Showing posts from March, 2015

Month In Review

March was another good reading month for me.  I managed to read a lot during the first part of the month (all that cold weather still) which is good because life got very busy in the second half and it became difficult to get much reading down.  So it all evened out for a good reading month. Here are the books I read in March with my GoodReads ratings: March: Book One - John Lewis ***** The Fringe Hours - Jessica Turner ***** Higher Ed - Tessa McWatt **** Love, Lies, and Louboutins - Katie Oliver **** Funny Girl - Nick Hornby **** The Evening Chorus - Helen Humphreys **** A Bit of Difference - Sefi Atta **** If You’re Not the One - Jemma Forte **** Fire and Air - Erick Vlaminck *** Challenges Canadian Book Challenge (3), Diversity on the Shelf (2) What I’m Looking Forward to in April I managed to get a few books cleared off of Netgalley which was good for me, now I just have 2 left so I’m continuing with that.  There are a few specific b

Month In Review: Non-Bookish Things

Watching This month I watched very little television live and watched it all on Netflix , YouTube or what I had already recorded.   The first show I watched was Scott & Bailey , a British crime show.  I absolutely loved it.  If you like detective shows, I recommend this one (the first three seasons are on Netflix, I’m really hoping they put up season 4 soon.)  This is written by Sally Wainwright, who also wrote Happy Valley on Netflix.  Watch them both I say. The second show I watched was Empire.   When it first aired I didn’t watch because I was already watching Black-ish in that time slot and I’m not one to stop watching a show I already like for another one, no matter how much people are talking about.  So I recorded the episodes and decided to binge-watch them.  And that I did.  I watched the first 8 episodes one day, and the other 4 the next day.  And wow.  What a show!  I’m in love.  Everything - the drama, the music, Cookie’s fabulous wardrobe, yes, I’m loving

Book Blast: "Teardrops Know My Name" by Dalia Florea

About the Book Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Romance Recommended Age Group: 18+ Someone is stalking, fashion photographer, Linda McNair and turning her world upside down. She has no idea who it could be. Is it an old boyfriend? Someone in the industry? A complete stranger? The only thing Linda knows for sure is her stalker has to be stopped. Her life may depend on it. When Linda meets Detective Sean Gregory, one of New York’s finest in more ways than one, stories unravel, revealing secrets, lies and betrayal that nearly destroy her, breaking her heart into a million tiny pieces.  Linda tries to resist Sean’s affection, but she can’t help wondering if he’s the right man who can put the shattered pieces of her heart back to together. About the Author Dalia Florea is a novelist and native New Yorker. Her debut book “Mirrored” recently reached the top 100 Best Sellers list in Women’s Detective Fiction and rated favorably on both Amazon and Goodreads. When she isn’t craft

"A Bit of Difference" by Sefi Atta

Deola Bello is a Nigerian expatriate in London, working as a financial reviewer for an international charity.  At the age of thirty-nine, she is becoming increasingly restless with both her work and her personal life.  When she returns to Nigeria for work and to attend her father’s five-year memorial service, she begins to look at her life through different eyes. As she views her family and home through a new lens, she finds herself on a journey of self-discovery.  A chance encounter with a stranger ends up leading to decisions that will make her want to change her life entirely.   A Bit of Difference by Sefi Atta is an incredible novel that touches on many different themes of expatriate life as well as the difference between the foreign ideas and realities of life in Africa. This is the first book by Sefi Atta I have read and I was very impressed by her story-telling abilities.  Right from the beginning, Deola jumped off the page and I really felt as though I could hea

"The Evening Chorus" by Helen Humphreys

James Hunter is an English officer who spends much of the Second World War in a German prisoner of war camp.  The men in the camp all find their own way to deal with the boredom day in and day out, and James is no different.  He decides to study a pair of birds, redstarts, he finds near the camp.  But when his interest in the birds is noticed by the Kommandant he begins to fear for his life. James’ wife Rose, is back in England, doing the work of a dutiful wife whose husband is off at war.  But her attention is held by another young man with whom she is having an affair.  When James’ sister Enid comes to stay after being bombed out of her home in London, it puts Rose in an awkward situation.  The women form an unlikely friendship but their lives are about to be changed forever. The Evening Chorus , by Helen Humphreys, is a beautiful and easy tale, a story about political history and natural history, love and war. There is such an incredible lightness to this book, a beau

"March: Book One" by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

One of the key people of the Civil Rights movement and now an American Congressman, John Lewis has spent his life fighting for civil rights in America.  Born on a sharecropper’s farm in Alabama, educated in a segregated classroom, Lewis was on the frontline of the biggest events of the 1960’s.  Now he is sharing his story in stunning graphic novel form. March: Book One is the first in a series of three graphic novels telling the life story of Congressman John Lewis.  Written in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and award-winning artist Nate Powell, the book is an incredible way of bringing history to the new generations. This book focuses on Lewis’ early life - his birth, childhood, and education.  It shows Lewis’ motivation for becoming heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement, including his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  The book also covers the sit-in movement that swept the south and the birth of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

