Saturday, December 31, 2011

You Have To Kiss A Lot Of Frogs


Um, You Have To Kiss A Lot Of Frogs? It was a frog. But not a magic frog. I tortured myself and finished it, because I kept hoping it would get better. Somehow. But it didn't. It's gone. I can't believe I spent $4 on it. Ugh. Maybe I'm too far removed from it...I don't know...because it got some good reviews on Amazon. But I didn't like it. It was just not me.

It Sucked and Then I Cried

it sucked

October...almost there...

I have followed Heather B. Armstrong's blog, for a long time. I wanted to get the book when it first came out and didn't and then I forgot about it.

And then I found it in the bargain section of the bookstore.

Even though it's a pretty serious subject, I found myself laughing a lot. I recognized the early days of having a kid. I loved the voice. I'm trying to convince Alex to read this...actually, if you have kids or might have kids one day, this is a great book that honestly addresses postpartum depression.

And this is why I should post these as soon as I read the book...I can't remember anything else!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

SPOILER ALERT (but I think most of you have already read these books)

This is September's second book. I devoured it after I read the Half-Blood Prince. And then I was done with Harry Potter for a long time I thought. It's December and I'm already thinking it's time to reread these. I've read the Deathly Hallows three or four times now and every time I discover a whole bunch of things I didn't notice before (or at least that I'd forgotten). There is so much packed into those pages that I feel like I have to read it a few more times before I grasp all of it...

And now, as an aside, I need to talk about the movies. And how the last three really piss me off. I feel like they left out a bunch of details that were important. Like the horcruxes and Dumbledore's pensieve. And where was Harry's Mokeskin pouch? And why didn't he repair his wand at the end of the movie? I hated the final battle scene. And the lack of evacuation of Slytherin and subsequent return of Slughorn and the humanity that takes over the Malfoys and the way they kill Voldemort and I could go on and on and on. I know that there is so much in the books that there was no way it could all be in the movies, but I really feel like there were some key things missing...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

SPOILER ALERT (but I think most of you have already read these books)

harry potter and the half-blood prince

Okay, so we're finally into September and with September comes the end of the Harry Potter series.

I reread the first four books of the series so many times that I could recite the plot lines in my sleep. I can tell you what happened in the Order of the Phoenix but not in as much detail as the other books. When I get to the Half-Blood Prince, I find myself thinking, oh, I didn't know that or gee, I forgot that.

Half-Blood Prince is so dark and there is so much information packed into it. I know it annoys some Harry Potter fans that the concept of the Horcruxes isn't introduced until this book, but like so many of the other devices J. K. Rowlings uses, they're well placed.

I liked how the relationship between Harry Potter and Dumbledore grows in this book and I like how Dumbledore is real. He made some big mistakes where Harry is concerned and he acknowledges them. The relationship between a teacher and a student is always tricky, especially if there is a potential for (real or perceived) favouritism.

I still cry every time I get to the end. I hate that Dumbledore dies. I hate that Snape kills him. I hate that Snape kills him even though I've read all of the books and I know what really happens. I hate that Dumbledore didn't tell Harry the curse was killing him. And I hate the funeral. It feels real and raw and it makes me cry again. I can't read the end of this book when J is around because it worries her (yes, I found that out the hard way. I thought I could control my tears, but apparently I can't). 

I feel like I should go back and reread the series, but I think I need to go back and just read books six and seven a few times so that they can catch up with the rest of the books in my brain!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bonus Book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

SPOILER ALERT (but I think most of you have already read these books)


This book, along with the Goblet of Fire, is my least favourite of the Harry Potter books. I still like it, but it's not one of the best. I feel like J. K. Rowling padded this one up too. My copy is starting to fall apart because it's so heavy the spine can't handle all the pages!

I remember when this book came out - I had just moved into my own place and my birthday was a few days away. I used my birthday money to buy the book and spent the weekend inhaling it. I was SOOOOOOOO sad when Sirius died. In fact, I cry every time I read that part.

Harry annoyed me to no end - he was so cranky. I get that it was a combination of hormones, not knowing what was going on and the whispers at school and Voldemort, but hey, he didn't have to be that cranky.

I ended August with Harry Potter, just as I started August...phew. Five sevenths of the way into the series...after writing these, I feel like I need to read the books again. I'm going to try to wait until the new year though!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bonus Book: Sarah's Key

sarah's key

It's time for me to get's now less than a week before the end of October and I still have part of August, all of September and now all of October's books to post.

I saw Sarah's Key ages ago, but the book diet was still being enforced (common theme or what?) I needed a book to keep me entertained when we went to Manning Park for my cousin Amy's wedding and I thought this would be the perfect book to take. Except one evening I picked it up and started reading. And that was the end of that plan. It only took me a couple of nights to devour this book.

I inherited my love of reading from both of my parents, but my strange love of all books World War I and World War II and Holocaust and Russian Revolution I'm going to attribute solely to my mom (my dad introduced me to the Hardy Boys and spy and detective novels and Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell and books of that genre). So this book was definitely on my radar for a while before the book diet ended.

