Monday, July 30, 2012

CLP Blog Tour: A Year to Remember


Welcome to a stop on the A Year to Remember tour hosted by CLP Blog Tours. I started out loving Shelly Bell's novel but then...well...we'll get to that.

First, here's the synopsis:
When her younger brother marries on her twenty-ninth birthday, food addict Sara Friedman drunkenly vows to three hundred wedding guests to find and marry her soul mate within the year.
After her humiliating toast becomes a YouTube sensation, she permits a national morning show to chronicle her search. With the help of best friend, Missy, she plunges head first into the shallow end of the dating pool.
Her journey leads her to question the true meaning of soul mates, as she decides between fulfilling her vow to marry before her thirtieth birthday and following her heart’s desire. But before she can make the biggest decision of her life, Sara must begin to take her first steps toward recovery from her addiction to food.
Have you ever started reading a book, fell in love with it, and then ended up being just a little bit disenchanted by the end? This is what happened to me with this novel. When I started A Year to Remember, I was hooked. I found the concept interesting - trying to marry within the year - and even though the year deadline seems like something that's been written to death, it was fresh to me. What was the problem then? Well...a couple of bizarre errors that should have been caught in the editing stages didn't help matters. I could overlook Zac Efron's name being spelled incorrectly (she added an h) but to switch POV? That's a little crazy. I was reading along and enjoying the first person point of view when all of a sudden I got very confused because I was now reading from the third person POV, then, BAM, back to first person. Unfortunate.

The other thing that didn't thrill me was that Sara's story started getting...well...sort of preachy. I don't think that's quite the word I want but I can't think of how else to describe it. She realizes what she needs to do to fix her issues, and I love that, but suddenly it's all about the "higher power" and it was hard for me to stay interested. Don't get me wrong, I like stories that focus on more than just the romance and I like when characters go on personal journeys, but something just wasn't sitting well with me. I don't think the vast majority of people would feel the same as me so I urge you to check out the other reviews during this tour to get a better idea if you'd like this one. Deal? Deal.

Enough negatives. Like I said, I really liked the idea for this novel. Lots of great stories seem to start at a wedding. Add in a drunken toast and you've got a winner. I'm glad that Sara's YouTube video didn't harm her but instead helped her.

I had a feeling I knew who Sara would end up with and even though I was right, I really enjoyed the romantic twists and turns. It was a bit bothersome when she couldn't see that some of the guys were so incredibly wrong for her because she seemed perfectly content to settle. Happily, she found her way and had a happily ever after ending.

So, overall, even though I started out wanting to give A Year to Remember by Shelly Bell five stars, I ended up only awarding it three. I think I'd still recommend it because, like I said, other people may not have the same issues I did. It's worth a look because Sara's story is uplifting and I think a lot of people could identify with her. The end result of the romance storyline was really sweet as well.

Happy reading :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

daily book pic - week four recap

Well, friends, we're nearing the end of the daily book pic! I've been having so much fun taking my own pictures and checking out some of the top ones compiled on Book Riot. So, without further adieu, here are my pics from week four!

Day Twenty Two - Comfort Reads


I chose the Harry Potter series for my comfort reads for a couple of reasons. First, the story is so gripping. Second, the writing is phenomenal. You've all read books that are just utter crap - awful story, horrendous writing. If I wanted to restore my faith in books and authors and remind myself that there were excellent books out there, I would turn to Harry Potter. What would you choose?

Day Twenty Three - Learning to Read


This was a bit of a tough one as I don't have any need for learning to read books in my house (I don't think my fish can be taught and my boyfriend and I have a good grasp on literacy). I then remembered that I still had two books that were birthday presents for my boyfriend's niece! (They're a little delayed...her birthday was July 4...2 years old and adorable!) This shot shows the page that convinced me to buy it - who doesn't love pink giraffes? :)

Day Twenty Four - Book Quote


Not the best photo, I know, but this necklace has a quote from Louisa May Alcott: "She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain" I got this from Etsy from the store BookFiend. She has some amazingly awesome stuff and I urge all bookworms to check out her shop - there's jewellery (including some awesome leather cuffs - I want one of these ones but I don't know what quote I'd pick!), stickers, magnets, bookmarks, and more! Here's a better shot of the necklace from her page:


Day Twenty Five - Book Bag


When I saw this prompt I immediately thought of this bag. It was a birthday gift from one of my friends (who will be mentioned again in the next description) and I use it every day for work. I pop my lunch in there along with the book I'm reading. I was looking at the compilation of pictures on Book Riot the next day and I realized that I thought differently than a lot of other folk. They took pictures of bags they got from bookstores. Didn't even think of that! Ah well. It's all about the creativity, right? (PS If you're as in love with this bag as I am, check out the shop Sugar and Candy on Etsy, that's where it came from and she's got some gorgeous stuff!)

