Showing posts from 2010

2010 Year in Review

Well, my illness lasted a lot longer than I had expected, I think I lost about a month there. But thankfully I'm heading into 2011 healthy and feeling good! So now it is time to look back at my year in reading!
At the beginning of the year I set a few challenges for myself (I didn't know about all the challenges that exist in the book blogger world then!) I did pretty well on them, and probably would have completed most if I hadn't been sick. Let's see how I did.
1. Read 100 Books I read 99! Seriously, 99. So close! If I hadn't been sick, I would have hit 100. Oh well, something to aim for in 2011. 2. A-Z Reading Challenge This one wasn't completed. I missed E, K, Q, U, V, Z. Again if I hadn't been sick I would have made an effort to finish this one, but I probably wouldn't have completed it. 3. Read 20 Canadian Books Hurray, I finished one! I read 23 books, and had a great time. I found some great Canadian authors and I definitely have a love…

A bit of a break

Well, unfortunately I have fallen ill. So my reading has been non-existent and because of that my posting will be non-existent as well. I hope to be back to my usual reading self in the next week! See you all soon.

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

It's Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books. It is a great way to find new books to read, network with other book bloggers and of course find tons more books to add to your to read pile!
I'm still stuck in slow reading mode. I think I know what is causing it so hopefully I can break out of it soon!
Books I Read Last Week
The Debba by Avner Mandelman (longlisted for the Giller, of which the prize was announced last week and caused a few controversies in the book world.)
What I Am Currently Reading
The Carnivore by Mark Sinnett (winner of the 2010 Toronto Book Award) How To Read the Air by Dinaw Mengistu
What I Plan To Read Next
Great House by Nicole Krauss Subsitute Me by Lori Tharps (I've been hearing great things about this book, so I'm excited it's finally here.)
What are you reading?

"Independence Days" by Sharon Astyk

Welcome to the 2010 Green Books Campaign, hosted by Eco-Libris. Eco-Libris is a company that works with readers, publishers and bookstores to balance out our books, and plant trees for each book we read.
Today for the Green Books Campaign 200 bloggers are simultaneously publishing reviews of books that have been printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. And here is my contribution:

In the last few decades we have seen major changes in our approaches to food. Supermarkets are no longer just for food (just the other day I purchased my son's snowsuit alongside my groceries) and more and more people are relying on convenience foods. The self-sufficiency of our grandparents' time is long gone.
But another shift seems to be occurring. The current economic crisis means more and more people have less and less money to spend on foods. The local eating movement has gone from being a trend to a necessity as more people rely on farmer's markets and growing their own foods.
If you …

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where book bloggers gather to share what we have read and what we plan to read over the next week.
Books I Read Last Week
Not another good reading week for me. I managed to finish one I had going for a while, and then read another.
The Matter With Morrisby David Bergen (shortlisted for the Giller Prize which is announced tomorrow) Independence Days by Sharon Astyk (my book for the Green Books Campaign)
What I Am Currently Reading
The Debba by Avner Mandelman (longlisted for the Giller Prize)
What I Plan To Read Next
Turns out I have problems reading my checkout list on the library website. I thought I had an extra week with some books, but I read the date wrong and now I have to change around my reading schedule.
How to Read the Airby Dinaw Mengistu (I really need to start this one this week!) Great House by Nicole Krauss The Carnivoreby Mark Sinnett (finalist for 2010 Toronto Book Awards)
How is yo…

Green Books Campaign, November 10 2010

I am excited to be participating in this years Green Books Campaign. Launched in 2009 by Eco-Libris, the campaign aims to promote "green" books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper.
On Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 1:00 PM ET, 200 bloggers will simultaneously publish their reviews of books printed on environmental paper.
I will be posting my review of Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage and Preservation by Sharon Astyk.
So remember to check back here on Wednesday for my review, and check out the Eco-Libris website to find other bloggers participating in this great campaign. And while you are there you can find out more about how you can balance your books, plant a tree for each book you read and make a positive impact on our environment.

Book Blogger Hop!