I loved how the first part of the book alternated between the stories of Sarah and Julia and then Julia picked up the whole story and became Sarah's voice. Sarah is a young Jewish girl who locker her young brother in a secret cupboard when the rest of the family is arrested in the Vel d'Hiv. She struggles to survive and return to Paris to save her brother. Julia is an American journalist married to a Parisian who is assigned to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv, a piece of French World War II history that is seems many know little about.

Julia's investigation into the Vel d'Hiv leads her to Sarah's story and in turn a story of her own.

I really liked this book. I flew through it and I think I will go back and reread (parts) of it. I have this bad habit of reading really quickly and enjoying what I read, but then I can't remember what the story was, or I mix two or three stories together.

Definitely a book I recommend - has anyone else read it?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Help


the help

Oh look, a break from Harry Potter!

I saw The Help a long time ago in the bookstore and read the back and thought, hmmm, I might want to read that. But I was still on the book diet, so I put it down and figured that I'd ask for it for my birthday or borrow it from someone or visit the library. And because there are eighty million books out there to choose from, I promptly forgot about it (that's how excited I was to read it).

Then Alex and I went to a movie. In the movie theatre. And it had trailers. And because we went out like regular grownups, we watched the trailers. And one was for The Help. And I thought, hmmm, I might want to read that.

And then it was my birthday. And then it was summer. And then I was in the bookstore after going out for dinner with Alex the day after being sent home from the emergency room for the second time and we stopped at the bookstore on our way home, as we often do. Weird? Maybe. Maybe not.

And I saw The Help sitting there. And the book diet had been lifted. And I was feeling miserable and pathetic and sorry for myself, so I decided to engage in a little retail therapy. Okay, maybe a lot of retail therapy. And then I came home and a couple of days later all the internets could talk about was The Help (I think maybe because of the movie...but seriously, it felt like two out of every three blogs was talking about The Help)

I enjoyed it. I didn't really get the Gone With the Wind or To Kill A Mockingbird comparisons, but did enjoy the book. I felt like the relationship with Stuart was somewhat underdeveloped and I wanted more about it (not more relationship, just more about his previous relationship and his motivations...)

The end felt a little too contrived for me. It was as if she didn't want to go with a happily ever after ending, so she threw if off a bit, but it didn't feel right...anyone else feel that way?

I would recommend The Help for sure. I will be reading it again, when I get it back from my mom!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

harry potter and the goblet of fire

If Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is possibly my favourite Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is one of my least favourite of the series. This is the book that created all the hype that eventually led to me finally and reluctantly to read the first three books.

But it's too long. There's too much description (I can't believe I just wrote that). I like the plot. I wish there was more Sirius in it, but I understand why there isn't. The descriptions of the tasks are great. But it's too long. I know. I said that already. And it's heavy. I have the hardcover and it's hard to read in bed. And because of the weight, the binding is starting to loosen.

(Yay! I made it to August. I should be caught up by Christmas at this rate!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bonus Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban

Last July book...This was the last book out when I read the Harry Potter books for the first time. I liked it best of the three. I think I might still like it best...although, except for the last few pages, I liked the Half Blood Prince too.

Once I got back into the Harry Potter books, I just couldn't stop. There were many nights this past summer of going to bed at 10:00 but not turning the lights off until after midnight because I was reading Harry Potter. And I've read the series so many times...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bonus Book: Still Alice

still alice

Still Alice is the story of Alice, a woman in her late 50s who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. It was well written and easy to read, but so difficult to read too. Lisa Genova did a great a job of making me feel like I was in Alice's head with her...This is another July book that I happened to read this right after The Disappeared and right in the middle of my brain having a temper tantrum. So I had strange dreams about strokes and Alzheimer's and blood clots and ambulances. I did enjoy the book and I felt like it was probably something anyone who knows someone with Alzheimer's should read - I feel like my Alzheimer's empathy quotient has gone up dramatically.

My recommendation? Read this with a box of tissues and be prepared to laugh and cry and feel uncomfortable...sometimes all on the same page...and if your brain is having a temper tantrum? Well, wait until it's calmed down a bit. Just so you don't go nuts (although, I felt like even though my brain and Alzheimer's are two totally different things, the book did give me a little insight into what might be going on in Alex's brain).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Disappeared

Oh, July book number two, The Disappeared by Kim Echlin, you were tough on me. I read the first half very quickly and then it languished beside my bed. I'd read a couple of pages a night and give up. I'm not sure what it was. I think it started when Anne went to Cambodia and found Serey. You can sense the foreboding from the beginning, but it becomes overwhelming once Anne gets to Cambodia and starts to (she thinks) settle in.

I don't know about this book. I loaned to my sister, so we'll see what she thinks...I finished it during the week that started all the crazy health stuff, so it may have just been the wrong time to be reading this book...

Has anyone else read it?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Dream Street

31 dream street

Oh look, we're into July! This is the book that ended the book diet and all challenge rules pertaining to said book diet. I picked it up for a whole $2 at the big box bookstore one evening. And I read it all the next night.

