Showing posts from April, 2013

"The Butler Speaks" by Charles MacPherson

Whether you live in a stately country home or a downtown condo (or anything in between), household management is one of your priorities.  But sometimes it all can seem like it's too much or you just don't know the best way to do things.  Now, everything you need to know is in one easy place.  The Butler Speaks: A Return to Proper Etiquette, Stylish Entertaining, and the Art of Good Housekeeping by Charles MacPherson includes everything you need to know about household management and etiquette.  With over 24 years of experience as a butler and owner of North America's only registered school for butlers and household managers, MacPherson is the ultimate authority.  
I try to tune in to the Marilyn Denis Show whenever I see Charles the Butler (as he is known) is on.  He always has great tips for making things easier around the house (he gave a great tip for cleaning the oven that I use, a task I seriously hate.)  So I was thrilled to see that he has put his best information in…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
Saturday was Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and I had fully prepared to have this massive post today highlighting all the fantastic books I read during that period.  Then the day actually came and well, all the plans flew right out the window.  It's okay though, I did get opportunities to come online, see how others were doing, and check out a whole bunch of tweets making it feel like I was right there in the trenches with everyone else.  And I did manage to get one book finished!
What I Read Last Week The Juggler's Children by Carolyn Abraham is the writer's story of using DNA tests to find out the truth behind her family's legends and stories and find out where they really come from.  Friends & Foes by ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria  Christopher Murray is the second book in the series where Billingsley's Rachel Adams and Murray's Lady Jasmine meet up and cause t…

"What's For Dinner" by Curtis Stone

Life is busy and sometimes it's hard to decide what to make for dinner.  Many people don't have much time after coming home from work or between shuttling kids to and from activities.  We all want delicious, fresh, easy-to-make meals and that is the aim of Curtis Stone's newest cookbook What's For Dinner? Delicious Recipes For a Busy Life.
This book is organized into seven sections: Motivating Mondays, Time-Saving Tuesdays, One-Pot Wednesdays, Thrifty Thursdays, Five-Ingredient Fridays, Dinner Party Saturdays, and Family Supper Sundays.  Each section comes with beautiful colour photos of each dish as well as explanations and tips for easy cooking.  This book has something for everyone.  There are dishes from many different cultures, a wide variety of ingredients, and something for both meat-eaters and vegetarians.  
My first read-through of the book had me wondering if these recipes are really as simple as they are supposed to be.  As someone who isn't a fantastic co…

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

It's that time again, it's Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon!  This event was started in 2007 with 37 people participating.  After Dewey passed away in November of 2008, it was taken on by other book bloggers in her memory and it now has over 400 participants!  The idea? Simple, read as much as you can for 24 hours while connecting with other book bloggers and readers around the world.

End of Event Questionnaire
1.  Which hour was the most daunting for you?
Umm...hours 5-24?

2.  Could you list a few high-interest books that could keep a reader engaged for next year?
I started reading The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari which is a collection of short stories set in Israel.  Very good and I really like short stories for a readathon.

3.  Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the readathon next year?

4.  What do you think worked really well in this years readathon?
I loved the Twitter involvement on everyone's part!

5.  How many books did you read?
1 fully read b…

"Wedding Night" by Sophie Kinsella

When Lottie's boyfriends big proposal involves air miles and not a diamond ring, she decides it's time to break free.  She is tired of long-term relationships that seem perfect but end up nowhere.  So when her old boyfriend Ben arrives out of nowhere and reminds her of their pact to get married if they're both still single at thirty, Lottie thinks "why not?"  No dating, no engagement, and no sex, just straight to the altar and on to a honeymoon on the Greek Island they first met.
But Ben and Lottie seem to be the only ones who think that this is a good idea.  Ben's best man Lorcan thinks this is the worst decision he could make business-wise and is trying to convince him of it.  Lottie's sister Fliss thinks this is the worst decision she could make period and is prepared to pull out everything out of her arsenal to stop the marriage from being consummated.  Will Lottie and Ben get the honeymoon they want or will it be the wedding night from hell?
Wedding Ni…

