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Friday, December 9, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty @HarperAudio


TITLE: The Exorcist
SERIES: The Exorcist, Book #1
AUTHOR: William Peter Blatty
PUBLISHER: HarperAudio
PUBLICATION DATE: October 4, 2011
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 12 hrs and 51 mins
GENRE: Horror
Four decades after it first shook the nation, then the world, William Peter Blatty's thrilling masterwork of faith and demonic possession returns in an even more powerful form. Raw and profane, shocking and blood-chilling, it remains a modern parable of good and evil and perhaps the most terrifying novel ever written.

MY REVIEW:

If you think the movie is scary, you should listen to the audiobook! Hands down, this is the most chilling book that I have ever read.

Chris MacNeil is a 32-year-old actress and she lives with her 11-year-old daughter, Regan, and their housekeepers, Willi and Karl. Chris is recently divorced, and her ex-husband is not really in the picture where Regan is concerned. One night, Chris hears tapping sounds that seem to be coming from Regan’s bedroom. However, the sound stops as soon as Chris enters but she notices that the room seems unusually cold despite the heat from the radiator.

Following Regan’s birthday, things get worse. Regan starts to undergo behavioural changes, and Chris contributes it to the lack of communication from Regan’s father who did not call on her birthday. Regan begins behaving erratically, with fits of anger where she throws things and screams. She stops eating, and her grades at school begin to suffer. Chris phones her doctor in Los Angeles and asks for a referral to a local psychiatrist for Regan, who gives her the name of an internist in Washington as she is currently filming a movie on location there. Furniture and objects are being moved in the house, and Chris chalks it up to Regan’s attention-seeking behaviour. The internist diagnoses Regan with Hyperkinetic Behaviour Disorder and prescribs Ritalin for her. However, despite the medication, Regan continues to deteriorate. Her behaviour gets worse, and there is a foul smell emanating from her bedroom. Chris is desperate for help and answers, and she meets and confides in a Jesuit priest named Father Damien Karras. Considering that Chris is an atheist, this reveals her desperation and she expresses her fear that Regan is possessed. The only problem is that Father Karras is going through his own issues, and he feels that he is losing his faith. However, Father Karras is also a trained psychiatrist and agrees to see Regan. After spending time with Regan and witnessing her disturbing behaviour, he turns to the local bishop to ask for permission to perform an exorcism. Because of Father Karras’ current lack of faith, the bishop is concerned that he is not equipped to successfully perform the exorcism and he asks an elderly priest named Father Merrin to lead the exorcism.

This is a re-read for me, and I purchased the 40th Anniversary edition of the audiobook in 2011. I listened to it then, and I was completely riveted by the story. There is nothing more chilling than demonic possession, and to hear Blatty narrate his own story gave me goosebumps! He was fantastic! Five years later, I listened to this audiobook again and it has not lost its fear-provoking ability! I think knowing what was going to happen made it all the more scary the second time around.

I did watch The Exorcist (1973) movie as a teen, and who doesn’t remember Linda Blair’s green vomit and how her head spun around? However, aside from those memorable gems, I did not recall a lot of the details in the book. In fact, I was actually a bit shocked by Regan’s vulgarity! I did not remember that from the movie at all. I have requested the DVD and will have to re-watch it.

MY RATING:


5 stars!! It was superb! I loved it and plan to re-read it again in the future. You definitely have to put it on your TBR list if you enjoy horror!

This book qualifies as:
#57 for my 2016 You Read How Many Books? Challenge
#57 for my 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#51 for my Backlist Books Reading Challenge
#41 for my 2016 Audiobook Challenge
#20 for my 2016 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge
#7 for my 2016 Horror Reading Challenge
#3 for my The Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge 2016
#14 for my R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Reading Challenge
Task #2 for my Goodreads Fall 2016 Scavenger

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 8, 2016

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson @melodycarlson @RevellBooks

AUTHOR: Melody Carlson 
PUBLISHER: Fleming H. Revell Company
PUBLICATION DATE: August 30, 2016
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 176 pages
GENRE: Holiday/Christmas, Inspirational
ISBN: 9780800722692
Perfect for readers who want a heartwarming and hopeful Christmas story

Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club--enjoying one another's company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they're sure that without her the group can't continue.

