I am a reader, reviewer, writer-in-progress and freelance proofreader. I live in Northern British Columbia with my husband on 5 acres half treed, half meadow on the lower part of a mountain. We moved here after retiring from the Greater Vancouver area. Love to read, fish, watch the wildlife and hear the birds. I have 3 grown and married children and 4 grand-children. Only one lives lives in the nearby town of Smithers.
Where to find Betty Gelean online
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Smashwords book reviews by Betty Gelean
- Whale Song
on July 03, 2010
Anyone who has heard the haunting sound of a whale's song will never forget it. So it is with this story, mystical, honest, haunting and wonderful. So emotional in fact, that I am writing this review while my eyes are still damp with tears. Tears of joy, tears of sorrow, and a great feeling of enlightenment and belonging. The rich blend of lifestyles from the prairies of Wyoming to Vancouver Island's rugged west coast in British Columbia, both very remote, brings together a family who have never seen an ocean to the very shores in their new home, and a traditional indian family whose roots go back many hundreds of years. The area around Bamfield is largely populated by the Huu-ay-aht Tribe and the warmth of the people represented in this novel is passed on to us in a way that feels personal. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you moved me. I read this straight through without setting it down once.
The story begins with Sarah, an eleven year old girl, learning that her marine-biologist father has been offered an opportunity he can't refuse, nor wants to, to live and work near Bamfield for a couple of years. His artist wife, well-known for her paintings of the plains will have the opportunity to paint different scenes in their new home. Sarah of course does not want to move, her best friend is here in Wyoming. However, at eleven one has little in the way of choices. But Sarah has no idea how much her new home will change her life. Though well-populated with many full-fledged characters, this is really Sarah's story.
If I take nothing more away with me from reading this book, these three alone were worth the read: live life fully; "forgiveness will set you free"; know when to let go. Of course I loved many things about this book, and it deals with many subjects that afflict peoples lives today. [On a personal note, I mean no disrespect when I refer to our native people as indian. As a Chief once told my husband when he asked what he wanted him to call him, he said to call him an indian, the government made him an indian when they created the legislation in the 1800s, and they call themselves indian because why should they keep changing names, because someone tells them to?]
Very soon after arriving at their new rural home, Sarah meets Goldie, her neighbor who is indian and also eleven. They become the best of friends and very soon both families become as close as non-family can be. Goldie's grandmother Nana, regales the girls with many legends, and yet it seems that she is tapping into something that Sarah is thinking or troubled about. I know, you are wondering about the whales. Sarah had been warned by her parents never to swim past the float because a young boy had tried to swim to the nearby island the year before and drowned. Sarah soon hears from Goldie that she believes her brother is now an Orca (Killer Whale) and swims nearby so she can talk to him. Nana narrates the legend to the girls later and Sarah then understands what Goldie was talking about. Sarah's mother and Nana have also become good friends, and incorporating something of the legends in her newer paintings have given her even more notice for the mystic quality they present.
When school starts, the girls find they are in the same classroom, and sit next to each other. But trouble brews for Sarah in a case of racism and bullying all through the first year. All is not terror for her though, as she becomes popular among her classmates and has also caught the eye of a popular young Me'tis boy, Adam, causing her to giggle and blush everytime he looks at her. A field trip on the boat Sarah's father does his research on brings a great windup to the school year. They are all mesmerized by the sounds of both fish and whales after Sarah's father drops the echolocation microphone into the water and turns the volume up so all can hear. Adam in particular looks toward his future as he learns as much as he can from Sarah's father.
The book takes place over approximately 13-14 years and there is so much to tell, but I will not plant spoilers. I have left a large part of the book undiscussed. Let me just say that this is one book I am thrilled to have had the opportunity not only to read, but to feel. It is as though I was dropped into the mind of Sarah and existing within these pages myself, feeling every emotion. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, you are an inspiration! The version I am reviewing is an ebook, and is more recent than the original printed book (I chose the pdf file and printed it because I don't have a reader). This book should be read by everyone, perhaps a little too sad in places for young children but definitely for 12+ because some of the lessons learned, almost by absorption, are particularly applicable to that age group. For the rest of us, we are never too old to learn something new, and sometimes you can go home again.*
*This review is written by a Canadian reader
- Lexi Spiderwoman
on Oct. 20, 2011
Lexi Spiderwoman by Kensington Roth
Reviewed from Kindle version
A bizarre and fascinating fantasy, it kept me wondering what would be the next surprise. Kensington Roth has a writing style all his own. A slow start that had me wondering what the point was, soon became clear it was setting the stage. Kensington's writing in this stage reads much like a screenplay in the way it describes thoughts, his character's perceptions and the perceptions her colleagues have of Alexandra Fine. For instance, you can quickly tell that Alex has been at the receiving end of bullying in the past, and a form of it in the present. Though smart and beautiful, she has low self-esteem. The importance of this as to her character becomes a pivotal point when the story really gets rolling. Scene settings are also written in the same descriptive yet abrupt sentences. Once set, the flow changes into story-telling mode.
Keeping a black widow spider as a pet may seem ludicrous to some people, but then some people keep poisonous snakes for pets. No one can doubt that Lexi has found a pastime that she enjoys, feeding her pet with insects and watching in fascination how the spider reacts, even to the point of the spider learning tricks such as pushing one insect aside for Lexi to give to her personally at which time the spider gives her a little "love nip". This little game is quite important to the story as it goes along.
Lexi works as executive secretary for the president at an oil trading company, an influential and coveted job that includes assisting at house parties and even hobnobbing with the rich and famous occasionally. She is also the single mother of a teenage daughter, Lindsey, who is absorbed with chat rooms on the internet, much to the consternation and worry of her mother. When she falls prey to one of the cyber-predators and disappears, Lexi understandably becomes distraught, and perhaps this trauma also acts as a trigger to the changes in her character. Whatever she has connected to with Ophelia, the black widow spider with her beautiful red hourglass marking, comes even more to the fore. The black widow spider is notably sexy and draws every male widow to her. So, when Lexi suddenly shows her sexiness, we begin go notice why the details of the spider are important. She also begins to be amazingly strong and develops into a superwoman. The changes in the character are exciting and fun and progress throughout the book.
I have no intentions of ruining the plot for prospective readers, so I will leave these hints and suggest reading the book. What has happened to Lindsey? Is she still alive? Will they find her in time? Who could have taken her? There are several twists and turns, and surprising suspects. The antics of Ophelia and the tragicomic storyline make this a stand-out plot, especially with the timely subject of cyber-crime, a terrible crime against young people that needs to be brought out such as the author has done with this entertaining book. I am happy to give it a good review because the potential for a future featuring this comic but human superhero is fantastic.