Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 5 TBR list

There is just not enough time in the day for me to read. Here are 5 books that I really wish I would have had time to read in 2011. Hoping I can tackle them early in 2012.

“Sidda can't help herself, She just loves books. Loves the way they feel, the way they smell, loves those black letters marching across the white pages.”

                                                                                       ― Rebecca Wells, Little Altars Everywhere

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 5 YA Novels of 2011

So many great YA novels were published in 2011. I love reading YA, and the covers suck me in all the time. I'm desperatly waiting for Insurgent, and Pandemoium to come out. I didn't love Forbidden, but it left me very emotionally confused, and for that reason it is on my list.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top 3 Canadian Reads of 2011

I love reading Canadian authors, and these 3 books were amazing!

If you have any Canadian Author recommendations, please leave me a comment!

I have a goal to read more Canadian Fiction in 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top 10 Books of 2011

2011 was a great reading yesr for me. My goal was to read 75 books this year, and I was able to surpass my goal. I hope some of these are new to you, and I've peaked your interests. These are all great reads!

Wildflower Hill by Kimberly Freeman (review to come in 2012)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I Wish That I Could Wrap Up Christmas

I wish that I could wrap up all the love and Holiday cheer

That comes along with Christmas and with New Year's every year,

Pack it in a pretty box and put it on my shelf

And pull it down again each year and give it to myself.

I wish that I could tie up all my favorite carols with twine,

Wind around some ribbon, too, and for twelve months call them mine

Until the next Yuletide came when the sounds again could be unfurled

And untie every single one then give them to the world.

Poem from Holidayspot

All Ready!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A look back at 2011...

I can't believe that Christmas is coming so quickly! I'm very excited, and looking forward to spending some time with my family. Next week, I will be listing my Top 10 favorite books of 2011, Top 3 Canadian reads, Top 5 YA reads, Top 5 Adult Fiction reads, and Top 5 books I wish I had time for.

2011 was a great year for reading and blogging. I moved my blog from Iweb to blogger, which was very difficult but much needed. Iweb will be discontinued in 2012, and I really had so many problems with it. I've been enjoying blogger, and don't plan to move any time soon. All my posts have been moved at this point, which makes me very happy.

This year seems to have been the year for the ereader. Now more than ever, I see ereaders everywhere. That makes me happy because I know people are reading. While I will always own books, I think I really embraced the ereading experience this year. I love the ease of use and the fact that I can always have a collection of books with me. My first reader was a Sony 505 and I barely use it. It always seemed like the books I wanted weren't available, or not available in Canada. I'm happy that this is no longer an issue for me.

In 2012, I have some blogging goals that I would like to accomplish. I really want to work on my reviews, I want to try and make them better. A little less personal, but give my opinion. I also think I'm going to go back to a rating. I don't like giving numberical ratings, but I want to categorize them somehow.

One of my main goals to to bring attention to 2012 debut adult fiction authors. I have a database set up, and will probably do a monthly post about which books are out, or coming out. I'm excited to review these books as well, and will probably try and get some interviews.

My goal was to read 75 books this year, and I was able to surpass this goal. Now, I need to commit to a higher number for 2012!

I hope 2011 has been great for all my readers, and I want to thank everyone for coming to my blog.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: The Christmas Letters by Bret Nicholas

This is a very quick read. I picked it up at the local bookstore and was intrigued by a quote on the back of the book. 

"Don't let the size of this book mislead you, because it contains a huge reminder of what Christmas is all about. Keep it close by to read year after year." -Donna Vanliere 

This quote was absolutely correct, small book but a huge message. 

Grandpa doubts he will live to have another Christmas. He gives each of his family, a velvet letter that represents one of the letters in world Christmas. As all the family members ponder what the letters represents, he carefully explains what each letter means to him. Each letters makes his Christmas whole and without one letter (family member) his Christmas would not be fulfilled. He reminds us of the small things in life. Such as putting the angel on the Christmas tree, reminiscing about old stories, and having someone bake you cookies. Although, things may seem small to you to another it may mean the world. This book puts Christmas into perspective, and I would love to read it again next year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wow: Absolution

 *2012 Debut novel*

Goodreads Description:

In her garden, ensconced in the lush vegetation of the Western Cape, Clare Wald, world-renowned author, mother, critic, takes up her pen and confronts her life. Sam Leroux has returned to South Africa to embark upon a project that will establish his reputation – he is to write Clare’s biography. But how honest is she prepared to be? Was she complicit in past crimes; is she an accomplice or a victim? Are her crimes against her family real or imagined? As Sam and Clare turn over the events of her life, she begins to seek reconciliation, absolution. But in the stories she weaves and the truth just below the surface of her shimmering prose, lie Sam’s own ghosts.

