5 Books Friday

5 Book Covers That Caught My Eye This Week

Although I had a bunch of time to write this week, I was feeling lazy and barely opened the blog at all. So here’s a very quick and easy post of five books that caught my eye this week. I haven’t posted all these pics on Instagram, so you saw it here first!

IMG_5539Maud by Melanie Fishbane: With Anne of Green Gables coming out on Netflix soon, and Canada’s 150 birthday this year, there has been a lot of interest in this author and all of her books. I recently listened to a podcast by The History Chicks about Lucy Maud Montgomery, so I’m curious to find out if this story matches the real story of her life.

Synopsis: Lucy Maud Montgomery has been living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, but wishes to go to college and become a writer. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class.

IMG_5526Belle’s Library by Walt Disney Company: I spotted this adorable little book of quotes when I was looking for books to feature on a Beauty & the Beast display.

Synopsis: Disney’s Belle is one of the best fictional bookworms around. But what exactly is on her reading list? In this unique literary journal, enjoy inspiring quotes from some of Belle’s favorite books, as well as her insightful notes and colorful drawings. Includes a forward by noted Disney screenwriter Linda Woolverton.

The Jane Austen Project by img_5557Kathleen A. Flynn – This book really reminds me of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, but I’m willing to give it a try for the sci-fi aspect of it. There seems to be a bit of romance, some history, and of course, my favourite classical author, so this sounds like a pretty good fit for me.

Synopsis: : Two travelers from a technologically advanced future travel back in time to meet, befriend, and steal an unpublished novel from Jane Austen.

Homegoing by IMG_5560Yaa Gyasi – I am so very much in love with the trade version of this book. I have the original hardcover sitting on my TBR shelf, but I’m tempted to give it away and buy this one instead.

Synopsis: Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery.

IMG_5569Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I have to admit something….. I’ve never read Little Women. *gasp!* I know, it’s odd for a bookworm. I’ve seen the movie with Winona Ryder. This edition is so damned beautiful that I just need to own it and love it and read it.

Synopsis: Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

5 Books Friday is a semi-regular feature started on this blog.

5 Books Friday · Book Blogger Hop

5 books so good I had to read them again

hopToday’s Book Blogger Hop question inspired this 5 Books Friday post. I used to reread books all the time, but that was when I didn’t have access to a lot of books and I wasn’t working at a bookstore where people expect me to have read something from every genre.

Q: How many books have you re-read? If you have re-read books, please tell us the book’s title and why you re-read it. (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers: After reading the second book in this series, I was tempted to go back and reread both of them again. This series is so good, and there’s so much I missed during the first reading. It was really interesting to be able to go back and see all the hints that were leading up to the plot of the second book. I can’t wait to see what happens in the third book. I’ll probably do a full rereading of books 1&2 just to prep for it.

Synopsis: A multi-species crew from all over the universe live and work together on a worm-hole drilling ship. Rosemary, the newest member of the crew, is trying to escape her home world and is basically thrown into the deep end of interspecies protocol with this new job. When an amazing job opportunity presents itself, captain and crew must decide if they can handle a long trip that will test each of them in unexpected ways.

All the Weyrs of Pern (Pern, #11) by Anne McCaffrey: I’m a fan of the majority of the Pern books, but this is the one that has stuck with me from the beginning. One of my favourite characters in the series has a really moving and intense scene in this book, and whenever I think of the series this is one of the scenes that defines it for me.

Synopsis: Discovered on the Southern Continent, the AI named Aivis begins working with the dragonriders to finally eradicate Pern’s skys from the threat of Thread. The weyrs, crafthalls, and holds are thrown into upheaval when some people call to question the knowledge and education that the AI has told them is necessary for their mission to be successful. Many people wonder, what will the dragonriders do if they don’t have Thread to fight anymore?

Dicey’s Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2) by Cynthia Voigt: The first time I read this book I was struck by how relatable Dicey and her family was for me. I just felt a connection with this girl who felt responsible for her family at such a young age. It is a book that I often revisit when I’m feeling nostalgic about my youth. It also reminds me of my hometown library, which was a very special place for me during a very trying time in my life.

Synopsis: Now that the four abandoned Tillerman children are settled in with their grandmother, Dicey finds that their new beginnings require love, trust, humor, and courage.

The Clan of the Cave Bear(Earth’s Children, #1) by Jean Auel: The first four books of this series sat on my family bookshelf for years until I felt like I was ready to read it, and then I read it again and again many times. Each time the author published a new book I would reread the whole series to prep myself for the new material. It’s full of interesting facts, as well as engaging characters and a unique perspective.

Synopsis: A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. As the girl grows, she must learn how to communicate and become a valuable member of their society, but she can’t seem to think the way that Clan people do, and things don’t always come as easy to her as they do for the other young people in the family.

