2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

REVIEW for Clutch

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this e book.

TITLE:               Clutch

AUTHOR;          Lisa Becker

GENRE:             Novel


I read Lisa's previous book and I loved it.  I think what makes these books so interesting to me is that Becker has a funny and yet real "take" on the dating world - how it feels to be single, yet at the same time trying to find "the one".

While there is an undertone of serious in the story, the humour is solid and really makes the story.  While Caroline and Mike view dating in completely opposite ways, its interesting to see them basically described their experiences side by side, making us see that going to extremes is not really the way to go.

I  liked both characters well enough but kept waiting for them to "see the light" and get together and that did distract me a little bit from the day to day.

Becker writes well and her stories are engaging.  I found myself nodding my head often in agreement.

At first, I could not figure out why she would title her book "Clutch" until I saw the headings of each chapter - cleverly comparing dating to a specific purse, depending on the type of dating.  Loved it.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

REVIEW for Consent

Thank you to the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster for releasing the Kindle book to me, via Edelweiss.

TITLE:            Consent

AUTHOR:       Nancy Ohlin

GENRE:           YA


I am a huge fan of memoirs and specifically, memoirs on addiction. I was thrilled when I discovered this book, purely by accident.

Author Hauer tackles a tough subject - one which many people will argue does not really exist. But I disagree with that - love addiction is real and my feeling is that everyone suffers from it (various degrees) at one point or another in our lives.

The author details her life - pretty much in and out of relationships that were, for some reason or other, not feeding her soul. It makes for captivating reading, almost like you are looking at her deepest secrets, while she struggles through them and there isn`t anything we can do to help her.

Hauer is very honest about her `shortcomings`in these relationships and its fascinating to see her slowly come to understand her patterns and her behaviours. 

This book was a bit short for me, but it does give a jolt.

Excellent read.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

LIBRARY LOOT #1 - Week of November 10, 2015

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

I don't participate in any of these weekly write ups and when I saw this on my friend Cindy's blog at cindysloveofbooks.com I thought it might be fun to join.

I don't really use libraries as a resource for any fiction because a)  I have read so many ARCs and I am so far into 2016 already with my reading, that finding anything that will catch my eye at my local library (read:  Quebec has horrible libraries)  is practically impossible.   When I do find something interesting, its usually a new release and there are like 3 copies for 30 requests.......

Unfortunately, Quebec is NOT known for having good libraries, however, I do use libraries for non fiction (which I often end up discovering on my many travels through blogs, etc) as well as DVD's and CD's.

This week, I was lucky enough to find:

Chicago PD Season Two, I have already seen this wonderful show, but I wanted to rewatch it.

San Andreas, the Next Megaquake - I am fascinated by earthquakes, so this should be both scary and entertaining.

The Gluten Lie by Alan Levinovitz - In the last year, I have become fed up and very disenchanted with how I eat and have been gravitating towards intuitive eating.  Part of this process, for me, is to better understand the crazy world of diets and of food.  This book was recommended to me.

I hope I find the time to get through all of these as they are all entertaining in their own way!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

REVIEW for My Fat Dad

TITLE:             My Fat Dad

AUTHOR:       Dawn Lerman

GENRE:          Memoir


I love reading anything related to weight and I have found that there are so many different views and ways of looking at weight that it is kind of surprising.

My Fat Dad is a throwback, for me, of how life was when I was a youngster.   I came from an Italian family and life, especially when we got together was ALWAYS around food.  In fact, it is no secret that food is a huge attention grabber for any type of occasion.  This book explores that in a sweet and kind way.

Dawn portrays this time with her family and her dad as somewhat magical, with ups and downs, but she has a lovely voice and writes lovingly about how life is more than just appearance or what you see directly in front of you.

This book made me relive some of the best parts of my childhood, memories that, for some reason, I don't access very often.

The story is gentle and sweet and I embraced this book, much like the author did when she wrote it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

REVIEW for Light of Day

Thank you to the wonderful people at Harper Teen for this copy of the book.

TITLE:                 Light of Day

AUTHOR:            Allison Van Diepen

GENRE:                YA

RATING:              4 Stars

I am a huge fan of this author's work, basically having read every book she has ever written. While I did not know this before reading it, this book follows up the first book in this series (albeit very minimally) - which was a nice touch.

Gabby is a wonderful main character. At first, I thought she was headed into the "usual" bitchy rebelling against my parents, but this was not the case. She was smart, goal oriented and a fun character. She wants a career in radio, she wants a shot at her passion. She has friends, who, in the end turn out not to be that friendly, but she also does not let things get her down - loved her.

Basically. this is the story of Gabby who finds herself in a difficult situation, while trying to save her friend(s) two of them actually. In the process, she meets X who will help her grow, but at the same time come with his own baggage.

The storyline was both horrific and unfortunately, all too realistic in today's world - which is something this author covers extremely well. The book is well crafted and the storyline moves at a quick pace (yay!). The one comment I have is that I felt as though Van Dipien caved into the "tied into a pretty bow" too much. Her earlier work WAS edgier and not quite as cute as this story.

