Monday, August 29, 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon: Final update

Well to sum it up, it was complete disaster.  After quitting on Wednesday when I felt completely hopeless, I picked it up again on Thursday and read from The Winter Rose for the next three days.  And then Sunday hit and I didn't pick up my book.  Honestly I was tired and all I wanted to do was to beat the slight heat wave that happened on the weekend.  I didn't read anything on Sunday, unless you count some Bones fan-fic that I read on Sunday evening.  I am really at the end of the rope, as I want summer done with and I really want to get back to work.  I realize that part of my problem was that I set out with a too ambitious plan, but with the books that I had chosen I thought that it wouldn't be too difficult.  Maybe I should have chosen 3 books instead of 6...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Salon - My reading week

My week was okay, considering how lousy I felt a couple days ago.  I suppose perspective and time can change one's outlook, but with summer coming to an end I really want to get back to work, as I am feeling a bit tired of just sitting around.    And as a result this impacted my reading.  I had planned on getting a bunch of books done, but was really only able to get a few books worked on and a couple completed during the week.  Maybe I was waiting for something to happen and when it didn't, I was a tad disappointed.  And when I get a tad disappointed, I seem to get into a lull for a bit.

But the lull didn't last long and I was able to read a good portion of The Winter's Rose, which I am enjoying just as much as The Tea Rose, if not more so due to the fact that there are more storylines to anticipate than just the one main storyline in The Tea Rose.   I also picked up a few books from the library, one of which I am going to return because I really honestly have changed my opinion of the individual that the book focuses on (a few years ago, I wouldn't have such a negative point of view of the individual, but since certain things have allegedly come to light in the last year, I really don't think much of the person).  This week I also managed to sit down and watch True Grit (the 2010 film version) and really liked it all over again.  This version more clearly mirrors the book than the John Wayne version did 40 years ago.

Reading this week:
True Grit
The Winter Rose
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Reviews this week:
The American Heiress
Sing You Home

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blog Hop

The question this week is:  In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

Being as somebody who doesn't read a lot of books with mythical creatures I am going to have to say the Lochness Monster.   I don't know why, but its the one that came to mine.

Book Blogger Hop

This week the question is: Do you have pets?

No.  A few reasons why.  One reason is that during the summer I am gone for long stretches of time (about 4-6 weeks) and then during the course of the school year I am away during the weekends and its usually last minute.  Secondly, I didn't grow up with pets.  True, I had a hamster when I was about 8, but that lasted a few months before we had no hamsters at all.  My dad is allergic primarily to animals that shed.  I also guess because we didn't live on a large lot and both my parents worked, it wasn't a huge priority.   Thirdly, depending on what you get, you can be spending a lot of money just for the maintenance of your pet (vet bills, food, etc.) and being on a small income its hard sometimes to just put food on my own table.  Lastly, I live in an apartment and because there isn't much space, it wouldn't be fair to the pet, even if it were only just something small (they do require space for their living environments that I really don't have).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Through Thursday - History

Booking through Thursdays asks this week:

Sometimes I feel like the only person I know who finds reading history fascinating. It’s so full of amazing-yet-true stories of people driven to the edge and how they reacted to it. I keep telling friends that a good history book (as opposed to some of those textbooks in school that are all lists and dates) does everything a good novel does–it grips you with real characters doing amazing things.
Am I REALLY the only person who feels this way? When is the last time you read a history book? Historical biography? You know, something that took place in the past but was REAL.

