Monthly Archives: August 2015

Waiting on Wednesdays!

Another week is here and I have to say, I loved participating in last week’s ‘Waiting on Wednesdays’ meme that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I’m taking it a little further by adding a book synopsis for you, along with my thoughts and cover art! I sincerely hope you like it.

It was also great to visit other book blogs and see what their ‘Waiting on Wednesdays’ picks were. We all have such diverse tastes, and I rarely saw the same book repeated twice. What a fantastic way to add books to one’s TBR (to be read) pile!

Without further ado, my pick for this week is the forthcoming ~September 1, 2015~The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick (William Morrow).

sparrowsis

I chose this book because it’s something outside of the realm of books I’ve been reading. For quite a while, I’ve been mainly focusing on women’s fiction, chicklit, and some mystery and suspense. It’s not often that I read a novel that incorporates some fantasy, or magic, into the novels. I’ve enjoyed Alice Hoffman in the past, and the Goodreads blurb below suggests fans of Practical Magic (a novel by Hoffman) might enjoy this one, too. To me, this book suggests it might have notes similar to A Birth House (Ami McKay, Vintage Canada, 2007), which I loved! Perhaps it’s just the usage of herbs and other mystical remedies that is similar, but I loved that aspect of McKay’s first novel. Nonetheless, I’m intrigued!

Goodreads:
With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of East End, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen

The Sparrow sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?
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So, what do you think? Does that sound like a good novel or what?!?

I’ll be making the rounds, but if you comment and have your own WoW, please leave a link below.

Happy Reading!
Charlene

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Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll {book review}

luckiestgirl

What happens when we try to reinvent ourselves and escape from our past? Does it ever work, or will our past eventually catch up with us, even if it’s an uncomfortable reality?

TifAni FaNelli is the main character in Jessica Knoll’s debut novel “Luckiest Girl Alive” (Simon & Schuster, 2015). Her current self, Ani FaNelli, soon to be engaged to Luke Harrison, is very lucky! But, from the very first page you almost don’t want to like her. I know I didn’t.
I also couldn’t get past her name – why did the author have to make up a name SO contrived? Yes, we learn that TifAni comes from middle-upper class suburb rather than the established, old money area of Philadelphia. But, does her name have to be so…trashy?!? Or, is that the whole point? TifAni and her family live in a suburb full of McMansions and BMWs that scream wannabes, instead of actually being from old money. Perhaps the author did know what she was doing in regard to this horrific spelling of the main character’s name.
TifAni and Ani are very different people. TifAni is the more likeable character and I developed more empathy toward her along the way. It’s hard to extend that same empathy toward Ani, the current version, who is quite vicious with her words, particularly toward other women. But, maybe her past has something to do with it.
As we learn more about Ani’s past, we are able to understand more about her current persona. The current one is obsessed with maintaining the perfect weight, wearing the right designer, lives in THE city (New York City, of course) and colouring her hair most realistic fake blonde. Ani’s built that life alongside her fiancé Luke and her BFF, Nell, someone who has known Ani since her college days. While planning the perfect wedding, Ani is also participating in an upcoming documentary about a tragedy that occurred at her high school. We know that Ani was somehow involved but we don’t know how…yet.

Honestly, I was expecting this to be a much darker novel. It has been compared to Gone Girl, but I just didn’t see it. For me, Luckiest Girl Alive is almost like a Young Adult/Teen novel on the cusp of being drama-filled adult fiction. There’s so much back and forth between the current Ani and her high school persona, TifAni, that this really does read like a YA novel. I actually enjoyed the parts of the novel that were set in the past. Ani was more real to us as her teenage self, and a vulnerability was portrayed that many of us could relate to.

It can be tough when an author’s first novel is compared to such a huge and recent hit (both in book format and on film), but that’s not necessarily Jessica Knoll’s fault. It happens a lot, and as a reader, I do like knowing what books might be similar to other favourites of mine. The genre of the year definitely goes to “women in trouble/turned psycho/with a secret past/commits a crime”, and I really enjoy them, especially when they’re like a psychological thriller (I wouldn’t say that this book fits this description entirely). I read this one in two or three days and really couldn’t wait to read what happened, what big event in her past made Ani this way. I don’t think we ever really learn the reasons for Ani becoming who she is, nor are we left completely satisfied with the ending (at least I wasn’t). I feel like some characters that were introduced to us just suddenly disappeared. That was strange. However, I am excited to see how this novel translates onto film, as actress Reese Witherspoon bought the rights long ago. Who will portray Ani? I would recommend this novel to the right people – not everyone would be interested in reading a book with this subject matter, it is graphic and there is a lot of profanity used (be warned!) – but for me, this book gets 3.5/5 STARS.

Happy Reading!
Charlene

Waiting on Wednesdays…

Starting this week, I’m participating in “Waiting on Wednesdays” which is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The idea behind this tag/weekly meme is that book bloggers showcase – either with a cover art or post – about a “can’t wait to read” book.

