Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's Monday - What are you reading?

Book Date now hosts It's Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read List.

I am almost complete with the decorating, love the smell of a real Christmas tree, definitely starting to feel like Christmas.  This has been a sad and weird year globally with the politics and violence but I am trying to remain grateful and fulfill my life with happiness. 

I'm currently reading

I think this will be my Christmas read.  What is one of your favourites and what have you chose this year?

Book Summary

Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.
Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it…

My Christmas Eve recommendation is..... I loved it.

I reviewed - it was entertaining.  My Review

I am unsure what last 2 - 3 books to read for the year.  Recommend a must read please, what is the book you wanted everyone to read this year?

Have a great week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review - While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

Book Summary

Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer. 

But her happiness is shattered when she wakes up one morning in her neighbour’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee and scared of losing everything she cares about, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her life knows what really happened that night. When the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out. 

But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?

My Review - 3 1/2 stars

Lies, lies, lies and more lies in Part 1.  I was shaking my head and thinking what foolishness is this, do people think and act like this. Then after allowing myself to 'drink the kool aid' once Part 2 came I couldn't stop reading.

All the characters were fine, more then a few unlikable including the neighbors, I think most either like, dislike or are neutral about neighbors.  If a murder happened would this bring a neighborhood closer together or break them apart and have people moving out of their homes.

I don't consider Tara's family to be dysfunctional but bad things do happen to families, life happens.  Tara and Noah separate and are back together but it seems like the separation affected Rosie in a negative way that puts herself and others at risk.  She was an unreliable character, I never knew what to believe and neither did her family which then included the police.

There are secondary characters that add to the dilemma within the story and add distractions but in the end were they really distractions.

Nothing is as it seems which makes for a good read.  Those that read mystery and thrillers all the time will have different thoughts through out the book, some right and some very wrong.   Overall, it is an entertaining read but you do have to suspend belief.  The Detective continued to tell Tara that they are investigating but there are so many things as a reader you say, why haven't you did this, this and this etc, just comes across as incompetent.  I think this could actually take away the enjoyment for some readers but as I said it is an entertaining fast read.

This was my first Kathryn Croft book and I will read more by her.

Monday, November 21, 2016

I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge

How exciting - I just realized that I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2016.  I usually aim for 50 books but last year was a write off so I went for 30.  I have read 34 so far, I wonder if I will make it to 40 before the end of year.

It will soon be time to think about the first book to start 2017 off with and the Top Ten Books of 2016 I would recommend.

Here is a glimpse of the last few books I have read.

The average reading challenge with all the participants across the world is 47 books a year.

How are you doing on your Reading Challenge?

Reading challenge banner
Books Pledged137,281,660
Books Finished34,358,180
Avg. Books Pledged47
Challenges Completed9,609
Time Left40 days, 17 hours

You have read 30 of 30 books in 2016.
  • Your 2016 Challenge Books
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • The Sinner by Amanda Stevens
  • The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
  • The Hidden Legacy by G.J. Minett
  • The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
  • Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
  • Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra
  • The Murder That Never Was by Andrea Kane

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review - Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Book Summary

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

My Review 4 stars

Orphan Train is our book club choice this month and we will be discussing tomorrow.  My book club has really helped me step out of my comfort zone, usually going for historical reads.  At least this year was better, last year was the worst reading year I had ever had.  I really enjoyed this one, some beautiful amazing moments throughout the book.

This definitely was the book about 2nd chances with friendships and family.

What an emotional start to the book, to see so many children become orphans and to be loaded on a train to find new homes, completely the unknown.  Niamh is an Irish name and becomes Dorothy to be more american by one family and eventually becomes Vivian.

So I am learning to pretend, to smile and nod, to display empathy I do not feel.  I am learning to pass, to look like everyone else, even though I feel broke inside.  Kindle 36%

The book goes between Vivian's time as an Orphan during the early 1930's and Molly during 2011. Their lives were more alike than anyone would have thought. Molly is also an orphan that has got into some trouble and is helping Vivian for some charity hours.  During this time, they are the best thing that happened to each other.

Questions that came up that allowed the reader to think about.  What did you choose to take with you? What did you leave behind?  What insights did you gain?  What I loved was that even the families that were not protective or should not have been given orphan parental rights allowed Dorothy/Vivian to keep her necklace family heirloom.

