Spring Reading Thing: Update Week 5 & 6

A bit behind on my weekly updates… here goes!

.
~* Books Finished *~

Club Dead: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 3, by Charlaine Harris
I don’t have that much to say about the books that I haven’t said yet – they are all pretty good, still a nice mix between Mystery/Investigation and Fantasy/Supernatural fiction. I find that they are getting better as we move through the series, and the plots are getting more complex, more intricate, and more characters are being introduced in every book. I think each book COULD be read as a stand-alone, the author does summarize the key parts of the action of previous books to explain some of the things happening in that book, but it’s pretty basic, and I think a reader wouldn’t get the full scope of the intrigue and building up of the stories without reading them from Book 1.
The next few sentences are a bit of a spoiler (but not too much πŸ™‚ ), so heads up if you don’t want any πŸ™‚Β  I kind of like that Sookie is not tied in to anyone in particular, portrayed as the ultimate soul mate. I like a good romance story with strong soul-mates like the next girl, but at the same time, it can become pretty predictable and kind of Been There, Done That. Sookie ends up involved with a bunch of different people, as love interests and as friends (or, enemies), it keeps things fresh and real: a real (not perfect fictional character) would have ambiguities, different levels of friendships, people who annoy you but you like anyway, etc. Personally, I found myself routing for various person at different time, and am mighty curious as to how this whole adventure will end up πŸ™‚
.

Dead to the World: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 4, by Charlaine Harris
Same as above πŸ™‚ I actually really liked this one, (spoiler-alert!) Memory Loss Eric was actually kind of sweet! Made me root for him for awhile, actually, I’m still slightly rooting for him πŸ˜‰


.

.

.
.

Dead as a Doornail: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 5, by Charlaine Harris
Although this book was also good, it’s probably my least favourite of the series so far. Nothing major, just maybe didn’t draw me in as much. But the intrigue is getting more complex, and new elements & characters were introduced. I’m looking forward to Book 6!

.

.

.

~* Books Started *~

Room, by Emma Donoghue
One of my playgroup hosts regular Book Club meetings, and this is the next selection. I’m free on the evening they are meeting, and my other book club kind of fell through the cracks, so I thought I’d join in! Pretty good book so far, even though the subject matter is a bit of a dark one.


.

.

~* Next Up & Added on the List *~

No-Cry Sleep Solutions, by Elizabeth Pantley

.

.

.

.

.

Definitely Dead: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 6, by Charlaine Harris
It’s in from the library – I’ll read it as soon as I’m done with Room!

.

.

.

.

.

Feeding Your Soul, by Jean Fleming
This is our next Monday Night Bible Study book, starting May 30th.

Spring Reading Thing: Update Week 4

2 (and ~3/4) books this week!

.
~* Books Finished *~

The ADD & ADHD Answer Book, by Susan Ashley
I liked the Q & A format of this book, made it easy to go through and find precise information. Overall, I’d say the book is fairly basic – a good first overview of the subject, to get basic info and know where to move on from there. It does a fairly decent job at explaining the different aspects of ADD & ADHD, as well as various methods to manage the disorder, including but not limited to medication, and presents ideas for working with teachers and schools. It presents options in a neutral way, neither advocating medications nor condemning it – rather, it presents the facts and guides to reader into making an informed decision, including questions to ask your care provider. It’s fairly easy to navigate and find answers to a specific issue/aspect you want more information on. The Q & A format also lets the reader read the parts that are relevant to him (or their child, etc.) at that moment and gloss over or skip those that are not. I would recommend it to anyone who has a child with ADD & ADHD, or who suspects their child might have, it perhaps even suspect THEY might have it. It’s a very good introduction book and/or first resource book to find more info, and could be a valuable tool to have in your personal library if you need to manage this disorder yourself or for someone under your care.
.