Absolution shines light on contemporary South Africa and the long dark shadow of the recent past, the elusive nature of truth and self-perception and the mysterious alchemy of the creative process. It is a debut of extraordinary strength and power.

*released March 27, 2012.

WOW: Glow & Cracked

Synopsis (2012 Debut March)

In the autumn of 1941, Amelia J. McGee, a young woman of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish descent, and an outspoken pamphleteer for the NAACP, hastily sends her daughter, Ella, alone on a bus home to Georgia in the middle of the night—a desperate action that is met with dire consequences when the child encounters two drifters and is left for dead on the side of the road. Ella awakens to find herself in the homestead of Willie Mae Cotton, a hoodoo practitioner and former slave, and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn, tucked away in the fertile Takatoka Forest. As Ella begins to heal, the legacies of her lineage are revealed.

Glow transports us from Washington, D.C., on the brink of World War II to 1836 and into the mountain coves of Hopewell County, Georgia, full of ghosts both real and imagined. Illuminating the tragedy of human frailty, the power of friendship and hope, and the fiercest of all human bonds—mother-love—this stunning debut will appeal to readers of both Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees and Amy Greene's Bloodroot.

Cracked by K M Walton


Sometimes there's no easy way out.

Victor hates his life. He has no friends, gets beaten up at school, and his parents are always criticizing him. Tired of feeling miserable, Victor takes a bottle of his mother's sleeping pills—only to wake up in the hospital.

Bull is angry, and takes all of his rage out on Victor. That makes him feel better, at least a little. But it doesn't stop Bull's grandfather from getting drunk and hitting him. So Bull tries to defend himself with a loaded gun.

When Victor and Bull end up as roommates in the same psych ward, there's no way to escape each other or their problems. Which means things are going to get worse—much worse—before they get better….

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Comment System

I've decided to install Intense Debate on my blog. I really wanted to be able to reply to comments.

If you have any issues using Intense Debate, please let me know.

Review: Impatient with Desire by Gabrielle Burton

Publisher: Voice 
Pages: 241 
Source: Publisher

During the 1840's there was a massive immigration of American pioneers to California. Tamsen Donner and her husband George had that dream. They planned to uproot their lives and begin a new life in sunny California. In the spring of 1846, the Donner family and eighty other pioneers began to travel to California full of optimism and excitement. Unfortunately, due to a massive blizzard the Donner party became entrapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains for four months with barely any supplies. "Impatient with Desire" is a historical fiction novel written through journal entries and letters in the voice of Tamsen Donner. This is a story of courage, hope, guilt and sacrifice. Humans will do unspeakable things to survive. Hunger pains will make people greedy. The Donner party were speculated to have been forced into cannibalism during the desperate times. While Tamsen records the many deaths in her bible, we learn that of the 87 people who traveled with them only 46 survived. Tamsen's voice throughout the story varies. Some days she is full of hope and faith while other days she questions if they will survive. As her husband begins failing, she questions if he will survive. She questions if they all will survive. This is a heart breaking a tale. 

The Tamsen Donner story was completely new to me. I had never heard of this story before. A good historical novel always leaves me researching. "Impatient with Desire" sent me on a search to learn more about this heartbreaking story. While many of there stories are speculation, many of them seem plausible. Tamsen's story is a story of a strong, courageous woman. A woman, who wanted more for herself. However, she endured more than anyone could imagine. Her aspirations for adventure left her family suffering, and her emotions run rampant in this book. Both her and her husband blame themselves, and want nothing but to survive. This is a heavy, emotional read. I highly recommend this one. It was very different, and worth the read.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

The story begins when a young boy is arrested for throwing a semi-frozen turkey through his father and step-mother's window. The arresting officer beings to tell the young boy the tale of Lou Sufferen, a workaholic and neglectful family man. Lou is constantly attempting to be in two places at the same time. He never has enough time in the day and his family is never a priority in his life. While walking out of the office one day Lou meets and befriends a homeless man named Gabe. Gabe tells Lou that his boss Mr. Patterson has been having secret dinners with his work rival. Lou, driven by success begins to feel he must do everything possible to convince his boss that he is the right man for the new promotion. Lou attempts to help Gabe by offering him a job in the mailroom.While it may seem that Lou is assisting Gabe, Gabe is really the one who is trying to teach Lou the importance of balancing work commitments and family commitments. 

