Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery | Review

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery
Published: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 384
Received: from publisher via TLC Book Tours
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon | Books A Million | B&N

A wonderful story full of romance, forgiveness and the unavoidable ties that bind, SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS is Susan Mallery at her very best.

The relationship of sisters Kelly and Olivia Van Gilder has been, well… complicated ever since their mother left them as teens, though it's the secrets they have been keeping from each other as adults that have unwittingly widened the chasm. But one thing they do share is the not-so-secret torch they carry for the Martin brothers.

In the small enclave of New Holland, Washington, Griffith and Ryan Martin were demigods. While Griffith was the object of Kelly's high school crush and witness to her mortal teenage humiliation, Ryan was for Olivia the boy who got away-something she's never forgiven Kelly for-and the only person since her mother who appreciated her wild streak.

Now, ten years later, both brothers are newly returned to town. Believing they're destined to be together, Olivia's determined to get Ryan back, until she discovers that she's not the only one keeping secrets…and that perhaps he's not the handsome prince she remembered. And even though Griffith has grown up to be more irresistible than ever, Kelly's impulse is to avoid him and the painful memory he represents, despite his resolve to right the wrong he caused her long ago-and her desire to let him.

A great story of friendship, family and love. The main story revolves around two sisters who couldn't be more different from one another and a friend who is hopelessly in love with their Dad. I loved that they all had flaws and secrets, but still put it all out there to clear the air and make things better between them all. I think the flaws made them feel more genuine. 

Kelly, is the practical one, while Olivia is the confident and fearless one. Though I guess given what happened to Olivia, it was probably best she learn how to be resilient. Funny that they seem so different, but in the end they have some of the same qualities and seem to bring out the best in each other once they work through their issues and let each other back into their respective lives.

I adored Helen, Kelly's BFF and the love interest of Kelly and Olivia's father. She's such a great character and easy to relate to. I loved the relationship that she built with the girl's father, Jeff and how down to earth she is about everything.

And then there's Griffith. Oh how I loved him. The man who swears he'll never fall in love again, yet is totally smitten with Kelly. How he thinks he can have a committed relationship with everything except falling in love is beyond me. But oh how wonderful a man he is for her.

I love the setting of the tulip farms in Northern Washington. So interesting to learn about growing tulips both in field and greenhouses. I love details like this that make the stories interesting and I always seem to learn something. Also, Griffith's business building tiny homes is an added bonus.

Overall, this is one of those books that has it's emotional ups and downs, but in the end leaves you feeling satisfied. So many secrets are revealed in this story and relationships tested (both romantic and familial), but in the end your faith is renewed in each character. 

This was my first Susan Mallery book and I guarantee it won't be my last. I loved the family dynamics, the small town vibes and the sweet romances. Definitely a great summer time read.

About the Author:
With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.

Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. -source

Saturday, July 1, 2017

What Makes You Canadian Tag

The Darlings Diary

I stumbled upon this tag over at The Darlings Diary and decided to write it up to coincide with Canada Day! If you want to play along feel free to do so, but give credit back to DD for the tag and image as that is where I found it all. Enjoy and HAPPY CANADA DAY!

1. What do you order at Tim Hortons?

If it's winter – a small hot chocolate and a four cheese bagel toasted with butter and a ginger molasses cookie (if they have them – they are hard to find, but are the best cookie since they stopped making their oatmeal apple ones years ago).
Any other season – small raspberry lemonade, a four cheese bagel toasted with butter and a chocolate chip cookie.

2. What is the most annoying Canadian stereotype?

That we live in igloos and travel by dog sled.

3.How many provinces and territories have you travelled to?

Five! I live in Ontario, I've been to Quebec, driven through New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to visit Nova Scotia (twice). I'd love to go to British Columbia one day.

4. Have you ever seen an igloo?

Only the ones I made in my backyard as a kid in winter and they never worked out.

5.How many/What words do people think you say differently?

About seems to be the most common word we “say” differently. I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them.

6. Favourite YTV show?

When I was a teen it was Hit List. I loved watching the music video countdowns hosted by Tarzan Dan! I don't even know what shows are on YTV anymore.

7. What is one thing you wish you could buy in Canada, but can’t?

Strawberry Fruit Rollups. We only seem to have the rainbow ones, so when I visit the US I buy a few boxes. We used to also buy Cherry and Vanilla Coke, but we have that now.

8. Have you seen deer, moose or other wildlife?

Yes. All the time. In my own backyard I see deer, turkeys and coyotes. There are also Osprey nests down the road and we see them flying around often. I've seen my fair share of moose when driving in Algonquin Park, but I've seen more on my way to visit my father in the Parry Sound area. 

9.What is your favourite winter product?

I hate winter. So I'm going with Hot Chocolate! At least it's something to warm up with and to drink indoor. When I was younger the only thing I enjoyed doing outside was ice skating, so maybe I'll say ice skates.

10.Who is your favourite Canadian celebrity?

This is a hard decision, but I'm going with Ryan Reynolds. He seems so down to earth and funny.

11. Why are you proud to be Canadian?         

I think we are a polite country, an accepting country and diverse. I love how Canadians rally for things they believe in, support each other no matter you're background and are always willing to lend a hand. I'm proud to live here and I feel safe here.

Lennox & Addington Library Canada 150 Reading Challenge

I'm participating in the Lennox & Addington Library Canada 150 Reading Challenge  (to be completed by August 31 - one book can count for more than one spot on the list).

Apparently it started in May (based on their May-August newsletter where I found the list), so I'm going to count anything I read from that point on. 

-Read a CanLit book with 150+ pages
-Read a book about a Canadian musician
-Cook a recipe from a Canadian cookbook
-Read a biography about a famous Canadian
-Read an OLA Evergreen Award nominee
-Read a book set in the Arctic
-Read a book set in Canada's West during the 1800s
-Read a book set in the Maritimes
-Read a Canadian children's picture book
-Read a book about hockey
-Read one of CBC Canada Reads winners
-Read a book by a local author

Wish me luck! And if you have any recommendations leave them in the comments!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Books About Canada For Children

Spencer and I have been enjoying our local library almost weekly since I've been on maternity leave, so I thought we'd put together a fun list of books about Canada that we've borrowed from the library and a few that we own! Hope you enjoy!

Canada ABC by Paul Covello - an amazing picture book featuring some of the iconic things that are truly Canadian (Inukshuk, the Loonie, Totem Poles, etc)
Toronto ABC by Paul Covello - a wonderful look at the sites of Toronto (Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, CN Tower and more)
Hello Humpback! by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers - gorgeous Haida inspired artwork depicting brightly magical looking animals.
Night-Night Canada by Katherine Sully and Helen Poole - A goodnight book that shows landmarks from all of the provinces and territories.
Goodnight Canada by Andrea Beck - another great book that highlights many famous places across our great land with cute illustrations and lots of Canadiana hidden on each page.
Santa is Coming to Canada by Steve Smallman and Robert Dunn - a brightly illustrated book about Santa making his way from coast to coast while seeing some amazing landmarks along the way. Also, the typography allows for some very expressive reading out loud - it's a lot of fun and very engaging.

What are some of your favourite children's books (board books or picture books) about Canada? 
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