Wednesday, August 13

Yet Another Challenge

Okay, so I decided to join in yet another challenge. Oh I'll be reading lots of books! This time it's the 1% Well-Read Challenge. Reading 10 Books in 10 months from the 1001 Books to read before you die list. So here are my ten choices!

  1. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  2. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
  3. Silk – Alessandro Baricco
  4. The Shipping News – E. Annie Proulx
  5. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  6. Autumn of the Patriarch – Gabriel García Márquez
  7. The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
  8. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. The Rings of Saturn – W.G. Sebald
  10. The End of the Road – John Barth

    So there is my list, hopefully I'll be able to finish it along with the other challenges I chose to do.

Tuesday, August 12

Update - 888 Challege

Okay, so I finished my reviews for all the books I've read from January until now. And linked them to Labels for the different challenges I'm competing in. (I'm doing pretty well, once I get my library card, I'll be doing even better:)). While I'm here I'm listing, my eight categories of eight for the 888 challenge, then I can link it up and see if I can complete it this year or not. Here we go:
UPDATE: I changed two short story options. The are highlighted in red below.

Classics

1 – Catch 22- Joseph Heller
2 – Great Gatsby – Scott. F. Fitzgerald
3 – Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
4 - Girl with a Pearl Earning- Tracey Chevaller
5 – Great Expectations – Charles Dickons
6 – The Waves – Virginia Woolf
7 – Utopia – Sir Thomas Moore
8 – Breakfast of Champions- Kurt Vonnegut


19th Century Women Writers


1 - Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley***
2 - Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
3 - Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë ***
4 - Little Women – Louisa May Alcott***
5 – Manesfield Park – Jane Austen
6 – The Yellow Wallpaper and other writings – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
7 - Final Harvest –Emily Dickenson
8 – The Awakening – Kate Chopin


European Authors


1 - Anybody Out There Marian Keyes
2 – Always and Forever – Cathy Kelley
3 – Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
4 –Louise de la Valliere – Alexander Dumas
5- Watermelon - Marian Keyes
6- Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
7-The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux***
8- Emma- Jane Austen


Historical Fiction


1 – Thread of Grace – Mary Doria Russell
2 – Captian Corelli’s Mandolin – Loius de Bernieres
3 – The Book Thief***
4 - The Other Boleyn Girl ***
5 – Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
6 – Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
7 – Ship Fever – Andrea Barrett
8- Shadow Patriots: A Novel of the Revolution – Lucia St. Clair Robinson


Authors with the first/last name beginning with the letter J


1 - Shades of Grey – Jessica James
2 – Catcher in the Rye J.D Salinger
3 – The Wheel of Time: Crown of Swords Robert Jordan
4 – Ulyssess – James Joyce
5 – Comfort Food – Kate Jacobs
6 – Vanishing Acts - Jodi Picoult
7 – Children of Men – P.D James
8 - The Children of Hurin – J.R.R Tolkien


Fantasy


1 - Elemental Magic- Shannon Shin
2 – The Outstretched Shadow- Mercedes Lackey
3 – Elvenborn –Andre Norton
4 –Mistborn –Brandon Sanderson
5 – Wizards First Rule –Terry Goodkind
6 – Chronicles of Narnia – C.S Lewis
7 – The Wishsong of Shannara – Terry Brooks
8 – Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice


Short Stories/Novella Collections


1 – Runaway – Alice Munro***
2 - Winter Moon – Mercedes Lackey***
3 – Sunday Night Book club - Various
4 - Moons of Jupiter - Alice Munro
5 - Collected Ghost Stories - M.R James
6 – Dubliners – James Joyce***
7 - Ship Fever
8- Further Under the Duvet - Marian Keyes


Revisiting the Past (Re-Reads)


1 – Harry Potter 1 & 2
2 – Harry Potter 3 & 4
3 – Harry Potter 5 & 6
4 – Harry Potter 7
5 – The Hobbit
6 –LOTR – The Fellowship of the Ring
7 – LOTR – Two Towers
8 – LOTR – Return of the King

These are all on my side bar, I'm just putting this list down for the sake of linking it to the contest page. For my re-reads I'm reading all 7 potter books but because they are re-reads I'm clumping them together as "one" book. I also tried to go outside my shell a bit when it comes to reading, although I didn't veer to far away from it. We'll see some books I can't wait to try. (Also, see my progress on the side bar, I've already have 6 done! GO ME!)


J.

Atonement

Title: Atonement

Author: Ian McEwan

Pages: 368

Summary: (From Goodreads) Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.

On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives–together with her precocious literary gifts–brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book:

I really enjoyed this book. One of the best things about this novel is the style of writing, so few modern authors write this way anymore, but McEwan has this beautiful style of elegance in his writing, the words just jumped out of the pages. I loved having paragraphs and paragraphs explaining the scene using metaphors within the scenes to help convey the emotions of the characters and to hint at what's to come. There seem to be a lot who dislike this, but that’s what made this story. It’s the emotion put into words, descriptions, and setting that create this wonderful setting and characters all of which become very real. The author did an amazing job with this; I had the book playing like a movie in my head as I read it, visualizing each scene perfectly. The story was a bit sad, and during the war scenes really shocked you in the realism of it. The author was did an incredible job at bringing you a tiny glimpse of the war. Also, the ending of the story was what really made it. I was shocked and appreciated the ending, the author ties up loose ends, and some of them, the readers won’t like, but it is what makes the story, the ending where it isn’t exactly a happy one for most of the characters. With that said, I highly recommend this book to anyone, it’s a fantastic story combined with elegant style of writing which has created a stunning story you can read over and over again.


Would I recommend it to read: Yes! Especially seeing how the movie wasn't that good. Well the movie was good. If it wasn't a book. I loved the movie as a separate entity, that shares similar plots etc. Then to have it "based on" the book. (Why can't Hollywood just keep the integrity of the books, instead of butchering them up? WHY?)

What to read next: I have yet to read his other works, but if he uses the same styles, the try anything else by him. Also if you like this sort of style, go back to some of those old classics.

WoT: Lords of Chaos

Title: Wheel of Time: Lords of Chaos

Author: Robert Jordan

Pages: 1024

Summary: (I found a great summary for the entire book series, without actually spoiling what happens, from Wikipeadia.)

In the beginning, the Creator made the Wheel of Time, which spins the Pattern of the Ages using the lives of men and women as its threads. The Wheel has seven spokes, each representing an age, and it is rotated by the One Power, which flows from the True Source. The One Power is divided into male and female halves, saidin and saidar, which work in opposition and in unison to drive the Wheel. Those who can use this power are known as channelers; one organization of such channelers is the Aes Sedai.

