Thursday, May 31, 2012

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Discussion Questions

The Reading Fever is hosting a year-long readalong of the Harry Potter series.  Here are the discussion questions for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

1) Do you have a favourite scene or line in Goblet?
If I had to choose a favourite scene or line in Goblet, it would have to be the scene at the end of the book when Hermoine was able to get her revenge on Rita Skeeter, with Rita in a glass jar.

2) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opens in Tom Riddle, Sr.'s parents' home, unlike the previous three books which opened in the Durseleys' home.  This chapter is most unusual in the Harry POtter canon, in that it is not told from Harry's viewpoint.  How does the change of setting for the beginning of this book affect the tone of the book? Why do you think Rowling departed from the expected setting for the beginning?
It affects the tone of the book in that you find out that Voldemort is a half-blood, not the pure-blood wizard that he so clearly admires.  I also think that affects the book in that we see that Voldemort is ruthless and nothing will stop him from murdering somebody that is perceived to be a threat to him.  I think the reason that Rowling departed from the expected setting for the beginning because she wanted to introduce something more sinister and that Voldemort and his supporters were starting to gain traction.

3) At the World Cup, mask-wearing wizards torment the muggles:"A crowd of wizards, tightly packed moving together with wands wands pointing straight upward, was marching slowly across the field.  Harry squinted at them...They didn't seem to have faces...Then he realized that their heads were hooded and their faces masked".  Compare this moment of torment to other times when groups of people have worn hoods and masks to cover their identities.  What does the masking of a face tell us about the nature of evil?
It basically tells me that those who are masked up and perform such acts are basically cowards and without the mask, they would never consider performing such acts.  It also tells me that they wish the acts to be impersonal as much as possible and that a mob mentality is very powerful.

4) How does young Crouch manage to trick everyone into thinking he is the real Moody?
Through a curse and the use of Polyjuice Potion.

5) After Harry hangs around with the mermaid people to make sure all the hostages are rescued, he is awarded points for his "moral fiber."  Do you agree with this prize? How much moral fiber does Harry show?
Personally I do agree with this prize.  I think he does show quite a bit, in that he puts his own personal gain aside and just get Fleur's younger sister, knowing that he may not win the second task.

6) When Harry faces death from Voldemort, he refuses to cower before him and refuses to answer his questions.  At one point, Voldemort tries to get Harry to bend to his will by answering a question.  Instead of succumbing to the Imperio demand, Harry's will takes over: "I will not, said a stronger voice, in the back of his head, I won't answer..." Then when Voldemort moves to kill him, Harry "knew one thing only, and it was beyond fear or reason: He was not going to die kneeling at Voldemort's feet...he was going to die upright like his father, and he was going to die trying to defend himself, even if no defense was possible..."  Did Harry have this much will power and courage in the first book? What significant events helped him develop the courage he now has?
No. The significant events that helped him develop the courage that he now has was the killing of the Basalik in the second book, the ability to stand up to a professor and Lupin's belief in him that he could defeat Voldemort.

7) A lot of elements that come into play in later books are introduced in Goblet.  Can you think of some examples?
One example would be the nature of Voldemort's true parentage and how he became an orphan.  Another would be the battle between Harry and Voldemort that will take place in the end. 

8) Harry tells Sirius and Dumbledore what happened in the graveyard. When Harry told of Wormtail piercing his arm with the dagger, … Sirius let out a vehement exclamation and Dumbledore stood up so quickly that Harry started. Dumbledore walked around the desk and told Harry to stretch out his arm. Harry showed them both the place where his robes were torn and the cut beneath them. “He said my blood would make him stronger than if he’d used someone else’s,” Harry told Dumbledore. “He said the protection my – my mother left in me – he’d have it too. And he was right – he could touch me without hurting himself, he touched my face.” For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore’s eyes. But next second, Harry was sure he had imagined it, for when Dumbledore had returned to his seat behind the desk, he looked as old and weary as Harry had ever seen him. So what’s up with that “gleam of triumph” in Dumbledore’s eyes?
I think the gleam of triumph in Dumbledore's eyes is knowing that Voldemort will probably succumb to his own evil desires and also to the fact that he knows that Harry has the capability to defeat Voldemort.

