Friday, September 28, 2012

Do chunky books discourage you from reading?



Looking back at my September list, I realized I didn't read that many books again this month. Although, I don't feel like I read any less. If I don't finish another book, I would have only read 5! I normally read about 8-10 books a month. However, two of the books this month were chunksters. The Tea Rose was 592 pages, and The Diviners is 608 pages. Often times, I don't read thick books because I feel like I need to get reviews written. I don't consider myself a fast reader. I would really like to change this, because I know I'm missing out on some great books. I'm really happy that I finally read The Tea Rose, despite it's size. I couldn't ignore The Diviners because I love Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series. Do you ever not pick up a book because of its size? If I'm reading a book too long, I feel stressed to finish it.

Does the size of a book ever discourage you from reading it?

I might start including page count in my monthly list. This might give me a better understanding of how much I read.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why Do I Have So Many Ereaders?


I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that I love technology and I love ereaders. I’ve had a lot of people ask me which do I prefer, the Kobo or the Kindle? I wanted to explain to everyone why I use each reader.

Here is a list of the readers that I have:

Kobo Vox
Sony Touch 650
Ipad
Kindle 4th Generation



Kobo Vox

I primarily use the Kobo Vox but it’s not my favorite. My Vox lags, and it’s very sluggish. I only use it for reading because browsing or typing on the keyboard is brutal. It takes really long… I’ve been using my nephew’s Kobo Touch and I enjoy the experience much more. I love eink, reading outside without glare is very important to me. The Vox’s screen does an okay job with the glare, but reading outside in bright sunlight is challenging. I love the reading experience and the battery life that eink provides. My Vox has 7 hours of battery time, and that is not enough for me, especially on weekends. I have over 300 ebooks bought through Kobo and I really don’t want to switch my library to another provider. It’s a really big hassle that I’m not prepared to challenge myself with. I’ve decided to actually get the Kobo Glo. It has the eink experience with a backlight. The backlight is very important to me because I read in the dark a lot. I’m really hoping the Kobo Glo will provide what I wanted with the Vox, which is a backlit reader. I’m hoping to get the Kobo Glo by the beginning of October. I’m just waiting for them to be in stock.

I plan on getting the Kobo Glo with the white front, and pink back. :) It looks red below, but it's suppose to be pink.







Sony 650

My Sony 650, was my second eink reader. The only reason why I’ve moved on from it is the lack of wifi on this model. I don’t really use my laptop much anymore, and syncing my new books took too long. Sometimes I would forget that I didn’t sync it and when I wanted to read the book, it wasn’t on the device.



Ipad

The Ipad reading experience was much more enjoyable than I was expecting, but I take public transportation to go to work. I find the Ipad too big to carry around on a crowded metro or bus. Before I had the Vox, I would read on the Ipad at home because it’s backlit and read on my Sony 650 while going to work. The drawback was always trying to find where I left off because the two didn’t sync together.



Kindle 4th Generation

I bought a Kindle when I noticed egalley’s seemed to format better on the Kindle, plus egalley’s don’t expire. All the galley’s that I sent to my kindle remains in my archives and I can go back and redownload them. If you’ve ever had a galley expire on you, you’ll know how frustrating that is. Also, some specials are only available for Kindle. Now, I can take advantage of them. From time to time, I’ll also notice a book not available for Kobo but it is available for Kindle. I do wish Kindle, showed the book covers. The books are just listed where the Kobo shows the book covers.

One thing I love about this reader, is the page buttons on both sides. I'm really comfortable in any position. Touch screens are not necessary for me. I would prefer to have the option of touch screen, with the choice of buttons.


Here is a breakdown of all my readers. We don’t have Nook available in Canada, but I would love to try one. I was so jealous of the backlit Simple Touch, but now I’m excited for the Kobo Glo.

If you have any questions, please let me know.





Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves



Publisher: Plume
Pages: 336
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5



Synopsis:

Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old high school english teacher, stuck in a dead-end relationship. Anna doesn’t know why she’s still with her boyfriend, he’s adamant that he doesn’t want marriage or children, which are both something Anna would love. Looking to distance herself from him, Anna accepts a summer job tutoring a sixteen year-old boy who recently won his battle with cancer. TJ Callahan really doesn’t want to study in the Maldives all summer, but his parents want to spend the summer together in an exotic location. When Anna and TJ board their chartered plane, Anna notices their pilot is in distress. In mid-flight the pilot suffers a heart attack and they have no chance to call for help. For the next couple of years, Anna and TJ learn to rely on each other and live on a deserted island.



