Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Drinkwater by Eric Hopkins

From the Publisher

Drinkwater was originally an English word given to someone who abstains from drinking alcohol. As a family name it represents sobriety, dignity and self-control.
Nineteen-year-old Amber Drinkwater knows that when life presents hardships, a responsible person meets them fairly, with a clear head and the willingness to work. her plans to start a new life in Toronto with her brother Guy are interrupted when their uncle fails to meet them at the train station, but she resolves to abide until he tu
rns up--and when it seems their caretaker is gone for good, she accepts it as an unexpected but timely call to independence and adult responsibility, in spite of her dearth of money or friends in the city.
The sprawling city of Toronto represents a shining opportunity for Amber to prove herself through an old code of grim endurance and bold resignation, but she will find her simple work ethic is no match for its modern towers, dark streets and disjointed neighbourhoods. Drinkwater is a provocative story that blurs the borders between teenage empowerment and helplessness, between experience and naivety, and between optimism and blind hope.

My Thoughts

Obtained through Mini Book Expo I picked this book because it was set in Toronto. I am a real home-grown girl.
Throughout the book the reason for Amber and Guy to be their own is just hinted at. Suddenly they are alone without parents and nobody is really that invested in helping and providing for them. Somehow they must muddle through the preparations for their life and live it without a safety net and nowhere is this more evident than when they arrive in Toronto and their uncle is supposed to be collecting them from Union Station but he never shows up.
They have no place to go and nobody to call in Toronto to help them. I think that Amber thought she could provide for the two of them but in reality a couple of teens on their own without a lot of money and their luggage in tow become lost like so much dross blowing around the city.
They are unable to even find basic accommodation for themselves and spend days eating nothing more than carbs at local donut and coffee places.
Amber also showed her age and inexperience by her pride. She had thought that she was old enough to care for them both but in reality a grown and experienced adult would be willing to admit when they didn't have any options and would use any and all resources to help themselves and their loved ones.
Well written...I could feel the despair!
I give this a 4 out of 5 stars.
I loved this book and was riveted throughout.

The Makedown by Gitty Daneshvari

Product Description
Anna Norton used to be fat. Correction: Anna Norton used to be a fat, nerdy, overeater with low self esteem. When she moves from suburban Ohio to Manhattan at age 23, her life does a total 180. With guidance from her boss, an unlikely Fairy Godmother in the form of a chic caterer and excellent cook, Anna loses all the weight and--though still not quite Kate Moss--finally drops her inferiority complex, brushes the crumbs off her skirt, and enters the world of feeling good, looking good, and...finally having sex.

When Anna meets Ben, the man of her dreams (and of every other person's dreams who isn't blind) she almost can't believe she is dating the Ken Doll. Deep down, she is still the chubby nerd who wrote in a diary called Hello Fatty. But not everything is perfect; her hot boyfriend is a huge flirt, and every leggy blond who crosses his path is a threat to Anna. She just can't escape the feeling that Ben is way out of her league and that everyone thinks she is dating up and he's dating down. It gets so bad, she decides she will do anything to make these women go away.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. Not sure if it had anything to do with being an overweight ie. fatty... nerd myself throughout my formative years and being teased and bullied but this book felt like retribution on my behalf! What made this book so eminently readable for me was how real Anna and her family were. I could absolutely picture them together and all the family conversations...in jokes and embarrassing family-speak with each other. What was also classic was remembering yet again that no matter how old we become we never stop being somebody's baby...their child.
I could also picture how insecure Anna would be about dating such a "god" as Ben after being the aforementioned fat-girl but I followed every step of the 'Makedown' with horror and felt this way through to it's inevitable conclusion. Despite her incredible metamorphosis into a girl in control of her life...Anna needed to grow into believing in herself and though the story turned her life into a 'train-wreck'...she came out this experience stronger yet more resilient.
Good read!
I give this a 4 out of 5 stars.

No Time for Goodbye By Linwood Barclay

The house was deathly quiet. That was the first sign that something was terribly wrong. Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke that morning to find herself alone. Her family—mother, father, and brother—had vanished without a word, without a note, without a trace. Twenty-five years later, Cynthia is still looking for answers. Now she is about to learn the devastating truth.

From critically acclaimed author Linwood Barclay comes a new suspense thriller that strikes to the core of our most primal fear. What if you woke one day to find your entire life had changed? If everyone you loved had disappeared overnight without so much as a chance to ask why?