9) In the hospital wing after Harry’s ordeal, this exchange takes place: “Severus,” said Dumbledore, turning to Snape, “you know what I must ask you to do. If you are ready…if you are prepared…” “I am,” said Snape. He looked slightly paler than usual, and his cold, black eyes glittered strangely. “Then good luck,” said  Dumbledore, and he watched, with a trace of apprehension on his face, as Snape swept wordlessly after Sirius. Where did Snape go? What was Dumbledore asking him to do?  
I think what Dumbledore had Snape do was to round up the Order of the Phoenix and to get Sirius out of hiding and into Sirius' former home.

10) After the ordeal Harry has been through in the graveyard, Professor McGonagall wants to take Harry to the hospital wing. Dumbledore stops her, saying “He will stay, Minerva, because he needs to understand. Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery. He needs to know who has put him through the ordeal he has suffered tonight, and why.” What do you think is the significance of this? Is Dumbledore right?   
The significance of this is that Dumbledore recognizes that Harry is finally understanding what he has to do and that Voldemort has to be defeated and that Harry is the only one that can defeat him.  And he, Dumbledore, has to let Harry learn on his own and be allowed to take risks without Dumbledore being there every time.  I think he is right.

11) Later on, Dumbledore says to Fudge, “You place too much importance, and always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!” Who are some of the people Dumbledore might be thinking of when he says this?  
I think he is referring to people like Harry and Hermoine, who aren't pure-bloods, and possibly even Neville, who despite the fact that he isn't the brightest bulb in some subjects, is able to surprise people with how much he does know. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Victorian Celebration

I admit I totally forgot about a challenge or very nearly did.  And yes its the one that the photo is promoting.

I am going to participate, but I need to read books that aren't Victorian, as I have to read something for a book club meeting early in the month and I have a book I need to read for a book tour, but knowing me, I am going to get at least one or two Victorian books done.

I plan on completing: 
          • Alice Adventure's in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
          • Anna Karenina
          • Middlemarch

You can sign up here: Good luck.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Musing Mondays (May 28)

This week Miz B at Should be Reading asks:

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

It really depends.  Sometimes I will look it up the word, but sometimes I will not look it up; it really depends on the circumstances.  If the word intrigues me, I will likely look it up, but if it doesn't, I will probably not look it up.

It's Monday! What are you reading? (May 28)

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 over the past week and what we plan to read next.

What I am planning on reading this coming week:
What I reviewed this past week:
 1) The Dirty Cowboy (review)
 2) Romeo & Juliet (review)
 3) Girls in White Dresses (review)

What I plan on reading next:
    • Middlemarch
    • The Concubine Saga (ARC)

Sunday Salon - Keep rolling along...

Wow, what a difference.  I am continually amazed at how much I am now able to get myself to read at the moment.  Its like I have hit a burst and am loving reading again.  I think part of its that I have books that I do need to read under control (or at least the schedules of those books somewhat under control) and its also because I am finally getting used to a schedule that I am not used to.  And I am finally getting the books and materials that I have checked out from the library under control and know which ones I am going to want to read and not expecting myself to read everything that I have on my shelf.  I also think its partly due to the fact that I know summer is coming closer and I know what my schedule is going to be like and therefore I can plan what I allow myself to get from the library and which materials I am going to suspend (or letting myself to do such a thing).

Maybe I think that part of the fact that I felt that I couldn't get anything done is that I felt overwhelmed and also part of the fact that I was depressed and anxious.  And when I am feeling like that, I generally can't get myself to do much, including reading.  I suppose also being away last weekend for the Victoria Day long weekend (Canada's unofficial start to summer, even if it may be about 10°C and raining out here on the west coast) helped.

