Sunday, March 1

Book Review: Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns

Title: Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns

Author: Lauren Weisberger

Pages: EBook 326

Summary: Almost a decade has passed since Andy Sachs quit the job “a million girls would die for” working for Miranda Priestly at Runway magazine—a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Andy and Emily, her former nemesis and co-assistant, have since joined forces to start a highend bridal magazine. The Plunge has quickly become required reading for the young and stylish. Now they get to call all the shots: Andy writes and travels to her heart’s content; Emily plans parties and secures advertising like a seasoned pro. Even better, Andy has met the love of her life. Max Harrison, scion of a storied media family, is confident, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. Their wedding will be splashed across all the society pages as their friends and family gather to toast the glowing couple. Andy Sachs is on top of the world. But karma’s a bitch. The morning of her wedding, Andy can’t shake the past. And when she discovers a secret letter with crushing implications, her wedding-day jitters turn to cold dread. Andy realizes that nothing—not her husband, nor her beloved career—is as it seems. She never suspected that her efforts to build a bright new life would lead her back to the darkness she barely escaped ten years ago—and directly into the path of the devil herself...

My Rating: 2/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I picked this book up, because I wanted something light, and fluffy, after reading some more, heavy, intense books, not to mention I did enjoy the first book, and this one was sitting on my "shelf" for some time now. Well , be careful what you wish for because fluffy, is what I got.

I didn't like this book one bit. I enjoyed the first one, it was fun, funny and Andy (sorry, Andrea) was written to be likeable. This book not such much, forget any character development from the first book, or anything that happened in the first book, because by the end of this book, everything is exactly the same as it was at the beginning of the first book - save the fact she's ten years older and has a child.

Her character seemed to have lost all development she had in the first - and she somehow got dumber. She's a woman in a committed, sexual, relationship, about to be married, who is nauseous, throwing up, tired all the time and she thinks she has, an STD? Seriously? I really wish I had given up after that, but because I paid for the book I saw it through. I found the "PTSD like symptoms" Andy was having with the mention of Miranda's name, pathetic and unbelievable. Her boss treated her like crap, people have crappy mean bosses - deal with it. The fact ten years later she still has issues, just didn't work for me.

The only saving grace of this book was Miranda, who yes is not the nicest person there, but she at least made the book interesting. And she was barely in it.

Overall, this was not a good book. I should have read the other reviews before purchasing it, as I wouldn't have bothered with it.

Would I recommend it to read: No, wouldn't. The first one was good, this was a train wreck.

What to read next: Anything.

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Book Review: Monkey Beach

Title: Monkey Beach

Author: Eden Robinson

Pages: EBook 230

Summary: Five hundred miles north of Vancouver is Kitamaat, an Indian reservation in the homeland of the Haisla people. Growing up a tough, wild tomboy, swimming, fighting, and fishing in a remote village where the land slips into the green ocean on the edge of the world, Lisamarie has always been different.

Visited by ghosts and shapeshifters, tormented by premonitions, she can't escape the sense that something terrible is waiting for her. She recounts her enchanted yet scarred life as she journeys in her speedboat up the frigid waters of the Douglas Channel. She is searching for her brother, dead by drowning, and in her own way running as fast as she can toward danger. Circling her brother's tragic death are the remarkable characters that make up her family: Lisamarie's parents, struggling to join their Haisla heritage with Western ways; Uncle Mick, a Native rights activist and devoted Elvis fan; and the headstrong Ma-ma-oo (Haisla for "grandmother"), a guardian of tradition.

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was a slow moving, coming of age book, but it was a good, slow moving book. I enjoyed the fact the author took the time to explore Lisa's past and how it affected her to be the person she was.

The spiritual/magical realism side of things was an interesting touch. I would have like to understand it more and I wish it was explored more. The author tied into the story wonderfully and it complimented the story, particularly Lisa's development nicely, I just wanted more on it. Especially considering it was such an important part of who Lisa was and how it connected her to the other characters.

I loved the writing, it pulled me in and flowed wonderfully throughout the book. One of my main draws into the story, was the writing alone. There were times, where I didn't enjoy the plot as much, a few bits of Lisa's past that I felt I had to push through, but the writing, made it worth it.

I can't say I liked or disliked the characters. All were well written, well developed. They all had their demons, secrets and overall, I found them all to compliment and come together well. Yet, I don't think I can say they was a character that stood out, and I don't feel they stuck with me.

