Friday, November 30, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Ruth Saunders has been raised by her grandmother after a horrific accident killed her parents and left her horrible scarred. Her grandmother has been by her side ever since. Ruth has gone through many painful surgeries, she knows that people take a second look at her when they see her but she moves to Los Angeles, confident that she will make it in the world of television. Her grandmother decides she is ready for a change, and packs up all her things to move with Ruth. Six years later, Ruth gets the call that her script was liked by the network- the show was given the go ahead. Ruth learns that the world of television isn’t exactly what she expected. The script she wrote is now on the table for everyone to critique.
This was my first Jennifer Weiner book and I really enjoyed it. I thought the plot was original and the characters were likable. Ruth's story is sad and her disfigured body really plays with her moods. She has a hard time not thinking about what others think about her, and she’s really not confident in her appearance. Throughout all the hospital visits, and surgeries, television has been her constant. She’s escaped her world and go through her days by living vicariously through the characters on TV. Ruth wants to create a show that will offer someone else that escape. Her story is loosely based on her life, and she incorporates her grandmother into the plot line. The problem starts when the network wants to tweet her grandmother, and she knows her grandmother would be embarrassed by the changes. Ruth learns that television isn’t just about a story, it’s about ratings, advertisement slots and ultimately it’s a business that can be harsh.
The romantic element to the story was interesting; Ruth’s boyfriend dumps her as soon as he realizes that he doesn’t want to be a part of her new world. Ruth ends up secretly crushing on one of her bosses who has a beautiful girlfriend and she feels like she has no chance. Ruth decides to focus on her show and forget about men.
If you’re looking for a good story, fast-paced and original, I would recommend this one. I will try another book by Jennifer Weiner, I enjoyed her writing. I was rooting for Ruth and I really felt for her. She hasn’t had an easy life, and her relationship with her grandmother was admirable.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Sixteen year old Laurel was hiding in a tree house during her younger brother’s birthday party, hoping to escape and dream about a boy she would later meet. When a stranger walks up the path to their secluded home, Laurel watches as her mother, Dorothy greet the man, and moments later plunges a knife into him. Laurel does what she thinks is best and covers for her mother, the police believe a scuffle took place, and it was self-defense. It doesn’t take the police much convincing to believe the whole story. Laurel is the only child who remembers and everyone moves on, never mentioning the incident again. Years later, and now an adult, Laurel realizes her mother’s past is filled with many secrets that she needs to figure out. She wants to know who the man was, and what could he have possibly done to deserve his death. Laurel has been haunted for many years and with her mother on death’s doorstep, now is the time to figure everything out.
Kate Morton is an amazing storyteller. Her writing is spellbinding; the stories are filled with twists and turns, impeccable attention to details, and unique plot lines. Her characters are multidimensional and enthralling. Morton uses a past and present narrative to convey Dorothy’s story, her technique is very effective and keeps readers hanging on to her every word. Near the end, readers will be left shocked, thinking “What just happened!”
Readers are brought back to 1941 when Dorothy was a vivacious seventeen year old, living during air strikes and in love with a man she intended to marry. As Dorothy is hanging on to her last few days, Lauren pieces together her mother’s past. Laurel’s conflict about what happened has stayed with her for years. Her mother seemed to be the perfect, devoted mother who would never harm anyone. She took care of her children and family first, and seemed to be perfect in every way. When Laurel begins to uncover her mother’s secrets, and hears her unconscious rumblings about people she doesn’t know, Laurel knows she is running out of time and she needs to find out what really happened that day.
I highly recommend The Secret Keeper. It’s sure to please readers. I have also read and loved The Forgotten Garden. I really need to get to The House of Riverton and The Distant Hours. Kate Morton’s writing is amazing! While her books seem long, you really don’t want to put them down.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
I had another great week of reading and receiving books. I can't believe November is almost over! I'm not quite ready to put the tree up.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Beth “Bee” Evans is planning the wedding of the year. She wants everyone to have a good time, and she wants everything to be perfect. When looking at her seating chart, she’s shocked to find some guests coming alone. Single, you can’t come to a wedding single! Hannah, Vicki, Rob, Joe and Nancy didn’t use their plus one, and now she doesn’t know where to put them. She dubs them “the singles,” her father threatens to throw her seating chart away if she doesn’t figure it out soon. Beth’s wedding has its obstacles and readers are introduced to her guests.
