12/31/11

End of 2011 Book Survey

Ever since I discovered The Perpetual Page-Turner and read last year's survey, I've been awaiting this year's version.  And now -- it's time!

Best Book You Read In 2011?

Usually it's hard to pick just one best book, but this year it's easy: Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  Absolutely cannot WAIT for Pandemonium next year!!!

Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

Based on my GoodReads ratings, I’d have to go with Sara Shepard’s Everything We Ever Wanted.  Although I am tiring of the Pretty Little Liars series (in my opinion, you can only drag a series out for so long before it needs to end), she is such a good storyteller.  When I saw that she’d written a book for adults, I was excited to read another excellent story, but one geared for an adult audience for a change.  I was so disappointed with the book that I couldn’t even finish it.

Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

I’d probably go with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  I had a feeling that the book would be good, based on the reviews, but I really didn’t know what to expect in the story.  The mixed-media aspect was completely new for me, and a very pleasant change to a traditional story.

Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

I think I’ve lost track of the number of times that I have raved about Lauren Oliver’s books.

Best series you discovered in 2011?

I’ve just started Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series (which is supposed to be really good, although I’ve only read book one so far) and I’ve also discovered, and am loving, the Luxe series by Anna Godbersen.

Favourite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Most of the books that I read over the last year were authors that were familiar to me, but I did discover Anna Godbersen.

Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Definitely Ender’s Game.  I’m not much of a sci-fi reader, but my husband recommended this book for a bookclub discussion, so I had no choice.  And surprisingly I ended up quite enjoying the book!
 
Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Hands down: Delirium.

Book you most anticipated in 2011?

Probably Cassandra Clare’s City of Fallen Angels.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2011?

Liesl & Po -- how can you NOT love the cover of this book?

Most memorable character in 2011?
 

I want to answer with Delirium for every single question on this survey, but that would make my answers boring, so let me choose something different.  I thoroughly enjoyed Candace Bushnell’s Summer and the City, which portrays Carrie’s first summer in NYC.  I love New York, I love Sex and the City and I loved Carrie’s youthful voice as she arrives in the city, eager to escape her boring upbringing and begin her life as a writer in the big city.

Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

Chris Cleave’s Little Bee.  A beautiful, beautiful book.  A must-read.

Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?

Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected was difficult to read at times, as some of the struggles that her family was going through brought back memories for me.  Not that I’ve known someone with left neglect (and the whole concept in the book was pretty amazing too), but I’m sure that everyone has had a loved one in the hospital and can relate to the struggles that the characters go through.

Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read? 

I have had Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind sitting on my bookshelf for YEARS.  I have heard people rave about the book and noticed it appear on Heather’s Picks shelf at Chapters.  People have come over to my house, pulled the book of the shelf and asked me if I loved the book as much as they did.  Yet, somehow, I just never got around to reading it until this summer.  And I loved it.  Loved, loved, loved it.

Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011? 

I know, I know, I said that I wouldn’t use Delirium for every answer, but I have this quote on my GoodReads page, so it’s an easy one to grab:

Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.

Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012? 

Oh, what the heck, Delirium again.  I have a terrible memory for books after I’ve read them, so I will likely need to reread this one before Pandemonium comes out!

Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Probably the end of Ender’s Game, but my husband had already read it so I could talk to him about it as soon as I’d finished the book.

New favourite book blog you discovered in 2011? 

Honestly, every blog that I have added this year is a new favourite that has just been discovered, since I’ve only been at this blogging thing for a couple of months.  But the FIRST blog that I stumbled across was CuppaLit, so she’ll hold a special place in my heart!

Favourite review that you wrote in 2011? 

Not that I have that many to choose from, but I’d probably have to say Miss Peregrine’s.

Best discussion you had on your blog? 

I haven’t had all that many comments so far (but big thanks to all of you who have commented – you make my day each time!)  The best discussion so far would probably also go to Miss Peregrine!

Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog?

I thoroughly enjoy the amount of discussion that Wendy Darling generates on her reviews.  She is one of my newest GoodReads friends, but one who clearly loves reading and talking about books just as much as I do!

