Thursday, June 30, 2016

ML's Worth a Watch: Orange is the New Black Season 4 and Orange is the New Storytelling with the Real Piper and Larry

It has been quite a while since I did a Worth a Watch post. Today I have two videos to share with you.

June 17 marked the season 4 premier for the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black. As I type this I am just over half way through the season, however by the time this post is published, I'm sure I will have it finished. Like most shows on Netflix, once I sit down to watch it I can't stop.

Check out the trailer for the latest season:

Clearly it promises to be quite eventful and chalk full of funny moments. I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens.

The next video I have to share today is called Orange is the New Storytelling with the Real Piper and Larry. For those of you who are familiar with the series you know it is adapted from a book by Piper Kerman. It is based on the thirteen months she spent incarcerated for drug trafficking ten years prior. Click the link below for the Goodreads page for the book:

In this video Piper Kerman and her husband Larry Smith sit down moderator Jessica Bennett for Internet Week. They talk about the show and the work Piper has done fighting for prisoners rights. I also found Larry's work as a writer himself, to be quite interesting as well.

I had never heard of 6 Word Memoirs before and I am looking forward to learning more about it. For those who are interested check out the website below:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2) by Rick Riordan

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)
By: Rick Riordan

Published: June 2006
Published By: Listening Library
Format Read: Audio book, OverDrive
Genre: Middle-grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Date Read: June 4, 2016

Rating: 3/5

A year has passed since young Percy Jackson discovered that not only is he a demigod, but the son of Poseidon. After school lets out he returns to Camp Half-Blood, which is in a very different state than he left the first time around. A Golden Fleece must be found and brought back to the camp in order to save it from destruction. Also Percy's best friend Grover is being held captive by a Cyclops on an island in the Sea of Monsters. In Rick Riordan's sequel to the Olympian's series, Percy and his friends Annabeth and Tyson head out on a quest to rescue Grover and bring home the fleece.

In this instalment of the middle-grade adventure series, Percy is a year older and wiser than when readers were first introduced to him in The Lightning Thief. Incorporating tales of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle, Percy puts to use the special traits he inherited from his father the God of the sea.

I really enjoyed the way Percy used the abilities he didn't know he had. They came to him naturally, as if cementing the fact that he was indeed the son of Poseidon. I was touched by Percy's relationships with his friends, even though his loyalties were often put to the test.

Although my favourite character from the first book played a large role in the quest for this book, Grover wasn't as much of a prominent character. The parts that did focus on him, however were quite entertaining. In his absence a new character by the name of Tyson became my favourite. Where he lacked in brains he made up for in strength, heart and loyalty to Percy, which made him so endearing.

As with the first book, I listened to The Sea of Monsters in audio format. It was narrated once again by Jesse Bernstein. Unfortunately I am not a big fan of his narration of this series. Although I believe his impressions of the different characters voices may be more appealing to a younger audience.

For some reason I wasn't as excited and captivated by this book as I was with the first. I wonder if this was because of my annoyance with the narration and if my opinion would be different if I had read a physical copy.

Still I do plan to carry on with the third book as soon as possible and would recommend it to those who enjoy a fun adventure story.

(Click the link to see my review of the previous book in this series)

  1. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sunday Wrap-up: June 26, 2016

Hello everyone,

Well this week was kind of a write-off for me as I hardly got anything accomplished. I have been feeling really run down and tired, probably because of the humidity outside. It feels like there is an elephant sitting on my chest. I've named him Peanut and he returns to me every summer, ha. So I spent a lot of time sleeping and watching the latest season of Orange is the New Black.

Speaking of Orange is the New Black I watched the last episode of the season tonight and I'm kind of conflicted with my feelings. It was an entertaining season but maybe not as shocking as the previous three. The last scene sure left on a cliffhanger. Now we all have to wait until next summer to see what happens. That is if it is being renewed. Does anyone know if this has been confirmed? I hope so as I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to the ladies of Litchfield just yet.

My latest picture on Instagram was from earlier today. This is my little Nova being cute..

 Follow me on Instagram if you like. My username is @melissaleesmanyreads

My Reading Progress:

Shortly after I posted my wrap-up last Sunday, I completed the following book..

I gave it a 3.5/5 rating. 

I really hoped to have gotten another book completed last week, but I was having trouble concentrating on what I was reading. I did make some progress though, which is better than none. We all have those weeks sometimes though. don't we?

