Tag Archives: reading

Back from the….(reading update and more!)

Hi everyone!

I’m finally back to writing on my blog and it’s been a LONG time! I had high hopes for the New Year but then found myself in a reading drought. Have you ever had one of those? As a Librarian, it drives me batty when I can’t either find the time to read or I’m just not in the mood (usually that translates to tiredness). I ended up getting sick on Boxing Day (December 26th for those who don’t have that holiday) and that continued for five more months. With 3 kids and working full-time, you can imagine what that does to somebody. Even now, I’m fighting a two week chest cold. Ridiculous!
Anyway, when I finally did get around to reading again, I started slowly and with some tried and true reads, by focusing on my favourite cozy lit mystery series. Both Jenn McKinlay’s ‘Library Lovers’ and ‘Cupcake Bakery’ series came to the rescue and I believe I’m all caught up with both. I love those series so much!
During the last five months I also read ‘Where they Found Her’ by Kimberly McCreight and ‘The Widow’ by Fiona Barton. I really loved ‘Where They Found Her’ but found that ‘The Widow’ was a tough read being a mom to young children. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have read it if I had read a review or the synopsis more carefully. But, that’s not to say it was a bad novel – it’s received a lot of praise so check out Goodreads if you’re so inclined.
I also re-read (I never do that!) a book by Wendy Corsi Staub; while I know some of her books are part of trilogies, I didn’t realize that this particular book “Live to Tell” would be good to read again since I own the next book “Scared to Death”. So, I have that one in my pile of books to read this summer.
Right now, I’m currently reading the second book of ‘The Clifton Chronicles’ by Jeffrey Archer, as well as ‘How to be a Grown-up’ by Nicola Kraus and Emma McClaughlin. Talk about a difference in genres! I’m enjoying both and I love discovering new series to read.
Finally, I picked up quite a few books from garage sales this year (already!). So, those will travel with me to the beach and other weekend getaways this summer. However, I always have high hopes to read more on these getaways, but really, with 3 kids six and under you can imagine how much reading I actually accomplish.
I’m also going to be reviewing Amy Avanzino’s latest “Wake Up Call” books called ‘From the Sideline’ which will be published later this month (which is when my review will be posted, too). I have a few other books to review that I’ve been tardy in posting, so those will be forthcoming as well.
And that’s my update! I read more than just the books mentioned, but honestly I can’t remember them all. There are always books to read and I wish I had more time – so many great books…ahhh…how I love reading 🙂
Maybe this post will give you some new titles to check out!

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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!

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins {book review}

GirlTrain

**NO SPOILERS**
This debut suspense/psychological thriller by Paula Hawkins created a ton of buzz before it was published. It was immediately compared to ‘Gone Girl’ (Gillian Flynn) and ‘Before I go to Sleep’ (S.J. Watson) and quickly became the must read of the year. Or so it seemed. Naturally, I wanted to know what the hype was all about and an ecopy was soon sent my way.* Having just recently read ‘Gone Girl’, that book was fresh enough in my mind that I couldn’t help but make comparisons. Obviously, these books aren’t exactly the same, so is it a fair assessment to like one over the other? I don’t know. However, I love this genre. It takes seemingly everyday people and places them in events where the truth is murky, and as a reader you’re not sure who to believe. Naturally, when you’re introduced to a “main” character, that’s whose story you want to believe. At least that’s what I tend to do.

The protagonist of “The Girl on the Train” is a commuter in London named Rachel. She is introduced to us as a lonely, down on her luck kind of a woman, who drinks too much and is still pining for her ex-husband, Tom. Along the way we learn that Rachel is still obsessed with Tom and has had a few run-ins with Tom and his new wife, Anna. This whole scenario doesn’t make for a happy person, so it’s no surprise that Rachel has become enamoured with a couple who she only knows by passing their house on the commuter train. The couple whom Rachel names “Jason and Jess” appear to be the ideal version of wedded bliss. As the story unfolds, “Jess” disappears and Rachel feels she has the answers about what happened, but they are clouded after a night of drinking. Soon, the mystery becomes an obsession.

