Showing posts from February, 2012

Goodreads Catch-up Readathon #3

I totally forgot to update with this readathon the last two days.  On Sunday night/Monday morning I was completing Catherine the Great and for some reason on Sunday night I totally forgot, as I did last night.  Not a big deal.  Since I haven't posted, I have managed to finish Catherine the Great and The Great Gatsby and started to read Sarah's Key, of which I managed to get about 40% of the book done while sitting in a lounge chair near a pool yesterday. Its a good beach read and has me interested in the roundup in Paris that occurred in mid-July 1942.    I also started reading The Hound of the Baskervilles again and hope to get a large portion of the book completed before I get home in the next 36 hours.

I hope you all have a good reading day and I hope to update in the next 36 hours or as soon as I can.

Teaser Tuesdays (Feb. 28)

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

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

The girl fell upon the food that was placed in front of her, cramming it into her mouth with slurping noises her mother would have detested.  It was heaven.  It seemed she had never tasted such savory, delicious soup.  Such fresh, soft bread.  Creamy, rich Brie cheese.  Succulent, velvety peaches.  Rachel ate more slowly.  Glancing across at her, the girl saw that Rachel was pale.  Her hands were trembling, her eyes feverish.

~p. 117, Sarah's Key by Tat…

What's on Your Nightstand - February 28

Its been quite a month of reading.  I have finished a number of looong books, but some them in e-format, which has been a bit of a challenge due to the fact that my e-reader doesn't have e-ink available and therefore means I will likely have to get a second e-reader in order to read out in the sunshine, when summer comes in a few months, or at least when the warmer weather comes.

That aside, it was an amazing month for reading and despite the fact that I am getting a little tight on time for a couple of books, one will have to likely to wait until early March to finish/complete, I have read and reviewed a number of fascinating books, which the last two books that I completed in the last two days don't have a review, but will be posted alongside the March books.  I digress.

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
3. The Scarlet Letter
4. The Help
5. The Cat's Table
6. The Marriage Plot
7. The Gift
8. Harry Potter a…

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

This weeks choice:
Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay Originally published June 12, 2007
The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door.  Her room was closest to the entrance of the apartment.  At first, dazed with sleep, she thought it was her father, coming up from his hiding place in the cellar.  He'd forgotten his keys, and was impatient because nobody had heard his first, timid knock.  But then came the voices, strong and brutal in the silence of the night.  Nothing to do with her father. "Police! Open up! Now!"
Would you continue reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (Feb. 27)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

What I am planning on reading this week:
Anna KareninaBattle Hymn of The Tiger MotherBleak HouseLes MiserablesMacbethMadame TussaudSarah's KeyThe Great GatsbyThe Hound of the BaskervillesWhat I finished and reviewed this week (or at  least since the post):
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
 • The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
 • 11/22/63
 • My Life in France
 • Anya's Ghost

What is up next:
I don't know; its been a weird two weeks, being on vacation and I just want to concentrate on the ones that I am planning on reading this week.

Musing Mondays (Feb. 27)

Should be Reading asks this week:

• Do you read books that are part of a series?
• Do you collect all the book in a series before starting?  What if the series is brand new, and the only book that's been published so far is Book One? As subsequent books in the series are published, do you go back and re-read the series?

Yes, I do read the series.  As I usually read the series when its already published, I don't usually have that problem of re-reading the series.  But if I do read a series as the books are being published, I usually don't go back and re-read the series, unless of course its a series that one needs to go and re-read the series, depending on how big the books are of course.

Sunday Salon - Not a great week...

It has and it hasn't been a great reading week.  While I have read a lot, I have only finished one book this week.  I guess I am comparing myself to the other weeks in which I have usually have had 2 or more book reviews up, especially lately.  And that partly has to do with the fact that I have been trying to finish Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman and seems to have zapped any sort of reading will out of me. I will and have read great portions out of the ebook, but it seems that any time I finish with reading it, I don't want to read anything else.  I think part of the reason is that the book is so dense that one can't just plow through the book like they would with a novel.

Its not that I don't like it, I do, but it just seems that when I am finished with a section, I can't read anything else.  Its like I have to will myself to read something else because it zaps so much energy out of me.