When the group gathers "one last time" to open a bag Abby's husband gives them, they find Abby had made each of them an angel ornament for Christmas, crafted especially for each woman and accompanied by a sweet and personal note. Inspired by their beloved friend, together Cassidy, Louisa, Grace, and Belinda decide to commit themselves to becoming Christmas Angels to others in need. Each woman will use her life situation and talents to reach out and help others in her own unique way--little knowing that her own life and her relationships will be changed forever.

Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another touching Christmas story sure to grip readers' hearts and perhaps inspire them to become Christmas Angels themselves.

MY REVIEW:

Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, The Christmas Angel Project is the perfect holiday read!

Abby Wentworth started a book club group more than 15 years ago with eight members, which then got whittled down to five: 45-year-old Belinda Michaels who is a single mom and thrift store owner, widowed 63-year-old Louisa Van Horn who is Abby’s oldest friend and mentor, Grace Westland who was the latest newcomer to the group and a designer, 34-year-old Cassidy who is a veterinarian, and of course Abby. After being stricken with ovarian cancer nine years earlier, Abby’s bookish friends became so much more than just her “book group” friends. They were her support system, and her friends took turns taking her to doctor’s appointments, holding her hair back when she was sick after her chemotherapy sessions, and just being good friends who were there when she needed them. Abby was the one in the group that was best known for her kind heart and unselfish nature. When Abby’s sudden death rocks the group, their initial plan is to have a final farewell and disband the book club. However, when Abby’s husband provides them with a bag of handmade angels that Abby made for each of her dearest friends, they hatch a plan become “Christmas Angels,” doing good deeds for others and making better use of the time that they have left on this earth.

I absolutely LOVED this book! Five stars is not enough. I would give it more if I could! Abby’s death is so heartbreaking and tragic, and it shatters her friends. Understandably, they are angry with God for taking away their dear friend who they need with them. She was the glue that held the group together! Because of her death and their decision to honour her memory with their Christmas Angel pact, each of the ladies grows and changes and becomes a better person. It is truly one of those inspiring “feel good” stories, where there is meaning in death. I think my favourite character was Grace. She was often jealous of Cassidy, because Abby was like a mother to her and Grace worried needlessly that Cassidy was trying to steal Abby’s friendship away from her. Grace’s character evolved from being insecure, selfish, and attention-seeking to a true Christmas Angel!

This book truly captures the Spirit of Christmas, and I absolutely adored it! Melody Carlson is a new-to-me author, and I am eager to read more of her books.

MY RATING:

5 stars!! It was superb! I loved it and will likely re-read it again in the future. You should definitely put it on your TBR list if you enjoy "feel-good" stories!

This book qualifies as:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

#Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King @StephenKing

TITLE: 'Salem's Lot
AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHER: Signet
PUBLICATION DATE: August 1, 1976
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 427 pages
GENRE: Horror
ISBN: 9780451165886
Something strange is going on in Jerusalem's Lot ... but no one dares to talk about it. By day, 'Salem's Lot is a typical modest New England town; but when the sun goes down, evil roams the earth. The devilishly sweet insistent laughter of a child can be heard echoing through the fields, and the presence of silent looming spirits can be felt lurking right outside your window. Stephen King brings his gruesome imagination to life in this tale of spine tingling horror.

MY REVIEW:

I read this book for a read-a-long hosted by Michelle at Gather Together and Read.

Ben Mears returns to his hometown, Jerusalem’s Lot, to write a story about Marsten House which was where he had a bad experience as a boy. Ben learns that the house has been recently bought by two men, Kurt Barlow and Richard Straker, and that the men are also opening a local antique shop. Strange happenings begin to occur in Jerusalem’s Lot, including the disappearance of a local boy. With the help of a local teacher, Matt Burke, Ben tries to figure out what is happening in this town and how these events are connected to the mysterious Barlow and Straker.

Stephen King knows just how to spin a tale! I love how he sets the scene for what's about to come. Creepy old house? Check. Grisly animal death? Check. Missing child? Check. Strangers in town? Check. He has also the basic elements covered to lead us into a scary read, and this book did not disappoint!