Day Twenty Six - Re-purposed Books


I cheated a wee bit with this one as this picture is from last summer. I was in a little shop in a small town and came across this purse made out of an old copy of Heidi. I had to take a picture for my friend who shares a name with the protagonist (she's also the one who gave me that gorgeous bag in the book bag picture!). I would have considered getting it for her but it was well out of my price range. That, and this purse isn't exactly Heidi's style :)

Day Twenty Seven - Outdoor Reading Spot


Summer is the best time for reading because you can read in so many spots and you're not limited to the indoors. While I love reading at my best friend's beach or my boyfriend's parents pool, I haven't been able to do so much this summer as I'm now a few hours away. Instead, my new favourite spot is in my backyard. I've got a nice patio set (the colour scheme isn't perfect but the chairs are surprisingly comfortable) and we back out onto a ball park and two soccer fields. Lovely.

Day Twenty Eight - A Well-Worn Book


Ah, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. One of my all time favourite books, and series. Though, that's not too surprising when you see what kind of state the first book is in. It's the only one of the four (well, five) that I have in soft cover and it's showing some wear and tear. I've read it countless times, my sister has as well, and we've both lent it to quite a few of our friends. I've considered buying a hardcover copy to go with the rest of my set (the others aren't nearly as worn) but I kind of like my beat up copy. It shows that this book is well loved. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July Chick Lit Challenge #3: Point, Click, Love


There's a theme with this month's challenge reads. They all came from my local library! I went a bit nuts after I finally got a library card as it turns out my library has an awesome selection of new books. Also - all three July books have been debut novels! I was happy to see Point, Click, Love by Molly Shapiro on the shelf because I had heard some good things about this one. While it didn't blow me away, I still really enjoyed reading this one.

Here's the synopsis:
Best friends and fellow midwesterners Katie, Annie, Maxine, and Claudia are no strangers to dealing with love and relationships, but with online dating and social networking now in the mix, they all have the feeling they’re not in Kansas anymore. Katie, a divorced mother of two, secretly seeks companionship through the Internet only to discover that the rules of the dating game have drastically changed. Annie, a high-powered East Coast transplant, longs for a baby, yet her online search for a sperm donor is not as easy—or anonymous—as she anticipates. Maxine, a successful artist with a seemingly perfect husband, turns to celebrity gossip sites to distract herself from her less-than-ideal marriage. And Claudia, tired of her husband’s obsession with Facebook, finds herself irresistibly drawn to a handsome co-worker. As these women navigate the new highs and lows of the digital age, they each find that their wrong turns lead surprisingly to the right click and, ultimately, the connection they were seeking.

This book almost got a five star rating but I wasn't quite feeling it and I believe this was more a personal quirk than any real reflection on the book. I had just finished reading The Singles when I started Point, Click, Love. The two novels had a similar set up - several characters and flipping back and forth between their stories (read my review of The Singles here for more). I think the reason I didn't love this one was because the characters were at a very different stage in their lives than where I'm currently at.With the exception of Annie, the women in Point, Click, Love were already well into their marriages and had at least one kid. I'm nowhere near that point in my life so it was a bit harder for me to relate. Like I said, this won't mean much to some people but there might be a few readers out there who would rather stay away from novels that feature characters they won't be able to relate to. Make sense? Hopefully! :)

Even though I couldn't personally relate to what the women were going through, I still enjoyed reading about their lives. Each woman had something different going on in their lives and that made things fresh. They were all, for the most part, having marital trouble but the issues were diverse enough to keep me interested.

It was hard for me to decide how I wanted each woman's life to turn out. Situations kept evolving and revealing more information which changed my mind constantly. In the end, I was happy with how each character's story wrapped up. Some things may have been drastically different than what I predicted but that's what makes books fun - not knowing exactly what's going to happen!

Overall, I had fun reading Molly Shapiro's debut novel Point, Click, Love. I'd definitely recommend it to other chick lit lovers. I look forward to seeing what Molly comes out with next!

Happy reading :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Just Finished: The Better Man


I read another of Ceri Hebert's short stories earlier this month (it was Yesterday's Tomorrow and the review can be found here if you missed it) and while The Better Man didn't capture me quite as much, I still really enjoyed the story.

Here's the synopsis:
A Dear Jane letter. A jilted bride. With the help of the Best Man, Lorelei Warren discovers that being left at the altar might be the best thing that's ever happened.
Lorelei Warren is facing every bride’s nightmare; she’s been left at the altar with nothing but a Dear Jane letter from the cheating groom and a church full of friends and family. Will Draper, her best friend and the best man is there to pick up the pieces. He’s been in love with Lorelei for years and he can’t resist her. Now Lori has to decide what direction her life will head, especially when it comes to Will. Can she risk losing his friendship or is what she feels for Will worth pursuing?
The story starts in an incredibly emotional moment - Lori has just been dumped...with a letter...on her wedding day. This blows the Post It Note break-up right out of the water. I was immediately in Lori's corner and was ready to trash the ex-groom right along with her bridesmaids. This helped me connect with Lori right away and I loved that. I was invested in her life right from the start and cared about what was going to happen to her.

