Friday, 28 October 2011

Blog Hop (5) and Follow Friday (3)

It has been awhile since I participated in these hops, which is sad because I really like them, but I have just been so busy lately that I don't get my post up in time, so I just don't do it! Working 2 jobs and doing 3 courses is time consuming!! haha

So, Follow Friday is hosted by both Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, so great blogs (check em out, they're linked!) With these, they also do a feature blog, and this week's are: In Which Ems Review Books and Reading in the Corner so take a peek ;)
For the question this week they have asked:

If you could have dinner with your favorite book character, who would you eat with and what would you serve?

This is kind of a no brainer for me, because I would definitely have dinner with Hogwart's favorite trio, Harry, Ron, and Hermionie! Preferably at the castle, so the food could just kind of up! But, in the event I had to prepare something, I would make a roast chicken, and Yorkshire pudding with some veggies, and of course tea and banoffe pie for dessert!

Book Blogger Hop  And for the weekly Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy-for-Books, an equally as great blog, the question is: “What is your favorite Halloween costume?
Even if you don’t celebrate, what kinds of costumes do you like?”
Easily the best costume I  have ever had was my Ninja Turtle costume when I was about 8. My grandmother is an amazing seamstress, and she made the mother of all amazing costumes for me ever year. Here in Canada it is COLD in October, so she always made them extra warm, and I never had to ruin my costume with a coat. The ninja turtle costume had it all, I don't have a picture to post, because I don't have a scanner, but now I'm going to track one down, because you NEED to see this costume, it is amazing! I will try and get one up before the end of the weekend!

Until then, you can look at the costumes I made for us last year (hand sewed, as I do not have a sewing machine!! haha)

This is the last Book Blog question for an unknown amount of time, so I just wanted to put a small thank you for hosting to Crazy-for-Books, as this was the first meme I ever participated in, and I'm sure I have here to thank for several of my followers :)

Midnight Sun - Stephenie Meyer

I'm not going to do a book review in my normal format for this book, because I don't think it really fits. If you haven't heard of Midnight Sun (which I hadn't until about a month ago) it is a retelling of the Twilight book from Edward's perspective. However, it is not a complete book. Apparently, this is something Meyer had been working on, and this is the rough draft of it that got leaked on to the internet. Disheartened by that, she elected to not complete the book, however to post it on her website for people to read for free if they so desired.

If you read my Top Ten this week, I said that I had been in the mood for a reread of the Twilight books, especially with Breaking Dawn just around the corner, and dreary Forks being comparable to the dreary St. John's, Newfoundland weather I am living in right now. I'm not a huge re-reader, as I think its sort of a waste when you could be reading a new book for the first time, so I thought I would download Midnight Sun to my Kobo.

I liked this book. I actually enjoyed Edward's point of view more than Bella's because there was more information about the other character's, because Edward heard their thought's. The one place this book was seriously lacking was this would have been an excellent way to insert a lot of information about the other Cullen's into the story. Since the book is an unfinished draft, perhaps Meyer did have intentions to do this, as it would have been nice. A lot of the reviews on Goodreads have people expressing how creepy they think Edward is, because of his behaviour towards Bella. If Edward was a normal, human 17 year old boy, definitely it would have been creepy, but I think it's important to remember that Edward is used to slinking around, always trying to fly under the radar, and go unnoticed, so after about 100 years of living like this, it would begin to feel normal to you. If anyone is creepy, it's Bella because she doesn't seem to mind! But maybe that is the lure of the vampire, who knows.

I would have really liked to have this story be finished, I'd love to read how Edward feels and thinks about Jacob when his and Bella's friendship begins to grow stronger. Overall, it was a decent read, kind of a re-read without being one. Has lots of room for improvements, but if it went through some good editing, beefed up some of the Cullen information, she has the making of a really good book here. It's too bad it got leaked.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays (6)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. There is a new list topic weekly to write, and tons of other bloggers participate, and  you can jump around and see what everyone else thinks! This weeks list is as follows:

Top Ten Books To Read During Halloween
This week's list is a little bit difficult for me, as I only recently (about the last year) started to get into books about paranormal things, and since that's the only Halloween-ish genre (now I know I will read other people's fantastic lists who prove me wrong! but...) I will do my best, but probably have to include a few children's books too!