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I’m new to the blogging world (just started in November) so I don’t think that I really have that much to choose from.  I love making lists, so I am thoroughly enjoying Top Ten Tuesdays.

Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

Probably the moment that I decided to take the plunge and start the blog.

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Again, I’m still new to blogging, but my top ten Tuesdays have probably had the most views, since people are checking them out and then following my blog (a big thank you to each and every one of you!!!)

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

It’s hard to answer this one – several of my reviews have no comments, but I still hope that people are reading them.

Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Probably The Book Depository.  I haven’t ordered anything yet, but I’ve price compared a few titles with Chapters and I was excited to discover that all of the books were cheaper with the Book Depository!

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I challenged myself to read 50 books in 2011, and I actually read 63!  And that doesn’t even include all of the picture books that I read for my Spring 2011 course!

One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

I am currently reading Divergent, so this will be my first read book of 2012.  I wanted to read this book SO BADLY after reading so many rave reviews online, and received my very own copy under the tree on Christmas morning!

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

Pandemonium.  And, lucky me, it’s going to be released on my birthday!  Yippee!!!!

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?

I joined a couple of reading challenges, so I plan to complete those.  In addition to that, I will continue to read and share my thoughts on what I’ve read. 

Happy New Year everyone – I’m wishing you all lots of good reading moments in 2012!
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TBR Intervention [1]



This is a meme that will be both fun AND productive!  Thanks to one of my newly discovered, and super cool, blogs: Books 4 Juliet.

The goal of this challenge is to help each other (fellow readers and bloggers) manage our enormous and constantly growing TBR (To-Be-Read) List. The rules are simple and everyone is encouraged to participate. It does not force you to commit to more than what you can manage to read in a week or so, but participants are encouraged to read at least one book within a week. You are free to choose the book you want to read and commit to this challenge. You may post your entry every Saturday, at the frequency of your choice--EVERY WEEK or EVERY TWO WEEKS.

Here are the rules:

1. Post the book(s) you committed to read in your last TBR Intervention post and tell us something about it. Did you finish it? Did you enjoy it or not? Post the link to your review (if you have one). 
2. Post a book that you want to read and already own. Pick something that has been sitting on your shelf for too long now (6 months or longer). Commit to read the book in the next couple of days or week.
3. Grab the button from Books 4 Juliet's page; add your own list to her linky as well!  (I'm supposed to add these to my own page---I think---but I'm not technologically savvy enough to attempt that!)  And happy reading to you all and to all a good night!

My first TBR Intervention book will be Marcus Zusak's I Am the Messenger.  I loved The Book Thief so much and I am honestly a little surprised that I have had I Am the Messenger on my shelf for so long, yet I still haven't read it!
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Christmas Holiday Reviews

Balck from my Christmas holidays to the not-so-snowy Alberta!  My husband laughed at me for packing so many books in our already-heavy suitcase, but I read them ALL while we were away, in addition to the one that I plowed through because a) I couldn't put it down once I started reading and b) it was even heavier than the other four combined and therefore needed to stay at home.  (I hope that makes sense -- I'm still a little sleep-deprived!)

Habibi - Craig Thompson

I took a course on Young Adult Services in the library during the summer of 2010 and a classmate recommended Blankets.  I love, love, LOVED Blankets and wished that my library had a copy of Goodbye Chunky Rice (which it still doesn't -- GRR!).  I read all 800+ pages of this book in ONE DAY -- once you open the pages of this book, it sucks you in and won't let go until you've savoured the last words and drawings.  Reading a graphic novel is an interesting experience, and one written by Thompson is a unique experience unto itself.  His drawings are so spectacular that you need to savour each one, yet the storyline is so captivating that you're racing from page to page, devouring it in large mouthfuls.  On quite a few occasions, I had to remind myself to slow down and look at the illustrations because I was gulping down the story.  I think that I will need to just buy copies of his books, as they are stories that one can return to in order to gain more appreciation for the story.

Rumors - Anna Godbersen

The second book in the Luxe series didn't amaze me, but it didn't leave me disappointed either.  The series continued from the cliffhanger ending from the previous book, and left the reader with another cliffhanger ending -- now I have to continue on and read Envy!

