Showing posts from September, 2010

Month in Review

Oh how I love autumn. The changing colour of the leaves, the cooler weather that calls out for chunky sweaters, watching the rain fall from my window while I sip on a cup of tea. It's safe to say that autumn is my favourite season.
September was an exciting month for Canadian literature as the award season picks up. The Giller Prize longlist was announced. Many people were shocked that Emma Donoghue's Room wasn't on the list. Having read it now, I am also surprised, but I'm just beginning the Giller longlist so I can't yet compare it to the others.
Room did make the list for the Roger's Writer Trust Prize for Fiction, just announced yesterday. She is joined by Kathleen Winter for Annabel, Michael Winter for The Death of Donna Whelan, Michael Helm for Cities of Refuge and Trevor Cole for Practical Jean.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend The Word on the Street here in Toronto. It's a large book and magazine festival held every year and is a dre…

"Sweet Temptation" by Lucy Diamond

It seems as though things could not get any worse for Maddie Lawson. Her horrible boss at the radio station has humiliated her live on air, her mom has signed her up at the gym for a Couch Potato membership and her kids are embarrassed to be seen with her after her disastrous outing in the mum's race at the school sports day.
Jess, a popular beautician, is also having her share of trouble. Her new boss at work has it in for her and is watching her every move. On top of that Jess is desperate to fit into a size ten wedding dress for the Big Day that is continually being put off by her not-so-nice fiance.
Lauren has found herself at a dead end in her life. Hurt by the end of her marriage, she has decided to give up on romance for ever. However, this does interfere with her job running a dating agency. She has turned to food to comfort herself, all the while listening to the men who use her agency say they're looking for the perfect woman with a sexy bum.
All three women rel…

Book Blog Swap - Maid To Match by Deeanne Gist

Today I am swapping blogs with Joy from Edgy Inspirational Romance. I'm reviewing Urban Christian fiction over at her blog, and Joy has joined us here to review Historical Christian Romance, a genre which is completely new to me!

Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist
If I measured the heat level of a romance by how many times I dog eared the pages to come back to them, then Maid to Match would be like a summer in Arizona. This inspirational romance was steamy, just the way I like 'em. And just so we're clear, a steamy inspirational means lots of restrained passion, not graphic descriptions.

Deeanne Gist has a way with writing dialogue- romantic one liners that just rip at your heart and bottom out your stomach (there's a scene involving shirt measurements that made me swoon). If you've been reading my blog, you already know I'm a huge fan of Gist's work. But I'd place this latest book in her top three, along with my dog eared copies ofA Bride Most Begrudging and …

In My Mailbox #19

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, designed for us to share the new books we brought home over the past week.
This week I had nothing come into the library for me (a good thing because I have a bunch waiting for me next week) but I did manage to buy one! Here's what I got.

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

For Review:

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton


She's Gone Country by Jane Porter (Thanks to Bookaddict4real for this contest!)

"Mini Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella

Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is back and with a whole new set of problems (and she wouldn't be our dear Shopaholic without any!) Daughter Minnie is now two years old and following in her mothers footsteps. She can name fashion designers, do a little online shopping and her favourite word is "Mine!" Becky and husband Luke are still searching for a house while they live with her parents, but bad luck keeps coming their way. And now, a financial crisis has hit the entire country.
So what does Becky decide to do? Cut back like everyone else? Nope, she decides to throw a lavish surprise party for Luke. If you know Becky, you know this isn't going to be smooth sailing.
Mini Shopaholic is the newest instalment of Sophie Kinsella's wildly popular Shopaholic series. It is as funny and charming as all of the past books. While most would assume that by the sixth book of a series things may begin to go downhill, this book proves otherwise. While I don't think i…

Book Blogger Hop

Happy Friday! Fridays seem to be coming so fast lately! Of course, it means the weekends seem to be going twice as fast.
The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. It's a great way to meet up with and network with other bloggers and find some great blogs to follow. No matter what type of books you read, there is someone there who reads the same genres!
Each week, we given a question to discuss. This weeks question is - When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

I always write my reviews when I am done the book. Some I write as soon as I am done the books, others I have to put down, give some thought, and then come back the next day and write the review. I do like to get the review done as soon as possible. However, as I am reading I will often think about what I will include in the review or I will mark pages or passages that I want to include in the review. Some things will really jump out at…

"Room" by Emma Donoghue

Room is all five-year-old Jack knows. He was born there and it's where he eats, sleeps, learns and grows. Through his imagination, Room has become the real world and what he sees through the television set is just imaginary.
Room is also the place where Jack's Ma was imprisoned at the age of nineteen by a man named Old Nick. She has spent seven years in the eleven-by-eleven foot space. Jack's existence and her love for him has led her to create a life in that small space, so that he has no need for or knowledge of the world she was taken from.
But as Jack grows physically so does his curiosity about their world and the one in the television, along with Ma's desperate need to escape from Room. Will they make it out and if they do, what awaits them in the Outside?
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Room is deserving of all of the praise it has been getting. This is an easy read about a difficult subject. It has a hint of "ripped from the headlines" but loo…

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Its purpose is to show which upcoming releases we are looking forward to. This week my selection is:

Gallery Girl by Wendy Holden Release date: 13 October, 2010
Zeb's the darling of Brit Art, the rock'n roll bad boy artist whose works go for bazillions. But can he keep his end up - in every sense - now that his powerful female patron is losing interest? Beth loves are and the traditional gallery she works in and loves her boyfriend doctor, David. But the hospital hours he keeps are putting a strain on the relationship. Marie's pop-star husband was big in the Nineties, now he's relaunching his boy band with a vengeance. But where does this leave Marie and her dreams of being a painter? Ben's a brilliant portrait artist but no one wants his stuff. Why have a picture that actually looks like you when you could have a gold-sprayed prosthetic limb? Disillusioned Ben's reduced to livi…

"In A Strange Room" by Damon Galgut

In the book In A Strange Room we meet Damon, a South African who feels the need to be on the move, constantly travelling from one place to another. The book is divided into three parts, each consisting of a different journey.
In the first, Damon is walking through Greece when he meets a German dressed all in black along a trail. Damon is taken by this man named Reiner and later on they meet up and hike through Lesotho. Damon follows Reiner, falling into a curious and unspoken relationship between the two.
In the second story, Damon meets a group of European hikers and joins in on their travels through Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya, later meeting up with them in Europe. Here he becomes drawn to and fascinated by one of travellers, though they are separated by language.
In the third story, Damon travels to India with a friend who is trying to put her mental illness behind her. But she soon loses control and Damon finds himself as her guardian rather than her travel mate.
Each story looks…

2010 Giller Prize Longlist Revealed

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is Canada's most prestigious literary prize. Past winners include Rohinton Mistry, Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, Michael Ondaatje and M.G. Vassanji. The longlist for the 2010 prize was announced this morning. Here are the nominees:
David Bergen - The Matter With Morris Douglas Coupland - Player One Michael Helm - Cities of Refuge Alexander MacLeod - Light Lifting Avner Mandelman - The Debba Tom Rachman - The Imperfectionists Sarah Selecky - This Cake is for the Party Johanna Skibsrud - The Sentimentalists Cordelia Strube - Lemon Joan Thomas - Curiosity Jane Urquhart - Sanctuary Line Dianne Warren - Cool Water Kathleen Winter - Annabel
David Bergen is the only past winner on the list. Douglas Coupland, Jane Urquhart and Michael Helm have been nominated in the past.
While I'm yet to read any of the books (thought I've had a hold on a bunch at the library) from what I have been hearing Kathleen Winter, Jane Urquhart, Michael Helm and David Bergen are ver…

In My Mailbox #18

Good morning! In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, designed for us to share which books came into our homes this past week. This week I got from the library:
Trespass by Rose Tremain In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut Room by Emma Donoghue
(all three are listed for the Man Booker Prize with the last two making the shortlist.)
I also received one book for review: Been There Prayed That by E.N. Joy
What did you get this week?

"Outcasts United" by Warren St. John

Until the 1990's Clarkston, Georgia was what one would consider a typical Southern American town. Then it was designated a refugee settlement centre and it became the first American home for families fleeing the worlds war zones - places like Liberia, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Soon, the streets were filled with women wearing the hijab or traditional African dress and kids of all colours playing soccer in the street. Unfortunately, not everyone in Clarkston was welcoming of the refugees or the changes in their city.
Luma Mufleh is an American-educated Jordanian woman who was a girl's soccer coach when she discovered the young refugee boys playing soccer on the street. She founded a youth soccer team, known as the Fugees, to help unify these boys and soon found that her role would go far beyond being a soccer coach. She became a translator, a mentor and an advocate for the refugee community in Clarkston.
Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, An American Town follows th…

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. It is for bloggers to show which upcoming releases they are looking forward to. My selection for this week is a little different than my previous choices:
Sowing the Seeds of Forgiveness by Immaculee Ilibagiza Release date: 15 October 2010
In "Sowing The Seeds of Forgiveness," Immaculee reveals how the simple message of forgiveness in her earlier books resonated in the hearts of readers around the world. The hunger to find inner peace is so universal that Immaculee now spends much of her life sharing her story in churches, synagogues, concert halls, and stadiums all over the globe. Along the way she offers us moments of true inspiration by taking us into the lives of people whose hearts have been freed from a lifetime of pain by finding forgiveness. In this book, we join Immaculee as she travels from Iceland to Japan, from Hollywood to the Holy Land, to the White House luncheon and a meeting with the…

"Last Night at Chateau Marmont" by Lauren Weisberger

The first time Brooke heard Julian Alter perform "Hallelujah" in a dark bar, she knew he had the talent to be a star. And after five years of marriage and working two jobs to support his career, Brooke and Julian are about to realize that dream.
After an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Julian is catapulted to instant fame. Soon Brooke and Julian are living a whirlwind life of parties, tours, television shows and even a Grammy performance. Julian is a bonafide star.
While the newfound fame is fun at first, soon the negative attention comes calling. Brooke and Julian's marriage becomes a target of the tabloids and Brooke's work life is suffering. When pictures of Julian and another woman surface, will that be the breaking point of their marriage?
Lauren Weisberger is the master at taking us inside worlds very few get to see. First it was fashion magazine publishing in The Devil Wears Prada, then the public relations industry in Everyone Worth Knowing. …

In My Mailbox #17

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren so we can share all of the wonderful books that came into our homes this week!
My library shut down unexpectedly last week because of construction they're doing on the rest of the building, so I was unable to get books from there for an entire week! I know, how awful. But it's open again so here is what I got from the library:
Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin Samson by Jacquelin Thomas The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore If You Have to Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone
I also received an ARC of The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg from Tyndale House Publishers in the mail.
What did you get this week?

Book Blogger Hop!

Happy Friday! It's time for the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Crazy For Books. Each week about 300 book bloggers participate, so you will definitely find some great blogs to follow! As well, each week there is a question/topic to answer that will help us all get to know each other better.
This weeks is: Post a link to a favourite post or review you have published in the last three months. The link I'm posting is my review of A Year of Living Generously by Lawrence Scanlan. I found this book very inspiring and it definitely made me look at the needs of those around me and how I can get involved. This book is fairly new and Canadian so it may be difficult for some people to get their hands on, but I hope that my review will also inspire you to get out and volunteer.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend. It was the first week of school here, and today is my daughter's first day of Kindergarten! She's pretty excited but a little nervous. What an exciting day for her!…

"Outlive Your Life" and "One Hand, Two Hands" by Max Lucado

We have all seen the stories and pictures on the news, of the suffering and needs that exist in the world. In just the last few weeks we have seen floods and earthquakes tear apart people's worlds. And close to home we see poverty, hunger, and prejudice making life difficult for so many people. What if we had an opportunity to change that? What if we had an opportunity to make a difference in the life of one person or the lives of many?
In Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference Max Lucado shows you how you can do that. Armed with stories of Biblical and contemporary greatness, Lucado introduces you to the many people who have outlived their lives and left a legacy in this world. In each chapter, Lucado will help you overcome the obstacles in your life and give you inspiration to go out into the world and do so.
This book will definitely challenge you and inspire you to look for ways you can make a difference in your neighbourhood and the world at large. Each ch…

International Literacy Day

Today is International Literacy Day. UNESCO states that one in five adults is illiterate, two-thirds of them are women and 67.4 million children are not in school. It's not just a problem in the developing world either. A new report just released by the Canadian Council of Learning states that in the next 20 years the country's major metropolitan areas will see a significant, above-average growth in the number of adults with low literacy.
In honour of International Literacy Day here are a few links to get you started and to find out more information and how you can get involved locally or around the world to help fight illiteracy.
ABC Life Literacy Canada Frontier College Learning Disabilities Association of Canada Canadian Library Association
National Center for Family Literacy (US) United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Reading Association
Where you can help
STELLAA - to send books to Africa Education Beyond Borde…

"Getting to Happy" by Terry McMillan

When we first met Bernadine, Savannah, Gloria and Robin in Waiting to Exhale, the ladies were in their 30's and looking for Mr. Right. Strong and independent, the ladies were a close-knit foursome, navigating relationships and the professional world, each looking for that one good man who would allow them to exhale. When we left them, two had found love but otherwise we were left hanging as to how they fared.
In Getting To Happy we now get to find out. Fifteen years later the women are all at a midlife crossroads. Savannah has married but decided at the age of fifty-one to face being single again. Bernadine has been swindled by her second husband and turns to pills to help her cope. Robin still hasn't realized her dream of wearing a wedding dress and uses shopping to fill the void. And Gloria has learned that one moment can change everything forever. But one thing remains the same - the women are still fantastic women and fierce friends.
What a pleasure it was to revis…

"Parrot and Olivier in America" by Peter Carey

It's the mid-19th century and France is in the middle of a Revolution. Olivier de Garmont is the son of French aristocrats and to say he is a snob is putting it mildly. Parrot is an Englishman who at the age of 12 was forced to flee to Paris after his father was arrested for forging counterfeit currency and ends up working for Olivier's family. When Olivier is sent to America to investigate their penal system, to his dismay he finds that Parrot is being sent along with him as his servant/secretary.
The trip does not start out well. Olivier suspects that Parrot has been sent to spy on him by his parents and Parrot deeply resents having to be of service to Olivier, as evidenced through his nickname for him - Lord Migraine. But over time, as they both explore the New World and all of the opportunities it has available for them, their relationship changes and a friendship emerges. Olivier embarks on a wider study of American life and Parrot begins to flourish in the new land.

Book Blogger Hop

It's time to do the Hop! Hosted by Crazy For Books, it's a place to find great book blogs and find out more about the bloggers behind them!
The question for this week is: Do you judge a book by its cover?
I definitely do this. If I'm browsing the book store looking for new books or even reading blogs, then I will definitely look at a book based on its cover. And if I'm not sure about whether or not to read a book I will let the cover help me make that decision. But, if I have heard about a book and know what it's about, then a bad cover won't stop me from picking it up (though I will be disappointed for a few seconds about a bad cover.) I'm not looking for anything fancy or out of this world, just a cover that is pleasing to the eye and that relates to the book.
Well, this is the last weekend before school starts! A time to get organized and as well a time to relax (and read!) I'm a little annoyed right now, there is a great book waiting for me at …

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is for us to show which books we are anxiously awaiting the release of. My choice this week is:

Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work by Tim Gunn Release date: 7 September 2010
On the runway of life, Tim Gunn is the perfect life coach. You've watched him mentor talented designers on the hit television show Project Runway. Now the inimitable Tim Gunn shares his personal secrets for "making it work" - in your career, relationships, and life. Filled with delightfully dishy stories of fashion's greatest divas, behind-the-scenes glimpses of Runway's biggest drama queens, and never-before-revealed insights into Tim's private life, Gunn's Golden Rules is like no other how-to book you've ever read.
I really enjoy Tim Gunn on Project Runway and anything else he does. I'm a big believer in poise and etiquette and I think he is a great example of…