What I read- Summer 2017

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The Girls by Emma Cline– This book would have been my holy grail as a teenager. I was obsessed with true crime (still am) and this novel about a young girl entangled with a Manson Family- like cult before a horrific series of murders are committed is incredible. The writer absolutely NAILED the voice of a 14 year old girl, so much so that it actually made me feel uncomfortable. Teenage girls brains are terrifying. Highly recommend.

Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo– The story of two very different sisters traveling on a doomed ship during the First World War.  This novel is based on the author’s great grandfather’s stories about surviving the sinking of the Lusitania.

The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman–  In order to work on their respective novels,  Clare and her husband move out of the city to serve as caretakers at a historical house in the Hudson Valley. Soon Claire realizes that something strange is happening in the house- the sound of babies crying, a sense of a dark presence, an evil which seems to be focused on her. This writers “northern gothic” novels are some of my favourites but this one didn’t engage me as much as her earlier books.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston– I loved this book. I read almost all of it on a solo 3 hour plane ride. Basically, think Cinderella if she was a cosplay nerd and prince charming was a teen movie heartthrob. Throw in some science fiction homages and you have one of the sweetest and endearing YA novels I have read in a long time.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn– This was recently a pick on the Reece Witherspoon Book Club so I guess its only a matter of time before this becomes a movie. The narrative alternates between the story of a women drafter to be a spy with The Alice Network during World War One in France and a pregnant college girl who runs away to France to look for her cousin who went missing during World War 2. I loved this book and cannot wait for more books by the author.

Fallen by Lauren Kate– Think Twilight but instead of vampires you have.. angels… Ya. I am sure you are asking yourself why I read this. It wasn’t as badly written as the Twilight books, but I suggest you skip it and just see the movie (if you are so inclined) and I NEVER suggest seeing the movie instead of reading the book.

Kiss me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt– The fourth book in a series about the inhabitants of Willoughby close. Sweet cosy read about two people finding love.

What did you read over the summer? I am always looking for recommendations!

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Toddler Favourites- Two Years Old!

Toddler Favourites- Two Years Old

Leapfrog Number Lovin’ Oven– We don’t have room for a play kitchen in our house so this little talking oven is a real life/spacesaver

Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway Set–  SOO happy that I kept all the tracks and trains from the twin’s big bro ( are they ever expensive)! They love them as much as he did.

Megablocks Big Building Bag– WOW do all three kids enjoy these. The twins are well on their way to being  master builder and their brother loves helping them make elaborate constructions! Next stop- LEGO!

IKEA Lockig Potty– Cheap and cheerful. Let the potty training fun begin.

“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”– This is a favourite book in our house and a fun, rythmic way of teaching the alphabet.

Beanie Boos– All three kids are OBSESSED withe these big eyes plushies.

 

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What I Read- February 2017

What I Read- February 2017

 

The Breakdown by B.A Paris (vis Netgalley. In stores June 20th 2017) – When Cass passed a a broken down car on a forested road in the middle of a driving rainstorm she never imagined that she might have prevented the murder of the driver. As the intense guild increases, she starts to question her own memories of that night and of every day since- she seems to be missing time.
Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry– After Nora finds her sister dead inside her rural country home, she cannot let it go. She is convinced that it has something to do with the vicious assault that her sister suffered years earlier.
The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell– In Toulouse, Louisiana folks get married young. Four friends negotiate young love and heartache.
Flapper by Joshua Zeitz– An historical account of the rise of the cultural and feminist revolution of the 1920’s that brought about the Flapper.
What did you read this month? I am always looking for new books!!!
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Reviewed: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Prep and American Wife are two of my all-time favourite books so when I heard several years ago that Curtis Sittenfeld had been chosen by the Austen Project to write a reimagining of another of my favourite books, Pride and Prejudice I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled when I was approved by Netgalley to read a galley copy of  Eligible before it is released on April 19th.

This is a story that you know, but this is no straight update for the 21st century.

Liz Bennet and her older sister Jane have been living grown up lives in New York for two decades when they are called back home to Cincinnati after there father suffers a health scare. Once back in their families crumbling mock Tudor home, they realize that their slightly dozy parents as well as their three younger sisters Mary, Kitty and Lydia are barely capable of taking care of themselves. Their mother is a shameless shopoholic and the younger sisters still live at home, don’t work and basically mooch off their parents, who as it turns out are financially tapped out. Mrs Bennet is desperate for one of her daughters to marry well so she can brag to her country club friends and pretend that their financial circumstances are not as dire as they are.

Enter Chip Bingley, a doctor who recently starred on Eligible, a “Bachelor” like reality TV show. He has just moved to town and introduces the Bennetts to his friend Darcy,  a Neurosurgeon (!) from California. And so it goes…..

I was not sure how I would wrap my head around a modern retelling of one of my favourite books but I really enjoyed this novel. I think I liked it so much because it was not so much a retelling as a reimagining. The characters that you love (and love to hate) are all present and accounted for but the story has been updated to a point where it seems believable in 2016- a straight retelling of this story would not really work in this day and age and Sittenfeld addresses that in an honest way. This novel  has sex (!), deals with gender and sexuality, race, politics… all the things that show up on our Facebook and Twitter feeds daily.

Is this book perfect? No. I don’t think that any book trying to reimagine a beloved classic could ever be perfect but the author has created a world that the reader cares about and roots for and relates to the characters and to me, that is just about the most important thing.

