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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The Future is Unknown....

 Greetings Fellow Book Lovers!

Those who read my book recommendations on a regular basis (or at least when a new post goes up) may have noticed I have been slightly absent again in the past few weeks after re-booting this blog back up.
If you read my previous post on The Winter People, you will know that recently I went through a book drought and I couldn't read. I couldn't focus or finish any book until this past weekend. (Oh my God that sucked!)

In that time I have been focusing on my writing and a new personal blog that focuses on everything from hot topics, to embarrassing stories, my battle with depression etc.... It's a place for me to write and share. I am having fun over there writing what is in my head and heart and being able to get some things 'out' into the open, it's rather freeing. That said, I am in the process of making a decision whether to keep this book blog alive or to incorporate it into my new blog They Once Called Her Pumpkin..... and do a book feature over there once a week.
(Decisions, Decisions) 

I am going to wait until the New Year before I make my decision, but I will be certain to let you know when I do.

In the meantime, I will try to get some back logged book recommendations up as well as some new ones.

If you would like to join me at my new blog, I tend to update it several times a week. If you are interested, please click the link above and check it out. You can follow with your blog or even by email! I hope to see you there!


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

The Winter People ~ Jennifer McMahon

I have been quiet on here lately for a few reasons.

The biggest reason being that I have been in the most ridiculous book drought I think I have ever experienced in my entire life. My attention span when it comes to reading lately has been nil and the few novels I have attempted haven't kept my attention at all. This has gone on for over a month!! My concentration level has been limited to my writing (which I will tell you about in a separate post) and the odd Netflix series (The Crown! WOW!) 

Until this past weekend.

We had a large snow system come through on Sunday so I thought I would download a new book from Kobo that I've heard rave reviews about:

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon.

If you haven't heard of this novel yet let me introduce you to your next read.

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Here is the Official Synopsis:

 West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter.

Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

 My Take:  The Winter People was exactly the type of novel I needed to break the dry spell I have been experiencing! This book was a can't put down, extremely creepy and completely fascinating read. It sucked me in so hard and made me so jumpy that when my daughter knocked on a door I almost had a panic attack. I was so disturbed. (It was great!)

We follow many different characters and jump from the Past to Present Day as the pieces of this mysterious puzzle are put together. The writing and the way the story flows is fantastic. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. All in all I would give this novel 5/5 stars. I do not want to say much of anything for fear of giving away the plot and all the secrets this book holds. There is a reason some people are calling this one of the best books of 2016.

I ABSOLUTELY recommend this novel to almost everyone. This includes my teenage daughter. I will be buying a copy for our bookshelf and I will certainly let her read it (She loves a good scare!) I can't wait to be able to talk about this novel with others who have read it.

If you fall into the following categories: Mystery Lover, Paranormal Lover, Horror Lover, Historical Fiction Lover..... I implore you check out The Winter People.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did because let me tell you -This book in some warped way was exactly what the doctor ordered! I have added author Jennifer McMahon to my 'Must Read' author list. I can't wait to see what she has in store for me next!

There is always time to ask Santa for a copy in your stocking! ;)

Now fingers crossed I can find another great read and put the book drought of 2016 behind me!

Happy Reading!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Lest We Forget

I know this is a book blog and this is the first time I am really stepping out and not blogging about books here. (Never fear, after this post it will be back to regular scheduled programming)

Today is Remembrance Day, a day we need to step back, reflect and honor those who have sacrificed so much for us.

The post I am about to share, is one I wrote a year ago for family and friends. It showed up in my memories today, and for whatever reason, I felt compelled to share it with you all:

