Friday, August 28, 2015

Write On Review-a-thon

I realize that this might be up a bit later than when I had hoped to have this up, but I suppose later than never.  This is just my official sign-up for the book review-a-thon at Book Vixen.  I am hoping to get a number of my book reviews that I need to work on.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sunday Salon - A relative busy week of blogging

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

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

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

Here is what appeared on the blog this past week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 14, 2015

After the War is Over - Jennifer Robson

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3.25/5

Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 2.75/5

Madame Picasso - Anne Girard

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5/5

Book Beginnings & The Friday 56 - To Kill a Mockingbird

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

3rd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon Sign-up

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WWW Wednesdays - Aug. 12

Formerly hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, who now blogs at A Daily Rhythm, the meme has been picked up by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The three W's are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

Currently reading: I am currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah Maclean, The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness and Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. 

Recently finished: Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking and The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

Reading Next: Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella, The Odyssey by Homer, Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson.

Sorry that this late; I spent the day with family and didn't get home until a few hours ago.

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Aug. 10)

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

I would have posted earlier, but I was feeling a little groggy last night and hence didn't post last night.

It wasn't a busy week of reading, but I think that this week will be a little more busy, as I will have to get the books I have signed out from the library completed before I return them this coming weekend.

Last week

Didn't finish anything.  I didn't read much from either The Book of Life or Travelling to Infinity for some reason, but did start read To Kill a Mockingbird and A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean.  And I am vowing not to start anything else before I finish these four books.

Current read(s)

• A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
• To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
• The Book of LIfe by Deborah Harkness
• Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking

Coming up this week:

I will try to finish up the books that I have as my current reads right now as much as possible and will likely read The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot as well.

• Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (review)
• Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (review)

As for my plans outside of reading, at this point I really don't know.  Probably go to the pool for an afternoon or two and do some swimming and reading.  I will also likely take some walks, as I have been too much of a coach potato for the past few days and need to get back into my walking routine.

What books are you reading this week? Any plans outside of reading?

Musing Mondays (Aug. 10)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION:  Do you read in the water (bathtub, pool, etc.)? Why, or why not?
I am currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Travelling to Infinity, and a couple of others.  I don't know what I will read next.
I don't read in the water because I had a bad experience one time in getting a book waterlogged that wasn't my own.  It was a library book and had to pay for the book in the end and wasn't too pleased about it.  I tend more to read by the water (usually a pool or a beach) because its nice and relaxing for me and it also gives me the chance to do some swimming, if I choose to.  Have a great week everyone!

Bout of Books 14 sign-up #boutofbooks

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, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

As most of you that have been following this blog for sometime, know that I enjoy this particular read-a-thon or that I have participated in most of them over the years.  This year is no different and it gives me an excellent excuse to get some of the books I have been wanting to get done, done.  But because of the time is about a week in the future, I at the present time have no idea as to what I am going to read, as some books that I would want to work on during this time may be completed by that time.  So my plan is to update this post with the books that I plan to read probably later in the week or I might put up a separate post with the titles.

But I will put down a list for the time being:

• Jacob Have I Loved
• The Odyssey
• Far from the Maddening Crowd
• Belzhar

The list may or may not be expanded, but when the read-a-thon starts on the 17th, I will probably put up a master post with the actual books that I will read.  In the meantime, Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Salon - Short and sweet

I realize that this is going up later than most of the other posts, but better later than never.

For whatever reason, I have started to get back into my blogging routine.  Maybe its because I finally feel comfortable into my blogging routine or its just that I miss writing here. Its also that the last little while hasn't been as busy as July was.

While I didn't get any books completed, I am starting to get back into my reading routine a little more, which means that I'll probably finish something sooner rather than later.

I did a bunch of posting this past week on the blog including a bunch of memes and reviews for Ella Enchanted and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

If you wish to view the stuff that I posted last week, you can go to the main page and view the stuff posted from last week.

As for my plans for this coming week, I am hoping to do the same memes plus a few more book reviews and also linking up them reviews with the various challenges I am involved with for the coming year.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Snapshot (Aug. 8)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

This past Tuesday my dad and I went on go-carts that go down a hill.  The carts are non-motorized and were really fun.  My mom took photos of my dad and I as we went down.  Here are some photos of me on the go-karts.

