Saturday, November 22, 2014

The sad demise of the bookstore in Montreal

I have been meaning to write this post for some time, but things have been hectic.

In early October 2014, I made my final visit to the bookstore Chapters in Montreal.  It has been in my memory for years - that is, I have many, many found memories of visiting that bookstore when I worked in downtown Montreal.

In fact, it was my favorite bookstore in Montreal , not that we have many.  Although, I am as guilty as the next person - not shopping or visiting there as much when I got my Kindle.

One of the things I did not like about Chapters is that it is owned by Heather Reisman - she has been heralded as a whiz when it comes to making $ but I personally think she destroyed Chapters.

Reisman was also, in my view, nothing short of a dictator, basically deciding what would be sold in her stores - in fact I really started disliking her and her "style" when she took it upon herself to ban the selling of the book "Mien Kamf" - written by Adolf Hitler.  To me, this was nothing more than Reisman shoving her personal views down our throats....and many people agreed.  In fact, it caused quite a stink in Canada.

In more recent years, her decision to turn bookstores into the next high end "Target" really backfired. I mean, who wanted to buy $25.00 mugs in a bookstore????  Also, of course, the ebook also made a definite dent in the bottom line.  When you combine all of these factors, it makes sense that Chapters would crumble.

Now, sadly, we are left with yet another Reisman owned bookstore - Indigo, which can be found only a few streets from the old Chapters location (more great planning on the part of Reisman).  Unfortunately, Montreal is not known for having a bunch of independent bookstores either,  So, I am now doing my shopping on and feeding my Kindle with Net Galley and Above the Tree line.  All of which ensures that I never put more of my hard earned cash into Reisman's pockets.

I could not, however, pass up the chance to do one final visit to one of my favorite places in Montreal.

Chapters, you will be missed.

Friday, November 7, 2014

REVIEW for The Deep

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:             The Deep

AUTHOR:        Nick Cutter

GENRE:           Horror/Thriller


I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this one.  A few things drew me to this book.  Firstly, the cover - I love it.  Secondly, I am a sucker for anything (movie, TV or book) set in the bottom of the sea - mainly because it gives me the feeling of claustrophobia as well as isolation where anything is possible.

Frankly, in the Deep - anything is possible and the author does not shy away from creating, setting up and describing some very disturbing situations that made me cringe, all the while giving me the desire to keep reading.  I just could not look away.

This story felt plausible and impossible at the same time.  A plague exists and its killing people, but there is one hope - research being down way at the bottom of the deep but there is a problem and the team that was sent there is not answering.  They send in Luke, a well trained vet, who also happens to be the brother of the lead scientist who is missing (a bit of a stretch by the author) to find out what is happening.

What follows is a disturbing story that gave me the chills and creeped me out big time, mainly because of the setting and because, let's face it, a plague in this day and age is a very real possibility which just adds to the dimensions of this book.

One of the aspects I did NOT enjoy was that much of this story is told in flashback mode, which is a device I always hate - especially in book form.

Otherwise, I liked this story - it showed a lot of imagination and engaged me enough that I could not stop reading, even when I needed to stop.

A sure sign of a winner for me.


Monday, November 3, 2014

REVIEW for Yoga for Breast Care

A huge thank you goes to my Rodmell Press for sending me a copy of this wonderful book.

TITLE:         Yoga for Breast Care

AUTHOR:    Bobby Clennell

GENRE:       Health


I absolutely love the Yoga books from Rodmell Press and this book is no exception.

As woman, we face a particular challenge when it comes to breast care - worrying about healthy breasts is a full time job.

I have long believed that health and yoga go hand in hand and this is what Yoga for Breast Care focuses on. In this trade paperback sized book, I have found some easy yoga poses that are geared towards the health of my breast. The book is a combination of yoga poses and important information about breast and health.

The poses are easy to do and actually serve to relax and manage stress, which is one of the huge issues in our every day lives.

