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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Books I'm Thankful For #TopTenTuesday

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today's list is Top Ten Books I'm Thankful For. These are ones that have inspired me.

by Max Lucado
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is going through a really tough time.

by Rick Warren
For me, this book was life-changing. I loved it!

by Cynthia Rylant
I bought this book for my older daughter when our cat died. She was a preschooler at the time. It is so precious, but I didn't get through reading it to her without tears!

by Charles Dickens
(Christmas Books, Book #1)
From my review: "It is a heart-warming story of second chances and redemption, which makes it a perfect holiday read!"

by Richard Paul Evans
This is a modern day retelling of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Loved it!

by Richard Paul Evans
I'm a sucker for Evans' holiday stories. This one is a modern day retelling of the bible story, Joseph and The Coat of Many Colours. It moved me to tears. A story about forgiveness.

by Melody Carlson
From my review: "This book truly captures the Spirit of Christmas, and I absolutely adored it!"

So, what books are you thankful for? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, November 20, 2017

2017 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge: Starting Line #truexmasspirit #CSReadathon

The 2017 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge and 2017 Christmas Spirit Christmas & Scary Readathon have begun!

I've dug out my Christmas books and I'm ready!! Here are some of the ones on my TBR pile:

Promise Me
by Richard Paul Evans
[on my iPod]

A Baxter Family Christmas
by Karen Kingsbury
(The Baxters, Book #24)
No, I have not read any others in the series so I hope this works as a standalone.
[on my iPod]

The Memory Tree
by Joseph Pittman
(Linden Corners, Book #5)
No, I haven't read any others in this series either!

The Christmas Train
by David Baldacci

The Christmas Shoes
by Donna VanLiere
(Christmas Hope, Book #1)

And some Christmas stories with murder on the menu to go with the 2017 Christmas Spirit Christmas & Scary Readathon:

The Last Noel
by Heather Graham

Wreck the Halls
by Sarah Graves
(Home Repair is Homicide, Book #5)
Love the name of this series! I haven't read the earlier ones in the series so hopefully this one works as a standalone.

Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I bump up the TBR pile?

I will post my updates on Twitter using the #truexmasspirit and #CSReadathon hashtags, and then do a wrap-up post at the end of the read-a-thon and challenge on my blog.

Thanks again to Michelle at True Xmas Spirit and Seasons of Reading for hosting!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

Something from the library. The book's setting is in the area where I live, and this is written by a local Canadian author.

AUTHOR: Martha Brooks
PUBLISHER: Groundwood Books
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 208 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9780888998286
On the prairies of Canada during World War II, a girl and her two young siblings begin a war of their own. Stricken with tuberculosis, they are admitted to a nearby sanatorium. Teenager Marie Claire is headstrong, angry, and full of stubborn pride. In a new strange land of TB exiles she must "chase the cure," seek privacy where there is none, and witness the slow wasting decline of others. But in this moving novel about fighting a way back to normal life, it is the thing that sets back Marie Claire the most--the demise of her little brother--that also connects her with the person who will be instrumental in helping her recover.

I am taking this nine-week course with a group of people, which features DVD Study sessions and a Participant Guide with study questions (homework!) for discussion each week. I'm looking forward to this! I've heard the book is great.

TITLE: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
PUBLISHER: Zondervan
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2, 1992
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 314 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction, Psychology, Self-Help
ISBN: 9780310585909
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: - Can I set limits and still be a loving person? - What are legitimate boundaries? - What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? - How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? - Aren't boundaries selfish? - Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter.

TITLE: Into the Wild
SERIES: Warriors, Book #1
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLISHER: Harper Trophy
PUBLICATION DATE: January 6, 2004 (first published 2003)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 288 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780061284205
For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying-- and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty . . . who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.

I'm listening to:

From my TBR mountain.

NARRATORS: Biana Amato and Jill Tanner
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: September 12, 2006
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 15 hrs and 38 mins
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Mystery
All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.

I just finished:

NARRATOR: Jilly Bond
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: October 17, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 9 hrs and 34 mins
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction, Holiday/Christmas
A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays...

It's Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew's elder daughter--who is usually off saving the world--will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she's been told she must stay in quarantine for a week...and so too should her family.

For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity--and even decent Wi-Fi--and forced into each other's orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.

As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.

In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who's about to arrive...

