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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke @Bibliogato @AlbertWhitman

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:

SERIES: The Balloonmakers, Book #1
AUTHOR: Katherine Locke
PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman Company
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 256 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction/Time Travel
ISBN: 9780807529379
When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

This YA debut sounds very cool! I like the time-travel aspect to that location.


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, August 22, 2017

Favourite Books I Read In School #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:

Favourite Books I Read In School

Banner in the Sky
by James Ramsey Ullman
My grade six homeroom teacher read this one to the class, and I still remember it! I thought the story was so exciting, a teenage boy climbing a mountain and all the danger that goes with it! I just loved it. I really want to re-read it!



Flowers for Algernon
by Daniel Keyes
I remember reading this one in Grade 10, and I loved it so much that I bought the audiobook on Audible for a re-listen! Very thought-provoking.



The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien
My Grade 4 teacher read this one to the class, and I remember how enthralled I was by Bilbo Baggins. We also each made a book about Bilbo, and I still have my book and drawings of Bilbo tucked away in a box somewhere in storage! As much as I loved this book from childhood, I have never gone on to read the Lord of the Rings series! Yes, I know, I must remedy that!!



Watership Down
by Richard Adams
This one really wow'd me in elementary school. I just loved it!! I definitely want to re-read this one.



Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Who doesn't remember Lennie?? Another classic that I'd like to re-read.



Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
I love survival stories, and I remember how much I enjoyed this one yet how disturbing it was!



Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
I actually really enjoyed this one! I think it was so memorable because my Grade 12 ELA teacher was such a Shakespeare fanatic that he made it so interesting!



The Outsiders
by S.E. Hinton
Here's another classic that I loved and want to re-read.



The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams
Yet another classic that I loved and want to re-read!



Ethan Frome
by Edith Wharton
Yup, another classic that I loved and want to re-read.



All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque
(All Quiet on the Western Front/The Road Back/Three Comrades, Book #1)
Back in high school, I read this one but I didn't enjoy it all that much. I really disliked reading anything war-related, and my tastes have only just recently changed. I have a newfound appreciation for historical war fiction, and I'd like to re-read this one and give it another chance!



So, what are your favourite books from school? 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, August 21, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

Something from the library. I loved the first one in the series!

TITLE: Skitter
SERIES: The Hatching, Book #2
AUTHOR: Ezekiel Boone
PUBLISHER: Random House Canada
PUBLICATION DATE: May 30, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Horror, Science Fiction/Apocalyptic
ISBN: 9780345816511
Tens of millions of people around the world are dead. Half of China is a nuclear wasteland. Mysterious flesh-eating spiders are marching through Los Angeles, Oslo, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, and countless other cities. According to scientist Melanie Guyer, however, the spider situation seems to be looking up. Yet in Japan, a giant, truck-sized, glowing egg sack gives a shocking preview of what is to come, even as survivors in Los Angeles panic and break the quarantine zone. Out in the desert, survivalists Gordo and Shotgun are trying to invent a spider super weapon, but it’s not clear if it’s too late, because President Stephanie Pilgrim has been forced to enact the plan of last resort: The Spanish Protocol. America, you are on your own.


I'm listening to:

Something from my review pile.

TITLE: Here and Gone
AUTHOR: Haylen Beck
NARRATOR: Abby Crayden
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: June 20, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 9 mins
GENRE: Mystery, Thriller
Here and Gone is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother's desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.

It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she's pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they're gone than she must have done something with them...

Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

I just finished:

TITLE: Blood Vow
SERIES: Black Dagger Legacy, Book #2
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward
NARRATOR: Jim Frangione
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: December 6, 2016
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 14 hrs and 6 mins
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
New York Times best-selling author J. R. Ward returns with an all-new tale of paranormal passion in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. Among the new recruits, Axe proves to be a cunning and vicious fighter - and also a loner isolated because of personal tragedy. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, Axe takes the job, though he's unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect.

For Elise, who lost her first cousin to a grisly murder, Axe's dangerous appeal is enticing - and possibly a distraction from her grief. But as they delve deeper into her cousin's death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart.

Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary's new family, he finds himself back in the trenches again, fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear.

As Axe's past becomes known, and fate seems to be turning against Rhage, both males must reach deep - and pray that love, rather than anger, will be their lantern in the darkness.

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!

Bout of Books 20 Read-a-Thon: Starting Line @boutofbooks

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon has begun!


I'm Reading:

by Ezekiel Boone
(The Hatching, Book #2)



I'm Listening To:

by Haylen Beck


Next Up On My TBR:


The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield


The Chosen
by J.R. Ward
(Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #15)
[on my iPod]


I will post my updates on Twitter using the #boutofbooks hashtag, and then do a wrap-up post at the end of the read-a-thon on my blog.

