A charming historical fiction tale set in the early 1900s in Ireland and England. The story follows three young women whose connection weaves thick and thin throughout several years and many life-changing situations. One of the best aspects of this novel is that it largely revolves around an old family castle in the countryside in Ireland. There is love, loss and death. There are ghosts, love triangles and hidden secrets. All of these ingredients add up to one enticing tale that kept me curious to the end.
While I enjoyed this generational saga, it did feel quite lengthy. My attention did waver in and out as far as feeling truly connected to the characters and storyline. It almost felt as though there was one too many storylines involved that made the novel spread a little too far.
Thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Santa Montefiore for providing me with an ARC to read and review!
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We did a little something different here with our group read for The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare. I set up a special group and we had the pleasure of Gail joining us in our discussion. We used discussion questions provided for the story and it really enhanced our reading experience. We received some insight into Gail’s writing experience and she answered some questions we had for her and about the story. We really enjoyed our discussion and this story, that we highly recommend this one for group reads. Thank you so much for joining us Gail and for sending Norma and I our copies to read with the group.
The Taste of Air has it all to make this an interesting and engaging family saga with a mystery to it to add some suspense to the story. It is a thought-provoking emotional yet entertaining and pleasing realistic story that explores the secrets, some that are buried that a mother keeps from her children. Her life before and separate from her grown children.
Gail Cleare does a great job creating interesting realistic characters and I really enjoyed the dynamics between them. As we get to know our characters, secrets are revealed that had us thinking about what we would do in that situation. The story and the discussion questions had us also thinking about our own families and sharing stories with each other. We discussed how we thought we would react to some of the situations in the story and this made for a very interesting discussion.
I really enjoyed this pleasing story from start to finish. The pace is well paced and I was intrigued by Mary’s past. I was completely satisfied with how everything wrapped up and came together in the end. I highly recommend.
Heartwarming, delightful & touching!
THE TASTE OF AIR by GAIL CLEARE was such a comforting, uplifting, and enjoyable read that had so much warmth flowing through the pages of this book. I immediately felt a connection to the authors writing style and thought this story was so tastefully told. It wrapped me up tightly in a warm comfy hug transporting me right back to all the tastes of home.
GAIL CLEARE delivers a beautiful, well-written and engaging read here that takes you on a journey full of family secrets, love and relationships with some added revelations and soul-searching for you to ponder right along with the characters. The story is told between the perspectives of Nell and Bridget in the present and Mary’s perspective from the past. I enjoyed all perspectives equally and really enjoyed learning Mary’s secrets as the story progressed. I was totally surprised with the reveal and loved how it all came together in the end.
Can you taste the flavour of the air?
I really never thought of tastes being comforting and nostalgic before reading this novel or else I just took it for granted. It really made me think and realize that different experiences can certainly affect us in how we perceive those different tastes that bring out a sense of happiness, comfort, love and fond memories for us. This novel definitely brought that all out for me!
An eye-opening glance into one woman’s choice to follow her heart and find true happiness. This novel surrounds Mary and her two adult daughters, Nell and Bridget. Nell is shocked to receive a phone call requesting her presence at hospital hours away from Mary’s retirement home. Confused as to how her mother could be so far from home, Nell packs quickly and leaves to pick up the pieces and find answers as to what happened. Upon reaching her mother at the hospital, Nell uncovers an avalanche of secrets and people from her mothers’ life that has been hidden for years. Nell and Bridget work together to reveal the hidden truths behind Mary’s past and the shocking surprises that change their lives forever.
This novel is presented through Mary, Nell and Bridget’s perspectives. Mary’s perspective is revealed through a Past and Present timeline adding multiple layers of intrigue to the story. My favorite parts of the book were the sections from Mary’s past when we learn about her life prior to having children.
These powerful sections reveal much emotion and heartache. I thought the author, Gail Cleare, did a fantastic job with that piece of the story. I found this novel enjoyable and entertaining, however, there were some parts that felt implausible to me. I liked the characters but didn’t ever get to the point of feeling fully invested in them. What I truly appreciate about this book is that it gave me a lot to think about. It challenged me to consider multiple angles of the character’s choices. The topics presented are intense and thought-provoking.
I found this book to be refreshing and interesting. The subject matter is thought-provoking and captivating. There are situations where readers may stop and ponder “what would I do in this situation?” or “how would I react?” and “would I have done the same thing?”. While the focus on the book is on Mary’s secret, each woman had her own secret as well. I enjoyed how the secret cottage became a place Nell and Bridget to reflect and discuss their secrets and goals/hopes/dreams for their futures. Well written and thought out. This is women’s fiction done right. A pleasure to read!
This is my first experience with the author Gail Cleare. I was not disappointed. Her story carried me along, revealing surprises and story twists exactly when needed. Not a book of high drama, nor heart throbbing suspense – but a soothing story about a families life, one that needed to come to the surface. Engagingly told, throughout many years, gave the needed time frame and space to unravel all the secrets that were so lovingly kept.
