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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Classics Club Spin #18

from The Classics Club

What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, before next Wednesday 1st August 2018, create a post that lists twenty books of your choice that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.
This is your Spin List.
You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the month.
Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you have been putting off, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favourite author, re-reads, ancients, non-fiction, books in translation — whatever you choose.)
On Wednesday 1st August, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by 31st August, 2018. We’ll check in here then to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!

I'm been sorely neglecting my Classics Club list, so this is an excellent way for me to squeeze more classics into my schedule. I like this idea!
Here's my list:
  1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  3. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  4. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  5. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  8. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  9. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  10. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  11. Lord of the Flies by Sir William Golding
  12. Dante's The Inferno
  13. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
  14. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  15. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  16. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  17. Night by Elie Wiesel
  18. Macbeth by Shakespeare
  19. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  20. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

                                                          Popular Books That Lived Up To The Hype #TopTenTuesday

                                                          This is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

                                                          The topic for today's list is:

                                                          Popular Books That Lived Up To The Hype

                                                          Each of these are popular books that I've read and loved:

                                                          by J.K. Rowling
                                                          (Harry Potter, Book #1)

                                                          by Stephenie Meyer
                                                          (The Twilight Saga, Book #1)

                                                          by Veronica Roth
                                                          (Divergent, Book #1)

                                                          by Marissa Meyer
                                                          (Lunar Chronicles, Book #1)

                                                          The Kite Runner
                                                          by Khaled Hosseini

                                                          Beautiful Disaster
                                                          by Jamie McGuire
                                                          (Beautiful, Book #1)

                                                          by Diana Gabaldon
                                                          (Outlander, Book #1)

                                                          A Prayer for Owen Meany
                                                          by John Irving

                                                          The Perks of Being a Wallflower
                                                          by Stephen Chbosky

                                                          by R.J. Palacio
                                                          (Wonder, Book #1)

                                                          So, what popular books did you think were worth the hype? 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, July 30, 2018

                                                          It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

                                                          This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

                                                          I'm reading: 

                                                          Something from my dusty bookshelf.

                                                          AUTHOR: Agatha Christie
                                                          PUBLISHER: Pocket Books
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: September 3, 1982 (first published 1939)
                                                          FORMAT: Paperback
                                                          LENGTH: 173 pages
                                                          GENRE: Mystery, Classics
                                                          ISBN: 0671467212 
                                                          Considered the best mystery novel ever written by many readers, And Then There Were None is the story of 10 strangers, each lured to Indian Island by a mysterious host. Once his guests have arrived, the host accuses each person of murder. Unable to leave the island, the guests begin to share their darkest secrets--until they begin to die.

                                                          Not only am I a first generation Canadian, but immigration is my profession. 

                                                          PUBLISHER: Caitlin Press
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: February 7, 2017
                                                          FORMAT: Paperback
                                                          LENGTH: 216 pages
                                                          GENRE: Nonfiction
                                                          ISBN: 9781987915341
                                                          Edited by Miriam Matejova, Wherever I Find Myself is a diverse collection of stories about the joys and struggles of immigrant women living in Canada. Often bringing with them the shadow of war and the guilt of leaving, the women in this new anthology expose their emotional pain but also their gratitude for being able to call Canada home. Their stories paint touching and charming portraits of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, bureaucratic hurdles, attempts to navigate unfamiliar landscapes, and a desire to be accepted despite differences in accent, skin colour, or taste in food. Together they form a mosaic of emotions and world-views that underline the immigrant condition for women.

                                                          A yellow dress with ruffles, a kind Grade 1 teacher with a surname that’s difficult to spell, cockroaches in the bathroom, the contempt of strangers, and Whitney Houston on the radio–a Filipino woman recalls her experience as a six-year-old immigrant in a ghetto in Mississauga in the 80s. Browsing through a Polish fashion magazine at a European deli, a woman sees herself in an alternative universe of what her life might have been had she never immigrated to Canada. A same-sex couple moves from Minnesota to Ontario to find refuge for their love, but first they must drive a seventeen-foot truck through a blizzard and make it through the frustrating net of Canadian bureaucracy. In search of her origins, a Jewish woman travels to her birthplace in Passau, Germany. There, among rows of European picturesque houses and foreign tombstones of a Jewish cemetery, she finds no memories, only the shadow of Hitler and the ghosts of her parents.