The Oathbound (Valdemar: Vows and Honor, #1) by Mercedes Lackey: I bought this used when I was in my teens, and I’m pretty sure it was the first book that I purchased by myself. I loved the cover and was really into sword and sorcery fantasy at the time. These strong female characters were the heroes I needed, and this book got me through some really difficult times. I reread it to keep the monsters at bay.

Synopsis: Two young women come together to take down the evil mercenaries who hurt them both, but can they overcome their differences now that their initial mission is over? One is an asexual warrior hurrying back to her homeland before her clan is declared dead; the other is an earthy sorceress who will do anything to avoid the city she fled from years ago.

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer that runs from Friday to Thursday.

Visit other blogs in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new follower.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.



5 Books Friday

5 Books I’m Taking to the Beach

I’m going on vacation at the end of the month, and I want to make sure I have a number of different reading options while I’m attempting to both bask in and hide from the sun. UV rays and I have a complicated relationship.

Middlegrade Book

The Bonaventure Adventures by Rachelle Delaney: This ARC was left for me by my lovely coworkers with a note that read “Amanda! We think you’d like this one!” I might be getting predictable in my reading habits. 😛

Synopsis: Sebastian Konstantinov needs to figure out how to save his father’s circus, even if that means pretending to be a talented circus performer to gain admittance to the famed Bonaventure Circus School in Montreal, Canada. But when Seb gets there, he realizes that the school seems to be in just as much trouble as his own circus. With the help of some new friends, Seb must solve the mystery of what is happening at the “World’s Best Circus School” before it’s too late for both the school and his family.

Historical Fiction

The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron: This is another ARC that came to me via the publisher. I absolutely loved the first 4 books of Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series, so this is a treat for me. I hope this book can live up to my expectations of it.

Synopsis: Archaeologist Rosamund Gale has found the discovery of a lifetime, but is racing against the forces of nature as she works well into her pregnancy to excavate newly found Neanderthal artifacts. Her story is linked to that of Girl, the lone survivor of a Neanderthal clan that died off more than 40,000 years ago, who is faced with the daunting task of making her way to the annual meeting place while caring for a foundling child.

Contemporary Fiction

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: Eleanor sounds a lot like me. She has her routine, and doesn’t like things to change. But having a life that is so utterly predicatable can be awfully boring. This book, along with my non-fic choice, were partially determined by the fact that I am totally going outside my comfort zone by visiting another country.

Synopsis: Eleanor Oliphant wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Life is completely predictable, until she meets Raymond, the nice IT guy from work, and Sammy, the elderly gentleman they both help after he falls on the sidewalk.

Short Stories

Public Library and other short stories by Ali Smith: I spotted this book on the shelf a few weeks ago and decided that I should take a collection of short stories with me, just in case I find it hard to concentrate on a long novel. Something about the combination of fruity drinks and sun just makes my brain want to shut down for a while. 

Synopsis: This collection of short stories seeks to help us understand why books are so powerful, how they change our lives, and how the fate of the public library is entwined with that of our society as a whole.


Can’t Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions by Sharon Begley: I find diverse psychology fascinating, mainly because I have my own set of mental oddities that I would love to find an explanation for. I read about this book in Publisher’s Weekly a few months ago and decided that it would make the perfect non-fic book to accompany me on my break from habit.

Synopsis: This book examines the science behind both mild and extreme compulsive behavior, including OCD, hoarding, acquiring, exercise, even compulsions to do good. The author focuses on the personal stories of dozens of interviewees and how their compulsions have affected their lives positively or negatively.

What kinds of books do you like to read on vacation? Do you bring more than one book? How many books is too many to bring?

5 Books Friday

5 Favourite Books of 2016

Sorry for being absent so long, my readers. I have not abandoned blogging, but I’m finding it harder and harder to find time to do it these days. I’m going to try harder to at least write a review or two whenever I can. Months can go by so fast this time of year.

Today’s post is a list of 5 of my favourite books published this year.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon – Although I have an ARC of this book, I decided to listen to it as an audiobook instead. I am so glad I did, because the readers for this book were all amazing. I enjoyed this book so much that I passed my ARC to a couple of co-workers just to share the loveliness that is this story.

Synopsis: Natasha, who is on a mission to save her family from being deported in the next 24 hours, runs into Daniel, who is on his way to an admissions interview for a college program he isn’t sure he wants to attend. The chemistry between the two is obvious from the beginning, but how can a young couple who have only known each other for hours stay together when their respective fates seem to be sealed?

