[Book Thoughts] Come From Away by Genevieve Graham

Book Details:

Format: Paperback
Source: Author
Read: April 2018

Synopsis:

In the fall of 1939, Grace Baker’s three brothers, sharp and proud in their uniforms, board Canadian ships headed for a faraway war. Grace stays behind, tending to the homefront and the general store that helps keep her small Nova Scotian community running. The war, everyone says, will be over before it starts. But three years later, the fighting rages on and rumours swirl about “wolf packs” of German U-Boats lurking in the deep waters along the shores of East Jeddore, a stone’s throw from Grace’s window. As the harsh realities of war come closer to home, Grace buries herself in her work at the store.

Then, one day, a handsome stranger ventures into the store. He claims to be a trapper come from away, and as Grace gets to know him, she becomes enamoured by his gentle smile and thoughtful ways. But after a several weeks, she discovers that Rudi, her mysterious visitor, is not the lonely outsider he appears to be, but someone else entirely—someone not to be trusted. When a shocking truth about her family forces Grace to question everything she has so strongly believed, she realizes that she and Rudi have more in common than she had thought. And if Grace is to have a chance at love, she must not only choose a side, but take a stand.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Genevieve Graham for a copy of this book for review!

Oh my gosh, I don’t even have words to describe how much I loved this book! This is only my second Genevieve Graham story I’ve read and I just adore her writing; her characters are real, lovely, imperfect and yet charming, and her Canadian scenery is completely brought to life: you can envision the setting she’s describing and almost picture yourself there, in the historical Canadian east. Her stories are beautiful and layered and can get your heart beating, but still bring tears to your eyes. Needless to say, I really, really love her writing, just from the bit I’ve sampled so far.

Initially I had my worries because Graham had talked about bringing back the Bakers from her previous novel, Tides of Honour, and all I could think was, “Oh no, another ‘series’ – it’s not going to be good!” However, right off the bat, even before the story starts, Graham writes about the German U-Boats that were stationed off of the shores and talks of what might happen if one of the members of these boats happened to come on shore. The story takes off from there and I fell in love with Grace instantly. She is the daughter of Audrey and Danny Baker, the main characters from the previous novel, so it really was a nice transition in this ‘series.’ We get updates of the Baker family, but while the parents we got to know in Tides of Honour are present, their story isn’t THE story of this novel. I loved the reminders of events that happened in the previous book, and it was wonderful how Graham weaved them into this brand new story.

This is also very much a story of war. The story takes place during WWII and at times it can be hard to stomach. It’s a story of family, love, and loss. It’s a story about the questions that are raised when it comes to who we can trust when it comes to love. It’s a story that will make you laugh, will make you cry, and will get your heart pounding. I adored Rudi and his determination, his courage, and his selflessness.

It’s funny because I finished this story during my kids’ afternoon quiet time, and then later, before dinner, I was doing something – I can’t even remember – and couldn’t help but think of how enjoyable my reading time would be that night, as I get back to the story of Rudi, Grace, and the Bakers. Then I had to remind myself that I had already finished the story. I needed more! I was not ready to let these characters go by the story’s end and really hope we get to meet these characters again in the future. That’s definitely the sign of a great book, when you can’t stop thinking of the characters and you’re not convinced that you’re finished reading the story.

I highly recommend Genevieve Graham’s historical books. They have amazing and wonderful characters, and also weave stories of eastern Canada’s history so well that you can’t help but want to come back for more.

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The Book Addiction Book Tag!

Lately I’ve really loved participating in book tags and so when I saw this one over on The Secret Library Book Blog I knew I wanted to participate! I laugh because we all know I’m definitely a book addict but let’s just see how my answers go …

What is the longest amount of time you can comfortably go without picking up a book?

Probably a day. It really depends on how busy I am, but even when I do get really busy, if it lasts for a long time (like if we’re out all day doing things), then I start to get antsy and just want some time alone to read. I have gone through some slumps but even then I still try to read, even if it’s only a few pages.

How many books do you carry on your person (or kindle) at any one time?

At least one. I should probably resort to carrying my kindle around with me since it’s so small and easy to throw in a bag, but I usually pick the book that I’m reading that is easiest to read when I have a little amount of time, usually a contemporary or non-fiction.

Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

Oh I definitely don’t keep everything! I used to keep all the books I read and I remember when I first did my home library, I thought I would separate my read books from my unread book and, embarrassingly, my read books didn’t even take up a bookcase! My current home library, though, is ONLY for read books and it’s close to being full. I don’t mind being creative with where my books go in there once read, but I do only have so much space. At least until my two remaining bookcases (a big one and small one which house my TBR) are full of read books, then I might have to do a purge. But I do get rid of books I don’t like, or most duplicates (at least, after I realized how many damn duplicates I own). I used to keep everything but then I wondered why I was keeping books I hated. It made no sense! If years go by and I want to give that book another chance, I can easily go buy it second hand, but I’d rather not keep that memory on my shelf.

