Saturday, April 29, 2017

He's here!

Hello everyone!

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to our new addition..


Meet Baby Charles. He was born on April 19, 2017 and weighed 6lbs. 2 oz. My family and I are just over the moon in love with this little guy. He is doing great and keeping us very busy.

As I mentioned in a previous post my blogging and reading may be quite slow as I adjust to mommy-hood, but I will update as I can.

Happy reading to you all,
-Melissa

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ML's Worth a Watch: A Man Called Ove


Last week I shared my review for the 2014 debut novel A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell." But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.
A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. -Source

Just last year the book was adapted to a movie in its native Sweden. Although I haven't watched it yet myself, the trailer has really caught my interest and I hope to be able to see it soon.

Check it out below:


I think that I would get the emotional reaction from watching this movie, that I was hoping for with the book. This short clip seems to portray much more heart than the author was able to convey in his writing.

What do you think? Does the novel or the movie interest you? Leave me a message in the comments below. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Currently Reading: April 17, 2017

Quick Update: My due date isn't actually until Friday, but my doctor said the baby could come at any time. I am getting so anxious and just want my little boy to be here. Fingers crossed that he makes his appearance soon. I have a couple of scheduled posts coming up, but if I go MIA for a while, you will all know why. :) I will update when I can.

Currently Reading


The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott: This book is one of the first things I pinned to my "Books I Want to Read" board when I joined pinterest. I was at my local library recently and came across it, so decided now was a good time to pick it up. The book follows three young sisters who are Vaudeville performers in the early 1900's and so far it is keeping my attention. 



No Safe Harbor (Edge of Freedom, Book 1) by Elizabeth Ludwig: I read the second book in this historical fiction series before I was able to get this one and I loved it. I recently downloaded the Kindle App on my phone and this is the the first book I've read on it. I wasn't sure if I'd like reading a book on my cell, but so far its been good and more convenient than bringing along a chunky novel or my Kobo. 

I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. 


Hosted by: Book Date 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman



A Man Called Ove
By: Fredrik Backman


Published: July. 2014
Published By: Atria Books 
Format Read: eBook, Kobo
Genre: Contemporary 

Rating: 3.5/5
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After the death of his beloved wife, a man called Ove, just wants to end his life and be reunited with his love. Fortunately and ironically his attempts are thwarted by a colourful cast of neighbours.


A Man Called Ove was the first monthly selection for a local book club that I recently joined. I had heard of it before, but went into it knowing very little about the plot.

The ironic humor the author infused into this book was right up my alley and reminded me of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Both of these books have been translated from their original language Swedish.

Ove was an interesting character: a curmudgeon who was very set in his ways, yet knew right from wrong. I especially admired his devotion to his wife Sonja. Amid the humor, A Man Called Ove really did have a lot of meaning behind it and although I enjoyed it, I found myself wishing I had a more emotional reaction to the story.


I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary fiction. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Monthly Wrap-up: March 2017


Hello everyone,

Well March was kind of a crappy month on my end. I've been trying to get over a bad cold for the past three weeks. Just when I think that it is starting to go away it comes back with a vengeance. Being pregnant I can't really take anything to help me get better, so I've just been trying to get a lot of rest and keep hydrated.

I turned 30 on the first of the month. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I enjoyed dinner with my family to celebrate. And then that weekend, my mom threw me a baby shower, which was nice.

Other than that I've just been counting down the weeks until my due date. Only about 3 more weeks to go! We are all so excited for our new arrival to make his grand appearance.

Let's move on to my very dismal reading progress..


I was really hoping that I would complete more books in the month of March, but this cold has kicked the crap out of me and I haven't felt much like reading, unfortunately. It looks like I'm not going to meet me goal for the first quarter TBR, but what can ya do?

🌟🌟🌟 A Vote for Murder (Murder, She Wrote #22) by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
Rating: 3/5
Beloved mystery writer Jessica Fletcher is invited to Washington D.C. to attend a literary event, when a senators chief of staff is found murdered. This audio book was narrated by Cynthia Darlow.
Favourite Part: The relationship between Jessica and her Scotland Yard friend.
Recommendations:  I would recommend A Vote for Murder to fans of the television show Murder, She Wrote.

🌟🌟🌟🌟 The Empress Holds the Key (Jack Rogan Mysteries, #2) by Gabriel Farago 
Rating: 4/5
An old war-time picture is discovered in a burned down cabin depicting a Nazi officer, uncovers a trail connecting a violin to a Vatican cover-up that could change the fate of Christianity.
Favourite Part: How the author connected all the different time periods together.
Recommendations: I would recommend The Empress Holds the Key to fans of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series.


