Monthly Archives: November 2016

Top Ten Tuesday – Christmas Wishlist (Nov 29)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Holiday Gift Guide freebie (ten books to buy the YA lover in your life, 10 books to buy for your dad, etc.)’ Mine will only be top seven, as I only put seven books on my Christmas Wishlist this year. My family always ask for a list and suggested it might be a bit briefer than previous years, so I put the following seven books on my list:

  1. Rescuing Jesus: How People of Colour, Women, and Queer Christians Are Reclaiming Evangelicalism – Deborah Jian Lee
  2. A Life in Parts – Bryan Cranston
  3. Wenjack – Joseph Boyden
  4. Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science – Mike McHargue
  5. Letters From Father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkien
  6. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances – Neil Gaiman
  7. The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right – Lisa Sharon Harper

It will be interesting to see which ones I get and I’ll probably share that on here at some point.

Bookmark Monday – Christmas Countdown (Nov 28)


bookmark-mondayBookmark Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Aloi from guiltless reading. Take a picture of one of your favourite bookmarks, post it on your blog, and head over to guiltless reading to share a to your post.

With less than 4 weeks until Christmas, it’s almost time to get the Advent Calendars out. My choice for this year is a Kinder Surprise calendar. I’m not doing the Starbucks calendar this year because I gave up caffeinated coffee earlier this year. But I digress. An alternative, or even an addition, to having an Advent Calendar is the following bookmark and idea shared at My Little Bookcase. It’s the neat and easy little idea of having  Christmas countdown bookmark. Check out the post and consider making your own.


Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Daddy Lenin and Other Stories (Nov 25)

daddy-leninI compiled my annual Christmas Book Wishlist last weekend so that my family could make a start on their Christmas shopping with a few ideas of where to start. As I was putting the list together I was going through my books looking for the ones I received last year for Christmas and came across one I still haven’t read yet – Daddy Lenin and Other Stories by Guy Vanderhaeghe. I decided that with Christmas only a month away now I should try and get this one read before I see which ones I get this year. I also decided I should use it as my way back into participating in these Friday memes that I haven’t done for quite a few months now.

The following description comes from inside the front cover:

Bestselling author Guy Vanderhaeghe’s new book of fiction is both timely and timeless and showcases his supreme talent as a storyteller and poignant observer of the human condition.

Among these nine addictive and resonant stories: A teenage boy breaks out of the strict confines of his family, his bid for independence leads him in over his head. He learns about life in short order and there is no turning back. An actor’s penchant for hiding behind a role, on and off stage, is tested to the limits and what he comes to discover finally places him face to face with the truth. With his mother hospitalized for a nervous condition and his father away on long work stints, a boy is sent to another family for his meals. His gradually building relationship with a teenage daughter who has been left handicapped from Polio opens unexpected doors to the world. In the powerful title story, a middle-aged man remeets his former adviser at university, a charismatic and domineering professor dubbed Daddy Lenin. As their tense reunion progresses, secrets from the past painfully revise remembered events and threaten to topple the scaffolding of a marriage.

With Daddy Lenin and Other Stories, award-winning author Guy Vanderhaeghe returns once again to the form that launched his stellar literary career. Here is a grand master writing at the height of his powers.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

bb-buttonBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of Daddy Lenin (from the story The Jimi Hendrix Experience):

It’s the summer of 1970 and I’ve only got one lovely ambition. I want to have been born in Seattle, to be black, to be Jimi Hendrix. I want a blast of Afro ablaze in a bank of stage lights, to own a corona of genius.

I like this beginning, but it’s quite the ambition!

friday-562.jpgThe Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of Daddy Lenin (from the story Koenig & Company):

As soon as the food hit their dishes all the Koenigs, Mr. Koenig included, scattered for the living room at top speed. I was the last to be served, and once I had been doled out my share of charcoal and grease, the enormous Delphine immediately fell to it, forking up her supper straight from the pans.

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but it doesn’t seem like all that pleasant an experience.

I’m looking forward to reading this book soon. I’ve read most of Vanderhaeghe’so the collections of short stories and really enjoyed them. I’m hoping this one will be just as good as the others.

Top Ten Doctor Who Episodes

Three years ago I posted this post, my Top Ten Doctor Who episodes, on my previous blog as part of Sci-Fi month. Since then, of course, there have been quite a few more episodes released, as well as a change in Doctor. I think there would be at least one or two Peter Capaldi episodes that would make my list now, plus ‘Blink’ would probably make it to number one. At least it’s just over a month now until we see the Doctor again. He’s been gone for far too long.

Two weeks from everywhere


This weekend is, of course, the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who. To celebrate this, I have attempted to put together my favourite 10 Doctor Who episodes. I have only included stories form Doctor #9 onwards, because it has been too long since I saw any of the shows from before then. I do remember some of the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker stories, but it would be hard to compare them with the more recent episodes as I was much younger when I saw them and my memories of them are too distant.

