Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sunday Salon - End of the month and Happy Canada Day

As I was watching the first season of Modern Family on DVD, I realized that my former post for today wasn't great and was rather short. I also realized that I did have something to say for today and I apologize to those that are seeing a link from me again, one with a link that doesn't exist any more and now with a link that does work, so I apologize.

Anyways, June was a busy reading month for me.  Between June 1 and June 29, I managed to complete 6 books (one I completed on May 31 and put up the review on June 1).  I read 2453 pages, including one e-book.  I only got one book done this past week.

July looks to be a little less hectic in terms of reading, but by no means will I stop reading.  I may push myself a little more to get some more books done during this month, but I will see how I feel (I am feeling quite exhausted at the moment and just want to go and sleep for a bit tonight).

Before I go,  I want to wish my Canadian readers a Happy Canada Day and my American readers a Happy Independence Day.  Hope wherever you are going you travel safely and have a good time with family or friends or however you choose to spend the day.

Review:
1) The Concubine Saga (review)


 


Friday, June 29, 2012

Saturday Snapshot (June 30)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ At Home With Books

Photos can be old or new and be of any subject you wish as long as they are clean and appropriate for all to see. How much detail you give in the photo is up to you.  Please don't post random photos that you find online

After work one day after work, I saw a ring around the sun.  Because this is highly unusual in my neck of the woods, I took a photo of it.  Took it with my iPhone.

Later: I have done some some research and this commonly called a 22° halo.  Never look directly into into it, as they are really bright.  It is formed through refracted light and is more commonly formed around the sun.

#bookbloggerhop (June 29-July 5)


Book Blogger Hop


This week, Crazy for Books asks:

Do you have a keeper shelf for books you loved?  What are the books on the shelf and why?

No I don't have such a shelf.  I know which they are and can locate them pretty easily.


The Concubine Saga - Lloyd Lofthouse

Title: The Concubine Saga
Author: Lloyd Lofthouse
Pages: 550
Published: 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Challenges: Historical Fiction challenge, Chunkster
Edition: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Description: The deeply intimate story of Robert Hart's loyalty and love for his adoptive land and the woman who captured his heart. (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts: I had a tough time with this book.  I felt that it was more of an obligation more than anything and didn't really enjoy it, except maybe for a few moments.  I thought that the story was a little long at times, particularly in the waning moments of the book and I suppose it didn't help that I had scanned the book on Sunday and knew the ending of the book, which I won't spoil for you.  I personally would have liked a map of China at least for reference in where particular cities in China were, but then I could have just looked online as to where these places were.  I know for some readers that this isn't an issue, but for me it can be.  While I enjoyed the book, I felt that at times, particularly towards the end, that things were a little too detailed.

Bottom line: I thought that it was ok, but it is definitely is something that was a little too dense for me.

Rating: 2.5/5

Pages for 2012: 12443

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's On Your Nightstand (June 26)

I am really tired at the time of writing this post that its going to be short and sweet.  Since I last posted in May, here are the books that I have completed:

1) Romeo & Juliet
2) Girls in White Dresses
3) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
4) Waiting for Columbus
5) The Descendants
6) How to Eat a Cupcake
7) The Devil in the White City
8) Catching Fire

I know what you are thinking, I have done nothing but read. Well, that is true, but I have had time where I have read vast amounts, but then I have had days where I have basically read nothing and then go on reading sprees trying to finish books for various reasons. It feels like I have been a reading fog.

At the moment I am trying to finish The Concubine Saga for a book tour that I am posting on Friday and then hosting a giveaway for a couple of days.  If you are interested in what I have to say and in the giveaway, come back sometime on Friday and hopefully it will be posted by that afternoon.

See you in a month.


Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 25)

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

What I have reviewed in the past week:

1) How to Eat a Cupcake: a novel by Meg Donohue (review)
2) The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (review)
3) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (review)

What I am reading this week:

1) The Concubine Saga (book tour)
2) A Dream to Call My Own
3) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
4) Les Miserables
5) Anna Karenina

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Musing Mondays (June 25)

This week Miz B at Should be Reading asks:

Do you set goals while reading? Why or why not?

Depends on the book.  Most I don't, but if I have to get a book done by a certain time, then I have to set a goal in order to get the book done on time.  Its why I am refusing to do books for book tours, etc.  I don't like time constraints and if I have to read a book by certain time and its not something that I would choose, then it feels too much like homework.