Second Helpings - Megan McCafferty

Ever since I read and loved Sloppy Firsts, I've been meaning to come back to this series; however, like so many other things in life, there were so many other good books to choose from!  When I read through the End of the Year Survey, over at The Perpetual Page Turner, I thoroughly enjoyed reading her responses and noticed that her reading highlights of the year were Jessica Darling-infused.  So, I decided that I'd dive back into the series and I wasn't disappointed!  The narrator's voice in this series is so refreshing and unique!  I laughed out loud multiple times (several of while on board a bus!  in public!).  I love books written in journal-style and I definitely enjoyed the way McCafferty creates a journal-style novel, with it being "Dear Diary, today I went to school..."  Highly recommended.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie

Wow.  Just wow.  I had read rave reviews of this book, but the title and the cover didn't really grab my interest.  Finally, I decided to succumb to the reviews and put the book on hold at the library.  From the opening pages of the book, I was hooked and finished reading it in less than 24 hours.  Such a heartfelt story and the illustrations in the book make it a uniquely told story.  There are moments in the story that really make the reader squirm, but I think that's the intention of the book.

Fantasy Lover - Sherrilyn Kenyon

One of my GoodReads friends had a whole pile of Kenyon's books on her favourites shelf, so I asked which book I should start with if I planned to read some of her books.  She recommended starting this series with Fantasy Lover.  I haven't read much romance before, and I am new to the paranormal romance genre, so I'm not sure how to compare this book this book to any others in a similar genre.  I don't think that romance novels are particularly well-written, but they are quick and easy reads -- perfect for the end of a Christmas holiday!  I will read the next book in the series and see if I like it as much as this one.

My wonderful husband wrapped both Clockwork Prince AND Divergent and placed them under the Christmas tree for me!  I have just started Divergent -- wow, wow, WOW!

Happy New Year's Eve to all of you and all the best in 2012!
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12/20/11

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

It's Tuesday, I'm finally not coughing like an eighty-year-old woman who's smoked three packs a day since she was ten and it's time for another Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish!

Here are the top ten books that I hope Santa brings to me this year...

1. Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare
MY Santa (a.k.a. my wonderful husband) will be making sure that this one's in my stocking and I absolutely CANNOT wait to read it.  I've been peeking (just a little!) at the reviews on GoodReads and everyone seems to be giving it five stars so far, making me just that much more excited for Christmas Day!  Who needs to spend time with the in-laws anyways, when I can just curl up and read ... right?

2. Divergent - Veronica Roth
I have this book on hold at the library, and I am growing impatient of the extremely long waitlist, since I keep hearing such good things about the book.

3. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling
Despite my love of Harry Potter, I haven't yet read this one.

4. The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth - Alexandra Robbins
I just picked this up from the library (it's funny sometimes how you put something on hold and then, when it comes in, you totally forgot that you'd done it!).  It almost looks like the kind of book that I'd prefer to own and read a bit at a time.

5. Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver
I know, I'm cheating ... this book doesn't come out 'til March 2012.  But that doesn't stop me from wishing that it could be underneath my Christmas tree, right?  Right?

I can't think past five books ... and I think it's time for a nap!
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Don't Breathe a Word - Jennifer McMahon

It was the cover of Don't Breathe a Word that sucked me in.  Seriously.  Look at that cover.  Doesn't it just give you goosebumps?

And give me goosebumps it did.  The story had its moments where it slowed down a bit, but then there would be a perfectly timed cliffhanger to keep me flipping to the next page.  I also loved the fact that the story flips between the past and the present.

Without giving anything away, even the ending of the book will leave you thinking about it for a while afterwards ... wondering if you really know what's real and what actually happened.  If you like a mysterious story with a supernatural element (who doesn't love fairies?) then you'll like this book.
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12/17/11

Darkfever - Karen Marie Moning

I've been battling the flu for the last five days, and am just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It absolutely made my afternoon to see that people have still been visiting my blog and commenting on my post from last week -- big hugs to all of you (and you can't catch these germs over the Internet, don't worry!)

