Tuesday, December 4, 2018

#CSReadathon Wrap UpPost

This is unbelievable!  I can't believe two weeks has come and gone already!  I have done some snuggling with my kitty and took advantage of that time to do some reading, but I didn't realize the time has flown by!  Here in the land of the prairie winters, winter has not yet fully arrived.  Weather has been beautiful here, with only one real good snow fall, which brightened up the whole landscape.  Everything is white.  Maybe that is the reason, for the time-lapse on my part.  The weather is definitely not frightful.

On with my post.  I was able to read a complete cozy mystery (my first one ever) called the Christmas Cookie Killer.  It was quite different from what I usually read and enjoyed the plot and character development, and it kept me guessing until near the bitter end.  Well written and fun to read... but not really my cup of tea.


I next tried to curl up with the Christmas Carol Murder, but it was not available at the library so I ad-libbed and found this one called Elvis and the Blue Christmas Corpse.  Sounded like fun, looked a bit quirky, but I struggled to get into it and actually got half way through and put it aside for another day.  I think it was just me.  I was not in the mood for that type of read.

Blue Christmas Corpse

That took me right to the end of the readathon.  So that is my wrap up post.... but I am not done!  I am continuing my reading by doing the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge.

This will run right through the holidays and up to January 6th.  Ahhhh... good times!xmas spirit challenge

Next up is The Christmas Train by David Baldacci.  Follow me on twitter for my updates.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my blog followers and fellow book lovers!


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Christmas Spirit Readathon Challenge TBR List

This is it! We all start reading in just a few hours. At midnight CST , our readathon starts. You can read all about it and how to join in if you would like to. I love reading during this joyous holiday time. There is just something about reading all snuggled up in your favorite easy chair, lights twinkling in the back ground, kitty curled up on a blanket with you, snow lightly falling outside creating a winter wonderland, hot cup of cocoa in your hand.... mmmmmm. Christmas!

xmas spirit challenge

I had a few last-minute things to do to prepare for this readathon. Not that I HAD to do them, but I like to do them. I always make a list of TBR titles I would like to read during my readathon, to help keep me on track, and to show me my progress. And, I just like lists ;) Here is my To Be Read List for the Christmas Spirit Readathon Challenge 2018.

Screenshot from 2018-11-18 13-19-09

The first book I will be taking a bite out of is from the Fresh Baked Mysteries Series by Livia J Washburn. I have never read one of these mysteries, so I am looking forward to doing a little yuletide sleuthing.


Christmas comes to Weatherford, Texas, in this delicious new entry in the national bestselling series. Yuletide is here—and retired teacher cum amateur sleuth Phyllis Newsom looks forward to finishing up this unlucky year. But she won’t be hanging up her apron just yet—because this year’s Christmas bake-off is going to be cutthroat. Phyllis would like to think she’s entering the Christmas cookie contest for the fun of it—but that’s not exactly true. She can’t imagine anyone beating her snowflake-shaped lime sugar cookies. Then, during her annual Christmas cookie exchange, Phyllis heads over to the elderly Mrs. Simmons’s home and finds her dead, in a pile of lime sugar cookies. But with a number of names on Santa’s naughty list, this case may be a hard cookie to crumble.


The next bit of seasonal mayhem I plan to read is by Leslie Meier.

Christmas Carol Murder

It’s Christmas in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and Lucy Stone is excited about her acting debut in the town’s production of A Christmas Carol. But a real life Scrooge has everyone feeling frosty, and with a murderer on the loose, Lucy will have to unwrap her sleuthing skills faster than she can say, “Bah! Humbug!”

Lucy normally loves planning for the holidays, but this year, Tinker’s Cove has fallen on hard times. With so many residents struggling to make ends meet, Christmas festivities are a luxury some can’t afford. But the story’s not so bleak at Downeast Mortgage, whose tight-fisted owners, Jake Marlowe and Ben Scribner, are raking in profits from everyone’s misfortune. Half the town is in their debt, so when the miserly Marlowe is murdered, the mourners are few and the suspects are many. . .


I am really looking forward to reading The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. I loved David's first few books I have read. This seems completely different from his usual writing . Not sure what to expect, but it sounds promising!


Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to Los Angeles in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures, and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.