Hope that my American followers are having a relaxing Memorial Day weekend and those elsewhere are just having a relaxing weekend or had a relaxing weekend.

Reviews :
1) Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare (review)
2) Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close (review)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Girls in White Dresses - Jennifer Close

Title: Girls in White Dresses
Author: Jennifer Close
File size (pages): 2206 KB (304)
Published: 2011
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Chick lit
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: Isabella, Mary and Lauren's friend Kristi is engaged and they are all bridesmaids. Despite being happy for their friend, by the sixth shower they are really sick of celebrating her. Saturday after Saturday they coo over toaster ovens and deep fat fryers. They collect wrapping paper and ribbons, tying them to paper plates. But beneath the toasting and clapping, we see these women struggling amid the celebration. Isabella dreams of quitting her job at a mailing list company, where she's both extremely successful and wildly unhappy. Mary falls deeply in love, realizing too late that her new mother-in-law is really her husband's favorite. And Lauren, single and adrift, finds herself drawn to a man she's pretty sure she hates. (via British Columbia Libraries)

Thoughts: I had a really tough time to even like this one.  I can understand the premise of the book, but honestly it didn't quite grip me in the way that I thought it would.  I kept anticipating something that wasn't there, at least from what I was given from the description.  Hence, why it was a difficult book for me to get through and I almost quit the book near to the beginning, but I kept reading hoping that I would get what I had hoped for, which I didn't.  Maybe whoever did the blurb for the book should have actually read the book before describing it, because basically it describes one of the chapters later on in the book, but doesn't really describe the book and is misleading to any potential readers.

I found the book to drag, even though the first chapter was quite good and really hooked me, and hence took me a while to read it.  I also found the characters to be rather self-absorbed and lacking any sort of depth and they never really changed, if at all.

Bottom line: Its a book that can either be read very quickly or can be one that drags, depending on how quickly you get into the story and are able to read it and if you enjoy this type of literature.

Rating: 1/5

Pages for 2012: 9804

Friday, May 25, 2012

Saturday Snapshot (May 26)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ AT Home With Books.
Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.


Because it was the long weekend here in Canada last weekend (Victoria Day), I went to spend sometime at my parents place near Kamloops, BC at a ski resort called Sun Peaks.  Its a nice little place that fills up with tourists from around the world during the winter and summer months (there are a lot of Germans who come for the ski season due to a German hotel chain having a hotel there).  Its filled with fun shops and lots of places to have coffee.  The nice thing about the place is that there are no big chain stores in the area (that means no Tim Hortons (if you are Canadian or spend time in Canada, you know what I mean) or Starbucks or the like, but they do have a couple of stores that have locations in Kamloops), but they do have a Delta hotel and a number of other chain hotels in the centre of town, along with the numerous townhouses and homes that are available to rent (sadly, my parents place is no longer available for rentals).  The time between the end of the ski season in April and the end of June is the shoulder season for a lot of the employees and a lot of the shops are closed until then.  There are walking trails around the village and in the summer months, you can go on the chair lift to do some hiking. There is also a pool for kids in the afternoon and an ice cream shop.  They also have a farmer's market on Sundays, which one can get fresh fruits and veggies during the summer months and due to the location, we often can get stuff from the Okanagan (usually cherries and peaches) in the last few weeks and also fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.   It really is a relaxing place to be during the year.

 After visiting my parents and helping them set up the income suite, I came back home and look forward to the summer months that I will be there.  

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

#bookbloggerhop (May 25-31)

Book Blogger Hop

This week Crazy for Books asks:

How do you handle the writing of a negative review?

Honestly, I just write it.  I know that I might turn some people off with the writing from a negative review, but I want my reviews to reflective of who I am as an individual and if I don't like a book, I will mention that.  Its not that I don't care for the book, its just that I don't like the book and if the book review is negative, I personally don't care.  And yes, I do understand that a negative review will impact on my readers, but when I write a review,  I like to be honest.

