Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (8) 08-24-11 to 08-31-11



This past week I received one ARC from a giveaway and went to the library and picked up some holds. I have a new book loan from work and I also treated myself and bought a new book!

The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta (ARC)
I won this from a giveaway that was hosted by Mandy at http://www.wellreadwife.com

From the Library I picked up:

Royal Flush - Rhys Bowen
(the third book in a great series I recently discovered - Her Royal Spyness)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
(not normally the type of book I read but I picked up the second in the series at a used book sale, started it, liked it, and thought .... maybe I should start from the beginning!)

I Don't Know How She Does It - Allison Pearson
(movie will soon be out starring Sarah Jessica Parker)

Born To Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria - Julia Gelardi
(history about how 5 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter's became Queen's themselves - a fascinating read if you like royal European history)

Book Loan - Only Time Will Tell - Jeffrey Archer !!!!
I have been waiting for sooooo long for this one and it was finally on sale in North America yesterday, it was so worth working last night so I could get this one ASAP :)

Bought -
How To Be an American Housewife - Margaret Dilloway
Daughters of Eden - Charlotte Bingham





Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday New Releases - Aug. 30 2011

Here is this weeks sample of New Releases.
Please Note that books seem to have different publication dates in the different countries that they are released so these may not yet be available in your area. On the other hand, you may have had some of these books months ago and we are the ones behind!

Only Time Will Tell – Jeffrey Archer

The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta
Kill Me If You Can – James Patterson

The Cats Table – Michael Ondaatje

Northwest Angle – William Kent Krueger

Slow Love – Dominique Browning (in paperback today)

Fall of Giants – Ken Follett (in paperback today)

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Impression Friday - The Summer Garden By Paullina Simons

  The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
                                 First William Morrow Paperback Edition Released July 2011
                                 Original Publication 2005

Through years of war and devastation, Tatiana and Alexander suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. Miraculously reunited in America, they now have a beautiful son, Anthony, the gift of a love strong enough to survive the most terrible upheavals. Though they are still young, the ordeals they endured have changed them—and after living apart in a world laid waste, they must now find a way to live together in postwar America.

With the Cold War rising, dark forces at work in their adopted country threaten their lives, their family, and their hard-won peace. To regain the happiness they once knew, to wash away the lingering pain of the past, two lovers grown distant must somehow forge a new life . . .or watch the ghosts of their yesterdays destroy their firstborn son. (taken from http://paullinasimons.com/books/the-summer-garden/)

I received an ARC of this book a few weeks ago from work; I had never heard about this trilogy but thought the story sounded interesting. Earlier this week I picked it up and I have been enjoying it ever since. I am currently about 40 pages into the book.

The tone of the book works well with the characters, as you read you can feel the pain and confusion each of the main and supporting characters are dealing with from the turmoil of there involvement with WW2. The fear and aggravation that Tatiana is dealing with in trying to rekindle a relationship with her husband and raising her young son is so real that as I read my heart breaks for her. But with what her husband Alexander had to endure during the war, it is not surprising that he is having trouble putting the past behind him. Through Paullina Simons writing you can clearly feel the distance and the desires each has, to return to the way they once were. At the moment they have no idea how to get there.

The story refers somewhat to past events that are part of the earlier books in this trilogy but so far I have had no problem reading this as a stand-alone book. That said I think I will try getting my hands on The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander sooner rather than later!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday New Releases - Aug. 23 2011

Here is this weeks sample of New Releases. 

Please Note that books seem to have different publication dates in the different countries that they are released so these may not yet be available in your area. On the other hand, you may have had some of these books months ago and we are the ones behind!

The Power of Six  by Pittacus Lore
Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs
Heat Wave by Richard Castle (in paperback today)
Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant
Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
The Measure Of The Magic: Legends Of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Friday, August 19, 2011

First Impression Friday

I have been away from my computer all week because of a wrist injury that flares up once and again so this week I have missed not only taking part in the Review-a-thon but I have no first impression for this week :(

But I'll be back with more next week as I am always reading!

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Impression Friday - 2030 By Albert Brooks

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America
Published By St. Martins Press May 10th 2011
 
The Description from the book cover:
 
"Is this what’s in store?
 
June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory—and by then, memories were long. Since cancer had been cured fifteen years before, America’s population was aging rapidly. That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never meant to hold them into their eighties and beyond. Young people around the country simmered with resentment toward “the olds” and anger at the treadmill they could never get off of just to maintain their parents’ entitlement programs.
But on that June 12th, everything changed: a massive earthquake devastated Los Angeles, and the government, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, was unable to respond.
The fallout from the earthquake sets in motion a sweeping novel of ideas that pits national hope for the future against assurances from the past and is peopled by a memorable cast of refugees and billionaires, presidents and revolutionaries, all struggling to find their way. In 2030, the author’s all-too-believable imagining of where today’s challenges could lead us tomorrow makes gripping and thought-provoking reading."

