2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 52 books.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

CELEBRATING FALL (it's not what you think)

Most people will be surprised to see a picture of bell peppers on this blog post - considering the fact that its Autumn and my pumpkin ANYTHING addiction,  which is well known (and well documented on my FB page, thanks to my friends, LOL) is in full swing.

However, I wanted to blog about how happy and proud I am of my small peppers - because these are the very first fruits/vegetables I have ever grown!  

Granted, they were grown indoors, but still - there was something soothing about looking at the buds and watching them grow a little bit each day as I watered and talked to them.  The entire experience was mesmerizing and kind of calming - I loved it.  Not sure I would have the patience for a whole outdoor garden (because - let's face it, I have ZERO patience), but I am definitely going to grow something again next year - maybe pumpkins??????  

Soooooo, Charlie Brown pumpkin patch next year :)  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

REVIEW for Big Fat Disaster

On October 2, 2015, Big Fat Disaster, by Beth Fehlbaum,  will be released in paperback in Canada and the US.

I have read this book in electronic form, but I pre-ordered the book because I wanted to have a hard copy of it to read again (and in the future). You can get a copy at:


or in the US:


Sorry, I have never mastered the art of  "html links" but you can simply copy either of these links.

In the meantime, I thought I would blog my original review.

This is an important book to read no matter your age.  

Absolutely one of the most difficult and raw books I have ever read on eating disorders to come under the word "fiction".

Colby finds a picture that will send her family and life into a downward spiral - with a family that does not know the meaning of the word selfless, this book will pull at every emotion you have - which for me, means suffering along with Colby as everybody in the world berates, laugs and totally disrespects her because she suffers from binge eating.

Suffering from the same eating disorder, I have to say that the author hit the feelings "right on" when describing the hell that a person goes through, thanks to an eating disorder. I found myself getting angry at Colby's family - how can anyone live through such horrible behavior? and I found myself yelling at Colby for not standing up for herself and not finding her voice. This aspect of the story made me mad and pissed me off.

However, the rest of the story is so true - and the writing so honest that I will be asking a few people in my life to read this book - to better understand what eating disorders are about. I am so proud that the author chose to acknowledge binge eating as being a disorder - so little has been written on this aspect of eating disorders and I want to give the author kudos.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

REVIEW for Infinite in Between

TITLE:           Infinite in Between

AUTHOR:     Carolyn Mackler

GENRE:          YA

RATING:        3 Stars

I am a fan of this author, I have read and reread her books because she does such a fine job of writing about difficult things.

I am unsure how I feel about Infinite in Between.  Firstly, I don't normally like alternate POV (although this book is not really that - its more like reading five different stories about five different people - so it was kind of a challenge for me to actually read this.

Once I engaged in the story the individual voices did not bother me very much, in fact, I can see why Mackler would use this clever writing style because, in the first part of the book, it works well.  

However, I think this is also its weakest link because towards the middle to end of the story, I found that while the author cleverly tied in some of these character threads together, for the most part, the characters basically live separate lives until the (almost) very end.  This made the story feel disconnected for me.

Also, while all the characters were interesting, I wanted to know more about each of their "life events" - unfortunately, just as you feel you are really starting to discover more about a character, the author chooses that point to switch to another voice.  

After a while, it really started to bug me.

I think my favorite character was Mia, but to be honest, I felt as though many life pieces were missing for ALL of them.

The author did leave room for a sequel - so that might answer some of the questions but.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

REVIEW for Stranded

I wish I could give this book 3.5 stars - but I don't have that option on Goodreads. That, in a nutshell, describes my feeling for this book. At times I found the story to be a 3 with some 3.5 moments.

Thank you to Simon Pulse for giving me an ebook copy.

TITLE:         Stranded

AUTHOR:    Melinda Braun

GENRE:        YA/Action/Adventure


I love, love books that feature some kind of "stranded" scenario, especially if it is us against mother nature. Unfortunately, I haven't read many of these types of books and I get that they can be a challenge to write.

Stranded is not horrible at all - unfortunately, while the story could have been compelling, I found it a bit slow and at times, highly repetitive. I also am still scratching my head, after finishing the book, because I have basically NO clue about most of the characters. There is absolutely ZERO fleshing out of the characters - very little back story and, to be honest, very little depth to them even while the story is unfolding. I would be sort of okay with this, if it meant the author took the opportunity to throw us into a frantic, scary and engrossing story of survival - but that is not the case.