Lisa Jewell's 31 Dream Street is a typical British chick-lit book. It's set in London and, predictably, it made me homesick. Of course it did. I don't learn! It wasn't horrible, but it also wasn't the best chick-lit I've read recently. I felt like the lives the people in this book were living were more normal and less high-drama than a lot of books. I had trouble keeping the characters in the house straight for the first ten pages or so and then it sorted itself out. It was predictable, but how it got there wasn't. But in the end, the puzzle pieces all fell together.

I liked the use of the letters to set the scene and I liked the quirky characters. There were some I didn't like much and some I really wanted to meet...

It was a good, quick, easy read. Perfect for the beach. Or the couch. I still have it and it's going to get donated unless someone (local) wants it. I think it would be perfect for a wet, rainy, Vancouver Saturday or Sunday. With a cup of hot tea and a little plate of chocolate covered McVities digestives. Yum.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

hp chamber

Okay, so let us go back in time a bit. To June. I finished this book very late at night on June 30 and just barely squeezed in my two books. Harry Potter is my go-to set of books when I get in a reading funk but it took a while to kick in this time...As always, I enjoyed this book. Nothing new or surprising popped out at me, but there is something comforting about a familiar friend!

PS Excuse the horrible photo...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Goodbye Book Diet rule

I've changed the rules. It's my challenge. I can do that. Besides, the rule I changed was the book diet rule.

Rule 8 is gone. I'm mostly going to read "free" books, but as we've weeded out our books and I'm getting much better at giving away books I don't care to ever read again, well, the book diet rule is done.

So. Stay tuned. June, July and August books will be posted soon.

Yes. I'm behind. But that's just the way it is.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When We Were Strangers

I picked up When We Were Strangers because it was the book Laurie's book club over at Crazy Aunt Purl was reading in, oh, February.

when we were strangers

Because of the parameters I set for myself in this challenge and the book diet, I requested the book from the library. I was the first one to get it, but it didn't make it into circulation until May. And it's taken me a few weeks to read it. At one point I put it down and thought I wouldn't be able to finish it. But I'm glad I kept going because I did quite enjoy it in the end! My only frustration with the story was that although the author did a good job of describing her characters, I still had a hard time picturing them. I'm not sure why ... maybe because I mostly read before bedtime and my brain was shutting down? I don't know...

Opi, Irma's village, is in the same region that my maternal grandmother's family was from - it is a very beautiful part of Italy...we spent part of our honeymoon there (although we were pretty much on the opposite side of the region)

I enjoyed the book...I like how Irma learned from what happened around her and in most instances made positives out of very negative situations...and I love how she adapted her sewing skills into a completely different career. I liked that the ending wasn't all happily ever after except that it was...that like doesn't make sense but if you read it, you'll understand what I mean.

The discussion over at Crazy Aunt Purl in March is here and there is also a Q&A with Patricia Schoenewaldt over there too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Courilof Affair

I have really enjoyed everything else I’ve read by Irène Némirovsky, but this one not so much. I didn’t not enjoy it, but I loved Suite Française and quite enjoyed Fire in the Blood. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a completely different book – it is most certainly not set in the French countryside.

the courilof affair

Interestingly, because it was set in Russia, pre-revolution, my brain kept turning back to The Kitchen Boy (which I also enjoyed immensely and has absolutely nothing to do with this book or this author.

Because I read this a month ago, I don’t think I have anything else to say about it…I’d like to read it again, maybe not when I’m tired and it’s late at night…

City of Fallen Angels

Hi. Do you remember me, blog? I’m your writer and reader. I fell off the face of the earth for a while. I wish I could say it was because I was reading, but I can’t. But I’m back now.

I read my two books in May, I just never got around to posting them. Actually, I read both before the first week of the month was up. I thought I was going to have a very productive month, book-wise, but no. May kicked my butt. And not in a good way.

city of fallen angels

Anyway, City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I got sucked in by the first book and now I’m addicted. I got to read a very nice new copy of the book though – I was probably the first or second person to borrow my copy from the library.

So, what did I think? Well…it was good. Until the last chapter. Something is up because there’s no way the characters would have allowed what happened to happen. I was talking to a friend who has also read all four and she felt the same way. The characters are too smart and would have been too cautious in a situation like that to do what they did. I don’t want to give it away because, well, there would be little point in reading the whole book if I told you the last chapter.

The only thing that has my hopes up is that at the end of the first book a devastating secret was revealed, but through a series of twists and surprises by the end of the third book (I don’t think it’s the second) it turns out the secret wasn’t quite accurate…

But it’s a good book. Read the first three first and if you can, read the first Infernal Devices book, Clockwork Angel. It’s not essential, but it explains some things quite well…

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

It was time…I hadn’t read any Harry Potter for a very long time and this week I became engrossed in the first book…which means the next six will likely follow quickly!

harry potter and the philosophers stone

I picked up some interesting things – like the part where Harry offhandedly mentions that it feels like Snape can read minds…There’s a lot of foreshadow that I had never noticed before – some of it might be coincidental, some of it isn’t. This is why I love Harry Potter – every time I read one of the books, whether it is book one which I’ve read countless times or book six or seven which I’ve only read a handful of times, I find something new!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goddess for Hire

Okay, before I start, I owe the Fred Factor a few more words...I think I hit post and I wasn't finished or I saved it to finish later, but I hit post by accident (I can't was too long ago) because I told you nothing other than read it!

