February TBR

February Reads

The following are the books I plan to read in the month of February:

A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I have also placed a book order from Chapters/Indigo and there is apparently a delay so I am not sure if I will get it in February or in March.  If it comes in February, I might also try to read The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle.  I recently saw this done as a play at my local theatre company and they did such a fantastic job of it.  Apparently there is humor in the book but the director took the humor even further and it was hilarious. I have had season tickets to the theatre for about seven years now and this is my favorite production they have done so far.  I have not been interested in reading a lot of classics but I now want to read this book after having seen the production.

So this weekend, other than a lot of reading as usual, I would like to pay a visit to my local bookstore and have lunch on Saturday and grab a coffee with my sister.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and happy reading in February!


Books I Read in January

January turned out to be a great reading month for me.  The following are the books that I finished in January along with how I rated them on Goodreads:

Thursday’s Children by Nicci French – 4 stars

The Princeling of Nanjing by Ian Hamilton – 3 stars

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – 4 stars

Even Dogs in the Wild – Ian Rankin – 5 stars

The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters – 3 stars

Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo – 3 stars

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck – 3 stars

The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly – 5 stars

Nearer Home by Joy Castro – 3 stars

Boiling Point & Cold Cases:  More Saskatchewan Crime Stories by Barb Pacholik – 2 stars

I did reviews for many of the books on this blog if you wish to read further about them.January Reads

Nearer Home – Book Review

Book:               Nearer Home

Author:            Joy Castro

This is the second book in the Nola Cespedes series.  Nola is a crime reporter for a newspaper in New Orleans.  While out jogging one morning she discovers her former university professor’s body. Nola begins to investigate and discovers that her professor was working on a couple of stories that may have gotten her killed.  We see a lot of development in this book with Nola and her little sister (sister as in the organization Big Sisters) as Nola seems to be developing some maternal instincts.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first one in the series, Hell or High Water (four stars out of five).  I don’t think the mystery was as interesting and I was disappointed that the author didn’t give a lot of description of well-known and not as well-known landmarks and locations in New Orleans other than she mentioned Lake Pontchartrain several times.  I give this book three stars out of five.

The Winter Rose

Book:              The Winter Rose

Author:            Jennifer Donnelly

This is the second book in the Tea Rose trilogy.  The first book, The Tea Rose, I rated four out of five stars on Goodreads.  Normally I find that the second book in a trilogy is my least favorite, however, I absolutely loved this book and enjoyed it even more than The Tea Rose.

This book begins in 1900 London England with India Jones, a woman doctor working with the vulnerable poor in a grim part of London.  It is there she encounters Sid Malone, a gangster who rules the tough parts of London.  They fall in love and of course, that is when all their troubles begin.  What I really enjoyed about this book is that the author incorporated the main characters from The Tea Rose as secondary characters in this book so the reader continued to follow along with their story.  The author also does a good job with describing how difficult it was for women during this time period.  For example, India was a doctor who was responsible for saving patients’ lives but did not have the right to vote because she was a woman.  Women (especially poor women) did not have access to birth control and therefore, had no power or control over their bodies or their lives.  On one hand it is amazing how much things have changed for women in the last 100 years but at the same time it is maddening that their lives were that difficult just because of their gender.

I rated this book five stars out of five and look forward to reading the last book in the trilogy, The Wild Rose.

Current and Upcoming Reads


In the summer of 2015 I found a gem of a book at a used book store.  It is the first book of a trilogy and is called The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.  The setting is London, 1888 and the story was about a young woman, Fiona Finnegan whose goal in life was to marry her sweetheart, Joe, and together open a tea shop in London.  Now of course a novel has to contain some struggle and difficulties otherwise there is no story to tell and the characters certainly do have their share of troubles but the author does a good job keeping the reader interested in the story and the characters.  I rated this book four out of five stars on Goodreads.

This week I picked up the second book in the trilogy called The Winter Rose.  Normally I find that the second book in a trilogy is my least favorite, however, I am absolutely loving this book and the characters.  I love how it has two different main characters but that Fiona and Joe from The Tea Rose play quite a large part in the second book so we get the ongoing story of what is happening in their lives.  It is quite a long book – the trade version is 707 pages – so I don’t think I will finish it this weekend but I am enjoying it immensely.  I do not care for the “bodice-ripping type” romance books but I find that this trilogy is perfect in that it has just enough romance/love but there is actually an interesting storyline.  The Winter Rose’s main character is Dr. India Jones, a female doctor in London in the year 1900.  It has been very interesting to not only read about the difficulties of being poor in England during that time period but also what it was like for a woman in a traditionally male role.  This character was responsible for saving patients’ lives but still didn’t have the right to vote. Incredible.  I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes historical fiction with a touch of romance.

Another book I am very intrigued about is a new release coming out February 15, 2016 called “A Mother’s Reckoning:  Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy” by Sue Klebold.  Sue is the mother of Dylan Klebold, who along with Eric Harris, killed twelve students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado.  A few years ago I read the book Columbine by Dave Cullen which was about the tragedy and found it very interesting.  I am looking forward to reading Sue’s story and I understand that Diane Sawyer has an interview with Sue that will be aired on ABC around the same time that the book is released.

So I plan lots of reading for the weekend ahead but I am also looking forward to going out Saturday night for dinner and then the theatre.  I have season tickets to the Globe Theatre company in my city which is a “theatre in the round”.  Their current production is The Hound of the Baskervilles which sounds really good.