Darkfever came highly recommended to me by two GoodReads friends and I was so overwhelmed by their enthusiasm that I put the book on hold at the library.  I wasn't blown away by the storyline, but I will continue to read the series based on the recommendation.  I found the main character to be a little ditzy and irritating but I'm assuming that she was only that way because she's just learning about her powers and her new mission in life but, with time, she'll just become a kick-ass heroine and stop being so whiny.  Here's hoping!
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12/13/11

Top Ten Books I Want To Give As Gifts

Time for another Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish).  This Top Ten reminds me of one of my favourite customer requests, back when I worked in a bookstore: "What book would you recommend for a gift?"  Of course, my book recommendations would generally be more specific (someone who only reads fishing magazines probably wouldn't love a Harry Potter gift set) but, if I was still working in a bookstore, these are the top ten books that I'd be recommending as gifts this holiday season...

1. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
I cannot find words to express how much I loved this book.  It is perfect for an adolescent girl, or even a woman in her twenties.  The story is heart-wrenching and profound, not to mention the fact that it's beautifully written.  I heart Lauren Oliver.

2. The Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson
This book can appeal to so many different readers.  It has a great love story, but a male narrator.  Davidson is an amazing writer (I wish he would hurry up and write a second book!) and the story in this book is just beautifully layered.

3. Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
Seriously, if there is anyone left in the world who hasn't read Harry Potter yet, 'tis the season to fix that.

4. Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King
Stephen King is such a fantastic storyteller, but most of his stories are a little too horrific for the average reader.  King wrote this book for his twelve-year-old daughter, so it's a fairy tale, told King-style with no gore.

5. White Oleander - Janet Fitch
This book is, and will always be, one of my top ten favourites of all time.  I've recommended it to many of my friends, all of whom loved it, and it is a book that I will continue to recommend.

6. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Kate di Camillo
This book is pure magic.  From the beautiful illustrations to the heart warming story, it is a book to delight readers of any age, from a child up to a grandparent.

7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
This is another book that appeals to several generations of readers and appeals to a broad range of interests.  The story is narrated in such a unique manner and the book is really one of a kind.

8. The Neverending Story - Michael Ende
This is another book that is one of my all time favourites.  The story has a certain magical quality to it; who doesn't dream of literally escaping into a story?

9. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
Inspirational and full of amazing and powerful imagery.  This is a book that can be read and reread and, I believe, is read differently by each reader.

10. Delirium - Lauren Oliver
I know, I know, I've included two books by the same author on my list.  But, seriously, Lauren Oliver is such an AMAZING writer.  Delirium is such a unique story, unlike anything else I've ever read before.
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12/11/11

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

What a book -- what a marvelous and utterly unique book.  I first heard about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children on CuppaLit, an amazing blog run by an amazing lady, whom I have bonded with over YA literature and via Twitter of all places.  The book sounded so intriguing that I immediately put it on hold at the library and I had to patiently wait a few months for my turn.

There is obviously a reason why there's a line-up at the library: this book is unlike anything that I have ever read before.  The only book that I could possibly compare it to would be Neil Gaiman's Coraline.  And I can't even say that the books are all that similar.  The only reason that I can compare them is that both books gave me the same sensation: my skin prickling and, as the sun dipped below the horizon, I had to turn on all the lights in the house.  There is something wonderful about a book that literally makes your skin crawl and is so deliciously odd.

I almost don't want to say anything more about this book, lest I spoil it for anyone who happens to stumble across this review.  But let me say just this: the book starts off a little slow, in my opinion, but really picks up after page 100 or so.  I read the whole last 2/3 in one sitting.  My general rule is that a book has to impress me by page 50 or I move on, but I gave this book a little longer simply because of its unique blend of text and black and white photographs.  And I wasn't disappointed.
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12/8/11

Destined - P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

I'll be honest: I was going to give up on this series.  After being slightly disappointed by the last couple of books (I felt that the Kalona thing dragged on a little too long), I decided to give the series one last shot.  When my copy of Destined arrived at the library, I wasn't expecting much.  And sometimes, maybe that's the best way to approach a book.  If your expectations are low, then you can't really be disappointed, can you?  (Compared to listening to someone GUSH over a book, only to read and thing that it was good, but not GUSH-worthy good).

