Wednesday, October 04, 2017

“The Idea of You” by Amanda Prowse – The Loss of Motherhood

Amanda Prowse Explores the Mother


Being a parent is one of those aspirations that transcends race, gender, culture, nationality and whatever else you may have. It's a biological, cultural and psychological yearning that governs the grand majority of us, to the point where many people don't even need to have a debate with themselves as to whether or not they want children. Unfortunately, nature and genetics are cruel and unforgiving, making it extremely challenging, if not impossible for certain people to conceive. This painful yearning for a child that never comes is one known to far too many people, and it serves as the central theme for Amanda Prowse's emotional and captivating novel, The Idea of You.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

“The Sudden Appearance of Hope” by Claire North - The Hopeless Grasp for Identity

Being Invisible with Claire North


The question of man's identity is one that has preoccupied philosophers throughout the ages, with there being many disagreeing schools of thought as to what makes us who we are. Some argue that we are how others perceive is, others think that our memories make the core of our identities, not to mention all the theories revolving around biology and spirituality.

In other words, our identities are probably composed from a large number of different aspects, but we never really take the time to stop and wonder about it... or perhaps more importantly, what we would do if we were robbed of our identity. That's precisely the kind of scenario our protagonist faces in The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North.

Friday, August 25, 2017

“Times of Victory” by Pedro Luis Adames Valdez – A Place Under God's Wing

Times of Victory by Pedro Luis Adames Valdez (Book cover)

The Meditations of Pedro Luis Adames Valdez


The topic of religion is one that's becoming increasingly contested with the advent of globalization as it became apparent that there are many more faiths out there than meet the eye. Each and every one has its own belief system and designations, with a few being much more heavily-proliferated and discussed than others, namely Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Simultaneously, the sceptics are more numerous than ever before, with atheism and agnosticism gaining popularity, especially amongst the intelligent elite. Whether or not you're a religious person though, I believe that there is much for us to learn from the teachings passed down through holy scriptures for they often connect with our lives in surprisingly non-religious ways. I myself am not a religious person, and thus it is precisely the approach I took to Times of Victory by Pedro Luis Adames Valdez.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

“The Boy Who Saw” by Simon Toyne – Putting the Ghosts of War to Rest

The Boy Who Saw by Simon Toyne (Book cover)

Simon Toyne and the Lost Identity


Compelling characters that consistently stimulate our desire to discover them across multiple books are few and drastically far in-between, with virtually ninety-nine percent of protagonists being throwaway vehicles used to conduct a single story. Even when it comes to book series it is rare for an author to truly capture our interest with the same person one novel after the next... and I would argue that Solomon Creed, created by Simon Toyne, accomplishes that to perfection. Here is a character with no memory or knowledge of himself, besides the words stitched into his perfectly tailored jacket: “This suit was made to treasure for Mr. Solomon Creed”. While his mystery is certainly the centre of his world, it does take a back seat to more pressing cases, as we see in The Boy Who Saw, the latest book in the series.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

“The Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson – The Racist Charm of the South

Joshilyn Jackson Ventures to the Middle of Nowhere


The Southern United States, though plastered with stereotypes and generalizations, is a complicated and unique enough place on this Earth with its own sort of internal system that has remained the same throughout the years, even as one government took over after another. Joshilyn Jackson, like a few other authors, has used the South as a setting for her stories on more than one occasion, being perfect for family dramas and sagas because of the traditions found in it. In The Almost Sisters she takes us into a little town located in Alabama, one that personifies what that part of the world is all about.

Monday, July 03, 2017

"The Thirst" by Jo Nesbo – Hunting on the Tinder Grounds

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo - front book cover
Series: Harry Hole
Release date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 784
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)






The Hunt for Lonely Hearts with Jo Nesbo


The idea of seeking out complete strangers to date through various mediums certainly isn't anything new. There are lonely hearts advertisements, dating clubs, a whole array of websites dedicated to specific demographics, and more recently phone applications. Upon hearing those words you're most likely thinking of the one everyone has been using lately: Tinder. Quick, simple and efficient, it has become an integral part in the lives of many people and it seems there are only more and more users on it every day. There is, of course, a downside to this approach: you might be able to try and meet with anyone you'd like, but you cannot control who intends on meeting with you.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