Molly loved research without realizing she was bringing the modern world to Vivian, allowing her to cherish memories of her life and at 91 years old, begins enjoying Facebook and ordering a laptop to read more stories of other orphans which were also on the same Orphan Train as her.

I really enjoyed the way the historical parts of this book was told.  Molly interviewed Vivian for a homework assignment and took us on a journey that had the most heart warming parts you just had to love.  The general feeling is that it's best not to talk about the past, that the quickest relief will come in forgetting.  Kindle 10%  Orphan Train showed us the importance of memories and being grateful sometimes for the heartache and pain to cherish the moment you are in now.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A new week - What are you reading?

Book Date now hosts It's Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read List.

I am happy to see a new week but can you believe it is November.  We will be considering what makes the Top Ten lists soon.  Goodreads has started the polls, have you voted?

I'm currently reading the Book Club choice, good so far

I reviewed and really enjoyed, gave it 4 1/2 stars - My Review

I want to start this series next

I started but couldn't get into it, will try again

Friday, November 11, 2016

Review - Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Published - May, 2016

Book Summary

The day Adam Dunne's girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads "I'm sorry - S" sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.
Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate - and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before.
To get answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground.

My Review 4 1/2 stars

It was a long wait for Distress Signals but worth it.  Someone had an ARC and it was on their Top List of 2015, then I read a review earlier this year but it wasn't available on Kindle.  Thank you NetGalley, I did a search, it was available and my request was accepted, excited.

This is definitely not the vacation read while on a cruise, you could definitely become paranoid.  Adam and Sarah are comfortable in their 10 year relationship, he is waiting for his book deal to come through to give Sarah the world, but is it to late. He drops her off to the airport as she is going on a work trip, the 1st lie that comes to light.

Adam refuses to believe his girlfriend would disappear, choose to leave her life, her parents and him. He liaises with the police and they won't accept the missing person request as she is an adult and adults decide to leave, the statistics speak.  I enjoyed the police interactions with Adam, it was traumatic, astonishing and at times laughable.

"Oh, Jesus Christ."  In my peripheral vision, I could see Garda Cherub's head snap up from his sports pages.  "What the hell do you need to believe that something is going on here, Cusack?  What will it take?  Seriously, tell me.  Bloodstained clothes?  Video footage?  A dead body?"  Kindle 47%

During Adam's investigation there is another story line that is completely different and does not connect until the end of the story.  Romain doesn't feel loved by his mom but does everything to make her happy but there is always darkness around Romain that ends badly.  He is taken away when he is only 9 and starts a new life at 18, where does his new life take him?

His personality had always been a string of learned behaviors, each one discovered, studied, and acquired quite consciously, many of them during Tanner's treatment - a repertoire of reactions he could pull out and display as needed.  86%

At first you can't think why these stories are combined and they are so different they do not distract from each others story line but begin to make you think from a mysterious mind on whodunit.  This is not a spoiler, it is not that easy, the ending is not obvious, the story lines are very well done.

You don't hear about cruise ship crimes but when Adam Googled them, he couldn't believe how many had occurred and he wouldn't accept his girlfriend could possibly be dead.  If she was, he would find her murderer but what next when he does.

What a great executed book, I really enjoyed this one.  You don't want to read while on a cruise though.  International waters may mean the crimes go unnoticed and no investigation due to Maritime laws.

This will definitely be one of my favourites of 2016.  I highly recommend.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

What are you reading? Happy Monday

Book Date now hosts It's Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read List.

I'm currently reading - My Review of Ice Twins 3 1/2 

I read and reviewed 3 1/2 stars

I need to do my review, I enjoyed it. 4 stars

Book club choice for November

I recommended 4 books for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

My post link

I hosted Dianne Bondy in Bermuda for Yoga Workshops.  What a fun empowering weekend.

Have a wonderful week.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Review - Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book Summary

“Are you happy with your life?” 
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. 
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. 
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”  
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

My Review 3 1/2

This was my first Blake Crouch book which I chose after a few reviews intrigued me.  I thought the beginning was great, fast paced and draws you right in. You meet Jason, his wife Daniela and son.  They are living a comfortable happy life.  Choices are made once you have children, not necessarily better or worst but different from the original plan.  Jason leaves home to go congratulate a friend which should only take an hour but in reality it takes a little over a month.