But I digress.  Destined impressed me.  The characters were not as annoying as I found them before (i.e. Zoey did not use "bullpoopie" as frequently in this book).  Maybe it's because this book is darker, more serious as it's dealing with death and more mature themes.  Destined is still representative of the rest of the House of Night series, but with the shiny coating taken off, to reveal a grittier underlying story.  Although two completely different series (seriously, you cannot compare these two at ALL), this almost reminds me of how the Harry Potter series grew up towards the end.  The first few books are more childish but, as the characters grow, they deal with more adult-like issues.  Perhaps now that Zoey is growing up, the books will grow up alongside her.  And, if that's the case, then I will definitely keep reading the House of Night series.
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12/2/11

For the Love of Reading

Directions: Create a new blog post. Write an introduction. Copy and paste the meme below into your blog, changing the comments to your own. Use the title of this meme in your subject line or create your own.

What have you just read?
I just finished the most recent book in the House of Night Series, Destined.

What are you reading now?
Currently about halfway through Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children... it's creepy, mysterious and SO GOOD.

Do you have any idea what you'll read when you're done with that?
I have a big stack of books from the library, one of which is Darkfever, which has been highly recommended by some of my GoodReads friends lately.

What's the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
It's a toss-up between two books that were part of some American lit courses that I took in University, Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom.

What's one book you always recommend to just about anyone?
Lauren Oliver's books.  All of them.  I could read them over and over and over.

Admit it, sadly the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don't they?
I'm not sure if they actually know my name, but there are a couple who smile and say hi when they see me.  But I've only been going to that library for a year or so, so it's not like the library I grew up in.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don't like it at all?
Hmm... I recommend books to a lot of people, but I can't recall anyone telling me after the fact that they didn't like them.  Either I give good recommendations, or people just don't want to tell me that they don't like my recommendations =)

Do you read books while you eat?
No, but I do like to curl up with a book and something warm to drink, either tea or coffee.

While you bathe?
Nope, but I'm not much of a bath person and it's pretty hard to read in the shower =)

While you watch movies or tv?
I do read while my husband watches the sports highlights.

While you listen to music?
No, unless it's just soft classical music in the background.

While you're on the computer?
Other than reading blogs online, no.

When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Absolutely!  I was shy, with big glasses and my nose perpetually stuck in a book.  It hurt at the time, but now I'm proud of the fact that I'm a book nerd.

What's the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn't put it down?
I don't think I've stayed up late reading since I read the Twilight series, but I have been making a point of going to bed earlier so that I can read for longer before I fall asleep.

Have any books made you cry?
Absolutely -- those are my favourite kids of books!  Two that immediately jump to mind are The God of Small Things and Pay it Forward.
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Top Ten Childhood Favourites

It's Tuesday, and time for another Top Ten as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!


(Most of these will be series rather than individual books; I couldn't pick only ten individuals!)

1. Wizard of Oz Series - L. Frank Baum
I LOVED this series when I was younger, and read the entire series more than once.

2. Sweet Valley - Francine Pascal
Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High or Sweet Valley University -- it didn't matter which age the twins were, I devoured these books, sometimes more than one per day.  I felt like I was Elizabeth, but always wanted to be the fun one, like Jessica.

3. The Secret of the Unicorn Queen
There are six books in this series, each one written by a different author.  I've managed to track down books 1-3 so far (I think they're all out of print now) but I haven't yet reread them.  I remember how much I adored this series and I'm not sure that I'm quite ready to spoil the magic of that memory, in case they're not as spectacular as I remember.

4. Betsy Series - Carolyn Hawood
Betsy and I were like best friends despite the fact that she wasn't really real.  She was real enough to me and I escaped into those stories, rereading them again and again.  I'd borrow whichever one was on the shelf at the library, even if I'd already read it several times before.

5. The Last Slice of Rainbow - Joan Aiken
This book has almost a mythological significance for meI remember being absolutely enthralled by the stories and firmly believing in the fantastical worlds created in the stories.  I bought a copy on AbeBooks recently but, like the Secret of the Unicorn Queen, I'm not sure that I'm ready to spoil the memory just yet.

