Tag Archives: to be read

What’s Up Saturday – June 6

I can’t believe we’re already a week into June. It’s shaping up to be a very busy month for me, as I’ve shifted several deadlines from July to June so that I can actually take off for a few weeks for a holiday. One thing about being a freelancer is that a real vacation can be tricky if you don’t plan well for it; I’ve learned my lesson after several “holidays” turned into working vacations. Not exactly what I’m aiming for!

The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

After reading this review of The Strain at Debbie’s World of Books, and then coming across this interview with The Strain co-author Chuck Hogan at Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind I realized The Strain is definitely one book I want to read while I’m away on holidays. We’ve rented a beach house in Nova Scotia, and it seems like it will be a perfect, eerie read for those foggy nights, and out along Nova Scotia’s South Shore, there are many foggy nights.

So I picked up my own copy of The Strain yesterday, and now I have two must-reads on my vacation list: The Strain and The Language of Bees, by Laurie King (which I’ve already started, but I’m deliberately setting aside so I can enjoy it while I’m on holiday). Another tentative addition to my holiday reads list is Holly’s Inbox, by Holly Denham.

Ideally, I’d like to take six “must reads” with me on holidays, so I’m keeping my eyes open. I’d love to hear your recommendations, too!

It’s Dumpster Time

Seven years ago when we began our (still ongoing … sigh) renovations, my husband and I packed up a lot of things in boxes and stuffed the boxes into our crawl space in order to get them out of the way. Seven years later, we’ve just added more stuff to the places where we used to store these things before we packed them up and put them in the crawl space – and we haven’t taken anything OUT of the crawl space, either.

So we recently decided it was time to really do something about all this clutter. We’ve been in a process of de-cluttering for the past two months now, and while we’ve made a small dent in things, we still have a lot of stuff that simply must go. The problem is, no-one else wants them, either (don’t blame them).

Sometimes you just get to a point where you know you’ve got to do something about things. We’ve reached it. We’re renting a dumpster and we’re going to be going through everything over the next few weeks, and sorting them into the following categories: to dump, to recycle, to give away. Hopefully we’ll have an uncluttered house again. Sure, it still needs things like drywall and doors but at least it will be uncluttered! And I was happy and encouraged to read that the rent-a-dumpster route worked exceedingly well for author Holly Lisle.

This Week’s Picture


I was absolutely thrilled to find that the peony I planted last year is filled with buds. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing it in full bloom!

Incoming! Wondrous Strange, by Lesley Livingston

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

Wondrous Strange, by Lesley Livingston

Wondrous StrangeAbout the Book:

Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started to work with a theatre company. Sure, she’s only an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off- Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley’s about to step into the role of Titania the Faerie Queen in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, though, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man named Sonny Flannery plunges her into an adventure she could never have imagined.

Sonny is a Janus Guard, charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the land of Faerie, which lies within Central Park. For Sonny, the pretty, young actress is an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker, and he can’t get her out of his mind. As Hallowe’en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike.

Canadian author Lesley Livingston explodes onto the stage of teen fantasy with a debut novel—the first in a planned trilogy—that puts a fresh new spin on classic faerie lore. Wondrous Strange blends a gripping plot with fully believable characters, fascinating ideas and just the right amount of romance to create a story that is vivid, thrilling and engaging. Readers of Herbie Brennan, Holly Black and Melissa Marr will find a new favourite in Lesley Livingston.

First line: “Puck’s tortured words rang in Kelley’s ears as she lifted her head, struggling against the darkness that threatened to descend upon her.”

Received from: Harper Teen Canada thoughtfully slipped this in with an ARC I had requested from them.

My initial thoughts: This is one of my favorite types of novels: one that combines both a fantasy world with the everyday. It looks very interesting.

Related Links and other Fun Stuff

About the author: Lesley Livingston is a writer and actress living in Toronto. She has a master’s degree in English – specializing in Arthurian literature and Shakespeare – which does not, however, interfere with her love of shoes and shiny things. She is a principal performer and founding member of the Tempest Theatre Group. Wondrous Strange is her first novel.

Visit the author’s Website: Lesley Livingston

Video: Author Lesley Livingston on her new book Wondrous Strange:

Where to buy Wondrous Strange online:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

Canada (Chapters)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Looking for Reviews?

