Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme (and just happens to be my favourite!) hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading and anyone can play along!

  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select two teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • Really really really try not to include any spoilers!
  • But DO include the name of the book and the author so we can all add it to our morbidly obese TBR piles!
My teaser is from a book that literally just landed on my actual door step today courtesy of Source Books (THANK YOU!) and Fed Ex.  The premise of this book is hilarious, and relates to my job in the film business in more ways than I care to even say.   

The book is Are You Going to Kill Me Now?  by Sloane Tanen and basically she is a teenager that is stranded on a desert island with 5 celebrities. My teaser, however, takes place when the main character is comparing her real experience with her pretend fantasy game she used to play with her friends.  Kind of like, "Who would you marry or bury?"  Kind of thing, except this has to do with being stranded on a desert island with 3 celebrities in 3 different huts.  The first hut is the celebrity that you would most like to hear talk but you can't say anything back.  She picked Stephen Colbert... good call.  The second hut is the person that you'd want to have listen to you but they could not talk back, and the third one is the one you get to make-out with but no conversation.  

Here's my teaser:

"I'd go with the fat girl from Hairspray because she seems nice and like she wouldn't judge me.  Plus, if she turned out to be boring, I figured she could always just sing."

For more TT's click here. 


  • Hardcover: 985 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780525951650

(Kindle Edition)

Okay, so this is not going to be much a review. The thing is, I loved Piilars of the Earth, didn't so much like the prequel, World Without End, and had no real expectations for this one.  

The beginning was phenomenal, I loved following all of the characters, Billy, Fitz, Maud, Walter, Ethel, etc.  Even the way it started drew me in.  I thought it was going to be a story following these seemingly unrelated characters and delve into their lives in a captivating way.  

That was until the war started.  


If you have an interest in the first world war and all of the minutia of the politics of the day, you will probably like it.  After about 3/4 of the way through I skimmed until I found chunks that interested me.  You know, about the people.  

I don't know about you, but to me there is not much else that feels as disappointing as taking on a tome like this and have it fall flat.  I wanted to love it.  Especially since it is the first in a trilogy!  I found the lives of the coal miners very fascinating, and the interplay among family members.  This was solely lacking in the latter half of the book. 

I know other people I know loved it, and they sited the detail in the politics was why. 

So there it is.  

RATING:  2/5

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780425234501

Firstly I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Berkley Publishing Group for sending me a copy of this book an embarrassingly long time ago.  Better late than never I always say. (cough)

Now, the first thing I will say about this book which should tell you my feelings about it is... I LITERALLY closed the cover about a minute and a half ago and RAN to my laptop because I COULD NOT WAIT to tell you HOW MUCH I FRIGGEN LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!  

You all know by now that I love historical fiction, I mean I love other genres too, but this is my favourite fo sho.  I happen to wish I lived in the medieval times.  Oh I know what your going to say, "Lisa, that time period stunk.  I mean LITERALLY stunk.  People didn't bathe, rarely had teeth, women were treated like property or dirt or both...blah blah blah."  I can't explain it, maybe it's a past life thing.  But I just can disappear in a book set in that time period like none other.  

That being said. Another reason I enjoy books about historical royal folks is that I really know diddley squat about them.  I mean nothing.  Not next to nothing, not a little bit.  D-I-D-D-L-E-Y.  The only thing I can tell you about anything about any royal family is that there is a wedding coming up in a few days that might get some air time.  So, when I read books like this it's all new and very exciting to me. 

But enough about me.  

If you liked The Other Boleyn Girl, or books like that one with lots of twists and turns and "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED, AND WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT..." kind of stuff, then this book is totally for you.  And even if you know the story of Eleanor, you will probably enjoy the way Cecelia Holland fleshes out the story. 

Here is the blurb for a summary, but not too much:

Eleanor of Aquitaine seized hold of life in the 12th century in a way any modern woman would envy!

1151: As Duchess of Aquitaine, Eleanor grew up knowing what it was to be regarded for herself and not for her husband's title. Now, as wife to Louis VII and Queen of France, she has found herself  unsatisfied  with reflected glory-and feeling constantly under threat, even though she outranks every woman in Paris.

Then, standing beside her much older husband in the course of a court ceremony, Eleanor locks eyes with a man -hardly more than a boy, really-  across the throne room, and knows that her world has changed irrevocably...

