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Monday, January 15, 2018

Bout of Books 21 Read-a-Thon: Wrap-up Post #boutofbooks

This is my Wrap-up Post for Bout of Books 21 Read-a-Thon!

With this Read-a-Thon coinciding with back to work, I knew I wasn't going to get very far in my paperbacks. I only managed to finish my audiobook!



I Finished:


The Girl in the Ice
by Robert Bryndza
(DCI Erika Foster, Book #1)
[on my iPod]
(Shelf Love, from my Audible library)


Still Reading:

Bewitching
by Alex Flinn
(Kendra Chronicles, Book #2)
[Shelf Love]


Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women
edited by Miriam Matejova
[from the library]


Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life
by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
[Shelf Love]


Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working For Your Good
by Joel Osteen
[from the library]


Fire and Ice
by Erin Hunter
(Warriors, Book #2)
[Shelf Love, reading aloud to my daughter]


Murder of Crows
by Anne Bishop
(The Others, Book #2)
[on my iPod]


I participated in the daily challenges (whoops, just realized that I missed Day 5):

















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

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

Something from my dusty bookshelf.

TITLE: Bewitching
SERIES: Kendra Chronicles, Book #2
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
PUBLICATION DATE: February 14, 2012
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 338 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy/Fairy Tales
ISBN: 9780062024145
Kendra Hilferty, the witch who curses Kyle Kingsbury in Beastly, tells about her immortal existence-how she discovered she was a witch and the various ways she has used her powers to help people throughout the centuries. (Unfortunately her attempts have often backfired.) As it turns out, Kendra has actually had a hand in "Hansel and Gretel," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Little Mermaid"-but these are not the fairy tales you think you know! Kendra's reminiscences are wrapped around a real-time version of "Cinderella," except the "ugly" stepsister is the good guy. With dark twists, hilarious turns, and unexpected endings, Bewitching is a contemporary read for fairy-tale lovers, fantasy fans, and anyone looking for more Alex Flinn.

Not only am I a first generation Canadian, but immigration is my profession. 

PUBLISHER: Caitlin Press
PUBLICATION DATE: February 7, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 216 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781987915341
Edited by Miriam Matejova, Wherever I Find Myself is a diverse collection of stories about the joys and struggles of immigrant women living in Canada. Often bringing with them the shadow of war and the guilt of leaving, the women in this new anthology expose their emotional pain but also their gratitude for being able to call Canada home. Their stories paint touching and charming portraits of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, bureaucratic hurdles, attempts to navigate unfamiliar landscapes, and a desire to be accepted despite differences in accent, skin colour, or taste in food. Together they form a mosaic of emotions and world-views that underline the immigrant condition for women.

A yellow dress with ruffles, a kind Grade 1 teacher with a surname that’s difficult to spell, cockroaches in the bathroom, the contempt of strangers, and Whitney Houston on the radio–a Filipino woman recalls her experience as a six-year-old immigrant in a ghetto in Mississauga in the 80s. Browsing through a Polish fashion magazine at a European deli, a woman sees herself in an alternative universe of what her life might have been had she never immigrated to Canada. A same-sex couple moves from Minnesota to Ontario to find refuge for their love, but first they must drive a seventeen-foot truck through a blizzard and make it through the frustrating net of Canadian bureaucracy. In search of her origins, a Jewish woman travels to her birthplace in Passau, Germany. There, among rows of European picturesque houses and foreign tombstones of a Jewish cemetery, she finds no memories, only the shadow of Hitler and the ghosts of her parents.

Through these stories of courage, aloneness, and hope, new and established writers reach out to both immigrants and those whose families long ago ceased to identify with the immigrant label. Through their struggles and, at times, endearingly critical looks at Canada, they remind us that many of our perceived divisions are nothing but artificial creations of mind and that all of us are past, current, or potential immigrants.

I completed a nine-week course with a group of people, which featured DVD Study sessions and a Participant Guide with study questions (homework!) for discussion each week. The book is a lot to digest, and I'm still reading it in chunks.

TITLE: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
PUBLISHER: Zondervan
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2, 1992
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 314 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction, Psychology, Self-Help
ISBN: 9780310585909
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: - Can I set limits and still be a loving person? - What are legitimate boundaries? - What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? - How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? - Aren't boundaries selfish? - Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter. We loved the first one in the series!

TITLE: Fire and Ice
SERIES: Warriors, Book #2
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLISHER: Avon Books
PUBLICATION DATE: June 1, 2004 (first published 2003)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 317 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780060525590
Fireheart could hear a roaring around him, like wind in tall trees. The acrid stench of the Thunderpath stung his nostrils, together with a new smell, sharper and more terrifying. Fire!

Book Two of Warriors continues Fireheart's quest to be a true warrior, when he finds new danger lurking in the woods as the chill of winter sets in.

WindClan is missing, and hostilities between the remaining three clans place all the cats in peril. Illness and tragic accidents weaken the camp, and ThunderClan needs all its warriors to defend itself - but Fireheart suspects that certain cats may not be as loyal as they appear.
I'm listening to:

Something from my review pile.