I knew what would happen between Will and Lori but I was interested to see how it would happen. I was pleasantly surprised when Hebert threw a bit of a twist in the story and sent Lori on her road trip honeymoon - without Will. What was going to happen!? Again, I was invested and curious to find out if Lori would eventually get her happily ever after.

I'm really glad I got the chance to read The Better Man by Ceri Hebert. It was a sweet story with a great romance and I think a lot of others would like reading it as well (you can purchase it on Still Moments Publishing's website here). Since I've now enjoyed two of Hebert's stories I will definitely be on the lookout for what she writes next!

Happy reading :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Olympic Readathon

Random House Canada has decided to hold an epic readathon during the upcoming Olympics. You may have noticed a bit of a lag in reviews lately. That's because I've been reading like a mad fiend preparing for the craziness that's about to hit Books Etc.! I'm looking forward to this readathon because it's going to give me an extra nudge to get all sorts of reading done.

I have to admit that I'm not as excited about these Olympics as I could be. Part of it is because Canada hosted the last Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 so we had great coverage and amazing patriotic awesomeness happening. We lived and breathed the Olympics. Also...let's be real here...Canadians are much better at the sports that involve snow so there aren't as many proud medal moments in the summer Olympics. But...the argument could be made that it's even better when we do win a medal in the summer games because it's so rare. Hmm...bit of research...Wikipedia is telling me that we were 19th in gold medals (3 total) in Beijing and 14th in total medals (we got 18 total). Hey, that's actually not too bad. *checks top medal winning countries* Hm. China won 100 medals (51 gold) and the US won 110 (36 gold). Ahem. Right. Woo, 18 medals! The good news is that we did better in 2008 than in 2004 so fingers crossed this trend continues! Just for comparison, we were number one in 2010 when we hosted the winter games with 14 gold medals and a total of 26 medals. See? We excel in the snow :)

Anyway.

I have a ridiculous amount of books to get through in the next little while so I'm glad to have this extra motivation. I decided on a goal of 1,300 pages during the two weeks. Why 1,300? Everyone else seemed to be settling on 1,000, 1,500, or 2,000 so I went for something a little different. Though, I suppose if I wanted to be really different I could have set a goal of 1,372 pages. Maybe that will be my new goal :) I'm sure I'm going to hit 1,300 easily so it'll be interesting to see what happens. Want to join in? You can sign up here or just follow the fun on Twitter (@RandomHouseCA and #OlympicReadathon...PS I'm @KaleyS23).

Fellow blogger Lindsay at Turning the Pages did an intro post to the readathon the other day (read it here). I liked that she included a list of books she's hoping to finish over the two weeks so I have included a list myself!

- Ripple the Twine - Jenn Flynn-Shon
- A Place in the Country - Elizabeth Adler
- Rum Punch Regrets - Anne Kemp
- Living in Glass Houses - Zoe McKnight


And just because I can, here's a picture of me with John Morris who was on the gold medal men's curling team in 2010. Yes, I am holding a gold medal. They're heavy!


In closing I will say Happy Reading and GO CANADA! :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

July Chick Lit Challenge Read #2: The Singles


I had heard lots of good things about The Singles by Meredith Goldstein and it had gone on my short list for books to purchase with a gift card I got for my birthday. Since there were about 5 others on that list and the gift card was not enough to cover two fully, let alone 5, I was very happy when I found this book at the library. I was even happier when I ended up really enjoying it!

Here's a short and sweet synopsis:
Beth “Bee” Evans’s first vow as a bride is that everyone on her list be invited to bring a guest to her lavish, Chesapeake Bay nuptials. When Hannah, Vicki, Rob, Joe, and Nancy one by one decline Bee’s generous offer, the frustrated bride dubs them the “Singles,” adrift on her seating chart as well as in life.
I love chick lit books that are centred around weddings but don't necessarily focus on the wedding itself. These (usually lavish) events provide such excellent self-made drama, which is probably why I like them so much. Weddings are one of the most emotional events that the general public attends regularly. In this book we don't really learn a whole lot about Bee, the bride, other than what's revealed in flashbacks. We know even less about the groom. I'm not even sure I could tell you his name! But that's what made this book interesting. The drama came from the guests and their relationships with each other instead of what's happening between Bee and her fiancĂ©.

The only little teeny negative I have is that there were so many characters that I didn't feel like I learned enough about them. Joe and "Nancy" (who was actually her son Phil - she was unable to attend the wedding so he was filling in for her) weren't entirely necessary. I enjoyed learning about their back story and they each played a role in helping Vicki and Hannah, but when we flipped to their stories it took away from learning more about those ladies.

Speaking of Phil, he provided me with a chuckle early on in the book. We learn that he's high up in security at Camden Yards, the ball park where the Baltimore Orioles play. He runs through a few examples of disturbances he would normally have to deal with and during that he mentions all the other teams in the AL East - Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and - drumroll please - the Toronto Blue Jays! As a Jays fan, I have to tell you that it's not often I get to read about my team in a novel. Yankees and Red Sox (ugh and ugh) get mentioned all the time but it's usually like the lone team up in Canada doesn't exist. So. I thank Meredith for being a fan of teams in the AL East and including my fave ball team in her novel :) (And for responding to me on Twitter about this same topic!)


