Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Review: The Royal Sheikh

Title:  The Royal Sheikh
Author:  Katheryn Lane
Publication Year:  2011
This book was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Description from
Clare McKay is a dedicated architect with no time for womanising men. That is, until she accidentally meets Sheikh Rafiq Al Kahil, an Arabian prince, known in the international press as the Playboy Prince. Clare is intent on not falling for his seductive charm, but when he asks her to design a mansion, he presents her with an offer that she can’t refuse. Once she finds herself alone with him in the Arabian desert, how long will she be able to hold out against his advances? And will he be able to cast aside his womanising past for her, as well as a secret engagement to an Arabian Princess?

I Gave It:  4 stars

I have to admit, my idea of romance novels stems from some pretty racy items I read in high school that I have sworn myself off.  I wasn't sure what to expect when a hardworking and passionate architect met a charming Middle Eastern prince but I was very pleasantly surprised!  I found myself thinking about this book when I wasn't reading it and looked forward to turning on my Kindle to read some more.  It is easy to discern that Lane is connected to the characters and the setting; her plot moves along effortlessly and carries the reader throughout this romantic journey.  The characters in this story could be people you know; the Sheikh is portrayed as a regular person even against the rich, jewel-studded backdrop of his home country, Bahir.

There are a few spelling issues that tripped me up a bit in my reading but the story made this a little more forgivable.    

This is a sweet love story, pure and simple, with some unexpected but very believable twists.  In fact, this book may leave some readers wondering if perhaps one day something similar may happen to them!  I recommend this book to you if you are looking for something light but captivating - a quick read that I can easily picture as a made for T.V. film.   

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Review: Megan's Way

Title:  Megan's Way
Author:  Melissa Foster
Publication Year:  2009

Description from
What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she'll be faced with the most difficult decision she's ever had to make. She'll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she'd made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia's world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there's nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan's closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts.

I Gave It:  3 Stars 

Megan’s Way started off with an intriguing scene at a carnival; it was a believable introduction with all the sights and smells of a carnival and an ominous visit to the tent we are all inexplicably drawn to:  the psychic card-reader.  The intrigue continues through the first quarter of the book and then it just kind of fizzles away throughout the remainder of the book.  The overall plot was a journey of twists and turns, heartaches and few resolutions.  There was one particular twist that left me rather disappointed.  It added an element of flakiness that I couldn’t appreciate.  I wish that the author had made room for more character development.  I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to.  They were a neat group of people but they didn’t really have much depth and they each had way too many issues for one book.  For example, Megan and her daughter, Olivia, are supposed to have this wonderful relationship but it does not come through at all except in this talked-about way.  It is not shown at all.  Megan’s actions were not very believable considering her stage in life.  That’s not to say I didn’t cry a lot – Megan’s journey with end-stages of cancer and her daughter Olivia’s sense of loss are hard to read through dry-eyed.

This book has won awards and the making of its film is underway so I was really excited to read it but it didn't live up to the hype for me.

Overall, if you’re looking for something to read that you won’t be too invested in it’s a pretty quick read – but keep those tissues handy!              


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book Review: Momma Zen Walking The Crooked Path Of Motherhood

Title:  Momma Zen Walking The Crooked Path of Motherhood
Publication Year:  2007

Description from
Combining humor, honesty, and plainspoken advice, Momma Zen distills the doubts and frustrations of parenting into vignettes of Zen wisdom.

Drawing on her experience as a first-time mother, and on her years of Zen meditation and study, Miller explores how the daily challenges of parenthood can become the most profound spiritual journey of our lives.

This compelling and wise memoir follows the timeline of early motherhood from pregnancy through toddlerhood. Momma Zen takes readers on a transformative journey, charting a mother’s growth beyond naive expectations and disorientation to finding fulfillment in ordinary tasks, developing greater self-awareness and acceptance—to the gradual discovery of “maternal bliss,” a state of abiding happiness and ease that is available to us all.

In her gentle and reassuring voice, Karen Miller convinces us that ancient and authentic spiritual lessons can be as familiar as a lullaby, as ordinary as pureed peas, and as frequent as a sleepless night. She offers encouragement for the hard days, consolation for the long haul, and the lightheartedness every new mom needs to face the crooked path of motherhood straight on.

