Showing posts from December, 2013

Best of Reading 2013

I was thinking of doing this earlier, but after seeing this on a number of blogs that I subscribe to, I thought it might be time to do this.  Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner has offered the 4th annual end of year book survey and here is my attempt at this.  I will link up where I can.

1. Best Book Read in 2013
That is a difficult one to determine as there were a number of books that could qualify, but it would have to be a tie between The Book Thief and A Game of Thrones.

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love but didn't?
This is one is a little easier because I have had some time to think about it and it would have to be Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.  I had heard so many good things about this book, but I was a little disappointed in the book; felt confused by the nature of the book.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

4. Book that you read in 2013 …

Mailbox Mondays (Dec. 30)

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their homes during the past week. Mailbox Monday, for December, is being hosted by Rose City Reader.

Got a bunch of books for Christmas (I requested each of them).  The bottom two were from a secret Santa exchange on Elfster and the top book was from my parents.

I hope to read each of them during the next year (sorry about the quality of the photo; it was done with low light and I probably was a little too close to the books).

2nd Annual Classics Readathon

Due to popular demand, The Classics Club is holding its own 24-readathon, classics style.  Its pretty simple and since its the start of a new year, why not start the year with that classic that you have been staring down for the past while.

Here are the details:

The readathon will take place on Saturday January 4th, 2013 and will take place over the course of 24 hours and will start at 8 am ET (its very early for those of us out west).

I can probably go until about 7ish and then after I come back, as I have been invited to a party that night (and yes, I did say I would go before I said that I would do this).   But I will attempt to read as much as I can.  If you are interested, you can sign up here.

These are the books that I am going to attempt to get more done:
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• War & Peace

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Dec. 30)

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

Books finished this week:
• The Dogs of Christmas
• The Winter of Red Snow
• A Christmas Carol

Books reviewed this week:
• The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron (review)
• The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory (review)
• A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (review)

Books I am hoping to read this week:
• War & Peace
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Life after Life
• Starry Night
• Christmas Bliss
• Moon over Manifest

Also Shelia is hosting First Book of the Year, which I am planning on participating this coming Wednesday and The Classics Club is hosting their 2nd annual Classics Club readathon, which I will also be participating on Jan. 4.  If you are interested in either event, there is still plenty of time to sign up.

Sunday Salon - Favourite reads of 2013

As the turning of the year approaches, people and organizations are putting out best of lists.  And book bloggers are no different, putting out their favourite reads during the year.  And this book blogger is feeling the pressure to do this as well.

As I look on my favourite reads board on my Pintrest page (and yes this is a bit a plug for my Pintrest page), I realize that there were a number of books that I read that captured my imagination this year.  It was a surprising mixture of books that were my favourite books and there were books that while I quite enjoyed them and would recommend to other people, they weren't exactly favourites.  So without further ado, here are my favourites:

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley - 2nd in the Flavia de Luce series. Didn't like it as much as the first book, but once one got into the story, it was quite enjoyable and didn't want to put it down when reading it.

The Giver by Lois Lowry -  Second read of th…

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

I know that some of you are thinking that didn't I sign up for a TBR Pile Reading Challenge sometime recently and you would be correct.  But I thought I would be a little bit crazy and sign up for another TBR Pile Reading Challenge.  So here I go.

Here are the guidelines:

1.  This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2014 – Dec 31, 2014.
2.  Anyone can enter! You don’t have to be a blogger, as long as you review the book you’ve read! (On your blog, Amazon, Random Buzzers or Goodreads/Shelfari!)
3.  Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that’s been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Short stories and novellas are OK, too! Only books released in 2013 and earlier! NO 2014 ARCs and 2014 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
5.  When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2014 …