Anyway. That's a bit off topic but I needed to discuss it :)

This novel was funny without being a comedy, and emotional without being too drama-filled. In the course of a weekend wedding, everyone seems to realize what has been wrong in their life and what they need to do to fix it. I liked that the characters all had their own unique quirks. It made for some interesting and amusing situations.

Overall, I highly recommend The Singles by Meredith Goldstein. It had just the right amount of humour and drama and I found it incredibly enjoyable.

Happy reading! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just Finished: Yesterday's Tomorrow


I'm a big fan of second chances stories so I was happy to review the short story Yesterday's Tomorrow by Ceri Hebert.

Here's the synopsis:
What would you do if life gave you another chance to go back and get it right? 
No one needs a mental health day more than forty-four year old Lila Weidner, but when the overworked HR director wakes up in her twenty-three year old body, she's left wondering what is going on. Where is her life as a successful business woman? Where is her equally successful husband? And how is she going to maneuver through the day in order to stay on the same path she followed over twenty years earlier? Lila soon rediscovers old dreams and old friendships that she left behind and wonders if this is her chance for another shot at a truly fulfilling life. Does she dare to step off her original path and allow yesterday to become her new tomorrow?
We all wonder "what if?" at some point in our lives. It could be something simple like, "What if I hadn't gone to that concert and stayed home instead?" or something complex such as, "What if I had married my high school sweetheart?" I like when stories really examine these questions, whether the character gets a literal do-over or just the chance to do something they've always wanted to try. In the case of Yesterday's Tomorrow, it was the former. Lila goes to bed as a 44 year old and wakes up in her 23 year old body. Realizing she has the chance to create the happy ending she fears she's lacking, she dives into this second chance and makes the most out of it.

I loved seeing what Lila did with her second chance. She had to make a tough decision - stick with what's familiar or use this opportunity to really go after her heart's desire? I wasn't sure at first how it was going to turn out but I'm very happy with the conclusion.

I really liked this short story (emphasis on short - it was only about 40 pages long) and think many others would as well. Romance plays a part in Yesterday's Tomorrow but it's more about Lila's journey and what she realizes when she gets her do-over. It was a great read for sitting in the sun in the backyard on a Saturday afternoon! :)

Thank you to Still Moments Publishing for the copy to review!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

daily book pic - week three recap

Welcome to the end of week three of the wonderfulness that has been daily book pic! (Just in case you're new to my blog and haven't heard of this bookish photoaday, check out my week one recap...and week two, if you're still interested!)

Day Fifteen - Marginalia


What is marginalia, you ask? Any writing or inscriptions in books, particularly in the margins. Wondering what that has to do with the above photo? Well, my friends, I don't like writing in books. The only time in recent memory I've written in a book is in university and college when I was marking up textbooks. Since I didn't have any books that really fit this category I decided to take a picture of these post it note-esque tags one of my best friends got me for Christmas. She thought they'd come in handy for my reviews. I really enjoy  them!

Day Sixteen - Cover Art


I admit that I sometimes judge books by their covers. Honestly, who doesn't? The Nora Roberts Bride Quartet series always caught my eye when I used to work at the bookstore. I had no idea what they were about but, my god, I loved the covers. I don't own the books (I believe I ended up frequenting my local library for these ones...whatever my local library was at that time) so I couldn't get a good picture of the cover for this photo prompt. Cue Goodreads. Unfortunately the pic turned out crummy so I will include a picture I used for one of my past reviews:


Gorgeous.

Day Seventeen - Favourite Bookstore


Another admission: I really didn't want to use a chain store for this prompt. I think there's something to be said about local, indie bookstores. However. I have no idea where good indie stores are around St. Catharines (give me a bit of a break...only been here a few months and lack the funds to buy books from these indie stores, or any other stores for that matter). I ended up deciding on a picture of the store front of the Coles I worked at for a summer six years ago and again two summers ago. Not only did I work at this store but this was also the bookstore I frequented when I was young, no doubt begging my mom to buy me some books. I remember having my own money and getting gift cards for my birthday and choosing out my own books at this store. I've worked at two other Coles stores since I started at this one but this will always be the first!

Day Eighteen - Book Club


My, this post is full of revelations. Here's another: I don't actually belong to a book club. I went to one meet up when I first moved here but the club is on hiatus for the summer so I don't feel like I officially belong to it yet. I was stumped for what to do for this prompt until I remembered the reading challenge my local library is holding this summer. The deal is to read at least five books over the summer and there will be a draw for a winner at the end. I figure I'm going to be reading anyway so I may as well share the titles with fellow library goers. 

Day Nineteen - Reading Glasses


I don't have reading glasses. I imagine I will once I'm older but I'm only 25 so I don't see that happening any time soon. I decided to have some fun with this one and set up my stuffed giraffe Darwin with my glasses (that I need for distance) and the book What the Dog Saw. As my boyfriend put it, I'm sure he'd rather be reading What the Giraffe Saw.