                                                          Through these stories of courage, aloneness, and hope, new and established writers reach out to both immigrants and those whose families long ago ceased to identify with the immigrant label. Through their struggles and, at times, endearingly critical looks at Canada, they remind us that many of our perceived divisions are nothing but artificial creations of mind and that all of us are past, current, or potential immigrants.

                                                          I completed a nine-week course with a group of people, which featured DVD Study sessions and a Participant Guide with study questions (homework!) for discussion each week. The book is a lot to digest, and I'm still reading it in chunks.

                                                          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.

                                                          Something from the library. I really enjoy this author, and I find him to be very inspirational!

                                                          AUTHOR: Joel Osteen
                                                          PUBLISHER: FaithWords
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: October 24, 2017
                                                          FORMAT: Hardcover
                                                          LENGTH: 304 pages
                                                          GENRE: Nonfiction
                                                          ISBN: 9781455534326
                                                          The same God that leads you through green pastures guides you through the valleys. #1 New York Times bestselling author Joel Osteen shares how God uses the darkness in life for good.

                                                          All of us at some time encounter dark places that we don't understand: a loss, a sickness, a divorce, a child who breaks our heart. It's easy to get discouraged, give up on our dreams, and just settle there. We may not realize it, but when we feel buried in dark places, we are being blessed. God is using those experiences to help us grow, because we cannot reach our highest potential if we're standing in the light all the time. With Blessed in the Darkness, you will learn how to draw closer to God and trust Him when life doesn't make sense.

                                                          If we will go through the valley trusting, believing, and knowing that God is still in control, then we will come to the table that is already prepared for us, where our cup runs over.

                                                          Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter. We are loving this series! It just gets better and better!

                                                          SERIES: Warriors, Book #5
                                                          AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
                                                          PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: March 17, 2015 (first published 2004)
                                                          FORMAT: Paperback
                                                          LENGTH: 368 pages
                                                          GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
                                                          ISBN: 9780062367006
                                                          Join the legion of fans who have made Erin Hunter's Warriors series a #1 national bestseller--with new editions featuring a striking new look! More thrilling fantasy, fierce warrior cats, and epic adventures await in Warriors #5: A Dangerous Path.

                                                          ShadowClan has chosen Tigerclaw as their new leader, and Fireheart fears that this old enemy still harbors dark plans for vengeance on his former Clan. A mysterious threat has invaded the forest, placing every cat's life in peril. And Fireheart's beloved leader has turned her back on their warrior ancestors. Fireheart can't help but wonder if she's right--has StarClan abandoned them forever?

                                                          Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter. This series is picking up and getting better!

                                                          TITLE: The Siege
                                                          SERIES: Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Book #4
                                                          AUTHOR: Kathryn Lasky
                                                          PUBLISHER: Scholastic, Inc.
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: May 1, 2004
                                                          FORMAT: Paperback
                                                          LENGTH: 203 pages
                                                          GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
                                                          ISBN: 9780439405607
                                                          Tensions erupt in the owl kingdom when the forces of evil wage war against the protectors of good. Enraged by his clash with Soren and driven by an all-consuming desire for power, Kludd and his group, the Pure Ones, launch an attack upon the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. The noble owls who live there must fight fiercely to protect their resources and defend their honor. Meanwhile, Soren is called upon by the elders of the Great Tree to lead a mission back to the one place he thought he'd never see again-St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. He and his crew will have to enter St. Aggie's as spies, then leave unnoticed once their work is done. If peace is to be restored, he must do it again. 

                                                          I'm listening to:

                                                          Something from my Audible library.

                                                          TITLE: In the Woods
                                                          SERIES: Dublin Murder Squad, Book #1
                                                          AUTHOR: Tana French
                                                          NARRATOR: Steven Crossley
                                                          PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: April 20, 2007
                                                          FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
                                                          LENGTH: 20 hrs and 23 mins
                                                          GENRE: Mystery
                                                          ISBN: B000QUUCWA
                                                          As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

                                                          Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

                                                          I just finished:

                                                          TITLE: Half Brother
                                                          AUTHOR: Kenneth Oppel
                                                          PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: 2010
                                                          FORMAT: Paperback
                                                          LENGTH: 377 pages
                                                          GENRE: Young Adult
                                                          ISBN: 9781554686117
                                                          When Ben Tomlin’s mother brings home his new “baby brother,” an eight-day-old chimpanzee, Ben is far from thrilled. His father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family and moved them halfway across the country, to Victoria, B.C., so he can pursue a high-profile experiment— to determine whether chimpanzees can learn human sign language.

