Tuesday, June 30

Book Review: Marked

Title: Marked (The House of Night Series)

Author: PC Cast

Pages: 306

Summary: The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

My Rating: 3.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Okay, so this book was painful to read. In fact, I want to go back to the Twilight Series, and give it another chance, because that was very well done compared to this. Being another vampire book, I thought I would have something interesting to read. The author’s idea of vampires is not bad, although I disliked the idea overall, I still enjoyed the goddess and mythology behind that, but that was a very tiny proportion of the story, and they don’t sparkle in the sun light, which was a bonus and the rest? The rest I hated.

I get that this is a Young Adult book, so the author is writing to a young adult audience, but does that mean it needs to be the world’s biggest cliché of young adults? All of the jocks are drunks, stupid and reckless. All of the pretty popular girls are sluts and bitches (and according to the author sluts are girls who dance, kiss boys on the lips after they’ve been walked home while in public. The Horror! Think kissing your boyfriend!). The ugly people are loners, and the rest of the people are “unpopular” and are either gay, average people (who make up most of the population) or country folk (who of course are obsessed with everything country) they are all the good and wholesome people, and innocent, doing nothing wrong ever. This of course makes up the main group of friends for the main character, who obviously, is the same. I don’t understand why all aspects of media directed towards young adults need to reinforce these stereotypes. But that alone made the book difficult to get through. Combined with the annoying teen drama, that is so over the top and drawn out, that the reader loses touch with the fact this is a book about vampires. It’s very easy to forget that these are in fact vampires and not a bunch of young kids pretending to be vampires in some new fad. Instead, it’s a book full of teen clichés, which made my head spin.
The writing style was written as a “sixteen year old voice”, but the author’s execution of that was horrid. It reminded me more of a twelve or thirteen year old who was trying to act cool in front of their older sibling and their friends, in what they, the twelve year old, thinks sixteen year olds do and say. The writing style reminded me more of fan fiction, then something by a professional, and again made the book difficult to get though. It’s the first in a series, and originally I planned on reading the series. I had the first two books checked out of the library, but I returned the second without reading it. There was nothing in this book to make me want to continue the series. Not the best reading experience.

Would I recommend it to read: No, I wouldn't. There really isn't anything interesting that makes the book jump out to readers, it's just an attempt to get in with the latest teen fad of vampires, that is poorly executed.

What to read next: Betrayed is the next book in the series. But if you like Vampires, read Twilight, its better. (I can't believe I just said that)

Challenges: 1st in a Series Challenge, 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, A -Z Challenge,
YA Challenge

So Long, and Thanks for the Fish

Title: So Long, and Thanks for the Fish

Author: Douglas Adams

Pages: 167

Summary: Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth's dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on. . . .

God only knows what it all means. And fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it's light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed the fourth book of the Hitchhikers Guide Series a lot better then the third, although I still found it lacked that same whit the first book had, it was still a good read. We continue the story of Arthur Dent, and he’s back on Earth, who is still experiencing some odd adventures and making some new discoveries, that of course make no sense, or make perfect sense to everyone but him. I find that the author indirectly and at times directly includes the reader into the series and the adventures of the characters, it adds a bit more personality to the book, and it’s done in a way, that seems to be different then what other authors who use similar techniques use.
One of my issues with the book, it lacked Marvin. He was in there for a few pages then gone. He’s my favourite character of the book! What’s the series, without Marvin? Seriously! Also, I find that some of the same methods for humour are being reused, after you’ve read three books, the fourth isn’t as funny as the others. The story is still well done, and I’m really enjoying it, but I find that the humour side isn’t as good as it had been. Better then the third, just not as good as the first. Overall a good, relaxing read.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, its a series worth reading, full of interesting characters, and out of this world adventures, just be warned, that the sequels don't add up to how well done the first book was. All are worth reading, but they're just not as good.