Day Twenty - Book Pusher


You've got a pusher friend. It may not be for books but could be for movies or food or video games. They're those people who you always go to for advice and they will happily chat about the subject in question for hours...even after you've stopped listening. No surprises here, I'm the book pusher among my friends and family. I'm always the one people come to for suggestions and I'm a lending library to my mom, sister, and close friends (I'm a bit anal when it comes to my books so I don't like lending my books to just anyone! Yes. I know that's kind of odd.). In this photo you'll see a list of books I'm suggesting to my sister (it's a work in progress...been working on it for a few months and she keeps bugging me for it) and my old Coles name tag. I included that because that's where I honed my book recommending skills. It takes a special kind of person to recommend something to a guy who comes in looking for a book for his girlfriend and has no clue what she really likes. Yes, that actually happens. Often. :)

(PS this photo got put into the daily compilation on Book Riot! That's two so far!)

Day Twenty One - Books in the Wild


Another opportunity to have some fun! I wasn't sure what the idea was for this one. Did "books in the wild" mean seeing people reading out in public? Or did it mean books that were surrounded by the jungle? I decided to go more towards the latter and put a book into my garden (ok, since we're being honest in this post, the boyfriend is the one who takes care of the garden). I thought it was fitting that I picked Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. It's obviously confused since it's sitting in a summer garden! :)

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my recap! We've got another week and a couple days left so stay tuned after the end of the month when I'll recap the rest of the month!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest Post: Maggie Greene

Today's my second stop for the ABG Reads tour for Nursing Second Chances. In case you missed it, you can check out my review of the book here. Author Maggie Greene has stopped by to tell us a little more about Charles, the love interest in the story. Make sure you pay close attention to the giveaway mentioned at the end of the guest post!

Inspiration for my Hero
Thanks so much for hosting me today! I talked early this week about the inspiration for my heroine, Kiersten, so I thought it was only fair to give Charles a shot.To me, Charles is the perfect man for a sweet romance. He packed up and moved to the small town of Honey Creek as a way to connect with his son. While there, he changes his focus entirely from the corporations he used to work for to making sure that his family stays put together. 
More than that, he’s the kind of guy who goes out of his way to help others. He’s a volunteer fire fighter (swoon) and is always looking for ways to give back.
In case you’re thinking that he is a little soft, he also knows exactly what he wants. When he decides that he wants Kiersten, he’ll stop at nothing to win a date with her. What do you think makes a great hero?
Alright, time for the fun part. I’m having a large giveaway as part of my blog tour. Comments on each of the stops will count as an entry in the contest. Winners will be drawn on August 1 and will receive a gift basket from me complete with some book swag, bath products, and honey. For more details (and chances to enter), you can visit my blog (http://www.authormaggiegreene.com). Please make sure you leave an email address.

About the author:
Maggie Greene has often been described as having an overactive imagination. She’s not convinced this is true, but does seem to spend a lot of her time daydreaming up ways to make her characters fall in love. When she’s not buried in a pile of books or typing away on her computer, she’s living out her very own happily-ever-after with a very patient husband and a demanding cat.Maggie loves to hear from readers. You can contact her at authormaggiegreene@gmail.com or on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorMaggieGreene). 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blog Tour: Nursing Second Chances


Welcome to a stop on the ABG Reads Nursing Second Chances blog tour! This novel by Maggie Greene was a quick and sweet read and I enjoyed the time I spent reading it.

Here's the synopsis:
Kiersten Hart left Honey Creek the minute she graduated high school and never looked back. When her sister Jeanine is widowed and left to raise two children alone, Kiersten moves back on a temporary basis. When Charles steps in and sweeps her off her feet, she has to decide if the wounds from her childhood can be mended.
After his wife died, Charles Webber swore he’d never love anyone again. He buried himself in his work and didn’t look up until he found out his son was sick. Moving to Honey Creek was supposed to make things easier. Kiersten does little to help keep things simple. Though he is taken with her, he soon realizes the casual relationship they agreed on is turning serious. As their expiration date approaches, Charles must decide if Kiersten is worth the risk.

I think I read this book at the perfect time. I had just finished an excellent but enormous book (an almost 600 page very descriptive, historical/magical novel) and needed something cute. Nursing Second Chances definitely delivered.

I didn't realize how short the book was (90-ish pages) as I was reading it on my Kobo and didn't really pay attention to the page count. I wish I had because that coloured my opinion for a little while. I thought things were moving crazy fast but it was just the nature of the, well, let's call it a novella. Once I got that straightened out, I liked the way the plot was moving a little bit more.

I was rooting for Charles the entire story. He seemed like such a great guy and a good father. I kept waiting for Kiersten to realize what she was potentially throwing away and this kept me engaged in the story.

I have to admit that Kiersten did drive me a little crazy while she was sorting through her issues. As much as I could understand what she was dealing with, I also agreed with Charles and her sister. She needed to let go and move on. I was happy that this book was as much about Kiersten's journey personally as it was about the romance.