I have re-watched all of the newer stories in order over the past four months or so, but there are so many good ones that it has been hard to narrow them down, so here goes:

10. The Fires of Pompeii (Doctor #10) – this was the second episode of series four. In…

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Catching Up

It has been an unusual year so far and it still has over a month to go. We started off the year living in half a house, as we were still undergoing renovations. Finally, in mid-April we were able to do most of our unpacking, almost ten months after we got here. We still haven’t got any of our pictures up yet, but I’m working on it. Besides all of this, we also had a lot of visitors (family and friends) visit this year, which was great. We never had many visitors during our 14 years in Elliot Lake, but now that we are in St Marys we are more accessible. It’s always great catching up with family and friends, so we’re just thankful that the house was in more of a state of readiness by the time they all visited.

When we moved here last year I had hoped to blog more regularly, but with all that was happening and things we had to unexpectedly deal with, I just got out of the habit and just didn’t feel like it at the time. However, that has changed and I now feel in more of a better place to post more stuff here again. A lot of it will probably be book or movie related as I enjoy taking part in some of the memes that go around a number of the blogs that I follow. Plus reading and watching movies are two of my favourite things to do in my spare time, so it’s kind of natural for me to want to blog about them.

My reading did kind of suffer there for a while as well. There were times when I couldn’t focus or just had trouble remembering what I had just read. Thankfully I am getting back to enjoying reading again, but I won’t reach my target of 75 books for this year, although I will still probably be close to 50. Fifty is a fitting number for this year as well, because I turned 50 in April, which hardly seems possible, but is true nonetheless.

At 50 I think I’m in better shape than I was at 40, but I’m finding it harder to keep off the weight these days. Once all the rush of Christmas is past, Pamela and I are considering signing up for Forks Over Knives. If you are wondering what that’s about click on the link or watch their movie, which is available on Netflix.

Getting back to my reading, my habits have started to change again, although one thing that hasn’t changed is that I buy more books than I read. I’m seriously thinking of giving up my participation in The Classics Club as I haven’t been able to keep up with it. I also have found that I’ve not been enjoying some of the books as much as I expected to. I’ll make a decision on it soon. One unusual thing that has happened is that I have discovered that I enjoy the odd romantic novel. During the summer I received a free romance in a giveaway, read it, and discovered it was a good escape for me. I’ve read a few more since then and they haven’t been all that bad. It’s only a certain kind that I enjoy, mainly contemporary, inspired, suspense, and sci-fi. The other categories don’t really appeal that much to me at all. I’ve found that I can get a lot of what I like for free or cheap on the Kindle or Kobo apps, so that has given me enough to read. Also, on the reading front, I joined the Renovaré Book Club this year again after taking last year off. The four books chosen for this year look like great reads and I’m enjoying being a part of it again so far.

For my 50th birthday my family gave me a turntable, so I now have something to play my vinyl on again. I now have to work out how to get my collection of vinyl that is still in Orkney over here. Now I spend some of my spare time checking out thrift stores for records. I’ve found some good deals there so far. Also, there’s a great vinyl store in Stratford, which is only 20 minutes away.

One other thing that happened this year is that we have TV again. For the past few years we’ve been relying on Netflix, DVDs, and the internet for our occasional viewing, but a few months ago we discovered that we could get a good deal with Rogers for their basic TV and signed up for it. We had been with Bell for our internet and home phone, but their prices were getting ridiculous. Being fed up with this, we shopped around and discovered that Rogers offered phone, internet, and TV for less than the two services we had with Bell. So, we changed to Rogers and haven’t looked back. We also gained unlimited bandwidth with Rogers internet, so we don’t have to worry about going over our limit like we had to do with Bell. We’re still not watching much TV, but we are enjoying the on-demand feature, which is something new to us.

Well I think that’s enough catching up for now. Hopefully I’ll keep up more with the blogging now and make keeping this site up worthwhile.

Teaser Tuesday – Grounded (Nov 22)

TuesdayTeaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my teasers for this week:

groundedThe New York Times refers to ours as a “genealogy-crazed era.” Surprisingly genealogy stories involving celebrities make headlines: Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are distant cousins; Emma Watson, star of the Harry Potter movies, is related to an actual sixteenth-century witch; a white supremacist learns – on a television talk show – that he is 14 percent black.

From Page 137 of Grounded: Finding God in the World. A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass.

Book Blitz -‘For Duty and Honour’ by Leo J. Maloney

Today I’m hosting the following book on behalf of Partners In Crime Tours. I am only one of a number of blogs on the tour. If you are interested in the other stops on the tour Click here to view the ‘For Duty and Honor by Leo J. Maloney’ Tour Participants. It looks like an exciting read and as you read on down in this post you will come to a giveaway with the chance of winning your own copy.

