Thursday, August 30, 2012

#bookbloggerhop (Aug. 31-Sept. 6)

This week, Crazy for Books asks:

What is the one book or series you are dying to see turned into a movie or tv series?

This a little hard because a lot of the books I have read have been made in movies already and there are at least  a few series that I would like seeing made into movies.  But I would think that the one series that I would like to see being made into a movie would probably be the Tea Rose series.  Partly because it is of a similar vintage as Downton Abbey, of which I am a huge fan of, but also because I have read all the books in the series and I think visually it would be an amazing series of movies.  But I also think that the Gemma Doyle series could also be an amazing series, just because it would be very eery and spine tingling.  Who doesn't like a good ghost story?

Labor Day Read-A-Thon


I have been searching for something to do this coming weekend and was looking specifically for a readathon for this weekend.  And I had been looking for a few times for one and was even contemplating hosting one myself, informally if I didn't find anything.  Well, that isn't the case any more.

As I was searching the twitter hashtag #readathon, I noticed that somebody had posted a link that Amanda @ Letters Inside Out was hosting one.  And I couldn't resist.

It's very simple.  It is running from Friday thru Monday night (11:59 pm) and you can read as much or as little as you want.  The important thing is that you spend at least a portion of the weekend reading.  You can find more information at the sign up and I hope that you will join me.

I am planning on working on:
• Les Miserables
• Anna Karenina
• Bleak House
• A Farewell to Arms
and some others as well.

and will start reading Wuthering Heights.

Booking Through Thursday - Conversions

Booking Through Thursday asks this week:

Do you find yourself thinking about that the books you read would be good on film? Do you wish things you watched on TV or in the movies were available as books?

Firstly, I do occasionally do find myself thinking that the book I am reading would be good as a movie, but that is very rare.  To answer the second question, not necessarily.  While I like reading books a lot, I don't necessarily want them in book form. The reason being is that a lot of the books that I have read that are published after the movie or TV series has aired are usually not as good as if they had been published prior to watching the movie or TV show.  I think that if one is going to publish a book, it should be something like what was put together for Downton Abbey; basically a companion book rather than an actual book based on the movie or TV show.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lady of Milkweed - Julie Klassen

Title: Lady of Milkweed Manor
Author: Julie Klassen
File Size (Pages): 5678 KB (411)
Published: 2010 (first published 2008)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction
Challenges: Support Your Library, Historical Fiction
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: Even a proper vicar's daughter can make a mistake—and now Charlotte Lamb must pay a high price for her fall. To avoid the prying eyes of all who know her, she hides herself away in London's forbidding "Milkweed Manor", a place of mystery and lore, of old secrets and new birth.

But once there, she comes face to face with a suitor from her past—a man who now hides secrets of his own. Both are determined, with God's help, to protect those they love. But neither can imagine the depth of sacrifice that will be required. (via British Columbia Libraries)

Thoughts: It was a quick and easy read for me.  While it took me only three days to finish the book, I probably could have easily the book in about a day's read.  If it had been a book that I had purchased, it would have been a book that I would have put in those free libraries that have been sprouting up in various places around the world.  It was nothing memorable and basically it was fluff.

Bottom line:  If it hadn't been for the fact that I had borrowed one of Ms. Klassen's later books from the library, I probably wouldn't have picked up this book.  Its a great book for the beach as its basically a ball of fluff and there wasn't much substance to the book.  Recommended for the beach or a plane trip.

Rating: 1.5/5

Pages for 2012: 16334

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Title: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Author: Lewis Carroll
Pages: 108
Published: 2005 (first published 1865)
Genre: Children's Literature, Classics
Challenges: The Classics Club
Edition: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Description: Contained in this volume are the two classics by Lewis Carroll, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." We are first introduced to Alice in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" where we find Alice idly passing away the time next to a river when she sees a white rabbit pass by in a waistcoat. She follows the rabbit down the rabbit hole and ends up in the fantasy world of Wonderland. Alice's adventures are continued in "Through the Looking Glass" when Alice passes through a mirror to find herself in yet another magical place. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: This is a book that I have wanted to read for quite sometime and since I read Alice I Have Been, the taste of reading this particular book kinda soured in my mouth a bit.  Its not that I didn't want to read the book, its just that after finding out what type of person Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was reported to be, it made it a little more difficult for me to get to read the book.  And if you are wondering, I purchased Alice's Adventures in Wonderland prior to reading Alice I Have Been.

It took me awhile to get through the book, despite the fact that it is a relatively short book and I blame that on trying to get books done from the library and wanting to read other things.  Overall, I thought that the book was okay and the reason is that it clearly is meant for a child to read or for one that has an active imagination.  While I was reading it, I found the first book to be far more enjoyable than that of the second book, which I found to be tiresome and not really coherent nor as fun.  I found that the second book felt like it was just thrown together for the sake of it and there was really no thought put into the stories.

I also partially read this on my ereaders (yes, I have two; one has e-ink and one is more like a smartphone).

Bottom line: Feel that the book is good for readers that are bridging from children's books to more adult type books or for those that have a really active imagination.  Its also the perfect book for a bedtime story for parents to read to their kids.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2012: 15923

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mailbox Monday - August 27

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their homes during the past week. Mailbox Monday, for August, is being hosted by 5 Minutes for Books.

I meant to post this a couple weeks ago, but due to the fact that I just forgot about this, I am doing it now.  Victoria, BC has one of my favourite bookstores on its main street and almost every time I go there I purchase something, at least I think I have.  Anyways, while I was in Munro's Books, which is next to Murchie's Tea, I purchased Bride of New France:

Hope everybody has a good Monday :)


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Aug. 27)

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 and what we plan on reading in the coming week.

It has been a while since I last posted something, so I will be posting the books that I have reviewed since my last post, which has been about a month.

What I have reviewed this month:
1) The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites (review)
2) Canada at War by Paul Keery (review)
3) Henry V by William Shakespeare (review)

What I am planning on reading this week:
1) Fire by Kristen Cashore
2) A Race to Splendor
3) Anna Karenina
4) Les Miserables
5) The Litigators 
6) A Farewell to Arms

Sunday Salon - Not a great month...

August was not a great month for reading. Between the Olympics and traveling and family, I just didn't get a great amount completed.  There was also the factor that I really didn't feel like reading for a number of days.  It was a rather blah month in terms of reading.  Its not that I didn't read, I did, but I just didn't get a lot done, hence for the short post this week; this week should be better in terms of both reading and blogging.  But I did manage to get another two reviews completed this past week.

Reviews:
1) Canada at War (review)
2) Henry V (review)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Henry V - William Shakespeare

Title: Henry V
Author: William Shakespeare
Pages: 352
Published: 2004 (first published 1599)
Challenges: The Classics Club, Reading Shakespeare
Genre: Drama, Classic
Edition: E-book
Source: Free download from Kobo

Description: After the turmoil and uncertainty of Henry IV a new era appears to dawn for England with the accession of the eponymous Henry V. In this sunny pageant, the Chorus guides us along Henry's glittering carpet ride of success as the new king completes his transformation from rebellious wastrel to a truly regal potentate. Of course, there is an underlying feeling that the good times won't last, and this is all the more reason to enjoy the Indian summer before the protracted and bitter fall of the house of Lancaster. (via LibriVox)


Thoughts: I put this one off for quite sometime and probably should have read this one pretty much right away, as I could have read the play in a few hours and for some reason, this one just kept being pushed to back of the ever increasing book pile, so my thoughts are pretty much muddled and honestly I really don't know what to think of the play, except that probably a bit of a read on Wikipedia on Henry V or even reading the summary of the play on Sparknotes would have helped with my understanding of the play.  Basically I don't know what to think of the play and maybe a re-read should be in order for this play.

Bottom line:  Probably would recommend this play for those that are diehard Shakespeare fans rather than those of us who are fans of his comedies and tragedies; the history plays are more dense and do require a bit more background reading before you do actually go ahead and read them.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2012: 15815

Canada at War - Paul Keery

Title: Canada at War: a graphic history of World War Two
Author: Paul Keery, Michael Wyatt (illustrator)
File Size (Pages): 29296 KB (176)
Published: 2012
Genre: History, Graphic Novel
Challenges: Support Your Library
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: A beautifully crafted graphic novel, tracing the achievements of the Canadian Forces in the Second World War.

In 1914, Canada went to war as a subject of Britain.  In 1939, it made the choice to fight all on its own. Canada at War follows the developments and setbacks, wins and losses, of a nation learning to stand up for itself in the midst of the most difficult war of the 20th century.

In graphic-novel format, fully illustrated and in full colour, Canada at War shows the growth of a nation's army, navy and air force through movingly depicted triumphs and tragedies.  From the disheartening losses at Dieppe and Hong Kong through the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Sicily, it focusses on the human dimension of the key battles and decisions that ultimately swung the war in the Allies' favour.

This poignant graphic account ends, after the victories of D-Day and Juno Beach and the liberation of Europe, with a final reckoning of the legacy these storied years have had on a country forged through war. (via FVRL Overdrive)

Thoughts: Since I knew the broad strokes of the Canadian involvement during World War Two and had a good sense of the war overall, I found this book to be a little simple at times, but nonetheless, I found the book to be very informative in regards to various battles that the Canadian military was involved in during this time period.   I read this as a library download from FVRL (Fraser Valley Regional Library) and found that it took time for the book to load quickly, due to the heavy graphic usage.  I would have liked it more if they had done it on a year by year basis rather than by covering the service branches (army, navy, and air force) individually.