                                                          Zan must be raised exactly like a human. He’s dressed in clothes and fed in a high chair and has a room full of toys and books. Ben is soon smitten. Joining the team of students who are helping with the experiment, Ben becomes both researcher and adored older brother.

                                                          Within months, Zan learns his first signs and becomes a media sensation. At his new school, Ben’s life seems similarly charmed as he vies for the attentions of the beautiful Jennifer— using his newly acquired scientific observational skills.

                                                          But when Project Zan unexpectedly loses its funding, Ben’s father is under huge pressure to either make the experiment succeed or abandon it—and Zan. Unable to convince his father that Zan is now part of the family, Ben must risk everything to save his baby brother from an unimaginable fate.

                                                          AUTHOR: Debbie Macomber
                                                          NARRATOR: Karissa Vacker
                                                          PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: July 17, 2018
                                                          FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
                                                          LENGTH: 10 hrs and 58 mins
                                                          GENRE: Contemporary Romance
                                                          ISBN: 9780525491774

                                                          A seaside town helps one young woman reclaim the light after darkness in a brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

                                                          Annie Marlow has been through the worst. Rocked by tragedy, she heads to the one place that makes her happy: Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest, the destination of many family vacations when Annie was a teenager.

                                                          Once there, Annie begins to restore her broken spirit, thanks in part to the folks she meets: a local painter, Keaton, whose large frame is equal to his big heart--and who helps Annie fix up her rental cottage by the sea; Mellie, the reclusive, prickly landlord Annie is determined to befriend; and Britt, a teenager with a terrible secret. But it is Keaton to whom Annie feels most drawn. His quiet, peaceful nature offers her both comfort and reprieve from her grief, and the two begin to grow closer.

                                                          Then events threaten to undo the idyll Annie has come to enjoy. And when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in her lap, she is torn between the excitement of a new journey toward success and the safe and secure arms of the haven--and the man--she's come to call home.

                                                          In this heartwarming tale, Annie finds that the surest way to fix what is damaged within is to help others rise above their pain and find a way to heal.

                                                          SERIES: Agatha Raisin
                                                          AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton
                                                          PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: August 28, 2012
                                                          FORMAT: Kindle edition
                                                          LENGTH: 36 pages
                                                          GENRE: Cozy Mystery, Holiday/Christmas
                                                          ASIN: B008PBYTM6
                                                          Christmas tale that’s holly, jolly—and deadly, by golly…

                                                          At home alone for the holidays, Agatha Raisin decides to host a dinner party for the elder residents in her Cotswold village of Winter Parva. Agatha’s never been able to cook, but she’s dead-set on making this the perfect holiday for local “crumblies". She’s decorated a tree while fending off her cats Hodge and Boswell, and even made a (lumpy) Christmas pudding in between swigs of rum.

                                                          When Agatha dumps the pudding on the head of the local self-proclaimed lothario—an eighty-five year old with a beer belly and fingers like sausages—his death by dessert proves more than a trifle as mysteries mount higher than the season’s snowfall. So much for trying to do good by her neighbors. Now Agatha needs no less than a Christmas miracle to get herself out of this one...

                                                          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, July 29, 2018

                                                          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

                                                          This cute little red squirrel has discovered my window feeder:

                                                          I know it's a nursing momma because I can see her nipples when she jumps up to the feeder. I gotta hand it to her for her creativity in getting up to the feeder! I've had grey squirrels try to get up there but they aren't as agile as the red ones. She climbs up on the picnic table and jumps towards the lower window sill and then leaps up to the high sill and then up to the feeder.

                                                          I filled up my black oil sunflower feeder last week, and it's already have gone. I've noticed the birds are eating a lot. They can't be getting ready for migration already!?! We still have a whole month of summer left!

                                                          I got a call from my older daughter's school that she earned an Honour Award Certificate last year. I wish they'd do award ceremonies like they do in elementary and middle school. So, that's five for five! She's achieved honors every year she's been in public school.

                                                          I received this audiobook for review:

                                                          by Gregory McDonald

                                                          Thanks again, Blackstone Audio!

                                                          Recap: Last Week On The Blog

                                                          Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone

                                                          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!