Recent Posts:

Thursday: Book Review: Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, #1) by Dan Brown RATING: 4/5

Coming up this week:

Tuesday: Book Review: The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2) by Rick Riordan RATING: 3/5
Wednesday: My Top 5 Favourite Songs from 1971 (As inspired by 1971- Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth)
Thursday: ML's Worth a Watch: Orange is the New Black Season 4 and Orange is the New Storytelling with the Real Piper and Larry
Friday: Monthly Wrap-up: June 2016

And that is all for now. Hope you all had a great weekend.
Happy reading! 

Hosted by: Book Date

Friday, June 24, 2016

1971- Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth

1971- Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year
By: David Hepworth

Published: June, 2016
Published By: Henry Holt and Co.
Format Read: eBook, NetGalley, ARC, Kobo
Genre: Non-fiction, Music
Date Read: June 20, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5

I was sent a copy of 1971- Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year by David Hepworth from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

 In 1971 the events of the previous decade were still fresh in everyone's mind. The Beatles, who much to the dismay of their fans had broken up and were forging their own solo careers. With shifting interests and a troubled economy, how would this change the shape of music? Already established bands struggled to keep up the changes of time and had no choice but to evolve to survive. For the first time in music history the focus was on full albums, rather than the previously lucrative single sales. Meanwhile fresh new talent waited in the wings for their turn to prove themselves as rockers. In David Hepworth's 1971- Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year, he examines the development of rock and the beginning of what will be the music industry during the span of just twelve months.

 I grew up listening to a lot of good old Rock and Roll and up until the past several years would have preferred to listen to the singles of the 1950s or 1960s. It is only recently that I started to listen to much more Classic Rock. It wasn't until I read this book that I learned the history of this genre and the significance of the year 1971.

This book was divided up between the 12 months that made up the year 1971 and featured prominent events that happened in each one. I liked this set up although because there is so much back information mentioned I often got lost as to which month was the main focus. At the end of each chapter was a list of the top songs from that specific month. The addition of these lists gave the reader a wonderful soundtrack to re-visit. It allowed me to discover many different bands I hadn't heard of and to listen to songs that have since become favourites of mine.

Hepworth also touches on some of the personal lives of the Rocker's he writes about and examines their connections and influences that shaped their careers. Interestingly during that time music fans and the media had little knowledge of what went on behind the scenes. Unlike today when a celebrity can't even leave their house without the world being aware.

This book was really fascinating to me, as I learned a lot about how the music industry began to grow and eventually become what we know it as today. I enjoyed learning of how the trailblazers of the 70s would influence the entire way music is recorded and marketed for the years to come. Unfortunately my attention did waver from time to time, due to the length of the chapters and some of the topics that just didn't interest me.

1971- Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year is an educational trek back to the early days of what would become the history of Rock. I would recommend it to those who enjoy reading non-fiction about music history.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, #1) by Dan Brown

Title: Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, #1)
Author: Dan Brown
Published: May, 2000
Published By: Atria Books
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
Date Read: May, 2016
Rating: 4/5

Note: Read a different version of the book than shown. 

The war between science and the Catholic church has escalated to a point that brings about unfathomable circumstances in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. When dangerous anti-matter is stolen from a Swiss science research facility and hidden somewhere in Vatican City, all signs point to the Illuminate. With less than 24 hours left before the promised destruction, Robert Langdon a Harvard professor specialising in religion and symbology is brought in to decode a centuries-old mystery of a brotherhood that was thought to have ceased to exist.  

Angels and Demons is a book I never would have thought to pick up until I learned that Tom Hanks (one of my favourite actors) was starting in the movie adaptation. Although there were some parts I didn't exactly understand, I really did enjoy it I decided that I would give the book a try.

 I found a beautiful box set including this book and its sequel The Da Vinci Code at a used book store for a great deal. Included inside the front and back cover are beautiful colour pictures of specific places that the fictional characters visited throughout the Vatican and surrounding Rome.  

 As it had been quite some time since I last watched the movie, I was a bit foggy on how it all played out, but I began reading hoping that I would get a better understanding of the story line. 

At almost 600 pages in length, this book is very rich in detail, which is something I was grateful for as there was so much history, tradition and scientific facts that were pertinent to the story. The fast pace, mystery and excitement made it hard for me to put it down and so I flew through it. I liked how it was told from the point of view of many different characters both inside the Vatican and out. This gave such a wide perspective of the events that were unfolding and kept the reader guessing as to who was involved. 

