Friday, April 21, 2017

Goodreads Tag

I stumbled upon a new-to-me book blogger, Amanda's Words, when reading the message boards on Goodreads for my local library. And while checking out her blog I noticed this awesome Goodreads book tag and just had to do it! I'm not tagging anyone, but feel free to play along if you like. (Originally found by Amanda as a YouTube tag by Peter Monn).

1. What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Audiobook - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling (library book)
Print - Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2) by Brenda Drake (library book)


2. What are you currently reading?

Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan- release date May 2, 2017
The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer (review book for Timeless Tour)



3. What was the last book you marked as ‘TBR’?

For Review:  The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro - release date June 6, 2017
For Fun: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Original Screenplay) by JK Rowling


4. What book do you plan to read next?

For Review: Close Enough To Touch by Colleen Oakley
Reread: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audiobook)


5. Do you use the star rating system?

I try to, but I find it hard to give a star rating. That's why you won't see star ratings on my reviews on my blog. I decided not to rate them with stars and just let me words say what needs to be said about the books, but on Goodreads I try to pick the closest I can, though I wish there were 1/2 star ratings.

6. Are you doing a 2014 Reading Challenge?

It's 2017 now and I am doing the challenge. My goal is set at 60 books this year, which is higher than last year but lower than previous years. Last year I was pregnant and had no ability to concentrate on reading so audiobooks became my best friends when I wasn't watching Netflix and this year I'm on maternity leave for part of the year (only a few months before I go back to work) and I think I'll be able to fit my reading in at lunch hour at work and audiobooks in the car.

7. Do you have a wishlist?

Yes, I have a wishlist on Goodreads that I am constantly updating. Either deleting books I'm not as interested in anymore or adding tons of new ones after reading blog posts from fellow book bloggers! I even have a wishlist for my daughter, Spencer.

8. What book do you plan to buy next?

Tough question. I've been receiving a lot of review books lately and using the library a ton. I've been trying not to buy any books lately, but if I were to pick one up I think it would be something I've read before - probably Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, Carry On or Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell. I love her writing and am not sure why I don't already own these books.


9. Do you have any favorite quotes, would you like to share a few?

"Words save our lives, sometimes." -Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the end of the Lane
"Nothing good is easy." -Rainbow Rowell, Landine
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." -Gabriele Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
"Have you ever noticed that far too often the best people in the world lack power." -Matthew Quick, The Good Luck of Right Now

10. Who are your favorite authors?

Rainbow Rowell, Courtney Summers, Kathy Reichs, to name a few.

11. Have you joined any groups?

 I am a part of a few groups, however, I'm not as active as I'd like to be. I should really remedy this and start participating more!Audiobook Challenge, County of L&A Library Book Club, and Oh Canada.
 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Timeless Tour Discussion | #TimelessTour @SimonSchusterCA


Today I'll be answering the discussion questions about the three books for the Timeless Tour.

What was your favourite historical time period among the Timeless Tour reads? Did you know anything about this period before you began reading the book?

I think the time period I enjoyed the more was the era during Promises to Keep as I really don't know a lot about this time in Canada or about the Acadians. I actually want to learn more about this part of Canadian history now. I did know a bit about Versailles and the royalty from this time, though I didn't know about Louis' mistresses. And I hadn't really read much about medieval time and the plague so that is always interesting as well.

How did the historical events in each book influence the character’s choices and personalities?

I would have to say that the things happening in all of the main characters' lives just proved to make them more resilient and resourceful. Jeanne grew up poor and used her beauty to get her to her desired place in society, yet used her gained knowledge and beauty to stay there. Amelie was determined to keep her family safe and did anything and everything she could to ensure that it happened. Beatrice uses her intelligence to her benefit. (I'm still reading The Scribe of Siena as my review is due next week so I'm not 100% done learning about Beatrice yet).

If you could invite one of the Timeless Tour leading ladies (Beatrice, Jeanne, or Amelie) to dinner, who would you choose and why?

I'd pick Amelie, because I'd love to hear more about the Acadian way of life and her time growing up side by side with the Mi'kmaq. It seemed quite idyllic before the English arrived. I've already learned quite a bit about Versailles and visited the palace when I went to Paris and though learning about the plague from Beatrice would be very interesting, I think I'm just drawn to learning more history about my own country first. Plus, I feel a bit of a kinship to Amelie.

The Scribe of Siena starts in the present before Beatrice is transported back in time to 1347, whereas Promises to Keep and Enemies of Versailles are firmly rooted in one timeline. How did this change your reading experience?

I'm not quite done reading this book yet, but I don't think it really changed anything as most time travel books that I've read start in the present and flip back and forth. So I don't mind that in a book. Sometimes I find it more exciting reading about two different time periods that one character has the chance to be a part of. It's also interesting to see them adapt. 

In the past, powerful women have been written out of textbooks. How do the protagonists of the Timeless Tour reads challenge the misconception that women in history were passive, submissive and dependent?

