Monday, 29 April 2019

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne - Book Review

After I read The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne last year, it quickly became a lifetime fav. I was delighted when Penguin Random House Canada sent me a review copy of his next release, A Ladder to the Sky.

Following a book that received the kind of critical and commercial acclaim Furies did likely came with no small amount of pressure for the author. I'm pleased to say that, while A Ladder to the Sky is completely different than Furies, I was not disappointed!


A Ladder to the Sky tells the story of Maurice Swift, a writer who will stop at nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) to achieve success and fame in the literary world.

Nearly all of the characters in this book are unlikeable and infuriating. Most of the time, I couldn't decide if I loved A Ladder to the Sky or hated it. It's clever, chilling, and scandalous. Watching Maurice manipulate every single person around him felt like watching a train wreck over and over and over again. However, Boyne's writing is outstanding, and I know I was feeling exactly what he intended me to feel as the reader of this novel.

I also love that Boyne gives the reader a peek inside the world of publishing. Is the volume of books published each year too high? What is the value of literary prizes? How do women carve out a voice in a traditionally male-dominated industry? At what point does an idea or experience become shared and no longer yours alone? When does ambition become manipulation? How guilty are we of sins we commit in youth or duress?

Lastly, it is interesting to read a book about a shady author after following the #copypastecris drama on Twitter earlier this year. The short version of this story is that there is a romance author who has allegedly plagiarized parts of her novels from over 90 other books written by over 40 authors (including Nora Roberts and Diana Gabeldon, to name a few). The story of Maurice Swift may be imagined, but what makes this novel so compelling is that I do not think it would be much of a stretch to turn this work of fiction into one of non-fiction.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this novel for review purposes from Penguin Random House Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick - Book Review and Giveaway



I'll never be able to think of this book without thinking of spraining my ankle. While I did try to take a picture of this gorgeous book about a library in an actual library, things didn't work out as planned (you can read the embarrassing story here). However, I did end up spontaneously being all matchy matchy with this book at a coffee shop, so I suppose the lesson here is not to over-plan life.

This is not exactly unconnected to some of the themes in The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. Librarian Martha Storm spends her life creating colour-coordinated lists and being the "go to" person for any task needing completion in her small town. From completing laundry for her neighbours to repairing decorations to volunteering at the library, Martha has dedicated her life to helping others.

One day, the discovery of an old book of fairy tales knocks her off her current course. There is a dedication in this book that indicates her beloved grandmother may not have died when Martha was told she did. Is Zelda still alive now? What other family secrets are in hiding? As Martha dives into this mystery, she discovers hidden truths about her past that may change her future.

Initially, I did not like Martha. She is a doormat in the extreme when we meet her, and I was annoyed that so many people around her were taking advantage of her desire to be helpful. The first half of this book will definitely have you evaluating how often you say, "No." in your own life. However, I grew to enjoy Martha's character more by the end. She goes through a necessary journey in this novel and comes out better for it. And the bookseller she meets, Owen, is quite charming :)

Ultimately, The Library of Lost and Found is about our personal connection to books and how stories bring us together. I have a soft spot for book about books, and this one fits that genre nicely.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I'm giving one copy of The Library of Lost and Found away over on Instagram this weekend. Check it out here!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book from TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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