Indian Summer

Title: Indian Summer
Author: Marcia Willett
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Rating: ★★★

Mungo is a retired actor who lives in the country with his dog. He lives on the family property that belongs to his brother Archie. Archie and his wife Camilla rent out the cottages on their land. Brothers Philip and Billy are from a farming family. They live near the orchard, where Philip takes care of Billy who had a stroke. Mungo’s friend, Kit, comes to stay with him. She is dealing with a past lover who has come back into her life after his wife died. All of these old friends always think of their friend Izzy. She was a beautiful actress that everyone loved but she died young from an overdose. The other tenants of the cottages are Emma and James. James is a writer who has moved to the country to get some inspiration for his latest novel. Emma lives with her two children while her husband is away as a doctor in Afghanistan. She starts to have a relationship with one of her husband’s friends, who turns out to be more dangerous than she imagined.

There were a lot of characters and storylines. They were all connected, some much less than others. The perspective kept changing between characters. This could be confusing at times when it switched between characters in the same scene without warning.

The story kept giving hints to big scandals but it didn’t deliver. Some scenes had big cliffhangers but they were disappointing when nothing happened. I think if there were simpler plot points, the climaxes could have been bigger.

This story was well written but not as exciting as I hoped.

The Cloud Castle


Title: The Cloud Castle
Author: Thea Stilton
Genre: Children, Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

Will Mystery calls the Thea Sisters for their help. There is a crack in the ceiling of the Hall of Seven Roses, which indicates trouble with the fairies. The girls and Will take a helicopter to Mount Everest to access the fairies in the clouds. Once they get there, they find Ariette, a weaver fairy, who is locked away in a tower. She has been sent there because the Queen thinks she caused their problems by telling the fairies about the real world below the clouds. The problem is that the weaver fairies, who create silver thread with their dreams, are no longer producing it. They need the silver thread to weave clouds everyday. The Thea Sisters and Will embark on a mission to clear Ariette’s name and discover the truth behind the missing silver thread. 

There were many aspects from World mythology in this story. For example, the elephant, Airavata, reminded me of Krishna from Indian mythology and the hundred handed giant is like the ones from Greek mythology. 

Multiple words on each page stand out by being illustrated. For example, words related to snow would have snow covering the tops of the letters and the word “rainbow” had a different colour for each letter. This makes these words stand out and would teach young readers what they mean. 

The mouse theme was present throughout the story. They would exclaim “Holey Cheese,” and at first I thought they spelled “holy” wrong. The same thing happened when they described something as “enormouse.” This was a clever way to incorporate the mouse theme into the story. 

This book was recommended to me by a ten-year-old because it’s her favourite book. I was surprised at how many times I laughed while reading it. I haven’t read any other books in the series but I still really enjoyed it. 

Maud


Title: Maud
Author: Melanie Fishbane
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Lucy Maud Montgomery lives with her maternal grandparents in Cavendish PEI. Her mother died when she was twenty-one months old and her father moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Maud had trouble with her teacher the previous year, so she was sent to live with her Aunt Emily for a while. However, Maud still causes trouble for her grandparents when she returns. They find her secret diary which ruins their relationship. She also starts to have a relationship with Nate, the stepson of the Baptist minister. This is a problem because her family is Presbyterian. These incidents lead her grandparents to send her out to live with her father. But her life doesn’t get easier when she has to deal with his new wife and family. Throughout all of this, Maud finds solace in her writing, both stories and letters to her friends.

The beginning of this story shows Maud being immature and playing with her friends. Though she is fourteen, she acts younger. She often passes notes with Nate and her best friend Mollie. But when everyone else grows up around her, like her cousin Pensie, she also matures.

Maud changes throughout the novel as her situation changes. She acts like a child with her friends in PEI but she has to grow up quickly when she faces her stepmother, who treats her like her personal maid. Maud has to adapt to this new life, where she must defend herself.

Though there were hints of her inspiration for Anne of Green Gables, Maud wasn’t portrayed as her iconic character. Sometimes, stories about authors just show them acting like their characters, but that wasn’t the case with this one.

I liked this story about Canada’s most famous female author.

Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud

Title: Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud
Author: Anne Helen Petersen
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Plume
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Unruly women are ones who don’t fit into the stereotypical box set out for women. Ten different celebrities are described in this book in the way that they are unruly. Serena Williams is “too strong” because she is such a powerful tennis player. Melissa McCarthy is “too fat” in today’s culture that doesn’t want to see fat people on their screens. Meanwhile, Lena Dunham is “too naked” because she doesn’t contour her body into the perfect nude image. In a similarly unruly way, Nicki Minaj flaunts her sexuality in her own way, which puts her in the category of “too slutty.” The creators of Broad City, Anni Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, are “too gross” because they discuss female topics that are usually taboo. Madonna is “too old,” Kim Kardashian is “too pregnant,” and Hillary Clinton is “too shrill.” Caitlyn Jenner has used her trans identity to give a voice to marginalized trans women, but she is considered “too queer,” while Jennifer Weiner’s outspoken opinions on women in publishing have made her “too loud.”

This book covers many aspects of women that are always being criticized like sexuality, age, and size. This makes it very relateable.

I like that these celebrities are discussed through a feminist lens. It demonstrates that (for most of them) their professional decisions from interviews to clothing choices have been premeditated choices that contributes to their identity.

This book is perfect for the feminist movements happening right now. It also made me view some of the celebrities in a more positive light because they are making conscious decisions to become the “unruly” women they are today. I really liked this book.

Infinite Seven Volume 1

 

Title: Infinite Seven V.1
Author: Dave Dwonch
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Anthony plans on spending the summer playing video games while his parents are away on a business trip. He invites his friend from a coffee shop over to have a movie marathon. But his plans are ruined when Smash Brannagan storms into his house asking about Mavara. Anthony has no idea who she is and he gets his dad’s gun in defense. When Smash doesn’t back down, Anthony shoots and kills him. This immediately makes him a member of the Infinite Seven. Whoever kills a member takes their place and has to go by their name. Though Anthony killed Smash, he doesn’t think he’s powerful enough to be part of the Infinite Seven. But he is able to use his video game knowledge to work alongside them to find and defeat Mavara.

This graphic novel was very good. The group of “superheroes” reminded me of Marvel groups.

The way that Anthony figured out a way to use his computer skills to fight with everyone else was very clever. I think kids would be able to relate to this since video games are so popular today.

The ending of the story had a good twist. It really hooked me and made me want to read more. I’m going to have to look for the next volume.

Girl Last Seen

Title: Girl Last Seen
Author: Nina Laurin
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Ten years after she was found, Lainey learns that a ten-year-old girl has gone missing. The girl resembles her, so she knows she was taken by the same kidnapper. Lainey was held by him for three years from the time she was ten. However, the police contact Lainey to help them because of her connection to the girl: she’s her birth mother. Lainey has to use her unique position to help find Olivia Shaw while also finding her own kidnapper. 

This is an original thriller with many twists and turns. It reminded me of the stories in the last few years of girls being held captive for many years.

This story also demonstrates the different media coverage that cases get, depending on who the missing child is. Lainey’s story wasn’t as popular because her mother was in jail, whereas Olivia’s family is very wealthy so they had a lot of media coverage.

I really liked this thrilling novel!

Here and Gone

Title: Here and Gone
Author: Haylen Beck
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Audra Kinney was driving her two children, Sean and Louise, across the country from New York to California when she was pulled over by Sheriff Whiteside. He claimed that he thought her car was loaded down too much at the back, so he offered to help her unload some things into his car. But when he reached into one of her boxes in the trunk, he found a bag of marijuana, more than would be considered for personal use. He arrested her and had his deputy come and take her children to “a safe place.” However, when he brings Audra into the station and she asks where her children are, he says “what children?”

This was a chilling thriller. My heart was racing through the whole book. I was hooked right from the beginning, when I didn’t even know why Audra was escaping something in New York with her children.

I liked that it was a small cast of characters, so they could be developed. The perspective switched between characters too. Even though I knew who had taken the children, the story was exciting because they were still in danger.

I highly recommend this book if you like psychological thrillers!