1) Goblins in the Castle - Bruce Coville
This was one of my favorite books when I was younger
Goblins in the Castle (Minstrel Book)

2) Goosebumps - R.L. Stine
These were also some of my favorite reads when I was a kid!
The Haunted Mask (Goosebumps, #11)

3) The Twilight Sage
The book really has nothing to do with Halloween, but vampires do remind me of the season. I have had a craving to re-read these books, but instead I decided to read Midnight Sun which is on Stephenie Meyers website, and is Twilight told from Edwards POV
The Twilight Saga (Twilight, #1-4)
*as a note to people posting comments - I do not partake in "Twi-Hards" and "Twi-Haters" conversations. I like the books for what they are, and have read enough passionate reviews of both opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and positive or negative, I respect that. But please do not attack each other because you have a difference of opinion on these books, I am so over it. I cringe when people turn blog comments into something so ridiculous.

4) Bunnicula - Deborah and James Howe
Amazing books for children, I thought these were awesome, I would love to get my hands on a copy to read now and see what I think as an adult
Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery (Bunnicula, #1)

5)Sookie Stackhouse Collection - Charlaine Harris
I have only read the first 2, but the supernatural things that happen in this book makes it like Halloween everyday in Bon Temps!
Sookie Stackhouse 8 Volume Set (Sookie Stackhouse, #1-8)

And 5 is the best I can do this week!! (I hate not being able to come up with a full 10!!) Next year, I will have tons, because I am currently getting into more paranormal stuff, and Stephen King as well!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Just Some Life Updates

Hello All!

So, I haven't been doing much reading this week (shame, shame) but it is with good reason! I have been pretty busy. As I have said, I am working towards my MBA, and I have a test tomorrow, so I have been studying, but I have also been working on some term papers that are going to be due soon! So, school keeps me reading, but not the books I want to be! (and I'm positive a review of 'Industrial Relations in Canada' wouldn't be a riveting piece of work to any of you!)

As well, I FINALLY found a part time job to help out with my finances! I am Best Buy's newest cashier! I'm pretty pumped about it, as I am really starting to stress out that I haven't been able to pay my full credit card balance in about 3 months! So, this will get me back in the black by Christmas! What a relief!

And, even more things to full up my time instead of glorious, glorious books... I have decided to recommit myself to working on my fitness. The BF has put some really awesome gym equipment in our basement, so I have been getting in shape about 3-4 times a week. This is pretty important to me, and I have taken almost a year away from the gym (our local Nubody's was bought by Goodlife Fitness, and the atmosphere of these gyms is so negative that I cancelled my membership). I still need to get a few dumbbells that are a little more manageable for some of my exercises, but we have these awesome straps that are seriously AMAZING (I can't find a link, but will update this if I do).

So, if you're wondering why you won't/haven't seen a review in a while, this is why. I am almost finished Midnight Sun (the Twilight book from Edward's point of view, it wasn't published, but is on the authors website) and I will probably have a few comments about it, but not a lot. Other than that I am working through Little Women, and started Bel Canto by Ann Patchett the other day too. I am supposed to be participating in the Fall Into Reading challenge, but the last 2 books I read weren't even on that list, and I haven't been keeping up with the weekly questions. Maybe once I get this test out of the way, I will do a blast with the ones I have missed.

