Monday, April 28, 2014

#SpringHorrorRAT Update No. 1






Today was a bit busier this afternoon than I had anticipated, but I was able to sit down a read a bit.  I was only really able to read from The Pursuit of Mary Bennet (before and after work on the bus) and The Mysteries of the Udolpho.

I don't know how much I'll be able to read on Tuesday, as I have a fairly full afternoon and evening, but I'll see what I can fit in.  Now for a bit of red wine before bed...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon Starting Post


I know some of you are thinking I am nuts, but I'm not.  Trust me.  This isn't like what I did for most of Saturday and for a little bit of Sunday; its a little more saner than that.

It's a pretty simple readathon really in that you only have to read one book that is horror, paranormal, thriller, mystery, etc.   The rest of the read-a-thon you can read whatever you wish to.  If you wish to sign up, you can still do so here.

Here are the books that I am planning on reading during the read-a-thon:
• The Mysteries of Udolpho
• His Majesty's Hope
• The Pursuit of Mary Bennet
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Bittersweet
• A Tale of Two Cities

If you wish to find out more about the read-a-thon, you can find out more here (it's also the starting line).  I hope to post most evenings as to what I have read, probably closer to midnight Pacific.

Mailbox Monday (April 27)


Mailbox Monday is a place for readers to share the books that came into their homes during the past week.  After being hosted at a number of blogs over the past few years, it has gone back to its home base, the aptly named, Mailbox Monday.

I received an email from an assistant marketing manger with PenguinRandomHouse and was given the choice of three or four books that I could request from them.  It came on Wednesday, resulting in a drive to a FedEx office about an hours drive from where I live.  Here is what I got:


The book came with all the packaging that you would see in the store and I am hoping to get around to it sometime soon.  Its not available in stores at the moment, but is expected to be out on May 13, 2014.

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


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.

Books finished this week:
HHhH by Laurent Binet
• Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal














   

Sunday Salon - #readathon End of Event Meme and Final Stats

I can't believe that I actually managed to stay up from 5 am PT Saturday until 5 am PT Sunday (today).  By the end, I was barely hanging on and had to mostly listen to an audiobook for the last 30 min so that I would be awake for the full time.

To kick things off, I read in my new reading corner in my room, as I had people staying with me on Friday night and I didn't want to disturb them as I read for the first few hours and one of my guests was leaving in the morning, so I didn't want to be distracted by the individual packing up, but by mid-morning, I had moved to the couch in the living room and there I sat from about 9 am Saturday until 5 am Sunday.  I did take a couple of half-hour breaks, including a run to Mcdonald's at around 12:30 am.

But despite how I felt when I finally went to sleep at around 5 am this morning, I am really happy at what I was able to accomplish.  According to my stat sheet that I kept (one of the readers offered this to fellow readers to use),  I read 995 pages between the 8 different books that I read and read for 19.75 hours.  I would have liked to read more during the read-a-thon and have more times when I would have entered my reading zone, but due to distractions that I encountered, especially during the early part of the read-a-thon, I missed about 4 hours and 15 minutes of reading, but I did read for at least 30 minutes during each hour.  I also participated in a few challenges, but by the end, I just wanted to read as much as I could, as I am also trying to get a very thick book completed by Saturday (its a library book and I have renewed it to its max and it has to be returned on Saturday).

I realize that I am being hard on myself, but I know for next time that there is a bit of room for improvement.

End of Event Meme
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
  5. How many books did you read?
  6. What were the names of the books you read?
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?
  8. Which did you enjoy least?
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
1) Probably the last hour was the most daunting for me; almost felt like quitting at about 4:15 am.
2) The Boxer & Saints series might keep a reader engaged for next year.
3) Not as many photo challenges
4)  What worked for me was taking at least two 30 minute breaks from reading and also the cheerleading helped.  I did notice that the cheerleading really dropped off after about midnight and I noticed that I didn't get really any encouragement from the cheerleaders; didn't get any sort of comments after my 1 am post.  I was disappointed that I didn't see any comments after that; didn't bring it up during the twitter chat.  I also noticed I didn't really many encouraging comments while on twitter.  I realize that there are a lot of readers participants, but if the cheerleaders could make sure to kinda hit readers on a regular basis, I think I could get through that final hour better.
5) Read 8 books; completed 4
6) I finished both books in Boxers & Saints series, The Hen Who thought she could fly, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
7) I enjoyed The Ocean at the End of the Lane for most of it and really liked the Boxers and Saints series.
8)  I didn't really enjoy The Hen Who Thought She Could Fly.
9) N/A
10) Depending on when the October read-a-thon is, I will likely participate; more likely to participate in April.  I probably will take on a similar role as have in the past.