“Time Travel: A History” by James Gleick – The Birth of the Human Obsession

Time Travel: A History by James Gleick
Release date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Pantheon
Pages: 352
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





James Gleick Asks the Pertinent Questions


To go back or forth in time, travel the fourth dimension, to wind the clock whichever way we want it to... that's one of the many seemingly unachievable wishes all of humanity shares. Mastering our movement through time would definitely make life much easier, but of course, that's a concept that comes with many paradoxes that raise valid questions about its viability. And nevertheless, we don't lose hope and keep on dreaming that some day we'll literally be able to take a walk down memory lane. But when exactly did our obsession with this whole thing start? How did it develop? Is there any actual promise to it, scientifically-speaking? These are all questions that James Gleick has set out to answer in his latest book, Time Travel: A History.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

“Kill Process” by William Hertling – Angie and the Electronic Goliath

Kill Process by William Hertling - book cover
Release date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Liquididea Press
Pages: 322
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





An Accelerated Evolution

A mere few years ago the term social networks wasn't even a thing because there was really only one, MySpace, and the relative few who used it (at least in comparison to today's social networkers) didn't give it all that much thought or importance. However, fast forward to today and it's impossible to imagine a world that isn't dominated by Facebook feeds, Twitter posts, Instagram snaps and whatever else we may have. We are experiencing an accelerated cultural evolution, to the point where we may very well be the first people who have the ability to feel nostalgic about memories from only five or ten years ago, the first to see countless inventions become obsolete one year after the next. There are some who applaud these advances and claim them to herald a new golden age for technological progress, while on the other hand there are those who pay more attention to the dangers involved.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

“A Climbing Stock” by Andrew Hiller – A Deal with the Green Devil

A Climbing Stock by Andrew Hiller (book cover)
Release date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Andrew Hiller
Pages: 306
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





The Power of Desperation


Most of us like to believe that we have enough integrity not to make any deals with the devil should the opportunity present itself, no matter what offers may be put on the table. Desperation, however, has the power to drastically change our minds and priorities, and it is quite likely that there is a right set of circumstances in which every single person on Earth would sell their soul to the devil. As a matter of fact, making dubious deals with strange and otherworldly creatures is a concept that comes much easier to some than it does to others, as is the case in Andrew Hiller's A Climbing Stock.

Friday, April 28, 2017

“Fields of Fire” by Marko Kloos –The Iron Fist of Humanity Strikes Back

Fields of Fire by Marko Kloos (fron cover)
Series: Frontlines
Release date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 302
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)






Marko Kloos Takes the Fight to the Enemy


While our weapons and tactics may change throughout the ages, it's quite arguable that the nature of war remains the same, plunging ultimately expendable masses into the heart of carnage and chaos. While wars fought between humans feel senseless and childish when viewed from an outside perspective (what other species moves so eagerly towards its own extinction?), knowing the art itself is a necessity... for there may very well come a day when our greatest enemy won't be amongst us, but will rather descend from the skies, as it did in Marko Kloos' acclaimed Frontlines series.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

“The Mistress” by Danielle Steel –A Triangle of Obsessions

The Mistress by Danielle Steel - book cover
Release date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 336
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





Danielle Steel Tackles a Dangerous Romance


The subject of forbidden love is about as old as humanity itself as we have always managed to find factors by which divide ourselves, including skin colour, ethnic origin, religious adherence, social standing, wealth... it's the kind of list that inexhaustibly goes on and on. Nevertheless, it hasn't stopped countless people from trying to jump over those barriers and go for the life they believed fate had planned for them all along. It's a concept so courageous and romantic in its nature that it has tantalized the imaginations of many famous authors throughout the centuries, and continues doing so to this very day, as is evidenced by Danielle Steel's The Mistress.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

“The Food of Love” by Amanda Prowse – How to Disappear Into Nothingness

The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse - front cover
Release date: December 1, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 362
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





Amanda Prowse's Deep Understanding


The fight against bad food and obesity has been raging in the United States and certain parts of the world for decades now, with seemingly more and more people being afflicted every single year. We've devoted countless resources to this fight, with oh so many trying to push their supplements, diets and exercise plans that promise to be the ultimate solution we've all been waiting for.

