Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott

The Little Shadows
By: Marina Endicott 

Published: September 2011
Published By: Doubleday Canada

Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 3/5 

After their Father’s untimely death, sisters Aurora, Clover and Bella set out to make a living as performers in Vaudeville. Under the instruction of their Mother (a former performer in her own right) they travel western Canada and the north-western United States with their singing and dancing act, before and during World War I.

Vaudeville was a popular form of entertainment that featured a variety of acts beginning in the late 19th century. Marina Endicott’s The Little Shadows is set just before and during the years of World War I. It is a form of entertainment that I have never read about before, so I was intrigued to discover what it was all about. The author drew influence from Buster Keaton and the Pantages theaters. 

It was evident that the acts enjoyed at these shows were quite different than what is standard in the present day.  Endicott painted a detailed picture of the in’s and out’s of theater life, both on stage and behind the curtain. Also described in detail was the different performances including song lyrics. Unfortunately I found this to become tedious to read after a few chapters.

At over 500 pages in length, it took me quite a while longer to finish this book, than I hoped. This was due in part to the fact that I had a hard time connecting with the sisters. The plot felt quite drawn out and anti-climactic.

Thankfully my interest began to pick up during the last 100 pages or so. I found this book to be written beautifully and the language rang true to the time period. I also liked the way each chapter was divided and named.

Even though I didn’t exactly love this book, I would still recommend The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott to those who enjoy historical fiction with a focus on entertainment. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Books I Couldn't Stop Thinking About

A couple of weeks ago, BuzzFeed posted an article by staff member Lincoln Thompson called "31 Books You Won't Be Able to Stop Thinking About." Some of them are newer releases, while others are older. Out of the 31 books mentioned I have only read one, however I do have some others on my TBR.

The one book listed that I have read before is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. It has been quite some time since I first read it, but I remember enjoying this story and piecing it all together to uncover the mystery. I gave it a 4 star rating, however I wouldn't quite say that it was a book I couldn't stop thinking about.

This article got me thinking: what are some books that stayed with me long after I finished the last page? I would like to share a couple of those with you today.

Marley and Me: Life and Love with the Worlds Worst Dog by John Grogan 
This book along with the movie based on it, really hit home for me, especially since I read it around the time that my childhood dog Pal passed away. I could really relate to the love Grogan and his family had for Marley dispite all the trouble he got into. Long after the last page (or scene in the case of the movie) I would remember parts and smile or shed a tear.

I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch / Illustrated by Sheila McGraw
Yes, this is a children's book. And yes I've mentioned it many, many times here on ML's Many Reads. But this story of the love between a mother and her son is just so timeless and heartwarming. I Love You Forever is even more meaningful to me now that I have my own little boy.

See Jane Run by Joy Fielding
See Jane Run is a suspenseful story about a woman who suffers an accident resulting in amnesia. That description sounds pretty similar to other books right? But this one touches on some pretty disturbing occurrences that still send chills down my spine. I would also like to add that this was the first time I had read a book of this nature, so this may play into its lasting effect on me.

Now I'd love to hear from you. Have you read any of the books mentioned in the article and if so did they stay with you? What other books had a lasting effect with you? Leave me a message in the comments. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Currently Reading: June 19, 2017

Quick update: I meant to do a Sunday wrap-up yesterday, but due to the rainstorms we were having my internet was down.

My Reading Progress
I recently completed 2 books since my last update.

I found Marina Endicott's The Little Shadows to be beautifully written, but I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I gave this book 2.5-3 stars. 

If You're Gone by Brittany Goodwin is a book I was sent for review and centers around a young woman whose boyfriend goes missing. It was a quick read that I enjoyed. I gave it a 3.5 star rating.

Currently Reading:

Hosted by: Book Date 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brands #1) by Maggie Shayne

The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brands #1)
By: Maggie Shayne

Published: July, 2014 (Originally Published: May 1996)
Published By: Thunderfoot Publishing 
Format Read: eBook, Kindle for PC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: 1.5/5

Sheriff Garrett Brand and his siblings are awoken one night to find an abandoned baby on their doorstep.

Chelsea Brennan arrives in Texas to identify the body of her deceased sister, but learns that her 6 month old nephew is missing.

Meanwhile baby Ethan’s father a well-known criminal will stop at nothing to find his son. Even murder. 

The concept of this story with the orphaned baby, the family who take him and the aunt who comes to find him caught my interest. It had been quite a while since I read a cute contemporary romance. Or at least that is what I thought I was in for when I started reading The Littlest Cowboy. And there were parts that fit that bill, however Maggie Shayne threw in some elements of mystery and suspense as well. In some cases these elements work well together, but unfortunately this instance wasn’t one of them.

