Book Reviews · Recommendations

Body of Proof by Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis

48063227. sx318

Body of Proof
By: Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis

Published: September 2019
Published by: Audible Originals
Format Read: Audiobook, Audible
Genre: Non-fiction, True Crime

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

A woman disappeared. A man was convicted. Case closed?

Body of Proof, a true crime podcast, examines the many unanswered questions surrounding the disappearance and death of Suzanne Pilley in Edinburgh in 2010 and the subsequent conviction of David Gilroy. Journalists and TV producers Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis spent two years investigating the case and spoke exclusively to David Gilroy, who was convicted of murdering Suzanne Pilley and disposing of her body. Sentenced to life in a Scottish prison, Gilroy maintains his innocence. Although police believe they have the right man, key components of the prosecution’s case are missing: there is no body of the victim, no witnesses to the crime, and no physical evidence (no DNA, CCTV video, or murder weapon).

In this gripping, step-by-step investigation, Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis uncover startling information not heard in court that might have changed the minds of the jurors. And they shine a light on aspects of the Scottish criminal justice system that might be keeping an innocent man behind bars.

A What’s the Story Films production for Audible.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Suzanne Pilley was last seen walking through the busy Edinburgh streets on her way to work one morning in 2010. Her coworker David Gilroy is charged with her murder and sentenced to life in prison. The only problem is that no body or evidence found. Documenters Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis examine the case in the effort to uncover the truth and determine whether or not Gilroy is really guilty or innocent.

As I have recently become more interested in True Crime, I downloaded Body of Proof on a whim. I began listening not knowing that it would be presented in documentary format. While this may have irritated some listeners, I was intrigued by this case from the beginning. Even though I knew the outcome for David Gilroy, this audiobook had me hooked and I listened to it in one day.

The steps that were taken to investigate and put together the events of this case had me second-guessing my own verdict throughout. In the end I still do not have a definite answer and it made me definitely question the legal systems handling of this situation. I highly recommend listening to this Audible Original: Body of Proof.

Challenges · Memes · Wrap-ups

Top 10 of 2019

Its that time of year again when all of the wrap-ups are being posted and we reflect on the past twelve months in reading.

Last year I really enjoyed participating in Kimberly Faye’s Top 10 in 2018 and I am excited to be joining up for her 2019 event. It will run from December 25-31.

Top 10 of 2019

This year, she will have a co-host; Ginger ( @greadsbooks) and they will be posting both on the blog and Instagram. Here are the prompts:

If you would like to participate, you can sign up at Kimberly Faye Reads.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

39281803

Girl, Wash Your Face
By Rachel Hollis

Published: February 2018
Published by: Audible Audio
Format Read: Audiobook, Audible
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir, Self-help

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.

Founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.

Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Girl, Wash Your Face is one of those books that I’ve heard both good reviews and bad reviews for. Basically it was one that I had to read (or in this case listen to) and form my own opinion.

Surprisingly this book drew me in immediately with the prologue or letter to the reader. I knew that if I could be so affected by the introduction that rest of the book is bound to be a worthwhile read. And what do you know, I was able to take a lot away after completing it. Perhaps it was because I read it at a time in my life when I was on the cusp of big change. It turned out to be exactly what I needed and the confidence and motivation I felt was a wonderful feeling.

While I was able to understand the points made in those negative reviews, I was able to take what I needed from Rachel Hollis’s story and turn it into a positive listening experience.

Challenges · Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: November 2019

Total Books Read in November: 3
Total Books Read in 2019: 34

700324. sy475

Scarlet Feather
By: Maeve Binchy

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Quick Thoughts: I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading this book as the last book I attempted by this author, I decided not to finish. I liked following along the ups of downs of starting a catering company with Tom and Cathy. The inclusion of the twins story gave some much needed comic relief to the book. I would recommend Scarlet Feather to fans of the author Maeve Binchy.