Being pulled up by a tow-rope

Starting to come down the course

A little further down the course

A little more down the course

Concentrating on the next corner

Closing on in the end of the end of the course

I really enjoyed the activity and went again today and had even more fun on the course.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 607
Published: 2005
Challenges: Finishing the Series, Harry Potter Re-Read, Chunkster
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Personal

Description: It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys' house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce-one-to-one duel with Dumbledore with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can't quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys' of all places. Why is the professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks' time? Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine ... (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This is one of my favourite books in the Harry Potter series for a number of reasons.  My first reason is that the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore.  Dumbledore is able to impart information to Harry in way that doesn't make Harry feel inadequate or a child, but rather in a mature manner that allows Harry to ask the questions that he needs to ask.  Secondly, it shows how Harry has grown since the last book, not only in age but also in maturity and knowledge of what lies ahead for him.  The final reason that I like this book is because the author allows the book to build and gives the reader just enough to wonder what is going on but still be surprised by what happens, especially when reading he book for the first time.

Bottom line: While I had moments in which I felt that the book was hard sometimes to get through, I found the book to be a pleasurable and enjoyable read.  The book is a good continuation of the series and is an excellent jumping off point for the final book in the series.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.75/5

If you have read this book, what did you like or didn't like about the book?

Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine

Title: Ella Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
File Size (Pages): 1513 KB (272)
Published: 2012 (first published 1997)
Challenges: Eclectic Reader, E-book, I Love Libraries, Snagged @ the Library, Readers to the Rescue
Genre: Children's, Fantasy
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy's gift -- the "gift' of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse -- once and for all.

In this incredible debut novel comes the richly entertaining story of Ella of Frell, who at birth was given the gift of obedience by a fairy. Ella soon realizes that this gift is little better than a curse, for how can she truly be herself if at anytime anyone can order her to hop on one foot, or cut off her hand, or betray her kingdom'and she'll have to obey?  (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I read this book to fulfill the Eclectic Reading challenge and had heard a number of good things about the book that I felt that I needed to check out this book. 

I felt that the first half of the book was disjointed and I didn't know where the book was headed, but I did enjoy the second half of the book and felt that it was better than the first half.  While the first half felt disjointed to me, one could definitely see elements from the Cinderella fairy tale.

Bottom line: Felt that the first half was a bit disjointed, but saw many elements of the Cinderella fairy tale in the second half.  I would highly recommend the book for middle-grade readers and recommend the book for adults who enjoy fairy tale retellings.

Rating: 3.2/5

If you have read this book, what did you like or not like about it?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

WWW Wednesdays - Aug. 5

Formerly hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, who now blogs at A Daily Rhythm, the meme has been picked up by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The three W's are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

Currently reading: I am currently reading The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness and Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking.

Recently finished: Nothing really in the last couple of weeks.

Reading Next: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, The Odyssey by Homer and The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

I am sorry for the shortness of the post; I am hoping that next weeks post is a bit more longer.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Musing Mondays (Aug. 3)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: ((No random question, this week, as it’s a holiday, and I’ve got nothin’!))

I am currently reading The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness and Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawkins.  What I plan on reading next is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, and The Odyssey by Homer; translated by Robert Fagles.

Here are the books that I received this past week:
• Print Books:

  •  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë *
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  • Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella*
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
• E-books
  • Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson*
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (pre-order)
* purchased these books prior to this week

Have a good week!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Aug.3)

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

Since my last post on this meme, I have read a number of books, but my reviewing has gone down substantially.  I am hoping to work on book reviews tomorrow (Monday) and have some of them up on the blog within the week.

I am also going to change things up a little bit with how I go about this meme based on something I have seen from another participant.

Last Week

I read quite a bit out of Travelling to Infinity and started The Book of Life again.  I am hoping to finish both of them by the end of the week; just have to get myself calm enough to get into a reading mood, but knowing how I am thinking, I should be able to get into my reading mode in the next day or two.  Part of the reason for the lack of reading was because of travel and for some reason, I was unable to read much.

Current Read(s)

Still currently reading Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking (Stephen Hawking's first wife) and its a fairly thick and dense book, even though I can get into the book quite easily, and The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness.

Coming Up this Week

I hope to start To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Odyssey by Homer (this one is a book club read) and possibly The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

As for my non-book activities, I hoping to go paddle-boarding with my dad this coming week and hopefully go on a go-Kart for the first time.  All are weather dependent.  If not, I have Secret Garden to work on.

Happy Monday to all!

What books are you reading this week? Any plans outside of reading?

Mailbox Monday

Image from the Mailbox Monday site

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

I have been on a bit of a book buying spree.  One was a book that I had pre-ordered back in the spring because I knew I would get a better deal by pre-ordering it than if I bought it when the book came out. And in addition to the paper books that I purchased, I also purchased a few e-books as well, one of which is being released in October.

Here are the paper books I purchased:

• Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
• The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
• A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
• Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
• Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Here are the e-books I have ordered and pre-ordered:

• Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
• Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
• The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (pre-order)

Happy reading 

Sunday Salon - A busy July

I can say that with no uncertainty that July was a busy month for me.  It wasn't exactly busy month of reading, in fact it probably was one of my worst reading months in a number of months.  There were some very valid reasons as to why to was not exactly great reading wise.  The main reason was that I was really busy with family and friends.

It was a month that was busy from the start. A friend invited me to a BBQ she and her parents were hosting and it was excellent.  My friend is trained as a chef and loves to cook just as much as she loves to read.  Once for a book club meeting she was hosting, she made lamb shanks and the meat just fell off the bone; it was so good.  Anyways for the BBQ, she had created three different sliders, each representing three different provinces.  The first was a salmon slider with some sort of tarter sauce.  I liked it (she grilled salmon fillets instead of making a salmon patty).  Then there was a whisky BBQ with some fried onions on top.  By the time that I ate that one, I was stuffed and it was a bit cold so it was a bit meh.  The third one was one made with a cheese from Quebec and I enjoyed that one the most.  Salads were brought by various individuals, one of them was an amazing potato salad.  For desert, she made a berry creme fraiche and a Nanaimo bar ice cream, both of which were lovely.

I had a few days to recover and clean before my mom came down, not before I managed to tear out a set of pot rack that were attached to my kitchen wall while cleaning them, as I was cleaning the tops of my cupboards.  Don't worry, I had taken my pots down the night before I wiped them down and nothing other than the wall was damaged.  My mom came down on the 7th and she made a lovely dinner of corn on the cob and watermelon and went to see a production of Bard on the Beach (its a Shakespeare company in Vancouver that puts on performances in a local park and no they aren't free and yes you have to buy tickets) with my mom and a former colleague of hers (we saw Love's Labours Lost), after spending some time in Granville Island having dinner at a restaurant and wandering around the Public Market on Granville Island.

The next night, the 9th, I went out with friends to a local seafood place before family started to arrive in town on the 10th to celebrate my grandpa's 90th birthday.  On the 11th, about 17 of us had pizza and had a little family time before the celebration on the 12th.  Either on the 13th or 14th, a number of us went to the nearby town of Harrison Hot Springs and did a few things on the way there, including a small hike up to Cascade Falls.  The next few days were fairly restful and relaxing and filled with me getting reading to go to Sun Peaks, to spend sometime with my parents.

After my dad went to a concert with his brother, he and I headed up on the 18th and had nice relaxing drive, which included a stop in Kamloops to get some things that were needed (okay, the shopping trip was about a couple of hours, as it included being in a Costco on a Saturday).    Dad and I had a few days to catch our breath, before my parents and I headed for a small family trip to see family in Alberta and Saskatchewan on the 24th.  There was a purpose to the trip, but first we stopped at my dad's eldest sister's place in Vulcan, Alberta for about a day and a half before heading out to Outlook, Saskatchewan on early Sunday morning for a 50th wedding anniversary that was held for my dad's Uncle Al and Aunt Kay.  As somebody mentioned, it was sort of a mini-reunion for Uncle Paul's family (Uncle Paul was my paternal grandfather, who passed away about 9 years ago), as we were the largest contingent of the Wiebe nieces and nephews that were there.  It was great to see relatives that I had barely met, even if it was only for an afternoon.  On Monday morning, we were headed out of town to met up with my sister who lives in Edmonton.  But on our way to Edmonton, we stopped in the four communities in northern Saskatchewan that my dad had grown up in before he and his parents and younger brother moved to BC in 1967.   After taking our final photos in Lashburn, Saskatchewan, we headed to the Alberta capital.

Tuesday we spent the day with my sister Deanna, as she drove us to various stores, including the largest Canadian Tire known to man kind.  It has two levels and it even has an escalator for your buggy!  It was insane!  I also managed to spend quite a bit of money at a nearby Indigo bookstore, before we met my mom's brother and family (what was there) for dinner at Louisana Purchase (its a southern comfort food restaurant and the Banana's Foster was really good).  And the next day, the three of us were up early, making the 10+ hour drive back to Sun Peaks.

When we got here, my dad's youngest brother and his wife were already here at Sun Peaks and met with them at various points over the last three days (Thurs., Fri., Sat.), before they left to go back to Whitehorse, where they live.

If you are thinking that I am exhausted, I am.  But it is a good kind of exhausted and I am looking forward to more relaxing August, before both my jobs start up again in the fall and the planning for my trip to Europe next summer starts in earnest.  And this why I didn't really read that much.

What my reading plans for the coming month are to complete Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking, The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, and The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot and I hope to start reading The Odyessey by Home for my book club read.  I also hope to continue work on my copy of Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book, but I think I will slow down on that as I did quite a bit during the month of July.

Hope you have a relaxing Sunday and whatever remains of your summer.
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