Thursday, 31 January 2019

Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting portrait of a young woman’s struggle with anorexia on an intimate journey to reclaim her life.

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.


Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2019 by St. Martin's Press 
Genre: Fiction
Kristine's Thoughts:
** I received an advanced readers copy from St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

The Girls at 17 Swann Street is about a woman living (barely) with anorexia. It is told from her perspective as she enters a treatment facility, a group home of sorts, for fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders.

First off, I read this book in a single day. It was very easy to read and even easier to get lost in. What I appreciated about this book was that it was told from Anna's perspective, the person living with the disease. It was interesting and confusing and heart wrenching to get inside her head as her struggles in dealing with the disease unfolded. The story was often a mixture of her wandering thoughts and her adjustment to 17 Swan Street. It presented itself in an almost chaotic way which really worked in telling the story. It kind of made me as the reader understand or feel the million different emotions that she was dealing with. I liked her interactions with the other women and getting to know them.

Although I really enjoyed this book and feel like it is an incredible debut novel for Yara Zgheib, I did feel like it was a little too neat. Yes, I know I said chaotic earlier and I stand by that. What I mean by neat is that Anna's story, although not easy by any sense of the imagination, wrapped up a little too neatly for my liking. Anorexia is a terrible, horrible disease that is extremely difficult to overcome. Anna had many ups and downs within the pages but she progressed a little quicker than I feel was realistic or normal. I was in Anna's corner so I was pleased that she was progressing however I'm not sure how realistic her progression in real life would be.

In the end, this book was an easy distraction from every day life that gave me a glimpse into a horrible and often deadly disease. A job well done.






About the Author
Yara Zgheib is a Fulbright scholar with a Masters degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a PhD in International Affairs in Diplomacy from Centre D'études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques in Paris. She is fluent in English, Arabic, French, and Spanish. Yara is a writer for several US and European magazines, including The Huffington Post, The Four Seasons Magazine, A Woman’s Paris, The Idea List, and Holiday Magazine. She writes on culture, art, travel, and philosophy on her blog, "Aristotle at Afternoon Tea"






 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Review: The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female spies during World War II.

1946, Manhattan

Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.


Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2019 by Park Row 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:
** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

The Lost Girls of Paris began in 1946 with Grace when she found a suitcase containing pictures of twelve different women. When she discovered what happened to the owner of the suitcase her curiosity set her on a path to uncover the mystery behind the woman and her pictures. It would lead her back to the war and a group of female secret agents that were sent to Europe to help the resistance, never to be heard from again. They simply disappeared.

The story was told from multiple points of view. There was Grace, in 1946, who discovered the pictures and set out to uncover the mystery. There was also Eleanor, the owner of the suitcase and the head of the women's secret agent program. Lastly there was Marie, one of the women who was recruited to operate a radio in occupied France to assist the resistance in sabotaging the Nazis. Told over a time frame spanning the war and beyond, a fascinating and page turning story unfolded.

I loved all of the voices in this book. Grace, Eleanor and Marie were all extremely interesting characters with even more enjoyable stories. It was easy to like them all. I questioned a few of Marie's decisions and wondered how realistic some of her actions would be but I still enjoyed her. Her connection to "Vesper" was underdeveloped which is why I think I questioned or didn't necessarily understand some of her motives. I also loved how this book focused on a bunch of strong female characters during a difficult time in history that has always focused on the bravery of men. I wanted to know what happened to these heroic women just as much as Grace did.

From beginning to end, I devoured this book. There were a few things that I questioned which leaves me unable to give this book a perfect rating but I still liked it a lot. It was one of those books that I picked up and couldn't put down until long after my head hit the pillow. Pam Jenoff and her novels have that affect on me! It was a thoroughly enjoyable book.





About the Author
Pam is the author of several novels, including her most recent The Orphan's Tale, an instant New York Times bestseller. Pam was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.

Following her work at the Pentagon, Jenoff moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Jenoff developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.

Having left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania, Jenoff is now employed as an attorney in Philadelphia.

Pam is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Diplomat's Wife and Almost Home.


Connect with Pam
 

Monday, 28 January 2019

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


A murder . . . a tragic accident . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.



