Friday, December 31, 2010

Operation Actually Read the Bible - update!!!

The Catholic Study Bible: New American BibleThe Catholic Study Bible: New American Bible by Donald Senior

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started reading the Bible on September 29, 2009, and finished it today, December 31, 2010. Along the way I have developed a habit of reading the Bible every morning and I will do it for the rest of my life. This time, I merely read it -- no commentary or explanation. I knew I would not remember it all nor understand it all. So, my plan this next year or so, is to read it again with commentary. And I plan to continue reading it until the day I die because I couldn't possibly ever understand it all, but it has surely added to my life. I highly recommend finding a "read the Bible in a year" plan and implementing it. As you can see, it took me more than a year to complete the plan, but it was so worth it. If I had to skip a day or two, I just picked up the plan where I left off. Those days became fewer and fewer as my habit developed. I want to thank Becky from Operation Actually Read the Bible for inspiring me to do this.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Historical Fiction Challenge

After 3 years organizing the Historical Fiction Challenge, the girls of The Royal Reviews gracefully passed over this exciting event to the team at Historical Tapestry. They will do their best to continue doing a great job and create a wonderful place to share and discuss favourite (and less favourite) historical fiction books for the next year.

Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created. To participate, you only have to follow the rules:

•everyone can participate, even those who don't have a blog (you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish)

• add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review)

•any kind of historical fiction is accepted (HF fantasy, HF young adult,...)

•you can overlap this challenge with others kind of challenges

•During these following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels:

1.Severe Bookaholism: 20 books
2.Undoubtedly Obsessed: 15 books
3.Struggling the Addiction: 10 books
4.Daring & Curious: 5 books
5.Out of My Comfort Zone: 2 books

Although I really want to sign in as "Struggling the Addiction" (10 books), I will sign in as "Daring and Curious" (5 books), then if I am fortunate enough to read more, I will. I'm trying to limit my challenges -- not an easy task -- so that I can possibly complete a fair number next year. So, here goes...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I FINISHED IT!!! Fortunata & Jacinta by Benito Perez Galdos

Although it took me one year to read the entire 818 pages, I really did enjoy it and I FINISHED IT TODAY! This giant book is the story of two women who were in love with the same man (a cad, by the way). The characters were memorable for their antics and their personalities. From "the saint" who went around helping all kinds of people, collecting money and articles from merchants and builders to construct her orphanage, to Maximilliano who went through many different personality disorders. The one thing that confused me was the use of different names for the same person. I figured it out eventually, but initially it made the storyline a little hard to follow. If you are looking for a book describing life in Spain in the 1870's, this is it. It is one of the greatest Spanish novels of the nineteenth century.

2011 Debut Romance Author Challenge

Romance Book Maven is the place to sign up for the 2011 Debut Romance Author Challenge.
Here are the details:

1. Read at least 10 books by “debut” romance authors between January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.

2. I debated about this and books where an author is “debuting” a new name (i.e. Maureen Child who will have a book out in 2011 as Regan Hastings) will be able to count in this challenge.

3. You don’t need to make up a list beforehand but if you want to, feel free to do so. Just keep in mind it’s not a “strict” list and you can change it at any time to fit your reading schedule. Crossovers into other challenges are allowed in this one.

4. If you decide to join this challenge be sure to create a post telling others & feel free to add a link back to Romance Book Maven so others can join in the fun.

Well, this is my post, so JOIN IN THE FUN!!!

2011 Victorian Literature Reading Challenge

I'm going to sign up for the following challenge so I can expand my horizons into Victorian Literature!

This challenge is hosted by Bethany at Words, Words, Words.

What you need to know:

This challenge will run from 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011.

Participants can sign up at any time throughout the year.

Read your Victorian literature.

Queen Victoria reigned from 1837-1901. If your book wasn't published during those particular years, but is by an author considered 'Victorian' then go for it. We're here for reading, not historical facts! Also, this can include works by authors from other countries, so long as they are from this period.

Literature comes in many forms.

There are so many Victorian reads out there, including novels, short stories, and poetry. One poem doesn't count as a 'book': pick up an anthology instead!

Choose your books.

List your books before you begin, or pick up titles along the way. It's up to you! You can review them if you choose to, but it's not necessary. If you don't have a blog, that's fine! Link to a Facebook, or a page somewhere where you can list what you've been reading. If you can't link up, no problem - feel free to just comment and enjoy.

Spread the love.

Post the reading challenge on your blog - make your own post(s), or stick the button on the side of your page. The more the merrier, after all. Let's build a big community of Victorian literature lovers!