The Fred Factor is a motivational book (I've decided) that bases its message on the story of Fred the Postman. Basically Fred provided exceptional customer service to the people on his route - held onto their mail while they were away, kept an eye on their property, was super friendly and very devoted to his job. The message is that we can all be a Fred in some way, every single day. I loved the book. I loved the message. I did not like the Christian Bible stuff that snuck into the last pages, but I'm willing to overlook it because I liked the rest of the book so much...and I've been asking myself almost every day since I read it "Was I a Fred today?"

On to Goddess for Hire. Which is a totally different kind of book. Try chick lit. Bad chick lit.

goddess for hire

Basically unemployed, spoiled Maya who lives in LA is the incarnation of the goddess Kali. And she keeps it a secret while tries to harness her powers. At the same time her family (of doctors) is trying to set her up with an Indian husband. Who she hates. And he hates her. Do you get where this is going?

I don't recommend it. It's in the pile for the thrift store. I finished it over 10 days ago and kept forgetting about it. I didn't really like it...I didn't hate it, but it was too mindless for me...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bonus Book 2: The Fred Factor

the fred factor
This is actually a March book...I just didn't post it before the month was over. My boss has been talking about The Fred Factor for ages - I finally had a chance to grab a copy off her bookshelf at lunch the other day. Seriously, I read it during my lunch break. It took less than an hour. And I think it's a great book - probably one I'd suggest everyone read. I think I might just have to go get a copy for Alex.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The End of Overeating

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This book isn't allowed to count towards my two books per month challenge (but it can be a bonus book) because I bought it. I couldn't resist it when I saw it - I found the title and cover intriguing.

When layer upon layer of complexity is built into food, the effect becomes more powerful. Sweetness alone does not account for the full impact of a soda-its temperature and tingle, which results from the stimulation of the trigeminal nerve by carbonation and acid, are essential contributors as well.

The End of Overeating, David A Kessler, page 49

at Should Be Reading with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Beautiful Books

Go check out this YouTube video. It's awesome.

(Sorry it's so big - I can't get it to shrink)

EDIT: Right after I posted this I clicked through Google Reader. My friend Anne appears to be doing this to her books too!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bonus Book: Clockwork Angel

clockwork angel

I finished the first half of the Mortal Instruments series last week and moved on to the Infernal Devices. Only the first of the trilogy has been published and I can't wait for the next two...I think number two comes out in September. I'm not sure what it is about these Cassandra Clare books, but I am definitely hooked. And sleep deprived. It's a good thing the next Mortal Instruments books doesn't come out for a few weeks...I've already put a hold on the book at the library...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clutter Rehab

clutter rehab
I discovered the Org Junkie website a few weeks ago and decided to do the 52 weeks of decluttering challenge. And then I discovered the writer had a book. I had to wait for a while to get this book - very popular at the library - and when I did get it, it only took a few hours to read it. It was good and I thought I'd actually go out and buy a copy (I couldn't do that before or it wouldn't count for the challenge!) but as often as I've picked it up in the last few days, I decided I didn't need to go buy it...not right now anyway. I'm trying to reduce my clutter, not add to it. And the website has pretty much all of it on it...I do like holding the little book in my hands though...we'll see, I might cave. But for now, I'm just going to try to keep renewing the book!

If you're trying to organize your life or your home or your office, I totally recommend your book. And if you're one of those well-organized people I aspire to be, I still recommend this book - she had some great tips and we can all use great tips!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tired Teaser Tuesday

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I have been on a bit of a book tear the first half of this month (for me anyway). I finished my last book last night and I needed something to read today. I picked this up when I got home from work and I'm pretty well half way into it...
At first I thought I was in someone's bedroom, but then I saw a slight Indian man, dressed in a green windbreaker and jeans, rummaging through what was obviously a mini-bar.

That, along with the two double beds, tacky wallpaper, and a shoddy print of San Francisco Bay only a nearsighted person could appreciate, led me to the clever deduction that I was in a hotel room.
Goddess For Hire, Sonia Singh, page 15

at Should Be Reading with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

City of Glass

I had to wait for a couple of weeks to get this book, the third book in the Mortal Instruments series. I read it a lot slower than I read the other two - partly because I was too tired to read into the night and partly to make it last longer. Yeah right. It lasted four days.

Just before I go on, there are SPOILERS below the picture for the first two books in the series. If you don't want to know what happens, don't read any further. Actually, there are SPOILERS for all three yeah. You've been warned.


city of glass

I liked this one as much as I liked the first two...although I wish I had the first two nearby so that I could check was fine. That doesn't mean that you need the first two for this one to work, but I certainly would have liked it. Because I read City of Ashes a few weeks ago and I read most of it long past my bedtime, I just needed a refresher on some of the stuff that was going on.

I was so glad to see the Clary/Jace romance problem resolved. I felt from the time it was revealed that they were sister and brother that they weren't. There seemed to be hints indicating otherwise and it just felt impossible. This series didn't feel like it was trying to be Flowers in the Attic, so I knew somehow, somewhere, it was going to be revealed that either Jace or Clary was not Jocelyn and Valentine's child. I'm so glad I was right about that.

