Thursday, 28 February 2013

Let's Hear About YOU!

This is going to be a shorter personal post, because I am looking for some feedback from YOU, the reader. I want to hear a bit about you and the things you like, so hopefully, if you are reading this, you will partake in this little experiment.

Some days I feel like I do not have enough reading time and others I probably have way too much (yes, I think there is such a thing as too much reading time lol. You don't have to agree.) I try to find a happy medium with it, which doesn't always work. I find I need a few things to be in order:
1. I need to actually have the time itself to read.
2. I need to be in a comfortable spot (I envision myself in a comfortable reading chair with a pretty lamp, but this is not currently my reality lol)
3. I like drinking tea when I am reading, although this is not a must. I used to read on the bus and train during school and if I had to stand up, reading a tea along with the situation did not work.
4. Plenty of light. This is important for obvious reasons.
5. The right mind frame. I'm not always in the MOOD to read, and if I try and force myself, I usually end up having to take a bit of a break from reading, which frustrates me to no end.

I like to have reading "things" around me, whether it be that I am surrounded by books or other things. I actually have 2 throw pillows I got from Chapters that are gray and have white books on them. I love them! Also, I like lists of books (to read, that I want to read soon, that I want to buy, etc.). Comfy blankets. Blankets remind me of reading, maybe because I like wrapping myself up in one and grabbing a book.

I have always wanted to have my own library and I have slowly been working on this over the years. I have some shelves, I have more books than will fit on those shelves, and before I packed up all of my books I loved just sitting and looking at my books. All of that information! And just think of how many hours went into creating each one! AMAZING!

Okay, so I have put little random bits about information related to reading. Please comment either on what I have said, things you like (with regards to reading, books, or anything), if you want your own library, etc. Pretty much anything. Like I said, I am experimenting to see who will actually respond and of course I am VERY interested in what you have to say!

Thank you in advance for participating!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

In this classic adventure story, a wealthy gentleman, Phileas Fogg, makes a bet that he can travel around the world in eighty days. Fogg and his servant set off immediately, determined to win this race against time. Little do they know they aren''t making the journey alone.... Fogg has been fingered as the culprit in a bank robbery, and a detective in hot pursuit is trailing them as they cross every continent.

My first classic of the year! I have been waiting for a long time to pick up this story and I am so glad I did! I have to say, it was not anything like I expected it to be. I had it in my head that the main character, Phileas, was traveling around the world in a hot air balloon, but this was not the case. I was not in the least disappointed by this fact. This book was even better than I expected it to be. I find classics can be hard to have expectations for, I really only know what I've heard and they are all so different that you can't even begin to imagine how it will be, but I am always surprised by the imaginations of these writers. Maybe because they were the ones who were starting it all. It feels like today all books are the same or there are SO many different books and series with the same premise that it feels as though no one has an imagination anymore. I love reading about ideas, such as traveling around the world, and how fascinating an idea it is for people of the time. For us in modern times, this doesn't seem like such a big deal because you can just hop on an airplane and off you go!
I really enjoyed the characters in this book and found myself rooting for them the entire way through. It was so easy to whip my way through this book (it usually takes me considerably longer to read classics), but I did not want to put this one down. It was adventurous and fun and I felt as though I were experiencing it myself.
If you are into adventure writing (or classics for that matter) you should put this on your list of must-reads. It is a fantastically fun story and I can't wait to read it again sometime. I give this book a 4/5.

Happy Reading!

Next Review: Death of a Kitchen Diva by Lee Hollis

Friday, 22 February 2013

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

The Wakefield Twins-and the whole gang from Sweet Valley High-are back!
What terrible secret has torn Jessica and Elizabeth apart?

Ten years after graduation, the Wakefield twins have had a falling out of epic proportions. When Jessica commits a complete and utter betrayal, Elizabeth flees to New York to escape the pain and immerse herself in her lifelong dream of becoming a serious journalist.
Jessica remains in California, dealing with the consequences of her heart-wrenching choices. She's built a full life for herself but dearly misses her sister. With Elizabeth as her enemy, Sweet Valley is no longer the idyllic town of their youth.
Jessica longs for forgiveness. But Elizabeth, always the "good twin," can't forget Jessica's duplicity-and soon decides the only way to heal her broken heart is to exact sweet, sweet revenge…