I generally don't read history books for the primary reason is that they tend to be quite long and also can be quite dry unless you are interested in the topic or the person being talked about, even though I do own quite a few books that deal either with a specific person or with a specific historical event.  The last one that I read that could be classified as a history book/historical biography was Cleopatra: a life.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Second Update

Yesterday (Tuesday) wasn't a great reading day; my mind was all over the place for some reason and there unable to concentrate on my reading.  I suppose it didn't help that the book I was reading got me bogged down and therefore didn't feel too encouraging.  Hopefully today is better.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The American Heiress - Daisy Goodwin

Title: The American Heiress
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Pages: 468
Published: 2011 (first published 2010)
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 3/5

Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: It was a nice summer read, as it had a fairly quick pack to the book and other than a few moments in which the story seemed to drag, it was a book that one could read large portions of the book without really getting lost.  It didn't really need to have the Bertha/Jim storyline, as it only seemed to serve really no purpose in the overall storyline and could have been easily reduced by about 50 pages and still be quite effective.  Interestingly enough, the story is believed to be based on the life of Consuelo Vanderbilt. Recommended for those that like reading historical fiction.

10809 / 15000 pages. 72% done!

Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult

Title: Sing You Home
Author: Jodi Picoult
Pages: 466
Published: 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3/5

One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter's marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: This was the first Jodi Picoult book that I have finished and quite enjoyed it, but to a point.  As an evangelical Christian, I found the evangelical side a little unnerving.  The reason that I found the evangelical side a little too over the top.  I do realize that most evangelicals in the United States feel this way and it plays a larger role in the US than it does in Canada, but it was a little preechy and too over the top as to how Ms. Picoult portrayed the evangelical side and I realize why she did that.  But couldn't there have been a more moderating evangelical point of view?

Another thing that bugged me was that the music CD that came along with the book really didn't have anything to do with the book as a whole.  Granted I only listened to a few of the songs, but I felt the CD didn't really have anything to do with the book.  I would recommend the book to those that like Jodi Picoult books or those who write in a similar manner.

10341 / 15000 pages. 69% done!

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 Eager to pick the younger man's brain and compare contracts, Buckland drags his chair over behind Will's, planting himself firmly in the butler's path.  Alice looks appalled by Buckland's manners and the white collar stained with orange sauce, the crumb-speckled cummerbund stretched over a taut drum of a middle.

~ p. 133, Captivity by Deborah Noyes

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Musing Mondays

MizB of Should be reading asks this week:

Do you prefer character-driven stories or plot-driven stories?

Hmmm.  Very interesting question.  It really depends on the genre.  If the book is more literary, I prefer a character-driven story.  But if its something like a western or a crime novel, I would prefer it to be a plot-driven story.

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Starting Line

My Starting Line

Read-a-thon Goals: To get 6 books done

Books to knock out:
• The American Heiress
• Persuasion
• Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
• The Winter Rose
• Captivity (get the section done for Tuesday)
• True Grit

How much time I intend to read: as much as I can.  I have other things that have come up for Thursday, but I can possibly do them on Wednesday evening.  I also have a chat for a couple of books on Tuesday, but I will do as much as I can.

Number of books I’ve read today: 2 (I am doing this not based on the percentage, but what books I picked up during the day)
Total number of books I’ve read: 2
Today #insixwords: hoping to get more read tomorrow
Reading/read:  Completed The American Heiress and have read a bit more of Captivity

Number of books I’ve read today: 0 (didn't complete anything)
Total number of books I’ve read: 2
Today #insixwords: Long day and need some sleep
Reading/read: Still working on Captivity; going to read something else tomorrow

Number of books I’ve read today:
Total number of books I’ve read:
Today #insixwords:

Number of books I’ve read today:
Total number of books I’ve read:
Today #insixwords:

Number of books I’ve read today:
Total number of books I’ve read:
Today #insixwords:

Number of books I’ve read today:
Total number of books I’ve read:
Today #insixwords:

8/28 Wrap-up post

Sunday Salon - An open dialogue

The last seven days have been a blur, especially since I heard some sad news on Monday evening.

