Monthly Archives: February 2015

February New Release Giveaway Hop

Until my next book review…check out this fun February New Releases Book Hop with GIVEAWAYS, hosted by Lavendar Librarian. I’ve linked to Candid Cover’s review and giveaway. Enjoy 🙂

The Candid Cover


I am thrilled to be part of the February New Release Hop hosted by Lavender Librarian!

This February has been an exciting time for new releases! I am most most excited for My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is…

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how to revise your novel :: don’t stop until you’re proud

One of the many great things about social media is that we (as readers, TV viewers, lovers of food, etc.) get to see behind-the-scenes action from our favourite authors, actresses, chefs…So, I can’t help but be excited to read (and view) author Susan Wiggs’ post on editing a novel. I’m not a writer, but this is so fun to see as a reader! And isn’t her dog super cute? Thanks for involving us Susan!

The View From Here

Step one – open shitty first draft.
2 print out in word draft mode, light colored ink. 3 put on extra
strong glasses and lamp. rewrite every single page until it looks
like it’s bleeding. Be aware that you might need a lot of physical
space for laying out the pages. clothespins are key. 5. type in
handwritten edits. 6. go back to step 2 and do it all again. lather
rinse repeat.

Step one – open shitty first draft.

Step two –  print out in word draft mode, light colored ink.

Step three – put on extra strong glasses and bright lamp. Rewrite every single page until it looks like it’s bleeding. Be aware that you might need a lot of physical space for laying out the pages. Clothespins are key. So are Post-It notes.

ugly stuff ugly stuff

Step five – type in handwritten edits.

smells fishy to Barkis smells fishy to Barkis

Step six – go back…

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Blogging it (or how to be a book blogger)

I’m on the hunt for a cuter blog. There’s nothing wrong with WordPress and I can still keep them as my host, but little did I know there were so many options out there! As I do my research, I see that there is a lot I still need to learn about creating, running and owning a blog. Wow, is there a lot! But, for now, I’m all about the appearance. I want it to be pleasing to both the readers and myself. I want my reviews to stand out and not seem like there’s just an endless stream of information. As a Librarian, I learned along the way that when you want to create or change something in your library, you generally research like-minded institutions: other libraries. My main sources of information are other book blogs to see how they’re created, how they stand out and get the readers. And guess what? I found a few that have tutorials or guides on how to create a book blog just for you – unique and appealing.

Here are some of my faves:

The Newbie’s Guide to Book Blogging, by BookNerd – great information mapped out in nine different parts. I’ve been reading through each part as they become relevant to me, keep coming back to different parts…a must-have resource if you’re new to the blogging scene with a focus specifically for book bloggers. BOOKMARK!

Blogging Tips, by the Mile Long Bookshelf – I like how the information presented here is slightly less about the design, and more on the blogging. That’s helpful to me. I’m not getting contradictory advice from different places, it’s relatable. There are helpful tips on avoiding scammers (like I would know otherwise?!?) and general blog tips. BOOKMARK!

My Favourite Things about Blogging, by Jenny in Neverland – a current narrative on how to enjoy blogging. Actually, this blogger published her post today and I discovered it while reading an earlier post on the same topic (book blogging tips). I wanted to make sure I included tips from bloggers who are still blogging. Great, useful tips with feedback from social media followers. BOOKMARK!

But, don’t let that stop you from sharing your tips with me. Are you a blogger, book blogger or a reader of blogs in general? What do you think makes a good blog? Be sure to comment below as I like to read feedback from my readers.

What I’m reading RIGHT now!

As I embark on filling MyHomemadeLibrary with more and more book reviews, I thought could update with you all on my current bookshelf, i.e. what I’m currently reading now.

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins: Yes, THAT book! So much buzz surrounds this book with comparisons to ‘Gone Girl’ (which I loved!). It’s still early days for me, but so far…I’m intrigued.

Killing Cupid – Laura Levine: The latest in this cozy mystery series featuring writer Jaine Austen and the hilarious exploits she gets into while solving the current murder mystery. Between her cat Prozac and the side story involving her parents, this series always has me in stitches. That’s a good thing.

Stay tuned for the reviews 🙂

Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult {book review}

Cover of Leaving Time

Cover of Leaving Time

Leaving Time, the latest novel by Jodi Picoult, is perhaps not the most original book to start reviewing in 2015, but it was a book I started before the new year. A longtime fan of her novels, it made sense to keep it as my first book review for “My Homemade Library”.

Leaving Time is a novel about elephants, mother/daughter relationships, wonder, memory and escape. At least this is how I would describe the novel. As a whole, Leaving Time is so much more! Another well-researched (whoa, the research!), relationship-based novel that is told in many voices. To me, this is the hallmark of a great Jodi Picoult book. How she writes in such varied voices…it’s amazing and a great talent! I’ve always loved that about her works. How often have you read a book only to want to hear “the other side of the story”? In this story, we listen to the words of Jenna (the daughter), Alice (the mother), Serenity (the psychic) and Virgil (the private investigator). They all have a story to share, their own story, and all have common ground in the search for Jenna’s mother Alice, an elephant researcher who disappeared 10 years ago following a murder (we are told) in the elephant enclosure. Jenna, only three years old at the time, is found hidden and away from the dead body. Now a teenager, Jenna is eager to find out what happened to her mother – did she leave by her own free will, was she murdered? – and hires PI Virgil and psychic Serenity to help in her search.

As the investigation unfolds, the story of Alice is told through her journal writing. We learn about her elephant research, how she came to the elephant sanctuary, and her relationship with Jenna’s father Thomas.

What Jenna wants most is to know she was not abandoned by her mother. Wise beyond her young teenage years, Jenna is savvy enough to hire the investigator in charge of the murder all those years ago, and a psychic who once saw fame and glory and is now giving readings to small town clientele.

As we weave through the tales of these characters, a road trip is taken and a bond is formed by unlikely friends. As always, Picoult leads us to a stunning conclusion that left me thinking for days.

I really enjoyed Leaving Time and loved learning more about the lives of elephants. It was a novel that highlighted this interesting mammal in ways that isn’t often portrayed. You can’t help but follow through and visit some websites recommended in the Acknowledgements section of the book. When you read a book that leads you wanting to know more about a topic you never thought much about in the first place…well, that’s a good book in my eyes.

I most definitely place Leaving Time in my top 3 books of Jodi Picoult’s novels.

Recommended titles by Jodi Picoult: Plain Truth, Keeping Faith and Nineteen Minutes.

Click here to learn more about Jodi Picoult