Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Tim Gunn is well known in the fashion world for his no-nonsense mentorship to young designers on Project Runway as well as his honest and spot on fashion advice in many arenas. Now he is dishing out advice on everything life in his book Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons For Making It Work.
In addition to advice like "the world owes you…nothing," "never underestimate karma," and "be a good guest or stay home," Gunn dishes on the designers of Project Runway, shares stories of his personal life and calls out the behaviour of some of fashions biggest divas!
I am a big fan of Tim Gunn's. I'm big on manners and I enjoy seeing people handle themselves with poise and class, qualities I often feel are missing these days (and I do admit to my own slip-ups from time to time!) I definitely did not need the audiobook for this one because the entire time I was reading the book, I heard it in Gunn's voice in my head.
This is a quick read but there is tons of great advice. Gunn isn't afraid to point out peoples bad behaviour, he admits to his own, and has tons of real life examples to back up everything he is saying. The stories he has of the famous personal offenders are delightfully dishy, though I did find myself wondering just how "proper" it was to be spreading the gossip! But he does it anyway, and it's very enjoyable!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Sisters Charity Evans and Lynzee Lavender bring new meaning to the term "sibling rivalry." Lynzee is a New York Times best-selling science fiction author, earning top dollar and enjoying all the benefits that come with success. Younger sister Charity Evans is a published author as well, but she hasn't enjoyed the success that Lynzee has, and Lynzee takes pleasure in that.
When Charity tries to get her latest novel published she is met with silence by the publishing industry. As she struggles to pay her bills and faces losing her house and marriage Charity begins to wonder if Lynzee has had her blacklisted.
Then Lynzee drops a bomb on her. 34 years ago, Lynzee gave up a child for adoption and Charity's husband Jett is the father. Not only that, but Charity has to be the one to tell Jett. As her life unravels, Charity comes up with the perfect way to get back at Lynzee and find success in the publishing industry. Will these two sisters ever be able to mend their relationship, or will their successes forever be built on the misery of the other?
There is only one word to describe We Ain't the Brontes by Rosalyn McMillan - drama. Not even with a capital D, but caps lock DRAMA. The amount of anger, hatred, back-stabbing and revenge in this book is crazy! This is one of those books that you cannot put down because you will always be wondering what could possibly happen next. Add to that the fact that Rosalyn is the sister of another best-selling author and you'll be wondering what from the book is fact and what is fiction.
There are some negative aspects of the book. The writing and dialogue at times seems very stunted. It definitely gets better in the second half, but the flow is pretty choppy throughout the book. I can handle a few curse words and mild sex scenes but there was an overload of both in this book. There is definitely a lot to the plot of this book but it results in many storylines being underdeveloped and, in the case of the plane crash, pretty much unbelievable.
While I wouldn't proclaim this book to be a work of literary magic, if you are looking for a juicy drama to help you escape from the real world then We Ain't the Brontes is the book for you.
Thank you to Tywebbin Creations for providing me with a copy of this book. The opinions expressed above are purely my own and I received no compensation for this review.
Friday, March 25, 2011
My answer is The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. I love this series! It just presents a way of life that is so different from mine. It sounds so laid-back and that is something I would love! Plus, the idea of being a detective sounds really cool, especially with the mysteries that Mma Ramotswe is solving!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
One morning, Jane Z. opens the newspaper to see a face staring back at her that she hasn't seen in 20 years. She learns that her university housemate Sonia has been released from prison after serving her sentence for a terrorist attack.
Seeing Sonia's face returns Jane to 1983 when she rents a room in a house with Sonia and two others and is thrust into their world, one in which paranoia and fear of nuclear war lead them to form a non-violent anti-nuclear group called NAG.
As Jane and her roommates try stop the end of the world, while also completing their studies, a teenage runaway shows up at their home, and the group finds themselves propelled into taking the most daring action of their lives. When one of their own bombs unintentionally goes off they are forced to come face to face with reality.
The Sky is Falling is an incredible novel. I was drawn into this book right away and couldn't get my mind off of it. The book easily slips back and forth between the past and present to skillfully illustrate to the reader the naivete of the group members, especially Jane.
