Monday, August 31, 2015

Monthly Wrap-up: August 2015/ Fit Readers Check In

Month in review is a monthly meme which was created by Kathryn at Book Date.

For me, August was a month for getting back on track with my reading after making poor progress in July. Thankfully, with the help of Bout of Books I was able to get in gear. In the end I did much better than I thought I would. Click below to see my master update post from the read-a-thon.

In an effort to get in better shape I signed on for Fit Readers. My goal is to start making better choices in the food I eat and to get more active. My first week went better than expected as it happened to coincide with a camping trip I went on. I did a lot of walking this past weekend and managed to have at least 1 serving of fruit every day. I am also trying to drink water instead of pop or sugary juices but I admit that is slow going. To learn more about this challenge and my goals click on the link:

Here are my reading stats for August:

Books Completed in August: 6

Pretty, Hip & Dead (Agnes Barton/ Kimberly Steele Mystery #1) by Madison Johns REVIEW COMING SOON
A Bride at Last (Unexpected Brides #3) by Melissa Jagears REVIEW COMING SOON

The Stats:

Favourite Book of the Month: A Bride at Last
Favourite Setting: Hope Harbor Oregon
Favourite Character: Charley from Hope Harbor
Longest Book Read in August: The Stockholm Octavo, equivalent to 416 pages.
The Shortest Book Read: Where There’s Smoke, 40 pages.
Total Number of Pages Read: 1531
Total Number of Fiction Books Read: 6
Total Number of Non-Fiction Books Read: 0

Challenge Updates:

2015 A-Z Challenge: 11/26
2015 ebook Challenge: 19/25
2015 Historical Fiction Challenge: 10/15
Millionaire Challenge: 11,068/1 000 000

Currently Reading:


September TBR:

Thank you for checking out my month in review. How did August go for you? Did you reach your reading goal for the month?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann

Title: The Stockholm Octavo
Author: Karen Engelmann
Narrator: Simon Vance
Published: 2012
Published By: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Format Read: Audio Book
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date Read: August 19 2015
Rating: 2.5/5

1790’s Stockholm Sweden: A bachelor by the name of Emil Larsson raises in the ranks of the city’s society to become a customs secretary among the gambling tables of parlours. At one such establishment he would meet a proprietor and fortune teller by the name of Mrs. Sparrow. A tarot card reading involving an octavo of eight cards, would change the man’s life direction in some dangerous ways. In search for the 8 people represented in the cards, the final supposedly to be his love, Larsson would cross paths with a baroness, an apothecary, a fan maker, his wife and the King Gustav III himself. 

I came across The Stockholm Octavo on Goodreads one day and was intrigued by the idea of uncovering which character would match each of the eight cards. I was not very familiar with 18th century Stockholm, so reading this book was an educational experience for me, although this is a work of fiction. This book tells how the number 8 is an ancient symbol of eternity and the reading of the cards took Mrs. Sparrow and Larsson took 6 days to reveal. Another focus of this story was the art and language of fans. Women of society learned how to flutter their fans and use them as a way of communication, most specifically with men. I was familiar with the importance of a woman being married and how it will advance her family, however I was interested to learn that the career position of a man may also depend on him being married as well. This was the case of Larsson’s position in customs. 

I will admit that this isn’t my favourite century to read about, so I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I hoped I would. As I listened to this book in audio format, I often found myself getting confused with all of the characters and the politics of the time. Perhaps if I re-read or re-listened to it again I would pick up on more points I missed the first time around. 

Even though this book wasn’t one of my favourites, I would recommend this to those who are interested in Swedish history involving King Gustav III. It would probably be better read in book format rather than listened to in audio.

Friday, August 28, 2015

August Nature Box

I received my August Nature box at the beginning of the month and just took our time sampling each of the snacks. Here is a lame picture of what I was sent (hah):

A:  Apple Pie Oat Clusters:  I gave this snack a 3/5 rating as I found them to be just ok and probably won't add them to my list again. I hoped that they would be more soft than hard and crunchy.
B: Chocolate Banana Chips: Another 3 star rating. These chips didn't have a lot of chocolate flavor as I had expected. It was basically banana chips with a batter type dusting (for lack of a better description). Personally I prefer just plain banana chips.
C: Probiotic Power Mix: I'm not a lover of cranberries because I find them too tart, however these didn't have such a strong taste, so I was able to enjoy them. The yogurt covered fruit was pretty tasty as well.
D: Mini Belgian Waffles: I was surprised to see these in my box this month as they are usually sold out. The tiny waffles were more like a cookie in crispness and they can be paired up with many different things like ice cream or yogurt.
E: Sweet and Salty Nut Medley: This was my favourite treat in this months box. The nuts were salted and had a honey flavor. I'm looking forward to getting this snack again.

Overall this months box wasn't as satisfying as July's. However I am enjoying trying out new healthy alternatives. I'm looking forward to seeing what will come in September.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Layout!

Hey all,
Just a quick post to point out the obvious (ha!). I hadn't really planned on making any changes to my blog, but I came across a few free websites for fonts and clip art, so I decided to see if I could find some free backgrounds as well.

I found that offers all kinds of cool backgrounds and buttons for free! So I decided to see if I could figure out how to make the changes. It turned out to be surprisingly easy to add the background I decided on. The tough (and time consuming) part was making sure the layout lined up. As you can see I also added a new header as well.

My goal was to make my blog look more put together and inviting.  However I do kind of miss the pop of the yellow and blue, I had previously.

I would love to hear some feedback from those who are reading this. What do you think of the colour scheme? Do you like the background or is it too boring?

Any tips are greatly appreciated.

Hope you all have a great day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

Title: Hope Harbor
Author: Irene Hannon
Published: August 2015
Published By: Felming H. Revell Company
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Date Read: August 15 2015
Rating: 3/5

I was sent a copy of Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor, by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Set in the small coast side town of Hope Harbor Oregon, the lives of three strangers, all dealing with loss are about to be changed forever. Michael Hunter hopes to find some peace of mind when he decides to take a trip to the town his late wife vacationed in as a child. Here he would cross paths with a struggling cranberry farmer and an antisocial widow who keep their own personal pain guarded close to their hearts. Hope Harbor is a story about new beginnings and second chances.

This is my first time reading a book by this author and I enjoyed the descriptive writing style the story followed. I didn’t find the plot to be overly exciting, however it brought a sweet smooth reading experience for this reader and it kept my attention throughout. 

A handsome stranger coming to town and changing the lives of a known recluse and a workaholic in such a short amount of time does seem a bit too good to be true. I found Michael’s character to be a bit too perfect, even though he was battling with his own grief and guilt. Tracey wad a hardworking character and I enjoyed the parts that showed her relationship with her Uncle Bud. She did tend to be rude to Michael at times. Thankfully Bud was able to be a voice of reason. The true meaning behind Hope Harbor, was able to eclipse these character irks though. The point of the story is that things do happen for a reason and blessings come in all shapes and sizes.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy contemporary fiction that centres on second chances.