Thursday, December 30, 2010

Booking Through Thursday- 2010 Review

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme with a different question each week. This week's question is as follows:

What’s the best book you read this year?



Well, here are my answers:

Best Book of 2010: The Help by Kathryn Sprocket

Worst Book of 2010: Deadlock by Iris Johansen

Favorite Book of 2010: The Passage by Justin Cronin

The answer is simple but sweet today. It's been a crazy week so I haven't been on as much. Hope to blog more in the new year :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Precious and Fragile Things by Megan Hart

Publisher: Harlequin/MIRA Books
Publishing Date: 01/01/2011
ISBN: 9780778329244
Pages: 400 pages

Summary from the Publisher:

He's not about to let her leave.

And she cannot stay.

Gilly Soloman has been reduced to a mothering machine, taking care of everyone and everything except herself. But the machine has broken down. Burnt out by the endless days of crying children and menial tasks, and exhausted from always putting herself last, Gilly doesn’t immediately consider the consequences when she’s carjacked. With a knife to her throat, her first thought is that she’ll finally get some rest. Someone can save her for a change.

But salvation isn’t so forthcoming. Stranded in a remote, snowbound cabin with this stranger, hours turn to days, days into weeks. As time forges a fragile bond between them, she learns her captor is not the lunatic she first believed, but a human being whose wasted life has been shaped by secrets and tragedy. Yet even as their connection begins to foster trust, Gilly knows she must never forget he’s still a man teetering on the edge. One who just might take her with him.

My Review:
I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley. Well I will admit when I first started reading this novel I didn’t think I was going to like it at all. I couldn’t relate to Gilly, the main character. I kept thinking no one in their right mind would choose to be abducted rather than be at home with her children and husband. In fact, I remember saying to my fiancĂ© a few times: I can’t believe this woman!! I found her to be ridiculous and unbelievable. That being said, after getting over the first part of the novel and when we find the two characters in the cabin, things started to get a bit better. I found myself intrigued by Todd, the carjacker, and his life story. I also found it interesting that there seemed to be a friendship that formed between Todd and Gilly. I don’t want to give too much of the book away but I will say that by a quarter of the way through the book Hart grabbed my attention and I didn’t want to put the book down. Her idea for the book is original and definitely unlike anything I have read recently. Overall, I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Top Ten Tuesdays- Best Books of 2010

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks edition is the best books of 2010. I read a lot of fluff this year so it was difficult to come up with my ten best but here they are:

1. The Help by Kathryn Sprocket- This book was amazing. It was all about civil rights in the United States.

2. Still Alice by Lisa Genova- This is now one of my favourite books and it is about a woman who gets diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. It is haunting and amazingly written.

3. The Passage by Justin Cronin- I truely enjoy a good distopian novel and if you add in vampires/zombies it gets even better. I really liked this book and I'm looking forward to the rest of the books in this series.

4. House Rules by Jodi Picoult- This is a book about a boy who is autistic. He ends up getting himself involved in a murder and it becomes quite difficult to know if he did it or not. It was a great book and I work with children on the autism spectrum so I found it quite interesting.

5. Secret Daughter by Shlipi Somaya Gowda- This book is great and I am looking forward to re-reading it for my book club this year. It is about a woman who is forced to give up her daughter for adoption in India and a couple who are infertile and ends up adopting this child. The story jumps from past to present and is an amazing story.

6.Unearthly by Cynthia Hand- I got this as an advanced reader copy from NetGalley and my review will be posted soon for this.

7. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton- This book turned out to be an excellent mystery and kept me guessing right until the end. Morton has a great writing style and I look forward to reading more from her. The Distant Hours is a pick for my bookclub in October 2011 so I am looking forward to reading this.

8. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster- This is a memoir about trying to get by in an economic crunch. I really liked the humour in this book.

9. White Tiger by Aravind Adiga- This is a really well written novel and I definitely recommend reading it. It deals with oppression and also deception and corruption. It is great.