Choose from one of the four levels:

Sense and Sensibility: 1-4 books.
Great Expectations: 5-9 books.
Hard Times: 10-14 books.
Desperate Remedies: 15+ books.

I think I'll try the Sense and Sensibility Level to start.

2011 Romance Reading Challenge

Jamie at Nitty-Gritty Romance is hosting the 2011 Romance Reading Challenge. I'm signing up for this one because I really like Romance novels -- especially Time Travel Romance. I know some people don't consider them "real" fiction, but I think they are entertaining. Anyway, if you want to sign up, click on the link above and sign up!

Here are The Rules:

1. Create a post for the challenge using the image above and link back to this post.

--Non-Bloggers: You are welcome to join too. Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post.

2. Sign up with the Mr. Linky.

--Link to your challenge post when you sign up please.

3. The goal of this challenge is to read AT LEAST 12 novels that are in the Romance genre (ANY kind of romance) between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Books read before January 1, 2011 do NOT count towards the challenge.

4. Audio, eBooks, paper all count. Re-reads are ok but try to keep them to a minimum. Cross overs from other challenges are ok.

5. There is no need to create your list now. Please feel free to use your challenge post to keep track of your titles if you so desire.

I can read 12 Romance novels in a year, can't you?

2011 YA Reading Challenge

Jamie over at Jamie Loves YA is hosting the 2011 YA Reading Challenge! I'm joining and so can you. Just click on the link above and sign up.

Here are the rules:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Create a post about the challenge and link your challenge post up in the linky below.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post.

2. There are four levels:

--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.

--The "Fun Size" YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels.

--The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels.

--The Mega size YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels.

3. Audio, eBooks, paper, re-reads all count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. The Challenge starts on January 1, 2011 and goes until December 31, 2011.

I know I did too many challenges last year, but I really like YA novels, so I'm signing up for the Mini YA Reading Challenge or 12 books. We'll see what happens, but I'm hopeful.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 23rd on the Virtual Advent Tour!!!

Christmas is coming! What does December 23rd mean to me? Well, I hope that most of the things I want to do for Christmas are going to be done...maybe. The biggest thing that happens on December 23rd for me is Christmas Pageant practice! Our parish had a Christmas Pageant in 1998 on the Sunday evening before Christmas. Last year, I asked if we could do it again because the days lined up the same. Our pastor said we should do it before Mass on Christmas Eve! Wow! I was really nervous about it, but also really excited to do it. There was even an article in the local newspaper about it. We put on a pageant about the Christmas story from the Bible, depicting the different parts of the story with music, pantomime and pageantry. Two of our high school students play Mary and Joseph.
And, as you can see, we use a REAL BABY! The parents were so great and very happy to have their baby portray the baby Jesus. Students in Grades 1,2&3 could be angels or sheep and students in Grades 4,5&6 could be angels or shepherds...

and Nathan was "the star".

The School Choir sang as the Youth Ensemble played their instruments and it was glorious! We have one big rehearsal on December 23rd and do the Pageant on December 24th at one of our early Christmas Eve Masses. We are all really looking forward to this year's Pageant. It will be a little different because we will have two Narrators and we are using a girl for baby Jesus (shhh! don't tell). The Pageant helps children remember the story because you always remember better when you act things out. I hope you have a glorious Christmas Eve and thanks for visiting on the Virtual Advent Tour!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this Hunger Games series. These are books that you can't put have to finish them even if it's way past midnight and you have work in the morning. I was told that Mockingjay wasn't as good as the others, but I don't agree. It's different, a different challenge/game, but just as good. There were unexpected surprises which I like. The ending was okay, and fit in with the rest of the book, I guess. Yes, Katniss is "messed up" but doesn't that make you love her? And Peeta, well, so sad but hope springs eternal, right? I think their story was definitely told all it could be, but I can see a side story possibility in Gale. What say you, Suzanne Collins? Can't wait to read what you are writing now!

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Santa in Montana by Janet Dailey

Santa in MontanaSanta in Montana by Janet Dailey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Santa in Montana was a classic Christmas story about a family who lives on a ranch in Montana. It was a nice read about family members caring about each other and celebrating the holidays -- decorating, having parties, getting secret gifts. It was heartwarming actually. Two of the characters started a romance and a life-changing gift was given. Family members from around the world came home for Christmas. It wasn't exciting, there was no evil involved, no tragic crisis, but it was still a nice Christmas story. I liked it.

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