Learning From Bowls

“We’ll give him a few more minutes, shall we?” The kindly old man seated across from me crossed one leg over the other and sat back as if he had all the time in the world to wait. “The thing is…I mean…,” I hung my head in shame. “I don’t think he’s coming.” “Ah, yes.” […]

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V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #5: Books

I can remember the exact moment that the words jumped off the page and hit me between the eyes with such an impact, my head snapped back.  I was still married to my ex-husband, and had retired to the bedroom to read before sleep.  The children were all finally asleep, and I had started the […]

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“The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”: a review

It’s World War II, and the denizens of Chilbury are faced with the loss of their church choir as their men leave to fight for the cause.  Enter Prim, an upbeat teacher, with a fresh outlook, who encourages the women to defy protocols and create their own chorus. Jennifer Ryan’s novel about the life of […]

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“Everything I Never Told You”: Review

Set in small town Ohio, in the 1970’s, Everything I Never Told You tells the story of the Lee family: father, James, a professor and Chinese-American; Marilyn, a blue-eyed blonde, and their three children, one of which has disappeared as the story opens. The investigation into sixteen-year-old Lydia’s disappearance and consequent death (not a spoiler, as […]

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“Half of a Yellow Sun”: Review

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves an intricate tale, with well-developed characters and relationships, and just when the reader wonders where it is all headed, the unthinkable happens. “Half of a Yellow Sun” is not a symbol I would have recognized before reading Adichie’s work.  Now I know that it is integral to the Biafran war, and […]

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“Ordinary Grace” Engaging

William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace opens with two interesting events – a phone call in the middle of the night, introducing the main characters of the novel, and a mysterious death.  It is the beginning of a series of deaths plaguing this small, 1960’s Minnesota town. Thirteen-year-old Frank and his younger brother Jake team up to […]

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“One Step Too Far” Twisty

One Step Too Far is a captivating story of one woman’s decision to walk away from her life and begin anew.   Author Tina Seskis weaves an intricate story of love, unbearable pain, and redemption. As usual, I listened to the audio version expertly narrated by Lucy Gaskell and Nigel Pilkington, which helped delineate between passages […]

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“The Hate U Give”: Start a Discussion

There are some issues affecting our society today that feel too hot to handle, but not for author Angie Thomas.  In her novel, The Hate U Give, Thomas bravely inserts her main character and narrator into the brutal drama of a black teen being shot by a white police officer.  Still a child herself, sixteen […]

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“Defending Jacob”: Review

Jacob is a typical, somewhat difficult teenager, according to his father, but when a classmate of Jacob’s is found dead, Andy Barber is forced to take a closer look at his son’s behaviour and determine if he could be housing a killer. William Landay’s suspense novel is told through the perspective of Andy Barber, a […]

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“Hillbilly Elegy” Worth a Read

J.D. Vance grew up in white working-class America, with roots in Kentucky.    His memoir is an examination of what happens when substance abuse, rampant unemployment, and lack of parental stability strips children of the perspective to strive for better in their lives. Although Vance did rise above his tumultuous beginnings and graduated from Yale Law, […]

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