I was intrigued by this book from the moment I heard it existed. I used to read the Sweet Valley books when I was younger and I was really curious to see what Pascal did with her characters in their later years. The actual writing of the book was pretty bad. She’s not the greatest author, but I like her ideas. I had mixed feelings about her decisions with Elizabeth and Jessica. I think it was a great idea to introduce some conflict and see how they stand on their own two feet, but I wish it could have been done in a different way. Having said that, what she chose to do was realistic. It’s something that occurs in life on a regular basis and too many people find themselves in a similar situation. I am glad I read it as I am sure it will be the last instalment with these girls. If you were an avid SV reader, give it a shot and see what you think of what Pascal did! And if you’ve already read it, I would love to hear what you thought of it! I give this book a 2/5.

Happy Reading!

Next Review: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Thursday, 21 February 2013

How to choose?

I love the question “If you could take 5 books to a deserted island with you, which ones would you take?” This is an extremely challenging question for me and I feel it changes every time I’m asked! I am going to do my own version of this today, and tell you what some of my favourites are and why.

1.       Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (General Fiction)
·         This story is the adult installment of the teen series Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It takes place a few years after the fourth book in the series and is absolutely incredible. This book is an emotional read for me, but I absolutely love it. I have read it twice so far and look forward to reading it many many more times. While I was not in love with the teen series, it is imperative to read them to understand the depth of emotion and the issues the characters go through in Sisterhood Everlasting. It is a story that makes you look at your own life and ask yourself if you are truly happy with your life/the person you are with/your job? A must read in my opinion!

2.       The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Classics)
·         One of my all-time favourite classics, The Secret Garden is another must-read. It is full of adventure, mystery, and friendship. It shows how a little hard work can go a long way and you never know what you may find in life (or behind a wall!) I have only read this book once so far, but I am really excited to give it another go! It really appeals to my imaginative side and makes me want to find a secret garden of my own!

 3.       The Hunger Games (Teen)
·         I’m sorry, but who doesn’t love The Hunger Games? Okay, those of you who don’t are just crazy! Lol. I absolutely fell in love with this series and I have Tara F. and Carrie H. to thank for urging me to read it! I have read it twice since Mockingjay came out and it was even better the second time around! I find post-apocalyptic stories to be fascinating and also scary in that we never know what the future holds for our species! Will we live in a barren desolate place? Will items such as books, chocolate, and technological devices be a thing of the past? Who knows!

4.       The Clearing by Heather Davis (Teen)
·         I randomly chose to read this book a few years ago because nobody I worked with (or customers for that matter) had ever read it or heard of it. It is a fun little story that deals with time travel and, of course, has a bit of a romance in it. It is a short read, but I think it is very sweet and just a nice story. Not all aspects of it are nice, but I really really enjoy it! I would LOVE to hear what someone else thinks of it! PLEASE let me know if you read it!!!!!

 5.       Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (Teen)
·         By FAR my favourite teen novel!!!! I fell in love with this book from the get-go! It is such a great combination of things! History, music, romance! LOVE LOVE LOVE! This book just spoke to me in a way no other teen book has. It is such a fascinating story and I cannot WAIT to visit the Paris catacombs someday! I love books that bring a little history into them, especially in teen and kids books because I think those things may be lacking in that generation. I feel it is creatively written and it speaks to many of my interests.

 6.       The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan (9-12)
·         This is one of my ABSOLUTE favourite series! John Flanagan is SUCH an amazing author! He makes you fall in love with his characters and want to live in their world! Halt is my favourite. I love grumpy men lol. There are no words for this series. It brings a smile to my face, warms my heart, and I am dying to read it again.

 7.       Kill The Messenger by Tami Hoag (Mystery)
·         When I think of mystery books, this is one of the first to come to mind. I haven’t read it for a few years so the details of the story are a little fuzzy, but the feeling I have for the book has yet to fade. It is by far the best Hoag book I have read (and she’s written some really great books) and it was full of excitement and on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments. If you are looking for a new mystery book, add this to your list. It’s fantastic.

 8.       Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (9-12)
·         This book was recommended to me by a former co-worker and was such a great story. It’s one of those books that makes you appreciate the things you have and be the best person you can be. I think it is a really great book for kids to read, as well as adults. Anyone who reads it is going to walk away with a different perspective and look at the things they say and do differently.