What to read next: Mostly Harmless the final book in the series.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge

Saturday, June 20

Spring Reading Thing Wrap-Up

Sigh! My first uncompleted challenge of the year! I had a fun time participating in it, but I wish I could have finished. Out of 14 books I chose to read, I only finished 10. Well I'm halfway through number 11, so 10.5 books out of 14.

Finished Books
1) Thirteen Moons - Charles Frazier
2) Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells

3) Twilight - Stephanie Mayer
4) The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman
5) All’s Quite on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remaque
6) The Diplomat’s Wife - Pam Jenoff
7) Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
8) Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
9) Agnes Grey - Anne Bronte
10) The Moonstone - Willkie Collins

Currently Reading
11) A Crown of Swords: Book Seven of the Wheel of Time

12) Middlemarch - George Elliot
13) The Wheel of Time the Path of Daggers.
14) One Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Did you finish reading all the books on your spring reading list? If not, why not?

No I didn't finish all the books. Why? Good question. I think its because I got caught up in other challenges (most of which don't end until the end of the year) or reading books from the library, that I forgot a lot of the books on this lists where well over 650 pages and some over 800 pages. I kept putting it off, then at the beginning of the week realized I had a lot of pages to read, and little time to do them. Poor time management for this challenge.

What was your favorite book you read this spring? Why?

Tough one. It's between The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff, Thirteen Moons by Charles Frasier and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. All three were wonderfully written, they pulled me in from page one. Interesting plot lines, and some different plot lines, and genres then my normal comfort zones.

Did you discover a new author or genre this spring? Did you love them? Not love them?

Most of my list was new authors, or more authors that were new to me or I haven't read anything by. With the exception of Robert Jordan (which I never got the chance to read/finish for the challenge and Phillip Pullman, all are ones I haven't read before. And most of them were enjoyable and are ones I will go out and find more books by.

What was your favourite thing about the challenge?

Hmm, I'm not sure. It helped me finish up some other challenges, and I was able to expose my self to some new reads, and new authors. And it is a challenge, that I will repeat next year (and finish) if its still offered. Incomplete Challenges

Friday, June 19

Book Reviews: Breaking Dawn

Title: Breaking Dawn

Author: Stephanie Meyer

Pages: 754

Summary: To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life-first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse-seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed... forever?

The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.

My Rating: 6.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I finally finished the Twilight Saga! Wheh! I have to say, out of the entire series, this was my favourite, but I’m still not a fan, I’m still not that impressed with the writing or characterization, I do not see everyone’s obsession with Edward and finally, I don’t see why the Twilight series is so widely popular. I admit, there is something that pulls you in and makes you keep reading the series, even if you’re not a fan. Meyer has done a great job at creating a very different fantasy world of vampires then what readers are used to. And there’s potential there for a great story, but I find it just falls short of that.

One of my main reasons for not liking the books and the series is there is to much teen angst in it. I know it’s meant for teenagers, but this is a little overboard. In Breaking Dawn we here Jacob’s voice for part of the book. Which was torture for me, I really wanted to slap him. In fact for part of the book I wanted to slap everybody because their hatred for Bella’s baby and them trying to convince and force her to get rid of it. It sickened me when Edward was going hand Bella of like a piece of meat to Jacob, so she can be human and have human babies etc. HELLO! Women aren’t pieces of meat, they aren’t things men can discuss about and decide things about them, or that their when husband’s think life is too complicated and dangerous, so lets hand them off to someone else. And Edward claims he loves her? If Edward loved her as much as he supposedly does, he’d go to the end of the world and back, He’d support her in any decision she made, no matter how dangerous it was. Not talk to her best friend and work out a deal to give her up so she’d be “safe”. She’s your wife, not a toy.
Thankfully there were a few non-insane characters during this part. The book made me appreciate Rosalie a lot more as a character; she became less of a dumb blonde in the book and had a vital role. I was positive Esme would have been in this type of mothering, protective role, but it was good to see Rosalie and Bella finally build up a relationship. Meyer threw a bit of a curve ball there.