 

 

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Books I Read- November/ December 2014

After a horrendous first trimester of my pregnancy (when I basically existed with my head under a pillow), I have finally got back to reading in a big way- I have been devouring books at a crazy rate! I have read so many books that I am not including them all here because that would be boring. This post is dedicated only to the books that I have really enjoyed and would recommend to you, my darling readers!

Any recommendations for books that I have to read???

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Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

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It Started with Paris by Cathy Kelly

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Meadowlands by Elizabeth Jeffrey (via Net Galley- available April 1st)

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Searching for Grace Kelley by Michael Callahan  (via Net Galley- Available January 27th)

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Scandals of Classic Hollywood by Anne Helen Petersen

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The Surrogate by Tania Carver  

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The Weight of Water by Laura McHugh

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Books I Read- May 2014

The Nightingale Nurses by Donna Douglas

The Nightingale Nurses series by Donna Douglas (I read first four books in series, first three via Net Galley)  I am a huge Call the Midwife fan so this series about nurses in the East End of London in the 1930’s was a no brainer for me. The books are a bit melodramatic, but the characters are well developed and I became very attached to them. I hope that there are more books to come!

 Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Liu

Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui  I have been reading Lainey Gossip since it was a weekly email and while I sometimes take issue with her and her style, this book is truly wonderful. It is honest and refreshing, a love letter to a mother who has taught her some amazing lessons.

Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits

Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway– One in a series of books patterned after Jane Austen novels that take place in the Deep South, this was a fun read although a bit religious for me. If you are an Austen fan but not a total purist, you will enjoy this book!

 

Buried Angels by Camilla Lackberg

Buried Angels by Camilla Lackberg– The 8th book in one of my fave thriller series ever. Those Swedes are really good at this type of book. Lackbergs novels are twisted yet the characters are real and relatable.  I would recommend starting at the beginning with The Ice Princess, the first book in the series. Also be prepared to crave coffee while you read- the characters drink A LOT of it… like an obscene amount of coffee.

 

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Book Review and Giveaway- Then and Always by Dani Atkins

atkins_thenandalways_pb[1]A tragedy the summer she was 18 changed Rachel’s life forever. She cut herself off from everything and sunk deep down into the grief of her memories.  Five years later, an accident knocks her unconscious and when she awakens, she is surrounded by family and friends, people she has know her entire life…. yet everything is different. Her father no longer has cancer, the boyfriend she had run away from all those years ago is apparently her fiance and a friend long dead appears to be alive and well.  As Rachel tries to reconcile the last five years as she knew it with her new reality, she tries to understand her place in the world and her relationships with the people in it.

“Then and Always” is the perfect book for lovers of the film “Sliding Doors”; a book that asks the question “what if?”  A novel in the style of Emily Giffen, this book was a fun read from start to finish. The ending left me thinking and processing for a while, and I was ultimately very satisfied by this book!

This would be the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day or to read on the beach!!

One reader will win a copy of ” Now and Always”! Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below! (Canada Only)

 

 

 

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Book Review: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien De Castell

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Image c/o Penguin Canada

Falcio Val Mond is one of the last of the Greatcoats, a special band of men and women who served as magistrates for the King. When the King is killed, the Greatcoats are shunned and treated as traitors by the powerful Dukes who have taken control of the country, after killing the Monarch. Falcio and his friends Krest and Brasti eek out a living as mercenary bodyguards to the caravans that crisscross the country roads.  The three of them begin working for a mysterious noblewomen and end up in a distant city in the midst of Blood Week, nine days when murder is not only tolerated but encouraged. Falico becomes the unwitting protector of a young girl who’s entire family has been slaughtered and that is when things really start to get interesting for the trio.

Traitor’s Blade is not the usual type of book I gravitate to, but when Penguin sent out a call to review it, I was intrigued as it sounded like it might appeal to the rabid Game of Thrones fan in me. This book eludes a specific genre; It is a quest tale in a fictional world that bears little resemblance to our own, so it could be considered fantasy, but it also has mystery and a lot of thrills.

The first person narration allows the reader to truly understand the mind of Falcio; his emotions and intentions. He is not the perfect fairy tale hero. He is flawed, damaged and makes numerous mistakes throughout the book.  On the surface, he is not even the most likeable character, but he gains the readers’ trust, sympathy and  support through his desire to uphold the morals of the Greatcoats in a very immoral world.  Like Tyrion, on the TV version of Game of Thrones, he is funny and uses humour to help himself deal with difficult situations.

The language in the novel is very rich and the imagined world is incredibly well-developed and detailed. This detail also extends to the many fight scenes, which are truly amazing in their texture and complexity; almost cinematic. I found these parts of the novel completely fascinating.

The tale takes many twists and turns as the Greatcoats engage in cat and mouse games with the corrupt Dukes and Duchesses and I was truly surprised by several of the red herrings along the way and there was only one reveal that I felt coming a mile away (it was still a great moment in the story regardless.) I honestly could not turn the pages fast enough, especially as I got close to the en.

This is the first book in a series and I will certainly be reading the future adventures of Falcio and his crew. I can’t believe that I have to wait to see what happens next!!!!

Available now from Amazon, Amazon Canada and Chapters Indigo

and follow @PenguinCanada and @decastell  for more Traitor’s Blade fun!!!

Happy reading!!!!

 

** Disclaimer- I was given a copy of this book for reviewing purposes from Penguin Canada. All opinions are my own.

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