The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

thehousesource: purchased
title: The House We Grew Up In
author: Lisa Jewell (Twitter)
genre: fiction/family issues
pages: 386
published: August 12th 2014
first line: Tuesday 2nd November 2010
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
OUR HOUSE. OUR FAMILY. OUR SECRETS.

Meet the picture-perfect Bird family: pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and towheaded twins Rory and Rhys, one an adventurous troublemaker, the other his slighter, more sensitive counterpart. Their father is a sweet, gangly man, but it’s their beautiful, free-spirited mother Lorelei who spins at the center. In those early years, Lorelei tries to freeze time by filling their simple brick house with precious mementos. Easter egg foils are her favorite. Craft supplies, too. She hangs all of the children’s art, to her husband’s chagrin.

Then one Easter weekend, a tragedy so devastating occurs that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass and the children have become adults, while Lorelei has become the county’s worst hoarder. She has alienated her husband and children and has been living as a recluse. But then something happens that beckons the Bird family back to the house they grew up in—to finally understand the events of that long-ago Easter weekend and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

my thoughts:

After having read Then She Was Gone this past January I knew I wanted to read Lisa Jewell again. The House We Grew Up In centers on the Bird family and their secrets, heartache and healing. The story goes back and forth from past to present day as we get each family member’s story. The matriarch of the house is a hoarder. When the children were growing up Lorelei seemed like an eccentric stay at home mom with a house full of knick knacks and the walls covered in her children’s drawings, but as the years passed this turned into a full on hoard situation. Her husband Colin is a quiet teacher who turns a blind eye to the hoarding, their twins sons are Rhys and Rory and the daughters are Meg and Beth. The neighbor Vicky and her children also become part of the Bird’s lives.

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Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

brave
source: free ARC via Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing
title: Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
published: May 19th 2020
genre: fiction
pages: 300
first line: It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.

my thoughts:
If you want to read an emotional story revolving around important issues that will pull at your heartstrings may I suggest Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

As the story starts off Brooke is a 30 something divorced single mom living with her mother and 2 year old daughter Etta. Brooke takes Etta out one evening to the movies when she is carjacked and dragged out of the car. The carjacker proceeds to speed off with baby Etta still in her car-seat. A mother’s worst nightmare right?

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Stanley Park by Sapphira Olson

stanley
source: review copy
title: Stanley Park
author: Sapphira Olson  (Twitter)
published: December 23, 2019
genre: poetry

blurb:
Stanley Park is a collection of 35 poems from parables author Sapphira Olson charting the story of two lovers through history as they are separated and then reunited all within the island of Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Olson weaves a beautiful and poignant narrative through a progression of emotional poetry taking the listener on a journey of hope driven by love.

Incorporating poems inspired by Squamish Nation history and legends, the collection explores themes of immortality, love, loss, the nature of consciousness, and culture.

Stanley Park itself is a beautiful 405-hectare public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and is mostly surrounded by waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. The park has a long history and was one of the first areas to be explored in the city.

“What shall it profit you if you turn the whole world into a gasometer and lose your own souls?” (Thomas H. Mawson about Stanley Park in his 1912 address to the Canadian Club)

my thoughts:

I love reading poetry so when I had a chance to read Stanley Park I happily dove in.
This collection of 35 poems by Sapphira Olson revolves around two lovers who break up and then reunite. I enjoyed dipping in and out of this set of poetry and would go back and re-read a few lines in order to savor them fully. There are themes of nature, old legends and love flowing throughout these poems. The history of  Stanley Park in Vancouver is woven in throughout which was also a nice touch.

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In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

insource: free review copy via AmazonVine
title: In at the Deep End
author: Kate DaviesTwitter
genre: fiction/humor/LGBT
published: 2019
pages: 320
first line: One Saturday morning last January, Alice pointed out that I hadn’t had sex in three years.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:

A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones–like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men)

Julia hasn’t had sex in three years. Her roommate has a boyfriend—and their sex noises are audible through the walls, maybe even throughout the neighborhood. Not to mention, she’s treading water in a dead-end job, her know-it-all therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and the men she is surrounded by are, to be polite, subpar. Enough is enough.

my thoughts: 
In at the Deep End by Kate Davies was an AmazonVine acquisition. This one has been compared to Bridget Jones. I remember reading Bridget Jones. I read that book twice and watched the film many times. I always get a kick out of Hugh Grant. Anyway, this story centers on twenty something Julia who has been single and lonely for the past three years. She lives in the U.K. with her roommate Alice. Julia always wanted to be a dancer but after an injury she took a job as a civil servant. She thinks sex is overrated and wonders if she will ever find passion and true love. She also misses dancing since it is such a part of who she is.

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Things We Lost in the Fire Stories by Mariana Enríquez

thingssource: ARC via AmazonVine
title: Things We Lost in the Fire
auhtor: Mariana Enriquez
published: Hogarth (February 21, 2017)
pages: 200
genre: short stories/fiction/mystery/suspense
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part, to street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies and a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret and compassion. This is a strange, surreal and unforgettable collection by an astonishing new talent asking vital questions of the world as we know it.

my thoughts:
Things We Lost in the Fire is a quiet, intense and at times disturbing collection of 12 short stories. I dipped in and out of this one intermittently. I’ll cover a few of the stories here in my post.

The Dirty Kid was about a woman who lives in an old house handed down to her by her family. The neighborhood in Buenos Aires which used to be nice, is now seedy and riddled with crime. A five-year old child and his drug addicted mother are homeless and sleep on dirty mattresses in the neighborhood. The narrator here cannot help but become involved and tries to help the five-year old.

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