Random Thoughts

Poll – Favorite Places in Books

Hi everyone! I’m looking for favorite places in books or places favorite books take place. I’d appreciate any comments! So far I have the following:

  • 221B Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes)
  • Thornfield Hall (Jane Eyre)
  • Hogwarts (Harry Potter)
  • Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables)
  • Treasure Island
  • Camelot
  • Pemberly (Pride and Prejudice)
2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Book Reviews

Anne of Greene Gables by L. M. Montgomery

I love the Anne of Green Gables series. I fell in love with it about a year and a half ago when I first read the stories on the recommendation of a friend. I loved them so much my husband bought me the box set for Christmas LOL. When I ran out of audiobooks, I found that I still had the first Anne of Greene Gables on my iPod so I just started listening to it. I forgot how good the book was. Anne is such a fun, imaginative, and energetic character. It would be so hard to not like her. She sees life in such an interesting way it is hard not to be thoughtful about how you think life compared to Anne. She is so open-minded and imaginative that it makes you begin to think things would be like in your life if you follow her example.

The story follows Anne after she is adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. Throughout the five or so years the books cover you see her grow from a fascinating young girl into an interesting young woman. She makes a series of amusing mistakes and gets into a lot of scrapes. She makes friends, learns about herself more, and becomes loved by the town. She read about her growing relationships with her adoptive family, her best friend, and the rivalries she develops at school. Throughout it all, Anne renames places to make them more interesting, talks about her dreams and desires, and uses her imagination to create such interesting stories it is hard not to enjoy.

The is a wonderful coming of age novel that demonstrates the value of being yourself and following your dreams. Anne is a great role model for young girls and the book is light-hearted throughout, even in the sad places thanks to Anne’s interesting thoughts and insights. I highly recommend this book to anyone, even adults. It’s one of my favorites and I think everyone could find some value in it, the least of which is wholesome, clean, and light-hearted entertainment.

My rating:

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Book Reviews

Heller Brothers Series – Hockey Romance by Kelly Jamieson

Breakaway (Book 1) – The story of Remi and Jase reviewed here.

Faceoff (Book 2) – The story of Kyla and Tag.

Kyla is an up-and-coming lawyer who grew up with the Heller boys. They have been close since they were little, Kyla trying to keep up with the much more athletic boys. She’d had a crush on Tag since her later years in high school, but she buried it. When her mom tells her about a week-long double family reunion between her family and the Hellers, Kyla is reluctant to go. She is in the running to become partner at the law firm and work is her focus. After fighting the boys club mind set at work for too long, she gives in and goes away for the week with the family.

Tag is dealing with the movie of his professional hockey from Phoenix back to his hometown of Winnipeg. With the crush of publicity, media requirements, and pressure to pull his teammates through the move, Tag is grateful for a reason to get away for a week. What he and Kyla did not reckon on was the firing attraction that blooms as soon as they see each other again. They spend the week getting familiar with each other again and dealing with their attraction and the impact it would have on their families.

The book wasn’t too bad, but it was very predictable. You could tell pretty much exactly what was going to happen and there wasn’t anything really surprising. There was the topic of developing a work/life balance that was a nice backdrop to the romance. It was very erotic and focused quite a bit on sex scenes. There was the addition of some kink in this book as well. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite book or even that I would read it again, but that is just me. It doesn’t mean the book is bad, just that I personally won’t reach for it again.

One Man Advantage (Book 3) – The story of Nicole and Logan.

After Nicole is basically called a hockey whore on live television by her ex-boyfriend, she vows never to date another hockey player. In walks Logan Heller and throws her plans off track. Logan is not searching for a relationship. He has just been traded to Minneapolis to try to help bring the team out of a slump. He is not happy about leaving his comfortable, sunny California, but he has not choice. He finds a happiness and love with Nicole he has never known anywhere else. Nicole however is fighting the relationship with everything she has and often hurts Logan in the process.

This book is probably the most believable so far. It seems like a perfectly plausible meeting and relationship development that would actually occur. Even the emotions the characters feel is quite real and logical even if the road from hello to love was quite fast. I wasn’t really able to connect with the characters though and felt they needed to be developed a little more. There was more kink in this book than the other two and also seemed to focus heavily on the physical relationship between the characters. I think that was an issue I had with it as I like to read about the emotional growth between the characters that leads to a relationship where this book was missing that.

Hat Trick (Book 4) – The Christmas book.

I was actually quite disappointed with this book. It was supposed to be the Christmas book where the boys and their girl friends go to the Heller house for Christmas. You would expect a standard issue or two popping up as they pretty much have to in a romance book, but for some reason the characters in the book had issues that caused a LOT of issues. One character became a real asshole for a while. I tried to think that yes there are really people like this, but it seemed a bit on the extreme end. It did a good job of showing how issues really disrupt lives and people deal with things a lot differently, but the book just didn’t come together well in my mind.