The ending was well done, it was ambiguous and left a lot open - but a lot of the book was like that, there were a few things I questioned in this book, that were hinted at, but nothing ever was laid out in the open if it was true or not. But, despite this, I think it was a fitting ending, and despite not knowing all the answers, I think it was the best part of the book - for once I liked the unknown for the ending.

Good read overall.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, well written story, very good choice if you enjoy coming of age stories

What to read next: The Diviners

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge, New Author Challenge, The Ultimate Canadian Reading Challenge

Book Review: Knots and Crosses

Title: Knots and Crosses

Author: Ian Rankin

Pages: EBook 206

Summary: And in Edinburgh of all places. I mean, you never think of that sort of thing happening in Edinburgh, do you...?' 'That sort of thing' is the brutal abduction and murder of two young girls. And now a third is missing, presumably gone to the same sad end. Detective Sergeant John Rebus, smoking and drinking too much, his own young daughter spirited away south by his disenchanted wife, is one of many policemen hunting the killer. And then the messages begin to arrive: knotted string and matchstick crosses - taunting Rebus with pieces of a puzzle only he can solve.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was a fun, gripping read from start to finish. It has all the elements I enjoy in a thriller/mystery book and an excellent protagonist to go with it.

I like Rebus as a character, he's raw and gritty, but he's still an enjoyable character to read about. He's realistic, he has multiple dimensions, and overall, compared to similar books in the genre, he stands out. I think it's why I enjoy this book and series so much. Because there's a very realistic protagonist, who is well rounded and compliments the plot. He can be an ass at times, but I think it is fitting for the mood and setting of the book.

This was definitely one of those, gripping reads, especially near the end. I ended up becoming immersed in the book, griping it, as I read on to find out what would happen next. And I think the author set up the scene, and ended it exceptionally well. I was hopping a certain reporter, would get a different ending, he was also a character who was well written, but he was also the type of character you wanted to be hit by a bus.

The story itself was well done, I liked it a lot and I enjoyed trying to piece together the mystery, although near the middle of the book, it began to drag on a little bit, I wanted the story to push forward a little faster than it did during that part, but all in all a great read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, this had me clenching the ereader, well written and great a character to go with it, what else could you want from a thriller?

What to read next: Hide and Seek, the next book in the series

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, Cloak and Dagger Challenge,  EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read Scotland Challenge

Saturday, February 28

Book Review: The Reader

Title: The Reader

Author: Bernhard Schlink

Pages: 218

Summary: Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.

When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover. She enthrals him with her passion, but puzzles him with her odd silences. Then she inexplicably disappears.

When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student and Hanna is on trial for a hideous crime. But as he watches her refuse to defend herself, Michael gradually realizes that his former lover may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I started this book expecting something entirely different than what I got, while I didn't enjoy the first half as much, the book ended up being a good read.

The first half of the book was okay, it wasn't what I was expecting and I found the "relationship" between the two characters was rather forced and not what I expected it to be. In fact I found the first part of the book to be rather bland - and the characterization lacking in anything to push the book along. And the so called "eroticism" was very, bland - I wasn't expecting anything overly explicit, but the book is said to be erotic - and nothing like that was in this.

The second half of the book, during the trial was well done. While, I didn't care much about Michael, I found Hanna to be an endearing, character - I really enjoyed her story, and the history about her past, I loved the mystery side of things, not knowing for sure her actual actions - it was very well written in that aspect. Michael, just didn't work for me as a character, he was there, retold the story, but he just didn't work for me in any section.

I did enjoy the ending, bittersweet as it was, I think it was a very fitting ending for the book.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it covers a few "heavy" topics, but the second half of the book, was incredibly well done it made for a good read.

What to read next: Atonement and there is one other book I'm trying to remember, similar circumstances where a woman is on trial, and I can't remember the name or author - but that one! (Narrowed that right down, didn't I?)

Challenges: 100+ Books, 2015 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Book Review: The Buddha in the Attic

Title: The Buddha in the Attic

Author: Julie Otsuka

Pages: 129

Summary: In eight unforgettable sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces the picture brides’ extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth, and then as mothers, raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of war.

My Rating: 9.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I loved this book, from the first page to the end, I was pulled in and didn't want to put this book down until I devoured it.

This book isn't the traditional type of novel, it's prosy, I'd say it's closer to a long narrative poem than a novel. While there are characters, they are all nameless, faceless, yet their story is told, in a beautiful, flowing narrative. From their first moments on the ship to their lives in California, they author tells their story and I found it to be beautifully well done.

