Thursday, 14 November 2019

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin



When a sexual picture of a drunken girl with a racist caption is passed around the private school of Windsor via text message, and the adults are trying to determine exactly what happened, those closest to the incident must make their own choices about who and what matters most. Is it friends? Family? The truth?

In Emily Giffin's All We Ever Wanted, she takes on class, race, social media, rape culture, parenting, and marriage. While it feels like it's tackling a lot of issues, they are woven together in a compelling read that kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next.

All We Ever Wanted reminded me quite a bit of Beartown by Fredrik Backman, but instead of a hockey team, it's a private school, and instead of rape, it's a lewd photograph. There are some other smaller differences, but the main question is the same: When it's all on the line, who do we stand up for?

All We Ever Wanted is must read for parents and perfectly made for book clubs. As the mother of a son in a private school, this book vividly paints a picture of my worst fears in parenting when he becomes a teenager. What if you think you're doing your best, and it's not enough? How do you know it is enough?

Pick this one up as soon as you get a chance from your local bookstore or library. It's already available!

xo
Jenn

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

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor


If you're looking for a sweeping, atmospheric read, then I think you will enjoy The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor.

This novel is told with dual timelines. In 1838, lighthouse keeper's daughter, Grace Darling saves a number of people from a shipwreck in a storm and quickly becomes a heroine, celebrated throughout England. In the aftermath of this event, she captures the heart of a local artist, George Emmerson.

A century later, Matilda Emmerson is sent to America to live with a distant relative to hide an unwanted pregnancy. As she settles in, Matilda begins to discover hidden secrets of her family history, and how two lighthouse keepers, 100 years apart, are forever connected.

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter is a beautiful, bittersweet story. It is certainly not in a hurry to get anywhere, but it will capture your heart and convince you that you could see the coast should you look out the nearest window. It is a multi-generational tale about the resilience of women and the instinctive courage that lives within us all. The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter is available now from your favourite bookseller.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this novel from Harper Collins Canada to review. All opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore - Book Review




#bookstagram is not shy when there is a new romance that stands out from the crowd, and that's exactly how I first learned of Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore.

Set in England, 1879, Annabelle Archer becomes one of the first female students Oxford University. However, in return for her scholarship, she must volunteer her time and efforts to helping the women's suffrage movement. She is assigned the task of trying to get men of influence to support their cause. This is how she meets Sebastian, the Duke of Montgomery.

(Hilariously, it was very early one morning when I was up with my own Sebastian, and I told him that one of the characters in my book was also named Sebastian. He asked me what the book was about, and that's how I found myself teaching my 7-year-old about women's rights at 6:30 in the morning.)

Bringing Down the Duke is a tale where love and women's rights go hand in hand. Annabelle is a gutsy heroine who is easy to like, and Sebastian is witty, caring, and entirely swoon-worthy. This is a love story where both characters know that their union is impossible given their stations, but they yearn to fight against societal expectations so they can be together. I loved the plot, the tension, and watching Sebastian basically get out of his own way, so that he could have the happily ever after he deserves.

This debut novel is an absolute delight to read. I'm so excited that Bringing Down the Duke is actually kicking off the series, A League of Extraordinary Women, so we can expect more from Evie Dunmore in 2020. Bringing Down the Duke is available now from your favourite bookseller.

xo
Jenn

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

Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Atlas of Monsters and Ghosts



If there are any children in your home, they are sure to find a monster they recognize in The Atlas of Monsters and Ghosts by Frederica Magrin. In this book, they can follow the monster hunter, Van Helsing, as he guides them through his world of terrifying monsters!

This large, hardcover book is full of legendary monsters, ghosts, and ghouls from around the world. It is broken up into sections for each continent, along with a few other special pages as well for Greek Mythology, Japanese Monsters, Water Monsters, and Ghosts of Famous Figures. Each section begins with a map showing where the monster or ghost can usually be found. The Atlas of Monsters and Ghosts is published by Lonely Planet Kids, so you know there is thoughtful geography and research behind each legend. The descriptions of each monster are bite-sized, with just the right amount of information for school-age readers, and each page is full of the beautiful, colourful illustrations by Laura Brenlla. 

Sebastian was interested in learning about new monsters and ghosts from around the world, and he was happy to see some in the book that he already recognized such as the Loch Ness Monster, Dracula, Trolls, Frankenstein's Monster, Ogopogo, and the Jackalope. He was especially excited to find some of the Harry Potter creatures in the book like the Phoenix and the Basilisk. 



The Atlas of Monsters and Ghosts is one of the coolest books we've added to our children's library this year, and I think it would make the perfect birthday or holiday gift for any young reader. It's available now from your favourite bookseller.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - We received a complementary copy of this book from Raincoast Books for review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own....and Sebastian's.

ShareThis