Book Review #7 – The Homecoming

“This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review”

The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey is a novel about finding yourself in times of insecurity and emotional strife.

John, thc975dc79924bab42d8efe55968f0e4e4e main protagonist, has been kicked out of his home and seen as the problem child ever since his brother got into an accident. His life hasn’t been the same since and he spends his time living with his other family members while he deals with his personal demons that are back home. In his last year of high school, John moves back home and back in with his mom, sister and brother. Angry most of the time, John yearns to run away from this life and to never look back. Along the way, he realizes his academic talents, develops a stronger bond with his little sister, falls in love, realizes that his parents aren’t all bad, and most importantly, he comes to terms with his ‘old’ brother being gone.

While this book did deal with heavy subject matter and the dark emotions of the protagonist, it failed to follow some form of flowing story-line throughout. It was well written and engaging, but felt more like a guide trough John’s self realizations than an actually dramatic novel. There was really no climax. While his feelings about the situation with his brother are resolved by the end of the novel, the death of his previous girlfriend is all but thrown at the back burner and we are left wondering, “What about her and all the pain he felt throughout the first 75% of the novel?” It was strange that the only resolution he had with that was telling her relative about his new girlfriend.

This book was an interesting read but it was not memorable. The beginning of the book was great and really explored the protagonist in depth. By the middle I had a full understanding of his struggles emotionally and his life. At the end, I was very confused as to what was going on and how he came to all of these conclusions and realizations. How did he resolve the issues in his life? This was not clearly gotten to. Also there was a lack of climax in this book. There were a bunch of little bumps to ride over, but no big hill and that took away from this novels potential.

The book had a lot more potential for growth. It had great components but left me wondering a lot towards the end. Having said that, I do not think that this book needs a sequel. Maybe a prequel so that I can understand the relationship he had with his deceased girlfriend with more clarity.

I would give this book 2.5/5 stars,  for as well written as it was, it was missing that kind hamburger style of writing (not saying that this is the only model), and it was more of a bun to meat to bun kind of book. Great intro, great middle, lack of a substantial ending.

 

Summer Reads!

Thanks to NetGalley, I have been bestowed with the wonderful gift of free (e)books!!!

I read many blog posts on “How to get free books” that stated that it would be difficult to get my book requests approved on NetGalley, but, due to my current blog, wonderful readers and current book reviews section (I assume these reasons), I have already been approved for 25 of the books I have asked for. Well, that’s a ton of reading to do in the next 6.5 weeks (and maybe into the school year depending how it goes). In order to remember how many books I am reading will be reading and reviewing, I am listing the ones I have to read and bolding (or highlighting) the ones I have read and reviewed. This will definitely be a summer of stellar subway reads and I can already tell.

Reading List:

  1. Everything I Don’t Remember (By: Jonas Hassen Khemiri)
  2. 21 Myths (Even Good) Girls Believe about Sex (By: Jennifer Strickland) – Currently Reading
  3. The Homecoming (By: Stacie Ramey)
  4. 100 Days (By: Nicole McInnes)
  5. Imperfect Love (Book 1 of The 4Ever series) (By: Isabella White)
  6. Serena’s Plight (By: Carol Madison)
  7. Points of Departure (By: Emily O’Berine)
  8. The Bossman (By: Renee Rose)
  9. How Many Wrongs Make a Mr. Right? (By: Stella Hervey Birrell)
  10. Operating on Faith (By: Matt Weber)
  11. Fool for You (By: Rina Gray)
  12. Edge the Bare Garden (By: Roseanne Cheng)
  13. The Movie Version (By: Emma Wunsch)
  14. Correlation (By: Mia Grace)
  15. Nina is Not OK (By: Shappi Khorsandi)
  16. Secretly Hers (By: Jamie Beck)
  17. Hell Bent (By: Karen Crompton)
  18. This is What Goodbye Looks Like (By: Olivia Rivers)
  19. The Animators (By: Kayla Rae Whitaker)
  20. Gone to Drift (By: Diana McCaulay)
  21. Cutter Boy (By: Cristy Watson)
  22. Gone Wild (By: Jodi Lundgren)
  23. You Before Anyone Else (By: Julie Cross, Mark Perini)
  24. Unnatural Deeds (By: Cyn Balog)
  25. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett (By: Chelsea Sedoti)

Follow me on my summer reading journey!