#readathon Update No. 11


Books completed: 3
Books read from: 7
Total hours read: 17.75
Total pages read: 946
 Pages read since last update: 51

Well, this is probably the final update of my progress, as the next post will probably a final total.  As I reflect on it at this point, I have had fun.  I will post my final numbers probably in about 2 hours and maybe a final survey, if there is one.  See you in about 2 hours....

#readathon Update No. 10






Books completed: 3
Books read from: 7
Total hours read: 15.75
Total pages read: 895
Pages read since last update: 32

I am still finding The Ocean at the End of the Lane enjoyable, even though I am getting a little freaked out by the story and is giving "nightmares" and is kinda freaking me out.  I am starting to wonder if I really want to listen to one of the other books that I have audio for, especially since I still have about 2 hours and 20 min of Ocean left to listen to (the audio for Ocean is really good and Neil is an excellent reader) and maybe read something else for the remaining time.  I'll see.  See you in about 2 hours...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

#readathon Update No. 9






Books completed: 3
Books read from: 7
Total hours read: 14.25
Total pages read: 863
Pages read since last update: 57

I am really enjoying The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but this last section felt really creepy.  See you in about 2 hours!

#readathon Update No. 8






Books completed: 3
Books read from: 7
Total hours read: 12.25
Total pages read: 806
Pages read since last update: 45

Was feeling a bit dragged down with the readers on Mysteries of the Udolpho, but when I started The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I felt strangely energized.  See you in about 2 hours!

#readathon Update No. 7






Books completed: 3
Books read from: 6
Total hours read: 10.25 (did some adjustments on my spreadsheet)
Total pages read: 761
Pages read since last update: 35

Starting to slow down a little, as I am starting to feel a little more tired by this point in the day.  I am hoping that hopefully soon I will be feeling a little less groggy and I can pick up the pace with my reading (it doesn't help that the audio readers I am listening to aren't exactly speaking at a pace that I would prefer).  Will update in about 2 hours.

#readathon Update No. 6






Books completed: 3
Books read from: 5
Total hours read: 8.8333
Total pages read: 726
Pages read since last update: 34

Slowed down a little bit due to the mid-event survey and getting some dinner and some other stuff, but otherwise I am just trucking along at this point.  Will update in about 2 hours.

#readathon Mid-Event Survey





Normally I wouldn't be posting now, but since the mid-event survey is up, I am going to post at this hour.  Here are the questions:
1. What are you reading right now?
2. How many books have you read so far?
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
9. Are you getting tired yet?
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

1)  I am reading A Tale of Two Cities
2)  I have read 4 books, with 3 completed.
3)  I am looking forward to read The Ocean at the End of the Lane
4)  No, I did not have to make any special arrangements, although I did inform people that needed to be informed that this would be happening.
5)  I haven't had many interruptions.
6)  How much interaction there is going on.
7)  Personally would like it to be held at this time next April, but I know that is not always possible.
8) At this point, I don't if I would do anything differently as a reader.
9) Not really; may feel a bit tired in about 5 or 6 hours from now
10)  Can't think of anything at this point.

#readathon Update No. 5


Things keep rolling along...

Books completed: 3
Total time read: 7.5833 hours
Total pages read: 692
Pages read since last update: 51

Took a bit of a break for about 30 min and while it has taken me a bit of time to get back into my groove again, I think I am getting it back.  Next up: A Tale of Two Cities. Be back in about 2 hours or so.

#readathon Update No. 4






Books completed: 3
Total time read: 6.083 hours
Total pages read: 641
Pages read since last update: 95

I did have some lunch and am sort of in a reading groove at the moment.  Now going to get "ready" for the day, not that I'll be doing much else, but I need to get into some cleaner clothes. Don't know what I'll read when I get back to reading.  See you in about 2 hours.

#readathon Update No. 3






Books completed: 2
Total time read: 4.25 hours (I've got a spreadsheet)
Total pages read: 546
Pages read since last update: 86

Be back in about 2 hours and back to reading.

#readathon Update No. 2





Books read: 1 (almost have completed 2)
Total time read: about 3 hours
Total pages read: 460

No challenges completed for a while now.

#readathon Update No. 1


Quick update:
Books Read: 0, but am close to finishing read
Time read: about an hour and 3/4
Pages read: 251
Challenges completed, other than the opening meme: 1 (just emailed it off)

See you in about 2 hours from now.