The book deals with universal themes such as social acceptance, fear, and the loss of innocence in a way that is both serious and humorous, as well as identifiable to the reader. From the moment you begin reading the characters may not be easy to identify with, but they draw you in, thanks to Caroline Adderson's beautiful writing.
The Sky is Falling may be about the past, but it parallels our post 9/11 world so wonderfully that it will have your mind working well past when you've turned the final page. I highly recommend this book and am sure that this will be one of my favourites of the year.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Jules Jackson is leading a hectic life, but she's got it all under control. She's holding down two busy public relations jobs, a group of crazy but loyal friends, and a very difficult mother. It's little wonder she doesn't need to be dealing with the stress a man in her life could bring.
Then Germaine Williams walks into her life and turns it upside down. He owns his own business, goes to church, and is extremely handsome. Of course Jules falls for him hard.
But Jules soon learns that not everything is as it seems and Germaine is keeping a very big secret from her. One that is too big for Jules to look the other way. Will she run from her feelings and go back to handling things for herself? Or will she finally learn to trust God and let His will be done in her life?
Man Enough For Me is Rhonda Bowen's debut novel and I have to say straight away that I can't believe this is her first novel. It has the polish, the sizzle, and the faith that you find in the writings of seasoned and well-established Urban Christian authors.
The book moves along at just the right pace and doesn't let you put it down. The characters are real and relatable. From the moment you start reading you feel as though you have known all of the characters for years. And I personally love the way my beautiful city of Toronto was represented in the book.
Man Enough For Me also has the right amount of faith. It doesn't get in your face but it does speak to you. The lessons that Ms. Bowen has included in her book about trust and endurance in God will hit home and have you reflecting on your own life.
I cannot wait to see what else Ms. Bowen has to offer. With Man Enough For Me she has established herself in the Christian Fiction world. If you're looking for romance and drama tied together with faith you will find everything you are looking for, and more, right here in this book.
Thank you to Tywebbin Creations for providing me with a copy of this book. The opinions expressed above are purely my own.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
We have all had it happen to us. We see a book with a pretty cover, pick it up and flip it over to read the blurb. It sounds great, just the book we want to read. But when we bring the book home and begin to read we find it's nothing like the cover or blurb led us to believe it would be.
Read This Next by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark will prevent this from ever happening to you again (provided you follow their recommendations!) In this book are what they say are 500 of the best books you will ever read, arranged into thematic lists.
The book covers every genre you can think of and ones you may not have known even existed. Each recommendation comes with discussions for book clubs that will make you laugh and think. This book takes reading seriously but does so in smart and funny way.
This is the ultimate book for readers. It includes classics, recent releases and some little-known books. It is pretty much a guarantee that everyone will come away from this book with a much longer to read list.
Friday, March 18, 2011
About the Book
Straight-up catch Germaine is eager to prove his worth to Jules, and she falls hard. But it’s soon clear Germaine’s keeping at least one big secret. And the deeper Jules digs, the more her balancing act, and her romance, begins to crumble. Now Jules can either turn to her faith and open her heart to love—or risk getting it broken…
About the Author
Rhonda Bowen is a writer and event planner living in Toronto. When not stressing over her job, she can be found at church stressing over the kids she teaches in youth class. She enjoys spending time with her family, trying on shoes she can’t afford, and enjoying life’s unexpected twists and turns.
Visit her online at http://www.rhondabowen.com
Thursday, March 17, 2011
A mentally ill woman who spends a day off of her medication. A young grocery store cashier who happens to be a vegetarian and struggles to scan a package of meat. A 30 year old woman on a second date who eagerly anticipates a third date with the man, something that rarely happens to her. A worn out mother on vacation with her family who is swept out in the ocean and faces her life head on. A young retail worker who is deep in debt and alone at the cash register. And a pelican in a crowded London park who has decided to eat a pigeon.
These are all subjects of the tales in Katrina Best's debut book of short stories, Bird Eat Bird. Quirky and humorous, Best's book brings together an eclectic group of characters in a collection of social commentaries. Bird Eat Bird captures daily life from a unique angle. The stories are dark but funny and full of off-beat but realistic characters.
I've never been much of a fan of short stories. I'm not sure why but it's something I have never felt inclined to pick up. But I grabbed this one after seeing that it had made the 2011 Commonwealth Prize shortlist for Canada and Caribbean Best First Book. Not only did it make the shortlist but it was recently announced that as the the regional winner.