Check out the following reviews of Wondrous Strange:

Teen Book Review

The Book Zombie

Dreaming of Books

Bookshelves of Doom

The Book Bind

Have you reviewed Wondrous Strange? Let me know, either by contacting me or in the comments below, and I will add your link to this list of reviews!

Book-Buying Binge

It happens to me, on a fairly regular basis. I go on these book buying binges, and unlike other types of binges, afterwards it feels lovely. I had ample justification for this one, as a group of us on Twitter came up with a wonderful event: “No BEA? Books Anyway!”, hosted at Devourer of Books. There’s still time to play, by the way. The event is open all weekend.

I ended up going to four five different places. And I have another big excuse for this particular binge: we are going to be vacationing in the Maritimes for two weeks in July, so stocking up on reading material for the 19 hour drive there and back, not to mention the two weeks on the beach, is actually an essential thing. No, really. It is.

Basically, I bought for myself, for my two teens, my six-year-old, and my husband, who loves to cook.

So here we go!

First stop: Online shopping at Chapters, Canada’s big bricks ‘n’ clicks bookstore. (Ironically, the pics and links are from/to Amazon.com – my apologies to my fellow Canadian readers, but it’s much easier to do it this way. But Chapters definitely carries all of these books, too.) If you hover your mouse over a cover, you should be able to see a small box with the title.

Italian Vegetables: Delicious Recipes For Appetizers And SidesThe Year of Eating Dangerously: A Global Adventure in Search of Culinary Extremes Colonization: Second ContactColonization: Down To EarthColonization: AftershocksHomeward Bound Now And ThenConfessions of a Jane Austen AddictMind GamesFlirting in CarsEncyclopedia of an Ordinary LifeThe Language Of BeesBest Of Mad LibsMore Best of Mad Libs

The Harry Turtledove books are for my older son, who loves reading alternative history books. The two Mad Lib books are for my daughter; her best friend is coming with us (we did a similar trip last year) and their idea of fun is to play Mad Libs using my older son’s name in various places, which bugs him no end (that being the point, I gather, of the whole thing).

I had borrowed both The Language of Bees and Now and Then from the library, but couldn’t finish them in time (I want to read The Language of Bees slowly so I can savor it);  I couldn’t renew either of them because they’re on other people’s holds list, so I thought it would be a good idea to get my own copies.

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life is a special treat just for my vacation: I read about it earlier this week on this wonderful post about memoirs at Books and Movies, and just knew it would be perfect for me.

The cookbook is for my husband; he’s fallen in love with Italian food, so it looked like a good fit. And the rest of them I discovered by browsing the bargain outlet section.

Next up: Winners. Winners is actually more of a clothing store; they sell brand name clothes, shoes and handbags at discounted prices. I normally leave that store with lots of clothes and shoes – very definitely shoes. And handbags. I have a thing for handbags, too. But they also have a small toy section, and an aisle of discount books. To keep me from wandering the rest of the store, I brought my six-year-old with me; we picked up mostly toys, but I also picked up this book (I almost forgot this one!)

Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over

Then I went to Homesense, another favorite store of mine. Homesense carries lots of lovely things for the home; it’s affiliated with Winners, and the merchandise is all at discounted prices. They have a larger discount books area, so I managed to pick up the following books:

My Best Friend is a Princess: A Princess Friendship TreasuryThe Artist's Muse: Unlock the Door to Your CreativityClutter Cutters: Store It with StyleMartin Yan's Chinatown Cooking: 200 Traditional Recipes from 11 Chinatowns Around the WorldPatricia Yeo: Cooking from A to ZA Year in My Kitchen

All of these books were impulse buys; they were also bargain-priced, which always adds to the good feeling of a binge.

Of course, I can never resist the book aisle at Costco, which for me is located too conveniently close to Chapters:

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments)City of Glass (Mortal Instruments)Goodnight NobodyA Version of the TruthUgliesPrettiesExtras

I also bought Specials, but the image won’t show up for some reason – I’ve been meaning to read the Uglies series for a while now, and Costco had the four titles in paperback for a great price. I’ve read Book one of the Immortal Instruments series, so thought it would be nice to pick up books two and three. I read Literacy and Longing in L.A. last year and just loved it, so A Version of the Truth was a must-buy. The Jennifer Weiner book was an impulse buy; Weiner always makes me laugh, so it looked like a great vacation read.

Last stop: Chapters – the physical store. I could browse the aisles at Chapters for ages, but unfortunately, I had my six-year-old with me again, as well as my daughter and her friend, an exchange student from Japan. So I was more or less in “grab what I can” mode – but as it turns out, even when under constraints, I can grab quite a few!