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop and Happy Friday! Hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, the hop is a gathering of over 200 book bloggers so we can find great blogs, great reads, and get to know each other better.
This weeks question is: What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?
It does stink to sign in and find that I've lost a follower. I wonder, do they not like the books I've chosen? Do they not like my writing or opinions? But there could be many reasons for losing a follower. Maybe they're just not into the genres I've chosen. Maybe they've left the blogging world all together. So I try not to worry about it. Now, if there was a mass exodus of followers, then I would worry a little bit about what I've done.
I know that there are people who follow me but don't comment, just as I follow a lot of people but don't comment there. I follow too many too comment personally on every post, but I do take the …

"The Matter With Morris" by David Bergen

Everyone is wondering what is the matter with Morris? His son Martin was killed in Afghanistan after Morris, a pacifist, dared him to join the army. Now he has been let go from his job as a newspaper columnist and his grieving wife has left him. He has withdrawn all his money from the bank, cut off most of his contact with the outside world, is trying to rescue a prostitute and has immersed himself in the works of great thinkers. Will Morris be able to find the answers he is looking for or is he forever lost?
The Matter With Morris is about a man in crisis, dealing with the consequences of his actions and words while trying to understand the nature of the world around him. Morris Schutt is a very interesting man. He's not Mr. Popular nor does he care to be. He doesn't always think before he acts. But he is trying to figure out how to fix his mistakes, or at least how to stop making them.
My feelings on this book are mixed. I thought the premise of the story is good and …

"Nina Garcia's Look Book" by Nina Garcia

If you have ever stood in front of your closet and asked yourself "what should I wear?" then Nina Garcia has the book for you. Nina Garcia's Look Book helps you figure out what to wear for every occasion. From a job interview to a black tie wedding, and everything in between, the fashion director of Marie Clare magazine and Project Runway judge will make sure you never question your wardrobe choices again.
This book is extensive. Every situation in which a woman finds herself is covered (including some rare situations like meeting a potential surrogate.) In addition to covering clothes, Nina talks about appropriate hair and makeup. Two cool features are "rule breakers we love" and "rules are made to be broken" which help show that fashion isn't always about strict rules but is about dressing appropriately.
This is a great, necessary book that I think all women will love. It is divided into different sections - work, dating, day, night, holid…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a place for book bloggers to gather and share what they have read, what they are reading and what they plan to read. It's a great way to find new titles to add to the always growing to read pile! Here's what's up with me:
Books I read last week:
It was not a good week for me reading wise. I blame Netflix and the abundance of documentaries at my fingertips. So I finished one book this week:
The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton (fabulous book, please check out my review below.)
What I am currently reading:
The Matter With Morris by David Bergen (shortlisted for the Giller Prize)
What I plan to read next:
How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengistu (Ethiopian-American author) Rules for a Perfect Life by Niamh Green (Irish chick lit)
What are you reading?

"The Tapestry Of Love" by Rosy Thornton

At forty-nine Catherine Parkstone is having a fresh start in her life. She has been divorced for eight years and her two children are now grown and on their own. So Catherine does what many people long to do. She sells her home in England, moves to a tiny hamlet in the Cevennes mountains of France and sets up a business as a seamstress. It sounds perfect.
But adjusting to life in her rural idyll isn't as easy as she had thought it would be. Days can be lonely, neighbours tend to keep to themselves and boy can it rain. On top of that, French bureaucracy is making it incredibly difficult to get her business started. Add to the mix an intriguing and mysterious male neighbour, and Catherine begins to question her decision and wonder if maybe she wasn't cut out for this life in France.
The Tapestry of Love is a beautiful story. It's the story of a woman who does what many of us dream of doing - falling in love with a new place and a new way of life and leaving everything …

Book Blogger Hop!

Happy Friday! It's time for the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. It's a weekly meme for book bloggers to find new blogs and get to know each better. Each week over 200 bloggers take part, so it's definitely a party!
This weeks question:
What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?
Well, I own a TON of books as does my husband and right now we live in an apartment so all of our books are in boxes and being stored at a few different places. So when we own a house, my dream is to have my own library. The walls would be covered with bookshelves, there would be a comfy reading chair and a desk with my computer. The books would be shelved by subject and in alphabetical order, and yes, if someone borrowed a book there would be a computer program to keep track of that! It would be lovely!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. If you're hopping by please leave a link to your hop and I'll come visit. I'm having t…

"Holy Rollers" by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Nita, Coco and Audra have spent their lives looking for love in the wrong place. Thinking that they can find love in the arms of flashy pro athletes, all they have ended up with is a string of bad, failed relationships.
So when a conference for young Baptist ministers comes to town the girls hatch a plan - pose as God-fearing churchgoers in the hopes of landing a prominent pastor. And the girls "holy rolling" seems to pay off when they all land a new man. But even a relationship with a man of God can be full of drama.
Holy Rollers is another great book from ReShonda Tate Billingsley. The characters are refreshing and their exploits will have you hanging your head. These aren't women who go to church to find God, these are women who go to church to find men. And you know that isn't going to go over well!
But while it seems like a recipe for disaster and there are good laughs, this book covers some very serious topics. Infidelity, domestic abuse, deception, even …