2014 Love Library Books Reading Challenge

I love libraries and books that they offer. But I do have a tendency to bite more than I can chew. But that being said, most of the books that I read throughout the year are more than likely a library book and  therefore this challenge is perfect for me.  Here are the details as given by the host, Book Dragon's Lair:

choose a level - you may move up as needed, just not down.check books out of the librarybooks may overlap with other challengesany format allowed (print, ebook, audio)reviews are not necessary but a list of books read is. (post with review linky is coming)a blog is not necessary, just comment that you want to join in.
board book - 3picture book - 6early reader - 9chapter book - 12middle grades - 18Young adult - 24adult - 36just insert IV - 50  

I am going to aim for Middle grades (18 books) and will link up my reviews here.  The linky for the reviews will be posted on Book Dragon's Lair's site, probably in the early part of January, and I will post a li…

2014 Shakespeare Reading Challenge

This one appealed to me on a number of levels, the most of which was the fact that I have a number of plays that I need to complete for my Classics Club challenge and it seemed a good way in getting a number of plays out of the way.  Here are the details of the challenge:

 This reading challenge runs from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014 You can join at any time Any of William Shakespeare’s works are acceptable–his plays and his sonnets–so long as it is a text. No movie or television adaptations or theatre performances (unless you read the text first and then watched an adaptation…that’s okay) Linking your reviews to the Linky Widget that I will be posting later this month is optional but strongly recommended just so that we can share titles and thoughts with other bloggers and get to know each other in the process Levels (sorry, not feeling very creative coming up with these levels, lol; I’m pretty laxed about this):
1 – 4 plays — Occasional theatre-goer5 – 9 plays — Frequent…

2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

If there is a challenge that I am a sucker for, it has to be this one.  I didn't finish this one in 2013, at least I don't think I did (will have to count up the books that I did read for the challenge before I can say if it was a bust or not), but in any case I do enjoy this challenge.

The challenge is run by the wonderful ladies who run Historical Tapestry.   And this year is no exception, even though there was a little bit of doubt that they would not run it.  But in any case they are and I hope you can join me.  Here are their rules and guidelines for the challenge:

Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created. To participate, you only have to follow the rules:

everyone can participate, even those who don't have a blog (you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish)add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your …

2014 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge

Like some of the other reading challenges I have signed up for this coming year for the first time, I found this one while just browsing around on A Novel Challenge and it looked appealing and actually pretty doable.  Here are the guidelines and levels as put up by the host, Socrates Book Reviews:

Here are the rules guidelines.

1) All books that are part of a continuing series qualify (i.e. Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, James Patterson's Alex Cross, etc. etc.)

2) It doesn't matter if you have 1 or 10 books in a series to complete it, it qualifies (i.e. if you only need to read one more Sookie Stackhouse book to complete the goal, that's fine) The goal is to complete a series from wherever you are up to until the last published book.

3) The qualification period is January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. Books must be read during this time frame to count.

4) Take the button above and post about it. Use the Mr. Linky below to …

Eclectic Reader Challenge 2014

I was perusing the challenges on A Novel Challenge and this looked interesting.  I don't know what did it for me, but I think it was the categories that were included in the challenge.

To sign up, go to Book'd Out.  Details of the challenge are below copied from the blog:

 In it’s third year, the aim of The Eclectic Reader 2014 Challenge is to push you outside your comfort zone by reading up to 12 books during the year from 12 different categories. Join in:The challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st 2014. Participants may join at any time up until December 1st 2014Create a blog post committing to  your participation in this challenge. *  If you don’t have a blog you are still welcome to sign up. You can create a shelf for the challenge at Goodreads or LibraryThing or a similar site Just include your name and a link to your shelf. Post your name, blog name, and the direct link to your challenge post in the Linky using the link belowClick here to enter your link t…

The Foodies Read 2014 Challenge

I did this one and actually managed to complete my goal of reading 1-3 foodie books this past year (think I read 2, but I know for sure I read 1).  I know some of you are wondering what qualifies as a foodie book, but as the host describes, its a book that "is centered around food and/or drinks. That could be a cookbook, a food biography or memoir, a non-fiction book focused around a specific food, wine, chef or restaurant, or a fictional story in which food plays a major role."

I am hoping to read at least one food-related book, maybe 2.  If you wish to sign up, click the photo above.  So in other words, I hope to obtain the level of Short-order cook.