The Singles is a fast-paced, funny, entertaining read. Hannah, Vicki and Rob all attended college with Beth. Hannah, her best friend, but not maid of honor is left panicked when she learns her ex-boyfriend is coming with his new girlfriend. Their break up was rocky, and she’s not ready to face him. Vicki, carries a depression lamp in her guitar care and hopes no one will ask her to see the guitar. Rob is at home, telling Hannah at the last minute that he won’t be able to attend, leaving Hannah desperate and even more nervous. Joe is Beth’s uncle and he decides to come alone. He’s divorced, an absentee father and he doesn’t want any further scrutiny from Beth’s mother. Nancy also replies as a single, but when she falls ill, she sends her son to represent her. Phil doesn’t know anyone and he’s sure he smells like chicken wings.
The Singles is filled with quirky and relatable characters. Goldstein gives readers each singles perspective, and shifts back and forth creating a fascinating read. She does the alternating perspectives very well, and it worked great. This story is all about the wedding guests, and offering the different perspectives really added to the story. I highly recommend this one. If you’re looking for a fast read, great characters and an entertaining read- this one is probably for you.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
At thirty-eight, Janie Lemarche had a loving husband, a young son in preschool and a toddler daughter. Her family was complete, her career was on track but one night everything changed and her perfect world came crumbling down. Her husband Robbie died in a motorcycle accident, and Janie must learn to keep living. Her son doesn’t understand where his father is gone, and her daughter will probably never remember who he was. When a contractor shows up a few months later asking for Robbie, Janie doesn’t immediately tell him the truth. She learns that Robbie had plans to build a screened in porch, something that she always wanted. Janie is angry, grieving and just wants to be left alone. Once Tug knows the truth, he’s standoffish but tries to help Janie with the little things her husband would have taken care of. Father Jake Sweeney comes every week to talk to Janie, and she lashes out. How can he even pretend to understand what she is going through?
Shelter Me is a story about love, grief and finding friends in unexpected places. When readers first dive into Shelter Me, Janie’s emotions are raw and real. Through snippets of her journal entries, readers get a glimpse of how strong her emotions are controlling her thoughts. She wants to crawl into bed and never get up, but her son and daughter need her. She’s grateful that her aunt is always there when she needs her, as well as her extended family but they are constantly trying to tell her what to do; send her to therapy, signing her up for self defense classes, she just wants to be left alone. Her brother is always gone, he’s not very social and Janie expects him to stay away. Her mother on the other hand only stayed for a few weeks, and she went back to Italy, leaving Janie behind. She’s resentful that her mother isn’t here when she needs her.
I thought Shelter Me was a great read. It’s hard not to read this book and not care about Janie. She can easily be anyone you know, or yourself included. I wasn’t sure where the book would go or how Janie would progress. Fay did an amazing job portraying a grief stricken widow. Her age played into the book as well, because she couldn’t see herself remarrying or having another child. She was at a point in her life where she had everything figured out, and now everything is up in the air. I really enjoyed this one, and I highly recommend it. This was my first Juliette Fay novel, and I will be adding her other books to my wish list as well.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Eleanor Hart returns to Cleveland when her high-profile marriage ends in divorce. All of Cleveland is talking about her recent “rumored” stay in rehab and Ellie doesn’t know what she should do. It’s obvious when she walks into a room, the men can’t help but glance her way. She’s self-indulgent, wants nothing but the best but the man she spends more of her time with is not the type of man she can marry. Ellie feels like she’s on the outside of her social circle. Everyone wants to talk about her, but they don’t necessarily know what to say to her. Her best friend suggests that she marry for money once again.
Gilded Age is branded as a contemporary House of Mirth. I haven’t read House of Mirth so I can’t compare. The premise of the novel sounded really good, I thought it would be a great read but it didn’t live up to my expectations. I kept thinking the author was depicting a 1950's setting, then I would think about it and think “oh, no, it’s a modern book.” This kept happening again and again. I couldn’t really absorb myself into the story because I had to keep reminding myself about the setting. When something modern would be spoken of, it felt really out of place. The book is about old money, gender issues and class distinctions. In my opinion McMillan wanted to create a timeless book, but it didn’t work for me.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
I received two review books this week. Both look amazing!