I didn't really enjoy this novel. The characters seemed to annoy me. Lou's wife Ruth has caught him having an affair with the nanny and she is told by Lou that he kissed his secretary. She does nothing about this. She tears up, complains that he is never home but she never stands up for herself. The same goes for Lou's family. His sister, brother, mother and father all allow him to walk over them. They allow Lou to constantly disappoint them. Lou's sister Marcia is the only one who attempts to confront him about his behaviour. I felt the characters were really weak, and I could not relate to them. Would I recommend this book? not sure... 

The packaging was very cute, and the book cover was beautiful! It just wasn't for me...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In My Mailbox

I'm celebrating Christmas with my parents tonight, since I will be out of town. I did get lots of review books but I'll save them for my next IMM. Sorry no links this week...

Here are my ebook purchases:

Angel Burn by L A Weatherly
Ash by Malinda Lo
Dancergirl by Carol M Tanzman
Smoke and Bone by Iaini Taylor
Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga
New York by Edward Rutherford
The Pioneer by Paul Almond

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: All I Have to Give by Melody Carlson

Anna and her husband have been putting Christmas off for two years. After suffering a traumatic miscarriage and multiple expensive failed fertility treatments Anna and Michael have no more hope of conceiving a baby. Michael and Anna have offered their nursery furniture to her brother and reluctant sister in law in an attempt to move on. Anna suddenly feels sick, and worries she may have ovarian cancer. The same sickness and symptoms that has taken her mother. Anna believes she may not have much time left, and promises to not put Christmas off any longer. She wants this to be the best Christmas ever. Michael is unaware of the situation, and Anna does everything she can to make this Christmas memorable. Anna and Michael really love each other, and this truly is a Christmas love story.

"All I Have to Give" is a touching, heartfelt read. I really enjoyed this book. I liked it more than "The Christmas Bus." I felt the story flowed better, and the story is great. If your looking for a quick holiday read, I would recommend this one.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: The Highest Stakes by Emery Lee

Publisher: Sourcebooks 
Pages: 538 
Source: Publisher 

'The Highest Stakes' is a novel about life, loss and the courage to endure. Charlotte Wallace was a young girl when her parents died, suddenly orphaned, she was sent to live with her only living relatives. She was placed under her uncaring uncle's guardianship and secretly developed a passion for horses. Charlotte found refuge in the stables. She was a skilled equestrian during a time when women were not allowed to race. Her ruthless, horse obsessed uncle saw life as a business proposition and Charlotte was a mere pawn in his game, he intended to marry her off to the highest bidder with no intention of allowing her to marry her true love, the stable hand named Robert Devington. Robert, young, hopeful and strong-willed sets out to make a name for himself, he's optimistic he will be able to prove his worth to Sir Garfield Wallace and win Charlotte's hand. Charlotte is the only pawn in Sir Garfield's Wallace's plan, his own children were used to higher his position in society. His daughter Beatrix finds herself in a fragile position, threatening her future and her father's reputation. 'The Highest Stakes' is a riveting, unpredictable, historical read with great story lines. 

I really enjoyed this novel. Emery Lee is an outstanding in this debut novel, recreating a time I knew little about. Her story placed me into a world with political unrest, thoroughbred horse-racing and family disputes. As a history buff, I loved this novel. I wasn't sure what to expect, I've never read anything about horse racing, and thought it might not be for me. I was wrong, this was a book for me. The historical facts didn't interfere with the story lines, it added to the character's lives. I highly recommend this one. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wow: The Darlings

 *2012 Debut novel*

Goodreads Description:

A sophisticated page-turner about a wealthy New York family embroiled in a financial scandal with cataclysmic consequences.

Now that he's married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionare financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries. When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. Thrilled with his good fortune in the midst of the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression, Paul accepts the position. But Paul's luck is about to shift: a tragic event catapults the Darling family into the media spotlight, a regulatory investigation, and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved. With echoes of a fictional Too Big to Fail and the novels of Dominick Dunne, The Darlings offers an irresistible glimpse into the highest echelons of New York society--a world seldom seen by outsiders--and a fast-paced thriller of epic proportions.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: Broken by Travis Thrasher