Thanks again to Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal for hosting!

Sunday, August 20, 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



My back-to-work week was insanely busy! I can't believe that the kids only have 2.5 weeks left of summer holidays. The summer has flown by. Where are the "lazy days" of summer?? I wish I could slow time down for the next couple weeks.

As you read this, the kids and I are spending the weekend at the beach for some sun, sand, and fun! It's only about a one hour drive. My friend has a cottage out there, so I'm looking forward to the visit.




I won this autographed paperback in a giveaway hosted by the author:


Murder in the Painted Lady
by M.L. Hamilton
(Peyton Brooks' Mystery, Book #0.5)


I bought a couple of Daily Deals this week at Audible, which were $1.95 and $2.95:

Breakfast at Tiffany's
by Truman Capote


The Shark
by Mary Burton
(The Forgotten Files, Book #1)


This one is an Audible FREEBIE:

The Butterfly Effect
Jon Ronson
(Butterfly Effect, Book #1)


I spotted this at Costco this week and grabbed it (still need to catch up on the series!):

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
by John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
(Harry Potter, Book #8)


Recap: Last Week On The Blog

Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post

Friday: Audiobook Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Blood Vow by J.R. Ward


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!

Friday, August 18, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Blood Vow by J.R. Ward @JRWard1 @PRHAudio

TITLE: Blood Vow
SERIES: Black Dagger Legacy, Book #2
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward
NARRATOR: Jim Frangione
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: December 6, 2016
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 14 hrs and 6 mins
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
New York Times best-selling author J. R. Ward returns with an all-new tale of paranormal passion in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. Among the new recruits, Axe proves to be a cunning and vicious fighter - and also a loner isolated because of personal tragedy. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, Axe takes the job, though he's unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect.

For Elise, who lost her first cousin to a grisly murder, Axe's dangerous appeal is enticing - and possibly a distraction from her grief. But as they delve deeper into her cousin's death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart.

Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary's new family, he finds himself back in the trenches again, fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear.
MY REVIEW:

I’m really enjoying this spin-off of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

I said in my review for the first book in this spin-off series, Blood Kiss, that I felt misled about the author’s comment that the she wanted to feature the original BDB more prominently in the spin-off. With that book, I didn't feel that the primary focus was on the original BDB. With this second installment, the book was just as much about Axe and Elise as it was about Rhage, Mary, and Bitty.

I was very intrigued with Axe’s character from what I read about him in previous books. He’s the brooding male that doesn’t have a lot to say and keeps his emotions well hidden. I wanted to know what makes Axe tick and why he is the way that he is, and Ward delivers all that and more.

Axe has mommy issues. His mother deserted the family because she wanted to be part of the aristocracy. Nothing that Axe’s father did was ever enough for her, and he was a good man and deserved so much better. When she left, it crushed Axe’s father and he pined away for her and was never the same. Axe resented her for that and also thought less of his father for letting her get to him that way, so he grew up to become quite the opposite of his father. He never let a woman get to him, and his relationships with women were strictly about the sex and he favoured getting his rocks off in a local private sex club because he could get what he wanted with no strings.

Elise is Allishon’s cousin, the one who was beaten to death by Anslem in Blood Kiss. She is studying to be a psychologist and wants to specialize in private counselling patients with PTSD. She knows that so many of her race have been affected by the raids, and they do not have anyone they can talk to about what they’ve gone through. She also works as a Teaching Assistant at the university, and her father flips when he finds out that she is sneaking out of the house to go to school. He is worried about her safety, and he decides to hire a bodyguard. Enter Axe. Elise’s cousin, Peyton, warns Axe to stay away from Elise and not to try to bed her. Of course, when you tell someone that they can’t do something, what usually happens? That’s right, it becomes an obsession. Ward never fails to deliver the sexual chemistry, and I really enjoyed watching the relationship between Axe and Elise unfold. Towards the end of the book, I wanted to slap Elise for jumping to conclusions and shake her and make her listen, but Axe did not do any of that. I wanted to shake him and tell him to go after her and straighten things out, but that didn’t happen either! Thankfully, everything worked out in the end.

Aside from the new couple, the book focused on Bitty’s adoption by Rhage and Mary. When Bitty’s uncle, Ruhn, resurfaces and wants to be part of Bitty’s life, their whole world is turned upside down. My heart just broke for Rhage and Mary. They’ve been through so much and opened their hearts up to Bitty, and it was tough so see their pain. I’m very happy with how things were resolved and Ward put a smile on my face. I’m very intrigued with Ruhn and Saxton’s reaction to him, so I’m curious where that is going to go.

I have to mention Lassiter! I love him!! Little Bitty has him wrapped around her finger, and I love how good he is to her. When is that angel going to get his HEA?

