November 29, 2015

Full House Reading Challenge 2016

Challenge Guidelines:

  • Challenge will run from Jan 1st to December 31st 2016
  • Write and publish a post stating your intention to participate. In the post please include the Challenge graphic and a link back to this post. Then link your intention post at the bottom of this post.  Make sure it is the actual post and not just a generic link to your blog.
  • Add your reviews back here on the link in this post. At the end of every three months there will be a U.S. $12 prize with a book of your choice from the Book Depository or U.S. Amazon voucher, for the entries. There will be a new linky then for the next quarter and so on to the end of December.
  • Reviews are not mandatory and if you prefer to keep a list of the books read and the category they cross off the card, then you can still enter for the completion of a Full House by linking to that list on the final linky or in a comment.
  • Jan - March Link Up
  • April - June Link Up
  • July - September Link Up
  • October - December Link Up
  • Each review can only be linked up once in the year. However it doesn't matter when you read the book in 2016 - which month, just link as you remember or have time. So if you read it in January you may not get around to linking it until say... May. That is fine.
  • Books may cross over from other challenges that you are doing. 
  • There will be a final post to link in a summary post for the challenge for those who have completed a full house. This will close on the 2nd January 2017  and a winner will be chosen using for a U.S. $30 prize which again can be used to buy books at the Book Depository or be received as an Amazon voucher.

                                Link Full House post here

    • Complete the card below.  You can do it in any order you wish.  You are allowed "one free exchange", if there is something on the square you really dislike you may change it to something of your choice. Once you have played this free choice that is it. Mention the exchange in the final summary post.
    Full House Reading Challenge Grid 2016

    * Self Challenge means setting a challenge for yourself for this square. For example I might set read a book my a male author, because I hardly ever do that. Or ...

    * Setting beginning with B. This can be a country, a state, a place, a street. Or it could be a beach or the bush or a bookshop. Long as a good part of the book is set there, the whole book might be, but it doesn't have to be.

    This is a challenge designed for fun rather than stress! Just keep reading and see how many just naturally check off a square. That's how I play this kind of card. I don't set out to do it - it just happens in my reading year. Mostly!

    If you have any questions, ask in the comments and I will add the answers in the post just above here.

    November 28, 2015

    Fitreader's Check In November 28th

    This is being hosted by Jen at That's What I'm Talking About and later on at the Geeky Bloggers Book Blog.  It is a wonderful way to link with others who are making sure exercise is a part of their daily lives - and not just all sitting and reading!

    My Week:

    graph showing walking week.
    A good week, took a rest on last day of week as had well surpassed my goal, plus it was a day away at a family gathering so it all worked out.

    Into December next!

    November 27, 2015

    The Book Thief. Markus Zusak

    book cover
    The Book Thief
    Mark Zusak
    Published: Black Swan
    Date: 2005
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 553
    Genre: Historical fiction.
    Source: Own book
    Add to Goodreads
    1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel a nine year old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs began to fall.

    It's a small story, about:
    a girl
    an accordionist
    some fanatical Germans
    a Jewish fist fighter
     quite a lot of thievery. 
    My thoughts banner
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - what can I say, it caught me up and made me carefully read every page. It was very strange in the beginning it was narrated by Death, I think now having read the whole book if I were to go back and read the beginning again, I would not find it so strange. Death is a voice of great compassion.

    A story of the best of humanity and the worst. Set in Germany in WW11 it gives us a viewpoint from Himmel St, a poor street in a German town. It is to this street that Liesel is brought to be fostered by Hans Hubermann and his wife Rosa. They become her Papa and Mama. She has already seen and experienced more than anyone her age should, and as the war goes on, it only grows larger. What a Papa and Mama too. They were everything this young girl needed. They also showed her the largeness of their hearts and where they stood in this terrible time.

    Liesel makes friends with a boy in the street - Rudy, and what a friendship. They have many adventures together, although remember it's wartime, so not what you usually find in a friendship. They know hard times and their compassion and largeness of heart only grows. Rudy is all boy and he keeps asking Liesel for a kiss, but will she ever bestow it?

    Max is another important character in this book and a strong bond grows between Liesel and himself. She brings him gifts when he is ill, he in turn goes to great lengths to create gifts for Liesel.