Terri's Thoughts

I chose to listen to this in audiobook format.  Yet again it seems that I was late to the party reading this book so I highly doubt that I will bring anything new to this review so I will be keeping this short.

I loved this book!  All of the characters were very unique and brought something to the storyline.  I enjoyed them all.  I felt all of their pain, laughed at the funny parts and wanted happiness for them all.  Of course I enjoyed Madeline the most with her inability to keep her mouth shut.  I only wish I was half as bold as she.

As everyone knows this was made in to a TV series.  I watched this immediately after as I didn't feel "done" with the story yet.  I appreciated how it stayed mostly true to the book with the exception of Madeline's character (unless I missed something in the book).  When I found out that there is a second season, I got hopeful that there was a sequel to this story.  I couldn't find one so if it exists, someone please, please tell me!

About the Author


Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist's Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies.

Her breakout novel The Husband's Secret sold over three million copies worldwide, was a number 1 UK bestseller, an Amazon Best Book of 2013 and has been translated into over 40 languages. It spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. CBS Films has acquired the film rights.

With the launch of Big Little Lies, Liane became the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. An HBO series based on Big Little Lies is currently in production, starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

Writing as L.M. Moriarty, Liane has also written a children's book series, The Petrifying Problem with Princess Petronella, The Shocking Trouble on the Planet of Shobble and The Wicked War on the Planet of Whimsy.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.


Audiobook
Published September 4th 2018 by HarperCollins
Narrator: Richard Armatage
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I listened to the audio book of  The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I decided to listen to it because it was one of the best rated histoical fiction reads for 2018 on Goodreads. I have read hundreds of books that take place inside the walls of Auschwitz both fiction and non as well as memoirs and biographies. This was a dark time in history with more stories than my ears will ever hear. Both of my children have visited Auschwitz and were unable to describe fully how the place made them feel. This book is considered fiction even though it was based on true events from interviews with Lale Sokolov.

I find it difficult to rate books like these. When you are dealing with real life events it is hard to put a number on it. I don't want to discount the events and circumstances behind Lale's time in captivity. It is also sometimes hard for me to rate a book when I don't like the narrator which played a huge role in my opinion on this book unfortunately. I really, really did not like how this book was narrated at all. The best way to describe it was a throaty, whisper talk. The throaty whisper was ever prevalent whenever there was dialogue between people. This book was made up of mostly dialogue and conversations between the key players so it was extremely difficult to ignore. When you look at my rating, keep in mind that I feel like the narrator might have played a part in my opinion. I found myself cringing whenever he would narrate a female voice. Oh boy... is that what he actually thinks women sound like?

Without a doubt Lale had a story that is worthy of listening to. Every man, woman and child that passed through those gates does. As the camp tattooist, his life was a little different than some. With it came some privileges and a few less struggles than most. What was so interesting about his story was what he chose to do with those privileges and how he helped others. He was constantly risking his own safety and security to help others in need and he had a knack for getting things done. There is also no denying that the love story between Lale and Gita was heartbreaking and beautiful. Even at the darkest of times in a situation that is unfathomable there was still love and human compassion. It was really at the heart of it.

This book was very simply written making it perfect for young people just getting into the genre and reading about Auschwitz. The horrors of the place are in the book but it wasn't detailed with guts and gore. It was more of a fade to black type of narration. Where the extend of the horror was left to the imagination.

I do feel like the narrator ruined the story for me so I may (in time) go back and read a physical copy of this book. I think I would enjoy it a lot more. My rating is based on the narration and the writing and no way reflects my opinion or minimises the validity of Lale's story or the nightmare he endured. His story was extremely interesting and heartbreaking.



About the Author

I am a Native of New Zealand now resident in Australia, working in a large public hospital in Melbourne. For several years I studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an academy award winning Screenwriter in the U.S. In 2003, I was introduced to an elderly gentleman "who might just have a story worth telling". The day I met Lale Sokolov changed my life, as our friendship grew and he embarked on a journey of self scrutiny, entrusting the inner most details of his life during the Holocaust. I originally wrote Lale's story as a screenplay - which ranked high in international competitions - before reshaping it into my debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Connect with Heather

 

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Review: Hired (Happy Endings #2) byZoey Castile


For a man who makes his living pleasuring women, what happens when the only pay-out worth having is love?  
Faith Abigail Charles has always done the right thing. So when her mother runs for mayor of New Orleans, Faith puts her law career on hold to help her win. But when tensions run high, Faith trades one kind of heat for another—in the arms of a hard-bodied stranger. He’s everything a woman dreams of in a lover. So much so that her one-night stand turns into two, then three, then four . . .
 
