Review: The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly

The Boy Who Loved RainBook Details:

Author: Gerard Kelly
Genre: Adult Contemporary
PublisherLion Fiction
Pages: 320
Published: January 2015
Goodreads Rating: 4.08
I received this book in return for an honest review as part of a book tour for the novel. 

tlc logo

Blurb:

They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. They’re wrong.

David Dryden, pastor of a high-profile church in London, is admired for his emphasis on the Christian family.

But all is not well in his own family. He and his wife, Fiona, have been glossing over his son Colom’s erratic behavior. Then, when a commitment to die is discovered in Colom’s room after the suicide of a school friend, David finds himself out of his depth–and Fiona, in panic, takes Colom and flees.

A wonderful, intelligent, and searching novel about the toxic nature of secrets, and the possibility of starting again.

My Thoughts:

The Boy Who Loved Rain is one of those books that creeps up on you and hooks you without even realizing it is happening. Admittedly, the first leg of the book doesn’t grab hold of your attention quite like the last 2/3 of the story, but it is definitely worth the slow start once you are in the heart of the story.

This is one of those novels I find hard reviewing because I don’t want to give anything away – it is much better if you, like I did, go into this story completely blind.

The story is about family, decisions, secrets, and discovery; it definitely isn’t a book you want to take lightly.

You feel so much frustration at the characters and the plot as you are reading because you, as a reader, may find it difficult to understand the choices of certain characters…especially the father, David. You are frustrated because you know there is more of the story to be told (especially at the beginning) and you aren’t getting it. This is why once things start moving about a third of the way into the novel and secrets begin to unveil themselves you can’t stop reading.

The book as an ongoing theme of rain running throughout the story; each chapter begins with a quote about rain and I think each quote certainly helps to relate the theme of the certain chapter. It’s a clever way of weaving the title and the theme through the book.

The imagery the book creates is amazing, Gerard Kelly made everything sound so beautiful and real. I certainly want to make a trip to Portivy now; it sounds lovely. And as a Canadian, it is nice to see the country represented in the book, it is not something you see too often with non-Canadian authors so it was refreshing to see!

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys books about family and just anyone who is looking for a very engaging read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think many others would too.

My Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

About the Author:

Gerard Kelly

Gerard Kelly is a writer, preacher-poet, mac lover, coffee drinker and twitturgist. He and his wife Chrissie have lived and worked in the UK, France and the Netherlands and are popular speakers at conferences in Europe. In 1995 they founded Cafe-net, the European missions project that became The Bless Network in 2004. In 2009 they wrote ‘Intimate with the Ultimate’: a book on prayer and spirituality drawn from their many years of teaching and leadership across Europe. They currently live in Basse Normandy, France, where Bless are establishing a missional community.

– via Lion Hudson PLC

Review: How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé by Carly Ellen Kramer

blogthingMy Thoughts: 

How to Bake a Chocolate Soufflé  is a book about three college friends and how their lives grow apart and find each other again after college. I found that the moral of the story was that life may not always end up how you seem, but if you keep the people who love you around it will always be a good time.

The three protagonists are all completely different people – a science major, music major, and a business major – but their friendship is something that is unbreakable. What I loved about the book was that even though they drifted apart over time their true friendship came out when they all reunited after 18 years without seeing each other.

This is the first time in a while where I can honestly say I didn’t have a least favourite story line – all three girls (Annie, Audrey, and Maddie) all had compelling storylines that intrigued me and I always wanted to know more.

I did have a few issues with the formatting of the book; I didn’t like that you only got a little of each character’s lives every couple of years – it certainly left me with a lot of questions that I desperately wanted answers to right away. It just made it seem almost jumpy, especially when things are being referred to before they fill you in on what was missed. It is something you have to get used to, but I just would have preferred more! A lot of the time I just wasn’t ready to let the chapter to end when it did.

One cool thing about this book was that it included recipes at the end of most chapters. As someone who doesn’t cook I liked that they were there, but I personally won’t try the recipes. On the other hand, for people who read this book and love to cook it will give them some great recipes to try out (if anyone wants to make me the chocolate soufflé I wouldn’t say no).