I had a conversation with someone in recent months. A conversation that has resonated with me over the past while. With someone who told me that they do not like Remembrance Day. 
Now, before you become outraged at such a thought. I will honestly tell you, that for this person and their personal story (which is not mine to tell, so don't ask) I can certainly understand where they are coming from, and why they can't find it in their heart to want to participate in ceremonies that cause them great upset. I don't agree with them, but I can listen.
That said, a comment was made from this person about how soldiers weren't brave. that war is not something to be remembered or glorified.
This upset me. As you know me, I am highly argumentative and when pushed past a limit, that's that. Gloves off.
I argued that how can you not say a person who sacrifices their life isn't brave? For a soldier to make that choice that could mean the end of their life. Their LIFE. In this day and age, this is a decision which in our country is made willingly and it's certainly not one to be taken lightly. For those men who were once drafted, they may have had fear in their hearts, but they still went and did it anyway. That takes courage. Cowards run. The brave stand tall and actively defend their country and what it represents. Our Canadian soldiers are a large part of why we have a free country and can live life the way we please. They are not monsters. They ARE our heroes. Your freedom is because of them.
To say war isn't to be remembered, it has to be. We have to remember and learn from history so we don't repeat it.
We are not glorifying war by paying our respects. We are honoring memories.
My own grandfather fought in World War 2 and I will tell you right now, he was one of the bravest, loveliest men you will have ever met and I miss him every day. Do not tell me he wasn't brave.
To the person whom I fought hard to show our Canadian side of the story, I can only hope I shed some light on the 'why' we remember and pay our respects and perhaps lightened your heart a bit.
To our soldiers past and present. Thank You for what you have done for us.

 Lest We Forget.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Girl Who Stayed ~ Tanya Anne Crosby

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If you are like me, then you have reading moods that shift from day to day or even week by week.
(Oh, did I say 'reading moods' ...I meant moods in general...if you see me wearing my "I'm Grumpy 'Cause You're Dopey' Shirt" while listening to the Dangerous Minds soundtrack.......RUN!!!)

Sometimes I am in the mood for something lighthearted and sweet, other times I want something sexy or historical....maybe I want a great mystery or a horror..... My moods can be all over the map (Just ask my husband or see my Twitter feed!)

This past week I loaded up my Kobo with books to reflect all my moods, most of them on sale (Hooray!) and I decided I would read through them as the mood struck.

The first few books were fluffy romances, I realized I have had my fill of those. (One of them I didn't even bother to finish... ) so I turned to the one which had an intriguing premise. "The Girl Who Stayed" by Tanya Anne Crosby. (Released earlier this year)

I HIGHLY recommend this if you are looking for something more gritty and honest or just prefer a solid drama.

The novel is told in the narrative of protagonist Zoe Rutherford. She's not only running away from her present, but seeking answers from her past. Through her thoughts flashing back, you learn about her life's story as the eldest child in a family who suffers unspeakable tragedy. You see her struggle with her current life situation and how they all connect. Like so many of us, she is a chronic over-thinker, full of what ifs and in need of self discovery. The entire novel is mainly a reflection as she searches her soul and the real world for answers, all the while prepping her old family home for sale.

The Girl Who Stayed was a novel that I didn't want to put down and when I did- I found myself wondering where the story was going next. I liked not being able to figure out the exact plot. What was happening the ex? What happened to her sister Hannah? Was Zoe on a path to self destruction or self discovery? Is her subconscious trying to tell her something?? Who can she trust? I felt really bad for this character. She felt really 'real' to me, it was like reading the unfiltered mind of someone else.
The ending actually left me with a small book hangover for the simple reason that it was a bit abrupt after being in her head all that time. That said, I was both satisfied with the ending but like with most books I enjoy I always want a bit more. (I am selfish like that!)

 I give "The Girl Who Stayed" a rating of 4/5 stars. I could see this novel played out dramatically on television, like the Netflix series Bloodline. (If I am going to make a small comparison)

The bottom line, If you are in a book club or like a book that makes you step back and think, or that has a bit of mystery and zero fluff.... Then I suggest that you give this one a try.

This was my first novel that I have read by Author Tanya Anne Crosby, and I certainly will be adding her novels to my 'must read author list' from now on.
Click here to visit her website for more books and information.

Here is the official book synopsis:

Zoe Rutherford wasn't sure what she was expecting when she returned to Sullivan's Island. The house on Sullivan's hadn't represented home to her in decades. It was the place where she endured her father's cruelty. It was the place where her mother closed herself off from the world. It was the place where her sister disappeared. But now that her parents are gone, Zoe needs to return to the house, to close it down and prepare it for sale. She intends to get this done as quickly as possible and get on with the rest of her life, even though that life seems clouded by her past, both distant and recent. But what she discovers when she gets there is far beyond her imagining and will change her in profound ways. 