The Creator imprisoned Shai'tan, known as the Dark One, a powerful, evil being, at the moment of creation, sealing him away from the Wheel. However, in a time called the Age of Legends, the Dark One was given purchase in the world through the machinations of people who opened his prison, and began his efforts to conquer the world, creation, and even the Wheel itself. In response to this, the Wheel spun out the Dragon, a channeler of immense power, to be a champion for the Light. Due to the cyclical nature of the Wheel, there has been no definitive victory for the forces of the Light; the war has been fought innumerable times since the dawn of Creation. The Dragon would defeat Shai'tan and seal him from the Wheel, only to have him come close to breaking out (or being released) several millennia later, forcing the Dragon to be reborn and repeat the entire process.

Jordan's novels concern themselves with one particular incarnation of the Dragon. About 3000 years have passed since the last war between Shadow and Light. This war ended when the Dragon, then born as Lews Therin Telamon, led a daring raid to Shayol Ghul and sealed the breach in the Dark One's prison with the help of a group of other male channelers known as the Hundred Companions (female channelers, due to recent gender politics and the extreme risk of the strike, refused to assist). Though Lews Therin succeeded, the Dark One managed to spread a taint on saidin itself, bringing madness and a wasting sickness to any who channeled it. The taint quickly overcame nearly every male channeler in the world, including Lews Therin and his companions, with catastrophic results that radically changed the face of the earth in an event known as the Breaking of the World. From then onwards, Lews Therin was also called the "Kinslayer", as one of the last results of his madness was to destroy everyone who carried his blood as well as everyone he loved.

For these reasons, the return of the Dragon is a cause for both hope and fear amongst the populace. On the one hand, the Dragon Reborn is the only person capable of defeating Shai'tan, who will inevitably begin to escape his prison. On the other, the Dragon Reborn will still be prey to the madness caused by the taint of evil in saidin, and is a harbinger of the horrifying fact that Shai'tan is once more breaking free. The only man who can save the world is also the man most likely to destroy it. He must not only work to unite the civilized world against the Dark One, but struggle to stay alive—for, while prophecy indicates he will be reborn, it says nothing as to whether he will succeed...

The Wheel of Time Series focuses on three main characters referred to in the series as ta’verenTa'veren are people who either pull the world to meet their needs or are forced by the Wheel to follow a path. The three young men’s lives are all intertwined in this way. Rand, Mat & Perrin are led from their home of Two Rivers by an Aes Sedai, Moiraine and her Warder, al’Lan Mandragoran. The three young men are also joined by Egwene al’Vere and Nynaeve al’Meara who are also residents of the Two Rivers. Though author Robert Jordan often enjoys involving a wide array of characters and plots within the Wheel of Time series, they are all centralized upon The Dragon Reborn, Rand al’Thor. – Rand al’Thor, Matrim Cauthon & Perrin Aybara.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This isn't my favourite book in the series, but it is still one of the best Ive read so far. There were a few surprises in it and some interesting character developments. Jordan's ability to create battle scenes is stunning to say the least. He does a great job at making an epic and powerful battle, without disrupting the characters traits or plot lines. Some of the characters grow in this book, other continue to annoy you. (When/if you read the series, you'll understand. Some character's have this relative traits that really bug the hell out of you, and it happens in almost every chapter that character is in). One thing tis series has is strong women, and women who have a lot of influence and power. Men of course do to, but the women seem to be able to have a role reversal in many instances in the book. The series does slow down in this book, and I hear that it slows down even more in the books to come. But Robert Jordan does a fantastic job at creating this world, including some character's you can't get enough of. (Perrin is definitely one of my favourites!)

Would I recommend it to read: This entire series is a must read for any fantasy fan. Not to mention, if you've come this far in the series, you're already half way through. So read it, read the others, and enjoy Jordan's world!

What to read next: Well, if you read this, I'm assuming you've read the books that came before this. So the next book to read in the Series is the Wheel of Time a Crown of Swords.

My Sister's Keeper

Title: My Sister's Keeper

Author: Jodi Picoult

Pages: 448

Summary: Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged...until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister -- and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

My Sister's Keeper examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child's life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.

My Rating: 9.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book was lovely, a great moral dilemma in the story and I loved how it we had perspectives of the entire family and main characters. Picoult did an amazing job at addressing a controversial issue as well as addressing all those affected by a family member with cancer and the emotional experiences a family goes through to help the one affected by this. You could really feel the turmoil this family went through. Anna and her Brother were the most memorable characters, as they were the ones that hit you the most when they had a voice. I really disliked the mother of the story, I think she was selfish and cruel to both her daughters, her son and husband. Pretty much everyone around her, but it is because of the situation she's in. Everyone deals with it differently, and it is done very well. And I was in for a HUGE shock at the end. The whole book is a tear jerker, have a box of Kleenexes ready. You will need them.

Would I recommend it to read: Oh yeah. This book is amazing times 10. I don't think there's anyway to put it. If you are debating on buying/reading it. Do it. You won't regret it. This is a story that will really make you think, and connect to you on an emotional level. With characters that are hard to forget.

What to read next: Memory Keeper's Daughter, Time Traveller's Wife,The Girls (I didn't like the Girls, but the stories have similarities in connections to the character's and what not)

The Black Tulip

Title: The Black Tulip

Author: Alexander Dumas

Pages: 288

Summary: Cornelius von Baerle lives only to cultivate the elusive black tulip and win a magnificent prize for its creation. But when his powerful godfather is assassinated, the unwitting Cornelius becomes caught up in a deadly political intrigue. Falsely accused of high treason by a bitter rival, Cornelius is condemned to life in prison. His only comfort is Rosa, the jailer's beautiful daughter, who helps him concoct a plan to grow the black tulip in secret. As Robin Buss explains in his informative introduction, Dumas infuses his story with elements from the history of the Dutch Republic (including two brutal murders) and Holland's seventeenth-century "tulipmania" phenomenon.

My Rating: 10/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I loved this book. It took me forever to find it, but I finally got my hands on it and fell in love with this story. The story is full of intriguing characters, who from Dumas' talent allow you to fall in love with them as you journey through the story. This is a lesser known tale, but it is similar to Count of Monte Crisco. And you are waiting for Cornelius to get what he deserves and are outrage by the treachery and lies you see through the book. You also grow to enjoy the story of the black tulip and it's growth throughout the book. I think it symbolizes many of the themes in the book, but I'll let you read it. If you like Dumas, then the book won't disappoint, if you never read him, then read this. He has an elegant style of writing and a unique style, that makes the reader feel they're apart of the story, or watching it unfold through the sidelines. It doesn't contain the action or adventure Dumas is so famous for in the Three Musketeers, but it contains his lovable characters and beautiful styles of writing and story telling.

Would I recommend it to read: Of course. You must read this book this year. This is one of the books, that you need to read, there are a few books on my list that you shouldn't ignore the recommendation. And this is one of them.

What to read next: Count of Monte Crisco, Three Musketeers, Twenty Years Later. That should get you to a good start.

