand up and fight or leave. They enlist the help of August Epp a colony outcast to write down the minutes of the meeting.

 

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August uses symbols for the women to understand because as per their ‘culture’ the women do not know how to read and write. August was excommunicated from the community when he was 12 years old for his parents having photos of art art, giving them out and his mother teaching things not approved by the church. August then went to college but got kicked out and thrown in jail. He was homeless and went to the library to research suicide. He met a librarian and she told August that not only did he get rejected from the Mennonite community but it also seems like he got rejected from the worldly community. What a blow would that be? She told him to go and ask for forgiveness from his original community to find peace in his life. This is how he became it outcast taking the women’s meeting minutes.

 

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The women are already at wits ends in the very beginning of the meeting. Right from the start their religion seems to play a huge role in the pros and cons of each option. They want to keep with their religion and be able to enter the gates of Heaven. However they feel they cannot forgive the men of their community for the acts they have done. The men have not even spared the children. Salome tried to kill one of the men after finding that they violated her 3 year old daughter who now is very sick. They argue that do they not have the right to protect their children while still being true to God and his teachings.

If they choose to leave they will be leaving their children and other women in harm’s way and is this worse than turning a blind eye. You can see how this way of thinking can easily spiral out of control which is not good for the women as they are on a time constraint. The men are only in the city for 2 days trying to post bail for the other men that got charged- the same men Salome tried to kill.

 

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Throughout the 2 day debacle we see each of the women’s personalities shine through. Some are more vocal and want to fight like Salome while others are quiet and try to think about things rationally like Ona- PS she was one of the victims and how is pregnant because of the rape.

Throughout the novel the comparison the women make of themselves to their livestock is shocking. They think they are of no more value than their livestock their husbands keep. Animals may even be held higher in value. I could not even imagine living in a community where this is the thought. The women learn to rise up and value their lives and their contributions/skills. Overcoming their ingrained views that they are nothing is to me truly heroic and brave.

The logistics of choosing to leave set in. The have to fear that the other women in their community who do not share their views will rat them out to the other men. No unity shown here. They also know nothing outside of the community. They do not even know how to read a map. They have to decide whether or not to take their children and what age to cut off. However they keep going back to the 3 reasons to leave which put their arguments into perspective. These 3 reasons are: Save our children, Keep their faith, and time to think.

 

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In the end the decision was made to leave after they know for certain nothing would change. Mariche’s husband comes home and wants to sell their horses (the lady’s get away car) to post bail money. After Mariche says she let them out and does not know where they are her husband beats her and her daughter. August finds them a map and uses symbols to depict what are landmarks and directions.

 

In the end I thought it was kind of sad. August comes back to the community to find peace while the women leave to find it.

 

As always I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this book. What did you think of the real trials and tribulations that still rock communities in our world?

Happy reading!!!

 

 

Books, books, Fiction, Literature

Top 5: Summer Reads 2019

Top 5: Summer Reads 2019

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Welcome to another of my top 5 lists. Since summer is just around the corner I wanted to release my most anticipated books of the summer. Nothing is better than feeling the warm sunshine, the smell of the beach or fresh cut grass and a brand new read in your hand. Maybe I’m a bit bias but this is the best feeling as in Canada we do not get many months of truly warm weather. There are so many books being released on the next few months. If I have missed one you are looking forward to I am sorry. Please leave a comment with yours as I always love to grow my TBR. Some of these books are seconds in the series so SPOILERS AHEAD

  1. Children of Vengeance and Virtuve by Tomi Adeyemi

Release Date June 4, 2019

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For those of us who loved her first book Children of Blood and Bone I know I cannot wait for this release date. Not everyone may have enjoyed it but there are quite a lot of positive reviews out there. Children of Vengeance takes places right after the epic battle at the temple. Zelie and Amari are on the ship and learn that magic is once again in the land of Orisha. It seems even the nobles who have maji blood have gotten magic. There now is a struggle of uniting the kingdom, maji against noble and everyone is on the same playing field. As Zelie fights to get Amari her rightful throne all they want is peace. As civil war is on the horizon this book promising to be just as action packed as the first. I can’t wait to see how Tomi incorporate magic into the military system of the nobles and how she shows the maji rise up again.!!!!! Epic epic epic!!!

