Monday, May 30, 2016

Cover Characteristic: Benches

Cover Characteristic is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar and Snark that showcases book covers with a different theme. 


Cheryl Hollon's Pane and Suffering features a bench in front of the shops window. 

Pretty, Hip & Dead by Madison Johns shows a bench in front of the galley wall. 

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham shows a bench on a bridge. 

This movie cover for The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Wrap-up: May 29 2016

Look at me posting two weekly wrap-ups in a row! Its nice to be getting back into the swing of a blogging schedule after about a month of little involvement.

It's hot as hell here in Ontario and I am so thankful for my AC, even if it is just a small window unit. Everything is so beautiful and green now. This is a great time of year to drive down some back country roads and gaze out over the rolling farmers fields.

My parents garden is blooming nicely. I hope to take some pictures of it to share with you throughout the summer. They planted a vegetable garden and we are starting to see sprouts up already. We are all looking forward to fresh, home grown produce.

My Reading Progress:

I made great progress this past week with my reading. It helps that the books I've selected have been really keeping my interest. 

Books Completed:

As I mentioned last week, my partner and I were listening to this book in audio via the Overdrive app. We both really enjoyed it. I gave it 4/5 and can't wait to read the second book in the series,

Friday night we watched the movie adaptation of The Lightning Thief. We both agreed that the book was much better. There were so many important details that were left out, which was disappointing. However I thought it was an okay movie. 

Its been years since I read this series, so it is bringing back memories of my childhood when my teacher read the Little House books aloud to the class. I admit the stories don't have the same impact on me now that they had over 20 years ago, but I'm still enjoying it. I gave it 3/5 rating. 

Recent Posts:

Wednesday: Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman RATING: 5/5
Friday: Book Review: Days of Grace by Catherine Hall RATING: 3/5

Coming up this week:

Wednesday: Monthly Wrap-up: May 2016
Friday: Book Review: The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter RATING: 4/5

And I can't put it down! Why oh why have I waited so long to read this?!

 I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend. Did you do a weekly wrap-up post? If so leave me your links in the comments so I can check them out.

Hosted by: Book Date 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Days of Grace by Catherine Hall

Title: Days of Grace
Author: Catherine Hall
Narrator: Josephine Bailey
Published: May 2010
Published By: Tantor Media, Inc.
Format Read: Audio Book
Genre: Historical Fiction, Dual Time Period
Date Read: April 30, 2016
Rating: 3/5

With the rumblings of war in the air, Great Britain began to evacuate children from the city to the safety of the countryside. 12 year old Nora Lynch was fortunate enough to be sent to Kent to live in a rectory with Reverend and Mrs. Rivers. Nora would build a strong friendship with their daughter Grace. In this dual time period story, readers also follow Nora in present day as she nears the end of her life and reflects on the decisions she’s made.

British Evacuees 
I came across this book one day while searching through my local library’s collection on Overdrive. I had not heard of this author before, but was intrigued by the World War II setting. One of my favourite books is The Guests of War Trilogy by Kit Pearson. It too follows children who were British evacuees. Unlike that book, the main character in Days of Grace is able to stay in her own country. She is sent from the London home she lived in with her mother to the Kent countryside.

From London to Kent
The comparisons between Nora’s poverty stricken life in the city and that of Grace’s Kent were interesting. Being raised in a one room flat, Nora didn’t even know what the purpose of a dining room was. She was also taken aback by the colourful food she was served at mealtime, a huge difference from the practical gruel her mother could afford.

The Irony
With the country at war and bombs being dropped during the Blitz, Nora’s life with the Rivers family was ironically quite peaceful and blissful once she settled into her new surroundings. My favourite part of Days of Grace was exactly those parts; everyday life during war, even though there was a lot more depth to this story than two young girls growing up.

To My Surprise
Other than reading the synopsis on Overdrive I didn’t do any other research into this book before I began listening to it, so the slight plot-twist (for lack of a better spoil-free description) was a surprise to me.

