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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #103


The Simplicity of Cozy: Hygge, Lagom & the Energy of Everyday Pleasures

by Melissa Alvarez


The Simplicity of Cozy: Hygge, Lagom & the Energy of Everyday PleasuresMake cozy your way of life with this guide for connecting to the positive energy of simple, everyday moments. Known around the world as hygge, lagom, and other similar terms, cozy and balanced living helps you improve your health, happiness, and spirituality by understanding and feeling the frequency of people, animals, places, and situations.

The Simplicity of Cozy explores a variety of topics, including mindfulness, simple ritual, self-care, home environment, relationship connections, and being in nature. Using easy techniques and exercises, you can tune into and practice the energy of coziness.



Expected Publication Date: 

 May 8th 2018 by Llewellyn Publications


Why I'm Waiting:

I love books about Hygge so this one really caught my attention especially since the cover screams cozy!

Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer by Margalit Fox


Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective WriterIn this heady true-crime procedural, the creator of Sherlock Holmes uses his unparalleled detective skills to exonerate a German Jew wrongly imprisoned for murder, and sound a victory for reason over reflexive prejudice.

In 1908, a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow apartment. The police found a convenient but innocent suspect in Oscar Slater--an immigrant Jewish cardsharp--who was tried, convicted and consigned to life at hard labor in a merciless Scottish prison. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, already world famous as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was outraged by this injustice and became obsessed with the case. He scoured trial transcripts, newspaper accounts and eyewitness statements, meticulously noting myriad holes, inconsistencies and outright fabrications. Finally, in 1927, his work won Slater's freedom.

Conan Doyle for the Defense immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection, telling the story of how Conan Doyle managed to overturn a murder conviction in the era before modern forensics--simply by employing the methods of his most famous creation. Along the way, Fox illuminates a watershed moment in the history of criminal justice, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method.


Expected Publication Date: 

June 26th 2018 by Random House

Why I'm Waiting: 

Because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that's why. Seriously though the man who created Sherlock Holmes helped solve a crime? How can I not want to read that.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #103


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read:

These books have all been sitting on my Goodreads TBR pile since the day I joined in August 2008!

Brisingr (The Inheritance Cycle, #3)Anna KareninaThe Phantom of the Opera
Shakespeare's SonnetsUnmasqued: An Erotic Novel of The Phantom of The Opera (Seducing the Classics, #1)Phantom
TimelineThe Catcher in the RyeRaise the Titanic! (Dirk Pitt, #4)
A Promise for Ellie (Daughters of Blessing, #1)

As you can probably tell I've always been an eclectic reader and that I may or may not have had a wee obsession with The Phantom of The Opera due to the 2004 movie staring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. It's crazy to think how much more my reading tastes have changed since I was 18. Clive Cussler is still one of my favourite authors (have always loved a good adventure novel!), but am not so much feeling the Christian historical romances by Lauraine Snelling anymore. However I think it would be fun to read these just to get them off of my list, so I think that's my plan for the year. 


Monday, February 5, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? #140




Hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date


Alice Close Your EyesWith haunting prose and deft psychological insight, Averil Dean spins a chilling story that explores the dark corners of obsession–love, pain and revenge.
Ten years ago, someone ruined Alice Croft's life. Now she has a chance to right that wrong–and she thinks she's found the perfect man to carry out her plan. After watching him for weeks, she breaks into Jack Calabrese's house to collect the evidence that will confirm her hopes. When Jack comes home unexpectedly, Alice hides in the closet, fearing for her life. But upon finding her, Jack is strangely calm, solicitous . . . and intrigued.
That night is the start of a dark and intense attraction, and soon Alice finds herself drawn into a labyrinth of terrifying surrender to a man who is more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. As their relationship spirals toward a breaking point, Alice begins to see just how deep Jack's secrets run–and how deadly they could be.



An Unkindness of MagiciansThere is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.
In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.
Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians. 


Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Sunday Post #68

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer  It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.
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I hope everyone had a good week! We had a really busy one what with Dad's PSWs coming everyday and having appointments at the doctors in the middle of snows storms. Not fun when someone is wheelchair bound I tell ya. Next week is also shaping up to be a busy one, but at least today I'll be doing something fun for myself with Mr. Turning the Pages. Today is Landmade which is a vendor showcase feature natural local ontario yarn, and fibre at a hotel in Toronto's west end so it will be an early morning for us. Also, today is a very special day for a certain member of the family:

Image may contain: dog Today is Spartan's second gotcha day from the Toronto Humane Society! When we got him he was malnourished, missing teeth, cowered in fear anytime someone raised their voice or something fell and only 22 pounds at 16 months old. Now he's 50 pounds and the happiest dog! Plus I forgot to mention in my last post that we added a new baby girl to the family back in December! 
Meet Fury! Our 20 week old Lab/Mastiff mix we adopted from Toronto Animal Services
Image may contain: dog
Anywho other than appointments I'm not sure what next week will bring but we're hoping for some good news on the Long Term Care front for my dad. I hope everyone has a great week!


















It's Monday! What are you reading #140
Top Ten Tuesday #103
Waiting on Wednesday #161
Review : TBA
Review : TBA
Saturday Snapshot #24
The Sunday Post #69


Courtesy of Netgalley:


Have a great week everyone!


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Saturday Snapshot #23




To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky on West Metro Mommy Reads' Blog. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Image may contain: dog and outdoor

Tomorrow is Spartan's gotcha day when we adopted him at the humane society and now he has a new sister Fury, also a rescue to celebrate it with!



Friday, February 2, 2018

*[Review] Alice Close Your Eyes by Averil Dean





Alice Close Your Eyes
With haunting prose and deft psychological insight, Averil Dean spins a chilling story that explores the dark corners of obsession–love, pain and revenge.

Ten years ago, someone ruined Alice Croft's life. Now she has a chance to right that wrong–and she thinks she's found the perfect man to carry out her plan. After watching him for weeks, she breaks into Jack Calabrese's house to collect the evidence that will confirm her hopes. When Jack comes home unexpectedly, Alice hides in the closet, fearing for her life. But upon finding her, Jack is strangely calm, solicitous . . . and intrigued.
That night is the start of a dark and intense attraction, and soon Alice finds herself drawn into a labyrinth of terrifying surrender to a man who is more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. As their relationship spirals toward a breaking point, Alice begins to see just how deep Jack's secrets run–and how deadly they could be.

Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 288 pages (paperback)
Source: Book I Own
Available Format: Print/E-book/Audiobook
Publication Date: December 31st 2013 by Harlequin MIRA
Rating: 
You know how people always stop to watch a train wreck? 
That is exactly how I feel about Alice Close Your Eyes. I have never found myself so confused by a book after reading it. I am well and truly lost at see with this one. 

I bought this book a couple years back and it's another one that has been sitting, gathering dust for way longer than it should have before I finally got to it. In an effort to clean out my books I'm trying to read a lot of my older titles which is why I picked this one up when I did. I thought, that given how intense the synopsis was that I was going to be getting a hard hitting, complex, angsty romance bordering on bdsm.

Unfortunately I had a barely pieced together story about a young girl with some very obvious mental health issues, a man with serious control issues and how they came to be...what ever it was they were for a time. I wouldn't say they were a couple, because apart from weirdly timed, poorly written sex scenes and some definite boundary issues on both their parts neither were developed as individual characters enough for them to actually have a relationship in the story. Alice, our protagonist, is in her early 20s and a cutter. Jack is a guy of unknown age and he's recently out of jail for maybe or maybe not killing his ex-wife (we were never told what happened to Rosemary). Neither were likable. I hated them both right away but, I kept hoping that maybe I was just in a mood. Sadly, this wasn't the case. There was a definite lack of character development for both of them. 

In fact, I would say this is one of the most underdeveloped books I've ever read. I finished Alice Close Your Eyes feeling as though this was a rough draft of a novel someone pieced together from the jumbled remains of someone's cast off ideas. I just didn't see the real purpose of the story because the author wrote the story in such a way that it was obvious what Alice wanted with Jack, though her motivations were very cloudy due to her own issues. She was just completely distasteful. She was written as a tough character but just came off as a whiny little girl with some very serious problems. I found the same problem with Jack, although he was even more underdeveloped as a character that he may as well have been a prop.

