Tag Archives: book reviews

The Challenges of Summer Reading

Bw4niccCQAAavva

Do you find that making time for reading in the summer can be a challenge? There are so many outside things to do: go on hikes, take your kids to cool off at the pool or splash pad and BBQ’s with friends.

However, as busy as we are in the summer, my kids have seemed to be enticed by the chance to win prizes through our local library’s Summer Reading Program. Each week they record time spent reading (or being read to for my smallest child) and get entries into draws for prizes for every one hour read. The program has offered my kids a lot of incentive to sit down and read a book during their down time instead of staring at the TV.

For those adults who love to read AND win stuff, there are also Adult Summer Reading Programs too. Check out your local library to see if they are offering one; often the adult prizes are pretty nice!

There are so many benefits to reading, not just for children but also for developing adult minds as well. I found this article examining the “Science-Backed” health benefits of reading.

  1. Reading increases intelligence
  2. Reading boosts your brain power
  3. Reading makes you more empathetic
  4. Flipping pages of a book helps with your understanding and comprehension skills
  5. Regular reading has been linked to decreasing your chances of developing Alzheimers disease
  6. Reading helps you relax and overcome stress
  7. Reading before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster
  8. Reading out loud to your children inspires your children to want to read more

And finally, how is your 2017 Reading Challenge progressing? I am currently at 45 books for this year, but I will admit that the last month or two I have slowed down a bit. A few of my most recent reads and/or reviews are:

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a while to get into this book. I appreciated the multiple points of view and it kept the storyline interesting. My biggest critique is I felt there was a bit too much back and forth for my liking. I would have preferred fewer points of view in favour of a more in-depth characterization. I have to say I liked Girl on the Train more than Into the Water but I would definitely still recommend this book and enjoyed it. Give it a try!

Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict (Expected Release Date January 01, 2018)

Carnegie's MaidCarnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sudden death on a trans-Atlantic journey opens up a future far different than Clara Kelley could have ever imagined. As an immigrant to America from Ireland, Clara is expecting nothing more than some steady low paying employment so she could help support her family back home. A tragic accident upon the vessel Envoy has left one Clara Kelley deceased and given the other a chance at a future far better than was anticipated. A caller is waiting for the Clara Kelley who has been offered employment as a highly desirable ladies maid for one of the richest families in America and Clara jumps in the carriage. Clara has only a second to choose her fate and decides to carve out a future for herself.

Clara is transported to Philadelphia where she meets the wealthy and innovative Carnegie family. She learns how to pretend to be something she is not and eventually finds a friend in the eldest son of the Carnegie family, Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie’s Maid is a historical fiction about class differentiation, industrialization and the many forms that love can take. This story reveals how not just the drive for success, but also love for ones family can at times cloud our judgement and affect our morality. Clara and her master Andrew Carnegie share a special understanding of ideals and both want to provide financially for their families. In a way they both help each other succeed.

I really enjoyed Carnegie’s Maid and would definitely recommend it. I appreciated the author’s writing style and felt like it was a well written, captivating story. (view spoiler) Furthermore, I could have also used more of Andrew’s point of view; his characterization wasn’t developed enough for me. The beginning of the story gives the reader a little taste of who Andrew is but otherwise the story is entirely from Clara’s point of view. I feel as though more insight into the thoughts of Andrew Carnegie would have helped the overall success of the story.

I want to thank NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the opportunity to read and review Carnegie’s Maid.

The Ways of the World (The Wide World Trilogy #1) by Robert Goddard

The Ways of the World (The Wide World Trilogy #1)

Short for Chameleon by Vicki Grant

Short for ChameleonShort for Chameleon by Vicki Grant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Short For Chameleon and how hilarious it is at times. Vicki Grant keeps the story short and sweet and adds just the right amount of quirkiness to each character. The main character Cam works for his Father’s business “Almost Family Surrogate Agency”. The business employs people to pretend to be relatives of clients who are willing to pay to have fake relatives for social obligations. As a result, Cam is constantly finding himself in unusual situations. I think teens and young adults would find this novel engaging, funny and entertaining. I only hope that there is more to come from Cam and his new friend Raylene.

I also want to thank GoodReads, Vicki Grant and the publisher HarperTrophyCanada for a free copy of this book.

View all my reviews

 

~ Happy Summer Reading ~

books-1655783_960_720

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under tay bridge disaster

Light Summer Reading and Spring 2017 New Releases

Sunset in Leduc copy

Spring has come and I am excited to get to spend more time outdoors. Gardening, going for walks or just stopping to take pictures of the beautiful Spring scenery has taken up more of my time than reading/blogging. However, I do want to give you some new (and a few old) release books that you may want to check out. I will be honest in saying that my reviews are not always positive and sometimes I just simply don’t engage with the plot or style of writing. BUT I have done some of the leg work for you which might help you decide between what new release books you may or may not want to pickup for your next camping weekend.

