REVIEW: An Unfinished Colouring Book

I’ve always been intrigued by short stories for the longest time, especially when it is about the every day human lives ever since finishing The Museum of Things Left Behind a few years ago. I’ve been kind of on the lookout for such books so when the author came to me to ask for review, I was excited and had to say yes.


An Unfinished Colouring Book
by Cameron Lee Cowan

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

An unfinished coloring book is a collection of short stories from Cameron Cowan. These short stories explore dramatic moments in the lives of everyday people. The collection also features the exclusive release of The RKO Killer: An I.G. Farben Mystery.

BOOK REVIEW

3.5 STARS
*An e-book review copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

t/w: mentions of rape, substance abuse

A collection of 10 very different short stories centred around the lives of everyday people. There were stories about people losing their house, winning the lottery, dealing drugs, just people talking about their lives, there’s definitely something that will resonate with every reader. It’s a reflection of life.

Halfway reading, I found it difficult to review since it felt it felt weird to give someone’s reality a rating. However, as a story, I had no strong feeling towards the book. I did think that this book really reflected what is going on in society today and the problems of everyday people and it did a great job writing different the situations, which I really admired.

I had a handful that I really liked and a few that didn’t really interest me. My favourites were The Diner, Beverly Garden, Windswept Wastes and The Ticket. All the stories were so different from one another, it really felt like I was watching many different movies and now that I think about it, I really enjoyed the experience.

Short stories have always been a struggle for me since I tend to like reading longer series or books that I can have a deeper connection and understanding of the characters, but this book really made me realised that it is enjoyable to read about different situations and having that sort of ‘connection’ to the characters isn’t the only thing that is capable of driving a story. I’m excited to read more short stories in the future.

REVIEW: The Bookshop on Lafayette Street

This is a book that was sent to me a year ago. I read it the first time a few months back, only to be a little confused and had to take a break from reading. A few days ago, I picked it up again and although I was a little confused at times, I enjoyed it so much more.

As this is a real place, I am very intrigued and had to search it up! It’s in Trenton, New Jersey and according to Trip Advisor, it’s a highly rated spot for booklovers where you can find books, gifts, games, but most of all, a place that supports local communities.

I doubt that I’d be able to visit Classics Books but The Bookshop on Lafayette Street seems like an accurate representation of what a wonderful place it is.


The Bookshop On Lafayette Street
by Eric Maywar (editor)

get it from Classics Bookstore, Ragged Sky Press or Amazon

BOOK SUMMARY

This collection has everything that you love about used bookstores: books, the sense of wonder and discovery, the cozy clutter, idiosyncratic book lovers, and the feeling that you are in a haven buttressed against the cruelties of the world.

Written by a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, a newspaper columnist, a playwright, a Dodge poet, a graffiti artist, a blogger, a bookstore owner and more!


BOOK REVIEW

4 STARS
* A copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of those books where I had to read twice. It was difficult to get into the first time, so I had to take a break from reading and try again. The second time, it felt like I was transported into the bookstore and experiencing the events myself.

The Bookshop on Lafayette Street is a collective work of writers and book lovers centered around the love for books and Classics Books. Some of the events in the book intertwines which appealed to me greatly, but my favourite part was the way the writers wrote about what books and bookstores meant to them in the ‘Extracts’ section. It was such a beautiful way to begin the book – having snippets of the stories and poems but also feelings that were so relatable.

As a reader, it felt magical. I felt excited reading about the way people romanticise reading and bookstores, knowing that these people feel the same way I do. It’s a little like I’m reading their thoughts, feelings and experiences with books, but its so familiar. It is such a treat for book lovers.

Despite reading the book twice and having more luck the second time, there were still some stories/poems which I didn’t understand. Hence I couldn’t feel strongly enough about it to give it 5 Stars. Other than that, it was wonderful and I had so many favourites.

My favourites are Wise Silence, Space, The Last Independent Used Bookstore at the Corner of Warren and Lafayette, The Infinite Collection of Unfinished Stories, Elmore and What the Bookseller Knew. Those were the sections I enjoyed reading (aside from the Extract), which shows that this collection of stories and poems are an absolute work of art.

It felt nice to read about something that I love so dearly. It felt great to know that many others share the same feeling, and it is absolutely evident in The Bookshop on Lafayette Street.

REVIEW: The Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff

This was sent to me by Odyssey books a while ago. This is one of the few books where I cried while reading. It was such an enjoyable book and though it was about a breakup, the way it was written, the relationships of the supporting characters with the main characters were all very wholesome.


Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff
by Kate Gordon

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

On Christmas Day, Connie Chase opens the twenty-fifth door on her advent calendar, eating the last chocolate as she tries to swallow the memory of her former love, Viggo MacDuff. His dazzling green eyes are everywhere; from the Christmas tree to the promise of eternal love in a sprig of mistletoe, Connie sees only her hopeless gaze reflected back at her, trapped inside an all-too-shiny bauble. When she finds that even Christmas festivities can’t erase the pain of her first heartbreak, she begins to tell her love story to her best friend Jed.

Unwrapping each piece as they go on adventures together, Connie realises how she let her internal struggles control her, accepting behaviour that she believed she deserved. Connie explores both friendships and romantic relationships, discovering the strength of her voice and the power of her individuality as she reveals her most vulnerable self.

BOOK REVIEW

4.5 STARS

*A copy of this book was given to me by Odyssey Books in exchange for an honest review.

It has been a while since I’ve received this book so when I read it, I’ve forgotten the summary and just went straight into it without knowing or expecting anything.

Initially, I was not into the writing of the first chapter. I remember feeling negative about the way Connie’s monologue was written however it provided a good backstory for the title – Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff. I slowly got used to it around the second chapter and found the storytelling quite pleasant. Now that I think about it, perhaps I’m not used to reading a first-person type of story so it felt strange to me.

“I nodded, even though I didn’t agree with Viggo at all. I love poetry and symbolism and playing around with language. I love the beauty of a well-crafted sentence; I admire the skill needed to choose the perfect combination of words. And metaphors and similes and analogies? When they’re done well, they are … exciting.”

Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff, Kate Gordon

Connie Chase had her heart-broken by the perfect Viggo MacDuff. He was the one Connie brought back to her parents, thinking that they’d be glad and proud that she met someone who was prim, proper and intelligent. She was head-over-heels for him, and willing to change herself to be how he’d like her to be.

It was a full 180 for Connie Chase. She said goodbye to her Vans, band t-shirts, 90s music and comic books and was introduced into a world of classical music, dresses, make up and whatever Viggo MacDuff liked.

Honestly, I thought it was going to be about some girl complaining and crying over her ex but really, it’s about finding herself again. And it is heartwarming. Especially during the formation of MOADM (Memories of a Different Me). The name itself nearly moved me to tears and was what solidified the 4 star rating.

I really liked the relationships in the story and am glad that Connie had such a wonderful group of people around her that helped her through her breakup. I also liked how her perception of the uberclones changed in the end. It ended on a high note and I’m glad it did, especially after what Connie had gone through.

The story was told through short chapters, which was refreshing. It made the book easy to read, and actually enjoyable since there wasn’t too much happening in each chapter. I would think that this is a book that could be enjoyed when you’re in a reading slump. It is paced well, with good character relationships and is a short read.

I would have to say that this was my favourite read so far this year. I would’ve finished it in two days if I didn’t have the self control. It was truly pleasant to read this.