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (Canadian Author)
My ebook shopping consisted of these titles:
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Emma Tupper, a young and dedicated lawyer is distraught by the death of her mother. She has no family left, and she feels very disconnected from everyone, including her boyfriend of many years. Her mother didn’t leave her much, but she did leave her a plane ticket for a trip to Africa, a trip her mother would have loved to take herself. She always had a fascination with Africa. Emma is reluctant to go, she’s been working towards partnership for many years and her firm warns her that a month away is not a good idea. Emma decides she needs this time to be away, and experience this trip for her mother. A month long trip turns into six months when an earthquake causes great devastation and traps Emma with no available communication. When she finally returns home, the lock on her door has been changed, and she discovers that everyone thought she was dead. Life went on without her, and Emma is forced to re-evaluate her life.
I’ve read all of Catherine McKenzie’s books and they seem to be getting better and better. I loved each one more than the last. McKenzie puts her characters into strange situations, and readers begin to feel invested in their lives right away. Her characters are likable and despite their odd circumstances, they are relatable. The prose flows easily, the pace is perfect, and the overall experience of the novel is very enjoyable. Each of her novels is uniquely memorable.
When Emma returns her life is upside down, and she has no one to turn to. It was really difficult as a reader to put myself in her shoes. Her emotions and mindset really resonated with me. I wasn’t sure where the story would go, and it wasn’t completely happily-ever-after which I really thought did the novel justice. Emma faced many ups and downs, and discovered that life doesn’t always work out the way you expected. She could sit and wallow or she could pick herself up and figure out how to make the best of it.
I highly recommend this one. I recommend all of Catherine McKenzie’s novels. They’re quick reads, especially because you’ll refuse to put them down. I can’t wait for the next one, which I’m hoping I won’t have to wait too long to read.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Serena Frome is the daughter of an Anglican bishop, she’s always loved books and literature, but her mother didn’t want her to become another educated housewife. When Serena showed signs of having a mathematical mind, her parents sent her to Cambridge to become a mathematician. When Serena has a brief affair with an older man, he constantly questioned Serena, and forced her to think outside the box. Unknowingly, Serena was being groomed for the Intelligence Society. When the affair ends, Serena takes an entry level secretary job with the Society with the intention of advancing her career. Soon Serena finds herself being briefed about a secret mission. She is to infiltrate the literary circle, and recruit Tom Haley, an up and coming writer. Serena quickly finds herself falling in love with him, and doesn’t know who she can trust within the society to help her out.
I’ve read a few Ian McEwan novels and I think this was my favorite. My second favorite would have to be Atonement. Perhaps, I prefer his novels with female protagonists. I thought the writing was solid, and the background historical knowledge really added to the story. McEwan’s writing is captivating; readers will easily be absorbed by his plot twists and entrancing characterization.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, and I found myself intrigued right from the beginning. Serena was a secret bookish girl, who was forced to study math. She used her time away from home to explore and figure out who she really is. Her father’s background as a bishop doesn’t really play into the novel too much. Serena isn’t a sheltered, good little girl, she’s explorative and determined which I really appreciated.
I highly recommend this one. I really enjoyed the story and would love to read more of McEwan’s books. I’ve read Atonement, On Chesil Beach and Sweet Tooth. My least favorite was On Chesil Beach. If you have any recommendations for his books, please let me know. If you were wondering if you should give this book a chance, go ahead! I really enjoyed it.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I’ve had the Kobo Glo for about a week now, and I’m really happy with it. I love eink because the battery lasts longer, and I can read outside in the daylight and inside. I usually read in the dark, and the Glo feature was exactly what I needed. I previously read on my Kobo Vox, which was very sluggish and the battery wouldn’t last the whole day. I really wanted to go back to eink reading.
Most reviews that I’ve read mention that the Kobo Glo has a slight blue tint to the light. I haven’t notice this. The light is very bright when turned all the way up. I turned it down a few notches and it’s perfect. I find it more comfortable to read with it turned down a bit. I usually keep the light on during the day as well, since it gives the text a black on white feel, without the light it’s still the black text on the grayish background. The text is very sharp, and I love Kobo’s advanced text formatting which lets you darken or lighten the text, in addition to changing the font style and size. Kobo is very customizable.