He is Henry D'Anjou, eldest son of the Duke of Anjou, and he is in line, somewhat tenuously, for the British throne. She meets him in secret. She has a gift for secrecy, for she is watched like a prisoner by spies even among her own women. She is determined that Louis must set her free. Employing deception and disguise, seduction and manipulation, Eleanor is determined to find her way to power-and make her mark on history.

Cecelia manages to pull you through the narrative and leaves you breathlessly turning pages as fast as humanly possible.  I read this book in 4 days.  Basically as soon as I finished the last one I reviewed (The Civilized World by Susi Wyss) I picked this one up and read while watching TV, read in the car waiting for my daughter at this or that activity whilst my 4 year old was in the back seat earphones on movie in front of her --- in short -- I could not put it down!!!!  And really, people, isn't that every book lover's dream anyway?  To pick up a book and have it grab you until the very last EXTREMELY satisfying page????  In fact, I really really really wish Cecelia would continue the story until Eleanor's death.  She lived a very long life, even in this day and age, she died at a very ripe old age of 82... EIGHTY TWO!  Imagine!

There is plenty of swoon-worthy moments, and loads of description of the food, clothing, castle stuff -- all of the things that make historical fiction so damn yummy.  But not in a real romance-novelly kind of way, which is perfectly fine for some people, but I like them straight up with a bit of the bodice ripping.. if you get my meaning. 

If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would.  It's that good. 

For more about Cecelia Holland and her works (all 23 of them!) you can visit her website by clicking here. 

RATING:  5/5

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The Civilized World by Susi Wyss

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780805093629

First of all I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Christine over at Henry Holt & Co. for sending me a copy of this book.  I absolutely hands-down... LOVED.. IT.

When I was first sent the email inquiring if I would like to read this novel, I was immediately drawn in by the cover.  Isn't is gorgeous?  And then I was told it was set in Africa, which I think I have mentioned, I have always loved to read books that are set there.  But especially now that my 4 year old daughter was born in Ethiopia, I have a particular fondness for books about Africa in general. 

I read this book in 2 days.  It was extremely engaging and although the cover says, "A novel in stories" (which at first makes it sound like a collection of short stories -- it's not), it weaves several story lines together in the most gentle way, and leaves you feeling very satisfied at the end. 

The novel follows the story of several characters, Ajoa and her twin brother Kojo being the "face" of the book, in my opinion.  I fell in love with Ajoa and her dream of opening a salon back in Ghana while she was a practicing massage therapist for foreigners in the Ivory Coast.  Her character reminded me of Mmm Precious Ramostwe from the #1 Detective series by Alexander McCall Smith.  She is instantly likeable and her vision of her salon as a means of providing freedom for her and her brother pulls the story along beautifully.  Even when her brother becomes desperate to leave the Ivory Coast for their beloved Ghana, she holds onto her dream while turning a blind eye to his fledgling criminal career -- to disastrous conclusion that would change her life forever.  Janice is the flip side of the story, a single woman living in Africa for decades and adopting an Ethiopian baby.  Janice was once Ajoa's employer, and it is through Janice that Ajoa is finally able to have peace with what happened to her brother in the Ivory Coast.  

There are other characters as well in the story, but they seem to just provide a further backdrop for the main story lines of Janice and Ajoa. 

Wyss' account of Africa is palpable, you can smell, taste and see clearly the landscape and people before you.  The author lived there for many years, and this lends an air of realism to the narrative, and pulls you into the setting and allows you to escape into the world she has created. 

If you liked Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies Detective series, you will really enjoy this book!

For more about Susi Wyss and The Civilized World you can visit the author's website here.

RATING:  4/5 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and anyone can play!

  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • try not to include any spoilers
  • remember to add the title of the book and the author
My teaser is from The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland, which I am totally loving.

"I'll see you there?  You promise?" He gripped her wrist, as if to hold her there.  "I'll die every day I don't see you again."  

Um.. swoon?

Monday, April 18, 2011


Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme created by Marcia over at The Printed page, but is now hosted by different blogs every month.  This month it is Passages to the Past.

I did get 4 books this past week, and managed to finish two books!  Wooo look at me!  I haven't really sat down and really "read" for so long, it felt great to just read,and read, and read...

First a HUGE thank you to Michelle at Simon and Schuster Canada for the following:

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare -- this being the 4th book of a series I have never read, I am wondering if I could read this as a stand-alone book?  Anyone?  Otherwise I may do a giveaway as Michelle also sent me some swag to go with it, a gorgeous poster, and some buttons!  