2. The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Release Date June 18, 2019

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Sandy toes for the summer, love the book cover!!! This novel follows 2 sisters Brooke and Mindy. Mindy is the perfect child while Brooke the adventourous one. Now grown up Mindy has 3 kids and is the wife of a doctor. She shows up at Brooke’s doorsteps. Mindy wants to trade places for a while so she can get her life back on track. Brooke agress and head back to their hometown of Wildstone with Mindy’s kids. Brooke apparently is just as disheveled and broken and Mindy but hides his as she wanted to make amends with her sister. Back in Wildstone hidden secrets of the past apparently come to back into light. This novel seems to be a tale of 2 sisters reuniting and facing their hometown secrets. I do love me a good family story!!!!

-also written by this author : Rainy Day Friends and Lost and Found sisters

3. The Whispering Network by Chandler Baker

Release date July 2, 2019

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This books seems to play into the me too movement of present day society. It follows 4 women: Stoane, Ardie, Grace and Rosalita. They all work in corporate America and their male boss is up for a huge promotion at their cooperation Truviv Inc.. Apparently his professional life is less than squeaky clean and their a lot of rumors floating around regarding how he treats women. After finding out he is being inappropriate yet again with another woman these 4 women form a pact. They decided to take a stand and set a plan in motion where lies and secrets are uncovered. After all the social media coverage of the me too movement this book already has a lot of traction!!

-also written by this author: Alive and This is not the End

4. The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler

Release Date: July 30, 2019

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This is a thriller/mystery novel that is perfect to freak you out in the nice weather!!!! The novel starts out with the murderer being a ‘virgin’ and stalking his first victim in a garden wearing a mask…spooky much. The novel then goes on to follow an ex detective: Joona Linna. The twists- he is on a high security prison giving this novel a Hannibal Lecter feel. To swap for his freedom he must help catch the murderer now known as the Rabbit Hunter. I love a good cat and mouse thriller. I am hoping this book is filled with twist after twist of tension filled pages.

-also written by this author: The Sandman and the Hypnotist

5. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Release date August 27,2019

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So to put how anticipated this read already is, I am number 94 on the hold list at my local library and the release date is not until August !!!!! Rebecca applied to be a live in nanny at the Heatherbrae House. It is a modern ‘smart’ luxury house in the Highlands and of course a picture perfect family lives in it. Twist – turns out this is a horror/murder mystery novel. A child is dead and Rebecca is in jail . She writes from jail trying to tell her lawyer the details of what happened. The children were not picture perfect, the house was creepy and she was left alone a great majority of the time but she is not a murderer but who is? Another tension filled read to load up your summer with!!!

-also written by this author: The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game !!!

I cannot wait to get my hands on these 5 books this summer. I hope I have added to your TBR list. As above please feel free to comment any others you are excited about reading !!!!

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Happy Reading!!!!!!

book review, books, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: The House We Grew up In by Lisa Jewell

Book Review: The House We Grew up In by Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up In

After reading Then she was Gone by Lisa Jewell I wanted to read more of her books. I picked this one up at my local library and jumped in. Getting a quarter of the way through the book I realized that this has a different feel and flow compared to Then she was Gone- not a s sick and sinister. I was a bit disappointed at first as I loved the perverse impression of Then she was Gone but The House we Grew up in had some other sort of pull for me. I am not sure how her other books go so if anyone has any comments or has read any of her other books please leave a comment below for me!

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This story follows a family throughout their growing up and falling aparts. Lorelei is the mother of 2 daughters and twin boys. The story jumps from past to present story lines with the past story line progressively meeting the present. Lorelei is a hoarder which steadily gets worse as time goes on. Throughout the novel we see how her hoarding tendencies affects both her kids, her marriage and her sense of self.

In the past timeline we see that even her kids recognize that her saving every scrap of paper is not right. Lorelei especially likes the shiny foil on the chocolate Easter eggs. We get a glimpse as they are all at Lorelei’s sister’s and she saves a torn pool. The adults all laugh at Lorelei in front of Meg, her daughter. Right then Meg already at ends with her mother’s collecting starts to realize this is not a behaviour of a mentally healthy person. She sees that her mother may need help which only intensifies their relationship as time goes on. We see in her letters to the mysterious Jim Lorelei’s parents died at a young age, she also wet the bed until teens. Do we see a start of a mental disorder?

