Monday, August 6, 2012

June and July 2012 Reads

June 2012
29. The Castaways – Elin Hilderbrand
30. Matched – Ally Condie
31. The Girl From Away – Claire Mowat
32. The French Isles – Claire Mowat
33. The Last Summer in Louisbourg – Claire Mowat
34. My Name is Memory – Ann Brashars
35. Last Summer in Arcadia – Deirdre Purcell
36. Summer People – Elin Hilderbrand

July 2012 (7)
37. The Summer of Us – Holly Chamberlin
38. One Fifth Avenue – Candace Bushnell
39. Round Robin – Jennifer Chiaverini
40. Cross-Country Quilters – Jennifer Chiaverini
41. Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch
42.  Divergent – Veronica Roth
43. Tea With Emma – Diane Moody

The titles in bold are the ones that I REALLY liked and would recommend to others. I'm not linking to any of the books because I'm not in the mood to do so, and if I didn't just get this down now I was afraid I'd be on the way to giving this blog up for good!

Monday, June 11, 2012

May 2012 Reads

21. The Blue Bistro - Elin Hilderbrand
22. The Library of Shadows - Mikkel Birkegaard
23. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James
24. Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James
25. Fifty Shades Freed - E.L. James
26. The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes
27. The Quilter's Apprentice - Jennifer Chiaverini
28. Some Tame Gazelle - Barbara Pym

I liked all of the books I read in May-I can't remember the last time I could say that. The Fifty Shads books were surprisingly better than I excepted, and not just because of the naughty bits! I actually liked the story too :) Jennifer Chiaverini's The Quilter's Apprentice is the first in the "Elm Creek Quilts" series, and I am excited to read more. Very easy reads, a bit crafty, and the intricacies of female relationships-yes please! Barbara Pym is a new/old find. She reminds me of Maeve Binchy but a bit less scandalous-not that Binchy is scandalous! She started writing in the mid 1930s and has been compared to Jane Austen. So I guess a cross between Jane and Maeve-again, yes please! So those were all my least favourite was The Sense of an Ending. I liked the writing, and I thought the "philosophy" of the book was quite interesting (basically that our memories are imperfect), but the ending was not satisfying.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

April 2012 Reads

18. The Night Circus - Erin  Morgenstern
19. Madame Tussaud - Michelle Moran

I thoroughly enjoyed all three of these books by The Night Circus was by far my favourite. It was one of those magical reads that I adore! I highly recommend it!!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March 2012 Reads

12. The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
13. Friendship Bread - Darien Gee
14. Beachcombers - Nancy Thayer
15. The Island - Elin Hilderbrand
16. One Day - David Nicholls
17. The Love Season - Elin Hilderbrand

I really enjoyed The Invention of Hugo Cabret, part drawings, text, and photographs, it is unlike any other book I've read. I didn't really like the movie but that's probably because I watched it the day after I finished the book. I'm also really into Erin Hilderbrand lately-nice easy reads set on Nantucket- I got into this author because I read her novel Barefoot as a free download for my kindle and will likely read the rest of her work. One Day was so bad I barely finished it and even though Ann Hathaway is in the movie I refuse to watch it!
So my favourite book of March 2012: The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
My least favourite book of March 2012: One Day - David Nicholls

Friday, March 9, 2012

February 2012 Reads

Here's what I read in February (I am starting the numbering where I lef toff in January):

 7. Read Player One - Ernest Cline
 8. The Wretched of Muirwood - Jeff Wheeler
 9. The Blight of Muirwood - Jeff Wheeler
10. The Scourge of Muirwood - Jeff Wheeler
11. The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown

The Muirwood books were free downloads for my Kindle and I quite enjoyed them even with the overtly religious themes (that usually turns me off). My favourite book however was Ready Player One-really neat-and my least favourite was The Weird Sisters. I almost didn't finish that one because it was pretty boring with way too many Shakespeare quotes, but my sister gave it to me for my birthday so I really wanted to not only finish it, but I wanted to like it. It got a bit better once I decided to skip all the italicized quotes, even though they were part of almost every conversation! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

January 2012 Reads

For those of you who still happen to stop by this blog from time to time-thank you, and sorry! I've really let this blog kind of go by the way-side (is that the right way to put it?) in the past year or so. I don't want to completely stop, but I must admit my book reviews have gotten pretty lame, so I'm going to try something a bit different. So here we go...

Here is what I read in January:
1. Knit One Pearl One - Gil McNeil
2. The House By the Sea - Santa Montefiore
3. The Magician King - Lev Grossman
4. Bossypants - Tina Fey
5. Seriously...I'm Kidding - Ellen Degeneres (Audiobook)
6. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress - Rhoda Jenzen

The first four books were Christmas gifts and I devoured them!! I was so looking forward to the Magician King (Grossman's follow-up to the Magicians) but was a bit disappointed. It was good-but after reading a few "lighter" books I wasn't really in the mood for it, however I pushed through because I wanted to have it finished to bring back to Winnipeg last weekend so the rest of my family could read it.