Overall, I'd recommend Nursing Second Chances by Maggie Greene. It was cute, sweet, and romantic. It's a quick read and great for a Saturday at the beach or pool!

Make sure you check back tomorrow when Greene stops by to tell us a little bit about Charles and a giveaway she's holding. And trust me, you'll want to enter!

Happy reading :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July Chick Lit Challenge Read #1: The Wedding Beat


What better time to read about weddings than the summer? I decided to read The Wedding Beat by Devan Sipher for my July Chick Lit Plus Challenge read. I had heard great things about this book and I'm so glad I got the chance to read it! Also, as a fun aside, this was one of the first books I got from my new library - three cheers for public libraries! :)

Here's the synopsis for this book:
Sometimes the best man isn't even in the wedding party...
Gavin Greene is a hopeless romantic. He's also a professional one: he writes the wedding column for a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, covering spectacular parties from coast to coast. But there's a thin line between being a hotshot reporter on assignment...and being a single guy alone on a Saturday night at someone else's wedding.
Everything changes on New Year's when Gavin meets Melinda, a travel writer with enchanting dimples. A moonlit stroll across a Manhattan rooftop seals the deal. Until an Aussie with attitude swoops in and whisks her away before Gavin gets her number.
Gavin crisscrosses New York City to find her again. And he learns that there's something worse than losing the woman of his dreams: Having to write an article about her wedding.
What interested me most about reading this book was finding out what it was like to read a chick lit-esque novel that was narrated by a male. Turns out it was pretty neat! I think Sipher is a little bit of a romantic, though I knew he wrote the Vows column for The New York Times so it shouldn't have been that surprising! It was fun to see a guy pine over and then obsessively search for a woman he met briefly at a party. Turns out guys can act just as nutty as females when it comes to dating :)

I think I wanted this book to be a little bit longer. It was just under 300 pages and I think I needed just a bit more. I believe part of that desire comes from the fact that I wanted the ending to be written a little bit differently. Don't get me wrong, I like how it all turned out for Gavin but it left me wanting more, and not in a good way. It was sort of "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy has to write about girl's upcoming wedding, are boy and girl going to get together?, question answered, and done. There was no explanation as to how the question was answered. I feel like I was left to make too many assumptions and that was a bit unfortunate.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Wedding Beat. I think Devan Sipher did an awesome job of creating a story that gave me just enough romance and amusement. I definitely recommend this one, especially for a summer read. What better time to read about weddings than the summer?

Have you read this one? What did you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

daily book pic - week two recap

Week two of the bookish photoaday is complete! Since I don't feel like explaining (again) what this is all about, please check out my week one recap to learn more - and see all the pictures from that week!

Here we go...

Day Eight - Book Fetish


I've had this library card kit for ages and I've never actually used it. I keep thinking about it and then I realized that if I lent a book to a non-booknerd I would be made fun of and/or have to explain myself. I'm sure those non-booknerds just wouldn't get it but I enjoy having this on my bookshelf (where it normally lives - not on the footstool in my living room where I placed it for this photo!)

Day Nine - Not a Book


This girl and a book statue is placed in the lobby of my public library. There's a neat water feature/fountain type thing behind her that really adds to the scene. 

Day Ten - Page Count


For this picture I learned that it is awfully difficult to take a picture of the page count on my Kobo! If you can't read it, I was on page 94 of 592 of Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I'm on page 213 now but I am *only* 35% read. Man, this book is HUGE - but oh so good.

Day Eleven - New Release 


I had to sneak into a bookstore to take this one as I do not yet have The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner. I reallllly want to read it and can't wait until it is on my shelf!

Day Twelve - Keep Meaning to Read


I have had The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern on my bookshelf for way too long. I actually won this signed copy through a Twitter contest held by Random House Canada. How cool is that? I've heard so many amazing things about this one so I need to read it soon.

Day Thirteen - Library Card


Yes, I have four library cards. Midland is where I grew up (and I actually worked at this library all through high school). I went to school in Waterloo so this card wasn't as well used since I didn't have a lot of time for reading for fun. Barrie was my next card and I only lived there for about a year and a half. I just recently got a card in St. Catharines (almost three weeks ago now) and I've already been a few times. I always like checking out a new library and I find that I always compare it to the Midland Public Library. It's definitely not the best in size (because it's the smallest. Midland has almost 17,000 people where Barrie, Waterloo, and St. Catharines have over 100,000) but I love the building itself. It used to be the old post office and it now has a snazzy new addition. Long story short - I love libraries and I think everyone else should too. :)

Day Fourteen - Picture Book


This was another sneaking into the bookstore shot. I have a few picture books back at my mom's house but none in St. Catharines. Since this was a covert mission I made my way to the kids section and the first book that popped into my head was The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggsby Phoebe Gilman. I don't know if I loved this book as a kid because I thought it was awesome or because my mom did. She's a huge pig fan so it must have been great to read a book about little stuffed pigs to her daughters!

