Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson

Nothing beats a good feel-good novel.

4/5 stars.
ebook, 210 pages.
Read from February 11, 2018 to February 19, 2018.

You know what? Nothing beats a good feel-good novel. Especially one that knows how to make you laugh, smile and cry at the time.

Craig Davidson had hit rock bottom with his writing career. His efforts and a once promising start had fizzled away into nothing. With the bills racking up Craig was looking for anything to help him get by which, is hard to do when you have jumped around with small jobs here and there while pursuing writing, that is until he stumbled upon a school bus driving position. No experience required. Perfect. Little did Craig know that this job was going to offer him so much more than just a paycheque. Craig’s first gig is driving a short bus for special needs children, a position that many drivers often turned away. Dealing with kids can be trying at the best of times but having to work with kids who have needs that are harder to understand or deal with is often a whole other story and requires a special and attentive sort of care. Craig wasn’t sure what he was getting himself into but he was willing to try. With his unique brand of humour, Craig quickly charms the kids on his bus, learns their routines and personalities, and quickly falls in love with the job and his unique bunch of rowdy kids. It would be a year that would shape his life and perspectives going forward.

giphy (2)Craig has the gift of humour and has finessed his writing style well. The book is entertaining, highly readable and massively relatable for anyone who has pursued writing or who just has your average-Joe type persona, which is most of us! Craig is intimate making you feel like you really get to know him and each of the kids on his bus. The book also offers valuable insights into the difficult lives that many people with special needs and their families have to deal with and the courage that it comes with. Craig learned that his own failures were nothing compared to what these kids had overcome and with how able they were at dealing with difficulties that he could never have even dreamed of.

While I enjoyed the true story portion of this book I did not enjoy the random chapters of Craig’s unpublished YA dystopian novel in which the characters were inspired by the kids on his bus.  It’s a nice sentiment but I found it very jarring and when it first came up I had no idea what I was reading or how it pertained to Craig’s main story at first.  If I were an editor I would have eliminated those portions completely and then maybe made a reference to it at the end.

Now does this book “open your eyes“? To an extent, yes. It is an important reflection on how disabled people are treated in our current society and just how challenging it can be. Do I think that this theme was the main attraction of this book? No. Did I love reading it? Oh yes. This is a great read and I have already recommended it to a few of my friends. Does it deserve to win Canada Reads? My current opinion is no but we will see what the other contenders bring to the table. Onward!

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.

Now available for purchase! Get yours here: http://amzn.to/2DbleHJ