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Thursday, December 14, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield @SimonAudio #DianeSetterfield

NARRATORS: Biana Amato and Jill Tanner
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: September 12, 2006
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 15 hrs and 38 mins
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Mystery
All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.

MY REVIEW: 

Margaret Lea and her father run a bookshop. One day, a letter addressed to Margaret is left in the bookshop. It is from England’s best loved writer, Vida Winter, inviting Margaret to come to her home to meet with her and to pen her biography. The elderly writer is dying and wants to clear her conscience of her family secrets, but this is not what she says to Margaret. She tells her that she will tell her a story involving twin girls. Initially, Margaret intended to turn down the offer because she doesn’t know if she can believe what Vida tells her to be true because she’s told the public so much conflicting personal information about herself that she is a bit of an enigma. Margaret has a change of heart and tells Vida that she will agree to write the biography if she will tell her three truths that that can be verified by public records. When these all check out, Margaret agrees to write the biography but she must agree to Vida’s terms that she cannot ask any questions but to let the story unfold as she tells it.

I enjoyed the story, and I was completely blindsided by the secrets that were unraveled. Even so, I felt the book lagged a bit in spots, so I was thankful to be listening to it as opposed to reading it myself. The narrators were both wonderful: Bianca Amato as Margaret and Jill Tanner as Vida. Both narrators are new to me, and I loved the narration. Tanner’s voice sets the tone nicely for the mysterious past that is recounted. Here is a sample of the narration:



MY RATING:


3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it!

This book qualifies as:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Christmas Spirit Christmas & Scary Read-a-Thon: Wrap-up Post #truexmasspirit #CSReadathon



This is my Wrap-up Post for the 2017 Christmas Spirit Christmas & Scary Readathon!

It's been a pretty chaotic time of year for me. I'm under pressure at work to meet a filing deadline before I leave for Christmas Break next Friday, my elder daughter and I got into a car accident (the other driver was 100% at fault) and my car was written off, had to go car-shopping for a new vehicle, fight with insurance company on the value of my car, physio and chiro appointments for my daughter and I, plus my uncle died and someone very close to me betrayed me and broke my heart. It has not been a good month! At this point, I cannot focus on the words on the page right in front of my face. Audiobooks seem to be okay, and I'm still listening on my work commute but my bedtime reading is suffering. As a result, I did not finish any books for the read-a-thon. I'm still reading this one:

Wreck the Halls
by Sarah Graves
(Home Repair is Homicide, Book #5)

Thanks again to Michelle at True Xmas Spirit and Seasons of Reading for hosting!

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Judgment Road by Christine Feehan @AuthorCFeehan @BerkleyPub

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tessa @ Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.


Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

TITLE: Judgment Road
SERIES: Torpedo Ink, Book #1
AUTHOR: Christine Feehan
PUBLISHER: Berkley Books
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: January 23, 2018
FORMAT: Mass Market Paperback
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Romance, Fantasy/Paranormal
ISBN: 9780451488510
An outlaw motorcycle club sets up shop next door to Sea Haven in the dangerously sexy new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

As the enforcer of the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club, Reaper lives for riding and fighting. He's a stone-cold killer who turns his wrath on those who deserve it. Feelings are a weakness he can't afford--until a gorgeous bartender gets under his skin...

Near Sea Haven, the small town of Caspar has given Anya Rafferty a new lease on life. And she's desperate to hold on to her job at the biker bar, even if the scariest member of the club seems to have it out for her. But Reaper's imposing presence and smoldering looks just ratchet up the heat.

Anya's touch is everything Reaper doesn't want--and it brands him to the bone. But when her secrets catch up to her, Reaper will have to choose between Anya and his club--his heart and his soul.

A new Feehan series?? And it's next to Sea Haven? I wonder if the characters from Sea Haven will cross-over into this series? This reminds me that I need to finish off the Sea Haven series, and I'm definitely adding this one to my TBR.



What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017 #TopTenTuesday


This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today's list is:

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

I'm going to work backwards from my most recent 
5-star reads to the beginning of the year. Three authors made my list twice!

The Troop by Nick Cutter

The Shining by Stephen King

Beauty and the Beast adapted by Elizabeth Rudnick

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Possess by Gretchen McNeil

The Chosen by J.R. Ward
(Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #15)

The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel
(The Book of Ivy, Book #2)

Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
(Night Huntress, Book #2)

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster by Alice Cooper

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
(The Book of Ivy, Book #1)

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
(Mercy Thompson, Book #3)

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
(Night Huntress, Book #1)

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
(Oz, Book #1)

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
(Kingmaker Chronicles, Book #1)

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Unbroken: An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware


So, what are your favourite books of 2017? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

From my dusty bookshelf, and it's a good choice for the 2017 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge!

