Monday, January 27, 2014

First Chapter - First Paragaph(s) - Tuesday Intros (Jan. 28)

Here is my choice:

A Great Game by Stephen J. Harper
Originally published November 2013

March 14, 1908: Saturday night at the Montreal Arena at the corner of St. Catherine Street and Wood Avenue.  Also known as Westmount Arena, the ten-year-old hockey rink with the natural ice and the novel rounded corners is the largest int eh country.  Along with many hundreds who will stand, 4,500 fans will cram into the rows of hard wooden seats they can soften and warm with rugs available for rent.
Outdoors, it has been a mild, springlike day at the tail end of a soft winter in which the St. Lawrence River has remained open longer than it has for thirty years.  Indoors, a battle for the Stanley Cup is about to begin.

What do you think?  Would you keep reading or know somebody who may?  If you wish to join,  go to and enter your own.

#wintersrespite Update No.1

I got quite a bit of reading done today, at least compared to the amount that I have been reading over the last couple of weeks.

Here is what I did:
• worked a little bit more on both Possession and Winter's Tale today
• got A Great Game by Stephen Harper started and its looking like I could potentially get this one completed during the coming week.
• made plans to get more books worked on during the week (at the time of me writing this post, I am planning on reading into the wee hours of the morning so I can get a bit more of Flight Behavior done).

Hope you have a great reading day on Tuesday and I hope to post in about 24 hours!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

#wintersrespite Starting Post

There is nothing that goes better than winter and reading, at least in my books.  And one of my fellow bloggers clearly thinks the same way.  And honestly what better excuse could there be.

And for me, this seems like the perfect way to get myself reading again, after about a week or so off from reading on a regular basis.

Here are my plans for the week:
• finish the first epoch of The Woman in White
• get a bit more of The Count of Monte Cristo, War & Peace, and Winter's Tale completed.
• try to get a bit more into Possession and Flight Behavior
• start reading The Goldfinch

I will see how things go and I am hoping that I get most, if not all of it crossed off.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mailbox Monday (Jan. 20)

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.

Got the last of my books that I ordered for Christmas and this will likely be my last Mailbox Monday for some time, unless I receive something for my birthday.  Here is what I received in the mail this past Thursday:

I got the book because I am planning on visiting London in the near future.

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Jan. 20)

t's Monday! What are you reading? is a fun weekly meme that is hosted by Shelia at Book Journey, in which we share what we've read and reviewed and what we plan on reading in the coming week.

Books finished this week:

Books reviewed this week:

Books I am planning on reading this week:
• War & Peace
• Possession
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Moon over Manifest
• Winter's Tale
• Flight Behavior
• The Woman in White

Monday, January 13, 2014

First Chapter - First Paragaph(s) - Tuesday Intros (Jan. 14)

Here is my choice for this week:
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
Originally published October 1983

There was a white horse, on a quiet winter morning when snow covered the streets gently and was not deep, and the sky was swept with vibrant stars, except in the east, where dawn was beginning in a light blue flood.  The air was motionless, but would soon start to move as the sun came up and winds from Canada came charging down the Hudson.

What do you think? Would you keep reading? If you wish to join, go to

#boutofbooks Day 7 & Wrap-up

Bout of Books

Yesterday no reading happened, unless you account for the numerous times I went to the CBC News website or scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed or read a bit of a newspaper this evening.  But if you asked if I read a book, I didn't.  I think part of it was that I was tired and the other half of it was that I just couldn't concentrate on any sort of reading.  I realize that this is a wrap-up, but I am hoping to do a bit more reading in the coming days, but time will tell.

As for what I did this past week, I think it was quite successful, in that I was able to finish two books and post the reviews for those books and I did manage read a bit more of The Count of Monte Cristo and got about 120 pages completed of Winter's Tale.  I guess one could say that I did have a successful week and thinking about it now, it was pretty successful and I am looking forward to the next Bout of Books.

Links from previous days:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3 
Day 4 
Day 5 
Day 6

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Jan. 13)

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

Books finished this week:
• Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

Books reviewed this week:
• Villette by Charlotte Bronte (review)
• Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews (review)

Books I am planning on working on this week:
• War & Peace
• Possession
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Moon over Manifest
• Winter's Tale

Hope you have a good reading week!

Mailbox Monday (Jan. 13)

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.

Got a number of the books that I had ordered on the gift card that I had purchased the e-books that I purchased last week.   A couple of them I received last Monday evening in a nice big box; the last one I picked up at the post office kiosk on Sunday morning.  Here is what I received:

I received Winter's Tale and The Goldfinch (along with the movie version of The Help) in a big box and have been reading Winter's Tale for most of the week (I borrowed the audio version of the book a few days earlier from the library and don't think I could be as far if I wasn't also listening to the audio at the same time).  I picked up Runaway on Sunday morning (thank goodness Canada Post has postal outlets in stores or I probably wouldn't have gotten till this afternoon).

I should get one more book in the post in the coming days, at least that is what the tracking information I have says.

Sunday Salon - Right Now (1/12/14)

Time: 3:43 pm
Place: Home
Listening: Not much
Eating: Going to grab a snack after I finish this and post.
Watching: The AFC Championship.  Looking like its a match up between Payton Manning and Tom Brady next week.
Reading: Right now, I am trying to read Winter's Tale, but am starting to get a bit bored with it.
Making: Made some meatballs for tomorrow night's dinner this afternoon.
Planning: On doing not much for the next few days; did a lot last week and am feeling a little bit tired.
Feeling: Frustrated.  I don't really know why, but it just seems like nothing is going the way that I would like it to.
Loving: that I can relax for a little bit.
Wanting: not to think much at the moment.
Thinking: that I just want to relax
Looking forward to: a more relaxed week in which I can watch some DVDs and read a little more.

• Starry Night by Debbie Macomber (review)
• Villette by Charlotte Bronte (review)
• Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews (review)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

#boutofbooks Day 6

Bout of Books

Got a little bit more done of Winter's Tale today, but not much else.  Am hopping that Sunday is a bit more successful.

Previous Days:
Links from previous days:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3 
Day 4 
Day 5

Friday, January 10, 2014

#boutofbooks Day 5

Bout of Books

Didn't do much reading today due to some things that I needed to get done, but I did get some reading done and completed up to Chapter 43 of The Count of Monte Cristo and a bit of a newspaper at the Starbucks that I hung out for most of the evening.

I didn't do a lot of reading primarily due to the fact that I am really tired and I had somethings that needed my attention.  I also felt like I just needed a day away from reading, as I had read 5 hours of Winter's Tale the day before.

I am hoping to get some reading done tomorrow afternoon and maybe some in the late evening hours, but how I feel will depend on how much is actually done.

Links from previous days:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3 
Day 4

Thursday, January 9, 2014

#boutofbooks Day 4

Bout of Books

Read mainly again from Winter's Tale today and at the moment I want to either read something really super light or just watch some TV before I go to bed or maybe a chapter from War & Peace.  I am really enjoying Winter's Tale and am hoping to get most, if not all of it done, before the movie comes out on February 14.

Did manage to complete Christmas Bliss before I went to sleep and posted my review here.

As for Friday, probably a bit more of Winter's Tale, start up Possession, and read from a number of the classics that I would like to work on before the readathon ends, but I'll see how I feel.  Till tomorrow.

Links from previous days:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Christmas Bliss - Mary Kay Andrews

Title: Christmas Bliss
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Pages: 294
Published: 2013
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Outdo Yourself
Genre: Fiction, Christmas, Romance
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Christmas is coming, but Savannah antique dealer Weezie Foley is doubly distracted both by her upcoming wedding to her longtime love, chef Daniel Stipanek and also by the fact that her best friend and maid-of-honor BeBe Loudermilk is due to give birth any day and is still adamantly refusing to marry her live-in-love Harry. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I saw this book reviewed by another blogger that I read on a regular basis and thought I would give this a try.  Not being able to get to this before Christmas, I was able to start it on New Years Day.   

It was clear from the outset that I had missed quite a bit of the back story of the two main characters, even though there is enough information given throughout the book that you don't really feel like you have to read the previous books to get the drift of the story.

It was a pretty decent read and quick to get through.  Its good for those times during the Christmas holiday season when you need to read something that will take a few days without much thought.

Bottom line: If you enjoy light-hearted romance books or just need something to get through a busy holiday season of parties and family gatherings, this is a perfect read.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pages for 2014: 990

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

#boutofbooks Day 3

Bout of Books

Today I mainly worked on reading Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin and ignored everything else that was on my list.  I also returned my library e-book of Life after Life, as I know that I wouldn't be able to complete it in the 6 days that I had remaining. 

I am hoping to complete Christmas Bliss before I head to sleep.

As for my plans for tomorrow, I don't really know, as I don't know if I am going to drive or take the bus (depends on how wet it is outside tomorrow and how much I feel like waiting in the rain for the bus).  But if I do, I will find something to read, whether it be on my e-reader or another book that I have available to read.  I will probably start reading Flight Behavior, but I'll see what mood I am in to start it.  I will likely do some reading of either The Count of Monte Cristo or War & Peace or both, but it will be dependent on time.

Links from previous days:
Day 1
Day 2

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

#boutofbooks Day 2

Bout of Books

Tuesday was a bit more successful, reading wise.  I got about half of Christmas Bliss completed, started reading Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (there's a movie coming out on Feb. 14 based on the book), and finished reading Villette this evening (you can read my review here).

As for my plans for Wednesday, I am hoping to possibly complete Christmas Bliss or get close to finishing, to get a bit more of Winter's Tale completed, and work on War & Peace and The Count of Monte Cristo a bit more.

Right now I want to go to sleep and get some much needed sleep.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2014

I know what some of you are thinking, but I am not going to go there.  This is a pretty simple challenge in that one can read anything classified as being non-fiction.  It can include memoirs, biographies, travel books, and anything else that one would be considered to be non-fiction.

The levels are as such:
Dilettante--Read 1-5 non-fiction books

Explorer--Read 6-10

Seeker--Read 11-15

Master--Read 16-20

This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2014. You can sign up anytime throughout the year.

Jen at the Introverted Reader is not limiting it to bloggers, but you can also link up to reviews that you leave on Goodreads, LibraryThing, or any other site that you leave reviews on.

You can do crossovers with other challenges and can read books in any format that you feel comfortable in.

I am going to aim for the Dilettante level.

If you wish to sign up for this particular challenge, you can click the photo above and link up there.   She also has a separate post to link up reviews.  Hope you can sign up.

Villette - Charlotte Brontë

Title: Villette
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Pages (File Size): 440 (917 KB)
Published: 2012 (originally published 1853)
Challenges: Ebook, The Classics Club, Outdo Yourself
Genre: Classics, Fiction
Edition: E-book
Source: Personal

Description: With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls’ boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster, and her own complex feelings, first for the school’s English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor, Paul Emmanuel. Charlotte Brontë’s last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I probably took too much time to read this book and should have completed the book in a quicker fashion and that influenced how I rated the book in the end.  But that being said, I did enjoy the book and is one that I would consider re-reading in the future to give myself a different perspective on the book.  

I do admit that my love of Jane Eyre did colour my view of this book and this is why I did read Villette; I wanted to say that I had read more than one Charlotte Brontë book.  

It definitely is a more mature read than Jane Eyre is and explores different things than what Jane Eyre, even though there are some similar themes in the two books, they explore them in different ways.  For example, they both deal with religion.  Whereas Jane Eyre deals with the balance between moral duty and earthly pleasure, Villette deals with the clashes between Lucy's Protestant background and Paul's Catholicism.

Even though Lucy and Jane seem to be around the same age at the start of the book, Lucy seems to be a more mature individual and more aware of what she wants and desires at the outset, while Jane seems to know what she wants and desires, its only when she leaves Thornfield Hall does she realize what she desires and wants.  And Villette seems to deal a little more on what it was like to be a teacher in a boarding school, whereas Jane Eyre deals more with governess aspects (although Anne's book, Agnes Grey, is much darker than Jane Eyre ever was).

Bottom line: If you have read any of Charlotte Brontë's other books and haven't read this one, I would recommend that you read it.  I will likely reread the book to get a better idea of the flow and also the French (that wasn't translated in my e-edition) that was spoken on a regular basis.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.75/5

Pages for 2014: 696

#boutofbooks Day 1

Bout of Books

Did a little bit of reading yesterday: read a couple chapters of Villette, a little bit of Life after Life and Christmas Bliss.  I am hoping to get some more reading completed, including completing Villette.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan. 6)

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

Books finished this week:
• Starry Night

Books reviewed this week:
Starry Night by Debbie Macomber (review)

Books I am planning on reading this week:
War & Peace
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Life after Life
• Moon over Manifest
• Christmas Bliss

Mailbox Monday (Jan. 6)

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their homes during the past week.  The meme started with Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued.  After a series of hosts of the past while, it is now being hosted at home base, the aptly named blog, Mailbox Monday.

I had some money left on a gift card that I received for Christmas, so I bought a few ebooks.  A couple of them are classics and one of them is a movie that is coming out this March.

(the middle book is The Canterbury Tales; didn't purchase copies
of the last two with those covers, but with different covers instead)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Starry Night - Debbie Macomber

Title: Starry Night
Author: Debbie Macomber
Pages: 256
Published: 2013
Challenges: Christmas Spirit, Outdo Yourself,  I Love Library Books
Genre: Christmas, Fiction, Romance
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author. 

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.
Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart. (via Goodreads)

Description: I picked this book basically based on the cover that I saw while roaming my library's OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog, if you wish to know what it means) and because it was a Christmas book that would qualify for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge.  I was just coming off reading Ms. Macomber's book Call Me Mrs. Miracle and I thought I would give the author another chance.

For at least the first half of the book, the writing was pretty decent and the storyline was intriguing and had me flipping through the book at a pretty quick pace.  But as the story went along, the story got into a somewhat predictable storyline.  It was a pretty easy read and something that could be easily consumed in the couple of months prior to Christmas, as the story is light and not too heavy-handed.  I could have probably finished this book in a day, but if read in a short spurts, one could easily finish it in a few days.

Bottom line: If you are looking for something for next year's Christmas holiday season, this is something that you should possibly consider or something of a similar ilk.  Also if you are a fan of Ms. Macomber's other books, I would possibly recommend this to you as well.  Recommended.

Rating: 3/5

Rating 2014: 256

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Goals

Bout of Books

As I stated earlier last month, Bout of Books 9.0 is coming up and I believe you can still sign up.    I have done this readathon pretty much from the start and despite my reservations at times, I do enjoy this one, as it helps me get some reading done when I might otherwise not get any done. And this comes at the perfect time.

If you don't know anything about Bout of Books, here is a brief description of it:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

So there you have the description and lets get onto what my goals are to be for this week long read-a-thon:

• get 14 chapters of The Count of Monte Cristo completed
• complete Life after Life and get some of the e-books I have borrowed completed or get major work done on them.
• read Book 10 of War & Peace
• start reading Possession by A.S. Byatt for the TuesBookTalk Read-a-long
• start reading a book for my TBR Pile reading challenge (there are two I am doing, but they basically have the same book list); probably will be something like Moon over Manifest.

I will be updating my progress on a daily basis, with my opening post on the 6th and my closing post on the 13th.

Read One Million Pages Challenge

I know that some of you are thinking what is she doing and is she nuts?   Well what I am doing is entering a challenge to read one million pages in my lifetime.  And yes, I am nuts.  Its a pretty simple concept: read one million pages.   If you wish to join me in the challenge, you can sign up at Smiling Shelves.

I don't know what the rate would be at about 20,000 pages per year, but gathering on the information that I can gather from the blog that is hosting this that it may take me about 50 years, but if I read more, it would take me a shorter amount of time.  Not this year, but in 2015, I will keep a running total at the end of book reviews so that (a) its easier for me to keep track of the number of pages read and (b) you can see my progress.  I will also update this page at the end of each year and get a progress bar set up, if I can find a site that does this sort of thing that just adds it up for me).


Challenge Addicts 2014

Hi, my name is Melissa and I'm a Reading Challenge Addict.

Here are the reading challenges that I have signed up for this coming year (2014):

Back to the Classics
Chunkster Challenge
Ebook Reading Challenge
Eclectic Reader Challenge
Finishing the Series Reading Challenge
Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 
I Love Library Books Reading Challenge 
Nonfiction Reading Challenge
Outdo Yourself Challenge 
Pre-Printing Press Challenge 
Shakespeare Reading Challenge 
TBR Pile Challenge 
TBR Pile Reading Challenge @ Bookish 
War Through the Generations 

I have entered into 14 different challenges to start of the year and will aim for the In-flight level.

Challenges I gave up on:

Challenges I failed:

Reading challenges completed:

2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge Sign-Up

2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

For full rules and challenge details, please visit The Book Vixen

I did this last year didn't do too well, so I am going to scale back and aim for Getting my heart rate up level.

I will probably do an update post at the start of each month to let people know where I am and to link to reviews for this challenge (and other challenges) that were read during the course of the month.

First Book of the Year 2014

Happy New Year!  I hope everybody isn't too tired after celebrating and that you are ready to start a new year of reading and finding new books.  And even though I am still a little groggy from last night, I am ready to start a new year of reading and exploring new books.

And to start the year off, I am going to start off with Christmas Bliss; it looks like a fairly easy read and something that I can probably finish today as I watch a couple of hockey games (one this afternoon and one this evening).

I hope you all have a quiet and relaxing day, however you have chosen to spend it!
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