Review:

I was really surprised to read so many positive reviews of this book. I went into it, expecting not to like the book. Originally, I thought the storyline was really strange; having Anna and TJ fall in love but honestly, Graves did an amazing job setting up the relationship. Their relationship was a slow process, a natural progression and Anna really grappled with her emotions. TJ is almost nineteen when Anna gives in; they had been on the island for almost 3 years. They only had each other, and no hopes of ever being found. It didn’t seem like any planes were looking for them and eventually they stopped hoping. They knew that their families thought they were dead. Anna and TJ formed a teacher-student bond, a friendship and eventually a romance.

Their survival story was realistically portrayed. They ensure hardship, and setbacks. Living on a deserted island with very little food, made them resourceful. I really didn’t want to put this book down. I wanted to see how it would end and wondered what would become of Anna and TJ. If they ever left the island, would they manage to stay together? I highly recommend this one! I was skeptical, but all those positive reviews really did have merit.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce




Publisher: Random House
Pages: 336
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher/Edelweiss
Rating: 5/5



Synopsis:

Harold Fry has been retired for six months and now it seems that he’s at a crossroads. His wife is constantly nagging him, their son doesn’t talk to him, and his days all run into each other. When Harold receives a letter from and old co-worker, he’s shocked to learn that she is terminally ill. Harold sets out to send a letter but when he gets to the mailbox, his letter doesn’t seem like enough, he keeps thinking and walks to the next mailbox and then the next. Soon, Harold is at the edge of town, and he continues to walk. He vows to walk to Queenie, even though it’s a six hundred mile journey. He asks Queenie to wait, and gives her a reason to fight for her life.



Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but I soon couldn’t put it down. When a man is walking six-hundred miles, he has nothing to do but reflect on his own life. It’s really interesting to learn about his troubles, and insecurities. Harold and his wife both miss each other, but they're so use to not showing affection that they're not sure how to react to one another. Both of them are not ready to take the first step. Harold left his house wearing the wrong shoes, he forgot his cell phone but he is delighted with the kind people he meets. It doesn’t take long for Harold to attract a following, but the quiet is really what he wants.

As Harold begins to reflect on his life, readers learn that his mother abandoned him, his father kicked him out, and he never really experiences a normal family life. Maureen really wanted to give him that, their life started out really happy and joyous but obstacles began to pile up. Harold’s intelligent son intimidates him and their relationship fell apart. Maureen and Harold began to forget the happy times, and Maureen moved into a different room. They no longer connected, and barely spoke.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was a great read. I kept rooting for Harold and Maureen and I wanted to scream at them for their stubbornness. Readers will immediately be captured by Harold and Maureen; they feel like real people, with real problems. Even though they are much older than me, I felt connected to them. Rachel Joyce really shines in her debut novel. This novel is about redemption and self-reflecting.





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly



Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Released: 2007
Pages: 592
Source: Personal Copy
Review: 5/5



Synopsis:

East London 1888, Fiona Finnegan and her family work at the local tea factory. Fiona has always dreamed about owning her own tea shop one day with her childhood best friend, Joe. Fiona and Joe are inseparable, they’re in love and they’ve been saving for a long time. Their dream is within reach. When Jack the Ripper begins gruesomely murdering women, Fiona is on high alert. She doesn’t realize how her life will drastically change, and  Jack the Ripper will kick her family when they are already down, forever changing Fiona's life. Fiona had her future planned, but her life takes a very different road. The people she thought would be with her are no longer around, and her tea shop dreams suddenly seem impossible. Fiona finds herself boarding a boat to New York to try and escape dangerous men. When Fiona arrives in New York, she has many obstacles ahead of her.



Review:

The Tea Rose was an amazing, captivating read. It took me awhile to pick this book up because of the size, and I’m so sorry I waited for so long. I loved each and every page. Fiona’s life is shattered but she must figure out how to save her little brother. As much as she would love to give up, she puts one foot in front of the other and thinks about her brother first. The Tea Rose is jam-packed with action, drama and loss. There is nothing predictable about this book. I can’t tell you how many times, I was shocked by how the story was being played out. Donnelly is an amazing writer. Fiona constantly struggles with setbacks and disappointments but she perseveres. Her love for Joe wasn’t enough to keep him around, and she must move on and build a new life. Fiona vows to get herself on her feet and seek revenge for all the wrong that has been done to her family.