6. Xanth Series - Piers Anthony
It feels odd to consider this a "childhood favourite" since they're adult books, but Piers Anthony was one of my first forays into adult literature, even though I was only 13 or 14 at the time.  I loved the world of Xanth and I read all of his books, although this series was by far my favourite.

7. Nancy Drew - Carolyn Keene
Who didn't love Nancy Drew?

8. The Neverending Story - Michael Ende
I read this book for a book report in Grade 6 and absolutely adored it.  It is still, to this day, one of my all-time favourite books.  How I yearned for a book that I could literally escape into...

9. The Daring Game - Kit Pearson
I loved all of Kit Pearson's books, but something about The Daring Game, just stands out for me.  I think it was the boarding school theme; I've noticed in later years that I always feel a secret thrill reading books that take place in a boarding school.

10. The Sand Sifter - Julie Lawson
I feel like I saved the best for last.  Julie Lawson came to my elementary school when I was in Grade 2 and read from this book, her first chapter book I think, and then signed copies.  I remember my mom was helping out in the library that day, so she was able to buy me a copy and I had the author sign it.  Years later, when I was in university, I had the amazing opportunity to interview Julie Lawson, now an award-winning writer, and show her that signed copy, which I still have on my shelves today.  She is not only one of my heroes, but also an all-round amazing woman.

What a fun top ten!  What are your favourite books from childhood?  Leave a comment and I'll come visit your post!

Happy Reading Everyone!
~M.
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O. M. G.

There are no words for how talented this woman is:

Su Blackwell's Book Sculptures

Jaw is still on floor.
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The Luxe - Anna Godbersen

This book was like a snuggly warm blanket on a cold, wintry night.  If it wasn't for work this week, and my final project for school, I would have devoured the entire book in one afternoon -- and it's over 400 pages!

The best way to describe this book would be as follows: Gossip Girl meets Jane Austen, with a Pretty Little Liars type twisted storyline.  The book has that gasp-at-every-chapter-ending quality that I love about Pretty Little Liars, plus the essence of Jane Austen's time, but reads just like the Gossip Girl books (but no one teeters or wobbles in their heels).

The gorgeous dresses on the covers were one of the main reasons that I wanted to read this book and, in this case, it is definitely okay to judge a book by its cover.  The story is truly as luxurious and decadent as the cover is.  I'm eagerly waiting for the arrival of book 2 at the library.  Here's hoping that I will be done my final exam as well so that I can read the entire thing in one sitting!
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11/29/11

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday ... hosted by Should Be Reading:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color--oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples . . . 
-- From the diary of Diana Holland, September 17, 1899

I've always believed in savouring the moments.  In the end, they are the only things we'll have.  I hope that I have imparted this belief to my children, though it is so hard to tell when they are stubbornly being themselves.
-- From the diary of Edward Holland, December 1898 


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11/27/11

Top Ten Books On My TBR List For Winter

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for this fantastic meme!

First ... here's a list of what I currently have on hold at the library:

1. Destined - P.C. Cast
Currently "in transit" to my local library, this is the next installment in the House of Night series.  I'm *almost* ready to give up on this series, so if this book doesn't WOW me...

2. Habibi - Craig Thompson
I'm fifth in line for 3 copies at the library, so I shouldn't have much longer to wait on this book.  I love, love, loved Blankets by Thompson, so I'm hoping that this one is good as well.

3. Bumped - Megan McCafferty
I've had this one on hold forever, but I'm up to 14th spot in line for 6 copies, so it should be soon!  I've only read the first book in her other series (another one for my TBR challenge), but it was really well-written.

4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
The hold line-up is moving quickly on this one, which I've wanted to read ever since I read about it on Cuppa Lit's blog.

5. Twisted - Sara Shepard
Another series that I'm *almost* ready to give up on, but I will give it one more book.

6. Divergent - Veronica Roth
I just put this on hold at the library, after reading so many rave reviews online, so I'm hoping that it'll arrive at the library before the end of the winter season. *fingers crossed*

Second, here are the first few books that I will read for my TBR challenge:

7. The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
One of the books in my recent Chapters order; the storyline reminded me a little of Water for Elephants, plus the cover is GORGEOUS.