Happy Reading!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Mr. President ~ Katy Evans

First off, let me say I really wish that I was creating a video blog on this novel, that way I could open by treating you all to my delightful, breathy impression of Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday Mr President"....  but this is a written blog so you can just picture it instead. (It's spot on, I promise you)

I spent some time in Washington D.C this past summer, my first visit and I completely fell in love with it! So much so that not only do I want to go back, I am quite convinced I must have lived there in a past life. (Sorry Ottawa, you are a beautiful capital but there is something about D.C.....) We stayed at the The Melrose Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue (I HIGHLY recommend it!!) and spent a few days walking around Capital Hill, touring the Monuments, Museums and Memorials. It was such a great trip.
I have found since my visit I have been quite obsessed with watching shows and reading novels which take place in that area (Scandal, Designated Survivor....) so yeah.... when I saw Mr. President and that it was written by Katy Evans.... well.... into the Kobo shopping cart it went!

I know most people are probably so sick and tired of politics and elections after having front row seats to the (how do I put this nicely?) 'very interesting' if not 'scandalous' (and looooooooong) Election across the border.....(We're rooting for you America!)
The good news is, the election is finally coming to an end (Thank the merciful heavens!) and even better news.... This is a book blog so we need not discuss it here and focus on fictional events instead!

Now that is out of the way, I shall bring your attention to a new novel with a Presidential Candidate who sounds like an utter (and scrumptious) delight.

All of you who are looking for your next hot read **cue drum roll** look no further for your next series... may I introduce you to Mr. President by Katy Evans. (White House Series Book 1)

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Here is the synopsis from the novel:

He's won the hearts of millions. But is he willing to lose his?

I met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a guy like him.

He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.

Two terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I'm determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.

Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one—and despite the risks, I'm helpless to resist.

We're stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt's chance at the presidency on the line.

Winning will take everything.
Walking away will be the hardest thing of all.

My Take:

Recently released (October 31, 2016) The story is told in alternating perspectives. That of Charlotte Wells, daughter of a Democratic Senator and Matthew Hamilton, son of a former President and now running himself as an Independent. The two have a small history and she ends up on his campaign. I always enjoy those backstories where they knew each other when......(sigh)
This novel was very focused on the love affair and how Matt and Charlotte felt dealing with the obstacles and reality of their situation.
There wasn't as much drama in this first novel as I typically enjoy. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of tension and stress with our two leads, I was just waiting for some bonus fireworks compliments of the supporting characters. Given how the story really focused on how the main characters felt, I don't think it was too necessary for this first book to focus on anything but their clandestine relationship on the path to the White House. I really don't want to give out any spoilers, but I will say certain seeds have been planted within their campaign circle, so who knows what the rest of the series has in store for us in terms of dramatic story lines! We'll just have to wait and find out! (And you will just have to read the book and see what the heck I am talking about) 
I have a feeling the next novel will bring more complications....(Can't wait!)
The way the author writes the characters and the tender build up to their relationship, kind of makes me wish I was young and dating again (I said 'kind of'' in a wistful wouldn't it be nice not to have stretchmarks- no mortgage- no kids interrupting bathroom time -kind of way.....) so the fact that it made me a bit wistful means it was well done. I really enjoyed the flirty will-it/won't it/what is happening? feeling in the pages. It really had a way of sweeping you into their love story. (Gooooooosebumps!)
Like I said toward the beginning of this post, I most certainly do recommend this novel to my ladies who are looking for their next sexy series. I read through this first novel very quickly. While the topic clearly involves politics, it's not at all political. It's a sweet and seductive fictional romance. (And may I say a welcome reprieve from.... you know......any real world political crapfest..) Since I know I do have some readers that are not into sexy books, this one has a lot of passionate scenes, so this novel isn't for you if you aren't comfortable with them.

I am looking forward to the release of 'Commander in Chief' (Book 2) early next year!

So there you have it.

Need a sexy read?

Vote Matt Hamilton as your next book boyfriend!

For more information on Katy Evans and her novels please visit her author website (link here) or give her a follow on Twitter @authorKatyEvans or Facebook !
(And while you're at it... look to the sidebar for my info-follow me as well and say HI!)

Happy Reading!

Monday, 31 October 2016

The Dwelling- Susie Moloney

It's Halloween.