Once Bella became a vampire, I enjoyed the story a lot better, she became less whiny and annoying, and I enjoyed her character as a mother. What part excited me the most was the huge build-up of this epic battle, Bella’s magic ability progressing to something very fascinating. There were a good one hundred pages of a build up to preparing for a battle. A good fifty pages building up to this great battle, a confrontation between two groups of vampires and then …… nothing. What the hell? It went from vampires about to rip each other a new one, to “Oh well lets say peace, go eat a random human or animal for the vegetarians here, and call it a day!” Arg!

Edward, Bella and Jacob are probably my least favourite characters of the books. Yet they’re the main prominent characters. I really wish the book focused more on the Cullen family and their uniqueness as a whole, their origins, their lives etc, rather than a teenage romance. Meyer’s strength lies more with the characterizations and the fantasy sides, than she is at the teenage romance/angst parts. Alice is an interesting character, I really want to learn more about her background. Emmett is always good for comic relief and a good laugh. Actually most of the time Emmett talks or appears he had me chuckling. Carlise is also an interesting character, who I wish we could learn more about. I always want more out of theses characters and less of Bella and Edward. I would be very willing to snatch up a book on theses characters.

So overall it is an improvement over the others in the series, but it was still a let down, and it just doesn’t reach up to the hype the book or series received.

Would I recommend it to read: If you've read the entire series up to this point, then yes. Even if you're not a fan. If you invested that much time, finish it off. If your a fan of young adult fiction or vampires give it a try. But it's not the best vampire fantasy series or story out there. So if you really enjoy vampires, battles of vampires etc. It may not be for you.

What to read next: House of Night Series, Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, YA Challenge

Thursday, June 18

Book Reviews: Wuthering Heights

Title: Wuthering Heights

Author: Emily Brontë

Pages: 245

Summary: Wuthering Heights is the wild, passionate story of intenses and almost demonic love between Catherine Earshaw and Heathcliff, a founding adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr. Earshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and, wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action in the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I finally read a least one book by each of the Brontë sisters, and I have to say, Emily is my least favourite of them. I really disliked Wuthering Heights, and was glad to be done. It took me a while to read the book, as I trudged through it, hoping it would get better. But it didn’t. The blurb on the back of the book, made it sound interesting and engaging along with that and the expectations of Victorian style of writing I saw in the other Brontë sister’s work I had expectations that this would be the same. But it lacked in the style, and the story bored me to tears.

Not a single character was likeable. They were all selfish, boring and nasty human beings to each other. There is nothing romantic about Heathcliff and Catherine’s “romance” or lack there of. I read this book and am questioning why people talk about it as a romance? She was married to someone else, but loved him, they were never together, he disappears for a while but they’re madly in love with each other?

Even the style of writing didn’t have that same flow and elegance most Victorian literature has. I did like how the story was told, of having narratives within narratives. Emily did do a good job at that. She did it in a way, that you weren’t confused when reading it, and didn’t lose track of who the narrator was at the time. And having the house keeper be the main narrator retelling the story to another, made you feel almost like you where and listening in on their conversation, as a bystander (almost like overhearing another persons conversation in the coffee shop). Clever method there, I have to say. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything else I liked about the story. A disappointment for me, although I may try some of her poetry someday, Wuthering Heights just wasn’t for me.

Would I recommend it to read: No, I don't think I would. Even though it is a classic, and I'm a strong believer in experiencing the old classic works. This one just fell short. There doesn't seem to be that Victorian touch in the style of writing or in the story of this book. It kind of fell flat. Some will enjoy the book. It's one of those love or hate it books. But, it just wasn't me.

What to read next: Perhaps Emily Brontë's Poems, or the other Brontë Sister's works.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, RYOB Challenge, Spring Reading Thing,
Victorian Challenge

Monday, June 15

It's Monday! What are you reading this week?

It's Monday, what are you reading this week?

Last Week
I read and Reviewed four books.

