Saturday, September 19
Author: Lisa Moore
Pages: EBook 265
Summary: The story moves with the swiftness of a gator in attack mode through the lives of a group of brilliantly rendered characters in contemporary St. John's, Newfoundland - a city whose spiritual location is somewhere in the heart of Flannery O'Connor country. Its denizens jostle each other in uneasy arabesques of desire, greed, lust, and ambition, juxtaposed with a yearning for purity, depth, and redemption. Meet Madeleine, the driven aging filmmaker whose mission is to complete a Bergmanesque magnum opus before she dies; Frank, a young man of innocence and determination whose life is a strange anthology of unpredictable dangers; Valentin, the sociopathic Russian refugee whose predatory tendencies threaten everyone he encounters; and Colleen, at seventeen a hard-edged female Holden Caulfield, drawn inexorably to the places where alligators thrive. In these pages humanity is a bizarre combination of the reptilian and the saintly. Listen to its heartbeat, and be moved - and delighted.
My Rating: 6.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed aspects of the book and while it was well written, in the end it wasn't exactly the book for me. I really enjoyed Frank as a character, and would have loved to have read more about him. He just had something about him that pulled me in. I became very emotionally drawn to him as well and he's the one character that has stuck with me from the book. I really wish there was more on just Frank, as I think it would have been a more enjoyable read. I found I didn't care for the other characters or their stories, some I just disliked completely - and I found most of them didn't have the pull Frank had. While most of their stories were well told in the end, I couldn't get into them.
The disjointed narrative threw me at first, but I did enjoy that aspect of the book, it did help get inside the character's heads and while I didn't like all the characters, it helped understand what they were thinking and helped expand on their story and helped the character develop. Overall, it wasn't a bad read but it wasn't a great read either. I did like aspects of it, but not enough to truly appreciate the book.
Would I recommend it to read: I think some readers would enjoy this book, but others wouldn't like the disjointed narrative. If you enjoy narratives like that, then it I'd recommend it. Although, I did find it wasn't the actual narrative that turned me off - but the author is worth reading, so I'd recommend her other books before this one.
What to read next: More by the author
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge
Author: Margaret Atwood
Summary: A man-made plague has swept the earth, but a small group survives, along with the green-eyed Crakers – a gentle species bio-engineered to replace humans. Toby, onetime member of the Gods Gardeners and expert in mushrooms and bees, is still in love with street-smart Zeb, who has an interesting past. The Crakers’ reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is hallucinating; Amanda is in shock from a Painballer attack; and Ivory Bill yearns for the provocative Swift Fox, who is flirting with Zeb. Meanwhile, giant Pigoons and malevolent Painballers threaten to attack.
My Rating: 9/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a fantastic read, and excellent conclusion to the trilogy, one of my favourites of the year, this book (the whole trilogy in fact), are well worth reading.
Reading this one after re-reading Year of the Flood, was a good idea, as it helped keep all the details fresh for me. The books have a lot of information in them, and a lot of sub-plot points and this one in particular had a lot of information that was pulled from bits and pieces from the other books in the series. There was a lot that was revealed which helped connect a lot of the little pieces of the story dropped throughout the series that helped answer a lot of questions.
Some of the revelations were surprising, others I began to guess at as things were revealed, and some events had me analyzing long after I finished the book. One little bit in particular has me wondering - mainly about Adam's true intentions with certain decisions he made. Which was why I enjoyed this book as much as I did, while I found it didn't have that same pull as the first book, there was so much revealed in it that had me eagerly reading for more.
Initially the Crakers bothered me, but I eventually enjoyed how the author wrote in their curiosity and Toby's view when she was interacting them, the author showed her frustration wonderfully - and there were many parts I found entertaining. The characters are what made this book, while some characters were less likeable and some I didn't like at all, there were a few who I didn't want to give up. Jimmy/Snowman was one of them. Toby was also a character who I wasn't ready to let go at the end of the story, and many of the characters are the type to stick with you, once you finished the book.
I enjoyed the ending, I know a lot of readers will likely be dissatisfied with the ending, but I think it was very fitting for the book and trilogy - it fit in the overall feel to the story.
Overall, fantastic read, well worth reading this one.
Would I recommend it to read: Yes I would. I think some readers will prefer the first two in the series, but this is an excellent conclusion and is well worth reading.
What to read next: Swarm by Lauren Carter, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and her Positron ebook series
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Finish That Series Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge
Tuesday, August 25
Author: Lesley Livingston
Summary: Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of a slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker … but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly carries a centuries-old Druid Blood Curse running through her veins. Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time— literally—maybe even get a date.
