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Showing posts from December, 2014

Year in Review

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2014 is coming to a close, another year that seems to have gone by way too fast.  What can we do but enjoy each and every day as it comes?

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Last year my reading was pretty eclectic, this year feels less so.  When I look at the numbers I see that 1/3 of the books I read were Chick Lit and 1/4 of the books I read were Canadian.  The rest is pretty eclectic but this year certainly did feel pretty chick lit heavy, mostly because I read only that genre during the summer and a big chunk of Christmas chick lit in November and December.

Popular Posts My most popular posts this year were:

Top Ten Books of 2014
Wait For It: The Legen-dary Story of How I Met Your Mother by Jesse McLean
Deathbed Dimes by Naomi Elana Zener
Prada and Prejudice by Katie Oliver
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
The Guestbook by Holly Martin
How to Get a (Love) Life by Rosie Blake
Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia
All The Broken Things by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer
Stats Canada: Satire on a National Scale by @stats_canada
Ki…

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging Resolutions

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week is all about resolutions, since it is the start of a New Year.  In my life, I'm not much of a resolution person but for blogging, it's a good fit because I started my blog at a new year.  Last year, my resolution was to use more social media and I definitely using by myTwitter and Instagram accounts much more.  And it's fitting now that I've completed five years of blogging that I make a full list of resolutions for the new year!
1. More CanLit - one of my goals with this blog was to read more CanLit and year by year I have been reading more.  Which is a good thing.  But this year, I really want to go for it.  I'm hoping that it will be a large focus of my blog.
2. More Diverse Books - this year was a big one in the book world with the We Need Diverse Books discussion.  And I've always been "ok" with diversity in my reading, but this year, in an important year and when I reso…

Best of 2014: Screen Edition

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Even though I spend a lot of my time reading, I also spend a good amount of time watching movies and TV. So in the spirit of year-end lists, I thought I’d share my favourite non-bookish entertainment of 2014.
Television

Happy Valley (BBC and Netflix) - I just finished watching this one after discovering that it was #1 on many “Best of” lists from Britain this year.  It is a fascinating crime show, set over 6 hour-long episodes, that involves a kidnapping plot and the effects the drug-trade can have in small towns.

The Wrong Mans (BBC and Hulu) - A comedy/drama about two bumbling guys who unwittingly find themselves caught up in an international conspiracy.  It may sound like it’s already been done, but trust me, this is it done right.  Best when binge-watched.
Black-ish (ABC) - One of three shows I actually sit down to watch each week when it airs, this one surpassed my expectations.  What I like about it is, while race is a central premise, it doesn’t focus solely on that.  And the epi…

"The Charm Bracelet" by Melissa Hill

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Every charm bracelet tells a story and this is especially true for Holly O’Neill.  Years ago she was mysteriously sent one with just one charm attached and over the years she has received more charms, coming at her most challenging times.  It’s almost as though the person who is sending them knows exactly what she needs.
When Holly finds a lost charm bracelet, knowing how much hers means to her, she knows that she must reunite it with its owner.  But the only way she can find the owner is by using each charm as a clue.  Soon, her search has her heading all over New York City at Christmas time.  And as Holly gets closer and closer to the owner, it also leads her toward something she will never expect. 
The Charm Bracelet, by Melissa Hill, is a lovely festive read about the magic of Christmas.  You can just picture the lights and the snow falling all around Holly as she puts her faith in the romance of the season.
I’ve probably mentioned it before but if you’re a fan of romantic reads, …

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books of 2014

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Choosing my top ten books of 2014 was pretty easy, I just searched out which books I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads.  I'm pretty tight when it comes to giving out the full 5 stars, so it means I absolutely loved these books.

1. The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown 2. One Hundred Christmas Proposals by Holly Martin 3. The Love Detective by Alexandra Potter 4. One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin 5. A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby 6. Mansfield Lark by Katie Oliver 7. Prada and Prejudice by Katie Oliver 8. Landing Gear by Kate Pullinger 9. The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley 10. Radiance of Tomorrow of Ishmael Beah
Did any of these books make your top ten this year?  What books would you choose for your list?

"Meet Me Under the Mistletoe" by Abby Clements

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Laurie and Rachel were inseparable growing up but as they became adults their lives took two very different paths.  Laurie is a dedicated career-girl, living and working in London, with very little time for much else.  Rachel is living in a beautiful cottage in Yorkshire, spending her days caring for her family, though she worries that her marriage may be in trouble.
When Rachel’s mother-in-law falls ill, the family has to head to London for her treatment.  And when Laurie makes a major mistake at work, she decides that it is probably best she get away from it all for a bit.  They come up with a plan to swap houses in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  But as we all know, life doesn’t always go as planned.  Will their relationships be able to survive the holidays and most importantly, will they make it home in time for Christmas?
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is the first novel by chick-lit writer Abby Clements, who has since written three more novels.  Told in alternating chapters bet…