This Week
On the 2oth I have a challenge that is finishing up (Spring Reading Thing) So I REALLY! Need to finish those books. I also have a book due back to the library that can't be renewed. It's a total of 3299 pages I need to read by Saturday! OUCH

The Books are (which are also the ones I plan to read this week)

  1. Wuthering Heights
  2. Wheel of Time: The Crown of Swords (Book 7 of the Series)
  3. Wheel of Time: The Path of Daggers (Book 8 of the Series)
  4. Middlemarch
  5. One Thousand Splendid Suns
  6. Breaking Dawn
Now, I MIGHT be able to read all 3299 pages by Saturday at 11:59 pm. I don't need sleep right?
But in reality I probably will only finish Wuthering Heights, Crown of Swords, One Thousand Splendidded Suns and Breaking Dawn. (Breaking Dawn, 100% must be done by then). Middlemarch and Path of Daggers might not be done by then, and I won't rush through them to finish them. I rather enjoy my books the finish the challenge. Middlemarch will be finished my June 30th. We shall see, maybe I'll get all them accomplished by the end of the week. If I do, I should give my self a prize! (More books?)

And it isn't the amount of books I need to read, its more that most are pretty thick. 4/6 are over 500 pages. 3 are over 700. (Although I've started both Breaking Dawn and Crown of Swords, and hope to finish Wuthering Heights tonight) still makes a lot of pages.

What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading this week?
is a weekly event (hosted by J. Kaye) to list the books completed last week, the books currently being reading, and the books to be finish this week. Feel free to join in this weekly event if you'd like as well as use the photo/pic/button above.

Sunday, June 14

TSS - Go, Go Reading and Book Filled Weekend!

Well this weekend, and past week has been a fairly good week for me in reading and reading/book related adventures etc.

Saturday I went to the library to return a book and see if they had any I grabbed that are on my TBR list. I went to the small little neighbourhood library. So they didn't have a single book I wanted. Nor did they have the book that the online catalogue said was there! Grr! But, I did grab "Breaking Dawn" from their Quick Picks section.

Quick Picks is a selection of the "best seller" books that they have for a first come, first serve. No holds or renewals can be placed on theses books (they usually have one or two copies). This is to help move hold lists quicker, and is great if your at the bottom and manage to be at the Library at the right time. My old library system called them Best Bets. I'm sure other libraries have a similar idea. It is handy, I give it that. I was 52 on the hold lists of 15 copies. So it was taking a LONG time. And since I'm not a huge fan of the Twilight books, I'm glad I grabbed it.

I also completed TWO (2) Challenges Today! WHOOHOO! Although in the past few days I have signed up for FOUR (4) challenges and will more than likely be signing up for a 5th. I still completed 2! And will have a third finish by the end of the month. Maybe a 4th. But that one is stretching it. Seeing how 3 of 5 books are over 800 pages long, that I still have to read!
The Challenges are (click the links to see the completed lists)

The Classics Challenge Reading 6/6 Books

The New Author Challenge Reading 25/25 Books

I also created my own challenge. This is my first attempt at hosting a challenge. This challenge is a re-read challenge. Where you re-read all your favourite books. It's called the "Summer Lovin' Challenge". You are also more than welcome to read books that you haven't read to. The main point is to read some great books you love and pass it on to others.

Here's a link to the challenge! The Summer Lovin' Challenge

Book Reviews: The Moonstone

Title: The Moonstone

Author: Wilkie Collins

Pages: 480

Summary: In making his bequest, Colonel Herncastle is wrecking terrible vengeance on his family, for possession of the diamond bring certain damnation.

The Moonstone is cursed. And the Verinder family, caught in its sinister power, are swept into a maelstrom of intrigue and violence, suicide and murder . . .