This book was an odd mixture of topical issues faced smack on while at the same time being a little too "perfect". It made me feel a little unfulfilled at the end.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

REVIEW for The Witches

A  huge thank you to the wonderful people at Hachette Book Group Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

TITLE:           The Witches

AUTHOR:      Stacy Schiff

RATING:        5 STARS

A book on the Salem Witchcraft?  There was NO way I was NOT going to read this one.

I have been fascinated by Salem and all of its history for years.  I have spent quite a lot of time in that part of the USA,  basically exploring all things "witchcraft" and never getting tired of it. However, in the last decade, the books written on the subject were simply becoming incredibly repetitive,  to those of us who have been following the subject matter for many years.

All of this changed, one day,  a few months ago,  when I was perusing the Hachette catalogue and saw this book - with a scheduled release date of October 2015 (of course!).

I had heard good things about this author, specifically related to her previous book,  titled "Cleopatra"and so, I was excited to read  "The Witches".

Firstly, this book is huge - with over 500  pages. There is no doub, in my mind, that the author did her research and went far and wide to find every possible available piece of information  on this subject matter.  This absolutely fascinated me - I mean, Schiff found tidbits, scenarios and players that I had never heard of.  Whereas previous books simply touched  on certain events or timelines,  Schiff brought them to the forefront and gave them a life of their own, as I  sat on the sidelines - reliving this dark and scary past.  Fascinating!!!!

Let's face it, living in Salem in 1692 would have been pure hell - even without the witch trials.  I mean, women had very little to no value, religion ruled and just about everything  was not permitted.  People were forced to spend hours and hours at church, freezing or sweltering, while sitting on hard benches,  listening to the minister pontificate and go on and on about sin and the devil. Some  townspeople were vindictive and, as always, there were very specific economic/social classes.   Oh and let us not forgot the constant fear of being attacked by the Indians.   In short - hell on earth.  Schiff focuses her story quite extensively on setting up this part for her readers - effectively making me feel sorry for every person living there, at that time.  This, of course, made me view the rest of the story (and book) in a different manner.

The question, therefore, begged to be asked -  after living in such extreme prejudice and hardship,  was it such a huge leap to believe that several young girls, living in that time period, would go to this length to create havoc and  destroy lives just to get the attention (any attention) from the townspeople, the clergy and their parents?  Interestingly,  while there are various schools of thoughts on what the motives behind the Salem witch trial triggers were,  Schiff does an outstanding job of giving us "just the facts" - leaving it to her readers to come to their own conclusions as to the "why" behind these horrific events.

Additionally, the author is also very forthright in informing us that much of the transcripts and writings,  for this time period,  were either lost or destroyed and those surviving documents are often confusing and contradictory. Having said this, however, this book is amazingly unbiased and compelling.

I admit it, after I finished the book, I realized how little I actually knew about this time period, despite having read dozens of books on the subject matter. In fact, I also realize how simplistic my view of the entire thing was.  "Bored girls start something they don't know how to stop" - "people get swept up in the whole thing in tandem with judges who were power hungry" "poor innocents tortured and killed".  In truth, it was so much more involved, crazy and scary than all of that.  This book deftly uncovers the layers and layers clearly showing us that not even the central people involved in the events really understood, whether it was during or after, exactly what happened and how things went off the rails so tragically.

My only negative - At times, I felt my interest weaning because the book was just so dense, information wise, it felt overwhelming.  It could have been shorter.

However, this is, without a doubt, THE most definitive, compelling read I have ever experienced on the Salem Witch Trials.

It still drives me crazy though that nobody, to date, has come up with the absolute answer as to the why/how this whole thing started in the first place.  It is crazy that with all of our advanced methods, we still can't figure it out!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

REVIEW for Consent

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for giving me this e-book.

TITLE:                       Consent

AUTHOR:                  Nancy Ohlin

GENRE:                     YA

RATING:                   4 Stars

This book is the kind of read I sink my teeth in - social issues that are pertinent and very real.

The author, taking a timely and sensitive issue, creates fictional characters and fictional situations that are all too real and STILL manages to make me feel sorry for them.  Dane is obviously broken, but, so is Bea - its like two broken people sending out vibes and finding each other.  As a reader, you can actually see the build up and how destructive the whole relationship is, but are incapable of doing anything to stop it.

Granted, for me, the whole "music" aspect was a bit too much. The author goes on way longer than necessary with all the various musical details - which frankly, will only interest people who know music very well, but behind the music is the real story and that is the one that captivated me and kept me reading.

I am endlessly intrigued by people who attract each other and why - regardless of the heavy price they WILL have to pay eventually.  This book explores this very subject and challenges us to question what we consider normal -vs- what "is" normal and how we can so easily lose our way.

Excellent writing, honest characters that can be challenging to like and a great pace.  I loved it.

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.....
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