#readathon Hour 0 – Kick Off Meme






To kick off the read-a-thon, the mods at the 24 hour read-a-thon are asking a few questions this fine morning:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

1) I am reading from Abbotsford, BC; its about a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, BC.
2)  I am looking forward to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman; heard its really good.
3) I am looking forward to the wine that I bought a couple of days ago; its called Apothetic Red (I'll tell you later, but it's something like that)
4) I used to live in Brazil about 30 years ago.
5) One thing I'll do different from last one is not blow up at people.

Friday, April 25, 2014

#readathon Stack


The 24 hour Dewey Readathon is almost here!  I am feeling a little bit nervous, but also a little excited.  Nervous because of the time for me (its going to be a 4:30 am wake up call and there are other people in the apartment staying with me at the moment).  Hopefully I'll get up on time and start reading at 5 am.

Here are the books that I am starting out with and hope to read tomorrow:
• Mysteries of the Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
• Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
• A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
• The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by







Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0: Sign Up

Bout of Books


 I really enjoy doing this readathon and look forward to this each time that it is being held.  It's sort of like the 24 hour read-a-thon that is being held this coming weekend, but held over the course of a week instead and this is my sign up.  I'll have the books that I intend on reading up at a later date.

For those that don't know what Bout of Books is...here you go:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Apr. 21)

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.

Books finished this week:• The Orenda by Josephy Boyden

Books reviewed this week:
None

Books I hope to finish this week:
HHhH by Laurent Binet
• Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal


Books I hope work on this week:
• Flight Behavior
• The Mysteries of the Udolpho
• The Woman in White
• War & Peace
• The Count of Monte Cristo

• A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Books I hope to read for this Saturday's 24 hour read-a-thon:
• Boxers by








  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Salon - Right now (4/20/2014)

Time: 11:19 am
Place: In the living room
Listening to: Talking History: The Italian Unification (Venice 3 - The Road to Hell)
Eating: Nothing at present; ate breakfast about an hour or so ago, but am feeling a tad peckish
Watching: Flyers vs Rangers Game 2
Reading: I am planning on finishing up Vol. 1 of The Mysteries of the Udolpho and Princess Elizabeth's Spy
Making: Nothing
Planning: What I am going to do tomorrow (I have tomorrow off as well)
Feeling: A bit groggy
Loving: That the weather is looking better than it has been
Wanting: An update as what podcasts are updating today (I am not up to date with the podcasts that usually download on Sundays; wish I knew if they were going to be)
Thinking: A bunch of stuff
Looking forward to: To doing a bunch of reading tomorrow

Books finished but not reviewed:
The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

Books I hope to finish this week:
• HHhH
Princess Elizabeth's Spy

Plans for Spring 24-hour readathon:
• Boxers by












I am hoping to post the update to the changes to my library next week, but knowing that it probably will be a final post for Dewey's 24-hour readathon, I will probably push it back for a couple weeks.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Apr. 14)






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.

Books finished this week:
None

Books reviewed this week:
1) Labor Day by Joyce Maynard (review)
2) The Reason that I Jump by Naoki Higashida; translated by K.A. Yoshida and David Mitchell (review)
3) Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson (review)
4) The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (review)
5) Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (review)
6) Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead (review)
7) The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle (review)

Books I hope to finish this week:
• HHhH by Laurent Binet
• Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal
• The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

Books I hope work on this week:
• Flight Behavior
• The Mysteries of the Udolpho
• The Woman in White
• War & Peace
• The Count of Monte Cristo

Hope you have a good week :) 

Sunday Salon - Changes

As I write this post, I am in the midst of making changes.  They aren't really big changes, but they are changes nonetheless.   A few weeks ago, my mom asked me if I wanted to move some furniture around to make my bedroom more liveable.  After thinking about it for about a day, I realized that this would be a good thing.

But as some of you know, I really don't like changes and changes of any sort kinda make me anxious, even if they are good changes, which this is.

When I moved into my place about 4 and a half years ago, for some reason, it was decided that the walk-in closet in my room would hold my books.  While it was nice to have, I didn't really use it, as it ended up being a place where I stored boxes that I hadn't gone through since I had moved into my apartment and it was a place that I really didn't go into much.

My parents had asked me if I had wanted to have a TV in my bedroom and I decided against it due to a number of factors and then was proposed to me a little bit later that maybe I could possibly create a space for me to read and just relax and place for me to go to when I had the need to.  This definitely sounded better to me.  It's not that I don't like to watch TV, I do, its just that when I go to my room, I want it to be a place in which I can really unwind and relax and while I can do it on my bed, it can get a little uncomfortable at times. 

So it was suggested that I move my four bookshelves into the den area, which was another "dumping ground" for stuff and a place I didn't really use and have my dresser and some other things moved into the closet, which would allow me store things that have been just lingering in my place in a proper spot and allow for more organization.  I am looking forward to what the final product looks like and I may post photos on my blog in a few weeks time.  So if you want to see the final product, you might want to keep yourself updated.