You do get a full story, as the reader, you can feel the power and emotion of the characters who are speaking as one, telling their story, and while it wasn't exactly what I expected from this book, I think they way the author chose to tell the story was incredibly well done. I loved how well it flowed, how lovely the writing was, I couldn't put this book down, reading it in a sitting - truly a spectacular book

Would I recommend it to read: I would. It's very different than a traditional novel, and if you're looking for characters and plot, this isn't the exactly the book for you, but it is so worth reading.

What to read next: Ru by Kim Thuy, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Authors Challenge

Book Review: Among Others

Title: Among Others

Author: Jo Walton

Pages: EBook 224

Summary: Startling, unusual, and yet irresistibly readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled--and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off...

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book quickly became one of those books that was impossible to put down. With an interesting story and a character who you can't help but fall in love with, this book has become a favourite of mine.

One of my favourite aspects of the book was Mori. She was an incredible character, who I enjoyed reading about. She was well written with excellent character development, I loved her narrative and I found that she was relatable. I think is why I enjoyed the story as much as I did, as I didn't want to let this character go.

I also loved the amount of books mentioned/talked about in this. It has caused my own TBR list to grow immensely, and I think the author did a fantastic job at incorporating the amount of books into the story, without disrupting the story's flow. Over a hundred books were mentioned in this novel, but it flowed into the story naturally, I was impressed that the author managed to do this so well.

The magical realism aspect of the book was interesting and tied into the story as a whole well, but I wish it was explored more. I wanted to know more about the "magical" side of things, especially during the end of the book, how it worked, the history behind it.

As for the ending, I found it to be the weakest part of the book. The ending felt rushed, and abrupt - after such a fantastic read, the ending left me unsatisfied. It was still a great read, one I'd highly recommend, but I want more from the ending.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, this was a gem of a read. Very sweet, and it will make your reading list, a lot bigger with the amount of books mentioned in it.

What to read next: The book has a massive list of books that are mentioned in it, so choose one!

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Ultimate Canadian Reading Challenge

Tuesday, February 10

Book Review: Hunting Ground

Title: Hunting Ground

Author: Patricia Briggs

Pages: 286

Summary: Anna Latham didn't know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son — and enforcer — of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either...

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything...

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed this book, I didn't enjoy it as much as the first. The story was well done, and had some interesting pieces of it, but the whole story behind the Alpha and Omega and how that influences each other and the other wolves, always felt to be poorly explained. I still feel I missing a big chunk of information, to fully understand how it all works. In fact a lot of aspects of the wolves, such as their magic, has little explanation, and while I don't think it needs pages and pages of explanation, I think there needs to be something, to give the reader a better understanding on the wolves.

The characters were well done, and are well plotted out. Anna's growth is gradual, but she is definitely growing as a character, very different than the Anna first seen in the short story. I'm interested in seeing her in the next book.

Overall, a good read, but it just missed the mark for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's an interesting series and has a few fun elements to it that I enjoy and I think other urban fantasy fans would enjoy it as well.

What to read next: Fair Game - which is the third book in the series, Bitten

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Sunday, February 8

Book Review: Power Politics

Title: Power Politics

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 56

Summary: Margaret Atwood's Power Politics first appeared in 1971, startling its audience with its vital dance of woman and man. It still startles, and is just as iconoclastic as ever.

These poems occupy all at once the intimate, the political, and the mythic. Here Atwood makes us realize that we may think our own personal dichotomies are unique, but really they are multiple, universal. Clear, direct, wry, unrelenting -- Atwood's poetic powers are honed to perfection in this important early work.

My Rating: 8.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I read through this entire collection a couple of times, and individual poems within the collection four or five times, others more than that. I enjoyed this collection quite a lot, there were some very profound and complex poems in this collection. They all have a theme of a power struggle, although I'm unsure if it was a power struggle between two people or the poems was referring to the power struggle one has with them self. I think there were a few of the poems in this collection, that were referring to someone's inner struggle with themselves. Some of the poems, just seemed to have that feel to it, a very intimate, but personal struggle with one's self. All of the poems, are filled with Atwood's usually style of writing, shocking, blunt, but beautifully written. I was immediately drawn in, and immediately re-read the collection.

Overall an excellent collection of poetry, and one that will likely disappoint fans of the author.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, but I'd probably only recommend it to those who love Poetry or fellow Atwood fans like myself.

What to read next: More of Atwood's poetry, although I'm not sure where to start.

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Ultimate Canadian Reading Challenge