10. The Given Day by Dennis Lehane- This is a historical fiction novel of America in the 1920s. It dealt a lot with forming police unions and also has some baseball in it. I really enjoyed this book.

Alright, well these are mine. What are yours?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Harper Collins/Harper
Publishing Date: 01/25/2011
ISBN: 9780061706301
Pages: 420 pages

Summary from GoodReads:
The magical new novel from number one bestseller Cecelia Ahern. Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara's childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin.When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core.

My Review:
I got this book as an ARC from NetGalley but then I realized I had actually already purchased this at the bookstore. I guess this book was released in Canada the same time as it was released overseas and it is now being released in America in January. To be honest I have mixed feelings about Ahern. I first started reading her books because I saw P.S. I Love You in the theatre and loved it. I didn't read that book because I have a thing about reading books after you've seen the movie. I know that the majority of the time the book is better than the film but I just feel like after you've seen the movie that you already know the main plot points and it's difficult to stay interested in the book. Anyhow, that's a different thing altogether and what I'm really getting at is that I enjoy some Ahern books while I really dislike others. I wasn't a huge fan of Where Rainbows end but I did really like Thanks for the Memories so when I saw The Book of Tomorrow I thought I'd try another Ahern novel. I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed this book. The novel is told in the point of view of a teenage girl, Tamara, who lived a privileged life but when her father commits suicide due to financial stress things begin to fall apart. Tamara is forced to move to the country with her aunt and uncle and her mother seems almost catatonic in a depressive state. Tamara meets many people along the way and she also comes across a diary that writes entries about her life a few days before they happen. Through the diary Tamara begins to change from a spoiled, rude teen to a more understanding, compassionate young woman. I have to admit that Ahern's writing style really drew me into the book and that has not always been the case when I have read her novels. During the first few chapters of the book I came across a few lines that made me laugh out loud. They are as follows:

"I think there should be the Real Life Oscars. And Best Actress goes to Alison Flanaghan! For walking down the main aisle of the supermarket just last Monday, face in full make-up, hair freshly blow-dried, despite feeling like wanting to die, smiling brightly to Sarah and Deirdre from the Parents' Association and behaving as if her husband hadn't just left her and her three children. Come up and get your award, Alison!"

This continues for a bit but you get point. The character has a lot of spunk and while she can be downright rude and at times I found myself wanting to yell at her,I also found that I couldn't help but feel bad for her. She had no outlet to display or talk about her grief and mourning. She has also been completely uprooted and placed in a place so unlike home. I have to say that I was really shocked with the ending of this novel. While you know that Tamara's aunt Rosalie is acting suspiciously I would never have guessed the ending of this book. I finished reading this book this evening and I couldn't put it down. I love reading in the bath and by the time I got out tonight, the water was freezing cold but the book was finished. Overall, I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. I usually don't publish these reviews this far in advance of the publishing date but as I stated earlier this book is already out in Canada and so I am publishing this post tonight.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to take a moment today to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays no matter what you celebrate. Things have been quite crazy thus far today. Each year my mother, grandmother, parents-in-laws say that it's going to be a small Christmas. I think they need to re-examine what they consider small. My fiance and I always get spoiled. The living room was filled with gifts this morning. Granted I have 5 siblings so there were the six of us, my grandmother, my aunt, my uncle, my cousin and my mom at my grandmother's house this morning. That being said, I still came home with a full hamper full of gifts. In there were 4 books (which I will show in my first In My Mailbox of the year). I also got quite a few gift cards to Chapters this year. I can't wait to go out and spend them. Derek and I both come from split families so we usually have about 4 different places to go to over the holidays. That being said, today we decided to divide and conquer. He went to his family dinner and I went to mine. We spent some time together in the afternoon and this evening. Things were getting a little hectic when we tried to go to everything. My grandmother always hosts at her home and at almost 85 she gets worn out pretty quickly. I decided to stay at my family dinner so I could help out with the cooking and cleaning (it did work out the boys cleaned so I got out of doing dishes). Dinner was delicious and it's always nice to be around family no matter how quirky they may be. Anyhow, I hope you all had a great holiday. What did you do to celebrate?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: 11/03/2009
ISBN: 9780399156380
Pages: 260 pages