Pages: 288 
Publisher: FaithWords 
Source: Publisher 

Laila had everything a girl could want. She was wealthy, beautiful and living a charmed life. Laila wanted more, and as a young rebellious teenager she has made many mistakes. She abandoned her family, and vowed to make her way in the world. After many wrong turns, she's now a young woman on the run. She's broken, shattered and running away from a horrendous, disgraceful past. While working as a call girl, she was forced to shoot and kill a man when he threatened her own life. As much as she tried to run away, the memories and the guilt remain with her. To make matters worst, strange things have been happening to her, and she knows she's in danger. She's in a different town trying to start over and live a normal life but you can never forget the past. She afraid, and petrified. A stranger has been stalking her, and he admits that he knows what she did. She knows he wants something from her but she doesn't know what, he prefers to play games and keep her guessing. While he is following her everywhere, she has been seeing her dead victim everywhere. How can he be appearing in front of her if she killed him? Can anyone help her? She hasn't spoken to her family in years, and she doesn't believe they would want to help her. Laila is lonely, she has no hope, no faith and she's constantly living in terror. Will she survive or give up? Everyone has their limitations... 

There were times when I loved this novel, and other times I felt like I was forcing myself to read it. Travis is constantly changing point of views, and I felt that there was an issue with the flow. It felt forced, and challenging. I wanted to like Laila but I could not relate to her. Broken was an uncomfortable read, I felt like Laila was an unreliable witness. She withheld so much information. As each new character was introduced, I was confused trying to figure out why they were in the story. I was not comfortable with the supernatural aspects of the story. I found them unbelievable and the story less credible. I'm not even sure the Christian Fiction element was relevant. I felt like it was more supernatural and out of place. As a thriller, I enjoyed it but there was something missing. I wanted more, and I was left unsatisfied

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Source: Personal Ebook

Juliette is seventeen years old, and her life is looking bleak. She has been locked away and hasn’t spoken or touched anyone in 264 days. She is a lonely girl, and for years others have been afraid of her. Her own parents are very afraid of her and agreed to lock her up. She’s been cursed with a rare and deadly gift, if she touches anyone and holds on long enough, not only does she emit severe pain, she can kill. She has killed, a young boy and she’s been traumatized ever since. The reestablishment has locked her away in solitary confinement but a young man is put into the same cell as Juliette, and she doesn’t know what to think. Initially she is very afraid, after several weeks she begins to trust Adam and show him how to survive. When Juliette is yanked from her cell, and taken to the reestablishment it becomes clear that Adam is not who Juliette thought he was. Adam is a soldier and the leader, Warner has used Adam to evaluate Juliette. Warner intends to use Juliette to fight his cause, and use her gift for his greed. Juliette must decide if she can possibly use her gift to hurt others, and in return live the life of luxuries. Adam might have lied to her, but their chemistry is undeniable. Juliette learns to manipulate Warner while she figures out what she needs to do.

Shatter Me has received an incredible amount of buzz. While this book is a dystopian novel, it focuses more on Juliette and her gift and not so much on her surroundings. Readers are aware that the state of the area is in upheaval, but readers are not aware of the extent.  As a result the world building is lacking. Juliette has been locked away for so long, through her point of view readers are not told very much. The author’s style may be off-putting for some, and certainly takes some time to get use to. The strikethroughs are meant to convey Juliette’s stream of consciousness, and her obvious frustrations, confusion and fear. As Juliette begins to make sense of her world, and gathers the strength and courage to take her life into her own hands, the strikethroughs begin to cease. She has a clearer outlook on her surroundings, a clearer mind. The secondary characters are not very well developed, Adam and Warner are exceptions but still there seems to be background information missing. While the story has its fault, it has readers curious, and holding out for more. 

Overall, I was entertained by Shatter Me. I had my issues with the story, but I kept reading. I was able to connect with Juliette and Adam, and hope for the best.  The story really started to pick up half way through, and then I didn’t want to put it down.  I would actually call it more sci-fi, until we have more of the world building to understand how it is a dystopian. This trilogy has a lot of potential, and I believe my questions will be address in the upcoming books. This is a unique young adult novel, and the buzz has been justified in my opinion.  It held my attention, and introduced some interesting concepts.

P.S I am not a fan of this. I am not a fan of this….

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In My Mailbox

I can't believe Christmas is 2 weeks away! I've been really busy with baking, shopping and decorating. I hope everyone has been enjoying the season. Montreal hasn't had much snow, and I've been very happy with no snow. I did have a good week for review books, and I've been getting more and more 2012 Debut books. 

