Tag Archives: relationships

Book Review: The Story of Gar – by Syr Ruus

The Story of Gar
Book: The Story of Gar
Author: Syr Ruus
Publisher: etc. Press Ltd., 
Date: 2014
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 166
Price: $20.00
My Rating: A fascinating story 
that's different and sweetly 



I was delighted to be gifted a copy of The Story of Gar by Syr Ruus. Having read both of her first two novels – Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart  and  Devil’s Hump – which I have also reviewed here, I was eager to find out what marvellous tale the author had written this time. I was not disappointed. 

The Story of Gar is about a young mother looking for a new home for herself and her three small children, a man who is alone and likes it that way, a family of crows also uprooted from their home. We are given the interesting view of life seen mostly from the perspective of one young crow in particular. At first notion it may seem a curious plot, however, you really should read this book! Syr Ruus has woven a story that pulls the reader in, holds one’s attention, and thrills with her storytelling.

This book is really about relationships and interactions – people with people, people with nature. The young family is needing a new life, and the man  who helps them finds his life changing – for the better – because of them. His gift to them brings a whole new dimension to everyone’s life.

The Story of Gar is a novel that a young person would enjoy. There are a couple of tastefully handled places more for mature readers, small sections that can easily be skipped over and not ruin the story should a parent/guardian prefer the younger reader not read them.

A portion of this novel was awarded the Joyce Barkhouse Award by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

The Story of Gar was shortlisted in the Ken Klonsky Novella Contest (Quattro Books, Toronto.)

If you want to read this book it can be obtained directly from the author. Please write to her at: syr(at)eastlink(dot)ca 

You can find The Story of Gar listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: From One Place to Another – by Carol White

Book: From One Place to Another
Author: Carol White
Publisher: TriMark Press, Inc
Date: May 10, 2012
Genre: contemporary women’s fiction
Pages: 298, paperback
Price: $17.95; less on Kindle
My rating: An enjoyable modern tale of mishaps and mayhem in the life of a woman trying to succeed

I received this book from the author to read and review. It seemed that it would be quite different from what I usually read, and I was not in error on that point.

Carol White writes with confidence, which is obvious by the way she tackles the dialogue and personalities she created. In From One Place to Another she throws open a door into the elaborate, wealthy lifestyle of a country club in Boca Raton, Florida, at which her main character half-heartedly thumbs her nose.

Dina Marshall knew she was a very good cook. In order to help her husband build his business, she became immersed in creating gourmet dinners in their home to attract clients. It was working well until the evening she and her husband were dining out on her thirty-sixth birthday. Mark delivered news that would totally change her life — he was leaving her for a younger woman – that day. This was a complete shock to Dina who thought they were moving forward together in life. And how could he on her birthday?!

Carol White captured well the roller-coaster ride of a jilted woman’s emotions. Dina tried all she could to get her husband back, was drawn into other circumstances and relationships, waited expectantly when she learned all was not as her estranged husband thought it would be in his new life. (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the story for you.) In the meantime, she developed her own catering business in order to keep up the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed, but also to impress her husband while waiting for him to come to his senses.

That last point is the main focus of From One Place to Another. It was written with descriptions of the exotic food and elaborate meals Dina prepared, the craziness that ensued, and the hilarity of the best laid plans gone wrong. One thing that Dina does is make lists, and – good or bad – she makes lists all through this crisis time in her life.

I must mention that bad language is used in several places, and there is also a thread of heated romance throughout the story.

Although I was appalled at the behaviour and habits of some of the people for whom Dina catered, I enjoyed this book. Actually, I was appalled at some of Dina’s behaviour and I grew to not like her very much. Perhaps, given the set of circumstances she was dealt, her actions and reactions are understandable, but the comical, tragic turn of events that befell her biggest, most important catering job seemed justified. The author told it well, winding humour in and around as the tension built. Dina’s spirited attitude made for entertaining reading that kept drawing me back until I finished the book. (My reading time is rarely uninterrupted.)

Carol White wrote From One Place to Another in a way that pulled this reader into the very room where each scene unfolded, making it not simply an act of reading the words but with a sense of being there. I like that.

You can find One Place to Another listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂




Book Review: The Brevity of Roses – by Linda Cassidy Lewis

Book: The Brevity of Roses
Author: Linda Cassidy Lewis
Publisher: Two-Four-Six Publishing
Date: April 2, 2011
Genre: Women’s fiction
Pages: 362
Price: $13.55 paperback; $3.99 on Kindle
My Rating: A satisfying story that pulls the reader in and doesn’t let her/him go.

I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Oh my! When I finished reading The Brevity of Roses I felt as if I had spent an enjoyable afternoon viewing a delectable movie! Even yet, several days later, I woke one morning with that sense of having just been there.

This story pulled me in from the beginning and held me till the end. Linda Cassidy Lewis’ characters come across as genuine with their human struggles – emotional pain, loss, fear, tenderness, misunderstanding, desire, avoidance, family strife, anger, hope, love, and I may have missed mentioning a few. The romantic scenes are well-written, not explicit or over the top. There is some cursing in the story, mostly the ‘f’ word, but it was not out-of-place as you get to know the characters, and I could get past it after the first couple of times. It is not excessive and did not detract from the story at all.

There are three main characters: Meredith I liked, even though the turn of events surrounding her shocked and disappointed/saddened me. Jalal I grew to like; I wanted to follow him closely throughout the book because he was intriguing, although I wanted him to stop being stubborn about his relationship with his father and be mature about it so he could gain perspective for his life. Renee I didn’t appreciate at first – when she showed up where it seemed she shouldn’t be – but then the situation is clarified and she grew on me.

The other characters intertwining around the main ones add so much to the story and help make it well-rounded, believable, down-to-earth. Conversations are natural and easily understood, as if the reader is standing in the room listening in.

A lovely strength in The Brevity of Roses is the importance of family, food, and traditions, with cultural differences finding their place, their blend, in the preparation of meals and recipes – whether for two or twenty.

There is so much that makes this fiction seem like the true story of a few people, but I cannot say more about it or I will give too much away. If you enjoy romance novels that are not x-rated, and real-to-life women’s fiction, you will probably really enjoy this one.

Linda Cassidy Lewis delivered a debut novel that satisfies and also left this reader-reviewer hoping for more from this talented author.

You can find The Brevity of Roses listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!