All in all, I did enjoy reading this book; it was fun, emotional, and a great book about friendship and growing up. I just wish I got to know more about their lives!

My Rating: 

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Favourite Quote: 

“Human  nature  is  complex,  Audrey.  If we only study the easy parts, the safe beauty and the accepted wisdom, and avoid the complex, ugly interpretations and the challenges to accepted boundaries of good and evil, we fail to try to live up to our divine potential.”  

January and February Reading Wrap Up

Wrap Up

I completely forgot to do a wrap up for the past few months, and I really want to get back into this so I decided to combine my January and February!

There are eight books to talk about here so let’s get started and let me know if you want to see a full review of any of these books!

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

Quick Review: The Shock of the Fall was the first book I read in 2015! Not a bad way to start of this reading year if I do say so myself. I found it a little difficult to get through at the beginning but before I knew it I was completely entranced by this story about a boy dealing with his mental illness. It is beautiful, raw, and real book that, I believe, does a great job in portraying a character’s mental illness. It was just really good and I definitely recommend it…though prepare to become extremely frustrated with the unreliable narrator because well, you’ll see.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Quick Review: I’ve had this book on my shelf for a LONG time now after a friend, so kindly, forced me to purchase it when she found out I hadn’t read any Terry Pratchett novels. Long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure this novel took me on – especially the wee free men. The book features such strong female characters that I think all girls need to read this series of books. I plan on, eventually, finishing this series as it follows the growth of the main character. My only issue with this is the long chapters…I much prefer a novel with a lot of shorter chapters (personal opinion though).

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Quick Review: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Patrick Ness has very quickly become one of my favourite authors. I finished this book in one afternoon. It was pure brilliance. There really isn’t any other way for my to explain it. I still feel so much thinking about the story. I purchased the illustrated edition and I think it just added a whole other layer to this beautiful story. The book was so heartbreakingly beautiful. I’m pretty sure I cried for 20 minutes after finishing it. READ IT, READ IT, READ IT.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (duh).

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Quick Review: After the emotional turmoil I felt after A Monster Calls I needed something super quick, fluffy, and fun. I took a look at my TBR shelf and figured no one could cheer my up quite like Bridget Jones. I wasn’t wrong. This was the perfect cure for the heartbreak I was facing after my previous read. It made me laugh so much…also made me want to rewatch the movie, but when don’t I want to rewatch Bridget Jones’s Diary. If you are looking for a super fun, quick read I definitely suggest you pick this up if you are like me and have yet to do it yet.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 for making me feel so much better after A Monster Calls.

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Quick Review: I’m not sure the book needed to be written in free verse because it reads fine as in prose, but the book provides the sad truth that young girls are still unknowingly being sold into prostitution in third world countries and it’s completely heartbreaking what these girls have to face. I’m always grateful when a book like this is thoroughly researched so big ups to the author who traveled India and Nepal to interview women of Calcutta’s red light district and as well as girls who have been rescued in order to write this book. It’s a really fast, but extremely powerful read so go forth and read on.

My Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (for the free verse)

How To Bake a Chocolate Soufflé by Carly Ellen Kramer

Quick Review: This book was given to me as part of the book tour which I am partaking in. I don’t want to say too much here because I full review of this novel will by posted on March 7th (so keep an eye out for that), but I can say that while there where a few issues with the flow of the book I did enjoy it overall. It was nice to see the relationships in the books grow apart but then snap back together again when it is really needed. It really speaks to the power of friendship and I completely stand by that message. I just wish it had given me more because the story was lacking certain details that, as a reader, you are craving to know about!