Offside (Book 5) – The story of Honey and Matt.

This was probably one of the best books of the lot. You have Honey, a young woman with the rich wildchild past trying to make something of herself now and trying to move on from her past. Your hero is Matt Heller, who was very comfortable in his position in California when he is traded up to Minnesota to help revive a sluggish hockey team. Honey and Matt had a past when Honey was in the height of her crazy days and he helped instigate her parents to finally curtail her. When they meet again, the attraction is still there, but Honey has a lot to deal with and fights Matt most of the way. Throw in the emotional turmoil that Honey deals with and the hard life reality she makes herself face, you actually have a good emotional read. You get to see Honey and Matt deal with difficult emotions and checkered pasts as well with the real life effects that people and pasts can have on current emotions. Like the other books, there is a lot of sex and erotica, but this book has a genuine storyline that makes you feel for the characters, particularly Honey.

Overall rating:

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2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Book Reviews

Born in Shame (Irish Born #3) by Nora Roberts

Since I loved Born in Ice so much I decided to continue with the next book in the series. The story begins with Shannon Bodine, the mysterious half sister the Concannon girls were looking for, learning about her real father right before her mother dies. Not too soon after that, the private detective tracks her down and presents Shannon with the invitation to visit Ireland and meet her sisters. Shannon initially resents this and fights against this new knowledge. Eventually she gives in and take a leave of absence to go to Ireland to figure out what she wants to do with her life – not to meet or get to know her sisters.

When she arrives, she begins to fall in love with the country. Murphy immediately begins to fall in love with her. Through the book, Murphy and Shannon develop a strong relationship even as Shannon fights it. The majority of the book is Shannon dealing with and learning to accept that she is a part of this country and has a father that would have loved her if he had been able to. This is complicated by the feelings she has about betraying her father, the one that raised her, and her mother while coming to love her biological father and the sisters she has. The relationship between Shannon and Maggie is extremely rocky as Maggie doesn’t believe Shannon will accept the changes in her life or the people she has now. While she is in the country, Shannon takes the time to explore her painting talent. Everyone is blown away by her skill and work and even Sweeney, Maggie’s husband, convinces her to put her work in the local gallery.

This story was very complex and well written, I myself just didn’t particularly like the visions aspect that was wound into it. As soon as Shannon arrives, she begins to have dreams that  seemed to be memories of a long time ago and a man that reminds her a lot of Murphy. When she brings them up, Murphy has had the same dreams and is convinced that is how he knows Shannon is going to be the woman he is supposed to marry. She fights that as well.

There is a lot of conflict and emotional turmoil in the book. I didn’t like it as much as Born in Ice because I don’t think I could relate to Shannon as well as I did to Brianna or Maggie. It is however a good book and ends the trilogy rather well. There are a lot of conclusions and endings to issues that were around in the first two books and it was satisfying to have them worked out.

My rating:

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2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Book Reviews

Nurse, Come You Here! by Mary J. MacLeod

I found this book in the Kindle store on sale a few months ago. I hadn’t really read anything from Scotland, but I really like books based in Ireland so I thought I’d give it a shot. Also, I thought the idea of reading the memories of a country nurse would be interesting as I live in the country.

I was not disappointed by the book. It was in turns hilarious, heartbreakingly sad, full of life, and honoring death. The characters were very real, the landscape and weather had a life and spirit of their own. You actually could picture yourself in the places she describes with the people she talks about. This is one of the rare books that actually made me weep. It is a powerful book that teaches you all about life on an older Scottish isle.

The core of the book takes place on Papavray Island off the Scottish coast in the late 70s. It is actually the second book by MacLeod. The first book covers Mary, her husband, and their two sons moving to the island and Mary taking up the job as the county nurse for the island. In this book, she is settled into her position and you hear the love she has for her patients through the stories she tells of her visits and exploits with them. Her love for the people and animals shines through the whole book. Her different struggles and entertainments she takes in stride and you get a true feel for her personality. Cows in the kitchen, missing children, the local vegetable cart, and broken down cars are only a couple things described and talked about in living, breathing color.

Her writing is elegant and full of rarely used words (in my opinion) and several Scottish terms. I loved reading it because of her writing and the vocabulary she used. You could also hear the Scottish brogue as she wrote by the why she phrased and spelled different words. I think it would be a fabulous book to listen to if you could get a Scottish voice actor.

The only part I was disappointed by (SPOILER ALERT!) was when the family moved to the states at the very end of the book for her husband’s job. However, you still find her love for her family in those pages as well. As it is a memoir, of course there is not a settled ending as I would have made it.