A Place Called Here

Title: A Place Called Here

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Pages: 496

Summary: How can I describe this place? It’s an in–between place. It’s like a grand hallway that leads you nowhere, it’s like a banquet dinner of left–overs, a sports team made up of the people never picked, a mother without her child, it’s a body without its heart. It’s almost there but not quite. It’s filled to the brim with personal items yet it’s empty because the people who own them aren’t here to love them.

Since Sandy Shortt’s childhood schoolmate disappeared twenty years ago, Sandy has been obsessed with missing things. Finding becomes her goal – whether it’s the odd sock that vanished in the washing machine, the car keys she misplaced in her rush to get to work or the graver issue of finding the people who vanish from their lives. Sandy dedicates her life to finding these missing people, offering devastated families a flicker of hope.

Jack Ruttle is one of those desperate people. It’s been a year since his brother Donal vanished into thin air and the sleepless nights and frantic days aren’t getting any easier. Thinking Sandy Shortt could well be the answer to his prayers, he embarks on a quest to find her.

But when Sandy goes missing too, her search ends when she stumbles upon the place – and people – she’s been looking for all of her life. A world away from her loved ones and the home she ran from for so long, Sandy soon resorts to her old habit again, searching. Though this time, she is desperately trying to find her way home.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall I enjoyed this book. It was a little different story the what you normally see in the "fantasy realm", if you can eve call it that. It was odd place the author created, and this book was a far different tone and genre then the first. I think she carried her self well. The story was interesting and weird at the same time. I enjoyed it mainly because the story was so different then what you normally read, and although it's not a top notch or as good as Ahern's novel P.S I love you, the story is still a good light read. One of those by the beach kind of reads. It's hard to explain the book, and the place "here" but it is a really neat and original idea. Kudos to the author for that. I just wished the character's were mroe developed and the reader was able to grow to like them a little more.

Would I recommend it to read: I'd say I would. It isn't a book that will blow you away, but because it is a little different then what you see in fantasy or if you just label this as general fiction, it is a different experience into this world. Give it a try.

What to read next: If you haven't read it, P.S I Love (and don't bother with the movie, I've only seen clips and realized they butchered the hell out of the book). Also with alternative reality dream like worlds theme going on, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of OZ and The Secret World of Og (if my memory serves me correctly about that last one). All have a similar ideas about them.

Dubliners

Title: Dubliners

Author: James Joyce

Pages: 368

Summary: (Taken from Goodreads) I regret to see that my book has turned out un fiasco solenne'. James Joyce's disillusion with the publication of Dubliners in 1914 was the result of ten years battling with publishers, resisting their demands to remove swear words, real place names & much else, including two stories. Although only 24 when he signed his first publishing contract for the book, Joyce already knew its worth: to alter it in any way would 'retard the course of civilization's in Ireland'. Joyce's aim was to tell the truth--to create a work of art that would reflect life in Ireland at the turn of the last century & by rejecting euphemism, reveal to the Irish the unromantic reality the recognition of which would lead to the spiritual liberation of the country. Each of the fifteen stories offers a glimpse of the lives of ordinary Dubliners--a death, an encounter, an opportunity not taken, a memory rekindled--& collectively they paint a portrait of a nation.

My Rating: 8.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall I enjoyed this book. A collection of short stories. I read this a back at the beginning of the year and almost forgot to include it with my reviews. Opps. Anyways, Joyce tells a collection of stories based on Irish life. The hardships, vices and life stories. It was an enjoyable read, where, you do (as the summary suggests) get a portrait of the nation of that time. It lets you take a peak of the past, if a country and culture you may not have experienced, and it's clear this isn't the entire explanation or look at Irish life, only a tiny part, it is still an interesting read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would definitely recommend this for anyone to read. It is a classic, that everyone should at least attempt to read at least once. The stories aren't the most exciting, but they are well told and that is what makes them a good read.

What to read next: More works by James Joyce and more stories set in Ireland. I'm still working on reading them, but I like stories that are set in Ireland, they always seem to have a different feel to them.

Anybody Out There?

Title: Anybody Out There?

Author: Marian Keyes

Pages: 608

Summary: Anna Walsh is officially a wreck. Physically broken and emotionally shattered, she lies on her parents' Dublin sofa with only one thing on her mind: getting back to New York. New York means her best friends, The Most Fabulous Job In The World™ and above all, it means her husband, Aidan.

But nothing in Anna's life is that simple anymore... Not only is her return to Manhattan complicated by her physical and emotional scars – but Aidan seems to have vanished. Is it time for Anna to move on? Is it even possible for her to move on? A motley group of misfits, an earth-shattering revelation, two births and one very weird wedding might help Anna find some answers – and change her life forever. (Taken from Goodreads)

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Originally when I finished Rachel's Holiday I thought I liked this story better, but now that I'm writing this I realized I liked the other a tad better. Although some of the side plots containing Helen were amusing. Overall I enjoyed this book, and originally, got the wrong idea of the story, but it was still a different surprise. You really do fall in love with the Walsh family with every book. They're a little odd and unique at times, but I think anyone could related them to their own family. Even the sisters with their vastly different personalities the reader can related to a different times. I think overall the story has two parts the main idea of Anna Walks and her abiltiy to move on, and this powerful family she has. It's a story that does address a difficult issue, and can be sad at times, but the reader goes through some of this emotional turmoil Anna goes through and you are easily able to connect with her.

Would I recommend it to read:I would. Not only because it is a great read, but anyone going through what Anna Walsh has gone through, this would be a book to read to understand the feelings and emotions that occur when it happens (I'm being a little cryptic, but what does happen, I didn't realize, I was thinking among the lines of something else....so I'll just not say for now)

What to read next: If you haven't read any other Walsh Sister story, then that would be a good place to start. Also other Keyes books, perhaps some Cathy Kelly.

Mrs. Dalloway

Title: Mrs. Dalloway

Author: Virginia Woolf

Pages: 216

Summary: As Mrs. Dalloway prepares for the party she is giving that evening, a series of events intrudes on her composure. Her husband is invited, without her, to lunch with Lady Bruton (who, Clarissa notes anxiously, gives the most amusing luncheons). Meanwhile, Peter Walsh appears, recently from India, to criticize and confide in her. His sudden arrival evokes memories of a distant past, the choices she made then, and her wistful friendship with Sally Seton. Woolf then explores the relationships between women and men, and between women, as Clarissa muses, "It was something central which permeated; something warm which broke up surfaces and rippled the cold contact of man and woman, or of women together.... Her relation in the old days with Sally Seton. Had not that, after all, been love?" While Clarissa is transported to past afternoons with Sally, and as she sits mending her green dress, Warren Smith catapults desperately into his delusions. Although his troubles form a tangent to Clarissa's web, they undeniably touch it, and the strands connecting all these characters draw tighter as evening deepens. As she immerses us in each inner life, Virginia Woolf offers exquisite, painful images of the past bleeding into the present, of desire overwhelmed by society's demands. (Taken from Goodreads)

My Rating:
7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was my first book I read by Virgina Woolf, and it was very good. Although I didn't like the story so much, it brings up a lot of issues the character would have faced during the time and a lot of issues a lot of women faced during that time. Part of the reason it is so likable, is it's ability to connect to these issues, but still tell a story that's enjoyable where you can explore the lives of these characters. One of my favourite aspects of this novel is Woolf's elegant writing. It is so beautiful and flows so well, you really enjoy the book, even if the story isn't has eventful or good as other's you've read. I never see this style anymore, but Virgina Woolf has done it perfectly, the words come to the page and tell a wonderful story though elegant style of words.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend this to read, but I suggest reading to the Lighthouse first. I liked it better. Both books are great reads, but I didn't like this one as much.