For Aiden Rios, meeting smart, sexy Faith feels like fate. After being ditched by his client in the Big Easy, the high-paid male escort needs a little company himself. Aiden knows he’ll have to come clean about his line of work, and he plans to—right after another taste of Faith’s sweetness—and another and another. . . . Until a chance meeting with his client leaves Aiden exposed—and Faith shocked and hurt. Now the hired hottie must show Faith that the love they share is bigger than the scandal threatening to destroy them . . 

ebook
Expected publication: February 26th 2019 by Kensington

Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!**

I chose this book as I had read the first in the series and had enjoyed it so I was pretty excited to see how the next story played out.  Sadly I have to say this was a huge disappointment for me.  In fact, I have to say I really disliked this story.

Here is the thing.  When you choose this genre, you go in expecting some hot and heavy sex scenes, they are par for the course.  What you will also expect is some major emotional chemistry between the characters and some sort of plot outside of the steamy scenes.   This story lacked the depth. I found that Faith and Aiden had only physical chemistry and were focused only on this and as a result the story.  I don't mind a good steamy scene or two but this book was only steam.  I honestly found myself rolling my eyes and saying "again, seriously?" There is such a thing as too much.

The good news is that there is a market out there for those who seek only steam and no storyline.  If that is your thing, then this is the perfect book to choose.  I myself prefer a little more connection outside of the physical.



About the Author


Zoey Castile was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She started writing in her teens and pursued that love in her studies at Hunter College and the University of Montana. For nearly a decade, she worked as a bartender, hostess, and manager in New York City's nightlife.



Thursday, 24 January 2019

Yoga Club: January Unboxing and Review plus $10 off

Yoga Club is a subscription service for high end yoga/fitness and athleisure apparel at 50 to 60% off retail price.

How Yoga Club works is you go onto their website and sign up. You take a personalised style quiz where you are asked numerous different questions to get a sense of your own personal style. For example, it asks what kind of activities you wear athleisure for with options from Yoga to travel and brunch. Do you like leggings? Capri's? Shorts? Sports bras? Tank tops? Long sleeve? and do you like neutrals, colours and patterns? These are just a few. You put in your height and sizes and a personal stylist curates an outfit just for you. This means that your outfit will not be the same as another person. Some subscription services send the same outfits out each month but that is not the case with Yoga Club. Each box is curated specifically tailored to you.

The Guru box (the one that I get) comes with 3 different pieces. All high end, good quality pieces from name brand companies. We are talking Teeki, Jala, Onzie, Manduka, Columbia, Free People, Glyder, MPG and Niyama Sol just to name a few.  A pair of leggings (or crops or shorts if you put it on your quiz) a sports bra and a layering piece. The price of the Guru box is $79 USD, Check out my link below to get $10 off for life. The nice thing about Yoga Club is that you are not locked in to any amount of time. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time. If your exercise needs or style changes you just need to log into your account and re-take the style quiz.

On top of all that, Yoga Club gives back. For every Yoga Club box sold they give a class to a child in an under served community. They also have a Love Guarantee. If you don't love it or something doesn't fit properly they have an easy exchange policy for something you do.

If Yoga Club is something that you have been considering you can get $10.00 off your boxes for life by clicking Here.

This is the fourth Yoga Club box that I have received. Check out my thoughts and what I got in my previous boxes here

A first look inside my January box!

I am thrilled with this months box and selection! This is what it looks like as a whole. There is even a bonus hair elastic from GIMME beauty.


So now to break it down piece by piece...

Sports Bra
Columbia- low support, reversible sports bra in purple ($26 USD)
This sports bra says that it is great for Yoga, walking and outdoor activities. Its wicking fabric keeps you cool and dry and it is seamless which prevents chafing. I love the colour of this bra and it is easy to get on and off. I just got this box so I have not had the opportunity to thoroughly test it out but it was extremely comfortable for the amount of time I did have it on. 