Living Dead in Dallas: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 2, by Charlaine Harris
A little bit different than the first one: not as much mixture between mystery and fantasy, more fantasy with some investigation going on, but more of a fantasy-related investigation than pure police investigation… if that makes sense πŸ™‚Β  The first book had a feel for both style, but with this one I felt we went more in the vampire/supernatural realm, although there is a murder, and we do follow it through. It was a bit like there was 2 stories in one: the book started with a story, then introduced the 2nd story, we concluded that one, and the came back to conclude the other one. It flowed well, but I have to admit I had almost completely forgotten about the first intrigue until it came back up – in fact, by the time we concluded the first one, I was wondering what the rest of the book was going to be about since there was a good chunk of it left but we had seemingly just tied all the plot lines for that second intrigue! πŸ˜‰Β  But all and all though, a good book, just like the first one. I couldn’t put it down, and I had to start book #3 immediately πŸ™‚

.

~* Books Started *~

Club Dead: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 3, by Charlaine Harris
I really wanted this book to count as a finished book this week! πŸ™‚Β  I’m almost 3/4 done, and if I didn’t have a conference to attend today, followed by my parents and sister visiting afterwards, I’d have postponed posting this until later today and finished it during naptime πŸ˜‰ Ah well. No cheating today!
I would have been done sooner, but I gave some priority to my Bible in 90 days reading, seeing as I neglected it for, ahem, 2ish weeks, and I’m now very behind. But I still want to finish on May 5th, so! Also, DD2 gets too distracted with I read paper books versus on my Nook when I nurse her to sleep, resulting in, well, not falling asleep. Since I currently do a bulk of my reading when I nurse her to sleep 3 to 4 times a day, well, paper books go “slower” πŸ˜‰ The waiting list for them from the library is toooo long for my patience in reading them, so I’ll stick with the paper version my dad lent me. I have them to book 5, and I already placed books 6 to 8 on hold from the library – hopefully they’ll be ready when I am!!

.

~* Next Up & Added on the List *~
I’ve added a couple of books to my list, which now brings it over 25 books. I’m going to maintain my goal of 25 books, meaning I might not read all the books in my list – I tend to choose my next book based on what I feel like at the moment rather than a set in stone list, anyway… πŸ˜‰

No-Cry Sleep Solutions, by Elizabeth Pantley

.

.

.

.

.

Dead to the World: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 4, by Charlaine Harris

.

.

.

.

.

Dead as a Doornail: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 5, by Charlaine Harris

.

.

.

.

.

Spring Reading Thing: Update Week 3

2 books this week!

.
~* Books Finished *~
.
.
Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy
I really enjoyed this book. My counsellor had highly recommended it when I expressed doubts on my parenting techniques (to make a long story short, I had Postpartum Depression/Anxiety/OCD after my first child, which came along with lots of doubting etc. I’m in a much better place now, but being proactive and all, I started seeing a counsellor pretty much as soon as I found out I was pregnant, and I’m still seeing her casually every 2 months or so, just to keep on top of it all – PPD can point it’s nose anytime during the first year, in any case. I would say I don’t have it, but I get tendencies, or moments. Anyway – I promise one day I’ll sit down and write about all that in more details!)
In any case, she recommended the book, and I found it to be excellent! Unlike many parenting books, it’s not a “This is a precise method and if you follow it to the letter you will FOR SURE get X results, and if you don’t it’s because there’s something very wrong with either you or your child”. Bah! No, rather, they present their ideas, back their claims, and then give you tools you might choose to use and/or adapt to your needs and parenting. And I can see why my counsellor kept telling me to just read it already (oops – I kept forgetting to check it out!) – it speaks EXACTLY to the type of parenting I was striving for, and was for the main part doing already. Perhaps it’s a bit of a preaching to the converted thing, but for me, anyway, it just reaffirmed my ideologies, as well as what I was already doing, and then gave me some tools and ideas to work on some areas we are currently having more struggles with.
All and all – I highly recommend it if you’re interested in learning more about this type of parenting/teaching/disciplining.
.