Also, next to come on my READ50 list for this year is The Last Neanderthal by Clair Cameron – I’ll let you know what I think when I am done!!

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore (Release date March 2, 2017)

An Emotional and Tension Filled Glimpse of Life in Bristol During the French Revolution

Birdcage Walk

Baroque is the word that comes to mind after finishing Birdcage Walk . Drama, tension and poetic influence is how I would describe the book. I cannot say that I loved this new novel by Helen Dunmore. I felt the plot was missing some key climatic elements. I did not care for the heroine Lizzy, I was hoping for her to rise above her situation and so many times she let me down. Diner was very unlikable and controlling but yet Lizzy would throw herself into his arms again and again. Lizzy doubted herself so many times I struggle to call her the heroine. Lizzy’s half-brother seemed to be the best thing that happened to her in the entire novel, and yet when it came to a decision between her brother and her husband, she chooses her husband.

What I do feel Helen Dunmore excelled at was her descriptions and settings in the novel. She vividly captures what life was like in Bristol at that time in history. Her writing is poetic and sensual as she attempts to depict what emotional trials people might have faced during the French Revolution. However, Dunmore’s repeated insertion of political discussion into the dialogue felt forced and did not really add anything to the development of the characters or the narrative.

I would recommend this book to my friends but I am not sure I would reread it.

I do want to give my appreciation to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a free ARC copy of Birdcage Walk . Thanks again.

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer (Also available as an audio book)

Island Girls

Island Girls was a fun read and the characters all had unique personalities. The plot kept along at a good pace and I think it would be a perfect summer read. However, this novel is not deep nor has overly complex character development.

As a stipulation to their deceased father’s will, three very different women find themselves stuck sharing their father’s Nantucket home for an entire summer. Arden, Meg and Jenny all begin the summer with their own agendas while trying to survive just a few months together as a blended family. Rory Randell was handsome and wealthy but left behind a mess of emotional drama between his three daughters, two ex-wives and latest wife. Rory’s three daughters have one summer to fix the drama and grievances they have with each other in order for them to inherit the family home. This is an enjoyable read but do not expect deep insights or believability. I liked it, but some things are just too good to be true in my opinion.

A Suitable Affair by Erica Taylor (Expected Publication June 6, 2017)

A Suitable Affair
You won’t be disappointed!

A Suitable Affair is a light-hearted and entertaining read. Lady Susanna Macallistar, the heroine of the story, finds herself with a large dowry but she is falling short in her search for eligible suitors. The one gentleman who has offered to court her is too compliant and boring, a stark contrast to her own vibrant and adventurous personality. After a random and potentially dangerous encounter with a stranger in Hyde park, Susanna finds herself drawn to the newcomer, Ian Carlisle, the handsome Earl of Westcott. Ian has trouble ignoring the magnetism between Susanna and himself but his affection is clouded by his troubled past and his quest to bring a murderer to justice. Susanna turns out to have a few secrets of her own as she struggles between society’s expectations of a Lady and her own ambitions.

The writing style at the beginning of A Suitable Affair is verbose in my opinion. The author uses too many words in the characters dialogue and some of the sentences and descriptions are awkward. Susanna does not need to describe in length her motivation behind everything and she often repeats the same thing in two different ways in one conversation. After the first few chapters the writing style becomes less forced and the characters conversations flow more smoothly. The plot is entertaining from the beginning with the murder mystery keeping the storyline complex and engaging. And of course the romance isn’t too bad either! I appreciate that Susanna’s character is not just adventurous and witty but she is also brave and intelligent. The more the plot progresses the more interesting and developed Susanna’s character becomes.

I would not hesitate to recommend A Suitable Affair to my friends and I think if some of the wordiness in the first few chapters could be edited out I would definitely rate it 5 out of 5.

I also want to thank Amberjack Publishing and NetGalley for a chance to read an advanced copy of A Suitable Affair .

The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon (Release Date May 18, 2017)

The Last Piece of My Heart

So far so good! I have only read the Prologue and the first three chapters but I am left wanting more! I hope Bridget’s story continues along the path of being exciting and fun with hint of romance. There is a small chance that the plot of this novel will be predictable but as it is my first time reading a novel by Paige Toon I cannot say for sure one way or the other. I can say that so far the first three chapters are entertaining, convincing and witty and that Paige Toon’s novel has drawn me in. I can’t wait to read The Last Piece of My Heart in its entirety.

Thank-you also to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read a pre-release teaser of the novel.

And last but not least…..have YOU read Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and what did YOU think of it? And which do YOU prefer, The Girl on The Train or Into the Water

Happy Reading

~ Adrienne

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Book Review: Miss You by Kate Eberlen

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26594969-miss-you?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

Miss You is a delightful read which manages to capture the essence of fate. The story is told by Tess and Gus, two people whose lives intertwine occasionally but who have only ever spoken a few words to each other. Will fate eventually intervene to save these two lost souls from themselves?