Anyway, I recommend this series for sure. Now I have to wait until April 5 for the next book to come out and then I have to wait for it to be my turn on the list at the library. Although, I do have Clockwork Angel to read now - the first in a prequel trilogy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday Goes to Rehab

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
As you might have noticed over there, I'm a bit wrapped up in trying to get our life organized and gain a little control over our stuff, so in keeping with that theme:

Just when you think you've got things all figured out at the top of the ride, the roller coaster of life dips down and spins you in another direction. However, with consistent practice and a good seat belt, you'll learn to expect those dips and turns and be ready for them.

Clutter Rehab, Laura Wittman, page 8

at Should Be Reading with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bonus Book: City of Ashes

city of ashes
Okay, so this is part two. And once again I'm reminded of why I should be using a camera, not a phone to take these pictures. I'll learn. One day. Really.

And this book reminded me why sleep is important. I read it in an evening. After J went to bed at 8:30. I stayed up WAY past my 10:00 bedtime. But it was good. I think it was worth it.

In part two, Clary and company are a hunt to find the bad guy, there are fairies, there are incidents, something happens to Simon, Jocelyn is still in a coma. It's all good...sort of...that's why there is a book three. Which I am waiting for - I put a hold on it at the library, so I hope I won't have to wait long. Paperbacks aren't catalogued by title so I will browse the paperbacks when we head to the library on Sunday and hope for the best!

Oh, and I discovered that my friend Michelle not only has read The Mortal Instruments series, but she owns it. And the companion series has its first book out. And the fourth Mortal Instruments book is coming out in April.

Soooo exciting!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

City of Bones

city of bones

First of all, I need to stop taking pictures with my takes much better pictures. Secondly, I need to stop reading way past my bed time...I'm too tired and my books run out too quickly...

But that's not the point.

This book was awesome and you'll soon (probably some time tomorrow) see that I devoured two of them in three days. I'm waiting for the third one to come through the library system.

This book totally reminded me of Harry Potter even though it's very different from Harry Potter. Clary discovers she's actually a Shadowhunter when she sees a boy killed in a club and when her mom goes missing, things get interesting. The first book is all about her discovery of her "new" life and all the secrets that go along with it...I can't wait to see what happens in the third book. I love the characters - Jace and Simon are both very interesting - especially the things that Clary finds attractive in each of them.

So yeah, since I went straight from one book to the next with barely time to sleep, I definitely recommend this book!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I'm not sure what drew me to Savvy...maybe the fun cover! I did notice when I was at the library searching for something else the other day that they had about six more copies of this book, so apparently it is (or at least was) a popular book. And it has a Newbery Honor seal on it.

Basically Mibs belongs to a family of people who learn what their special gift, or Savvy, is on their 13th birthday. One of her brothers makes electricity, one creates crazy weather patterns, her grandpa makes earthquakes. Mibs' 13th birthday falls just after her father is in a terrible accident. The local minister's wife decided Mibs needs a party, but Mibs just wants to see her father. She and two of her brothers and two of the minister's kids end up in a pink school bus with a pink Bible salesman on a crazy, detouring trip...and she figures out what her Savvy is...she can hear people's thoughts through their tattoos or writing on their skin.

Part of having a Savvy is to learn how to scumble it...which basically means control and suppress it...Mibs has to learn how to tune out the noise to hear what is important.

In the end they make it to the hospital, but not without first having a few adventures and having some secrets revealed...

I liked this book and I would definitely recommend it - especially to a 10 -13 year old girl - there's lots of important stuff about growing up in there.

I decided this one was a kid lit book too because Mibs turns 13...I can't see someone older than about 14 reading it's not quite a YA novel (even though I found it in the YA section).

Oh, and I discovered there is a companion novel - Scumble - so I will be keeping an eye out for it the next time we're at the library!

Crazy Love

crazy love
Okay, so I'm probably going to be hated for this, but I did not enjoy this book at all. UGH. I actually put it down. Went back to it. Still disliked it intensely. Skimmed through it. Disliked it even more.

And I feel like I should at least like it, if not love it. I'd never heard of David Martin before, but from what the internet tells me, people wait with bated breath for his latest book. I couldn't find a single negative review about this book.

I'm not going to go as far as to say I hated it, but I didn't like it. Nope. Not at all. And I can't even put my finger on why. The characters seem to be well developed. The story line isn't overly complicated or hard to follow.

So, here we go, 2 months into 2011 and I have two books on the list of books I'm not going to finish. I still feel a bit guilty, but I'm trying to remind myself it's just a book and I don't have to like every book I pick up...

I got this book in a stack from Alex's dad before Christmas. There were about 10 books in the stack and most of them were pretty much new. Like I don't think the spine had ever been cracked on this one...I hope the rest are better received by my brain.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stephen Harper's Book Club

Or Yann Martel's book club.

Or, because I can't resist a challenge, something new for me to do in my "spare" time.

So, when I saw the link to this, I was a bit skeptical, because really, what would Stephen Harper read? And what would he have to say about what he read?