Merry Christmas Alex Cross by James Patterson. I really love James Patterson, but I have never read any of the Alex Cross novels. This will be a quick foray into one of his most popular characters.


It's Christmas Eve and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who's robbing his church's poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and his children. The tree decorating is barely underway before his phone rings again—a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. Alex risks everything—and he may not make it back alive on this most sacred of family days.


Nearing the end of my list, I take on I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley.


It’s Christmastime, and Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.


If all goes according to plan, the last book will see me reading almost into New Years Eve. For New Years Eve, I will start my new book which I have been waiting for so long to start. It is called Artemis, by Andy Wier.


Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich.
Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony. Just rich enough to move out of her coffin-sized apartment and eat something better than flavored algae. Rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time.
So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no. Sure, it requires her to graduate from small-time smuggler to full-on criminal mastermind. And it calls for a particular combination of cunning, technical skills, and large explosions—not to mention sheer brazen swagger. But Jazz has never run into a challenge her intellect can’t handle, and she figures she’s got the ‘swagger’ part down.
The trouble is, engineering the perfect crime is just the start of Jazz’s problems. Because her little heist is about to land her in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.
Trapped between competing forces, pursued by a killer and the law alike, even Jazz has to admit she’s in way over her head. She’ll have to hatch a truly spectacular scheme to have a chance at staying alive and saving her city.
Jazz is no hero, but she is a very good criminal.

That’ll have to do.


So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed reading my list, and hopefully it has also inspired you to start a reading list of your own. Until next time... happy reading.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Seasons Greetings Season

Hello to all my followers on my blog.  Many months have come and gone since I have updated you, but I am back for this round of merriment.  Halloween has passed, Remembrance day was memorable, and soon, my friends south of the border will be celebrating their Thanksgiving on November 22nd.  Meanwhile, up here in Canada, my jolly season has already started. Last week we all went to our favorite movie theatre and took in the new Grinch movie.  It was awesome!  The-Grinch-Max-Movie-Trailer-Poster

We have our outdoor lights up and lit, our tree is up, and waiting to be decorated, and my Grinch is standing loud and proud at my front door to greet everyone who comes a calling.  This happened yesterday.

Today, we are having our Santa Clause parade here in Winnipeg!

Screenshot from 2018-11-17 16-15-36....and one of our local radio stations has just declared 24 hour Christmas Music! Click here to listen live!

Screenshot from 2018-11-17 16-21-09

With all this happening so fast, I didn't want to miss out on the newest Seasons of Reading Christmas Spirit Readathon.  This readathon is a laid back and relaxing thon with not many rules.  The host of this readathon is Michelle Miller who works tirelessly for all of us who share the same love of reading.  The #CSreadathon runs from Monday, November 19 at 12:00am CST until Sunday, December 2 at 11:59pm CST.   If you haven't joined yet, you still have time.  You can do so here.  I encourage you to do so.  It is a fun time to be had by all.


Just as a fun addition to this Readathon, you can also join the #ChristmasSpirit #ReadingChallenge.  As usual, there are multiple levels for participation, like children's books and watching Christmas movies.  Levels are described as such:

--Candy Cane: read 1 book
--Mistletoe: read 2-4 books
--Christmas Tree: read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!)

Of course I am definitely going for the Christmas Tree level.  I am very ambitious.  But it doesn't always translate into actual reading time.  The Challenge runs a little longer than the Readathon.  The challenge will run from Monday, November 19, 2018 through Sunday, January 6, 2019 (Twelfth Night or Epiphany).  This will be a fantastic holiday time for all to be had.

On another note, my son has opted to go a different route this holiday season, and will be joining my lovely wife Diane in a different Harry Potter themed readathon.  This one is hosted by Book Roast and is being called a Magical Readathon, Christmas at Hogwarts.

This one is a kind of "choose your own adventure" with books.  It looks like a lot of work and thought went into this readathon as well, so if you are a Potter fan, check this one out.  See the map :

Screenshot from 2018-11-17 17-27-22

Some of my favorite prompts in this readathon are:

Readathon prompts: Finish your coursework - finish your current read
Help Hagrid decorate the trees - book with a golden detail H
Sneak into the kitchen to gift Dobby odd socks - read that has an item of clothing on the cover
Use your Invisibility Cloak to get to the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library - read a banned book
Attend the Christmas Feast - watch a Harry Potter movie (optional)
You can learn all about it here! Magical Readathon.