I really enjoyed these stories. They were easy to read and there were quite a few points that had me laughing out loud. This book has definitely inspired me to try out more collections of short stories. Katrina Best did an excellent job of capturing the daily intricacies of life.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
On September 15, 1963 a bomb planted by the Ku Klux Klan at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama exploded, killing four young girls. Only minutes earlier 15 year old Carolyn Maull had said spoken to those four girls and then walked away. For decades, Carolyn tried to put that day and the troubling days that followed behind her. But she no longer feels that she can stay silent about the tragedy and injustice she witnessed as a young girl growing up in the civil rights era.
While The World Watched is Carolyn Maull McKinstry's eye-witness account of what life was like for Black residents of Birmingham, Alabama when Jim Crow laws ruled the South. It is a moving description of how far Americans have come in terms of race relations, and how far they still need to go.
This is an incredible book that brings to life the civil rights movement of 1960's America. This book has a unique place in the writings of civil rights history as it comes straight from a young Black girl who was witness to one of its most tragic events. Carolyn Maull McKinstry has battled the prevailing notions of her day head on, struggled with its aftermath and emerged as a strong voice for those who fought and still fight for equality for all Americans.
Throughout the book, Maull McKinstry has included excerpts from famous speeches of the day in addition to her own words. She provides historical detail to compliment her own story, giving the book a wide scope on the civil rights movement.
This is a subject that I took great interest in while studying history in school and this book is a welcome addition to that information. It is incredible to read the story of a woman who was front and centre for a major moment in history. By reading her thoughts, concerns and triumphs, I believe the reader will be deeply touched and moved by the struggle that many lived through to bring us the world we live in today.
In addition to the historical information, this book is a touching journey of forgiveness. Carolyn Maull McKinstry shares her deepest feelings about the difficulty of forgiving those who have wronged you, especially in such heinous ways, but how doing so is what will ultimately free you.
I received this book for free as part of Tyndale's blogger program. The opinions expressed above are purely my own.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
It seems like the publishing industry might agree, because Charity is having trouble getting her contract renewed. Is it possible that Lynzee has had her blacklisted? With her savings dwindling, Charity struggles to pay her bills, and the pressure is putting incredible strain on her marriage. Things only get worse when Lynzee drops a bomb: she reveals that Charity’s husband is the father of a child she gave up for adoption years ago.
Charity’s life goes into a tailspin as she struggles with the shocking news. Should she tell her husband about the child he never knew he had, or would that be more drama than their already fragile marriage can handle? Charity chooses to fight back against her sister in a very creative way, but the fallout from all this drama might leave plenty of casualties in its wake.
Bestselling author Rosalyn McMillan narrates the tale of two literary sisters that will make readers ask: How much of this is based on actual events?
Rosalyn McMillan is a dedicated wife and devoted mother of four, and grandmother of five, who is currently surviving both rheumatoid arthritis and Alopecia Totalis, a disease that causes bodily hair loss. Rosalyn worked as a sewing machine operator at Ford Motor Company for nineteen years before medically retiring. She used the challenges in her own life as inspiration to become a successful novelist. Rosalyn loves to research newsworthy stories and use them as sub-plots in her real-life novels.
Her first novel, Knowing, debuted as a highly successful initial achievement. Knowing sold over 70,000 hardcover copies and over 400,000 paperbacks. It was a national best-seller and charted admirably on many book lists.
Rosalyn then followed the success of her first book with One Better, then Blue Collar Blues, The Flip Side of Sin. This Side of Eternity was Rosalyn’s fifth novel; the plot centered around the sanitation workers strike in 1968.
Rosalyn remains a loyal student of her profession by reading two to three hundred books a year. She feels that it’s imperative for an author to keep abreast of the New York Times best-sellers as well as fresh voices of fiction.
Currently, she lives in Memphis, TN, with her husband, John, where they relax fishing in their stocked pond.
Some of her favorite authors are John Sanford, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, John Grisham, Toni Morrison, Eric Jerome Dickey, Kimberla Lawson-Roby and Terry McMillan.
Visit Rosalyn online at rosalynmcmillan.com