I am a HUGE fan of the Infernal Devices series, and Clockwork Angel is the first Cassandra Clare book I have read, and I am dying while waiting for the next installment in October of this year.  

He's So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott    (YA  ARC)

Here's the blurb from S & S:Ally Ryan, come on down to the Jersey Shore and forget your troubles! Have you recently been humilated in front of your friends and family at your former best friends birthday party? Was your almost boyfriend partly responsible for that humilation by withholding some vital information about where your estrangerd father is? Did you come home to find said estranged father sitting on your stoop? If so, then it sounds like you could use a vacation!

 The Jersey Shore is the place to be. 

Your mother may be living with her boyfriend of only a few months, but at least the stunt Shannen pulled has put some of your friends back in your court. Even so, you're still angry and what better way to get over Jake than to blow off some steam with local guy, Cooper. People will hardly recognize your new attitude, but the old one wasn't getting you anywhere, so who cares!

 Jake Graydon, an exciting opportunity is waiting for you in the service industry! 

Are your grades so low your parents have grounded you for the summer? Did you the girl you really like unceremoniously leave you behind? Would you rather eat dirt than see your friends again? Then a job at the local coffee shop is just the ticket! Suprisingly, Ally's father is the new manager so you get to be reminded of her nearly every day. Maybe it's time to start flirting with your best friend's ex or even taking school a bit more seriously. Especially when you finally see Ally and she's hanging around with some loser and it's couldn't be more clear that she is over you. 

Have a great summer!

I like YA, and once in awhile I get sent an amazing one, like Clockwork or Leviathan, but I may do a giveaway of this one as well as I will likely never read it.  If you are a fan of Kieran Scott stay tuned!

Possession by Elana Johnson:  YA ARC
Release date:  June 7 2011
S&S blurb:
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself. 

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn. 

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

The last book is by an author whom I read when I very very first had my blog, you can read the review of that book here.

So I was happy to snap up a copy of her brand spankin' new book "Shelter" and a HUGE THANK YOU to Borealis Books for sending it my way!!

Here's the blurb from Sarah's website:

With imperfect timing, a single mother scrabbles for independence while hunting for a scrap of land on which to start life anew, (or seek shelter from it) and, to insure a legacy of for her teenaged son, whether he wants it or not. "Scrap" turns out to be roadless, raw wilderness near the town where her émigré grandparents settled and where the family name is now a postscript.  From buyers remorse to the practicalities of carving out a place to share with her son (and hopefully, maybe, someone special) endeavors are fraught with unexpected difficulties, surprises, joys and disappointments – in a word, life. And when it seems outside forces might threaten all she’s struggled to build, the question is no longerwill she fit in? but will she hang on?
The voice in Shelter is that of an optimistic skeptic, blending the humor and bravado necessary to survive in a place that has two seasons – both of which can kill you.

For more mailbox monday posts click here...

And what was in YOUR mailbox this past week?

Friday, April 15, 2011


Book Blogger Hop

It's Blog Hop time again!  This week's question is:

"Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or have just finished and tell us about him/her."

I just finished Remarkable Creatures and so I can talk about Mary Anning.  She was a fossil hunter in the early 19th century and was credited with finding two of the most famous dinosaur finds of that era.  I love the fact that she was a woman and even after all of the bureaucratic BS of the time, her name managed to stay attached to these discoveries and now she is immortalized.  She was struck by lightening as a toddler and the woman holding her and the two beside them were all killed.  She survived and lived an extraordinary life.  She was famous, rich, but the only thing that eluded her was the warm loving embrace of a husband and a noisy house full of children.  

There is something profoundly sad when picturing this woman getting older surrounded by the cold dead fossils in her home, instead of the sticky hands of her grandchildren.  

To join in the Blog Hop click on the above button!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (Jan 5 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780525951452

First of all I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Penguin Group (Canada) for sending me a copy of this book for review!  I am embarrassed to say that it arrived last November, and what with school and my Mom's stroke, it got forgotten until recently.  Better late than never, right?  RIGHT?!!!

Here's the thing, though, I started this book at 8am THIS MORNING and finished it at 6pm.  And I really read it, I am no skimmer, not with review books anyway.  I have been known to skim through sections of my personal reads (kind of like now with Fall of Giants, some of the war discussion/politics stuff.. SNORE!)  

