New Release: The Finishing School

Seventeen years ago, Kersti Kuusk graduated from a boarding school in Switzerland, called Lycee. Now, she’s an author living in Toronto. She receives a letter from one of her classmates, who has just passed away from breast cancer. In the letter, her friend Lille tells her that she suspects the incident that happened at the end of their school year wasn’t an accident. In the final days of their senior year, Kersti’s best friend, Cressida, fell from her balcony. Meanwhile, Kersti is having marital problems due to the fact that she can’t get pregnant. She decides to investigate Cressida’s accident to distract her, and to give her inspiration for her next novel. 

The story alternates between Kersti’s life in the present and her life at the Lycee in high school. I often find this kind of narrative confusing but each chapter was marked by the place and date so I could remember where we were. 

I loved this book! I was so excited to read it when I saw the description and it didn’t disappoint. There were many twists and turns throughout the book that made the story unpredictable. The story was very moving. It won’t be long before The Finishing School is a bestseller!

Riverdale Vol. 1

Riverdale Vol. 1 is a collection of the new series from Archie Comics. In the last couple of years, they have released modern versions of their classic comics. These include a new Archie series, Betty and Veronica, Jughead, Reggie and friends, and Josie and the Pussycats. The first issues of each of these series are in this collection. They each have different artists who have made the comics look more realistic instead of the classic cartoons. 

This collection was released to promote the new TV series, also called Riverdale. The series is a modern murder mystery, set in Riverdale. The same cast of characters is there, but they are more diverse. Veronica lodge is latina and Josie and The Pussycats are African-American. This series deals with serious issues, such as murder, teenage pregnancy, and adultery, to name a few. 

I love how the TV series is a more modern view of the characters I grew up reading. It’s as if the characters grew up alongside me. The show reflects the new values in the new series of comics. I’m excited to see the next issues that will be included in Vol. 2. 

New Release: The Best of Adam Sharp

Adam Sharp is a middle-aged contract database architect, living in England. One day he receives an email from a former girlfriend. The first part tells the story of Adam and Angelina. They met while he was working on a three month contract in Austrailia. She was a married actress and they had a short affair. Twenty years later, when she is on her second marriage, she contacts Adam. Adam has to decide if he will follow his heart by returning to Angelina, or stay in England with his partner, Claire. 

Music plays an important part in the novel because Adam and Angelina meet while Adam is playing piano in a bar. At the end of the story, there is a list of all the songs referenced, as well as a link to a Spotify playlist. This was a nice touch that brings the reader into the story. 

This story tugs at the heartstrings with the moving story of Adam’s lost love. There were also major plot twists that I didn’t see coming. This novel is a great follow up to Graeme Simsion’s bestsellers The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect.

New Release: Gutenberg’s Fingerprint

My favourite nonfiction subject is publishing. I love reading about the history of books and how they are printed. I was so excited to have the opportunity to get an ARC of Gutenberg’s Fingerprint from ECW Press.

Merilyn Simonds writes about the process of publishing her book The Paradise Project, a collection of flash-fiction stories. She chose to have this book printed by Thee Hellbox Press, a small press in Kingston run by Hugh Barclay. Hugh is very particular about his printing, so he took good care of Merilyn’s book. He involved her in the whole process, from setting the type, mixing the ink, and printing the proofs. The endpapers were even created using the flowers from her garden!

Throughout her story of the creation of her book, Merilyn gives some history on how ink and paper are made. These stories made me smile, reminding me of my book history course in university.

The irony that I was reading a book about the history of printing on an ereader was not lost on me. Merilyn created a digital edition of The Paradise Project with her son, Erik. She discusses how ebooks have changed the publishing industry, but print books aren’t going anywhere soon. Printing has evolved from scribes writing on vellum to machines stamping ink on paper to pixels appearing on a screen. Technology is still evolving the way books are delivered to the reader, but it couldn’t be done without Gutenberg’s press.

Book HaulĀ 

Here are my new books this week! 

The Best of Adam Sharp is the latest book by Graeme Simsion, the author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. Both of those books were great, so I’m looking forward to his new one!

There has been a lot of buzz on social media about The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman. I’m very excited to start it. 

How To Be a Bawse is the debut book from the YouTube star Lilly Singh. She’s very talented so I’m sure her book will be a hit. 

Look for my reviews of these books this week! 

We Are All Made of Molecules

Stewart and his dad move in with his new girlfriend and her daughter Ashley. Stewart’s mom died a year ago, and Ashley’s parents got divorced because her dad came out as gay. Stewart is thirteen and goes to a special school for gifted children. Ashley is fourteen and goes to the local high school. But when Stewart moves in to Ashley’s house, he decides he wants to go Ashley’s school, to improve his social skills. Though Ashley is mortified that her new step-brother is going to her school, she soon figures out that she needs him as much as he needs her. 

This book covers a wide range of problems that teenagers face. Stewart has to deal with the death of his mother. Ashley has to learn to accept her father for who he is, and not be ashamed of him. They both have to face teenage drinking and parties, and the negative consequences that can come from that. 

I really liked how the book addressed so many important issues but was still able to keep a light, humourous tone. There were both laugh-out-loud and heartbreaking parts. Most importantly, this book shows that we all have something in common, despite our differences: we are all made of molecules. 

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

This is a memoir by Carrie Brownstein, a musician, writer, and actress. It follows her time with her band Sleater-Kinney through the 1990s and 2000s.

I picked this book up because it was one of the picks for Our Shared Shelf, Emma Watson’s book club. I really liked the first quarter of the book. Carrie talks about her life growing up in Washington state, including her mother’s eating disorder and her parents’ divorce.

The details of Brownstein’s band took up half of the book. If you aren’t familiar with it, like me, it will probably be difficult to get through. There were many details about how they wrote their songs, recorded of their albums, and toured the world. Unfortunately a lot of this was lost on me since I don’t know much about the indie music scene in the 1990s.

At the end of the book, Brownstein returned to stories from her personal life, after the band had broken up. This part brought me back into the story of her life. She is an excellent writer, which pushed me to keep reading even when I wasn’t interested in the topic. I liked her feminist commentary on how her female band was treated in a male-dominated industry. I can see why it was chosen to be a book for Our Shared Shelf.