Written in a language that is easy to understand, the poses and the information are geared to help all of us feel healthier and more comfortable with our bodies.

I particularly enjoy the pose that is actually on the cover of the book. It is wonderful for the whole body, including my very achy back.

Another wonderful addition to my yoga library. Thank you Rodmell Press.

Friday, October 31, 2014

REVIEW for Famous in Love

Thank you to the people at HBG Canada for approving me for this ebook.

TITLE:                       Famous in Love

AUTHOR:                  Rebecca Serle

GENRE:                     YA


I love reading YA and this book's promise of a love triangle captured me instantly (I also love the cover).

Having said that, however, I found myself thinking that I really didn't enjoy the character of Paige at all. Although she is in a love triangle (love that its with two guys - instead of the more standard one guy and two girls scenario) I found Paige was immature in many areas, which removed some of the fun for me.

Sure, this book is supposed to be a fun beach read (I think!) but it came across, at times, as just too childish.  

This is my second attempt at reading a book by this author and both times have not been hugely successful.  Maybe I am simply not made to read Serle's books.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

REVIEW for WildLIfe

Thank you to the wonderful people at HBG Canada for allowing me to read this boook.

TITLE:             Wildlife

AUTHOR:        Fiona Wood

GENRE:           YA


Sybilla and Lou are my new favorite book characters.  They are the perfect chemistry of love, acceptance, non acceptance, questioning and friendship.  

This story incorporates these wonderful people into the day to day life (and sometimes) crisis that happen in life, especially if you are just starting to feel your way along in trial and error.

Written with a soft touch that sounds real and honest, I found myself smiling and tearing up sometimes at the same time!  I loved this book.

I love books that have deeper meaning than just what is seen on the surface and this book delivers.  The characters are deep and rich and I love that there is no perfect ending all tied up with a cute little bow.  Well, at least, in my opinion, its not the perfect ending.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

REVIEW for Beyond Crazy

The wonderful people at James Lorimer Company offered me an e-galley of this book.  Thank you!

TITLE:        Beyond Crazy

AUTHOR:   Deb Loughead



This is a very quick read - got through it in one day, however, the book was engaging and kept me reading to the last line.

Stelle feels as though her entire family and life has gone off the rails and she is basically trying to keep it all together while going to high school and setting up a band.  Her mother is depressed and may be way too attached to things, her day and stepmother are having a baby and she is trying to get her dream of a band into a reality.  

This book is sweet and touching. I love that the main character is not some wise smacking kid who hates everyone and everybody, in fact, I would love to have a child like Stelle.  She is responsible, cares about people other than herself and is dedicated to her music.

Stelle is a character that I found myself cheering for and hoping for.  I wanted to see her succeed and have an easier life and this is thanks to the author who has done a fine job of telling us and showing us just how kind she is to the people around her.

As always, I find these books way too short, but I truly enjoyed the warmth this story gave me. 

A winner.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

REVIEW for The Intern

Thank you to HarperCollins for sending me a copy of this ebook.

TITLE:             The Intern

AUTHOR:       Gabrielle Tozer

GENRE:          Novel


After a few technical glitches, which were immediately addressed by the publisher, I happily started reading this book.

Actually, I think I should say I devoured this book  - I loved it.

The lead character Josie was so much fun and so prone to attracting weird situations that I could not help but root for her.

At the core of this story is someone who has always wanted to be in the glamorous, romantic and perfect business - the magazine industry.  However, as Josie quickly finds out, there is a huge difference between the "hype" associated with this business and the actual drudgery of the day to day.

This novel was actually an eye opener which, of course, made it even more fun to read.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blog Tour for The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing

I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in C.K. Kelly Martin's blog tour by reading her newest book - The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing.

In full disclosure mode, I love, love, love all of this author's books and, over the last few years, we have become nice FB friends - having quite a few things in common.  I am hoping to meet her at some point, since she lives in Canada.  In the meantime, I am thrilled to read The Sweetest Thing You Can Sign.

