Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Review: "Method 15/33" by Shannon Kirk

"Method 15/33" by Shannon Kirk is a true psychological thriller. Sixteen year old pregnant girls are being kidnapped and the police have no clue why or who is behind the crime spree. We meet Lisa, an incredibly smart and cunning young lady who is seven months pregnant when she is kidnapped as she is walking to school. The police don't investigate too closely into any of these cases of kidnapping because it is unclear whether the girls have run away because of their situation or whether it is in fact a kidnapping. There is no ransom demand. The kidnappers want the victim's unborn children. 

The book centers around Lisa's brilliant ability to categorize her memories and break down details that will ultimately help her escape. Lisa studies her jailer and concocts a plan to seek revenge upon all involved in the heinous plan to kill her and steal her baby.

There are also FBI agents following leads but they have few resources, it's only the two agents looking for the missing teen. They're own history plays perfectly into the plot of this book and gives the reader insight into how previous psychological damage in the agents help them track down their victim and also help the agents understand the actions Lisa took to survive.

This book is a solid five out of five. I know some other reviewers found details about Method 15/33 unbelievable but I know people like Lisa. They are not sociopathic but they do have the unusual ability to shut off emotions that will do them no good in certain situations. Although this thriller is unique, the psychology of survival juxtaposed against super intelligence is exciting to experience and keeps the reader enthralled. I highly recommend this book, although you may not want to read it in the dark!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review: "What She Left" by T.R. Richmond

"What She Left" by T.R. Richmond did not engender good reading for me. I must admit, I do really hate doing two things when it comes to books. One, wasting precious time reading a dud of a book and two, having to review said book. So, it seems I'm suffering both this time.

The basic gist of this book is the collation of all the things written, thought or felt about Alice Salmon. Alice died by falling off a bridge and drowning one snowy night after going out drinking with friends. University Professor Jeremy Cooke decides to write a book all about Alice and he starts collecting everything he can to flesh out her life. "What She Left" is told using all the articles, blog posts, letters, texts etc. that pertain in any way to Alice. Unfortunately, how T.R. Richmond jumps back and forth in time and also moves from one character's point of view to another, makes the book very hard to follow and ultimately leads to a convoluted and unappetizing story.

I found myself, as I got through about 40% of the book, wishing it would just end. At first this format sounded like an interesting and unique way of giving the reader the pieces of the story. But what actually happened is I found myself caring less and less for the character of Alice, sheerly because I felt that every hour of reading was an hour wasted. In the end even the conclusion of whether Alice's death was an accident, suicide or murder was totally unsatisfying. For the first time in many years, I just didn't care why Alice was dead, I just wanted the book to end! For these reasons I give this book only two stars out of five.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Do You Play?

Did you know that I play the ukelele? You didn't? Hmmm. I learned it in grade five. I had this cool teacher named Mr. Regier. He was something like 6'6", thin as a rail, with a pouty lip curl like Mick Jagger. Ya, he was darn cool, at least for a ten year old who had just discovered that boys were actually not gross. 

Throughout grade five everybody was required to take ukelele lessons, it was much like learning the recorder in grade three. Most of the grade five students hated it but some of us found our calling in that music class. The next year Mr. Regier started up a ukelele choir and he asked the most enthusiastic players if they wanted to join. I was incredibly happy that year, participating in something so out of the norm of school clubs and classes. We practiced a lot and dedicatedly learned a huge number of songs like "The Rainbow Connection" and "Country Roads" and even  the hilarious song "I Love Onions" which I already immortalized in my journal earlier this year here.

The Northern Ukulele
Recently I came across a very unusual ukulele, even more unusual than mine was. See, mine (I still have it somewhere in the storage closet) was triangular. It was a terrific shape and I found it easier to hold and loved how it looked as opposed to the regular shaped curvy ukulele. And I just learned that the Northern Ukulele was an original to Canada and created to promote Canadian youth music participation, how cool.

Anyway, I came across The Flea. It's a small, bulbous shaped instrument and it's slightly shorter than my original was. I love that it comes in a huge array of colors and even designs on the front. Who wouldn't love a designer Uke? I'll certainly be adding this gorgeous instrument to my Christmas list this year. It's a little expensive but then getting back a piece of your youth doesn't happen often. I still remember how to play so just a tiny bit of practice and a little time to build back those important calluses on the fingers (just in the right place, lol) and I'll be good to go. I can't wait! Here's my Flea, Christmas 2015 here I come. :o)

(My Flea art in the new watercolor Moleskine)



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