There is something brewing between Peyton and Novo, and my guess is that the next book will be about them. Actually, I’m right! According to Goodreads, the third installment called Blood Fury will be about Novo/Peyton and Ruhn/Saxton and is expected to be published in January 2018. Woo hoo!! I can’t wait. In the meantime, as this series is supposed to be read parallel with the original BDB series in order of publication, I need to catch up to the next installment, The Chosen, which is #15 in the BDB series.

What can I say about Jim Frangione that I haven’t already? He’s a fabulous narrator, always spot on. I could listen to him all day long. Here’s a sample:



MY RATING:

4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy Paranormal Romances!

This book qualifies as:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

#Book #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper @FiHarper_Author @MillsandBoon #christmasinaugust

AUTHOR: Fiona Harper
PUBLISHER: Mills & Boon
PUBLICATION DATE: November 1, 2013
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 384 pages
GENRE: Holiday/Christmas
ISBN: 9780263910292
Family-orientated and Christmas-dinner cook extraordinaire Juliet is trying to keep it together in the wake of her marriage breakdown two Christmases ago, but the cracks are beginning to show.

Bright and vivacious Gemma was always the favourite daughter…So she has no qualms about leaving Christmas in her sister Juliet’s capable hands; and escaping the pressures of her glamorous job, and the festive madness by jetting off to somewhere warm.

When Gemma shirks responsibility once too many and announces she’s off to the Caribbean (again!); Juliet finally snaps. Gemma offers her sister the perfect solution - to swap Christmases: she’ll stay home and cook the turkey (how hard can it be?) and Juliet can fly off into the sun and have a restorative break.

In the midst of all the chaos, there’s Will, Juliet’s dishy neighbour who’s far too nice to float Gemma’s boat and may secretly harbour feelings for her sister; and Marco, the suave Italian in the villa next door, who has his own ideas about the best way to help Juliet unwind.

Will the sisters abandon caution and make this a Christmas
swap to remember?

MY REVIEW:

Things are not always what they seem, as these two sisters find out!

Juliet and Gemma are four years apart, and their relationship is a bit strained. Juliet, the older one, is now 40 years old and her world has been turned upside down with her recent divorce and now managing life as a single mom to her brood of four and working part-time. Gemma is an Assistant Director, whose world revolves around work and hobnobbing with movie stars. Juliet has always strived for a perfect Christmas, and she has detailed checklists to ensure that she doesn’t miss a thing but it exhausts her. This year, she asks Gemma for her help. In all honesty, Juliet seems a bit resentful of Gemma’s carefree life with no ties or commitments. With both of their parents gone, Juliet is the one holding the family together, visiting their Great Aunt Sylvia twice weekly who is becoming more forgetful and senile as the days go by. Juliet takes care of everyone’s needs but her own, and her time is just stretched way too thin.

Juliet has a handsome neighbor, Will, who is just a friend but it could probably be something more if one of them would just make a move!

Gemma is a bit of a spoiled brat, in my opinion! She thinks very highly of herself and feels that her time is more valuable than Juliet’s because of her demanding job. Juliet thinks that Gemma is selfish, and I don’t disagree.

Of course, Juliet doesn’t get the help from Gemma that she needs. When Gemma finally graces Juliet’s family with her presence (and presents, to ease her guilty conscience), Gemma admits that she has booked a holiday in St. Lucia at an all-inclusive resort. The sisters have a row and Juliet has a meltdown, and Gemma offers to do a switcheroo: She will host Christmas at Juliet’s home and take care of all the preparations, and Juliet can go off on a solo holiday at a tropical resort and take a much-needed break from reality. Juliet balks, but her teenage daughter convinces her to go when she tells her that the kids know that their mom is not happy and that she’s stressed out and that sometimes she takes it out on them by yelling. Juliet is horrified, yet she knows it’s true. She’s just so tired, and it’s tough raising a family on your own. She sees the good that this respite could do for her, so she agrees.

When Juliet meets an Italian man who is staying in the villa next to hers, sparks fly but it doesn’t end well. Meanwhile, there’s an attraction developing between Gemma and Will which causes a bit of guilt for both of them because of the potential relationship that Will could have with Juliet. What a mess!! This holiday tale wasn’t what I was expecting! I was hoping that Juliet would be whisked off her feet and meet the man of her dreams, but that’s not how things ended for her so that was a bit of a disappointment. The story was more about family and the relationship between the sisters and, while there were romantic partners for both of them, I felt the romances were secondary. Juliet and Gemma finally communicate about their feelings towards each other, and all that resentment that had festered for so many years begins to dissolve. I think it did the sisters good to take a walk in each other’s shoes, so to speak.

So, all in all, it does end up being a feel-good holiday story about two sisters who make amends with each other.


MY RATING:

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

This book qualifies as:
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