Book Review: Swear On This Life by Renée Carlino

Swear on this life

3 Stars – Quick, somewhat romantic read. (I swear).

Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino was chosen for a book club that I host, the Edmonton Chapter of The Girly Book Club. Yes, that is a shameless plug.  A “beach read”, which is a novel that I could lay in the sun with and drink slushie drinks while travelling along with Emiline, Trevor, Cara and Jase. The story within a story format is enjoyable and is clearly written for a young adult audience, given its blatant predictability. I appreciate that Emiline’s childhood hardships are explored in a depth that garners sympathy for her adult character. However, that doesn’t dismiss her inability to make decisions or be very self aware into her late 20s.

Late Bloomers

This is a late-bloomer book written in the young adult genre (teenagers as the main characters) since the adult versions of Em and Jase hadn’t had the opportunity to truly come into their own due to their circumstances as children. There is a type of strength that comes with having to grow up when you are still a child and a craving for safety that can be very hard to break out of. Emiline demonstrates this need for safety through her relationship with Trevor. Oh Trevor. Trevor and Emiline. Sigh. They’re that couple that you know. The ones that, from a hundred yards away, strangers can tell that they shouldn’t be together. They’re simply too wrapped up in themselves to care about anyone else. For example:

“He assumed his standard position as he slouched against the cushions, his feet kicked up on the coffee table, his hands clasped together behind his head. It struck me that there was something wrong about his casualness. We had just had a fight, yet his body language suggested that nothing had happened.” (page 95)

Em has her past and Trevor lost everything before he had the opportunity to really have anything. Together, they make a passive aggressive and angry pair.

In Swear on This Life, Carlino made some interesting choices in how she concluded the story (or didn’t). The neat bow Carlino places on many of the characters near the end of the book is surreal.  Real life isn’t like that and maybe that’s her playing with her fiction factor. Overall, a fun, fast read. Solid 3 stars.

 

Book Review: Love Letters: Extraordinary Loving for Everyday Living by Paulette Dahl

Cover of Love Letters: Extraordinary Loving for Everyday Living by Paulette Dahl - Reviewed January 2017
Love Letters: Extraordinary Loving for Everyday Living by Paulette Dahl is truly a gift from her heart to yours.

When I first read Love Letters, I ditched the suggested guide and read it cover to cover. Mainly so that I would be able to give an appropriate review on content. However, this review will cover content and experience, as I took some additional time to experience the book as recommended, by reading Letters randomly.

Reading the book in rogue style (cover to cover) tugged at my insides in a blessed way. Something within me knew that certain letters were just. Right. Dahl doesn’t back down from the darker, deeper emotions that visit each of us during the course of living. The importance of the emotional pairings demonstrates the duality of perception. Not simply that life is duality but rather, that acceptance of the emotional experience is okay. It is okay to accept grief when it comes to you. Same with depression. The Letters acknowledge these seasons in our lives, along with an appreciation for them and a line of caution about how they may impact us. There is a balance and sense of honour for each Letter, regardless of the topic. Readers will experience emotional ties to this book that they didn’t know they had and should prepare to be surprised by what arises.

Take some time with the book.

Readers should take the time to enjoy the preface of Love Letters, as it explains Dahl’s intentional use of Love as a verb (yes, with a capital L!), rearrangements and dis-section of some terms. As I was reading the preface, I was thankful for the explanation of the deliberate choices she had made in getting her point across. I am also deeply grateful for her sharing the process it took to arrive at the concept for the Love Letters.

When reading the book as intended, I arrived at the same set of letters a few times and have come to appreciate the need for constant reminders during this season of my life. I discovered that reading the Letters out loud had more impact for me. Made me read at a slower speed and really consider the communication from the Letters to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The length of the Letters is perfect (maximum of four pages) and the smaller details are well-thought out (like the hearts around the page numbers). I would recommend it for anyone who would like to look at their emotions in a different way, is looking to explore their internal world, or is curious about what Letters may let them do.

Four stars.


Completed this for BookTasters. Want to get free books in exchange for an honest review? They’re fabulous to work with and I highly recommend them!

Book Review: The Blood Red Nails of War by Hannah Warren

Cover of The Blood Red Nails of War by Hannah Warren - Review
This is a review of The Blood Red Nails of War by Hannah Warren.

The Blood Read Nails of War is a historic novella that digs into your soul as a quick read with relatable but wonderfully troubled main characters. Meeting as teenagers on the brink of finding themselves, Elle, Agnus and Jacques push boundaries and end their discovery of each other as quickly as they started it.

Duality is ever present between Elle and Agnus  and their differences lend well to the third in their triangle, Jacques.  Elle creates a sordid atmosphere and Agnus is forced to make a decision as a blossoming teenage girl. Jacques has an affection for Agnus and is horrified with his sister’s actions and the resulting actions from Agnus.

After a lengthy separation, the three meet again as adults. Revisiting childhood memories quickly, they deal with being thrust together by the First World War quite maturely. Those memories make way for serving the wounded from the front line. They prove to be a formidable team who works tirelessly. Each doing their best to represent their passions as war rages around them.

Warren’s writing is fast-paced, eloquent and an absolute pleasure to read. Depth of characters is established quickly through interaction with their environment and other characters. It is a pleasure to invest in well-developed characters. I cannot wait for more installments of this series as it has dug its nails into my heart.

 



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What’s Up at ReadViews: January 2017

It’s January, a fabulous time to read, review and generally be ambitious.

Reading-wise, I’m pretty excited about this year. I’ve made a personal goal of reading 40 books. You can join me on Goodreads and see how I’m doing with the reading challenge!


Here are the ReadViews you can expect in January:

Cover for The Blood Red Nails of War by Hannah Warren - Reviewing January 2017
The Blood Nails of War
Author: Hannah Warren

Cover of The Cottage on the Border by Hannah Warren - Reviewing January 2017

The Cottage on The Border: The Jenna Kroon Series
Author: Hannah Warren

Cover of The Farm on Nieuw Land Road by Hannah Warren - Reviewing January 2017
The Farm on Nieuw Land Road: The Jenna Kroon Series
Author: Hannah Warren

Cover of Lover Letters by Paulette Dahl - Reviewing in January 2017
Love Letters: Extraordinary Loving for Everyday Living
Author Paulette Dahl


This month I’ll be reading:

Cover of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Reading in January 2017
The Great Gatsby
Author: F.Scott Fitzgerald

Cover of Alice Munro's Best: Selected Short Stories - Reading January 2017
Alice Munro’s Best: Selected Stories
Author: Alice Munro

Cover of Daring Greatly by Brené Brown - Reading January 2017
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Author: Brené Brown

Cover of The Rose and The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh - Reading January 2017
The Rose and The Dagger
Author: Renée Ahdieh

For The Girly Book Club

Cover of Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra - Reading January 2017
Only Daughter
Author: Anna Snoekstra