What to read next: To the Lighthouse, Waves and Orlando all by Woolf. I haven't read the last two, but I have heard amazing things about them. Also Atwood and George Eliot. I've heard great things about both, and experienced Atwood first hand.

Winter Moon


Title: Winter Moon

Author: Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, C.E Murphy

Pages: 400

Summary: Three new novellas of power that rises beneath the light of the moon.

Mercedes Lackey - Moontide - In an isolated land where the lure of the "Moontide" leads to shipwrecks, a woman is torn between obeying her father or her king. When she chooses to follow a Fool, she discovers magic she'd never expected . . . at a price that might be too high .

Tanith Lee - The Heart of the Moon -
Struggling under the curse of a dead comrade, Clirando, a warrior priestess unready to face the powers trapped within her, must face "The Heart of the Moon" to reveal what has been hidden .

C.E Murphey - In "Banshee Cries," ritual murders under a full moon lead Jo Walker to confront a Harbinger of Death. Maybe this "gift" she has is one she shouldn't ignore -- because the next life she has to save might be her own! (Summaries taken from Goodreads)

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I have a odd fascination with the moon especially the full moon, so I decided to look for stories, novellas and what not on it. One the magics and spells that occur from it. This book was a great start. There were three novellas, and although the last wasn't as good as the first two. All of them were intruding and so different then what I normally read. The character's weren't one's you could fall in love with, although they were interesting in their individual stories, the actual story lines had a folk lore feel to them and all take place under the moon, including the magics or powers that affect "us". It's a fascinating book, different but fascinating. The novella's aren't big on descriptions of scenes or big on a huge adventure of fight scene, but it has this amazing feel and ability to have you transfixed into the story so you can't put it down.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes. I think that it would be a good book to read. For two reasons, it's a little different then what I've read, and likely most people have read. And it's just a great book of folk tales/novellas, that are fascinating and a great curl in the couch reads.

What to read next: I have no idea. I don't have a lot of experience with this type. If you have anymore short stories, novella's or novels similar to what's in here TELL me. Or even moon magic based stories. I'd love to see some books.

Monday, August 11

The Other Side of the Story

Title: The Other Side of the Story

Author: Marian Keyes

Pages: 656

Summary: Jojo Harvey is a dead ringer for Jessica Rabbit and the most ferocious literary agent in town. A former NYPD cop, she now lives in London making million-dollar book deals while trying to make partner at her firm . . . all the while sleeping with the boss man.

Lily Wright is an author who believes in karma, and is waiting for the sky to fall after stealing her former best friend's man. Though her first book failed to sell, her life turns upside down when her most recent book becomes a huge bestseller.

Gemma Hogan is an event designer extraordinaire, but her personal life is nonexistent after losing the love of her life and her best friend in one fell swoop. To make matters worse, her father has just left her mother. While taking care of her mother, she e-mails a close colleague about her frustrations, who in turn forwards the hilarious e-mails to a famous literary agent named Jojo Harvey, who just happens to represent her former friend, now enemy, Lily Wright. . . .

Written in the charming and chatty voice that has become Marian Keyes's signature style, this hilarious and heartwarming novel proves there are three sides to every story . . . especially in the world of publishing!

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I liked this book a lot. It was my second Marian Keyes book, and although it wasn't as good as Sushi for Beginners, it was still an amazing read. The book contains Keye's amazing sense of humour, which contains the little things everyone has done or thought, I think that's part of the reason why it's so funny. Some of the story lines were a little, same old ordeal, but you were still able to get into the character's heads and see their emotions. I also liked the story behind the nooks of the publishing world. What a harsh mistress is seems to be, although at the same time looks fun and interesting job (to bad I have horrid grammar and spelling skills, I'd love to be one of those people who decide what to be published and what not!) Overall a great read, the issue of the affair etc again, is a story line that you see a lot, but it's not as cliche as I thought it would be, it gets you into the mentality of some of the characters affected, and the character's aren't picture perfect.

Would I recommend it to read: Of course. I'd recommend anything Marian Keyes to read. This story is another fantastic chick-lit, women's lit genre. Which is perfect for book clubs or just a night in.

What to read next: More Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly and the sort.

The Way Between the Worlds

Title: The Way Between the Worlds - The View from the Mirror Volume 4

Author: Ian Irvine

Pages: 736

Summary: The Three Worlds Cycle comprises a series of at least twelve books set on the three linked worlds of Santhenar, Aachan and Tallallame. The cycle details the struggle for survival between four human species: old humans, Aachim, Faellem and Charon, as well as a variety of other creatures, both intelligent and beastly (and some of the humans can be pretty beastly too!). (Taken for Ian Irvine's website. I can't really go to much into a summary, as I would ruin the story for you to what happens in the other three.) Think big adventurous tales of good versus evil and the morally grey and lovable characters.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Like the other's this book had me hooked from the first pages, and this book takes off pretty much where Dark is the Moon leaves off. Finally everything is revealed and you finally find out about what you're waiting for. I know for one there was a particular character I was DYING to have explained to me and he was. Shand. I love his character. All the characters are likable even some of the more foul and evil ones. Irvine is able to make the inhumane enough to make sure you know they're evil but the all have back stories, they all have qualities that make them almost good. Which is part of the reason this series is so great. Another aspect is his ability to almost create this world in your head, visualize the little details while you read this story. I like this, because it unique compared to what I normally read in fantasy. One issue I had was at times you wanted to pummel the characters for some of their repeated stupidity, but I guess it makes the story what it is character wise, because you get involved. The story it's self is wrapped up, to a certain extent, I was expecting something different in the ending, but I liked the ending even better for what it was. Another issue I have with this series, is once you start you crave more. I'm trying to enjoy it slowly, because there is only so many in the series.

Would I recommend it to read: Read this series. If you like Fantasy then you should read this. It is a fantastic series and I'm so thankful that someone told me about it. It has become one of my favourites.

What to read next: The next quartet in the cycle is called the Wall of Echoes. The books are; 1: Geomancer, 2:Tetrarch 3: Alchymist (it is also known as Scrutator) 4: Chimaera .