My pick for this week is…

mindy-kaling-why-not-me

Mindy Kaling’s second memoir called “Why Not Me?” (Crown Publishing, 2015) with a publication date of September 15th.

This is the follow-up to the bestselling, and hilarious, “Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?” Expect to be entertained!

Find out more about Mindy Kaling and tour dates for her latest book at Mindy Kaling.com

Order the book here or at your favourite bookseller: Indigo online – ‘Why Not Me?’

What book are you excited to see published? Have you read Mindy Kaling’s previous memoir?

Author birthday spotlight: Happy Birthday to…

In honour of my birthday yesterday, I thought it would be fun to host a birthday spotlight on some fabulous authors. This birthday theme will be an occasional post that will fit in with fun dates in my life, favourite authors or books of mine, anniversary dates of author’s first publications, that sort of thing.

Incredibly fitting selections today, as there are TWO authors I have to focus on. We are all the same age and our birthdays are just a day apart.

happy-birthday-image-3

Please wish Nicola Kraus and Giuliana Rancic a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY Continue reading

August New Release {Giveaway} Hop

August newRelease

It’s that time again…the August New Release {Giveaway} Hop, hosted by Librarian Lavender and It Starts at Midnight, is now underway. I’m so happy to be participating again, as I really enjoyed it the last time!


So, what’s new for August new releases? I’m looking forward to Ayelet Waldman’s three-in-one compilation titled “And Murder Makes Three” of her cozy mystery series “The Mommy-Track Mysteries”. That means if you haven’t started reading the series yet, you can kick it off with a bang and finish 3 novels in 1. How’s that for accomplishment?!? It’s also a great time of year to lounge back and enjoy some murder mysteries – fall is on the way and getting cozy is key! My son loved the book cover and liked the “cow that jumped over the moon”. Certainly fitting for a mommy-themed mystery series.

If memoirs are your thing, then Felicia Day’s “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost)” is a great choice for this month. It’s kind of fitting for all of us who blog, tweet and spend our precious time on social media. I adore humour memoirs as I’m always ready for a good laugh. This looks like it’s worth the read and along the lines of Laurie Notaro (check her out!!) and Jen Lancaster. Loving the periwinkle hue of this cover!

And finally, I’m intrigued by “If You Only Knew” by Kristan Higgins. I LOVE books about sisters, and this novel depicting sisterhood is a perfect end of the summer read. It also clocks in at just over 400 pages, and long novels are really great to dive into. A little bit of chicklit and sister drama – yup, I’ll take it!

So, there you go! By no means is there a shortage of August new releases; just check out the participating blogs on the {Giveaway} hop to see what others are reading. What book are you most looking forward to reading? Enter the Giveaway below to get your chance of winning a book of YOUR choice – up to $20 CAD – from Book Depository. While this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE, please be sure to check that Book Depository ships FREE to your country before entering.

ENTER BELOW and then follow along the Hop – have fun!
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Getting back into the groove….of blogging AND reading

Hi Readers!

It’s been a long while since I posted or blogged here, but life’s been busy. Basically, any time I had for reading got squashed by family and life demands. If I did have time to read, then I didn’t have time to blog. It’s a vicious cycle! I wish I could be one of those moms who used their evening hours to blog, but unfortunately I don’t have a “go to bed and sleep” kind of crew. It requires a lot more hand-holding, and this mama usually just ends up falling asleep. It’s sad.
But, anyway, I’m back and I have some fun things lined up. I AM participating in this month’s “New Release Giveaway Hop” which means – a GIVEAWAY!! – and that is happy news! Look for it around August 15th. In September, I’m participating in a blog tour for a chicklit novel called “Wake-Up Call” by Amy Avanzino, so that should be a lot of fun!

Mostly, I’ve been making my way through my to be read (TBR) pile. To give you an idea of how far behind I am in reading books, I’m currently reading “Bitter is the New Black” by Jen Lancaster (published in 2006). It’s probably just books on my own bookshelves that are far behind, as I do read new releases quite often. Jen Lancaster actually has a new book coming out this week (fiction), so be on the lookout if you like her style. The new release I’m reading now is “The Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll. Have you heard of that one? It’s drawn me in already, and I hope to get a review up soon. So, you can see that’s part of the problem, too – I read more than one book at once! Good idea, or bad idea?
In other book news, I’ve won a few including “Grey” by E.D. James and “Ru” by Kim Thuy. The latter was the 2015 Canada Reads winner – can those two books be any further apart in their style? I have to confess I haven’t read the ‘Grey’ series so I’ll probably be reading ‘Ru’ first. I also have review copies of two chicklit books that look like a lot of fun.

Nowadays, I read more children’s books than anything; my toddler loves all the dinosaur books it seems, and my boys go back and forth between Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Luckily, we are avid library borrowers, so there are plenty of other books (non-themed) that come into this house.
Magazines also play a part in my everyday reading time, as their quick, snappy articles are easy to absorb while on the go.

And that’s my update! Happy Reading everyone!

Be sure to comment below and let me know what you’re reading right now. How’s your TBR pile? Out of control or manageable? I’d love to hear all about it!