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Showing posts from January, 2013

Month In Review

Well, January was quite the month.  It was a cold one here for a while in Toronto, with deep freeze temperatures.  That kept me indoors reading quite a lot.  Then there was the two-day root canal and the accompanying jaw pain that kept me on the couch and reading quite a lot.
So January turned out to be a great reading month for me.  Usually I find myself in a bit of a slump at the end of December/beginning of January with the holidays and getting back into the swing of things.  But this year I decided that I would try to put myself on a sort of reading schedule, making sure I read challenge books each month so I'm not rushing at the end, getting of all the review books read in a quick manner, and knocking books of my TBR list as well as new releases.  It felt good to be so organized! 
Books Read
Here's what I read in January (stars are the ratings I gave the books on GoodReads.)
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis ****
I Heart London by Lindsay Kelk ****
The Painted Girl…

"The Child's Child" by Barbara Vine

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When Grace and Andrew's grandmother dies, she leaves them her large, beautiful home, Dinmont House.  Instead of selling it, like most siblings would, they decide to move in together, splitting the bedrooms and studies between them and sharing the entrance and kitchen.  It may seem strange but it works for them.  That is, until Andrew brings home his new boyfriend.
From the beginning, Grace doesn't care much for James or his haughty attitude.  His presence in the home affects Grace and makes for a tense atmosphere.  Then one night, Andrew and James witness the murder of one of their friends and James begins to unravel.  This leads to an encounter between Grace and James that will change their lives forever.
When Andrew and James move out of the house, Grace escapes into a manuscript of a novel from 1951.  The book went unpublished due to its depiction of an unwed teenage mother and homosexuality.  The brother and sister in the novel mirror Grace and Andrew and both stories, thoug…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
Last week I had my first ever root canal.  It was a two day affair involving two dentists since apparently even my teeth don't want to do things normally.  I also have a teeny bit of TMJ which has been aggravated by sitting there for 3 hours with my mouth open.  So needless to say, I have pain in quite some pain for the last few days.  But, the bright side of that is I was able to get a lot of reading done!
Last week I read:
I didn't plan it that way but it was a week of historical fiction for me!  The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan is set in Paris in the late 19th century.  The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen is set in early 19th century Cornwall, England.  And The Child's Child by Barbara Vine takes place in England in both the present day and the first half of the 20th century.
What I'm reading now: In What I Did On My Holidays by Chrissie Manby, Sophie is dumped by…

"The Painted Girls" by Cathy Marie Buchanan

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The year is 1878 and in Paris two young sisters, Marie and Antoinette van Goethem, find their lives turned upside down after the death of their father.  Their mother, a laundress, is a heavy drinker and her wages do not stretch far enough to keep food on the table and the landlord from kicking them out.  Young Marie, a promising student, must join her older sister in earning a wage.
Marie joins the Paris Opéra where she trains to be a part of their famous ballet.  Antoinette gets work as an extra in a stage play by Émile Zola.  Both of the girls find that while they love what they do, the small wages are not enough and they must take on extra work.  Marie becomes a muse for Edgar Degas and is immortalized in his drawing Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.  Through this she meets a male patron of the ballet who also wants her to be his muse.   All is not at it seems though and this wealthy man may be expecting more from her than just modelling.  Antoinette takes a job at the washing house her …

Feature and Follow Friday

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Feature & Follow Friday is hosted byParajunkee's ViewandAlison Can Read.
It's another cold Friday here.  It's been a very cold week in Toronto with windchill temperatures in the -20C's.  Thankfully, today is a PA Day so there is no going to the bus early this morning.  It's a good day to stay in the PJ's and curl up on the couch with a good book or two!
This weeks question is: What is the last book that kept you up late into the night just to finish it?
As someone who truly loves my sleep and is always dangerously close to never getting enough, I often struggle with putting down a great book.  But I do it, because you don't want to be around me when I haven't had enough sleep.  So it's actually pretty rare that a book keeps me up well into the night.  However, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis is a recent book that I took to bed early with the purpose of not going to sleep until I am finished.
What books have kept you up late into the nigh…

"I Heart London" by Lindsay Kelk

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Angela Clark has fallen in love with New York and life is starting to  return the love.  The magazine she wants to publish is about to get off the ground and her gorgeous musician boyfriend is now her gorgeous musician fiancé.  Things are looking good for Angela.
But when Angela is made to return to her hometown of London for a family celebration she'll have to face everything she ran from in the first place.  There is her ex-boyfriend Mark who cheated on her after ten years, her best friend Louisa and her brand new baby, and her mum who still treats her as a child.  Will Angela be able to return to London and escape unscathed or will the old Angela make an appearance?
I Heart London by Lindsay Kelk is a fun chick lit novel that will keep you entertained from the first page.  Angela is a loveable character and the cast of friends and family that surround her will keep you laughing and groaning the whole way through.
I like how Angela is one of those characters who finds herself in cr…

"Meatless" by Martha Stewart

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Meatless is the latest cookbook from Martha Stewart.  It includes over 200 vegetarian recipes that have appeared in the pages of Martha Stewart Living.  Aimed at people looking to add more vegetable-based meals to their diets, this is a cookbook that will be a welcome to addition to any kitchen.

The first thing you notice when you pick up this book are the beautiful pictures that accompany every recipe (and would you expect anything less from Martha?)  I appreciate that each recipe has a picture to go with it, that's actually something that disappoints me when a cookbook doesn't have them, I need to see a picture of the dish to decide if it's something I want to try.

