2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge

Tina has read 2 books toward her goal of 40 books.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

REVIEW for VIGILANTE by Kady Cross

Thank you to Harlequin Teen for giving me an electronic advance reading copy of this book.

TITLE:                    Vigilante

AUTHOR:               Kady Cross

GENRE:                  YA

RATING:                5 STARS

Okay, this book is terrific! but it only works if you can suspend your disbelief.

While this book is not a fantasy, I have to be honest and say that, in the *real* world this story would simply not stand up.  Having said that, however, the story was entertaining, at times sad and always, always a treat to read.

Magda is at the center of this storyline, but she rarely makes an appearance as the story is set after her death.  What propelled her death is what makes this such a compelling read and while the author sometimes goes "way out there", her take on rape and the rape mentality, especially from young men (and their parents it seems) is spot on and deserves to be pointed out.

At times, this book makes me teary eyed, but for most of it, I find myself voting and encouraging Harley with her crazy revenge scheme.  There are some seriously terrifying moments here when she gets the "heck" kicked out of her by the guys she is trying to get revenge on -and I love, love the message of female empowering throughout - there are not victims here.

The writing style is perfect, just down to earth and no flowery prose that goes on forever.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Sterline Stainless Steel Non-Slip Mixing Bowls with Lids, 4 Piece Set Includes .75 Qt., 1.5 Qt., 3 Qt. & 5 Qt REVIEW


One of the perks of having a blog is that sometimes you come across something that you love and want to share it with the people who read your blog!

I rarely do this, as you know that I mainly review books, but I discovered these bowls, in my quest to stock my pathetically stocked (tool wise) kitchen.

First off, they are all made of sturdy stainless steel with rubber on the bottom so they don't "slip or fall off" - (great touch!). 

Second, they are of various sizes (some even have the cooking measurements inside) (i.e. cup, etc. and all of them have lids that fit snuggly on.  I am in love with the smaller size, which is perfect for diced onions and is the bowl that I have used the most to date.

The lid, for me, was the least important thing as they did not look as though they would fit well on the bowls, but they actually do!  Easy to pop on and off, yet remarkably effective.

This is a great quality set of bowls and full worth the price of $29.99 on Amazon.ca.

Below is the product description from Amazon.ca.

Professional Cooking Supplies in Your Home!
Mix up your favorite dishes inside using this wonderful set of stainless steel mixing bowls. They come in a variety of sizes, perfect for your everyday needs. Use them to mix up salads, mix cake ingredients, wash fruit, whisk eggs, and so much more. Also, if you have any left-overs, place on a lid and you’re good to put it in the fridge! These high-quality kitchen tools are made from durable materials so you’ll have them for years to come.
What’s Included
4 non-slip, stainless steel mixing bowls:
                .75-Quart Bowl
                1.5-Quart Bowl
                3-Quart Bowl
                5-Quart Bowl
4 Lids
Our Promise Sterline is dedicated to 100% customer satisfaction. We offer a 2 year warranty on all our products.


Review for BONE BOX by Faye Kellerman


TITLE:                         BONE BOX

AUTHOR:                   Faye Kellerman

GENRE:                      Mystery

RATING:                    4 Stars

Once again Kellerman brings us another whodunit involving Decker and (thankfully back) Harvard.

Can I tell you how much I love the Peter Decker/Tyler(Harvard) team - they make the entire book for me. Its interesting to note how Kellerman is setting up Tyler as the "relief" for Decker and I love their almost father and son moments.

In this one, we even get to see Donnetti, Marge and Scott Oliver - all welcome additions, if only way too brief.

The story itself is interesting and had me guessing til the end. In true Kellerman fashion she molds a fairly interesting murder case and throws in lots and lots of "possible" suspects. I have always said that when I read her books, I need to be ultra focused because there are so many people coming in and out of the story at any given time.

Again, as per Kellerman's style, she writes smart stories, where Decker uses his brain rather than car chases to propel the solving of the mystery forward.

The writing is, as always, great - the author writes as though these characters are her friends (and ours) and it is always a joy to read her stuff.

But, for me......this story is about Decker and Harvard and even if there were no mysteries to solve, I would still read the books. The relationship is wonderful and Kellerman is at her best when she writes dialogue between these two.

UGHH! Again with Rina though. I have written about this so many times, but I wish she would go. She drags down the story because it feels as though Kellerman has to "make room" for this character in her stories and in doing so, she stops the momentum - all Rina does is get compliments, cooks and tags along with her policeman husband as he tracks down suspects in various cities. RINA DOES NOTHING for the story and I just wish she was written out completely. I know this will probably never happen, but I can always hope. Basically, when she has dialogue, I just skip over it.