Anyway, just wanted to say hello and give a quick update, I know there is a lot of read-a-thons going on right now, so if you are participating, I am SO jealous of you right now!!!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays (5)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. There is a new list topic weekly to write, and tons of other bloggers participate, and  you can jump around and see what everyone else thinks! This weeks list is as follows:

Top Ten Books That Whose Titles Or Covers Made Me Buy It

These Books I have Read
1) The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - Ann Brashares
I went to the book store to kill time one day, and bought this book because I thought the cover was cool.
The Sisterhood of the Travelin...
2) Chain Letter - Christopher Pike
I thought this book cover looked cool. I read it when I was relatively young, and it scared the crap out of me.
Chain Letter
3) The Amulet of Samarkind (Book One of The Bartimaeus Trilogy) - Jonathan Stroud
I didn't buy this one, but did ask for it as a present because I thought the cover looked like a mix between Peter Pan and Harry Potter.
The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus, #1)
4) The Thing About Jane Spring - Sharon Krum
If you read my post about the price of books, then you know I'm a sales table surfer, so this one drew me in from that selection (if I had been browsing the whole store, I probably would have picked something else)
The Thing About Jane Spring
5) Chuck Duggan is AWOL - Eric Chase Anderson
This book just looks cool.
Chuck Dugan Is AWOL: A Novel - With Maps

These ones I have bough, but haven't read yet:
6) Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
Running with Scissors
7) The Alphabetical Hook-Up List - Phoebe McPhee (has 3 volumes)
The Alphabetical Hookup List K-Q
8) How To Be A Woman - Caitlin Morgan
How To Be a Woman
9) Beauty Queens - Libba Bray
Beauty Queens
10) Bumped - Megan McCafferty

Monday, 17 October 2011

Weddings by Bella Trilogy - Janice Thompson

Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, #1)Swinging on a Star (Weddings by Bella, #2)It Had to Be You (Weddings by Bella, #3)

Goodreads Summaries:

Book 1: Bella Rossi's life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding-planning business, Bella quickly books a Boot-Scootin' wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she doesn't know a thing about country music. Where will she find a deejay on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his George Strait? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?

Fun, fresh, and full of surprises, this flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex highlights the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.
Book 2: There's a fine line between ambitious and crazy.

Bella's just not sure where it is.
Bella Rossi's life is nearing perfection. Not only does she have the perfect guy, but she's also running a successful wedding-planning business and is about to plan its most ambitious wedding yet--a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle. There's only one hitch. The best man just happens to be Hollywood's hottest and most eligible bachelor, and he's showing an interest in Bella. Oh, and did we mention he's staying at her house to avoid the paparazzi?
With all the pressure surrounding this wedding, Bella's not sure she's going to make it through. Add her starstruck sister and her feuding aunt and uncle, and you've got a recipe for disaster--and a lot of laughs.
Book 3: Bella couldn't be happier that two of her long-feuding relatives have finally admitted their love for one another and are getting married. Their forties-style wedding is sure to be a night to remember. But when the Rossi house begins to fill up with family from Italy--and an old mobster from New Jersey--life starts to get complicated. Will a friend from the past drive the happy couple apart once more? And will Bella ever have time to think of her own rapidly approaching wedding amid the chaos?

Full of humor, plenty of Italian passion, and a bit of Texas gumption, It Had to Be You will have you laughing out loud and wiping a tear from your eye.

Why I Read These Books: During a time when I didn't have anything new to read, and I had recently gotten my Kobo, I decided to check out the free books available. The first one was called "Fools Rush In" and I immediately assumed it was the book version of that movie with Matthew Perry, which I also didn't see, but assumed it was probably pretty funny. So, I downloaded this books. Turns out, it wasn't that, just a same name coincidence. This book is actually Christian Fiction, a genre that I didn't really know existed. I noticed the book did mention God a lot, but I didn't really focus on that, just figured the writer liked God a lot, fine by me. I'm not overly religious, but I'm not the anti-Christ either, so I kept reading. The book is about a girl named Bella who runs a wedding planning business, something that I would love to do (I actually have another blog about it, but I have put that dream on the back burner to pursue my MBA, but you can check it out if you are interested here). Anyway, being one to see a series through, I finished the books, and they weren't bad.
Review: This book made me not only long to get engaged, be married, but also continue working on my event planning business, and have a great big Italian family with tons of delicious food around at all times! The book did talk a lot about God, and if that is something that you would focus on (and not enjoy) then this book isn't for you. I thought it was a cute story, that made me appreciate what I have (instead of reading books about 5th avenue and feeling poor!!). They weren't overly exciting, however they were a nice read and free books are nice too! Not great, but not bad.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Mini Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella

Goodreads Summary: Nothing comes between Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) and her bargains. Neither act of God nor budget crunch can shatter her dreams of wall-to-wall Prada. Every milestone in her well-shopped life (travel, long-lost sister, marriage, pregnancy) inspires new vistas to explore in the name of retail therapy. But now she faces her greatest little challenge yet: Becky’s two-year-old daughter, Minnie.