Far fetched or very possible, you decide? Either way this is a fascinating novel looking at many perspectives of life in the not so far off future.  I am a couple of chapters into the story as I only brought home this copy a couple of nights ago (another book loan from work). I picked out this book because I love to see what writers see for our future. There are no intergalactic invasions, zombies or flying cars, but there is discussion of robot children that do not age (a product that did not work out very well), which makes the story that much more believable. While some may find the writing a little dry at the beginning I find that it fits well as it reads as a social history book rather than a novel (the history beginning in 2015).  2030 has moved to the top of my current reading list!

If you are wondering about the author, Albert Brooks; yes it is the Albert Brooks that you know from the movies! This is his first novel but not the first thing he has ever written. He has written 7 movies including one of my favourites,  Defending Your Life in which he starred opposite Meryl Streep. From what I can tell so far, if you like his movies you will like this book. If you like books about the future you will like this book.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday New Releases - Aug. 9, 2011

Tuesday is normally the day of the week that new books are released. This is just a brief list of some of the books available today (in Canada). Books seem to have different publication dates in the different countries that they are released so these may not yet be available in your area. Or on the other hand you may have had some of these books months ago and we are the ones behind!

Prime Time by Jane Fonda
The Accident by Linwood Barcley
The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood
Becoming Marie Antionette: A Novel by Juliet Grey
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Secret Power of Middle Children by Catherine Salmon PhD and Katrin Schumann
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (9-12yrs)
Storyteller by Patricia Reilly Giff (9-12yrs)

Friday, August 5, 2011

First Impression Fridays - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (20th Anniversary Edition)

“Twenty years ago, the journey began: Diana Gabaldon swept readers into her mesmerizing world brimming with history, romance, and adventure. To celebrate the series that has captured the hearts of millions, Doubleday Canada will be publishing a special anniversary edition for core Gabaldon fans and new readers alike. Unrivaled storytelling, unforgettable characters, and rich historical detail are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon's novels. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters: Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. A spellbinding novel of passion and history, that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages, The Outlander takes readers on an unforgettable journey.”

This is how Random House, the publisher of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon describes the book that was just released in a special 20th Anniversary edition on July 5th.  The entire Outlander series has a cult following and those who love it cannot stop talking about it. Over the years I never thought twice about it as I figured it was just some sort of medieval romance which is a genre I just cannot get into. But had I picked it up and actually read the back I would have found out its fascinating twist; a young wife in 1946 is on vacation in Scotland with her husband only to be out on a walk and find herself transported into the 1700’s. So after many customers telling me that it was a must-read I decided that I would use my borrowing privileges and borrow a copy (a great perk of working in a bookstore). I began reading this book on Tuesday night and I am really enjoying it even though I am only 50 pages in. Once the story shifted to the past, the characters (except for Clare who is just beginning to figure out where she is) speak with a thick Scottish accent that would be authentic to those in the highlands in the mid-1700’s, which can be a little difficult when reading, especially if you are tired. But after almost a chapter of this type of dialogue I find I am getting used to it and I will continue reading this book.

My first impression – great story, entertaining scenes, I may have to buy the paperback edition because this hardcover edition is very heavy to carry around but great if you are a collector.

Book Blogger Hop 8/5-8/8

Book Blogger Hop

This is my first weekend taking part in Blog Hops and I am so excited that I came across the Book Blogger Hop!

“What is the one ARC you would love to get your hands on right now?”

This is an easy one .... I would do anything for a copy of Jeffrey Archer's new book Only Time Will Tell. Although this book has already been out in the U.K. it does not become available in Canada and the US until Aug 31st.  I realize this is not to far away ... but for a huge Jeffrey Archer fan like me it feels like another year!!! But a very close second would be The Decision by Penny Vincenzi, this is not available in Canada until Nov. 1, this wait is becoming brutal for me because I have been waiting to read this one for almost 2 years!

http://crazy-for-books.com/2011/08/book-blogger-hop-85-88.html

Thursday, August 4, 2011

athonsmall

I am going to be taking part in the First Annual Book Review-A-Thon that was created by Jacki over at http://www.lovelylittleshelf.com (check out her awesome blog) .While there are many seasoned book bloggers out there who are going to find this to be a great outlet to catch up on reviews, I am going to use this as a way to get into a groove so that I can hopefully get into a regular routine when it comes to writing reviews! I have blogged before but never regularly. I hope that by the end of this review-a-thon that I am on track! Thanks for doing this Jacki :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Review - Kane and Abel

Kane and Abel – Jeffrey Archer
Originally published in 1979
Currently available from St. Martin’s Press – 2009 reprint

(I originally bought and read this book about 10 years ago but have re-read it many times)

Abel Rosnovski and William Kane were both born on April 18, 1906 and that is where there similarities end. Born worlds apart, this is a rag to riches tale that reads like an exciting biography. I really enjoy a good story that is detailed, fast paced, and has twists that are unexpected, Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer fully fits this description.

