Tag Archives: Books

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

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Mystery and Intrigue in London in the 1800s

Just a quick book review if you are looking for a recommendation for some light reading this April! A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain is a time-shift historical fiction available April 11, 2017.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30334200-a-twist-in-time?utm_medium=api&utm_source=blog_book

A Twist in Time is chock-full of mystery and secrecy in upper class British society. The novel which takes place against the backdrop of London in the 1800s is a surprisingly good read! When I read the description I was expecting it to be a bit like Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict but this book was far better!

Julie McElwain gives us a vivid view of life in 1815. Kendra Donovan the heroine of the series struggles to accept that she has been dropped somehow in 1815 and is thrown into a series of murder investigations. The literary is style engaging and Kendra’s character is confident and adventurous. The plot of “A Twist in Time” keeps up a good pace moving from scene to scene and I didn’t feel like there were any long and drawn out sections. Some time-shift novels have an heightened sense of implausibility but because Kendra has chose to trust the Duke of Aldridge and his nephew Alec with her secret, it somehow makes her presence in the 1800s more plausible. I also appreciated the author changing the point-of-view intermittingly from Kendra to some of the other characters to allow for differing perspectives. Kendra Donovan is an intelligent, solid and delightful heroine and I cannot wait to read more about her adventures.

I also want to thank NetGalley and Pegasus Books for a pre-release copy of the book to read and review.

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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