"A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki

On a remote island in British Columbia, a Hello Kitty lunchbox has washed up on shore.  Ruth, a writer who lives on the island, thinks it could be debris from the 2011 tsunami.  As Ruth examines the contents she is pulled into a mystery, and a life that has unfolded in the past on the other side of the world, one that she may still have the power to save.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is an enthralling, beautiful novel about relationships, time, history, and culture.  Right from the beginning it draws you in, slowly unfolding and just when you think it can't, it pulls you in ever further.  
Nao is the sixteen-year-old author of the diary found Ruth finds in the lunchbox.  Living in Tokyo, she is an outcast at her school and she decides to take her own life.  But first, she wants to document the life of her 104-year-old great-grandmother, a feminist crusader and Buddhist nun.  As Nao writes, her own life unfolds before Ruth's eyes and Ruth soon realizes that she needs t…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
Last week I didn't read as many books as I had hoped to but there's a good reason behind that.  I read one book that was so rich and so good, it required of me to take my time and read it slow.  It can be frustrating when you have a whole pile of books due back at the library soon (or if that particular book was due back at the library a few days ago) but it's such a wonderful experience to read those kind of books.
What I Read Last Week:
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is the novel that demanded my time, Wedding Night is Sophie Kinsella's latest novel and all-around fun, and Tales of the Defended Ones by Beth Gluckenberger tells the stories of young children facing difficult situations and their rescue from them.
What I Cooked From Last Week:
Yum!  Tomato-Salami Pizza, Mango Pineapple Smoothies, Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Compote, Roasted Chicken with Tomato-Basil Butter…

"A Beautiful Truth" by Colin McAdam

Walt and Judy are a married couple who are deeply in love with each other and with life.  But there is one thing missing for Judy, a child.  Walt desperately wants to make Judy happy and when they realize that they may never have their own child, he goes to extreme lengths to give her what she wants.  
Looee was born in Sierra Leone and is now being raised by Walt and Judy in Vermont.  His arrival turns their lives upside down.  He tears up the house, doesn't understand boundaries, and his presence brings about the judgment of friends and strangers.  That is because Looee is a chimpanzee.  It may be different, but the three of them form a family.  
At the Girdish Institute in Florida, a decades long study of chimpanzees is being done to determine whether they can learn language.  Mr. Ghoul is one of the chimps being studied and his life is one marked by love, anger, forgiveness and violence.  The paths of Mr. Ghoul and Looee will cross, providing a touching tale of family, friendshi…

"Wave" by Sonali Deraniyagala

On December 26, 2004, the Indian Ocean earthquake sent a tsunami wave onto the southern coast of Sri Lanka.  Sonali Deraniyagala, a Sri Lankan woman living in England was vacationing with her family at a resort on the coast.  As they tried to escape, the wave overtook their jeep.  Sonali miraculously survived but her husband, two young sons, and parents did not.
Wave is Sonali's memoir of the tsunami, the days after, and her attempts to rebuild her life in the years to come.  Honest, emotional, and horrifying, this is an engrossing account of her life and the difficulties of moving on from the most traumatic of experiences.
Given the nature of the book it feels weird saying that this is an incredible, must-read book.  We all watched for days as the people of Southern Asia experienced the horrific force of nature and years later, it is something that has not escaped our minds.  But as we watched from the safety and comfort of our homes, millions of people were left displaced, injured…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday!  After a very busy weekend, it's tough for me to get going this morning.  I think I'll just brew another cup of tea and stay curled up on the couch with my book.

What I Read Last Week:

A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam Taylor's Gift by Todd and Tara Storch The Stop by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
What I'm Reading Now
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki Lead Your Family Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer
What I Plan to Read Next
I'm not really sure what I plan to read next but I know for sure one book will be Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella.
What are you reading this week?

"Family Pictures" by Jane Green

Sylvie and Maggie are total strangers, living on opposite sides of the country, but their lives are connected in a way they could never imagine.  They're both in their forties, mothers to teenagers, and have husbands who spend half of their time travelling.  But they have one thing in common that will shatter their lives forever.  When a secret is exposed, both women feel the pain and must learn to how to forgive, move forward, and love again.
Family Pictures is Jane Green's latest novel about two lives that intersect when one persons secret is exposed.  If you're looking for a book that you want to be able to spend the day with, this is it.
It's hard to write a review for a book like this without giving away too much of the plot and the secret behind it.  I found this book to be pretty typical of what Jane Green writes, which isn't a bad thing.  It's nice to know what you're going to get when you pick up a book.
Sylvie suffered loss in her first marriage but …