SERIES: Home Repair is Homicide, Book #5
AUTHOR: Sarah Graves
PUBLISHER: Bantam
PUBLICATION DATE: November 27, 2001
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 288 pages
GENRE: Mystery/Cozy Mystery
ISBN: 9780553802283
When Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree plans a visit to Faye Anne Carmody's house, she doesn't expect to find it covered in blood. She also doesn't expect to find Faye Anne dazed, yet alive. But she is. All looks fine, until Jake takes a trip to the butcher's shop, and finds a bunch of meat packages wrapped in brown paper in the display case. Realizing that this is unusual, Jake investigates, only to find Faye Anne's husband's, Merle, body wrapped in those little packages. Then another person is found murdered, and Jake immediately decides that it's up to her to solve the crime, instead of spending time with her family and working on rehabilitating her home. Who can get anything done during the holidays, when there's a killer on the loose?

Not only am I a first generation Canadian, but immigration is my profession. 

PUBLISHER: Caitlin Press
PUBLICATION DATE: February 7, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 216 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781987915341
Edited by Miriam Matejova, Wherever I Find Myself is a diverse collection of stories about the joys and struggles of immigrant women living in Canada. Often bringing with them the shadow of war and the guilt of leaving, the women in this new anthology expose their emotional pain but also their gratitude for being able to call Canada home. Their stories paint touching and charming portraits of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, bureaucratic hurdles, attempts to navigate unfamiliar landscapes, and a desire to be accepted despite differences in accent, skin colour, or taste in food. Together they form a mosaic of emotions and world-views that underline the immigrant condition for women.

A yellow dress with ruffles, a kind Grade 1 teacher with a surname that’s difficult to spell, cockroaches in the bathroom, the contempt of strangers, and Whitney Houston on the radio–a Filipino woman recalls her experience as a six-year-old immigrant in a ghetto in Mississauga in the 80s. Browsing through a Polish fashion magazine at a European deli, a woman sees herself in an alternative universe of what her life might have been had she never immigrated to Canada. A same-sex couple moves from Minnesota to Ontario to find refuge for their love, but first they must drive a seventeen-foot truck through a blizzard and make it through the frustrating net of Canadian bureaucracy. In search of her origins, a Jewish woman travels to her birthplace in Passau, Germany. There, among rows of European picturesque houses and foreign tombstones of a Jewish cemetery, she finds no memories, only the shadow of Hitler and the ghosts of her parents.

Through these stories of courage, aloneness, and hope, new and established writers reach out to both immigrants and those whose families long ago ceased to identify with the immigrant label. Through their struggles and, at times, endearingly critical looks at Canada, they remind us that many of our perceived divisions are nothing but artificial creations of mind and that all of us are past, current, or potential immigrants.

I am taking this nine-week course with a group of people, which features DVD Study sessions and a Participant Guide with study questions (homework!) for discussion each week. I'm looking forward to this! I've heard the book is great.

TITLE: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
PUBLISHER: Zondervan
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2, 1992
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 314 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction, Psychology, Self-Help
ISBN: 9780310585909
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: - Can I set limits and still be a loving person? - What are legitimate boundaries? - What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? - How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? - Aren't boundaries selfish? - Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter.

TITLE: Into the Wild
SERIES: Warriors, Book #1
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLISHER: Harper Trophy
PUBLICATION DATE: January 6, 2004 (first published 2003)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 288 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780061284205
For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying-- and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty . . . who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.

I'm listening to:

From my review pile.

AUTHOR: Gin Phillips
NARRATOR: Cassandra Campbell
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: July 25, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 3 mins
GENRE: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she'll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours - the entire scope of the novel - she keeps on running.

Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan's intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions - the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines - is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.

A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself - from its tender moments of grace to its savage power - Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?

I just finished:


AUTHOR: Liane Moriarty
NARRATOR: Caroline Lee
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House
PUBLICATION DATE: July 29, 2014
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 15 hrs and 56 mins
GENRE: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Coming July 29, 2014, the new novel from Liane Moriarty, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Husband's Secret.

"What a wonderful writer - smart, wise, funny." (Anne Lamott)

Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder.

In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families. And in her pitch-perfect way, she shows us the truth about what really goes on behind closed suburban doors.



