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Showing posts from May, 2012

"The Jane Austen Marriage Manual" by Kim Izzo

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Kate Shaw has always been happy with her life.  She has a fantastic career, great friends, and a loving grandmother.  A lover of all things Jane Austen, she is content with her single life, not looking for marriage or anything that comes with it, even as she nears forty.  But when her life takes a quick turn, she finds herself facing a crisis of Austen proportions.
Kate's grandmother has fallen ill, the family home has been lost and Kate has now lost her job.  So Kate takes on a freelance writing job that will give Austen's heroines a run for their money - she is going undercover to find out if in these tough economic times it's better to marry for money than love.  But what starts as a story turns into a fabulous opportunity for Kate, one that may be too good to be true.
The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo is smart, sassy and fabulously fun chick lit.  It is the perfect novel to kick back with in the summer warmth when you need to escape the whirlwind around you.  
T…

An Evening With Malcolm Gladwell at the Toronto Public Library

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Last night I attended An Evening With Malcolm Gladwell at the Toronto Reference Library as part of the Jamaica 50 celebrations.  2012 marks 50 years of independence of Jamaica and the Jamaican-Canadian community is celebrating in style.  Last night Gladwell spoke of his Jamaican heritage and the influence it has had on his life and work.

It was an incredible talk.  Gladwell is both incredibly smart and hilarious.  He had the audience laughing as he told stories and shared his views on the world.  I thoroughly enjoyed the way he would begin speaking on one topic then drift into another, then another.  He probably could have talked for hours and we all would have enjoyed if he could.  

He told the poignant story of a young African woman being taken as the mistress of the slave master and bearing children, thus setting in place the privilege his family would enjoy as part of middle class Jamaica.   He spoke of the immigrant experience, putting forth the not often thought of idea that wh…

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

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It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  It's a fantastic way to share what you are reading with readers and fellow bloggers and also to help keep a book blogger such as myself organized!  This past week wasn't full of much reading, the weather here has been absolutely beautiful and the kids and I have been outside soaking it up!  Only one month of school left, and then we'll have much more time to be outside and I'll have more free time for reading!

Here's what happened last week:


Read The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo (review to come soon.)  Loved it!  Was just what I needed to read last week, and I didn't realize until I started reading that Kim Izzo is Canadian!  I love Canadian authors!

Here is what's happening this week:




I plan to finish The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam.  I started it about two weeks ago and have been working away nicely at it.  It's one of those books that you re…

Book Blogger Hop

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It's Friday and it's time for the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books.  It's a weekly gathering of book bloggers and has recently come back from hiatus!  Check it out and find some fabulous book blogs.

This weeks question is a good one:

How do you handle the writing of a negative review?
Unfortunately I've had to write about a few not so great books.   We all have some books that we just don't connect with.  I always try to keep my reviews balanced, with both the positives and negatives.  If I find that there are a lot more negatives, I'll explain why I personally feel that way.  I recognize that obviously there are other people out there who like the book so in this case I will read other reviews of the book and in my review point out what other people like about the book.  I would rather not publish a review of a book than write an entirely negative review.  
How about you?

"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua

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Last year a book burst on the scene that had everyone talking, not all good though.  Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother had people heated up over her discussion of Eastern versus Western parenting.  Chua, an American born to Chinese immigrant parents, had set out to raise her children in the Chinese way.  For her this meant her kids had to spend long hours playing the violin and piano, studying, and pretty much doing nothing else.  In return, she felt her children would have all of the skills they needed to be the most successful adults.  But along the way, Chua learns a lot about her children as well as herself and finds that it's not about the particular way in which you raise your children, but about the lessons learned along the way.
When I first heard all about this book in the media Amy Chua came off as a know-it-all "we're better than you" type of person.  And it's true, she does come across as that in the book, however, by the end of the book C…

It's (Monday was a holiday so now it's) Tuesday, What Are You Reading?

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It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  Yesterday was Victoria Day, a holiday in which we honour Queen Victoria's birthday and recognize the current sovereign's birthday.  Also known as May two-four, it's the unofficial start of summer season and so we celebrated wonderfully with barbecues and fireworks.  And thus, I'm posting this a day late!
Last week was the Bout of Books readathon, and I did pretty well.  I read two of my three goal books and read one additional book as well as finished one I started long ago and then put aside.  Here is what I accomplished:


Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (review coming soon) Redemption by Bryan Clay (review here) The Walking Dead Book One by Robert Kirkman et. al (review here) Love Wins by Rob Bell (review coming soon)
Here is what I plan to read this week:
The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam (currently reading) Percival Chen is the headmaster of the most respected E…

Book Blogger Hop

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It's Friday!  And that means it's time for the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books.  I'm looking forward to this weekend, it's a long weekend as Monday is Victoria Day and the weather is supposed to be beautiful!!!  So definitely lots of fun outside.  And I'm participating in the Bout of Books readathon, so I look forward to wrapping up an awesome reading week.
This weeks question is: How many books do you own?  This can include books in your to be read pile and books you have already read that are on your keep shelf.
I don't know.  I have about 100 books sitting on the bookshelves in my bedroom.  But I live in an apartment and don't have a whole lot of space so those are only my most recent acquisitions.  I also have tons of books in boxes in my storage space and at my mom's house that are waiting patiently for me to get a bigger place so they can be liberated and restored to shelves where they belong.  I have no clue how many are …