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The initial family presented to us is a picture perfect family. Very early on we see this is not true. The problems are so ‘bad’ that one of Lorelei’s twins Rhys commits suicide. This is the final straw that breaks this family silently apart. Lisa Jewell makes you really wonder what it would be like to grow up in a dysfunctional family headed by a hoarder.

The present day view is of Meg is always the responsible one cleaning out the house they grew up in …lol.. After Lorelei dies. We notice that Meg has changed to be to polar opposite as her mother, maybe even to the extreme. She is a clean freak organization nut. She herself has 4 or 5 kids.

As the story goes on the family breaks apart and scandals hit one after another. Lorelei becomes a lesbian with their new neighbour. Ryan runs away with his no bullshit girlfriend Vicky to live on a hippie farm. Beth ends up sleeping with Meg’s husband. Their dad Colin ends up with Vicky after Ryan leaves Vicky with their daughter. … like I said one after another.

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In the end Lorelei’s hoarding is so bad she dies of malnutrition and TB. The family find out how bad this is. They end up all coming back to the house they grew up in… had to lol…. and reconciling. Beth is pregnant so they all come to support the new life coming into their family after losing another life. Family is stronger than any issue or scandal that arise. After they clean out out the house Beth stays there instead of selling it with Ryan. It felt like a brand new house with the wonderful old memories of their childhood.

I can’t help but think the letters to Jim play a role in letting the reader understand why Lorelei is the way she is. The reader learns that Lorelei’s mother was raped and had a stillborn child. Their family did not talk about any of the issues, just buried them deep down. This is how Lorelei learnt to deal with stress and confront issues so she made herself feel better by buying and keeping items. This new information made me as the reader a bit more sensitive to Lorelei as a character. I actually felt bad for they way she died, all alone battling her demons. Before I thought she was mentally ill and refused to get help which made her family suffer. Lorelei dealt with Rhys’s death the only way she knew how and I cannot feel like she abandoned her family.

All in all I really enjoyed this family tale of hardship and coming together. What did you all think? Did this book make you want to go clean up your house or watch the TV show hoarders? Have you read anything else by her? Please leave comments below.

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Happy Reading!!!!!!

Books, books, Fiction, Literature

Top 5: Books that Should be Made into Movie

Top 5: Books that Should be Made into Movies

So with all the remakes and live action movies coming out I thought we should get the book world more screen time! We all have mixed feelings about book to movie adaptations. They care either go really well or crash and burn, and let’s face it they usually crash and burn. The follow 5 books are stories that I think would transcribe to the big screen and the special effects would be mind blowing.

  1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book sparks such vivid images in my imagination. I think the Night Circus would have breathtaking illusions on the big screen. All the different circuses the 2 magicians Marco and Celia conjure up could be visually dazzling in a movie. I would love to see the directors take on some of the circus themes and performances that take place in Le Cirque des Reves. The love story between Marco and Celia is so different than anything on the romance market it would be a nice break in the cinema.

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I do love me a good post apocalyptic book and Station Eleven delivers. I would love to see how the world looks and the devastation after the Swine Flu pandemic. I love who all the characters are somehow connected to the pre breakdown of civilization. I think the flash back/ present day views would translate great to a motion picture. The dystopian apocalyptic genre has been really popular as of late and I think Station Eleven would be a nice addition.

3. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Myers

I think everyone who has read these books can agree if made into a movie the special effects would be out of this world. Cyborg, space and monsters all mixed together in a series of movies is a sure win at the box office!!! I would be interested to see their take on the how lunar cyborg aspect and how they would make the lunar people shimmer.

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The first book that got me to truly love the historical fiction genre. I believe the sheer background and setting would make this a astonishing film. Any type of world war movies are usually a hit with movie goers. I would be so interested to see how they choose to portray Marie-Laure LeBlanc’s view as she is blind. Seeing the Sea of Flames jewel and the lengths Marie- Laure’s father goes to hide it would be so moving. All the Lights We Cannot see could translate to a heart wrenching movie experience.

5. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Lastly I choose the Hazel Wood because for the anticipation of how the visual and imaginatroy scenes would play out on film. This book was so whimsical and fantastic the visual effects/ scenes in the Hinterland would be so fun to view as a movie. Alice Three times would be a spooky and thrilling experience to sit through as well as all the stories Tales from the Hinterland. Seeing twice killed Katherine and her bird would be intriguing!

