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Showing posts from June, 2012

Sunday Salon - End of the month and Happy Canada Day

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

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

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

Before I go,  I want to wish my Canadian readers a Happy Canada Day and my American reade…

Saturday Snapshot (June 30)

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Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ At Home With Books

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

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

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

#bookbloggerhop (June 29-July 5)

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This week, Crazy for Books asks:

Do you have a keeper shelf for books you loved?  What are the books on the shelf and why?
No I don't have such a shelf.  I know which they are and can locate them pretty easily.


The Concubine Saga - Lloyd Lofthouse

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

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


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

What's On Your Nightstand (June 26)

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

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

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

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

See you in a month.


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

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

What I have reviewed in the past week:

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

What I am reading this week:

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

Musing Mondays (June 25)

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This week Miz B at Should be Reading asks:

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

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

Sunday Salon - Busy week of reading

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

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

That isn't to say that this past week was also a busy reading week, as I was able to get up three book reviews up, which is not normal for me.  I had been working on one of them for quite sometime, as the book did get bogged down in architectural details and made the most interesting part of the book not as long as I had hoped that it would be.  This amount of reading resulted in me spending yesterday evening …

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

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


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


Thoughts:  I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first book, but then again, I didn't really now what to expect out of the first book, except that it was good and had a pretty decent story and was really addictive.  But this one I sort had an idea of what the story would be …

#bookbloggerhop (June 22-28)

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This week, Crazy for Books asks: 
Do you immidately write a review upon finishing a book or do you wait and write multiple reviews at once?
I usually write immediately write my review, as I usually can recall what I thought of the book better immediately after reading a book, rather than waiting to write.  I also find that with the way that I write my book reviews, it would dog the people that subscribe to my blog, either through the RSS feed or through email.

The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson

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Title: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America Author: Eric Larson Pages: 464 Published: 2004 (originally published 2002) Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library, Chunkster Edition: Paperback Source: Library
Description: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.
Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair&#…

WWW Wednesdays (June 20)

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This is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you'll be reading next?

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

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

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

How to Eat a Cupcake - Meg Donohue

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

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

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

Musing Mondays (June 18)

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This week Miz B at Should be Reading asks:

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

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

Sunday Salon - A week of reading

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

Week was a bit crazy in that my mood wasn't exactly great and I was feeling constantly on the edge (this was due to hormones, as I am feeling much better today and I know its hormones due to lack of medication that I was taking the previous 3 weeks), but for some strange reason I was able to get quite a bit of reading done, especially where Les Miserables is concerned.  And quite honestly, I am still enjoying the book.  While it is boring and dull in parts (Section…

High Summer Read-a-Thon

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

I hope you can join.

#bookbloggerhop (June 15-21)

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

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend As Good Beach Reads

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


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


Musing Mondays (June 11)

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This week MizB at Should be Reading asks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Hope you have a relaxing Sunday.

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


The Descendants - Kaui Hart Hemmings

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

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

#ArmchairBEA 2012 - Day 5: Ask the experts

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

Booking Through Thursday - Secondly

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Booking Through Thursday asks this week:

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

#ArmchairBEA 2012 - Day 4: Beyond the Blog

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(design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room)
Today we are supposed to blog about the ways we monetize, write for other outlets, and things like that.  And quite honestly while I have thought about possibly monetizing and making some extra cash, it just isn't possible for me to do so.
I know that some of you are wondering why this isn't the case.  The reason is because I am on social assistance and have a job that pays me the amount of money that I can make in addition to the amount that I receive from the provincial government, I am unable to do so.  Unless of course I can get paid in cash directly, there is no way I can do it.  I would love to do it, but its just not possible for me to do it at present.
But I guess the only thing I do do that would be considered beyond the blog would be a book club me and some friends have doing for 5 years (we are starting our sixth year this coming fall).  I have also been doing some bookclubs online, but my attendance has been somewhat …

Waiting for Columbus - Thomas Trofimuk

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

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


Thoughts: For about 3/4 of the book I really enjoyed it, but when I came to the end, I thought it was a bit of a cop-out and ended rather hastily.  It was almost as if the author wanted to find an excuse to end the book quickly rather tha…

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

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(design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room)
I realize that should network my blog more.  I have complained about the lack of comments on my blog in the past and that has usually made me rethink why I blog.  Sure I realize that I should be hosting meme's, events, etc., but honestly after hosting an event that basically flopped because somebody else put an event on the same weekend as mine (I think we even were using the same hashtag), I don't  feel much like getting burned again.
Now you may ask, why not book tours or ARCs? Its a good idea, but quite honestly, I have enough books to read that I don't need more.  I am also a relative slow reader and it can sometimes take me awhile to finish a book and I like to take in the details of the book.  Basically I want to experience the book.  And I feel that if I constrained by a fixed time, I should go back to get my minor in English Lit (I am about 2 or 3 courses short and no, I don't care, because I really was a poor En…

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

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(design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room)
I haven't read anything that has been published/released in 2012.  Part of the reason is due to the fact that I don't have a lot of money to purchase new released books and the second reason is that if I do see a book I like, my library doesn't necessarily get them for about six months.  The other reason is that I don't like getting ARCs.  I know that last one seems stupid, but I want this to be a blog in which I share books that (a) are published and (b) stuff I want to read.  So I am going to give you my favourite reads from this year, so far.  I am going to exclude any Harry Potter books, because those are just too plain obvious.  There is a link to my review of the book in the title below.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Kitchen Counter School by Kathleen Flinn
11/22/63 by Stephen King
My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenb…

Kicking off Armchair BEA: Introductions First!

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(design credit: Emily of Emily's Reading Room)
After seeing this last year on a number of the blogs that I follow last year, I really wanted to participate and when I saw the sign ups a few weeks ago, I knew that it was something that I had to participate in.  And to kick it off, the lovely ladies over at Armchair BEA have gone put up an introductory post with questions that they have developed.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?Where do you see your blog in five years?Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would i…

Sunday Salon - Taking a break, sort of

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts:  Even though I really enjoyed the book as much as I did the last time I read it about 6 months ago, I had a little bit of an issue reading it and had some problems getting around to reading it.  I suppose a lot had to do with the fact that I was feeling overwhelmed by th…