I'm usually more excited about this, but seeing as how I am on a liquid diet today and can't touch the candy or the roasted pumpkin seeds... well... I am a bit of a grump.
Person:"What are you going as for Halloween this year Irene?" 
Me: "A colonoscopy patient"

Wherever you are, I hope that your costume is amazing, your candy stash is plentiful and your intestines are in good health.

I sat here wondering which frightening book I could help a lovely author promote today. I have been staring at my bookshelf. The truth is most of my scarier novels, I haven't read them awhile, but there is always that one.... literally the most terrifying book I believe I own....that still taunts me. Taunts me even though it is well much so that it again it overpowers all the other books and I am compelled to tell you about it....again.....
I know that I have blogged about this earlier on in my blogging days, but since I am now declaring it 'Throwback Monday' (Screw waiting for Thursday)... I am going to re-share that original post with you in this new, updated version.

If you or your friends are looking for something creepy to read this Halloween.... You need to find a copy of The Dwelling by Susie Moloney which released in 2003! I've had great feedback from people who did read this after the first time I recommended it and they were not disappointed.

Here's the official synopsis:

FOR SALE: Newly renovated single-family home. New hardwood floors, all appliances. Bathroom, 3+ bedrooms, unique decor, must be seen.. . .
362 Belisle Street is a homeowner’s dream. Recently renovated! Victorian detail! Good neighborhood! A steal at $95,900! Real estate agent Glenn Darnley wonders why this charming property keeps coming back on the market. Perhaps the clawed feet of the old bath-tub look a little too real. Or maybe it’s the faint hospital-like smell of the room at the end of the hall. Or the haunting music that seems to come from nowhere.. . .

Three families buy 362 Belisle, but no one stays there for long. For this dream house has a mind and a heart of its own. It’s waiting patiently for its dream owner.

Open the door to a spine-chilling novel of terror in which home is not where you live – it’s where you hope to get out alive.. . .

Now... here's my original blog taken from a few years ago.

I like to think I don’t scare easily.....well....unless (picture this) I’m in a dark basement,  watching a scary scene from the movie IT (Stephen King)  and my young sister runs down the stairs in a clown costume screaming my name. NOT COOL SHEENA!! I eventually peeled myself off the ceiling, changed my soiled 'delicates' to than find her and yell at her! Fifteen years later and I still haven’t got over it. I don't like clowns!!!But I digress….

I went through a Horror novel phase a few years ago and came across some seriously frightening books (by John Saul, Douglas Klegg, Scott Smith, Sarah Pinborough) Entertaining, good for a shiver, but I always maintained ‘It’s just a book’ and moved on with my life.

Enter ‘The Dwelling’ by Susie Moloney. The scariest book on my bookshelf!

Do you remember that episode of Friends, where Rachael finds Joey’s copy of the Shining in the freezer?
 “The Dwelling” to me is my ‘Freak-me-out-Freezer Novel’

Now, I haven’t read it in a long time, and I have only ever read it once. Why? Because I kid you not, it disturbed me so much that I had to hide it on my bookshelf behind other books. Out of sight, out of mind! I didn’t want to be reminded of what the pages contained. Talk about a heart-pounding fright-fest. We have moved several times, and for the longest time, I just left it in one of my many boxes of ‘books I can’t fit on my shelves’. Recently it has ended up back on my shelf (behind other books of course) and the only reason I am reminded of that is because my toddler decided to rearrange the shelves the other day. Oh look, there it was. Staring up at me, mocking me….

I am curious… if I read it again will it scare me as much as it did before? I refuse to get rid of it, just in case I decide I want to find out. I can assure you though, that wont be any time soon. (Enter horrified shudder HERE)

I am sure some of you are thinking, "well than would you just tell us what the book is about"!!

In short, it is about a house that is constantly on the market.  It shares the story of the people who end up living in it, and you find out why the house is always changing hands rather quickly. Each person in each story seems haunted in a different manner. From what I am ‘willing’ to remember, the stories were well told, and seemed in a lot of ways ‘plausible’ if you believe in the paranormal. The way she writes is fluid and it hooks you. The book is a page turner and will make you chew your nails until they bleed. A good excuse to go for a manicure. It may also make you wet yourself, so a side note, you may want to stock up on Depends while reading.  