Near the end of the book I found it became so bogged down with tragedy that wasn't exactly necessary as so much had already happened. The story still kept my interest but I found I had to suspend my belief more than ever to get through the last 100 (or so) pages. For that reason I decided on a 4/5 rating instead of my intended 5. 

Angels and Demons is one of the most engrossing books I have read in a long time. Dan Brown's writing style is definitely a good fit for me and I can't wait to continue on with the rest of the books in the Robert Langdon series. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy suspense focusing on controversial topics. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Un-haul: June 2016

Today I have a post I've been meaning to put together for quite a while now. Several months ago I reorganized my book shelves. I have already featured a tour of my main living-room shelf and have two more that need to be photographed and posted. I will get to those, but first I wanted to share a bunch of books I have decided to get rid of.

Unfortunately I won't be able to send any of them away due to the outrageous postage costs, so I will be donating the whole pile to my local library.

Here are the books I will be parting with:
(Click on the links to be taken to the Goodreads page for each book)

This first picture is of books I have read, but didn't like for various reasons, most of which I couldn't connect with. I gave each of these a 2.5 rating or less and one of these books I decided to DNF. I don't have any plans of re-reading any of these titles.

  1. Tiger: A Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant
  2. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
  3. A Tiny Bit of Marvellous by Dawn French
  4. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
  5. The Time is Now by Pauline McLynn (DNF)
  6. Never on a Sundae by Wendy Markham 

         I enjoyed reading this first book, but don't plan on re-reading it.

  1. Tapestry (Werner Family Saga #3) by Belva Plain 

    The second book I DNF'ed because I couldn't get into the story or its characters.
  2. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

    The third book is a discard from my partner
  3. Conan the Defender by Robert Jordan

    Books 4 &5 were given to me by a friend, but their plots don't interest me. 
  4. Born to Die (To Die, #3) by Lisa Jackson
  5. Smash Cut (Mitchell and Associates #1) by Sandra Brown

    I have a much nicer hardcover copy of book 6. 
  6. The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon #2) by Dan Brown

I wasn't interested in any of these books with the exception of Angels and Demons, which is a duplicate copy. 

The first three books in this picture didn't interest me and the last book I've read several times. 

And these last three books are ones I have read by didn't love and don't plan on reading again.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Wrap-up: June 19, 2016

I would like to wish all the fathers out there a wonderful day! Unfortunately I didn't get to see my dad today as we were both busy, but I hope to see him and give him a big hug tomorrow. In past years we have gotten together as a family for a nice dinner or a day out. One thing I love to do with my dad is go to hockey and baseball games. I really hope we get to go a Blue Jays game sometime this summer.

Did you do anything to celebrate with your dad today?

Yesterday (Saturday) I went to a wedding for one of my oldest friends. We grew up on the same street as children and went to the same elementary school. I was so happy to have been invited to her special day. It was a beautiful and meaningful wedding. It was also fun to get all dressed up and have a nice night out. My partner and I haven't done that in a long time. I must say he does clean up nice hehe.

Here is a picture of the dress I wore:

Not the best picture, but you get the point. The brand is Marc New York and I bought it from Sears. I dressed it up with some gold jewellery and peachy-nude flats. It was very comfortable and light, which was a blessing on such a hot day. I even got my hair curled for the occasion.

My Reading Progress:

Books Completed

I had so much fun listening to this on audio. I don't think I will be doing a review for it because, its Harry Potter.. What more can I add to it that hasn't already been said? I will just say that the narrator did a wonderful job with all the characters voices. Hopefully the second book in the series will come available through my library's OverDrive app soon.

Recent Posts:

Coming Up this Week:

Tuesday: Book Unhaul: June 2016
Thursday: Book Review: Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, #1) by Dan Brown RATING: 4/5

I was hoping to finish this one today, but sleep won over. It shouldn't take me much long to complete though.

Next up on my TBR is:

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

Hosted by: Book Date

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Title: Little House on the Prairie (Little House #2)
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Published: Originally 1935
Published by: HarperCollins
Format Read: eBook, Kobo
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Classics
Date Read: May 25, 2016
Rating: 3/5

In search of a new adventure, Pa (Charles Ingalls) packs up his family into a covered wagon and sets out for a new life on the Kansas prairies. Like in the first book, readers follow middle child Laura as they make the long and tiring journey from their home in the big woods of Wisconsin. Once on the prairie they must all work together to build a home and stable, while living in fear of an unknown place in Indian Territory.