These are just a few of the book I choose as I think the visual and special effects would be out of this world. If you have any other book to movie suggestions I would love to hear them and they reasons why you choose it!

Happy Reading!!!!

book review, books, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: Run Away by Harlan Coben

Book Review: Run Away by Harlan Coben

 

 

Run Away

Run Away was on my anticipated spring read list blog post on April 8th. This is a thriller/ suspense book and it does not fall short of the suspense. It was a fast paced thriller that kept you guessing the who, whats and whys. Run Away was the first Harlan Coben book I have read and I enjoyed it so much I will definitely seek out his other popular novels.

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So this story follows parents Simon and Ingrid who appear to have lost their daughter Paige to the dangerous would of drugs. Their family is picture perfect, even to them, however after going to college Pagie changes. She becomes distant and meets an older guy named Aaron who introduces her to drugs. She cuts contact off with everyone including her brother and sister.

Simon gets word that Paige is singing for money in the Strawberry Fields at Central Park. He goes there to try and get her to go to a rehab program. This is against the wishes of Ingrid who seems to wash her hand of her daughters problems. Simon approaches his daughter but her boyfriend Aaron gets in the way and he punches him. Unbeknownst to him someone took a video of this and leaked it to youtube with the caption of rich putting down the poor and it goes viral.

Imagine

Let just point out Harlan incorporates an all too real issue many people face in our social media driven society. Everything and anything we do can and will be recorder. This viral fame Simon receives only doe shim more harm when Aaron is found dead with his throat slash. Since his previous encounter the suspicion falls to him. The story then goes on from there to follow Simon playing private detective to try and find Paige as they fear she is in danger.

The story subplots to follow Ash and DeDe who appear to be hitman. As the story develops we see that these 2 people play a bigger role in the overall plot.

Simon and Ingrid so to Paige’s apartment and get details about their drug dealer. They then go to a sketch warehouse to see if this drug dealer will tell them where he thinks Paige was and bam bam Ingrid gets shot by a random guy–or is he?

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A third sub plot twists in with Simon’s. Elena was hired by a businessman to find his son Henry Thorpe. Elena ends up going to Paige’s apartment just as Simon goes back to look for more clues. It turns out that Henry and Paige had been talking to each other just before they both disappeared. They both come to the conclusion that Paige turned different after she went to college and this correspondence happened when she was at college so it cannot be a coincidence. Simon talked to some ex-roommates and finds out 2 things. One that Paige was really interested in genetics and genealogy and second she may have been raped or sexually assaulted at a college party. When her roommate asked why Paige is acting all weird she blames it on stuff at home.

Elena also finds out that Henry new someone at a tattoo parlor (Damien) and guess what, Ash and DeDe killed him! As we find out more about the backstories of Ash and DeDe we learn that DeDe is part of a cult called Truth Haven. It consists of the leader called Truth and his 2 sons Volunteer and Visitor – the trinity.

5 Disturbing Cults You Can Still Join Today

So here is the huge spoiler alert. The cult leader ‘rapes’ I guess is the best word the females in his cult and his kids with them. If they are males they are entitled to inherit the money the cult had accumulated over time- apparently millions. The ‘prophecy’ states that the 2 oldest sons, not necessarily the 2 prophet sons’ can inherit the money – the Truth is dying. So the sick and twisted plot is that Aaron, Henry and Damien found out they are fathered by the same person through genealogy- enter Paige. Paige puts her DNA sample in too and see that Aaron and her are related on the maternal side. BaBaBa!!!!!!! So starts the crooked relationship of Aaron and Paige – half brother and sister.

At the end of the book Paige comes to see Ingrid in the hospital. Paige goes on to tell Simon that Ingrid put her in a reclusive rehab program she herself went in when she left the cult. This is why Ingrid told Simon not to find Paige. Ingrid could not tell Simon where Paige was without then telling him she was part of a cult before she met him.

I did leave out quite a few details of the book. Harlan has written such an intricate tale that it is best to read the book to get the full weight of the complex tale.

How did all of you feel reading the book. I had mixed feelings. I was kind of angry at Paige. Her family loves her so much and she put them through hell. However this brings up the question what would you do for the ones you loved? Please feel free to leave comments below! I would love to hear from you!!!!!!

Happy Reading!