Summer Fever (Toronto International Film Festival)

On June 30th, I went to the TIFF|Bell Lightbox to watch a collection of 5 short films curated for the Summer Fever series. I love short films and I truly did enjoy these ones. All five of the films had a common theme: sexuality. The theme of sexuality was explored in 5 very different ways but still clearing expressed the complexity of the state. Here are my reviews of each short.

  1. Bird Hearts

After being pressed by her boyfriend Benjamin and their friends, Maya recounts her most daring sexual escapade… in more detail than Benjamin was prepared for.

Bird Hearts explores the complexity of the male ego. The couple, Maya and Benjamin, have a great sex life…so they think. When Maya begins to tell a story about her greatest sexual expedition the relationship enters shaky territory when Benjamin’s ability to please his girl becomes a concern to him. This film was great as it accurately painted a picture of the frailty of the masculinity in men when they begin to feel inadequate or less able. I really did love this film and I would give it a 4.5/5 rating.

2. Balcony

[http://bcove.me/j0m552j0]

 

The resident tough girl in a volatile and racially charged neighbourhood falls for a recent immigrant.

This film was amazing; it was my favourite out of all of the five. This film looks into the life of a white girl who has a rather toxic relationship with her step father. She sees a young girl, a refugee from Afghanistan, always standing on her balcony, who lives alone in an apartment with her dad. Due to the high racial tensions in the neighbourhood, the Afghan girl chooses to stay indoors with little interaction. The troubled teen forges a friendship with this girl and seeks a romantic bond with her as she believes that her home life is just like hers due to her quite nature. She seeks love from this girl; the love that she doesn’t have at home but instead she imposed her abuse on her in the most terminal way possible: from the balcony. I would give this film a 5/5 because it was just that amazing.

3. Homebodies

Shannon prepares a pasta dish while having cyber sex with a strange man on her laptop. Andrew wraps himself in Christmas lights and climbs into the bath. Could there be a spark between these two?

This film is about a couple who’s relationship is seems to be…over. The wife is seeking sexual satisfaction through webcam sex and the husband is trying to kill himself with Christmas lights in a bathtub. Each time that the male partner tries to commit suicide, the power switch will automatically shut off, which also freezes the computer screen and stops the female partner from engaging with her online love. Towards the end both couples give up on what they were doing before and take out the trash simultaneously. I think that the power switch was an allusion into the idea that this relationship is far from over. The power cutting off is like another chance for both of them, as it is made difficult for him to die, and difficult for her to please himself. For the humour in this film and the fact that I was consistently engaged, I would give it a 4/5.

4. One Last Night

Passion, rebellion and punk rock are all in the mix on the last night of a fiery relationship on the verge of going long distance.

I liked this film in one way, and in another I didn’t. This film shows a punk rock lesbian couple that are spending their last night together before one moves to Europe and the other stays in Israel. The Noa, the one who was going to meet the other, Orr,  in Europe, was on the fence about the entire decision. After spending a night in jail, Noa has clarity and realizes that she not only doesn’t want to move to Berlin, but that she also no longer wants to be with Orr. I would give this film a 3.5/5 for its honest protract of the last night of a couple in subliminal turmoil but also for the realness of internal conflict. I also appreciated the look into a couple that has grown apart.

5. Dredger

[https://vimeo.com/138807508]

An older crew member on a creaking salvage ship stirs the long dormant passions of the captain’s wife, in this visually arresting ode to desire.

To be honest, I don’t really know what I watched here. I watched a film that was clearly filmed on the Portlands in Toronto, ON. It features a husband and wife and an extremely weird older fisherman. I think that the wife begins to be attracted to the fisherman due to his weird hoarding ways. Some things spinned, gravity was tested. I like a story and overall there wasn’t one here; it was very abstract. I would give this film a 2/5.

 

If you ever have a chance to see any of these shorts, I would highly recommend it. Also, if you have a chance to go to TIFF, I would also recommend it.