As I re-read this classic series I am reminded of my original impression of the Little House books, from my early childhood. I remember my teacher reading this book to my class, introducing me to the pioneers and how they lived all those years ago. I remember having such strong emotions, as the Ingalls family faced danger on the open prairie. If only I could go back and re-live that experience of reading these books for the first time.

After all these years I am sad to say that I didn’t quite have the same reaction as I once had about Little House on the Prairie. I attribute this to maturity and a better knowledge of historical time periods. Although some parts were still disturbing, I felt desensitized because I have since read books that were so much more graphic. It also made me look at certain aspects of the story differently. Another reason why my thoughts on this series has change is due to the fact that I now know how edited Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories were compared to her real childhood experiences. This is to be expected though considering the audience these books are directed towards.

I love how Laura and Mary looked up to their father. He was their hero even if he put their family in danger. They always found comfort that he would protect them from any harm. I always liked his character but I find that I mostly remember him from Michael Landon’s portrayal on the television series.

Unfortunately this time around I also saw Pa in a different light. He decided that he would pack up his whole family and try their luck in Kansas, even though Ma didn’t want to leave her home and family. During that time period a woman was expected to listen to her husband and do as he says. This really made me think about the life women led then and how they differ in our present day.

I tried not to read too far into the realities of their circumstances though as I really did want to enjoy the story. I still found it fascinating how they built their home and lived off the land, just like I did as a child. And I also still believe that this is a classic series that should be passed down for many more generations to come.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

Title: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein
Published: June, 2005
Published By: Listening Library
Format Read: Audio book
Genre: Middle-grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Date Read: May 22, 2016
Rating: 4/5

At 12 years old Percy Jackson is just trying to make it through another school year without being expelled from another school. However strange things always seem to happen that lands him in trouble. Instead of a normal summer vacation, Percy is sent on the adventure of a lifetime when he learns that he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon and is sent on a quest to find and return Zeus’s master lightning bolt.

 As a book blogger, I have heard a lot about the Percy Jackson series and author Rick Riordan. I can’t say that I ever paid much attention to it though, because it doesn’t exactly fall into my genres of choice. Then one day my partner and I decided to listen to an audiobook together. I came across The Lightning Thief and decided to give it a try based on my partner’s interest in Greek Gods.

 And thank God’s (pun intended) I did give it a try because I absolutely loved it!

Although the basic story may be familiar to those who are already fans of Greek mythology, Rick Riordan has created a series that will captivate not only its intended target audience (middle graders), but book lovers of any age.

The Lightning Thief was exciting off the bat and continued at this pace throughout the story. Riordan weaved the tales of the Greek Gods into a story that was modern and clever. It is chalk full of colorful characters, adventure and humor.

I thought the narrator Jesse Bernstein really conveyed the excitement, however some of his voice impersonations were a bit cringe-worthy. Listening to the audio was fun, but I would still like to read and buy the physical copies of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian’s series.

Rick Riordan has created a character that will be treasured for generations to come. I would recommend this series to fans of middle-grade fantasy. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Wrap-up: June 12, 2016

Hello everyone,

Hope you are all doing well and enjoying the summer weather.

Is it just me or does it seem like a large number of well known people have passed away over the past 6 months? Recently the world is mourning the loss of such greats as Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe. Yesterday a former contestant from The Voice; Christina Grimmie was gunned down at an autograph signing. Then I woke this morning to hear the news of the nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. Terrible events like this really make you reflect on our lives and the state of the world today.

It makes me even more thankful for the opportunity to escape into the stories of my books.

My Reading Progress

Books Completed:

I admit that this wasn't my favourite Mary Higgins Clark book, but the story did keep my attention. I gave it a 3/5 rating.

Recent Posts: 

Friday: Book Review: The Color Purple by Alice Walker RATING: 4/5

Coming Up This Week:

Tuesday: Book Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan RATING: 4/5
Thursday: Book Review: Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2) by Laura Ingalls Wilder RATING: 3/5

My partner and I are about half way finished listening to this on audio. Its been so long since I first read this book, so I am really enjoying being refreshed on the events of Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts. 

I was sent a copy of this book for review and it is a quite fascinating history lesson on rock music in 1971.

And that is all for today. Happy reading everyone!

Hosted by: Book Date