    When Liesel arrives at the Hubermann's house she cannot read or write, but she carries with her a book, the first book that she has taken. With Hans help, slowly and painstakingly she learns to read and write. In times of distress eventually her reading will bring others peace and help calm them. And she also becomes a book thief, aided and abetted by Rudy and another surprising woman.

    Yes, I wept through the last sad pages, sad for the losses and admiring of the beauty in one young woman who both loved and hated words, recognising the power of the word.

    I am pleased that finally I was able to take The Book Thief of my TBR shelf and read it where it took me to a place where I could recognise the beauty of humanity and along with it the evil power that could destroy so many lives.

    5 stars
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    November 25, 2015

    The Secret of Everything Barbara O'Neal

    book cover
    The Secret of Everything
    Barbara O'Neal
    Published: Brilliance Audio
    Date: 2009
    Format: Audiobook
    Narrator: Angela Dawe
    Length: 12hrs 5min
    Genre: Women's Fiction
    Source: Own book
    Add to Goodreads
    At thirty-seven, Tessa Harlow is still working her way down her list of goals to “fall in love and have a family.” A self-described rolling stone, Tessa leads hiking tours for adventurous vacationers — it’s a job that’s taken her around the world but never a step closer to home. Then a freak injury during a trip already marred by tragedy forces her to begin her greatest adventure of all.

    Located high in the New Mexico mountains, Las Ladronas has become a magnet for the very wealthy and very hip, but once upon a time it was the setting of a childhood trauma Tessa can only half remember. Now, as she rediscovers both her old hometown and her past, Tessa is drawn to search-and-rescue worker Vince Grasso. The handsome widower isn’t her type. No more inclined to settle down than Tessa, Vince is the father of three, including an eight-year-old girl as lost as Tessa herself. But Tessa and Vince are both drawn to the town’s most beloved eatery — 100 Breakfasts — and to each other. For Tessa, the restaurant is not only the key to the mystery that has haunted her life but a chance to find the home and the family she’s never known.

    My thoughts banner
    I ended up really enjoying The Secret of Everything - the audiobook version. At the beginning I wasn't too sure of how it was being narrated. But very soon I was right into it. Angela Dawe did a great job with all the different characters voices, everyone was different.

    Tessa has some past griefs that cause her trouble, she has been in an accident and is part recovering, part looking for a new tramping tours spot and part seeking out her past that has been lost to her because her memory can't recall it. There is a mystery there for her - and when its finally solved some big surprises.

    Vince, the guy she meets has three adorable daughters and when they entered the story I was totally hooked.  Natalie is the oldest at eight and she is struggling somewhat, she remembers her mother before she died, her two younger sisters don't. Natalie also has a growing appreciation of food which sometimes puts her off side with her grandmother. Natalie and Tessa develop a bond that takes them eventually on a pilgrimage.

    Vida owns 100 Breakfasts and this is where the food element comes in. She has had a tough life but her cafe is popular and she gives jobs to women who for example are on parole. She helps them get on their feet. One such woman is Annie who is learning all things from Vida. At the end of some chapters their is one of Vida's breakfast recipes. Natalie has sampled a fair few of those!

    There are some wonderful dogs in the story, the plot moves along at a leisurely and enjoyable pace. It is what is happening to the characters that count. With a few surprises there. Mystery, animals, food, children - great combination.
                                                          4 stars
    reading challenge badge
    Foodie Book
    for challenge

    November 23, 2015

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

    Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!

    This week as it has  Thanksgiving coming up and many of you celebrate that, I thought I would share ten things I am grateful for:
    • the book blogging world of YOU
    • the wonderful book recommendations that others share
    • the generosity of people and their example that inspires me, and thinking in particular of Sheila at Book Journey's post - A Two Person Book Club, that rippled out and made me act too in my own world.
    • the variety in reading I find on this meme - we all read such various things, but we all share the love of reading
    • for authors who provide us with our reading and for the books these authors write that are full of hope, courage and goodness. For the way in which they show that the  power of good overcomes evil.
    • a special thanks to Helen at Hachette NZ - a thank you for finding me and my blog this year. I have always envied those bloggers who are close to the publishing world and review paperback books!
    • for those who share their knowledge online - in many ways and in particular this week those who showed me on You Tube how to get the end of a broken light bulb out of the socket! Feeling very proud of myself now!
    • for family - especially all those delightful young recent arrivals in the last few years. I love the viewpoint of a young child!
    • for friends - there when I want some social time
    • for life - especially for my first year of retirement. Love it.