Pre-Printing Press Challenge 2013-2014 Edition

I have never done this sort of a challenge, but I think I could easily do this one, especially since I have been hoping to read at least a couple of them that were mentioned.  My goal is to read The Oresteia and Homer's The Odyssey.  If you wish to join, here are the guidelines:

All books must have come out before 1440, when the printing press was first invented.Books chosen for this challenge can overlap with other challenges.Books can be translated into the language of your choice.All the books you've chosen must be read by December 31, 2014.You can read 1-3 books, 4-6 books, 7-9 books or 10 or more books if you're feeling particularly ambitious.The choice of books is up to you. There are no set reading lists, and you don't have to set one when you join.
Post your blog address where you'll be posting your comments on your choice of books in the comments of this post when you join, and tell me how many books you've chosen. I'll set up a link to participat…

2014 War Through the Generations Challenge with a Twist

I was able to finish last years challenge on the American Revolution through my Dear America book and this one looks interesting.  Here are the guidelines and levels:

Here’s the schedule:
Jan./Feb.:Gulf Wars (Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm and Iraq War/Operation Iraqi Freedom)March/April:French and Indian WarMay/June:Korean WarJuly/August:WWI (100th Anniversary)Sept./Oct.:WWIINov./Dec.:Vietnam WarLevel of Participation:
Dip Your Toes: Read 1 book for any war
Novice: Read 1 book per war throughout the year for a total of 6 books on 6 different warsIntermediate: Read 2+ books for 1 war, and 1 book for each of the others for a total of 7 booksExpert: Read 2+ books for each war for a total of 12 books I will aim for the Dip Your Toes level.  If you wish to join, click the photo above to sign up.  As of this moment I have no clue as to what I am going to read.  And yes, there are books in each section...

2014 Ebook Reading Challenge

I did this one this past year and believe I finished it.  Here are the guidelines and levels associated with this challenge:

Challenge Guidelines:
This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2014 – Dec 31, 2014.Anyone can join, you don’t need to be a blogger. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.You can plan your books in advance or as you read them.When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the E-Book Reading Challenge.Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2014, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.Levels:
Floppy disk – 5 ebooksCD – 10 ebooksDVD – 25 ebooksMemory stick – 50 ebooksHard drive – 75 ebooksServer – 100 ebooksHuman brain – 150 ebooks If you wish to join me, you can click on the photo above and join in.  I am planning on doing the CD level.  I…

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
File size (Pages): 939 KB (104)
Published: 2010 (originally published 1843)
Challenges: Christmas Spirit, e-book, The Classics Club
Genre: Christmas, Classics, Fiction
Edition: E-book
Source: Personal

Description: The beloved holiday classic with illustrations by John Leech. A Christmas Carol is Dickens' haunting cautionary tale about Ebenezer Scrooge a miserly businessman who dismisses charity and holiday cheer with an icy "bah humbug!" One night Scrooge finds himself visited by the ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley returned from the dead with a trio of spirits and a plea for his old friend Ebenezer to change his ways and open his heart to the true meaning of Christmas... before it's too late. (via

Thoughts: This is my second time reading this short Christmas novel.  And reading it the second time, I had new appreciation for the book.  Even though it is quite simple, it is also quite comple…

A Christmas Carol (1951)

Title: A Christmas Carol
Director: Brian Diamond Hurst
Running time: 86 min
Released: 1951

Description: An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by ghosts on Christmas Eve. (via

Thoughts: This is probably my favourite Christmas movie and has been for some time.  I know for a lot of people its something else, but because my dad would often seek out this version of the film, we would usually watch it at some point during the Christmas holidays, usually Christmas Day or Boxing Day.  While I do like the Disney animated version, this is the version that I grew up with as a kid, mind you it was the colour version, but when we did watch the black & white version, it always creeped me out, especially since the shadows seemed more sinister, and it is always the one that I will have a special kinship towards.

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year; may all your bookish dreams come true!