SERIES: The Others, Book #2
AUTHOR: Anne Bishop
NARRATOR: Alexandra Harris
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: March 4, 2014
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 14 hrs and 13 mins
GENRE: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
Return to New York Times best-selling author Anne Bishop’s "phenomenal" (Urban Fantasy Investigations) world of the Others - where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules.…

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard - Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader - wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet - and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

I just finished:


SERIES: Detective Erika Foster, Book #1
AUTHOR: Robert Bryndza
NARRATOR: Jan Cramer
PUBLISHER: Bookouture
PUBLICATION DATE: February 12, 2016
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 7 mins
GENRE: Mystery/Police Procedural
Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice...She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound, and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong...resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she's faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A pause-resisting thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, and Karin Slaughter, discover Rob Bryndza's new series today.

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!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

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


Well, I survived the first week back to work after Christmas Break! Just barely!! Studies show that we have poorer memory and slower reaction times, in addition to the tiredness, following a return to work after vacation. Yup, I agree! My kids are more tired as well, having to re-adjust to waking up early. Hopefully, next week will be easier.


It's been pretty cold here. Our temps have plunged, and our daytime high yesterday was -24 degrees Celsius (that's -11 degrees Fahrenheit) with a windchill of -33 degrees Celsius (that's -27 degrees Fahrenheit). We are expecting a brief warm-up on Wednesday, so next weekend will be milder.


I won this paperback in a giveaway hosted by Lisa Loves Literature:

Grave
by Joan Frances Turner
(Resurgam Trilogy, Book #3)

Thanks again, Lisa!


I won this audiobook in the Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon Giveaway hosted by Michelle @ Seasons of Reading:

Survival
by Rhonda Hopkins
(Survival, Book #1)

Thanks again, Michelle and Rhonda!


I received these audiobooks for review:

Blood Fury
by J.R. Ward
(Black Dagger Legacy, Book #3)

The Last Girl on Earth
by Alexandra Blogier

Thanks again to Penguin Audio and Listening Library!



Recap: Last Week On The Blog



Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post

Thursday Book Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Friday Audiobook Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza


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, January 12, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza @RobertBryndza @bookouture

SERIES: Detective Erika Foster, Book #1
AUTHOR: Robert Bryndza
NARRATOR: Jan Cramer
PUBLISHER: Bookouture
PUBLICATION DATE: February 12, 2016
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 7 mins
GENRE: Mystery/Police Procedural
Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice...She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound, and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong...resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she's faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A pause-resisting thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, and Karin Slaughter, discover Rob Bryndza's new series today.

MY REVIEW:

This start to a new police procedural series has hooked me, and I already purchased the next three audiobooks in the series and can't wait to read more!

As you can see from the title and the cover, a young girl is found in the ice. She had been reported missing four days earlier, and she was violently attacked and killed. DCI Erika Foster from Manchester Metropolitan Police is called in to lead the investigation because of her experience. 

Foster uncovers similar attacks on other women, which were cold cases that were previously unconnected. This puts her in jeopardy, and she has to figure out who the killer is before he gets to her.

On a personal level, Foster has returned to work following a leave of absence after the death of her husband who was working a case with her. She still suffers from nightmares, and the guilt gnaws at her. She's definitely a flawed and broken character, which makes her a great heroine!

Bryndza is new to me, and I really enjoyed this one! As Foster investigates the crime, more and more layers are added to the story. There were lots of interesting characters, and I especially liked Detective Moss and her loyalty to Foster. I hope we see more of her in the next book in the series.

This book was narrated by Jan Cramer, and I really enjoyed her. She was a pleasure to listen to, and I thought her voice suited the characters very well. Here is a sample of the narration:




MY RATING:

4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy mysteries and/or police procedurals.

This book qualifies as:
#1 for my 2018 Audiobook Challenge
#2 for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018
#1 for my The Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge
#2 for my 2018 Reading Assignment Challenge
#3 for my 2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge
#2 for my The Backlist Reader Challenge 2018
#3 for my New Authors 2018 Reading Challenge
#3 for my 2018 Try Something New Challenge
#3 for my 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
#3 for my Blydyn Square Books 2018 Reading Challenge
#3 for my 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge
#3 for my Full House Reading Challenge 2018
#3 for my GWB Book Bingo 2018
Task #59 for my 2018 Reading Challenge (Linz the Bookworm)
#3 for my Ivyclad Bingo 2018
#1B for my Monthly Keyword Challenge
#1 for my What's In A Name 2018
Bonus #1B for my 2018 Literary Escapes Challengee
#A3 for my Good Rule Reading Challenge
#3 for my 2018 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge
#3 for my 2018 A to Z Reading Challenge
#2 for my Cloak and Dagger Challenge
#11 for my Bookish Bingo Winter 2017-18
#2 for my COYER Winter Switch
Task #1 for my Goodreads Winter Scavenger Challenge: Northern Lights
#3 for my Chapter Break Bingo January 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

#Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan #DavidLevithan @AAKnopf

TITLE: Boy Meets Boy
AUTHOR: David Levithan
PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf
PUBLICATION DATE: May 10, 2005 (first published 2003)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 185 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, GLBT
ISBN: 0375832998
This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.