The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 2
Total Number of Fiction: 2
Total Number of Non-fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 1
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 0
Total Library Books Read: 1

Formats Read:

Physical Books: 0
eBooks: 1
Audio Book: 1

Genres Read:

Mysteries: 2
Thriller/ Suspense: 1

Total Books Read in 2017: 7



I don't have a set TBR for April at the moment. All of my books are still packed up and I'm not sure when I will get them all unpacked. So it looks like this month I will just pick up whatever catches my interest. 

Did you do a monthly wrap-up for March? If so I'd love to check it out, so be sure to leave me your links in the comments below. 

Wishing you all a wonderful April. 


Hosted by: Book Date



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Empress Holds the Key (Jack Rogan Mysteries, #2) by Gabriel Farago



The Empress Holds the Key
(Jack Rogan Mysteries, #2)
By: Gabriel Farago


Published: May 2016
Published By: Bear & King Publishing 
Format Read: Kindle for PC
Genre: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 4/5
💚💚💚💚





I was sent a copy of The Empress Holds the Key (Jack Rogan Mysteries, #2) by Gabriel Farago, from the author in exchange for an honest review.


An old war-time picture is discovered in a burned down cabin depicting a Nazi officer uncovers a trail connecting a violin to a Vatican cover-up that could change the fate of Christianity. Due to the immense details of this books description, I will refer to the Goodreads synopsis as I believe it will give a better understanding to what the story is about:

Journalist Jack Rogan knows a great story when he finds one. A charred old photograph found in the ruins of a burnt-out Blue Mountains cottage hints at dark secrets and unwittingly reignites an ancient and deadly quest for a holy relic mysteriously erased from the pages of history.
Federal Police officer Jana Gonski in pursuit of a suspected Nazi war criminal joins forces with Rogan, barrister and amateur archaeologist Marcus Carrington QC, and celebrated composer Benjamin Krakowski. Together they uncover a murky web of intrigue and greed, hoards of Nazi gold and hidden Swiss bank accounts. All implicate wealthy banker Sir Eric Newman. When Newman goes on trial, unexpected clues are discovered pointing the way to a mystery that has haunted the Catholic Church for centuries.
On a dangerous journey to find the relic, Rogan and his companions trace links back as far as the reign of Akhenaten, the heretic pharaoh of ancient Egypt, and King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. What is this dark secret guarded by the Knights Templar, and so feared by the Vatican? Will religious fanatics foil the quest which could destroy the very foundations of their Church and challenge Christianity itself? 


The Empress Holds the Key is a very faced paced suspense-thriller that keeps the reader intrigued from start to finish. The amount of research that must have gone into the writing of this novel is quite impressive. To be able to tie in so many different time periods (from biblical times, ancient Egypt, to the Knights of the Templar, World War II and finally present day) shows the true dedication and knowledge of the author.

Even though this is said to be the second book in the Jack Rogan Mysteries, it can be read as a standalone novel. In fact the plot follows other characters more than it does investigative journalist Jack Rogan. Most specifically Officer Jana Gonski and lawyer Marcus Carrington. However Jack does play an important role in uncovering the mystery.

Apart from the World War II era storyline, I must admit that the other time periods aren’t something I would generally read about. However I became so drawn into this story and the suspense of it all, that I often had a hard time putting it down.


I would recommend Gabriel Farago’s The Empress Holds the Key to fans of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series and those who enjoy suspense novels. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Vote for Murder (Murder, She Wrote. #22) by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. Narrated by Cynthia Darlow



A Vote for Murder 
(Murder, She Wrote, #22)
By: Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
Narrated by: Cynthia Darlow


Published: October 2004
Published By: Blackstone Audiobooks 
Format Read: Audiobook, OverDrive App. 
Genre: Mystery, Series, Cozy Mystery

Rating: 3/5
💚💚💚






Beloved mystery author Jessica Fletcher is invited to Washington D.C. to a literary event hosted by a senator and his wife. When the chief of staff for the senator is found dead at the opening dinner party, Jessica uncovers a trail of shady politics, extortion and affairs.


A Vote for Murder is a mystery that tied in the importance of literacy with a murder the shined the spotlight on corruption. It was an interesting storyline that kept my attention, even though the literacy event did take a backseat to that of the politicians involved. Unfortunately I did have some issues with the final revelations, mostly pertaining to one character whose actions didn’t exactly line up with the initial traits given to them earlier in the novel.

Still I think that Jessica Fletcher is a wonderful character and I like how she always manages to stay poised and level-headed during the situations she finds herself in.

It is nice to come across a larger series where each book can be read as a stand-alone. Mention of previous mysteries are noted, but it isn’t necessary for the reader to have read them in order to understand the current installment.

Cynthia Darlow was a good narrator, however I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t done by Angela Lansbury herself. After-all no one would be better suited to voice Jessica Fletcher than the actress who made the character famous.