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers – I confess that I ordered this book from Book Depository the moment I realized that it wouldn’t be available for me in Canada until January. This is sociological speculative fiction at it’s best, akin to classics like I, Robot and The Chrysalids. These books aren’t driven by action and adventure, but instead by character development and social commentary.

Synopsis: Lovelace is designed to be the artificial intelligence housed within a long-range space vehicle, but instead her consciousness has been uploaded to an illegal human-form chassis and now she must learn an entirely new way of interacting with the world around her. Her companion, Pepper, has had personal experience with AIs before, but being stuck in a single body when you are programmed to command an entire ship is proving more difficult for Lovelace than anyone could have expected.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2) by Sarah J Maas – It rarely happens, but somehow Maas managed to write a second book that is better than the first. I was so happy to see that the very obvious Beauty and the Beast retelling was over and that a new story was being told.

Synopsis: After Feyre’s dramatic and traumatic face-off with the evil Amarantha, she doesn’t really feel like the smiling faerie princess that everyone wants her to be. She’s finally able to be with Tamlin, but he seems determined to keep her locked away “for her own safety” even though it is driving her insane. After three months with no word from Rhysand, everyone begins to think that he won’t come to collect her for their deal, until he suddenly appears in the middle of a rather important ceremony to whisk her away. And although Feyre isn’t sure he can be trusted, she’s suddenly feeling more free than she has since coming back from under the mountain.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis – The very first line of this book captured my interest, and I was totally hooked by the end of the first chapter. This is a no-holds-barred look at vicarious trauma, rape culture, and the desire for retribution.

Synopsis: Alex Craft’s older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, so Alex took matters into her own hands. While her crime goes unpunished, the rage behind it remains, leaving her afraid to be part of normal society. But even as she tries to remain in the shadows, there are people who notice her and want to be friends. Can she go back to being a normal girl, or will the killer inside her come out again?

Beast by Brie Spangler – As you all know, I’m a sucker for a pretty cover. Add in a fairy-tale retelling and I’m pretty much going to throw my money at you. This book is even better than I expected, because it wasn’t just a simple “beauty and the beast” retelling. This book is about acceptance, love, and personal truth. It’s definitely one of my favourites of the year.

Synopsis: When Dylan wakes up in the hospital after falling off the roof, he is sure that things can’t get worse. He already gains enough attention being the tallest, strongest, and hairiest kid at school, and now he’s stuck in a cast too. While at a mandatory group therapy session at the hospital, Dylan spaces out, only to be called out by the prettiest girl there. Jamie is different from all the other girls at school, and makes him feel like he isn’t such a beast,

Special Mention

Penguin Problems by Jory John – One of my coworkers read this aloud at our holiday meeting and it was absolutely hilarious. I highly recommend reading it as if you are Chandler Bing, because that just makes the penguin even more funny for those of us old enough to appreciate it.

Synopsis: Life is tough for a little penguin. But how are you going to understand penguin problems when you aren’t even a penguin?

5 Books Friday

5 books I’d want while trapped on an island

It is highly unlikely that I’ll ever end up trapped on an island, but if it ever does happen, I would hope to have the following books with me…

  1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – I love this book even though I’ve read it a great number of times. I own multiple copies of it, so it’s highly likely to become a book that would end up with me while stranded. It’s just one of those classic stories that transports you away from everything else. Elizabeth Bennett is the kind of girl that you want as your best friend, especially when she’s sassing everyone. And let’s be honest… no matter how many times you read this book you’ll still be rooting for Darcy as he pores his heart out in a rainstorm.
  2. SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman – Let’s get practical here. When stuck on an island I would want to know what is going to help me survive. The mini edition of this book is so small that it can even fit in your pocket (even crappy girl pockets), so it can easily be kept on hand in case of emergencies while vacationing. Have I put too much thought into this? I’ve actually sold it to people who are survivalist types, so I assume that it’s probably the best source of information available. I guess if all else fails, the paper can be used to light a fire.
  3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy- I’ve tried reading this book a few times and have always been distracted by something else. With literally nothing else to do, I’m sure I could finish it. It’s a pretty huge book, so it’s going to take some serious reading time to get through. Of course, because it’s probably one of the most depressing books on the planet, I might not feel quite as interested in being rescued afterwards. I could just use it as a pillow and drift off to sleep under a palm tree…
  4. The Free Bards (Bardic Voices, #1-3) by Mercedes Lackey- Okay, I’m cheating a bit with this one because it’s actually three books in one volume, but it’s a great series and one of the first fantasy series that I really enjoyed. I think Rune is one of my all-time favourite characters just because she works so hard to make something of herself. This one is really just a feel-good read for me, which would probably be helpful if I was stuck all alone on an island for some time. Plus, I’m sure there are some good survival tips in there somewhere from when Rune runs away from home and has to make it on her own.
  5. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson – Being stuck on an island is going to suck , so having a book that is guaranteed to make me laugh seems like the perfect ending to this list. Jenny Lawson is one of those people who somehow manages to have every crazy thing happen to her, so if she doesn’t end up trapped on the island next to mine, I’m sure she would appreciate that her book came along for the adventure.