"Ghana Must Go" by Taiye Selasi

In the field of medicine Kweku Sai was a renowned surgeon, considered one of the best.  But at home, he was a failed husband and runaway father.  When Kweku passes away at his home in suburban Accra, the children he abandoned in America many years ago, gather at their mother's home in Ghana, their first time in a country where they can trace their blood, but not much connection.  And as they journey to this homeland, they face the pain, lies, and turmoil they kept hidden for years, forging a new family dynamic and a new way forward.
Ghana Must Go is the debut novel from Taiye Selasi, and what an incredibly moving debut it is.  I rarely comment on the writing of a book through the lens of it being a debut novel but I have to do so this time.  The writing is so beautifully crafted, the story so delicate and heartbreaking, the entire book just eloquent and poetic.  If this is her first book, I can't imagine what Selasi has in store for us in the future.
The Sai family that Kweku le…

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 finally feels like Spring!!!  Sort of.  We're getting there.  My reading slump is officially gone and I'm having a great time with so many fantastic books being released recently or in the next few weeks.  April is definitely a busy month for me.  And impromptu trips to the bookstore never help!
What I Read Last Week

Captive In Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh Family Pictures by Jane Green Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi The Gospel Centered Woman by Wendy Alsup
What I'm Reading Now A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam Taylor's Gift by Todd and Tara Storch
What I Plan to Read Next A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki The Stop: How the Fight For Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis
What are you reading this week?

"Better Than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair" by Nikki Walton

When you need to know anything about caring for natural hair, Nikki Walton is the woman you want to go to.  Known in the natural hair care world as Curly Nikki, she has spent years dishing out advice, tips, and humour and now she is bringing it all to your bookshelf.
Better Than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy Gorgeous Natural Hair! is all of Nikki's wisdom packed into one easy to use book.  Whether you've been natural for years, about to undergo the big chop, or just interested, this book has it all.
The book starts right from the beginning with how to transition to natural hair, how to care for your Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA), through the growing stages, and finally how to care for your long natural hair.  It also has a chapter dedicated to caring for the natural hair of your young ones.
My daughter has gorgeous, super tight and super coiled 4a/4b curls.  Considering that I have stick straight hair and my husband shaves his not as tight and not as coiled curls, caring fo…

"Mount Pleasant" by Don Gillmor

Harry Salter is a middle-aged man in an unhappy marriage and drowning in debt.  But he has a plan.  As he sits at his dying father's bedside, he realizes that his inheritance is the one thing that will save him.  A million dollars from his father will wipe out his debt and let him start over in life.
But when the will is read, Harry finds out that all he has been left is $4200.  His father's millions are gone.  As he tries to find the money he uncovers family secrets and unsavoury business decisions as he navigates a world where the thirst for money drives people to do things you wouldn't expect.
Mount Pleasant by Don Gillmor is a novel about money, debt, life, death and love.  A dark comedy, it takes these themes and put them into a context I haven't before read in a novel, your average middle aged man who you probably pass on the streets many times a day but don't know what turmoil lurks inside.
I have mixed reactions to this book.  There is much that I liked and mu…

Month In Review

We made it through March!  It's a tough month, where you can see Spring in the distance but the cold weather and snow is still trying to stick around.  Thankfully, it looks now like we can put winter behind us!

I fell into a bit of a reading slump during this month but thankfully I was able to finish with a bang and I feel very content with the reading I did in March.  I'm hoping to keep up this run, as there are so many fantastic books I want to read this month.

Books read in March (with GoodReads ratings)

Get You Good by Rhonda Bowen *****

Hell-Bent by Benjamin Lorr *****

Ascent of Women by Sally Armstrong *****

Persecuted by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Nina Shea ****

The World is Moving Around Me by Dany Laferrière ****

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen ****

The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund ****

Beautiful Battlefields by Bo Stern ****

The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker ***

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe ***

Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman ***

Mount Pleasant by Don Gillmor***


"It's Monday, What Are You Reading?"

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
This past week was an exceptional reading week for me, one where I burst out of a reading slump, got a bunch of books read and was all caught up on reading and reviewing for the end of the month.  I'm hoping I can continue this energy into April as there is a lot I want to read this month!
What I Read Last Week

Persecuted by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Nina Shea
Mount Pleasant by Don Gillmor
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (review coming soon)
The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker
The World is Moving Around Me by Dany Laferrière

What I'm Reading Now
Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh is the true story of the women's imprisonment in Iran's notorious Evin prison for their Christian faith.  Ghana Must Go is a debut novel by Taiye Selasi about the gathering of family members following the patriarch's death and their journey to finding a new way forward.
What I Plan to…