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

If I Stay by Gayle Formam

Quick Review: This is one of those books that I bough a long time ago when it was on sale at Costco and just didn’t get around to reading it. And when I finally did all I really thought was: meh. It was okay. I mean, I cried but with the nature of the book it was hard not to. I just couldn’t believe any of the characters; they all seemed just over the top stereotypical. There were lines where I just though: really?! I think it is safe to say that I didn’t want to rush a pick up the second one. And can I just say, because I knew there was a second one there was no suspense on the question of what choice she was going to make. Meh…just meh.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Quick Review: I think this is one time I was happy not have been a superfan of something before it moved to book form. Because I was familiar with Allie Brosh’s drawings online, but didn’t really keep up with them I could fully appreciate this book from beginning to end. I was even pleasantly surprised to see some of my favourites in the book. Hyperbole and a Half made my laugh out loud so many time. I was obsessed with the style it was written and drawn in and also with her dogs. I loved this so much and I’m so happy I got to read it.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Books on my TBR Bookshelf

cropped-cincinnati_bookstores.jpg

As we can all clearly see, this post – though promised for Thursday – did not end up happening on Thursday because well, I honestly forgot. A LOT has happened this week, so I was a bit overwhelmed. But hey, better late than never right?

So without further ado, these are all the unread books I currently have on my bookshelf (listed in no particular order):

  1. The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen
  2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  3. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  4. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  5. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  7. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  8. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  9. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
  10. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  11. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  12. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  13. The Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
  14. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  15. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  16. Emma by Jane Austen
  17. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  18. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  19. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  20. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  21. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
  22. Belle Teale by Ann M. Martin
  23. Lost Souls by Michael Collins
  24. The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements
  25. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
  26. Nation by Terry Pratchett
  27. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
  28. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
  29. The Wives of Bath by Wendy Holden
  30. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
  31. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
  32. Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill

And that’s it! Let me know which book on this list you think I should read next!

Unfinished Books on My Bookshelf

cropped-cincinnati_bookstores.jpg

There was a time in my life when I couldn’t imagine leaving a book I was reading unread; it just wasn’t something that I did.

This, of course, was when I was 10 and disillusioned by my love of Harry Potter thinking that every book was going to make me fall in love like it did. 

Over the years I have managed to finish almost every book I’ve start. Almost.

I have gotten rid of some really old unread books that I know I wouldn’t ever pick up again, but these are the ones I currently have sitting on in my bookcase:

1) The Warden by Anthony Trollope
2) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
3) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
4) Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thacheray (odds of my finishing this bad boy are slim)
5) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
6) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
7) The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
8) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (I’ve read 2.5 books out of the 7 included)
9) All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
10) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
11) Wicked by Gregory Maguire
12) Lastly we have the book that I have been ‘currently reading’ for at least a solid year: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

And there you have it. There are 12 books on my shelf that I need to finish.

I see there is a definite trend in the books: classic books that I needed to read for school…but didn’t.

Some of them I’m ashamed I haven’t finished yet, but as one of my resolutions this year I am going to try my best to finish some of these books up and clear up that TBR list.

On Thursday I will be writing a post about the rest of the unread books on my bookcase right now. That’ll be a fun one.

Let me know what books you have half finished on your shelf.

2015 Reading Challenge

2015edit

The only challenges I’ve ever done when it comes to reading are the Goodreads reading challenges (add me on Goodreads!) and, if I’m being honest, I’ve only ever actually completed it once…just this last year.

As I said in my 2015 reading resolutions I wanted to up my reading game this year and not only read more books, but also read a variety of different books that I may not normally pick up. This is why when I saw the PopSugar 2015 reading challenge pop up on my WordPress reader feed a few times I knew I wanted to take part in it.

The challenge demands you read 50 books (well 52 because a trilogy is involved) that adhere to a certain challenge on the list which I will now post below:

I will be keeping track of my progress with this challenge on a page I’ve set up right here.

I’ve already completed one challenge by reading a book by an author I haven’t read before (Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall) and I am almost finished my second book that could have crossed of a number of challenges but I will be putting it towards ‘a book a friend recommended’ (Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men).

Well that is what I will be up to this year and I hope some of you will join me along for the ride!

I’m Back! 2015 Reading and Writing Resolutions

 

2015edit

I profusely apologize for my sudden disappearance in the middle of November. I was really enjoying participating in BookBlogWriMo but not preparing and attempting to write and post all on the same day failed miserably for me.