Even if you choose not to partake in the fun, I hope you spend time leading up to the holidays doing what you love to do.  Until next time! Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Welcome to Autumn (In The Readiverse Anyways)

What an amazing year it has been for me so far.  Winter hung on a little longer than was expected, Spring was absolutley beautiful once it came, and Summer vacation was fantastic.  I endure these seasone as I know it will all culminate into my favorite time of year...fall.  Oh, I know autumn doesnt arrive officially until September 22nd, but when reading, we can make up anything to justify when and what we  want to read.  One of the perks we readers have.  Doesn't matter what you read, just read something!

And this brings me to the announcement of the newest creation of the host of this years #SomethingWickedThisFallComes #Readathon.  This is a combination of readathons Michelle has been hosting on her two blogs, (the Fall event at Castle Macabre and the FrightFall Readathon in October at Seasons of Reading ) and for the first time ever, it has spawned into a TWO MONTH readathon, named after an authour she greatly admires.

something wicked 48 hr readathon

This is a very relaxed readathon, so if you are thinking you can't read for two months straight, please understand you do not have to do this.  This is truly a place to connect with other readers who share the same themes and reading material as you do.  The community is the best I have ever had the pleasure of participating with.  The Readathon starts off with a 48 hour readathon starting at midnight this morning and contiues until September 2nd at 11:59PM CDT.  But that is just the appetizer.  Michelle has a ton of cool happenings planned including: a readalong of Ray Bradbury's classic, a horror movie watchalong, a number of 48 hour readathons, and of course, all with the spooky theme that comes along with fall.

The picture above was created by Deviant art user croonstreet and it's called Spooky Tales. I remember me being the kid in the picture, many nights when I was young, and I still try to find that elusive feeling, which kept me awake so much as a child .... in adulthood.  And the only way I have come close to realizing this feeling, is by reading amazing stories by some incredible people , who have toiled away late into the night, to bring their nightmares to life, in books we can all enjoy.

There is so much going on in the next couple of months, I have not yet made my TBR list, but to ease myself into the fun I am currently reading The Man On The Bench by Robert Swartwood.


I have not read anything by Swartwood, but I am looking forward to reading this spooky novella.  This is a nice short book, it will get me grounded in the spookiverse, and whet my appetite for the coming months.  Thank you for reading my blog, and as always , all comments are appreciated.  Happy Fall.




Sunday, August 19, 2018

Book Review: The Chairman's Toys by Graham Reed


Book Synopsis:    Vancouver, British Columbia - land of psychotically expensive real estate, high-grade cannabis, and Jake Constable. A man adrift.

After Jake quits the drug business, his realtor/ex-wife, Nina, gets him a job as a house sitter for her wealthy clients. Jake celebrates by throwing a party in the mansion he was hired to look after. Unfortunately, the guest list gets out of hand, leaving Jake to contend with a hallucinogenic-vitamin-dispensing yogi, a dead guy in the bathroom, and The Norwegian - a criminal force of nature with a grudge against Jake.

When the owner of the multimillion-dollar crime scene returns home prematurely, only Jake's inadvertent discovery of the man's politically incorrect business history saves him from having to clean up after the party. But he still has to come clean with his ex-wife. The situation threatens to turn into an international incident when Nina’s power broker uncle and some Chinese government agents show up to turn the screws on Jake. Soon after that his friends start disappearing. With the Chinese government leaning on him and The Norwegian out to settle an old score, Jake comes up with a desperate plan to dupe a pair of secret agents, save his friends, and (why not?) solve the murder.