There are many disturbing scenes throughout the book, and the ones that bothered me the most were the ones involving children (especially Baby Randy). My favourite character is Mark Petrie, the teenage boy who seems to be one of the first ones to figure out what is really going on!

I remember watching this 1979 mini-series on television when I was just a kid. The infamous window scene with Danny Glick still haunts me! I have requested the DVD from the library so that I can re-watch it. I never did see the 2004 television re-make featuring Rob Lowe. I will have to see if I can find that one.

MY RATING:

4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy horror!

This book qualifies as:
#55 for my 2016 You Read How Many Books? Challenge
#55 for my 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#25 for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2016
#25 for my 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
#49 for my Backlist Books Reading Challenge
#18 for my What an Animal IX Reading Challenge 2016
#5 for my 2016 Book to Movie Challenge
#6 for my 2016 Horror Reading Challenge
#9 for my 2016 Reading Bites Reading Challenge
#13 for my R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Reading Challenge
Task #14 for my Goodreads Fall 2016 Scavenger
#3 for my #BiteOber Reading Challenge
#2 for my Perpetual Stephen King Challenge

View all my reviews

Waiting on Wednesday: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor @lainitaylor @lbkids #WaitingOnWednesday


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:


TITLE: Strange the Dreamer
SERIES: Strange the Dreamer, Book #1
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: March 28, 2017
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 544 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 
9780316341684
A breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men.
a mysterious city stripped of its name.
a mythic hero with blood on his hands.
a young librarian with a singular dream.
a girl every bit as dangerous as she is in danger.
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone was my favourite YA read of 2011. I can't wait to start this new series!


What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne @john_boyne @LLAudiobooks

AUTHOR: John Boyne
NARRATOR: Michael Maloney
PUBLISHER: Listening Library
PUBLICATION DATE: September 20, 2006
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 5 hrs 
GENRE: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
The story of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some information about the audiobook, but in this case we think that would spoil the listening. We think it's important that you start to listen without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to listen, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn't a story for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later, you will arrive with Bruno at the fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope that you never have to encounter such a fence.

MY REVIEW:

Oh, how my heart aches! This is such a moving and powerful story, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. This is my new favourite read for 2016!

Bruno is a nine-year-old boy, whose father is a Nazi Commandant. Their family moves from Berlin, Germany to Poland for their father’s job, and Bruno is intrigued by the view from his window. In the distance, he sees a fence and the people within the area are all dressed in the same grey striped pajamas. He decides to do some investigating on his own, and he finds a sad-looking and thin boy near the fence whose name is Shmuel. They strike up a conversation, and the boys find that they are the same age and even share the same birthday! Bruno doesn’t understand why he is not allowed to go inside the fenced area, and Shmuel doesn’t reveal too much about what goes on there, except to say that he doesn’t think that Bruno would like it there.

This story is so tragic, and the beauty of Bruno’s innocence is so poignant. He has no idea of the atrocities that are happening on the other side of the fence, and he does not realize that the people there are prisoners in a concentration camp. The ending just left me so bereft, and it emphasized the love and true friendship between Bruno and Shmuel and how hatred and racism are learned behaviours.

Boyne often spoke volumes in what he did NOT say. Instead of going into graphic detail about how Lieutenant Kotler attacked Pavel for spilling wine on him, Boyne only says:


“Lieutenant Kotler grew very angry with Pavel and no one - not Bruno, not Gretel, not Mother and not even Father - stepped in to stop him doing what he did next, even though none of them could watch." 

Boyne writes in such a compelling way, and I will definitely be checking into his other books.

Narrator Michael Maloney is new-to-me, and he was utterly amazing! He took this remarkable story and brought it to the next level. I think he captured the essence of Bruno’s personality so perfectly, and his cadence and rhythm matched each character’s vocalization. For example, Maloney often spoke in a quick and lively manner when Bruno was speaking, just as a nine-year-old boy often does! Maloney’s voice was so haunting during the somber moments of the story, and it really had a huge impact on me. Here is a sound clip of the narration:



I have requested the DVD from the library and will come back to add my thoughts on the movie.