For Duty and Honor

by Leo J. Maloney


For Duty and Honor by Leo J. MaloneyIn this action-packed novella, Black Ops veteran Leo J. Maloney delivers a heart-pounding tale as fast, cold, and sleek as a 9mm bullet…

The unthinkable has happened to operative Dan Morgan. Captured by the Russians. Imprisoned in the Gulag. Tortured by his cruelest, most sadistic enemy. But Morgan knows that every prisoner has a past—and every rival can be used. With the most unlikely of allies, Morgan hatches a plan. To save what’s important, he must risk everything. And that’s when the stakes go sky-high. Dan Morgan’s got to keep fighting. For duty. And honor. And even certain death…

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Political Thriller

Published by: Kensington Books/Lyrical Underground

Publication Date: November 22nd 2016

Number of Pages: 96

ISBN: 1616509813 (ISBN13: 9781616509811)

Series: Dan Morgan #5.5

Purchase For Duty and Honor at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & add it to your Goodreads List!

Read an excerpt:

The prisoner’s body was a brick of exhaustion and pain.

Steel cuffs chafed against his raw wrists and ankles, the rough uniform scraping the burns and cuts that lined his arms and legs and pocked his torso. Even under the blackness of his hood, the prisoner smelled stale sweat mingled with his own breath: iron from the blood, acetone from the starvation. He could barely hold himself up against the jolting ride. All that was keeping him upright were the two thick guards at his sides boxing him in. At the outset, hours ago at the landing strip, the guards were in high spirits, joking and jesting in Russian, which the prisoner could not follow. Whenever he couldn’t hold himself up anymore and leaned into one of them or into the front seat, they would box the prisoner’s head and laugh, forcing him to sit upright again.

But as they drew nearer to their destination, and the car’s heating lost ground against the cold, the guards grew quiet, like there was something grim about the place even to them.

The prisoner swung forward as the jeep came to an abrupt stop, tires on gravel. The doors opened and the spaces on his sides cleared as the men got out, leaving him exposed to the frigid Siberian air. Against this cold, the canvas uniform felt like nothing at all.

The guards unlocked the cuffs and yanked the prisoner out. Too tired to offer any resistance, he walked along, bare feet on the freezing stony ground. Someone pulled off his cowl. He was struck by a hurricane of light that made him so dizzy that he would have vomited, if there were anything in his stomach. It took a moment for the image to stop swimming and resolve itself into the barren landscape of rock and creeping brush lit by a sun low in the sky.

The Siberian tundra.

They prodded him forward. He trudged toward the Brutalist conglomeration of buildings surrounded by tall mesh fences and barbed wire. Prison camp. Gulag. The prisoner’s trembling knee collapsed and he fell on the stony ground. A guard gave him a kick with a heavy, polished leather boot and pulled him to his feet.

They reached the top and entered the vakhta, the guardhouse. He passed through the first gate and was searched, rough hands prodding and poking at him. They then opened the second, leading him through, outside, into the yard. His gaze kept down, he saw guards’ boots, and massive furry Caucasian shepherds, each taller than a full-grown man’s waist. He didn’t look up to see the bare concrete guard towers that overlooked the terrain for miles around or at the sharpshooters that occupied them.

He was pulled inside the nearest boxy building, walls painted with chipping murals of old Soviet propaganda, apple-cheeked youngsters over fields of grain and brave soldiers of the Red Army standing against the octopus of international capitalism. On the second floor, they knocked on a wooden door.


The guards opened the door, revealing an office with a vintage aristocratic desk. They pushed him onto the bare hardwood.

A man stood up with a creak of his chair. The prisoner watched as he approached, seeing from his vantage point only the wingtip oxfords and the hem of his pinstriped gabardine pants, walking around his desk, footsteps echoing in the concrete office.


“Da,” a guard answered.

The man crouched, studying the prisoner’s face. “You are one of General Suvorov’s, are you not?” His voice was deep and filled with gravel and a heavy Russian accent.

The prisoner didn’t respond—not that he needed to.

“You are tough, if he did not break you.” He stood, brushing off unseen dust from his suit jacket. “And if he had broken you, you would be dead already. I am Nevsky, the warden. Welcome to my prison.”

Author Bio:

Leo J. MaloneyLeo J. Maloney is a proud supporter of Mission K9 Rescue,, which is dedicated to the service of retiring and retired military dogs and contract dogs and other dogs who serve. Mission K9 rescues, reunites, re-homes, rehabilitates, and repairs these hero dogs. Leo donates a portion of the proceeds from his writing to this organization. To find out more about Mission K9 Rescue, or to make your own donation, please visit or go to

Catch Up with Mr. Maloney on his Author’s Website, on Author’s Twitter, and on Author’s Facebook!