There was no romance to this story as there really wasn't much of a story. There were actions, very little dialogue, lots of unnecessary inner monologues, awkward sex and very little plot. This was supposedly marketed as a psychological thriller/erotic read but lacked in both these aspects. I spent all 6 hours it took me to read this either shaking my head in confusion or disgust due to Alice's and later on Jack's actions. There was no cohesiveness and the broken timeline also added to the confusion. One minute Alice is cutting, the next she's remembering poisoning a dog in an act of revenge for a childhood bully calling her mother names. It was so out of whack I had no idea what was going to happen next in the mean time. 

This is not a book I would feel comfortable recommending just because of the lack of any substance to it. There were no redeemable moments, just pure confusion and if I hadn't bought the book I probably wouldn't have stuck it out to read it in the end especially given how slowly the book went. 
Alice Close Your Eyes was a definite case of overreaching for me,  and I wish I could have enjoyed it more as I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately it didn't deliver and gets my second one star rating of 2018.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

*[Review] The Ruins by Scott B. Smith




The Ruins
Trapped in the Mexican jungle, a group of friends stumble upon a creeping horror unlike anything they could ever imagine. Two young couples are on a lazy Mexican vacation–sun-drenched days, drunken nights, making friends with fellow tourists. When the brother of one of those friends disappears, they decide to venture into the jungle to look for him. What started out as a fun day-trip slowly spirals into a nightmare when they find an ancient ruins site . . . and the terrifying presence that lurks there.
Cover and Summary taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 509 pages (paperback)
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audiobook
Source: Book I Own
Publication Date: July 31st 2007 by Vintage (first published 2006)
Rating:
I love horror.
I love horror movies and I love horror novels. I love the feeling of reading and getting the heebie jeebies. Love it. So, after having The Ruins on my bookshelf since 2010. I have moved twice since I bought this, lived in three different homes but never read it until last week. 

Maybe my reluctance to read it was due to the fact that I still haven't seen the movie, or maybe it was a feeling that this book just wasn't going to live up to the hype that kept it neatly sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. 

When I started reading it, I had picked it up on a whim looking for a fast and easy scary read. Unfortunately, while I found it to be a fast and easy read it wasn't scary and wasn't very well written. I didn't care for how the story was told in alternating points of view (which I usually love) but found the way the author chose to switch between characters rather too quickly.

The characters weren't the greatest. They were a group of young twenty somethings that were vacationing in Mexico and decided to help a stranger find his brother in the jungle, among some Mayan ruins. We all know that these things never end well, but I was hoping to be at least slightly sympathetic to at least one character. This wasn't to be the case however, and I found them all to be very one dimensional, whiny, annoying and downright unlikable. For me, it seemed as though the author tried to make them to intellectual, too young, too sympathetic that it went the other way for me. They were all very childish and I didn't mind when some met their ends.

Now, I knew that I probably wasn't going to be reading an amazing book with great characters but I at least wanted to be scared. Unfortunately, this book was boring. There was absolutely nothing scary, spooky or remotely fear inducing in the entire book. The whole being trapped in Mayan ruins wasn't even part of the actual story other than, they arrived at the ruins. They were there for a couple days, some folks died. Seriously, the ruins were never even a main focal point of the story. Even the entity that haunted the ruins for lack of a better term wasn't even written well. It was just simply preposterous that the thing killing everyone was just so poorly written, that it was laughable. It just made no sense to me and I found it ridiculous. 

I really did try to like The Ruins, I really did. I wanted to enjoy it but it was honestly one of the most boring books I've ever read. Yes, I was able to read it in one sitting but that's because I had nothing else to do and it was just so easy and bland the pages slipped by. It felt like the author took a bunch of outtakes from previous works and through so much at the wall hoping things would stick, and in the end this didn't work for me at all. The poor characterization, forced dialogue and awkward internal monologues from the character amid an underused plot and basically useless setting wound up in this being a dud for me. That being said though I do want to watch the movie just to see how it compares.
If you're looking for a fun horror novel, this isn't one I would recommend and why I gave it one star.