My Thoughts

I first encountered Linwood Barclay when my family and I were discussing different authors to try out. My husband and my mother in law had heard of Linwood Barclay and I was eager to try his books out. I have been so blessed lately with new and amazing books to read that I believe that my tastes have fined down. In other words...the bar has been raised. I enjoy a good thriller so I couldn't wait to tuck into this story.
Cynthia is a married mother of one, Grace (8), who enjoys a satisfying relationship with her schoolteacher husband. She is haunted though by an unsolved mystery from 25 years in her past when her parents and brother disappeared one night after she had gone to sleep. Cynthia being only 14 at the time had been dragged home by her irate father and subsequently passed out after arriving home drunk from her date with the 'bad boy' of town.
She woke up the next morning to find her entire family had disappeared without any sign of what had happened.
I found the book to be a good read. I enjoyed most of the story but I did find that parts of it didn't ring true. While it was obvious to see Cynthia becoming paranoid around the safety of her daughter what I did find incredible was that she wasn't completely obsessed with her child's safety all the way through. Until some very odd things started happening Cynthia didn't seem to be as overwrought as I would imagine a woman with her past would be.
Funnily enough...I enjoyed the bits of back story about her husband's relationship with a difficult student more than I enjoyed the main story.
I give this a 3 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Picture of happier times....1994
A lovely memory!

Wishing you all a loving and wonderful holiday!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Fill-in


1. I must __feel at peace_and travel to exotic lands__ before I die.

2. You can't stop _life ____.

3. I wish I never had to buy _pain reliever ..... ever____ again.

4. _Thinking outside of the box____ has helped me change my life.

5. I know the song _American Pie____ by heart. ( Bye Bye Miss American Pie....drove my chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.....)

6. If I weren't so afraid, I would _join a choir____.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dreaming_____, tomorrow my plans include _shopping____ and Sunday, I want to _read and blog____!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst


What do a suburban mom, her troubled daughter, divorced brothers, former child stars, born-again Christians, and young millionaires have in common? They have all been selected to compete on LOST AND FOUND, the daring new reality show. In teams of two, they will race across the globe --- from Egypt to England, from Japan to Sweden --- to battle for a million-dollar prize. They must decipher encrypted clues, recover mysterious artifacts, and outwit their opponents to stay in play.

Yet what started as a lark turns deadly serious as the number of players is whittled down, temptations beckon, and the bonds between partners strain and unravel. The question now is not only who will capture the final prize, but at what cost.

My Thoughts

What an incredible idea for a story and what a story!
Set up along the lines of The Amazing Race but with the twist of collecting found objects and carrying them with you for the rest of the journey...this includes a parrot, sequins and a ski pole.
The underlying tale speaks to family angst and an unusual mix of secrets with sexual orientation. The teams are each unique and some are more sympathetic than others and you find yourself rooting for them all through the race.
The mother and daughter team of Laura and Cassie are struggling with a family secret that is threatening to split their tiny family asunder while the young married couple Justin and Abby are struggling with their sexuality. There are two ex-child stars looking to rekindle their fame and a pair of brothers that are easy to like but also overlook.
The end of the game is uncertain as each team seems to bring with it it's own agenda and it isn't all about winning the race even though 1 million dollars is certainly compelling.
I enjoyed it immensely and found all the characters quite likable and the book very readable.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Having a Hard Time

I'm not sure if anyone reads my blog and might be wondering where I have disappeared to....I was quite prolific at one time...... but we are coming up to Christmas and I am just barely able to make it out of bed to go to work.
Christmas is a family time and we are missing our Nicky. Both of my children were the brightest souls around and people felt drawn to them because of their warmth and sensitivity.
I'm sorry but living without one of them right now feels absolutely unbearable.

I have two weeks off over the holidays and I plan on getting back to my reviews. I love it after all...I am still reading...just not able to put fingers to keyboard.

I hope that your holidays are EXACTLY the way that you wish them to be...........



