Category Archives: Early Reviewers

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Enjoyed But Rarely Talk About

It seems like forever since I posted anything here, but I think that it might be time to start doing so again. I’ll see how things go and if I can stay motivated enough.

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Books I Enjoyed but Rarely Talk About.’ The following are all books that I really enjoyed, but for some reason I failed to talk them up as much as other books.

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  1. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson. Physics was one of my favourite subjects in school, so much so that I almost went to university to study. However, my life took a different direction and the rest is history. This is a great little book that offers an understandable introduction to astrophysics. I really need to read more books like this.
  2. The Samurai – Shusaku Endo. This was the first Endo book I read. I had to write a review of it for an ethics course I took a long time ago. I found it hard to put down and it introduced me to part of Japanese history that I previously knew nothing about.
  3. The Stranger – Albert Camus. I bought this book at Bearly Used Books in Parry Sound on a trip home to Elliot Lake. Then I read it in the car in one sitting, as it wasn’t my turn to drive.
  4. How Soccer Explains the World – Franklin Foer. This is a great read that is about so much more than soccer. You don’t have to be a fan of the game to enjoy it. It truly is a fascinating read.
  5. Imperfect Harmony – Stacy Horn. I received this one from LibraryThing Early Reviewers and it was so much more than I expected it to be. It’s a book about music, community, history and so much more.
  6. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much – Allison Hoover Bartlett. Who knew that a book about someone who steals rare books because he loves them so much could be so engaging. I love books, but nowhere near as much as John Charles Gilkey. This is a great read, though.
  7. 1929: A Crisis That Shaped The Salvation Army’s Future – John Larsson. This is a fascinating look into events that are not spoken about too much. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m glad I gave it a go.
  8. Things As They Are – Guy Vanderhaeghe. Vanderhaeghe is a Canadian master storyteller, who doesn’t get the exposure or credit that he deserves. This collection of short stories is one of my favourites.
  9. In From the Cuithes – edited by Howie Firth. This eclectic collection of writing from Orkney, by a variety of writers, is one of my favourite books, but it’s one I really haven’t written much about. I should really give it a another read soon.
  10. The Search to Belong – Joseph R. Myers. It’s been a few years since I read this book. Although I don’t mention it very much, it really challenged my thinking on a number of things and is worth the read.

There were probably a lot of other books I could have added to this list, but these were the ones that jumped out at me as I perused my shelves. What are some of the books you have really enjoyed, but not talked about much?

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall 2019 TBR (Sept 24)

I haven’t posted anything here forever, so I thought it was about time to get going again.

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Books on My Fall 2019 TBR List.’ The ones I’ve chosen are a variety of books. Some I’ve had for too long, others are ones that are fairly new to me, but are ones I really want to read soon. I’m not always the best at getting through my TBR piles, but hopefully I’ll get through more than half of these in the next few months.

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  1. The Way of Tea and Justice (Becca Stevens) – I got this one for Christmas last year and it looks like a really interesting read.
  2. Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black (Marcus Sedgwick, Julian Sedgwick, Alexis Deacon) – this is a review copy I got free from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, so it’s about time I got it read. I am about 60 pages into it and enjoying it so far.
  3. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons (Sam Kean) – I got this one for Christmas last year as well. Sam Kean writes interesting and engaging non-fiction books, mainly of a scientific nature. This one on the history of the human brain really piqued my interest. I need to get to it soon.
  4. This is How it Always Is (Laurie Frankel) – I received this novel for Christmas last year and it looks lie one I’ll really enjoy when I get around to it.
  5. Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy (Anne Lamott) – yet another Christmas gift from last year and it’s Anne Lamott, so it needs to be read!
  6. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again
     (Rachel Held Evans) – it was so sad when Rachel Held Evans died earlier this year at such a young age. This was her last book and I’ve wanted to read it for a while. I will soon.
  7. The Humans (Matt Haig) – I haven’t read anything by Matthew Haig yet, so I need to remedy that. Plus I’ve heard lots of good things about this one.
  8. Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God (Lauren F. Winner) – I’ve had this one unread on my shelf for too long. I always enjoy reading Lauren Winner, so I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten to this one yet.
  9. There and Back Again: JRR Tolkien and the Origins of the Hobbit (Mark Atherton) – this is yet another of last year’s Christmas gifts. The Hobbit is my favourite book, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one.
  10. Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me (Janet Mock) – I got this last month and started reading it right away, but then I got distracted by other book. I’ll get back to it soon for sure.

Stacking the Shelves (July 21)

Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! More details and about how you can participate can be found HERE.

I added the following seven books to my shelves this past week:

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  1. Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I picked this up at the library stall during Heritage Day in St Marys last Saturday.
  2. The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton – I also picked this one up at the library stall.
  3. Lost Boy by Shelley Hrdlitschka – I received this ARC copy from Early Reviewers at LibraryThing. It’s due for publication in October.
  4. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson – this is another one I got from the library stall.
  5. Ironclads at War: The Monitor vs the Merrimac by Dan Abnett, Ron Wagner (Cover Artist), Dheeraj Verma (Illustrator) – this little graphic novel was being given away by a friend, so I grabbed it.
  6. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Dan Rafter (Adapter), Bhupendra Singh Ahluwalia (Illustrator), Jules Verne – another small graphic novel my friend was giving away. Sometimes these little adaptations aren’t too bad, so I’ll have to see how this one is.
  7. Three Men in a Boat: The Graphic Novel by Nidi Verma, Jerome K. Jerome, K.L. Jones – this was also being given away by my friend.