Allie Finkle's Rules For Girls: Moving DayNaming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative WriterA Picture Is Worth 1000 Words: Image-Driven Story Prompts and Exercises for Writers101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists: Insider Secrets from Top WritersHow I Got Published: Famous Authors Tell You in Their Own WordsLoveless, Volume 3Kyo Kara MAOH! Volume 1Debbie Travis' Facelift: Solutions to Revitalize Your HomeWaterside Living: Inspirational Homes By Lakes, Rivers, and the SeaMy Little Pony: Pinkie Pie's Special DayExtreme Rescue: Dolphin MissionTools at the Pool (Handy Manny)

Luckily for me, this weekend turned out to be a special weekend for iRewards card holders at Chapters (I’ve been an iRewards card holder ever since the program began, and when they switched over to their current program terms, they actually gave me a lifetime membership, so I never have to pay to renew. Honestly. That’s how much I buy from them!)

As you can see, I wandered down the “Writing & Publishing” aisle. I’ll be starting a “Books for Writers” review feature here (my flimsy excuse for picking up these writing books). And I blame my purchase of How I Got Published: Famous Authors Tell You in Their Own Words on Louise Penny; as I flipped through the book, I saw that she had contributed her story. How could I resist?

The anime books are for my daughter, who’s not much of a reader; she’s mainly interested in filmmaking and anime. The story books are for my younger son, and yes, he has a wide range of interests. He likes My Little Pony as much as he enjoys Diego, Handy Manny and Thomas the Tank Engine.

So this is my contribution to No BEA? Books Anyway! I think I did pretty well, although now all I need is more time to read!

Incoming! Wit’s End, by Karen Joy Fowler

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

Wit’s End, by Karen Joy Fowler

Wit's EndAbout the Book:

At loose ends and weary from her recent losses – a father, a beloved brother – Rima Lansill comes to the home of her legendary godmother, bestselling mystery writer Addison Early, to regroup … and to search for answers. For starters, why did Addison name one of her characters – a murderer – after Rima’s father? But Addison is secretive and feisty, and consumed with protecting her famous fictional detective, Maxwell Lane, from the vagaries of the Internet. As one woman searches for truth, the other struggles to control the reality of her fiction.

Rima soon becomes enmeshed in Addison’s household of eccentrics: a formerly alcoholic cook and her irksome son, two quirky dog-walkers, and a mystery involving a stalker and Maxwell Lane himself. To her surprise, Rima discovers that the ultimate solution to this puzzle may be the new family she has found at Wit’s End.

First line: Miss Time was seated with her feet on the floor and her head on the table.

Received from: Another Costco impulse buy.

My initial thoughts:

I’m not sure what pulled me in with this one. It might have been “From the Bestselling Author of The Jane Austen Book Club” which was emblazoned on the front cover (despite the fact that I haven’t actually read The Jane Austen Book Club). It was probably the “legendary godmother, bestselling mystery writer Addison Early”. It was probably my quick scan of the first two pages while all the other Costco shoppers jostled around me …

Where to buy Wit’s End:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

Canada (Chapters)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Incoming! Women, Wisdom & Dreams, by Anne Scott

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

Women, Wisdom & Dreams, by Anne Scott

Women, Wisdom & DreamsAbout the Book:

Women, Wisdom and Dreams: The Light of the Feminine Soul, plays a vital role in empowering women in the work of healing their lives and the world around them. In this elegant and practical guide on feminine wisdom and dreams, Anne Scott leads us into a deepening relationship with our dream world, not only to help us understand its personal significance, but also to use the insights we uncover there to help heal our world. Asking us to cultivate a courageous attentiveness to our inner lives, Anne Scott provides valuable tools for restoring the link between feminine spirituality and social change. Reclaiming the language of dreams, practicing states of inner attention and stillness in our busy lives, and gathering in groups to share from a deeper place, offer rich methods for reconnecting to the love, joy and creativity that are our birthright and contribution to life.

From the introduction:

“During a difficult time of my life, I had only my dreams to guide me. As I began to understand them, I saw how the shift in consciousness that the dreams brought me became reflected in changes in the circumstances of my life. These personal dreams were followed by more universal dreams, showing me how women can give birth to a sacred quality of being that heals and transforms their lives.”