I would recommend this book for anyone who likes reading about Scotland or Ireland. Also, anyone who enjoys a good memoir or even lovers of fiction. It is not a fictional story, but it keeps you entertained just as a fictional book would. It is an enjoyable read that gives you a new outlook on life and a greater appreciation for nurses.

My rating:

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Random Thoughts

40 Ways to Improve Your Reading Life

Article originally published by Brenna Clarke Gray on the Book Riot blog: http://bookriot.com/2015/01/30/40-tiny-tasks-for-a-richer-reading-life/

Being a reader is a life-long project, and we all want to do it well. Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the parts of a reader’s life that feel insurmountable — the TBR list you’ll never complete; the library hold list you’ll never catch up on; all the amazing books you’ll never hear about, let alone find and own!

But there are little ways we can enrich our reading lives every day: small changes we can make or ideas we can try to change up our reading patterns and find new books to love. Here are forty places to start. Add your own in the comments below, or try a couple first and then come tell me how they go.

1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual and use that time to read a poem.

2. Visit your library — especially if it’s been awhile — and ask a librarian for a recommendation.

3. Let go of one reading prejudice and never think about it again.

4. Read one book in a genre you think you despise.

5. Ask someone you respect for a book suggestion, and read it right away.

6. Give away the book that’s been on your TBR pile the longest.

7. Volunteer for an organization that promotes literacy.

8. Read a book that looks like it will make you feel uncomfortable.

9. Commit to a reading challenge.

10. Cull ten books from your collection and donate them without bringing any new books home.

11. Read out loud to someone you love.

12. Make a list of the ways reading intersects with love in your life.

13. Listen to the audiobook of a book you DNF’d years ago.

14. Read your best friend’s favourite book, no matter what it is.

15. Dog-ear a page.

16. Write in the margins.

17. Ask your oldest relative or friend their favourite book. Read it right away and tell them.

18. Read outside.

19. Listen to an audiobook while you run errands.

20. Read a play. Let yourself take the time to imagine how it might be staged.

21. Reread a book you hated in high school. Reread it twice.

22. Apologize to someone you’ve been snobby or snarky to about books.

23. Read a book by an author from a country you’ve never imagined visiting.

24. Read a collection of poetry by a single poet, front-to-back, twice.

25. Give your favourite book from childhood at the next baby shower you attend.

26. Give your favourite book from your 20s to your favourite college student.

27. Read a book by a person who doesn’t look like you.

28. Read a book by a person who wouldn’t understand you in a million years.

29. Read one page of a holy book from a faith you were not raised with.

30. Listen to a podcast about books.

31. Attend the next reading in your town, even (especially!) if you don’t know the author.

32. Write a handwritten letter to a living author you adore.

33. Visit the grave of a dead author you adore.

34. Visit a place you’ve only ever read about in books.

35. Crack a spine. Go on. Do it.

36. Read a superhero comic, especially if you haven’t in years (or ever).

37. Watch an adaptation of a book you like and try to like it for what it is.

38. Memorize a poem.

39. Reread the book you loved best when you were sixteen.

40. Have a conversation about books with someone you’ve never talked books with before.

2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Book Reviews

Breakaway (Heller Brothers #1) by Kelly Jamieson

I hadn’t actually intended this book to be a part of my 2016 reading challenge. I found the set on sale in the Kindle store and decided it sounded good. I like simple hockey romances so I just picked it up for fun. I needed to relax the other night so I thought I’d read one of the books in the series. It was only after I started reading I realized the main female character was a teacher. It just kind of worked out and now I’m one more down on my reading challenge.

The story follows Remi, a sixth grade teacher, and Jase, a professional hockey player. The meet in a club when neither of them wants to be there. Remi had just helped her younger sister move out of the family home and Remi was finally on her own. Jase had just broken up with his super model girlfriend and wasn’t interested in finding anyone. One thing leads to another and they end up in bed. They meet again by accident at a presentation at Remi’s school where she finds out he’s a hockey player and he finds out she’s a teacher. He doesn’t like teachers having had bad experiences with them when he was younger. The core of the story is them both dealing with their past, and current, issues and how they start to build a relationship by accident.

The book is predictable and heavily focused on the sex. It was good for a simple hockey romance. The characters were developed but could use a little bit more. There is a variety of emotions and it does a good job focusing on the emotional growth between the characters. I’m not a bit erotica fan which is what this crosses into at points. However, for an erotica book there is a decent story line and a good bit of story in between sex scenes. The writing was good and easy to follow. The story line fairly believable and flows well. I liked the addition of the baggage the characters brought and dealt with throughout the story. The development of that baggage could’ve been done more intensely. Some of the things they were dealing with would not have been solved that easily or quickly.

The book is definitely intended for mature audiences. I’d recommend it to fans of hockey romance, erotica, or just needs a good read to unwind to.

My rating:

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