Runaway

Title: Runaway

Author: Alice Munro

Pages: 352

Summary: (Taken from Goodreads) The incomparable Alice Munro’s bestselling and rapturously acclaimed Runaway is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her intimate relationships. In Munro’s hands, the people she writes about–women of all ages and circumstances, and their friends, lovers, parents, and children–become as vivid as our own neighbours. It is her miraculous gift to make these stories as real and unforgettable as our own.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a collection of short stories, some I liked others I didn't. Hence the 7/10. All the stories had some of those characters you could connect to on an emotional level. Other stories where heart warming or sad. There were one or two I didn't care for at all. But overall the stories where well told, although one of my issues where when it ended you wanted to know more of what happened to the character. It bugged me at times, because short stories have a shorter time to tell the story and end it, so sometimes things end and can go either way. Which I guess the author is doing a good job, because it means we the reader must make our own endings up. Overall good story writing, phrases and style aren't the best, but I've read so many fantasy novels that I really like the elaborte telling of the setting, which can't happen in this.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. These are life stories, short stories. It's a good fall read. One of those you grab a blanket and curl up in the couch with a hot chocolate read. (I did it in the winter but close enough haha).

What to read next: I haven't explored the short story realm as much so I'm not sure. Cathy Kelly has a similar story style so if you want to move on to the novels then that would be an idea. But when it comes to short stories, my experience is next to nill.

Past Secrets

Title: Past Secrets

Author: Cathy Kelly

Pages: 512

Summary: (From Cathy Kelly's Website) From the outside, the welcoming houses of Summer Street are the picture of Irish charm. But on the inside, unexpected secrets swirl. At number thirty-two, hardworking single-mother Faye Reid conceals the truth about her marriage from her fiery daughter, Amber. But Amber, a budding artist, also hides something from her all-too-trusting mother….

At number forty-eight, Maggie Maguire arrives at her childhood home to help her sick mother, a welcome distraction from the life she left behind and the startling secret she’s hiding – from herself.

At thirty-four Summer Street, wise and kind Christie Devlin has the remarkable ability to see into the lives and hearts of others. But when her own past comes back to haunt her – posing a threat to her picture-perfect marriage – this time, the answers aren’t as clear.

My Rating: 6.5-7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The Book was fairly good. It wasn't great, but it was still a good read. It's a little slow moving at times, but the characters are likable so you actually care enough to finish the book and continue to see what happens with their lives and dilemmas. One great thing about the book is that the character's have faults and secrets and lies and whatnot, and it's the kind then majority of the readers would have, as are the struggles. I like that in stories, the character's seem much more real, when you can relate to them or they go through similar struggles (or even just have them have "ordinary jobs"). This is a bit of a horrible description, but I can't really convey what I mean. If you compare this to Who You Know by Theresa Alan you'll get what I mean. My biggest issue of the book was that it was a little drawn out so it got boring at times. But I enjoyed the story overall and the characters. It's a perfect chick-lit or "womens-lit" book club read.

Would I recommend it to read: I'd recommend this to read. Anyone who enjoys chick-lit, women's lit, and related book clubs. Also lifetime stories, becoming of one's self. If you enjoy that type of story, then this is for you.

What to read next: Other work by Cathy Kelly would be a good place to start. I have Always and Forever and Best of Friends on my shelf (waiting to be read). But they would be good choices.

A Little Princess

Title: A Little Princess

Author:Frances Hodgson Burnett

Pages: 192

Summary: Sara Crewe, an exceptionally intelligent and imaginative student at Miss Minchin's Select Seminary for Young Ladies, is devastated when her adored, indulgent father dies. Now penniless and banished to a room in the attic, Sara is demeaned, abused, and forced to work as a servant. How this resourceful girl's fortunes change again is at the center of A Little Princess, one of the best-loved stories in all of children's literature.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The movie was a childhood favourite. and it wasn't until February or March, when I finally got the book and read it. The story was like I remember to a certain extent. It wasn't as kind as the story was in the movie, but I liked it a little better. It wasn't a perfect happy ending, but it was a great ending nonetheless. I really enjoyed Sara's character, even in the worst of times she tries to make the best of it, and the story is so heart warming. It isn't a overly funny, or epic fantasy adventure like we see in most children's books, but a story full of heart warming characters who you will fall in love with (as will children who read them) Sara is one of those character's you'll remember. And that makes this book worth reading (on top of the story of course)

Would I recommend it to read: Children and adults who are still young at heart

What to read next: Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables two great childhood classics

Sunday, August 10

Who You Know

Title: Who You Know

Author: Theresa Alan

Pages: 352

Summary: Rette: I'd always imagined being the sort of adventurous girl who'd have an affair with a dark-eyed stranger on the Eurail. Instead, I'm getting married, planning the wedding of my mother's dream, and searching for a dress that can cover my size 14 body without making me look like a toliet paper role.

Jen: Waking up with a searing hangover on a work day? Not good. Waking up to discover you're not alone in bed is ohmygod not good. I'd admit that lately I've been a bit out of control. But I', going to get it together, I promise. Right after I make that cute computer tech guy from work my love slave...

Avery: Asleep on the couch at ten o'clock - just another Saturday night for me. Maybe there's no such thing as romance. Maybe it's just a concept created by marketing executives to sell perfume, candles and weekend getaways. Still hope springs, eternal. And it's got to be better then working for a living...right?

My Rating: 3.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I really disliked this book. I wouldn't say I hated it. But it is close. I picked it because I thought it would be similar to Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly or Sophia Kinsella. I was wrong. The book wouldn't have been half bad if it wasn't so predictable and full of such stereotypes. It was ridiculous. I grew very sick of Jen's shallowness, and the fact she was a bitch. She barely grew as a character, until the last 10 pages, and the only reason we knew it was through another character's eyes.

The entire book could be predicted pretty much from the first few chapters. It was like a overly cheesy D- movie love story, combined with spurs of sex in the city that came out of nowhere. Seriously some of the sex scenes were a little out of nowhere, and was just there, to have a sex scene because the author couldn't find something that could make the story interesting, so instead she put a sex scene in that wasn't of any use.

One good thing about the book was the use of humour at the beginning. But that was soon lost in the amount of crud, the book had.

Would I recommend it to read: No one. Unless you're into this type of book.

What to read next: Do you're self a favour and read chick-lit that isn't bad. Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly, Sophie Kinsella. Just not this.

Thursday, August 7

Rachel's Holiday

Title: Rachel's Holiday

Author: Marian Keyes

Pages: 640

Summary: (Taken from the back of the book) "How did it end up like this? Twenty-seven, unemployed, mistaken for a drug addict, in a treatment centre in the back arse of nowhere with an empty Valium Bottle in my knickers..."

Meet Rachel Walsh. She has a pair of size 8 feet and such a fondness for recreational drugs that her family has forked out the cash for a spell in Cloisters - Dublin's answer for the Betty Ford Clinic. She;s only agreed to her incarceration because she's heard that rehab is wall-to-wall jacuzzis, gymnasiums and rock stars going tepid turkey - and it's about time she had a holiday.