I loved this book as soon as I started reading it. The prose was beautiful, the plot was fantastic and the characters were well defined and intriguing. The plot twists had me shocked many times. I highly recommend this one. I previously read Donnelly’s A Northern Light and really enjoyed it which put this book on my radar. I will be reading more of her books. So far, she’s two for two, I loved A Northern Light and The Tea Rose.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Midnight on Julia Street by Ciji Ware




Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 512
Released: 2011
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5



Synopsis:

Corlis McCullough moved to New Orleans after she lost her job, and now she has been fired from her job again. How was she supposed to know who was connected to whom, and how her story would upset the wrong people? Corlis seems to always get herself in trouble as a reporter. When her college nemesis, King offers to set her up with a job, she takes is reluctantly. She would love to tell him no, but she had no other options. Shortly after, King finds himself fighting to keep historical buildings from being demolished for new condos, and Corlis begins working with King to tell his side of the story. The more time she spends with King, the more her feelings are beginning to change, which puts the story in jeopardy. Corlis has been having strange dreams, and flashbacks about the buildings that are threatened to be torn down. When she begins to do her own research, Corlis realizes there are not simply dreams.



Review:

Ciji Ware’s books are hard to give a short synopsis. Her books are filled with twists and turns and plenty of historical details. Ware really brings readers two stories, Corlis in the 1920’s and present-day Corlis. New Orleans is brought alive, and readers get the sense of the atmosphere. I really enjoyed the novel, but thought it felt a little too long. It seemed to drag a little bit with so many details. I’ve read most to Ciji Ware’s books, but this one isn’t my favorite.

I really enjoyed Corlis’ characters, she was strong, opinionated and she struggled with herself. When she started to have feelings for King, she didn’t know if she should act on them. Her heart told her one thing, but her mind told her to wait. She needed to get the story, and she needed to put her career first. It was really interesting to learn about their college experience, and their hatred for one another. Both characters really grew since college, and mellowed in their ways.

I would recommend this one. I thought the story was well written and entertaining. The setting was fascinating and the characters were well developed. If you’ve never read Ciji Ware before, I would recommend A Cottage by the Sea, Wicked Company, and/or A Race to Splendor. These books are my favorite.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen




Publisher: Washington Square Press
Released: 2012
Pages: 340
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5



Synopsis:

These Girls focuses on three young women living in New York City. Cate and Renee are roommates who work at the same magazine. When their third roommate moves out, Abby’s brother asks Cate and Renee if his troubled sister could move in with them. Cate has just received a promotion but she is always questioning herself. She never finished her degree, and constantly feels inadequate and inexperienced. Renee desperately needs to make more money, and Cate suggests that she try out for her old position and beauty editor. Renee loves the thought but when mean comments about her weight are posted on her blog, she is mortified and afraid she’ll be passed up. Abby clearly had trouble in her last position as a nanny; apparently she was involved with the husband. She’s very quiet, depressed and clearly needs friendship. The three girls begin to bond, and open up to one another.



Review:

These Girls was my first Sarah Pekkanen book. I wasn’t immediately drawn to the characters, but Abbey’s story really caught my attention. Once I started getting wrapped up in her story, Renee and Cate’s story began to further interest me. I kept getting Renee and Cate mixed up and it took me awhile to remember who was who. I thought the book was a little slow in the beginning, but I’m really happy I stuck with it. In the end, all three girls had a great story to tell. The character development was great, as was the development of the character’s friendship. Once I was half-way through the book, I didn’t want to put it down. I would say Abbey’s story was the most interesting, and the most developed.

Many readers would be able to relate to these characters. They’re young, and trying to figure out who they are and what they want in life. Their family situations aren’t ideal which causes more confusion. They need to focus on themselves, and don’t want to bother each other with their problems. This is a great read for those who want to read about friendships, and struggles. New York life can be glamorous, but also fast-paced and confusing. Even when others think you have everything, you may not be as happy as you appear. Putting on a happy smile, and actually feeling happy are two very separate things.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles



Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 352
Released: 2011
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

Best friends and roommates Katey and Eve are living it up in New York city during the late 1930's, single girls who earn their own money, and know how to work the men to stretch their dollars. Katey is a native of New York without family, while Eve is from the midwest, and has cut ties with her family. A chance encounter with Tinker Grey, a rich banker gives them a glimpse into his glamourous world. The three become fast friends, and Tinker has two girls he can easily pick from. While Tinker seems more attracted to Katey, an accident leads Tinker to feel guilty, and he decides to care for, a fragile, broken Eve. Katey begins to step away and leave the two together.      

