Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen (Audio book): Review

Sarah and David have hit a rough patch in their marriage. All they do is ignore each other between arguments. Things don't look good, especially since both of them are looking for divorce lawyers. Everything changes, however, during a visit to their marriage counselor, Dr Helen. They find usual calm, collected Dr Helen nibbling on the Wilsons, the couple with the appointment before theirs. Sarah and David have to act quickly to prevent becoming Dr Helen's next meal and barely escape.

It becomes apparent that something is very wrong in Seattle when the streets become clogged with the living dead. Sarah and David have to make a decision: stay and most certainly join the horde of zombies or fight their way out of the city. For once, they have to put aside their differences and work together as a team. Dr Helen's advice, given while she was human, actually comes in handy.

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen is both funny and disturbing. The couple often have to do some pretty icky things to get out of the situations they find themselves in. Yet, the book doesn't take itself too seriously. I found myself chuckling over a few scenes (the neighbour in the bathroom). It reminded me of Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland.

Sarah is the narrator of this tale. I liked her tough talking attitude. I could understand why she was frustrated with David before the zombie apocalypse struck. I did think she was too tough on the poor guy at times. He is no shrinking violet himself though. He takes charge of many situations. The chemistry between them is just right. Petersen does an excellent job of showing the complexities of a relationship: the compromises that are often made, the grudges held. Even though the backdrop is somewhat ridiculous, it feels very real.

The book has an excellent pace with lots of action. I listened to it over just a couple of days. Since this is the beginning of the plague, Sarah hints that much, much more happens before it's all over. I found out later that there are at least 2 more books in the series. I can't wait to find out what happens to Sarah and David next.

To hear Jesse discuss Married With Zombies with Amy and Nicole of the Underground Literary Society please visit their site.

About the audio: Excellently narrated by Cassandra Campbell.


Lazy Sunday Thoughts: The Benefits of Borrowing

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be..." -Shakespeare

Usually I wouldn't argue with The Bard but in the case of books I make an exception. Just a couple of days ago, it was discovered that Harper Collins was about to make things more difficult for librarians when it comes to e-books. (If you haven't read about it, please do.) While there was much discussion about libraries, there were some people who poo-pooed borrowing books from friends. This really burns my buttons. Lending and borrowing books (not to mention sweaters, shoes, sugar, etc) to my friends and family is my right as a consumer. I suppose the idea is that this situation is taking money out of the hands of authors. I completely disagree and have an example of how the opposite is more likely to happen.

A couple of years ago I lent my mother 2 or 3 Philippa Gregory novels. She hadn't heard of her before. Within a couple of weeks my mother handed them back to me. She loved them. I had no intentions of buying anymore of her books at that time. It's not that I didn't like the books, I just didn't think I'd be buying anymore in the near future. Now, here's the thing about my mother, once she finds an author she likes, she buys the hell out of them. Growing I up, I remember her having the whole Catherine Cookson library in her bedroom. Predictably she bought every Gregory as it was released and every backlisted book available (including the Wideacre series, which she lent me). So by lending 2 or 3 books to my mom, the author benefited by gaining a customer who bought approximately 8 or 9 books (sales!). Plus, she's guaranteed a customer who will buy any future titles. Why? Because I lent my books to someone who wouldn't have bought the books otherwise.

When I look back to the time in my life when buying books was a luxury I could barely afford, I think of the authors I discovered by borrowing from friends and family. My aunt lent me Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. When I could afford it, I bought my own copy and every book she wrote since. I was (and still am) hesitant to buy books by authors I don't know. Books aren't cheap. A paperback in Canada can be $10 or more. If I borrow a book from a friend or the library and I don't enjoy it, I don't feel like I've wasted my money (and I feel guilty about it). If I do enjoy it, I now have an author whose books I can buy and know I will like.

Borrowers are also buyers. We're not out to scam anyone. A borrower can be turned into a loyal buyer. It just takes getting the right book into the hands of the right reader.

The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory: Review

Look out! There will be spoilers from Wideacre in this review. If you plan on reading it (God help you), skip this review.

The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory is the second book in the Incestuous Gentry Folk saga that started with Wideacre (my review). Beatrice and Harry's two children, Julia and Richard, are being raised as cousins. This is the first indication that things are going to get weird because while sibling-love is a no-no, cousin-loving is a-okay at this time. Plus, Julia says uncomfortable things like, "how I looooove Richard. He is so wonderful. We'll get married and take care of Wideacre together." Unfortunately, even though she doesn't know that he is her brother/cousin, she also can't see that he is a big jerk.

They live in the Dower House on the Wideacre property with their Mama-Aunt Celia (I didn't make that one up) because the big house was burned down when Beatrice went crazy and ruined everything. They're relatively poor but not as poor as the people of Acre who have their children taken away to work in factories. They have hope though. The village is waiting for "The Favored Child" of Beatrice's blood to make everything better. Since Richard is the official child of Beatrice, he would be the obvious choice. However, the villagers hate that guy because he is a big jerk and also animals hate him, which if you watch horror movies is a bad sign. Julia, on the other hand, loves the land and is nice to people and animals so everyone wants her to be the new squire. Also, she inherited the Lacey Land Lust and thinks Wideacre is the Bestest Place on Earth.

Funny Pictures - Dramatic Animals Gifs
Richard: The Horror!!!

Richard does not like being in second place so he makes Julia miserable with his bullying, telling her not to put herself forward because it's unwomanly and who does she think she is anyway. Instead of punching him in the face, she cries and says, "Yes, Richard. Whatever you want" which turns him into a bigger jerk. Celia is completely oblivious to all these goings on since she's busy stitching the linens together.

This section is a little spoilery but really it only takes you to the half-way point in the book.

Then Richard's "Dad",  John, returns from India with enough money to get Wideacre out of the hole, build a new house, grow crops and buy the family nice things again. Yay! Everything is coming up roses! Too bad it didn't end there. John hires Ralph Megson as the property manager, not knowing that he was The Culler from the last book who brought Beatrice to her doom. Ralph tells Julia who he is and she's all, "oh no!" but doesn't tell anyone because the villagers trust him and she doesn't want to rock the boat. Ralph is not a bad guy for a murderer though. He has a feeling about Julia and when she gets The Sight and saves the village he is in her corner. Unfortunately, Julia's family is not too keen on her new found talent and send her off to Bath where she has a nice normal life for a little while. All good things must come to an end and when she returns to Wideacre the shit hits the fan.

*******End of Spoiler********

Oh Ms. Gregory, you know how to spin a crazy yarn! I didn't think things could be loonier than Wideacre but The Favored Child tops it. It's like you kept thinking up horrible things to happen and threw them in the plot. It is horrifyingly fascinating. I enjoyed it very much.

Like most of Gregory's other novels, The Favored Child is loooooong crammed with detail of the lives of the Wideacre folk. I thought it could have been about 100 pages shorter. I was getting tired of Julia's misery and anxious for the end. However, even though it was long, it was well written. I think she was at her peak when she wrote this.

Poor deluded Julia. She could have avoided so much if she had told someone she suspected Richard was a psychopath. Instead, she made excuses for him. And the adults. Hello, get a clue people. A little talk of the "your cousin is your brother" kind would have helped. How in the world could Celia live with these kids 24/7 and not feel what way the wind was blowing? She was in complete denial.

I'm looking forward to the last in this series, Meridon to find out how things are going to turn out for the last of the Lacey family but think I need a little break from Gregory's wordiness.

Recommended if you've read Wideacre- you need to read this too.

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Audiobook): Review

I'm a big fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's writing style. Loved The Angel's Game, adored The Shadow of the Wind. So when I saw The Prince of Mist available as an audiobook from my library, I downloaded it right away. I'm a bit iffy on this one though. I'll get to that in a moment but first here's the run down.

Thirteen year old Max moves to a coastal town with his family during World War II to escape the dangers of living in the city. His Dad is bit of an eccentric watchmaker who fell in love with an abandoned estate during a previous visit. The estate has a sad history since the last owners' son, Jacob, died there. It also has a creepy concrete garden of carnival statues. Max finds this disconcerting especially when the statues appear to be living. When terrifying and unexplainable events happen to himself, his siblings and his new friend Roland, Max pushes deep into the past to find out the circumstances surrounding Jacob's death.

Although there is plenty of creepiness in The Prince of Mist, it lacks Zafon's usual flare for turn of phrase. Perhaps it is because it was written for the younger crowd, but I suspect it's more likely due to being his debut novel. It doesn't have that polish I expect from him. As I said, it's a young adult story with the main characters being teens and most of the adults conveniently missing for the second half of the novel. They have to battle dark and evil forces themselves. The things they encounter are the stuff of childhood nightmares: living statues, evil magicians and creepy clowns. Yep, creepy clowns; they get me every time. I haven't been the same since Poltergeist.