But what Rachel doesn't count on are the toe-curling embarrassments heaped on her by family and group therapy, the dearth of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll - missing Luke, her ex. What kind of a new start in life is th.

My Raiting:
9.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book had a slow start, it starts of with a lot of flashbacks to her life before the treatment centre. But what I loved most was the journey the reader goes through with Rachel as we watch her experience in rehab. As with the other Keyes books I've read, there's her witty humour that make you laugh out loud, but with Rachel, I found my self enjoying the character, to the point I was almost screaming at her because she wouldn't admit she had a problem, to almost crying with her when she looked back at moment's with her life, or just with the moments when she was at her worst, smiling when she was at her best. The other characters all have unique and a variety of odd personalities, and you can't help but to love them. That's what I like about Marian Keyes writing, is not only does she take a situation many women experience (this includes her other writings like Anybody Out There? Sushi for Beginners) but she makes the character like the rest of us, sometimes they're a little more on the extreme end, but they aren't the usual perfect image of women, with the perfect job nor the perfect personality who go through these situations, they're like us, the readers "real women" you almost think they could be real, hidden away in the pages. The story it's self is both happy and sad, but it's one that even if you can't relate to, enjoy going on the journey with the character and "cheering" her on as she make her own journey. Although I've only read two Walsh sister books, each gives us glimpses of the to other sisters, Rachel isn't my favourite sister (Helen seems to be mine) I liked Rachel's story a little more then Anna's (from Anybody Out There?) Don't get me wrong, both are fantastic, but I liked Rachel's story more, she seemed to grow more, I seemed to be more involved with her then the others.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes. This book is a fantastic book. It's Chick-Lit, but it's a feministic, real women kind of chick-lit. Some chick-lit is the pop-culture chick lit, I'd say this is more of a real women. I'm rambling, sorry. Read the book it's a great read, emotional, but a great read.

What to read next: This is the third book in the Walsh sister series, although you can read the books in any order (I've read them in reverse order, unintentionally) so if you haven't read Watermelon or Angels then I suggest you do (I plan on reading them very soon) Also book 4 of the Walsh sisters, Anybody out there? Is one I've read and would recommend you to read. Along with anyother books by Marian Keyes. Also if you found you enjoyed Keyes' writing, the Cathy Kelley is another author with a similar style to Keyes. Past Secrets is a book I've read and enjoyed. Or Sophie Kinsella writing.

Wednesday, August 6

Wide Sargasso Sea

Title: Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Ryhs

Pages: 160

Summary: (Taken for wikipeadia) The novel acts as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë's famous 1847 novel Jane Eyre. It is the story of the first Mrs. Rochester, Antoinette (Bertha) Mason, a white Creole heiress, from the time of her youth in the Caribbean to her unhappy marriage and relocation to England. Caught in an oppressive patriarchal society in which she belongs neither to the white Europeans nor the black Jamaicans, Rhys' novel re-imagines Brontë's devilish madwoman in the attic. As with many postcolonial works, the novel deals largely with the themes of racial inequality and the harshness of displacement and assimilation.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book covered a new genre I never experienced much or at all before now. This story is a sad story, because the poor women is drawn to madness. As the summary says, it open's your eyes to the struggles of racial inequality this women went through and she tells it so well, it makes the reader feel some of the emotions, the main character does. One factor that classmates had with it (I read this for a women's lit class, and I'm one of the few who enjoyed it) is the language is difficult at times because there are phrases that aren't the "conventional form of English"(I use this description with hesitance, but can't figure out how to convey it) or more so what most North Americans are used to. Many classmates made that point. So for the first bit it takes a while to get used to the dialect, but I got used to it, just read it a little more slowly. What you take from the story far out ways any difficulty in reading it. Also as the story points out it is a prequel to Jane Eyre's madwomen in the attic. Although if they are actually the same person is true or not, they do have many parallels. (Although I haven't read Jane Eyre, I've watched and discussed the movie)

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, reading this book introduced me to a different genre of literature, and it has some fantastic points as well as a great story about this women's struggle and difficulties in a patriarchal society and difficulties with assimilation. I think many readers can connect to the character in some shape or form.

What to read next: Jane Eyre, other works related to post-colonial life, and maybe the Colour Purple

The Handmaids Tale

Title: The Handmaids Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 304

Summary: Written in 1985, Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale imagines a near future quite different than the one George Orwell had predicted for the previous year, but her novel has joined 1984 as one of the classics of dystopian literature. Her vision is of a United States transformed into the Republic of Gilead, a fundamentalist state in which women, and their increasingly rare reproductive capacities, are strictly controlled. It's an imagined world memorable both for Atwood's vivid anger and her surprising tenderness.

My Rating: 10/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I loved this book. As creepy as it made me feel at times, it was wonderful. Atwood is very talanted at creating the dystopian society, although at times you see a lot of parallels with how some political leaders or members speak, or how their ideals are portrayed (along with that of the general public). This was something where you learn something, I took a lot from it, because although as a Canadian women, I am free to make decisions, I'm free to do (pretty much) anything I want, but there are countries and communities, even in places like Canada who oppose that freedom, it makes you realize the need for feminism and human rights, and Atwood points that out in her book. She has a great flow of writing, although it's hard to tell how well it works, because the story is done as a journal, I'm excited to read more of her work.

Would I recommend it to read: YES! YES! YES! This is something that even if you don't like her style, or believe in the story, it is a story that makes you think. It makes you realize to an extent that injustices to women and humans are happening around the world. And that human rights is an important issue. Even if it is just something you discuss with your friends, it is something that open's your mind, makes you think. If you will. It is also a well told story, about the life of the Handmaid, and her struggles she went through. (There is also a movie, and it's alright, but the book is far better, read the book first, then watch the movie)

What to read next: 1984, other works by Atwood, Works by Virginia Woolf

The Girls

Title: The Girls

Author: Lori Lansens

Pages: 464

Summary: (From Goodreads) Rose and Ruby Darlen are closer than most twin sisters. Indeed, they have spent their twenty-nine years on earth joined at the head. Given that they share a web of essential veins, there is no possibility that they can be separated in their lifetime.
Born in a small town in the midst of a tornado, the sisters are abandoned by their frightened teenaged mother and create a circus-like stir in the medical community. The attending nurse, however, sees their true beauty and decides to adopt them. Aunt Lovey is a warm-hearted, no-nonsense woman married to a gentle immigrant butcher, Uncle Stash. The middle-aged couple moves to a farm where the girls – “not hidden but unseen” – can live as normal a life as possible.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: For the most part, I didn't like the book. After all the hype about how amazing and wonderful it was, I was disappointed. I agree there is an amazing and beautiful connection between the two sisters, one of which most will never experience. And they share that connection with the readers very well. But that's where it ends. I found there story to have a lot of pointless sub stories, and to be very morbid at times. Some parts seemed to not necessary for the story line, and just thrown it there. Without spoiling anyone, it's mainly things they witnessed they shouldn't have. I don't think they were necessary. It made me not want to carry on with the story. It was sad, learning of peoples reactions, and knowing with the situation they're in, they didn't have as much freedom as the majority of the world takes for granted, but that is often overshadowed by the un-needed sub stories and information that doesn't carry their story forward, it just appears to be stuck in there.