Although Garrett seemed like a very attractive man (who doesn’t enjoy a hot cowboy?) I felt like he was portrayed as too perfect. The main female character Chelsea was quite traumatized by her abusive childhood. This added depth to her story, however I felt that her personality traits and opinions were very inconsistent. She started out as a fierce woman, but became more of a damsel in distress. It was almost like she was two different characters. As I read along I began to dislike Chelsea and Garret more and more. Readers will discover the baby will take a backseat to strange relationship that would bud between his aunt and the man who took him in. 

I hung on and read to the end of this story, but unfortunately it never did capture me. The ending sealed the deal for me, earning The Littlest Cowboy a 1.5 star rating. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday Wrap-up: June 4, 2017

Hello everyone,

Just a quick update today as I am quite tired. Charles is currently passed out on my arm (which is fall asleep itself) so I'm typing this post with one hand. Multitasking is definitely a huge part of parenthood, ha. Things are going well on my end though. I'm feeling good and keeping very busy. Thankfully I've been finding some time to read. Even sitting down and reading a couple of pages here and there is better than not reading at all. I especially like to have an eBook open on my Kindle for PC, during feedings. It seems that I've been doing most of my progress that way, which is fine because I have quite a few books downloaded in that app.

Problem with Blogger?
To those of you who use Blogger, have you noticed any trouble publishing and saving lately? I have been trying to update my pages, but my updates don't seem to save. Instead I keep getting a "Revert to Draft" option. I sent in feedback on this problem to Blogger, but have yet to hear back from them. Could it possibly be that the pages I am trying to update are at their maxim limit? If any of you could give me some advice on how to remedy this, I would greatly appreciate it.

My Reading Progress:

I completed The Littlest Cowboy this week. Thankfully it wasn't a long novel, as it wasn't really my cup of tea, but I hate not finishing a book that I've started so I read to the end. 

Currently Reading

Yes, I'm still plugging away at The Little Shadows. I'm determined to finish it this week though. 

This morning I began reading If You're Gone, a book that I was sent for review months ago, but haven't been able to get to until now. 

And that's all for now. I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Hosted by: Book Date

Friday, June 2, 2017

Monthly Wrap-up: May 2017

Another whirlwind month has come and gone. It was full to the brim with a growing baby, my brothers wedding and a family reunion. I also celebrated my first Mother's Day.

The wedding was just beautiful. I am so happy for my brother and my new sister in-law. We couldn't have asked for a better day. The weather was great and the winery where the reception was held was just beautiful. It was nice to see my family who flew in from Newfoundland. It was the first time in more than 20 years that all my Dad's brothers and sisters were together. My Grandmother was so proud. Coming up for the wedding also gave them the opportunity to meet Charles. The poor thing was probably so confused as to who would be holding him next, but he was a good boy and hardly fussed.

Now that everyone has gone home and all the wedding events are behind us, we can get some much needed rest. But not too much with a newborn in the house, of course ha. Speaking of which my baby boy is now 6 weeks old. He is becoming more bright and focused with each passing day and is finally starting to gain some weight.

Now lets talk about my reading progress during the month of May:

I completed 2 books this past month. That is better than April, but still not as much as I completed pre-baby. I have been spending a fair amount of time reading though. The book I have been reading for some time now (see: Currently Reading image) is quite long, so it is taking me much longer than I had hoped it would. I plan to finish it up within the next couple of days.

🌟🌟🌟.5  No Safe Harbor (Edge of Freedom, #1) by Elizabeth Ludwig
Rating: 3.5/5
My Thoughts: No Safe Harbor is a historical fiction set in late 1800's New York City. It follows a young Irish lady named Cara who comes to NYC in search of her brother who she previously thought was dead. It was a good book that I would recommend. However I enjoyed the second book in this series more than the first.

🌟.5 The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brands #1) by Maggie Shayne 
Rating: 1.5/5
My Thoughts: An orpahaned baby boy left on the steps of the Brand family ranch, followed by the arrival of his aunt who harbors a traumatic past. I can't begin to count the number of eye rolls I did while reading The Littlest Cowboy. I liked the concept of the story, but way it progressed wasn't my cup of tea.

The Stats:

Total Number of Books Read: 2
Total Number of Fiction: 2
Total Number of Non-fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read From My Shelves: 2
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read:

Physical Books: 0
eBooks: 2
Audio Books: 0

Genres Read: 

Historical fiction, Christian fiction
Contemporary Romance

Total Books Read in 2017: 10

What did you read during the month of May? Leave me as message in the comments. Happy June and happy reading to all.

Hosted by: Book Date