Have a good weekend everyone and happy reading.

Used Books and Weekend Reads

Weekend Reads and Used Books

When I was on vacation in Victoria, British Columbia in July, 2015, I found a fantastic used book store called Russell Books.  It is huge and has two locations.  I ended up buying too many to take on the plane so had to ship some home.  A week or two after I got home, I ordered a few more from there.  Last weekend I placed an order for two books – The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough and The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.  The Thorn Birds would be a re-read for me as I had read it decades ago.   The Luminaries won the Man Booker prize in 2013 and has been recommended by many on Booktube.  It is quite the chunker of a book and will be a time commitment so I hope it is as good as it sounds.

So, this weekend I plan on finishing Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo which is the second book in the Grisha series.  This completes my planned TBR for January.  I have been roaring through the books this month (especially compared to December) and so had the exciting task of figuring out what other book I would like to read this month.  Since I still have two weeks left in January, I am picking a big one – The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.  This is the second book in the Tea Rose series about a woman doctor practicing in Victorian London.  Sounds like there is also a bit of romance to the story.

Again, this should be another relaxing weekend as I have pretty much finished all my errands and chores for the week.  I plan on getting together with my sister for a leisurely lunch on Saturday and then curling up under my down blanket (Saturday morning the forecast is minus 40 Celsius with the wind chill) with a cup of tea and my books.


Book Review – Even Dogs In the Wild

Book:  Even Dogs in the Wild

Author:  Ian Rankin

Once again Rebus is pulled out of retirement in “Even Dogs in the Wild” and he is quite happy about it.  Turns out retirement is not necessarily to his liking (no surprise there) and he is more than willing to assist Siobhan when she calls and asks for his assistance.

The usual players are once again in this book including Big Ger Cafferty, DI Malcolm Fox and of course Siobhan.  This book is number 20 in the series and I believe is one of the best.  Although Rebus is still a cop through-and-through, his edges have softened and it was a joy to read the bantering dialogue between Rebus and the other characters.  It was also nice to see Rebus and Malcolm become friendly towards each other.

Five stars out of five on Goodreads.

Book Review – The Little Stranger

Book:  The Little Stranger

Author:  Sarah Waters

Although this book is told from the perspective of Dr. Faraday, in my opinion, the main character in this story is Hundreds Hall, a grand house and estate that is a couple of hundred years old.  Dr. Faraday grew up in the Warwickshire district of England where his mother was once an employee at Hundreds.  The book starts out with him remembering fondly his one visit to Hundreds as a child.  He is fascinated by the house and when called to the house to attend for a medical matter, he is eager to see how it has changed since his childhood.

The beginning of the story is very reminiscent of Downton Abbey in that after World War II, there were many changes in England, one being that the class system was dismantling and young adults were no longer interested into going into service at these large estates as there were factory jobs available that paid better and employees had their evenings and one day a week free while when you were in service, you were at the beck and call of the family the majority of the time.  The book also described the bell system where a pull cord could be tugged and a bell would ring in the basement kitchen summoning a servant to the upstairs for some task.  This bell system is shown on Downton Abbey.

The Ayres family who own and reside at Hundreds are having difficulty financially keeping the estate running.  They are down to two servants with one being a 14 year old girl.  The house is falling apart around them and decay is rampant, but still Dr. Faraday remains fascinated with the house.  The family consists of the mother, Mrs. Ayres, her son, Roderick and her daughter, Caroline.

For the first third of the book, you learn a lot about the characters and the house and then the ghost story begins.  This is not a traditional ghost story and I certainly did not find it frightening.   I don’t want to spoil the story for others so I won’t elaborate on what happens, but I was a little disappointed in the ending as I felt the story just petered out.  I rate this three stars out of five.

Weekend Read

I am currently reading Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin.  I’m not even sure what book this is in the series as he has written so many but I am just loving it.  Rebus is such a great character and I am savoring each sentence.  Ian Rankin took 2014 off from any serious writing and so this is the first Rebus novel since 2013 and I have missed his books so!!

Other plans for the weekend …. a nice lunch with my sister at a new restaurant that opened up a few weeks ago and then a latte at Starbucks with a visit to Indigo/Chapters where I am sure I will be able to find something to buy 🙂

We have just started a cold snap today with the temperature forecast for tomorrow at -28 Celsius and with a low tomorrow night of -34 C.  Tomorrow night is going to be a great night to curl up with a good book, a cup of tea and my down blanket.  Can’t wait!!

Hope everyone has a good weekend and happy reading!

Friday Reads January 8.2016

Book Review – Crown of Midnight

Spoiler Alert


I finished Crown of Midnight, the second book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas last night.  It had been a few months since I had read Throne of Glass and it was good to get back into that world again with Celaena, Chaol and Dorian.  I was surprised that they actually put Celaena and Chaol together for a while as I had thought that they would continue to drag it out without Celaena ever being with either Chaol or Dorian.  I am not much of a romance reader but I have to say that I really did enjoy that brief time with Celaena and Chaol.  Of course, happiness can never last long and there always has to be change in a series.

I hadn’t really given any thought as to where this story will lead and was surprised to find out that Celaena was Fae.  I am interested to see where Heir of Fire will go and plan on reading it in the next few months.  I am just hoping that since Celaena was sent away to another region that she still has contact with Chaol and Dorian in the third book.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.