What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Stacking The Shelves and Sunday Post



This meme is hosted by Tynga over at Team Tynga's Reviews, which she describes as follows:

"Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!"




Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme



The countdown is ON! Ten more work days and then I'm on Christmas Break with my kids for some much-needed down time. It won't exactly be a holiday, because I'll have to be checking my work emails on a daily basis and cannot unplug completely, but I'm going to do my best. It's been a pretty stressful time, and I just really need to take care of me for once! Right now, we're all sick with bad colds and wet coughs and I can't afford to miss any work but it's really tough on the immune system when you're working around the clock and not sleeping well to begin with.

I had to switch out my winter tires with the all seasons on my Grand Am that was written off, and I had to do it before Friday or surrender my nearly new winter tires with the vehicle. I was able to get it done, but I'm still not sure whether they will fit my new Kia Forte. My brother thinks the tire itself is probably okay but I may need to buy a different size of rim. That's the least of my worries right now! At least I have my winter tires back. I'll figure out what to do with them when I have a chance to look up the specs.

Our winter has been amazing so far. The temperatures have been pretty mild, and we're not really getting any big dumps of snow yet.





I bought one of Audible's Daily Deals this week:

Jacob T. Marley
by R. William Bennett



Recap: Last Week On The Blog



Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Settings I'd Love To Visit

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Friday Book Review: Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks

Saturday: Chapter Break November Bookish Bingo Wrap-up Post


What books have you added to your shelves this week? If you are also participating in either of these memes, please leave me the link to your blog post in the comments so that I can come and drool over all your goodies!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Chapter Break November Bookish Bingo: Wrap-up Post @juliecookies @lynnmpoppe



This is my Wrap-up Post for the monthly challenge hosted by Julie & Lynn at Chapter Break.

20/25 SQUARES COMPLETED (with the FREE space)

  1. The Shining by Stephen King (The Shining, Book #1) - Completes 6 squares: Madness, Struggle, Family, In a series, Shelf love, Audio book
  2. Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber - Completes 6 squares: Bad boy actually good, Recent release, Forgiveness, Clean shaven, Dinner/feast, Free book
  3. Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright - Completes 3 squares: Shopping, Purple on the cover, Library book
  4. An Angel for Christmas by Heather Graham - Completes 1 square: Detective
  5. Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks - Completes 1 square: Historical
  6. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - Completes 1 square: Mystery
  7. BOOK SHELFIE: See below - straightened up my younger daughter's bookshelves!


That was fun! Thanks for hosting, Julie & Lynn!

Friday, December 8, 2017

#Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks #MarthaBrooks @GroundwoodBooks #CanadianAuthor

AUTHOR: Martha Brooks
PUBLISHER: Groundwood Books
PUBLICATION DATE: July 19, 2010
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 208 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9780888998286
On the prairies of Canada during World War II, a girl and her two young siblings begin a war of their own. Stricken with tuberculosis, they are admitted to a nearby sanatorium. Teenager Marie Claire is headstrong, angry, and full of stubborn pride. In a new strange land of TB exiles she must "chase the cure," seek privacy where there is none, and witness the slow wasting decline of others. But in this moving novel about fighting a way back to normal life, it is the thing that sets back Marie Claire the most--the demise of her little brother--that also connects her with the person who will be instrumental in helping her recover.
MY REVIEW:

I chose this book because it was written by a local author and the setting is in the area where I live.

The story takes place in the early 1940s in Southern Manitoba. A 25-year-old man named Gérard, who had been living a nomadic lifestyle for the previous six years, arrives on his older brother’s doorstep. Henri takes in his younger brother, and he lives with Henri’s wife, Sylvie, and their three children: Marie-Claire (14 years), Luc (10 years), and Josée (6 years). Several months later, Gérard is diagnosed with tuberculosis. Despite having an infectious disease, he continues to live with Henri’s family because there is a waiting list at the Pembina Hills Tuberculosis Sanitorium. Eventually, a bed becomes available and Gérard goes there for treatment. The following year, all three children become ill and are sent away to the sanitorium.

This story was heartbreaking! I felt so sad for those poor children and what they had to endure. I was surprised to learn of how they treated TB way back then (such as sleeping outside in the cold air), but the writer is accurate based on my own research on the subject. I found it all rather interesting! As a mom, my heart broke for poor Sylvie. I can’t imagine being separated from my children like that.

I really enjoyed this book, and I intend to read more from this local Canadian author.


MY RATING:

4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy historical fiction.

This book qualifies as:
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