The Kobo Glo comes with 2 GB’s of internal storage. Only 1 GB is available to store content. Kobo states that it will hold up to 1,000 books based on books being 1 MB per book. The reality is not all books are only 1 MB. I currently have about 300 books stored, and I’m almost full. The Kobo Glo has the option to add an additional Micro SD card, which is something that I will be adding.
The battery has been impressive. I charge it every few days. I’ve never had the battery deplete more than 50%. I prefer to see if fully charge. I’m sure I can go a week before charging. Adobe Digital Editions was very easy to set up, and downloading review galley’s was very simple. The touch screen is very responsive, and I haven't had an trouble changing pages.
Kobo is very intuitive and easy to use. The Kindle is also easy to use, but I prefer Kobo’s menu. The library displays the book covers, which I really like. I believe the new Kindle Paperwhite does as well. My Kindle 4th generation does not.
Kobo really needs to improve on their book recommendations. Most books recommended to me are in my Kobo library. I don’t take any of their recommendations seriously, and tend to just laugh at my suggestions. The Kobo awards are a nice option, but I haven’t received a new award in a long time. I think I’ve gotten most of them. I wish Kobo would introduce some new ones. Sideloading book is very easily.
I will admit I’ve had customer service issues with Kobo in the past. In the end, I’ve been patient with them and they’ve worked through all my problems. In Canada we don’t have many options with ereaders. The Paperwhite is currently not available, and the Nook is also not available. I could order them but I would be paying more for a third party company to ship to me. Since I have over 300 ebooks purchased through Kobo, I’ve stayed with them. I’m still looking for them to improve. Their store still doesn’t have a cart and no preorders. I’m really hoping they don’t release firmware updates that fix one thing, but break something else.
If you are thinking about the Kobo Glo, and you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Burn for Burn introduces readers to three characters who are looking for revenge. Mary has just returned to town after moving away for several years. The one guy that she trusted, hurt her tremendously and her overprotective parents moved her away. Mary is astonished that Reece doesn’t even recognize her and she sees an opportunity to get back at him. Kat’s ex-best friend Rennie is the Queen Bee of the school and everyone bows down to her. Kat still can’t get over how she turned on her and threw their friendship away. Spewing hateful lies, and turning everyone against her. Rennie ran to the new girl in town, and she and Lillia have been friends every since. Lillia recognizes that Rennie is not the best friend she can be; she’s selfish, arrogant and rude. She mostly ignores the situation. When Lillia learns that her little sister is dating someone older and Rennie kept it from her, she’s livid. This older boyfriend, seemed interested in Lillia all summer, and now he's with her sister? Despite Mary and Kat wanting to seek revenge against her friends, she jumps on board and decides to add her sister’s boyfriend to the list. Rennie getting what's coming to her is just a bonus.
I liked the concept of Burn for Burn but the plot wasn’t very well executed. The teenagers were a little too carefree for me to be able to relate to them. This would have fit a bit more if they were college age but that’s just my opinion. The book progressed slowly, and the shifting perspectives forced me to keep trying to remember who was who. The revenge stories were not very elaborate. The book was a little too simple, and the ending really threw me off. It hints at a sequel and adds a paranormal aspect to the novel. I don’t think I’ll be reading the sequel. I'm not a fan of paranomal in every thing young adult.
Despite the slow start, I liked that three different perspectives were provided. It gave the reader a chance to understand where each of the three girls was coming from. I thought the characters were not very well developed but the story did keep me interested enough to finish it. If you’re interested in this one, and you enjoy a revenge story I suggest you give this one a try. It was just a little too simple for me and the ending ruined it. I think I need more complex young adult books to read. The genre has really been an issue for me this year.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
In the Duggar’s second book, Michelle and Jim Bob invite readers to understand the challenges they face and how life can turn upside down in an instant. When Michelle was pregnant with her 19th child, her life was endangered when she was diagnosed with preeclampsia. She was given no choice but to have her baby delivered three months early, and fly to a nearby hospital that would be equipped to handle a micro preemie. Also, the book explains they life choices and how they stick together as a family.
