Saturday, September 20, 2014

"OMG Baby!" by Emma Garcia

Vivenne finally found true love with her best friend Max, but then it went all wrong.  And after a rather public declaration of her love followed by very public search when Max went missing, they are about to be reunited.  When Viv starts to feel sick, she puts it down to nerves but she and Max are soon about to find out that it’s something much bigger. 

Max and Viv are thrilled to discover that they are expecting a baby.  But soon, it all sinks in and they begin to wonder how they can care for a baby when they can barely care for themselves.  Add to this situation Viv starting her own business and her estranged mother reappearing and moving in to their tiny apartment, and they begin to wonder if their relationship will make it to the birth of their baby.

OMG Baby! is the second novel from Emma Garcia, and the follow-up to the fantastic Never Google Heartbreak.   Fabulous and fun, it is full of laughs and all around craziness.  

I loved the character of Viv in the first novel, finding her frustrating but at the same time endearing.  And it is more of the same in this book.  She is absolutely enjoyable and I love her craziness.  And Max.  Dear, sweet Max.  In reviewing the first book, I said that everyone needs a Max in their lives, and this book further proves that truth.  

I think the character of Rainey, Viv’s mum, shows how great the writing is.  This is a totally unlikeable person and yet you want more of the character because of the situations she creates and because of the humour she injects into the story.  The part where Viv discovers Rainey eating in a certain restaurant had me laughing out loud for a very long time, as we all know people like that.

The only thing I found difficult about this book is that it doesn’t give you enough of the backstory to start out.  Most sequels give you a quick rundown of how things happened in the previous novel but I found with this one, there was a lot I forgot and wasn’t brought up to speed on.  So this book is definitely best read right after the first one, and I very much suggest reading both of these books rather than trying to treat this one as a stand alone novel.

In my review of Never Google Heartbreak, I mentioned that Emma Garcia is perfect for people who love the series writing of Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Kinsella, and I still stand by that.  Vivienne Summers is a wonderful character and I really hope that this isn’t the last we have seen of her.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

In the past I have always been the type of reader that finds a select group of writers they like and just reads everything that person writes.  But since I began blogging four years ago I have opened myself up to many, many new authors.  But that means that there are lot of authors who I end up reading one book by and though I really want to read more of their books, I never get around to it.  So this was a pretty easy list for me to put together.  I have divided it into two categories: Canadian authors and Chick Lit authors.

Canadian Authors

Joseph Boyden: I thoroughly enjoyed The Orenda, it is such a fantastic historical novel that truly captures the beginnings of our country and I know that Boyden is a strong voice for First Nations history and culture so I really want to read more of his books.  I also saw him speak at the Toronto Word on the Street and he is a fantastic, funny speaker.

Nalo Hopkinson: I first learned about Nalo Hopkinson after I started blogging and I read The Chaos.  There was so much I loved about it - speculative fiction (something I'm new to), Canadian, diverse, Caribbean folklore - that I need to read more of her work and unique voice.

Terry Fallis: There is something unique about Canadian humour and Terry Fallis captures it perfectly.  I loved Up and Down and enjoyed the mini-series of The Best Laid Plans so I definitely want to read everything he has written and will write.

Austin Clarke:  I love Canadian writers and I love Caribbean writers so when you combine the two I am very happy.  Clarke is such an acclaimed writer, I think all Canadians should be reading everything he has written.

Linwood Barclay: For years I read Barclay's humour column in the Toronto Star and I was so disappointed when he retired the column.  But then I found out that he would be writing books, and mystery/thrillers!  I have read one and it was spine-chillingly good so I really need to read the rest of his books.  

Chick Lit Authors
Chick lit is the one genre where I tend to read the same authors over and over again.  This past year I started branching out and trying new authors and now there are more that I need to read everything they have written.

Alexandra Potter: Loved, loved, loved The Love Detective.  A gorgeous, romantic trip through India, it was lovely.  I can't wait to read more of her work.

Belinda Jones: I only recently discovered Belinda Jones with The Travelling Tea Shop.  I love Chick Lit novels that travel the world and all of her books do that so I definitely have to read them.

