Book Review: Faker by Sarah Smith

I had seen positive comments about Faker by Sarah Smith on Instagram. When I saw the book had arrived at the library, I decided to put the novel on hold.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Blurb:

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self.

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real. 

My thoughts:

The banter between the two main characters, Emmie and Tate, reminded me so much of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I loved it! It made me laugh and definitely encouraged me to read more than I had intended in one sitting. I loved that the author showed the tough side of the characters as well as their gentle side – this made the characters more believable to me – and I eagerly waited for the moment things would change between them.

However, the banter and the sexual tension between Emmie and Tate did seem to end too early – I wished it could have gone on for a little longer. When the novel segued into the next step of their relationship, I was a little let down as I had been enjoying the quips between the two. The next section of the novel went on a little too long, I found, as I kept waiting for that moment when their relationship would hit an obstacle. When it did hit an obstacle, it was resolved with finesse.

Faker is a lighthearted, sexy (but not too sexy!) and humorous read that will want you craving more. I enjoyed this debut romcom by Sarah Smith and I look forward to seeing what story she comes up with next.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 112th in my book pledge for 2019)

Book Review: A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan

I received A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan to read and review from Harper Collins Canada. I was excited to read this Christmas-inspired story and decided that I would enjoy it during the month of December. The cover looked like it would be perfect for this time of year.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Blurb:

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget!

My thoughts:

This novel is a perfect read for this time of year. And the bonus is that it centres on three romantic relationships: that of Maggie, Rosie, and Katie. What I enjoyed especially in this novel is that one of the relationships that Morgan describes is that of an older couple. I do not see this too often in romance novels.

Even though romance is a thread throughout the novel, A Wedding in December is more than just a romance. Instead it is a novel that suggests to the reader that a woman has the ability to change her future – all it needs is for her to have the courage to take the step that will change her life. All three women in this story come to a moment of self awareness at different times in the novel that allow them to take a step forward to changing their lives.

The three women in A Wedding in December have different personalities as well as different experiences. As such, their goals and moments of self reflection are different. Personally, I connected with the older woman in the story (Maggie) because some of her experience is what I have felt in my life too. I loved that this novel compasses the experience of so many different women.

I enjoyed Sarah Morgan’s novel and have now put her other novels on my TBR list. I may even head out to pick up another one her stories to read this month! If you enjoy reading stories about women with hints of the Holiday spirit sprinkled in the pages, A Wedding in December is one novel you need to pick up.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 111th in my book pledge for 2019)

Point of View

PHOTO PROMPT © Mikhael Sublett

“How could they do this? Tear apart a perfectly solid wall that suited me just fine!”

“It was the best way to settle the argument though. You were not listening to reason.”

“But the mess!”

“I am sure the twins will help. They wanted to show you their point albeit dramatically. You know that you can be a bit dogmatic at times.”

“True. This room is so much lighter – and so much better for the work I do.”

“See, no harm. Lets have a cup of tea then we can call them down to help clean up.”

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

Book Review: The Home For Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

I have had The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman for a while now – it has been buried underneath the books I had piled on top of it. I decided to liberate the novel as my first read for December.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.

Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.

Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.

My thoughts:

The first half of the novel was heartbreaking as it deals with the experience of an orphan in Quebec in the 1950s. Goodman highlights an unknown part of history and does it with emotional sensitivity. Her words encouraged me to feel anger at what had been done to the young children as well as empathy for her characters Elodie and Maggie. The subject matter does make the first half of the book difficult to read and it meant that there were times when I set it aside for a little while. I could not stop reading, however, as Goodman’s words had helped me feel a connection to both the child Elodie and her mother Maggie.

Not only did I feel empathy for Elodie and her experience in the system as an orphan, I also felt a connection to Maggie – a teenage girl who falls pregnant and who is forced to give up her baby. The Home for Unwanted Girls is told from the perspective of both characters and it is interesting to see how both of them never give up on reuniting. There are many moments in the novel which are emotional to read despite the thread of hope; moments which had me wishing desperately for a positive end to the story.

If you enjoy historical fiction, The Home for Unwanted Girls is a must-read. Not only does the novel highlight a little-known piece of history, but it is done with sensitivity and thought-provoking skill. The novel pulls at your heartstrings and satisfies a reader who enjoys reading stories of hope.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 110th in my book pledge for 2019)

Satisfaction

On Saturday, I sat with my daughters around the dining table and created this week’s spread for my bullet journal. This week, I changed a few small things to improve on what I had created the week before.

A December weekly spread.

It is extremely satisfying to fill in the page that I have created. I enjoy looking at the colours as well as to flipping back to what I had previously filled in. I like the fact, as well, that I have enough space to write in everything that I want to.