Would I recommend it to read: Although I didn't enjoy the book, I can see why so many do. It does, tell a wonderful story of love and friendship between "The Girls" so I would say read it, it is story where you can take something out of it. For me there was just to much pointless fluff, in between the actual story.

What to read next: Memory Keeper's Daughter, Time Traveller's wife. Although I can't speak for the first one my self (only for what I've been told and read) both stories share that beautiful love connection between characters in the story, and also make you think about life.

To the Lighthouse

Title: To the Light House

Author: Virginia Woolf

Pages: 252

Summary: To the Lighthouse is divided into three sections: “The Window,” “Time Passes,” and “The Lighthouse.” Each section is fragmented into stream-of-consciousness contributions from various narrators.

My Rating: 10/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Woolf's writing is one of the most elegant and beautiful style's I've come across. The stories don't have daring adventures in them, but are about people and their lives, told by Woolf and her wonderful style of writing that bring the characters and their stories to life right on the page. I don't know how to explain it, but no one writes like she did anymore. It's just a lovely use of language and story telling. I'm glad I introduced my self to her. She is one of my favourite authors and I can't wait to read more of her work.

Would I recommend it to read: Woolf's novel's are classics, I'd recommend this to everyone. Even if this isn't your genre or the type of book you'd normally read, this is a book everyone should read. If not this book any of Woolf's novel's will do. But I think everyone should experience at least one of her novels or one of her pieces of work.

What to read next: I've read Mrs. Dalloway and I enjoyed it. Not as much as this book but it had her elegant writing style. Also if you want to read similar styles of elegance, then I suggest The Scarlett Letter, it has similarities in the level of elegance in writing (And I hope you understand what I mean when I refer to the elegance of an author's writing.)

WoT: Fires of Heaven

Title: The Wheel of Time (5): Fires of Heaven

Author: Robert Jordan

Pages: 928

Summary: The Series is about a group of seaminly ordinary villagers from Edmond's Field, but the wheel weaves them into it's plot each of the five villagers are part of it. The embark on a journey after two mysterious people come to their village, and save the day. Along the way they meet different races, and ways a life, as each of these new friends and enemies are also pulled into the wheel as they try and keep the Shadowspon imprisoned, which proves more difficult as each book moves on.

My Rating: 9.5/10.

What I liked/disliked about the book: Tied with the Second, The Great Hunt, this is my favourite book from the series. The series is full of battles, journey's and secrets and stories slowly revealed about each character. The book is long, as are the others around it. There were also some surprise in the story, especially near the end, that I would never have expected. Jordan does not fail to make you want to read more. One issue I have and this is with the whole series, not just this book, is that there are times when it drags on and nothing happens, or some of the character's personalities get old. A lot of fans have the same issue with this. But this is a fantastic series, everyone should read.

Would I recommend it to read: I'd recommend the entire series. But be warned, there are a lot of characters, a lot of plot lines, sub plot lines. If you wait a long time between books, it is hard to keep track of everything. Luckily other fans have found similar issues and there are some great sites including the Encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time (linked to site). I used this a lot to get summaries and where each character was left off at from the previous book if I have difficulties. It currently has 11 book published plus 1 prequel. The 12th book is on it's way, but sadly won't be written by Jordan, because he sadly passed way before he could finish it. He knew he may not be able to complete it because of an illness, so he kept all his papers, plans and handed then on to a friend and fellow author Brandon Sanderson. Who will finish the 12th and final instalment of the series. I'm awaiting for it's release (even if I only have 6/11 currently published books finished)

What to read next:Lord of Chaos, the 6th book. I have read it it's good, not as good as the 5th but still a very good read, and there is more plot developments and surprises in it. The rest of the series is recommended, but I'm told it does slow down a lot for the 7h-9th books. I haven't read them, but that's the majority. But don't let that turn you away. Robert Jordan's work is amazing, complicated but amazing. Ian Irvine and Tolkien (if you haven't experienced him yet) are also similar authors you should try.

Dark is the Moon

Title: Dark is the Moon (The View from the Mirror Book 3)

Author: Ian Irvine

Pages: 704

Summary: This is the third volume of 4 in the View from the Mirror quartet. I don't want to say much about the summery, because the summary of this book spoils what happens in the first two. The book (along with the other three from the quartet) are part of a collection of books broken down into quartets, called the Three Worlds Cycle. Here's a basic little "summary" from Irvine's web page
The View from the Mirror could be called a Darwinian fantasy. It's got nothing to do with the perennial (and sadly jaded) struggle of good vs evil. It's about the struggle for existence between four human species, each believing it has the better right to exist. Well, that's what Ian says - actually it's just an excuse for an enormous, action-packed adventure. The Quartet consists of:

  1. A Shadow on the Glass, 2) The Tower on the Rift, 3) Dark is the Moon 4) The Way between the Worlds


My Rating: 9.5/10 And probably my favourite of the quartet.

What I liked/disliked about the book: Since the book is part of a quartet, each picks up pretty much where the other's leave off. The book is so great for the most part because you keep guessing what's going to happen. Character's who have secrets, don't reveal them to the end. There is also a great adventure as the characters embark on, almost Tolkien like (although I doubt anything will measure up to it). One issue, and I have it with a lot of epic fantasy novels, there are times the story drags on a bit, or some of the character's characteristics annoy you to the point you want to beat them over the head. But that's one of the great things about Irvine, you care about the characters and you are almost screaming at them when they do something unexspected or that you don't want then to do.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes I would, be warned these are long books, they contain a lot of information. But Irvine is a talented writer, he creates an amazing fantasy world, ad has a lovely style if writing. Any fan of fantasy looking to explore new authors or stories should look here.

What to read next: The Way Between the Worlds, the conclusion of this quartet and then start on the next quartet labelled " The Wall of Echoes" would be a start. Also fantasy fans like my self may also enjoy other epic fantasy series like Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Terry Brooks Shannara Series or Terry Goodkind's Series.

I am America and So Can You

Title: I am America (and So can You)

Author: Stephen Colbert (from the Colbert Report)

Pages: 250

Summary: From Stephen Colbert, the host of television's highest-rated punditry show The Colbert Report, comes the book to fill the other 23¿ hours of your day. I Am America (And So Can You!) contains all of the opinions that Stephen doesn't have time to shoehorn into his nightly broadcast.