Remarkable Creatures had me intrigued from the first page and kept me glued to the end.  A small novel, but not in story, you will be able to finish it in short order and it will leave you with thoughts to ponder and best of all curious about the historical characters in the book.  

Some of my all time favourite reads are of books that take real-life but long dead people and fill in the blanks of the history books.  I am a huge sucker for that.  Such as Cane River, which ranks in heavy in my top 10, and Hugh and Bess by Susan Higgenbotham, and my most recent historical fiction His Last Letter.  Oh how I envy those authors, spending years knee deep in research of letters, and journals and news clippings of the day.  Taking fascinating people throughout history and fleshing out swoony love lives and complicated mother/daughter relationships.  It's just pure awesomeness. 

Remarkable Creatures takes the lives of two women in the mid 1800's, one of whom ended up being quite famous as a fossil hunter.  Mary Anning is credited with uncovering the very first complete skeleton of the Ichthyosaurus, and also uncovered another bizarre creature called the Plesiosaurus.  Obviously a woman with a non-traditional job that she literally fell into as a child while playing on the beach with her father, it was soon realized that she had "the eye" and could spot a fossil from a great distance and long before anyone else could.  Searching the beach everyday to bring small fossils home to her family so they could eat. 

One day while on the beach she met a fellow fossil hunter, Elizabeth, and the two formed an odd friendship.  Mary was no more than a child and Elizabeth, 20 years her senior, an aging spinster, intelligent, driven, and lonely in her pursuit of her curiosities.  

Mary and her brother uncover what arguably was the most important fossil find of the 19th century, and indeed challenged the religious and scientific views of the day.  The questions were beginning to surface, could there have been creatures before us that are no longer?  Did God make a mistake?  If God created the world and all of the creatures in it, why would he kill off these ones?  What is extinction?  As you can imagine, this ruffled many a feathers, and the fact that this was discovered by a "woman" made it a particularly hard pill to swallow by many.   

As most of you know by now, I don't like to give big long synopsis' of books and give away the story.  In fact, whenever I read a review, I tend to skip much of a synopsis because I like to go in fresh.  So, mostly I like to give you my impression and if I liked it and why. 

I LOVED it.  It was a great read, fast and the story moved beautifully from one page to the next. There is an element of romance in the story, but not too much and not in a stereotypical way.  There is the complicated life of a woman in that day and age, and what it means to be in your 20's and have no marriage prospects.  It asks the question, who deserves credit?  How does fame change a persons view of themselves and those around them?  

What is most important in life?  

If you have any interest in archeology or dinosaurs, than you will appreciate this book on that level as well.  I live in Alberta, we have arguably one of the most famous and extensive dinosaur museums in the world filled with fossils discovered right here in our province.  Reading the description of the two creatures Mary uncovered was really cool, because in the Royal Tyrell Museum are two exact replicas of the creatures in all their amazing glory, so I could easily picture them in my head.  And not just a photo from widipedia, I have seen the sheer size of the fossils that Tracy writes about, and it really blows my mind every time I visit the museum.  

Remarkable Creatures is a story about friendship between two likely women, one destined for greatness from infancy after surviving a lightening strike that is believed to have given her her gift of "the eye" and the other a prickly spinster.. both fossil hunters who uncover two of the most important discoveries in the 19th centuries and all of the politics and drama surrounding them.  

For more about Tracy Chevalier and her novels and, in particular, THIS one.. click here. 

RATING:  5/5

Interview with Tracy below:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and anyone can play along!

  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select two teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • remember to include the author and title of the book so we can add them to our morbidly obese TBR piles!
My tt this week is from Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier.  I got this book sometime last year from the publisher and I am embarrassed to say I am just getting around to reading it now!  I have literally JUST started it, and my teaser is from the first page, but judging from the first page it's going to be a gooder. 

"A buzz run right through me.  It was as if I'd touched a hot coal, and I could smell singed flesh and sense there was pain, yet it weren't painful."

For more teasers click here...

Monday, April 11, 2011


Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme created by Marcia over at The Printed Page, but now is hosted monthly by different blogs.  This month is:  Passages to the Past (which just happens to be one of my FAVOURITE blogs!)

Last week I did a book in the mail from Henry Holt & Co (THANK YOU!!!) called "A Civilized World" by Susi Wyss.