AUTHOR: Heather Graham
PUBLICATION DATE: October 23, 2012 (first published 2011)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 224 pages
GENRE: Contemporary Romance, Holiday/Christmas
ISBN: 9780778313946
Christmas has never brought out the best in the MacDougal family. Still, year after year they gather together in the Blue Ridge Mountains to try to make the season merry and bright. But this year is an especially strained one, with Shayne's impending divorce, Morwenna's slavish devotion to work and Bobby's reluctance to face what life has to offer. They've never felt less like a family.

Then, in the midst of a sibling shouting match, a mysterious stranger appears. He could be a criminal, a madman—or something far more unexpected. Despite their fears and the growing danger in the dark woods around them, the MacDougals take a leap of faith. But when another stranger arrives on the mountainside, they don't know which of them to believe. One of these men can't be trusted. And one is about to bring Christmas into their hearts.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Stacking The Shelves and Sunday Post

This meme is hosted by Tynga over at Team Tynga's Reviews, which she describes as follows:

"Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!"

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

Unfortunately, our team lost the Western Semi-Finals last week, so no Grey Cup for us.

The temperatures have remained mild, and no snow all week. Not much change from last week, although some seems to have melted.

Have you been following Audible's 20 Year Anniversary? Here are the freebies that I grabbed this week:

Alien: Out of the Shadows
by Tim Lebbon
(Canonical Alien Trilogy, Book #1)

Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery
(Anne of Green Gables, Book #1)

I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson

This is Penguin Random House Audio's FREEBIE of the month (four days only, you still have time! Offer ends on Monday November 20 at 11:59 AM ET):

A Boy Called Christmas
by Matt Haig

Thanks again, PRH Audio!

I won this giveaway hosted by Kristin @ Addicted to Happily Ever After for her HoHoHo Read-a-Thon Word Scramble Challenge:

Thanks again, Kristin!

Recap: Last Week On The Blog

Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Every Kid Should Read

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Year One by Nora Roberts

Friday Audiobook Review: The Shining by Stephen King

Saturday: HoHoHo Read-a-Thon Wrap-up Post

What books have you added to your shelves this week? If you are also participating in either of these memes, please leave me the link to your blog post in the comments so that I can come and drool over all your goodies!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

HoHoHo Read-a-Thon: Wrap-up Post @kimbacaffeinate #HoHoHoRAT

This is my Wrap-up Post for the HoHoHo Read-a-Thon!

I Finished:

by Debbie Macomber
[on my iPod]

Christmas Jars
by Jason F. Wright
(Christmas Jars, Book #1)
[on my iPod]

Snow Cones and Dimes: A Christmas Jars Story
by Jason F. Wright
[on my iPod]

Seven Days of Us
by Francesca Hornak
[on my iPod]
Finished Nov 16th

Still Reading:

by Heather Graham

Thanks again to Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer for hosting!

Friday, November 17, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for The Shining by Stephen King @StephenKing @SimonAudio

TITLE: The Shining
SERIES: The Shining, Book #1
AUTHOR: Stephen King
NARRATOR: Campbell Scott
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: August 2, 2005 (first published 1977)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 15 hrs and 56 mins
GENRE: Horror
First published in 1977, The Shining quickly became a benchmark in the literary career of Stephen King. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel's past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to claim the very souls of the Torrance family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece of horror by legendary director Stanley Kubrick -- featuring an unforgettable performance by a demonic Jack Nicholson -- The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia.

This deliciously creepy tale is my new King favourite!

Jack Torrance is a former alcoholic and struggling writer. After losing his job as a teacher after getting involved in an altercation with a student, the family is forced to move from Vermont to Colorado. He takes a job as the winter caretaker for the Overlook Hotel in the mountains. Due to its remote location, the hotel is shut down for the winter from October to mid-May as the snow usually makes the roads impassable. The hotel’s manager is a little concerned that Jack intends to stay at the Overlook Hotel with his wife, Wendy, and their five-year-old son, Danny. His preference is for a single bachelor to look after the hotel, after what happened with the last caretaker who killed his wife and twin daughters before committing suicide. The isolation can be hard on people. However, an influential friend of Jack’s recommended him for the job, and the manager hires Jack against his better judgment.

The family arrives at the Overlook Hotel just as it is closing down for the season. They meet the hotel’s chef, Dick Hallorann, who immediately takes an interest in Danny. Before he leaves, he has a word in private with Danny. He tells the boy that he knows he has “the shine” which is a special ability to read someone’s thoughts. Dick has “the shine” as well, and he tells Danny that he never met someone who shined as strongly as Danny did. They were able to communicate telepathically, and Dick told Danny that if there was any trouble at the Overlook to reach out to him and that he’d come. 