Here is what I received for review:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review: Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell
Pages: 167
Source: Publisher

Lena Markham is ready to move on. She's recently been released from prison after serving eight years for a crime she didn't commit. She's looking to start over, and get her life back on track. While she's been in prison her parents have passed on, her husband has run off with his good name, her money and a new mistress. Lena finds herself paroled during the holidays, and she leaves prison with the clothes on her back, a one-way bus ticket to a new town, sixty-five dollars in cash, and a prearranged boardinghouse accommodation. When Lena sits down on the bus, lonely and starving she never could have guessed how her life would change. An elderly lady named Moira sits down beside her, recognizes her desperation and takes a leap of faith. Moira becomes her friend. Lena receives some clothing and a second-hand red coat from Moira that soon helps land her a job as Mrs. Clause in the local department store. Lena's life begins to starting looking up, she makes good friends, enjoys her day-to-day life but of course you can't always run from your past...

This is the third Melody Carlson Christmas book that I've read, and each one seems to get better and better. I look for certain things in a Christmas book, I want a short read, a good story and a strong message. Melody Carlson delivers each of these things flawlessly. I was rooting for Lena that whole way through, I wanted her to succeed, I wanted her to beat the system. This book was a very heartwarming, and I highly recommend it. This is a story about second changes, and the holiday spirit. Melody Carlson's Christmas books are really great.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 336
Source: Personal Book

In short, this book is a must read. A compelling, fascinating and a brilliant read. When I first started the book, I thought it was a very "odd" book. Once I gave it some time, I thought it was hilarious and couldn’t put it down. The Elegance of the Hedgehog is an unusual book that focuses on philosophy, class and culture. I really enjoyed the characters. Mmd. Michel and Paloma were two of my favorite. It was very interesting to see their views on the world. They both seem to believe that everyone and everything had a role to play in life, and there is no way around it. A straight cut path that must never be changed. Mmd. Michel believes she is the concierge of the building and nothing more. She hides her intelligence because as a concierge she must fit into her stereotype and the overall hierarchy. Paloma is afraid to become an adult and plans to commit suicide before her 13th birthday. It seems that Paloma believes adults are tarnished. Her mother has been in therapy for ten years, and she clearly has issues with her father and sister. Life is about struture, and stereotypes. Paloma begins to drink tea rather than coffee, coffee is a nasty persons drink while tea is "elegant and enchanting." When Mr. Ozu comes to live in their building, Mmd. Michel is no longer able to hide. He has a suspicion that she is not merely a concierge, he believes her cat is named after Tolstoy and he begins to observe her. Eventually, Mmd. Michel gives in to her convictions. She comes out of her shell, and befriends Mr. Ozu. Mmd Michel's change brings out hope in young Paloma.

This book is a must read, it's entertaining and really makes readers think. A story of interior struggles. The structure of this book works really well, and keeps the readers entertained and stimulated. Each chapter reads like an essay, and Barbery has unquestionable talent. While it did seem strange to begin, it didn’t take me long to be completly absored and invested in the characters. This is a book I would love to reread. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wow: Forgotten Country

*2012 Debut Adult Fiction Novel*

Goodreads Description:

On the night Janie waits for her sister, Hannah, to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. As time passes, Janie hears more stories, while facts remain unspoken. Her father tells tales about numbers, and in his stories everything works out. In her mother's stories, deer explode in fields, frogs bury their loved ones in the ocean, and girls jump from cliffs and fall like flowers into the sea. Within all these stories are warnings.
Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie embarks on a mission to find her sister and finally uncover the truth beneath her family's silence. To do so, she must confront their history, the reason for her parents' sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and ultimately her conflicted feelings toward her sister and her own role in the betrayal behind their estrangement.
Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.

This one will be for my 2012 Debut Adult Fiction challenge. It sounds amazing!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review: In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld

Pages: 258 
Publisher: Unbridled Books 
Source: Publisher 

'In Hovering Flight' is an impressive debut novel about relationships. Relationships between lovers, friends and children. Addie Sturmer begins school studying to become a teacher, shortly before graduating she throws caution out the window and decides to paint and study birds. She no longer wants the stability of a teaching degree. One class seems to change the course of her life. She falls in love with her married professor, waits for his inevitable divorce and marries him shortly after. She gives birth to their daughter and together they follow their passions. Standing beside her are her best friends Cora and Lou. 

The novel begins with Addie succumbing from her second bout with cancer. After refusing treatment her daughter Scarlet has come to say goodbye. Addie has chosen to die at the home of her best friend Cora, afraid to taint the history of their home together and wanting to be surrounded by her friends. Cora, Lou, Scarlet and Tom reminisce about their final moments with Addie. Scarlet had the only parents who voluntarily worked on weekends and every chance they had.Their work was very much a part of their lives. They did not have a 9-5 job that they left at the office. Her father, a respected Ornithologist and mother a well known artist and environmentalist. Scarlet grew up feeling secondary in her parents lives. She never felt like she was their primary concern and her relationships with them became strained. She was named after a bird her mother loved to paint. Through conversations, memories and her mothers field journals, Scarlet begins to understand the woman she called her mother. The woman she felt was so different. Addie has asked for an illegal burial, together Scarlet and her father decide if they should honor her wishes or not. 