After a bit of a struggle getting into this book (I don’t know why as I’ve read many British books in the past), I finally got to the point where I just couldn’t put it down! I can’t say that any of the characters were too likeable – I’m still not sure how I feel about Rachel. But, I appreciate her perseverance in learning the truth and finding a way to crawl back from her bleak life. I think she had to be this way in order for the story to unfold.

For me, this book was another one that had me thinking long after I put it down. It’s just so hard to believe – yet, I’m sure it happens – that people really act like this. There’s a lot of cheating, deception and malice to be found in psychological thrillers, and “The Girl” does not disappoint. Do I like that about this genre? Yes and no. Maybe it’s the whole point. It’s like a car accident you come across while driving – you can’t help but turn your head and look. I think most people want to know why others act so unseemly – what drives them to it? What’s their motivation? Are they truly bad people? So many questions, and with books like these, you don’t always get the answers. You’re left to come to conclusions yourself, good or bad.
It sometimes makes you want to scream. Or, you get yourself to the nearest book club, online forum, or wherever else people might be chatting about this book, and start talking! Share ideas! It’s *that* kind of book. So compelling, that I can’t help but recommend it.

Have you read “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins? How did you feel about it (without revealing any spoilers)? Did it compare, in your mind, to either “Gone Girl” or “Before I go to Sleep”?
And finally, what did you think of the conclusion? I will say now that I liked the conclusion more than I was expecting. It was interesting and *somewhat* satisfying. Not entirely, but I’ll take it.

I hope we see more books from Paula Hawkins, especially in this genre. I’m sure we will.

*Note: I looked at borrowing a copy from my local library system, but well over a 1000 holds had been placed. That’s the sign of an anticipated book!

March New Release Book Hop {giveaway}

**March 2015 New Release Giveaway Hop**
Hosted by Librarian Lavender and It Starts at Midnight

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am participating in the March 2015 new release book hop and GIVEAWAY this month! For those joining from another blog along the hop – welcome! I’m so glad to have you here. Confession: this is my very first book hop and I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to participate. I’m learning quickly that the Book Blogging community is a very gracious one. For this hop, I am giving away a book up to $15 value $20 value (paperback or ebook of your choice) WORLDWIDE from Book Depository as long as they ship FREE to your country – find that out here.

As for this month’s new releases – what book am I most looking forward to reading (once I’ve plowed through my TBR pile – it never ends!)? So many choices! I’d have to say that ‘Mosquitoland’ by David Arnold has been on my radar for months now, so I hope to read that as soon as I possibly can. It is March break so maybe my children will let me. One can hope. I’ve captured a few great book covers below (of books I want to read). Happy Reading all!

Follow the froggy to hop along to the other book bloggers on the hop!

For the GIVEAWAY, click on the Rafflecopter linky below 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Library Book Haul and News!

Hey there and happy Monday! Mondays can be happy, right? Yesterday I finally got around to going to my local library. What used to be a weekly (or more!) event has fallen by the wayside to a many-months-in-between-visits event. But, I had a great time browsing the shelves and picking up some books for both myself and the littles. As you can see by the photo, I only borrowed a few books. Yes, this is “a few” by my standards. Some good reading ahead, it looks like! One of the titles, “Much ado about Anne” is a middle grade read which ties in quite nicely with my first announcement below.

Library book haul

Library book haul

Announcement #1:

I am really excited to share that I will be participating in a *Book Blitz* for a middle grade book called “Reality Natalie” by Katie Sparks. A book blitz is a way to share and create buzz about new releases. I have an ebook copy to review and will be sharing that with you within the next 10 days or so. The book blitz is being hosted by Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews. By the end, you will be able to find my review (and other participants) on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as reading it here on My Homemade Library. There are so many cool things one can participate in as a book blogger, and I like that I can showcase my joy of reading children’s books, too.

Announcement #2:

I am also thrilled to announce that I will be participating in the *New March Release Book Hop & Giveway* hosted by Lavendar Librarian and It Starts at Midnight! This will be my very first giveway on the blog and I’m so excited! As a reader of blogs, I love entering the contests and I know I’m not the only one. My favourite wins are always books and makeup. So, I think many of you will really enjoy this. The Book Hop is being hosted by Lavendar Librarian which is such a cool and fun blog. I’m excited to catch up on some new releases and share a review of one. I haven’t decided on a book yet, but that is forthcoming and I will be updating the status on the hop very soon.

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.

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