I’ll probably get Lost Boy started soon, as I need to review it. The three graphic novels should be fairly quick reads, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to the others.

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WWW Wednesday (July 18)

I haven’t been posting much here lately and it’s been over a year since I did a WWW post, but I’d like to get back to regular posting again. So here goes…

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

my brother my sisterghost rider

These are two of the books I’m currently reading:

  1. My Brother My Sister: Story of a Transformation – Molly Haskell. This one is interesting enough, but probably not as good as I thought it might be. I’ll struggle on through to the end and see how it goes.
  2. Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road – Neil Peart. I’m really enjoying this one, but it’s taking me longer than I thought it would.

Recently Finished:

My reading has been very sporadic this year, but I’m hoping it will pick up or the rest of the year. I only finished one book in the past couple of weeks:

astrophysics for people in a hurry

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson. I really enjoyed this one and I’d like to find some more books in a similar vein. It was a very informative read and what I really liked was that the author’s enthusiasm came through a lot, plus he never spoke down to the reader.

Up Next:

I’ll be on vacation soon, so I’ll need to sort out some books for reading then. I have a couple of review books from LibraryThing to read, but I’d also like to take something that has been on my TBR list for far too long:

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  1. The Fashion Committee – Susan Juby. This is a review copy of a Canadian YA book I received from LibraryThing.
  2. Lost Boy – Shelley Hrdlitschka. This is another Canadian YA book I received from Early Reviewers at LibraryThing.
  3. In the First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This is a book that has been on my TBR list for far too long. I started reading it when I got it about 8 or 9 years ago, but got distracted by other things. I’m determined to read it this year, even though it seems like quite a daunting read.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on My Spring TBR (March 20)

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Top Ten Book on My Spring TBR’. The following are all books that I would like to read eventually. By putting them on my Spring TBR I’m hoping that I’ll get to them sooner rather than later.

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  1. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer – Richard Rohr
  2. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom
  3. Rosie – Anne Lamott
  4. Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived – Daniel H. Wilson
  5. The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem – Marcus J. Borg & John Dominic Crossan
  6. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
  7. Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit – Henri J.M. Nouwen
  8. Monster (The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim #2) – Shane Peacock
  9. In the First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  10. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Some of these have been on previous TBR lists, others are ones I picked up fairly recently, but really want to read soon. Monster is a review copy from LibraryThing, so I should read it soon. The Last Week is one I’m going to read next week for Holy Week. The rest I’ll do my best to get to soon, although I may be distracted by other shiny books instead!

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Rowan & Eris (Jan 19)

Rowan & ErisIt’s about time I did one of these combo posts, so to get going again I’ve chosen ‘Rowan & Eris’ by Campbell Jefferys. I received a review copy of this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. I’m almost half-way through it and it’s quite enjoyable so far. GoodReads hs the following description:

It’s a simple story, a journey, a search, a pursuit. There is a man from Perth, an American woman, their daughter. The woman is intent on creating chaos wherever she goes, through urban art, and her work extends to creating chaos in her own life by having a daughter. The man is intent on finding his daughter and in doing so finds himself and the songs inside him. It’s a road trip novel, starting in Perth, Australia, and traversing America, Canada and Europe. It is also a meditation on art, creativity, success, growing up and taking responsibility.

On to 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 Rowan & Eris:

It’s early in the morning, and a slither of winter sun is coming through the curtains, painting a thin yellow streak on the wall that stays the same width, but gradually grows brighter.

I like this very descriptive beginning, although it gives very little away.

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 Rowan & Eris:

“How tall are you?” he asked, turning another page.

I remembered how Nola had said it: “Six-six.”

“You play basketball?”

“No.”

“Volleyball?”

“I’m all height and no coordination.”

This little conversation made me chuckle. Not all tall people are good at sports, I guess. I have very little planned for tomorrow, so I’m hoping to get the rest of this one read then. I have quite a pile of other books that I need to get into soon as well. The TBR pile never gets smaller!

WWW Wednesday (June 7)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

star wars heroes for a new hopeconvictions matter

I’m currently reading these two books:

  1. Star Wars: Heroes For a New Hope by Mark Waid (Writer), Charles Soule (Writer), Gerry Duggan (Writer), Terry Dodson (Penciler), Rachel Dodson (Inker), Alex Maleev (Artist), Phil Noto (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colourist) , Paul Mounts(Colour Artist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer) – I borrowed this graphic novel from the library. It contains three different stories, following Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. It looks promising and I hope to get through it in the next few days.
  2. Convictions Matter: The Function of Salvation Army Doctrines by Ray Harris – I bought this one about three years ago when it first came out. I started it, but never got back to it. So I’ve restarted it now. It will probably take me a little while to get it read as I’d like to complete the reflection exercises at the end of each chapter too, plus it’s not really a book that you can rush through.