If an author doesn't like the review, then I figure they have to grow thicker skin.  Not everything I read and review am I going to like and authors need to realize that fact.

Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare

Title: Romeo & Juliet
Author: William Shakepeare
Pages: 283
Published: 2004 (first published 1595)
Challenges: The Classics Club, 2012 Back to the Classics
Genre: Drama, Classic
Edition: E-book
Source: Free download from Kobo

Description: Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two young "star-cross'd lovers" whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. 

Thoughts:  This is one of my favourite plays but for some strange reason, this took me awhile to actually read.  Part of it had to do with the fact that I didn't feel like reading and that I had other things to read in the meantime.  Anyways, I quite enjoyed it and still remains one of my favourites.  I think what struck me was how complex the play is and even though I have seen the Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes version of the play (yes, I realize that its a modern version of the play) on a number of occasions (yes, I did see it when it came out in theatres), I have seen the play performed live.  I think what takes me aback is how complex the play is and also how much humour is incorporated into the play, even thought it may only be slight.

Bottom line:  If you have read any of Shakespeare's plays or have watched the movie version of this play, I recommend the play highly.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2012: 9500

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WWW Wednesdays (May 23)

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?

1) What are you currently reading?
• The Descendants
• Alice Adventure's in Wonderland
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
• Girls in White Dresses
• The Devil in the White City
• Les Miserables

2) What did you recently finish reading?
• The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake (review)

3) What do you think you'll be reading next?
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
• Waiting for Columbus

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Prompt - A Classics Challenge


This month the topic was Literary Movement.  And the book I chose was Alice's Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

The literary movement that this book is written from is Victorianism.  I tried to find something else that would describe the book more closely to what the book is, which I would place is Fantasy, but couldn't really find anything within a specific literary movement that would describe the book.    The values and ideals of the book that I can ascertain from reading what I have read is that somehow having an imagination or going to a place of imagination was not exactly idealized and the book talks a lot in metaphor.  Also the emergence of the notion of one having a "childhood", where one can dream about things that are not possible in the adult world.  Some of the other writers from this era are Charles Dickens, the Bronte Sisters, Mark Twain, Thomas Hardy, among others.

What's On Your Nightstand - May 22

Photobucket Have no clue as to why this is going up when there is still one more Tuesday left in the month on May, but since I don't run the meme, I don't really have any say, now do I?  Anyways, since I haven't done this for a couple of months, I am going to be putting up those books that I have completed since the end of March.  It hasn't exactly been productive since then; haven't read much and therefore haven't completed much.  I haven't been able to read much for some reason; partly it had to do with the fact that my e-reader was on the fritz and partly it has to do with the fact that my life has been in upheveal and no routine has been exactly established since the end of March and also due to the fact that I have been watching videos for the past few months.  All basically to say that I haven't read much and completed much.

1. The Language of Flowers (review)
2. The Hound of the Baskervilles (review)
3. The Winter Palace (review)
4. The World of Downton Abbey (review)
5. The Dirty Cowboy (review)

I hope June is a better month.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Musing Mondays (May 21)

PhotobucketThis week, Miz B at Should be Reading asks:

What do you do with a book before you start reading it?

Depends on the book. If its a novel, I usually check the page count and to see if there is any table of contents.  When it comes to non-fiction books, I usually check any photos and I also check the page count as well.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Salon - A Better Reading Week

PhotobucketSorry this is so late. Had a much better week in regards to my reading.  While I didn't really read that much on Monday, I was able to read quite a bit on Tuesday and even though I haven't read as much as I had on Tuesday or Wednesday, I have been thinking a lot about reading and books a lot more and am more inclined to read now on a regular basis.  While it may take some more time to get me reading on a regular basis, I have feeling that I have gotten over the hump in regards to my reading.

While I haven't finished a regular adult novel, I am feeling much better in regards to my reading and am hoping that this week I can get some more done.

1) The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake (review)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Snapshot (May 19)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ AT Home With Books.
Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.


If you are wondering what that is, its the Starbucks Gold Card and I got mine this past week.  I am looking forward to using it sometime soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

#boutofbooks Update #4

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

Didn't read as much as I did yesterday (Thursday), but I am slowly getting into a groove of reading on a more regular basis.  The reason that this is significant is because I haven't really read for the past few months (at least since the end of February) and I am really starting to find my groove again and am actually looking forward to reading again and not feeling its like a chore.

Read a bit of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and started Devil in the White City and have gotten almost half-way through The Descendants, of which I am seeing a lot of the movie as I read it.  I know I have to update what I am reading segment on my blog, but because I haven't really paid too much attention to that part of my blog, I haven't updated it.  I am thinking I may just go and see if I can finish The Descendants before I head to sleep tonight (its an easy enough read that if I go and get something to drink, I think I can get it done, but then I can probably finish it tomorrow afternoon or evening).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

#boutofbooks 4.0 Update #3

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

I don't know how many pages I read today, as I read a number of my books on my e-readers (yes, I have two) and because they don't have pagination like in a tradition paper book copy, I couldn't say exactly how many pages I did read.  But I probably read close to about 2 and a half hours, as I read the majority of the books with audio versions while reading the words on the "pages".

I am also going to do some reading this evening while I am watching stuff on Food Network...

#bookbloggerhop (May 18-24)

Book Blogger Hop

This week, Crazy for Books asks:

How many books do you own?

I probably own somewhere between 250 and 300 books.   Some have been read and most haven't, but I am hoping in the next few years I can read them and because some of them I really don't need to have, I am going sell them off to a second-hand store and get some much needed cash (I don't tend re-read a lot of my books).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#boutofbooks 4.0 Update #2


A bit better reading day today.  Still didn't read much, but I did manage to read about 63 pages out of The Descendants (I restarted the book) and read for at least a couple of hours.  And funny enough, I started thinking about what else to read.  I think I am starting to get out of my reading funk and I think this readathon was the thing that I just needed (well, it didn't help that I spent a few days watching Grey's Anatomy and I find that bunch of characters a little too whiny for my liking, especially Meredith).  Anyways,  I had a good reading day and I hope to read some more tomorrow afternoon and maybe get a book done.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

#boutofbooks 4.0 update #1


I haven't read a lot the past couple of days, but I am really trying to read at least something.  I am going to read for a little bit, after I make myself some tea, before I go to sleep.  Hope you all have a good evening. I will update about this time tomorrow.

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Love But Never Wrote a Review

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish, where book bloggers share their Top Ten lists on everything bookish. This week its a freebie, so I am going to do Top Ten Books I loved but never wrote a review for.

10.  Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson - Read this book the summer after I graduated high school and just loved it.  I loved the story of a lost love and war and a murder trail.  The movie that came out a few years later was one of the few movies that really captured the book wonderfully and stayed pretty true to the premise.  And living out here on the West Coast, the internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese-Canadians is still a real prescence, not only because it happened about 70 years ago, but also because I have a family connection (my mom's sister's husband's family was interred somewhere in the BC Interior during the war).

9. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque - I first read this book for my Grade 12 English class and my teacher ruined it for and I wanted to chuck the book at the wall.  About a year later I took a European history course that covered the Great War and one of the requirements was this book. And for some reason, I really enjoyed the read and it became one of my favourite reads.

8. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb - I think this was one of Oprah's first books for her book club.  I was intrigued by the concept of the book and since my mom's birthday was coming up, I purchased it for her.  After she finished it, I read it and it was one of those books that I just couldn't put down.  I haven't read it since, but it was definitely one that I loved and still love and would love to read again.

7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - Read this is for my Grade 11 English class and while most of my classmates didn't want to read this book, I was probably the exception rather than the rule, in that, I really enjoyed it, not only from the historical aspect, which didn't hurt, but also from the aspect that it was quite readable and I ended up a few years later rereading the book on my own and still enjoying the story.  I am hoping to read this book again.

6. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier -  I read this as a part of an Art History course I took in university and yet again I enjoyed it.  I think it was partly due to the fact that I had never heard of the painting and because I researched the painting itself on my own, it became a book that meant more to me than just another historical fiction book.

5. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen - I worked as cataloguer a number of years ago for a school district here in BC and when this book crossed my desk to get catalogued, I was intrigued so much so that I went to a local public library to see if they had the book in their system, which they did and quite enjoyed it.

4. Hidden Places by Lynn Austin - I have read this book a couple of times since it came out about 11 years ago and really liked it.  Part of the reason that I like it so much is that the book isn't the cliched Christian novel that I sometimes tend to read.  The author shows the characters as flawed individuals who each have their own secrets, despite the "happy ending".

3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck - I first read this book about 8 or 9 years ago and this has constantly been one of my favourites.  I had read The Grapes of Wrath back in high school and didn't really understand it, but for some reason I really enjoyed this one.  Probably it had to do with the fact that it was very readable and when reading it on the second time around a few years ago, I go more out it again.

2. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - I was probably about 17 or 18 when I read this, but whenever it was, I fell in love with it and even though I haven't read the book in about 10 years, there is something amazing about this book that makes it one of my favourite books.  I suppose it doesn't hurt that the book is based on actual events, even though there is liberty taken with the storyline.

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I first read this book when I was 13 years old and read the first 10 chapters of the book while I waited for my sister to get her collarbone reset in emergency. I have read the book at least 2 times since and its sort of my comfort book in a way.  While I was always a reader before this point, this was the book that probably turned me onto more adult-like fiction that was complex and allowed me to think more critically about what I read and therefore I sought out books that challenged me as a reader.

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Chapter - First Paragaph(s) - Tuesday Intros (May 15)

This week's choice:
Originally published January, 2007

The sun is shining, mynah birds are chattering, palm trees are swaying, so what.  I'm in the hospital and I'm healthy.  My heart is beating as it should.  My brain is firing off messages that are loud and clear.  My wife is on the upright hospital bed, positioned the way people sleep on airplanes, her body stiff, head cocked to the side.  Her hands are on her lap.

Teaser Tuesdays (May 15)

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 sun is shining, mynah birds are chattering, palm trees are swaying, so what.  I'm in the hospital and I'm healthy.

~ The Descendants, Kaui Hart Hemmings

The Dirty Cowboy - Amy Timberlake

Title: The Dirty Cowboy
Author: Amy Timberlake; pictures by Adam Rex
Pages: 32
Published: 2003
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Children's
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description (from book): Telling is faithful dog to make sure nobody touches his clothes but him, a cowboy jumps into a New Mexico river for a bath, not realizing just how much the scrubbing will change his scent.

Thoughts:  I read this book due to some news that this book had been removed from district's two elementary schools in The Annville-Cleona School District in Pennsylvania. And honestly, I didn't see anything wrong with it. Since its a children's book, everything that needs to be covered up is covered up.  While it didn't blow my mind away, it was a wonderful story about a cowboy who got dirty and when he noticed his own stench, he decided to take a bath.

Honestly, I don't see what the one parent thought that the book needed to be banned from two elementary schools and what the big deal was about.  Like I said before, anything that didn't need to be seen was hidden from view, either through blurring or through various objects in front.  Its funny how one parent can cause a book to be removed from a school.  

I realize that I am not a parent, but honestly if you have an issue with a book that your kid brings home from school, maybe you should either not allow them to sign things out from the school library and only allow them to sign out items from the public library that you approve of or go into your child's school library with your child and sign out a book with you there.  I honestly think that some parents have way too much time on their hands to make a child's book an issue.

Bottom line: If your kids like stories involving either the characters getting dirty or cowboys, they will enjoy this, if you don't mind the subject matter.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2012: 9217

Sunday, May 13, 2012

#bookbloggerhop (May 11-17)

Book Blogger Hop

I haven't done this awhile, but when this popped up on my email feed, I knew I had to do it (I apologize to those of you who follow me on twitter and facebook for the multiple blog posts; Mondays can be a heavy blog posting day).

This week, Crazy for Books asks:

Who is your favourite book character?

Honestly, I don't know if I do have a favourite book character, but if I had to choose one it would have be Emma Woodhouse.  The reason being is that while she has the best of intentions of doing good for her friends, she messes things up and has things blows up in her face, but somehow she keeps trucking on and learns from her mistakes, almost like the rest of us.

Hope you have a good rest of the week and I hope to post something up on Friday, when the new hop is available.

Mailbox Monday - May 14

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their homes during the past week.  Mailbox Monday, for May, is being hosted by Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.

Due to the fact that I missed my bus to work on Wednesday morning, I went to the bookstore and came out with a book (yes, I was late for work).

I heard about the book on several podcasts this past winter, including Books On The Nightstand, which is one of my favourite book podcasts.  Hope you all have a good week.

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

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 over the past week and what we plan to read next.

What I am planning on reading this week:
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
• Henry V
• Romeo & Juliet
• Bleak House
• Anna Karenina
• Les Miserables
• Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
• Waiting for Columbus
• Girls in White Dresses
• The Descendents
• A Game of Thrones
(the books above are for Bout of Books)

What I reviewed this week: 

What I plan on reading next:
• Wonderland Creek
• The Concubine Saga (ARC)

Musing Mondays (May 14)

This week MizB at Should be Reading asks:

Do you tend to read to the end of the chapter or can you stop anywhere?

It really depends on the book, but for the most part I really try to read to the end of the chapter.  I find it just leaves on the right note when reading, but sometimes depending on the situation, I do have to stop in the middle of a chapter when reading and it annoys me to no end!

Hope you all have a great week.

#boutofbooks 4.0 Goals


It's that time again.  I love this challenge for a variety of reasons, one being that you can read as little or as much as you want to.  And it lasts about a week, which allows me not only to get some books done, but it's also a short enough time frame to not make it drag out for months on end.

Anyways, I have a few books books that I would like to get done or worked on during this time:
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
• Waiting for Columbus
• Girls in White Dresses
• The Descendents
• A Game of Thrones
• Bleak House
• Anna Karenina
• Henry V
• Romeo & Juliet
• Les Miserables
• Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass

I realize that there are a lot of books on this list, but a number of these books are books that I can read a number of chapters in a short amount of time, especially a number of the classics that I have on my list.  But also a lot of books on my list is that I am already reading. Hopefully I will get enough time when my mom is around and I will decide not to watch oodles of HGTV and Food Network (these are two addicting channels).

For those of you who are just following me and are interested in joining, you can do so here

Sunday Salon - Reading and my mom

First off, Happy Mothers Day to the mom's that read my blog on a regular basis.  I hope you have a wonderful day with your kids and hope you get a wonderful book from your kids or maybe allowed to spend the day reading.

To say my mom has been influential in my reading is an understatement.  She was the one that taught me how to read and the one that took me to the library when I needed to go when I was a kid. She has always been the one that is interested in what I am reading and likes discussing whatever I have read.  Somehow she also finds something book related that I will like.  Like this:

 She is the reason that I read on a regular basis.

None this week, but I am hoping to have something this coming week.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

WWW Wednesdays (May 9)

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?

1) What are you currently reading?
I am actually quite a few books.  Some of them include The Sisters Brothers, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Alice in Wonderland, among others.