Just once, I wish someone would call out Decker on this "hey Peter, do you think its professional to bring your wife on your investigations"....

So, in short - more Decker and Harvard and yes, more Donetti and NO MORE RINA please.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

REVIEW for Just Like You Said It Would Be by C.K. Kelly Martin

TITLE:               Just Like You Said It Would Be

AUTHOR:        C.K. Kelly Martin

GENRE:           YA


The powerful first chapter captured me and made me want to read more. The emotions Amira feels are so well written that it brought me right back to the moments in my life where I felt that sad, scared and lonely and missing "the guy".

Amira is a strong and smart character who forges ahead, despite not quite knowing what is happening around her at times, especially when she feels as though she is losing herself to "the guy".

"The Guy" - Darragh - I absolutely felt no connection with him at all. For me, he worked better as a part of Amira's imagination (as in chapter 1) and I way preferred the story when he wasn't a physical part of it. He worked best as a emotional memory for me, as I echo Amira's comment at one point where she accusing him of being a player. There are many ways you can be a player and to me, Darragh was ONE.

I did like the backstory of Jocelyn very much and would have loved even more of Amira and Joss. I like strong bonds of friendship in my YA.

The writing is just perfectly detailed and the writing when describing any level of emotion is excellent.

Although I did not like one of the major characters in the story, I still managed to fall in love with the story.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

REVIEW for HOPEFUL HEALING by Mackenzie Phillips

TITLE:           Hopeful Healing

AUTHOR:     Mackenzie Phillips

GENRE:         Self Help

RATING:        5 Stars

I read almost everything on addiction and recovery and to be honest, I never thought that Mackenzie Phillips would survive to write this book.

Hopeful Healing is a calming, soothing, loving testament to the power of recovery.

This book is not very large (about 200 pages) but I loved the tone and the embrace in which Phillips wrote this. 

Mostly essays, sprinkled with Phillips own experiences, although she does not go into much detail, preferring to focus on her mindset as she describes her hell into addiction.  She also describes her mindset and feelings about recovery and how she admits it wasn't easy at all.

She now works as an Addiction Counsellor and writes about the more practical aspect of rehab and how to choose one.

The strength is this book is obvious - Phillips comes at this from a very deep and personal connection to her own demons, but what I love most is that her writing is about loving yourself, forgiving yourself and finding hope that you can recover.

This book is like a warm hug.

Monday, January 2, 2017

REVIEW for My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

A special thank you to the publisher for sending me an electronic copy of this book.

TITLE:             My (not so) Perfect Life

AUTHOR:        Sophie Kinsella

GENRE:            Chick Lit

RATING:          2 STARS

If I had to use one word to review this is would be "meh".

Kinsella has written a cute, perfectly harmless chick lit novel.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE chick lit, but this one has no bite, its basically a cutesy story that is completely improbable with a main character that I will forget tomorrow.

I think what bothers me the most in this novel is the fact that the main character is so, for the most part, whiny and ineffective.  I thought we had FINALLY come away from writing female characters with no backbone - I guess not.

Also, the "by chance" events that happen in this story, in order to propel the story forward are just too convenient and pat and absolutely would not happen in "real life".

I do like the way Kinsella writes though - down to earth, not too much detail to bog the story down.  I just wish she could figure out how to make her main characters strong AND fun at the same time.

Friday, December 23, 2016

MY SECRET SANTA from The Broke and the Bookish and Cookie Exchange at the Office

This year, for the first time, I decided to participate in an online (book related) Secret Santa Exchange. 

hosted and organized the entire process - so a huge thank you!!!!     Visit here

I love absolutely everything I received, which is pictured here:

3 amazing books, two ornaments with tea, gingerbread cookies, Christmas towel and candle

Soy candle - literary themed - Edgar Allan Poe

Soy candle - sandlewood Paddywax
My secret santa, @FleurDeMar was spot on with all these beautiful gifts.  Thank you!

We also had a cookie exchange at work - can I tell you how beautiful the table looked?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

REVIEW for Bridget Jones's Baby The Diaries

TITLE:           Bridget Jones`s Baby The Diaries

AUTHOR:      Helen Fielding

GENRE:         Fiction


I have been a Bridget Jones fan from the very first sentence, right through all the books and the movies. However, I had felt let down by the last book and despaired that the things I loved about the Bridget character were lost.

Fielding redeemed herself here - Bridget Jone's Baby the Diaries finds exactly the same funny, adorable and quirky tone that the first 2 books had. Full of funny thoughts and emotions, reading this book made me happy to find Bridget again.

If you loved the first 2 books, then you need to buy this one. BRIDGET IS BACK

Friday, October 14, 2016

REVIEW for How To Keep Rolling After A Fall by Karole Cozzo

TITLE:            How to Keep Rolling After A Fall

AUTHOR:      Karole Cozzo

GENRE:          YA


What a good book!