Review:

I really expectead to love this book but I couldn't. It also took me awhile to realize why, and really kept me thinking about it. There were a few reasons why I didn't like it. I didn't like the characters and I had a hard time believing that this book took place during the Great Depression. Sure, the book takes places at the end of the depression but the girls seem so careless with money and jobs. I would expect someone who lived through the depression to be more attentive. At least mention the depression a little more. At times it felt like the book took place during the 1920's but I would have to remind myself that that wasn't the case. 

Also, I felt like Katey and Eve were unconvincing characters. Katey's voice did not feel like a native New Yorker, from a blue collar family. Eve gave me the impression that she was a native New Yorker, not a midwesterner.  Both characters were not likable, and neither was Tinker. I felt like none of them had any chemistry and the love triangle confused me. I actually had a hard time to finish this one.  This one really fell flat for me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman




Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 352
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5



Synopsis:

Tom Sherborne and his wife Isabel live in seclusion for most of the year, they live as lighthouse keepers on a tiny island in western Australian. Once a season they travel by boat to see Isabel’s family, Tom had no contact with his family. Isabel has yearned to be a mother, but she’s suffered multiple miscarriages and a stillborn son. When a boat turns up on shore with a deceased man and a crying baby, Isabel asks her husband to wait before reporting the boat. Once Isabel has the child in her arms, she believes the baby girl is a gift from God. Isabel convinces her husband to keep the child, bury the man and send the boat back out in the ocean. No one would find out, and Isabel believes the mother may have fallen into the ocean. She couldn’t possible give this baby back. Tom agrees, but his conscience won’t let him forget. This child may have a family and mother looking for her.



Review:

The Light Between the Oceans is a debut novel that will keep readers thinking. In Isabel’s defense she truly believed that the child had no mother, she didn’t want to send the child to an orphanage. However, readers will be forced to ponder if that really was her decision to make? Tom is constantly worried and feeling guilty for what they did. Passing the child off as their own is very easy since Isabel miscarried two weeks before. As time passes, and they settled into life as a happy family, the truth is uncovered. Tom went against his better judgment and he can’t ignore the reality of the situation, they stole an innocent baby. There is no right way to handle this situation, their actions have great consequences. Stedman has created a wonderful story line, one that is believable, emotional and heartbreaking. Tom and Isabel’s comfortable life is about to be shattered, but little Lucy is confused most of all.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

In my mailbox

I'm really trying not to buy too many books. I really want to get through some of the books I keep putting off. In the last few weeks, I only bought 3 Ebooks. That's really good for me. :)

Also, since I bought my Kindle I've been using Edelweiss and Netgalley a lot more. Egalley's don't expire on Kindle and the formatting seems much better.

I haven't received any review books this week.

Books bought:

City of Women by David. R Gillham

On the Island by Tracey Garvus Graves

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Month in Review: August



Looking back, August wasn't a really good reading month. I only read 7 books. The few weeks before my vacation, I just couldn't wrap my head around reading, nothing was holding my attention. A few of these books were amazing, and I'm really happy I read them.


66. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
67. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
68. Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
69. The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
70. The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman
71. These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen
72. Midnight on Julia Street by Ciji Ware


My two favorite books for the month would be Gone Girl and Love Anthony.

Gone Girl (Review) was such a great thriller. I don't normally read these types of books but I couldn't ignore the buzz.

Love Anthony (Review) was an emotional rollercoaster. I loved every single page.

My biggest disappointment would be The Rules of Civility. My review will be coming up next week, for this one .