 9.       Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (9-12)
·         I am realizing that a lot of kids books are ending up on my list lol. By far the BEST 9-12 series I have ever read. I really love fantasy books and this is the ultimate fantasy series. I found it randomly and picked it up because I was drawn to the cover of the first one and I have not looked back since. I HIGHLY recommend you read this series and anything else that Mull has written. He has a way of drawing you into his world and you don’t have to wish you were part of it because you are!!!
10.   The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (General Fiction)
·         Hands down favourite adult book. I will read this book so many times in my lifetime, I am so excited. I remember feeling a bit confused when I started it the first time around, but by the end I was dying for another go at it! I’ve read it a few times now and it will forever have a place on my bookshelf. READ IT! READ IT! READ IT!
These are just a sample of the hundreds of books that I love. I realize it does not appear so, but I read a wide variety of stories and genres and it is so hard to choose which ones are the best or which ones I could not live without. I love most of the books I read for vastly different reasons. Mostly, I love being taken away from my worries and troubles and getting lost in a completely different world. I love learning about other people and their beliefs and thoughts, and imagining worlds that could not possibly exist (or could they?) I love books. I love stories. I love reading about the worlds that exist in other people’s heads. I would LOVE to hear what some of your favourite books are and why. So let me ask you, if you could only take 5 books with you to a deserted island, which ones would you take?????

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb

The number-one New York Times-bestselling author J. D. Robb presents an intense and terrifying new case for New York homicide cop Eve Dallas, one that will take her all the way to the city that gave her her name-and plunge her into the nightmares of her childhood.
When a monster named Isaac McQueen-taken down by Eve back in her uniform days-escapes from Rikers, he has two things in mind. One is to pick up where he left off, abducting young victims and leaving them scarred in both mind and body. The other is to get revenge on the woman who stopped him all those years ago.

When I first saw the title of this book, I thought the series was ending. I may have had a slight heart attack. After doing some research online, though, I found out this was not the case. Robb changed the title because this took us back to the beginning with Dallas and an extremely important case at the beginning of her career.
As always, this work in the In Death series was awesome. It was full of emotion, a little bit of history and insight into Dallas at the beginning of her career, and the reader can’t help but wonder where Robb is going to take the series from here. I find the characters in this series very relatable and so easy to like. Dallas is sarcastic, determined, hard working, and we discover just how deep her emotions run in this book. And then there’s Roarke. Who doesn’t want to find themselves a strapping Irish man? Lol. Never failing in his support, always there to help Dallas out, he displays a love I’m sure we all hope to find. It was a bit strange for me that Peabody and the rest of the gang were not as prominent in this book, but it worked with the story. It gave us a chance to get to know Dallas and Roarke even better and to see that they may have some limits.
I know that taking on the In Death series is a bit of a task with its 36 novels and 8 anthologies, but it is definitely worth it! This is not a series that gets slower and worse as it continues. It only gets better and better! If you have not yet tried this mystery series, you most certainly should! The first book is Naked in Death and I strongly believe that you MUST read them in order! Please let me know what you think! I give this book a 5/5.

Happy Reading!

Next review: Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

Friday, 1 February 2013

Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan

"Having traded in her career as a successful investigative journalist for the life of a stay-at-home mom in picturesque Cumberland Creek, Virginia, Annie can't help but feel that something's missing. But she finds solace in a local "crop circle" of scrapbookers united by chore-shy husbands, demanding children, and occasional fantasies of their former single lives. And when the quiet idyll of their small town is shattered by a young mother's suicide, they band together to find out what went wrong.  .  .
Annie resurrects her reporting skills and discovers that Maggie Rae was a closet scrapbooker who left behind more than a few secrets--and perhaps a few enemies. As they sift through Maggie Rae's mysteriously discarded scrapbooks, Annie and her "crop" sisters begin to suspect that her suicide may have been murder. It seems that something sinister is lurking beneath the town's beguilingly calm fa├žade--like a killer with unfinished business. (


I borrowed this book from the library because I love scrapbooking and I think it’s pretty obvious that I love cozy mysteries. So what better book than one that combines those two loves? Unfortunately, this one was a miss. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t grip me. The characters were fine enough and it was a group of scrapbookers who were working on solving the mystery, I just didn’t feel a connection to them. This is not a series that I will be continuing with, but that doesn’t mean that you should not read it or tell someone who is a cozy mystery freak like me to give it a try!

Happy Reading!

Next review: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb