Showing posts from August, 2014

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

Title: The Goldfinch
Author: Donna Tartt
Pages: 771
Published: 2013
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, Chunkster
Genre: Contemporary, Literary, Ficiton
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Personal

Description: It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle. (from Goodreads)

Thoughts:  After reading a number…

Road Ends - Mary Lawson

Title: Road Ends
Author: Mary Lawson
Pages (File Size): 368 (2.2 MB)
Published: 2013
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, Canadian Book, E-Book Reading, Historical Fiction, I Love Libraries
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary, Canadian
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: Roads End brings us a family unravelling in the aftermath of tragedy: Edward Cartwright, struggling to escape the legacy of a violent past; Emily, his wife, cloistered in her room with yet another new baby, increasingly unaware of events outside the bedroom door; Tom, their eldest son, twenty-five years old but home again, unable to come to terms with the death of a friend; and capable, formidable Megan, the sole daughter in a household of eight sons, who for years held the family together but has finally broken free and gone to England, to try to make a life of her own.  

Thoughts: I had trouble following the storyline in the book at times, in that I could not find out what the focus of the book was.  While I …

Levels of LIfe - Julian Barnes

Title: Levels of Life
Author: Julian Barnes
Pages: 128
Published: 2013
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, I Love Libraries, Non-Fiction
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography, Memoir
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Part history, part fiction, part memoir,  Levels of Life  is a powerfully personal and unforgettable book, and an immediate classic on the subject of grief.

Levels of Life opens in the nineteenth century with balloonists, photographers, and Sarah Bernhardt, whose adventures lead seamlessly into an entirely personal account of the author's own great loss.  (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I picked up this due to a suggestion on Hear...Read This! and while this book is a metaphor about the ups and downs of life (so I found out on a couple of reviews on Goodreads), I also felt the book on different levels while reading the book: from a little bored to being a little confused to being engaged with the book.  What I mean by this is that the first two sections left me "…

Speaking from Among the Bones - Alan Bradley

Title: Speaking from Among the Bones (Flavia de Luce #5)
Author: Alan Bradley
Pages: 400
Published: 2013 (first published 2012)
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: When the tomb of St. Tancred is opened at a village church in Bishop's Lacey, its shocking contents lead to another case for Flavia de Luce. Greed, pride, and murder result in old secrets coming to light--along with a forgotten flower that hasn't been seen for half a thousand years. (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: For the first time, I struggled to get into a book this series; it was likely due to some stress that I was going through at the time, but once I was able to, I found the story to be quite enjoyable and found myself looking forward to the next book in the series, which comes out in trade paperback in late 2014 or early 2015.

What I like about the book is that while Flavia is starting to mature, she still also st…

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

Title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1)
Author: Douglas Adams
Pages: 216
Published: 1995 (first published 1979)
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, I Love Libraries
Genre: Science Fiction, Humor, Fantasy, Young Adult
Edition: Mass Market Paperback (Library binding)
Source: Library

Description: Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian,…

The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman

Title: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M.L. Stedman
Pages: 345
Published: 2013 (first published 2012)
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, To…

Summer House with Swimming Pool - Herman Koch

Title: Summer House with Swimming Pool
Author: Herman Koch
Pages: 387
Published: 2014 (first published 2011)
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, I Love Libraries
Genre: Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: When a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business. But the weight of carrying such a secret lies heavily on his mind, and he can't keep hiding from the truth…or the Board of Medical Examiners.

The problem is that the real truth is a bit worse than a simple slipup. Marc played a role in Ralph's death, and he's not exactly upset that the man is gone. Still haunted by his eldest daughter's rape during their stay at Ralph's extravagant Mediterranean summerhouse-one they shared with Ralph and his enticing wife, Judith, film director Stanley Forbes and…

#boutofbooks Wrap-Up & #bthreadathon Update No. 8

Bout of Books:

Was pretty successful, even though I finished 2 books.   I managed to read about 869 pages, which in my books is pretty good and am looking forward to the next Bout of Books read-a-thon in early January.

Beat the Heat:
Mrs. Hemingway:          31 pages
The Word Exchange:     69 pages
Total pages:                   100

The Word Exchange:         58 pages
Mrs. Hemingway:              47 pages
The Invention of Wings:    38 pages
Total pages:                        143

The Wide and Starry Sky:                                                                  64 pages
The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window:  42 pages
Total pages:                                                                                        106

Write On Review-a-thon Sign up

I have a bunch of reviews that need to be written up and posted.  Looking forward to it.

#boutofbooks Day 4 Update & #bthreadathon Update No. 7

Beat the Heat:
The Word Exchange:     135 pages

Bout of Books:
Don't know why but I didn't read much during the day, but once the evening came on Thursday, I read a lot.  Hopefully I get more reading done this evening.

#boutofbooks Day 3 Update & #bthreadathon Update No. 6

Beat the Heat:
The Word Exchange:                  50 pages
Under the Wide and Starry Sky: 40 pages
Total pages:                                 90

Bout of Books:
Productive day of reading; started reading Under the Wide and Starry and got about 40 pages done from that book.  Got a bit more of The Word Exchange completed with 40 pages.  Hoping to do as much reading as I did yesterday.

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simison

Title: The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)
Author: Graeme Simison
Pages: 295
Published: 2013
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, I Love Libraries
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Humor, Romance
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fier…

His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal

Title: His Majesty's Hope (Maggie Hope Mystery #3)
Author: Susan Elia MacNeal
Pages: 334
Published: 2013
Challenges: Blogger Summer Reading, Historical Fiction, I Love Libraries, War Through the Generations
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive—a black ops organization designed to aid the British effort abroad—and her first assignment sends her straight into Nazi-controlled Berlin, the very heart of the German war machine. Relying on her quick wit and keen instincts, Maggie infiltrates the highest level of Berlin society, gathering information to pass on to London headquarters. But the secrets she unveils will expose a darker, more dangerous side …

#boutofbooks Day 2 Update & #bthreadathon Update No. 5

Beat the Heat:
The Word Exchange:     45 pages
The Cuckoo's Calling:   163 pages *
Total pages:                   208

* Completed

Bout of Books:  Day 2

Felt like a productive day of reading, especially since I was able to finish The Cuckoo's Calling on Tuesday evening.  I don't know how much reading I am going to get done today, but I am hoping to get a lot done.

The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

Title: The Remains of the Day
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Pages: 245
Published: 2005 (first published 1988)
Challenges: Historical Fiction, Blogger Summer Reading, Roofbeemer TBR, Bookish TBR
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence. (from

Thoughts: This was the third Ishiguro novel that I read (first two were When We Wer…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallfloer
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Pages: 213
Published: 1999
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Blogger Summer Reading
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. (from Goodreads)
Thoughts: This book has been on my TBR fo…

#boutofbooks Day 1 Update & #bthreadathon Update No. 4

Beat the Heat:
The Word Exchange:   27 pages
The Cuckoo's Calling:  46 pages
Half-Blood Prince:       127 pages
Total pages:                  200

The Cuckoo's Calling:   47 pages

Bout of Books: Day 1

Didn't do a lot of reading for Monday, as I was recovering from a huge reading day from the previous day, but I did read about 47 pages from The Cuckoo's Calling.  I am hoping to be reading a bit more today.

I am sorry for the odd look, but when am doing two different readathons at the same time, this is how its going to look like.

Sunday Salon - Right Now (8/17/14)

Time: 9:02 am Pacific
Place: Some place other than home
Listening to… Episode 292 of Books on the Nightstand
Watching... Newcastle vs Man City
Reading... Too many books
Planning...  To post some book reviews, read a bunch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, watch a bunch of lectures for a course I am taking online through (one on the French Revolution) and to just generally survive the day.

Feeling... Tired; haven't been sleeping well for the last little while.
Wanting... To go back to bed.