Rosie Blake: How to Get a (Love) Life is a fantastic novel and I must read everything Rosie Blake writes.  I just need her to write them!

Miranda Dickinson: For a while now I've seen her name and books around and yet I only recently picked up When I Fall in Love and now I'm wondering why I waited so long.

Milly Johnson:  So far I have read Here Come the Girls but I also have White Wedding on my shelf.  Milly Johnson has written a number of books that all sound fantastic and have the most beautiful covers and she is now officially one of the authors I will always take with me on vacation!  

Monday, September 15, 2014

"The Children Act" by Ian McEwan

As a High Court judge in London, Fiona Maye has presided over many newsworthy cases. But she is about to hear a case that will be front page news for days to come. Adam is a seventeen-year-old boy who needs a life-saving blood transfusion but whose parents will not permit it because of their beliefs as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The hospital is looking for a ruling that will allow them to go ahead with a transfusion against their wishes and it is Fiona’s decision to make with only a few days to spare.

Fiona is more than happy to throw herself into the case. Her domestic life is in shambles, her husband has just asked her for an open marriage and when she refused, he moved out of their home.  On her own for the first time in many years, she finds herself worried less about the end of her marriage and more about how it looks to others. And when Adam's case refuses to leave her, even after she gives her ruling, she wonders at just what her life has and will become.

The Children Act is the new release from celebrated writer Ian McEwan. Named for the British law that decrees a child’s welfare should be the paramount concern of the courts, it goes beyond the story of one boy and looks at the freedoms and responsibilities of all individuals.

This is the first novel I have read by the Booker Prize-winning author, though many of his other books sit on my to read list. The subject matter of this book caught my eye right away which is why I chose to read it right away instead of allowing it to languish on my list.

It was a little different than I was expecting. I found the book a little slow going at the beginning and for such a short book I was surprised to see so much time giving to setting it up. I also thought that the actual case would be given more time, but instead we find much of the book dedicated to Fiona’s life before and after the case. I was expecting Adam’s side of the story to be given much more focus and I wish this had been true.

That being said, I really loved his writing style. There is so much to think about in this book, so much debate, and for it to be packed into a small novel means the writing needs to clear and tight, and that is exactly what it is here.  I very much went into this book with strong beliefs on the subject matter and found myself examining and questioning those beliefs throughout the entire thing.

I was told to take a few hours and sit down with this book to read from start to finish (I tried but then the kids took my attention way.) I fully agree with this, the book can definitely be read in one sitting thanks to both its length and absorbing plot.  But don’t let it’s length trick you into thinking that there isn’t much to it, it definitely gives you a lot to think about.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Random House of Canada. The opinions expressed above are my own.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Month In Review"

August was a pretty slow reading month for me.  I started the month by starting a few different books and finishing none of them.  They won't end up a DNF's for me, I will finish them soon but they just weren't what I needed to read at the time.  A mid-month Bout of Books did help get me reading and now I think I'm back on track.  You know how summer can be.  Now that school is starting, I'm sure I'll get much more read.

Here is what I read with GoodReads ratings in August:

Atlas Girl by Emily Wierenga *****
The Love Detective by Alexandra Potter *****
When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren ****
OMG Baby! by Emma Garcia ****
Wait For It by Jesse McLean ****
Ice Creams at Carrington's by Alexandra Brown ****

Canadian Book Challenge (1), Diversity in Books (0), TBR Pile (0), Classics Club (0)

What I'm Looking Forward to in September

The announcement of the ScotiaBank Giller Prize long list on September 16th.  That will decide for me what I will be reading for the next two months!

Friday, August 29, 2014

"The Love Detective" by Alexandra Potter

Ruby Miller is a best-selling romance author who gave up on love after her fiancĂ© cheated on her.  Which would explain why she is suffering from a terrible bout of writer’s block.  When her editor tells her she should clear her head by going away on vacation, she takes the opportunity to go visit her sister in India.