The Dialects
Narrated by Josephine Bailey, I though her accents were very effective. This was especially true in the instance of the two different class dialects for Nora and Grace. However I did find that listening to the narration at the normal speed was a bit drawn out for my liking. Increasing the speed to the next level made it flow more nicely.

Days of Grace was a good story, unfortunately I did find my interest weaning from time to time, mostly in regards to the present day plot. Still, I would recommend it to those who enjoy coming of age historical fiction. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summer COYER Sign-up

Hosted by: Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun, Michelle @ Because Reading & Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! 

Duration: June 18 - September 2

The Rules:

  1. You must create a sign-up post anytime between now and August 1st -on blog, goodreads, fb, google+, etc.Yes, that means you can sign up until August 1st! But don’t wait, you’ll miss most the fun!
  2. You must link that sign-up post below (don’t link to your blog, link to the sign-up post).
  3. You must review books somewhere & link the reviews to the review linky to be eligible for one of the grand prize giveaways.
  4. Have Fun!

My Goals:

  1. To read at least 3 books from Kindle for PC
  2. Read at least 5 older books I have had on my Kobo for a while.
  3. Participate in games and interact with other participants.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Author: Beth Hoffman
Published: January, 2010
Published By: Penguin Books
Format Read: eBook, Kobo
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date Read: April 28, 2016
Rating: 5/5

CeeCee Honeycutt had a difficult childhood growing up with a psychotic mother. Her father –a travelling salesman was rarely home, which left the little girl in the role as caregiver as her mother’s health continually declined. Mrs. Honeycutt would often revert back to her youth as a southern belle beauty queen, dressing up in gowns and wandering around town waving to her “fans”. Her odd behaviour resulted in a very lonely life for her daughter and books became CeeCee’s only solace.  Then one day her mother’s life was tragically cut short and she was sent to live in Savannah Georgia with her Great Aunt Tootie.

First impressions and expectations:
Goodreads describes Saving CeeCee Honeycutt as a mix of Steele Magnolia’s and The Help, which made me very eager to dive into this book. As I began I was instantly reminded of The Secret Life of Bee’s and a light dose of Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood, two titles I really enjoyed. Needless to say I began it with high expectations.

Hoffman and Kidd:
The tone of the writing was reminiscent of Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees) because it was written from the point of view of a young girl in the 1960’s. CeeCee was a smart girl who did her best to make her way in life without the guidance of her parents. Her curiosity and willingness to learn made her such an interesting and likable character.  With its southern setting the civil rights movements during the time was also mentioned, along with numerous other cultural references from the era.

Comparing Mental Illness:
Beth Hoffman used some wonderful imagery and metaphors to describe CeeCee’s story. One particular example that I found effective was where mental illness was compared to a battlefield and a long fought interior war. This was just one example of many that made me stop, re-read and reflect.

Independent Women:
Like Rebecca Wells Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Hoffman also features a wonderful cast of strong willed and independent women. There was no shortage of wisdom shared to CeeCee. Although some of the characters weren’t as favourable as others, they too brought humor and excitement to the story.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is very deserving of a 5 star rating. It had just the right combination of tragedy, humor and excitement. I highly recommend this book to fans of books set in the south during the 1960s. It was such a wonderful reading experience and one I intend to read over and over again. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Wrap-up: May 22, 2016

Hey everyone! Long time no chat. As you may know I've been a bit MIA in terms of personal updates lately. I've been dealing with some personal stuff that has been keeping me preoccupied. Hopefully with this Sunday Wrap-up I will get back on a regular schedule here on the blog again.

Here in Canada we are celebrating the Victoria Day long weekend, or May 2-4 as we like to call it. Last night I had a BBQ and bonfire with my family. The weather is finally nice enough to enjoy it, although it is getting hot.

I have been doing great with my reading progress lately and have read some wonderful books this month.

My Reading Progress:

Books Completed:

I admit that I was a bit intimidated going into this award winning novel, but I did end up enjoying it and gave it a 4/5 rating.

