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Thoughts on : Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Posted by on September 22, 2017 1:46 am in 4.5 stars reads | 2 comments

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Genre : Contemporary YA
Stand alone

About the Book  :

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

My Thoughts :

This book is about so many things. It’s about grief, of all kinds, and love of all kinds too; it’s a love letter to books and words; it’s about moving on, starting anew, growing up and finding who you are.

I had never read anything by Cath Crowley before and, to be honest, I wasn’t that interested in the book at first. I feel bad saying that, to me, it sounded like every other YA contemporary novel published in the past few years, and while I adore books about books and bookshops, the hook this time felt a little flimsy. What got me to give it a chance were the rave critiques I kept seing from readers I trust – and I’m so happy I gave it a chance!

Words in Deep Blue is beautifully written but not overly so. With just a few words, Cath Crowley creates complex characters that feel complete and real, whether they are front and center or barely mentioned. I loved them all : Rachel, Henry, his sister, the friends… I tend to close myself to others when I feel sad or in pain, too, so I related to Rachel the most. I’ve never seen grief written quite like this, and I particularly loved how Rachel revealed the secret of her brother’s death. It was done simply, at the turn of a paragraph, and it illustrated the unexpected nature of such news beautifully.

I also absolutely enjoyed the romance. When Rachel comes back, Henry is still pining for his ex-girlfriend after the recent breakup. Though he is glad that his friend is back, he isn’t magically cured by Rachel’s apparition. It takes a while for him to get over it, and I felt it was quite realistic. You don’t magically stop loving the people in your life when they leave, even if they’re wrong for you; I wish this aspect of relationships was explored more in YA novels.

And I can’t conclude without mentioning the bookstore and its love letters. I think it’s impossible to read this book without wishing for a similar place! I have a few bookshops I like to visit when looking for used books, but none that I know of have such a letter corner. That would be absolutely lovely 🙂

Filling the Shelf

Posted by on September 18, 2017 3:43 am in Book talk | 14 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Hello, hello, hello!

It’s been quite a while, right? Over a month since my last Mailbox Monday. Books still add themselves (magically, of course) to my shelves but I’ll be honest and say that, with the move, I’ve barely had the time to read – and I miss it immensely!

We are scheduled to move 2 weeks from now (2 weeks!!!) and there’s much left to do, but we are excited. For both of us, it will be the first time we are living in a city that isn’t where we met or where we live now. We’ll still be close to Montreal, but it’s a small town in a region that will mostly be new to us. We can’t wait to discover it together! Inspired by our past traveling experiences (which we kinda miss!), we’ve started a list of parks, restaurants and places we want to explore. The great thing is that we don’t know anyone living there (and we’ve gently asked friends and family not to ruin our adventure by googling too much – my mom loves Google, haha!), so it’s ours to discover, uninfluenced. We’ve never had this kind of experience, to explore the place where we live by ourselves, and we’re thrilled! So, once our very busy October is over, that’s our plan for November! The next two months should be fun 🙂

Now, on to the books! That’s five weeks of books and it’s not too bad, considering it was also my birthday. I’m looking forward to reading all of these – after the move, of course! But let me point out how gorgeous these new editions of Pride and Prejudice and The Book Thief are, and the awesome nostalgia of My Best Friend’s Exorcism‘s cover.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix – Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker – Little Monsters by Kara Thomas – A Paris Year by Janice MacLeod

Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo – Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones – Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza – And I Darken by Kiersten White

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King – Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine – Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen & illustrated by Alice Pattullo

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Thoughts on : The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (audio)

Posted by on September 8, 2017 2:47 am in 4.5 stars reads | 1 comment

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Audio narration : Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Genre : Memoir, True crime

About the Book  :

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti-death penalty. But the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes―the moment she hears him speak of his crimes―she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case. Despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unsayable acts, can happen to any one of us. As Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky’s childhood. And by examining the details of Ricky’s case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, and reckon with a past that colors her view of Ricky’s crime.

My Thoughts :

Memoir or murder mystery? This book is, in fact, a little of both. The Fact of a Body skips between the accounts of the author’s childhood and Ricky Langley’s crime, and the result is, without a doubt, deeply unsettling.

I’ve never read a book quite like this one. I’m always intrigued by thrillers and true crime, but I’ve never read something that was so intimate, so raw, so heartbreaking. I felt a constant push and pull with the book : it got me so angry, so sad, that I needed regular pauses in my listening. But whenever I was away from it, I found myself thinking about it.

I thought it was interesting to have the author explain her reactions and her thought process regarding Ricky Langley by going back through her own history. I often wonder about a writer’s motivation, especially when reading articles or nonfiction, so having these two stories being told in parallel was fascinating. It explored some very important issues (abuse, death penalty, forgiveness) from different angles that many times confronted my own views.

The audio narration was also very well done. Memoirs are one genre where I feel authors can do a good job of reading their own work, and this one was no exception. Having the author herself narrate such a harrowing story allowed me to connect with her and her story in a way I had never experienced before on audio. I have to give mad props to the author for so generously sharing such a personal story.  

I had no idea what awaited me when I started listening to The Fact of a Body, but I’m so glad I picked this one up. It was a powerful experience, hard but necessary. I highly recommend it – but please note that the book has some distressing descriptions of Ricky Langley’s crime and child abuse.

Filling the Shelf

Posted by on August 14, 2017 2:37 am in Book talk | 6 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Hello again dear readers!

First, I apologize for being a very lazy blogger last week, and not answering back to anyone on my last Filling the Shelf post. We left for a short trip in the forest, and then finally concluded our search for a new home. Which means : we bought a house! We should be moving in by the first of October. SO SOON! So many boxes to do, but I actually enjoy doing book boxes so I’m not too worried about it. With an audiobook, this should actually be a lot of fun!

I also received a small box of books this week! A long while ago, Indigo had a huge offer for preorders on thrillers, to be delivered when the last book was released. It was almost a surprise to receive the complete order this week – but a very pleasant surprise, of course!

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware – Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena – The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

What books did you recently add to your shelves?