Ruby is happy to see Amy and she enjoys the rest and relaxation a week at a yoga retreat in India can give you.  But when her sister informs her on the day they are supposed to head home to London that she is staying behind to marry Shine, a yoga instructor, Ruby’s bliss comes to an end.  

Soon, Ruby is on a chase across India, trying to track down her sister before she make a terrible mistake.  And with the help of a sexy American she meets on a train, she may actually find her before it’s too late.  But maybe, before she gets there, Ruby will discover that love isn’t something to run from but rather toward.

The Love Detective is the latest novel from Alexandra Potter, author of nine romantic comedies.  While I thought I had read one of her books before, it appears I haven’t so this is my first novel of hers and it definitely won’t be the last.  This is a breath-taking, gorgeous novel that is hard to put down.

If you have ever been to India, you will love the way Potter makes the country leap off of the pages.  If you have never been to India, you will feel as though you have been when you are finished reading this book.  This is what people mean when they say you can travel the world through books.  The scenes set at the Taj Mahal were especially spectacular.

I really enjoyed all of the characters in this book.  Ruby is fantastic, a romance writer who has given up on love is a great idea.  Even the American, who I thought I wasn’t going to like much at all turned out to be a wonderful character for most of the book.  Everything inside this book is as beautiful as the cover.

Oh how I wish I was along on this journey with Ruby.  This book will make you want to buy a ticket right away.  If you’re looking for romance, laughs, and gorgeous scenery, this is the book for you.  A five star read for me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Everyone Says I Must Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This one is hard for me.  People generally don't recommend books to me, probably because I'm always recommending books for them.  So I honestly couldn't pick ten books that people have been telling me I must read.  But there are two books that for the last year anyone I talk to about books asks if I have read and when I say no, they tell me I really should.  Those two books are:  

It always makes me laugh when people recommend these two books because as much as I like reading award winners, I don't really like reading very long books (reason being with so many other books I want to read I don't feel I have the time to devote to them.)  I did start The Luminaries but I couldn't finish it before I had to return it to the library.

What do you think?  Should I take everyone's advice and read these books or should I be okay with missing them?

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Wait For It: The Legen-dary Story of How I Met Your Mother" by Jesse McLean

Nine years ago Robin, Ted, Marshall, Lily, and Barney came onto our televisions and into our hearts.  We watched as the five best friends experienced highs and lows, love and heartbreak, success and failure.  We saw them get jobs, travel the world, buy homes, get married, have children, and we waited in anticipation of finding out how Ted met the mother.  

It’s safe to say that for many, How I Met Your Mother was more than just a television show.  And Jesse McLean is here to share all of that with you.  Wait For It is the ultimate companion book for fans of How I Met Your Mother.  Whether you are a new or old fan, you’ll lose yourself in the stories, gags, and behind the scenes sharing inside this book. 

McLean begins by introducing you to the people behind the show - the creators, writers, and actors.  After that he takes on the show season by season, discussing the overall themes and stories, the viewership numbers, and its place in television and popular culture.  He reviews the highlights, running gags, and catchphrases of each season and then moves on to discussing the best episodes of the season.  Each chapter is completed by looking at the candidates for Mrs. Moseby, famous guest stars, and reactions to the season.  

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book.  I began reading the book while binge-watching seasons 8 and 9 and each chapter made me want to go back and watch every season all over again.  For me this show was never really about finding out who the mother is, I just really enjoyed the five friends and all of their escapades.  Let’s admit it, Barney Stinson is one of the best characters ever written for television.  I also loved all of the Canadian jokes on the show and because Jesse McLean is Canadian, he included these in the book, explained them, and dispelled a few myths.

What do I wish this book had more of? Photos. The only photos that are included are head shots of the actors.  I would have loved photos of episodes, classic moments, and behind the scenes.  This would have greatly enhanced the book for me.

Thanks to Netflix, I’ll always be able to watch How I Met Your Mother.  And that’s a good thing because after reading this book there are quite a few episodes I want to go back and watch.  If you are a fan of the show you will definitely love this book.  I do recommend trying to get it in paperback as this kind of book tends to look better on the page rather than in e-book form (or at least that is my opinion.)

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.  The opinions expressed above are my own.