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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

#Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Bobbsey Twins' Adventure in the Country by Laura Lee Hope #LauraLeeHope Grosset & Dunlap @WorkshopBooks

SERIES: Original Bobbsey Twins, Book #2
AUTHOR: Laura Lee Hope
PUBLISHER: Grosset & Dunlap
PUBLICATION DATE: 1961 (first published 1907)
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 179 pages
GENRE: Childrens, Mystery
ISBN: 0448080028
Join the Bobbseys as they barely escape a frightening encounter with a ferocious bull in this countryside adventure!
MY REVIEW:

The Bobbsey Twins were one of my favourite series when I was a kid. I actually still have my vintage hardcover set that I saved from my childhood, and I read this one aloud to my daughter.

For those who are not familiar with this series, it features the Bobbsey siblings who are two sets of fraternal twins: Six-year-old blond-haired and blue-eyed twins Freddie and Flossie, and 12-year-old brown-haired and brown-eyed twins Bert and Nan. The books are usually categorized as "mysteries" but, as my daughter pointed out, they aren't really mysteries! They kids mean well, but they often find themselves in a pickle. As a kid, I loved how the older twins looked out for their younger siblings. The Bobbseys are a picture-perfect suburban family.

This is actually the second book in the series. I couldn't find the first one in my boxes, so I grabbed this one instead. The Bobbsey family goes to visit Mr. Bobbsey's sister, Sarah, and her family who live on a farm in Meadowbrook. During their stay, the family's prize bull gets stolen and the Bobbsey twins with their cousin Harry work together to solve the mystery.

It was fun to step back in time and read old school children's literature. I didn't realize that this was first published over 100 years ago, but then was re-written in the 60s so I guess that puts some of the language into perspective. When referencing their housekeeper, it's never just "Dinah" but the "plump colored woman." It also gave us a chuckle when Mr. Bobbsey referred to Flossie as his "fat little fairy" and Freddie as his "fat little fireman." My daughter pointed out that they weren't very nice nicknames to call his kids! I do agree with her, but it is clear that he does it with affection and the children giggle when he says it. There is an incident between Bert and Mark, a neighbour of Harry's who bullies Bert and holds his head under the water. Harry's father, Uncle Daniel, puts a stop to it and tells Mark to knock it off or he'll have to go home. When Mark starts in on Bert again, Uncle Daniel says: "You two boys had better have a wrestling match fair and square, and get this out of your systems!" I think I like the way that bullies were handled back in the day! There is something to be said for standing up to a bully and fighting back. I know that's not condoned nowadays in school, but sometimes a bully just needs to know that the person he is picking on is going to fight back! Overall, it's good clean juvenile fiction and it was like a walk down memory lane for me. This series is dear to me, because I loved it so much as a kid and it made me a bookworm!

It's tough to rate this, because my child-self would give it 5 stars hands-down. However, my adult-self isn't quite as enamored as when I was a child. This was less of a mystery than I remember, so that part of it was a disappointment. Still, I liked it and would probably rate this one 3 stars if I were reading it for the first time. I'm going to settle in the middle, with 4 stars.

MY RATING:

4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy old-school children's literature!

This book qualifies as:

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Consumed by J.R. Ward @JRWard1 ‏@GalleryBooks

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: Consumed
SERIES: Firefighters, Book #1
AUTHOR: J.R. Ward 
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: October 2, 2018
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 416 pages
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781501194900
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Ann Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family's scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed...

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn't believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again--until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm . . .

I'm a HUGE fan of Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, so I'm very interested in this new one from her. According to Goodreads, the genre is Contemporary Romance but it sounds more like Romantic Suspense to me. I prefer that anyway!

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, April 24, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Do you still accept review requests?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings. Each week, they post a new question. Everyone is welcome to join!

Do you still accept review requests? Why or why not?


Yes and no.

Way back when I started blogging in 2010, I soon was inundated with review requests and received tons of e-books directly from authors. I also joined NetGalley and later Edelweiss and requested books that I wanted to read. I soon discovered that I do not like to read e-books! I much prefer holding a real book in my hands, but my sit-down time to read is minimal so my main method of reading is by audiobook.

I no longer accept e-books for review, and I no longer request printed ARCs from publishers. I am on a few mailing lists for audiobook publishers, and I like that I can request audiobooks (which are audio downloads) that interest me. I really, REALLY try to keep requests to a minimum because I still have my own Audible library that has over 200 audiobooks that I need to get to, plus my Downpour library, plus my Tantor library, plus I can borrow audiobooks from my local library on Overdrive or their library CDs. 

I've been blogging now for over eight years, and I've learned that I really just want to read what interests me! I love to talk about books, and I'm passionate about what I read. However, I found that having too many books in my review pile (or books that didn't really interest me) sucked the joy out of reading. The whole reason why I started my blog was for it to hold me accountable to read MORE and to read my own books, so I'm trying to get back to that.


What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, April 23, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.