"The Walking Dead Book One" by Robert Kirkman et. al

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Rick Grimes awakes from a coma to find that he is the only patient in the hospital and there are no doctors or nurses.  However, he quickly learns that he is not alone.  The hospital, and the world, has been overcome by zombies and Rick must think quick if he wants to survive.  When he meets a group of fellow survivors they band together in hopes of finding a safe place to live and learn along the way that nowhere is safe from the zombies.
The Walking Dead Book One by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn contains the first 12 issues of the graphic novels that spawned the successful television series.  The artwork is fantastic and realistic (or as realistic as you can be about a zombie apocalypse) and the story is character driven and well written.  There is the perfect balance of zombie attacks and character development.
I decided to read the graphic novels after watching the television show.  I absolutely love the show and needed something to hold me over unti…

"Home" by Toni Morrison

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Frank Money has returned to America from the Korean War a scarred and angry man, traumatized by what he experienced on the front lines.  When he learns that his sister is being medically abused, he must do what he always vowed never to do - return to the small Georgia town he came from and holds a deep hatred for.  As Frank travels to rescue his sister, he questions his sense of self and along the way discovers in himself a man he didn't think could ever live again.
Home is Toni Morrison's tenth novel and the first of hers that I have read.  I have always wanted to read her works, hearing such great things about her writing and I can now see why she has the reputation she does.
Without getting into the graphic or the sensational, Morrison paints a haunting picture of a man scarred by the horrors of war.  While it is set in the 1950's, it could easily take place today.  It isn't a long novel and while that doesn't allow for major development of characters, there are m…

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

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It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  I love this meme as it gets me set up for the week reading-wise, helps me set reading goals and motivates me to work my way through my to read pile.

Last week I read:
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (click on title for review)
Wait No More by Kelly and John Rosati (review coming soon)
Home by Toni Morrison (review coming soon)

This week I am:


Participating in the bout of books read-a-thon.  It's a week long readathon, which is right up my alley!  For it I will be reading: The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam
Redemption by Brian Clay  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.
I'm feeling really good about this week, how about you?

A readathon? Yes please!

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I have signed up to participate in the bout of books read-a-thon that is happening from May 14 to May 20.  I love a good readathon, but sometimes (most times) it's hard for me to dedicate a weekend to just reading.  But a whole week works for me.  This will motivate me to make my way through my to read pile!
Want to participate?  Head over to here and check it out.   Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, run from 12:01am on Monday, May 14th through 11:59pm Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in.Bout of Books is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required. Co-hosts are there to facilitate blog hoppin…

Book Blogger Hop

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It's Friday and it's time for the Book Blogger Hop!  Hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books, it's a weekly gathering of book bloggers to get to know each other and discuss all things bookish!

This weeks question is: Who is your favourite book character?
You know, I have quite a few favourite characters from the chick lit genre.  I love Sophie Kinsella's Becky Bloomwood (Shopaholic series), Meg Cabot's Lizzie Nicholls (Queen of Babble series) and Carmen Reid's Annie Valentine (Personal Shopper series).  But I think my favourite character goes to....

Precious Ramotswe from The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.
Precious is an irresistible heroine who sets up the first all ladies detective agency in Botswana.  She is warm, compassionate, thoughtful, and for her it's not about solving crimes but helping people with personal problems.  Every book I have read in the series I am just taken in by Precious.

"The Uninvited Guests" by Sadie Jones

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It is Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday and her life is about to be turned upside down.  Sterne, the house she lives in with her mother Charlotte, stepfather Edward and siblings Clovis and Smudge, is on its last legs and due to financial crisis may not be theirs for much longer.  Edward has departed to the city to see if he can save the family home while the rest of the family prepare for the party.
But just as her guests begin to arrive, a terrible train wreck occurs nearby and a group of mysterious survivors have made their way to Sterne.  They need a place to stay until the Railway comes for them and while the family gives them shelter and food strange things begin to happen throughout the house.  And when one survivor - a figure from the family's past - decides to make himself a part of the birthday celebrations, things take a very strange turn for the worse.  
Set in rural England at the turn of the last century, The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones, is a dark and stra…

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

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It's been a while since I have participated in this meme!  Lately my reading and review posting has been pretty spotty and I need some more organization and motivation to keep reading.  I have a pile of fantastic books I want to get to, and this meme should definitely help me get back on track.  Check out all of the other participants at Book Journey by Sheila.
Right now I'm reading two books:
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones Set in rural England just after the turn of the last century, Emerald is preparing to celebrate her 20th birthday when a train crash brings a crowd of mysterious travellers to her home for shelter.  I just started this one this weekend, and it's a page turner!
Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith This book tells the story of Sarah and Abraham from the Bible, from Sarah's perspective.  I started this a while ago and put it down but am looking forward to finishing it.  It's always interesting to read a Biblical story in fictional form.
The next two book…

"Where We Have to Go" by Lauren Kirshner

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For Lucy Bloom, the transition from childhood into adulthood isn't going to be easy.  As an awkward eleven-year-old, she is a devotee of cats and televisions most famous extraterrestrial, ALF.  Her father is a failed glamour studio photographer who currently divides his time between a dead end job at a travel agency and AA meetings.  Her mother is a former beauty queen from Bulgaria and current ESL teacher who tends to a family of mannequins in the backyard.
As Lucy tries to navigate adolescence in Toronto during the 1990's, readers witness a sweet and quirky coming of age in Lauren Krishner's debut novel Where We Have To Go.  Lucy grows from a young girl into a university student and along the way we watch her deal with the loss of friendship, bullying, eating disorders and the discovery of what it really means to be a young woman.
This is a cute novel with quite a few laughs.  It is easily relatable, especially to those who came of age during the 1990's.  Lucy Bloom…