Recent Posts:

Coming Up This Week:

Wednesday: Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman RATING: 5/5
Friday: Book Review: Days of Grace by Catherine Hall RATING: 3/5

My boyfriend and I decided to listen to an audio book together via the Overdrive app. I wanted to pick a book that he would be interested in too so I was looking for something with some adventure in it. I came across the Percy Jackson series and knowing that he is interested in the Greek gods I decided to give it a try. 

Much to both of our surprise we are really enjoying it! I don't know why I waited so long to give this series a try. We are hoping to finish up this first book tonight. 

I am also re-reading:

I hope that you are all having a wonderful weekend. Have you read any of the books I've read in this weeks wrap-up? I've love to hear from you so leave me a message in the comments. 

Hosted by Book Date

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Quieting (Bishops Family, #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Title: The Quieting (Bishops Family, #2)
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Published: May 2016
Published By: Fleming H.  Revell Company
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction
Date Read: May 11, 2016
Rating: 4/5

I was sent a copy of The Quieting (Bishops Family, #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Quieting picks up shortly after The Imposter (Bishops Family, #1) left off. Like in the first book readers follow David Stoltfuz, a widowed minister raising his family in the Amish community of Stoney Ridge. Another returning point of view is that of David’s son Jesse, who works as a buggy repairman. Several new characters are introduced to the series including David’s socially clueless niece Abigail, who along with her sister and grandmother come to stay and be of assistance.

The Bishops Family series has a cast of characters that rate among my favourites in any genre. They are interesting and complex with wonderful story lines that set them apart, yet at the same time connect them together.

 Even under a great deal of stress and commitment David is still a solid and caring father, minister, son, uncle and friend. There is something about his nature that drew me to him from the first book.

At just sixteen years old Jesse is living on his own running a buggy repair shop. He is trying to put his past troubles behind him and be a man. The level of maturity and responsibility for a boy in the Amish faith is quite different than that of their “English” counterpart.

Although I did miss reading from the point of view of David’s eldest child Katrina, I did like the addition of his niece Abigail. This character was quite unlike any of the others. Her lack of social skills was almost comical at times and I was reminded very much of Sheldon Cooper from televisions The Big Bang Theory. Like Sheldon Cooper, Abigail is endearing in her own way and only wanted to be of great help. Her love of knowledge and genealogy added an interesting element to her character, which I really enjoyed. Another new character that aligned with Abigail’s story was Dane. Like David, Dane is a kind soul and quite intelligent too.

I loved being back in their world and the town of Stoney Ridge. Suzanne Woods Fisher sets the stage for a warm and inviting reading experience, that I just become so immersed in. I found The Quieting had less notable quotes of wisdom, compared to The Imposter. However it included more moments of amusement that put a smile on my face.

I would recommend The Quieting for fans of Amish fiction, especially to those who have read the first book in the series. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Unbearably Deadly (Roger and Suzanne South American Mystery Book 9) by Jerold Last

Title: Unbearably Deadly (Roger and Suzanne South American Mystery Book 9)
Author: Jerold Last
Published: December 2014
Format Read: PDF, Kindle Edition, eBook
Genre: Mystery
Date Read: May 9, 2016
Rating: 2/5

I was sent a copy of Unbearably Deadly by Jerold Last from the author in exchange for an honest review.

When a former CIA couple is killed in an alleged bear attack while on vacation in Alaska, detective duo Roger and Suzanne take up the case. Set in Denali National Park, Unbearably Deadly is a closed room type of scenario due to the remote location and limited access to outsiders without permit. Aside from the mystery, readers follow along as Roger and Suzanne take in the sights around the crime scene and in Anchorage.

When the author first approached me with the chance to read and review his book, I was initially interested in the Alaskan setting, as it is one of my top bucket list destinations to visit. As a fan of mysteries I was interested in that side of the story as well.

Last went into great detail when describing the Alaskan setting. The reader is given a very clear image of the surroundings especially in the National Park. Not only did he describe the climate, wild life and landscape, but he gave a detailed history of the park as well. This was definitely the strongest part of Unbearably Deadly and what kept my interest to continue reading.

Unfortunately these descriptions of the setting greatly overshadowed the mystery. It left little space to expand on any background information that might have been pertinent to solving the crime of what really happened to the deceased tourists.

