Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Salon - What I have been up to

As I write this, I am currently catching up on the 11th season of Grey's Anatomy and on book reviews.  I also am short on what to talk about today, so this might be a little on the short side.

So I bet what some of you are wondering what I have been up to since I last posted a Sunday Salon.  Well, up until about a week ago, not much. Basically I was just surviving and trying not to freak out too much.  For some reason I haven't really been able to read too much and it was like a chore for me.  It wasn't like I had totally gone cold turkey on reading, its just that I had days were I wouldn't pick up a book for a number of days before reading again.

But out of necessity, I was able to finish 5 books in about a week.  And when I finished the fifth book last night, I felt good, but exhausted.  And now I feel drained, but feeling as though I will be able to pick up a book up again sometime in the next few hours.  I hope to get something done in the next day or two.

I think partly the reason was that I was involved with a therapy group and it was becoming emotionally draining towards the end of the 10 sessions and that by the time I was feeling better, I was just about to go to back to my therapy group and the cycle happened all over again.  It also didn't help that my work schedule was chaotic for about a month, due to holidays, me taking a sick day and other things out of my control.  And despite Christmas coming down upon us, I am starting to feel rather calm about things and feel as though I can get through the hustle and bustle that is the Christmas season; just have to get my cards out to people and I will basically be done.

I hope you have a relaxing Sunday.  Off to do some reading...

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 366
Published: 2004 (first published 1998)
Challenges: Harry Potter Re-Read
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Edition: Mass-Market Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: Ever since Harry Potter had come home for the summer, the Dursleys were so mean and hideous that all Harry wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike. 

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor and a spirit who haunts the girls' bathroom. But then the real trouble begins--someone is turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself! (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I quite enjoyed this reading of the book and emersion into the Harry Potter universe.  There were several things that I enjoyed about this reading of the book.  While did not glean any further insight to the book, I really liked how the universe was opened that more with further areas being explored and more characters introduced or used a bit more than the first book.

I also liked how the story arc of the series continues by continuing to use aspects of the first book in the second book (e.g. the use of Harry's Parseltongue) and how the book refers to certain aspects of the first book, but not everything mentioned within the first book.  As well, I liked how the the book was a little more coherent than the first book and how everything seemed to have some sort of purpose to it and that the book did not dwell too much on Harry's past and concentrated at the mystery.

Bottom line: A really good continuation of the Harry Potter series and really helps to move the story arc along.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.75/5

Pages for 2014: 26, 363

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 332
Published: 2004 (first published 1997)
Challenges: Harry Potter Re-Read
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Edition: Mass-Market Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Escaping from his unbearable Muggle guardians to Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles into a sinister adventure when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous, or both. (via blurb on book)

Thoughts: This was my 3rd time reading the book since I started this blog and just like the first time that I read the book (before I had this blog), I really enjoyed the book.  What I liked about the book was  how the characters were drawn and also how the book was built over the course of the book, especially  how elements of the book were introduced to the reader in the same way that they were introduced to Harry.  I also liked how there were some shades of ambiguity brought into the book and not everything was clearly black and white.  But I did feel that the first book ended a little too tidy for my liking.

Bottom line: It was a really good start to the series and would probably appeal to most readers.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.75/5

Pages for 2014: 25,997

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

Title: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)
Author: Deborah Harkness
Pages (File size): 579 (1.5 MB)
Published: 2011
Challenges: Chunkster, E-books, I Love Libraries
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.  (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: Even though there were times that it was difficult for me to concentrate on the book and felt that it was a little slow at times, I liked how the author was able to draw the reader into the story and allow us to root for the two main characters. 

I can see where some readers have had an issue with the book, as the book does seem to drag a bit during the middle portion of the book, but I felt that the middle was probably the strongest part of the book.

Bottom line: It was a pretty good start to the series and I am looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.  If you have enjoyed other paranormal fantasy books, you probably will enjoy this book.  Recommended.

Rating:  3.75/5

Pages for 2014: 25,665

If you have enjoyed this book, what did you think of it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget

In honour of those who have sacrifice their lives and continue to do so for their country, this will be my only post here today.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Nov. 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.

Books finished this week:

Books reviewed this week:

Books I hope to finish this week:
• A Sudden Light
• Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
• A Discovery of Witches

Books I hope to work on this week:
• Lawrence in Arabia
• The Woman in White
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Five Days at Memorial
• Anna and the French Kiss
• Delicious!
• The Color Purple
• The Thousand Dollar Tan
• Howard's End

Sunday Salon - Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon, Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge and Thankfully Reading sign-ups

I know that the Sunday Salon is a place to talk about one is reading and other bookish related things, not sign up for reading challenges/read-a-thons,  but it is also a space that I can do with what I like. So I am going to use that for those things for that reason.

Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon
I have done this for at least a couple of years and this will be my third time doing this read-a-thon.  The best part of this read-a-thon is that you only have to read at least one holiday tale during the read-a-thon and since it happens during Jenn's Bookshelves Thankfully Reading Weekend, its a nice way of easing into the holiday season.

Here are a few guidelines that Michelle has give for the Read-a-Thon:

  • Read-a-Thon dates: Monday, November 24 at 12:00am CST until Sunday, November 30 at 11:59pm CST (adjust your time zone accordingly)
  • You do not have to be signed up for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge to participate (but I sure would love for you to join us!)
  • I am not requiring that you read only Christmas/holiday books during the read-a-thon, but I hope you will pick up at least one holiday tale, even if it's just to read some children's books with your kids or some holiday short stories
  • to check in on Twitter, we'll use hashtag #CSreadathon
  • as usual, you do not have to have a blog to participate...feel free to link up and check in from Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
And in conjunction with the Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon, Michelle is also hosting The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge.  I think this is my fourth or fifth year participating, but at this point I don't know.

Here are the guidelines for the reading challenge:

  • challenge will run from Monday, November 24, 2014 through Tuesday, January 6, 2014 (Twelfth Night or Epiphany).
  • cross over with other challenges is totally permitted AND encouraged!
  • These must be Christmas novels, books about Christmas lore, a book of Christmas short stories or poems, books about Christmas crafts, and for the first time...a children's Christmas books level!
  • Levels:
            --Candy Cane:  read 1 book
            --Mistletoe:  read 2-4 books
            --Christmas Tree:  read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!)
          Additional levels:
            --Fa La La La Films:  watch a bunch or a few Christmas's up to you!
            --Visions of Sugar Plums:  read books with your children this season and share what you read
          *the additional levels are optional, you still must complete one of the main reading levels above

I am going for the Christmas Tree level and will also be doing Fa La La La Films.

Even though Thanksgiving Weekend is long gone in Canada, I can't give up an excuse to spend a weekend reading.  Here are the details for the reading weekend:

There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for the year. 

You still have plenty of time to sign up and I hope that you will sign up for one or all of them.

Did not finish anything this past week nor did I post any reviews.  Happy reading.

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