I shouldn't have worried myself.

Stephen Harper's book club's book were chosen by Yann Martel (of Life of Pi fame).

Yann Martel pledged to send Stephen Harper one new book every two weeks for the duration of his term as Prime Minister of Canada. With each book, Yann Martel included a letter.

Last week Yann Martel announced he had sent the last book, even though Stephen Harper is still Prime Minister.

The list of books he sent to the Prime Minister is intriguing. I went through it and I'm curious and excited - yes, I'm a dork. I've read 9.5 of the books lists (.5 because #61 is two books and I have only read one...Where the Wild Things Are. It's actually on the table at home. J picked it out at the library on the weekend). So, in addition to my other book challenge, I'm going to try to read through this list. 100 books sent every two weeks is 200 weeks - just a couple of months shy of four years. I can do just might take a while! And books from this challenge will count for the other challenge (providing they meet the criteria!) I love that the list isn't just fiction or non-fiction, it's not just about current issues, and it's not just Canadian works.

Oh, and I sort of feel sorry for the Prime Minister's Executive Correspondence Officer. How many boring letters like the response letters to you think (s)he has to write every day.

What do you think of the idea of a Prime Minister's book club? How many of the books have you read?

Books I have already read - but I'll likely reread them. It's been a while since I read most of them:

2. Animal Farm
13. To Kill A Mockingbird
14. Le Petit Prince
15. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
31. Their Eyes Were Watching God
33. Persepolis
37. A Modest Proposal
51. Julius Caesar
61. Where the Wild Things Are
79. Charlotte's Web

Oh and I couldn't decide where to post this - it fits with both blogs, so it's posted twice. Sorry if you got it twice...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bonus Book #3: Her Fearful Symmetry

her fearful symmetry
I loved Her Fearful Symmetry. I don't know the last time I stayed up way past my bedtime finishing a book...well, maybe Room, but anyway...

I loved Audrey Niffenegger's first book, The Time Traveler's Wife, so I hoped this one would be good too!

This book is a ghost story...When Elspeth dies she leaves her flat and all her belongings to her nieces with some conditions. They have to live there for a year before they can sell it and their parents are never allowed inside. The girls meet Elspeth's neighbours and get pulled into their lives, but no one, not even Elspeth, bargained for Elspeth to still be there...

I loved that this book was set in London, in Highgate, which is close to where I lived...I also loved that while London was the setting, it didn't end up being a character like it often does...the cemetery, well, it was a character, but that was definitely okay.

It wasn't until I finished the book (into the wee hours this morning) that I realized that symmetry and cemetery sound the same when said with certain accents. Not mine. But some. Hmmm...or maybe it was the lack of sleep.

I found the twins creepy. I was shocked that Elspeth could do what she did to her own daughter. I think I actually found both sets of twins creepy...but you don't really ever see Elspeth and Edie together so the creepiness isn't as pronounced. I loved the relationships between the neighbours in the building.

This is definitely a book I would recommend. Go read it. It's excellent.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bookshelf Porn

My friend Heddy is in the process of moving...and moving means sorting through books.

I think moving also means procrastinating...I know when it's time for me to pack, there are a million things I'd rather do - clean grout with a toothbrush, wipe down baseboards, stare out the window...

Anyway fellow book lovers, here's a link provided by Heddy to some lovely bookshelf porn.

Enjoy! (Yes, it's completely safe for viewing at work!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bonus Book #2: The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

the mysterious edge of the heroic world
So, I loved From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil R. Frankweiler. I loved it. I wanted to run away to a museum, but the museum in Kelowna was NOTHING like the museums I read about in books. There was a big stuffed bear and a carriage that was roped off. There were a couple of rooms of changing exhibitions. There was the funny little display up the stairs that was very creepy. There was a street with an assortment of stores. And a Kekuli. That's probably where I would have had to sleep if I'd run away to the Kelowna museum. Not in some fancy old-fashioned bed in a fancy musuem. I haven't been to the museum for a long, long time, so I probably should give it a visit next time I'm in Kelowna.

So, because I loved From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil R. Frankweiler, when I saw this E. L. Konigsburg book while J and were choosing pictures books on the weekend, I had to bring it home. The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World is rated for 10-14 year olds, so I've called it kidlit (as opposed to YA). But I liked it.

Amedeo moves to Florida from New York City with his mom and makes a new friend, William. William's mother is a liquidator and is working in Amedeo's next door neighbour's house. Amedeo ends up helping William and his mother. Amedeao's chapters alternate with his godfather Peter's chapters. I wasn't sure how Peter's story was going to tie into Amedeo's, but in the end, it worked really well.

This was the perfect book to read while I was stuck home with a sore was easy enough to figure out where I was if I fell asleep with the book and lost my place. It was easy to go back a few pages if I was confused (because I fell asleep...)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: from the couch...

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I have spent the last two days on the couch. With a sore throat. Really, I'd rather be at work. My throat is so sore I can't concentrate for very long on my book, but that's okay. Sleep is probably what I really need.

Today's sore throat teaser is four sentences, not two. Oh well. I like it.