First line: (From Part One) Our modern culture has lost its understanding of the inner world.

Received from: Lisa from Online Publicist

My initial thoughts:

This is a lovely book that’s made up of short pieces about dreams and our inner lives. I always have very vivid dreams, but have never really thought much about them beyond having just dreamed them. This might open my eyes to a new way of seeing my dreams, I think.

Related Links and other Fun Stuff

Author’s website: DreamWeather Foundation

Where to buy Women, Wisdom & Dreams:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Incoming! Do-Over! by Robin Hemley

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

Do-Over!, by Robin Hemley

Do-Over!About the Book:

Robin Hemley’s childhood made a wedgie of his memory, leaving him sore and embarrassed for more than forty years. He was stepped on in kindergarten and picked on at camp. He forgot his only line in a play in second grade and had completely lost his way by sixth. Now a middle-aged father, he’s haunted by his youth’s flops and failures, from the prom for which he was dateless to the fraternity that lost his membership.

But if kids have the luxury of calling “do-over!” when things go wrong, why can’t he? Why not return to his youth with an adult’s wisdom, perspective, and giantlike size?

At age forty-eight, a married college professor and a father of three, Robin sets out to face his formative challenges a second time. He becomes a kindergartner for a week, during which his classmates don’t understand why he gets a ride from his wife instead of his dad; plays his second-grade part, complete with angel wings and halo, in The Littlest Angel; returns to summer camp and confronts the swimming test one more time; samples fraternity life and redefines the fortysomething frat boy; sleeps over at a childhood home, where his room still exists, and even finally gets another chance to go to the prom – at his actual former high school and with his former crush!

First line: (From Chapter One) Most likely, you don’t remember your nemesis in kindergarten, but I remember mine, probably because I had two.

Received from: Hachette Books

My initial thoughts:

I was very pleased to receive this book for review: it looks like a fun read, and I love the idea of being able to call “do-over!”. Another great beach read, I’m thinking – we’re headed out to the Maritimes for holidays soon, so there’s lots of beach days ahead. Perfect timing.

Where to buy Do-Over!:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

Canada (Chapters)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Do You Suffer From Magazine Overload?

The state of my TBR pile is disastrous right now – it seems I can’t move without bumping into a pile of books, sitting on a book, tripping on certain special “floor editions”, pulling out clumps of them in order to get at the sun lotion or umbrella (depending on the weather) … I could go on and on but you get the drift. I’m pretty sure many of you live with much of the same, too.

But does anyone have trouble with their magazine TBR piles, too? Because those grow quickly around here. I hate recycling a magazine until I’ve read it, so I literally have issues of certain magazines that go back two, three, even ten years.

We subscribe to a lot of magazines, simply because it cuts down on our magazine impulse buying when we’re out and about, and it’s a whole lot cheaper to subscribe than it is to buy magazines by the issue.

I was taking stock of the magazines that come into our house – I swear, I don’t know how we ended up with so many subscriptions! Here they are:


Bon Appetit


Cook’s Illustrated

Fine Cooking

Martha Stewart Living

(If you’re noticing a bit of a pattern here, yes, it’s true. Luckily these all actually get read, as cooking is my husband’s passion. When he’s done, he stacks them up for me, because I’m always insisting, “oh, wait, I want to read that issue!”. Really, though, it’s Saveur that’s dear to me. Great magazine.)


Elle Decor

Canadian House & Home

Style at Home

Canadian Gardening

Vanity Fair

O! The Oprah Magazine

In Style

Arts & Activities

Toronto Life

Toronto Fashion


Elle Canada

Family Fun



National Geographic

Wait, it gets worse. Lately I’ve been having a little secret hankering for a subscription to Hello! Canada, which I stealthily read every time I’m at my stylist’s, waiting to get my hair done. I like it because the celebrities all seem so lovely, very lovely, darling! I like my stars with a dose of perfection, if you know what I mean.

But this past year, I actually decided not to renew some of my subscriptions. I think I deserve a pat on the back for that. So now, we no longer receive Real Simple and Wired. It’s like an addiction, you see – I’ve got to wean myself off a few at a time.

What about you? Do you get magazine overload at your house, too? Or are you great at resisting the temptation, either in the checkout line, or when that little white subscription postcard comes fluttering out?