"Curiosity" by Joan Thomas

Forty years before Charles Darwin published his famous work, a young woman named Mary Anning made an important discovery in the cliffs of Lyme Regis, England.
At the age of twelve, Mary found the first ichthyosaur skeleton (a giant marine reptile that resembled a dolphin.) Her discovery countered the belief of the time in the Biblical account of creation and proved that extinction was a reality. She then went on to discover three other separate species.
But Mary couldn't fight the prevailing beliefs of the 19th century, and her gender and social class prevented her from receiving full credit for her contributions to the scientific community.
Curiosity tells the story of Mary's life and scientific contributions but with a more in depth look at her personal relationships with those around her. In addition to this, it examines a romantic relationship between Mary and her friend Henry De La Beche, a man of higher class standing.
I had a hard time getting into this book. It is obv…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a place for bloggers to come together and share what they read in the past week, what they are reading and what they plan to read. She also offers a cool weekly contest for participants!
I'm so excited to participate in this meme for the first time! I love Mondays (is that weird?) Weekends are always so nice and relaxing but I rarely get much achieved, so Mondays is a return to order for me!
Books I read last week:
Holy Rollers by ReShonda Tate Billingsley - Urban Christian Curiosity by Joan Thomas - longlisted for Giller Prize
What I am currently reading:
The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton - women's fiction
What I plan to read next:
The Matter with Morris by David Bergen - shortlisted for the Giller Prize How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengistu - Ethiopian-American writer
I haven't been reading as much as I usually do so I don't have too much planned for this week, but I defi…

"Cool Water" by Dianne Warren

Welcome to the town of Juliet, Saskatchewan, population 1011. At first glimpse you would think that there isn't much to this dusty oasis. But a closer look at some of the inhabitants show that this town is full of life and that its people are its heartbeat.
Lee is a young man, afraid to take responsibility of the the farm suddenly left behind to him by his adoptive parents. Bank manager Norval is carrying the weight of his clients, many of whom are at risk of losing everything, while dealing with his own inadequacies. Willard, who runs the local drive-in, is developing feelings for his sister-in-law Marian who continues to live under the same roof as him despite the death of his brother. Vicki and Blaine are the parents of six young children and are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads. Hank and Lynn's decades long marriage is threatened by the discovery of a small piece of paper in Hank's pocket.
Over the course of twenty-four hours these characters will fa…

Book Blogger Hop

Happy Friday! It's time for the Book Blogger Hop again, hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books.
This weeks question is: "Where is your favourite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"
My reading spot right now is definitely the couch. Next to it is a table with a basket where I keep my books and a lamp with the perfect amount of light for reading. No one is allowed to sit in my spot (it's also my tv watching spot. If you watch The Big Bang Theory, my family often hears me say "that's my spot" in my best Sheldon voice.)
We live in an apartment so I don't have many options for reading spots. When we own a house I hope to have a comfy reading chair inside as well as outside.
How about you, what's your spot?

"Been There Prayed That" by E.N. Joy

New Day Temple of Faith has a faithful congregation, but one thing is for sure - no one is perfect. The New Day Divas are definite proof of that.
Been There PrayedThat is the second book in the New Day Divas series, which has been coined as a soap opera in print. And a soap opera it is!
In this book Mother Doreen, head of the New Day Singles Ministry, has taken a sabbatical to care for her ill sister whose truck driver husband spends most of his time on the road. But Doreen starts to get suspicious when she notices that the assistant pastor of her sister's church seems to be hanging around a bit too much and not only that but her sister's belly seems to be growing.
Back at New Day, Lorain has taken over the Singles Ministry but she keeps clashing with Unique, a young single mother of three children from three fathers. When the pastor appoints them co-heads of the Ministry, things are taken to a whole new level.
And while Tamarra and Maeyl's relationship seems to be heading…

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's purpose is to highlight upcoming releases that we are looking forward to. My choice this week is still well in the future, but I think this one sounds great. The Baby Planner by Josie Brown Release Date: April 5, 2011 Katie Johnson may make her living consulting with new moms on the latest greatest baby gadgets no parent should be without, or which mommy meet-ups are the most socially desirable, or whether melon truly is the new black, but the success of her marriage to husband Alex depends on controlling her own urges toward motherhood. He's adamant that they stay childless. Sure, Katie understands that he's upset over the fact that his out-of-town ex-wife rarely lets him see their ten-year-old son, Peter. But living vicariously through her anxious clients and her twin sisters' precocious children only makes Katie resent his stance more deeply.While helping a new client—Seth Harris, a high…

"The Twelfth Imam" by Joel C. Rosenberg

Tensions are rising in the Middle East. Iran is rapidly developing its nuclear weapons program and calling for the annihilation of Israel. The Israeli Defense Minister is threatening to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. CIA Operative David Shirazi, an Iranian-American, is sent to Tehran with only one objective: disrupt Iran's nuclear weapons program using any means necessary.
But as David gets close to Iranian government leaders he begins to learn of sightings of the Islamic Messiah known as the Twelfth Imam. News of miracles and healings are spreading and the government and clerics of Iran are preparing a final strike against Israel to bring about the End of Days. Can Shirazi achieve his objective before it is too late?
The Twelfth Imam is a fantastic, fictional-but-all-too-real look at Middle East politics and Islamic End Time theology. Rosenberg has crafted a story that is engaging, thrilling, and educational. He is not afraid to tackle the political or religious iss…

Spread the Word

A few weeks ago when I was at the Word on the Street festival here in Toronto I had the opportunity to volunteer with a wonderful organization that collects books for libraries in Africa. I spent most of my day sharing with festival attendees about the organization and how they could help out. And the response I got the most was "where have you been? I have so many books that I don't know what to do with!"
This got me thinking about how many wonderful organizations there are out there that are helping to boost literacy in our own communities and around the world, but also how difficult it can be to get yourself seen in what is a very busy world.
So I have decided to do a feature here on these organizations called "Spread the Word." Once a month (maybe more) I'll post about an organization and the work they are doing. And I would love for other book bloggers to join in and do the same!
If you are interested, it's very simple. There's no commitme…

Awards Love!!! Come get to know me.

First I have to say that I have been awful about posting about awards here and passing them on. For that I am truly sorry because I really appreciate the awards given to me and there are so many fabulous bloggers out there who I want to pass my awards on to! So I finally am doing it!
First up: The Versatile Blogger Award (given to me by Bethany at words, words, words)

The conditions of this award are that all recipients must:
1. Thank and link back to the person that gave this award
2. Write 7 things about yourself
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked to let them know about the award

Here's me: 1. Obviously, I love tea. Orange Pekoe with lots of milk in the morning or afternoon. At night, Vanilla Rooibos. 2. But I can't start my day without a cup of coffee and reading the Toronto Star. 3. Speaking of coffee, I love my Keurig! My husband bought it for me on our last anniversary…

"Cities of Refuge" by Michael Helm

One summer night, twenty-eight-year-old Kim Lystander is walking to work in downtown Toronto when she is attacked by a stranger. In the days, weeks and months that follow, her life is thrown into turmoil. The attack doesn't just affect her but is felt throughout several lives.
Her estranged father Harold, a Latin American historian, decides to investigate the crime on his own, stirring up troubles from his past. His investigation introduces him to Rosemary Yates, a woman who gives asylum to anyone who seeks it and Rodrigo Cantero, a young Colombian man who is in the country illegally and staying with Rosemary. As Harold also involves Father Andrew Rowe, a local priest, in the situation it brings everyone to a troubling crossroads.
I have to say that I had high hopes Cities of Refuge. I love books that are set in the city of Toronto and the plot sounded like it will shed light on a hush-hush world that exists here. But I just could not get into this book.
For me, it felt like …

Book Blogger Hop

Thanks for hopping by! I love the Book Blogger Hop, such a fun way to meet other book bloggers and get to know them. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. Each week over 200 bloggers participate! So you will definitely find something for you.
This weeks question is: When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?
Lately I've had a couple books that I just could not get into. Which is a little strange for me, usually I can stick it out. So what I usually do is put down the book for a few days, move on to the next one, and then come back it to it. This usually fixes things but lately I've had ones that this didn't even work. But I hate giving up on books so I'll usually just read a little bit of that book a day while reading others at the same time.
I always try to push through because sometimes the book can redeem itself, or get a bit better. I read…

