23-07-2017

Review-Rain Falls on Everyone

I received this book free on NetGalley.
Theo is one of the lucky ones. Rescued from the midst of the Rwanda genocide by an Irish humanitarian, he’s raised in Dublin from the age of seven. He never forgives himself for his father’s actions in the war and even as he puts a face on trying to fit in to life in Dublin he is careless with the gift he’s been given perhaps because he’s not sure he deserves it.
Brimming with beautifully crafted and thoughtful imagery, Rain Falls on Everyone begins with Theo running from the law after killing a man. It then dips back to the events leading up to that night. At first the author weaves a thread of suspense so tight that readers will be on the edge of their seats hesitating to turn the page tor fear of the terrible judgement we know must be delivered on Theo. He’s a dark character, scarred and flawed but so honest with himself and loyal in his dealings with others that it’s impossible not to care about him. And as the story progresses, it’s clear, despite the slow and steady pace of the writing, Theo’s life is a runaway train minutes from derailment.
When Theo meets Deidre, a mother of three who works at the same place Theo does, the author begins to alternate the narrative between these two main characters. This is reasonable, after all it’s Deidre’s abusive husband whom Theo kills. Before the murder, Deidre’s life becomes entangled with Theo’s in ways that the characters themselves are not aware. Some of the connections seemed a bit contrived but that does not really detract from the story. While Deidre’s story is compelling, I found myself waiting to get past the sections told in her point of view and looking forward to hearing Theo’s voice once more.
Thoughtful readers may read wondering how the author will end this tale of so much sadness. The ending of Rain Falls on Everyone is satisfying to some extent. Theo was rescued by whites as a child and they continue to be his ‘saviour’ to the end, giving him the guidance he needs to get some closure. But he does achieve enough of his growth through his own self searching and again readers will likely forgive the gratuitous manner by which he comes by some of his maturity.

13-07-2017

Review-Coming Out Of Egypt (The Egypt Series Book 1)

Seventeen year old Marsha and June flee their remote home in the village of Egypt, on the Caribbean island of Trinidad after Marva accidentally kills their abusive father. This begins a journey for Marva in which she plots and executes her main goal-to protect her sister from further harm. Marva is strong, resourceful, yet vulnerable, a well-rounded character.

Don’t be fooled by the age of the main character, this is a book for adults. Coming Out of Egypt gives equal billing to Cicely, a teacher with a misty past of her own who befriends the girls while falling in love with the very detective assigned to uncover the truth about the death of Marva’s father. His conviction that the girls know more about their father’s death drives a wedge between him and Cicely.

There’s much to recommend in Coming Out of Egypt, with its large and varied cast of characters. Set in Trinidad in 1983, I believe, the book deals with the ongoing problem of familial sexual abuse, the dirth of laws back then to protect the abused, and the stigma (double punishment) this abuse places on the victims. The adult characters lament the absence of laws but it would have been nice to see them try to do something to change the laws…Marva would have… perhaps in book two.

The lead adult characters were both expats, an interesting choice by the author. It disturbed me a little and I tried not to read it as a commentary on the inability of our own Caribbean people to reach out to two young people in need.

I found June’s evolution from the frightened, withdrawn thirteen year old into the more engaging young lady she becomes a bit rapid but otherwise the characters were believable and engaging.

The main characters all come to know God and gather strength from this part of their journey, a natural progression in a Caribbean setting. The author does not present this transformation as a crutch, however, the characters still must face and solve their problems.

Coming Out of Egypt ends without the full resolution of the central issue which was a bit disappointing. There’s a second book in which you can continue to follow the journey.

02-06-2017

YA Review – The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola YoonI read The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicole Yoon on a business trip to St. Kitts fraught with delayed flights. When I finally lifted my eyes from the book I found that friends from home were sitting near me in the airport. When I approached them their faces filled with concern.

“What’s the matter?” they asked.

I was confused until I realized my eyes were still filled with the tears that had surfaced as I got to the end of the journey I had taken with Natasha and Daniel. Continue reading “YA Review – The Sun is Also a Star”

02-04-2017

Review – Untwine

I am a big fan of Edwidge Danticat and this young adult novel does not disappoint. Set in the US, it tells the tale of sixteen-year-old identical twins Isabelle and Giselle who are involved in a tragic accident on the way to a school orchestra concert. Continue reading “Review – Untwine”

31-03-2017

Middle Grade Review – The Dragon’s Cave

Struck by lightning, twelve-year-old Seamus is thrust into medieval times. Confused and physically unable to tell anyone that he is from another time, he struggles to adjust to the speech patterns and the new skills (archery, horse back riding) he is expected to know. He finds that he is part of a troop on a quest to conquer a dragon and steal the spoils, a quest which does not sit well with him, especially when he discovers that he is mysteriously and magically connected to the nature around him. Continue reading “Middle Grade Review – The Dragon’s Cave”

18-11-2016

Review – Butterfly

Sydney Lincoln is a lawyer who is searching to find her place in life. “I can’t decide what I want which is the story of my life,” she says.

After following her best friend, Loren, to DC, she finds herself working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Sydney struggles to come in to her own in her job, her relationships, and her life goals in general. Loren appears to have it all and, in a conflict that will be familiar to many, Sydney is both happy for and jealous of her friend’s success. She is so caught up in that cycle of emotions that she is unable to recognise her friend’s life as a façade that will crush Sydney when it comes crashing down. Continue reading “Review – Butterfly”

05-10-2016

Look! A Moko Jumbie

Ages 6-9

Set in St. Croix, this book is about a boy, Bamidele, who sees two moko jumbies outside of his window. “They folded their hands together and leaned their heads on their clasped hands. They looked like one perfect shell split in two.” Continue reading “Look! A Moko Jumbie”