A former member of the Vancouver Canucks passed away on Monday and it came as a complete shock to myself and most fans of the team, as well as fans of other teams. His name was Rick Rypien and his greatest claim to fame was this incident last October:

He was subsequently suspended for the incident and not long after serving his 6 game suspension (some were asking for an even longer suspension), he took an indefinite leave from the team in late November for some personal issues that were known only by the team and by certain members of the local members of the media.  At the time of the leave, there were calls from fans for the team to disclose why he was leaving the team (including myself).  He didn't return to the organization until sometime in March, where he went to play for the Canucks minor league affiliate in Winnipeg.

Over the summer, Rypien signed with the new Winnipeg NHL franchise and was from all reports looking forward to playing for the team in the coming season.  His body was found by a family member and his death was ruled as being not suspicious.  It was reveal the day after his death that he had been battling depression for the last decade.

When I heard the news of the death of Rypien, I was shocked; it came really out of nowhere, but what was surprising in regards to his death in the last few days was the fact that there seems to be this attitude among hockey scribes that his death was due to the fact that he was an enforcer and not the fact that depression that he suffered from was probably the primary cause was the depression that he had battled so hard to overcome, including the two leaves that he took to get professional help (he took an earlier leave to deal with his depression). 

As somebody who has to battle anxiety and depression on constant basis, I understand what he had to battle through.  The fear that the dark thoughts and feelings will return is a constant threat and the easy ability to say that things are okay when they aren't and lie.  The hardest thing to do is to reach out and ask for help, whether it be through medication or some sort of counseling or a combination of the two.  And clearly for people like Rick, it just becomes way too much and the only option to get out of the cycle is to just end it all.  Everything is a chore and even getting out of bed is hard; you are feeling more than blue; you are feeling as though your life basically doesn't matter and that ending it all would be the best solution. 

Depression is unique to each person and our triggers are unique to each of us and the situation just is how we deal with the anxiety and panic that seems to bring it on, but it can come on just as quickly with something is completely unrelated to what is causing the depression, anxiety or panic.

As I commented in an opinion piece earlier this week, "I hope that his death forces not only the professional sports community, but our society at large to talk about mental health issues and the stigma that they pose".  I hope that the death of Rick Rypien will not be in vain and allow pro sports to realize that depression is a very real disease that needs to be fought just like concussions and other physical injuries and I also hope that his death allows for a conversation among the rest of us of how to deal with depression and other mental disorders that seem to still plague our society.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-thon

Amanda over at On A Book Bender is hosting the Bout of Books read-a-thon, running from Aug. 22 until Aug. 28.  There are more details on her site, but I hope you sign up as you can read at your leisure and read as much or as little you want.  No pressure to read a certain amount and also there is really no time crunch to speak of.  Hope you have a great rest of the weekend.

Blog Hop

The question for this week is: If you could write yourself a part in a book, what would it be and what role would you play in that book?

Honestly I really don't know what it would be but probably would be something quirky and funny, if I could write myself that way and the role that I would play is probably the main character.

Book Blogger Hop

Crazy for Books asks this week: What's the Longest book you've ever read?

The longest book that I have read was Gone with the Wind. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Fluff

Booking through Thursday asks this week:

You’ve just had a long, hard, exhausting day, and all you want to do is curl up with something light, fun, easy, fluffy, distracting, and entertaining.
What book do you pick up?

I probably would pick up one of my Sarah Dessen novels that I have on hand, but also I would consider one of the many Christian romance novels that I have on hand.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you'll be reading next?

1) What are you currently reading? 
I have other books that are ongoing, but my primary reads are Sing You Home, Captivity, and The American Heiress.

2) What did you recently finish reading?
I currently finished reading A Great and Terrible BeautyThe Revenge of the Radioactive Lady,  and A Love to Last Forever.

3) What do you think you'll be reading next?
The Winter Rose, True Grit, War & Peace, and Persuasion.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Musing Mondays

Miz B asks this week:

Do you like looking at other people's bookshelves?

