Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Blogger's Block

Happy holidays to all my favourite booklovers!

I hope everyone is having an amazing holiday filled with quality time with friends, family and a few good books.

I must apologize for neglecting BBTO, it is just that for the past few months I have not been feeling very inspired.

Once or twice a year I go through stages where I have a hard time really getting into books, even some that are really good. I just started This Is Where I Leave You. I am enjoying it but still getting distracted and my attention span seems better suited to surfing the net or watching a few episodes of my new favourite shows: United States of Tara, American Horror Story and Game of Thrones.

Two books that did stand out over the past few months were two very different books:

1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
One of the best bios I have ever read. Fascinating.

2. The Slap a novel by Australian author Christos Tsiolkas
It reminded me of Little Children by Tom Perrotta because it deals with dysfunctional family relationships and drama in the burbs.

Anyone have any good suggestions on books that are hard to put down? I'm going to Quebec City for a few days and it is going to be very cold! I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time reading in some lovely little coffee shops.

And is anyone planning on going to see the movie We Need to Talk About Kevin? It is coming out in January and I can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Thankful for Great Books in October

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all of my bookloving Canadian friends!

Though it was a few weeks ago now, I still feel that there is lots to be thankful for. 

We had beautiful weather for the long weekend in October; this weekend I'll be celebrating my one year wedding anniversary with the man that I love and last but not least, this month I read two fantastic books that I highly recommend:

1. This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park 
This novel is a love story set in postwar South Korea and takes place in the growing city of Seoul and the countryside of Daegu. It is a love story about a woman torn between choosing what will make her happy in life or following tradition and doing what is expected of her. Having recently spent a year in South Korea (I can't believe it was two years ago now) where I met my husband I am a bit partial to the country. I love reading about the customs and traditions which the author has captured and make this novel such a good and charming read. 

This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park
 2. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
 I LOVED this novel! I couldn't put it down. It was one of those books that you wish you had read just a little bit slower. A few people told me about it. It is the story of a young woman who grew up in foster homes and when she becomes a legal adult, she finds her way working as a florist. She uses the language of flowers to express her feelings and her arrangements become much more than just flowers to her customers. Nothing I write could do this book justice.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Does anyone have any good suggestions for more October reading? I think it is probably time for a good mystery or thriller. Something really scary!

Monday, 19 September 2011

September Reading

September has been a good month for reading. I'm happy to report that I've read some great books that are definitely worth sharing.

Here are a few of my favourite September reads:

At first I was a bit turned off by the subject of the book: the mother of a teenage boy who went on a killing spree at school writes letters to her estranged husband, trying to make sense of it all. But since the film  has been getting a lot of buzz at the Toronto International Film Festival, I decided to give it a go. It is really well written though not a happy story at all. I'm looking forward to the movie.

One of the BEST books I've read since last winter. It is a psychological thriller about a woman who has lost her memory and every day wakes up and tries to put the pieces back together with the help of a journal and a doctor. AMAZING
An interesting story about how one family copes with the pressure of a scandal. The scandal itself shows the danger technology poses to kids and it is scary how the kids in the story could be anyone's kids. 

I haven't started this psychological thriller yet, but I really enjoyed the author's previous novel Still Missing.

 So far I'm enjoying this mystery. A woman is led to believe that her son and husband have died but discovers they are alive and that her husband has a secret past - and now they are all in danger.

Now that all of the new fall books are starting to come out, I'm wondering... What's everyone reading or what's on your reading list for fall? Has anyone read anything amazing this month?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The lazy blogger reads a lot

I'm feeling a little guilty about my lack of blogging over the past few months. I wish I had a good excuse like "I was in Europe" (I did go to Ottawa for a weekend and Tobermory overnight) or "I was training for a marathon" (I've played tennis twice) but the truth is I haven't really felt like blogging. 

I've still been reading a lot, catching up with friends and just enjoying the long lazy summer days.

I've read lots of mysteries, biographies and just a little fiction. Normally I love to read fiction but I am waiting for all of the hot new Fall titles to come out.

I hear Alice Hoffman has a new novel coming out and I loved to read her when I worked at Penguin. Her new book The Dovekeepers will be published by Simon and Shuster and I hear it is good.

Here are some of my July and August reads:


This novel is about two sisters who leave Shanghai in the 1930s (the Paris of Asia at that time) for LA. I really enjoyed this novel, it was one of those sweeping sagas with a few tragic love stories, different cultures and family drama.
This novel picks up the stories of the sister's from Shanghai Girls in 1957. It is set  in LA then for reasons I won't mention goes back to a very changed Shanghai.  I really liked this novel and read the first half of the novel very quickly. I found the second part a little slower. 

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

I really admire Jaycee Lee Dugard for writing this book and sharing her story.
It is a hard to book to read and sometimes surreal/difficult to believe/comprehend that it is a true story and that someone had to go through this.

Twenty years after she lived at a homeless shelter for teens, Janice Erlbaum went back to volunteer. She formed a relationship with a very troubled young woman and rallied for her during the best and worst of times. There were a lot of surprises in this true story which was at times quite heartbreaking. My mom recommended this one. 
The title says it all, no? I started reading this book a couple of days ago and it is hard to put down. 


