Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Salon - A bit of everything: #boutofbooks update, #BtHreadathon books, and so forth

Today's post is a bit of a hodgepodge of stuff, so bear with me.

First off, the Bout of Books Readathon isn't going so well for me.  I finished To Kill A Mockingbird and that was all about I really read for the week, even though I have a quite a bit to read.  But I know that there are going to be other readathons coming up and I will be able to get books done and that this is a stress-free readathon.  I did start reading Go Set A Watchman and so far the book is okay (I'm only 2 chapters in and every now and then you can hear Reese Witherspoon's southern accent come through, although you really heard Sissy Spacek's more clearly during To Kill).  I don't know why I didn't read as much as I had hoped to, but I think it just amounted to the fact that I was concentrating on one book and I felt really tired at times during the readathon).

As for Beat the Heat Readathon, this one might be a bit more successful, just due to the length of it, being 2 weeks instead of 1.  So here are the books that I plan on working on are for Beat the Heat are:

• Go Set a Watchman (my dad wants to read this and would like to get it done by Thursday)
• The Odyssey
• Letters to the Lost

And these are maybes:
• Jacob Have I Loved
• The Book of Life

As for me not blogging this past week, it was just a busy week and I anytime I remembered to blog, it was too late for something or other and I didn't really have the energy to blog this week, but hopefully I will have more energy this week to blog.

Now I will get off my computer and start doing some reading.  See you next week!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sunday Salon - A relative busy week of blogging

It has been a relatively busy week of blogging for me,  I don't really know why, but maybe because I had taken a break from blogging since May to a degree (there were 11 posts in June & July), I think I have finally gotten my groove back, but once September hits, I don't know how both of my jobs will affect my blogging, but we will see how things go.

Last Sunday, my parents and I and my parents friends went to a local winery in Kamloops to taste some wine. They are a fairly new winery in BC and what they had on hand was pretty good and I quite enjoyed it.  And we got a nice drive out of it.  On Wednesday my parents and I went to Kamloops to do some things and while we were there we all had an adult Pirate Pak (if you don't know what I am referring to, here are some images to look at), which was pretty cool (it's mainly a kids thing, but one day a year White Spot, a well-known family restaurant in BC and Alberta, allows adults to get their own Pirate Pak), and then went to see Mr. Holmes, which should get some Oscar nods come the new year.  It was a really good movie.

The rest of the week was fairly quiet and laid back for me.  And included reading and blogging.

Here is what appeared on the blog this past week:

 • Musing Mondays
 • It's Monday!  What are you reading?
 • WWW Wednesdays
 • Book Beginnings & The Friday 56

  • 3rd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon
  • Bout of Books 14

Book Reviews:
 • Madame Picasso by Anne Girard
 • Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
 • After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson

Here are the things that I completed but didn't make it on to the blog:

Books completed:
• Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking
• The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

I also got a number of book review rough drafts worked on and hope to have a number of them up on the blog sometime during the week.  I also hope to complete To Kill A Mockingbird this week as well and start The Odyssey.  Hope you all  have a great week!

Friday, August 14, 2015

After the War is Over - Jennifer Robson

Title: After the War is Over
Author: Jennifer Robson
Pages: 384
Published: 2014
Challenges: Historical Fiction, Canadian, I Love Libraries, Readers to the Rescue, Snagged @ the Library
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback

Description: England, 1919 In the months following the Armistice, Charlotte Brown leaves behind her wartime work as a nurse and returns to her life as a social worker in Liverpool. There she sets about helping her fellow citizens better themselves, though the world is still reeling from the devastation and loss of the Great War. In her journey she is guided by friends old and new, among them the other women at her boarding house, her colleagues at work, and a radical young newspaper editor who may have romantic designs on her. But even as she tries to look ahead, one man continues to pull her back into her past: Edward, now the Earl of Cumberland, the brother of Charlotte's dearest friend. She hasn't seen him in years and is shocked to discover him utterly changed. Once charming and infuriatingly arrogant, he is now broken by all he has seen. Still Charlotte sees the specter of the captivating man she knew, and knows he could offer her a world far different from the one she's worked so hard to build for herself. As the country seethes with unrest, and post-war euphoria flattens into bitter disappointment, Charlotte fears that the only way to keep her independent life of purpose may be to turn her back on the only man she has ever loved. (from Goodreads

Thoughts: When I saw this book on a blog somewhere, I knew I wanted to read this book, especially since I had read Jennifer's previous book, Somewhere In France, and had enjoyed the read.

I found the book to be a nice follow-up to Somewhere in France, using a number of the same characters while shifting the focus to new characters or to characters that weren't used as much in the previous book.  It was also a nice break from reading the heavier books that I was reading at the time and to have something quick to read.

Bottom line: It was an okay read, as it didn't exactly blow me away, but it wasn't bad either and like I said earlier, it was a nice follow-up to Somewhere in France, but it can also stand alone on its own without reading Somewhere in France, as there is little reference to that book.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.25/5

Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald

Title: Fall on Your Knees
Author: Ann-Marie MacDonald
Pages: 512
Published: 2002 (first published 1996)
Challenges: Canadian, Chunkster, Historical Fiction, I Love Libraries, Readers to the Rescue, Snagged @ the Library
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: They are the Pipers of Cape Breton Island -- a family steeped in lies and unspoken truths that reach out from the past, forever mindful of the tragic secret that could shatter the family to its foundations. 

Chronicling five generations of this eccentric clan, Fall On Your Knees follows four remarkable sisters whose lives are filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love. Their experiences will take them from their stormswept homeland, across the battlefields of World War I, to the freedom and independence of Jazz-era New York City.  (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This had been a book that had been on my TBR for at least 15 years, if not longer, due to talk I had heard about this book.  Mainly due to the content of the book, but I can't recall exactly what I heard and I think it was in the late 1990's when I heard the chatter, but it could have been a few years later when it came to the attention of Oprah and her book club.

I really liked how MacDonald created a sense of place from the outset; I really felt as though I was living the life of the Piper family during the first 30 years of the 20th century.  I could imagine seeing the Piper house and felt like I was trailing them as they moved from room to room and as they went and did things out in the community.  But on the other hand, I did feel as though the writing was choppy and like I was forcing myself at times to finish up the book.  I can see why people like this book and that it at some point could become a Canadian classic.

Bottom line: While I liked how the author crafted a sense of place and characters that you could picture, there were times I could not find a reading rhythm with the book, unlike what I found with Madame Picasso. Recommended.

Rating: 2.75/5

Madame Picasso - Anne Girard

Title: Madame Picasso
Author: 432
Published: 2014
Challenges: Historical Fiction, I Love Libraries, Readers to the Rescue, Snagged @ the Library
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can't help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso's life.  (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I really didn't know what to make of book, even though I had seen fairly positive reviews of the book on a number of blogs that I read on a regular basis, when I received a copy from the library.  But once I delved into the book, I found myself intrigued not only by the relationship between Pablo and Eva, but with Eva herself and found myself looking for information on her, only to find that there wasn't much available on her.

This was a book I literally had to tear myself away from as I was completing the book.  I was not wanting the book to end, as not only were the characters memorable, but how the author used her words allowed me to be easily drawn into Pablo and Eva's world.

Bottom line: I quite enjoyed this read and was definitely a favourite read, not only among the historical fiction that I have read so far this year, but also among my general fictional reads as well.  I found it to be one of those books that will take you by surprise, in a good way.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Book Beginnings & The Friday 56 - To Kill a Mockingbird

I have seen these two meme's posted on a number of sites over the last few years while reading various blogs and thought it was time that I would join in on the fun.

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

My book this week is:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Book Beginning: When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

Page 56: "Yes," said our father, when Jem asked him if we could go over and sit by Miss Rachel's fishpool with Dill, as this was his last night in Maycomb. "Tell him so long for me, and we'll see him next summer."

Thursday, August 13, 2015

3rd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon Sign-up

Beat the Heat readathon is hosted by Novel Heartbeat and Phantasmic Reads

Thought I would do this once again.  So here are the rules:

  • The Beat the Heat Readathon runs from August 24th at 12:00 AM to September 6th at 11:59 PM. What does this readathon entail, you ask? Well, read as much or as little as you want – the main point is to READ! You set your own goal, and for three weeks you read as many books as you can/want to reach your goal!
  • There will be mini-challenges throughout the Readathon for participants, along with a grand prize giveaway at the end!
  • Sign up at Novel Heartbeat or at Phantasmic Reads. You may join whenever you like, but to be eligible for our grand prize giveaway, you must sign up by August 28th.
  • To join, all you have to do is make a sign-up post – even if it’s just a “Let’s do this!” thing – and add your post URL to the linky below! You can put your goals and progress (will be required for the final giveaway) in your sign-up post, or you can make it separate. Totally up to you! (You are welcome to use the template we provide in the kick-off post as well.)
  • In order to enter for the grand prize, you must have a post to keep track of your progress so we can see that you participated.
  • Follow along on Twitter and share your progress with the hashtag #BtHReadathon!
I will have a post up closer to the 24th with the books I am planning on reading.
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