Incoming! The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, by Joshilyn Jackson

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, by Joshilyn Jackson

The Girl Who Stopped SwimmingAbout the Book:

Laurel Gray Hawthorne hasn’t seen a ghost in the thirteen years she and her husband have lived in their beautiful gated community. Then, in the dog days of a Florida August, she wakes to find Molly, her daughter’s best friend, standing by her bed, who then leads her to her own small body floating lifelessly in the Hawthornes’ pool. Laurel’s carefully constructed existence cracks, and the past seeps through …

Laurel and her sister, Thalia, grew up in what looked like a typical blue-collar home. But the Grays have long been hiding a skeleton in their closet. While Laurel built her “perfect” life, Thalia became an actress with a capital A, a woman who doesn’t fit in Laurel’s tidy world. Now Molly can’t rest until someone learns her secrets. Laurel turns to her sister, and together they begin a journey that will unearth their family’s history, the true state of Laurel’s marriage, and what really happened to … the girl who stopped swimming.

First line: Until the drowned girl came to Laurel’s bedroom, ghosts had never walked in Victorianna.

Received from: Won in a giveaway from Julie’s Jewels

My initial thoughts:

I’ve seen some great reviews of this book at other book blogs, so when the chance to win this came up, I decided to enter my name in the draw. I think it will be a great summer read.

Where to buy The Girl Who Stopped Swimming:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

Canada (Chapters)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Incoming! The Anna-Mae Mysteries: The Golden Treasure, by L.S. Cauldwell

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

The Anna-Mae Mysteries: The Golden Treasure, by L.S. Cauldwell

The Anna-Mae Mysteries: The Golden TreasureAbout the Book:

Twelve-year-old Anna Mae Botts, her eight-year-old brother Malcolm, and Anna Mae’s best friend Raul Garcia, face a ghostly black fist on their first day of school.  It blocks their entrance into school, while dropping paper clues about Jefferson Davis’ lost Civil War gold. Things get more complicated when a school fire occurs.

Mysterious events soon overtake Raul, Malcolm, and Anna Mae at school as well as at home. Rats, alphabet noodle clues, floating chalk, and phantom false-bottom wagons lead the tweens to travel the same route by car that was taken by Jefferson Davis and his gold-laden wagon train.

With divining rods given to her by her granma, computer printouts, and Spirit Journey memories that take her back to a Civil War past, Anna Mae, Raul, and Malcolm find Jefferson Davis’ lost gold treasure, part of it buried on Chennault Plantation and more of it in a vacant lot on the outskirts of Warthen, Georgia.

First line: At the beginning of the Civil War, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, took out a loan from a French Banking House of Emile Erlanger for $15 million dollars.

Received from: The author

My initial thoughts:

This looks like a fun paranormal mystery, and the cover art is very nicely done (it reminds me a bit of a graphic novel). I always enjoy good children’s mysteries with a paranormal twist – for me, it combines two of my favorite genres. I’ve got a few titles ahead of this one but it looks like it will be a good read.

Related Links and other Fun Stuff

Lillian Cauldwell’s Website

Where to buy The Anna-Mae Mysteries: The Golden Treasure:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Incoming! Audition, by Barbara Walters

Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s the latest new arrival:

Audition, by Barbara Walters

AuditionAbout the Book:

Barbara Walters, arguably the most important woman in the history of television, has had an amazingly full life. In the bestselling Audition, she describes her extraordinary public and private journey.

Initial thoughts:

I picked this up at Costco – I confess, I make the bulk of my impulse book purchases at Costco. We go weekly (we live in the suburbs, and shopping is just about the only form of entertainment around here – it’s a good thing I’m bookish), and the book tables are always so enticing.

I have this thing about memoirs and autobiographies – I love reading them, but it often takes me a while to get through one. I’ve learned that it’s better for me to just get my own copy rather than borrow it from the library. I’m not exactly stellar about remembering due dates and when I should be renewing, so to be honest, I end up racking up nearly enough late fees to have purchased a book in the first place!

This is a memoir I’ve had on my TBR list for a while now. Barbara Walters is an intriguing woman, and I know I will enjoy this book. Glancing through the chapter titles only serves to confirm this: “A very normal girl”, “Don’t let the bastards get your down”, “Heads of State: The Good, the Bad, and the Mad” – they make me want to pop straight into various chapters.

Related Links and other Fun Stuff

Here’s Barbara Walters talking about Audition:

Where to buy Audition:

U.S. (Amazon.com)

Canada (Chapters)

UK (Amazon.co.uk)