Yes, I loved the fact that the action basically starts from the first paragraph and I was surprised at how quickly the bad stuff starts to happen - all promising great things to follow. Unfortunately, these do not really materialize.

The story of survival is okay and I wasn't skipping entire pages, I did read it through, but I often kept thinking - "didn't we just read something similar in the last chapter?".

Finally, the end feels a bit rushed - it could have been detailed a little more. This is an unusual comment for me, as I often feel as though authors give too many details or use them as filler - but Braun did not do that here and, for the most part, I appreciated it - except it felt as though the last part was way tooooo short on details.

So, a 3 star rating for most of the story and a 3.5 for starting the book with a bang.

Its an okay read, just not as creepy or suspenseful or scary as I would have liked.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

REVIEW for Speaking in bones

A big thank you to Simon & Schuster for granting me access to the digital copy on Netgalley.

TITLE:                 Speaking in Bones

AUTHOR:           Kathy Reichs

GENRE:              Thriller


I have read all of Kathy Reich's books and I have stated, in the past, that these are always hit or miss for me - its like unwrapping a box of chocolates, you never know exactly what you will find.

Speaking in Bones is average.  I would actually rate it 3.5 stars.  I didn't hate it, but there also wasn't much in the storyline to make me stand up and take notice.  Its a nice read.  Its not particularly exciting and by the midway point, you are pretty aware of who is doing what and why.

I was disappointed that Reichs did not take advantage of a, what I would consider, the perfect subject matter to create tension and suspense.  Instead, this book felt kind of basic, like she had to get something written so she put only about 50% of herself into writing this one, which I just don't get since the subject matter could have sprouted so much more.

I did read through it and I wasn't bored, I just wasn't involved and engaged.

I also actually thought that Reichs was considering going into another direction with the whole Ryan/Tempe relationship - unfortunately I was wrong.  As much as I like Ryan as a character, it feels as though this relationship is down (to me anyway) but apparently the author has another idea with a ploy at the eleventh hour that I thought was more manipulative than beneficial - but I guess we will have to wait and see on that one.

Overall, not a horrible read, just nothing particularly exciting either.

Monday, August 10, 2015

REVIEW for If You Leave Me, Can I come with You?

A huge thank you goes out to Claire McKinneyPR, LLC, for sending me a hard copy of this book.

TITLE:            If you Leave Me,  Can I Come with you?

AUTHOR:     Misti B.

GENRE:        Spiritual/humor


I have strayed from reading daily meditations and this book has brought me back to doing it every morning.

If you Leave Me, Can I come with you? is both endearing and empowering, some days the meditation is funny and irreverent and other days, it is more thoughtful and deep. Having said that, however, I loved getting up in the morning and thinking "I wonder what I will get today?".

This book takes difficult subjects (spirituality, growth and introspection) and turns all of it into something fun - it doesn't feel like "work" it feels deep, funny and interesting.

There are many  Al-Anon references and the book does focus mainly on co-dependency issues, but the good news (or bad!) is that everyone, in my opinion, is co-dependent of something/someone - so this book is for absolutely everyone.

Some pages/passages/sentences made me sit and pause more than others, but the book is written as a humourous tool to help us get through the day, one funny day at a time.

I recommend you buy this one and read it every morning, its a great way to start your day.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015


You might have noticed that I haven't been posting many book reviews lately and the reason is I HAVE NOTHING TO READ.

Unlike this picture, I actually don't have book hauls just waiting for me.  I usually have one or two books "in reserve" whether ebooks or actual hard copies, but for the last few weeks, I have not been able to find ANYTHING interesting to read.

I already am not a huge fan of summer for a variety of reasons (much prefer spring and fall) but one of the major reasons is because publishers seem to go into hibernation, as can easily be witnessed on NetGalley and Edelweiss where there have been so few books listed, its discouraging.

I have absolutely not problem paying for my books, which is why I have been trolling Amazon for weeks now, hoping to find a little "gem" - it hasn't happened.