Scarred for life by this guy

The plot skated along at a nice pace until close to the end where it started to unravel. The ending was somewhat disappointing to me. This is kind of a spoiler (highlight): I thought that good should have triumphed over evil. Another issue I had was with the book was how the point of view for most of the time was Max's but very occasionally it was one of the other kids. It was jarring.

The Prince of Mist has a high creep factor but it's also a coming of age story. War hangs over them all. They've all lost something in the move away from the city and they know the longer the war drags on the more they have to lose.

About the audio: Jonathan Davis was an excellent narrator but the audio incorporated music and sound effects into the story. I don't like that.


My Bookish Box Set

funny pictures history - Hello, tech support?

Every so often I get emails from a certain big box bookstore that I've purchased from in the past with the declaration, "If You Liked...., Then You'll Like...." The trouble is I often wonder how these books are related. Who made the decision that these books are similar enough that having liked one, I'll like the other? Was it a real person? Or a computer generated list?

I've thought about this form of marketing and believe I know a few books that belong together. If there was a box set of related books, like they do those movies at Halloween or Valentine's Day, these are the ones I'd choose to package together.  Hopefully, I'll be making this a new feature.

The Quirky Lady Box Set

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Audley (Oddly) Flowers returns to Newfoundland after her father is struck by a Christmas tree. Audley sees the world quite differently than other people do. This causes her a lot of confusion.

My review of Come Thou, Tortoise
The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson

The Carnes sisters live in a world of their own imagination. They play odd games of make believe that leave other people confused if they aren't in on the joke.

My review of The Brontes Went of Woolworths

Notice how I used "confuse" and "odd" to describe both books. Those are running themes in both stories. The oddity of the women either cause themselves or others confusion. It's makes for interesting plot developments.

So if you liked quirky ladies or have read one but not the other, you might like to give these books a look-and-see.

Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor: Review

Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor was a pleasant surprise. I knew very little about it when I started reading it. Once I sat down with it, I didn't want to put it away.

Maggie Second is a busy lady. After the death of her husband three years ago, she took over as chief of Otter Lake. It's a thankless job juggling the politics of both the Native and White people. The reclamation of 300 acres of woodland is adding more paperwork and headaches to her job. She barely has time for her dying mother and her teenaged son let alone herself. Then a mysterious stranger shows up the day her mother dies. A tall handsome white stranger on an 1953 Indian Chief motorcycle and he only has eyes for her.

Maggie's son Virgil is less than impressed by the stranger who goes by the name 'John.' Sure, he's good looking (all the women say so) and charming but there is something not quite right about him. First, he never gives anyone the same last name, then there's the moonlight dancing and those strange eyes. Virgil decides to enlist the help of his crazy Uncle Wayne to find out who this guy really is.

John has come back to Otter Lake to say goodbye to an old friend and cause a bit of mischief while he's there. Maggie has potential if it wasn't for that darn kid. And those raccoons are a pain; they know how to hold a grudge.

What a hoot! I love supernatural beings in novels. They are egocentric egomaniacs with little regard for humans' feelings. They have free reign to do whatever they please and act in ways humans can't, even in fictional stories. It makes for fun times. I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say 'John' is not a person like everyone else. He charmed the socks off me. He isn't malicious; he just wants to have some fun.

John isn't the only interesting character in the book. Maggie is a hard-working single mom who could use some magic in her life. She's no pushover though. John might have learned a lot in all his time on the planet but he could use a few lessons on dealing with modern women. Virgil is a kid who, as Maggie puts it, "needs a kick in the pants." He's had a hard go and is lacking in ambition. John's arrival provides some motivation, if nothing else. I loved the relationship between him and his mom. Awww, he loves his mom!

Mr Taylor could have been heavy handed with the serious issues facing this Native community. There are plenty of scars left from the past but he handles it in a funny way. I guess the idea is if you don't laugh, you'll cry.

Motorcycles and Sweetgrass is clever and often silly, a great combo. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Highly recommended.

Motorcycles and Sweetgrass was given to me by Random House Canada as part of their 2010 New Face of Fiction series.

Fun Fact: Drew Hayden Taylor also wrote The Night Wanderer, a teenage vampire story. Take that Edward!

The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart: Review

On paper The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise should be the perfect book for me. However in reality, it just didn't work.

The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart revolves around the the lives of the wacky residents of the Tower of London, particularly Beefeater Balthazar Jones, his wife and 180 year old pet tortoise. Balthazar is grieving the death of his young son and barely performing his duties as a guard of the Tower. Unexpectedly, the Queen decides that all the animals she's been given as gifts must now live in the Tower and Balthazar is chosen as zookeeper. Why a man with no professional experience with animals was picked to take care of such precious creatures is beyond me.

I'm a lover of quirky novels. Usually I say "Quirky? Bring it on!" the weirder the better but it might have been too much quirk even for me. The thing is everyone in this book is quirky: Balthazar collects rain water in glass jars, the minister writes erotica under a nom de plume, all the minor characters have peculiarities up the wazoo. It was quirk overload. Not only that, everyone, including the tortoise, has a back story. I don't mind these elements at the beginning of the book to set up the story but it was constant throughout. Just when I was settling into the story, I was distracted by some event that happened in the past.

Another aspect of The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise that I wasn't enamored with was the detached style of the writing. There was little dialogue and often the reader is told what is happening. There were secondary plots that didn't go anywhere (Sir Walter Raleigh). The characters, if I had to describe them, resemble gray blobs of sadness. They made me sad...and tired. I needed naps. It took me much longer than it should have to finish this rather short book.

I didn't completely give up on it, obviously. The premise is an interesting one and I did want to find out how some of the storylines turned out. I was determined to finish it. My opinion is in the minority, I know. After reading the Goodreads reviews, I discovered most people loved it. However, I can't help how I feel about it. It is what it is, people. Maybe you have or will enjoy it more than I did.

Thanks to Random House for the review copy.

Happy Valentine's Day!

A Valentine for you Readers! However you might feel about the day, you can't argue with my wish for you.

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Shiny Happy People

Hello darlings! How are you this Happy Sunday? Let's all take a deep with good air...out with the bad. All better now? Good. Let's all stay in our happy place this week. Maybe some positive energy can change all the negativity out there in the virtual world.

After a book drought, I had a nice sprinkling of books this week. First, I picked up Splendor (a Luxe novel) at the bookstore. It was on sale and I couldn't resist a cover with that dress on it. I still haven't read The Luxe though. Soon. In the mail, I received India Black for a blog tour in March (thanks Teddy), Arranged which I won (thanks Martina) and Altar of Bones which appeared unexpectedly. All are too beautiful not to photograph.

Another thing that arrived in the mail this week was March's Martha Stewart Living in which she declares "It's time to start planting!" Oh Martha, I wish. We've had more snow in the last two weeks than we've had in the last two years. It's insane! I can't even see my garden at this point for all the snow that's piled on it. It hasn't stopped me from thinking about what I want to plant come spring. I'm dreaming of radishes and lettuce.

I just started reading Motorcycles and Sweetgrass which I thought was going to be a serious book with deep thoughts because of the title. However, it's funny and quirky! I'm really enjoying it. Have you ever had that happen? Think a book was going to be one think because of the title but it's something else altogether?

Now I couldn't embed Shiny Happy People but how about Furry Happy Monsters instead. They're better anyway.

Resolute Meringue

I've been following Gesine Bullock-Prado's blog since I read her first book, Confections of a Master Baker, for her drool-worthy concoctions. Her Resolute Meringue caught my eye. Yesterday I decided to try it myself.

Making meringue is a messy business. I had it coming up and out of everywhere when I piped it onto the parchment paper. I couldn't quite get the perfect tight circles Gesine did. After I baked them, some of the meringue stuck to the paper. They got a bit mangled. Those disks I used on the bottom. The raspberries and yogurt were sandwiched in between two of the disks. You can't quite see the heart on the top so here it is alone. I like how they came out!

My girl loved Resolute Meringue! I liked it too but, wow, it is sweet.

Canada Reads 2011: My Take

Canada Reads was quite the battle this year. Blogs and Twitter were afire with opinions. With 5 different books- The Best Laid Plans, The Birth House, The Bone Cage, Essex County, and Unless- there were favorites all around the country and lines were drawn. To use a Canadian metaphor, people were either Leafs or Canadiens fans. Here are the books and defenders:

*Ali Velshi: The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
*Debbie Travis: The Birth House by Ami McKay
*Georges Laraque: The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou
*Sara Quin: Essex County by Jeff Lemire
*Lorne Cardinal: Unless by Carol Shields

Canada Reads Day1: I know a lot of people were disappointed that Essex County was the first to get voted out but I wasn't surprised. It tends to be a strategy of the panelists to go after the book that is different from the others: short stories, poetry, bestsellers. It's like baby chicks pecking to death the weakest among them. It's an easy target. Still, I thought Sara did a good job defending it and even Jian (the host) tried to get the panelists to not discount it completely.

