Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

To Capture What We Cannot KeepTo Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a beautiful book about Émile Nouguier and Caitriona Wallace's love story. Émile Nouguier was the engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower and managed its construction from 1887 to 1889. Caitriona Wallace was a widow who took on a chaperone assignment and travelled to France with her wealthy Scottish charges where she met Nouguier.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book, was the construction details of the tower. The engineering behind the erection of the tower is truly amazing.

The story contains cameos of famous historical characters such as Gustave Eiffel, Georges Seurat, and many more. This makes the story very entertaining. I recommend this book!

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Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway on Goodreads.com. This is a young adult book about Tea, a young girl who starts her training as a bone witch. The bone witch pulls her magic from the dark magic and has the ability to raise the dead. The story jumps between the beginning of her training and several years later as she is preparing to go to war. I enjoyed the story and the writing. The characters are well developed and interesting. This is a good start to the series.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first book by J.K. Rowling I read. It is a dictionary of all fantastic beasts. It was interesting and sometimes humorous. I did not realize how many mystical beings there are. I am just glad no one will ever quiz me on it. Fun and fast read! Also... A Portion of the proceeds from this book will go to two charity groups: Comic Relief and Lumos.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Review: The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo

The Fire by NightThe Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As Canada is remembering the battle at Vimy Ridge which happened 100 years ago, I have been reading more historical novels. This one is 5+ star book!!! This story is filled with emotions and pulls at the strings of your heart in an expected way. This is the story of two American nurse friends who both served in the WW2. One was sent to the Pacific war; the other to the war in Europe. Their stories will touch you and most likely move you. When I think of war nurses, I think of the old war movies which show them in a safe hospital far from the enemy lines, wearing impeccable uniforms and all looking like Paulette Goddard in "So Proudly We Hail!". This is not this kind of story. This is raw writing which shows fear, pain and loss. The book ends on a positive note without forgetting what happened to these two extraordinary women. I recommend it fully!


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Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Chronicles of a French Gardener --- Part 4

My plants are growing as expected, but because of the sun angle, they are started to lean and twist.


To help them stay straight, I used skewers.




I looked out my window yesterday and spotted something near where my garden will grow this summer.


I think he was doing a reconnaissance survey to see if he will be able to get to my vegetables this summer. 
Good luck bunny!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Carve the Mark is the first book in the "Carve the Mark" new series by Veronica Roth. Veronica wrote the "Divergent" series which I enjoyed a lot. Carve the Mark has a "Divergent" flare while being somewhat different. I enjoyed the first book and will read the other books in the series. I was looking for something fresh but did not quite find it.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You GoI Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has more twists than the song by the Chubby Checker. It started slowly and ended with a bang... or more like a splash. This is a fantastic story and the characters are well developed and each has a story to tell. I did not see this coming. Well done!

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Chronicles of a French Gardener --- Part 3

My garden is growing well and it is now time to transplant the pods into larger pots. 

I know it is time because the roots are coming through the pods.

I use mostly Jiffy pots because I can transplant, plants and pots together in the garden in the Spring.

I buy rich black dirt as it it full of nutrients for the plants.

I fill up the pots to about half way.

I press the dirt in the centre and add a single pot. I am very careful not to damage the plant during this process. I fill the pot with more dirt and press to make sure the pod is well surrounded.

I put all the pots into a tray to gather the extra water when watering the plants and for ease of transportation.

I keep all the plants in a well lite area. Darren got me plastic shelf which fits perfectly all my trays.

More growth is expected and I will need to make sure that the plants are watered regularly.



Stay tuned for more! Happy gardening!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Review: Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry by Nicholas Dodman

Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal PsychiatryPets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry by Nicholas Dodman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book on the behavioural conditions of animals. It helped me understand my dogs better. One of them suffers from anxiety and has loud noise phobia. This book has provided me with an insight on her condition and how I can help her. Pets on the couch is not your ordinary pet book; it goes deep into the psychiatry of animals. Some people will find this book quite controversial; especially when Nicholas Dodman compares the animal behaviours and conditions identical to humans'. I have no issue with this and agree with him. Intelligent and educational read!

Here are pictures of my two girlz!


Chili

Sundae


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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

A Darkness Absolute (Casey Duncan, #2)A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Darkness Absolute is the second book in the Casey Duncan series. I enjoy this series so far. The characters are real and interesting. There is no lack of action and each page has its level drama... the good kind. Casey Duncan is a detective who ends up in a town where unrelated criminals and victims pay to hide. The town is in Yukon wilderness and is surrounded by danger. Some of these threats are natural and others are of the human kind. Casey has plenty opportunities to use her detective skills, and she also finds herself targetted by the cases she investigates.

Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite authors. I love her writing style and how she develops her stories and keeps you guessing to the end. Can't wait for the next book.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review: Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Almost Missed YouAlmost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a story of a family who has too many painful secrets and is torn apart by selfishness and too many misunderstandings. I had to stop half way because I really did not like the way the story was going. I put the book aside for a few months and picked it up again two days ago. I am glad I did. The story got better and became more interesting. Lots of my questions were answered and the conclusion was appropriate for the story. I just think that the title does not go with the story.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Chronicles of a French Gardener --- Part 2

The garden is growing well. I have to make sure the earth pellets are moist, but not over water. The clear covers have been removed now that all the seeds have sprouted. Some of the herbs already emit some scents. This is an exciting time.