My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book is a non stop laugh. It's like his show, tied neatly into a book. It has his usually sarcasm and whit in it, it's full of similar "issues" that he talks about in his show. It's another book that you read just to get a good laugh. If you liked the show it's for you. It is honestly just a bunch of his "rants/talks" prolonged into a book and split into chapters.

Would I recommend it to read: If you liked comedy, or his show then I recommend the book. He is very sarcastic and open minded in it, so if you do offend easily, you may not want to read the book, because I can see it being offencive for some, but it's a book you should read, behind the sarcastic lines and what have you, there are some interesting points hidden in there about society today/

What to read next: I am America and So Can You on tape (ha), Also John Stewarts and Rick Mercer's Books will probably have similarities.

The Phantom of the Opera

Title: The Phantom of the Opera

Author: Gaston Leroux

Pages: 368

Summary: (Taken from the description found on Goodreads)

Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera, first published in 1910, remained a perennial favorite throughout the twentieth century and into the early 2000s. It was adapted to several popular motion pictures and into one of the most successful stage musicals of all time. Its main character, Erik, is a romantic figure whose appeal reaches across different cultures and times. He is a sensitive soul, an accomplished composer and musician whose great unfinished work, Don Juan Triumphant, is described as breathtakingly beautiful by the one person he allows to hear it; he is an object of pity, whose face has been disfigured from birth, causing him to hide behind a silk mask; and he is hopelessly in love with a young woman whom he can never seriously hope will love him back. At the same time, he a dangerous, menacing figure, lurking in the hidden catacombs beneath the opera house and blackmailing those who will not bow to his whims. He can hear things said in privacy and can create catastrophes that might or might not be the accidents that they seem to be.

Like other precursors of modern superheroes, such as the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Frankenstein’s creature, Erik balances sympathy with horror, admiration with revulsion. Set in one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe, this story of the love triangle between the phantom, the young peasant-born opera singer he loves, and the dashing viscount who she loves, was written as a thriller, and it continued to excite the imaginations of readers into the twenty-first century.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I loved this book. This is such a beautiful and sad tale. I've seen both the musical and the movie (I disliked the movie, but that's another story). I picked this book up, hoping to find more about Erik, the Phantom, life a back story and I got what I wanted. He is an amazing character, he is one of those characters that even though he is a bit of a bad guy, you adore him to the end. You want him to win. I found that. Part of the reason why I loved the book was because of him. The other part is just how it is told. It is not an "easy" read, but it flows so well, I found it hard to but it down, I was gripped by it wanting to know what happens next (even with knowing the ending, because I've seen both the musical and movie). The book is way better the both. It is so tragically beautiful, the character of the phantom is one of those who stick with you. One issue I had with the book was Christine. I don't want to say to much, because I don't want to spoil anything, but she seemed, a little insane to me. In the movie and musical she's this wonderful person full of life and excitement, and she is a little less "helpless" in both. In the book she seems to be a little, unhinged and more helpless. Maybe I'm just biased toward her because she broke the poor Phantoms Heart. Either way a wonderful read!

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend this book to read. It is a classic. It is a beautiful tragic story, that even if you're not a fan of the era, musical or the life of people who are in the arts, this is a story that has an amazing main character, that every book lover needs to meet.

What to read next: I haven't read it yet, but The Hunchback of Notre Dame would be my best guess. Anything with a tragic hero or love story. The Black Tulip or Count of Monte Crisco is also a good read, they're not related in a manner of speaking(if that makes any sense), but the both share lovable main characters, that pull you into the story, and leave you thinking about them, if you close the book before you finish it.

Undomestic Goddess

Title: Undomestic Goddess

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Pages: 400

Summary: (From the back) Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She's made a mistake so huge, it'll wreck any chance of a partnership.
Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she's mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they've hired a lawyer; and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can't sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope - and finds love - is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.
But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does - will she want it back?

My Rating: 7.5 - 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: To be truthful I wasn't sure how much I'd like the book. I've always seen the shopaholic series and it never caught my interest. I picked this book up in the store, and read the back and started laughing. I brought it home and I couldn't put it down. This isn't a amazing blow you away story, instead it is the perfect summer read. Sit outside under a tree or buy the pool and relax. This book had me laughing non-stop. It's why I enjoyed it so much. The story is great, it's a little cliche and predictable, but you forget it with Kinsella's sense of humour, you really grow to like the main character as you follow her through her attempts at house keeping.

Would I recommend it to read: Again, it isn't a book that will blow you away, but if you're looking for something funny, or a chick list, something to kick back and relax, or just a nice summer read, while you sit by the pool with a cool drink, the read this book.

What to read next: I haven't read anything else by the author, I've heard "Can you keep a Secret?" is good by her (Kinsella). But if your looking for something funny and chick-litish the anything by Marian Keyes will do.

Tuesday, August 5

The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl

Author: Philippa Gregory

Pages: 736

Summary of Book: Set under King Henry the VIII's reign. Two sisters Mary and Anne compete for the kings love and their own personal desires.

My Rating (out of ten): 4.5/10

What I liked/disliked the book: I didn't hate the book, I disliked it....but not a high level of dislike if that makes any sense. One of my issues with this book is that it is seemed to be historically inaccurate. I realize that historical fictions veer from the truth and accuracy and that's fine. But this was just to the point it took away from the story. I loved the story behind Henry the VIII and his six wives. I also am a huge fan of Elizabeth the first, and Anne. But this book destroyed Anne's true personality. Also I found that the book dragged on a lot, some parts seemed to be pointless and the characters very one sided.

Having the story told through Mary's eyes was a positive thing about the book. I find in history classes they only focus on Anne, and ignore Mary's "brief" affair with Henry, but that is where the good things about the book end. Wasn't the worst book I read, but a lot of the historical in accuracies ruined it for me.

Would I recommend it to read: No, this book isn't worth the hype it has been given. Behind all the issues I have with it there is a "okay" story behind it, I can see why there is a lot of people who enjoy it, but I wouldn't recommend it to others.

What to read next: After reading this, I'm not sure what to read next. If you enjoyed the book, I'd say read more of Gregory's work. My experience to historical fiction is limited (I'm hoping to expand on it very soon).

What this Blog is.

Okay, so this blog is for my Book Reviews. I read so much that I decided to make a separate blog for book reviews, so I can keep the other one for my "life events" or rambles. Haha! Anyways The first few reviews are some of the most recent books I read. I didn't read the first dozen or so in one sitting, but I'm working on a few challenges and I have read these books within the last year (Starting in January) So I thought not only could I include them to see if I can complete these challenges (The A - Z I'm interested to see if I can do it. Go letter V, X and Z!) So there's going to be a face full of reviews for your enjoyment!

Oh, if you want to know more about me go to my other blog My Other Blog is here (well on blogger, I also have a live journal!

OH! and before I forget, for you fellow book lovers, I recently found the site Goodreads. Online community full of book lovers. Check it out!

J.