MY RATING:

5 stars!! It was superb, and I absolutely loved it! I intend to re-read it in the future.

This book qualifies as:
#54 for my 2016 You Read How Many Books? Challenge
#54 for my 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#3 for my European Reading Challenge 2016
#14 for my New Author Challenge 2016
#13 for my 2016 New Narrator Reading Challenge
#15 for my 2016 New To You Reading Challenge
#48 for my Backlist Books Reading Challenge
#40 for my 2016 Audiobook Challenge
#23 for my 2016 I Love Libraries Reading Challenge
#6 for my 2016 Eclectic Reader Challenge
#9 for my 2016 The Color Coded Reading Challenge
#4 for my 2016 Book to Movie Challenge
#15 for my 2016 YA Reading Challenge
Task #4 for my Goodreads Fall 2016 Scavenger
#2A for my Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge

View all my reviews

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016 #TopTenTuesday


This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today's list is: 

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

One of my reading challenges for 2016 was to discover at least five new authors. My current tally shows that I am up to 13 new authors, and there are a few more to add to the list! Here are my favourites:


Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden (5/5 stars)



Scars by Cheryl Rainfield (5/5 stars)



The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (5/5 stars)




The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson (5/5 stars)
(review to follow)



Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel (4/5 stars)




And the rest in no particular order:


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (4/5 stars)



Monster Island by David Wellington (3/5 stars)



The Haunted by Bentley Little (4/5 stars)



Looking for Alaska by John Green (4/5 stars)



Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (4/5 stars)


So, who are your favourite new-to-you authors that you discovered in 2016? 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, December 5, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe @listenandlive

AUTHOR: Edgar Allan Poe
NARRATOR: Patrick Lawlor
PUBLISHER: Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: October 5, 2009 (first published 1842)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 17 mins
GENRE: Classics, Horror, Short Stories
"Masque of the Red Death", a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague, known as the Red Death, by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, has a masquerade ball within seven rooms of his abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. When Prospero confronts this stranger, he falls dead.

The story follows many traditions of Gothic fiction and is often analyzed as an allegory about the inevitability of death, though some critics advise against all allegorical reading. Many different interpretations have been presented, as well as attempts to identify the true nature of the disease called the Red Death.
MY REVIEW:

This is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, and I read it during the Season of the Witch hosted by Michelle at Castle Macabre. It was supposed to be for a read-a-long, but I missed the Discussion Post!

This classic is about a rich man named Prospero, and he is hosting a masquerade ball at his palace. It is an unusual time for festivities, given that a terrible plague has been sweeping across the land during the past several months. He shut himself in, hoping to avoid the virus. It is not really clear to me why he decides to host the party, because inviting people into the castle would put him at risk, wouldn’t it? Is he celebrating because he has successfully evaded the disease and is foolish enough to think that he won’t get it? I am not sure, but Poe describes the seven rooms in the palace and how each one is decorated in a particular colour. I am not sure what the significance is, except for the final room which is black which I would assume represents death. A guest arrives at midnight and brings the plague into the castle with him and everyone dies.

I enjoyed this short story, and I think it is one of the stories that becomes even more enjoyable as one digs deeper. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator did a fine job. Patrick Lawlor is new-to-me, and his pacing was good and I thought that he brought the right vibe to the story. However, I think this is the type of story that is probably best to be slowly savored and mulled over. There is a lot of symbolism in the story that I probably missed, so I do want to go back and read it again to gain a further understanding of the story.

MY RATING:

3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it.

This book qualifies as:
#53 for my 2016 You Read How Many Books? Challenge
#53 for my 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#12 for my 2016 New Narrator Reading Challenge
#47 for my Backlist Books Reading Challenge
#39 for my 2016 Audiobook Challenge
#16 for my What An Animal IX Reading Challenge
#22 for my 2016 I Love Libraries Reading Challenge
#4A for my 2016 The Color Coded Reading Challenge
#4C for my The Reporters Challenge 2016
#5 for my 2016 Horror Reading Challenge
#1 for my Peril of the Short Story for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril

View all my reviews

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

This is a Christmas cozy that has been sitting on my TBR bookshelf for ages!