TITLE:                     The Sweetest Thing You Can Sign

AUTHOR:                C.K. Kelly Martin

GENRE:                    YA


I am a huge fan of Martin's writing and I absolutely loved this book.

Let's start with the fact that Serena has body image issues - which is something that is very close to my heart.  Being overweight plays with your head and your emotions and everything else (some of it you don't even realize is being affected) and let's say that it will lead you to do things that you would never do, if you didn't feel so bad about yourself.  Oh and did I mention "things that you would not normally do if OTHER people didn't make you feel so bad about yourself".

So, I am not surprised that Serena showed some singularly poor judgment which, now is coming back to bite her in the ass.  "Watch what you ask for, you might get it" popped into my head and just would not leave throughout this entire book.

Body images are not the only thing Serena is dealing with and through all of it, her little voice keeps telling her there is better - which she finds in Gage.
What follows is a touching friendship/relationship with ups and downs - which serves to help Serena grow.

This book is touching because it deals with a young girl who is struggling on so many levels.  Having said this, however,  I have to admit that C.K. Kelly Martin's books are always deep and touching.  But I especially identified with Serena who is just trying to figure out where she fits in this life.

The writing is down to earth and sensitive and I love, love that Serena is flawed.  So often, authors try to make their characters either too perfect or horrible and Serena is neither.

Yes, there are other characters in this story, but Serena is the story for me.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

REVIEW for Bones Never Lie

Thank you to the wonderful people at Bantam Books for letting me read this book in ebook format.

TITLE:                     Bones Never Lie

AUTHOR:                Kathy Reich

GENRE:                  Thriller


I have a love/hate relationship with Kathy Reichs.  I have said this before, I find she can be hit or miss, but for some reason, I still cannot stop reading her books compulsively.  I think this has something to do with the fact that I am really attached to the characters in her books, which is testimony to how well Reichs can engross her readers into her make believe characters.

Bones Never Lie is good because Reichs has focused the bulk of the story on her characters and their various dynamics.  Sliddell is back - one of my favorites and Reichs needs to give him (and her readers) the "skinny" on this guy.  I like the relationship between him and Tempe, but I would also like this character to have more dialogue than the myriad of grunts and shoulder shrugs.


Ryan is back and figures somewhat prominently in this book.  I like that the author did not bring him back "fixed and ready to go".  Something to develop in future stories.

Tempe's mother is brought into the forefront here which gave me another view into the Tempe character.

Finally, the story itself is a bit slow - there is not a lot of suspense in this one, but that's okay, because the story itself was interesting.  No need for car chases and such.

I liked this installment - more Birdie please would be great.

Monday, September 15, 2014

REVIEW for You

Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:                You

AUTHOR:          Caroline Kepnes

GENRE:             Contemporary Fiction/Thriller


Okay, full disclosure.  What first drew me to this book was the "bookstore" aspect. Yep, I am sucker for any book set in a bookstore, although to be fair, the bookstore is simply the basis where the two main characters meet.

I haven't been reading many thrillers (if I can use this term here) for a while now because so many of them are predictable.  Well, this book is anything but predictable and actually, the first word that came to mind is creepy, but not in a horror/supernatural way - rather, in a "this could happen in real life and scares me" kind of way.

Joe Goldberg works in a bookstore and he meets Guinevere Beck.  What should have simply been a brief encounter between two random people quickly turns into an escalating game of stalking which left me feeling scared as hell.

Its amazing to me that a book like this can even be written - but it makes sense.  It has become so easy for people to "follow" other people now and this book takes this aspect of our "social media" driven life and turns it on its ear but pushing to the brink of just how scary and horrible it is to actually put your life on display for everyone to read about.

Yes, I am conscious of the irony of my last sentence, considering I am posting this review on a public blog - but this book made me think and it made me scared.  Saying this book entertained me would be wrong because this kind of deprivation can hardly be called entertaining, but it was completely compelling and an engaging and commanding read.

I hated it for being so possible and loved it for being so "true".
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