Sunday Salon - Busy week of reading

I can't believe that its the final week of June!  Feels like only last week that I was watching the Flotilla on the Thames!  And yet somehow we have ended up here at the end of the June.

For me, I have one more week at work until I am on vacation for the summer, but I have a lot of work before then, as I have to corral as many books from students as I possibly can before they are let out on Wednesday afternoon.  And I need to finish a 500-page book for a book tour post on Friday.  But with little to do (and watch) in the evenings,  I should be able to get the book done.

That isn't to say that this past week was also a busy reading week, as I was able to get up three book reviews up, which is not normal for me.  I had been working on one of them for quite sometime, as the book did get bogged down in architectural details and made the most interesting part of the book not as long as I had hoped that it would be.  This amount of reading resulted in me spending yesterday evening watching the Prohibition series by Ken Burns that appeared on PBS last fall, as I couldn't bring myself to read anything significant after reading Catching Fire for about 4 or 5 days.  I am hoping I won't feel the same way this time next week, but honestly I doubt it.  Its not that I didn't enjoy Catching Fire, its that it played with me psychologically and made me want to scream out "No!" on more than one occasion and forced me to take breaks from the book because of the mental toll it took on me.

Book Reviews:
1) How to Eat a Cupcake: a novel by Meg Donohue (review)
2) The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson (review)
3) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (review)

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2)
Author: Suzanne Collins 
File Size: 478 KB (402 pages)
Published: 2010
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy fiction, Young Adult
Edition: E-book
Source: Purchased


Description: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts:  I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first book, but then again, I didn't really now what to expect out of the first book, except that it was good and had a pretty decent story and was really addictive.  But this one I sort had an idea of what the story would be like and felt that played with my head more than the first book. It was also the first e-book purchase from Kobo that I read (I don't get why it still shows as a free preview on my devices (I have both a Kobo Vox and a Kobo Touch), but that is something that isn't about the book.  


The book is surprisingly deceptive, in that the reader is lulled into a sense that everything is going to be okay and that Katniss and Peeta are going to live a relative normal life, despite the fact that they are victors and live separate from the rest of those that live in District 12, along with Haymitch.  There are a few clues that things aren't well since the end of the 74th Hunger Games, but relative sense the reader is meant to feel as though Katniss and Peeta will live a relatively normal life.  As one goes through the first section, one gets the sense that there is increasing tension between a number of the districts and the Capitol, with small signs of rebellion.  

The book is definitely plays with the readers mind, while that the reader's mind is played with during the course of the book and one can only handle so much of that type of tension, it is addictive.

Bottom Line: It is a more mature book than the first one and not exactly meant for the faint of heart, as there are many twists and turns that one doesn't expect and a bit more violence than the first one.   While the book may appear to be deceptively easy to read, it is not and one may need to put the book down for a bit in order to comprehend what has happened.  Recommended for those in their late teens and above.

Rating: 4.125/5

 Pages for 2012: 11893

#bookbloggerhop (June 22-28)

Book Blogger Hop


This week, Crazy for Books asks: 

Do you immidately write a review upon finishing a book or do you wait and write multiple reviews at once?

I usually write immediately write my review, as I usually can recall what I thought of the book better immediately after reading a book, rather than waiting to write.  I also find that with the way that I write my book reviews, it would dog the people that subscribe to my blog, either through the RSS feed or through email.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson

Title: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Author: Eric Larson
Pages: 464
Published: 2004 (originally published 2002)
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library, Chunkster
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. 

Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison. 

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.  (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts: I was more interested in the H.H. Holmes storyline rather than the stuff about the building of the "White City" for the Chicago's World Fair, even though there was some connection between the two.  The story about the building of "White City" seemed to be full of details that I honestly really didn't care about. The H.H. Holmes story line was the reason that I picked up the book, as I had heard about him through a podcast on Stuff You Missed in History Class and was intrigued.