How long would you spend in a bookshop on a standard visit?

It really depends on how much time I have. If I stop before having to go somewhere else for an appointment, I’ll say there until THE VERY END. If I stop and don’t have anything planned for after I could browse forever. There are just so many wonderful sections, sale books, featured books – and if there’s coffee and food available via Starbucks, why would you leave?

How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

My husband would probably say “too much time.” But the truth is that I tend to do house things with the kid up and about. They help me clean and do chores, so that when I have free time I can read. I try to read for the hour before they get up, and hopefully for the 2 hours they have quiet time (if they last for two hours – lots of times they don’t – and sometimes I’ll sit and do blog things and watch a show or watch a show and scroll aimlessly through social media), AND after they go to bed if I’m not watching TV with my husband. He works early so he’s usually going to bed by 9:00 so I might let him watch one of his PVR’d shows and go up and read for a couple hours before going to bed myself. So, on a good reading day, I might be able to get 5 hours or so of reading time in, but typically it might be at least 1-2 hours. It’s the one hobby that’s really easy to fit into my day.

How many books do you reckon you own in total (including e-books).

Oh god, this is embarrassing, but I think I own about 550 or so read books, and about 400 unread books, so probably 1,000 when including physical and e-books. A ridiculous amount, I know, but I do have a home library so I have the space for them.

Approximately how often do you bring up books in conversation?

Aside from my kids and TV, books is the one thing I know how to talk about! If someone asks what I like to do in my free time, when I say “reading” it usually leads to book conversations where I ramble on about books and reading and blogging and probably make no sense whatsoever. I’m a fangirl when it comes to reading.

What is the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon at 1,443 pages!

A book you struggled to finish but refused to DNF?

This was a really hard one. Lately I’ve gotten really good at DNFing books, but in the past I would power through and finish. I remember reading Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison and thinking how terrible it was, but I was doing a read-along for it and it was fun to just get snarky with a few other local bloggers about it. I also don’t know how I finished reading Wetlands by Charlotte Roche, or Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk because both seriously made me want to vomit.

What are 3 of your main book goals for 2018?

To care less about what I’m reading – just go with the flow and follow my mood.
To read more classics, non-fiction, and literary fiction.
To buy less books BUT I’VE ALREADY FAILED AT THAT.

Have you ever had the privilege of converting someone into a reader (maybe via inspiration or incessant nagging)?

No. I wish I could, though, since I don’t have a lot of real life people to talk books with, BUT I do love talking books with people on Twitter who I guess ARE real life people, but just in a different part of the world. I’d love to get my husband to read but I kind of like it’s one thing that makes me unique in our combined family, my love of books.

Describe what books mean to you in five words?

Friend, escape, enriching, relaxing, solace.

I’m not going to tag anyone on this, but if you want to answer these questions on your blog, let me know so I can read your answers! 

[Book Thoughts] Foe by Iain Reid

Book Details:

Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Read: April 2018

Synopsis:

A taut, psychological mind-bender from the bestselling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

We don’t get visitors. Not out here. We never have.

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.

Told in Reid’s sharp and evocative style, Foe examines the nature of domestic relationships, self-determination, and what it means to be (or not to be) a person. An eerily entrancing page-turner, it churns with unease and suspense from the first words to its shocking finale.

My Thoughts

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for a copy of this book for review!

I had no idea that I would be getting this book in the mail, so when I saw a package in my mailbox, I assumed it was a historical fiction book I had been waiting for. But then I opened up the mailer and saw a book wrapped in bug wrapping paper and thought there’s no way! Inside was this gorgeous little book by Canadian author, Iain Reid, who is best known for his thriller/horror book, I’m Thinking Of Ending Things. I am a big fan of anything suspenseful, or with horror elements, so I was very excited about reading this.

This book was so different from anything I had read before. It was very much a psychological thriller, with a bit of science fiction thrown in, and was just so disturbing. The whole time I was reading it, I knew that something was a little off and it was fun to throw out guesses – nothing I guessed was correct, which made it even more fun.

Iain Reid’s writing style is very compact and this short volume can be read within an afternoon, which really helps the reader to get immersed in the story and feel the unease of the characters. I loved both Hen and Junior as characters and could picture their solitary location in my head. I loved how Reid had this set in the future, but didn’t put any kind of date on it – we get hints throughout the story of when this might take place, but it made the story feel like it wasn’t quite rooted in this world.

I’m so glad that I dug into this one right away – it was the perfect spring read, something that would be perfect to read on a rainy spring day. I’m really interested to try out his debut book, I’m Thinking Of Ending Things now. I think it’ll be quite the treat.