I tried not to dwell on grammatical errors, but there were times where inconsistencies in the plotline and repetitive unnecessary dialogue became difficult to ignore. Although I kept reading I felt less invested in the story.

Unbearably Deadly is a mystery that had the potential to be a decent read, however the execution has hindered it to be so. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cover Characteristic: Silhouettes

Cover Characteristic is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar and Snark that showcases book covers with a different theme. 

This weeks theme is: Silhouettes 

50 Below Zero by Robert Munsch, one of my childhood favourites. 

And my favourite cover this week: The Crimes of Jack the Ripper by Paul Roland

Which cover do you like the best from this category? Let me know in the comments. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bout of Books 16 Master Post

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Sign-up Post

Bout of Books 16
Overall Totals

Total Pages Read: 747
Total Books Completed: 3

Total Challenges Completed: 3

Sunday Stats:

Total Pages Read: 88
Books Read: 
Banished From Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angelique Richard (Dear Canada) by Sharon Stewart (88pgs)
Books Completed: 1
Banished From Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angelique Richard (Dear Canada) by Sharon Stewart
Challenges Completed: 0
Comments: And thats a wrap on Bout of Books 16! I started and finished a total of 3 books which I am very happy with. Looking forward to Bout of Books 17.

Saturday Stats:

Total Pages Read: 95
Books Read:
Banished From Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angelique Richard (Dear Canada) by Sharon Stewart (95 pgs)
Books Completed: 0
Challenges Completed: 0
Comments: I was able to get more reading done on Day 6 than I was on Day 5. I made good progress with Banished, although I'm not sure if I will be able to get it done on the final day of the read-a-thon. I will try my best though. 

Friday Stats

Total Pages Read: 72
Books Read:
The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter (52pgs)
Banished From Our Home: The Acadian Diary of Angelique Richard (Dear Canada) by Sharon Stewart (20pgs)
Books Completed: 1
The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter
Challenges Completed: 0
Comments: I find as the week winds down I participate less and less in the challenges. I am happy I finished a book today and hope to complete one more before the end of the read-a-thon. 

Thursday Stats 

Total Pages Read: 67
Books Read:
The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter
Books Completed: 0
Challenges Completed: 0
Comments: I read a lot less on Day 4, unfortunately, but I am still making decent progress. 

Wednesday Stats

Total Pages Read: 130
Books Read:
The Quieting (The Bishops Family, #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher 57pgs 
The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter 73pgs
Books Completed: 1
The Quieting (The Bishops Family, #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Challenges Completed: 1

Challenge 3: 5 Favourites

My Top 5 Books Read in 2016 (So far)
1. The Girls from See-Saw Lane (Brighton Girls Trilogy Book 1) by Sandy Taylor
2. Breaking the Story by Ashley Farley
3. The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring
4. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
5. The Quieting (The Bishops Family #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Comments: Another successful day. I completed The Quieting and started The Girls They Left Behind. Hopefully I will complete my second book on day 4. 

Tuesday Stats

Total Pages Read: 145
Books Read: The Quieting (The Bishops Family, #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Books Completed: 0
Challenges Completed: 1

Challenge 2: Shelfie

Comments: Another good day of reading with great progress made. I plan to finish reading the last few chapters of The Quieting on day 3. Then I will begin reading one of the books from my library haul.

Monday Stats

Total Pages Read: 150
Books Read: The Quieting (The Bishops Family, #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Books Completed: 0
Challenges Completed: 1

Challenge 1: Introduce yourself in six words

A Canadian blogger and book lover. 

Comments: I am really pleased with my progress on day 1. I read a total of 150 pages, which is more than I anticipated. Off to a good start. I even did a bit of a library haul, picking up some potential reads for later in the read-a-thon.

Bout of Books 16 Library Book Haul

1. Vinyl Cafe Diaries (Vinyl Cafe, #4) by Stuart McLean
2. The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter 
3. Banished from Out Home: The Acadian Diary of Angelique Richard (Dear Canada) by Sharon Stewart