Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Book Review: Land-Water-Sky

Land-Water-Sky / Ndè-Tı-Yat’a
by Katłıà
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful! Very accessible even with the language inclusions (which I loved!!) and the stories tie together in the end.
These are not written as ‘old’ stories. Most are very modern with the elements of tradition and creatures of old. I absolutely loved the way it was set-up and written.

I really want to know if the stretch of haunted highway exists up in Northern Canada; and if so where. I legit got shivers each time one of the ladies was driving it.

At the end of the day my only complaint was it was too short! I wanted more!! This is a wonderful step into Indigenous writing in Canada and I hope we see a lot more like it very soon.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Book Review: Just Like Mother

Just Like Mother
by Anne Heltzel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A couple decent twists, some shock gore moments, a bit predictable in places, but ultimately a very readable, quick paced thriller.

The most interesting part is that, like me, the author is childless and nearing the end of (average) childbearing age. So to choose to write about a cult obsessed with motherhood, that reflects my frustrations with how childless women are often treated, represents (perhaps) the psychological struggle many women have these days about having children or not. I really respect Anne Heltzel for trying to find a very overt way of discussing the shunning feeling that many of us childless have had over the years. By adding in the horror and gore the way she has it makes it seem like being so elitist about Motherhood is wrong (which frankly it is). I hope that maybe a few people who have made statements as rudely put like "you aren't truly female until you've had a baby" or "you haven't lived until you've felt the love for your own child"; will have some reflection on how ignorant, elitist, and downright awful their statements are when said to a childless woman or someone transgender. Fertility is not a given for all humans and we should not covet it above all else (especially given that our world is over populated and children die starving each day). Just Like Mother could easily go hand-in-hand with A Handmaiden's Tale and make a wonderful comparison paper/essay about how different, and yet the same, being fertile is treasured over the last 30 years.

For those that had trouble with the gore or concepts in this book I have to say you should stick to your rom-com's then. I found it to be fairly mild in comparison to a lot of horror and fantasy/sci-fi novels I've read over the years. Also eating the placenta is a time honoured tradition in many cultures; so I just don't see that one as being as awful as others do. The forcefulness of the scene is torturous for sure; but the actual consuming (for me) not so much. The ending however... is very psychological and made me kind of want to put the book own like it was a plague that would infect me. Needless to say, the ending is absolutely brilliant. And it's not often I get to say that about a horror novel!

Overall Anne Heltzel has taken what society reveres as a magical treasure, Motherhood and fertility, and turned it on it's side. Showing the reader that anything put to the extreme is bad. That anything coveted above all else creates a cult. It doesn't matter if it starts with the best of intentions; it only matters that it ends with a distinct resolution that coercion and manipulation is truly at the root of all evil.

Finally, I'd like to point out that there are many women, like myself, who are perfectly comfortable with their infertility and happy for their friends to have babies over them. I do not begrudge any of my friends their lovely children, and treasure that they allow me to a part of each child's life. Occasionally I have moments of heartache or regret; but I believe those are more that I didn't meet societal expectations as a woman than anything. Hence why Just Like Mother speaks to me so clearly in it's condemnation of prizing Motherhood above all else. My only ask, of anyone but especially fellow women and mothers, is that you not degrade me (and others) for being unable (or choosing not) to be a mother ourselves. All women have value, all people have value; and we should never ever put one person's biological capacity above another's when it's the luck of the draw that ultimately determines your ability to bear a child or not.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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Book Review: Midnight & Moon

Midnight and Moon
by Kelly Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautifully illustrated book about a horse that can't hear and a little girl who can't speak. I love how the disabilities are shown as being difficult but not wholly prohibitive of keeping both our girl and horse from having fulfilled lives.

My only reason for not rating this five stars is I think the average 6-year-old or younger might not understand the ending. Or need some help with it. The idea that you might be able to sense someone you have a special connection with is (possibly) going to be foreign to many small children. If they have been taught any sort of religion it might be easier for them to relate; but those who have not had a religion or spiritualism as a part of their life yet may just need to ask some questions and talk it out with an adult. I would encourage anyone reading this to a little one for the first time to consider how the child reacts and if they maybe need to ask how the little one feels at the end of the story; or if they want to talk about how the girl and horse could sense one another.

I really enjoyed the overall rhythm of Midnight and Moon. The subject matter is softer, and the illustrations are wonderfully beautiful and a bit soft themselves, this makes for a good bedtime reading story. However, Kelly Cooper's book is a bit long for the average bedtime story. So you want to negotiate it as two stories instead of one. Although it's not near as long as Seuss so maybe some parents will find it a reprieve.

Overall this is a gorgeous book that I would happily gift to any young child; but especially to one who has their own disability that they may need help with. A wonderful reminder that your disability makes you special and might actually give you special powers that others lack. Perspective is everything.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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