My Review:   Through Mr. Reed's amusing, witty and entertaining writing style, we are introduced to  the main character, Jake Constable, who is trying to turn his life around, and get out of the drug business for good. But because of his history and some old acquaintances from his previous life, he seems to run into trouble at every turn.  The characters develop at just the right pace and with enough depth that you are right there, in the story with them.  A lot happens in just a few pages, and before you know it, you are witness to a good old-fashioned murder.  The story itself, is never predictable.  Mr. Reed  takes you on a dizzying rollercoaster ride as you try to figure out the answers to the plot.  It includes the discovery of a body to kidnapping, encountering secret agents, and dueling with a very sizable (and somewhat scary) villain named "The Norwegian".  The plot is anything but simple, but there are no loose ends to leave you pondering either.  Every part of the story is meticulously told to you with cleverness (and sometimes laugh out loud humour) which is a staple throughout this book.  The writing style is unique and an absolute delight to read. Through Jake Constable, Mr. Reed pays homage to the gumshoe tradition of characters like Columbo, but in a contemporary Vancouver setting.  I knew after only a couple of pages, that I was in for a treat and Mr. Reed did not disappoint.  I loved this book and I for one, can't wait for the next installment featuring Jake Constable to be written.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 Screenshot at 2018-04-07 21-39-31Screenshot at 2018-04-07 21-39-31Screenshot at 2018-04-07 21-39-31Screenshot at 2018-04-07 21-39-31 owls.

About The Author:  Graham Reed is an award-winning author of crime fiction. He lives on a small island in the Salish Sea with his wife and two children.


Monday, August 6, 2018

High Summer Readathon Wrap-up Post #HSreadathon

What an amazing summer it has been so far.  Weather has been gorgeous, family time was plenty, and reading time was at its maximum.  Not to say that all I did was read all summer (although that sounds plenty good to me) but I did read more than usual, and I absolutely loved the time I spent with my Kobo.

This is my Wrap Up Post for the month-long High Summer Readathon.  I actually could not remember the reading I had done because of the overlapping thons that were happening in July.  It was a very busy time.  I will be writing reviews to all of these books in future posts, but in the meantime, here is my list of books completed and almost completed, (calling it complete) :)

I made huge progress on The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner.  What a fun read they were!   Completed:

  • The Scorch Trials

  • The Death Cure

  • The Kill OrderMaze Runner Series

  • The Chairman's Toys by Graham Reed   CompletedChairmansToys_Website-350x525_Border

  • The Deep by Nick Cutter   Completedheadline-the-deep-180882980

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson   Christmas in July Entry   Completed.ChristmasJoyRide

Stay tuned for my reviews on all of these books in future blogs...



It was a summer to remember but it is not yet over. The months ahead will find me going back to work, setting up sports schedules for my son, checking out the new fall lineup of television shows, and of course, reading to fill in the spot between now and autumn.  :)    I have two books that  I have on my agenda.  With all of the blockbuster movies out there I wanted to get into the swing of things, and picked up a copy of Meg by Steve Alten.  This is the first book in the primary series of 6 books, and a prequel called Origins.  I am looking forward to this book as a wind down to the summer reading.


The second book I want to read is "A is for Alibi" by Sue Grafton.  I have been wanting to read this series for a long time, but I was never in the mood to take the step to reading a sleuthing mystery.  I received an ARC from Partners in Crime Publishing and to be honest, it was so good, it rekindled my love that I thought I had lost for a good mystery.   Therefore, I grabbed a copy of the first Kinsey Millhone Mystery Series and am settling in to what I hope will be long and fun relationship with the late Sue Grafton.Alibi

I know it is a little early to be thinking about fall but.... last year's FrightFall was one month-long for the first time ever, and it was awesome.

frightfall 2017

I am now eyeing the FrightFall Readathon happening in October 2018 and..... Wait!  What's This?........

I just flipped over to the Seasons of Reading Blog and it seems Michelle is working on changing things up a bit this year.  See the following excerpt from her Blog...

"Looking forward, of course we have the month long FrightFall Readathon in October, but I'm also working on adding some extra fun (since we do love our scary...a good bit of us anyway). Every year I host two events at my horror blog, Castle Macabre. Gothic September and Season of the Witch in October. Well, the wheels are turning and I'm trying to come up with an all encompassing event that will take Castle Macabre and Seasons of Reading through a spooky autumn. Stay tuned!"

Well this sounds very exciting and I can hardly wait until this event is released!  In between reading and life, I will catch up on my book reviews, so stay tuned to this blog for some interesting reviews coming your way,  Until then, keep reading!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Summer Reading Progress .. And Dewey's Readathon.

Hello all. This will be just a quick update of my future reading plans, my past reading conquests and the coming end to my whirlwind readathons.