This is the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every … never.
My Rating: 5.75/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: I liked the premise of the story and I liked some of the historical background to the book, but overall I couldn't get into the book.
I found it hard to connect to the character and I didn't like the narrative, which made for a slow read. I liked the idea behind the more supernatural elements of the book, but it was such a small piece to the novel as a whole, that it wasn't enough to keep me invested in the book. The pacing of the story was fine, although because I couldn't get into the book, I found it to be a slow read.
Overall, interesting premise, but not a book I enjoyed.
Would I recommend it to read: I think both Young Adults and those who enjoy young adult fiction would enjoy this.
What to read next: Every Never After, the next book in the series
Challenges: 100+ Book Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge
Author: Ursula Le Guin
Summary: In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George's dreams for his own purposes.
The Lathe of Heaven is an eerily prescient novel from award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin that masterfully addresses the dangers of power and humanity's self-destructiveness, questioning the nature of reality itself. It is a classic of the science fiction genre.
My Rating: 9/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: I inhaled this book start to finish. It's one of those cases where I can't believe I haven't read anything by this author before - but I'm glad I did as it was a fantastic read and there's a good chance the author will be added to my must read everything lists.
It's hard to know where to start. The writing was lovely, if you've heard/think Sci-Fi can't be literary (which is not true), than this is book is the one to read. The writing alone was what pulled me in and kept me reading until the end. On top of that, it was an interesting story. I wouldn't say I loved the characters - they weren't the type that would stay with me in the end, but I was rooting for George and it did have a solid cast of characters.
The plot line had so many layers to it, which I enjoyed, although despite this it wasn't hard to keep track of everything. The novel is constantly changing and switching things up, but it adds an interesting element to the book. There's also a lot to gain from the book, it does show what humans are capable of - mainly how greed and power destroy things. The ending was just as good as the rest of the book, I think some readers might be disappointed, but I found it to be a satisfying ending - save the fact I wanted more from the story, it worked out.
Overall, a fantastic book - I'd highly recommend this one - to readers of any genre.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, not only is it a quick and engaging read, but the story is well done and has a lot to make you think. It would be a great choice for a book club.
What to read next: I'd say more by the author
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, New Author Challenge
Monday, August 24
Author: Kate Atkinson
Pages: Ebook 284
Summary: Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night.
Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack.
Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.
Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . .
My Rating: 5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: The beginning of the book started out great, the introduction of the three cases pulled me in right away and I was looking forward to an interesting read, hoping to figure out how, if at all, the three cases were connected. Unfortunately, the book fell short of expectations, the rest of the book began to drag on and that initial intrigue and push I had at the beginning of the book, disappeared. One of the reasons my drive to finish the book fell and most of my interest was the characters. Amelia and Julia were major turnoffs for me, I felt the made the story come to a stop, their eccentric personalities did nothing for me and irritated me more than anything. I felt very little about their story helped move their part of the case forward.
Other characters were fine, but they didn't hook me in to the book like the first part of the story did. While their cases had some interesting aspects to it, I was already turned off by the book by that point. Jackson Brodie as a character is fine, although there wasn't anything special about him to make him stand out for me.
The end of the book does tie things up. But, I'm not sure how I feel how things worked out by the end.
Overall, a strong start, but a not so satisfying read in the end.
Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure about this particular book, maybe the author, but I'm not sure about this book.
What to read next: I'd try more of the author's book. While I didn't love this particular one, I've heard good things about the author.
Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, Ebook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Summary: Olivia’s life has exploded. She’s discovered she’s not only adopted, but her real parents are convicted serial killers. Fleeing the media frenzy, she took refuge in the oddly secluded town of Cainsville. She has since solved the town’s mysteries and finds herself not only the target of its secretive elders, but also her stalker ex-fiancé.
Visions continue to haunt her: particularly a little blond girl in a green sundress who insists she has an important message for Olivia, one that may help her balance the light and darkness within herself. Death stalks Olivia and the two men most important to her, as she desperately searches to understand whether ancient scripts are dictating their triangle. Will darkness prevail or does Olivia have the power to prevent a tragic fate?
My Rating: 9/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: The book picks up close to where the one before it (Visions) leaves off, which is an aspect of the series I'm enjoying, there isn't big time gaps and it helps keep the flow and momentum of the book going. I was hoping for a little more with her ex-fiancé and his creepy stalking issues, but that was finished early on in the book and I felt that that part of the ex-fiancé issue was a slight let down, although his story line and how it was tied up was very well done. I really wish I could say more, but I don't want to spoil things. I thought it was a good way to tie up his storyline.