My failed attempt at BookBlogWriMo has taught me that if I want to succeed at this blogging thing I really do need to be more organized and on top of things (aka having posts ready in advance, knowing what I want to say, etc).

Do you want to know what’s funny and totally hypocritical about what I just typed – this is entire post is being written on a whim. You know what they say…old habits die hard and all that jazz.

I think the best thing about a post reintroducing me into the blogging sphere in the new year is to post some resolutions I have for myself when it comes to reading and blogging. Let’s start with reading resolutions, shall we?

readingedit

I was really slumpy when it came to reading last year – meaning I didn’t read for months on end sometimes. I ended up completing my reading challenge of 30 books, but I personally found that number pitiful for myself. This year I am going to try my best to read 50 books in 2015. In order to complete this challenge I need to learn how to put down a book if I am not enjoying it. I’m stubborn when it comes to reading; I push myself to read things I’m not enjoying just so I can say that I’ve finished something and proved myself wrong. This is what usually leads to a reading slump (well, this and Netflix). This is one thing I 100% want to try and avoid this year.

Another reading resolution I have is to read more new releases. My attempts at reading new literature last year were pitiful as I only read two books published in 2014. I am going to try my best to read books that aren’t just on my bookshelf TBR, but new releases as well. Ideally I would love to do this every month, but knowing me that isn’t going to happen – though considering I now work in a bookshop this could very easily be done.

The next thing I want to do is read more classics. I’ve read my fair share of modern day classics, but for some reason I am horrified of old school classics. I own so many of them that this will be relatively easy to do, I just need to do it. I’m going to try and read one classic novel (modern or older) a month.

Put a dent in the ‘1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die’ list. I’m doing something similar with movies this year. I want to be able to say ‘yeah I’ve seen this’ or ‘yeah, I read this’ and actually have an opinion on it. I love pop-culture – and discussions surrounding it – and there are some movies and books I feel like I haven’t seen or read that I know I need to rectify. I will be using this list so if anyone wants to join I’ll probably be doing a post a month about my progress with that.

Read more graphic novels. I feel as though this is on my list every year. There isn’t much else to say on the matter, just that it needs to happen.

I don’t know if this belongs in my blogging resolutions or reading resolutions but I want to organize my Goodreads TBR shelves. My single want to read shelf at the moment is a mess of things I have just added for shits and giggles. I want to go through the list and add more categories to create a more plausible and organized TBR. This will probably include going through my bookshelf and finding all the books I own that I haven’t read yet and using that as one list because we all know that will be pretty long.

Okay, that seems to be enough for my reading resolutions for 2015. Some things will be expanded on in stand alone posts, but they will come later.

Now on to the blogging resolutions!

bloggingedit

I think the first resolution I have is pretty simple: be more organized. Make a schedule and follow it, utilize a calendar, plan ahead, make notes. I have never been an organized person – I prefer to do things last minute – but if I really want this to keep moving forward I need to get my shit together and be on top of things. This is going to be a struggle, but I think I can do it!

Utilize my multimedia skills to include more pictures, videos, and audio clips. I have the programs, I have the tools, I have the skills, I just need to actually do something with them now! This takes a bit more time, but I need to be able to make time for stuff that will only enhance the blogging experience.

Be more active in the blogging community. I started this last year but I want it to do even more next year. Making friends in the community is something I would love to do because y’all seem so awesome!

Work on finalizing a review format. I struggle with reviews, of this I am sure. I try to say knowledgable and informative things but I think they all come out in one giant ramble. I want to work on coming up with a good, concise way of sharing my thoughts on books with everyone.

And finally I want to come up with more original post and/or do more fun things like tags. Journalism taught me that content is key; if you give your audience quality content people are going to come back and seek out what you write. I want to make sure that all my posts are fun, informative, and interactive. I want to come up with original stuff and participate in things already going around. I want to make sure that my content is at a level I am happy with!

Well, that’s it for my reading and blogging resolutions for 2015! Let me know if you have anything similar, different, something I should add. If you have written your own resolutions feel free to share the link to your blog as I would love to see what you want to complete in 2015!