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Newfie History, Undocumented American Lives, and Serial Killer – Book Reviews

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston:

  • a mystery and a love story spanning five decades, it is an epic portrait of passion and ambition, set against the beautiful yet brutal landscape of Newfoundland
  • it is a fictionalized biography of how the legendary Joey Smallwood claws his way up from poverty to become Newfoundland’s first premier and Sheilagh Fielding (a fictional character), who renounces her father’s wealth to become a popular columnist and writer, a gifted satirist who casts a haunting shadow on Smallwood’s life and career
  • Johnston is a strong writer who provides a vivid description of this unique province, with its rugged landscape, ferocious weather, fascinating history, and its evolution from British to Canadian sovereignty
  • the book was longer than it needed to be as I found it bogged down through the middle sections but had a strong ending
  • I don’t think I’ve ever read a fictionalized biography before, so that was a bit challenging to get my head around as I like to know what is fact and what is fiction
  • overall it wasn’t a gripping book, but it did provide me with more background on this unique province, which I was fortunate enough to visit in 2019, finally


The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio:

  • one of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard, Karla reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation
  • she was born in Ecuador, where her parents left her at eighteen months until they brought her to America at five years old
  • Karla was on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name
  • she tells many fascinating, and hard to fathom, stories of the challenges that undocumented people face in America as well as how her journey has shaped her life and opinions on this topic
  • I enjoyed the book but wished it had given a bit more background upfront to educate me on the overall scenario
  • it is a good read that delves into a subject that I had minimal knowledge of and opens up a new spectrum for those of us that have led privileged lives
  • Karla has written about immigration, music, beauty, and mental illness for many prominent publications


Liar Liar by James Patterson & Candice Fox:

  • Harriet Blue is an unstable police officer in Australia who has gone on the lam to track down Geroge’s River serial killer Regan Banks, who destroyed Harriet’s brother’s life
  • she has some members of the local police department in her corner and others that put her in a category with Banks
  • the authors weave in plenty of plot twists as Regan goes after people that are close to Harriet
  • I’ve read a few serial killer books, and it’s hard to fathom what goes through people’s heads, but it speaks to the enormous mental challenges that some people are born with or get weaved into their life through horrific circumstances
  • I enjoyed the fast-paced, easy to read nature of this book, even though it was gruesome at times
  • this book is the third in the Harriet Blue series, and it intrigued me enough to order the follow-up book called Hush, Hush