Danny sees things in the hotel that aren’t really there, and his father’s behavior begins to change. Before Jack sobered up, there was an incident where he lost his temper with Danny and accidentally broke his arm. Wendy was going to leave Jack and file for divorce, but he gave up the booze and they worked it out. However, things start getting rocky again as the seclusion and confinement appear to be working against Jack.

I loved the isolated setting of the story, which added to the spookiness of the story. Knowing that no one is going to come and save you if there is trouble would be pretty scary. I was fascinated with the hotel’s history, which was revealed through the boxes that Jack found in the basement.

I enjoyed the narrator Campbell Scott more and more as the story went on. I thought he portrayed all of the characters well, especially Dick Hallorann who is my favourite. Here is a sample of the narration:

I saw the 1980 film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson when I was just a kid myself! It left quite an impression on me. Who can forget the “Here’s Johnny!” scene? That actually isn’t in the book but was ad libbed by Nicholson. I thought Nicholson was cast perfectly, but King described Wendy as a good-looking blonde so how the heck was Shelley Duvall cast for that part?! I’m looking forward to watching the movie again.

5 stars!! It was superb, and I loved it. I will likely re-read it in the future. You should definitely put it on your TBR list if you enjoy horror!

This book qualifies as:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Beauty and the Beast adapted by Elizabeth Rudnick @lizrudnick @DisneyPress

PUBLISHER: Disney Press
PUBLICATION DATE: January 31, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 288 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9781484781005
Belle has dreamt of adventures like the ones she reads in her books, of traveling the world outside her small town. When Belle's father is captured, she takes his place as a prisoner of a fearsome Beast. But life in the enchanted castle isn't as terrible as Belle imagines, and she ultimately finds friendship and love. Enjoy this tale as old as time about adventure and love, about looking past first appearances, and about the inner Beauty and Beast in all of us in this beautiful novelization of the upcoming star-studded film!


This is one of my favourite fairy tales, and I took my kids to see the Beauty and the Beast film adaptation starring Emma Watson earlier this year. We were awestruck seeing this movie brought to life and much prefer it to the Disney animation. When we saw this novelization of the movie, my younger daughter asked me to buy it for her and I read it aloud to her. Normally, I shun watching the movie before the book but, since we were already familiar with the tale, it was okay to do it backwards!

Belle and her father live in a quaint village in France. While all the other girls in the village pine for the town stud Gaston, Belle rebuffs his advances and would rather have her nose in a book! This makes him all the more determined to make Belle as his wife, as he loves the thrill of the chase and the challenge. 

Belle’s father leaves with his horse and cart on a journey to sell his handmade music boxes in neighbouring towns. Before he goes, he asks Belle what he can bring back for her. She asks him to bring her a rose, just as she does every year. When the horse returns to Belle’s home without the cart or her father, she knows that something must be wrong. She mounts the horse, Philippe, and urges him to lead her to her father. They go through the woods, and Belle finds the upturned cart and broken music boxes so she knows that her father must be close. She sees a castle and enters it, and she calls out for her father. She hears him and finds him locked in a room. Belle’s father implores her to leave before it’s too late, and then it is…the Beast finds her. He tells Belle that her father is a thief for trying to steal one of his roses, and Belle feels horrible for knowing that her father was imprisoned because he was only trying to fulfill his daughter’s wish. Long story short, Belle begs for the chance to say a proper goodbye to her father and pushes him out of the cell and locks herself in. She takes his place. Little does she know that a spell has been put on the castle and its inhabitants. The only way to break it is for the Beast to fall in love and be loved in return before the last petal falls on an enchanted rose kept under a glass dome in the Beast’s quarters. Time is running out, and it’s up to Belle to break the spell.

I absolutely love this story! Belle is the perfect heroine. She always thinks of others before herself and does kind things for others. She is a responsible young woman, and she adores her father. She knows that she is different from the other girls in the village and that they think she is strange, but she is okay with that. I love that she marches to the beat of her own drum and can stand tall under the criticism of others. She is a wonderful role model, and I also love that she’s a bookworm!

I love the transformation of Belle’s and Beast’s relationship, how they became friends and how their love blossomed from that. Belle sees the Beast’s inner beauty, and she no longer even notices what he looks like on the outside. I love the effect this has on Beast, and how it softens his heart. It’s such a perfect and romantic tale.

5 stars!! I loved it and will likely re-read it! You should definitely read it if you enjoy fairy tales.

This book qualifies as:

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