SERIES: Lucy Stone, Book #1
AUTHOR: Leslie Meier 
PUBLISHER: Kensington
PUBLICATION DATE: December 1, 1998 (first published 1991)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 209 pages
GENRE: Mystery/Cozy, Holidays/Christmas
ISBN: 9781575663708
In Lucy Stone's debut -- now in its third printing -- the mystery-solving mom takes time out from her hectic holiday schedule to discover who murdered the owner of the town's famous mail-order company.


I'm listening to:

This is from the library, and it's been on my TBR for a long time!

SERIES: Greer Family, Book #1
AUTHOR: Barbara Kingsolver
NARRATOR: C.J. Critt
PUBLISHER: Harper Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: May 19, 2009
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 9 hrs and 20 mins 
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction
Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away.

But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity of putting down roots.

Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.



I just finished:


AUTHOR: John Boyne
NARRATOR: Michael Maloney
PUBLISHER: Listening Library
PUBLICATION DATE: September 20, 2006
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 5 hrs 
GENRE: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
The story of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some information about the audiobook, but in this case we think that would spoil the listening. We think it's important that you start to listen without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to listen, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn't a story for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later, you will arrive with Bruno at the fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope that you never have to encounter such a fence.




SERIES: A Year of Weddings 1, Book #1
AUTHOR: Denise Hunter
NARRATOR: Julie Lyles Carr
PUBLISHER: Zondervan on Brilliance Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: November 26, 2013
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 2 hrs and 17 mins 
GENRE: Contemporary Romance, Holiday/Christmas
A year's worth of novellas from 12 inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

What started as a whim turned into an accidental - and very public - engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the façade in Chapel Springs this holiday season - for the sake of her career…and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy - the best friend of Layla O'Reilly's ex-fiancé - would be the last person she'd marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency - a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map.

Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she'll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she's landed her client. For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart.



AUTHOR: Kim Savage 
PUBLISHER: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
PUBLICATION DATE: February 23, 2016
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery
ISBN: 9780374300555
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

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, December 4, 2016

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


We had a little bit of snow since it all melted away last week, and we are expecting a dump of 30 cm (that's 11.8 inches) by Wednesday. Then the temperature drops to a high -10 degrees Celsius (that's 14 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday and a high of -15 degrees Celsius (that's 5 degrees Fahrenheit) on Friday, so this time I think the snow will stick around! Here's what we look like now (I expect the snow on the picnic table will be much higher in next week's picture!):





The temperature is currently -1 degree Celsius, and it is supposed to go up to +1 today. I think these are the last few days of temps on the plus side.

I didn't buy anything new this past week, but I won a couple of giveaways!


I won this $10 Amazon Gift Card in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop challenge hosted by Angela Christina Archer.

Thanks again, Angela!


I also won this audiobook in a giveaway hosted by Linda Weaver Clarke:

Mystery on the Bayou by Linda Weaver Clarke
(Amelia Moore Detective Series, Book #6)

Thanks again, Linda!


I also downloaded this FREEBIE from Tantor Media:


More Favorite Stories of Christmas Past
Author Louisa May AlcottHans Christian AndersenCharles DickensLucy Maud MontgomeryHenry Van Dyke

Thanks again, Tantor Media!


Recap: Last Week On The Blog




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!

If anyone has read any of these books, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers by L.J. Sattgast @LindaSattgast @Zonderkidz

AUTHOR: L.J. Sattgast
ILLUSTRATOR: Toni Goffe
PUBLISHER: Zonderkidz
PUBLICATION DATE: March 28, 2000
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 256 pages
GENRE: Childrens/Religions
ISBN: 9780310700784
The fun-time, anytime read-aloud Bible rhyme! Boys and girls love the soothing rhyme in L.J. Sattagast's bestseller The Rhyme Bible. Now toddlers have a Bible rhyme book designed just for them! From the story of creation ('In the beginning God made the light. The light was for day. The dark was for night.') to the resurrection of Jesus ('All his friends were happy then. Jesus was alive again!'), this is the perfect choice for parents who want to introduce their toddlers to the Word of God. Joyful illustrations and classic stories told in vivid verse make this a sure favorite that will entertain your young ones and teach them biblical lessons that last a lifetime.