Layering piece


Climawear- Long Sleeve Black/Grey Melange ($46 USD)

This is the first long sleeve that I have received and it is nice to see that Yoga Club switches things up and getting some season appropriate clothing is always a plus. This long sleeve is moisture wicking, quick drying, breathable, 4 way stretch and seamless. It is a snug fit and the tag boasts the perfect balance between compression and full flex. It is meant to feel like a second skin and it does. It is a little outside my normal comfort zone to wear tops so snug but it is so comfortable that I think I can overlook it. I can't wait to try this top out a little more. It also looks super cute with the leggings!

Leggings



I saved the best for last! I absolutely love Niyama Sol and this is the second pair of leggings I have received from this brand. They are amazing leggings and I am very guilty of stalking their website regularly. I am thrilled to get another pair. Seriously, one pair of these leggings cost more than the price of the box. These leggings alone make for one happy customer. They are super soft and feel so amazing on my body. There is nothing but love from me. I can't say enough good things about them. So far, Niyama Sol is my favourite brand that I have received from Yoga Club.

In case you can't tell, I am extremely happy with my January box. It is always exciting to open up my box and see what is inside. Every month I am giving and receiving a gift to myself but there is still the element of surprise. I can't wait to see what February brings. I'm secretly hoping for a pair of black leggings with a fun bottom that has been popping up a lot on their instagram feed lately.

I did have to contact customer service this month because after my box was curated and I got the email with my tracking info, it didn't seem to move. The tracking info said  "shipment data uploaded" or something to that effect for over eight days. That normally means that the courier service does not yet have it in their possession and I was worried that there was an issue causing a delay. It just so happened that the day I sent the email the tracking info changed to finally show it was on route however customer service was very quick to respond to me even though there was no longer a concern. 


Thoughts and opinions are my own and are not sponsored in any way by Yoga Club.







GET $10.00 OFF ALL YOUR BOXES HERE!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Review: Crave the Heat (The Smokejumpers #2) by Marnee Blake


 Fan the flames of desire . . .            
Smokejumper Dak Parrish has come home to Oregon to fight fires—and to mend fences with his family. He left the Warm Springs Tribal Reservation after feuding with his father. Now, with tribal lands threatened by an arsonist, Dak gets a chance to make amends by acting as a liaison between the reservation and the forest service criminal investigator—a woman who sparks a surprising and hungry flame in him.
 
After a trauma on the east coast, Heidi Sinclair left DC to start fresh as a criminal investigator in Oregon. But her first serious investigation provides one stubborn obstacle after another—including an arrogant firefighter she suspects knows more than he's saying. Though she tries to battle her attraction to Dak, it’s too late. As they track down the arsonist, someone will do whatever it takes to keep old secrets buried, even if it turns everything Heidi and Dak have fought for to ashes . . .

Kindle Edition, 183 pages
Expected publication: January 15th 2019 by Lyrical Liaison

Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a an honest review.  Thank you!**

I had enjoyed the first book in this series so I was happy to see the second one come out.  I would say that if you were to stumble upon this book without reading the first it would be fine to read as a stand alone.  Some characters from the first book make an appearance however it does not influence the plot.

This story starts out kind of slow however when it starts to pick up, it does so at a crazy pace.

Let me talk about Dak for a minute.  I have been guilty in the past of saying that the male lead is an example of the perfect guy, this time I really mean it!  Let's start with the obvious.  Dax was physically as hot as can be, and elite firefighter (let all the fantasies begin).  To add tot hat, he is a complete gentleman.  Although he had made it clear to Heidi that he was interested, he did not apply any pressure or make her feel uncomfortable when she said she wasn't ready.  He waited and took all queues from her.  How refreshing that a guy can be so respectful without aggressively chasing after her.  He must be in my top five book boyfriend list.

When discussing the plot, I would say that it is a little bit out there but not so far as to lose my interest.  To add tot hat the storyline touches on mental health issues and in this day and age it is important to recognize this as a real and serious (and common) issue.

I hope that there are more to come in this series.  I will be patiently keeping an eye out.