"Make My Wish Come True" by Fiona Harper

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Juliet has always strived to be the perfect mother and that especially goes at Christmastime.  Homemade baked goods for the teachers, a nicely decorated house, and a festive feast for family and friends, she does it all.  But since her marriage broke down two years ago, Christmas has become much more difficult for her.  So this year she is turning to her sister Gemma for help.
Gemma, the favourite daughter, the free-spirit, the one with the glamourous job, the one who avoids responsibility, isn’t looking forward to another Christmas at home.  So when she visits her sister before the holiday, she announces that she is jetting off to the Caribbean for some alone time.
When Juliet realizes that her sister is abandoning her once again, she snaps.  And there is only one way that Gemma can fix this.  She offers to swap Christmases - she’ll stay home with the kids and Juliet can head off for some fun in the sun.  
Throw in a hunky next-door neighbour and a sexy Italian also on vacation and …

"Hitting the Right Note" by Rhonda Bowen

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JJ Isaacs has always dreamed of becoming a star and now, as she goes out on tour as a back-up singer for R&B superstar Deacon Hill, her dream just might come true.  Deacon sees JJ’s potential, and so does Rayshawn, JJ’s manager and producer - and secret boyfriend.  But the more success she finds on stage, the harder it becomes for her to stay true to her faith.
While JJ is on tour, her sister-in-law Sheree is struggling through a difficult pregnancy back in Toronto.  But she knows that she can count on doctor Simon Massri to take good care of Sheree.  What JJ doesn’t expect is that she’ll soon find Simon taking care of her.  As JJ struggles to deal with her feelings for Simon, her flailing faith, and her impending stardom, she finds herself having to make a tough decision - love or career?
Hitting the Right Note is Rhonda Bowen’s fourth novel and it is a lovely, Christian novel that will transcend the religious genre and strike the right chord with readers of all walks of life.
Th…

"Difficult Husbands" by Mary de Laszlo

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Three women, three very difficult marriages.  Lorna is newly divorced, her ex-husband Stephen having run off to be with a woman half his age.  Gloria is married to alcoholic Adrian, whose drinking is driving their adult son away.  And Rosalind is married to Ivan, a man who would rather rescue teenage girls and bed their social workers in the process.  Three women in their forties who all married older men.  Three women who are starting to regret their choice in men.
When Lorna inherits a grand, but crumbling, estate in Sussex from her godfather, the women hatch a plan.  Ditch their husbands at Ravenscourt House for a few days at Christmas, so the girls and their children can have a stress-free holiday for once.  But things never seem to go as planned.
Difficult Husbands by Mary de Laszlo is a touching Christmas novel that looks at just how much a woman can stand when it comes to "for better or for worse."
Sigh.
I wanted to like this novel, I really did.  I loved the premise …

"Miracle on Regent Street" by Ali Harris

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Evie Taylor works in the stockroom of a family-run, London department store.  You would think that this would lead to a glamorous life but for Evie, it is quite the opposite.  Even though she has been in London for the last two years, her neighbours think she’s new and her manager at work doesn’t know her name.  But she loves her job working in the beautiful old building, in a place of days gone by.
One day Evie overhears a conversation and learns that if the store can’t turn things around by December 26th, then it will be sold to a big chain.  That gives the store only three weeks, it would definitely need a Christmas miracle to pull it off.  And so Evie comes up with a secret plan to transform the store and bring back the glory it once had.
Miracle on Regent Street, by Ali Harris, is a fun novel that captures the spirit and magic of Christmas.  Following a young girl in a big city who gets swept up in the miracle of the season, the book is perfect for anyone looking for a sweet, fes…

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Book Releases

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
I love this time of year, seeing everyone's lists of books being released in the coming year, going through publisher catalogues, making my own lists, and getting excited about upcoming releases.  This is my time of year for planning and it is so much fun.  For some reason this year, I haven't found too many resources for upcoming books, especially CanLit.  Hopefully that will change today.  But here are ten books I'm really looking forward to:
1. China Rich Girlfriend - Kevin Kwan 2. Funny Girl - Nick Hornby 3. The Royal We - Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan 4. The Vintage Girl’s Guide to Love and Romance - Kirsty Greenwood 5. Always the Bridesmaid - Lindsay Kelk 6. An untitled book from Kunal Nayyar 7. Why Not Me - Mindy Kaling 8. Marrying Mr. Darcy series - Katie Oliver 9. Hungry Ghosts - Peggy Blair 10. The Year of Taking Chances - Lucy Diamond
What books are you looking forward to in 2015?

Two Holiday Novellas from Lucy Diamond

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Evie is looking forward to a romantic and stress-free Christmas with her boyfriend Ed at their little beach café in Cornwall.  Everything is shaping up for it to be the perfect day for the new couple.  
That is until Ed’s wayward brother shows up unannounced and ready to stay a while.  Then Evie’s best friend finds herself needing to escape the spotlight so she arrives as well.  And since Evie won’t be home for Christmas, her parents decide to surprise her by showing up.  All of a sudden, Evie and Ed are putting up four extra people in their two bedroom flat above the café.

Tempers flare and disasters occur and very quickly Evie finds herself trying to do whatever she can to salvage her perfect Christmas in Christmas at the Beach Café.

After the hectic Christmas Evie and Ed had last year, they are looking forward to giving a romantic Christmas another go.  All they want are lazy days spent in the flat, just the two of them.
But Evie’s sister Ruth has had the heartbreak of a lifetime …