REVIEW: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

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Things You Save in a Fire tells the story of Cassie Hanwell, a tenacious female firefighter, as she battles her past, deals with trials in her career, and confronts abandonment issues with her mother.

The novel is well-paced and the characters are relatable and likable. The main character didn’t fall into any overused tropes, either. For example, she is a firefighter and dresses for her job. She never refers to herself as a “tomboy”. When she dons formal attire for an event later in the book, you’d expect one of those dramatic makeover moments that are so overused in both books and movies. I LOVED that, instead, the character thinks, “I’m not ‘better’, just different”. She doesn’t have the typical transformation moment wherein now that she’s dressed “feminine” she realizes she was beautiful all along. She acknowledges the difference and moves on.

Another marking of a good novel is one that introduces you to a world you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. This novel contains interesting passages and explanations regarding the work of a firefighter without being overly technical.

This novel has suspense, mystery, emotion, romance, and humour…I can’t recommend it enough.

RELEASE DATE: August 13 2019.

Thank you to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for sending me the ARC of this book!

Post Office by Charles Bukowski

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This was my first Bukowski novel and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The protagonist, Henry Chinaski, is a downtrodden working man who has his sights set on booze, women and surviving his work day. When I read the synopsis on the back of the book, the feminist in me rolled her eyes.

I was surprised to find so much depth to Chinaski, a real human side that peaked through the cracks of his harsh exterior. What he deemed to be true happiness was always slightly out of reach. I think that is a strong commentary that can resonate with most people; we’re always looking at the next level of happiness we can achieve. I made it through the work day. When I get to the weekend I’ll be happy. Once I land this new, better job I’ll finally be happy. Chinaski is constantly chasing his next level of happiness and it’s always just out of his grasp. His thoughts and speech made me laugh out loud.

There were passages in the novel where my heart ached for him and the other characters he interacted with as well. This book is punchy, heartfelt and is an overall easy/light read.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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I’ve been hearing so much hype around this trilogy that I had to check it out. I don’t tend to gravitate towards fantasy novels in general but wanted to give this one a shot. The story enveloped me from the first chapter. There was enough mystery and wonder to compel the reader to want to read the book in one sitting. Four concurrent Londons? Magic in many different forms? Cunning thieves? A coat within a coat within a coat? Count me in!

Kell, with his mysterious origin story and fascinating use of magic while maintaining morality.

The charming, light-hearted Rhy, and the solid brotherly bond between him and Kell.

Delilah Bard, all-around bad ass.

Holland, with his dark, mysterious motives whilst serving the Dane siblings in White London.

MY ONLY PROBLEM WITH THIS BOOK [slight spoiler ahead] is the scene where Kell is talking to Lila about Astrid Dane. He says that Lila isn’t strong enough to take on Astrid. Lila retorts with, “Why, because I’m a girl?”…when Astrid is a woman herself. Lila’s indignant response in this scene didn’t make any sense.

I loved them all. Each character had motives that you couldn’t immediately decipher; the motives were very plausible and human, even in a fantasy setting. I look forward to seeing what trouble Kell and Lila get into next!