Today, I plan on hitting Indigo - our local bookstore and do what I use to do in the good old days, go up and down the aisles perusing each book until I find some undiscovered read.

Wish me luck!

I hope you have some great books waiting for you :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

REVIEW for Paperweight

A huge thank you to HarperTeen for giving me the opportunity of reading this wonderful book through Edelweiss

TITLE:             Paperweight

AUTHOR:        Meg Haston

GENRE:            YA


Can I tell you how much I loved, loved this book?

Eating Disorders - two words that should not go together but they do.  In Paperweight, the author takes a hard, harsh look at loss and eating disorders.

Suffering myself from an ED, I felt so much while reading this story.  Hate, frustration, envy, fear and most of all sadness that we use our beautiful bodies so badly to express our fears and self hatred of ourselves, our lives and of the people around us.

Written with an extremely clear voice, the author makes no judgments.  She explores the harsh reality behind a disease that has been hidden for too long.

Stevie, the main character is broken - from the loss of her mother and her beloved brother, she blames herself.  She buries it deep inside and decides that she needs to kill herself - with food.

What I found so sad and at the same time engrossing was the complexity of Stevie's disease.  She thinks she has anorexia (she is proud of it) only to be diagnosed with bulimia - which just adds to her hatred - she can't even do THAT right!

I like the author's pace and our discovery, little by little of what is going on in Stevie's head as well as the other girls at the rehab.  I like Stevie's "shrink" and most of all, I find myself rooting for all of these girls/women who hate themselves.

Thank you to the author for delivering such a wonderful book on a difficult and harrowing subject matter - there needs to be so many more of thee books - it makes me feel as though I am not alone.

Monday, June 29, 2015

REVIEW for What Pretty Girls are Made Of

Thank you to Susannah @ Vpublicrelations and Theresa @ Simon&Schuster for giving me the opportunity of reading this book.

TITLE:         What Pretty Girls are Made of

AUTHOR:     Lindsay Jill Roth

GENRE:       Chick Lit /Fiction


As you may have noticed, I actually classified this in the chick lit genre and for those of you who may be upset by this, I say "get over it".  I am a huge, huge lover of chick lit and to me, the designation of chick lit is a compliment.  Unfortunately, there are too few books written in this genre now and chick lit has gotten a very bad wrap for no reason.

Having said all of that (rant over) I am thrilled that Roth chose to write a book that "dares" to go down this road.  Actually, I should rephrase that by saying "I am glad she wrote a great chick lit book".  I have read my share of horrible chick lit and I am happy to report that this one is wonderful.

This book has been compared to "The Devil Wears Prada" and while I see why they would use this comparison, I actually liked this book more than I did "Devil".  I think this is mainly because the character of Alison Kraft was more defined to me.  By that, I mean that I actually really connected with her from the first paragraph.

I thought Roth did a fantastic job of fleshing out her character - right down to the introspection that makes her want to do more, to discover more about life, once she realizes that she is not happy where she is.  This character spoke to me throughout the book - especially when she finds herself, thrilled, scared and passionate - all at the same time.

The descriptions of what it is like to live in the world of "cosmetics" with people searching to become somebody they wish they were,  made me feel as though i was right in the middle of that glamorous???? world and wow! let's hear it for a a bunch of insecure and unhappy people.

The love story was okay, but for me, this book is about Alison and the situations she finds herself in - either by design of sheer fluke.

Well written, although, at times the pace slowed a little too much for me,  I would not hesitate to recommend this book.  

REVIEW for Calling Maggie May

A huge thank you to the wonderful publisher for releasing this book for me on NetGalley.

TITLE:               Calling Maggie May

AUTHOR:          Anonymous

GENRE:              YA


I have read all of the books in this series and have found them captivating, scary and very, very intense - I love them.

However, I found this book was slow, very slow. We also don't really get a good feel for the main character - yes, I get that she feels stiffled and controlled, but the author really painted her as very one dimensional and frankly, not very bright. It took away some of the pleasure for me.

I know that these books are intense and while I found myself invested in the book, It just did not captivate me like the others have done.

Once again, though, this book touches on sensitive issues that are unfortunately all too real, the author doeas not shy away from the truth and the reality of what life can be for some people - still - it just did not quite hit the mark for me.
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