Posts Tagged ‘reading’

I’ve been able to cross a few items in the last little while. I successfully completed my Goodreads book challenge, even with the revised total that I increased in July. As of this week, I have hit my target of reading 40 books this year and I have two whole months to go!

Many of you know I’m in the process of a long-term cooking challenge as well and before the release of the Barefoot Contessa’s new cookbook Foolproof, I had cooked 201 of her 607 recipes. I got the new book earlier this week and have yet to update my count but I did manage to cook a new recipe today: Winter Minestrone with Garlic Bruschetta. I was craving soup in this cooler weather and it was perfect. 🙂

I was also able to cross off a few items on our last cruise including:

  • Fly first class: This was actually accidental since we had to book a new flight back home after our ship was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy and the only space left was in first class. It was a very pampered flight home, much needed after that last night on the boat – 30 foot waves are not for the faint of heart! And now I’m spoiled and never want to fly economy again! 🙂
  • Do a helmet dive: Awesome time in St. Thomas – highly recommend it to anyone!
  • I crossed one more cruise so my count is now at 8 cruises of a target 10.
  • Read in a hammock: Done in the Bahamas!


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Last year, I had “Read 30 books in a year” as a book challenge. I only got to 26. This year, I decided to keep it at 30 but took it more seriously and I’ll admit — I have several young adult titles in my repertoire because they’re such fast reads. I’m already at 26 and it’s only July!

That being said, the YA books are surprisingly good!  I picked up Divergent and Insurgent and thoroughly enjoyed those books – I’m looking forward to book 3! I was a fan of the Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games series and never thought about them being considered YA so I never looked for others. There are some great stories out there.

Part of me feels like I’m cheating and I should be feeding my brain more intellectually stimulating fare but you know what? Life is too short to read stuff that’s so-called more “suitable”. I never did like rules. 🙂

So what are your favourite reads?

What’s hot this summer (other than Mr. Grey)?

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I admit it – I’ve recently finished the Fifty Shades trilogy. I got caught up in the hype and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And yes, the books are pretty steamy. They’re explicit, they have sexual scenes, some (many) dealing with the dominant behaviour of Christian Grey and his kinky ways. I did have moments of “Did I just read that correctly??  Oh my – yes I did!” By book 2, I was no longer shocked and started enjoying the actual story.

Reading on my daily commute did pose some challenges – I would tilt my Kindle away from potential nosy commuters should someone catch a glimpse of any telltale words… Riding crops…handcuffs…parts of your anatomy you only read about in anatomy books…you get the picture.

It was the first time I’d read any form of “erotica” book and by the end of book 3, the novelty wore off and there were fewer and fewer surprises. I’ll be honest – I did enjoy the books. I liked the characters, the story and the chance to peek into a different world.

Then I read some of the reviews on the books and Wow! People are seriously nasty and have written pretty scathing things.  What did they expect? Jeez – lighten up people…it’s just a story.

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The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World.

Some of these are phenomenal!

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So my birthday was last Wednesday and between my busy schedule and my husband’s, my bday celebrations have been sporadic and get-them-while-you-can. 🙂 He hijacked me away from my computer to take me out to dinner at Baton Rouge (prime rib, wine, chocolate mousse) on Friday night. Saturday we played minigolf (see previous post about this life list item). And today, I’ve been Kindled (it’s still en route). 🙂

After reading lots of reviews and chatting with several people (including my poll on this blog), the Kindle is apparently the best fit for my e-reader needs (want to use it just to read, don’t need 3g or a keyboard). Who knew it would be so complicated?! 🙂  (omg am I sounding older than my 37 years right now??)

Looking forward to receiving it and giving it a whirl on my daily commute. I’ve already got my first ebook purchase planned – A Dance with Dragons – Book 5 of the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (currently still in hardcover and not commute-friendly at all).

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I finally made it thorugh this one – it took me long enough. 🙂

I have just a couple of chapters left and I hate to admit it but it’s left me a bit “meh”. I enjoyed the history and how the characters intertwined. But Russia / Germany world affairs were never a popular subject and I had a hard time getting into all the politics. I can see how the following books (it’s a trilogy) will continue in the same vein and evolve into WWII, etc. and I will undoubtedly read them both because I’m a fan of Ken Follett’s.

But after Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, I’m disappointed to say that Fall of Giants is lower on my list of good reads.

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You see that book over there on the right side of my blog page…the one that shows a picture of the book I’m currently reading? Well, I’m totally lying. I’ve been sucked into a book series and the Ken Follett book has been sitting half-read on my nightstand…

The series that’s captured my interest — let’s sound the geek-alert now (although those of you who know me won’t be very surprised) — is the Dragonlance series (from the Wizards of the Coast/Dungeons and Dragons people). Yes, I know… It’s a fantasy series about dragons, elves, dwarves, mages, warriors, clerics, the battle between good and evil, all that good stuff. The characters are interesting, the stories are superb, the wirting is engrossing then funny then eerie, it’s all awesome.

My favourite character is Raistlin, the black-robed mage.

I started with the Chronicles Trilogy, followed by the Legends, then Soulforge, and now Second Generation.

I’m loving these books.

Ken Follett, I will come back to your book I promise. But for now, the elves are calling.


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They actually did it.

A mini-series of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire books! Be sure to check out the trailers on HBO’s site.

They also have a blog (Making of Game of Thrones) with regular updates from the set and lots of pics and info about the series.

Premiering April 17th.

I’ve read this series twice now and am eagerly awaiting the next book. I’ve said for years that they should make a series and my dream has come true!


Here is a sneak peek at some of the pics of the cast:

Bran Stark and Jon Snow

Ned Stark and a direwolf

Catelyn Stark and Tyrion Lannister

Cersei Lannister

Daenerys and Ser Jorah

Jaime Lannister

Joffrey Lannister

Ned & Arya Stark

Sansa Stark

Robb Stark

Robb, Bran and the direwolves

Winter is Coming!

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After absolutely LOVING Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, I was ecstatic to find out that his new book, Book 1 of the Century Trilogy, Fall of Giants was out. It came out in September so I’m a little late but still – this was a Christmas present to me from me. And it’s massive. It’s a huge, heavy, hardcover, thing of beauty and it’s currently making a crater on my nightstand. I won’t be able to lug this baby around on my train commute so I’ll be reading two books for the next little while (one for the train, one for home). It’s 985 pages and 1.5 kg.

Yes, it's really that big.

And, even better, it actually has a trailer! How very 2011. Love it.

This one will take me a while to get through but I’m looking forward to immersing myself in World War I times, an era which I honestly haven’t read much about and am eager to learn some of the history at the same time. And Ken Follett’s has a real talent in developing the characters in his books; I’ve always grown to know and love them the further I get in the story. Can’t wait to meet a whole new group of characters!

Stay tuned.

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After all the pain of starting this item, I am happy to report that I can finally cross it off my list.

After many many hours of listening to Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol, I finished listening to it on the drive from Toronto to Montreal this weekend.

Although I did find myself looking forward to my daily commute (I listened to the book on the short drives to and form the train station while commuting to work), I missed listening to music so I don’t know if I’ll be getting any more audiobooks. It was enjoyable, but in the time it took to listen to the entire audiobook, I managed to read 4 actual books (I also read actual books on the train and before bed). At least I know that if my eyesight ever fades, audiobooks are a valid option.

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