While some stories that follow the lifetime of a character will have sections that stall for some pages, there is never a dull moment in this book.  The characters have flaws like everybody else in the world but that helps to make them seem more believable, even more likable. There are times that Rosnovski and Kane make decisions that are unethical but because you know where they are coming from and you can see exactly where there mindset is at the time, the decision they make is understandable.

This is a story of survival, hard work, love, and loss. When I read a novel I am not normally looking for life lessons, I just want to escape from reality for a while. By the end of reading this book I could not help but find a few underlying life lessons hidden in the pages. For me Kane and Abel reinforced that not only do you have to work hard to see you dreams come true, but while you are following your dreams, make sure not to loose sight of what you need in your life to be happy.  Is a life full of business success worth living if you are not happy?  When I read the last page another lesson jumped out at me, small decisions can have huge consequences! This forcing me to remember that I need to think a little bit before I open my mouth (a little lesson I can always use some reminding of).

Originally published in 1979, this book is still available in bookstores and libraries, and has even been converted into an ebook. Kane and Abel is a true classic of the 20th century. In 1985 the book was made into a TV Miniseries starring Peter Strauss and Sam Neil.

This was the first book I read by Jeffrey Archer but certainly not the last. He is a talented writer who not only writes long fiction but has many collections of short stories. The short fiction is quick and well told with all sorts of twists, a writing technique harder to master (but he does) when a page limit is upon you. 

Jeffrey Archer’s newest book Only Time Will Tell will be released in North America at the end of this month and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. Watch for my review of it coming in the fall.

If you would like to continue reading his work here are some of my top picks:

**The Prodigal Daughter – a continuing look into the lives of the Rosnovski and Kane families through the daughter of Abel and the son of Kane

**The Fourth Estate – two media tycoons battle in true Kane and Abel style

**A Prisoner of Birth – a tale of wrongful accusations and mistaken identity

**Sons of Fortune – twin boys are separated at birth and somehow fate will reunite them many years later

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Addict and Proud

I am a busy mom of two preschoolers and a complete book addict! I love to read and I love to write. My favourite past time as a kid was trips to the library and as I got older and started earning my own money trips to bookstores became a weekly event. I was lucky enough that during my late teens my best friend had also developed a love of books that was almost as obsessive as mine. This was during the era of the introduction of bookstore superstores. Chapters in downtown Toronto became a favourite and it was pure satisfaction when the stores stated moving into the ‘burbs where we lived! Summer vacation was a time to stock up as all I planned to do was read, read, and read some more.  I could easily spend $50 or more in one trip to the bookstore, and as I went on to graduate from College and work full time that amount only increased. It is probably a good thing that there was no online shopping back then!

Once I had kids the book buying came to a halt a little faster than I had expected, at the same time I had some obstacles in the way of me and the library – crying newborn, then when DD was old enough I was pregnant again and the walk was too much, then a second crying newborn. Last summer we finally got in a good groove for a few months, making weekly visits, but each week I noticed that my kids were getting a little louder and moving a little more, until one morning my son refused to stay in the stroller. I let him out and my late bloomer walker (already 17 months) decided this would be the moment that he would no longer need hands or tables to walk and took off running, almost out the front door!  That was the day our trips had to end for a while.

Thankfully my kids, now 2 and 4, are already book lovers and have a huge library of their own, much of it my own childhood collection saved by my Mother. I have made additions here and there but in the past few months their collection and mine has increased dramatically. Why? I am now working part time in the one place I will never grow tired, my neighbourhood bookstore. In less than 6 months I have made so many discoveries of new authors and genres that I had never tried before, I just have had to treat myself (and my kids) from time to time. And you know what else is just as fun ... talking to other booklovers. I have learned so much from both my co-workers and customers. I get such a thrill at introducing people to new books that they may not have picked up otherwise and later find that the book is a new favourite for them. Because of this, I have decided to keep this blog. I know firsthand that Mom’s don’t have a lot of time to shop or read or extra cash to spend on something not worth it in the end. I hope that my recommendations give you a place to start to find your next great book!