While motherhood has been everything Becky dreamed it would be—Baby Dior, Little Marc Jacobs, and Dolce & Gabbana for toddlers—adorable Minnie is wreaking havoc everywhere she goes, from Harrods to her own christening. Her favorite word is “MINE!” and her penchant for Balenciaga bags, Chanel sunglasses, and online purchases has no rival under age five.

Becky is at her wits end. On top of this, she and her husband Luke are still living with her parents. Thankfully it appears house buying attempt number four is a go! Until a huge financial crisis causes panic everywhere, and nobody wants to shop—not Becky’s personal shopping clientele, not her friends, nobody. And with Luke in the doldrums, it’s time for Becky to step in—with a party: A surprise birthday party for Luke (on a budget) is the perfect antidote to everyone’s woes. At first.

Will Becky manage to keep the party of the year a surprise? Can she hire jugglers, fire-eaters, and acrobats at a discount? Will enlisting the help of Luke’s unflappable assistant to convince him to have another baby realize her dream of matching pom-poms? Will Minnie find a new outlet for her energetic and spirited nature (perhaps one with sixty percent markdowns)? She is, after all, a chip off the old shopping block. And everyone knows a committed shopper always finds a way.

Why I Read This Book: Next in a series that I have been keeping up with.

Review: To be honest, I found the majority of this book to be rather annoying. I would have classified the first few Shopaholic books as some of my favorite chick lit, so this disappointed me. I used to adore Becky, but her parenting got on my last nerve. Even more so than her, Becky's mother annoyed me in this book. I'm not sure if it's because I innately HATE bratty children, and I could see that Minnie was heading down that road, or if the addition of Minnie just ruined the story a bit. When it got nearer to the end of the book, I began to like it more, with most of it talking about the party rather than the child. Also, Becky's lying habits are getting annoying too, she lies to EVERYONE!! I get it sometimes, like trying to hide a party, but a lot of times its just so... well annoying (maybe I should get a thesaurus for the word 'annoying' for this post!!)
I think the only reason I even enjoyed this book enough to give it 3 stars is because of its predecessors instilling nostalgia, otherwise, it would have been a 2 for sure.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays (4)

Hello All! This week I decided not to participate in the top ten list for October 11th, as it is similar to one that we just did, but instead to go back and pick an interesting one from before I started my blog. I chose:

Top Ten Characters (and Literary Figures) That I'd Name My Children After

1) Charlotte from Charlotte's Web. It's currently in the running for my favorite girl name. I haven't read this book yet, but it's rather well known.

2) Landon from A Walk to Remember. I thought it was very unique when I first heard it. I don't think I would use it, because it doesn't go nicely with my last name, but it is nice.

3) Alice from Twilight/Alice in Wonderland. I love the name Alice, I don't know if I would use it, but it's pretty.

4) Rebecca from the Shopaholic series. I'm currently reading the Mini Shopaholic, and the book is on my last nerve, but I have always liked the name.

5) Lena from the Travelling Pants series. Again, I wouldn't use it because of last name issues, but it's pretty.

6) Nate, I actually took this one from Gossip Girl, but those were books first, so it still counts. I like this one a lot, but my partner doesn't, so I guess it won't happen!

7) Elizabeth or Beth from Little Women. I love this name because it's so versatile and can be shortened in many different ways.

8) Lucy from the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I love the name Lucy, it's so cute.

9) Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charles for when they need to be sophisticated, and Charlie is so adorable!

10) Oliver from Oliver Twist. This is a cheat, because that's my dog's name, and I love him like he's my child, so I couldn't not add it to the list!!

Hope this doesn't break up the pace of this week's actual topic too much!! And to all the Canadians out there, hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend! (and overall weekend to everyone else!!)

Also, if you aren't familiar with this meme, you can get all the deets over at The Broke and The Bookish!!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Price of Books

Does anyone else find books to be expensive?? Now, I understand that the authors need to get paid, and the editors, and the publishers, and the agents, etc. etc. so books need to cost enough for all of this, but really?? I have a hard time paying full price for a book. I am a sales table surfer, and if I really want something I will borrow it from the library or from a friend.

I went to the bookstore for the first time in quite awhile today, and bought two books. One was on sale from 24.99 to 6.99 (Stephen King's Under the Dome). That is a huge discount (and the store wasn't going out of business!). In addition to the price of them to begin with, it really pisses me off that books are cheaper in the US, and that they feel the need to rub it in by putting both prices on the book! I know a lot of things are more expensive in Canada, but I would have thought since our dollar is so much stronger this would change. I know the gap has shrank, but it's still pretty stupid.

Well, that's my rant for the day. I'm going to go read now!

Fall Into Reading 2011 Question 2

So week two's question is posted, and it's actually pretty similar to a Top Ten list a did recently.

The question is:
How often do you re-read books? What does it take to make you re-read?

The answer would be not very often at all. I do often forget a lot of the details when I do, so I don't mind doing it, but there are so many books I haven't read it feels counter-productive. However, sometimes I do, and its normally because I don`t have anything new to read, and I can`t fall asleep unless I read first. This is another reason I love my Kobo, because I can just sign into the store from bed and get a new book, so I`m not stuck picking an old one from my shelf.

And, like last week`s question I will give you a little update on how I am doing with my reading list. I finished Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi (review here) and now I`m reading Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, which ironically isn't on my list, but should have been, as I had even already had it bought. So what's that, one down, and one added, so really it's like I have barely started! 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays (3)

Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open 

1) Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
From the Hunger Games Trilogy, this ending was definitely the most suspense filled. As I said in my review, I would have been FURIOUS if I had to wait any length of time before reading the next book.

2) My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Piccoult
Although I'm not a huge fan of this author now, this was her first book I read, and the ending was very surprising

3) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Some stuff went down in this book that made me VERY excited for Book 7

4) Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
Series books kind of need to get you excited with a cliffhanger, and this one had a good one

5) Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

Not quite 10, but that's really all I can think of. When I read everyone's lists, I will probably have the "OMG why didn't I think of that" but unless it's part of a series, cliffhanger endings kind of annoy me. And its hard to remember what books in a particular series have great cliffhanger endings because I already know how they were resolved.

Thanks again to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this meme!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Unbearable Lightness - Portia de Rossi

 Goodreads Summary:"I didn't decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . ." 

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn't enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women's health issues.

In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.

Why I Read This Book: I decided to read this book because I liked Ally McBeal, and I liked Arrested development, and I like Ellen and Portia. Really for no other reason. I don't have an eating disorder, and I don't know anyone close to me that does either. It had decent reviews, so I said, why not?!

Review: This book was good. It was a compelling read, and it was very eye opening to a disorder that I do not know much about. In my mind anorexia and bulimia are such easy fixes - eat some food! But I know this isn't true (not from the book) but I did like the way she wrote about how that is a lot of societies attitude. When she described Christmas with her family and how her eating that day made people relax I could fully understand that. I think the book would have benefited from a good editor (which I have read in a lot of reviews) but I don't think the story suffered because of it. I would have liked to have read more about her day to day now as a survivor (and had hoped to read more about here and Ellen, because I love Ellen, but it wasn't that kind of book). I guess that my biggest complaint, and why it didn't get more than 3 stars, is I felt like the book was too focused on the meticulous review of food, and not enough of what people around her were thinking. I would have loved to have read more about other Ally cast members account of it (Calista is pretty think herself!) and less about calories. I think someone with even a basic understanding of calories would get bored by the descriptions.