Dead Until Dark: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 1, by Charlaine Harris
Heard a lot about this series, supposed to be good. Have not seen the True Blood series on TV yet, but I know it’s based on these books. I like supernatural/fantasy/magic type genre books, so I thought I might like these ones!
I never know how to label these types of books, it seems anyone you talk to will be using a different name for the genre. I suppose there are subgenres too… I guess one could also use the term “vampire fiction”, but I never like to use that, to describe my reading in any case, because it’s not the only fantasy/supernatural genre that I’ll read and like. Example: totally adore the “Charmed” TV series (kay, not a book, but same point :P) I suppose Lord of the Rings would also fit into this broad supernatural/fantasy genre, yet it’s completely different.
Anyway! Moving on.
As it turns out, it is supernatural/fantasy/magic type genre, but with a twist: it’s also very much a mystery/police investigation genre book. Which I normally don’t enjoy that much. But then again, I really liked this one, and I fairly enjoyed Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie too. Hmm…
All this to say it was a good book, and the mix between the two genre was refreshing and entertaining. I already have book #2 of the series on my nightstand πŸ™‚ And I will be renting the DVDs – hopefully before the new season starts on June 26th. Think I can finish the books before then too…?

.
.
~* Books Started *~
.

The ADD & ADHD Answer Book, by Susan Ashley
I needed more info on ADD & ADHD (for personal reasons), so I searched the library’s catalogue, and thought I’d browse this book. Should be a quick read as it’s all in Q&A form, and I’m skipping those that are not significant for me at this time.

.

.
.

Living Dead in Dallas: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 2, by Charlaine Harris
Book 2 of the series – I had it on request as an e-book, but I just finished Book 1 and it’s darn good and I just have to start book 2 NOW, if you know what I mean πŸ˜‰ So I got it as a good ‘ol paper book.

Night World is being bumped down the list – the book was due back at the library with holds on them and I hadn’t had a chance to start it yet, and anyway my sister has them so I’ll just ask her to bring them over when she comes to visit next weekend.

.
.
~* Next Up on the List *~
.

No-Cry Sleep Solutions, by Elizabeth Pantley
I think we might need to address some sleep issues with Miss C, so I thought I’d revisit the book.

.

.

.
.

Spring Reading Thing: Update Week 2

First week for me, but officially week 2 of the challenge.
Edit April 3rd: Oops! I had forgotten to list my finished magazines!

.
~* Books & Mags Finished *~
.

New York, by Edward Rutherfurd
As usual – EXCELLENT. I love Rutherfurd’s books!
I would say though that perhaps the pace was a little too quick – lots of periods covered, and so each section was rather short and quick, except for one or two that lingered longer. I think I prefer it when there’s a huge chunk of story over a couple of years with the same characters, and then a jump of a few generations to another chunk of story with their descendents. You can linger on the characters longer, get to know them, and really get into the story. When it jumps around every dozen pages to a few years later and you only spend a chapter or two with each generation… you don’t get to know them as well.
But that would be my only critic – and it’s very much a personal preference thing anyway. πŸ™‚Β  Other than that – if you enjoy historical novel, then pick this one up, and if you enjoyed Rutherfurd before, you won’t be disappointed!

Today’s Parent, April 2011
I figured I would read the latest issues as they come in, and then work on my backlog in between… πŸ˜‰
.

.

.

..
.
~* Books Started *~
.

Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy (21% done)
My counsellor highly recommended that book, so I’m reading it!

.

.
.

.
.

~* Next Up on the List *~
.

No-Cry Sleep Solutions, by Elizabeth Pantley
I think we might need to address some sleep issues with Miss C, so I thought I’d revisit the book.

.

.

.
.

