Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Katie Johnson wants nothing more than a baby of her own. But her husband Alex, who says he'll keep an open mind, doesn't want a child. What makes this really difficult for Katie is the fact that as San Francisco's premier baby planner, she is surrounded all day by pregnant women and everything baby.
When Katie takes on a new client, single father Seth Harris, she gets more than she bargained for. Seth needs all the help he can get with his newborn daughter and Katie is more than willing to step in to fill that role. Will she end up with the family she has always dreamed of or will her job as a baby planner remind her too much of what she doesn't have?
The Baby Planner by Josie Brown takes you inside a brand new world, the upscale baby planner. Having a baby is a very busy time so why not let someone else do the work for you? They will take care of all your shopping needs, help you get the nursery ready, help you find a drag queen to be the nanny for your child….you'll just have to read the book to find out what that is all about!
This is a fun novel that takes a look at motherhood from many angles - those who have a bunch of kids, those who can't have kids, those who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant and those who find their lives in big upheaval with the arrival of baby. One thing is common amongst these women, they need the help of Katie Johnson, baby planner, to navigate them through these times.
The book goes beyond the shopping, baby showers and cute baby clothing. It looks at relationships and especially at what happens when life doesn't go the way you have planned. My only criticism about this book is the nature of the passages involving sex. I'm not a prude and I can handle when characters have sex in books but I don't think that graphic description is necessary. If you feel the same way, then you are hereby warned.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
- Create a list of some books you’d like to read or finish this fall. This is the only real requirement for participating in the challenge.
- Feel free to set some additional reading goals (such as reading to your kids two hours per week, getting through your pile of magazines, etc.). However, this is not required; setting additional goals is completely optional.
- Write a blog post that includes the list of books you want to read (and any additional goals you’ve set), and get ready to post it on your blog on September 23rd.
- Visit Callapidder Days on September 23rd to sign up for the challenge. I’ll have an official launch post up that morning, complete with an area for you to submit a link to your personal Fall Into Reading post, where it will be added to the master list of participants.
- Read! Work on your goals throughout Fall 2011.
- Report your results. Write another blog post in December to let everyone know how you did. (I’ll post an official wrap-up to the challenge on December 22nd, where you’ll be able to share your results.)
- Have fun! Visit other participants to see what they’re reading. Write reviews if you’re so inclined. But most of all, enjoy your fall reading!
Baggage - Emily Barr
Children of the Waters - Carleen Brice
How to Be Married - Polly Williams
Cocktails for Three - Madeleine Wickham
Busy Woman Seeks Wife - Annie Sanders
Slightly Suburban - Wendy Markham
A Complicated Kindness - Miriam Toews
Tales from the Yoga Studio - Rain Mitchell
These aren't all the books on my shelf that I need to read, but it's a start!
When it comes to reading with my kids I've decided that I would like to commit to reading 50 french storybooks with my 4 year old daughter. She just started French Immersion and I want to keep the french going at home.
Will you be joining the challenge?
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Chelsea Handler is hilarious. I say that as someone who has just recently discovered her. I had heard of her television show but I don't have cable so I had never seen it. I had seen her books all over the place but never picked one up since I didn't know anything about her. But on a whim I thought they might be good summer reading so I picked up two of them - Are you There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea and Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.
I am so glad I picked up the books. They are fast paced reads as I couldn't put either of them down, except for when I was laughing so hard, which was often. Each book is a collection of essays about Chelsea's life that are so funny, you'll find yourself thinking they can't possibly true because no one's life can be that crazy.
In Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea? she takes on such topics as going to prison, dating a red-head, dining in the dark, re-gifting, vacationing with her father and getting attacked by fourteen-year-old girls.
In Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang she talks about discovering masturbation at a sleepover when she was eight-years-old, faking the death of a friends dog to play a prank on her boyfriend, attempting to get her driver laid while on vacation and trying to get her parents to buy her a Cabbage Patch doll as a child. This book seems a bit more disjointed and rushed than the first one but Handler still takes you on a crazy ride.
If these stories are true, you'll understand why Chelsea is such a comedienne because you would have to look at things with humour with a life like that. If they aren't true then Chelsea is an incredible storyteller. Either way, she writes hilarious books. Perfect reading for the beach, but be warned, Handler is vulgar and raunchy so think about how much you can tolerate before you decide to read either of these books.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Seventeen-year-old Kate and eleven-year-old Albert have spent their entire lives on a secluded Welsh commune led by their father. What was once a vibrant community full of potential is now disintegrating, just like their parents marriage. To escape, Kate heads off for school and suburban life with her boyfriend. Albert stays on the commune and begins preparations for the end of the world, something he is sure is coming soon.
But their father Don isn't going to let the community break up so easily. He decides that the best way to keep his family together and attract new wwoofers (those looking to volunteer on an organic farm) to the commune is to throw a rave complete with a 10k soundsystem. The last day on earth is coming. Bring Your Own Booze.
Wild Abandon is Joe Dunthorne's second novel. It is a typical coming of age story set in very untypical territory. It contains a colourful cast of characters who together make a perfect comedic combination. Suburban life and the middle class are expertly played out against the idealistic group of the commune.
Wild Abandon is a comic novel, one of understated humour, one that doesn't go for cheap laughs but is smart and darkly funny. The character of Albert was my favourite. That kid had me laughing in spots I probably wasn't supposed to. His wit and maturity were wonderfully written. Dunthorne expertly crafted each character so that they seemed like a real person you could meet on the street.
That being said this novel wasn't quite what I was expecting. There isn't too much to the plot, no major ups and downs, goings-on. Rather it is a commentary, a story of people and how they come to be who they are, how they interact and respond to their surroundings. However, Dunthorne's writing was more than enough to keep me turning the pages. While it started a bit slow for me personally, his characters soon had me wrapped up and wondering how I too could spend some time on the commune as a wwoofer.
I would like to thank Penguin Canada for providing me with a copy of this book.
Monday, September 19, 2011
In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly "Cat's Table" with an eccentric and unforgettable group of grownups and two other boys. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys find themselves immersed in the worlds and stories of the adults around them. At night they spy on a shackled prisoner -- his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever.
Looking back from deep within adulthood, and gradually moving back and forth from the decks and holds of the ship to the years that follow the narrator unfolds a spellbinding and layered tale about the magical, often forbidden discoveries of childhood and the burdens of earned understanding, about a life-long journey that began unexpectedly with a sea voyage.
A World Elsewhere has all the hallmarks of Wayne Johnston's most beloved and acclaimed novels: outsiders yearning for acceptance, dreams that threaten to overpower their makers, and unlikely romance. It is an astounding work of literature that questions the loyalties of friends, family and the heart. At the centre of this story is a mystery: the suspected murder of a child. This sweeping tale immerses us in St. John's, Princeton and North Carolina at the close of the nineteenth century. Landish Druken is a formidable figure: broader than most doorways, quick-witted and sharp-tongued. As a student at Princeton, he is befriended by George Vanderluyden, son of one of the wealthiest men in America. Years later, when Landish and his adopted son turn to Vanderluyden for help, he invites them to his self-constructed castle and pulls them into his web of lies and deceit.
Set in eighteenth-century Churchill, this compelling new novel takes the reader deep into unexplored territory. Appearing only fleetingly in the historical record of the Hudson's Bay Company are the Native women who lived at the company's Prince of Wales Fort and served as country wives to theEuropean traders and whose survival was bound, for better or worse, to the fortunes of those men.
Across more than two centuries, the mixed-blood woman Mary Norton, daughter of Governor Moses and personal favourite of the explorer Samuel Hearne, speaks to us from her dreams. As the story of her liaison with Hearne unfolds, we move toward its tragic consequences. When their small society is torn apart by a French attack on the fort, Mary and the other women find themselves and their children abandoned by their British masters. Now in one of history's cruel ironies they must fend for themselves in the harsh country from which their own ancestors sprang.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
In Jennifer Weiner's latest novel, Then Came You, four very different women are about to find their lives crashing head on.
Jules is a senior at Princeton, beautiful, smart and focused. When she is offered a large sum of money to donate her "pedigree" eggs, she takes the opportunity in the hopes of helping her addict father get into rehab.
Annie is a young mother of two boys, married to her high school sweetheart. As a stay at home mom she finds herself struggling to support her family on her husbands sole income. When she discovers she can earn extra money as a surrogate, she jumps in despite her husbands hesitations.
India Bishop has started life over at age forty-three (though she tells people she is thirty-eight.) She has changed her name, her face and her past and is now married to Marcus Croft, a wealthy older New York City businessman. When her attempts at pregnancy fail she turns to Annie, Jules and a fertility clinic to help make her dreams come true.
Things seem to be perfect until Marcus' daughter Bettina becomes involved. A promising university student, she is convinced that India isn't who she says she is and Bettina will protect her father at all costs.
Jennifer Weiner is a master storyteller. She expertly crafts engaging, endearing female characters and straight from the headlines topics into unforgettable stories. In this novel she looks at the issue of surrogacy from every perspective and delves deep into the issues of parental rights and motherhood.
I've been a fan of Weiner's from the first book of hers that I picked up. I love the way she tells a story with the right blend of warmth, emotion and humour. I was slightly disappointed in her last novel but feel that with Then Came You she is back to what I love most about her. If you are a fan of women's fiction then this is definitely a book you should pick up.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Through six seasons and two movies we laughed, cried, celebrated and hurt with the ladies of Sex and the City. They were more than characters on the television and movie screen, they were friends, alter-egos, role models. When we met them, they were successful women with homes, careers and love lives.
In The Carrie Diaries, we were introduced to teenage Carrie Bradshaw. We discovered where she came from and how she ended up in New York City. And now, in Summer and the City, we see how she met Samantha and Miranda and how she came to settle in NYC.
Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell is a young adult novel that fans of Sex and the City will enjoy no matter what their age. While the intent of the novel is to discover who the women we love so much are and what made them the women we know, the book itself is a great stand-alone novel, a story of young women taking New York City by storm in the 1980's.
Carrie has arrived in NYC to take a summer writing class at The New School. After a rough start she is taken in by Samantha Jones, who is working her way up in the advertising field and planning her wedding to one of the city's most eligible bachelors. As Carrie falls in love with an older man and finds herself immersed in the city's fast-paced society culture she learns lessons of love, heartbreak and discovering your voice. When she meets Miranda Hobbes outside of Saks, where the hardcore feminist is protesting pornography, she discovers the importance of female friendship and the power it has in her life.
Meeting the women in their late teens and early twenties is such a trip. Whatever idea you had of them, you can forget. They are not the same women we met in the show, but you see glimpses of who they are to become. And when we get a very brief glimpse of young Charlotte you can't help but smile with nostalgia for a brilliant television show that so greatly influenced the lives of many women.
Don't let the young adult designation steer you away from this book if you are a fan of the show, it is written in a voice that acknowledges readers of all ages. And if you are wondering if your teenage daughter should read the book, don't let the sexual nature of the show worry you, it's not in the book.
Summer and the City is another great book by Candace Bushnell and will be loved by all fans of the show. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go re-watch the entire series.