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rachel's Holiday by Marion Keyes


The fast lane is much too slow for Rachel Walsh. And Manhattan is the perfect place for a young Irish female to overdo everything. But Rachel's love of a good time is about to land her in the emergency room. It will also cost her a job and the boyfriend she adores.When her loving family hustles her back home and checks her into Ireland's answer to the Betty Ford Clinic, Rachel is hopeful. Perhaps it will be lovely -- spa treatments, celebrities, that kind of thing. Instead, she finds a lot of group therapy, which leads her, against her will, to some important self-knowledge. She will also find something that all women like herself fear: a man who might actually be good for her.

My Thoughts

Everytime I pick up a book written by Marion Keyes I have to change my mind about my favourite book. This time I am in love with Rachel's Holiday.
Rachel...a cunning, man-crazy, cocaine snorting heroine is so likeable that she just jumps out of the book and takes you by the hand and becomes your best friend immediately.
You know that she is completely messed up but she is so much fun that her little quirks seem to slip by you.
She steals from her friends though....calls in sick most of the time and is embarrassed by her boyfriend Luke's retro-rocker look so you know that she has some work to do but ...you just know that she is this wonderful vulnerable little girl underneath all the bravado.
This book is a wonderful glimpse of someone who is trying to mess up their life because they truly believe themself unworthy of a happy ending.
You find yourself rooting for Rachel because she deserves to feel some peace and find a place for herself.
The Walsh family again show themselves to be this unusual raunchy family of which Rachel is the forgotten middle child. She doesn't believe good things for herself but eventually accepts her family's caring and regard to help her along the path of beating her addiction.
I love Rachel!
This is a 4.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Fill-in

1. Snow _means cold and dead____.

2. I'm looking forward to _being off for 2 weeks at Christmas____.

3. _Chocolate____ is the best comfort food_____ ever!

4. One of my favorite old tv shows is _Buffy The vampire Slayer____.

5. I'm done with _trying to make people like me____.

6. The most enjoyable thing around the holidays is _getting presents and the food____.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _relaxing with Paul and Madeleine____, tomorrow my plans include _ planning our Christmas decorations____ and Sunday, I want to _go out for breakfast with Paul's parents____!

Blog Tour of Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter


Full Description

He got the second home and the Porsche. She got the kids and a broken heart. Now Jackie, post-divorce and heading toward the big four-oh, is on vacation in sunny Hawaii and staring down her upcoming birthday-alone. But not for long. She's soon falling for Kai, her gorgeous, much younger surf instructor, and the wild passionate fling they have becomes the biggest surprise of Jackie's life.

Back home in Seattle, Jackie has to struggle with single parenthood...and memories of Kai. He hasn't forgotten her. Yet thousands of miles of ocean-not to mention an age difference that feels even wider-separate them. And, of course, her friends disapprove. When a choice must be made, can she, will she risk everything for her chance at happiness

Visit all sites on the blog tour to experience Hawaii from

Flirting With Forty

My Friend Amy

Bermudaonion's Weblog

Book Critiques
Sharon Loves Books and Cats
The Tome Traveller
The Printed Page
A Bookworm's World
Books,Movies and Chinese Food
Allison's Attic
S. Krishna's Books
Booking Mama
Cheryl's Book Nook
B & b exlibris
Marjolein Book Blog
A Novel Menagerie
Wendi's Book Corner
The Book Czar
The Book Girl
A Circle of Books
Books in Every Room
A Blog of Books For You
Book Ahoy!
Enroute to Life
At Home With Books

Movie Debut:

Saturday December 6th, 2008 at 9PM on Lifetime

Jane Porter and Heather Locklear

My Thoughts

I really enjoy linking with other blogs and discussing the same book together in a tour.
Hachette Books has enabled us to set this up and it is thrilling.
The book itself is an easy read and it flows quite well. It seems to have been semi-autobiographical with a possible few added twists.
I enjoyed the book but the story that it tells is a sad and familiar one. I frankly don`t think that this book is Jane Porter`s best story or effort but that might have been because the story has been 'done to death'! The charm of a Jane Porter novel though is in the writing and her characters which are warm and reach out to you.
Jackie is a very appealing heroine, beautiful and capable and needing a change but while I didn`t agree with all of the choices that she made I agree that it was HER right to make them. She needed to find her place in the world as a woman.....she needs to find herself after living in a cocoon and losing herself in the day to day drudgery of living with a man who doesn't appreciate her.
This is 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What Type is Your Blog

Saw this over at J. Kayes Book Blog Here


I analysed and this is what my blog is:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Take the test.....the result amazed me!