How to Keep Rolling After a Fall (very aptly titled) is wonderful from the first page to the last (although I will admit that the author did get a tad corny with her ending - wish she would have sustained the tone from the first and middle half - but chose to go a little cheesy instead).

The two main characters ring true, the story is well told and the story reminded me that "there are no coincidences in life".

I felt for both characters here and I can't help but wish the author would have fleshed out both their back stories a little more, but this did not remove from the powerful message in this book.

Loved it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

REVIEW for When the Screaming Stops The Dark History of the Bay City Rollers

TITLE:                   When the Screaming Stops The Dark History of the Bay City Rollers

AUTHOR:              Simon Spence

GENRE:                 Biography

RATING:               3 Stars

I was a huge BCR fan in the late 70's and if I read this book as THAT young fan, I can honestly say that I am horrified at all the stuff that was going on behind my young 14 year old back!  I remember seeing the Rollers at the CNE show in Toronto on August 22, 1977 and how fascinated and enthralled I was by it all and by them.  But now, reading this book, I was obviously clueless about all the pain, all the stupidity and all the drugs and sex my "heroes" were obviously living through.  I am happy that I was so innocent about them back then (thank god there was no Internet to remove my rose colored glasses) because I can think back on that time with fondness, unlike the Rollers apparently.
Having said all that, reading this biography as an adult has brought out a variety of emotions in me.  Firstly, I guess I have to say that I cannot believe just how manipulated and used the Rollers ended up being.  I mean, these guys had the most horrific luck with the people they met- it seems every single person in their path was out to cheat them.  I never realized just how bad it truly was.  These guys made millions and saw very little of it.

However, over the years, I had heard that they had NO money at all, but this is obviously not true as they did benefit (somewhat) from their fame - trips around the world, buying properties and cars and tons and tons of drugs.  Granted, considering how popular they were, they should have been beyond rich - if they hadn't been cheated, but what money they did have - they simply let slip through their fingers, especially when they were trying to "rekindle" their dead careers (living in hotels for month on end), etc. when they clearly should not have been doing it.

For me, the saddest part of this story is definitely how they kept trying to find ways to resurrect their dead careers and nothing ever worked - I admire how dedicated they were, yet, at the same time, what else were they going to do? its not like they had any other skills.

Finally - and this is, of course, the "spoiler" parts that we had only heard bits and pieces of through the years - the drugs, the sex with each other, as well as groupies and the sexual identify.  The author does go on quite a lot about these big reveals and can I just say Tam was a friggin PIG!  You have to wonder if the Rollers discovered their sexuality on their own or because of the horrendous things Paton did to them.  What followed was a nightmare for all of them that even addiction could not help.
As for the book itself - Spence has an odd way of writing - it feels almost robotic and is not helped by the fact that none of the Rollers were willing to speak with him for this book.  So, the story is full of very well researched facts (which I have no doubt are real), but it lacks any kind of warmth.  We get to hear about the abuse, the drugs, the manipulation, but it sits there on the page strangely without emotion.  I guess that is a problem with biographies -vs- memoirs.  At least, with memoirs, you will find text such as "my thoughts at that moment were or my feelings for this event were" - there is none of this in this book.

This book is a brick (over 500 pages) and at times, it feels as though it repeats, while at other times, it feels like it doesn't go into enough detail.  There are also some crucial missing points - we go from Les being "single" to several pages later hearing mention of his wife and young son.  Really?  I would have liked to hear about Les meeting his future bride, where/how?  There is nothing.  For a biography on the band, there is strangely very little "personal" information on them. I still don't even know if Eric is married, divorced, has kids.....there are some important facts missing here.

Also, the author seems to back off, at crucial moments in the book.  He mentions SEVERAL times how "some" of the Rollers were found with Paton in bed, etc.  Yet, he never comes clean and mention names.  This is a tell all book - so alluding to situations and then chickening out at the eleventh hour is not appreciated.  Ditto, other events he "teases" about, but never seems to find the guts to fully disclose. 

The author does an amazing job of describing the music world - he is obviously very comfortable in that environment and he helped me better understand all the situations the Rollers were put in.
Finally, this book made me angry - in some ways, I felt for the Rollers, I really did and in other ways, I wanted to smack them upside the head and tell them to "get their shit together".  The Rollers were and STILL ARE their own worst enemies.  Huge egos, lack of a true understanding of their talent and limitations and a slew of other issues are preventing them STILL TODAY from putting their differences aside to capitalize on the fact that they are still loved by many and that their music is still floating around.

Its hard to feel too sorry for the Rollers in the end.
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