This is the second Duggar book that I have reviewed and my review will be a little more personal than usual. I picked this book up when my mom was having major surgery and I needed a little inspiration and a reminder that faith is a major comfort. Not to sound preachy, but to give my personal opinion.
Michelle Duggar’s family is an inspiration to me. I love how their family bonds and they stick together. I don’t agree with everything they choose but I respect their decisions. They are much more extreme than the most religious people I know, but I still love watching them on TV and reading their books. I come from a large extended family, and I love that we are so many.
If you watch the TV show, much of this book feels like a retelling. There isn’t a lot of new information but there is just enough to keep readers reading. I really enjoyed this book, and I thought it was well written and organized. If Michelle and Jim Bob write another book, I will certainly be reading it. Until then, I will be watching the show.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Anne Morrow was the quiet daughter, the studious daughter. Her father was the US Ambassador to Mexico and she often stood outside the spotlight, and let her sister take the lead. When she returned home from college during Christmas break, she had the pleasure to meet Colonel Charles Lindberg. Lindberg was sought by everyone, he was the first aviator to succeed flying over the Atlantic and everyone wanted to be around him. Anne’s father was ecstatic to have him meet the family. Her sister was encouraged to entertain Charles for the evening, Anne was to tag along. The family was shocked to find Charles seeking out Anne. Anne herself couldn’t understand it, but she kept noticing him staring at her, and examining her. Their marriage would play out in the press, the media would follow them everywhere, and Anne Morrow Lindberg could no longer be the quiet daughter standing in the corner.
I didn’t realize this book was published in 2013, and I accidentally read it ahead of time. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. I wanted to write my review when it was still fresh in my memory, and perhaps contribute to some advance praise of the book. Melanie Benjamin really solidified her characters, and brought them back to life. Their story is filled with happiness, heartbreak, and finality. Written in the first person, readers are given Anne’s perspective. Her husband is on his death bed, and she has some final questions for him. Letters meant to be kept secret have been placed into her hands. While readers are waiting to find out what the letters include, Anne gives her audience a glimpse into her life with Charles.
Benjamin really transports her readers into their world. Anne was famous for simply being Charles wife but there was much more to her than just being a wife. She was the first female pilot, and she was constantly trying to prove herself to her husband. If you didn’t know much about their life before, you will be really interested in them when finishing the book. I didn’t know much about Charles before reading this one and much of the story was a complete surprise to me.
If you like historical fiction, you will love this one. It reads like fiction and at times will forget that it’s historical fiction. I will be looking for more of Melanie Benjamin’s works. This was my first time experiencing her, she is extremely talented! Highly recommended! I love the cover, it's perfect for this book. I’m sorry you will have to wait for this one to be published, but you won’t have to wait too long. It will be released in January.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
It's been a few weeks since I posted an updates to the books I've acquired. I've received some great books!
The Pleasures of Winter by Evie Hunter (unsolicited)
I also have a new Kobo Glo! So far I love it. For readers who want a long lasting battery and a screen that lights up in the dark, it's great. It's great outside in the daylight, inside in bright lights ans night time reading. I'll post a review in a few weeks. The Kindle Paperwhite and Nook Glow are not sold in Canada.
I've also been purchasing Ebooks:
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Wow, I can't believe it's November already! Christmas is fast approaching, and soon 2013 will be here. October was a very busy month for me. My mom was in the hospital for 11 days, but she's recovering at home and doing well. I took some time off from work to spend time with her and help her transition at home. I did get a lot of reading done, not as much as I expected but considering the circumstances I think I did really well. I read 8 books and I have completed my goal of reading 80 books in 2012. I'm hoping to read 100 books by the end of the year, but not stressing about it.
78. Sea Change by Karen White
79. The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling
80. The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman
81. The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin (2013 release)
82. A Love That Multiplies by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar
83. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
84. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
85. Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
My favorite for the month would be Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie. She's a Montreal author, and I've loved all three of her books. Once I picked up Forgotten, I ignored my husband for most of the evening. I couldn't wait to finish but felt really sad when it was over because I enjoyed it so much.