However, there is another side to the coin of weight issues that gets seldom explored in the media and popular culture: anorexia/bulimia. While it may seem ridiculous at first glance that people would starve themselves in countries where food is over-abundant, it's a psychological affliction that affects many more people than we realize, especially because of how easy it is to hide it for a long time.

Friday, March 03, 2017

“The Secret Wife” by Gill Paul – A Pendant of Revelations

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul (Front cover)
Release date: August 25, 2016
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 416
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





A Royal Family in Royal Peril


The early 20th century was a period of great turbulence in many places around the world, and Russia was certainly one of the more prominent ones with a countrywide revolution taking place in 1917. It was a period of terror, death and chaos, one where many prominent people met their maker at the hands of the Bolsheviks. As far as the royal family goes, it's general knowledge that they were all executed with impunity... but over the decades, some people came forward claiming to be the long-lost children of the Romanov family. Ultimately, their claims could never be verified as true, and coupled with the discovery of additional remains that bore the Romanov genes, the hope for the children's survival is now virtually non-existent. However, the romanticism of the notion that at least one of them survived the massacre or managed to perpetrate the family line in secret is as enthralling today as it was back then, and that was the spark Gill Paul needed to write his acclaimed novel, The Secret Wife.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

“Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury – Carnival of Darkness

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Release date: 2015
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 278
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





The Power of Melancholy


Nostalgia is a feeling that comes us over every single one of us at some point or another, whether we're simply lost in the carefree days of our childhood or just daydreaming of a time when things were better. For the most part, we can only experience that feeling in relation to our own past; after all, how can one feel nostalgic for something they never had? Nevertheless, that's exactly what Ray Bradbury does to us in his classic novel Something Wicked This Way Comes: he makes us yearn for a time and a life we've never lived.

Monday, February 06, 2017

“The House by the Lake” by Ella Carey - The Memento of a Bygone Life

The House by the Lake by Ella Carey
Release date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 256
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





The Good Days Before the Storm


World War II is a conflict that needs no introduction, forever marking our history books with a litany of studies dedicated to dissecting every single part of the conflict, studying it and bringing the truth to light. The damage and chaos it caused are unquantifiable, claiming millions upon millions of lives and forever wounding many more. So many were forced to flee and leave behind the things and people that made up their lives until then, essentially becoming stripped of the great parts of their identity that they've worked their whole lives to assemble. When the war finally came to an end, many people tried to return to their lands but too much suffering had been sown into the land; thing would never go back to the way they used to. And so, many people carried souvenirs of a time they knew would never return, a time before the innocent were consumed by war.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

“The Blood Mirror” by Brent Weeks – Save the Rotten Empire

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks
Series: Lightbringer
Release date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 704
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)






Brent Weeks Powers On


Brent Weeks brought us the Lightbringer series a few years ago, and at the start it was supposed to be a trilogy. However, as is likely to happen with successful science-fiction series, Weeks chose to extend the story beyond what he had originally planned, and at the moment there are supposed to be five books to it... until further notice, of course. We've already looked at the other books in the trilogy (The Black Prism , The Blinding Knife and The Broken Eye) and so I'm not going to spend too much time talking about the kind of world we're being thrown into, but for the more forgetful ones among us, here's a brief recap of what the whole thing is about.

The universe created by Weeks is one where magic and technology merge together, where civilizations battle each other across intergalactic wars involving supremely powerful beings and more deceit, cunning, smoke and mirrors than a Copperfield show. There are many players involved in the plots and stories, but the real main characters are Gavin Guile, a former Prism and emperor, and his bastard son, Kip. Any how, let us go further into what this book has in store for us.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

“Killing the Rising Sun” by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard – Triumph of the American Eagle

Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
Release date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 336
Buy:
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Amazon(UK)





The Second World War is one of those historical periods that will undoubtedly be studied over and over again for decades, if not centuries to come. Even with all the memories and records that were lost to war and destruction we are still digging up more and more information to fill our textbooks and libraries with. For very good reasons, the European theatre of war is the primary subject of focus for most people who are interested in that period; after all, it's where everything began and many of the most important decisions were made. While America's conflict with Japan near the end of the war usually gets glossed over in general terms amounting to Pearl Harbour, Iwo Jima, and nuclear bomb.