What books would you hope to have with you if you were stuck on a island?

5 Books Friday

5 books that I need to re-read

When I was younger I used to re-read all of my favourite books over and over again, mainly because I didn’t have access to things like digital libraries and ever changing bookstores. It was a comfort to go back to those books each time, to find something new or relive the adventures with my favourite characters. I often miss those days, so here are a few books that I really feel like I need to re-read some day…

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) by Gail Carriger – I really want to reread this whole series because I enjoyed it the first time and haven’t been able to give it a second reading since then. There are just too many books on my plate right now, but as soon as I get some time or need to just have some fun reading I’ll have to crack these open again.

Synopsis: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I’ve already read this book a number of times, but it’s been years since I picked up the beautiful leather bound copy a friend gave me. I have never loved a classic book the way I love this book, so that makes it extra special to me.

Synopsis: A humorous story of love and life among English gentility during the Georgian era. Mr Bennet is an English gentleman living in Hartfordshire with his overbearing wife. The five Bennet daughters; the beautiful Jane, the clever Elizabeth, the bookish Mary, the immature Kitty and the wild Lydia.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers – It’s been less than a year since I read this book for the first time, but I feel like there is so much happening in it that I need to give it a re-read. Plus, it’s come out in trade paperback now and I’m kind of thinking that I need to own a physical copy of this book.

Synopsis: Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Here, There Be Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, #1) by James A. Owen – This one is more of an enforced re-read for me because I want to finish the series but I’ve forgotten so much from the first few books that I feel like I need to go back. This is another series that has so much going on in it that it’s hard to remember things when waiting for the next book to come out.

Synopsis: An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.

Kingmaker’s Sword (Rune Blade, #1) by Ann Marston – This whole series is a favourite of mine, but I haven’t read them in years. There was a time in highschool when I wanted to have a single braid behind my ear like the characters in this book, but was afraid that I would be judged by my peers. Ironically, the braid was supposed to symbolize bravery and strength.

Synopsis: The Skai and the Tyr were one people long ago. But that day is lost in the mists of time. And now the Skai have sent a warrior to find the Rune Blade that could slice through the darkness of blood and violence that had falled across their land.

Do you like 5 Books Friday? If you want to participate, here’s a list of the upcoming topics that I’ll be writing about! Leave a link to your post in the comments, and if enough people join I can make this a real linkup!

5 Books Friday

5 books that I’m too intimidated to try reading

There are some books out there in the literary world that I’m drawn to but completely afraid to try. Sometimes it’s a fear that I won’t be able to understand the author’s intended message, or that I’ll be bored to tears because I don’t get it, or because there’s so much hype around a book that I don’t get. So here’s me fessing up to the books that I’m just too intimidated to try reading…

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – I feel like this is a book that I really should read at some point. It calls to me out from the many classics that are out there, but it’s so darned big and I haven’t been successful in reading any Russian authors yet.

Synopsis: This epic masterpiece intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately connected with the national history that is played out in parallel with their lives. Balls and soirees alternate with councils of war and the machinations of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles with everyday human passions in a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – People constantly tell me that this is one of their favourite books of all time, but there’s no way I’m ever going to read this book. It’s so big, and the hype around it is too much for me.

Synopsis: Narrated by an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter a hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- I’ve actually read the sequel to this book called ‘Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. It was much shorter and I may have even read an abridged version because I recall it being in one of those leather bound Readers Digest books that my parents used to collect. The original book is really big, and I know the story thanks to the movie and pop culture, so I feel like I don’t necessarily need to read this one even though it’s something I might actually enjoy.

Synopsis: Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. None take us into the burning fields and cities of the American South as Gone With the Wind does, creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that we remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives. In the two main characters, the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Margaret Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez – This book isn’t all that long, but there’s something about it that makes me afraid to even try to read it. Maybe it’s because there it references 100 years in the title and I can’t even imagine reading about that long a time period. 😛

Synopsis: The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – And finally, to wrap up this list of mostly super giant novels, we have Ayn Rand. Some day I might tackle this one… or maybe The Fountainhead. I really just want to see what the hype is all about.

Synopsis: Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life — from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy — to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction — to the philosopher who becomes a pirate — to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph — to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad — to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.

Do you like 5 Books Friday? If you want to participate, here’s a list of the upcoming topics that I’ll be writing about! Leave a link to your post in the comments, and if enough people join I can make this a real linkup!