Book Buys for 2016


teamsheltieThe snow days have arrived. Team Sheltie is happy and I am too. I love a good snow day, especially when my holiday shopping is done and I can relax by the fire with a book. I’m giving books to friends and family this year and I have a few on my wish list too. I’m after Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, What if This is Heaven by Anita Moorjani and The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.

Since I again noted down what I read through 2016, I thought I’d share some titles to help you buy for the readers on your list.

For fiction lovers:

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Phillips is the undisputed Queen of character-driven romance and her latest novel doesn’t disappoint. Private Eye Piper Dove has been hired to trail former Chicago Stars quarterback Cooper Graham. It’s all spark and snap from the minute they meet. There’s a touch of mystery in this one too. Perfect for the romance reader on your list.

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. Polly escapes to a seaside British town after a relationship ends. In an effort to forget things, she begins to bake bread . . . the locals hear about it . . . and so does a reticent local beekeeper. A cross between chick lit and women’s fiction with a dash of romance.

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin. This debut novel by Sharon Guskin centers on five-year-old Noah who has overpowering memories of a past life, a life that seems to have ended with many unanswered questions. Desperate, Noah’s mother turns to an aging psychologist who is near the end of his own life but is still willing to take on one last case. Captivating with a number of twists and turns I didn’t see coming.

Close to Home by Lisa Jackson. For the suspense lovers on your reading list. Vowing to make a fresh start, Sarah McAdams has come home to renovate the old Victorian mansion where she grew up, but there are some horrifying secrets buried within the house. If that’s not enough for you, teenage girls are going missing . . . and Sarah has two girls of her own.

With Malice by Eileen Cook. This YA thriller has the 18-year-old heroine in a hospital bed for a large part of the book and yet it still manages to hold your attention and draw you forward. Jill Charron wakes up in the hospital after a car accident she was involved in during a school trip to Italy left one person dead. Jill can’t remember what happened . . . she only knows she’s at the centre of a murder investigation.

For food lovers:

My Kitchen Year: 136 recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichel. I love Reichel’s writing and the only thing wrong with this book was that it had to end. The book chronicles the year after Gourmet Magazine unexpectedly closed its doors putting Reichel, editor-in-chief, out of work. Facing an uncertain future, Reichel turned to the one place that had always provided solace: her kitchen. The book follows the changing seasons and her struggle to adapt to a changed life; it also delivers some of Reichel’s favorite recipes.

Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon. We try to eat vegetarian once or twice a week but I’m not a vegan. This vegan cookbook, however, could turn me into one. The recipes are amazing. You feel healthy just reading them. If you’re gifting this book, buy an extra copy for yourself. And check out Liddon’s blog too.

For non-fiction lovers:

10% Happier by Dan Harris. Subtitled ‘How I Tamed the Voice in my Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story, Harris’s book is smart, brave and funny. Harris is an ABC news correspondent and after a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America he knew he had to make some changes. His search for a deeper understanding of what makes all of us tick and his ultimate solution to destressing led him to meditation – or as he puts it ‘sitting around and doing nothing.’ He went in a skeptic and came out a believer, and in the process he gained some helpful insights. Highly recommended.

Unearthed by Alexandra Risen. As Risen uncovers and revives a large, neglected garden in the centre of Toronto, she comes to understand, accept and make peace with her past. A deeply personal testament to the healing powers of nature.

The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love and Loss by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. Told in an exchange of letters between mother and son, this book came about because of Cooper’s desire to get closer to his mother after she suffered a brief but serious illness at the age of 91. It’s an interesting glimpse into the private life of two public people, and Cooper’s journalistic take on things is quite a contrast to his mother’s sunny optimism.

And shameless self-promotion time: My Laura Tobias title Million Dollar Blues is now available in ebook format at your favorite ebook retailer.

Happy gift giving!

My June Reads

DSC00073The vegetable garden is planted and my chiropractor is several hundred dollars richer.  Between rain days and other commitments, I’d let the beds go a little too long this year. The weeds were tenacious, the soil still on the heavy side, and my back and hips didn’t appreciate it.  Needless to say, by the end of each day, I was ready for a hot bath, a cold drink and a good book. In fact, there were moments with the sweat rolling down my forehead that all I could think about was the book waiting for me inside.  It was a good reminder of the simple joy a book can bring.

Here’s what I’m reading these days:

On the Kindle:  The Misremembered Man by Christina McKenna

At the Gym: Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

Beside the Bed: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Books read to date in 2014:  36


Dear Kindle: No Holiday for You . . .

Crossing out Plan A and writing Plan B on a blackboard.This week I planned to take my Kindle and run away. I figured every new relationship needs a little alone time. That it’s important to find out how you travel together. How you collectively handle stress. Like do arguments flare if there’s no shade at noon or if the bar runs out of tequila, that kind of thing? I planned to sacrifice a week of my time, pull myself off the couch and take my Kindle to sunnier climes. I figured our fledging relationship needed the test.

Instead my Kindle has to wait for its first plane ride. My mother-in-law had emergency surgery this week. My nurse friend, Julia, called it a ‘big surgery’ – something that’s serious at any age, but especially when you’re 88. So we’ll be staying close to home for a while.

Weeks ago, I loaded my Kindle with some light, perfect-for-the-beach reading material. I may not be beach bound, but light is good, especially when life feels heavy. So here’s what I’m reading this month:

Books on the Kindle for the (postponed) trip:

Do or Di by Eileen Cook
The Best Man by Kristan Higgins
The Lear Sisters Trilogy by Julia London

Books beside the bed (when I’m ready for something weightier):

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Miracles Happen by Brian Weiss