8. The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I read The Shadow of the Wind on my honeymoon last summer, and I LOVED Zafon's writing.  I saw one of my best friends reading this book, and just had to add it to my TBR list.

9. I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak
I bought this book a couple of Chapters' orders ago, but still haven't read it.  I just hope that it's as good as The Book Thief was!

10. The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
An upcoming book club selection, and another part of my recent Chapters order.  This book has been on my TBR list for YEARS; it's about time to check it off!
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11/25/11

Liesl & Po - Lauren Oliver

I love Lauren Oliver.  Really and truly love her.  I started reading Before I Fall and wanted to stop halfway through, return the book to the library, buy my own copy and then start reading again.

I loved Delirium just as much and I am eagerly awaiting Pandemonium's release next year.  When I saw that Lauren had written another book to tide me over while I was waiting, needless to say I was pretty excited.

Liesl & Po is a heartwarming story of friendship, magic and adventure.  I loved the way that ghosts were described in this story, not as scary beings, but more like spirits who were from the Other Side.  On GoodReads, I gave this book 4 stars, not because there was anything wrong with it, but just because it didn't blow me away like Lauren's other books did.  It's a very charming story and well written, just like her other books, but it just lacked that unbelievable brilliance that her other books have.  I would still highly recommend this for anyone who would like to read a good story, and I think that this would be an excellent read-aloud story or one for parents and children to read together.
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11/22/11

Teaser Tuesday

... discovered via Literary Exploration:



  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's Teaser is from... Liesel & Po by Lauren Oliver:

Liesl considered this. "What is it like to be on the Other Side?"
Po thought about saying, It is like being everything all at once, and holding the universe inside of you and being held inside of the universe.  But it did not think Liesl would understand, so the ghost said, "It is hard to explain.  Perhaps one day you will know."
I started this book on Sunday, but I'm already about two-thirds finished.  Oliver weaves such a beautiful story that her books are impossible to put down once I've begun!

Back to reading...
~M.
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Top Ten Tuesday - Books I'd Want on a Desert Island


A common theme thus far on this blog is one simple fact: I love lists.  So, imagine how excited I was when I found out that The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesdays.  Since this week's Top Ten is about Thanksgiving and our Thanksgiving was over a month ago, I have chosen Top Ten Books that I'd Want on a Desert Island (in no particular order):

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Tolkien
I'm not cheating with this one; we actually have all three books in one book, so I'm counting it as one title.  I starting reading this book the summer that I was 16, but I wasn't enjoying it as much as I enjoyed The Hobbit, so I put it down.

2. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia - Lewis
Again, totally not cheating.  They're all available in one book, honest!  I read these when I was younger, but I've always been meaning to reread them, and what better excuse than being stranded on a desert island?

3. The Bible
Why not?  This would definitely provide for hours and hours of reading, since it's not exactly a "light read."  I think that I'd prefer the Bible over the complete works of William Shakespeare if I had to choose.

4. Atlas Shrugged - Rand
One of my best friends recommended this book to me a few years ago and it's been on my to-read list ever since.  Due to its length, and the fact that I haven't read it yet, I think this would be a great desert island book.

5. White Oleander - Fitch
This is a book that I could read over and over and over and over ...

6. It - King
I've already read The Stand and I don't think that I could read it again.  I like King's writing style and I haven't yet read It, so it would probably be a typical King-esque read.

7. The Gargoyle - Davidson
Another book that I could read over and over and over and over ...

8. The Neverending Story - Ende
A childhood favourite that is due for a reread sometime soon.

9. World Without End - Follett
I read the first book, but haven't yet read the second book.  


10. Before I Fall - Oliver
Another book that I could read over and over and over and over again.

Actually, it wouldn't be too bad if I got stranded on a desert island, provided that I did have my ten books with me!


 
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11/19/11

Giveaways

It's exciting, the blogging thing, but it can also be lonely.  I've been reading blogs for a few years now, and I've always wondered how bloggers gain their following.  I've just started blogging and, now that I have a blog, I'm finally able to participate in some blog contests.  Maybe this is how I can make some friends in the blogging world?