And there we have it. Week two is complete! Are any of you participating? I'm having a lot of fun with it. It's also awesome to see what others are posting and seeing the compilation posts over on Book Riot. Oh, fun side note - my breakfast picture from last week made it into that day's compilation! So cool!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Boyfriends


Top Ten Tuesday is weekly meme created by the lovely folks at The Broke and the Bookish. They created it because they're "particularly fond of lists" and since I also enjoy lists, I've decided to participate in this fun feature. 

This week's list is a freebie so I decided to come up with my ten book boyfriends. Unfamiliar with the term "book boyfriend"? It's exactly what you think it is - fictional characters that I have a crush on. I'm not crazy, promise. There's actually been a "fictional crush" top ten a couple of years ago and you can still see that post here. I find it a little bit surprising that a lot of the guys on this list are from YA novels. I'm definitely not in YA territory any more (at least when it comes to the genre as, at 25, I'm technically a young adult...at least...I think I still am...am I supposed to be a real adult now? Yikes.) Also, there seem to be a lot of characters who have been portrayed on the big screen...which is kind of odd, don't you think? I definitely didn't do that on purpose! Don't forget to check out their blog for a full list of everyone participating and to read Jana's Top Ten OCD Bookish Habits - hilarious!

Here we go...

1. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. I feel like this speaks for itself. It also doesn't hurt that Darcy has been portrayed on the big screen by some very yummy actors. Dark, broody, dripping wet...sorry...got distracted... :) Oh, and that proposal scene in the 2005 version? "If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you." Sa-woon.

Elliot Cowan (2008) and Matthew Macfadyen (2005)

2. Marcus from the Jessica Darling series. I think Marcus was my first bad boy literary crush. Jessica was such a...well...if you didn't know her you'd call her a goody goody so it's hard to picture her with Marcus. Over the course of the series we get to see both Marcus and Jessica evolve, change, and grow which is one of the reasons I loved this series.

3. Dex from This Lullaby. I have to admit that it's been ages since I read this book and I can't remember specifics about Dex but I remember loving him so that's just going to have to be enough :)

4. Ron from the Harry Potter series. Who doesn't love Harry's ginger haired friend? I always thought he'd be so much fun to hang out with. Hermione is one lucky gal.

5. Jacob from the Twilight series. Don't judge. Those of you who have read this series are either Team Jacob or Team Edward, don't try to lie :) I always thought that Edward was too controlling and that was frustrating to me. Jacob was more laid back. Plus, the getting really tall and built when he becomes a werewolf doesn't hurt either. Sparkling vampires don't do anything for me!

6. Ethan from Something Borrowedand Something Blue. Again, it's been ages since I've read these books but he always seemed like the best guy to hook up with in this series. Add in the fact that he was played by John Krasinski in the recent movie and I'm completely sold. 

7. Peeta from the Hunger Games series. Yes, I was totally Team Peeta when I was reading Suzanne Collins' series. Gale was alright and all but he was too hot headed and angry for me. Peeta was a little...well, sweeter (as sweet as you can be when you're literally fighting to the death) and I liked that.


8. Forrest from  Go Small or Go Home. Forrest is an extremely attractive hockey player. I don't think any further explanation is needed - particularly to my Canadian readers.

9. Noah from The Notebook. Ok, I admit, this one probably has a lot to do with Ryan Gosling playing Noah in the 2004 movie. Noah was one of Sparks' heroes who was sweet but rough around the edges. He wrote Allie a letter every day for a year. Um. Sold. (PS I have no idea if that's actually in the book...I read the novel almost 10 years ago)

10. Jack from Bed of Roses. It was tough to pick one guy from the Bride Quartet series but Jack stood out for me because he was one of the guys who worked with his hands. I don't know why that made such a difference to me but it did. He was more take charge than, say, Carter (from Vision In White) but wasn't as controlling and protective as Delaney (Savor the Moment) or as hotheaded as Malcolm (Happy Ever After). Jack isn't the only Nora Roberts hero who works on houses - I love all the brothers in the Inn Boonsboro trilogy too!

And there you have it - ten male characters who I would love to date in real life. But, they're fictional so the boyfriend doesn't have anything to worry about! :)

Who would you choose as your literary crush? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy reading :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

daily book pic - week one recap

I'm sure most of you have read of the photoaday things that people are doing these days - taking a particular photo (self portrait, sunset, pet, etc.) every day for a month. Cassandra Neace from Book Riot has decided to put a bookish spin on things and there are a ton of book worms (including myself) who have jumped at the chance to participate. If you want to get involved or just want to see the full list of photo prompts check out the original article here.

It's now the end of week one so I thought I'd share my pics from the week. I'm having a bit of photo envy as it seems many other people have artistic photos and mine now seem lacking. Perhaps I'll be a bit more creative as the month goes on :)

Day One - Favourite Reading Spot


I was already a few days behind when I decided to start this project and when I got around to taking the first two pictures it was approaching darkness. Why does this matter? It means that I wasn't able to get a good picture of me reading outside which is my favourite place to read in the summer. Reading on the couch (which you see here) comes in at a comfy second.