The last three books on that list (I am counting Bossypants in both lists) for my new book club! I joined the new book club at the Red Deer Public Library and instead of us all reading the same book, we are reading by genre/theme. The genre for February is biographies and memoirs. I used to listen to audiobooks ALL the time in grad school because I was driving so much between Fargo/Moorhead and Winnipeg and I really enjoyed listening to Ellen's book-especially considering she's the one reading it!! I also started reading Unbroken, but I had to return it to the library and to be honest I wasn't totally enthralled.

You can click on the links above to go to the page for each book or to the author's or publisher's website because I will not be reviewing each of them (at least for now).

My favourite book of January 2012: Knit One Pearl One - Gil McNeil
My least favourite book of January 2012:  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress - Rhoda Jenzen

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins January 13, 2012

Friday Fill-Ins!! My answers are in RED! we go!

1. When I looked out the window this morning there was a slight dusting of new snow on the ground.
2. Lady Gaga doesn't make sense to me.
3. Remind me to water the plants, I always forget!
4. Reading is something I love to do!
5. TP is how my Dad sometimes ends his emails.
6. I cleaned the refrigerator recently and I found no fruit.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to picking up Marcia from the airport, tomorrow my plans include shopping with Marcia and playing ticket to ride-Europe, and Sunday, I want to hang out with Marcia before she leaves (yes that's right Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Review: Knit One Pearl One

I just finished the third installment in Gil McNeil's Beach Street Knitting Society Series - Knit One Pearl One. I loved it!! Oh books about knitting and life are so wonderful! I found her first novel "Diva's Don't Knit" (aka The Beach Street Knitting and Yarn Society" in the clearance section at Chapters a few years ago and loved it. Last year I read her second novel Needles and Pearls and really enjoyed it because the main character Jo was pregnant-and so was I! In this third novel Jo's little girl Pearl is turning 2 (she also has 2 boys), and although my little guy is only 6months, I am beginning to get a handle on this parenting thing and can relate (and commiserate) with Jo! I can only hope there are more novels to come because I am dying to know what happens next!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top Ten books of 2011

Here are my top ten books that I read in 2011 (in no particular order):

1. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
2. An Irish Country Doctor - Patrick Taylor
3. Minding Frankie - Maeve Binchy
4. Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah
5. Needles and Pearls - Gil McNeil
6. Bride of New France - Suzanne DesRochers
7. The Sea Captain's Wife - Beth Powning
8-10. The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins

Book Review: State of Wonder

I have read a few of Ann Patchett's novels and I must say they are all very different. Different topics, characters, and themes and by different I mean from each other and different from other books in general.

From "Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past. Once found, Dr. Swenson, now in her seventies, is as ruthless and uncompromising as she ever was back in the days of Grand Rounds at Johns Hopkins. With a combination of science and subterfuge, she dominates her research team and the natives she is studying with the force of an imperial ruler. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina, who finds she may still be unable to live up to her teacher's expectations. In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, and a neighboring tribe of cannibals, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the reader into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side."
State of Wonder was a fantastic novel. I pretty much liked everything about it except for the last chapter. I felt like there were a few things thrown in there just to add twists and it felt a bit forced-but I still really liked this book.

Book Review: Tamar

I downloaded Tamar by Mal Peet for my Kindle when it was the daily deal a while ago, and finished it while we were in Winnipeg. It is apparently a YA (young adult) novel but I wouldn't have classified it as such if it weren't for the forced/awkward romance between two of the characters. I rather liked this book (minus the previously mention romance)-but since I am on the lazy side I am not writing a full review. Sorry. I promise I will get back to proper some point.

"A thrilling and moving story about love, betrayal and belonging. When Tamar's grandfather, an intensely private man, falls from a balcony to his death, he leaves behind a box with Tamar's name on it. For a long time Tamar refuses even to think about it...until one hot June day she opens it to reveal a series of clues and hidden messages from her grandfather. She and her cousin Johannes follow the clues and discover that her name also belonged to someone else over half a century before; someone involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland during the Second World War. As she pieces together the mystery her grandfather left behind, another Tamar's story is unravelled; a story of passionate love, jealousy and tragedy played out amongst the daily fear and horror of war.;By the author of "Keeper", winner of the 2004 Branford-Boase award.;Written with such detailed historical and emotional sweep, this novel will stay with you long after you've turned the last page and is bound to attract child and adult readership." Taken from here.

I find anything most perspectives on the Holocaust fascinating and Tamar was no exception, I liked how the book went back and forth between the granddaughter's perspective and back to her grandfather's experience during the war. I was not expecting the book to end the way it did, but thought Peet did an excellent job!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How many books?

I have at least 3-4 blog posts I need to write here but I just wanted to quickly say that I read 57 books this year!!! Not bad considering I had a baby in June and did not finish a single book in July, and had a few other months with just one book read. Since my little man only showed up at the END of June it was my highest month with 11 books, and 9 in May -I did go on maternity leave in the middle of April at which point I moved across the country and had NOTHING else to do!! This is however, 15 books less than last year, but I guess when I used to read 70+ books a year I don't really have anywhere to go but downhill!

How many books did YOU read in 2011?