Canada Reads Day 2: The personalities of the panelists really came out. Especially aggressive were Ali and Debbie. They were in it to win it. Soft spoken Lorne and Georges had their work cut out for them. I was disappointed when Debbie admitted she didn't finish The Best Laid Plans. I think as a panelist you have a responsibility to read all 5 books even if you have to suffer through it. In the end The Bone Cage was voted out. Georges was not happy about it.

Canada Reads Day 3: The last day. The first to go was Unless, after a tie breaking vote by Debbie. She  actually finished The Best Laid Plans the night before. She then tried to explain why she voted against Essex County on Day 1 when she disliked The Best Laid Plans so much she didn't read it. I didn't get her reasoning. I think she was saying it was strategic. In the end, she would have been better off keeping Essex County around because The Birth House lost to The Best Laid Plans.

I didn't have any violent feelings for any book in particular. I enjoyed The Birth House and Unless (the only two I read). If I had to choose between the two, I would pick Unless. I'm a Shields fangirl but Unless isn't my fave. My fear that the panelists wouldn't be invested in a book they didn't hand pick themselves (because of a change in the rules this year) was unnecessary. The panelists weren't afraid to bite, kick and scratch for their book. At times they even contradicted themselves. It makes for great entertainment and gets people talking about those books at least. Now I really want to read the three books I didn't read!

The Dark Worlds of H.P. Lovecraft (Audiobook): Review

So that H.P. Lovecraft. What is his deal? What messed him up so badly that he created the creatures inhabiting The Dunwich Horror and The Call of Cthulhu? And why inflict them on us? I don't think I'll sleep well tonight.

I downloaded The Dark Worlds of H.P. Lovecraft (Volume One) from the library today and listened to it all in one go. Why? I couldn't stop listening. Right from the beginning of The Dunwich Horror I was drawn in. Lovecraft takes great pains to create an atmosphere for horror. The dilapidated houses, the spooky scenery, and the sinister townspeople are described in detail even before any of the main characters are revealed. The events leading up to the birth of Wilbur Whateley foretell that this isn't an ordinary boy and as he grows older it becomes apparent to all who meet him. There are strange goings on at the Whateley place, weird noises and mysterious sights and smells. Throughout the story the narrator eludes to the Dunwich Horror of 1928. As that date draws nearer in the telling, more and more bizarre events occur, finally culminating in a battle between good and evil.

The Call of Cthulhu deals with a creature from another dimension. In this story, the nephew of Professor Angell, who died under suspicious circumstances, reveals what he has found in his uncle's papers. Professor Angell has been obsessed with a creature called Cthulhu, a creature that has lain asleep under the earth since before man. Cthulthu sleeps but is not silent. Through dreams it calls out to men to remember and worship it. The professor collected unrelated stories of the Cthulhu from three separate sources. What he discovers is so frightening he fears for the fate of mankind.

Lovecraft suffered from night terrors. If these were the things that floated around in his mind at night, I'm not surprised. Every word is crafted to frighten the reader. The sense of impending doom builds, especially in The Dunwich Horror, to a grotesque climax. At the same time, it's an old-timey tale. I suspect no one had read anything like this before the 1920s. I can see how he would inspire modern writers like Stephen King. Be warned though, the guy was a big ole racist and that comes through in his descriptions of certain people. If you can put that aside and enjoy old fashioned horror stories, you'll enjoy this audio production.

About the audio: Both stories are narrated by Wayne June who certainly has a voice for horror. His husky deep voice added to the atmospheric experience of listening to these creepy tales. At one point, Wilbur speaks and Mr June's interpretation raised the hair on my arms.

Recommended for fans of horror.

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Don't Be a Hater

Happy Sunday all! Any big plans? I hear there is a football game on. ;)

The week has been full of internet drama: lists, chats, articles, pick your poison. The 'book bloggers are evil' argument came up again with this article from Spectator. This old chestnut. Critics were writing about this when I first started blogging- 4 years ago. Yawn. I'm not going to comment on that and reveal my book blogger "persecution complex". Buuuuuut.... I am going to comment on this.
I’d rather hear what Julie Myerson has to say about the latest AS Byatt than Lynette, full-time mom and doglover from Arkansas.
Oh yes, the M word. Cause moms are stupid, right? Everyone knows a woman's brain is removed during childbirth. It's attached to the placenta or something. That's a fact. When you become a mom, you give up the right to an opinion. Back to the kitchen with ya.