I've entered into the 1,000 Follower Giveaway, which has been sponsored by LC's Adventures in Libraryland which is not only one of my favourite blogs, but also one of the prettiest blogs I've ever read.  Seriously.  Check it out for yourself:


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11/17/11

The trailer for the upcoming Hunger Games movie...

... has been released.  It looks ... interesting.  Not too sure if I've decided that I'm excited about this movie or not.  Thanks Book Guru for posting this!

And, here is my first attempt at inserting a video into a blog post:


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11/16/11

A Book Challenge

I have 205 GoodReads friends.  A handful of them I actually know in real life; the rest I have added based on similar reading interests.  I love meeting new people on that site, sharing recommendations and reading each other`s reviews.  I recently added a friend called The Lit Bitch, and noticed that she`s hosting an Outlander Series Reading Challenge next year.  Now that I have a blog, I can actually participate in all of those ``read and post on your blog`` challenges that I see so often on the blogs that I do read regularly.  Yippee!  Plans for 2012 therefore include, thus far: reading the Outlander series (which has been on my TBR list for a long, long time) and keeping up with the blogging.
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11/12/11

BBC's "The Big Read" -- How many have YOU read?

According to The Big Read, the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on this list.

The instructions:
Look at the list and:
Bold those you have read.
Italicize those you intend to read.
Underline the books you LOVE.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - read some, but not others...

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - how does this book get to be on the list TWICE?
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy.
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth.

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - I couldn't finish this one...
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt.
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I have this little obsession with book lists, and trying to read all of the books on the list; therefore, anything that I haven't already read is a to-read.  One day I will read all of the books on this list... one day I will read ALL of the books on my very lengthy TBR list.  But I know that I'm not the only one with this problem =P

Happy Reading Everyone!

Melissa 
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Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card


I read the first 80 pages of so of this book in one sitting, enjoying the parallels between the futuristic world and our own.  Then, my husband reminded me that the book was published in 1977, long before laptops, texting, instant messaging and interactive video games became mainstream.  Many of the everyday items in this book, like the dad reading the newspaper online, hadn't yet been dreamed of or created.  My respect for Orson Scott Card increased dramatically and I devoured the rest of the book, amazed at how many things he conceived of, which later became a reality as technology caught up to his imagination.

The storyline is great and centres around Ender Wiggin, a unique and very gifted little boy.  The story is set in the future, when humans are fighting against buggers, an insect-like alien species that threatens to wipe out mankind.  Ender is sent to Battle School, where he'll learn and train to be able to fight the buggers.  I won't say any more so that I don't spoil the story.

What transports this book from an ordinary story to a truly spectacular reading experience is that there is so much MORE to the story, lurking beneath the surface.  It's a story of love, politics, friendship, loss, bravery, and so much more.  Although I've finished reading the last few pages of the book, I will definitely be thinking about the story for a few days at least...
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11/11/11

Hello World!

In all honesty, I set this page up about a year and a half ago, shortly before my dad's accident actually.  As with most other projects, life got in the way but the idea for a blog kept simmering on the back burner.  And now, here I am, writing my very first blog post.

I love to read.  Without a doubt, reading is my favourite past time.  I also love to read about what others have thought of books, share recommendations and have conversations about books that I've read ... or even books that I've hated.  I read book blogs, reviews on GoodReads, and post my own comments whenever I can.  If the Internet is a vast cyberspace of virtual strangers engaging in dialogue through their PCs, laptops, Blackberries or iPads, why should I not join in the conversation?  My schooling is teaching me the value of using technology, so I've decided to take a broad leap into the world of the unknown.  Who knows if anyone will ever read these words, since there are thousands of new blogs born daily, but I'll write anyways.  Because a Writer Grrl writes and a Writer Grrl reads.

Starting NOW.  Logging off, no more homework for the day, and am officially curling up on the couch and jumping into the last half of Ender's Game.  Let the Battle Games begin!

Killing buggers with one hand, while holding my book in the other,
Melissa
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