Funny how history books make women sound like they were all passive, submissive and dependent when I really think there were a lot more who tried to be independent and make their voices heard. I think all three women overcame the exact things that were meant to keep them dependent in the first place. Jeanne rose to a more prominent role in society, Amelie spoke her mind often - even to the soldiers and from what I've read so far Beatrice doesn't shrink back from the challenge of being thrown in the past. I think they all do a fantastic job of crushing the misconception of women in those time periods and we need to read about more like them.

Have you read any of these books? What are your answers to the questions above? Any thoughts on the stereotypes of passive women in history? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

 


There are many things that make me want to pick up a book, so here is my lit of what makes me want to read a book. The books pictured in this post are in my TBR pile for the reasons below!

Cover Love

It's true, I love a good cover. Interesting typography, colours and imagery. There isn't one specific style that grabs my attention as I'm drawn to many styles, but here is a sample of covers that had me from first glance.



Great Titles

A book with a fascinating title will draw me right in as well. So it's not just about the cover, but that helps!



Favourite Authors

I have a handful of authors that I will automatically buy anything they've written. I know a lot of reader/book bloggers in the same boat!


Interesting Topics

I have an eclectic taste in books and I'm not set on any one genre or subject matter. I love switching between genres to keep things exciting and fresh.


Recommended Reads

These are books that friends, bloggers and family have suggested that I'd like. Sometimes it's an author that has been suggested and sometimes a specific book.



BONUS: Memoirs

I'm a sucker for a great memoir, especially when it's a celebrity!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy by Sally Christie | #TimelessTour @SimonSchusterCA


As part of the Timeless Tour, I decided I would write my thoughts on all three of the Mistresses of Versailles books as I have already reviewed them on the blog.

The Sisters of Versailles was an exciting read as I found it shocking that a king would have so many sisters as his mistresses over the years. And even more shocking that the Nesle sisters were okay with this. Such a taboo topic, yet extremely fascinating. This line from the dust jacket pretty much sums it all up: "Over the following decade, the four sisters: sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power." I think my most preferred of the sisters were Louise and Marie Anne. Louise was just in love with the king and wanted his love forever. And Marie Anne was conniving and powerful in her wicked ways. Pauline was the least enjoyable for me and Diane was the humour needed in the story (she actually is in the entire trilogy or at least mentioned in all three books).

I think, The Rivals of Versailles was my favourite of the three. I found the Marquise du Pompadour interesting enough to pull a book (Queen, Empress, Concubine: Fifty Women Rulers from the Queen of Sheba to Catherine the Great by Claudia Gold) off my shelf to learn more about her. Even though Jeanne was a bourgeois, she became Louis XV's mistress and held her place at court and in his heart for a long time. She was very influential in his political dealings and if she hadn't died, I think she would have helped him rule much longer. She was fashionable and fun with all of her parties and plays that kept his attention. She was smart to know when she became more of a friend and confidant than a lover, yet strategic in finding ways to keep herself in the position of royal mistress and not be overthrown by any of his dalliances.

And the last book, The Enemies of Versailles, where Louis takes a common prostitute as his newest mistress is filled with conflict. The chapters alternate between the Comtesse du Barry and Louis' daughter Madame Adelaide. His daughter dislikes every one of his mistresses, but especially du Barry. She thinks that the Comtesse is taking all of his attention away from his daughters and is jealous in a way, always seeking approval and his affection. It's a great ending for the women of Versialles as it not only tells the tale of his mistresses, but also his family. And my how the tables are turned when the revolution begins and Madame Adelaide learns a few hard truths in life. I enjoyed this part of the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, but it was my least favourite - perhaps because it was nearing the end of Louis' life and things weren't as shocking anymore? He'd pretty done everything you can think of to cause scandal after scandal. Except this time, I think he truly loved this mistress and might have married her if he was given the chance. 

So many women graced King Louis XV's bed, yet only a handful were talked about long enough to remember. There are even more mentioned in The Rivals of Versailles as the Marquise fights to keep herself in her rightful spot in court. The stories of these other girls are just as interesting as many of the more detailed ones in this series. I highly suggest giving this series a try so you can learn more about this time period as well as about Louis and his women. Sally Christie has a way of describing everything in her books without it being overdone and too detailed. Sometimes you read a historical book that nitpicks every tiny detail of clothing and furniture style and it can become tedious and boring, but Ms. Christie has woven the details into the stories in a way that you can imagine it all and become interested in the details as well as the overall storyline! And you can read them as standalones, but I'd really recommend reading them in order as characters are mentioned from previous books and it just flows better than way.

Have you read the series yet? Which book was your favourite? Which mistress was most liked by you? Any other characters that you loved or hated?


About the Author:
Sally Christie was born in England of British parents but grew up mostly in Canada. As a child she moved around with her family and then continued her wandering as she pursued a career in international development; she’s lived in 14 different countries and worked in many more. She’s now settled in Toronto and loving it.
Sally lives and breathes history; ever since she read Antonia Fraser’s masterful Mary, Queen of Scots when she was 10, she’s been an avid history junkie. She wishes more attention and technical innovation was devoted to time travel, because there is nothing she would rather do than travel back in time! Writing historical fiction is a poor substitute, but it’s the best one we have at the moment.


When not reading and writing history, she’s a tennis and Scrabble fanatic.

Website | Goodreads

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