And while the thought of last night carries the emotional weight of a real memory, it has the fantasy lining of a dream, or a nightmare. Kindle 21%

The sci-fi wasn't a turn off for me but the similarities once Jason woke and tried to find his real home became tedious to read, recurring over and over with little changes. I am not a fan of time travel novels so maybe this was similar to that for me - Groundhog feel.  I do think the reality of a different life and the scientific plan is incredible but it just felt repetitive.  This lost the intensity for me and by mid way I just wanted to find out what happens.

I enjoyed the idea of original Jason choosing his career versus family man Jason and debating who has the better life.  Life is all about decisions and consequences and both were great choices.  What threw me for a loop and felt a little weird were the numerous Jason's.  I won't go into this further.

If you strip away all the trappings of personality and lifestyle, what are the core components that make me, me? Kindle 64%

I thought I appreciated every moment, but sitting here in the cold, I know I took it all for granted.  And how could I not?  Until everything topples, we have no idea what we actually have, how precariously and perfectly it all hangs together. Kindle 67%

I did enjoy some of the questions that arose, it had you take the time to sit back and reflect.

There was nothing drastic about the ending, it just was.  I understand choosing that way but I would have liked to hear more from Jason that stole 'his' life back.  It almost had a happily ever after feel which doesn't mix with the story line unless they are allowing the reader to makeup the 'what is next'.

"Every moment, every breath, contains a choice.  But life is imperfect.  We make the wrong choices.  So we end up living in a state of perpetual egret, and is there anything worse?  Kindle 95%

I enjoyed Blake Crouch writing style and at times he slides in what I consider to be a novel in verse, creative.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Recommended Books for Domestic Violence Awareness

I saw an advertisement giving awareness to Domestic Violence.  Sharing books is my way of participating with awareness.

I didn't realize how many books I read on this topic, they have me on the edge of my seat in a different way that Thrillers and Suspense books do.

I recommend all of these which I rated 4 1/2 stars.

My Review

Beginning of my review.....  The intensity in this book is non stop, shocking and many moments I realized I was holding my breath.  I am so impressed this is a debut, well done BA Paris.  I felt relieved at the end which isn't a good thing but my oh my, intense.  The summary says we all know a couple like Jack and Grace, I sure as hell hope not.  That thought is scary and very creepy, there are some things I will never overlook with friends now.  I will give a warning, this is probably the worst kind of mental manipulation abuse I have read, it can be very hard to read if you are not into emotional intense reads.  I found this harder to read them physical abuse.

My Review

Beginning of my review...... I would start out saying I was an emotional train wreck from beginning to end, deep breath.  This is one of the most emotional heart wrenching dark family horror stories I have ever read but with an alluring character, Alessa, she made it worthwhile. 

My Review

Part of my review............ Victoria has been in a verbal and physical abusive marriage and something so bad has happened she is now in a mental institution. The story is mainly told from her point of view, I never felt that she was crazy but couldn't wait to find out what really put her there.  She couldn't remember and her Doctor was slowly showing her pictures to assist with bringing back the memories.

My Review

Part of my review.......  I loved the 3 year span, Chapters about 2004 with her boyfriend, being swept off her feet to the destructive controlling relationship vs 2007 now living in fear that he will find her and this time, be successful in killing her.  Both time periods were gripping and effective to moving the story along.

Do you have any Domestic violence books that you would recommend? 

Monday, October 10, 2016

I'm currently reading and considering for Book Club

Book Date now hosts It's Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read List.

I'm currently (considering it as my Book Club read)

Book Summary

When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.
Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.
Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.

I reviewed - My Review 3 1/2 stars

What I think is next for me.

I'm considering this one also as a next read and for Book Club, what do you think?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Review - The Sinner Book 5 of Graveyard Series

Published - September 27, 2016

Book Summary

I am a living ghost, a wanderer in search of my purpose and place… 
I'm a cemetery restorer by trade, but my calling has evolved from that of ghost seer to death walker to detective of lost souls. I solve the riddles of the dead so the dead will leave me alone. 
I've come to Seven Gates Cemetery nursing a broken heart, but peace is hard to come by…for the ghosts here and for me. When the body of a young woman is discovered in a caged grave, I know that I've been summoned for a reason. Only I can unmask her killer. I want to trust the detective assigned to the case for he is a ghost seer like me. But how can I put my faith in anyone when supernatural forces are manipulating my every thought? When reality is ever-changing? And when the one person I thought I could trust above all others has turned into a diabolical stranger?