I'm reading: 

Something from my Kindle library, which is a good pick for the Spring Into Horror Read-a-Thon. I very rarely read e-books, but I own a ton of them! I get the draw to them, because they don't physically take up space in my home but I still like the feel of a real book in my hands. I guess I'm old-fashioned that way! Plus, it really irks me when I see the price of a Kindle book exceed the price of the paperback version!! Ok, enough of my rant :)

SERIES: The Girl with All the Gifts, Book #1
AUTHOR: M.R. Carey
PUBLISHER: Orbit
PUBLICATION DATE: June 10, 2014
FORMAT: Kindle Edition
LENGTH: 421 pages
GENRE: Horror, Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic
ISBN: B00CO7FLFG
Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

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.

Something from the library. I really enjoy this author, and I find him to be very inspirational!

AUTHOR: Joel Osteen
PUBLISHER: FaithWords
PUBLICATION DATE: October 24, 2017
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781455534326
The same God that leads you through green pastures guides you through the valleys. #1 New York Times bestselling author Joel Osteen shares how God uses the darkness in life for good.

All of us at some time encounter dark places that we don't understand: a loss, a sickness, a divorce, a child who breaks our heart. It's easy to get discouraged, give up on our dreams, and just settle there. We may not realize it, but when we feel buried in dark places, we are being blessed. God is using those experiences to help us grow, because we cannot reach our highest potential if we're standing in the light all the time. With Blessed in the Darkness, you will learn how to draw closer to God and trust Him when life doesn't make sense.

If we will go through the valley trusting, believing, and knowing that God is still in control, then we will come to the table that is already prepared for us, where our cup runs over.

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter. We are loving this series!

TITLE: Rising Storm
SERIES: Warriors, Book #4
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLISHER: Avon Books
PUBLICATION DATE: February 15, 2005
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 336 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 0060525630
Fireheart's traitorous enemy Tigerclaw has been vanquished and exiled from Thunder Clan -- but Fireheart can't shake the feeling that he's lurking in the forest, waiting for his chance to strike.

That's not the only problem facing the young warrior in these blazing summer months, as he struggles to handle sinister omens, an apprentice with a shocking secret, and a devastated Clan leader who is a shell of her former self.

Meanwhile the forest gets hotter and hotter ... and everyone braces for the coming storm... Ages 10+.

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter.


TITLE: The Capture
SERIES: Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book #1
AUTHOR: Kathryn Lasky
PUBLISHER: Scholastic, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: August 1, 2010 (first published 2003)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 222 pages
GENRE: Young Adult
ISBN: 9780545253062
Soren is born in the forest of Tyto, a tranquil kingdom where the Barn Owls dwell. But lurking evil threatens to shatter peace and change the course of his life. Captured for a forbidding canyon orphanage, Soren and his friend Gylfie know that the only way out is up. To escape, they will need to do something they have never done before - fly. With owls Twighlight and Digger, they seek the truth and protect the owl world from unimaginable danger.
I'm listening to:

Something from my Tantor Audio library, which is also a good pick for the Spring Into Horror Read-a-Thon!

TITLE: Flu
SERIES: Flu, Book #1
AUTHOR: Wayne Simmons
NARRATOR: Michael Kramer
PUBLISHER: Tantor Media
PUBLICATION DATE: September 18, 2012 (first published 2010)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 7 hrs and 52 mins
GENRE: Horror, Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic
ISBN: 9781452639390
There's a nasty flu going round. An epidemic, they call it. The posters say to cover your mouth when you sneeze, and throw away the tissue. But such simple measures won't stop this flu. Because when you catch the flu, armed police come and lock you in your house to die alone. When you catch this flu, it kills you in days. And when you catch this flu, two hours after it's killed you, your eyelids snap open again . . . Flu is a pacey, terrifying, frighteningly real zombie horror story.

I just finished:

TITLE: 14
AUTHOR: Peter Clines
NARRATOR: Ray Porter
PUBLISHER: Audible Frontiers
PUBLICATION DATE: June 19, 2012
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 12 hrs and 38 mins
GENRE: Horror, Science Fiction
ASIN: B0089Y7K0M
Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches.

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s. Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends. Or the end of everything....

AUTHOR: Alice Sebold
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2006 (first published 2002)
FORMAT: Mass Market Paperback
LENGTH: 328 pages
GENRE: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 9780316166683
The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder -- a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family's need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that's calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive -- and then some. But Susie isn't ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.

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, April 22, 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



Woo hoo! The Winnipeg Jets won the First Round against the Minnesota Wild. Our goalie, Connor Hellebuyck, had back-to-back shutouts in the last two games with 2-0 in Game 4 and 5-0 in Game 5. We advance to Second Round in the Stanley Cup Play-offs, where we will play either the Nashville Predators or Colorado Avalanche.

The Windicator shows that we are a quarter of the way there!!


Go Jets Go!!


Ha ha, gotta love Homer!