Tess is unexpectedly thrust into a life she never dreamed of for herself. She gives up everything including her university acceptance to take care of her little sister Hope when nobody else has stepped in to help. Tess struggles to find herself and her own ambitions in the life she passing through. She is almost a spectator, often refusing to make any decisions regarding her own needs or desires. Tess has a giant heart though and loves Hope to the same degree as a mother would love their child. Tess let’s romance into her life but never gives herself over completely, like she is waiting for some feeling that she can’t quite understand.

Gus is a smart and intelligent young adult who regularly acts on impulse. He is criticizes himself for not acting in the moment and yet most of events that happen in his life are because of impromptu actions. Gus graduates university and finds a steady girlfriend named Lucy; his relationship with Lucy seems to point to an advantageous match. Yet so,etching is still missing and Gus can’t even bring himself to be full open and honest with Lucy. Instead Gus turns to Charlotte who fulfills he sexual desire but leaves a lot to be desired in the relationship department. With two rocky relationships on the go at once and trying to figure out his career ambitions it seems like Gus’ life can go nowhere but down hill.

Miss You is a story about life, fate and relationships. I feel as though fate is like a seed in this book, being blown around but never landing in the soil. So many times Tess and Gus almost meet or do actually meet only with no remembrance and recognition. The story’s motto “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” basically happens again and again. Do Gus and Tess really just have one moment where their lives reach a drastic turning point? I don’t think so. In my opinion, it happens again and again which makes the story more realistic.

A few turnoffs for me were for starters the length of the novel; it really is quite long with 433 pages. I think it can be trimmed down and some filler taken out. I really don’t need to know about every dinner date or job that Tess or Gus had during the 16 years of the story. I also would have liked Gus and Tess’s lives to converge more, there was such a long time in the plot where it was just their own individual stories. And finally, the ending (I won’t offer a spoiler) BUT it could have been more believable and more developed throughout the story so that it fit with the rest of the plot.

Thanks for reading my review and I’d like to thank Harper Collins Canada (HCC First Look program) for an advanced copy of the book! And I love the cover, it is very eye catching.

Happy Reading!

~Adrienne

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

And then I’m sharing some quick book reviews

It has been a while since I have posted some actual book reviews and I am super excited to share what I have been reading so far in 2017! I have recently joined a couple of book reviewing companies and have received enough material to give me a huge head start on my READ50 challenge. Although my reviews are posted on Goodreads, Chapters/Indigo and Amazon, I also wanted to share them with my fellow bloggers. One of my goals for 2017 is to try to post at least once a week on this READ50 blog. Several of the books you will find here are soon to be published; watch for them upcoming if you need a book recommendation!

Two books I am looking forward to reading this year in particular are A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn (Pub. 10 January 2017) and The Paris Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal (Expected Publication 08 August 2017).

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner (Expected Publication 14 March 2017)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31625062-a-bridge-across-the-ocean?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

A Bridge Across the Ocean is a refreshing and intriguing read. Historical Fiction books can often have predictable plots but Susan Meissner’s newest book is far from traditional WWII fiction. The story has strong believable heroines and has a hint of the supernatural.

Brette Caslake is a just a regular woman who tries hard to hide her ability to see ghosts and “Drifters”. Brette’s journey leads her to the RMS Queen Mary ship which instigates a hunt to discover the truth on a death which occurred on one sailing of War Brides to the United States. Simone Deveraux and Annaliese Lange both struggle to survive their own horrors as they live through WWII and find themselves both onboard the same voyage of the RMS Queen Mary to the United States. Brette tried to unravel the truth behind Simone and Annaliese’s voyage across the ocean and help her elusive “Drifter” find peace.

A Bridge Across the Ocean is a complex tale of survival and it can be powerful and emotional at times. I would highly recommend this book to those who love complex historical and WWII fiction novels.

I would also like to thank NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for an advanced reading of this book.

The Queen’s Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal (Maggie Hope Mystery, #6)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28503798-the-queen-s-accomplice?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

This recent installment of the Maggie Hope Series is packed full of drama, tensions and dangers. The setting is War time London and we get a glimpse of how scary and dark London could be for women at that time. On one hand women were given freedoms during this time in history that they otherwise were not privy to but on the other hand there were still those fighting for normalcy and traditional beliefs that a woman’s place is in the home. Maggie Hope shines in this novel, bursting with feminine determination. She does not want to let her gender or career path hold her back and at every turn she asserts her authority. My personal hope for the next book in the series The Paris Spy is that Maggie has some time to relax so she is not consumed by the darkness and death going on around her; at some point I hope her luck with relationships changes.

The May Queen by Helen Irene Young (Expected publication April 25, 2017)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32960279-the-may-queen?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

May is a unique, spirited and adventurous heroine. She comes across as not being afraid of anything. This is a story of a young May discovering herself amidst the death and destruction happening in the world around her. I found the writing style very hard to engage in for at least the first half of the book. By the time the War was raging around her, May seemed to become more real and the story became easier to translate. Through her War efforts, May is able to develop relationships, discover her individuality and begin to form her own opinions of the world. The May Queen is not an easy read but I will definitely remember the story and its quirkiness. From my critical opinion, I think the ambiguity and abstract writing found in the first half of the book might lead people to give up on the story before its completion.