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This is one of those books that grabs you by the hair and yanks you into the pages, as you dive into the story and into solving the mystery of who stole the Moonstone. The story is told through multiple narratives; all who have some clue or hint at who is behind the Moonstone. Although some narratives don’t seem to give much away when you first read them, in the end all have some hidden clue within them; that points the finger at the thief. The book was very hard to put down, and it was only when I was too tired to keep my eyes open that I actually put it down. It is one of those books you can stay up all night for and read. (I had no coffee at the time)

I’ve never read Wilkie Collins, and I’m ashamed to say until recently I haven’t even heard of him. I picked this book because it would go great with the Victorian challenge, it was on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, and it was a mystery, which is a genre of book I don’t read much anymore, but want to get back into. So it was a perfect choice. And I’m very glad I read it.

After only reading a few chapters, I fell in love with Collins’ style of writing and way he tells a story. I loved having the different narratives and thought he did a good job at creating a separate “voice” for each one. This allowed the reader to see the characters from many different points of view of eachother, along with their point of view of themselves. In other books where there are different narrators telling the same story, I find everyone looks at the other characters with the same point of view. Collins’ seemed to be better at ensuring each of the different narrator’s views differed, if it was only slightly, they differed on circumstances, events, other characters etc. You seemed to find certain personality traits show more in one person’s narrative than in another person’s narrative. Which is a fantastic way to tell a story it makes the story less one sided and you get to see the characters true colours. On top of that, Collins has that beautiful and elegant Victorian literature style of writing, you rarely see today, but a style I love.

I also really enjoyed trying to piece together who stole the diamond. And I have to say, I was surprised in the end when it was revealed. Until that point I thought it was a completely different person. Or at least I thought they had to have some part in the theft of the diamond. But I was surprised when it was revealed. Collins did a fantastic job at creating the build up and finally revealing the truth of the mystery.

One criticism I have with the book is with the narratives and that is that I felt some dragged on a bit (Miss Clack the Christian Spinster stands out the most). Betteredge’s narrative was well done, but after he mentioned Robinson Crusoe (the novel) for what seems to be the eighteenth time, I found it be repetitive and a little distracting, (I also find my self wanting to pick up a copy Robinson Crusoe hmm… hidden messaging?). I also found Miss Clack’s character to be extremely annoying and was glad she was only in the book for a short time. Out of the entire book the section where she is in, was the part that took me the longest to get through. Her and her personality just became very un-likable, in how she portrayed her self, what she did and how she interacted with the other characters. She wasn’t very liked by the other characters either, or at least that’s the feeling I got from them. So I guess I wasn’t alone!

Overall a very engaging and interesting story that has me moving more of Wilkie Collins’ works to the top of my TBR list.

Would I recommend it to read: YES! Run to your library, your bookstore, your online bookswaps and grab your self a copy! This was a fantastic book that has so many layers it will go great with a lot of different reader's tastes. I can see some not liking the length. Of the story, it isn't that long, but it move a little slow, compared to what some readers like, but give it a chance, and work to solve the mystery of who stole the diamond. I

What to read next: More books by Wilkie Collins. Fantastic Author. I haven't read it, but I have heard great things about "The Women in White".

Challenges: (Another) 1% Well Read Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge,
The Classics Challenge, New Author Challenge, RYOB Challenge, Spring Reading Thing, Victorian Challenge

Saturday, June 13

Book Review: The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion

Title: The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion

Author: Ford Madox Ford

Pages: 229

Summary: Our only window on the strange tangle of events surrounding Ashburnham is provided by his friend, the husband he deceives. Ford’s narrator entrusts us with everything he can remember, and these memories weave themselves into one of the most extraordinary tales of passion and betrayal ever told.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Although the genre of love and adultery usually isn’t my forte I did enjoy this book. The reason I picked this book up was because I needed a choice for the “Decades Challenge” for 1910-1919 and picked it based on the title. I thought it was a war themed book, and didn’t give the book much thought, until I nabbed it in the library and brought it home. So to begin with, I was a little reluctant to read it, and almost gave up after the first chapter. I’m glad I kept reading. I was drawn in very quickly and had a hard time putting the book down.
What made this book so well done, and what pulled me in was Ford’s narrative. He has a very wonderful and elegant flow, and there is something extra in how he is able to tell a story and pull you in, which was one of the reasons why I kept reading the book instead of giving up on it like I had planned.