I really enjoyed this novel. I wasn't sure what to expect, and in the beginning was a little unsure if I would like it. Once I started to learn more about the characters, I was curious about their lives. I wanted to know more about Lou and Cora. I wanted to see how Tom and Addie's relationship grew. I wanted to know more about Scarlet and her secret. Each character's story was fascinating. The alternate perspectives allowed me to get to know each character. Hard to believe this is a debut novel, the writing is simply beautiful and accomplished.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

Review: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
Publisher: Bantam

Pages: 320
Source: Publisher

Stephanie Plum should have learned by now that trouble follows her. Her dream vacation, is nothing close to perfect. When she goes on vacation to Hawaii and returns home after an apparent argument between Ranger and Morelli, her life gets even rockier. Unable and unwilling to deal with the argument, she hops on the earliest flight and heads home. When she returns she learns the FBI are now looking for her. The man sitting next to her on the plane turns up dead, which explains why her seat was empty after the layover but a mysterious picture turns up in her messenger bag, it seems that everyone wants this picture but Stephanie no longer has it. Of course, she has real FBI agents, and fake FBI agents looking for her, a woman who claims to be the victim’s fiancĂ©, and a dangerous attacker who will stop at nothing to get the picture from Stephanie. The FBI try to recreate the picture Stephanie had placed into her bag, the only problem is that she only glanced at the photo once and so far the sketches have come back looking like Tom Cruise and Ashton Kutcher. Morelli is not talking about Hawaii, Ranger doesn’t want to talk about Hawaii either, and Grandma Mazur wants to talk about Stephanie’s ring finger, and the tan that is clearly not where a ring once was. Stephanie decides she’s not talking about Hawaii either.

Janet Evanovich does not stray from her usual plot lines, Explosive Eighteen is exactly what readers have come to expect from her. If you’re looking for an entertaining read filled with mishaps, explosions/fires, funerals, mysterious people turning up in Stephanie’s apartment and Stephanie stuck between her love for two men this would be your read. If you’re looking for Stephanie to choose between these two men, and settle down- you’re going to be disappointed. While it does seem that Stephanie is beginning to lean more on the Morelli side, she does recognize that she will have to make a decision. This shows some growth from Stephanie and her bounty hunting skills are getting better. Grandma Mazur has a potion loving, bowling partner, and she isn’t as involved in this story. As a long time Stephanie Plum fan, I would love for her to choose one of the men, at this point either one but overall I know what to expect with these books and I am still entertained by them.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

In My Mailbox

Hi everyone!

I didn't receive any new review books this week. I did do some ebook shopping at Kobobooks.com.

If you're interested in Debut Adult Fiction novels, my challenge sign up post is here. I'm really hoping more people sign up, if not I will still spotlight debut authors on my blog in 2012. I've started cataloguing these new titles, and you will see them under a new page on my blog.

Back to IMM....

Here are the new ebooks I bought, love Kobo Coupons!

The Birth House by Amy McKay (Canadian Author) reread

Friday, December 2, 2011

Review: The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

This is my first holiday read this year, and I must say I did enjoy it. "The Christmas Bus" is a quick, uplifting, predictable read with really enjoyable characters. Edith Ryan lives in a quaint little town called Christmas Valley. Edith, the pastor's wife is saddened and disappointed that her children will not be coming home for the holidays this year. Inspired by her husband's sermon, Edith decides to keep their bed and breakfast open during the holidays for those who need a place to stay and people to spend the holiday with. The inn is soon booked to capacity, and Edith's patience is tested. 

Myrtle Pinkerton soon arrives, a woman who irritates almost everyone in town and has Edith constantly worrying about what sort of trouble she will get herself into next. Myrtle will keep readers guessing. Edith's guests are all very diverse. There is Leslie, a divorcee and her young daughter named Meagan. Albert Benson, an elderly widower who seems content to stay in his room. Lauren and Michael Thomas who's issues are unbeatable and Jim and Carmen Fields who are constantly bickering. Myrtle takes it upon herself to try and help the guests and townspeople on what she deems issues, even though they do not necessarily want her to intervene. 