Basil
Chives
Kale
Red Bell Peppers
Sage



The part I really do not like about gardening is when I need to select the strongest seedling out of many in one earth pellet. I really do not like to kill plants. :( But it is what it is! Only one tomato plant per pellet can remain. This step can only be done once the first true leaves appear.

Tomatoes with first true leaves
:(


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Review: The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

The German GirlThe German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. The stories of Hannah Rosenthal (born in Berlin in 1928) and Anna Rosen (born in New York in 2002) are linked through a family bond. Hannah is a survivor of World War II and tells the story of her escape from Germany when she was 11 years old and what has happened to her family over the next 76 years. Now at 87 years old, she meets Anna, her brother's grand-daughter, and hope springs forth again that the Rosenthal curse is finally lifted. The book is beautifully written and this story of love, family, and loss is touching and offers a fresh look at such a dark time for humanity.

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Chronicles of a French Gardener

This will be the second year I make a vegetable garden in my backyard. Last year, Darren built this awesome fenced garden which is the best protection against all the wild rabbits we have in our neighbourhood.


It is a small area and I have to utilize the space the best I can to get as many vegetables as possible. This year, I am planning to grow the following vegetables:

  1. Roma Tomatoes
  2. Cherry Tomatoes
  3. Red Bell Peppers
  4. Mild Jalapeno
  5. Hot Peppers
  6. Orange and Purple Carrots
  7. Green Onions
  8. Radishes
  9. Kale
  10. Lettuce
  11. Cucumbers
  12. Asparagus

To make sure that I will be able to enjoy the fruits of my labour early, I started some of the plants using Jiffy Greenhouses. Everything is growing well so far.



I am adding something new to the garden. I purchased some hanging baskets to hang on the sides of the garden where I will be planting some herbs. I love cooking with fresh herbs. I will be growing the following herbs:
  1. Sage
  2. Thyme
  3. Basil
  4. Parsley
  5. Dill
  6. Cilantro
  7. Chives
  8. Spearmint





I will be keeping a chronicle of my progress. Stay tuned for more! Happy gardening!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Back to knitting again

My mom showed me how to knit when I was 5 or 6 years old. I am very grateful that she did. It is such a relaxing hobby and the results can be pretty awesome. I knitted these boot socks and matching headband for my daughter's Hunter boots. The pattern was a bit complicated and needed some paying attention. I am glad I chose it, Gabby loved them and now she wants to knit something herself. It is always nice to know that you can still inspire your child even when she is an adult! :)


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review: King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the Red Queen Series. I enjoyed it as much as the first two. I would have preferred that this would have been a three book series, but I guess the author has more up her sleeve and I will have to wait for the next one to see what happens.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review: The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Gene: An Intimate HistoryThe Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did you know that:

  • Approximately 4 million babies are born each year. About 3 to 4% will be born with a genetic disease or major birth defect.
  • Approximately 1% of all babies will be born with chromosomal abnormality, which can cause physical problems and mental retardation.
  • More than 20% of infant deaths are caused by birth defects or genetic conditions (e.g. congenital heart defects, abnormalities of the nervous system, or chromosomal abnormalities).
  • Approximately 10% of all adults and 30% of children in hospitals are there due to genetically related problems.

If you are interested in understanding better the world of genes and their impact on human lives, this is the book for you. Written in layman terms, this book covers the origin of gene study, the progress of this science, the ethics surrounding the use of gene therapy and where the science is now. This is a fascinating subject and Siddhartha Mukherjee did an excellent job at writing a book which is interesting, touching and thought provoking. Great read!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Review: City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost (Casey Duncan, #1)City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I devoured this book and give it 4.5 stars. I love this author; not only is she an awesome writer; she is also Canadian!!! Bonus!!! This is the first book in the Casey Duncan series. Casey is a homicide detective with a past which keeps her on her toes. When she thinks that her past has caught up with her, she goes in hiding in a town in Yukon where people are sheltered and off the grid for protection. This town has its own secrets and Casey is recruited to help solve some gruesome murders that have taken place in the past few weeks. She thought she ran away from her past to be safe, but came face to face with new dangers.

Can't wait to read the next book!!!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

The Wicked CityThe Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the last book I read; I needed this one!!! I was starving for a good book and turned to one of my favourite authors, Beatriz Williams. This is her newest novel called "The Wicked City". In this book, we follow two stories: one in the Jazz area about a young flapper named Geneva "Gin" Kelly, and a modern story about Ella Hawthorne, a young wife who finds out that her husband has been cheating on her. Of course, there is a relation between the two stories; that's what so interesting about Beatriz Williams' books.

This story, however, has many loose ends. I am left to think that there will be more to come. I really want to know what happened to Geneva and Ella. I guess a future book will tell the rest of their stories.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review: Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

Sons and Daughters of Ease and PlentySons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I tried to love the characters and failed! :( I tried to like the characters and failed! :( I tried to understand where they come from and sympathize with the characters and failed! :( I read the book to the last page and the only thing I liked, was that I was done with this book.

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