I'm starting to like Olivia more, although she's also the one character that gets on my nerves the most. She can be very immature and naive at times, although she's growing and starting to understand the real world, there are times I just want to smack her. Ricky's character is rather interesting and Gabriel is a character that is so different than the others in the book, he really adds something interesting. But all of them, are incredibly well written, and I've become very attached to all of them. Both main and secondary characters.
I enjoyed the ending a lot. It tied things up enough to keep me mostly satisfied that and there wasn't any cliff-hanger (which is good if all the books are published). But, the ending also left a lot up in the air that has me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. It will be very interesting to see how certain things play out. There were a few twists along the way, although I was guessing at one of them, there are some interesting pieces that will come out in the next book.
Overall a great book and a fantastic series. This is a series not to be missed!
Would I recommend it to read: Oh yes! Probably my favourite in the series so far, if you've read the others, then read this one.
What to read next: Betrayals - book four in the series, which isn't published yet.
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Chunkster Challenge
Sunday, August 23
Author: Billie Livingston
Pages: Ebook 268
Summary: A remarkable debut novel and bittersweet tale of the unflinching love and devotion between a mother and daughter. Razor sharp and darkly funny Going Down Swinging chronicles two years in the life of the Hoffmans. Eilleen Hoffman has just told Danny, her con-artist lover and father of her youngest daughter Grace, to get out — for good. Once a teacher, Eilleen lived a middle-class life, but her taste in men coupled with a predilection for pills and booze has brought her down.
Desperate to prevent her family from sinking deeper into poverty, Eilleen reluctantly goes on welfare. Eventually she turns to the only friends she has left, hustlers and hookers, to learn how a woman makes fast money, no investment necessary. With Eilleen on welfare and her older daughter Charlotte a teenaged runaway, child welfare authorities descend on the Hoffmans. As Eilleen trails through several attempts at drying out, the well-intentioned Children's Protection Society finally intervenes to apprehend Grace. With the threat of prolonged separation now a stark reality, Eilleen and Grace must rally to confront their demons with grit, determination and humour.
Unblinkingly observed and brilliantly written, Going Down Swinging is about the powerful bond between mother and child. And with her skilful narrative interplay, Billie Livingston illustrates poignantly how the truth of our stories lies not so much in the black and white, as it does in the grey.
My Rating: 7.75/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: The book started out questionable for me, I was unsure if I would enjoy it, but in the end, I found it be an great read.
It deals with a lot of dark topics, but the author did a fantastic job at showing the characters' stories and how their lives were affected by an assortment of life trials including drug abuse and foster care. The characters are a mess, I became very invested in their lives, wanting to shake them into reality. Which makes the book, such a good read, if it makes you become invested in the characters well being.
The narrative was very different than I've read before, as one of the character's narrative was in second person, which I think it may have been the first time (or at least the first time in a very long time), I've read a book with second person narrative. At first I was unsure if I would like it, but it worked out . I don't think it helped me get into that character's head more, or understand her more, but it did create a very unique perspective on that character's life, and helped create a different reading experience.
I enjoyed the ending a lot. I think it was a great way to end the book, I do think some readers might be unsatisfied with the ending, but I thought it was very fitting.
Despite my uncertainties in the beginning, it ended up being a great read.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, overall I thought the book was a good read and one well worth reading.
What to read next: More by the author
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Ebook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge
Author: Ian McEwan
Pages: Ebook 276
Summary: In one of the most striking opening scenes ever written, a bizarre ballooning accident and a chance meeting give birth to an obsession so powerful that an ordinary man is driven to the brink of madness and murder by another's delusions. Ian McEwan brings us an unforgettable story—dark, gripping, and brilliantly crafted—of how life can change in an instant.
My Rating: 3.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: The beginning of the book, the opening chapter showed promise. In fact I was pulled in right away and was looking forward to the rest of the book. It had a lot going for it, lovely writing and interesting premise. The it fell apart, and the book became a chore to finish. The characters in the book just didn't do it for me, the main protagonist bothered be to the point I nearly gave up on the book, multiple times. His tangents and observations took away from the story and I found it to be very disruptive to the rest of the plot. I also found the ending to be rather anti-climatic.
In the end, the book just didn't work out for me.
Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure I would, the beginning of the book showed promise, but I found it to be disappointing overall, so it's not one high on my list of books to recommend.
What to read next: Not sure about this one, I'd say the author, but I keep trying to read his books and most always fall short of my expectations - but a lot of readers enjoy the author.
Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, Ebook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge