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Showing posts from 2016

October Releases

It's such a busy reading time of the year with all of the amazing books nominated for the big three Canadian literary prizes. In fact my physical pile of books to read was already so high at the beginning of the month. But there are still so many good books coming out this month that I cannot forget about. Here is a look at some October new releases that have my interest.

October 4
The Wangs vs. The World - Jade Chang
Something in Between - Melissa De La Cruz
Today Will Be Different - Maria Semple
News of the World - Paulette Jiles
You Can't Touch My Hair - Phoebe Robinson

October 11
Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood
Hungry Heart - Jennifer Weiner
Bridget Jones' Baby - Helen Fielding
Around the Way Girl - Taraji P. Henson

October 18
Wenjack - Joseph Boyden
The Candidate - Noah Richler

October 22
Canada- Mike Myers

October 25
Thanks for the Money - Joel McHale

What are you looking forward to reading this month?

"Three Years with the Rat" by Jay Hosking

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A young man has moved back to Toronto, the city he grew up in, after years of drifting between school and work that was getting him nowhere. His older sister, Grace, is the one who has brought him back home and she and her friends take him under their wing, helping him find friendship, romance, and a job.
Grace and her boyfriend John are promising researchers in psychophysics but it soon becomes apparent to the man that all is not well with his sister and her research. When the two of them disappear, first Grace then months later John, the man makes an incredible discovery while cleaning out their apartment. In the second bedroom that they always kept locked, Grace and John have left behind a box big enough to crawl inside of, a lab, rat, and a note that says “this is the only way back for us.”
After months of witnessing Grace’s rage and John’s mental health decline, the man knows that these are not ordinary circumstances. And he knows that he was brought back to Toronto for a missio…

"The Girls in the Garden" by Lisa Jewell

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When Clare moves into a new home with her eleven-year-old daughter Pip and thirteen-year-old daughter Grace, she is pleased to find that the private garden square they back on to is shared by other families with children around the same age. In the bustling city of London, the garden is a place where children can roam free and are encouraged to make other people’s homes their own. Especially the home of Adele, Leo, and their three daughters.
Clare and her daughters are starting over and the girls are thrilled to quickly fall in with the crowd of kids. Clare isn’t sure she will fit in with the adults, but is happy her daughters have made friends. It may be a motley group of kids but everyone seems nice enough. Until Grace becomes the girlfriend of one of the boys in the group and runs afoul of a couple of the other girls.
One summer night, after the annual party in the garden, Pip discovers Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a tucked away area of the park. No one knows what happene…

Weekly Wrap-up

Reviewed This Week
The Hopefuls - Jennifer Close The Girls - Emma Cline Falling - Jane Green
Read This Week
Wellth - Jason Wachob Where’d You Go Bernadette - Maria Semple Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Vol. 1 - Brandon Montclair The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead (started)
Online bits and bobs
CBC Books released their Fall Preview. So many good books, my TBR exploded.
Apparently, people who read books live longer. Here's to an extra 10 years!
I've spent some time with my Pinterest page. By that I mean, I stopped ignoring it.
I've joined Reco. Because I apparently I need another bookish app to keep me busy. But seriously, this is a good one.
Stories from the Bookshop Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that last Sunday was the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I didn’t work that day but I did work the next day (and the days after that) and it’s safe to say that Harry was the most popular guy at the mall this past week. The reaction to it has been …

"Falling" by Jane Green

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Emma Montague is looking for a new life, one far from her days as a banker in New York City where she moved to escape the confines of her upper-class British family.  When she finds a cottage in the beautiful town of Westport, Connecticut that is in need of a lot of TLC, she knows she has found the perfect place. She can leave the fast-paced and stressful world of finance behind and pursue her passion for interior design.
Knowing only one other person in town, Emma throws herself into fixing up the cottage, much to the dismay of her landlord and next door neighbour Dominic. But she quickly wins Dominic over and when he lends her a hand, she realizes that the two of them make a great team. And not just at fixing up houses.
Dominic isn’t the type of man that Emma usually goes for but that doesn’t stop her from falling for him. As they spend more and more time together, she realizes that in him and his six-year-old son she has found the family she has always wanted. But the circumstance…

"The Girls" by Emma Cline

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One hot summer day, fourteen-year-old Evie Boyd comes across a group of girls at the park who are unlike no others she has even seen. Dressed carelessly, dirty, searching through dumpsters for food, stealing from stores, Evie is immediately drawn to the girls. A lonely girl herself, she is envious of their freedom and the way they move through life with wondrous abandon. This is a group of girls she wants to be friends with.
Evie is quickly drawn into their circle through the care and attention of one of the older girls named Suzanne. Evie is mesmerized by Suzanne who gives her access to a world she never knew existed. She goes with them to the ranch hidden away in the hills of California that they live in and meets the groups charismatic leader Russell. 
Evie truly believes that this is where she belongs, not back home with her parents who couldn’t care less and the friends who have turned against her. As she spends more and more time with this group, she desires to stay forever in …

Month In Review

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July was a great month for me reading-wise because it was my vacation month. We spent two weeks in America and that always results in a high number of books read for me because I love nothing more than reading by the pool. Of course, I didn’t finish ALL of the books I took with me on vacation but that’s because I always seem to take more with me than I could ever read in that time period.

Here is what I read in July with my GoodReads ratings:

Flawfully Wedded Wives - Shana Burton ****
Falling - Jane Green ****
The Pastor’s Husband - Tiffany L. Warren ****
The Hopefuls - Jennifer Close ****
Whisky, Words, and a Shovel - R.H. Sin ****
In the Language of Miracles - Rajia Hassib ****
A Very Accidental Love Story - Claudia Carroll ***
The Girls in the Garden - Lisa Jewell ***

Thoughts
My favourite of the month was The Hopefuls. It is a fun and easy read that I found myself completely engrossed in. I think Falling is going to be the book I recommend to people who liked Me Before You and are looking…

"The Hopefuls" by Jennifer Close

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When Beth Kelly moves from New York City to Washington D.C. after her husband Matt gets a job at the White House, she is less than thrilled. She loved everything about New York City and the people there were her people. In D.C., it seems to Beth that everyone is obsessed with politics and if you’re not one of them you’re on the outside looking in. In a place where people like to compare their security clearance levels, speak in acronyms, and can’t separate themselves from their Blackberries, Beth is all on her own.
But when Beth and Matt meet White House staffer Jimmy and his wife Ashleigh, things begin to brighten for her a little bit. Right from the beginning Ashleigh and Beth get each other, they connect over being outsiders, and before long are doing everything together. Jimmy and Matt get along perfectly and push each other to succeed in the fast-paced world of politics. The foursome quickly become inseparable spending meals, birthdays, and holidays together.
When Jimmy decides …

"I Let You Go" by Clare Mackintosh

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When Jenna Gray’s life changed in a split second, the world became too much for her to handle. Knowing the only way she would be able put it all behind her was to escape, and so she left her home to live in a remote cottage on the Welsh coast. But no matter how far from home she was, she couldn’t escape the events of that terrible night in November.
The detectives investigating the case couldn’t just walk away. Though there were few leads, they knew that if they just kept with it long enough, there would be a breakthrough. And when that happens, the past comes crashing back down on Jenna just as she thinks she may once again be able to experience a little happiness in her life.
I Let You Go, by Clare Mackintosh, is a heartbreaking, thrill ride of a novel that will have you hooked with every twist and turn.
Whenever someone asks me if I have read this book, all I can say is “yes and wow.” This book gets a big, huge “WOW” from me. It is incredible. Twice, I gasped so loud that I was gla…

"I Almost Forgot About You" by Terry McMillan

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Dr. Georgia Young has the life many dream of - she has a great career, wonderful family, and close friends that she can depend on no matter where life takes her. But that doesn’t stop her from feeling stuck in a very large rut. It’s time, Georgia has decided, for some major change.
When Georgia quits her job and puts her house up for sale, she’s positive she is taking steps that will turn her life around. But it’s when she decides to look up all the loves of her life, good and bad, and see how they are doing that her life really ends up changed. 
I Almost Forgot About You, by Terry McMillan, is a moving and very relatable novel about revisiting the past and opening yourself up to whatever it has in store for your future.
Terry McMillan is a very special writer to me. When I was sixteen I came across her novel Mama on the shelves at my school library. From the very first pages I was hooked and I made it my mission to read everything she had written until that point. It only took me abo…

"The Assistants" by Camille Perri

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Thirty-year-old Tina Fontana is great at her job. As the executive assistant to the CEO of a multinational media conglomerate, she spends her days making reservations, pouring drinks, and putting out small, ridiculous fires. Her boss loves her, trusts her, and couldn't function without her. But things aren't going well for Tina. The glamour of her job is long gone and her student loan debt and inability to pay the rent has stuck around.
One day, while preparing expense reports for her boss, Tina realizes that a technical error has put enough money into her bank account to pay off all of her debt. She should let someone know of the error, but she also realizes that her boss has so much money he would never notice what is missing. Against her will, Tina lets a few others in on what happened and they begin to pay off debts for other assistants around the company. Very quickly, what started out as one little indiscretion turns into a movement that Tina can’t quite contain.
The Ass…

"The House of Wives" by Simon Choa-Johnston

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In 1862, a young Jewish man has set sail from his home in Calcutta, heading toward Hong Kong  to participate in the opium trade. Emmanuel has left behind his wife Semah, promising to return to her having made his fortune. But while he is in Hong Kong, he falls in love with Pearl, the daughter of his Chinese business partner. He takes Pearl as his wife and builds her the most beautiful mansion anyone has ever seen in Hong Kong.
But Semah refuses to let Emmanuel have his new life and she arrives unannounced in Hong Kong to take her rightful place as mistress of the house. Neither woman wants to share their home or their husband but neither is willing to give up their place as his wife and very quickly, life changes for all of those who live in the house. 
Inspiredly the lives of his own ancestors, The House of Wives by Simon Choa-Johnston is a beautiful novel about two women who will do whatever it takes to secure a place for their children in the upper echelons of the British Crown co…

"Sirocco: Fabulous Flavours from the Middle East" by Sabrina Ghayour

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Sirocco - origin: early 17th century, from Italian scirocco, based on Spanish Arabic sharq meaning “east wind.” A hot, dry wind blowing from east to west; sometimes described as warm, spicy, and sultry.
When the East and the West are combined in the oven, delicious foods are created. In Sirocco: Fabulous Flavours from the Middle East, food writer and self-taught cook Sabrina Ghayour combines the foods she knew growing up in England with the Eastern flavours of her Persian heritage. These recipes aren’t authentically Middle Eastern but they are inspired by the beautiful spices and dishes that come out of the region.
There is an incredible Turkish restaurant not too far from where I live and if I could eat there every day I would. But I can’t, so when I saw this cookbook I knew that it would be the perfect book for a novice chef like me to recreate the foods I love so much from that restaurant. This is a great book for the Western cook that wants to introduce Middle Eastern cuisine to t…

Month In Review

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In my last Month in Review I mentioned that I've been having trouble on the blogging front, just getting the time to sit down and write reviews and keep the blog updated. I was hoping to fix that in May but evidently that didn't happen. I once again read some great books this month but I just haven't had the time at the computer. I have a lot of reviews to write and I absolutely pledge to do all that this month.

Here is what I read in May with my GoodReads ratings:

Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi *****
The Couple Next Door - Shari LaPena ****
The House of Wives - Simon Choa-Johnston ****
Kay's Lucky Coin Variety - Ann Y.K. Choi ****
The Assistants - Camille Perri ***
The Translation of Love - Lynne Kutsukake ***

Thoughts
I have already declared Homegoing my favourite book of 2016. I honestly don't think any book will come close to it for the rest of the year. It's destined to become a classic. I read some great Diverse CanLit this month with The House of Wives, Kay's…

"Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi

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Half-sisters Effia and Esi have never met nor do they know that the other one exists. They were born in different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana to the same mother, but after that their lives take two very different paths.
Against the hopes of her father, Effia marries an Englishman and lives in the comforts of the Cape Coast Castle where her husband is involved in the slave trade. Their children are educated abroad and grow up to become involved in the administration of the British Empire in Africa. Esi is captured and sold into slavery, imprisoned in the dungeon of the Cape Coast Castle before she is shipped off to America. From Ghana to America, each generation that follows these women face very different circumstances and challenges in their lives but each remain intrinsically tied to the African continent.
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi, is a masterpiece of a novel and is the debut novel that people will be talking about for years to come.
It is only May but I am declaring this my…

"The Regional Office is Under Attack!" by Manuel Gonzales

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When evil and darkness try to take over the world, there is one organization there to stop them - the Regional Office. Led by the mysterious Oyemi and her team of Oracles, their ultra-elite female assassins are protecting the globe from mayhem and destruction. But someone on the inside wants to bring it down. And now the Regional Office is under attack.

Rose is a young assassin who has been recruited by a defector from the Office to lead the attack. The Office's first line of defence is Sarah, a young woman who was taken in by the Office when her mother disappeared and who also happens to have a mechanical arm. Over the course of the attack, Rose and Sarah’s stories will collide and their worlds will never be the same.
The Regional Office is Under Attack, by Manuel Gonzales, is a fun and unique novel that will have readers hooked from the very first page right to the last.
Based on the description of this book it is something I didn’t think I would ever have any interest in reading…

"Beware That Girl" by Teresa Toten

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Her whole life Kate O’Brian has been the odd girl out.  As the scholarship student at a succession of elite private schools, she’s had to prove she is worth her place all while keeping her past a secret. She’s book-smart and she’s street-smart and she can stand her ground no matter what life throws at her and no matter what she has to do.
Now she is in her final year of high school and she’s attending yet another new school. But she has a plan. She will climb the social ladder and achieve her ultimate goal - a spot at Yale. She just needs to find the right “it” girl who she can use to her advantage. That girl is Olivia Sumner, a wealthy yet troubled teen. She is back at Waverly School to repeat her last year of high school after mysterious circumstances prevented her from finishing. She’s in desperate need of a best friend, and Kate may be the one for her.
But when the handsome Mark Redkin joins Waverly as part of the administration, their world is turned upside down. Mark immediatel…

"The Nest" by Cynthia D'Aprix-Sweeney

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If you have ever thought of your family as dysfunctional, then you need to meet the Plumbs. Just a quick glance will make you feel much better about the people you call your relatives.
On a cold afternoon in New York City, siblings Melody, Beatrice, and Jack have gathered together to confront their older brother. Leo has just left rehab after driving drunk and crashing his car with a nineteen-year-old waitress who is not his wife in the passenger seat. In order to minimize the fallout, their mother has used most of the money from “The Nest,” a joint trust fund the siblings were only months away from receiving. 
The Nest was left to them by their deceased father to be a mid-life supplement but over the years all of the siblings have been counting on it to solve a number of their self-inflicted money problems. Melody, whose twin daughters are about to enter college, has a mortgage she never could afford. Jack, an antiques dealer, has been funding his shop by borrowing against the beach…

"Made With Love" by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie

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Vegans and vegetarians rejoice! Gone are the days of missing out and forgetting about delicious treats just because you follow a plant-based diet. The mother-daughter duo behind Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and Lettuce Love CafĂ© have a new cookbook with over 100 plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and peanut-free recipes. And meat-eaters take note - you won’t even realize there is anything missing from these sweet treats.
Made With Love: More Than 100 Sweet and Savory Plant-Based Recipes for Every Moment in Life, by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, is a beautiful cookbook packed full of delicious foods, easy recipes, and detailed information about vegan cooking and baking. This book is perfect for both the vegan and the meat-eater in your life.
I adhere to a mostly plant-based diet but one thing that I tend not to do myself is baking. I leave that to the experts. But this book changed my mind on that. The recipes in this book are easy to follow as well as shop for, which is very …

Month In Review

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So April was a great month for me when it came to reading, but when it came to blogging, it wasn't great. Things were very busy for me balancing family and work (again, work in a bookshop, not complaining at all) so while I was getting a lot of reading done on the run, I was having a hard time just sitting down and that is where my blog became neglected. So I'm hoping to turn things around on that front in May.

Here are the books I read in April with my GoodReads ratings:

Eligible - Curtis Sittenfeld ****
Beware That Girl - Teresa Toten ****
Me Before You - JoJo Moyes *****
The Regional Office is Under Attack - Manuel Gonzales ****
The Nest - Cynthia D'Aprix-Sweeney ****
I Almost Forgot About You - Terry McMillan ****
Making It Up As I Go Along - Marian Keyes ***

Thoughts
With one exception, every book I read this month was a 4 star read for me. It was just a month of good reads. My favourite was Eligible. I'm recommending this modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice to ev…

"Eligible" by Curtis Sittenfeld

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What would the Bennet family from Pride and Prejudice be like if they lived in the twenty-first century? In this imagining, so much is different and yet so much has stayed the same. To start with, the Bennet family are from Cincinnati in this version. Liz is a magazine writer living in New York City, as is yoga instructor Jane. Kitty and Lydia are focused less on careers and more on CrossFit. Mary is in the process of getting her third Master’s degree online and barely leaves the house except for a mysterious outing every Tuesday. But as some things simply don't change as Mrs. Bennet is focused solely on marrying off her daughters, especially Jane who is quickly approaching forty.
And who has Mrs. Bennet set her eyes on for Jane? That would be Chip Bingley, the handsome doctor and recent star of the reality dating show "Eligible." When Mrs. Bennet wrangles an invitation to a Fourth of July barbecue, Jane and Chip hit it off. But Liz is less than impressed with Chip’s fr…

Kid Lit

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A quick post sharing what my kids, ages 9 and 6, have been reading lately.
A1, Age 9
Camping Aux Chutes du Niagara - Geronimo Stilton (Field Trip to Niagara Falls) Shannon the Ocean Fairy - Daisy Meadows Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney
A2, Age 6

Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets - Dav Pilkey Galaxy Zack, Hello Nebulon! - Ray O'Ryan

"Making It Up As I Go Along" by Marian Keyes

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Welcome to the fun and delightful world of Marian Keyes. It’s a lot like the rest of the world but with keen insight into the everyday issues we all face. Not sure how to break up with your hairdresser? Don’t like answering the “what do you do for a living?” question while on vacation? Fake tan not working out for you? Marian has all of the answers to the dilemmas you face.
Making It Up As I Go Along is a collection of essays, articles, and blog posts written by bestselling author Marian Keyes. Fans of her writing, or her Twitter account, will find themselves laughing their way through the book as Keyes recaps the memorable moments of her life.
This is a cute book. It is divided into subjects - Health and Beauty, Travels, Friends and Family, A Year in the Life - which then include previously published articles as well as some unpublished work by the stellar Irish writer.  Most of the essays are only a few pages long so it is an easy book to pick up when you don’t have a lot of time to…

"Exit, Pursued By a Bear" by E.K. Johnston

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Hermione Winters is really looking forward to her senior year. She’s the captain of her schools championship cheerleading team and one of the most popular girls in school. She has a bright future ahead of her and she plans to make the most of her last days of high school.
But just before the school year begins her future is changed in an instant when someone spikes her drink at a party. Everyone at school knows about it and now she is being talked about for all the wrong reasons.
But Hermione isn’t going to be “that girl.” She doesn’t want to be known by what happened to her. And with the support of her best friend Polly, her parents, and her cheerleading team, she is determined to defy all of the labels being placed on her.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston, is a touching and poignant story about a young, determined woman and her journey to recovery and acceptance after a terrible crime.
I was pretty impressed by this book. Hermione is a young woman who has been raped (which …