I want to thank NetGalley and Crooked Cat Publishing for an advanced copy reading of this book.

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30821598-my-not-so-perfect-life?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

Sophie Kinsella has created another quirky and out of the box heroine. Katie is definitely different from many of the other characters in Kinsella’s other novels; she is not quite as wild, eccentric and clumsy as the others. In addition, Katie doesn’t seem to “fall” into things by chance but deliberately goes out to make a name for herself, wanting to climb the social and business ladders that she knows exist. I will say that I did miss some of the self depreciating humour that is so evident in Kinsella’s other novels. I wished Katie was a bit more embarrassing, had a few more BIG mistakes and at least one or two “I can’t imagine how humiliating that would be” moments. On the other hand, she IS different and I can appreciate the value in not creating the same type of characters over and over again.

The one character in who did disappoint me was Alex. At first I love his spontaneous and fun vibe but he sort of lost that as the story went on and in the end came across as just needing to be constantly uplifted emotionally.

There were too many gaps in the romance for me to make me give it a 5 star for that alone, but I enjoyed the book so much that overall I think it deserves a 5. It was a super fun read and I would definitely recommend it!

Beneath the Cypress Tree by Margaret Pemberton (Expected Publication 23 March 2017)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32860666-beneath-the-cypress-tree?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

Beneath the Cypress Tree is a story of three young British women desiring adventure and to make a name for themselves in the world of Archeology. I love the concept behind this book but it has too many flaws for me to give it better than a 2 star out of 5. For the first half we really don’t get to the heart of each of the three main heroines (Ella, Kate and Daphne) and most of what the reader does learn is second-hand information. Kate writes letters to Daphne discussing Ella’s budding relationship with a Greek national and Ella writes letters to Daphne giving hints at Kate’s secret interest in the Archeological dig director Lewis. I love the information about the archeological digs but as a reader I am still not sure what was the central conflict; is the basis of the novel supposed to be the characters’ romances, the archeological digs or something else?

From my opinion this novel should be two separate stories; it is long enough to be cut down on pages but also there is a division in the plot between what happens before and after the war. Just when it feels like the conflicts should be coming to some sort of resolution and end, instead the story takes a huge 360 degree turn and focuses on the war and politics etc. I do not understand how the war fits in with the first half of the novel at all. The second half of the book also gets confusing really quickly. There are so many things going on it is a hard to keep track of where people are and who they are with. I still do not really understand how most of the characters manage to survive through the German attack on Crete and find each other again. Neither are some of the coincidences very believable. Ella’s ex-fiance, Sam, really doesn’t need to come to Crete and somehow see Kate and he doesn’t add anything more to the story.

All in all, I wanted to like this book but I lost interest half way through when I was expecting some sort of conclusion.

I appreciate being given the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book and want to thank the publisher Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for the opportunity.

The Worthington Wife by Sharon Page 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29095431-the-worthington-wife?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

The Worthington Wife past expectations for me. I was expecting a fluffy historical romance but it was more than that with mystery and suspense. Julia Hazelton, the heroine, is energetic, kind-hearted but also a risk taker. As the new Earl of Worthington, Cal Carstairs defiant character also fit naturally into the story but he did brood a bit too much about his past mistakes. Julia and Cal struggle to see eye to eye. Julia wants Cal to take on his new role as Earl and make some much-needed changes to his estates and tenants. Cal wants to sell off the estate and pay back his relatives for the poor treatment he received growing up. Between their very different personalities and upbringings, Julia and Cal struggle with their obvious chemistry, each trying to win out their own agenda for the other person. The book was longer than I was anticipating but it kept me engaged and had a good pace. I did wish Zoe was in the plot a bit more as she connects the reader to the last book An American Duchess . Julia’s desire to help widows by funding small business was admirable but could have been developed throughout the plot in more detail. I give it a 5 star because I was captivated throughout the entire novel and didn’t find any major faults. I would definitely recommend this book!

Unrequited Alice by Sarah Louise Smith (Estimated Publication 16 March 2017)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34001754-unrequited-alice?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

Unrequited Alice is a fun and lighthearted book, a great summer great. I will admit it took me a good while to get into this book and I thought the first 3-5 pages spent too much time on Alice’s love for best friend’s fiancé. Overall the tone of the book is the same throughout and the conflict doesn’t seem to change either.

Alice is heartbroken that her best friend Hannah is marrying Ed, a man who Alice also happens to be in love with. On a last girls weekend away in Niagara Falls, CA, Alice and her friends meet a group of 4 guys who they immediately connect with. Alice feels like she is not ready for any new relationships until she can get Ed out of her thoughts but then finds herself drawn to Toby, one of the men she meets in Niagara Falls. Toby also went on holidays with his own baggage and he and Alice earn each other’s respect but find themselves struggling to keep their relationship just at the friendship level.