At this point, maybe some of you are thinking, 'Oh Irene, I am sure you are exaggerating, it can't be that scary'.
If that thought crossed your mind 'oh brave and skeptical one', you need to find a copy of this book, read it than tell me what you think!

To the rest, that are unsure what to think..I say to you: If you like your Stephen King, if you love your Anne Rice, or are just looking for a good ‘scare’, Than make room in your freezer and read ‘The Dwelling’ by Susie Moloney, at night, right before bed, with only a dim lamp on…..maybe clutching a teddy bear for moral support.....

I DARE you.

I hope you can scare up a copy!

Happy Halloween and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Royally Screwed ~ Emma Chase

I will admit that recently I have been in a bit of a funk.
I have been in the mood to read something, but I didn't know what.
I kinda wanted to re-read something, but again, I didn't know which direction to go in.
This funk happens from time to time, as I am sure you are well aware.
Sometimes we bibliophiles get so overwhelmed with our choices we sit back, maybe take in a Netflix series (my latest binge has been Jessica Jones) take a walk and wait for a book to jump out at us and smack us in the face. I'll admit that recently I bought a few books that I do want to read, but I just couldn't bring myself to bother because they weren't exactly what I was looking for.

I would personally like to thank the one, the only Emma Chase for releasing Royally Screwed on a day where I needed a book to punch me in the face and say "READ ME!"

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Royal Screwed is book Numero Uno in the newest series by Emma Chase!
It's a modern day fairy tale, and as you know, this mama loves a good fairy tale. (Even better when they are a little more adult in nature) If you are into Contemporary Romances or have a serious Will or Harry crush, then you're gonna wanna read this!

So what can I tell you about Royally Screwed? (Besides how much I get a kick out of that title?!)

Prince Nicholas is the handsome playboy heir to the throne of Wessco that all the women lust after.
Olivia is the pretty girl in the coffee shop who not just makes pies, but makes rude arseholes wear them when they cross a line.
He's a charmer, she's a spitfire.
They come from completely different worlds, but are made for each other! The couple are on a time limit which they are both very well aware of, but when that time limit is up...the question is can they both walk away unscathed?

Speaking of time limits, I had tried to put myself on one yesterday (Silliness) so I could read a bit and then get on with some housework.(A mothers work is never done......)
 I started reading around noon with a time limit of 1:30pm to stop and do the dishes. (Sounds reasonable, right?)
The following is an example of how that went:

1:30: "Just 10 more minutes"
1:40pm "AH what the hell, I will read until 2pm"
2pm: "10 more minutes."
2:10pm: "Another 10...."

This pattern continued until I had no choice to put my Kobo down at 3:40pm and go get my kids off the school bus. The real kicker? I had to power my Kobo off RIGHT at a distinct turning point toward the end of the novel. It ate at me while I ran the kids off to their lessons. (Just my luck) However, I did finish the book yesterday evening. With the end, I sighed heavily, took notes for this blog and then I FINALLY did the dishes.

I am trying to sit here and think of which part of the novel stood out to me the most, or which part was my favorite. Was it when they met? Her Cinderella moment with friends? Her time with the Queen? The ending? Nope. Can't pick. For me, I equally loved this book from start to finish. I can't even nitpick the slightest detail. (Other then I am a bit whiny that now I have to wait for the rest of the series to be released!) I actually think while I immensely enjoyed her other novels, that this is going to be the series of hers I love the most.(It's okay, we can pick favorites)

What else can I say? It's a fantastic book, it was just what the doctor ordered and if anything....dishes and laundry can always wait! (I ain't Cinderella)
If you are anything like me and love a great romance that has a sense of humor, some sexy bits and a touch of style, then make sure you go out and get Royally Screwed! (Hehehehehe.......)

Also, if you love books by Christina Lauren and Alice Clayton then you aren't going to want to miss any of the books by Emma Chase!

As I mentioned above 'Royally Screwed' is book one, to be followed by book two 'Royally Matched' and book three 'Royally Endowed' (Screeeeeech....Can't wait!!!)
You can find more information about author Emma Chase and her writing by visiting her website: (Click that link)
And I will try to keep you posted via my Facebook Page about her future releases. 

Royal Screwed Synopsis:

 Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness,” is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant―hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.
There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately―the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia―Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

 Happy Reading!