Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Finished: "Go Small or Go Home"

Ladies and gentlemen, I think I have found a new favourite author and her name is Heather Wardell. I read her first novel Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo back in June and I absolutely loved it (read my review here). I've finally been able to get to the next book in Heather's "Toronto" series Go Small or Go Home. Here's the synopsis, courtesy of Goodreads:

When massage therapist and aspiring artist Tess begins treating stressed but attractive hockey star Forrest, her art career soars due to his gallery-owning mother, but her creativity plummets under the weight of rules and deadlines. Soon, she's lost the freedom and joy she'd always found in art. Is having her dream career worth losing doing her art her way, or can she somehow have both at once?
I didn't think it was possible but I may like this one more than Polar Bear. The characters are so real and well rounded, the story flows, and I was engaged in the novel for its entirety. Plus, I loved that it focused on a hockey player - hockey isn't my favourite sport but I am Canadian after all :)

Tess has a big decision to make in her life - should she keep working as a massage therapist, something she enjoys and is good at, or should she focus on making art her career, not as profitable but something that she loves deep down in her soul? It's something that everyone likely deals with. When we're in school and growing up we think that we're going to have a job that we're absolutely in love with and fulfills us on all levels. However...that can't always happen for everyone. Most people have a job that they enjoy but it's not what they feel passionate about. I'm one of them. I like my job but reading and writing and thinking about books is what really inspires me. For Tess, it was her art that inspired her on a level that massage just could not. I know this is pretty deep but I think this whole idea is part of why I loved this book so much. It made me think a whole lot more than some other books I've read. Alright, time to move onto something a little more lighthearted...

Let's talk about the fact that Forrest is a professional hockey player and absolutely gorgeous. When I mentioned on Twitter that I had finished the novel, Heather replied with the following tweet:

Do any of my Canadian female friends agree? Do you think a good looking pro hockey player is a Canadian girl's dream guy? Maybe not even just Canadian seems Hilary Duff and Carrie Underwood are quite happy with their pro hockey players (both Canadian guys, by the by) Anyway, I loved Forrest. He was a real guys-guy - athlete, manly, and so on, but he had an amazing emotional depth to him as well, one that you don't see in many fictional athletes. He had obviously suffered more than just a physical injury and the way we find out about it is great, in my opinion. Tess finds out bits and pieces doing research but we get frustrated right along with her as Forrest is less than forthcoming with his past and his problems. And, of course, it was absolutely lovely to picture the scenes when Tess massaging Forrest... *cough* back to the review :)

Have you ever read a book that you loved so much that you were both sad and happy to be finished with? This was one of those books for me. I was reading outside in the sun on my lunch and as I "closed" the book (was reading on my Kobo) after reading the last words I actually sighed. That is how good it was, my friends.

Overall, the book thrilled me. The story itself was something totally different than I had ever read before with characters that have such unique interests and quirks. Their story grabs you and doesn't let you go, even when the book is finished.

I could probably go on and on about different aspects of this novel that I loved but I don't want to bore you. Instead, you should take the time to read the novel yourself! Trust me. You'll love it too.

Happy reading :)

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