Summary from GoodReads:
Knit the Season is a loving, moving, laugh-out-loud celebration of special times with friends and family. The story begins a year after the end of Knit Two, with Dakota Walker's trip to spend the Christmas holidays with her Gran in Scotland-accompanied by her father, her grandparents, and her mother's best friend, Catherine. Together, they share a trove of happy memories about Christmases past with Dakota's mom, Georgia Walker-from Georgia's childhood to her blissful time as a doting new mom. From Thanksgiving through Hanukkah and Christmas to New Year's, Knit the Season is a novel about the richness of family bonds and the joys of friendship.

My Review:
I loved the Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Two by Jacobs so I was looking forward to reading this book. Plus, you have to read at least one holiday like book during the holidays. I have to admit that while I enjoyed this book, it didn't measure up to the first books. I did enjoy reading the snippets of Georgia's life and also seeing this character from the points of view of her family which is something that hasn't been done yet. I also love all the wonderful characters in this series. I found that the plot was seriously lacking for this book. There didn't seem to much of a conflict or a climax to the novel. The book just kind of floats around Dakota's trip to Scotland as well as Anita's wedding (which had previously been canceled many times). While I like the series and would like to read more I would also like a little more substance. Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. For those that have read the series you might as well read this one. For those who haven't read the Knit Club series, I suggest you start with the first book which is exceptional. (I even admit to full out crying on the bus while reading this book and yes people were looking at me like I was a crazy).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays #5- Dear Santa, Please Bring Me The Following Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme found at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's edition is the top ten things I want Santa to bring me for Christmas. My list is a little late today as I spent the whole day baking. I got a lot done; I baked blondies, macadamia nut cookies, gingersnaps, sugar cookies and some lemon poppy seed loaves. Not a bad day to spend the day but other than that I didn't get much else done. Without further ado here is my list:

1. Room by Emma Donoghue- I have been wanting to read this for quite some time and I don't want to spend $35 for the hardcover. I haven't been able to get it for my Kindle yet either (a perk of being in Canada). Anyhow, I really really want this one.

2. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann- I have heard a lot of good things about this book. I put it on my wishlist so I guess we will see.

3. A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay- I read her other book Sarah's Key and I loved it. It is a historical fiction novel set partly during the Holocaust. It was quite a moving and emotional book so I'm hoping this book is just as good.

4. The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha- This book is based on a blog and from what I have read is quite intersting. I have wanted this for quite some time but I haven't picked it up.

5. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins- I think I am the last person on earth who hasn't read this. I have heard nothing but good things but I don't usually read books that have a lot of hype surrounding them. I usually wait for the hype to die down before I read the book. It was like this for Harry Potter and also for Twilight.

6. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen- I haven't read The Corrections yet but I do have it on my bookshelf. I have only heard good things about Franzen and I would like this book.

7. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton- I read The Forgotten Garden and I quite enjoyed it. This is also a pick for my book club. I can't wait to read it.

8. I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore- I have read a lot of good reviews on this book.

9. Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb- I just adore Wally Lamb. I have all his books and I am looking forward to reading this one.

10. The Bishop's Man by Linden Macintyre- This is another book club book and I am looking forward to reading it. It has been on the bestseller list here in Canada for quite some time.

Well this is what I want. What are you hoping for under your tree?