In addition to the recipes the book includes what a vegetarian pantry looks like, cooking basics, a list of protein powerhouses, flavour booster recipes, a grain cooking chart, and suggested menus for a variety of occasions.  My only criticism here would be that it doesn't include in-depth nutritional info…

"It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
Last week, I finally got back into the swing of things in terms of reading.  I actually met my weekly page goal (though it was only 500 pages when it's usually 800) and I'm ahead in terms of having reviews to be published for the full week.  And according to GoodReads, I'm only 1 book behind schedule for my goal of reading 100 books in a year.  Now, if only I could say these things at the end of the year rather than mid-January!
What I Read Last Week:
You can read my review of Dara-Lynn Weiss' The Heavyhere.  You may have seen it in the news lately as the subject of putting her 8 year old daughter on a diet is pretty controversial.  I also finished reading I Heart London by Lindsay Kelk, review to come soon.  I gave it 4 stars on GoodReads.
What I'm Reading Now:
I am halfway through Cathy Marie Buchanan's The Painted Girls.  The story of two sisters trying to make their way…

"The Heavy" by Dara-Lynn Weiss

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When Dara-Lynn Weiss' article appeared in the April 2012 edition of Vogue she never imagined that she would become one of the most talked about (and most of the time, not in the good way) moms in America.
In the article titled "The Weight Watcher," Weiss shared how a trip to the doctor in which she found out her daughter was obese led her to put the seven year old on a "diet."  Cue the uproar.  People were calling her a horrible mother, a selfish woman who put her own issues onto her daughter, fat-shaming the little girl.  But now in Weiss' new book, TheHeavy, she has the opportunity to share the whole story, to speak of what she did and how she did, and to address the uproar she caused.
When I first started reading Weiss' Vogue article, I was fully prepared to dislike her in the same way that others have.  But by the end of the article I could see glimpses of a mother who was really trying to do what was best for her child (I wonder if the article had be…

Feature & Follow Friday

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Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.
Happy Friday everyone!  It is a cold one here, I just went out to take my daughter to the school bus and it is -18C/0F.  The only thing I like about the cold is that kids in big fat snowsuits are the cutest little things!
This weeks question is:  Who is your favourite villain from a book?
This is a tough one for me to answer.  I don't really read books that have a dominant villain or a villain that stands out in say, the way Voldemort does in Harry Potter.  But I will answer and say that last year I discovered the author Liza Marklund who writes Swedish crime novels.  And she writes them in such a wonderful way that I actually feel attached/somewhat sympathetic to the criminal while at the same time hating them for the crimes they have committed.  I'd say that's the sign of a pretty good writer.  Two of her books that I have enjoyed are The Bomber and Vanished.
Who is your favourite villai…

"The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" by Ayana Mathis

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Hattie Shepherd was just fifteen years old when she left Georgia and the Jim Crow South for a new life in Philadelphia.  Once there, she marries August, a man who stands in the way of the better life she had hoped for.  Over the years Hattie births eleven children, all brought into the world with high hopes.  Through her eleven children and one grandchild, Hattie's twelve tribes, we learn the story of a woman of incredible strength with more than her fair share of heartbreak, a woman who just wanted better for her children than she had.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is the incredible debut novel by Ayana Mathis.  It puts a human face to the historical narrative of the Great Migration, a time when Black Americans in the South were moving in large numbers to the North, in search of jobs and the release of the Jim Crow era.  That face is the matriarch of a family, who dreamed of a better life but was never able to find it.
Hattie's children, all born in this land of promise, struggle…

"Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse

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In Ancient India, a young son of a Brahmin leaves home in the hopes of attaining enlightenment by becoming a wandering ascetic.  He seeks out the famous Buddha but upon meeting and learning from him he decides that in order for him to continue on his quest he must do it alone, rather than following the Buddha.
But soon after he meets the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and she leads him into a life of material, riches, and passion.  He soon realizes that his lifestyle has left him empty and void of spiritual fulfillment.  And so he leaves, thinking of ending his life but instead comes to a river that leads him into the spiritual experience of the holy word Om.  From there his life is about peace and the wisdom he has gained with it.
Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, is the story of a spiritual journey during the time of Buddha.  The young man, Siddhartha, spends his life looking for enlightenment through traditional means but instead comes to learn that it comes through a complete unde…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

This is my first It's Monday! of 2013.  Unfortunately for us, the week before Christmas my daughter came down with the flu.  Then my son came down with it.  Then my husband.  And then me.  Yep, Christmas day we were all recovering from the flu.  It took two weeks for everyone to get better and for me, well I just finished a course of antibiotics.  So needless to say, reading and blogging for me was non-existent!  But I'm finally getting back to normal and I'm excited to be back!

What I Read Last Week:

My first read of 2013 was The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, a book that tons of people are talking about right now and I see why.  I also finally finished reading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse after putting it down before Christmas.
What I'm Reading Now:
The Heavy is about Dara-Lynn Weiss' journey to help her overweight 8 year old daughter lose weight and is a mother-daught…

Happy New Year!!!

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Happy 2013 everyone!!!!  It's a big time of year here, not just because it's a brand new reading year but because it also marks my blogoversary! It's hard to believe it's been so long, I've been blogging here for three years now!  As always, I'm just so honoured to be a part of such a cool, fantastic community!

Since it's January 1st, it's time to look at the challenges that I have signed up for this year.

100 Books Read Challenge
I'm going for it again.  3 times I have challenged myself to read 100 books in a year, 3 times I have failed.  Will I be able to do it this year?

Back to the Classics Challenge
Even though I didn't so hot last year, I'm going for it again!  Hosted by Sarah Reads Too Much this one has 6 required categories and 6 optional categories.  So I'm hoping for a minimum of 6 with this one, would love to do all 12!

Around the World in 12 Books Challenge
This one is hosted by Giraffe Days and requires readers to read one boo…