I feel like this story has been told before in many varieties so I give it a 3 out 5 stars. If I had any major judgement of it, it would be that the novel could be half the length it is and still tell the same story. However, Unrequited Alice was an enjoyable and lighthearted read and would be a great book to pickup to take on holidays or to the beach.

I also want to thank NetGalley and the Publisher Crooked Cat for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book.

A Wish Come True by Kolet Janssen (Expected Publication 13 June 2017)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32073202-a-wish-come-true?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

I thought this book was awesome. Mark is a child whose life is different from many other children but the author is able to keep the story light-hearted and fun. Mark does consider wishing for things like ice cream etc. which would be the natural answer of any young child but he is able to see past his own satisfaction and wish for something that would help others. I did like how the story doesn’t focus too strongly on Mark’s illness and allows Mark to dream big. Many children dream of being firemen or policemen when they grow up and I think the story would be relatable and exciting for children. I saw the importance of having the Make-A-Wish information at the end; people are able to learn more about the foundation and know how to support it if they can. I wouldn’t hesitate to read this book to my children.

I also want to thank the publisher Clavis and NetGalley for the opportunity to have a free advanced reading of this book.

Princess Lila Builds a Tower by Anne Paradis (Expected Publication 16 May 2017)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31863716-princess-lila-builds-a-tower?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

Princess Lila is an excited and energetic princess who dreams big. She has everything needs but Lila is still not happy. She is forbidden to enter the forest and so she decides to build a tower that is taller than not only the castle but also the forest.

I read this story to my 5-year-old daughter who was interested in the story right away because of the wonderful drawings and the hopes of discovering a new princess that she has not heard of before. My daughter loved the story but did begin to be distracted and uninterested about half way through the book. The lull in the middle part of the book however did not distract her completely and by the end of the story she was still waiting for more pages!

Any children’s book which can entertain my 5-year-old from start to finish deserves at least a 4 star in my opinion. If I have any advice to the publisher/author it would be to somehow put some sort of conflict in the middle of the story to keep the attention of young kids but otherwise it was a good read!

Also, I’d like to thank NetGalley and Chouette Publishing-CrackBoom for a free Kindle edition of the book to review.

Thanks for following my READ50 and Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

And then we are discussing: FREE books

FREE Books? What!?! And how do I sign up? Blogging and book reviewing doesn’t have to be the only way to get your hands on free books. One question I get asked all the time is…”how do you get so many free books?” Not everyone enjoys reviewing books but I am pretty sure everyone loves free stuff. Below are a few ways that I get free books and some other recommendations that might interest you. 

 

Enter Contests

  • Right now there is a March Madness going on with Harper Collins Canada and you can enter once a day to win a 64 book library! Here is the link for that if you are interested: http://www.hccmarchmadness.ca
  • I enter just about every contest I see if the prize is worth winning. Sometimes  it is stuff that I will never use like a pod coffee machine or a men’s watch but most often it is stuff I can either use myself or easily sell. Last year I even won a $5000 shopping spree at Leons! Books happen to be one of those things that you can often find tons of giveaways for.
  • Goodreads also does a ton of Book Giveaways. It is a bit time consuming because you have to individually enter EACH one. On the upside, you can use key words to narrow down which books might interest you and there is a huge list of possible books you can win. GoodReads Giveaways
  • Twitter/Facebook are also great places to catch book giveaways. Some of the accounts I follow which regularly do giveaways are @SavvyReader, @PenguinCanada, RandomHouseCA & @ChaptersIndigo. Scene on Facebook does giveaways regularly too https://www.facebook.com/SCENE
  • First Look with Harper Collins Canada (#HCCFirstLook). “What’s #HCCFirstLook? It’s a program that gives Canadian readers exclusive access to advanced copies of HarperCollins books before anyone else!” harpercanada.wpengine.com/first-look BUT be fast because the titles change frequently!
  • Thanks to HarperCollinsCanada I won a pre-release copy of Miss You by Kate Eberlen earlier this month!

 http://harpercanada.wpengine.com/first-look/26594969.jpg

Read Books Digitally and/or Sign up for Free Ebooks

  • NetGalley is my newest favourite website for finding pre-published books. Once you sign up for NetGalley, you can either scan the “Read Now” titles or you can put your name in to request to read many others. Publishers are often looking for specific audiences for pre-release books so if you fit their desired profile then they will approve your request and send you a Kindle copy of the book to read. This is a great option for people who like to review books as the purpose of sites like NetGalley is to get feedback on books before they are published. 
  • Try Amazon. Did you know Amazon has a ton of books either free or for less than $1? Amazon Top 100 Free: https://www.amazon.ca/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store/zgbs/digital-text/ref=zg_bs?_encoding=UTF8&tf=1 There are also tons of websites out there which will notify you if Amazon is having a sale on Kindle books.This is a much cheaper option to get ebooks; many new ebooks can now cost $10 and up. 
  • Access the E-Resources with your library card. Your library card likely gets you access to several ebook  databases. OverDrive, Cloud Library and many others offer thousands of books free with your Public Library Card. Some libraries even loan-out E-readers that come pre-loaded with books. The list of e-resources at my local library, Leduc Public Library, is quite extensive: http://www.leduclibrary.ca/eresources

