Monday, January 19, 2015

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
File size (Pages): 939 KB (104)
Published: 2010 (originally published 1843)
Challenges: e-book, Reading England, The Classics Club
Genre: Christmas, Classics, Fiction
Edition: E-book
Source: Personal

The beloved holiday classic with illustrations by John Leech. A Christmas Carol is Dickens' haunting cautionary tale about Ebenezer Scrooge a miserly businessman who dismisses charity and holiday cheer with an icy "bah humbug!" One night Scrooge finds himself visited by the ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley returned from the dead with a trio of spirits and a plea for his old friend Ebenezer to change his ways and open his heart to the true meaning of Christmas... before it's too late. (via

Thoughts: Probably due to the fact that I was reading other books, I wasn't as engaged with the book this time around as I was back in December 2013.  Nonetheless, the book was worth re-reading.

I did find that some of the book was a bit dry at times, but the words that Dickens uses does help with portraying 1843 London as a place that was not exactly a place a person would want to be.

Dickens also was able to show how man can become easily enamoured with the trappings of the world rather than focusing on helping those less fortunate out and that the lesson that Scrooge is forced to learn, that material wealth isn't all it is cracked up to be.  I also liked how the book is still very applicable to us 170 years after the book was published.

Bottom line: Even though I was distracted with other books and wasn't able to appreciate the book as I did a little over a year ago, it is a book that has application to us now.  Highly Recommended.

Rating: 4/5

Pages in 2015: 2,439

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis

Title: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia #5)
Author: C.S. Lewis
Pages: 288
Published: 1994 (first published 1952)
Challenges: Finishing the Series, I Love Libraries, Readers to the Rescue, Snagged @ the Library, The Classics Club
Genre: Children's, Classics, Fantasy
Edition: Mass-Market Paperback
Source: Church Library

Description: Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is the Dawn Treader, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world. Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: For some reason, I found this book to be difficult to get through.  Maybe it was the fact that the story seemed to be too chaotic and disjointed for liking and that maybe if I were closer to the age of the main characters, I may have enjoyed the book a more than I did.

Bottom line: For me at least, there were parts of the book that felt dull but also there were parts that were enjoyable and entertaining.  It was a nice continuation of the series and towards the end of the book, I finally could see the illusion that Lewis was aiming towards.  Recommended.

Rating: 2.75/5

Pages for 2015: 2,335

Daisy Miller - Henry James

Title: Daisy Miller
Author: Henry James
File size (Pages): 356 KB (128)
Published: 1987 (first published 1878)
Challenges: Back to the Classics, E-book, I Love LIbraries, Readers to the Rescue, Snagged @ the Library, The Classics Club
Genre: Classics
Edition: E-book
Source: Public Library

Description: Travelling in Europe with her family, Daisy Miller, an exquistely beautiful young American woman, presents her fellow-countryman Winterbourne with a dilemma he cannot resolve. Is she deliberately flouting social conventions in the way she talks and acts, or is she simply ignorant of them? When she strikes up an intimate friendship with an urbane young Italian, her flat refusal to observe the codes of respectable behavior leaves her perilously exposed. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I had heard about this book through a number of sources over the years, but it was Texts from Jane Eyre that prompted me to actually read the book and to give it a chance and see what it was about.

But for me, it fell a little flat and found that I really didn't care for Daisy and found her to be shallow and superficial.  And where there was probably a point that the author was trying to point out, I was unable to find what it was.

Bottom line: I felt that the book was a little rushed and that it could have been fleshed out a little more to give the reader a little more time to understand what was going on.  Recommended, but with reservations.

Rating: 2.5/5

Pages for 2015: 2,047

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan.19)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is hosted by Shelia at Book Journeyin which we share what we've read and reviewed and what we plan on reading in the coming week.

Books finished this week:
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • A Christmas Carol
Books reviewed this week:
Books I hope to finish this week:
  • The Miniaturist
  • The Silver Chair
  • The Last Battle
  • Station Eleven
Books I hope to work on this week:
  • Fall on your Knees
  • Pioneer Girl
  • whatever catches my fancy

Mailbox Monday (January 19)

Mailbox Monday is a place for readers to share the books that came into their homes during the past week.  After being hosted at a number of blogs over the past few years, it has gone back to its home base, the aptly named, Mailbox Monday.

I received a couple of books from my family and also gift cards to ChaptersIndigo totaling $60, of which I purchased a paperback set of the Harry Potter books (I do have all the books, but not a complete set; in fact I have 3 different copies of The Goblet of Fire).

The books I received was Emma by Alexander McCall Smith (part of the Austen project; got this from my sister; seems we like giving each other Jane Austen bookish things; I gave her Jane Austen Cover to Cover) and Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood from my parents.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 766
Published: 2003
Challenges: Chunkster, Finishing the Series, Harry Re-Read
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected . . . (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: If there was a book in the Harry Potter series that I have difficult with, it would have to be the fifth book. The reason is that I didn't enjoy his moping about and felt that it distracted from the fact that it introduced elements that become important for the final two books.

There were times I would dread opening up the book and there were times that I felt the book dragged at times, especially in light of the action that took place during the previous book, The Goblet of Fire.

Bottom line: It was a pretty decent book through the introduction of several elements that become key in the next books, but felt that the book was somewhat marred by Harry's attitude, which at 15 is pretty common for most people.  It is a good continuation of the series that helps to move the series along.  Recommended to Highly Recommended.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2015: 1,919

Mr. Miracle - Debbie Macomber

Title: Mr. Miracle
Author: Debbie Macomber
Pages: 256
Published: 2014
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Readers to the Rescue, Snagged @ the Library
Genre: Christmas, Romance
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Public Library

Description: Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help twenty-four-year-old Addie Folsom get her life back on track—and, if the right moment strikes, help her find love. Posing as a teacher at a local college in Tacoma, Washington, Harry is up to the task, but not even he can predict the surprises that lay in store.

After trying to make it on her own, Addie has returned home to Tacoma for the holidays, but this time she plans to stay for good, enrolling in the local community college to earn her degree. What she doesn’t plan to do is run into Erich Simmons.

Addie and her next-door neighbor, Erich, are like night and day. Growing up, he was popular and outgoing while she was rebellious and headstrong, and he never missed an opportunity to tease her. Now she intends to avoid him entirely, yet when they’re suddenly forced to spend Christmas together, Addie braces for trouble.

Perhaps it’s the spirit of the season or the magic of mistletoe, but Addie and Erich soon find they have more in common than they thought—and that two people who seem so wrong for each other may actually be just right. With a little prompting from a certain angelic teacher, the two are in for a holiday miracle they’ll never forget.
  (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I read this book for the Christmas season, fully intending to read it before the Christmas break, but due to other book commitments I had at the time, I had to set it aside as a result.

I thought that the book was okay and was a pretty standard Christmas romance book.  It was pretty easy to pick up the story after not reading the book for a bit. I know that these books appeal to a specific segment of the reading public, but honestly I wish that authors that write this stuff would realize that maybe readers would like something a little meatier and something that isn't so easily tied up in the end.

Bottom line: It was a nice, light Christmas read that didn't require a lot of thought to read the book.  Recommended, but with reservations.

Rating: 2/5

Pages for 2015: 1,153
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