I am continuing to read for the #HSReadathon which is a laid back readathon that lasts all of July.  As July is coming to an end, so too is this readathon, but not before Christmas in July happens!

Xmas in July RAT

This month is just flying by!  I had some great time off, and spent most of it with my family and just enjoying life.  The "Big C" has affected me close to home and two people I love dearly have fought and beat it, but there are still battle scars to contend with.  You don't go through a fight like that and come out unscathed.  My outlook has also been changed, some for the good, and some for the worse, but I am working towards more for the good!

That being said, Christmas in July is just what the Dr. (Michelle) ordered for me.  I am lightly participating in the Dewey's Reverse readathon, as to go all out, would mean I would not be ready to head out to the lake on Monday, which I believe I need to ground myself.  It is my last hurrah before going back to work, and I am going to enjoy every minute.  So, I have picked two reads, that I will try to complete before #HSReadathon comes to an end.  Here are my picks....

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson


The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson is a fun and heartwarming holiday story. Joy has planned a trip across country--one problem--she's 85 years old. Problem solved--Miranda, out of work and soon to be out of a home, agrees to go with her neighbor in a Christmas decked out RV! Let the adventure begin. No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it's going to be an exciting ride!  I am really looking forward to this one!

The other entry for Christmas in July if I get that far is :

The Christmas Caramel Murder by Joanne Fluke.. because... who doesn't like a little mystery at Christmas?


"The holidays have arrived, and Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town's annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say "Bah, humbug!" a Santa-sized sackful of trouble ensues.  A little light Christmas reading.

Update on the #24in48, I read something like 15 or 16 hours.  Can't remember exactly and finished 3 books!  That has to be a record for me. Reviews to follow, of course. It was fun, but I must remind myself to go to sleep.  I was recovering from that one for a couple of days.  I am ready for the next one on January 26th and 27th 2019!  Bring it on!

This was a slightly shorter post, but I will try to tie everything together in the coming days.  Keep reading all, and enjoy the summer!

Friday, July 20, 2018

24 in 48 Readathon TBR List and Schedule

Good evening all you readathoners.  It is the eve before the frenzy of reading we all look forward to.  We plan for this night for weeks and it can't get here too soon. Some of you have already started your readathon in your time zone.  In my time zone, the readathon starts in a little over three hours.  I have finally settled on what I am going to read, finish reading and when I am going to do it.  So without any more ado, I present to you my TBR list and schedule for the #24in48 Summer 2018 Readathon.

  1. The Chairman's Toys by Graham Reed

ChairmansToys_Website-350x525_BorderThis is a mystery unlike any other I have had the pleasure of reading.  I flipped through the first few pages and I know I am going to like what I see.  Looking forward to devouring this one pretty quickly.

2.  The Death Cure by James Dashner

Death CureThis book is number three in the series and I'm pretty excited to see where this adventure will lead.  Should be an easy entertaining read in those wee hours of the morning.

3.  The Deep by Nick Cutter

headline-the-deep-180882980Can't have a readathon without a good old scary book in my back pocket.  Not sure what this one will be like , but looking forward to it.

And finally, my schedule.  The schedule is just a guide but it always helps me keep on track and when my brain is a little too tired to add the hours together, this is always here as a back up.

24in48 Schedule

One more thing.  I am using an app called ReadTracker  to help me keep track of my hours read as well.  I will be posting regularly on Twitter.  Join me and any kind words you would like to offer would be appreciated.  Have a great weekend and I hope all of you read until your heart is content!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

High Summer Readathon Mid-event Check-in

It has been a busy, hot, family filled, wonderful summer so far this July.  Not a lot has been planned, but family time together has been on an upward swing and I must admit, it has been wonderful.  Below is the view from my back deck.  Early in the morning, before anyone else is up, I enjoy the smell of coffee brewing, birds singing, warm breeze on my face, and a Kobo in my hand.  In the evening, my wife will snuggle up to me, as we watch the sun set on another beautiful summer day, sipping on a glass of Sangria.  Yes. Summer vacations are awesome.IMG_20180706_1950169(2)

So here is my mid event update for the High Summer Readathon so far....

high summer 2018

I did manage to finish The Maze Runner, and the Scorch Trials.  Both books were fantastic to read.  We celebrated my reading completions, by watching the movies, based upon said books.  The first one was a movie masterpiece that definitely gave the book its due.  Well done movie, that stayed true to the characters and story line that made the series so popular.