"If You're Not the One" by Jemma Forte

On the outside, Jennifer has the perfect life.  She has a husband, two wonderful kids, a lovely house, good friends.  But she’s not completely happy and lately, she’s been wondering if maybe she married the wrong man.  What if she got it wrong and was meant to be with someone else? When a fight with her husband leads to a terrible accident, Jennifer is able to face this question head on.  While lying in a coma, she has the opportunity to see just what life would have been like if she had stayed with one of her ex-boyfriends.  What if she had jetted off to Australia with Aidan, the sexy and carefree guy she met on a beach in Greece?  Or what if she had stayed with Tim, the man who created a networking website that everyone in the world was using?  Or Steve, the sweet, loving, and doting DIY guy?   Was she really supposed to marry one of those guys, rather than her husband Max?  And more importantly, what will she do about it if she ever wakes from her coma? If You’re Not

Canada Reads

The 14th edition of CBC’s Canada Reads starts this Monday with the debates taking place March 16-19.  Hosted by Wab Kinew, this years focus is the one book to break barriers.  It is about the books that “can change perspectives, challenge stereotypes, and illuminate issues. This years contenders are: Ru by Kim Thuy, defended by Cameron Bailey Intolerable by Kamal al-Solaylee, defended by Kristin Kreuk The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, defended by Craig Kielburger When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid, defended by Elaine “Lainey” Lui And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier, defended by Martha Wainwright (click on the titles for my reviews of the books.) What an amazing lineup of books.  LGBT issues, immigration, aging, First Nations, Canadian history and contemporary culture, all covered.  These novels were written in different languages and for different age groups, but they are all make up what Canada is about, the good and th

"Higher Ed" by Tessa McWatt

In 21st century East London, job cuts and unemployment are a daily reality for many people.  It is here that we meet five very different people, all searching for love and meaning in life. Francine is a university administrator who spends more time fretting about her weight and her ex than at her job.  She is facing the possibility of unemployment, but when she witnesses a tragic road accident, her job is the last thing she cares about.  Robin is a film professor who seems to be drifting along.  His ex-girlfriend is pregnant but it’s the young Polish waitress at a local café who has captured his attention and his love.  The waitress, Katrin, is still trying to make her way in London.  She finds hope in her relationship with Robin, but like everything for her in her new country, it’s not going to be easy.  Olivia is an stellar law student, a mixed race girl growing up in a family that doesn’t keep their racism under wraps.  She was abandoned by her father when she was young b

"Love, Lies, and Louboutins" by Katie Oliver

It was a rocky journey to the altar but Gemma and Dominic Heath are finally settling into married life.  Or at least one of them is.  When Gemma sees a photo of her husband in the tabloids, getting on a private plane with the latest pop princess, she starts to think that maybe everyone was right - you just can’t tame a rock star.   When her old flame Jack Hawkins pops back into her life, Gemma soon finds revenge on her mind.  But the whole reason Jack is back in town is something way above what Gemma can handle.  As an international arms dealer, Jack has dealt with his fair share of shady characters.  But when his niece is kidnapped, he has to deal with a blast from his past who can give dictators a run for their money.  And before she knows it, Gemma is all caught up in it as well. Love, Lies, and Louboutins , by Katie Oliver, is the second book in the Marrying Mr. Darcy series, picking up right where the first book left off and taking readers on a wild ride. While the

Author Interview: Zeenat Mahal

I recently had the pleasure of reading  She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not  by Zeenat Mahal (see my review here .)  It is a modern day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, set in Pakistan and is an absolutely lovely book.  If you're a reader of romance novels, I highly recommend you pick this one up.  And today I'm pleased to welcome Zeenat to my blog and introduce her to my readers. What books influenced you? Everything I have ever read is an influence I think. But I cannot say that this or that book/author has any particular influence on me as far as my writing goes.  Then again every time some reviewer says about my books that it is 'written in the classic style,' or 'reminded me of classics,' or 'Jane Austen,' I am thrilled to the core.  What is your writing space like? When I have the desire to write I do it wherever I am, on any scrap of paper I have. But that is rare of course. Sometimes I try and sit on my writing table that is pl

"And the Birds Rained Down" by Jocelyne Saucier

Tom and Charlie are two men who have decided to live out the last years of their lives on their own in a remote forest in Northern Ontario.  Their only contact with the outside world are the men who grow marijuana on their land and bring them supplies.  But all of this changes with the arrival of two women. A young photographer comes first.  She is looking for one of the last known survivors of the catastrophic fires that swept the area almost a century earlier.  This man, Ted, used to live with Tom and Charlie but is recently deceased.  The second arrival is the elderly aunt of one of the men who brings them their deliveries.  The woman who wants to be known as Marie-Desneige, has been living in a psychiatric institution since the age of sixteen.  After the four of them come across what Ted has left behind, a magnificent series of paintings about the fires, they put together the history of the man and the region.  And as they do so, they all face their own ideas about life,

"Coming Home to You" by Liesel Schmidt

Twenty-four-year-old Zoë is looking forward to the future now that she is engaged to her fiancé Paul.  Her whole life is ahead of her and she couldn’t be happier.  Until Paul dies suddenly and her life is thrown into a tailspin. For months Zoë removes herself from life, wondering if she’ll ever be able to move on.  And when a friend asks her to housesit for a stranger, it’s the last thing she wants to do.  But her best friend convinces her that what she needs is to get away from the memories that are haunting her and this could be her fresh start.   When Zoë moves into Neil’s home, she finds herself thrown into the life of a stranger.  She builds a picture of the man she has never met based on his belongings and begins writing a diary sharing her thoughts and feelings with Neil.  When the opportunity arises to contact with him through email, she finds herself connecting with him on a level she didn’t think she would ever connect on again.  This gives her the confidence to be