48063227. sx318

Body of Proof
By: Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis

Genre: True Crime, Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5

25817466. sy475

A Certain Age (A Certain Age, #1)
By: Beatriz Williams

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5

DNF

41882203

The Summer Retreat (Moonlight Harbor, 3)
By Sheila Roberts

Genre: Contemporary fiction, Series
NOTE: I was sent a copy of The Summer Retreat by Sheila Roberts, from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 2
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 1
Total Books Sent for Review: 1 DNF
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 2
Total Library Books Read: 1

Formats Read

Physical Books: 2
eBooks: 0
Audio Books: 1

Challenge Update

2019 New Release Challenge: 1
2019 TBR Jar Challenge:
1

December TBR

I recently moved into my new home and all of my books including my TBR Jar books that I haven’t read yet, are still packed away. I’m hoping to dig them out as soon as I have a chance, but as of now I’m not 100% sure of when that will be. I do hope to get to some holiday books this month and to finish up my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Currently Reading

43982433
Book Reviews

Lettering for Absolute Beginners by Danielle Stringer

44131783. sx318

Lettering for Absolute Beginners: Using Faux Calligraphy To Create Simple, Versatile Projects
By: Danielle Stringer

To Be Published: December 2019
Published by: Fox Chapel Publishing
Format Read: eBook, Kindle, Net Galley
Genre: Non-fiction, How-To, Arts and Crafts

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis

An absolute must-have guide for beginners, this is an interactive workbook designed to teach you how to create gorgeous lettering with any pen on any surface, no brush pen or calligraphy nib necessary! You’ll learn how to draw letters, words, inspirational phrases, and bible verses in multiple alphabet styles by practicing outlining letters and thickening downstrokes. Perforated traceable phrases and backgrounds allow you to make your own art, pull it out, then frame it. Simple, approachable, and fun, this method is versatile for any surface so you can create stunning faux calligraphy on paper, chalkboards, wood, glass, and more! Author Danielle Stringer is the owner and artist behind Imperfect Dust and shares her secret to hand lettering; that it doesn’t have to be daunting! With the hope of encouraging readers to pick up a pen and go for it, Stringer will teach you how to achieve the calligraphy look with simple key lines.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Danielle Stringer’s Lettering for Absolute Beginners, caught my attention as I have recently become interested in hand written home décor. I hoped that if I could teach myself (with the aid of how-to books) to do so, I could create my own handmade signs. Stringer promises that her book would teach readers “faux calligraphy” and I was hopeful that I would be successful.

This book gave some good tips on the best tools to use according to the surface being lettered. One of the main points I took away was adding body to your downstrokes and using lighter lines for upstrokes. Do I think that this will help to enhance my writing? Yes, however I wouldn’t say that I now know how to do “faux calligraphy”.

Danielle Stringer clearly has a talent for this art form and I don’t doubt that she would be able to teach others how to do it, however I felt that this book read as a blog post. The eBook format that I read this in, skewed the images and made it hard to follow for practice. I would recommend those who may be interested in reading Lettering for Absolute Beginners, to do so with a physical copy.

Additional Notes

To see more of Danielle Stringer’s artwork check out her Instagram or her website: Imperfect Dust .

Books Hauls

Audiobook Haul: September-October 2019

Here are the books I acquired from Audible during the months of September and October.

Body of Proof by Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis
Narrated by: Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis

48063227. sx318

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
Narrated by: Holly Warren & Teddy Hamilton

45177145. sx318

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld

44007893. sx318

My Lost Family by Danny Ben-Moshe & Dasha Lisitsina
Narrated by: Danny Ben-Moshe

48353680. sx318

Murder in the Mystery Suite (Book Retreat Mysteries, #1) by Ellery Adams
Narrated by: Johanna Parker

48595101. sx318

A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1) by Sherry Thomas
Narrated by: Kate Reading

35009017
Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: Book Review: Saltwater Joys

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.
15827438

Saltwater Joys
By: Wayne Chaulk
Illustrated by: Dawn Baker

Published: August 2012
Published by: Pennywell Books
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Children’s Lit, Picture Book, Lyrical, Cultural

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

“Saltwater Joys” is perhaps one of the most popular and well-known songs to come out of Newfoundland and Labrador. Written by Wayne Chaulk of Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, the song is a celebration of the simple pleasures of outport life.

This beloved song is now available in book form, with Dawn Baker’s stunning illustrations capturing the joys of living in Newfoundland. From enjoying quiet mornings in the cove, to admiring icebergs in the spring and brightly coloured leaves in the fall, to breathing in the salty ocean smells and watching the sun set over the water, the words to the song come alive within these pages.

Complete with sheet music at the back, Saltwater Joys is as beautiful as the song that inspired it.

Finalist for the 2014 Heritage and History Book Award

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

On our last trip to Newfoundland, I was lucky to find a signed copy of Wayne Chaulk’s book Saltwater Joys. As I am eager to continually expand our collection of literature from the province, I am very pleased to say that it is currently in heavy rotation among my toddlers numerus books.

This children’s picture book, follows the lyrics to the song of the same name, that was made popular by Chaulk’s band Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers. It tells the story of a young boy who takes pride in his island home.

Beautifully illustrated by artist Dawn Baker, the scenes depict each line of the song in vibrant colours that capture life in Newfoundland, past and present. This copy also includes the sheet music, for those who are so inclined to play the song themselves.

I believe that everyone (young and old) could enjoy this picture book. Especially those who are interested in Newfoundland culture and those who are fans of musician Wayne Chaulk.

Additional Notes

Saltwater Joys by Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

44567595

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets
By: Molly Fader

Published: July 2019
Published by: Graydon House
Format Read: eBook, Kindle, Net Galley
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader, by the publisher via Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

What drove their family apart just might bring them back together…

It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie.

But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame–and best of all, each other.

But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever.

With warm affection and wry wit, Molly Fader’s The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets is about the ties that bind family and the power of secrets to hold us back or set us free.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets follow two estranged sisters, an ailing mother and a rebellious teenager daughter. It is a family drama where one sister stays behind and the other leaves. It is chalk full of memories of their lives that although had their happier times, was shadowed by tragedy.

I was instantly eager to uncover the secrets about what happened between Lindy and Delia. Naturally I speculated as I read along, thinking I had the answer pinned down. Toward the middle of this novel I became slightly bored by the direction it went, however the last quarter was far more interesting and redeemed itself for a 3.5 rating from this reviewer.

I would recommend The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets to those who enjoy reading women’s fiction, however I found that there were some parts of the plot that I wish were more developed. I do believe that most people will find a character in this story they could relate to in some way or another. However I would advise caution to those who are sensitive to trigger warnings, as it does touch on some very serious topics.

Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: October 2019

Total Books Read in October: 3
Total Books Read in 2019: 31

44131783. sx318

Lettering for Absolute Beginners: Using Faux Calligraphy to Create Simple, Versatile Projects
By: Danielle Stringer

Genre: Non-fiction, How-to
Rating: 2.5/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of Lettering for Absolute Beginners by Danielle Stringer, from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

44567595

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets
By: Molly Fader

Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Note: I was sent a copy of The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader, from the publisher, via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

39281803

Girl, Wash Your Face
By: Rachel Hollis

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir, Self-help book
Rating: 4/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 1
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 2
Total Books Sent for Review: 2
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 1
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 0
eBooks: 2
Audio Books: 1

Challenge Update

2019 New Release Challenge: 2
2019 TBR Jar Challenge:
0

November TBR

I am still trying to catch up on my TBR Jar selections from September and October.

32600192
16158519

November TBR Jar Selection

501759

Sent for Review

41882203

Currently Reading

700324. sy475
25817466. sy475


Articles · Recommendations · Uncategorized

My Favourite Podcasts

In my most recent posts I have mentioned that I went through a reading slump over the summer. This lead me to become more interested in audiobooks and get a subscription to Audible. Well around this time I also got into listening to podcasts. So today I want to share the current shows that had caught my attention.

Murder, Eh Podcast

No photo description available.
Source: Facebook


This is the one that kicked off my recent interest in listening to podcasts. Its focus is True Crime, most of which is Canadian in origin. It is hosted by my childhood friend Elyse Pearson and although it is currently (as of the creation of this post) on hiatus, I am looking forward to hearing more from her soon. Click on the link above or search Murder, Eh! on Spotifiy to listen to her episodes.

My Favorite Murder

Image may contain: text
Source: Facebook

My Favorite Murder is (obviously) another true crime podcast and I was introduced to it by Elyse (from Murder, Eh!). It is hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark and although it focuses on disturbing topics, they share the stories with their individual trademark wit.

The Dollop

Image may contain: 2 people
Source: Facebook

I learned about The Dollop podcast, from the ladies at My Favorite Murder. The two shows have even collaborated. Like the previous show, this one is also hosted by two comedians; Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds. They take a hilarious look at American history.

Do you listen to any podcasts? Leave me a message below. I’d love some more recommendations on any topic.