She was from Italy. No one asked from where in Italy. It could have been Rome, or it could have been Rimini. It didn't matter. She was Italian, and she was beautiful, and she spoke three of the Romance languages.

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World, E. L. Konigsburg, page 39-40

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT at the link above and/or here
with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post or share your teaser (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bonus Book: 29

Okay, so not the best picture, but whatever.

This was a super fast read. As in I got it at the library at lunch time yesterday and I was done around J's bedtime last night. And I'd done stuff in between like, you know, making dinner, tidying the house, going to the park, playing with J, J's bedtime routing...etc.

The premise of this book reminded me very much of Freaky Friday, although the author, Adena Halpern, says that book had no influence on this one.

A grandmother wishes she could be 29 again (for one day) on her 75th birthday. And she wakes up the next morning and she's 29. Life was different for her than the last time she was 29 - she's single and when she was 29 for real she was married and had an 8 or 9 year old daughter.

She gets to relive being 29 and spend the day with her 25 year old granddaughter. Her very glamourous, fashion designer granddaughter who happens to have a very handsome, single, millionaire friend.

Anyway. The day is full of adventure and some long standing personal relationship issues are resolved. And it pretty much ends happily ever after. And I'm okay with that. It was a good get-lost-in-another-world kind of read. Perfect for a rainy Sunday or a day at the beach or a long plane ride.

Out of interest I took a peek at the book club questions, which were pretty standard, but I thought about number five for a long time...
5. Lucy is thrilled at the chance to spend a day with her newly young grandmother. Think about your own grandmother-can you imagine doing the same with her? What do you think she would have on her "to do" list?

My grandmother and I are somewhat like Ellie and Lucy (except there's no way I would ever be a glamourous fashion designer!). She was married a full 13 years before I was (in terms of age, not real time) and by the time she was my age today, she had six kids aged 3 to 16. When she was 24, she had four kids aged 5 and under. When I was 24 I was living in London, doing whatever the heck I felt like doing on a daily basis...I travelled, I spent money frivilously, I regularly had a few too many alcoholic beverages...that said, I'd love to have had the chance to spend a day with her...I've heard stories...I've seen letters to and from her parents when she was in her late teens. I think she'd be a lot of fun. I think we'd probably get up to a lot of trouble, but I think it would be a day worth remembering! My grandmother is pretty outspoken and very open minded today - I'm sure there are many things she'd like to do that she didn't have the opportunity to do 50 years ago!

So yeah, this book was a fast read. And it was just brain candy. But it was good. I liked was nice to go on a silly vacation with Ellie!


When I worked somewhere that I don't work now, I was fortunate to be involved (peripherally) on a project involving Kenneth Oppel's book Silverwing. I read the trilogy and I enjoyed it - I think I need to reread it though because I remember Firewing being more difficult to follow than Silverwing and Sunwing...but that's not anything to do with this book. You can find some clips of the show on YouTube.

Anyway. Darkwing.

I've been meaning to pick this book up for a while - not only is it another Kenneth Oppel bat book, but there are dinosaurs. And I was going to be a paleaontologist. I was. Really.


I really enjoyed this book - it was a fairly quick read, but it was good. There were some pretty big themes in the book - discrimination and stereotypes being two of them - but they were dealt with so well, they were almost invisible. I'd like to reread Silverwing for sure now (I think it's in my bookcase!) because I felt like maybe I remembered some of those themes being the same...

The naming of the animals was well done - particularly the leader of the Felids being called Patriofelis, the rogue, meat eating Felid, Carnassial and his eventual mate Panthera. I love names...

This book is definitely worth picking up...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So, yesterday I was a bit worried I wouldn't make it to two books this month because I ended up not finishing The Vegetarian Myth. Today I don't think I really need to worry all that much. With more than half the month stretching before us I have finished my first book for January.

Room, by Emma Donoghue has been on my list of books to read since BEFORE it came out. Check out the trailers on her site and on the indigo Community site. There's even an interactive floor plan (you might want to wait until you've read the book to click).

I thought the voice in the book was amazing...the five year words and way of speaking were captured so well. I believed a five year old was telling the story. I couldn't put this book down...somewhere along the lines, I must have mentioned to J that there was a Jack in this book because before she went to bed she asked me if Jack was okay and if I was still reading him.

This book held me captive - it was touching and heartbreaking and funny and horribly awful, all at the very same time. They say little kids are extremely resilient and while they are often resistive to change, it is easier for them to adapt to change than it is for adults and this book showed a very resilient and adaptable little boy.

It was interesting how I didn't really know what Jack looked like until close to the end of the book. He never describes himself (but you know he has long hair because he talks about his pony tail) and it isn't until close to the end when he sees tv reports and reads a newspaper article about him and his mom that the reader gets an idea of what he may look like. To me, he was a little boy. Yes, he was living in horrible conditions, but he still saw the world from a little boy's perspective...

I would definitely recommend this book...and I'm holding on to my copy, sort of. Rebecca has asked to borrow it, but when she gives it back, I think I need to reread it...I'm certain I missed a whole lot!