Maze Runner Series

The second movie installment took us on such a different story arc ,that it deviated from the book to the point that I didn't enjoy the movie as much at all.  I expected a similar retelling of the story as in the first book, but it was far from that.  I expect, if I had seen the movie first, and then read the book, it would have been fine, but  having said that, I can't even say I was disappointed.  The movie was well done, and took a road that the book didn't.  The book however... was much better. We will see where the third book will take me.  The Death Cure is up next after my current read.

My current read is from who I believe is a Canadian author named Graham Reed.  This ARC was sent to me a week ago and it was love at first read.  It is titled The Chairmans Toys and I can hardly wait to post the review for this one.  I am totally intrigued and only a few pages in.  This one will be fun.


Moving forward... in addition to partaking in the High Summer Readathon, there are two other readathons that I am interested in participating in during the month of July.   The 24 in 48 and Dewey's.  There's the 24in48 Readathon this weekend, July 21 and 22. Then there's the Dewey's 24 Hour Reverse Summer Readathon starting Friday, July 27 at 7 pm CT and ending Saturday, July 28 at 7 pm CT.  I have confirmation that my sister will be joining me  from the good ol USofA on both readathons this time around, and my wife will be reading alongside me as well, although not participating in the thons, just moral support.  There is still plenty of time to join in either of these readathons and even time to join in the High Summer Readathon.  You'll be glad you did.

[gallery ids="185,184" type="rectangular"]

Next step is to register for both readathons and get my TBR list and schedule together .. (I honestly love that part).  Stay tuned for both and more reviews to come as soon as I have some spare time.  :)  Happy reading all!


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Summer 2018 IS Here!

The days we have all longed for, are finally here.  Honey bees are buzzing in the backyard, temperatures soaring to the uncomfortably hot range, birds are singing, barbeques are sizzling, campgrounds are full,  lemonade on ice, school is out, vacations have started..... ahhhh ....summer.... my third favorite time of the year, won over only by autumn, which I believe to be the pinnacle season of every year, and of course Christmas... but we won't go there...just yet.

Back to summer!  My holidays have started and I have lofty plans for the few days that I am off.  I get to spend time with my family, which is always awesome.  As some of you may know, my wife has been battling cancer for the last two years, and I am happy to say this story has a happy ending.  She fought, and won the battle, so we are using this summer as a spring-board to the future.  As you can well imagine, your life is put on hold, and nothing else matters when you are dealing with the likes of cancer.  Moving forward, however is not easy.  Slowly, baby steps, is the best way, and we are doing exactly that.  Time with family and friends is the number one goal this summer, along with healthy choices, in all aspects of our life.

With that being said, I am going to also continue doing what grounds me and what has kept me sane through all of this.  Reading.  I find it is therapeutic and helps me find my down time when I need it most.  This year I almost missed the High Summer Readathon

high summer 2018

sign up, as work was crazy busy, but here I am, all signed up.  High Summer Readathon is a relaxed readathon hosted my Michelle Miller who creates and maintains the Seasons of Reading Blog.  There are readathons for all seasons, prizes, and some great people you will meet.  If you have a chance you should head on over and check it out.  The official dates are July 1 through July 31, starting at 12:00 am Sunday the 1st, and ending at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, the 31st. That's central time, but you can adjust your times according to your time zone.

Since I was able to join the readathon this year, I'm glad Michelle is not sticky on rules as I have not even created a TBR list.  I am totally unprepared, but I won't let that stop me.  :)  My son has been bugging me to read the Maze Runner series by James Dashner ,as he is now reading the fourth book himself.  I kept disregarding his suggestions, because I didn't think these books would actually keep me interested, least of all entertained.  After all, I read at such a higher level than that!  Guess what?  I really don't :) I read the Maze Runner and was absolutely surprised at the plot and character development that went into this story.  It is an easy read, which is nice, but now I am hooked on finishing this series , and hope to do it before my son does. (hehehehe)

Maze Runner Series

During this readathon, Michelle has thrown in a Christmas in July spin for the final four days of the readathon.  This of course is completely optional but really fun if you can pick the right book(s).  I am always looking for that perfect Christmas in July book to read, and have never find the one that satisfies me.  I started to look up some good books to try for the Christmas in July reading when Michelle posted a list of Christmas themed books for sale in the coming months.  Hmmmmm.  I wonder if this list comes out every year on her Christmas Blog?  And so, I found a very long list of books published last year, that I can peruse along with a synopsis of the story, so that I don't have to "settle" on one and hope for the best.  You can find that list here.  I will be set for Christmas in July this year.  Thanks Michelle!