Find a Little Free Library or Arrange a Book Swap

  • Little Free Libraries are a great way to share and read used books. We even have one in Leduc, AB in the Willow Park neighbourhood. You can take the books from the Little Free Library and return them there or leave some books of your own that you no longer want. Hopefully in the future there will be many more of these around. Here is a link to find locations on existing ones or how to start your own in your neighbourhood: https://littlefreelibrary.org
  • If you don’t have a Little Free Library in your area, you can easily set up a book swap with your friends. Everyone has some sort of stack of books at home that they have already read (usually shoved in the back of their closet somewhere) and aren’t sure what to do with. Host a coffee/tea night where everyone brings some books and leave with the same number of books they brought.  Freecycle is a great way to connect with others who are giving away free stuff. There are tons of local Alberta groups where people post all kinds of free stuff including books: https://groups.freecycle.org/group/EdmontonAB/posts/all

pexels-photo

And Finally: Check Out Your Local Library!

Happy Reading!

~Litldods

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Progress! January Reads

My READ50 for 2017 is off to a good start. Some months I find I have more time and interest in reading than others and January has been a busy reading month for me. So far I have read 7 books for my reading challenge this year. My list of to-read books is getting shorter though so if anyone has any recommendations for me please feel free to comment and suggest some!

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-8-53-04-am

Some of my thoughts on a few of my January reads:

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig 

3 stars out of 5

This book is worth giving a consideration. With romance, a historical home and three women from one family lineage, The Forgotten Room is an engaging historical fiction. The story moves between three different women but if you pay attention it is not difficult to follow the diverging plots. It is even more interesting when you realize that it was written by three different authors all working together and taking turns at different parts of the plot. The story itself is a bit unbelievable but sometimes that is what we hope for in a novel, that it will take us somewhere other than real life. I didn’t think it was outstanding but definitely worth a 3 star rating in my opinion.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery, #1) by Susan Elia MacNeal

4 stars out of 5

Despite receiving some bad reviews on GoodReads, I actually really enjoyed this book and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another novel in the series. It is really not as bad as some reviewers make it out to be. Yes Maggie, the heroine, was a little naive but women in general were not given a lot of responsibility during that period in history. I appreciated the author’s notes at the end of the book where she describes her conversations and correspondences with real war time secretaries. One lady interviewed mentioned that in real life their secretarial responsibilities were definitely not exciting or glamorous and they certainly did not have time for romance. Obviously a fictional novel wouldn’t be as exciting or fun to read if the author only wrote about the lonely and dark lives of the secretaries during war times. All in all I liked it and give it 4 out of 5.

The Whistler by John Grisham

3 out of 5 stars

I think time for big expectations and hype with John Grisham novels has come and gone. I enjoyed reading The Whistler but it fell short in some ways. There were moments when it captivates you and others when you just want to skip a few pages of lengthy detail. Lucy, the heroine, works for the Florida Bureau of Judicial Conduct and she and her partner Hugo are asked to investigate the fraud of a long serving and influential judge. The fraud involves large sums of offshore money, unexplained murders and a Casino run on Native American lands. There are some unexpected twists in the plot but for the most part the narrative is smooth and somewhat predictable. Furthermore, the end of the book feels rushed and anti-climactic. Grisham neatly wraps up all loose ends in the conclusion by foregoing narrative and just recaps the events so you can end the book. The ending feels rushed and unfulfilling. I would still recommend this book but I will definitely have lower expectations for any new John Grisham books that might be published.

Death of An Avid Reader by Frances Brody

3 stars out of 5

I took a chance on trying to find a new mystery novel series with a female heroine. Death of An Avid Reader was harder to get into than I was hoping. In the first few chapters I couldn’t figure out what story thread I was trying to follow as Kate Shackelton, the main character, was jumping all over the U.K. After the third chapter I couldn’t figure out what was going on and almost gave up. I kept plodding through and eventually the story started to make sense and I began to recognize the characters. I think there were just too many unintroduced characters in this novel to make it successful. It was difficult to follow and more than a few times I was completely lost to who a character was when a name was mentioned. By the end of the book I enjoyed the main thread of the story and I would pickup a second book in the series just to see if some of those characterization and plot problems have been worked out in subsequent books.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

READ50 2017 to be continued..

READ50 2017 Here I Come!

My list of to-read books for this year is quite short so if anyone has any recommendations let me know! I love book series, Historical Fiction, Cookbooks, Mystery and many other genres so feel free to comment with some recommendations!