Yes.  I am always curious as to what people have read or are reading.  Of course people sometimes put the books they are actually reading somewhere private and not out in the open, like a bedroom.  A bookshelf can also tell you if they have actually read the books they have purchased or if they just like to collect books.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Salon - A better week

The last seven days have been better; seems the nerves quieted down enough for me to get a bunch of reading done.  Of course what happened last Sunday didn't help things, but for some reason it was catharsis to help me sit down and read more than I had the previous three weeks (lets just say I ended up in the psych ward at my local hospital and yes, I was fine and went home within the hour; trust me on that).

I suppose it also helped that two of the books had to be returned to the library and the other one was close to finishing, but nonetheless, I finished three books, which for me is huge.  If you wish to read the reviews, I have provided the links to the reviews.  If you can, could you provide some advice as to how I can write better reviews; I feel something is lacking in the reviews.

This weeks reviews:
1. A Love to Last Forever
2. The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady
3. A Great and Terrible Beauty

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Pages: 403
Published: 2005 (first published 2003)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

It's 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls-and their foray into the spiritual world-lead to? (via

Why I read this book: I had wanted to read this book for a number of years, as I had heard that it was quite a good book and I was intrigued.  

Thoughts: Really enjoyed the book.  I found that the book had a good flow to it and there was rarely a moment in which there was an awkward; everything had a purpose to it, almost as though the author planned it that way.  Even though the characters may have seemed rather self-centered, they were actually quite developed and fairly rounded out.  While I don't read a lot of thrillers, there was portion of the book towards the end of the book that got me a little creeped out that I had to put the book down and go to bed.  Overall a pretty good book.

9875 / 15000 pages. 66% done!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blog Hop

The question for this week is How has your reading habits changed since you were a teen?

My reading habits haven't really changed, except for the fact hat I tend to read more books at once and I tend to take longer to read my books.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - National Book Week

Booking Through Thursday asks this week:

It’s National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status
(We’ve done something similar to this before, but it’s always fun, so … why not?)

I figured it to be the East Wing, the one destroyed by the fire.

~A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady - Elizabeth Stuckey-French

Title: The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady: a novel
Author: Elizabeth Stuckey-French
Pages:  334
Published: 2011
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.8/5

Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.

Marylou has been plotting her revenge for fifty years. When she accidentally discovers his whereabouts in Florida, her plans finally snap into action. She high tails it to hot and humid Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where a now senile Spriggs lives with his daughter’s family, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into their lives. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she is stum­bling into.

Before the novel is through, someone will be kidnapped, an unlikely couple will get engaged, someone will nearly die from eating a pineapple upside-down cake laced with anti-freeze, and that’s not all . . .  (via Goodreads)

Why I read it: I read it for a challenge that is being hosted through Books on the Nightstand.

Thoughts: I really quite enjoyed it, although I felt that it took awhile for the story to actually get going.  The characters were fairly like-able and once the story got going, it was a great read.  One thing I liked about the book is that finishes in a way that I didn't exactly expect and the twists and turns that were employed by the author definitely the reason that I continued reading.  Its definitely something that one can easily take to the beach and finish most of it in a day and it is a very addictive read. Recommended

9472 / 15000 pages. 63% done!

A Love to Last Forever - Tracie Peterson

Title: A Love to Last Forever
Author: Tracie Peterson
Pages: 384
Published: 2009
Genre: Fiction, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5

All Beth Gallatin has really wanted out of life is to settle down in one town, with one man, and raise a family. But with her father's roaming ways, she's always been denied that dream; instead, she found solace in reading romantic books. With her father's passing, she can, for the first time, dare to claim the rugged Montana frontier as her home.

Nick Lassiter has loved Beth since she first came to town, but she's always seemed to think of him more as a brother. Just when he finally gets Beth to consider him, however, a challenger threatens the affection growing between them. But neither Nick nor Beth is prepared when they must face the consequences of Nick's complicated past.

As a past fraught with unwise choices and guilt invades their world, can Nick and Beth find a love that will last forever? (via Goodreads)

Why I read this book: I read it because I liked the first book in the series and wanted to see how the series evolved.