I also liked the story of the development of the Ferris Wheel and never thought that it was that recent.  The cultural developments that came out of the fair were interesting as well, including the use of incandescent bulbs powered by alternating currents and the fact that one can find Shredded Wheat in the grocery store.  Also it influenced the American goverment to designate October 12 as an American holiday and also the fair may have influenced Frank Lloyd Wright and his "Prairie" residential design (the book also mentions that at the time of the fair he was fired from his job with famed architect Louis Sullivan).  And it's speculated that Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom was drawn from the White City, of which Walt's father, Elias, helped build, as well L. Frank Baum used the White City as inspiration for the creation of Oz.  And the fact that Burnham was on the Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, on the night of the famed ship's disaster, trying to relay a message to a colleague who was on the Titanic.

Personally I felt that the book could have used a bit of editing, especially when it came to the descriptions of the architecture, which could have been toned down a bit.

Bottom line:  Its not a light read by any stretch of the imagination, but it is readable and very informative.  I would recommend the book to those that are interested in this particular period of American history.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2012: 11491


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WWW Wednesdays (June 20)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading.  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?

Answers:
1) What are you currently reading?
Quite a bit.  I don't want to bore you with the list.

2) What did you recently finish reading?
How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue (review)

3) What do you think you'll be reading next?
Whatever I get from the library or purchase.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Eat a Cupcake - Meg Donohue

Title: How to Eat a Cupcake
Author: Meg Donohue
Pages: 309
Published: 2012
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Public Library

Description: Funny, free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated, ambitious Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clair’s housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls who know nothing of class differences and scholarships could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie is now a talented, if underpaid, pastry chef who bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death. Julia, a successful businesswoman, is tormented by a painful secret that could jeopardize her engagement to the man she loves. When a chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, they must overcome past hurts and a mysterious saboteur or risk losing their fledgling business and any chance of healing their fractured friendship. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: Overall, its a pretty good book and decently written.  It is was quite enjoyable and the interplay between the main characters seemed to be realistic.  The story line flowed well and nothing seemed to be forced, at least in regards to the main story line.

There was a minor flaw in that one of the story lines that was introduced was sort of just left hanging and one never knew what initially happened to cause the rift between Annie and Julie.  And it kinda annoyed me; I usually like to have some background as to why their is conflict and in this book it doesn't do that for me.  The issue is sort of resolved, but in a way it isn't.

Bottom line: Its the type of book that can easily be read in a few days (or even a day) and is clearly meant for a vacation or a trip somewhere that involves a bit of distance getting there.  Its a perfect book for the beach.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2012: 11477

If you have read this book, what did you think of it?  If you haven't read, are you interested in reading the book?


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Musing Mondays (June 18)

This week Miz B at Should be Reading asks:

Do you think the book cover is "dead"? Do you care whether the "covers" on digital books exist or not?

I will answer the second question first.  I do care that they exist, whether they are on a paper copy or a digital copy of the book.  The reason being is that the cover is a selling point for many readers.  True, I am guilty as any reader by judging a book by its cover, but its the cover that can sell a book that isn't as well known and make it popular.  And it can also conjure discussion/debate among fans, especially if the book is part a very popular series.  I remember the "discussion" when the final book in the Harry Potter series was revealed online and how people had mixed feelings about the children's edition that was published by Bloomsbury and other publishers that published the British version of the book.  I remember having very mixed feelings towards it and how a lot of people thought it was very cartoonish.  I also remember seeing the cover for the adult version of the very same book and actually liking it so much that I ended up purchasing two copies of the same book.

That being said, I don't think that the book cover is dead.  The reason being as readers move to colour versions of their favourite e-reader, they will increasingly want to have the cover on their device.  Being a user of a device in which one has black & white photos (Kobo Touch) and the other has the colour versions of the cover (Kobo Vox), I certainly prefer the colour over the black & white version, even though the b&w version is easier to carry around and more portable than the Vox.  Also there is the fact that having a "cover" on a digital device makes the reader get a sense of the book rather than having no cover at all.



Sunday Salon - A week of reading

I apologize for lateness of this post.  I had a rather lazy day (woke up at about 10:30 am, or was it 11:30? I have no clue, but I do know it was a lazy day) that involved food, reading, some more food, church, a movie (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; even though I didn't understand how it got to the ending it did, any movie with Colin Firth and number of other British actors that I have seen over the years, is worth the confusing ending), writing this blog post and will end with some more reading before going to sleep.

Week was a bit crazy in that my mood wasn't exactly great and I was feeling constantly on the edge (this was due to hormones, as I am feeling much better today and I know its hormones due to lack of medication that I was taking the previous 3 weeks), but for some strange reason I was able to get quite a bit of reading done, especially where Les Miserables is concerned.  And quite honestly, I am still enjoying the book.  While it is boring and dull in parts (Section one of Book 2 comes to mind; really did he have to spend that much time on the Battle of Waterloo, even though I didn't know that Napoleon lost the battle due to rain), the story of Les Miserables is quite interesting and find Jean Valjean sympathetic and love the optimistic attitude of Cosette.  I also read a little bit more of The Order of the Phoenix (my least favourite HP book) and started Catching Fire.  I also bought my first e-books.  While I have gotten free books from the Kobo store, I don't consider them to be bought, as I didn't pay money for them.  These ones I did.  And I had some hassles in regards some of the books, but they have gotten resolved.

I didn't finish any books, but I do think that I will have at least a couple books done within the next day or two and with summer vacation starting by next Wednesday, I am hoping to get more done as a result.  At present, I am about 11 books ahead of where I should be in regards to my reading goal of 50 books and I have flirted with increasing the amount, but I don't think it will happen.

That being said, I can't believe how fast June is going by, but don't we always say that every month?

Hope you all have a great week.


Friday, June 15, 2012

High Summer Read-a-Thon

Michelle at The True Book Addict is hosting a High Summer Readathon from July 16-22. She has more information over at Season of Reading and I hope that you can join.  If you don't have a blog, you don't have to worry about that, as you can sign up through Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads and also do your updates through those sites as well.

I hope you can join.

#bookbloggerhop (June 15-21)

Book Blogger Hop

This week, Crazy for Books asks:

Do you belong to book club, either online or in real life?

Yes, I belong to both forms, although my participation with online book clubs is rather spartan.  My real life book club meets four times, with September being the start of the year for the book club.  It contains myself and three other friends from high school and we have been doing it since September 2007.  We have read modern novels and also more classic type fiction.  We have had a power outage during one of meetings and we have had the host of the meeting doze off while watching a video (I was really, really tired).  Some of the books weren't exactly favourites but they definitely gave us a lot to discuss.  And some we really enjoyed and one time I completely forgot what book we were reading (I got the right author, but the wrong book).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend As Good Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish, where book bloggers share their Top Ten lists on everything bookish. This week is top ten books I would take to the beach.  This week I am only doing a list, with no explanations.


10) The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Amiee Bender
9) The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
8) The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella
7) Any of Sarah Dessen's books (I have read quite a few of her books during the summer and they are quite perfect)
6) The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray
5) The Book of Negroes (U.S. Title: Someone Knows my Name) by Lawrence Hill
4) The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
3) The Tea Rose series by Jennifer Donnelly
2) True Grit by Charles Portis
1) The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins


Monday, June 11, 2012

Musing Mondays (June 11)

This week MizB at Should be Reading asks:

What is the longest book you have read? How long did it take you to read it?

Its hard to say, but at this point, it would probably be Gone With the Wind.  Its been a while since I read it, but I think it took me a month or two to read (I was like 13 or 14 at the time of the read and I found it a tad boring).

It's Monday! What are you reading? (June 11)

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a fun weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed during the past week and what we plan on read in the coming week.

What I am planning on reading this coming week:
How to eat a cupcake
Through the Looking Glass
Les Miserables
Bleak House
Anna Karenina
The Devil in the White City
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Catching Fire 
• The Concubine Saga (book tour)

What I reviewed this past week:
1) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (review)
2) Waiting for Columbus (review)
3) The Descendants (review)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sunday Salon - A bookish day, well I hope it is

After having a few days without reading much, I am hoping tomorrow I can work on some books tomorrow.  True I have some groceries that I need to pick up for a few days, but other than lunch with my grandparents, its going to be a rather lazy day.


My reading plans include starting to read my book for a book tour that I am doing at the end of the month, read a bit of Les Miserables, Anna Karenina, Order of the Phoenix, Bleak House, and probably a couple of others.  I will likely have to divide my time between the books, but at least I will be getting a couple of books closer to completion.

Hope you have a relaxing Sunday.

Reviews:
1. Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk (review)
2. The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings (review)


Friday, June 8, 2012

The Descendants - Kaui Hart Hemmings

Title: The Descendants
Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings
Pages: 320
Published: 2011 (first published 2007)
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Movie-tie-in Trade Paperback
Source: Public Library

Description: Fortunes have changed for the King family, descendants of Hawaiian royalty and one of the state’s largest landowners. Matthew King’s daughters—Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old, and Alex, a seventeen-year-old recovering drug addict—are out of control, and their charismatic, thrill-seeking mother, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident. She will soon be taken off life support. As Matt gathers his wife’s friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation is made worse by the sudden discovery that there’s one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair. Forced to examine what they owe not only to the living but to the dead, Matt, Scottie, and Alex take to the road to find Joanie’s lover, on a memorable journey that leads to unforeseen humor, growth, and profound revelations. (via Goodreads)


Thoughts:  It was a relatively easy read and since I had seen the movie back in February, I could see the places that the book describes.  I found it to be a very visual book, in that the way the author describes the action in the book makes you feel as though you have been there.  But its also a book that you can also feel the emotions of Matt or at least can sense how torn he feels about making sure that his wife gets dignity in her death, but also makes sure that he becomes the father that his daughters clearly need and deserve.  Its almost like its a journey of self-discovery for Matt and to understand that he is needed by his daughters, who clearly love him.  


I also found that the Hawaiian setting added to the story, as it made Hawaii a place where people live and have the same sort of decisions that are made on the mainland, almost gives it real quality to the story rather than something that just people on vacation go to.


While I liked the first 3 parts of the book, I enjoyed the final part of the book more, as I felt it started to give me the sense that Matt had started to realize of what his purpose was going to be.  Its almost like he starts to "get it", when Matt expresses that:


It's funny that I think of them [Princess Kekipi and Edward King] as the beginning, because they are also descendants of somebody, generations of prints on their DNA, traces of human migrations.  They didn't come out of nowhere.  Everyone comes from someone who comes from someone else, and this to me is remarkable.  We can't know the people wo are in us.  We'll all have our moment at the top of the tree.  Matthew and Joan.  We'll be those two one day. (pg. 277)


Bottom line: I found it was a good, not a great book. Its the type of book that would be suitable for the beach or a long trip somewhere.  But it is also dense enough that you are forced to think about the values and history you are handing down to next generation and how you impart it to them.


Rating: 3.625/5


Pages for 2012: 11168


If you have read this book, what did you think of it?  If you haven't read, are you interested in reading the book?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

#ArmchairBEA 2012 - Day 5: Ask the experts


I hate to ask it, but how do get people to comment on my book reviews?  While I do link up my reviews for my book reviews, I don't really get any comments when I initially post them.  I do agree that they aren't my strongest suit and I don't particularly like to spend a lot of time describing the book, but I would like some advice on how I can make my book reviews stronger and more likely that people will comment on them.  Should I be adding quotes from the books to the review to make it more interesting?

Booking Through Thursday - Secondly

Booking Through Thursday asks this week:

Favourite secondary characters? (Note the plural)

 I have a couple of secondary characters that I love.  My first choice would be Mrs. Fairfax from Jane Eyre.  I don't know why, but maybe its the fact that she takes care of Jane and is sort of a mother figure in her life, when she has few, if any type of mother-like figures in her life.  She is the one that is willing to protect Jane from the realities of Mr. Rochester's wife and also guides her in making sure that Jane makes the right decisions.  My second choice would have to be Severus Snape.  I realize that for the first five books in the Harry Potter series, he is anything but a sympathetic character, but once I had read the sixth book, I found sympathy for Snape and realized that he just had Harry's best interest in mind.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

#ArmchairBEA 2012 - Day 4: Beyond the Blog


Today we are supposed to blog about the ways we monetize, write for other outlets, and things like that.  And quite honestly while I have thought about possibly monetizing and making some extra cash, it just isn't possible for me to do so.

I know that some of you are wondering why this isn't the case.  The reason is because I am on social assistance and have a job that pays me the amount of money that I can make in addition to the amount that I receive from the provincial government, I am unable to do so.  Unless of course I can get paid in cash directly, there is no way I can do it.  I would love to do it, but its just not possible for me to do it at present.

But I guess the only thing I do do that would be considered beyond the blog would be a book club me and some friends have doing for 5 years (we are starting our sixth year this coming fall).  I have also been doing some bookclubs online, but my attendance has been somewhat sporadic at best.  I am thinking of joining a bookclub meeting through my local public library.

Waiting for Columbus - Thomas Trofimuk

Title: Waiting for Columbus
Author: Thomas Trofimuk
Pages: 408
Published: 2010 (Originally published 2009)
Challenges: 2012 TBR Reading Challenge
Genre: Literary fiction, Canadian fiction
Edition: Trade paperback
Source: Personal collection

Description: In a Spanish mental institution in 2004, a man who believes he is Christopher Columbus begins to tell his story. Nurse Consuela listens, hoping to discover what tragedy drove this educated, cultured man to retreat from reality. This Columbus is not heroic: he falls in love with every woman he meets, and, on land, he has absolutely no sense of direction. More troublingly, he is convinced a terrible tragedy is coming. Yet with each tale, Consuela draws closer to this lost navigator. (via Goodreads)


Thoughts: For about 3/4 of the book I really enjoyed it, but when I came to the end, I thought it was a bit of a cop-out and ended rather hastily.  It was almost as if the author wanted to find an excuse to end the book quickly rather than draw it out a little more.  Sure I can understand not wanting to drag out the ending, but I thought that even if there were an extra 50 pages devoted to the ending, I think that the book would have been a little better and possibly a little tighter.


Bottom line: Other than the ending, I quite enjoyed the book and liked how the book evolved over the course of the story. I would recommend it highly to those that enjoy literary fiction or are looking for something different.


Rating: 3.25/5


Pages for 2012: 10848

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

#ArmchairBEA 2012 - Day 3: Why I don't physically network


I realize that should network my blog more.  I have complained about the lack of comments on my blog in the past and that has usually made me rethink why I blog.  Sure I realize that I should be hosting meme's, events, etc., but honestly after hosting an event that basically flopped because somebody else put an event on the same weekend as mine (I think we even were using the same hashtag), I don't  feel much like getting burned again.

Now you may ask, why not book tours or ARCs? Its a good idea, but quite honestly, I have enough books to read that I don't need more.  I am also a relative slow reader and it can sometimes take me awhile to finish a book and I like to take in the details of the book.  Basically I want to experience the book.  And I feel that if I constrained by a fixed time, I should go back to get my minor in English Lit (I am about 2 or 3 courses short and no, I don't care, because I really was a poor English Lit student, even though I have a great love for literature; I just can't express it on paper for some reason).  I hate deadlines, other than the deadline to get the item back to the library.  I want to have the flexibility to finish a book.

That being said, I do have a dedicated page for my blog on Facebook and I have a dedicated Twitter account for my blog and I do connect to my blog through my personal Facebook and Twitter accounts and do connect through Google Plus and do allow people to read my posts in Google reader or to have them sent to their email accounts. And I do post in Sunday Salon on a somewhat regular basis and I try to participate in readalongs (seem to always fall flat on my face on those).

So I guess in my Introverted way, I do network through social networks, but that is about it.  Sometimes I will participate in a blog hop feature, but sometimes I am just not interested in the question or can't really think of an answer, especially if its something creative.  I prefer standard questions that don't require me to think creatively a lot.  I like questions that I can answer within one or two sentences.  Asking me to cast my favourite book...you aren't going to get anything out of me.  Look at my answers for those sort of blog hop memes (Teaser Tuesdays, the blog hop hosted by Crazy for Books, Musing Mondays, etc.) and you will see a pattern in that I like questions that require  straightforward questions and while I know that Sunday Salon requires some creativity in that I have to think of the topic myself, it usually becomes a place where I can let my thoughts and feelings on whatever I want to talk about, including me complaining about not being able to read, etc.

#ArmchairBEA 2012 - Day 2 : My Favourite Reads of 2012 (so far)


I haven't read anything that has been published/released in 2012.  Part of the reason is due to the fact that I don't have a lot of money to purchase new released books and the second reason is that if I do see a book I like, my library doesn't necessarily get them for about six months.  The other reason is that I don't like getting ARCs.  I know that last one seems stupid, but I want this to be a blog in which I share books that (a) are published and (b) stuff I want to read.  So I am going to give you my favourite reads from this year, so far.  I am going to exclude any Harry Potter books, because those are just too plain obvious.  There is a link to my review of the book in the title below.







Hope you all have a wonderful day and I look forward to reading your comments.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kicking off Armchair BEA: Introductions First!


After seeing this last year on a number of the blogs that I follow last year, I really wanted to participate and when I saw the sign ups a few weeks ago, I knew that it was something that I had to participate in.  And to kick it off, the lovely ladies over at Armchair BEA have gone put up an introductory post with questions that they have developed.

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
  2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
  3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
  4. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?
  5. Where do you see your blog in five years?
  6. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
  7. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
  8. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
  9. What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?
  10. Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

1) My name is Melissa.  The name of my blog comes from my middle name.  I have been blogging since about 2005, when I first joined LiveJournal.  I intially got into blogging because some people I knew on a fan board for a TV show were blogging over there and I thought it was a great way of connecting with people that liked the show and it grew from there.  I have been blogging here for about 2 years.

2) I am currently reading a number of books, including The Descendants, The Devil in the White City and a number of classics.

3) One non-book-related thing that people reading my blog may not know about me is that I lived in Brazil for two years when I was a young child and cheer for the Brazilians (or Brasilians as they spell it) during the World Cup (the world cup of soccer for those that don't know).

4) Since I don't host a feature on regular basis, I can't say what my favourite feature would be.

5) I really don't know, but I probably doing some of the same things that I am doing at the present time.

6) My favourite post would be the one I did on the fascination with the 1960s.

7) If I could eat dinner with any author or character, it would probably be Peggy Olson.  I know its a TV character, but I would like to pick her brain about what it was like to work for Don Draper and Pete Campbell and ask her why she left SDCP.

8) I would like to visit Stratford-Upon-Avon in England. I have always been a fan of Shakespeare and its just a place I have always wanted to visit.

9) My favourite part about the book blogging community is that I am introduced to so many books that I have to keep my library's webpage open, just in case I find a book I am interested in reading.  One thing I would like to see change in the coming years in the book blogging community is for book bloggers to read books that are outside of their comfort zone and I would like to see more non-fiction blogged on.  It seems that book bloggers like to blog about books they are comfortable in reading and don't go too far outside of their comfort zone (I am guilty of this) and I would like to see more non-fiction blogged about and not just memoirs/biographies.

10) That's hard to say if my reading tastes have changed, but I can say that I am more willing to try books that are outside of my comfort zone.  Some I have loved, some I haven't, but at least I have tried.

Sunday Salon - Taking a break, sort of

I am taking a break from reading today.  Its not that I don't like reading or can't get myself to read, its just that I need a break from reading.  Since last week (Monday, I believe), I have read about 800 pages and finish 2 books.  I may read a bit this evening, but due to the fact that my brain is feeling a tad fried at the moment, I am going to take a break.  I will post any links to reviews from this week next week.

Note: For those that follow me on a regular basis, I will be participating in Armchair BEA starting with posts either this evening or early tomorrow and this will likely mean more posts this week than you are used to see from me on a weekly basis.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 636
Published: 2000
Challenges: 2012 Harry Potter Reading Challenge
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Edition: Hardcover and audiobook
Source: Library

Description: It is the summer holidays, and one night Harry Potter wakes up with his scar burning. He has had a strange dream, one that he can't help worrying about...until a timely invitation from Ron Weasley arrives: to nothing less than the Quidditch World Cup!

Soon Harry is reunited with Ron and Hermione and gasping at the thrills of an international Quidditch match. But then something horrible happens which casts a shadow over everybody, and Harry in particular... (via Goodreads)


Thoughts:  Even though I really enjoyed the book as much as I did the last time I read it about 6 months ago, I had a little bit of an issue reading it and had some problems getting around to reading it.  I suppose a lot had to do with the fact that I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount I needed to read.  But considering I spent about 10 hours on Tuesday reading it, I would think that I enjoyed it and was gripped by the story, even though it has been about 12 years since the book was published.

Bottom line:  Really enjoyed the book and it was a nice bridge between lighter fair that I didn't enjoy and something that I am really enjoying at the moment.  The writing is more mature in nature and not as light and childlike as the first three books in the Harry Potter series and there is a notable shift in the tone, in that it becomes clearly darker and the shift to what happens at the end of the series is quite easily noted.

Rating: 5/5

Pages for 2012: 10440


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