I Gave It:  5 Stars

Each time I held Karen’s book in my hands, it was like holding up a mirror that reflected my own journey.  At times I wanted to hide the mirror, cover it up with a cloth, and not let the words get too deep – there was that much truth in it.  There was no such luck.  Karen’s honesty, humour and poetic writing kept me riveted.  At the closing of the last chapter I felt lucky, grateful and humbled in my ego’s chipped away state.  Karen’s gift to her readers is the ability to enjoy all of the moments of motherhood – from the sleep deprivation to the tantrums to the great deterioration in maternal personal hygiene.  I can now find Zen in my son’s need to be held way past his bedtime when I had planned on relaxing on the couch with the TV and my husband.  Impossible?  Read for yourself.  You will want to read it on repeat.  I highly recommend this book to you and every mother. 


Friday, December 9, 2011

I'd Like To Thank The Academy!

Actually, I'd like to thank Tia Bach from Mom in Love with Fiction for the honour of my very first blogger award ever!!  I am truly humbled that Tia - blogger extraordinaire and co-author of Depression Cookies - thought this blog deserving of The Versatile Blogger Award.  Please do visit her and read her words.  I'm looking forward to reading Depression Cookies and sharing my thoughts on it here.  

And here's the beautiful badge I will proudly display forevermore!  


1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this Award along to 5 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it. 

OK, so 7 things about myself:

  1. I am quite green at this blogging thing - although I have been sharing my thoughts on The Artist's Loft for almost 3 years, I didn't know what the blogosphere was really about until this summer when I started my creative life coach blog, Let ME Out!!  I'm both fascinated and frightened (more fascinated) by all the contests, giveaways, guest posts, and cyber-connections out there!
  2. I started my first journal on July 1, 1988 when I was 10 years old.  I still have it and all its descendents...even the ones full of boy-crazy evidence.  
  3. I have a 4.5 year old girl and an almost 2 year old boy.  They drive me nuts and I love them to bits all at the same time.
  4. English teachers used to tell me to consider a career in writing.  I laughed it off thinking they may as well have told me to grow up and be a princess.  Doh!
  5. Speaking of careers, I have a B.A. in Psych and a M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology and am now a life coach.  Figure that one out!
  6. I want to write a book for my daughter that would probably read more like one long letter - telling her everything in my heart.
  7. I am married to a man who, at the age of 8, claimed he would marry me.  I laughed it off and then 17 years later the joke was on me!
And now I get to pass on the award to 5 blogs I have recently discovered who I think totally deserve this awesome badge!  Please click on each of them and take a look around!

  1. Book Briefs
  2. By Word Of Beth
  3. Girl With A New Life
  4. Renaissance Moms
  5. Katheryn Lane
Hope everyone has a great weekend! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm Joining My First Cyber-Challenge: The 2012 To Be Read (TBR) Pile Challenge

Have you checked out my "to be read" pile yet?  I invite you to do so if you aren't susceptible to feeling overwhelmed by osmosis.  I am so relieved to have come across this challenge on an awesome review blog by Tia Bach, Mom in Love with Fiction.  Basically, the point of this challenge is to knock 12 books off your list that you have been meaning to read for at least a year.  Check out the rules and my list below.  My list can also be found on my page 2012 TBR Pile Challenge. 

Here are the rules:

1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2011 or later (any book published in the year 2010 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.

2. You must write an original review/response (it doesn’t have to be anything fancy) for each book, to help us ensure you are actually completing the books you say you are.

3. The link you post in the Mr. Linky AT ADAM’S SIGN-UP POST must be to your “master list.” This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge).


And here's my list!

  1. The In-Between World of Vikram Lal by M.G. Vassanji
  2. Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens
  3. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  4. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
  5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  6. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  7. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
  8. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
  9. The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
  10. The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
  11. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  12. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The 2 alternative books I have chosen lest I am unable to get through 1 or 2 of the above:
  1. Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
  2. White Oleander by Janet Fitch