Yesterday evening (Saturday),  I managed to get caught up with my book reviews; it was a bit easier than in the past, as I wrote the book reviews down in a notebook so as get my thoughts down a little better ahead of posting here, but sadly haven't had much motivation to read this week, but I am hoping to read a bit more this coming week, but with the move, I don't know how much I'll be able to get done, as there is a lot to be done in the coming days.

Reviews:
1) Labor Day by Joyce Maynard (review)
2) The Reason that I Jump by Naoki Higashida; translated by K.A. Yoshida and David Mitchell (review)
3) Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War by Jennifer Robson (review)
4) The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (review)
5) Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (review)
6) Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge by Lindy Woodhead (review)
7) The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle (review)

Till next week, hopefully...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Whole Golden World - Kristina Riggle

Title: The Whole Golden World
Author: Kristina Riggle
Pages: 448
Published: 2013
Challenges: I Love Libraries
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: To the outside Dinah and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and a café that's finally taking off. But their world is rocked when it's discovered that their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Morgan is having an affair with her married teacher, TJ Hill.

Their town rocks with the scandal. When the case goes to trial, the family is torn further apart when Morgan sides not with her parents-as a manipulated teenage girl; but with TJ himself-as a woman who loves a 30-year-old man. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts:  While for the most part, I liked book, there were times that I didn't and felt that three narrators, Morgan, Dinah, and Rain, were from time to time fairly self-centered and it seemed that their only concern was for their own reputation and well-being, no matter what the costs were to those around them, mainly the male characters in their lives.  This seemed to be especially to be true of Dinah, who seemed to not realize that her lack of involvement in her children's lives made them act out in ways that, at least to her, contrary to the way that she perceived them to be; she thought of them to be angels and as though they were innocent of any sort of wrong doing, no matter what happened.

It also felt like that this sort of book would be perfect to show as a movie on Lifetime.

Bottom line: If you are a fan of Jodi Picoult, I would probably recommend this book, but if you're not, I would probably skip it and read something else.  Recommended.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2014: 5890

Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge - Lindy Woodhead

Title: Shopping, Seduction, & Mr. Selfridge
Author: Lindy Woodhead
Pages: 352
Published: 2013 (first published 2007)
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Non-Fiction
Genre: Biography, Non-fiction
Edition: Movie Tie-In Paperback
Source: Library

Description: Harry Gordon Selfridge was a charismatic American who, in twenty-five years working at Marshall Field’s in Chicago, rose from lowly stockboy to a partner in the business which his visionary skills had helped to create. At the turn of the twentieth century he brought his own American dream to London’s Oxford Street where, in 1909, with a massive burst of publicity, Harry opened Selfridge’s, England’s first truly modern built-for-purpose department store. Designed to promote shopping as a sensual and pleasurable experience, six acres of floor space offered what he called “everything that enters into the affairs of daily life,” as well as thrilling new luxuries—from ice-cream soda to signature perfumes. This magical emporium also featured Otis elevators, a bank, a rooftop garden with an ice-skating rink, and a restaurant complete with orchestra—all catering to customers from Anna Pavlova to Noel Coward. The store was “a theatre, with the curtain going up at nine o’clock.” Yet the real drama happened off the shop floor, where Mr. Selfridge navigated an extravagant world of mistresses, opulent mansions, racehorses, and an insatiable addiction to gambling. While his gloriously  iconic store still stands, the man himself would ultimately come crashing down. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: If I wasn't for the TV series airing on PBS, I probably wouldn't have picked up the book, as I hadn't heard of the book prior to the series.  While the book is an interesting look at the life of Henry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridges, the author seems to get bogged down in the sort of details that most people wouldn't be interested in, including myself, especially those about the financials, which made me bored to tears.  As you can probably tell, I was more interested in his personal life, but I guess since that his personal life was intertwined with that of the store, one couldn't exactly ignore the business side of his life.

Bottom life: While the book has lots of information, the way that the author presented the information became dry due to her descriptions that became wordy, even though the author does do a wonderful job in telling who Henry Selfridge was, both good and bad.  Recommended, but with some reservations.

Ratings: 3/5

Pages for 2014: 5442

Twelve Years a Slave - Solomon Northup

Title: Twelve Years a Slave
Author: Solomon Northup
Pages: 2008 (first published 1853)
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Non-Fiction
Genre: Non-fiction, biography, Memoir
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Here is the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York. He was kidnaped by unscrupulous slave hunters and sold into slavery where he, endured unimaginable degradation and abuse until his rescue twelve years later. A powerful and riveting condemnation of American slavery. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: After watching the movie, I thought that I would give this  a try and it would be interesting to see how much of the book was used in the movie (and from what I can recall, the movie was pretty accurate to what was written in the book).  Maybe it wwas the visual nature of the movie, but I honestly felt that the book was tad dull and lacked the emotional depth that the movie had.

It also felt like somebody was telling another person what they felt about a particular event and not as engrossing as maybe hearing it from the person talk about the events; it felt like I was reading the transcript of a really amazing speech after seeing the video recording of the same speech online or in person.

Bottom line: I would probably recommend this book to those that have a strong interest in African-American studies prior to the start of the American Civil War.  Recommended.

Rating: 2.8/5

Pages for 2014: 5090

The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer

Title: The Interestings
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Pages: 480
Published: 2012
Challenges: Chunkster, I Love Libraries
Genre: Literary Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules’s now-married best friends, become shockingly successful—true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken.

Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life. (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts: I first heard about this book either through the Bookrageous or through Books on the Nightstand, but I pretty sure I heard about the book through both at some point, and then heard about the book through the New York Times Book Review Podcast, which convinced me that I really did need to read the book and that it did appeal to me.

And I wasn't disappointed with it at all.  While I felt that it took a bit of the story to actually get going, once the story did get going, I really got into the story.  What I really liked was the shift between the characters and how very different their narratives ended up being from each other and reflected their personalities well.  I also liked how they interacted with each other and was really surprised how involved I got with the various characters, especially with Jules.  In fact, I got so involved with the story that I found myself bawling as I finishing up the book.

I don't know why the book struck a chord with me in that manner, but while I didn't like it so much as to garner a higher rating, it was a book that probably will stay with me for a long time.

Bottom line: If you enjoy reading more contemporary pieces of fiction, you probably will enjoy this book.  Or even if you want to read something that allows you to think a bit while being engrossed in a book that allows one to escape for a bit.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2014: 4946

Somewhere in France - Jennifer Robson

Title: Somewhere in France: A Novel of the Great War
Author: Jennifer Robson
Pages: 400
Published: 2013
Challenges: I Love Libraries, War Through the Generations, Historical Fiction, Eclectic Reading
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lily from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps—an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front.

Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lily is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend. The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lily’s dreams. She doesn’t care that Robbie grew up in poverty—she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more. Lily is the most beautiful—and forbidden—woman Robbie has ever known. Fearful for her life, he’s determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart.

In a world divided by class, filled with uncertainty and death, can their hope for love survive. . . or will it become another casualty of this tragic war? (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts: Saw this book recommended on a blog somewhere (this may be a bit redundant, as most books I read come from blog recommendations) and it intrigued me.  Luckily for me, I was able to get a library copy fairly quickly and hence I was able to finish the book within fairly short order.

What appealed me to the book was the fact that it reminded a lot of the plot line of Downton Abbey and it also appealed to me in that it looked to be a fairly easy read and something that I could read in short order, which I was able to.

Now that I have had sometime to let the book soak in and my thoughts to be properly formulated, I was reminded of Sarah's Key, in that it was a book that I could easily put down for a period of time and pick up just as easily without missing too much of the storyline.

While the book was nothing too memorable, the writing was decent enough and I liked the characters, even if the book became a bit too cliched for my liking.

Bottom line: If you gravitate towards lighter fiction and are a fan of Downton Abbey, I would recommend this read or even if you need something lighter for a bit.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.75/5

Pages for 2014: 4466

The Reason that I Jump - Naoki Higashia; trans. K.A. Yoshida and David Mitchell

Title: The Reason that I Jump
Author: Naoki Higashida; translated by K.A. Yoshida and David Mitchell
Pages: 176
Published 2013 (first published 2007)
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Non-Fiction
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.  (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: I can't recall where I had first hear about this book, but wherever I saw it, it definitely piqued my interest.

At first I was quite impressed with the author's ability to express his thought and feelings in a fairly coherent manner, but as I moved on in the book I started to become skeptical of how much a 13 year-old would truly know about living with ASD (Austim Spectrum Disorder), especially since it is something that is so varied.  I also found that the voice of the author to be irritating at times, especially towards the end of the book.  I really was hoping for more, but was unable to find what I was hoping for and actually quit reading the book with one section left to complete.

Bottom Line: If you enjoyed such books as Three Cups of Tea and other first person "non-fiction" narratives, you probably would enjoy this read.  Recommended, but with strong reservations.

Rating: 2/5

Pages for 2014: 4066
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