Do you use a weekly spread in a planner?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Three pages into my current read (Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz) and I see the perfect reference to Austen’s Classic novel:

“See, it is a truth universally acknowledged that any beautiful, brilliant, single woman who is rich as hell will be in want of a husband.” (p3, St. Martin’s Press, 2017)

I look forward to reading de la Cruz’s retelling of my favourite classic novel Pride and Prejudice.

What are you currently reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Favourite Read of the Month: November 2019

During November, I read a combination of library books as well as books I own. I had put in a number of holds in at our local library and four of them arrived during the month.

In addition to the four library books, I read two ARCs I had received from Harper Collins as well as three books on my shelves:

My total for the month was therefore nine novels. Below is the list of books that I read. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title and you will be able to visit my post:

  1. Adam Silvera Infinity Son – Young Adult Fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  2. Jude Devereaux Met Her Match – Women’s Fiction, Romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  3. Meg Cabot No Judgements – Women’s Fiction, Romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  4. Jasmine Guillory The Wedding Party – Women’s Fiction, Romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  5. Robert Bryndza Dark Water – Mystery, Thriller, Detective ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  6. Poppy Alexander 25 Days ‘Til Christmas – Women’s Fiction, Romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  7. Shelby Mahurin Serpent and Dove – Young Adult Fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  8. Sara Ella Unblemished – Young Adult Fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  9. Tarryn Fisher The Wives – Thriller Mystery ⭐️⭐️ 2 stars

I loved two books the most during this month – and both of them were Fantasy fiction: Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son and Shelby Mahurin’s Serpent and Dove. It is difficult to choose my favourite but I will go with Serpent and Dove as the content touched me more personally as a woman.

I hope you enjoyed a number of novels in November. What was your favourite read? Share your choice, or the link to your post, in the comments below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Book of the Month: January 2019

Book of the Month: February 2019

Book of the Month: March 2019

Book of the Month: April 2019

Book of the Month: May 2019

Book of the Month: June

Book of the Month: July 2019

Book of the Month: August 2019

Book of the Month: September 2019

Book of the Month: October 2019

Music Monday: Do They Know It's Christmas

This time of year while I am playing Christmas songs, I always think of a hit I enjoyed when it came out in 1984. The revenue of this song was intended to go to the charity helping those who do not have the essentials that we take for granted.

Christmas is a time to reflect on what you have as a person: family, shelter, enough food. It is a time of excess and yet there are so many in the world without. I know I am definitely lucky – even though there have been years when we struggled, we always had our most basic needs met.

Do you remember this song by Band Aid?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Weekend Coffee Share: Already December!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I just woke up from a nap. I have been feeling exhausted the whole week and what I have been fighting has finally caught up with me. I have a headache, my throat is aching, and all I want to do is close my eyes. I was hoping I could avoid being sick but my body has decided otherwise.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weekend ended with another snowfall. It looked so pretty when I stepped outside on Thursday morning. I love walking outside when the snow is falling: it is peaceful and and I enjoy the crunch of my steps as I walk on the virgin snow.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I cannot believe that there are only two weeks of school left before we break for the winter break. The time seems to be rushing by quickly. Next week is our school concert and my class is taking part. I do Zumba with my class as part of their DPA (Daily Physical Activity) when they do not have gym. For the concert we have chosen 3 songs to show the parents and we have been practicing them. The children are excited to perform them on stage. My intention is that we practice this week on the stage.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it was a PA day on Friday. In the afternoon, I took the opportunity to pop into the hairdresser and touch up my colour. I loved the way she dried my hair – it looked so pretty afterwards.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Saturday I received a wonderful surprise. Everyone loves bookmail – and the mail I received was from Harper Collins Canada: the publishing house that I read and review for. They sent a beautiful Christmas card with more ARCs than I had expected: 3 Young Adult and 5 Adult. I felt spoiled. I guess, though, that they are thanking me for all the books I read and review for them (whether I have received the ARC or not).

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I spent more time with my daughter bullet journaling. I am really enjoying this hobby and I think I will keep it up. I love the creativity of it as well as the time that I spend with my daughters around the table. It is a time that we chat, catch up and listen to a little music. Definitely something I want to keep doing until they no longer want to.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that now I am going to take some time to do a little marking – I must try and attempt to do a little of the work that I brought home to do this weekend! 😀 The upcoming week here looks cold. I hope that you stay warm and have a good week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Antoinette and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Autumn Snowfall

Yesterday I woke up to a snowfall. This is the third time this Fall – the prognosis does not look good for winter. Seems like we are in for a long, cold one.

The freshly fallen snow does look pretty though, and I love the quiet that the falling snow brings with it.

The white layer of snow does bring character to a grey city back lit by grey clouds. Living here surrounded by all the cement and bare trees can be a little depressing at times.

Today the snow still looks pretty. I am sure tomorrow will come with lower temperatures. Brrr!

Have you had any snowfall yet?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019