Here is my to-read list so far:

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

 

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

 

The Whistler (Whistler, #1) by John Grisham

 

The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe

 

All In (Only One Night, #1) by Simona Ahrnstedt

 

Death of an Avid Reader (Kate Shackelton, #6) by Frances Brody

 

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

 

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig

 

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

 

A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell, #2) by Deanna Raybourn

The Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody, #1) by Elizabeth Peters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

MY READ50 Finale for 2015!

2015 is all finished and so is my READ50 list for 2015 (full READ50 list http://wp.me/P5G0BQ-m). I am a day behind in getting my post up for my list but here it is! I am looking forward to another year of great books and always appreciate any recommendations from friends.

One of the first books up on my READ12483610_10153688307355700_546424048_n50 list for 2016 is pre-release book I was gifted by author Nikki A. Lamers: The Unforgettable Summer. I will hopefully have a review on it for you soon.  

I am also looking forward to a few reads that I never got to in 2015:

  • The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny, Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella, The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory, and Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha  Van Leer. 

50 ~ What Pet Should I Get by Dr. Seuss

Book #50 of my READ50 for 2015!!!

My daughter was gifted this book at Christmas. It is a Dr. Seuss book which was not published during his lifetime (posthumously, to be grammatically correct). I will give you the one line response from my children once we finished reading it (see below). It will basically explain everything that you will need to know about this book.

But first, I want to explain what was going through my head as I was reading it to my children. The book starts with all sorts of pets that Jay and Kay could get. As I am reading I can’t help but think this book can only end poorly if the kids can only choose ONE pet and they start out already wanting both a dog AND a cat. Someone is going to be upset, either the dog lover or the cat lover, etc. Then you add in a fish and a Yent – of course we all know what a YENT is right? And then things just get very complicated by adding in a hypothetical angry Dad which can also only mean disaster for Jay and Kay (insert visual on Dad mandating time-outs and Jay and Kay having melt-downs). After all of this going through my head while I am reading the story, I am met with a very abrupt and inconclusive ending. I am left feeling undecided about how much I like this book. I know I am not alone in this because I have since watched the faces of many adults as they read What Pet Should I Get? only to laugh and say “I know, right!?!”

And so, I will leave you to my spoiler ending and wish you happy reading for 2016!

***Contains a spoiler.

Tukari and Brynn collectively:
“So, we don’t get to find out what pet they get? That’s dumb.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24968109-what-pet-should-i-get?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

49 ~ A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (Veronica Speedwell Mystery, Book 1)

My favourite author! I really liked Veronica Speedwell and this seems like a fresh new series for Deanna Raybourn. I did find some of the descriptions to be a bit repetitive. We understand that Veronica is different, unusual etc. but reminding the readers over and over again gets annoying. Otherwise a great fun read and I always look forward to reading Deanna Raybourn’s books. Honestly her novels are some of the only books I have read multiple times.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23160039-a-curious-beginning?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

48 ~ The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #1)

Tops my fav 5 list for 2015. I can’t wait to read some of the other books in this series. I love mysteries and what is better than a female heroine who is partnered with the famous Sherlock Holmes? I can’t say I have ever REALLY read a book about Sherlock Holmes but I have watched enough TV in my life to understand his character. I enjoyed getting to know Sherlock Holmes from the perspective of Mary. At the young age of 15, Mary becomes Holmes’ apprentice after dazzling him with her intelligence and quick wit. Mary is strong and self-assured but clearly has need of friendship after her family is killed in an accident. Holmes’ takes Mary under his wing and trains her in the art of solving mysteries and how to be a successful detective. Along the way it becomes apparent that Mary and Holmes each have their own strengths and they learn to rely upon each other the most when their lives are at risk. I really appreciate Mary’s desire to learn and take control of her own life while acknowledging that she still needs the guidance and experience of her mentor. Mary is a strong heroine but I also learned a lot about Sherlock Holmes through reading this book. I can’t wait to read more of Mary and Holmes’ adventures in the rest of the books in this series.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/91661.The_Beekeeper_s_Apprentice?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

READ50 Books ~ 40, 41, 42 and 43

It’s not long now until 2015 is over! Christmas is coming up quickly! Some of the books leading up to the end of my READ50 list are: The Bee Keepers Apprentice by Laurie R. King, The Painted Lady by David Ashton, Who Buries the Dead, When Maidens Mourn, Why Kings Confess (all by C. S. Harris).

43 ~ Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew

LOVED it! I think this novel just made my top 5 books for 2015. I thought the idea of blending food and recipes with a strong female heroine were the perfect mix. Tannie Maria is a superb character. I envy her forcefulness and her desire to make the most out of her life. Tannie Maria goes through a tough marriage and comes out a better person; through her experiences she is able to discover what she is passionate about. Her concern for those around her also seems very genuine. Sally Andrews does an excellent job at portraying life in the small village in South Africa. Tannie Maria lives in the Klein Karoo in a remote house where she enjoys testing new recipes, feeding her chickens and sitting on her deck with a coffee while watching the wildlife. To make some money, Tannie Maria is happy working for the Gazette writing a food column only to have her column changed to a love AND food advice column. She starts to receive all sorts of letters from readers asking for love advice and in return Tannie Maria writes back with honest love advice along with recipes which she believes will help their situations. Tannie Maria believes that different foods can help different situations and she is constantly cooking and bringing people food. BUT don’t be tricked by all my talk of food, there is a murder mystery underneath all the yummy cooking. It takes the whole village to work together to solve the murder(s) and even a few handsome police officers.