2) What did you recently finish reading?
• The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes (review)

3) What do you think you'll be reading next?
I am going to start Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sunday Salon - Lack of Motivation to read

The last couple of days I have felt little or no motivation to read and yesterday (Friday) I didn't really read anything, save for a few articles on the  Its not that I don't like to read, in fact I love to read, but for some strange reason I feel little motivation to do any sort of reading.  While I have finished two books this past week, I have really found little pleasure in reading this past week.  It kinda feels like the books I am reading are a bit blah and I really am not enjoying them as much as I should.

I realize that this is just a phase and that I will somehow get through it and I will be able to get through it.   It just seems that when I get home from work, I can't get myself to read.  Now part of this is due to the fact that I was watching all of season 1 of Game of Thrones on Tuesday and Wednesday and just came off of Season 2 of Downton Abbey the previous week, but I feel little or no motivation to do any reading at all.  Of course I have a bunch of books available not only on my e-reader but also in paper format, but I just don't feel the need to read anything.  Any idea how to get out of this funk?  I did a previous post on this or I have seen posts on this topic and I can't seem to find anything that would help or I just can't recall where I have seen such a post.

Hope you all have a good weekend (yes, I do plan on doing some reading this weekend...).

1) The Winter Palace (review)
2) The World of Downton Abbey (review)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The World of Downton Abbey - Jessica Fellowes

Title: The World of Downton Abbey
Author: Jessica Fellowes, Julian Fellowes (foreword)
Pages: 304
Published: 2011
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Genre: Movie tie-in, non-fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: A lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey
April 1912. The sun is rising behind Downton Abbey, a great and splendid house in a great and splendid park. So secure does it appear that it seems as if the way it represents will last for another thousand years. It won't.
Millions of American viewers were enthralled by the world of Downton Abbey, the mesmerizing TV drama of the aristocratic Crawley family--and their servants--on the verge of dramatic change. On the eve of Season 2 of the TV presentation, this gorgeous book--illustrated with sketches and research from the production team, as well as on-set photographs from both seasons--takes us even deeper into that world, with fresh insights into the story and characters as well as the social history. (via

Thoughts:  I really enjoyed it.  Yes, I am a fan of Downton Abbey, but I also liked it because of the historical aspect that the book covers and it was interesting how they were able to develop the show during that historical period.  I also liked it because it was interspersed with real stories of individuals who went through what the Crawley's went through and how it was a concern if there wasn't a direct male heir to inherit the estate and how money like Cora's was able to basically save the estate.  I also liked the various quotes from the show and also the research that it took to create such a great show. It was also interesting to find out that Julian Fellowes also did the screenplay for Gosford Park (Maggie Smith is also in that film) and the contrast between Downton Abbey and Gosford Park, in that Gosford Park takes place when those sort of estates and that the life that is portrayed in Downton Abbey was basically gone by the time Gosford Park takes place.  Loved the many photos that were used from the show and the era that really showed the amount of research that has gone into the show. 

Bottom line: I would recommend this book for those of you who are fans of the show or are fans of the era about 100 years ago.  While it may seem fluffy, it is actually quite insightful into the life of the upper class of about 100 years ago.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2012: 9185

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

Booking Through Thursday - Siblings

Booking Through Thursday asks this week:

Do you have siblings? Do they like to read?

I have one sibling, a younger sister.  I know she does read but not with the same sort fervor as I do.  I don't really know if she likes to read, but I assume she does because she has read when there really isn't anything else to do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WWW Wednesdays (May 2)

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?

1) What are you currently reading?
These are the books that I am primarily reading at the moment.

2) What did you recently finish reading?
• The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (review)
• The Winter Palace by Eva Strachniak (review)

3) What do you'll be reading next?
I possibly will be starting Quiet by Susan Cain and Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan this coming week.  I will be starting Book 4 of the Harry Potter series this coming weekend.
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