I would recommend A Vote for Murder and the Murder, She Wrote series to fans of the television show and light mysteries. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
By Jamie Ford


Published: January 2009
Published By: Random House Inc. 
Format Read: Kobo, eBook, Paperback 
Genre: Historical Fiction 

Rating: 4/5
💚💚💚💚






Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a dual time period novel that following Chinese-American Henry Lee as he recalls his experiences during the war years growing up in Seattle. In the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour and the war raging between Japan and China, Henry’s father is more patriotic than ever. And although Henry was born in the USA, his Asian features makes him a target, especially in the all-white school his father insists he attends. 

At 12 years old, life is very lonely for Henry until a new student by the name of Keiko Okabe comes to his school on scholarship. A beautiful friendship blossoms, however the Japanese (even the Japanese American’s) are seen as the enemy and his father greatly disapproves. Can the bond that Henry and Keiko made survive their separation as she and her family are forced off to an internment camp for the duration of the war?


Jamie Ford has written a beautiful tale of friendship and love. The bond that Henry and Keiko form felt so pure and genuine. It wasn’t a frivolous pre-teen crush, but something far more meaningful and strong.

The treatment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry after the attacks on Pearl Harbour was terrible. It amazed me how they persevered and fought to prove their pride and allegiance to their country.

Despite the sad subject manner, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was a quick and easy read. I enjoyed Ford’s writing style and the way he tied in the two time periods: the early 1940’s and the mid 1980’s. I also learned a lot about the differences in the traditional Chinese and Japanese cultures, which was quite interesting.


I would recommend Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to historical fiction lovers, especially those with an interest in life on the home front and the plight of the Japanese-American’s during World War II. Although it is technically adult fiction, I think that the subject manner would make for a great learning experience for younger readers as well. 


Monday, March 13, 2017

Currently Reading: March 13, 2017

I didn't really have much of an update to do yesterday for a Sunday Wrap-up, so I decided to do a Currently Reading post instead..

Currently Reading


I'm still chipping away at The Empress Holds the Key. I'm currently at 72%, so hopefully it won't take me too much longer to complete. 

I also started reading A Man Called Ove, this past week. I am considering joined a local book club and this is the first book chosen. I'm not sure how much I will be able to commit to the club, or if I will even be able to attend the monthly meet-ups, but I like the idea of connecting with other book lovers in my community. 

Have you ever read A Man Called Ove? If so what did you think of it?

Hope you all have a wonderful week. 

Hosted by: Book Date

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rick Riordan



The Battle of the Labyrinth
(Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)
By: Rick Riordan



Published: May 2008
Published By: Listening Library
Format Read: Audio Book
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Young Adult


Rating: 3/5
💚💚💚








In this 4th installment of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, our hero sets out on another quest. This time he joins friends Annabeth, Grover and half-brother Tyson, as they enter the labyrinth in an effort to stop the rise of the evil Kronos and his army.


I admit that I had a hard time getting into book 4. The thought of our hero’s travelling through a labyrinth initially had me intrigued. However as I listened along, I got somewhat overwhelmed by the vast difference in each room they came across. I also had a hard time picturing the monsters they battled on their journey.

Thankfully closer to the end of this audio book, I began to enjoy the story more. The pace really picked up and there was quite a bit of action. I really appreciated how the author included the God Pan to give his readers a lesson in the importance of preserving our environment.


Although this wasn’t my favourite book in the Percy Jackson series, I would still recommend it to fans of middle grade fantasy. 


Previous Books in the Percy Jackson Series:

  1. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympian's, #1) 
  2. The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympian's. #2)
  3. The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympian's. #3) 



Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday Wrap-up: March 5 2017


Today my Mom threw me a wonderful baby shower. She has been planning it for weeks and at all came together nicely. Lots of good friends and family attended. We played games and ate delicious food. I am so grateful for all those who attended and brought gifts for my little boy. He sure is blessed already.

Check out the amazing cake my friend made for my shower:


Isn't that cool? She included some of my favourite books that I read growing up and of course a baby boy and his kitten too. She is so talented.

Instead of cards, we asked that guests bring a book to help start the baby's library. I will be making a Stacking the Shelves post to share all the wonderful books soon.

My Reading Progress:
Since my last Sunday Wrap-up I completed 2 books..


The friendship between the two characters in this book was beautiful and genuine. I gave Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet 4 stars and will be posting my review in the next couple of weeks.


A Vote for Murder was an interesting mystery that I gave 3 stars. My review for this one will also be posted in a couple of weeks. I listened to this book on audio via the Overdrive app.

Currently Reading

The past couple of days I have been really focusing on reading The Empress Holds the Key. Like I have said before it is quite long, but I am making good progress.

And that is all for this weeks wrap-up. I hope you all had a great weekend.

Happy reading!


Links
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Monthly Wrap-up: February 2017



Hello everyone and welcome to my monthly wrap-up for February 2017. This past month was another blur of doctors appointments as I count down the weeks until my due date. Thankfully everything is going well and baby is growing on schedule.

Today is my 30th birthday, which to be honest I haven't even given much thought to. I always thought that the big 3-0 would hit me harder, but since I've been so busy concentrating on my upcoming due date, its kind of taken a back seat. I celebrated with my family on Sunday, just the 6 of us with a yummy dinner at my parents house. A small gathering is just what I wanted, complete with one of my favourite meals and dessert. It was a nice night.

I have just about 7 weeks to go until my due date!

Now, lets get to the books..


I completed 3 books in the month of February, which is one more than January. Goodreads is telling me that I am 2 books behind schedule to reach my goal of 45 books in the year. I'm ok with that though. Plus I am on track to completing my goal for my first quarter TBR, which is 4 books from my back-list.

🌟🌟🌟🌟 A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware 
Rating: 4/5
Set in the aftermath of the great San Francisco earthquake in 1906, A Race to Splendor follows a young female architect as she competes to re-build the hotel her family once owned.
Favourite Part: Reading about strong independent women who fought to forge careers in a male dominated profession.
Recommendations: I would recommend A Race to Splendor to those interested in historical fiction featuring trail blazing women.

🌟🌟🌟 The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rick Riordan
Review to come.
Rating: 3/5
Percy and his friends go on a quest into the labyrinth in a bid to stop the rise of Kronos.
Favourite Part:  Grover and Tyson.
Recommendations: I would recommend this book to those who have read the previous books in the series. However I think it is best read in book format and not listened to in audio like I have been doing. After 4 books, I'm still not a big fan of the narrator.

🌟🌟🌟🌟 Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford 
Review to come.
Rating: 4/5
Henry Lee, an American of Chinese descent remembers his childhood during the war years and his forbidden friendship with a Japanese-American girl named Keiko.
Favourite Part: The beautiful relationship that Henry and Keiko form.
Recommendations: I would recommend Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to those interested in American history during WWII after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 3
Total Number of Fiction: 3
Total Number of Non-fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read From my Shelves: 2
Total Library Books Read: 1.5
(Note: I read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet in two different formats; my own eBook copy and in physical format from my library

Formats Read:

Physical Books: 1.5
eBooks: 0.5
Audio Books:

Genres Read:

Historical Fiction: 2
Fantasy: 1
Middle Grade:

Total Books Read in 2017: 5 




The Empress Holds the Key (Jack Rogan Mysteries, #2) by Gabriel Farago follows a journalist as he uncovers a lead connecting a Nazi war criminal with Swiss bank accounts, a Vatican cover-up and a middle-eastern terrorist organization. I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review. So far it is quite fast paced and exciting.

A Vote for Murder (Murder She Wrote, #22) by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain (Narrated by: Cynthia Darlow): follows the beloved mystery novelist as she is invited to the capitol for a literacy event, when a murder is committed. I'm enjoying this story in audio format, however I wish that Angela Lansbury was the narrator.



  • No Safe Harbor (Edge of Freedom, #1) by Elizabeth Ludwig 
  • Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18) by Janet Evanovich 
Did you do a monthly wrap-up? If so I'd love to check out your post, so leave me a message below and I will be sure to check it out. Hope you all have a wonderful March! 

Hosted by: Book Date 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cat Thursday: February 23, 2017


Cat Thursday is a weekly meme that is hosted by True Book Addict


Last week I saw an article on Buzz Feed called "12 Slightly Weird Things All Cat Owners Have Definitely Done" and well many of the examples listed, I can relate to. Ok, all of the examples I can relate too, but most specifically the one below:

Source

Many nights I have curled myself up in an awkward position so I don't wake my Nova up. But I have to say with my growing baby bump its getting harder to do, haha. He just looks so cute and peaceful when he sleeps.. 

How many of you can relate? 


Monday, February 20, 2017

Sunday Wrap-up (On a Monday): February 20, 2017


Would like to wish everyone a very happy Family Day! And what a beautiful long weekend it was. The weather was almost spring like and the snow took a major hit. It was perfect for all the winter carnivals that were being held. I know we haven't seen the last of winter yet though as it is only late February.

I managed to be somewhat productive this weekend with my household chores, but I mostly just rested as friday's doctors appointments really wore me out.

About 8 more weeks left to go! Ahhh!

My Reading Progress:
Today I finally finished listening to the 4th Percy Jackson on audio via the Overdrive app.


Thankfully I was able to enjoy it a bit more, during the last half of the book. I gave it 3 stars and my review is scheduled for March 8.

Currently Reading


I'm slowly making progress with The Empress Holds the Key and I hope to complete Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet before the end of the month.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!


Links

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