MY REVIEW:

I own a couple of Levithan's book, so I decided to start with his debut!

Paul is a high school boy, who has always known that he was gay. Even his kindergarten teacher picked up on it, writing on his report card that he was "definitely gay." Of course, he didn't know what that meant but just knew that he liked boys. He "came out" to his BFF Joni in second grade, and he was the first openly gay Class President in third grade. His family is very supportive and he's very comfortable in his own skin. For Paul's friend Tony, things are quite different. Tony's parents are very religious, and he has to lie to his parents about his friends and himself in order to have a social life. Tony's parents would never let him hang around a gay friend, so even Paul's sexuality is a secret. Tony is also gay, but his relationship with Paul is strictly platonic. As far as Tony's parents are concerned, he is in a bible study group with Paul and Joni.

Paul meets a boy named Noah, and he become smitten with him. At first, Noah is much the same way but then he pulls back as he is "once bitten, twice shy." Paul was willing to deal with that, but then he goes and does something stupid like kiss his ex-boyfriend. So, the majority of the story has to do with Paul trying to win Noah back. 

The Paul/Tony/Joni trio becomes fragmented when Joni starts dating a new guy, and she doesn't have time for her friends anymore. Meanwhile, Paul and Tony miss her and need her...Tony especially, given the tough time he's having with his family. He wants to be able to be open and honest with his parents about who he is, and he's afraid that his parents won't be able to deal with it. He wants their acceptance so badly, and it was just heartbreaking to read. He could have been rebellious and just done his own thing anyways, but it was so important to him to be true to himself but also have his parents' blessing. For me, this secondary storyline about Tony was my favourite part of the book.

If you are looking for a diverse book to read, this one is it! The football team's star is also a drag queen, and I loved how Levithan created such an interesting cast of characters and -- most importantly -- their acceptance of one another. If only people in the real world were so non-judgmental and open-minded. It definitely gave me food for thought.

I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading more of this author's work.

MY RATING:

4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy books with diverse characters.

This book qualifies as:
#2 for my Strictly Print Reading Challenge
#1 for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018
#1 for my 2018 Reading Assignment Challenge
#2 for my 2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge
#1 for my The Backlist Reader Challenge 2018
#2 for my New Authors 2018 Reading Challenge
#2 for my 2018 Try Something New Challenge
#2 for my 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
#2 for my Blydyn Square Books 2018 Reading Challenge
#1 for my 2018 Island Reader Reading Challenge
#2 for my 2018 Badass Books Reading Challenge
#2 for my For Reading Addicts Challenge
#2 for my Full House Reading Challenge 2018
#2 for my GWB Book Bingo 2018
Task #2 for my 2018 Reading Challenge (Linz the Bookworm)
#2 for my Ivyclad Bingo 2018
#1 for my 2018 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge
#1A for my Monthly Keyword Challenge
#2 for my Color Coded Reading Challenge
#1A for my 2018 Literary Escapes Challenge
#A2 for my Good Rule Reading Challenge
#1 for my Charity Reading Challenge
#2 for my 2018 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge
#2 for my 2018 A to Z Reading Challenge
#1 for my 2018 Platypire Diversity Challenge
#1 for my 2018 YA Reading Challenge
#10 for my Bookish Bingo Winter 2017-18
#2 for my Chapter Break Bingo January 2018

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The One by John Marrs @johnmarrs1 #HanoverSquarePress

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:

TITLE: The One
AUTHOR: John Marrs
PUBLISHER: Hanover Square
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: February 20, 2018
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 368 pages
GENRE: Thriller
ISBN: 9781335005106
How far would you go to find The One?

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

A word-of-mouth hit in the United Kingdom, The One is a fascinating novel that shows how even the simplest discoveries can have complicated consequences.

This one sounds intriguing! Just because there's a scientific "match" based on DNA doesn't mean that the heart will follow suit!! There are also lots of variables in terms of what exactly you are trying to "match." For example, are you looking for the perfect mate to produce the most viable offspring? What if someone decides that they don't want children. Does that change their "perfect mate" match?? This one definitely piques my interest!



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, January 9, 2018

Ten Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018!) #TopTenTueday


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:

Ten Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn't Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018!)

Oh, wow! There are so many!!! I'll try to narrow it down.



The Child
by Fiona Barton


Bring Her Home
by David Bell


Stung
by Bethany Wiggins
(Stung, Book #1)


Snow & Rose
by Emily Winfield Martin


The Garden of Small Beginnings
by Abbi Waxman


Watch Me Disappear
by Janelle Brown


Catching up on Anne Bishop's The Others series:

Catching up on Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series:


So, what books did you mean to read in 2017 but didn't get to? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

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