Definitely you should read this book!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26010158-recipes-for-love-and-murder

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2874812.Sally_Andrew

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1435836813

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/38629860-adrienne-b

42 ~ What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris (Book #5 Sebastian St. Cyr Series)

I have been really enjoying this series. A mystery with a little bit of suspense and romance thrown in; I can’t wait to get to the next books.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6423507-what-remains-of-heaven

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22067.C_S_Harrishttps://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1435834404

41 ~ The Next Always by Nora Roberts (Book 1 of Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy)

Not horrible, but a 3 star. This novel has a great cover which piqued my interest but the storyline felt a bit forced and elaborated. The descriptions of the Inn were in-depth to say the least and the stalker Sam felt like he was added in as an afterthought to add drama. A quick read and a feel good novel but fell a bit short for me on content. Interesting to find out that Nora Roberts and her husband actually renovated and own the Inn.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10305231-the-next-always?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

40 ~ Where Serpents Sleep by C. S. Harris (Book #4 Sebastian St. Cyr Series)

A fun easy read. Not a romance really, more of a mystery/detective novel. I read the first book in the series and didn’t love it but decided to give it another chance. Just starting book #5. I appreciated that there was enough mystery and action to keep to me interested and wanting to find out who was killing everyone and why. The story has Hero Jarvis, who is very independent and an early feminist type character. She claims that she does not want to get married but would not mind having children of her own if she could without society rejecting her. She follows class protocol most of the time but occasionally throws it off to accomplish her own agenda. Secondly there is Sebastian who is trying to recover from his heartbreak with Kat. He is not ready for a relationship either but he and Hero work well together in solving the murders.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3142581-where-serpents-sleep?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

22, 23, 24

 24 ~ Nothing Like Love by Sabrina Ramnanan

     Nothing Like Love really surprised me. The Trinidad and Tobago setting was unique and a pleasant change from the novel’s I typically choose. I also really appreciated the religious aspects of the lives of the characters being inter-woven into the story which made it feel more realistic. The lives of Vimla and Krishna seem predetermined by their parents but through a series of choices they each make, their lives take very different directions from what their parents anticipate. Vimla at first comes across as independent but through heartbreak she becomes pliable to her parents wishes. Krishna is first introduced as a troublemaker and a free spirit. Krishna’s father is the head spiritual leader in their community and strongly desires his son to train to take over for him when he dies.

Vimla and Krishna both have to work past their parent’s dreams for their lives and discover what paths they want to take whether it be together as a couple or separately. Krishna’s self-determination fails him at the most inopportune times and his repeated apologies to Vimla eventually take a toll on their blossoming love affair. It feels like everyone in this novel turns out to be much more complex than they appear to be at the beginning and the story draws you in and keeps you engaged. I would recommend this book as a great read but wouldn’t say it felt specifically like a “romance” novel.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22716397-nothing-like-love

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8384279.Sabrina_Ramnanan

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/38629860-adrienne-b

23 ~ The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart

I found The Night Stages a difficult novel to get through. I felt like Tam, the main character needed to be given a self-esteem boost. She had everything going for her, she was a pilot and grew up in a wealthy home with a father who continued to support her through adulthood. Tam had her share of heart-break but not so much that she needed to stay with her horrible lover, Niall, for as long as she did. Kieran, Niall’s brother also was a hard character to understand. It seemed like everything was in Keiran’s head and if the world would just leave him alone he would be fine.

The side storyline of Kenneth and his art really confused me and seemed out-of-place. That part of the novel didn’t tie into Tam, Niall and Keiran’s story enough to be relevant. The entire story was not complex enough to keep me engaged and I found myself pushing through the book just to get to the ending when nothing really happened at the end anyways. You could read half of this book and get just as much out of it as you would reading it in its entirety. I probably wouldn’t recommend The Night Stages to my friends.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23209962-the-night-stages

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/67482.Jane_Urquhart

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/38629860-adrienne-b

 

22 ~ Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham

An easy and fun book for the poolside. Sleeping Arrangements isn’t going to draw you in to the deeper meanings of life but I still enjoyed it. Two families are thrust into spending their vacation at the same villa; each character has their own set of problems to work through. I always hope for a happy tidy ending but this book won’t give you that pleasure. Still a fun read and shouldn’t take more than a few nights to get through.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/67295.Madeleine_Wickham

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/194086.Sleeping_Arrangements

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/38629860-adrienne-b

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized