Wednesday, November 27, 2013

#thankfullyreading Weekend 2013 Starting post

Since I am going to see Catching Fire this evening, I thought I would get my starting post up before I leave.

I am really looking forward to this and I am hoping to get lots of reading done over the next few days, but depending on what I end up doing, it could be a bit of bust.  But I am going to try nonetheless

Here are what I am planning on reading:

• Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey
• Winter Solistice
• Thunderstruck
• Sarum
• War and Peace
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Villette
• The Snow Child

If you wish to join, you can do so here:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Spirit Readathon wrap up #csreadathon

To say the least it was a bit of a bust.  True I did manage to finish two books during the readathon, but only one was Christmas-themed and that one was basically finished and the other book that I finished was very close to completion.  It was a weekend that I ended up with little time to read, at least on Saturday.  And by Sunday, I really didn't feel like reading much.

I realize that this was supposed to be a "relaxed" readathon, but honestly when I only really have a couple of days of reading available to me, I kinda feel gipped, especially when I have other things going on.  And I realize that is the nature of life.  And I suppose one can only just roll with the punches and hope that the next time is better.  Till next year, hopefully.

Books read and completed:
• I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (review)
• Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (review)

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 328
Published: 2013
Challenges: Outdo Yourself
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I honestly didn't know what to expect of this book, except that among the bloggers, it was well received and that most people that I read over the past year or heard talk about the book really quite enjoyed it and I didn't really encounter anybody that really disliked the book, but I am sure that there are readers who didn't like the book.  But my impression was that it lived up to the hype.  

I found it easier to read than I expected it to be and when I was able to get into the rhythm of the book, I actually found myself ripping through the book, wanting to know more about how they would interact with each other.  While I think that some readers will probably say that the ending was a bit of a downer, I think it was a good ending and I was satisfied with how it ended, probably a little sad that this amazing story had ended, maybe having a tiny hope that maybe it would turn out differently.

Bottom line: It was an amazing journey of these two teens and it really didn't feel like a YA book, but more of a transitional book between YA and Adult, just like Eleanor and Park were each transforming from teens into adults.  While I probably won't read this particular book again, I will definitely read more of this author and I look forward to reading Ms. Rowell's next book, Fangirl.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2013: 18,281

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows - Alan Bradley

Title: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce #4)
Author: Alan Bradley
Pages: 288
Published: 2012 (originally published 2011)
Challenges: Christmas Spirit
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal library

Description: Colonel de Luce, in desperate need of funds, rents his beloved estate of Buckshaw to a film company. They will be shooting a movie over the Christmas holidays, filming scenes in the decaying manse with a reclusive star. She is widely despised, so it is to no one's surprise when she turns up murdered, strangled by a length of film from her own movies! With a blizzard raging outside and Buckshaw locked in, the house is full of suspects. But Flavia de Luce is more than ready to put aside her investigations into the true identity of Father Christmas to solve this yuletide country-house murder. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: Really liked it, as usual.  I am a big fan of this series and so glad I have made the effort to catch up with the series.  I like how the author has used characters from the previous book in this one and how he incorporated each of a portion of the characters from the previous 3 books, but there is enough that one doesn't really have to read the other books, but it is strongly suggested that one does read the other 3 previous books to understand the characters a little better than if one jumps in right away.

Once I got into the book, which was pretty quick, I found it fairly easy to get into the book and finish it quickly (I got sick towards the end of the book and had to put it aside for a bit as I for some reason am unable to read lots while I am not feeling well; I had a cold, if you are wondering).  And also loved the fact that it took place around Christmas Day.

Bottom line: While the story is a stand-alone, there are elements of the previous three books, that while not exactly crucial to the book, are somewhat important to have a background of (I had forgot some of them).  I would recommend the book to those individuals that like cozy mystery series books and like something light and fairly easy to read at times and also to those that have read the previous Flavia books.  Recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2013: 17,953

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Nov. 24)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is 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.

What I have reviewed this past week:
1) Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley (review

Books I plan on working on this coming week: 
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• The Snow Child

• War & Peace 

• Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm
• Thunderstruck
• Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey 

What is up next:
Probably something fairly easy and light and probably Christmas related.

Sunday Salon - Right now (11/24/2013)

Time: 11:47 AM

Place: Home

Listening to: Not much lately

Eating: Nothing at the moment, but I am getting hungry, so I'll probably have something as soon as this is done.

Watching: Football

Reading: Am planning on finishing up Eleanor & Park this afternoon

Making: My lunch?

Planning: Whether I should go and see Catching Fire on Wednesday evening

Feeling: Like I just want to sit and relax for a few hours and catch up on my PVR

Loving: The fact that the sun out and that its not raining

Wanting: To get over this cold that I have had for the past week and a half

Thinking: Not much at this point

Looking forward to: The Thankfully Reading Reading Weekend hosted by Jenn's Bookshelves that starts on Thursday.

• Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley (review)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey - Emma Rowley

Title: Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey
Athor: Emma Rowley
Pages: 288
Published: 2013
Challenges: None
Genre: Movie tie-in, Non-fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Gain unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to Downton Abbey in this official Season 4 tie-in book, complete with never-before-seen photos giving fans insight into the making of the runaway hit.

Expertly crafted with generous inside knowledge and facts, this book will delve into the inspiration behind the details seen on screen, the choice of locations, the music and much more. Step inside the props cupboard or the hair and make-up truck and catch a glimpse of the secret backstage world. In-depth interviews and exclusive photos give insight into the actors’ experiences on set as well as the celebrated creative team behind the award-winning drama. Straight from the director’s chair, this is the inside track on all aspects of the making of the show.

Thoughts: A very nice put together book that gives the reader a look behind-the-scenes to Downton Abbey.  I got through the book in a few hours and thought it was interesting to look and read about the various aspects of how they put the show together, especially the food.  The producers have hired an actual chef to make the food that one sees on the screen and she has to make a number of the same thing in order to make sure that the food looks flawless with each take that is made with the food and have to make sure that some of it only have a few items to put on by the actors who portray the kitchen staff (and yes, the food is real).    They also talk about the clothing and the hair and a number of aspects that are interesting to know about it, including the bell board, which is pulled by somebody behind the board.  They also talk about the sets that they use and the various locations used in the show.

Bottom line: I would probably recommend the book to fans of the show who would like to know more about the behind-the-scenes stuff.   Recommended.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2013: 17,665

The Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon Staring Line

The Christmas Spirit Read-a-Thon hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict.

To kick off my annual Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge this year, I've decided to have a weekend read-a-thon!

  • Read-a-Thon dates: Friday, November 22 at 12:00am CST until Sunday, November 24 at 11:59pm CST (adjust your time zone accordingly)
  • You do not have to be signed up for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge to participate (but I sure would love for you to join us!)
  • I am not requiring that you read Christmas/holiday books during the read-a-thon, but I hope you will pick up one holiday tale, even if it's just to read some children's books with your kids or some holiday short stories
  • to check in on Twitter, we'll use hashtag #CSreadathon
  • as usual, you do not have to have a blog to participate...feel free to link up and check in from Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The books that I am planning on reading are:
  • I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
  • Christmas at Cold Comfort Farms
  • The Snow Child
I have some other Christmas-themed books on hands but I can't recall what books that I have on hand.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Nov.18)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is 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.

What I have reviewed since the last post:
• Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber (review

Books I plan on working on this coming week: 
• The Count of Monte Cristo 
• I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
• The Snow Child

• War & Peace 

• Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm
• Thunderstruck
(at least that is the plan at this point)

What is up next:
At this point, I really don't know, as I would like to start reading some more Christmas themed books.  
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