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: 08/01/2010
ISBN: 9780373210138
Pages: 359 pages

Summary from GoodReads:
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart

My Review:

This is the second book in the Iron Fey series. I have to say that usually the second book in a trilogy isn't as good but Kagawa debunked this. I enjoyed this book just as much as the first one. The whole Puck/Ash love triangle continued and became even more complicated. I have to say I am still rooting for Puck. A few times as I was reading this novel I couldn't help but think that the relationship between Ash and Meghan is a bit unhealthy. The guy starts out ignoring her and treating her horribly in order to avoid the wrath of this mother; he then proceeds to attempt to kill her (albeit he was possessed). I keep thinking that Puck is a much better fit for Meghan than Ash will ever be. Here is hoping that Ash will make me change my mind in the next installment of this series. Other than that, the book was filled with even more mythology and the majority of the book is set in the land of NeverNever. I really like the imagination that went into the making of these books. One other thing that doesn't sit well with me is that Meghan is always leaving her human family for her fey family. I just keep thinking that I would want to go back home and make sure everything was alright. Other than these two minor irritations with the book, I really enjoyed reading this book. As mentioned before, I usually don't like the 2nd book in a trilogy but I quite enjoyed this novel. The character development continued but I would like to know a bit more about King Oberon. We haven't seen much of him in the series yet. I am quite curious to know what will happen next. I am glad I have the third book and I will start on this soon. Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: 01/02/2010
ISBN: 9780373210084
Pages: 363 pages

Summary from GoodReads:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

My Review:
I picked up this book because I got an ARC from NetGalley for the third book in this series called The Iron Queen. I have to say the book started off good for me as the main character and I share the same name: Meghan (well, I spell mine with an extra "a" but who's counting). Anyhow, I just finished Tyger, Tyger recently and I was a bit disappointed with the lack of description in the fairy world. That being said, Kagawa really makes up for my disappointment in the other book. Kagawa made me feel like I was actually walking around in this supernatural world of fairies, goblins, elves and iron creatures. It only took me a day to finish this novel as I couldn't put it down. It was full of everything that makes a good novel: description, plot and character development. I loved the way the author developed Meghan's character. She starts off as a teen who felt forgettable in many ways. She felt this way not only about her peers at school but also around her family. The only person who really took notice of her was her friend Robbie. Then Meghan gets sucked into this fantasy world where she is actually the daughter of a mystical king. Now, all attention is on her and this is not quite to her benefit. The whole time I was reading I couldn't decide if I preferred her to be with Puck (also known as Robbie) or Ash. I have to say that I was leaning towards Puck but near the end Ash kind of had me. I guess I will have to continue reading the series to find out what happens. What I like about the end of this novel is that while the reader knows that there will be more to the story, there is still a part of the conclusion that has actually been resolved. I hate it when a book just ends and you have to wait and wait for the next book. This is not the case in this book; while I am looking forward to reading the next books I don't feel like I got scammed out of an ending. Lucky for me I have already started the second novel, The Iron Daughter, and I have the third waiting for me on my Kindle. Look out in the near future for those reviews. Overall, I give this novel 4.5 out of 5 and I highly recommend it even if you don't often read YA fiction.

Top Ten Tuesdays #4- Anticipating 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about the most anticipated book releases of 2011. I have both YA and adult fiction here, although I'm fairly certain most of the titles are adult fiction. Here they are in no set order:

1. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult- This is an adult book and I have to say that I really enjoy Picoult's writing. I have read most of her books and the ones I haven't read yet are sitting on my bookshelf. This novel looks like it won't disappoint as it has to do with fertility laws which can be quite controversial.

2. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal- I read pretty much every Sweet Valley High book there was when I was younger so I think this novel should be an interesting read. Pascal has geared this novel towards adults who used to read her series.

3. Love you More by Lisa Gardner- Gardner writes amazing mystery novels that usually center on some demented killer. I really enjoy her writing style and I have read all of her novels. There is no summary for this book but I look forward to reading it anyhow.

4. Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard- This is a YA novel and it is the 2nd in a new series by the author who wrote Pretty Little Liars. I got the first novel The Lying Game as an ARC from NetGalley and I couldn't put it down. Since it didn't really wrap up any of the loose ends I look forward to reading this novel and I will hopefully get some answers.

5. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris- This is the next novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I have read them all but the newest one. I was trying to wait until it came out in paperback but I may have to cave and get it early. I love this series and I also watch the television show True Blood.

6. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova- Genova wrote the book Still Alice. I absolutely loved Still Alice which is about a woman who gets early onset Alzheimers. Her writing style is great and this novel looks just as good. It is about a woman who gets into a car accident and is left with an acquired brain injury.

7. The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards- This is an adult novel by the author who wrote The Memory Keepers Daughter. This novel also focuses on a family and it goes on to uncover a family secret. If the secret in this novel is just as juicy as her previous novel then it should be a good read.

8. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley- This is the third novel in the Flavia De Luce mystery novels. I fell in love with the little girl this series and though at times I find the writing style frustrating, I find myself drawn to reading these books.

9. Delirium by Lauren Oliver- This is a YA book that I got from NetGalley as an ARC. There has been a lot of hype about this book and it looks quite interesting. I probably won't get to this book before the new year so I figured it was ok to put on this list even though I have a copy.

10. The Night Season by Chelsea Cain- This is the fourth book in a series about serial killer Gretchen Lowell. These books are quite gruesome and I find myself on the edge of my seat for the duration of the novel. I won a giveaway of this book from GoodReads but I still don't have the copy yet. Again, it will have to wait until the new year.

BONUS- I couldn't keep it to just 10 so I have a bonus one. Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz. I haven't read her other YA series but I have heard nothing but good things. They are on my wishlist for Christmas so we will see if I get any. In the meantime for this list, I found out the de la Cruz is starting a new adult series about witches. It looks promising.

Well, there are my top ten (or I suppose 11) books that I am anticipating for 2011. What are yours?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

So this is the last installment of IMM for 2010. As you may have noticed I haven't blogged since the last IMM post. Things here have been a bit hectic with the Christmas season upon us. Also, I have mostly been reading ARCs from NetGalley. The books that I have been reading are scheduled to release in January 2011 so I have a few reviews ready and waiting to be posted until closer to the release date of the books. Anyhow onto the reason for this post: In My Mailbox time!
IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
I have received a few ARCs from NetGalley this week and I also got some in the mail from LibraryThing. I also bought a book last night. My new reads are as follows:

From NetGalley:

The Return of Captain Emmett by Elizabeth Speller
The Quest for Anna Klein by Thomas H. Cook
Afraid of the Dark by James Grippando
One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen

From LibraryThing:

Three Seconds by Roslund and Hellstrom


Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs (I have all her other novels and I was waiting for this one to come out in paperback. I usually read one Christmas type book a year so I guess this is the one)

Well, that's what's in my mailbox. What's in yours?

Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren

This week was pretty low key again. I got a book for my fiance for Christmas, a book from NetGalley and a book for my Kindle. Here they are:

The Walking Dead Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman: My fiance doesn't often read but he has recently been reading some graphic novels. Since we just started watching this show I figure he might like it.

The Keening by A. LaFaye from NetGalley

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain: I bought this book because I have read her other books in the series and have an ARC of her upcoming book.

That's what's in my mailbox. What's in yours?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

Publisher: Harper Collins/Harper Teen
Publishing Date: 12/07/2010
ISBN: 9780061869709
Pages: 205 pages

Summary from

I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

My Review:
Well, I have to say that I quite enjoyed this little book. I say little because it is just a little over 200 pages and thus it is quite an easy and quick read. This book kept you on your toes. At every corner there is someone new who may or may not be the killer. This is all compounded by the fact that this group of friends plays horrible games with each other and everyone in town. I haven't read the Pretty Little Liar series but I have just recently started watching the show. I love the show and I was excited when I got this book through NetGalley. Shepard didn't disappoint with this novel that's for sure. The only thing that I really didn't like was the fact that it was over so quickly. I also hate leaving a book on such a cliffhanger. You never find out who the killer is and I realize this is going to be a series but when that happens I almost feel ripped off. I want to know what happens and now I have to wait until the next book comes out. If that is the worst thing that someone can say then I guess it's not too bad. Anyhow, I have now put the Pretty Little Liars series on my Christmas wishlist. Overall, I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.