Bottom line: Felt that it was a great overview for those that want a good general overview of the Canadian involvement during World War Two and would be a good resource for secondary schools (high schools) to get their hands on for their students to help them to understand what the military went through.  It does have a pro-military bias and doesn't mention at any point in the book about the men who didn't fight, but instead did their war service in places like logging camps, etc.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2012: 15463

The Classics Club - My Favourite Classic

For August, The Classics Club has asked:

What is your favourite classic book? Why?

This is a tough question to answer, as I have at least a few that I could say are my favourite, each for different reasons.  But if I had to choose one classic, I would have to choose Jane Eyre.  The reason being that it was my first true classic book that I recall reading and truly enjoying.  I don't know why it became my favourite book,  but likely it was due to the fact that I was at a point in my reading life that I was either going to read the same sort of things I had as a tween or I was going to be reading things that challenged me both as a person and as a reader.  And once I had completed the book, it stuck with me.

Top Ten Favourites Melissa (me) Has Read during the lifetime of her blog

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 have read since I have started my blog.  I am not going to include Harry Potter because they will always be on my top ten and the list will have no particular order, just that they are my top ten.

1) The Sister Queens (5/5) - Heard some good things about this book and wasn't disappointed.

2) The Help (4/5) - Started a little slow, but really gained a lot of momentum towards the end.  Chocolate pie anybody?

3) The Language of Flowers (4.25/5) - Got a good recommendation from Books on the Nightstand last year and wasn't disappointed.

4) The Hunger Games (4.5/5) - Despite the psychological stuff that I couldn't get over during the reading of the book, I really liked it.

5) My Life in France (5/5) - A really fascinating look at the life of Paul and Julia Child and how they made France their second home.

6) The Kitchen Counter Cooking School (4/5) - Really didn't know what to expect out of this book and was pleasantly surprised.  Am planning on getting the paperback copy this coming fall.

7) The Tea Rose (4/5), The Winter Rose (4/5), The Wild Rose (3.5/5) - Love the historical scope of the series and honestly kinda miss it.  It was weird watching the Olympics knowing that the setting of the first two books took place in that neighbourhood. 

8) A Great and Terrible Beauty (4/5) and Rebel Angels (4/5) - Liked how the books drew me in and were quite engrossing by the end of the book.  Am looking forward to reading the final book in the series this coming fall.

9) Blood, Bones & Butter (4/5) - Really enjoyed reading about why she became a chef and her life in general.  Another recommendation from Books on the Nightstand.

10) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (4/5) - Very much worth the read and has stayed with me since I read the book in 2011.

Honorable mentions:
At Home by Bill Bryson - Loved reading about the history of the home and found it interesting why certain things exist within our homes today.

Juliet: a novel by Anne Fortier - As a fan of Romeo & Juliet, really liked this story of how the legend came to be.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly - Yet another Book on the Nightstand recommendation; loved the play between the past and the present.

Room by Emma Donoghue - Definitely one of the best books I have read since I started my blog.  Read this book just as the Jaycee Dugard case was unfolding.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Musing Mondays (Aug. 20)

This week, Miz B at Should Be Reading, asks:

Have you ever reread a book and found that your opinion changed?

Yes, I have.  I had read All Quiet on the Western Front for my Grade 12 English class and really didn't like it.  This was primarily due to the fact that my class didn't really discuss it, as we were about to take our Provincial English exam at the time and I think that the teacher was more concerned about how we would do on the exam rather than if we understood the book we were reading.  About a year later, I was taking a lower-division history course at my local university and the prof assigned All Quiet as the book we were to read that would accompany the material we were studying in class (the prof had a thing for assigning novels based on the material discussed in class for some strange reason).  And after discussing the book as a class, I actually grew to enjoy the book and found it to be one of my favourite novels.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sunday Salon - A wacky few weeks...

First off, I want to apologize to those that read my blog on a regular basis that I wasn't posting over the last few weeks.  Simply what happened was that life happened and it didn't help that I was engrossed in watching the Olympics pretty much from the time I got up in the morning till I went to bed.  And yes, most of that was live on my TV, not through an internet connection.  Part of the reason was that unlike the United States, which has this stupid thing with tape-delaying events for prime time, Canadian networks that show the Olympics, usually do it live, whether it be CBC or CTV.  Yes it did mean that the live action ended at around 1 pm Pacific from the London games, but it also meant that I still had most of the day to do things. And yes, there were a couple of mornings I was up 1 am watching heats and qualification rounds (heck, I saw Phelps nearly knocked out of his first swim final on the first or second day of competition and saw a number of male gymnasts fall off apparatus during the qualification round).  But in any case, I wasn't reading much and not exactly in the mood to read, but that has changed in the last few days, where I have gotten my reading mojo back and I am probably more pleasant to be around.

But despite this, its been a rather wacky summer and for some reason I just don't feel like myself.  Maybe its due to the change that has been going on in my family and maybe its because I would like something that I don't have.  I suppose a major culprit has been the fact that my mom retired from teaching this past March and that my mom's dad got sick this past June and the fact that I got used to having my dad out of my life for long periods of time and suddenly he's back from his year up in the Yukon and there's more adjustment for me and therefore it will take me that much longer to readjust again.  But I think a huge part of it was that my routine was gone for July and August and after a couple of weeks off, I really wanted to go back and felt bored when I was at home.  At times, I felt like I was spinning my tires trying to find something to do at times to occupy my time and felt like I was missing out on something and was very frustrating at times.  I think this was due to the lack of routine.

I finished a few books this week, but only managed one review this past week.  I am hoping to get the other three reviews up sometime this week and link to them in a future Sunday Salon.

Review:
1) The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites (review)

Weekend Cooking - Need some help...

I hate doing this, especially since I know that this feature is to share things among readers, but I have to.

I am not much of a cook and I would rather make something that comes from a can or a bag and is done within a few minutes.  Basically I am not much of a cook and I really don't like doing it and I would rather just have something to eat quickly and be done with the task, as I would rather be online, reading a book or watching TV, not spending my time cooking.  But in the last few months, I have an itching to cook food that basically doesn't come from a can or a bag.  Problem is I don't have many cooking skills and feel like I am constantly looking for something that I can quickly put together for dinner and have leftovers for lunch.  Sure I have a few meals that I can make, but like I said earlier, they come from cans and bags, not a lot of fresh food.  The other problem is that I am primarily on my own and therefore try to make things that are basically for one person and there isn't much that I can make, as most recipes that I want to try usually are for those with four or more and somehow don't translate well to decreasing the amount for one or two people.  And I have found that the cookbooks that are out there translate mostly to people who know how to cook, not to people who don't have many cooking skills.

So my question is this: are there any cookbooks that you can recommend that are for singles that don't have many cooking skills?  Yes, I do have a Betty Crocker cookbook, but I seem to only use the section for steaming veggies and not much else.

Friday, August 17, 2012

#bookbloggerhop (August 17-23)

This week, Crazy for Books asks:

What is the one genre you will NEVER read?
There are probably a couple, but I would probably have to say erotica.  I understand why people would read it, but I just don't see the appeal.


Downloaded photo from Crazy-For-Books.

The Rebel Wife - Taylor M. Polites

Title: The Rebel Wife
Author: Taylor M. Polites
Pages: 304
Published: 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction
Challenges: Historical Fiction, Support Your Library
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Augusta Branson was born into antebellum Southern nobility during a time of wealth and prosperity, but now all that is gone, and she is left standing in the ashes of a broken civilization. When her scalawag husband dies suddenly of a mysterious blood plague, she must fend for herself and her young son. Slowly she begins to wake to the reality of her new life: her social standing is stained by her marriage; she is alone and unprotected in a community that is being destroyed by racial prejudice and violence; the fortune she thought she would inherit does not exist; and the deadly blood fever is spreading fast. Nothing is as she believed, everyone she knows is hiding something, and Augusta needs someone to trust. Somehow she must find the truth amid her own illusions about the past and the courage to cross the boundaries of hate, so strong, dangerous, and very close to home. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: Overall, it was a decent book and a fairly quick read.  I was able to get my way through the book quite quickly and able to read large chunks of the book at one time.  But what bothered me is that the book sort of just went over me and I felt that I had to re-read the book, even though I was close to the end.  It just felt that I missed too many details in the book to make any sort of true analysis and also its been almost a month since I finished the book.

Bottom line: Its a pretty good book and would recommend the book to those that like historical fiction or fiction surrounding the era of reconstruction in the Southern United States after the American Civil War.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2012: 15287

Friday, August 3, 2012

#bookbloggerhop (Aug 3 - 9)

Book Blogger Hop

This week, Book Blogger asks:

When a book goes "viral", do you rush out to read it like everybody else, even if its not your typical genre?
Depends on the book; some I might do that but for the most part I don't really do that.  I just find that some of the books that go "viral" are a tad over-hyped and therefore not worth to read it.  I usually wait until I have seen a number of reviews before giving the book a try.  Although a price drop does influence on my purchase.
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