    IMWAYR Thanksgiving Giveaway

    Also to thank you all for continuing to participate in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? I am giving away this week, to two participants a $12 (U.S.) gift voucher to Amazon or a book to that value from the Book Depository.  There will be one giveaway for the linking of a IMWAYR post and one giveaway to a commenter on one of those posts. Sorry my post doesn't count! (The commenter must be a person who has also written a IMWAYR post.) I will draw it using and will notify the winners next weekend as often people link up as the week goes on.


    What I read last week:

    book cover book cover

    book cover book cover  book cover
    Enjoyed all the above - I won't be reviewing most of them on the blog, and I am so happy to finally read Big, Little Lies. 4 stars as was Born in Death and Pagan Stone.  Sidekick I am reviewing - 3 stars. All Night Long - just finished and really enjoyed. 4 stars.

    What I am reading at present:

    Listening to:
    book cover

    What I am reading now off my TBR shelf:
    book cover

    Up next:

    Blood Kiss  J R Ward (freshly arrived on my door step for review)

    Posts from the last week:

    November 22, 2015

    Read the Books You Buy Reading Challenge 2016

    Read the Books You Buy Reading Challenge 2016 Badge
    "When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes". Erasmus 
    Bought the book, you really want to read it.... and then it gets surpassed by review books or library books or other TBR books.

    So this is a Reading Challenge to Read the books you buy. You don't buy books? Well then this challenge isn't for you. Now at the start of 2016 you won't be sure of what you are going to buy or how many books you will buy.

    So far in 2015 I as I write I've read 32% of the books I bought this year, and I thought until I did the tally I was doing well. Statistics do not lie!  I'd like to be in the higher end of 40-60% range at least. That's what I will be aiming for in 2016.

    So - choose from one of the percentages below and go for it.  Make a commitment post and link up below. List the books you buy in the post as you spend throughout the year and then mark off as you read them.

    If you don't have a blog you can do this on Goodreads with something like a 'bought 2016' shelf and you'll easily be able to see at the end of the year how you've gone. Leave a comment on the post with a link to the shelf to signal your participation, if using Goodreads.

    20% or less      Money Sitting on the Shelf.

    20 - 40%          Making Inroads.

    40 - 60 %         Moderately Successful

    60 - 80 %        Maximising  Returns

    80 - 100%       Mission Accomplished


    • Books have been bought in 2016 by you or you can decide to include from and including June 2015 buys. Anything previous to that definitely falls into the dusty TBR realm! There is a challenge somewhere in the book world for that!
    • Can be ebook, print book or audiobook
    • You can decide whether you include books bought in 2016 second hand or in book fairs etc.
    • You may adjust your level if needs be during the year.
    • Books for this challenge can also be included in other challenges.
    • Runs from 1st January to 31st of December 2016
    I encourage you not to think this through too much, go on buying as you normally do - in a large or small way.

    Authors write books, they deserve to be read and enjoyed and paid as well! So I know we love our review books, library books, 2nd hand books etc. But ... if you can - buy books as well.

    There will be one mid year link up to share how you are going, in the beginning of July.

    In December there will be the final link up to share where you reached. You may not reach your goal, but just link up to account for yourself!

    The link ups just mean re linking your commitment post but updated.

    In the July link there will be a $10 Amazon voucher giveaway prize for one reader among those who link up and at the end in December a $25 Amazon voucher or books to that amount from the Book Depository if it delivers to your country.  Even if you don't get to where you hoped you can still link up, so long as you bought a book during 2016 and joined the challenge!

    November 21, 2015

    Fitreader's Check in

    This is being hosted by Jen at That's What I'm Talking About and later on at the Geeky Bloggers Book Blog.  It is a wonderful way to link with others who are making sure exercise is a part of their daily lives - and not just all sitting and reading!

    My Week:

    Graph of Walking Week

    I upped my goal again this week so it is now 55 000 a week.
    Saturday is a rest day, a little bit of housework and a little bit of reading!

    At present I am listening to:
    The Ones We Trust by Kimberley Belle.  I heard about The Ones We Trust book over at the Romantic Times in the mainstream fiction area and decided to give it a go. Enjoying it so far, takes my mind away from the walking!
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