Collin and Amy, are a young couple who arrive in a broken down, brightly painted bus with no money. It is clear the birth of their child is fast approaching and Edith cannot turn them away, even though her B&B is fully booked. A town that prides themselves as having the Christmas spirit 365 days a year, has a few lessons to learn when Edith decides she will not turn them away because their bus is simply an eyesore. Myrtle may have irritated the locals however, she does redeem herself and leaves readers pondering the true hidden blessing of Christmas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: Hooked by Catherine Greenman

Publisher: Delacorte
Pages: 288
Source: Personal Copy

A teenage pregnancy comes with a certain amount of drama, and when Thea Galehouse discovers she’s pregnant at the age of sixteen, her mother is less than thrilled. Thea comes from a divorced family and asks her mother not to tell her father, afraid of what he might say and opting for an abortion, her secret can be kept. Thea’s boyfriend sits back and accepts her decision to abort the baby. When the time comes, Thea runs out of the room and decides to come back another day, but that day doesn’t come. When she decides that abortion is not her best option, and her attachment to her child has already formed, she must confront everyone including her strict father. During her pregnancy, Thea tries to pass away the time by crocheting a bikini that her grandmother once gave her. Once the baby arrives, Thea is feeling the pressures of motherhood and a relationship propelled on the fast track. When an accident occurs that sends Thea running to the hospital with the baby, she must endure much criticism. An honest mistake, turns into a teenager being irresponsible. The caring and supportive boyfriend turns his back on her, and Thea must keep her priorities in check.

Hooked is an emotional tale about the struggles of teenage love, and teenage parenthood. A debut novel filled with realistic circumstances. The narrative is told in the first person, and readers get to know Thea, a teenage girl who makes adult decisions, who must confront those who think they know what’s best for her.  Greenman has the ability to tackle a sensitive topic and be able to touch the intended young audience as well as adults.  The characters could have been more developed, but overall the story was very well written. The family dynamic really comes into play, and Thea turns to the one person she was afraid to tell about her pregnancy. Her father becomes her rock, and steers her into the right direction. While he tells her all that she needs to know, Thea has her own ambitions. Readers really see the complicated relationship of teenager daughter, and mother but still a child who needs direction. This story has its fair share of drama, it's a story about unconditional love, perseverance, and favorable outcomes. A quick read, with a big message.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: A Breath of Eyre

Goodreads Description: 

Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre… 

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…

This one sounds really good! Release: April 2012

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Tagged by Mara Purnhagen

Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 208
Source: Publisher

Kate Morgan is the police chief's daughter, her best friend Lan is Vietnamese and together they are trying to get through the daily duty of High school. Lan and Kate arrive at Cleary High, and notice giant gorillas' spray painted on the school building. Mysteriously these gorillas begin appearing all over town and in different states. These painting spark a debate in Kate's history class, what is art? Are these painting considered art or vandalism? Kate is not sure who is behind these paintings but she is confident there is more to the painting than what people are assuming. Kate begins her own investigation. 

Throughout the novel many characters emerge. Tiffany, a popular girl in school is consumed with planning her 16th birthday party. Eli, Kate's coworker and potential new boyfriend. Lan has a crush on one friend however, she unexpectantly begins dating another boy. 

Tagged was a great read! This book really drew me in. Mara Prunhagen is a debut novelist in 2010. I have heard quite a few bloggers mention this book. I do recommend this book for a light, entertaining read. If you are looking for a quick read, go ahead and pick up this book. You will be wondering what is your definition of art...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

Publisher: Knopf Canada
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
(not released in the US until 2012)

Ami McKay has done it again, a phenomenal book that is sure to be a bestseller. While many readers loved her first novel The Birth House, McKay completely shifts gears in The Virgin Cure and proves herself to be a extraordinary writer once again. The main character Moth lives with her mother in the tenements of lower Manhattan in the late nineteenth century. Her father named her and took off shortly after when she was three years old. Her mother was never able to have Moth respond to any other name, and as a result the name stuck. By the age of twelve, Moth has lived in misery. Her mother keeps her distance, and Moth has had to provide her own food and keep herself safe. When life seems bleak, it only gets worst for Moth when her mother sells her to become a service maid. Her life is about to spiral out of control and Moth has no time to let reality sink in. While Moth is amused by the lives of the rich, her intrigue is quickly swept away when she becomes a victim of abuse. Mrs. Wentworth becomes cruel, and crazed. Moth enlists the help of a friend, and is able to escape and go home. When she knocks on her apartment door and realizes that her mother is no longer living there, Moth is beyond hurt, knowing her mother never had any intentions of seeing her again. She simply sold her to the highest bidder, and ran off. Now, Moth has to use her survival skills once again and get herself off the streets. Ultimately, Moth ends up living in a brothel and becomes Miss Everett’s newest student. She caters to gentlemen who pay for companions who are “willing and clean.” If Moth wants a place to live, she must follow the rules and play along.