This is a really well written, smart thriller. It was one of my favourites in this category. While in Ottawa I stole a peek at my sister's friend Jennifer's Kindle and discovered that she has an amazing selection of mysteries. She told me about this one.

As the title suggests, this is a psychological thriller about the capture of a serial killer. It is pretty graphic so not for the faint of heart. I liked it and it was my first time reading this author and I will be downloading some of his other books now too.

You're Next by Greg Hurwitz

What have you been reading this summer?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

My Summer Reads

I've been a bad blogger this month. I've been reading a lot, but for some reason (maybe the weather) I've been neglecting BBTO.

My last couple of blogs were about the BBTO Chick Lit Challenge and it really proved to be a challenge because I just couldn't get into it. Was anyone able to stick with it?

Here are a few of the books that I've been enjoying:

I read a good novel called Maine which will appeal to most women. It is about the dynamics of a family of three generations of women who are all very different - yet similar in many ways. The family cottage in Maine is the real hub of the novel.  I found it dragged a bit towards the end, but that might have been me -
sort of a restless reader this summer. 

Sister: A Novel was recommended to me by someone who reads BBTO and should really start her own blog because she reads a crazy amount of books - very quickly.  This novel is a psychological thriller with lots of twists and turns. The novel ends very differently than I had expected it to.

I really enjoyed a bundle of books by Kevin O'Brien.
I had never read anything by this mystery/thriller author before and I was surprised in a good way. The character development was great and there were a lot of twists and turns in the plot. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out "who did it" but this author kept me guessing.

I just finished reading Still Missing. It reminded me of the novel Room. It is a novel about a woman who was kidnapped and held captive by a man who raped and tormented her. If anyone has read this book I'd be interested in hearing what you thought of the ending.

And I finally got around to reading Water for Elephants. I enjoyed it but felt slightly let down after all the hype.  The best part for me was the way the novel ended.

What has everyone else been reading? Anything good?

Monday, 13 June 2011

Chick Lit Challenge Update

It has now been a few weeks since Karen in Toronto proposed the BBTO summer chick lit reading challenge and it is proving to be a bit of a "challenge".... at least for me. 

Karen and I both recently finished Something Borrowed and neither one of us really loved it. Karen felt that the level of deceit among the three main characters (two best female frenemies and one two timing male) was ridiculous. I have to agree and say that there was nothing redeeming in this novel and that neither Karen or I are running out to buy Something Blue. The characters in the story violate the strongest type of code between girlfriends and it really left a bad taste.

Next on Karen's list is Jane Eyre. Classic chick lit and a great choice.
CityGirl is totally on top of the Chick Lit challenge. Some new reviews and suggestions are now up on her blog.

I recently started reading One Day and recognize that I'm having a bit of reader's block these days and not really enjoying much at all. I heard so many GREAT things about this book and under normal circumstances it would be my kind of novel - but nothing is really hitting the right notes with me this month. 

I confess that I strayed from the chic lit genre and read a couple of mysteries and they didn't do it for me either. A sign that it is time to spend a few days catching up on People, Star and US magazines before attempting to read any new books. This rarely  happens but when it does it is time to take a small break.

There was an interesting article in the Globe and Mail this weekend about chick lit. I liked the article because it mentions the fact that chick lit can mean a wide range of things for female readers. I like the term the literary agent in the article mentions "accessible women's fiction".

How's the chick lit challenge going for everyone else? 

Saturday, 4 June 2011

CityGirl's Summer Chick Lit Reading Challenge Lists

CityGirl in Toronto has kindly taken the time to send in her summer chick lit reading list AND her list of recommends for anyone who wants to join in the summer chick lit reading challenge. 

There are lots of books to choose from and a good representation of chick lit authors from all over the world.

A big thank you to CityGirl. I know I will definitely add a few of these to my list. 

CityGirl’s Summer Chick Lit Reading List:
I Never Fancied Him Anyway by Claudia Carroll
Be Careful What You Wish for by Alexandra Potter
When in Rome by Gemma Townley
Learning Curves by Gemma Townley
Growing up Again by Catriona McCloud
Fashionistas by Lynn Messina
Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes (possibly others too) She will get hooked!
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
Something Blue by Emily Giffin
The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham
Thin, Rich, Pretty by Beth Harbison
Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella
Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Death by Chick Lit by Lynn Harris
Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell
Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell
With Her boots On by Lisa Dow
The Flirt by Kathleen Tessaro
Tantrums and Tiaras by Linda Francis Lee

And CityGirl’s Recommends:
Do You Want To Know a Secret? by Irish author Claudia Carroll
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (This is the best Sophie Kinsella book yet - I think it reads like a movie)
The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell (Very fun and fluffy - great for the cottage)
Stuck in Downward Dog by Chantel Simmons (One of the few chick-lit books set in Toronto, so I could really picture the story unfolding in the city)
In Her Shoes – Lisa Dow (Also set in Toronto, very funny). With Her Boots On is the sequel.
Who’s that Girl by Alexandra Potter

CityGirl also suggested two books related to writing chick lit for anyone with a secret desire to write chick lit:

1. See Jane Write: A girl’s Guide to Writing Chick Lit by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs

Let the chick lit reading begin! And join in the #chicklitchat discussion on Twitter anytime!