Night World No. 1 (Secret Vampire, Daughters of Darkness, Spellbinder), by L. J. Smith (I already read Secret Vampire last May, so I guess this is technically a To Finish book… but anyway πŸ™‚ ).
Came in from the library, so it’s a next up!

.

.

.

Dead Until Dark: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 1, by Charlaine Harris
Also came in from the library.
.

.

.

.

.

Fall Into Reading 2010 Wrap-Up

Every year, Callapidder Days hosts a reading challenge during the fall season (Fall Into Reading) and during the spring season (Spring Into Reading). You basically just set yourself some goals and try to achieve them! It’s laid back and informal, but kind of fun.

I’ve done it before very casually, but this year I though I’d try a “bigger” challenge and read more books. I basically just read as much as I could – whenever I would finish a book, I’d pick a new one up from my To Read list in my bookshelf, or read my next hold that became available at the library.

For the spring challenge, I think I’ll focus it a bit more, and either limit it solely to reducing my {huge} To Read pile in my bedroom, or focus on reading some of the Classics I haven’t read yet from the BBC list. We’ll see which I choose on March 21st! πŸ˜€

.
FINAL FEEDBACKS
Some great finds this fall: The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton, which I picked up on a whim at Costco because it just looks nice, but it turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read; The Mission of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson, was an uplifting read and provided great discussion among my Bible Study group (granted, it was only FINISHED during the challenge, on Sept. 23rd, so it half counts :P); The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill, which was a selection for my parents’ book club (which never met…) and I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise (in fact, I didn’t even vote for it, I thought it would not interest me at all, but I like to give each selection a try because I would like others to try my selections too πŸ˜‰ ), but it was actually very good, and my first “nursing” read! πŸ™‚

I also discovered Sarah Bouchard, which I picked up at the Salon du Livre 2010 – the story was compelling and interesting, I’m looking forward to the sequel – but the book itself had a LOT of typos and mistakes which bugged me a bit (especially considering it was $30…)
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which didn’t quite make the finish line, was also quite excellent – I’m planning on reading the follow-up book. It’s not quite a “sequel”, rather, the same building, the same characters, but a different main character/point-of-view. It tells the story of one of the characters that dies in the middle of Elegance. πŸ˜‰

.
LINKS TO WEEKLY QUESTIONS
#1 – Reading Obstacles
#2 – E-books and Digital Books
#3 – Reading & Snacking
#4 – Marking Your Place: Dog-Ears or Bookmarks?
#5 – Do You Read Everything in a Book?
#6 – Favourite Reading Places
#7 – When Did You Become a “Reader”?
#8 – Where Do You Get Your Books?
#9 – Finishing Books / FIR ’10 Update

.
TOTAL BOOKS READ: 20

  • The Mission of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson ~ Completed September 23rd
  • The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill ~ Completed October 1st
  • Take the Fight Out of Food, by Donna Fish ~ Completed October 7th
  • My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult ~ Completed October 9th
  • Chat : -), by Nan McCarthy ~ Completed October 9th
  • Connect }:-), by Nan McCarthy ~ Completed October 10th
  • Crash ; -), by Nan McCarthy ~ Completed October 10th
  • The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton ~ Completed October 21st
  • A Wild Affair, by Gemma Townley ~ Completed October 24th
  • An Ideal Wife, by Gemma Townley ~ Completed October 26th
  • The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella, by Stephanie Meyer ~ Completed October 27th
  • The Vampire Diaries, Vol. 1: The Awakening & The Struggle, by L. J. Smith ~ Completed October 31st
  • Sickened: The True Story of a Lost Childhood, by Julie Gregory ~ Completed November 12th
  • Out of the Abyss and Into the Light: A Spiritual Journey Through Postpartum Depression, by Katie Wilson ~ Completed November 15th
  • The Vampire Diaries, Vol. 2: The Fury & Dark Reunion, by L. J. Smith ~ Completed November 19th
  • How Good is Good Enough, by Andy Stanley ~ Completed November 20th
  • The Vampire Diaries, The Return, Vol. 1: Nightfall, by L. J. Smith ~ Completed November 26th
  • The Vampire Diaries, The Return, Vol. 2: Shadow Souls, by L. J. Smith ~ Completed December 5th
  • Attraction, by Sarah Bouchard ~ Completed December 11th
  • The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life, by Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow ~ Completed December 18th

.
BOOKS STARTED BUT DIDN’T QUITE MAKE THE FINISH LINE:

  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery – just short of halfway through (finished on December 27th)
  • Preparing My Heart for Advent, by Ann Marie Stewart – but only because it’s daily devotions until January 6th, or I would actually be done the book by now!

.
MAGAZINES I READ:

  • Today’s Parents: April 2010, May 2010, June 2010
  • Mothering: May-June 2010, July-August 2010, September-October 2010

Booking Through Thursday – Discussion

Do you have friends and family to share books with? Discuss them with? Does it matter to you?

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m part of a Stay-at-Home Parents book club (which is a bit of a misnomer, as some of the ladies involved are working, but have some free mornings where they can join us!), where we get together once a month to discuss a book while the kids play around us. It’s a great outing, the kids like it (we rent a room at a community center), and it provides us with some discussion time! The books are chosen randomly, first from a running list of suggestions by members, which the organizer randomly chooses from every 3 months to create a voting list. From that list, we vote for our 3 favourites, and the 3 books with the most votes become our next 3 books – those not selected are kept on the running list for future votes.

I personally love it. I love discussing books with other people, but find it hard sometimes to find others with similar interests, or who want to talk about books more deeply than “Oh yea, that latest chick lit was cool, I liked it a lot!” (nothing wrong with that, I read them too πŸ˜‰Β  But it’s not a very huge discussion, once both parties have agreed it was “cool”!) It also permits me to read books I might not have chosen myself, or even known about. I like to give each selection a fair chance, in case I like it, but also because I would like others to give my suggestions a chance if it was selected and to come to the meeting to talk about it.

This month, we’re reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran“, by Azar Nafisi. This is definitely a book I wouldn’t have chosen myself – in fact, I didn’t even vote for it in the last selection! I think the synopsis was a bit misleading, the book was much more insightful than just relating the meetings of a group of ladies. A very good read – I finished it yesterday πŸ˜‰ The meeting date is not yet scheduled, but I’m looking forward to it!!

Booking Through Thursday – Disappointment

Name a book or author that you truly wanted to love but left you disappointed. (And, of course, explain why.)

Brick Lane“, by Monica Ali, left me rather disappointed. This was the May selection for my stay-at-home parents’ book club, and it was chosen in our quarterly vote by many members because it was apparently highly rated – and the synopsis really did seem good.
(we have a running list of books suggested by members, and every 3 months the organizer uses Random.org to select a handful of books to select from, and then we are invited to vote for our 3 favourites – at the end the 3 books with the most votes are our books for the next 3 months. Those not chosen are kept on the running list. It’s a good system!)

I was disappointed in the book because I felt it unfortunately did not deliver. The action was very slow moving, if any action there was. It felt to me that nothing really happened at all through all the book. I didn’t feel like there was any character growth, even though there was a change in situation at the end – but even that wasn’t a huge break from the previous situation. It just felt more ambiguous than anything – together, but not together… (vague I know, I don’t want to give any spoilers, but if you read it, you’ll know what I mean by that πŸ˜‰ ). It was hard to connect with the characters, and I found lots of the events were not described very well or in detail, leaving you wondering what exactly happened – and that applied to some life changing events too.

However, this being said, these are simply my honest personal opinions – I should note that the great majority of the ladies in the group DID enjoy the book very much… πŸ˜‰ Ah, well! I’m enjoying this month’s read a lot πŸ˜‰ (“Reading Lolita in Tehran“, by Azar Nafisi).