Here's the blurb:

Set in Africa, the novel follows five women as their lives intertwine in surprising and even explosives ways.
When Adjoa leaves Ghana to find work in the Ivory Coast, she hopes that one day she'll return home to open a beauty parlor. Her dream comes true, though not before she suffers a devastating loss—one that will haunt her for years, and one that also deeply affects Janice, an American aid worker who no longer feels she has a place to call home. But the bustling Precious Brother Salon is not just the "cleanest, friendliest, and most welcoming in the city." It's also where locals catch up on their gossip; where Comfort, an imperious busybody, can complain about her American daughter-in-law, Linda; and where Adjoa can get a fresh start on life—or so she thinks, until Janice moves to Ghana and unexpectedly stumbles upon the salon.
The Civilized World is a deeply moving novel that “beautifully and effortlessly captures the essence of human connection” (Library Journal). If you would like to receive a copy of the book for review, I would be happy to send one along. Just e-mail me at the address below.

Any book set in Africa is already awesome in my books, even before we adopted our youngest from Ethiopia I had always loved books with a setting from there.  This one sounds fabulous!

For more Mailbox Mondays click here!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Change of heart....I can't let it go! I'm staying!

Okay, so now that I have cleared my schedule and really begun to unwind and take a real break after my hectic 8 months of studying and training, I have decided to not let my blog go.

I just love book blogging to much!

But I am no longer accepting any review copies, at least not for a few months.

I am going to take the very good suggestion of some of my fellows bloggees and only read what I want, when I want, and review.  And most of all, follow other bloggers and discuss books!  That is what I really love anyway, the community and chatting about books!

So thanks for your support and I hope I haven't lost too many of you!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's time to say goodbye...

Hello to all of my readers....

I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and trying to find the source of my complete an utter stress and anxiety, and had to really look at the things in my life that are causing a drain on my energy and love of life.

I started blogging mainly because I love to read and love books.  The community is fantastic, and the publishers that I have had the great fortune to work with has been phenomenal.  There has been a great many books that have come my way thru authors and publishers that I would have never even looked at, let alone read and loved.

But through this blog there is always the constant feeling of obligation to not only post, but obviously to read.  And as you blog for longer you get solicited for more and more books until you are drowning in a pile of ARC's and books that I could never read in my life time (if you count the hundreds and hundreds of books already lining my shelves). 

As a blogger some of you might say, "Lisa are you nuts??!! That is a book bloggers dream!"  Not for me.  I feel a great sense of guilt when I do not get to read a book that was sent my way, worse if I hated it.  And I feel like life is too short to live with that kind of pressure for something that was supposed to be a hobby.  I told myself as soon as it started feeling like a job that I was not getting paid for (yes you get free books, but many I would normally never read if I had the choice, just not my style or genre) and once this blog began to sap my happiness I would let it go.

I have enjoyed meeting so many of you and joining in on discussions about blogs, books and the like.  But I am now officially declaring this to be my last weeks of being "open' and then my blog will be shut down for good.  I will close the doors and shut off the lights sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I hope you all understand and I will continue to follow all of the blogs I have followed and will enjoy hearing of many great reads from all of you!!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Musings

I don't know about you guys, but Sundays I fantasize about reading... A LOT.  I have two kids, one 4 and one 11 and I never seem to get around to reading like a want to!

At the moment I am still reading the Kindle version of Fall of Giants by Ken Follet and it is very good.  How many of you have a kindle?  And do any of you have the black one?  I am wondering if the black one would be better because I am finding the white border distracting.  I never noticed it before, but when we were flying home from Florida I was reading with the light on and the white border was glaring so much that I found it straining to read.  Do any of you have this problem?

I  mean, really, the new kindle is so cheap it's not a really big deal, right?  RIGHT??!!  PLUS "somebody's" birthday is coming up in 2 weeks (cough) so MAYBE  I might get another one????

I really have to buckle down and do some review reading, I am waaaaaayy behind.  I mean really really behind.

Do you guys have a system to getting your review reading done?  I think I should gather them all up and face the music.  There are some unsolicited ones that I will never read as I have no interest in the topic, genre or storyline.  But some that were solicited and I replied, and those are the ones that are on my table, in my shelves and everywhere around my house yelling at me,  "HEY!!!  READ ME!!! READ ME!!!!!!!!  REMEMBER YOU SAID YOU'D READ ME???!!!'  Good Lord.

Have a wonderful day!