                                                          Friday, July 27, 2018

                                                          #Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone @ezekiel_boone @PenguinRandomCA

                                                          TITLE: Zero Day
                                                          SERIES: The Hatching, Book #3
                                                          AUTHOR: Ezekiel Boone
                                                          PUBLISHER: Random House Canada
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: February 27, 2018
                                                          FORMAT: Paperback
                                                          LENGTH: 336 pages
                                                          GENRE: Horror
                                                          ISBN: 9780345816542
                                                          The finale to Ezekiel Boone's near-apocalyptic monster-horror series.

                                                          After a long-dormant species of carnivorous spiders hatches and overruns the globe, tens of millions of people have been killed and eaten, or worse...and US president Stephanie Pilgrim has had to order nuclear strikes on major American cities, roads and infrastructure to try to give the survivors a fighting chance. She and her close advisers, along with spider expert Melanie Guyer and her team of scientists, have retreated to a US Navy aircraft carrier off the East Coast to plot their next move when a mutiny breaks out that pits military men looking for a final solution against the president and her allies, who don't think that blowing everything up is the right way to go. Pilgrim and her people escape to the one spider-free zone they're certain of, setting up a White House in Manhattan. But how can they survive with the odds so stacked against them?

                                                          Still, they have no choice but to try... rallying the unlikeliest set of spider fighters on whom the fate of humanity rests.

                                                          MY REVIEW:

                                                          This was a satisfying conclusion to The Hatching series!

                                                          First, came The Hatching. Next, was Skitter. I wasn't sure what to expect with Zero Day, but I really like where Boone took us. A couple of my favourite characters in this trilogy were the Preppers, Shotgun and Gordo. I found it amusing that they had this fabulous underground bunker all set up for the apocalypse where they could just hunker down and wait out whatever happens. Did they stay underground? No! They are front and centre in Zero Day with their invention and weapon of destruction against the spider apocalypse. Actually, it isn't exactly a weapon but more like a tracker which zeros in on the queens. Dr. Guyer's theory that the queens control the other spiders is right, but the military doesn't want to wait for her to figure out a plan of action. They just want to annihilate and obliterate everything! They try to overthrow the President, and Melanie with Shotgun and Gordo are running out of time. 

                                                          The story was fast-paced and totally gave me the heebie-jeebies. I hate spiders! Boone created a great cast of characters, and I really enjoyed this series. 

                                                          I can't wait for Boone's next release, The Mansion, which is expected to be published in December.

                                                          MY RATING:

                                                          4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy horror or apocalyptic sci-fi!

                                                          This book qualifies as:

                                                          Thursday, July 26, 2018

                                                          #Audiobook #Review: 2 out of 5 stars for The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay @HarperAudio

                                                          AUTHOR: Paul Tremblay
                                                          NARRATOR: Amy Landon
                                                          PUBLISHER: HarperAudio
                                                          PUBLICATION DATE: June 26, 2018
                                                          FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
                                                          LENGTH: 9 hrs and 25 mins
                                                          GENRE: Horror
                                                          ISBN: 9780062849588
                                                          The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.

                                                          Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

                                                          One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what’s going to happen is your fault". Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."

                                                          Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

                                                          MY REVIEW:

                                                          When I read the synopsis for this book, it grabbed my attention right away. I've been pumped about this book since the Spring, and I even featured it on one of my "Can't-Wait Wednesday" posts. Stephen King also tweeted that it was terrifying! Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

                                                          Wen and her two dads are on holiday in Northern New Hampshire at a remote cabin. She is outside in the front yard playing alone, when she hears someone coming down the road. He introduces himself as Leonard and says that he wants to be her friend. He seems friendly enough, but Wen is wary. After Leonard's three friends arrive, they confront Wen's parents and tell them that they will have to make a sacrifice to save the world. If they fail, a series of cataclysmic events will be set in motion.

                                                          Okay, so let's talk about what worked: I love the isolated and remote setting. There's nothing creepier than being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to contact anyone else if something were to happen. I also love the doomsday prophecy. 

                                                          What didn't work was that this book seemed to go nowhere for so long! I think half the book was talking about what was going to happen, and I kept thinking, "Okay, this is where it's going to get good!" but that never happened. For a book that was described as "heart-palpitating," I expected something more gripping but instead it was kind of boring.

                                                          If you look up the reviews on Audible, the narrator (Amy Landon) is criticized pretty harshly. In my opinion, she wasn't that bad. Maybe the narration was a bit lackluster and dull because the writing was? I do think that probably is the case. Here is a sample of the narration:

                                                          MY RATING:
                                                          2 stars!! Meh, it was just "okay."

                                                          This book qualifies as:
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