Xmas in July RAT

With all of this going on, my other two favorite readathons are also happening in July.

The 24 in 48 Readathon is happening on July 21st, and Dewey's 24 hour readathon is happening July 28th! And for the first time ever, It is a reverse Readathon!!! Aaahhhhhhh!  What to do!

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First, I need to ask permission from my wife ;)   After all, life goes on when I am content, nose deep in books.  Secondly, I need to contact my sister in the USA to see if she is on board with Dewey's (we did it together last time).  And thirdly, decide if I want to commit to this much reading this summer.  I love to read, but it can be a solitary thing to do.  The timing is perfect as my holidays coincide with all of the dates.  I really want to do this.  It would be a perfect vacation getaway for me this summer.  As you can tell I am somewhat easily appeased :)

Stay tuned for part two of this blog to see what the next part of July will bring me!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Sci-Fi Summer Mid-event Check-in and Review (Illuminae Files Book 1)

scifi summer 2018

It is the beginning of June and the anticipation of reading science fiction is over.  The Sci Fi Summer Readathon has begun. So many times I revert to the typical read that I enjoy so much, and then I vow to read something outside my norm .. .and I am rewarded beautifully.  The Sci-Fi Summer readathon took me out of my comfort zone and took me to a place in outer space where a battle is raging,  people are dying, but through it all, the human spirit and love, try to find a way to survive.

The book I chose to read as my first entry into the readathon was titled Illuminae by Amy Kaufman. and Jay Kristoff.  I was referred to this series The Illuminae Files by fellow readers @BookTapestry and @FlippingPages36.  Who am I to argue?  Of course I will give this read a shot.  This is my review:


“The universe was here before you, and it will go on after you. The only way it will remember you is if you do something worthy of remembrance.” (Aidan)
― Amy Kaufman, Illuminae

I picked up this book through Indigo, on my Kobo.  I also was able to snag the second book in the trilogy at a very good price so I did.  I was later told by a very smart reader that I should get a hold of the physical book as the e-reader in this case just does not do the book justice.  In this case, this smart reader was absolutely correct.

The book is a veritable work of art from cover to cover.  The words , story, and messages hidden throughout the beautifully illustrated pages are so wonderfully done, you are in awe of what you are reading and just do not want it to end.

To be honest, I am not a young person, and I did have trouble getting into the story initially.  I have never quite read a book that was set up the way this one is.  The story itself is about two young characters who are caught up in an invasion of their home planet by two megacorporations.  Their story is told through interviews, data, message logs and video transcripts that make up the "Illuminae Files" .  It was a little confusing initially (I'm showing my age :P )  but I pressed on.  I got through the initial choppy format , started to understand the writing and the storytelling uniqueness,  and was rewarded with an absolutely heart stopping, beautifully written space saga you absolutley "must read".  This book is categorised as young adult, but I am seeing more and more, every day, (my son is now a teenager) that these books labelled "young adult" do not mean they are exclusively for this age group.  Young and older adults are enjoying these reads.  Do not assume that reading young adult novels is not for you.  If you do, you are missing out on a vast array of talent and some fantastic reads, as I have personally found out myself.  This book was totally immersive ... instantly.  I didn't know where the story would end up, but getting there was so much fun.  The characters were so well written (I loved Aidan the best) and the intensity and creepiness just kept building until I couldn't take it anymore. All of this with a little romance sprinkled throughout.  All I can tell you is this book.  You will not be disappointed.

That wraps up my Sci-Fi June mid-event check in.  My second book of course will be the second in this series called  Gemina.  Hopefully I will be able to finish this book before the end of the Sci Fi Summer  Readathon.  Time will tell.  Stay tuned for my review of the second book in the "Illuminae Files".