That being said, has anybody else experienced that feeling that af…

Goodreads Catch-up Readathon #2

Well, didn't get much done today.  I maybe read about 30 pages and that was only from one book and I haven't even gotten to Macbeth or Hound of Baskervilles or Catherine the Great.  The main problem is that these three are on my ereader and its not great in the sun.  Now if I had an ereader that allowed me to read it in the sun, I would be working on the three of them.  Oh well, guess I will be staying up late tonight working on Catherine the Great and possibly the other two and that's not to mention that I should be starting Bleak House this week.  But with a plane trip on Wednesday, I will possibly get a good chuck of the freebies (Catherine the Great needs to be returned by then and I plan on getting it finished before its due and has to be returned) while I head home from my vacation or maybe I will just sleep.  I am thinking I am going to read Sarah's Key next weekend, as I would like to not rushing to finish the book before my bookclub on the 10th.

I hope everyb…

Goodreads Catch-up Readathon - Update #1

I think I read quite a bit today.  While I didn't get a lot done during the daytime due to activities that prevented me from reading, I did manage to get in quite a bit of reading during the evening hours.  I finished the first chapter of an ARC that I totally forgot I had (and clearly need to read) and I got a bit more of Catherine the Great completed (thinking of reading a bit more before I go off to dream land; the book is making me sleep at times, despite that the topic is quite interesting!).   I am guessing I probably read somewhere around 50-75 pages today, which for me is pretty average, but I still was unable to get to a number of my books that I really do need to get completed by the end of the month.  I am thinking I am going to concentrate on The Hound of the Baskervilles and Catherine the Great and just kinda wait and see with the others at this point, even though I do know I need to get Bleak House started this week.

TGIF at GReads - Required Reading

TGIF is a weekly feature created and hosted by GReads! that re-caps the week’s posts and has different question each week.

This week's question: Which book from your school days do you remember reading & enjoying? Is there a book published now that you'd like to see in today's curriculum for kids?

I loved to read and was always reading whether it be on the bus after school or during my lunch hour, at least before I switched schools for my final two years of high school.  My favourite reads from high school was A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  The reason that I fell in love with the book was that it was a fairly short Dickens novel and also it had the historical element that I thoroughly enjoyed learning about.  When it came to university, my history profs occasionally assigned a book and the one that I changed how I felt about was All Quiet on the Western Front.  I had read it in Grade 12 for English and didn't really like it, but when a history prof of mine…

Goodreads Catch-Up Read-a-thon

Even though I am on schedule to make my goal for this coming year, I have books that I am behind on and when I saw this come through on another blog this past evening (Thursday), I knew that I had to do it. Stephanie at Once Upon a Chapter is hosting this one.  Here are the details from her blog:

*Will run from 2/24 (12:01 AM) to 3/1 (11:59 PM).

*If you are a blogger, please do a post announcing your participation. If you want to do all of your updating from one post, that is completely fine by me. (You can also grab the smaller button below.)

*I will be having mini-challenges throughout the week. Two for US residents and one for my international friends!

*I can’t stress this enough: HAVE FUN with the read-a-thon!

To sign up, visit her BLOG

What will I be reading?

Les Miserables.  I am horribly behind on this book and I need to get caught up on it.
Anna Karenina.  Another one that I am horribly behind on.
• Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.  Even though I am not behind on …

Anya's Ghost - Vera Brosgol

Title: Anya's Ghost
Author: Vera Brosgol
Pages: 224 pages
Published: 2011
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Graphic Novels, Young Adult
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part . . . Of all the things Anya expected to find atthe bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century. Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs. Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol. (via

Thoughts:  Overall, I thought it was very good and quite honestly, it was a quick read for me.  While it was only 224 pages, it s…

WWW Wednesdays (Feb. 22)

This is a weekly book meme hosted by MizB 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?

My answers:
1. What are you currently reading?
Anna KareninaCatherine the Great: portrait of a womanLes MiserablesMacbethSarah's KeyThe Great GatsbyThe Hound of the Baskervilles 2. What did you currently finish reading?
• Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (review)
• The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a few simple lessons transformed nine culinary novices into fearless home cooks (review)
• 11/22/63 (review)
• My Life in France (review)

3. What do you think you'll be reading next?
I am not really sure, but probably Madame Tussaud.

Sunday Salon - What a week!

What a week it has been!  Glad that week is finally done!

It was indeed a busy week for me, as I had to get my library account basically divested of any remaining materials that I had on hand and return them and in fact I have 2 materials checked out between the three library accounts I have (one I haven't had books out from in years) and the materials that I do have are from the same library (there is a reason for this and you will understand why in a couple of weeks).  And this meant a lot of reading and not putting up blog posts, although somehow I managed to put up quite a few in the meantime (don't know how that happened).

One was an ebook that was nearing the end of my accessibility and the others were physical library materials that needed to be returned (one audiobook and 2 books) by the middle of the week, hence I was able to get most of what I wanted to get done, which was a miracle cause I was reading one of them until basically the bitter end and managed to finish…

Two Book Reviews - The Kitchen Counter Cooking School and My Life in France

No cooking this week, but I got two foodie books done this past week, one has elements of a cookbook in it and the other is memoir.  I hope you enjoy both reviews and if you feel inclined to do so, leave a review.  (You can view the review by clicking on review.)

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a few simple lessons transformed nine culinary novices into fearless home cooks (review)

My Life in France (review)

Have a good weekend.

My Life in France - Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme

Title: My Life in France
Author: Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme
File Size (Pages): 6828 KB (353)
Published: 2007 (first published 2006)
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Memoir, Non-fiction
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description:Julia Child singlehandedly created a new approach to American cuisine with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she was not always a master chef. Indeed, when she first arrived in France in 1948 with her husband, Paul, who was to work for the USIS, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever with her newfound passion for cooking and teaching. Julia’s unforgettable story – struggles with the head of the Cordon Bleu, rejections from publishers to whom she sent her now-famous cookbook, a wonde…

Bleak House Read-Along Starting Post

I got an email yesterday about a readalong for Bleak House and didn't know what to do because I am also supposed to be reading other stuff for other challenges and have yet to get reading them.  I suppose it doesn't help that I have been trying to get ebooks from the library (and regular books as well) completed. So hence I was a little hesitant to start yet another one.

I have been wanting to read Bleak House for a while and after a few hours away from the computer, I thought I would do it after all.  I am going to be reading the etext from Gutenburg, but marking my progress with the Penguin Classics version (pictured next to the text).  Here is a quick synopsis of the book from

Often considered Charles Dickens’s masterpiece, Bleak House blends together several literary genres—detective fiction, romance, melodrama, and satire—to create an unforgettable portrait of the decay and corruption at the heart of English law and society in the Victorian era.


TGIF at GReads - Book Blogger Pride

TGIF is a weekly feature created and hosted by GReads! that re-caps the week’s posts and has different question each week.

This week's question: What do you take pride in when it comes to blogging?

Its really hard to tell, but I think when a discussion starts to take place among myself and others on something that I have blogged about.

The one blog post that I take pride in is when I wrote a Sunday Salon post back in late August on the aspect of depression, An Open Dialogue. It was something that I wasn't sure to write about but it really was my favourite piece.  I didn't care that I had gotten few comments on my site, but it did open up a discussion on my main twitter account (@melissawiebe) on the day that I posted it.

I suppose this is to say that I am proud of posts from time to time that strike a conversation in people, without any sort of prompting and somebody just wants to talk about it, which seems to be happening less and less these days, as it seems few people actu…

Harry Potter Books 1 and 2 Discussion Questions

The Reading Fever is hosting a year-long readalong of the Harry Potter series.  After a rocky start, she finally posted the link-ups and discussion questions.

1.  What was your first very first impression of Harry Potter himself? Did your impression change at the end of the first book?
 I don't really remember what my first impression him was, due to the fact that I have read two more books in the series since reading the first one back in January and since I have read the first book at least four or five times and the first time I had read a book, it was after I had already watched at least the first three movies, so my impressions were probably vastly different than it probably should have been.  But that being said, my first impressions of Harry is that he's definitely a kid whose a loner due to the fact that he's just different than all the other kids and also Dudley probably scares him off as soon as he can.

2. At what point in either book did you decide that you di…

11/22/63 - Stephen King

Title: 11/22/63
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 864
Published: 2011
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library, 2012 Chunkster Challenge, 2012 Historical Fiction Challenge
Genre: Historical fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American c…

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks - Kathleen Flinn

Title: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks
Author: Kathleen Flinn
Pages: 304
Published: 2011
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Non-fiction, Foodie books
Edition: Hardcover and Audio
Source: Library

Description: The author of "The Sharper Your Knife" tells the inspiring story of how she helped nine others find their inner cook.

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next, until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultraprocessed foods. Flinn's "chefternal" instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals.

"The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" includes practical, healthy tips that boost readers' culinary self-confidence, and strategies to get the most from their grocery dollar, and simp…

Sunday Salon - What is it with the fascination with early 1960s?

I realize that this is early, but I thought about something as I watch "Freedom Riders", which looks at the Freedom Rides in the summer of 1961, and I am wondering what is with the early part of the 1960s that has North America so fascinated, at least lately.

If it isn't the show Mad Men, its books, movies, and documentaries that deal with the period. While it isn't as prolific as maybe stuff on World War II, it is starting to get that way.  Was it because of something like Hurricane Katerina making us realize that we still are so racially divided or was it the electing of Barak Obama, who was born in the early part of the 1960s, or is it people starting to realize that the race issue in the States needs to be dealt with on a more deeper level, as some sort of acknowledgement of what still is an issue, even though it is just lying underneath the surface or is it the fact that in the next decade there will be several commemorations of what happened in what happened d…

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 317
Published: 1999
Challenges: 2012 Harry Potter Reading Challenge
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Edition: Hardcover and Audio
Source: Purchased and Library

Description:  Harry Potter is a very unusual boy. He can't wait to get back to school after the Summer holidays! But that's not the only unusual thing about Harry; Harry's school is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Harry is a wizard! But when Harry, along with his best friends Ron and Hermione, go back for their third year at Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There's an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school ...(via

Thoughts:  Its definitely a quick read and took me a few days to listen to the audio as I read along with my copy of the book and I realize that it took me a number of months to get through this book last year, but wh…

Musing Mondays (Feb. 13)

Should be Reading asks this week:

What is your favourite romantic book -- or book that includes a love story? (an adult romance, young adult, kid's story, anything)

My favourite romantic book/story is Jane Eyre.  While the book is fairly dark and the story probably not plausible, its just such a romantic story between Jane and the brooding Mr. Rochester.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (Feb. 13)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

What I am planning on reading this week:

11/22/63Anna KareninaCatherine the Great: portrait of a womanHarry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanLes MiserablesMaman's Homesick PieMy Life in FranceThe Great GatsbyThe Kitchen Counter SchoolWhat Happened to Goodbye
What I finished and reviewed this week:
The Marriage Plot 
The Gift

What's up next:
• Romeo & Juliet
• Macbeth
• Sarah's Key

Sunday Salon - Me and foodie books

I don't know why but I am on a foodie book craze.  I think its in no part due to the fact that I am seeing so many of these types of books pop up in the last year or so and probably due to Julie and Julia and the success of the movie of the same title, which I have watch a number of times and is one of my favourite movies about food, right along there with Ratatouille.

It probably has something to also to do with the fact that I really want to cut down on the money that I spend on food and the fact that I am on a elimination diet to see if I have any food allergies (I had an outbreak of hives about a month ago, that weren't itchy and bumpy) and have started to realize that the vast majority of food that I get are full of salt and sugar and really want to reduce the amount that I eat (trust me after a week of chicken, white rice, white fish, potatoes, and dark green veggies sugar becomes really sweet and I try not to touch it as much).  After reading most of The Kitchen Counte…

Library Loot: February 8-14

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Catherine the Great: portrait of a woman
• Maman's Homesick Pie

• The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

• The Help
• Freedom Riders (likely to get it within the next few days)

• The Paris Wife

The Gift - Cecelia Ahern

Title: The Gift
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Pages: 305
Published: 2009 (first published 2008)
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Christmas fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: 3/5

Description: Lou Suffern is practised in the art of concealment. He is, also, always overstretched, trying to do too many things at once. His overburdened schedule gives him few moments of peace, even in his sleep. And when he spends time at home with his wife and family, he is always distracted, and, mentally, somewhere else.

On a cold winter morning, Lou is on his way to work when he encounters Gabe, a homeless street dweller, sitting outside an office building. Lou is intrigued by him, and contrives to get him a job in the post room. But this act of charity rebounds on him, and Gabe’s presence begins to grate on Lou -- particularly when he discovers that the latter seems capable of being in two places at the same time. Christmas is drawing near, and before the season is over, Lou’s life will be…

February Prompt - A Classics Challenge

For this month's prompt on Nov, we are be asked to write about a character that we find interesting.  This month I have chosen Konstantin Levin from Anna Karenina.

I am going to answer a combination of Level 1 and Level 2 questions.

My first impressions of Konstantin Levin is of somebody who doesn't enjoy being in the city and is clearly a person who feels pressed in when visiting his friend, Stepan Arkadyevich and somebody who prefers to be on his country estate and getting his hands dirty and not in a fancy home somewhere not doing things with his hands.

I have actually grown to like Levin and even though I think that he can be a bit awkward socially in that he would rather be by himself rather than around the social elite of St. Petersburg and Moscow and like my protagonists to be a little more socially attuned.  I find him to be totally believable because he sounds a lot myself, in which I would rather be with a few selected friends rather than amongst people that I reall…