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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Countdown to The Anniversary of Nick's Death


September 25th, 2008. Only just over two months to go...then it will be 2 years since my Nicky died. Sometimes I still feel like I am walking through mud just to go where I am supposed to go...be who I am supposed to be...and paste a smile on my face because I am not supposed to still be showing my grief.
All the joints in my body are starting to ache again...everytime I move is an excuse for something in my body to protest. They (counsellors and other bereaved moms) told me that I would still feel this way but it is like a badge that I display for all to see the pain inside. It feels as if every moment of my day is filled with thoughts of him. They aren't bad thoughts although I know that the bad, sad, helpless feelings will sink in if I allow myself to trek down that road. I don't want to forget so I am waiting until I can think of all the beautiful things about him without wanting to scream and rail at the Fates for stealing him away from me.
He was my very first baby and when I held him after his birth I felt so complete. I felt that he was the reason that I was on this earth. How can I be on this earth when he is not?
All three of us are feeling unglued right now. We are just trying to make it through.
Writing things down in my blog is cathartic to me but I hope that I am not boring too many people. Please skip over and just read my book reviews.

Monday, September 22, 2008

After River by Donna Milner



I was given After River by a friend who passes along books that she has read and reviewed. I do the same for her and pass along old favourites as well. It is good to have such a friend. :)
The first page was quickly devoured and I moved right along into the story.
Brief synopsis: Natalie Ward hasn't returned home to live since she left at the age of 17 under a cloud. A draft dodger from America named Richard (River)camed to work on the family farm and affected every member of the Ward family.
Natalie is so tormented and I can feel her pain. The characters in this story feel so alive that they reach out and touch your heart. Farming families in rural Canada in the 60s were not like the families that we know nowadays. Everyone worked together for the common good of the family and to support the farm so the slightest deviation from the normal routines can have a domino effect and the whole family is forever changed.
I cannot believe that this was Donna Milner's first novel. She is supremely skilled with her plot, character development and every word feels lovingly crafted.
I believe that this novel is truly one of the best that I have read this year.
5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock



Liberty Lane was convinced that her father did not die by duel. He had always adamantly maintained that the practice of dueling was barbaric and not something that he would ever have participated in. Unable to learn the truth by open means, Liberty is forced to take an undercover role as a governess to a very prestigious family of the ton and try to pierce the curtain of secrecy around her father's death.
Liberty Lane is a delightful heroine with brains and courage. She embodies all the attributes of the modern sleuth: daring, brave, intelligent, resourceful and connected. Liberty's friends assist her and help to save her when her actions embroil her in an attempt to replace the young Victoria with an usurper.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the characters delightful and the descriptions of the background settings and the political climate, that existed in Victorian England, to be true to the time period and quite interesting.
I did find that Liberty, the character, seemed to be too modern in thinking and actions. A young woman of the period would have seemed more compliant to the wishes of her elders but she made for an intriguing read.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Submarine by Joe Dunthorne





A book "claimed" from www.minibookexpo.com
Submarine by Joe Dunthorne has a strong voice. The narrator, Oliver, a 15 year old boy in Swansea Wales, only child of an eccentric couple having marital troubles, has an interesting outlook on the world and his life. Throughout a coming of age year in his life, we hear of his interactions with his school mates, his parents and the girl who he has his first sexual encounter with.
Oliver is very concerned with his parent’s marriage which he sees is failing. His mother is intrigued with a former flame who has breezed back into her life offering excitement and enlightenment. Oliver obsessively follows this budding relationship and tries to sabotage it. What he succeeds in doing is throwing more light on his parent’s marriage which shows up all the ways that the couple have been pretending that “nothing is wrong”.
When I started reading the book the style of writing grated on me. The author wrote Oliver’s thoughts as Oliver thought them and they sounded and felt jumbled and I wasn’t sure if I could finish the book. After reading and becoming involved in the story for several more chapters I finally started to enjoy Oliver’s unique way of expressing himself but I never could completely relate to him. Sometimes I liked Oliver and he charmed me and other times I could not understand his reasoning or motivations and l felt repulsed by him.
I am glad that I persevered with this book. I know that Oliver’s voice will stay with me and continue to intrigue me. I may revisit him again at a later date.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tiger, Tiger by Galaxy Craze




A book "claimed" from www.minibookexpo.com
Tiger, Tiger by Galaxy Craze is enthralling. The minute that May speaks of her life with her family, you are pulled into this consciousness of teen confusion and vulnerability. She has spent the majority of her life being blown around by the whims of her flakey mother who is always in search of her own fulfillment. She promises happiness for May and her brother Eden through every move away from home but continually comes up empty. The latest move involves transatlantic travel to an ashram in California…far away from the safety net maintained by the children’s grandfather and disillusioned father. May and Eden are thrown into this experience, looking out for each other and forced by their mother’s absence to form friendships of their own… their mother Lucy is involved in her own pursuits.
I give Tiger, Tiger four out of 5 stars. Through the book I lived May’s disillusionment with her mother and disappointment with her father but like May…I still believed in their ultimate redemption. I am convinced that they loved their children but their relationship with each other seemed to always overshadow everything, spoil it and guide them away from the reality of a functional family.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman



After her marriage fails, Jane takes her young daughter Olivia back to the private girls academy where she attended as a scholarship student. Heart Lake School was the scene of the devastating tragedy of her life-the loss of both of her best friends to suicide. Jane hasn't been long back when history seems to repeat itself and strange yet familiarly eery events start to traumatize Jane. her daughter and some of her Latin students.
I was engrossed in the story by the second page and the pace didn't stop. I did figure out the twist fairly early on but it was still gripping and quite poignant. Somewhat Gothic in flavour I was sometimes sympathetic to Jane but then confused by her apathy to the current events and the past.
I can't wait to read another book by Carol Goodman.

my life...




As much as I want this blog to be about my books and reviews, I also want to reveal more of myself. This year will be the first year that I am only working half days at school. I feel like I am skipping school when I leave at lunchtime and frankly this is the easiest transition that I have ever made into back-to-school September. Considering all the medical stuff lately and my MRI coming up on Tuesday afternoon...it is a good thing that I am only at school halftime.
My daughter had a bad experience starting grade 9 last week. She ended up having the same grade 9 English teacher that Nick had. During attendance check...he asked her if she was Nick Baff's sister. When she nodded he then laughed and asked her to "go home and slap him for me!" She was stunned and all the kids looked at each other in shock.. Nobody said a word. If it wasn't so tragic it would be comical as it was such a bizarre experience for her. It was easy enough to sort out and the teacher was so upset too...BUT he had known that Nick had died. He just forgot.
"What an idiot," is the school social worker's professional opinion. LOL
I miss him so much this week. He really loved school and would have been in grade 12 this year.
Bring on more books!!!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson


This book was sent to me by the publisher. It is a kid's book. a preteen novel, and the language and ideas are childlike but they are still sophisticated enough that a boy could read this and be satisfied because it is an exciting read. I can see that this is a successful attempt at creating a series that would appeal to young males who are too young to read more "exciting" literature with bad language and more adult themes. For what it is...I enjoyed it. The hero, Daniel, was quite likeable and the premise was interesting enough to keep me involved in the story and intrigued. The book was very short but that also worked in its genre's favour as a young boy would be disinclined to read a much longer book. Spoiler: I love Daniel's imagination and how he used his powers to recreate his family and friends.