Word to your mother
Yes, I'm a mom but that's not all I am. I had opinions before I was a mom and I have them still. When I started this blog, it was because I wanted to discuss the books I was reading with other book lovers. I can't say that being a mom doesn't influence my opinions because of course it does. So does my gender, my age, my nationality, my experiences as a human being.

funny pictures - Close your eyes sweety.   Mommy's about to open a can of whoop-ass.

I'm really tired of people using 'Mom' as an insult. It's not the first time I've heard it and I'm sure it won't be the last. Why is that? Does a person see the word mom and assume the only thing they'll discuss is diapers and baby-wearing? We may not be as interesting as mountain climbing millionaires but if you give us a chance you might find that we have something unique to say. I may not have thousands of followers but the ones I do have come here because they want to hear my opinion and share theirs. And I'm grateful to them. I may not get a pay check but there is value in being heard.

Oat-Molasses Bread

On Thursday, Joy from The Herbed Kitchen mentioned molasses bread. From that moment on, it was all I could think about. Since it was a snow day for the girl, I knew we weren't going far for awhile. There was lots of time to make bread, which would be a perfect accompaniment to the stew I had in the slow cooker.

Google is a friend of mine when it comes to cooking. How did our moms live without it? The search results for molasses bread gave me a number of options but I went with the recipe for Oats and Molasses Bread from Canadian Living magazine. I like that it has oats in it. It makes it quite hardy. At first I was worried it wasn't rising enough but I didn't have to; it turned out two nice loaves. It was delicious with the stew but even better the next day with some freezer jam slathered on it.


I have a question for you Foodies. I have my favorite recipes all over the place: here on the blog, saved to my hard drive, bookmarked, in cookbooks and in magazines all over the house. I tend to use them a lot but never remember where I put them. What I want to do is copy them to my computer with the photos I've taken and maybe print them out. I'm looking for an easy program to do it. I want it to be as easy as writing a blog post. Just an initial setup and then *blamo!* I'm good to go. Do you have a suggestion for how to do this?

Not Feeling It

Okay, so I've been reading this book for a couple of days now. I'm trying to give it a chance because some folks on Goodreads liked it and how can they be wrong? The book in question is The King's Mistress by Emma Campion. I'm on page 112. Maybe it's just me but every time I pick it up, I want to put it down. I just can't get into it.

It's slow paced. At 100+ pages all that's happened so far is she's married this really nice guy. I mean really nice. And just like a character announcing they 'have 2 days until retirement' you know some shit is going to go down. The protagonist, Alice, is too nice as well. She doesn't have much of a personality at this point (I think she's 15 or 16) but for some reason the royalty want to be her bff and give her horses and stuff. Her mom is a nutter. And there are seeeeeeccccrrreeeeets because her hubby keeps distracting her with shiny things whenever she asks questions. I'm getting annoyed with the two of them.

So I don't know. Is this book just not for me? Is this a DNF?
How long do you give a book before you quit it?

Challenge Roundup for January

The first month of the new year: done. That's hard to believe but true. It wasn't a record for reading but for challenges I did well.

For the 4th Canadian Reading Challenge I read two books, Dead Politician Society and Jane of Lantern Hill. Very different books but very Canadian. That brings my total up to ten. I'm way ahead of schedule!

I began the Nordic Challenge last month and already read two books, Iceland and The Summer Book. That's a good start.

Luckily, Iceland counts for the Audio Book Challenge because that was it. As for the Foodie's Reading Challenge, no books read for that yet. I want to find a cookbook to review but don't know what I want. I'll figure it out.

I read The Flight of the Falcon in January for The Daphne du Maurier Challenge. Participants are still plugging away at it too. Every Book and Cranny compares du Maurier's The Birds to Hitchcock's film version. She Reads Novels loved The House on the Strand. Jess from Park Benches & Bookends didn't love The Parasites. The Book Nook found Hungry Hill absorbing. Great thoughts on all these books guys! Remember if you participate in The Daphne du Maurier Challenge leave your links on the Review Blog so I can add your links here every month.

That was it for January. How were your reading challenges for January?