PS Room + an episode of Criminal Minds just before bed = crazy, twisted dreams

Teaser Tuesday returns

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

So, my teaser is:

So many of us believe we can get healthy by losing weight. The truth is we must be healthy to lose weight. [author's emphasis, not mine]

The Hormone Diet, Natasha Turner, page 5

with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Vegetarian Myth

Do you remember rule number 1? I sure do. And today I'm oh so glad I put it in my rules for this challenge.

Rule number 1:
If I cannot, absolutely bring myself to finish a book, I will not. I tend to torture myself and force myself to finish books even when they're not keeping my interest and I'm not enjoying them. I'm not going to do that for this challenge.
and as a result of rule number 1, rule number 2 also applies:
If I don't finish a book, I will still blog about it. Then I will attempt to read another book in that same, now truncated, month.
Because this book fits in to that rule. I had to request The Vegetarian Myth (and the university didn't have it!) and my name came up two days before we left to go away for Christmas. So I took it with me.

the vegetarian myth
Um. Yeah. It's not exactly a Christmas reading kind of book. It required that I pay attention and file information in my brain for a later date.

So I decided I'd wait until I got back. Well, it's going back to the library today. I can't renew it because there is a long list of other people who would like to read it. For a while I fooled myself into believing I'd add my name back onto that list, but really, I'm not going to.

I was really interested by the topic of the book and it was recommended by a couple of people as I looked up more information about the GAPS diet. Lierre Keith is a former vegetarian and former vegan who argues that a vegetarian diet creates as much or more destruction to animal life and to plant life as a meat diet does. It's an interesting thought and the way she arrived at her arguments was compelling, but after 70+ pages, it felt like torture.

I started the weekend hoping I'd have it done by the time Alex heads to work tonight - then no late fees because he can drop it in the box. But sometime on Saturday I realized I couldn't do it. As fascinating as it seemed, I just couldn't get into the book. Lierre Keith mentions a couple of times that she was a staunch vegan, set in her beliefs and, (I can't remember if she explicitly says this or if I made it up, reading between the lines) somewhat preachy in her views, but that after a time of illness and research, she has changed her stance. But I kind of felt this book was preachy...just the opposite preaching to what a vegan would preach.

So, if you've read it, I'd love to hear what you thought of the whole book. Maybe one day I'll pick it up again...or maybe I won't. But I tried.

And yes, I will try to read two other books this month...not sure what they will be yet, but I have a stack on the go.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What are you reading?

As you can see by my list of currently in progress books over there ---> I probably don't need any more books to read. But I do. I'm trying to get a list together of books I would like to read and books other people have suggested so that when I reach a point in time where I just don't know what to read, instead of staring mindlessly at my book shelves or walking into the book store and impulse buying a book, I can get out my list and find something at the library.

Also, I really like to hear about what other people are reading and why they do or do not like their current book...

So...what are you reading?

I'm going to make this a regular post - maybe every couple of weeks or so.

I'll start...the two on that list that I'm actively reading are Room and The Vegetarian Myth. Room is making me a little sad and I'm finding it's a fairly quick read that is slowed down a bit by the five year style of prose (that is not a complaint...I love that a five year old is the narrator). The Vegetarian Myth is annoying me. I'm not sure it's the book so much as I haven't been able to sit and read it for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time because I'm not finding it before I go to sleep material, so that means the other times I have to read are limited because of the toddler who lives at my house. I have nothing planned tonight so I'm going to try to make some headway. It's due back at the library this week and there's a hold on it so if I decide I want to finish it, I'll have to return it and put another hold on it. (That is my only frustration with library books...the ones I need more than three weeks to read are almost always the ones that have a long list of people who want to read them!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

And The Good Daughters goes to....


I didn't use because, well, I can figure out who randomly gets the book when only one person wants it!

I will try to do a few more book giveaways in the next little while. We're sorting out our books...we did five shelves of books today and we tossed 68 I think...they were mostly Alex's books, so I'm not giving them away - lots of hardcovers and mostly sports and biographies.

Mine are going to take a bit longer to go through...there's some I think I might get rid of, but I want to either reread them first of at least glance through them.

Edna, I will do my best to make it to the post office tomorrow, but the first day back after two and a half weeks off could make it hard...if not tomorrow, Wednesday for sure!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Challenge changes...

Happy New Year!

So, I did it! I made it through my first year of the challenge and managed to read one book a month. Okay, so November's book might have been a cop-out, but in the seven months of the challenge, I read eleven books. Even taking out the cop-out book and the one that didn't count because I bought it myself, I still average 9 books over 7 months, so I did it.

No matter how I look at it.

Which brings me to the 2011 part of the challenge. This year I am challenging myself to read two books a month. I'm going to try to read two each month, but if I read 24 books by the end of the year, I will be happy. Life with a toddler is a bit of a gong show and there are periods of chaos and periods of relative calm, so 24 books for the year it is.

Oh, and I've made one modification to my no rereads rule (you're still free to reread as much as you want) - I can count rereads for up to half of the 24 books...after I read 12 new and 12 rereads (or some other combination of 24 where number of new reads > number of rereads) I can reread as many as I want!

What are your reading goals for 2011? Anyone out there still with me on this challenge?