Though...now that I'm writing this I realize that my all time favourite spot was here:


This was on a cruise to the Bahamas in February. Not bad, eh? Sigh. Can I go back there?

Day Two - Current Read


I'm not one to normally read more than one book at once but because All Roads Lead to Austen (amazing, by the way) is a non-fiction, and I take much longer to read non-fiction books, I decided to start a fiction book as well, The Wedding Beat (also very good). I've since finished them both and recommend them! 

Day Three - Book Browsing


I've just recently made it to my new local library. I've been living in this city for just about four months and it wasn't until last week that I got around to getting a library card - shocking, I know! This photo was taken on my second visit. They have a fantastic seven day borrowing section full of new books so I knew to make a beeline for it as soon as I got there the other day. I ended up picking up Point, Click, Love (the one on the top shelf on the far right) and am excited to read it!

Day Four - Bookshelf


This picture shows the top two shelves on my bookshelf at my house here. I say that because I have another bookshelf back at my mom's house that is still full of books that I've already read. Yes, you are interpreting that correctly - I haven't read any of the books in the photo. And in the interest of full disclosure, those shelves are now a bit fuller (as well as the two shelves below it...) as I had other books to add. I know, I know...I have a problem :)

Day Five - Bookmark


As soon as I saw this prompt I knew exactly which bookmark I planned on taking a photo of. The one shown here is from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My best friend was down there last summer and picked one up for me. Why is this such an interesting thing? Because Flyleaf Books is Sarah Dessen's favourite local indie bookstore. I repeat, why is this such an interesting thing? Because Sarah Dessen is our favourite author. My friend thought I'd get a kick out of the bookmark and I did. Little did we know that that September we would get the chance to meet Dessen when she came to Toronto! I had her sign some of my books and this bookmark, which led to a discussion between her and my friend about when she was at the store. It turns out that the owner saw Dessen in another store shortly after my friend was there and the woman told Dessen that there had been a family from Canada who visited the store and the daughter was a huge fan of hers. And she remembered that! We thought it was the greatest thing. (And yes, that's a snitch pin. Got it when I went to Universal in February.)

Day Six - Book and Beverage


It has been an incredibly hot summer so far and, while I'm a new beer drinking, I equate hot weather with drinking beer. Therefore, day six led me to a Coors Light Iced Tea and looking at my next read (The Singles) and a book that arrived in the mail that day A Girl Like You). It was a good, but HOT, evening!

Day Seven - Book and Breakfast


This is what I normally have for breakfast. The Shreddies, not the book, of course. Juice and cereal at home and tea taken in a travel mug to work. Since I had actually gone out for breakfast the morning of day seven, I couldn't take a true breakfast photo. Well...I suppose I could have brought a book with me to the restaurant but I never would have heard the end of it from my boyfriend's ball team who we went out with. :) PS Have you heard of Seen Reading? I recommend you check out the website!

So, there you have it. Week one is complete! Stay tuned on (hopefully) Saturday when I will be recapping week two. Think about joining in - it's been a lot of fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Books Etc. is now on Facebook!



BIG NEWS!

I have finally gotten around to creating a Facebook page for my blog. Yay! Won't you be so kind as to pop on over and like Books Etc. on Facebook? Just click HERE and like away.

Thank you!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

O Canada!


Happy Canada Day to all my lovely Canadian readers!

In honour of our country's birth I've decided to do a (very) little round up of some Canadian authors because, as Indigo puts it on their Pinterest board, the world needs more Canada.

Whenever anyone asks me about Canadian literature my first answer is always Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I adore Anne. In fact, I even had an Anne doll when I was growing up...and a picture...and bookmark...and little ceramic container with her straw hat as the lid...and...well, the list could go on and on. If I remember correctly, there was one summer when I was in my very early teens when I decided to read every single Anne book in one summer (that's 8 books in all, by the by). What can I say? The little red headed orphan grabbed me and I loved reading about her. I've seen the movie with Megan Follows numerous times and I've even seen a play. Sadly, I have yet to get to Prince Edward Island to see Green Gables but it's on my unofficial bucket list.

A more current Canadian author I'm absolutely in love with is Catherine McKenzie. She's written three novels so far - Spin, Arranged, and Forgotten (links lead to my reviews). Her books don't necessarily take place in Canada but the fact that she's from this great country (Montreal, to be precise) is pretty fantastic. Her books are now released in the US as well so American readers can now enjoy the awesomeness that are McKenzie's novels.

Through my blogging and challenge participation I've come across two fabulous Canadian chick lit authors - Kathleen Kole and Heather Wardell. My favourite of Kole's is definitely her latest - Favorable Conditions (review is here) and I haven't read a Wardell novel that I haven't liked. I am eagerly awaiting what both wonderful ladies come up with next.

There are so many other Canadian authors out there but I admit that I have not read nearly enough Canadian literature. Perhaps I'll make it a Canada Day Resolution to read more novels by authors from this great country. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Canada Day (or Sunday for those of you who aren't celebrating this particular holiday) filled with reading, sun, and fireworks.