Thoughts: It was about the same as the first book in the series, but better than the books in the Song of Alaska series that I completed not that long ago.  It was a nice break from the heavier books that I was reading at the time and really enjoyed the flow of the book.  I liked the fact that the book wasn't full of cliches, as Christian fiction tends to be at times, but it was just cheesy enough that it didn't make me hurl the book across the room and dread reading it.  If you enjoy reading Christian fiction, I would recommend it.

9138 / 15000 pages. 61% done!

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.  I was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robbed him of his life and his horse and $150 in cash money plus two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band. 

 ~ p. 11, True Grit by Charles Portis

First Chapter - First Paragaph(s) - Tuesday Intros

This weeks choice:
True Grit by Charles Portis
Originally Published June 28, 1968

People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.  I was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robbed him of his life and his horse and $150 in cash money plus two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Musing Mondays

MizB asks this week:

If you were (are) going on vacation, what books would you take with you?

I would bring something light and something that would allow me not to think, but it would also depend on whether I had a book club meeting coming up, but generally I tend to bring something that is light and easy to read and something that I can easily take up when the mood suits.   I would also bring something that is also big in part because I don't really want to bring a lot of books.  But if I were to bring a lot, I would bring lighter books, especially since I don't have an e-reader at the present time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sunday Salon - What I have read this summer

The simple answer to what I have read this summer is basically not very much.  Partly this has to do with the weather that Southern BC has had since the middle of June, but it also is due to the fact that I have become so addicted to my Facebook apps, especially Cafe World and Frontierville, and I have been in a DVD series frenzy since the beginning of June.  So far I have gone through Bones, Big Bang Theory, Grey's and most of Mad Men.  I have spent days literally not reading anything and going bug eyed as a result.  The last two weeks of July were crazy, as I was not really in a mood to read anything, until last Friday, where I had nothing but a book to keep me entertained.  It was sort of weird as I suddenly got the reading bug and have now been able to sit down and read a book basically beginning to end in about a day.  This is a rare feat for me on any day, but for some reason the fact that I have a book due back to the library is a very helpful aid in getting the book done.

This is to say that my reading plans for the summer have basically gone out the window, as they usually do, and have ended up reading things that I didn't exactly expect to.  Hope you all have a great Sunday doing whatever you do.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blog Hop

The question for this week is: Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?).

The book that changed my life was Jacob have I Loved by Katherine Paterson.  From the time I was in Grade 3 until the start of Grade 7, I read The Babysitter Club and similar books.  I would read other things, but it was very rare that I would read something other than those type of books.  Because I was in a new school in Grade 7, I was forced to read something different.  I tried to find something similar to what I was used to reading, but when I found this book, my reading was transformed.  Another book that changed my book was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I read it in Grade 8 and it was truly the first "adult" book that I finished that I was in love with.  I had read other "adult" novels the year prior, but this book was the first "adult" novel that I fell in love with.  I think it was the fact that the main character spoke to me in regards to the loneliness and isolation and feeling of wanting to belong.

Book Blogger Hop

This weeks question is: What is the one ARC you would love to get your hands on right now?

A book called Heft that I heard through Bibliophile by the Sea.  The premise looks promising and intriguing.  

Booking Through Thursday - Anticipation

Booking through Thursday asks this week:
What’s the last book you were really EXCITED to read?
And, were you excited about it in advance? Or did the excitement bloom while you were reading it?
Are there any books you’re excited about right NOW?

The last book that I was excited to read was The Tea Rose.  I think I was sort of excited to read the book, but it did bloom while I was reading it. I don't know if I am excited about what I am currently reading.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WWW… Wednesdays!

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you'll be reading next?

My answers: 
1) What are you currently reading?
War & Peace (restart), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Sing You Home, Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, and A Dream to Call Her Own

2) What did you recently finish reading?
A Love to Last Forever

3) What do you think you'll be reading next?
Have no idea, but probably something from the library.
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