JUSTINE LEWKOWICZ

Reviews

Stories 1 to 5 of 163
8/24/2014

BOOKENDS REVIEW: Arctic Summer

Arctic Summer Damon Galgut Fiction SYNOPSIS: In Arctic Summer, Damon Galgut fictionalizes the life of British author E.M. Forster as he struggles with his homosexuality and writing his most successful book, A Passage to India. In 1912, Morgan Forster takes his first trip to India to visit a friend – a man he fell in love with while tutoring him in England. As Morgan discovers a new world, he tries to begin to understand his homosexuality and fit it into his life in a conservative society. Over the next decade, as his life unfolds, Morgan works on the novel that will become his masterpiece. MY THOUGHTS: When you open up Arctic Summer, don’t expect a page-turner with a fast-paced series of events. The story, rather, develops around the main character’s inner struggle – how he slowly learns to accept and express his homosexuality in an intolerant society. There are aspects of Morgan’s life that will be relevant to many readers. While his life seems to stand still, those he loves continue to move forward and further away from him. He ends up falling in love with two men who could never return his feelings in the way he would hope. ... Read more
8/11/2014

BOOKENDS REVIEW: Interference by Michelle Berry

Interference Michelle Berry Fiction SYNOPSIS: Interference starts off as a series of short stories that quickly collide into an intertwined tale of judgement and jealousy, perseverance and love. The stories revolve around neighbours in the small town of Parkville whose lives are each as complicated as the next. You never know what secrets someone is keeping behind closed doors.  Every marriage has its problems. Every child or teen has his or her growing pains. Every illness causes emotional distress. All prejudice causes harm. The book spans three seasons of crumbling and building relationships, emotional roller coasters, and many lessons learned. MY THOUGHTS: When I first started reading Interference, I wasn’t convinced that a novel made up (partly) of standalone short stories could flow nicely. I was soon surprised at just how expertly Michelle Berry was able to lace everything together into a fast-paced, suspenseful, and powerful page-turner. She reminds you that no one’s life is perfect, that you shouldn’t be jealous of someone else’s gains because you don’t know what their lives might be missing. Berry also puts an interesting spin on how prejudice can affect a person’s life and the way they act. This is a book I couldn't ... Read more
7/27/2014

BOOKENDS REVIEW: Based On A True Story

Based on a True Story Elizabeth Renzetti Fiction SYNOPSIS: Augusta Price is a has-been actress in England, most famous for playing a barmaid on a night-time soap opera. After years of abusing alcohol and pills, she has no job or relationship left in her life. Her biggest recent success is her memoir, which is based on her life… but is not quite accurate. When Augusta finds out that her ex is writing a book that could reveal her life story as a web of lies, she employs young journalist Frances Bleeker to help her stop him. Their journey takes them to California, where Augusta’s mysterious past unravels.   MY THOUGHTS: What Elizabeth Renzetti has done best is create an unforgettable character that brings out a variety of emotions from the reader. Augusta Price is both infuriating and irresistible. She exacerbates her own flaws, as if she’s begging for the train wreck (what else will get her the attention she wants?). For the most part, Augusta gets under your skin. Then there are unexpected moments when she makes you laugh. Before you know it, you’re rooting for her, hoping she can get her life together. Augusta is one of those characters ... Read more
7/14/2014

BOOKENDS REVIEW: The Silkworm (J.K. Rowling)

The Silkworm Robert Galbraith (aka. J.K. Rowling) Fiction / Murder Mystery SYNOPSIS: Private detective Cormoran Strike is famous for solving a murder case that London’s Metropolitan Police couldn’t crack themselves. That’s why Lenora Quine goes to him when her husband Owen, a writer, goes missing. But as far as she’s concerned, her husband’s disappearance is not a homicide. Owen has taken off before; so many times, that Lenora doesn’t want to report his latest disappearance to police. She just wants to find him. As Strike investigates, though, the case becomes more complex and disturbing. Quine had just written a book that at least half a dozen people did not want published because it highlights their embarrassing quirks and reveals their secrets. They are the ones who show up on Strike’s suspects list when Quine’s tortured body is found. (This is the second Cormoran Strike novel. The first, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was published in 2013. You don’t need to read the first one to enjoy the second.) MY THOUGHTS: J.K. Rowling is an entertaining writer and The Silkworm has a bit of everything that a murder mystery needs. The narrative is fast-paced. The writing is descriptive in classic Rowling fashion. The ... Read more
7/6/2014

BOOKENDS REVIEW: The Quick by Lauren Owen

The Quick Lauren Owen Fiction SYNOPSIS: When James Norbury moves to London in 1892, he is introduced to aristocratic society by his roommate. He spends night after night writing poetry, drinking, and visiting drawing rooms with his new friends. Just before he is to escape London with a star-crossed lover, James disappears. His sister, Charlotte, comes looking for him is led to a mysterious club called The Aegolius. With the windows always covered and visitors barred from entering, no outsider knows what happens within the club’s doors. Charlotte soon learns, though, what it takes to become a member – you have to agree to the Exchange, the process of becoming a vampire. As she tries to save her brother from the dark hallways of the secretive club, Charlotte gets involved in a battle between two groups of the undead fighting for control over London’s streets. MY THOUGHTS:  I find it interesting that the publisher decided not to mention on the jacket that this is a vampire novel. Some readers will get quite the surprise about one-fifth of the way into the book. It certainly doesn’t give anything away to let you know that you’ll be reading about the undead, and ... Read more