Thinking... Not a lot at the moment

Looking forward to... Seeing my sister.
Books finished since my last Sunday Salon: • Road Ends  • The Goldfinch • Empty Mansions • We Were Liars • The Circle
Books reviewed since my last Sunday Salon: • HHhH by Laurent Binet (July 2014)
• Boxers by Gene Luen Yang (July 2014)
• Saints by Gene Luen Yang (July 2014)
• Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, The by Sun-mi Hwang (Aug. 2014)
• Ocean at the End of the Lane, The by Neil Gaiman (Aug. 2014)
• Mysteries of Udolpho,…

#BtHreadathon Update No. 3

I realize that its been a few days since I last updated as to what I had read.  I had other things up and I just put it aside in favour of those of other things.

Half-Blood Prince:    83 pages read
Mrs. Hemingway:     11 pages read
Total pages read:       94

The Circle:                  48 pages read*
The Cuckoo's Calling: 42 pages read
Total pages read:          90

* = completed reading

I did start reading The Word Exchange, but it wasn't enough to think it was enough to record it (it was a few pages); I hope to read a bit more today and that I update sooner than have at the moment.

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 438
Published: 2013
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Blogger Summer Reading
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description:Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is…

The Enchanted - Rene Denfeld

Title: The Enchanted
Author: Rene Denfeld
Pages: 256
Published: 2014
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Blogger Summer Reading
Genre: Fiction, Magic Realism
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description:The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners' pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar noti…

#BtHreadathon Update No. 2

Had a big day of reading today, although I only really read from two books.  But within those two books, I read a lot of pages and am anticipating about the same tomorrow.

Here is what I read:
• Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Read 69 pages
• The Circle: Went from about 71% to about 91% completed, which is about 106 pages

I read for about 3 and a half to about 4 hours (didn't really calculate as to how much I read).

#bthreadathon - Update No. 1

I am so sorry for not posting an update yesterday, but here I am!  It will be a quick one, as I am headed off to do some reading before I go off to dream land.

It really hasn't been a successful couple of days, as yesterday I didn't feel like reading.  But before I did head off to sleep I read about 130 pages from two different books.  Didn't read much during the day yesterday (Wednesday), but am hoping today is going to be better.

A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin

Title: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Fire and Ice #2)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Pages: 1009
Published: 2005 (first published 1998)
Challenges: Chunkster, Blogger Summer Reading, Bookish TBR, Roof Beam TBR
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Edition: Mass-Market Paperback
Source: Personal

Description:  A comet the colour of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk at night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possesse…

While Beauty Slept - Elizabeth Blackwell

Title: While Beauty Slept
Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Pages: 432
Published: 2014 (first published 2013)
Challenge: I Love Libraries, Historical Fiction, Bloggers Summer Reading
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: The Truth is No Fairy Tale.
I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. Those of humble birth suffer their heartbreaks and celebrate their triumphs unnoticed by the bards, leaving no trace in the fables of their time.... And so begins Elise Dalriss's story When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a tale about a beautiful princess awakened by a handsome prince, it pushes open a door to the past, a door Elise has long kept locked. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered - and she is the only one left who knows the truth of what happened so many years ago. As the memories start to unfold, Elise is plunged back in to the magnificent world behind the opulent palace walls. Fleeing a ha…

2nd Annual Beat the Heat Readathon Sign-up Post

Beat the Heat readathon is hosted by Novel Heartbeatand Phantasmic Reads

I don't know how I heard about it; probably a blog post I read in the last few days.

So here are the rules:

The Beat the Heat Readathon runs from August 11th to September 1st. What does this readathon entail, you ask? Well, read as much or as little as you want – the main point is to READ! You set your own goal, and for three weeks you read as many books as you can/want to reach your goal!There will be mini-challenges throughout the Readathon for participants, along with a grand prize giveaway at the end!Sign up here at Phantasmic Reads or Novel Heartbeat. You may join whenever you like, but to be eligible for our grand prize giveaway, you must sign up by August 24th.To join, all you have to do is make a sign-up post – even if it’s just a “Let’s do this!” thing – and add your post URL to the linky below! You can put your goals and progress (will be required for the final giveaway) in your sign-up post, or you …