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Giveaway : The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri

Posted by on May 14, 2013 3:30 am in other | 0 comments

the cottage at glass beach

The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri

Two copies landed on my doorstep, and I am happy to have the opportunity to to give away one of them! Since the shipping will be out of my pocket’s money, this unfortunately means this giveaway is only opened to people in the US and Canada (but I promise to have something open for everyone soon!)

Find out more about the book here!

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Review : The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri

Posted by on May 14, 2013 2:59 am in 3 stars reads | 3 comments

the cottage at glass beachThe Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri
Pages : 288
Genre : Fiction
Stand alone
My Rating : 3/5

From the book’s jacket :

Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, Nora Cunningham is a picture-perfect political wife and a doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she, along with the rest of the world, learns of the infidelity of her husband, Malcolm.

Humiliated and hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters and takes refuge on Burke’s Island, off the coast of Maine. Settled by Irish immigrants, the island is a place where superstition and magic are carried on the ocean winds, and wishes and dreams wash ashore with the changing tides.

Nora spent her first five years on the island but has not been back to the remote community for decades–not since that long ago summer when her mother disappeared at sea. One night while sitting alone on Glass Beach below the cottage where she spent her childhood, Nora succumbs to grief, her tears flowing into the ocean. Days later she finds an enigmatic fisherman named Owen Kavanagh shipwrecked on the rocks nearby. Is he, as her aunt’s friend Polly suggests, a selkie–a mythical being of island legend–summoned by her heartbreak, or simply someone who, like Nora, is trying to find his way in the wake of his own personal struggles?

My Thoughts :

The Cottage at Glass Beach was a very pleasant read. It has a soft, quiet quality to it and from the start gives you a hint of magical realism. Burke’s Island is rich in history, and I found the numerous characters to be all equally intriguing; as Nora, Ella and Annie (Nora’s daughters) meet them, I wanted to know more about them and their life on the island.

There’s also a beautiful mix of styles; the book isn’t straight romance, and in fact I would say it mostly isn’t about the romance. There’s the mystery of Nora’s mother’s disappearance, the story of Maire (the aunt they are living with), the family aspects, the mystery of Owen, etc. While the book isn’t a mystery novel, there are enough unanswered questions to keep you guessing all along.

While I loved the setting and enjoyed the story, there were two aspects that kept me from truly loving the book. The first was my inability to connect to Nora. I felt for her, sure, but I was unable to reach over that wall that exists between reader and character and really understand her. That was a bit unfortunate since she was the main character, and I am not sure where the fault is since I actually liked the author’s writing, which I found to be poetic in places. The second point was Nora’s daughters. Again, I understood they were going through a lot, but I had a hard time sympathizing with them, especially Ella. Also, I found their conversations to be a bit too adult-like, and until I went back, confused, to reread the first few pages, I actually thought they were both teenagers.

This being said, I mostly enjoyed the book. I went through it quite quickly and its dreamy, mysterious atmosphere stayed with me thorough the days. It reminded me how much I love magical realism, and it was nicely done here. The story gave me a taste of summer and made me wish I could go hang on the beach, too!

In the end, while it wasn’t a perfect read, I closed the book feeling satisfied. I would definitely read more of this author – which is great since I already have one of her books on my ereader!

And I have some great news for you! By some fortunate twist of fate, I ended up with two copies of the book! Which means, I have one to giveaway to one of you! Click here for a chance to put your hands on a copy! 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to review The Cottage at Glass Beach!

Heather Barbieri The author of three novels, The Cottage at Glass Beach (Harper, 2012), The Lace Makers of Glenmara (Harper, 2009) and Snow in July (Soho, 2004), Heather Barbieri has been awarded fellowships and international prizes for her short stories. Before turning to fiction full time, she was a magazine editor, journalist, and film critic. Heather is half Irish. Her paternal ancestors left counties Donegal and Tipperary after surviving The Great Famine; they worked in the coal mines of Eastern Pennsylvania before settling in Butte, Montana, a rugged town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which, though having nary a hint of green in its landscape, once boasted the largest gaelic-speaking population outside of Ireland. Heather was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She lives in Seattle with her family.

Filling the Shelf – 101

Posted by on May 13, 2013 2:04 am in Book talk | 10 comments

Filling the Shelf is basically Mailbox Monday or the more recent Stacking the Shelves, but with a title that suits my blog! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, I invite you to visit the two hosts!

 

Good day to you, readers!

It’s a good thing that blogging isn’t done using your voice, because I lost mine this weekend. I’m thinking I may have accidentally slipped it into one of the boxes, since we packed most of the books for our move!  The shelves look so empty and sad now; I can’t wait to be in our new place to unpack them all – you just know it’s the first thing I will do! Who needs dishes and towels when you can have books?

It’s sort of funny to me to see new books arrive as I am packing the older ones. It’s like an incessant flow of paper through the door! Not complaining about it, for sure!

Here are my new additions, a mix of fiction and YA; it was very exciting on the YA side as If I Should Die and Light conclude their respective series, and The Eternity Cure was a sequel I was really looking forward to (even though I still haven’t reviewed the first book)!

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J’adore New York by Isabelle Laflèche / The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

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If I Should Die by Amy Plum / Light by Michael Grant The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

What did you add to your shelves recently?

Review : The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe

Posted by on May 9, 2013 2:14 am in 3.5 stars reads | 5 comments

the lives we lostThe Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe
Pages : 288
Genre : YA, Speculative fiction
Series : Fallen World, book 2
My Rating : 3,5/5

From the book’s jacket :

A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father’s abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?

My Thoughts :

When I read The Way We Fall last year, it was one of my favorite post-apocalytic novel of 2012. I loved the quiet pace, the introspective aspect of the narration, the gloomy atmosphere and the absence of the typical love triangle. It made the book feel more realistic and mature, and I was excited to see where the story would go from there.

The Lives We Lost took a bit of a different route; from the start, the danger is more present as the characters find themselves on the road. If the danger is a constant  in their lives, I wouldn’t say the novel is packed with action. There’s more happening than in the first novel, but I still felt it was a slow story (in a nice way). The characters are faced with some very hard decisions, difficult circumstances and unfathomable consequences. It’s harsh, but realistic.

What I liked less was the addition of the love triangle. It was sort of predictable, with Kaelyn’s best friend coming back into the picture after so long, but I could have done without. To be clear though, the novel isn’t heavy with romance; Kaelyn and her friends have a lot more important things to think about. But the hints are there, often enough to have annoyed me. Can’t we have a young adult trilogy without some geometric love story? Does everyone really find themselves into those? It never happened to me, and I don’t think I’m such a unique specimen, you know?

Anyway, I liked The Lives We Lost, even though I thought parts of the plot felt a bit forced or predictable. But these aspects are well balanced with positive ones : new characters that add to the story’s complexity, a well developed world-building that expands outside the island, an adventurous story with lots of suspense.

Also, can I say “Yay!” for the Canadian setting? I have absolutely nothing against my american neighbors (quite the contrary!), but it is so fun and refreshing to be reading a post-apocalyptic novel in a setting I know at least a little!

I will absolutely be reading the next book. I have a long wait ahead of me though, as The Worlds We Make is planned for February 2014. Sigh! But for those of you who like not to wait too much between each book, it means now is the perfect time to start the series!

Series Reading Order : 

  1. The Way We Fall
  2. The Lives We Lost
  3.  The Worlds We Make (coming February 2014)