About the Author


Award-winning author and RITA® finalist Marnee Blake used to teach high school students but these days she only has to wrangle her own children. Originally from a small town in western Pennsylvania, she now battles traffic in southern New Jersey where she lives with her hero husband and their happily-ever-after: two very energetic boys. When she isn't writing, she can be found refereeing disputes between her children, cooking up something sweet, or hiding from encroaching dust bunnies with a book.



Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Namast'eh Box: January Unboxing and Review


Namast'eh is a Canadian subscription box that delivers premium yoga and athletic wear from Canadian brands at 50% off retail value right to your door. There are three different subscriptions to choose from.

The True North Box- 3 piece Premium Outfit $119.00
The Glowing Heart Box- 2 piece Premium Outfit $89.00
The Maple Leaf Box- 1 Pair Premium Leggings or Capris $59.00

You can choose to get your box every month, every second month or every three months and you are not locked into a plan of any kind. This means that you can pause or cancel your subscription at any time without penalty. How it works is you choose your subscription, complete your profile (sizes, activities) and your box gets delivered to your door.

At the moment I am subscribed to the True North Box and I have it coming every month. I plan to give it a few months to see how I like it and the products before I decide if I want to continue monthly or less frequently or at all. This is only my second box. See my thoughts on my December box here.

This is what it looks like when you first open the box.


The First item was a sports bra

Tonic Active- Nevah Bra in Cobalt (No price on the Tonci Acive website but I found it on another for $68)

Tonic Active is an Eco- conscious company that provides innovative activewear and lifestyle apparel out of Vancouver, British Columbia.
This might be my favourite piece out of this months box. The cobalt colour is stunning and it feels like it is high quality. It has removable cups and and a super cute back. I'm not sure if this picture does it justice. I can see myself wearing this sports bra a lot.

Next is my layering piece
Tonic Active- Bamboo Autumn Long Sleeve in black ($80 on another website)

I grabbed this picture off the Internet because I couldn't snap a picture that showed off the back properly. The one I received is in black and not navy like the picture. I really like this top as well. I will probably wear this as a regular top and not a workout piece. It is too nice to not be seen. What do you think?


Leggings
Zen Nomad- Ellipse Yoga Capri ($79 regular on sale for $40 on website)

Zen Nomad is lifestyle clothing, made in Canada with luxurious sustainable fabrics. These leggings are made from 90% viscose from bamboo and 10% spandex. I'm not sure what you would call this colour but it is of the green variety. What is unique and what I like about these capri is the angled detail at the bottom cuff. It makes them look a little different than regular capri and ups the style a little. They are super comfortable on but I haven't had the opportunity to test them out thoroughly to see if they stand up to my workout needs. Let me know if you want me to report back with more details when I've had the opportunity to fully test them.

So the retail value of this box (I'm using the sale price of the pants) is $188.00 and the price of this box is $119.00 (I paid less because I locked in on 2018 prices) for a total savings of $69.00. It would be even more if you calculated the leggings at regular price.

I am only 5 foot 4 inches tall so I stated that I preferred cropped leggings because regular leggings are sometimes too long on me. I like the fact that when you fill out your profile there is a spot to put special requests or preferences. If I am being completely honest, I wasn't expecting to like this subscription box as much as I do so far. The pieces I've received in my two boxes have been super cute. The sports bras have been my favourite pieces so far. If the boxes continue to have cute and original items in them, I can't see myself changing my frequency any time soon. It's like Christmas every time I get a box in the mail!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Review: Exposed (The Dangerous Distractions #3) by Samantha Keith


Even good guys need to be bad sometimes . . .

FBI agent Nate McIver hasn’t been able to get sexy, impetuous Maddie Worth out of his mind since the last time he saw her at a wedding. If only she wasn’t his best friend and colleague’s sister. That’s about the only thing that gave him the strength to back away from the steamy encounter they shared. But now
take-no-prisoners Maddie wants his professional help. And with her life on the line, all bets are off . . .

Maddie’s overprotective brother may have had her blackballed from getting into the FBI, but he can’t stop her from conducting her own undercover operation—whether it’s between the sheets with unforgettable Nate and his abs of steel—or on the streets, trapping a notorious drug lord. And when she combines the two, the result is explosive for everyone involved . . 

Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Lyrical Press


Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you**

This is book #3 in the Dangerous distraction series.  I have not read the first two and it didn't seem to impact this book even the Maddie is the sister of one of the previous main characters.

Most of the time I usually start with the positive but I had two pet peeves that drove me nuts in this story and I really need to get it off of my chest.

1.  Certain expressions were simply over used from beginning to end of this story.  If I had to hear the expression "sticking her tongue on the roof of her mouth or against the back of her teeth" I was going to scream.  Then there was also the biting of the cheek.  There was also the stomach roiling that was overused.  It was a lot of the same

2.  This next one may just because I wasn't lost in the story enough to take it at face value.  I drove me absolutely nuts the complete lack of professionalism from both Maddie and Nates.  Seems like a weird one but I couldn't get over their disregard for what they were actually there for.  Nate was like the jealous boyfriend from day one and Maddie was lusting over Nate when she should have been focused on the task at hand

Taking these two points aside, this was a story about girl power.  I have to admit that the female I am rejoiced when Maddie was kicking some serious bad guy behind.  It is so much more enjoyable than the big strong man to rescue that is predominantly showcased.  Way to go Keith for creating a character that was not a push over.

Overall I did enjoy the book and I believe most fans of the genre will.  



About the Author





Sunday, 20 January 2019

Review: The Orphan Sisters by Shirley Dickson

1929: Four-year-old Etty and eight-year-old Dorothy are abandoned at Blakely Hall orphanage by their mother, never to see her again. With no other family to speak of, the sisters worship their beloved mam – confused and heartbroken to be deserted by her when they need her the most.

1940: Etty and Dorothy are finally released from the confines of Blakely Hall – but their freedom comes when the country is in the grip of World War Two and its terrors. Amidst a devastating backdrop of screaming air-raid sirens and cold nights huddled in shelters, the sisters are desperate to put their broken childhoods behind them.

But trouble lies ahead. Dorothy must bid goodbye to her beloved husband when he’s sent to war and Etty must nurse a broken heart as she falls in love with the one man she can never be with.

Etty and Dorothy survived the orphanage with the help of one another and neither sister can forget the awful betrayal of their mother, which has haunted them their whole lives. But when a shocking secret about their painful childhood comes to light, will the sisters ever be the same again?


Kindle Edition, 367 pages
Expected publication: January 22nd 2019 by Bookouture 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from Bookouture via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, Thank you!

The Orphan Sisters followed the lives of Dorothy and Etty from the time they were little girls into adulthood. It started in 1929 when the girls were eight and four. This was when, for some unknown reason, their mother (mam) dropped them off at Blakely Hall (an orphanage) and walked out of their lives. At fifteen Dorothy aged out and four years later Etty followed. The book followed their lives as they struggled to adapt to life outside of the strict orphanage during a time when the country was in the throws of war.

I liked this book. I really liked it. As far as WW11 historical fiction goes, this book was very simplistic compared to most I've read. Although there was plenty of tragedy to be found in the pages, it wasn't as detailed or traumatising as many I have read. What it was that I enjoyed about this story was the bond between the two sisters. I also enjoyed how it focused on society and what was acceptable behaviour at that time in history.

As far as the characters went, I adored Dorothy. I struggled at times with Etty, she didn't always make the best decisions, but in the end I was always in her corner. The relationship between the two sisters was really what made this book. It was the heart of the book and what kept me turning the pages. It seemed that no matter what life would throw at them, they could survive as long as they had each other.

This book turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for me. It left me very satisfied and thankful that I had the opportunity to read it. The simplicity of the writing made it easy to finish quickly. This book would be good for people who are just starting to get into WW11 historical fiction as it isn't as heavy and daunting as some.  I will definitely pick up more work by Shirley Dickson in the future.




About the Author
Shirley Dickson is the author of The Orphan Sisters, her debut novel.
She lives under the big skies of Northumberland with her husband, family and lucky black cat.

She wrote her first short story at the age of ten for a childrens' magazine competition. She didn't win but was hooked on writing for a lifetime.

For many years she wrote poetry and short stories and got many rejection slips.
Shirley decided to get serious about writing novels when she retired.

She signed with Bookouture in 2018 for a two-book deal. She has written two stirring World war two historical novels.
Shirley says she is a prime example of 'never give up on your dream.