The Winter Of Red Snow - Kristiana Gregory

Title: The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777
Author: Kristiana Gregory
Pages: 192
Published: 2010 (originally published 1996)
Challenges: Historical Fiction, War Through the Generations
Genre: Historical Fiction, Children's literature
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Eleven-year-old Abigail Jane Stewart's fictionalized diary about her life, family, friends, and neighbors, and the sides they have to choose in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, during the height of the Revolutionary War, renders a vivid portrayal of one of the most memorable and crucial winters in American history.

Abby's life with her family is quickly upended when they are awakened by the unfamiliar sound of drums. General George Washington is leading the Continental soldiers into their winter encampment at Valley Forge, PA. (via Goodreads)
Thoughts: For myself as an adult, this was a book that I got through during the co…

Sunday Salon - Right Now (12/22/13)

I hope some, if not all, of you are finally able to relax and take sometime with your family and/or friends.

Time:  5:24 pm Pacific
Place: Home, in the same place I was last week.
Listening to: Listened to a couple of podcasts this morning (one was a book podcast and the other was a history podcast)
Eating: a salad.  I am off to church in a bit and just came back from seeing the middle Hobbit movie and needed something to eat, other than candy.
Watching: the Canucks/Winnipeg Jets game.
Reading: Read a bit of War & Peace while waiting for the movie to start this afternoon; its great having a book app on my phone (mine is Kobo)
Making: Other than a bunch of mess, nothing much, although I decided that making Waikiki Meatballs was a great idea at 11 pm yesterday (the meatballs were premade)
Planning: What to pack for my short Christmas trip to the mountains
Feeling: Rushed.  That could also be the caffeine talking, but I am feeling rather rushed with all that I need to do before I leave for m…

The Dogs of Christmas - W. Bruce Cameron

Title: The Dogs of Christmas
Author: W. Bruce Cameron
Pages: 233
Published: 2013
Challenges: Christmas Spirit
Genre: Fiction, Christmas
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: While nursing a broken heart, Josh Michaels is outraged when a neighbor abandons his very pregnant dog, Lucy, at Josh’s Colorado home. But Josh can’t resist Lucy’s soulful brown eyes, and though he’s never had a dog before, he’s determined to do the best he can for Lucy—and her soon-to-arrive, bound-to-be-adorable puppies. 

Soon in over his head, Josh calls the local animal shelter for help, and meets Kerri, a beautiful woman with a quick wit and a fierce love for animals. As Kerri teaches Josh how to care for Lucy’s tiny puppies and gets them ready to be adopted through the shelter’s “Dogs of Christmas” program, Josh surprises himself by falling for her.

But he’s fallen even harder for his new furry family, which has brought incredible joy into Josh’s life. He barely has time to sit down, betw…

History Reading Challenge 2014 – A Sail to the Past

As some of my readers know I love history and so much so, I slaved away on a 4-year BA history degree.  I realize that its nothing to sniff at, but in the almost 10 years since getting my degree, I have barely picked up a historical text, even though I have read lots of historical fiction in the intervening years.

So when I stumbled across this challenge, I thought that this would be a great way of reading some of the books on history that are accumulating dust on my shelves.  I may only get to one of them, but that is better than most years.

The person in charge of this challenge has some very specific guidelines so if you are interested in the challenge, you can click the photo and find out more.

As for me, I plan on doing the student level.

Back to the Classics 2014

I am going to try this one again and I think that I may actually get this one completed, considering the books I am possibly going to do for this year.  There is a new host this year, but it is somebody who is familiar with the challenge.  Click the photo above to get yourself to the sign up page.
The main rule is that you have to chose a book that is published before 1965; so basically anything up to 1964.
Here are the main guidelines from the host at Books and Chocolate: All books must be read in 2014.  Books started prior to January 1, 2014 are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2014.E-books and audiobooks are eligible!  Books can count for other challenges you may be working on.  However, books may NOT crossover categories within this challenge.  You may NOT count the same book twice for different categories in this challenge.  If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicly accessible online format.  Please sign up for th…