I'm currently reading The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly and I'm fascinated by the story line. I kept putting it off because it's a chunkster, but now I regret it. It's amazing!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn



Publisher: Crown
Pages: 432
Released: 2012
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Nick and Amy Dunne have relocated to Missouri to help care for his mother. They recently lost their jobs, their savings and New York could no longer be called home. It's taken Amy awhile to adjust, their marriage has been strained but their fifth wedding anniversary is one Nick will never forget. When Nick's neighbor calls to mention his cat is standing on the doorstep with the door wide-open, Nick has no idea how much his life will change. He knows his cat is never outside, and he can't figure out why his front door would be left open. Why would his wife Amy, leave the door open? When he enters his house, it's clear that a struggle took place, and his wife is nowhere to be found. When Nick calls the police, they quickly begin questioning him. Nick becomes the prime suspect, and his lies begin to pile up. He can't be completely honest with police because he has been hiding a few secrets, secrets that would make him look even more suspicious. As the police begin investigating, Nick looks more and more guilty. His wife has a journal chronicling his abuse towards he and she's told friends that she is scared of him. Nick needs to find Amy, and clear his name. 

Review:

Gone Girl  has been receiving a lot of buzz, and I couldn't ignore the rave reviews. I was immediately drawn into Flynn's style and plot. The alternating perspectives between Nick and Amy really add to the suspense. Readers are constantly wondering what is going on, and questioning the two characters. Is Nick really innocent? Is Amy really a victim? I was not able to trust either character, I couldn't help but keep reading and try to piece together the puzzle. Just when I thought I figured out where the plot was moving, Flynn would throw in another twist. Nick admits to lying to the police, and that really adds to the drama. What is he hiding? Nick's actions do nothing to take away the suspicion but he is adamant that he did nothing to Amy. As Nick begins piecing together clues as to what Amy has been up to, he uncovers that Amy had secrets of her own.

I disliked both Amy and Nick, it's hard to enjoy a book when you don't like the main characters, but I had no trouble enjoying this mystery. I couldn't wait to figure out what was happening. Readers will find Gone Girl to be a fascinating thriller. This was my first Gillian Flynn novel, and it won't be my last. The ending really sealed the deal, it was nothing like I expected, and completely shocked me. This is a book that you will want to devote a sizable amount of time during your first sitting, because you will not want to put it down.  I highly recommend this one! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear



Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 294
Released: 2004
Source: Personal Copy
Review: 4/5

Synopsis:

When fourteen year-old Maisie's mother passes away her father does what he believes to be best for Maisie and sends her away to work. Maisie is forced to move away from her father and begin work as a service maid. Her hopes of continuing her education are crushed, and her whole world is torn apart. Maisie begins sneaking into the manor library in the middle of the night to finds books that interest her. When Lady Rowan catches Maisie in the library, reading psychology and philosophy books, she realizes that Maisie is not an ordinary maid. Lady Rowan promises Maisie to hire a tutor, as long as she continues her work. Maisie ultimately qualifies for Cambridge, but when war erupts, Maisie feels drawn to become a nurse. Hopefully, Cambridge will wait. After years of service in the war, Maisie returns home and follows in the footsteps of her tutor. Maisie sets up an office and becomes a private investigator. 


Review:

After receiving a lot of Buzz, I had to pick up the first book in the series and see what it was all about. Maisie Dobbs wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The book is categorized as a mystery, and it wasn't a typical mystery novel. The book opens with Maisie investigating a woman, when her husband suspects that she is cheating on him. The mystery is solved quickly, and then readers are introduced to Maisie and her past. The mystery takes a back seat to Maisie's storyline. While I thought the story was great, and I enjoyed learning about Maisie, it fell short with the mystery aspect. Perhaps, the other books in the series will be more mysterious. 

I really enjoyed Maisie's character and her back story. Masie thrived, when put it difficult situations. I would love to continue the series and see Maisie grow as a detective and woman. I really enjoyed the historical aspect of the novel, and thought Maisie was a strong character. It was different than other novels that deal with World War I. Maisie focuses on the men who came back as different people and felt displaced, and the women who felt like they needed to do something to help the war effort. Maisie lost many friends during the war, and wants to help those that she can still help. 

I really want to continue the series, and I have no idea how it will progress. I wonder what can possibly be in store for Maisie. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Vacation is over...I'm back home and getting ready to go back to work. I did get to relax, read, and mostly catch up on book reviews. I only received one book while I was away.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I also bought the blu-ray of The Hunger Games. I can't wait to watch is again.

The pink thing in the picture is an ereader stand. I'm going to keep this in my purse, and use it while eating lunch at work. It folds up, and doesn't take up much space.


Happy reading!