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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart (Love by Numbers, #3)
by Sarah Maclean

There is no telling where a scandal might lead…

She lives for passion.

Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society’s rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London’s most practiced gossips…and precisely the kind of woman the Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.

He swears by reputation.

Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening–risking everything he holds dear–he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety.

She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion. (goodreads.com)

I am not a romance fan. I have read the occasional romance novel though, but only by trusted authors and Sarah MacLean is one of those. I don’t know why I picked up this particular novel right after I finished The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow because it’s completely different. Maybe that’s what I needed? I read both books in one day on a rainy weekend and they are total opposite ends of the literary spectrum.

As much as I enjoyed the first two books in this little series (Nine Rules to Break, and Ten Ways to be Adored) I am disappointed to say that I didn’t enjoy this book much at all.

I did not like Juliana at all. I don’t think I had much of an opinion of her in the other two books because she wasn’t at the centre of the stories. I felt no connection between Juliana and the Duke of Leighton. I actually thought the love stories in the first two books were sweet and I enjoyed the witty banter and silly things the leading ladies would do to either land or avoid their respective men. In Eleven Scandals I felt little to no connection to either of the main characters and I was more annoyed by Juliana’s actions than endeared by them.

I found the humour I loved so much in the first two books to be rather lacking this time around, but I stuck it out through the story because I felt committed to this family and their romantic lives. Why? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t LIKE romance novels! Ha! But I sort of wanted everyone to have a happy ending. And eventually, Juliana does find one and I felt a little more sympathy for her once her mother waltzed back into their lives. I was very happy when she was told off. What a shrew!

I have had this book in my TBR for ages, since I’m pretty sure Kristi (The Story Siren) sent it to me as a Christmas gift in 2011! I figured it was about time to move it from one pile to another. 🙂 One thing I am trying to accomplish this year is to read mostly my OWN books. I have so many around the house, I fear what would happen if I had to move into a smaller home. I might have to choose between books and my husband. (Never between books and the dogs, of course. ;)) I wouldn’t be too happy about that, I mean, we will be married 8 years in July and I’m not quite ready to give him up yet. heh

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow
by Rita Leganski

Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn’t make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows Bonaventure’s silence is filled with resonance – a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.

Bonaventure’s remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mere Letice, plagued by grief and long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed. (goodreads.com)

I am a failure at blogging lately. I’m still here, just seem to have other priorities and am enjoying reading more than writing lately. That being said, I haven’t read much in June at all (what’s that? Oh, yes, I will be back-dating this post. ;)) May was an epic reading streak for me this year and I also have to say that HarperCollins has been on an epic streak of publishing AMAZING literature in 2013.  The last bunch of books I have been reading have been from HarperCollins and I have BOUGHT them all.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is a book you want to savour as you read it. Much like The Golem and the Jinni this is a book you want to spend quality time with – just you and the book. I actually read this book in 5 hours from start to finish and carried my eReader around the house with me and read as I did various things that day. I was completely captivated by the story-telling in this novel. I felt cocooned by the warmth and magic of Bonaventure Arrow’s life and story. I felt warm and safe and content all through reading this book and the feeling stayed with me long after I was done.

I loved the idea of a Bonaventure in the world. A being who never speaks but can experience life in a magical way through sound and feelings. The mystery of Bonaventure Arrow’s father’s death was also completely enthralling and the ending of the novel took me by surprise. Not once did I make a connection as to how the events would unfold.

Every single character in this story is so rich and full you think they might be people you know in your every-day life. You know them, you can almost touch them. They are tangible beings whom you miss deeply the second the story ends.

My one regret about this novel is that I don’t own a hard-copy edition of it. I bought it on my Kobo and I think that having read it being able to touch and smell the paper it’s written on would have added so much more to my experience. I have a habit of loving the experience of a book from story to physical object. Those elements always come together and make my love of a good book even stronger. I am pretty sure I will eventually have to buy a copy of the physical book to have in my collection because I will certainly read this story again and I now need to experience it on paper.

However you experience this book, I truly encourage you to experience it. It will make your insides all warm and fuzzy and you’ll be happy knowing you have witnessed an extraordinary piece of art.

diary of a non-jogger – um, oops, it’s been a month?

I sweat magical neon-pink sweat when I run!

So, I thought it had been only about 2.5 maybe 3 weeks since I last went out and tried to jog. Apparently it’s been an entire month. The last time I did this insane thing was April 30. Oops.

With every up (last time out) there is a down (this time out) so even though I was totally convinced this was going to go excellently it didn’t and I am rather disappointed. I had to stop jogging at one point because I just couldn’t breathe. Oddly, my legs felt fantastic and although when I took my first few running steps my knees protested, I was soon in a smooth, running thing and I was really pumped when I started with my first song.

Second running song was difficult and I had to stop briefly to wait for a stupid light to change and cyclists to get out of my way. But that was MAYBE about 15 seconds at most.

I think the main problem was the heat. Although it wasn’t too extreme today and much of my run was in the shade, the humidity makes it difficult for my lungs to find breath. Just like I had to train my lungs to breath in the freezing cold, I suppose I have to train them to breath in the lack-of-air-humidity, too?

And really, even though I felt really yucky breathing-wise when I was half-way through, the bottom half of my body felt GREAT running. If I could get my lungs to cooperate I could probably have done a longer run… maybe? I need to keep at this now that I am home again and feeling better. I need to. I want to be able to run 5Km by the time the snow starts up again. The only reason is because I WANT to do this and I need to set a goal to reach and that’s what I chose.

So, this is my breakdown:

3.42 km total

1.69 km –  running  11m 02s

1.73 km –  walking  21m 43s


  • Dynamite – 3.23 walk
  • Hurt me tomorrow 3.46 RUN
  • Breathing underwater 3.56 walk (would have preferred this one for running, but I was on shuffle)
  • Blow me one last kiss 4.16 RUN
  • Little talks – 4.26 walk
  • Stuck on you – 3.07 – 2 min RUN/ 1.07 walk  (this is where I had to stop. I was seeing spots.)
  • Whole wide world – 3.29 – walk
  • Rockstar 3.55 – 1 min RUN 2.55 walk
  • Change of seasons – 3.38 walk

I’m really too tired to link all the songs and add artists, I’ll do that later. I need to get to bed now.

And a disclaimer – I did not eat that entire steak in the photo. I know it’s huge. I had about 4 bites of it and I was full. I really enjoyed my corn and sweet potato/potato mash though. Yum.

Astonishing Splashes of Colour

Astonishing Splashes of Colour
by Clare Morrall

“When is the right time to tell someone they’re not who they think they are?” Caught in an over-vivid world as a result of synaesthesia (a condition in which emotions are seen as colours), Kitty Wellington is tipped off-centre by the loss of a child. And as children all around become emblems of hope and longing and grief, she’s made shockingly aware of the real reasons for her pervasive sense of her own “non-existence.”

What mystery at the heart of Kitty’s family makes her four older brothers so vague about her mother’s life? And why does her artist father splash paint on canvas rather than answer his daughter’s questions? On the edges of her dreams, Kitty glimpses the kaleidoscope hippie van that took her sister Dinah away and wonders how this event may link to the dim corridors of her own childhood, a childhood in which she had no tangible sense of her mother. (goodreads.com)

I bought this book from Monkey’s library when I went to visit her last December. In Canada, there’s this amazing thing where you can get English books in your library. It’s amazing. Wish I had that here in Quebec. Alas. But political snarking aside, there was this little section in the library where you could buy used books! Imagine! For like, no money. So I picked up this book – because it had been sitting on a wishlist for EVER when I saw it and was surprised to see it. It cost me all of $2 or something.

I have been interested in this novel for some time because it has to do with synaesthesia and I’m of course fascinated by that because I have a form of it. Now, the story wasn’t what I was expecting at all, though to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect. There was very little in the way of synaesthesia and a lot in the way of a really messed up family and a protagonist who just tugged at my heart strings.

Kitty’s family is certainly messed up and she’s an odd duck herself. There was sort of a thriller-like feeling throughout the novel, even though it wasn’t a thriller. It had a sort of Gillian Flynn Dark Places sort of feel to the story. Certainly a similarly strange family, that’s for sure. But it’s not a thriller at all, it’s just really strong fiction.

There was something lulling about this book. As in, I was lulled into some state, not quite a comforting one, but a foggy, dense sort of white noise kind of state. I read the book like I needed to get it finished lest I bust into flames or suffocate or something. I can’t explain it really, but it’s like I was surrounded by… cotton? This is one of those times I experience a book in terms of sensation and images and not words that I can use. Fitting that a book about synaesthesia would have that reaction. I TOTALLY got when Kitty explained at the start of the story about the Yellow Time. I got it 100%.

And, I know this is likely waaaaay off, but for some reason I could not shake off the idea that James, Kitty’s husband and neighbour, looked like Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. I don’t think he was supposed to be as short as Peter Dinklage but something in a description that I think I mis-read had me thinking of James and Tyrion as the same person. (Pre-scar, of course). So of course, I loved that character dearly because I am a total fangirl for Tyrion!

Er..where was I? I totally just distracted myself by reading up on Mr Dinklage on IMDB and then looking to see if he had a twitter account, which lead me to finding twitter accounts for other GoT cast members. *ahem*

ADD much?

ANYWAYS… Astonishing Splashes of Colour was a rather lovely read and very British and even though it’s totally not something I’d normally read, I am very happy that my obsession with synaesthesia made me look twice at this book and then pick it up when I saw it. I am very happy that I read the book and can now add this story and these feelings to my mental memory box.


by Alex Morel

Hatchet meets Lost in this modern-day adventure tale of one girl’s reawakening

Jane is on a plane on her way home to Montclair, New Jersey, from a mental hospital. She is about to kill herself. Just before she can swallow a lethal dose of pills, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black. Jane wakes up amidst piles of wreckage and charred bodies on a snowy mountaintop. There is only one other survivor: a boy named Paul, who inspires Jane to want to fight for her life for the first time.

Jane and Paul scale icy slopes and huddle together for warmth at night, forging an intense emotional bond. But the wilderness is a vast and lethal force, and only one of them will survive. (goodreads.com)

This was an odd sort of book. It’s one part issue novel dealing with depression and suicide and another part thriller when you add in the plane crash and survival stuff. It was easy for me to relate to the depression aspects of the story and then I felt like I was thrown into Alive the move from my teen years where people are trying to survive in the freezing cold mountains after their plane goes down.

It’s not a bad book, though, it’s just… different. My emotions were confused about when and what to feel but I couldn’t stop turning the pages. The book is an easy and quick read and really it is FULL of emotion, they just all flicker so quickly it’s hard to keep up. To be honest, I can imagine that’s how emotions would be happening if this were a real story and I was the person dealing with everything from depression to suicidal thoughts to being terrified about the situation AND changing your mind about wanting to die and instead being determined to STAY ALIVE.

I found the romance idea sort of jarring as well, but I can see how a relationship could and would blossom between people who are relying on each other to survive  It wasn’t your regular run-of-the-mill romance that you’ll get in other YA novels, this one was very clearly defined by the situation and although I felt like romance seemed out of place in my already confused emotional war, it was more that I was jarred by the GOOD in a BAD situation.

Like I said, so many confused emotions when reading the book and then the ending just about pushed me over the edge (so to speak). It ends abruptly and with such an intake of breath you have to remember to breathe after you’ve closed up the book and walked away.

I won this book from Kristi’s blog a long time ago, and then I forgot all about it until I noticed it this month. Oops. 🙂