** (Photo Credit Carolle Photography)

Tour Participants:

Stop by the participants of this tour for more great features!

Click here to view the ‘For Duty and Honor by Leo J. Maloney’ Tour Participants


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Leo J. Maloney. There will be 1 winners of one (1) eBook copy of For Duty and Honor by Leo J. Maloney. This giveaway is limited to US & Canadian residents only. The giveaway begins on November 19th and runs through November 26th, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Musing Mondays (Nov 21)


Musing Mondays is a weekly meme, hosted by Jenn at Books And A Beat, that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Are there any particular worlds in books in which you’d like to live?

It’s been a really long time since I did one of these posts, so I’ll answer a few of the prompts, as well as the random question, instead of choosing just one:

I’m currently reading: I always have too many books on the go, but one that I’m currently reading and enjoying is Beyond Loneliness: The Gift of God’s Friendship by Trevor Hudson. It’s the first book in this year’s Renovaré Book Club, which I joined again this year. Another book I’m trying to get through is The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov. This selection of classic short stories is the first I’ve read by Asimov. So far it’s a great read.

I can’t wait to get a copy of: either Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue or Rescuing Jesus by Deborah Jian Lee. They are both on my Christmas wish list and are two I’d really like to read soon.

Now the random question: Are there any particular worlds in books in which you’d like to live? There are two: Narnia or Middle-Earth. Both of these imaginary worlds are so different to where I am now, but Lewis and Tolkien created two vivid alternative worlds that would be exciting to live in, plus I think I’d make a good Hobbit!


Bookmark Monday – Homemade (Nov 21)

bookmark-mondayBookmark Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Aloi from guiltless reading. Take a picture of one of your favourite bookmarks, post it on your blog, and head over to guiltless reading to share a to your post.

Last week I came across a container of bookmarks in a box we hadn’t opened since we moved here over a year ago. The following are some of the homemade ones (I think all made by our daughter) that were in the container:


Top Ten Tuesday – Movies (Nov 15)

It’s been ages since I did one of these. In fact it’s been ages since I posted anything here at all. So, I need to get back to posting here more regularly again.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

toptentuesdayThis week’s topic is ‘Movie Freebie — top ten all time favorite movies, top ten foreign films, top ten rom-coms, top ten 90’s movies, top ten action flicks, top ten tear-jerkers, top ten movies your favorite actor/actress is in, top ten movies with PoC leads, etc. etc.’ I think I’ll go for my all-time favourites.

This actually proved to be harder than I thought it would be. There are others I may have included on another day, but these are the ten I thought of today:

  1. Cinema Paradiso – a classic; wonderful story, great characters and performances, along with one of my favourite Ennio Morricone soundtracks. It’s worth watching over and over again, but has to be watched in the original language with English subtitles.
  2. The Mission – one of the few movies that make me cry every time I watch it. The story captivated me right from the moment I first saw it. Also, another great Morricone soundtrack.
  3. Babette’s Feast – a wonderful story of grace. It’s another one that has to be watched in the original language with English subtitles.
  4. O Brother, Where Art Thou? – this is my go to comedy. It’s my kind of humour and the music is great, too. I also love the outlandish characters.
  5. Once Upon a Time in the West – without a doubt, this is the best Western ever. It’s an epic, with some great performances, especially Henry Fonda as a bad guy. The soundtrack, once more, is a great one by Ennio Morricone.
  6. The Blues Brothers – this is another one I can watch again and again – great story, awesome soundtrack, innumerable big stars (including lots of great cameos).
  7. A Beautiful Mind – this was the first DVD I ever bought and is still one of my favourites. I think it is probably Russell Crowe’s finest performance. I find it to be such a moving story and one that is also well worth watching again and again.
  8. The Deer Hunter – another very moving one, with some very tragic moments. Some of the actors gave their best performances in this one and Christopher Walked was very worthy of his Oscar win.
  9. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – this is probably one of the most under-rated movies on my list. I think that, in all the different characters he plays, this is Peter Sellers best movie. I like all the Pink Panther movies he did, but this is his finest moment.
  10. A Christmas Carol (1951) – this is a must watch every year at Christmas, but it has to be the Alastair Sim version. I never grow tired of this and if I had to have one Christmas movie on my list, then this had to be it.

As I said before, there are other movies that may have made this list on another day, but for now this is my top ten. None of the Marvel movies made the list as it is hard to pick one, although I think that Doctor Strange may become my favourite of these. Also, none of the Star Wars movies made the cut, although if I had to choose one it would have to be The Empire Strikes Back. Other movies that just failed to get into my top ten include West Side StoryInceptionOnce Upon a Time in AmericaGladiator, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, to name a few.

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