Sweet tale of mothers and daughters and family secrets.
Daughters Nell and Bridget are shocked when they find out that their mother Mary is hospitalized in Vermont when they thought she was living in assisted-living in Massachusetts. In fact, they discover she’s had a cabin in Vermont for many years. This is just the start of secrets that are uncovered throughout this book.
We are treated to chapters with Mary’s life in the past as a nurse in the Vietnam war and the friends that she makes there. The pieces slowly come together and the daughters are able to figure out the puzzle while Mary is struggling in the hospital.
I enjoyed reading this book with the Traveling Friends and having the author participate in our book discussions. It certainly makes me think more about family secrets and how well we know our parents . . . The writing in this book was enjoyable and it made me yearn for New England!
Norma’s Stats: Cover: Eye-catching, peaceful, relaxing and an excellent and fitting representation to storyline. Title: I had no idea the meaning behind this title before reading this novel. I was quite baffled but after reading a couple of chapters the meaning behind this title became quite apparent. I absolutely loved how the title played into the storyline. Writing/Prose: Well-written, suspenseful, and beautiful. Plot: Engrossing, suspenseful, heartfelt, interesting, steady-paced, and entertaining. Ending: Surprising, heartwarming, and satisfying. Overall: I was definitely taken with this storyline and really enjoyed learning all the family secrets as they unfolded. Making this novel hard to put down. Would recommend!
Thank you so much to Gail Cleare for gifting me a copy of this book, it was an absolute pleasure reading it.
This romantic thriller is like no other book I have read before. I was feeling a few different things while reading this story. I was entertained yet a little uncomfortable at times. That romantic part to this thriller was a bit steamy for this reader and my eyes were rolling faster than I could turn those pages. I have to admit that those steamy parts really added to those elements that make up the thriller side to the story. My eyes stopped rolling and almost popped out of my head as the tension increased with every chapter.
I loved the unreliable characters here and we had many questions and a few theories here while reading this one. Now that ending was absolutely brilliant. I loved the way this story wrapped up, I did start to get a bit worried here with that ending but when that final gasp-worthy twist came I sprung up from my chair and starting cheering “Nailed It”. I highly recommend.
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Struggling to make her rent payments, Jessica Farris, finds herself involved in a well-paying psychology study revolving around ethics and morality. The compensation is too good to pass up. Upon attending the first study meeting and completing the initial questionnaire, Jess is offered the opportunity to proceed further into the depths of the examination with the mysterious Dr. Shields. Tension builds as Jess begins to feel paranoia and anxiety about her involvement and she begins to question what Dr. Shields objectives truly are.
This was extremely well written! I was glued to these pages, devouring every single word with curious and hungry eyes. The pace, flow and narration were excellent! Told in alternating chapters between Jess and Dr. Shields, I felt the urge to read ‘just one more chapter’ from start to finish – I simply couldn’t get enough of this unique and mysterious story. The characters were well developed and each one kept me curious as to their true intentions throughout the novel.
After the intensity of the storyline build up, the ending was a bit of a let-down for me. It didn’t fit with the excellence of the rest of the book, which took away one star. I still would highly recommend this novel as it kept me highly intrigued and guessing all the way through.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
At only 180 pages Looker by Laura Sims packs quite the punch and has the elements here to make this a pleasing dark and unsettling story. It has those intriguing unsettling elements of jealousy, obsession and resentment.
Laura Sims takes us into the mind of our unnamed narrator as we watch her obsessions with a neighbor start to push her over the edge. Laura Sims does a good job balancing the dark thoughts with some wit and humour, allowing me to feel some sympathy here for our main character.
Laura Sims does a good job creating an interesting unreliable character here and at times I was questioning what was real and what was a delusion.
The ending took me a bit by surprise and left me wanting more and I haven’t really decided if that was a good thing or not. I am leaning towards good because I was satisfied with the way it ended.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Laura Sims for my copy to read and review!
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An Orchestra of Minorities is a very original story and very different from anything I have read. It’s a rich, complex tale about love, sacrifice and misfortune. The story is narrated by our main character Chinonso’s Chi, a guardian spirit. The Chi guides him and us through the story. The Chi presence, warm kindness and concern give the story a heartwarming feel through the heartbreaking parts in the story.
An Orchestra of Minorities is a complex and beautifully emotionally written story yet challenging with the density to it. I thought the characters started off interesting and engaging and I connected with the characters and wanted to get to know them better. However, things start to get a bit heavy with Igho culture, folklore and language that weighed down the story for me. I became distracted and at times sidetracked me from continuing to engage with the characters. This definitely could be the most interesting part of the story for readers however for this reader it was a bit too ambitious for me.
I read this one on my own which isn’t something I do very often but with timing I ended up reading it on my own. I wish I had read it with my sisters as it is one that would work really well as a group read to discuss it. Probably even better with an in person group. I highly recommend for group reads.
Thank you to Hachette Canada, Little Brown and Chigozie Obioma for my ARC to read and review.
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