Short Stories, A Series & Science ~ #JNGReads

Hi everyone, and happy almost-Friday!

Today I wanted to take the time to post some of the book reviews I’ve recently published on Goodreads. Since these reviews were relatively short (you know, what with me having a baby and all!), I thought it best to save them and compile them together into one blog post here. I have somehow managed to read 3 novels in the last week, which is kind of an amazing feat (again, considering my baby situation, haha!) and I am going full steam ahead to try out something a little bit new with my next read…stay tuned for that! Dorian and I also managed to read a really great children’s book and we had some thoughts on it, below! 😉

The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro

This is not my favourite Alice Munro short story collection (that would be Runaway) but it was such a joy to return to Munro’s work after a long time. 

My favourite stories of this collection, as a new mother, had to be “Before the Change” and “My Mother’s Dream”. I also really enjoyed “Save The Reaper” and “The Children Stay”. 

While this isn’t the collection I would recommend as an introduction to Munro’s writing (I would probably start with Lives of Girls and Women), it was still, of course, quite brilliant. 

❥❥❥❥.5 (out of 5)

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

(*check out my review of the first book in this series here*)

This book (similarly to the first in the series) is one I find really hard to review. 

I enjoyed it as I read it and found myself getting through it quickly whenever my newborn son granted me time to read (case in point, I read 270 pages today alone). However, when I look back on the book at large, I realize that not much happened. The majority of it was focused on descriptions of Lia’s day-to-day life in captivity in Venda, and the real climax came about 20 pages from the end of the book. I found the same structure was true of the first book…so much of the plot was focused on the mundane and quotidian, and then the ending was packed full of drama. 

I also find that these books don’t contain much vivid description of settings or characters. Indeed, I found it hard to visualize the scenes as I read them, and so while I turned the pages rapidly, I don’t remember much from them. 

A fast read, sure, and I am interested enough to finish the trilogy, but not a standout for me.

❥❥❥ (out of 5)

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Okay!!! This is what I was hoping for from the other books in this series. This was fast-paced, suspenseful, intricate and engaging! Where the first two books seemed to meander along, this one was action-packed, particularly in the latter half. I also found it to be more descriptive and easier to visualize, and I appreciated and felt connected to the characters even more. Well worth reading the entire series for! 

❥❥❥.5 (out of 5)

Fairy Science by Ashley Spires

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was positively brilliant!

My son is only 4 months old, so of course he didn’t understand much of this yet and we will return to it over the years, but I did notice him laughing and smiling a lot as I read and flipped the pages. I think this is because the illustrations were so colourful and vibrant, but were full of recurring characters and objects so as not to be too overwhelming. (I particularly found the bird Albert adorable!)

The concept is what really struck me as well-done, though. This was quite clearly a commentary on science vs. religion, but I didn’t find it heavy-handed or offensive in any way. On the contrary, it was realistic and sensitively written, and I think it is an excellent introduction to the scientific method for young children. The experiment at the end that readers can try at home was also a clever addition that I can easily see my husband, son and myself trying one day!

Well written and illustrated with a strong message…I think this will become a classic in my household!

❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

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