Us by Curtis Wiklund

With a focus on the little things, this cute book will bring the romantic out in anyone.

3/5 stars.
ebook, 114 pages.
Read on November 11, 2017.

One of the best things about Goodreads and Netgalley is coming across books that you would not have found otherwise, like this book. After spotting it on Goodreads I was happy to see that it was available on Netgalley and gladly devoured it.

The creation of this book is thanks to the internet as the author posted some of his sketches online and found that they went viral. The book is brief, with a little over 100 pages and while some images follow a consistent style, others contain different mediums and complexities. The author began the project after being inspired by his wife’s own art project and committed to drawing or doodling one image a day with the main topic being about his everyday life with his wife. ae5f3c3d8556e89b4a7a6735b3f077a8From the trivial every day to the intimate moments that only couples can share, the author allows the reader a glimpse into his marriage. With a focus on the little things, this cute book will bring the romantic out in anyone.

This book is best read in one sitting and would make a great gift for a wedding shower or anniversary.  The book and story are uncomplicated, as it just follows everyday life with no hailing climax or conflict, but it is meant to induce smiles rather than reflection.

This beauty will be available just in time for the holidays, December 5, 2017, and would make a great stocking stuffer and keepsake for that special person in your life. Pre-order your copy today!

The Spirit Runner by Richard Ferguson

When it comes to reviewing books I can sometimes be a tough nut to crack. My average book rating on Goodreads is currently 3.37 out 5 so I do not give out praise easily.  However, when I do, it is well earned. 

4/5 stars.
ebook, ARC, 255 pages.
Read from October 31, 2017 to November 2, 2017.

I love being able to support Indie authors and so when the author of this novel reached out to me to get some feedback on this currently unpublished novel I happily obliged. When it comes to reviewing books I can sometimes be a tough nut to crack. My average book rating on Goodreads is currently 3.37 out 5 so I do not give out praise easily.  However, when I do, it is well earned.

When we’re young, our parents are our heroes. Ron Campbell was no different, except that his father was an Olympic marathon runner. Ron desperately yearns to be an exceptional runner like his father and as his talent grows he is looking to head in that direction. Until a horrifying accident robs Ron not only of his parents but also his ability to run as the wreck has left his legs mangled and crippled. giphyThe doctors have told Ron that they do not expect that he will ever run again, let alone walk properly.  Thankfully Ron’s grandfather does not approve of the doctor’s negative attitude and he is sent to live with his Aunt and Uncle along with the support of an Aussie physical therapist aimed at getting Ron running again. However, Ron’s situation is far from ideal. He may be with family but he quickly learns that his Aunt and Uncle have little interest in his recovery and are more concerned with getting the plot of land that has recently been bequeathed to him from his grandfather. Coupled with the physical abuse from his Uncle, Ron is not off to a sympathetic start but with the continuous love of his friends,  grandfather, and even a friendly bull named Curly, Ron’s spirit is determined and unwavering. Ron aims for miracles in his quest to run again and to ensure that his Aunt and Uncle do not get what they want.

Being pleasantly surprised by this book is a bit of an understatement. I did not want to put this book down. When it comes to reviewing Indie writing you are never sure what the quality of the story or the writing is going to be like and I can honestly say the story is highly engaging, that the writing is solid and the editing is damn near perfect.  There is never a lull or dull moment in this story as the plot takes you on a continuous roller coaster ride. The story is the epitome of a feel-good novel, even if the outcome of the book is somewhat predictable, it does not take away from the enjoyability of the novel. Ron is an admirable little boy with realistic qualities and the other characters add such colour to the already enticing plot. Curly, the bull, is also one the best tidbits of the whole story as well.

This is the sort of novel I would consider purchasing for my running friends or for anyone that can appreciate a feel-good novel with likeable characters. While the book does not have a solid release date yet I will keep in touch with the author to get more information about when readers can access this book.

Manhatten Beach by Jennifer Egan

Covering a wide range of content, Egan delivers a remarkable story with a sophisticated writing style.

3/5 stars.
ebook, 448 pages.
September 8, 2017 to September 17, 2017.

As a first-time reader of Jennifer Egan, I am grateful to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a perfect opportunity to finally read her. Covering a wide range of content, Egan delivers a remarkable story with a sophisticated writing style.

Following the end of the Great Depression in Brooklyn, Anna is twelve years old when her father Eddie, takes her on a business venture to the wealthy home of Dexter Styles. After making a strong impression with her tomboy antics, Styles agrees to hire her father. It was then that Eddie decided to stop taking his Anna on business ventures. At home, Anna’s mother is in constant care of her younger sister, Lydia, an invalid who is bed and chair bound. Eddie’s decision to work for Styles was driven by his need to provide for his disabled child but also motivated as a way to put distance between them. Eddie loves Lydia but also sees her as his own failing. Anna is independent and strong after years of helping her mother and sister and she does not take the news well when her father informs her that she can longer come to work with him. A few years later, when Anna is only fourteen, Eddie disappears and never returns.

Jump forward to the beginning of WWII and Anna is working in the Navy docks, along with many other women to help manage the war efforts. She is headstrong and one of the few women who are unmarried. She dreams of being a diver, a position not yet open to women, and is determined to find a way to get there. One evening when her friend takes her out to one of the clubs in town that many of the soliders visits, Anna spots Dexter Styles across the bar and discovers that he is the owner. Driven by a need to know more about the disappearance of her father all those years ago, she introduces herself under a fake name. The introduction unfolds a dark story that brings up dirty secrets, desires, deceit and danger.

The history, both the setting, the working women during the war, and with Anna, her family and her diving, are what drew me into this book. Sadly, I had to draw back as the story became unfocused and convoluted with other the intertwining stories and histories. It was not that these parts of the story were not interesting or engaging is that I felt shuffled around far too often while reading this book and the ending felt messy and disjointed. For a book that had such a strong start, the ending left me with a sigh of discontent.

It is clear that this book was meticulously well researched and that a lot of effort was placed into the historical content and overall, the writing style is sophisticated and engaging but it missed the mark on the rhythm of the story.

This book has not put me off Jennifer Egan in the slightest, it actually has driven me to take a look and consider reading her highly acclaimed and award-winning novel,  A Visit From The Goon Squad. It is apparent that Egan has talent and that a novel following such a highly prized book prior is always hard to achieve.

If you have read A Visit From The Good Squad and are hoping for something of the same calibre, this book may not be what you are hoping for. However, the rich historical content is definitely worth picking this book up for. The book is due to be published on October 3, 2017.