The Virgin Cure is sure to please many types of readers. Although it is mostly a historical fiction read, it goes beyond the historical facts. McKay explores the dilapidated tenements of New York, and uncovers a shady past while depicting strong, independent-minded women. Women who have little control over their circumstances but hold strong to the little independence that still remains. Choices can always be made, but consequences ensue. Moth befriends Sadie, a female doctor who initially tends to her when she comes to the brothel and tried to steer Moth in a different direction, at the very least she tries to educated Moth on the misconceptions of “Virgins” and their ability to cure syphilis in men. McKay immerses her readers into her fictional world, and includes quotes, news articles, magazines, advertisements, and journals from the time period. This story is not a pleasant read, depicting poverty stricken women with little options, but the setting is not overpowering. Underlining is the story of the struggle for survival and dreams of a possible brighter future.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In My Mailbox

I had a good week this week, and I started to receive some review books for my 2012 Debut Adult Fiction Authors challenge. If you read debut novels from adult fiction authors, and want to sign up...you can do so here. I didn't get much Young Adult Fiction this week, but I have tons that I still need to read. 

Review Books:

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison (2012 Debut Adult Fiction Author)

The Carpenter by Matt Lennox  (2012 Debut Adult Fiction Author)

Ebooks Bought:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: I am Nujood Ali Aged 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Pages: 176
Source: Personal Copy

Nujood, is an innocent little girl who stood up to the unknown and almost impossible. She may have lived in poverty, but poverty didn't make her unhappy. She was a very happy child until her world literally changed around her. While many young girls were in school and playing with children their own age, Nujood had a much different reality. Her father agreed to marry her to a man three times her age. Without preparation or warning, in a matter of weeks she was married, sent to live with her husbands family and she was repeatedly raped and beaten by her husband. Her mother-in-law had no sympathy for her, she tried to assist her son in molding the perfect wife. She was told by her mother-in-law and mother that she must endure. A wife does not question her husband. A woman does as she is told. If a man wants a successful marriage, he is warned to marry a nine year old. Nujood took measures into her own hands. She vowed to get divorced and return to her family, she wanted to take her niqab off and resume life as a ten year old. She left her house one morning to buy bread for her family, and never returned that evening. She searched for the local court house, and sought help. She stood in the crowded courthouse scared, frustrated, and determined. The initial reaction from the judge was shock. Once she was able convinced them of her situation, the court system promised to help her. This little memoir is eye opening, and shocking. A must read!

This memoir is simple, yet powerful. I must say that I think this should not only be categorized as a memoir, due to the simple language and age of the narrator, this memoir should also be characterized as Young Adult. The memoir is not an in depth account of her life, it lacks many details. However, the narrator is ten years old. I wouldn't say this book is poorly written, I think it is important to understand that this book was written from Nujood's perspective. As a ten year old, many details about her life were hidden from her. Many family secrets were not shared with her, and I think her innocence shines through when we understand that many family details are not known to her. When her sister and brother-in-law disappear, she is not aware of their affair. She has no idea what happened to them, she has no idea why her sister is so unhappy. Nujood is a little girl, and little girls are not burdened with secrets. Nujood was thrown into the role of wife. It appears that this is common in certain areas, and Nujood was determined, and courageous. A ten year old seeking a divorce was unheard of. Nujood played a very important role in woman's rights. She should be praised, and her story told. I encourage others to read this story.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review: The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Goodreads Description:

When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realize that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.

I did not finish this one. I had a very hard time getting into the story, and didn't feel like picking it back up every time I put it down. I was about 200 pages in, and I couldn't read anymore...The more I forced myself to read it, the more I didn't feel like reading it. I don't read a lot of time travel, and I think this had a lot to do with it. I loved The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, and I expected to fall in love with this one as well. I had a hard time connecting with the main character, and couldn't really enjoy the other characters either. Most people seemed to have loved this one, and I really want to try and read this one another time when I'm in the mood for it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Born Wicked

Goodreads Description:

A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Cassandra Clare in this spellbinding fantasy 

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. 

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. 

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

I've always had a thing for witches. I read The Secret Circle series by L J Smith in high school, and loved anything about witches ever since!

Release Date: February 2012