MY REVIEW:

Despite the title of the book, this bible is NOT just for toddlers!

I have read this bible aloud to my children dozens of times over the years. Although the bible indicates on the back that it is suited for Ages 1-4, my younger daughter is eight years old and still enjoys it and we read it at least once a year! She is also at the age where she can pick up this bible and read the stories to herself. The bible stories are brief, and they are told in rhyming verse and I find that it engages the attention of any squirmy toddler! The illustrations fill both sides of the page, and they are bright and colourful. There are 12 stories from the Old Testament, and 14 stories from the New Testament.


Whenever anyone asks me what bible they should get for their young children, this is always my top recommendation and my go-to baby gift! I think it is a perfect first bible for any child.

MY RATING:

5 stars!! It is superb, and we love it! We have read it many times, and we will continue to read it again and again!

This book qualifies as:
#52 for my 2016 You Read How Many Books? Challenge
#52 for my 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#43 for my 2016 Women Challenge
#17 for my What An Animal IX Reading Challenge
#2 for my The Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge 2016
#2 for my 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge

View all my reviews

Friday, December 2, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison @TantorAudio

SERIES: The Hollows, Book #1
AUTHOR: Kim Harrison
NARRATOR: Marguerite Gavin
PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: June 27, 2007
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 13 hrs and 14 mins
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Rachel Morgan is a runner with the Inderland Runner Services, apprehending law-breakers throughout Cincinnati. She's also a witch, one of the many Inderlanders who revealed themselves after a genetically engineered virus wiped out 50 percent of humanity. Witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves: the creatures of dreams and nightmares have lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But now they've stopped hiding, and nothing will be the same.

On the run with a contract on her head, Rachel reluctantly teams up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner...and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crimelord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death...not to mention her own roommate!

Fun, sassy, filled with action, humor, and romance, Dead Witch Walking is the perfect summer listen for anyone who likes vampires, paranormal fantasy, romance, or just a great beach book.

MY REVIEW:

I love urban fantasy and the paranormal, and I have seen this series recommended over and over again on other blogs and review sites. It appears that I am in the minority here, but I have to admit that this series-starter was a bit of a disappointment!

Rachel Morgan is a witch, and she works for Inderland Security (“IS”) which was established to pick up the cases that the human-run police force can’t handle. Rachel’s job as a bounty hunter brings her into contact with all sorts of supernatural beings, known as Inderlanders. Fed up with being given only the rookie assignments, she quits but winds up with a price tag on her own head as a result. She pairs up with a vampire named Ivy Tamwood who also worked at IS, and they start their own business. Rachel also has her own pixie as back-up, and his name is Jenks.

Harrison’s urban fantasy world has great potential, but Dead Witch Walking kind of fell flat for me. I actually love Rachel’s character! She’s smart, cocky, and a bit snarky and sarcastic. It wasn't that I didn't like the book, because I did but I just expected MORE. I thought it was a bit slow, and there wasn’t a whole lot of action going on.  I bought the first two audiobooks in the series, so I will continue with the second book and hope that the series picks up and gets better!

Marguerite Gavin is a new-to-me narrator, and I thought she did a really good job at conveying Rachel’s spunk and attitude! She made each person’s voice unique and distinctive, and she was very easy to listen to. You can listen to a sound clip of the narration on SoundCloud.

MY RATING:


3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it.

This book qualifies as:
#51 for my 2016 You Read How Many Books? Challenge
#51 for my 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#24 for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2016
#24 for my 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
#42 for my 2016 Women Challenge
#13 for my New Author Challenge 2016
#11 for my 2016 New Narrator Reading Challenge
#14 for my 2016 New To You Reading Challenge
#6 for my 2016 It's New To Me Series Starter Challenge
#46 for my Backlist Books Reading Challenge
#38 for my 2016 Audiobook Challenge
#16 for my What An Animal IX Reading Challenge
#1 for my 2016 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
#12 for my R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Reading Challenge
Task #10 for my Goodreads Fall 2016 Scavenger
#2 for my #BiteOber Reading Challenge
Task #1A for my Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge
#16 for my  101 Fantasy Perpetual Reading Challenge (Item #66 on the list)

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