My Review - Book 5 of the Graveyard Series
3 1/2 stars

We have new covers and a slightly different feel to the story now.  I understand change must happen but for me the new just didn't work.  Amanda Stevens creates the creepy atmosphere brilliantly and that does capture you but the storylines no longer pull me in.

I was really hoping this was going to be the ending of the series but there is one more to wait for, The Awakening due out March 2017.  It sounds like it will be about Devlin who I really miss.  He became the love of Amelia but there were secrets, suspense around who and what he really was.  I feel like I have been waiting for 2 books now which is also a huge disappointment for me.  Amelia and Devlin had a connection, I would like to have an ending to it as she even wonders why he is still on her mind.

Another man, possible love interest is used in the Sinner, at first I didn't understand but The Sinner was using him to get to Amelia, this was well done and definitely bought a sense of fear but also pull to Amelia that she sensed as attraction but knew better to accept that.

He was all too aware of the changes inside me and sometimes still I would catch him watching me with those dark, soulful eyes as if to say, I know who you are but I don't know what you are and that worries me.  Kindle 21%

She gets pulled into an investigation when she comes across a body in the cemetery she is restoring.  The body looks fresh like it had just been put there and it was in a caged grave.  Some of the history about cemeteries is also a nice feature in the books and allows us to learn more about Amelia's legacy.

What part was I to play in all this?  I wondered.  As much as i had learned about myself and about my gift, I still sometimes puzzled over my destiny.  I could endure, if not embrace, my role in helping trapped spirits move on.. In time, I might even learn to accept my great-grandmother's legacy of tracking those supernatural beings she and Papa had called malcontents - entities with no other earthbound purpose than to create chaos among the living.  Kindle 79%

I really feel like The Visitor and The Sinner didn't progress enough which has frustrated me and lessened my reading pleasure with these books. I don't regret starting this series, the beginning ones are memorable and loved my time reading them.

My Reviews
The Abandoned  Prequel
The Restorer Book 1
The Kingdom Book 2
 The Prophet Book 3
The Visitor Book 4

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Review - The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

Book Published - January 2016

Book Summary from Amazon

From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room, two women are on the run from police, and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.
When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.

In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard’s life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene, Richard’s investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.

My Review - 4 star

The Guest Room made me think, what would I do.  I understood the dilemma Richard and Kristin put themselves in, they supported their family in a special moment, who knew all hell would break lose with life or death consequences.

I have nothing against bachelor parties and some good fun with strippers.  Why not allow your husband to host one for his brother at your house.  I also have a 9 year old daughter and can see staying over at grandma's for the night, no big deal when you have a trusting relationship.  And then you get a call in the middle of the night that changes things forever.

All the men are having fun and making some shady inappropriate decisions but then one of the young ladies decided her life over fun and work and kills the guard in front of everyone, then shots in the other room.  Both guards are dead and the girls flee.  SHOCKING

This is where the betrayal, humiliation, legal and financial worries, marriage - for better or worst come into play.  I thought Chris Bohjalian did a great job on showing us the life of a sex slave to how the modern day support, at times without knowing.  There are always friends that never think consequences or beyond the moment of fun and all lose because of a very bad decision.

I really loved the family unit with Richard, Kristin and their daughter.  Richard was truly a good man. And I understood all of his decisions. Really great discussion on what would you do while reading.

The story was told from present and then from Alexanders side from the beginning of her life to being captured and put into the sex slave world right up to the night of the Bachelor party and running for her life.

The ending surprised me, I really like when an author doesn't always go for the life always works out endings, powerful.  I don't think my book club would appreciate this one, I need to think more about it and make a decision but I really enjoyed it.

A few years ago I recommend Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian to them.  That was a great discussion.  Highly recommend.

Have you read a Chris Bohjalian?  Which one would you recommend?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Monday's come to fast.........

Book Date now hosts It's Monday What Are Your Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It's a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read List.

I can't believe it has been a month since I have participated.  Life has been crazy but really I just think Monday's come to fast.

I'm currently reading - the finale in a favourite series - it releases Tues, Sept 27

I just completed and reviewed - 4 stars

I missed a couple of weeks, I don't know how that happened, I had some great book dates though, here are my reviews.

I think this will be next read.  I can't believe NetGalley has it available and my request as an international blogger was approved.  SO GRATEFUL