In other great news, Spring has sprung! Our temp is going up to 19 degrees Celsius today (that's 66 degrees Fahrenheit). Woo hoo! Bring it!!




I received this goodie in my mailbox:


Bottom Feeders
by John Shepphird

Thanks again to Blackstone Audio!



Recap: Last Week On The Blog

Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post

Wednesday Book Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Thursday Audiobook Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Bared to the Laird by Eliza Knight

Friday Audiobook Review: 2 out of 5 stars for Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

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, April 20, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 2 out of 5 stars for Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu @BlackstoneAudio @downpour_com

TITLE: Carmilla
NARRATORS: Megan Follows
PUBLISHER: AudioGO
PUBLICATION DATE: April 27, 2010 (first published 1872)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 3 hrs
GENRE: Classics, Horror, Gothic
ASIN: B003JJEGNQ
A classic Victorian vampire novella, which influenced Bram Stoker's later treatment of the vampire mythos in Dracula.

MY REVIEW:

I have always wanted to read this classic, and I picked it up when it was featured as a Daily Steal on Downpour. 

The story is about a young woman named named Laura, who lives a quiet life with her father in their castle. Her mother is deceased, and she is raised by two governesses. She yearns for the companionship of a friend. When she was a young child, she had a dream about a beautiful woman who crept into bed with her and then felt the pain of two pricks above her breast.

When Laura is a teenager, a woman is injured in a carriage incident near the castle and is brought to them. Laura recognizes the woman as the one from her dreams when she was a child, although it seems impossible because she looks exactly the same as she did approximately ten years earlier. The woman's name is Carmilla, and she stays with the family while she recuperates. I guess people were a lot more welcoming to strangers back then!

Carmilla has the odd habit of sleeping during the daytime, but Laura's family chalks it up to the fact that she is convalescing. Carmilla and Laura become inseparable, and Carmilla tells Laura: “You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.”

I so wanted to enjoy this book, but it was so dull and boring! There is more talk than anything else, with little action. I guess the story was scandalous back in the day because it featured a lesbian vampire although, again, it was very understated and was revealed more in what Carmilla said to Laura than in anything actually happening. What I thought was cool is that the villain is a woman, which I think was uncommon in that era.

Although this story is short, it dragged for me. I highly recommend the audiobook if you are interested in reading this book, as the narrator was fantastic! She kept me listening, even through my boredom. Here is a sample of the narration:


MY RATING:

2 stars!! Meh, it was just "okay."

This book qualifies as:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Bared to the Laird by Eliza Knight @ElizaKnight @TantorAudio

SERIES: Highland Bound, Book #2
AUTHOR: Eliza Knight
NARRATORS: Arika Rapson and Antony Ferguson
PUBLISHER: Tantor Media
PUBLICATION DATE: July 14, 2014 (first published 2013)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 6 hrs and 36 mins
GENRE: Romance/Historical, Science Fiction/Time Travel
ISBN: 9781494523091
Secret obsession makes for the sweetest of sins.

Overwhelmed by her new life in another era with the Laird of Gealach, and the feelings that threaten to consume her, Emma determines she must return to her own time and a semblance of sanity. Having heard of a magical circle of stones atop the ridge overlooking Loch Ness, she manages to escape from the castle and the desire and intensity of Logan that’s held her captive.

When Logan realizes Emma is missing, he is enraged and terrified. He seeks to find her and when he does, he will punish her exquisitely for leaving him, and for inexplicably exposing his scorching fascination and adoration.

Together again, their passions are reignited and a new stunning level of sensuality and self-discovery invoked. But underneath it all, both still wrestle with their inner demons and the impending danger of angered clans and traitors among them. Revealing how they feel about each other could bring about cataclysmic crash within their hearts and the realm. The blade is sharp on both edges, but they know not which side to choose, for one promises sweet, decadent surrender and the other, irrevocable damage - and they aren't certain which is which. Will baring her soul to the Highlander forever change the course of history?

This the second book in the Highland Bound Trilogy and is intended for mature audiences only.

MY REVIEW:

This is the second installment in the Highland Bound series.

It's been four months now since Emma found herself travelling back in time to 1542. She remains at Castle Gealach with Logan, and they try to keep their relationship on the down-low. However, when one of Emma's nightgowns is shredded, they know that someone is on to them. 

Emma fears that every time there is a storm that she will be sent back to the present, and she still struggles with keeping this secret from Logan.

While the first book in the series, Behind the Plaid, focused more on the relationship between Logan and Emma and how they changed because of each other, this one was more about what is going on around them. Here, there are outside forces that threaten their relationship.

I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first one in the series, but I'm still a fan and will continue with the next book in the series, Dark Side of the Laird.

I enjoyed the dual narration by Arika Rapson (Emma) and Antony Ferguson (Logan). I still find Rapson to be slightly nasally at times, but overall both narrators did a good job. Here is a sample of the narration:


MY RATING:

4 stars!! I really enjoyed it, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy steamy historical/time travel romances.

This book qualifies as:
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