Recently Finished:

I finished the following books this week:

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  1. Boxers (Boxers & Saints #1) – Gene Luen Yang. This was a decent graphic novel telling the story of the Boxer Rebellion from the point of view of a young peasant who joins the rebellion.
  2. Saints (Boxers & Saints #2) – Gene Luen Yang. This graphic novel is a companion to Boxers, telling the story from the viewpoint of a young Chinese girl who converted to Christianity. Reading this one right after the first one helped me to understand the story from both sides.
  3. Are You Seeing Me? – Darren Groth. This was a book I received through Early Reviewers at LibraryThing. It was quite a fairly moving and, at times, humorous read, telling the story of twins from Australia travelling to BC and Seattle on a journey where they discover more than they expected to.

Up Next:

These are the same two that I mentioned last week and are both books that I also received from Early Reviewers at LibraryThing. Maybe I’ll get round to them before next week’s post!

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  1. Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan
  2. Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

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Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Are You Seeing Me? (June 2)

My book for this week’s Friday meme combo is Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth, a book I received from Early Reviewers at LibraryThing. It’s one of three that I recently received from them, so I’m hoping to get them all read soon. Goodreads shares the following description:

are you seeing meTwins Justine and Perry have left their home in Australia and embarked on the road trip of a lifetime in the Pacific Northwest.
It’s been a year since their dad lost his battle with cancer and Justine became the sole caregiver for her autistic brother, Perry. Now Perry has been accepted into an assisted-living residence in their hometown, Brisbane, Australia, but before he takes up residence, they’re seeking to create the perfect memory.
For Perry, the trip is a glorious celebration of some of his favorite things: Ogopogo, Jackie Chan movies, and earthquakes. For Justine, it’s an opportunity to learn how to let go of Perry and of her boyfriend, Marc. Justine also wants to offer their mother the chance to atone for past wrongs.
But the instability that has shaped their lives will not subside, and the seismic event that Perry forewarned threatens to reduce their worlds to rubble…

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 Are You Seeing Me?:

Perry is standing on the far side of the metal detector, feet planted on the red stripe. Beads of sweat dot his forehead. His right leg twitches, keeping pace with some inaudible rhythm. At regular intervals, his lips curl inward then spring open, releasing a loud pop. He’s stuck. He’s been stuck for a while.

An interesting opening. Something’s gonna have to give soon. I’m about a third of the way through now, so I know what happened next, but I won’t give it away!

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 Are You Seeing Me?:

I snap at the band at my wrist. The kneejerk, bad voice in my head isn’t helping. Like Dad used to say: Think it through before you throw yourself or somebody else off the Story Bridge.

That sounds like decent advice. Anyway, I’m enjoying this one so far and hope to get it done this weekend and move on to the next one. As usual, I have too many books to read and not enough time, which isn’t that much of a problem really.

WWW Wednesday (May 31)

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

are you seeing megrounded

I’m currently reading the above two books:

  1. Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth. This is one of three books I received from LibraryThing for review. I started it a few weeks ago and it’s time I got back to it.
  2. Grounded: Finding God in the World. A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass. I started this one last year and never got it finished. Now that I’m back to it again I’m really enjoying it and should be finished it soon.

Recently Finished:

I finished the following two books this week:

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  1. Black Road, Volume 1: The Holy North by Brian Wood (Writer), Garry Brown (Illustrator), Dave McCaig (Colorist). This is a graphic novel I borrowed from the library. It was quite enjoyable and I look forward to reading the next volume when I find it.
  2. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. I bought this a few months ago and finally got around to reading it last week. It’s a great book and well worth taking the time to read. Hopefully I’ll get to see the movie soon.

Up Next:

Once I get the couple of books I mentioned earlier finished I’ll try to get to the other two review books that are waiting to be read.

bronze and sunfloweroptimists die first

  1. Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan
  2. Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

 

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – Optimists Die First (May 26)

For this week’s Friday meme combo I have chosen a book I recently received from LibraryThing for review, Optimists Die First by Susan Nielsen. I also received her previous book for review and enjoyed that one, so I’m looking forward to getting into this one soon. GoodReads has the following description:

optimists die firstLife ahead: Proceed with caution.

Sixteen-year-old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt.

When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they’re forced to collaborate on a unique school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears.

Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything.

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 Optimists Die First:

The first time I saw the Bionic Man I was covered in sparkles.

I don’t remember the first time I saw the Bionic Man, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t covered in sparkles!

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 Optimists Die First:

I marched over and grabbed the scrapbook from his lap. It was open to my most recent page.

Woman Dies from Minor Cut on Finger

A mother of two contracted necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as flesh-eating disease, after receiving a minor paper cut at work…

I’m not sure what kind of scrapbook we are talking about here, but I look forward to finding out soon. I hope to make a start on it this weekend anyway.

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