"Lemon" by Cordelia Strube

Lemon is not your average teenager. She has three mothers, a deadbeat dad, a protege stricken with cancer, two outcast friends and one tree hugging stepbrother. She doesn't care what others her age are doing, she would rather read the Classics. And while everyone else around her is obsessed with getting high and having sex, she's just trying to get to the end of high school without having to deal with any of that nonsense. But it's not going to be easy.
Lemon is a smart and funny book. While this is definitely not a young adult book, the voice of Lemon is authentically teen and authentically annoyed at the world around her. Like many teens she is full of conflict, but unlike the others around her she shows a deep understanding for the pain and conflict that exists in our world. But in her attempts to be as little like her peers as she can, it turns out that Lemon is not immune from teenage angst and misery.
The language in this book is strong. Written in a teenage voi…

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme for bloggers to share what upcoming releases they are looking forward to and is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Here is my pick this week:
New York Valentine by Carmen Reid Release date: 22 February 2011
Newly-wed Annie Valentine is busy filming her third TV series of How Not To shop when she receives a distress call from New York. Elena and Svetlana's fashion company, Perfect Dress, is about to go belly-up and no one can help them more than Annie. Annie is dazzled by New York but the hard work that her friends are doing in the fabric houses in Brooklyn is far from glamourous - it's downright dangerous. But Elena needs a fabric bargain and Annie is going to find it for her. Meanwhile, back in the UK, Annie's husband Ed has been suspended from his teaching job after vicious rumours about him and a sixth form girl are circulated on the school's email system are investigated. Can Annie save her friend's business and her husba…

"Samson" by Jacquelin Thomas

Samson Taylor is the new assistant pastor of a thriving church. But while he is following his calling he still struggles with a terrible sin - his uncontrollable lust for beautiful women. Even though he recognizes the conflict between his personal life and his job, Samson cannot fight off his sin. It isn't long before his lust causes him to lose his marriage, best friend, child and job. But even that isn't enough to make him change his ways.
When Samson meets Delinda, the wife of a famous NBA star, he falls head over heels in love and quickly begins an affair. Even though Delinda warns him of her husband's temper and the dangers of their affair, he refuses to stop. When he finds himself involved in a violent confrontation with the man, Samson loses one of the things most precious to him.
Now Samson must rebuild his life. But will he be able to turn back to God and get his life back to what it was supposed to be or will he let bitterness and regret take over his life?

Book Blogger Hop

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers! This morning as I struggled to get out of bed I thought "oh thank goodness it's a long weekend." I heard this morning on the news that the Daily Bread Food Bank here in Toronto is only about halfway to its goal for this holiday, so if you're out grocery shopping this weekend, remember your local food bank.
The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly gathering for book bloggers to get to know each other better and discover great blogs to follow. It's hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. Each week we answer a reading related question. This weeks question is:
What's your favourite beverage while reading, if any?
Well, I'm pretty sure you can figure out my answer! I love tea and I love just curling up with a cup of tea, especially in the colder months. At afternoon tea time (which is a daily tradition of my Dutch family) I drink a good ol' cup of orange pekoe with milk. Any other time I drink decaf flavoured teas, my…

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is a weekly meme designed to highlight upcoming releases we are looking forward to. My selection this week is:

A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French Release date: 23 November 2010 (in Canada)
Everyone hates the perfect family. So you'll love the Battles. Mo is about to hit the big 50, and some uncomfortable truths are becoming quite apparent: She doesn't understand either of her teenage kids, which as a child psychologists, is fairly embarrassing. She has become entirely grey. Inside and out. Her face has surrendered and is frightening children. Dora is about to hit the big 18...and about to hit anyone who annoys her, especially her precocious younger brother Peter who has a chronic Oscar Wilde fixation. Then there's Dad...who's just, well, dad. A Tiny Bit Marvellous is the story of a modern family all living in their own separate bubbles lurching towards meltdown. It is for anyone who ever share…

Giller Prize Shortlist revealed!

This morning, the shortlist for the Giller Prize was announced. The Giller Prize is one of Canada's top literary prizes. The winner will receive $50,000 and past winners include Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood and Austin Clarke.
This years shortlist is:
The Matter With Morris by David Bergen The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud This Cake is for the Party by Sarah Selecky Annabel by Kathleen Winter Light Lifting by Alexander MacLeod
There quite a few things to note with this year's shortlist. David Bergen won this prize previously in 2005. Only M.G. Vassanji and Alice Munro have won the prize twice. David Bergen's book is also the only book on the list to be published by a major publishing house, the rest coming from indie firms.
Sarah Selecky and Alexander MacLeod's books are both short story collections and are their first books ever. Kathleen Winter and Johanna Skibsrud's entries are their first novels. Winter is known for her award winning short stories and …