The story follows a deceived husband and the man who deceived him. Ashburnham is a man who has multiple affairs, including one with the narrator’s wife. The story follows the lives of the people and how the affair affects all the different parties involved, and some desperate measures they take to solve or absolve themselves.

One of my favourite aspects of the story is how the narrator addresses the reader, as “the silent listener” it made it more personal for the reader, as well as the story teller. I got the feeling that this poor narrator was pouring his heart out to some silent person, about all of his sufferings from those he loved. What I didn’t like was the themes of adultery, because it’s the same story you see over and over. Adulterous man/women destroying the lives with either the husband/wife who is left watching there spouse destroy them emotionally etc.

The way the story was told, was what saved the story for me. Because the story was told years after the fact, so the narrator tells it through what is left in his memory. Parts are probably jumbled or left out, but it gave the story an interesting twist then what you normally see in the genre. Overall the story surprised me, and I’m glad I stuck with it.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book to read to select readers. Those of you who enjoy romance, or that old English/British narrative style you seen in books like the Scarlet Letter or Jane Austen's work. But if you are not a fan of the style of writing, you may want to try something else. Looking at other reviews that was one of the biggest criticisms of the book, was the writng style. But, if you are on the fense, give it a try, the book may surprise you like it did for me.

What to read next: The Scarlet Letter, Glimpses of the Moon

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, The Classics Challenge, Decades Challenge, New Author Challenge

Thursday, June 11

Updates - Including hosting my own challenge!

Now that I'm back from a crazy, yet wonderful weekend and trip home, I'm trying to get back into the sin of things. I got a good hunk of the Crown of Swords fished (WoT book 7) and trying to get caught up in some challenges, whose end date is quickly approaching. So I have to hurry up and finish!

In other news, I've taken the plunge, and created my own reading challenge for 2oo9! I'm very excited and nervous about it. We'll see how it goes. It's called the Summer Lovin' Challenge 2009 and if you want to learn more about it, just go to this link for more information and to sign up. It should help make your summer that much more special!

Summer Lovin' Challenge 2009

Other than creating my own challenge and catching up on reading, trying to find a job, which is becoming frustrating. I know the market is slow, but I wish for just one or two bites. I'll keep trying and hunting and hoping. Something will pop up soon.

There's a quick update, after not updating here or twitter for a few days, or at least not as much. I've been lurking, just been quite.

Wednesday, June 10

Book Review: Life, the Universe and Everything

Title: Life, the Universe and Everything

Author: Douglas Adams

Pages: 199

Summary: The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads - so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the killer robots of Krikkit and their goals of annihilation. They are Arthur Dent, a mild mannered space and time traveller, who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vice president of the campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behaviour; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-head honcho of the universe; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I have to say, that out of the three books I have read from this series, this was a bit of a miss for me. Still a really funny and enjoyable read, but just not as good as the other two. But something was missing, maybe it was the lack of Marvin, barley being in the story, but there just seemed to be something missing. It was still a funny read, some of my favourite parts included poor Arthur coming face to face with his arch nemesis, Marvin having a conversation with a mattress (which was hilarious and odd, at the same time) and as usual, trying to save the universe from some horrible catastrophe and ending due to the Krikkits.

I also found the ending to be lacking a bit, maybe it continues on more in the end, but there seemed to me to be more of a build up to it, then nothing. Hmm. Don’t be turned off the series by reading this book, it was no way bad or boring, it just didn’t have that same sparkle as the other book in the series (that I’ve read so far) had.

Would I recommend it to read: I would still recommend the book, as it is essential to read in the series, and still has some funny parts in it that is sure to have you laugh out loud, but just not as good as the others. It might be because I've read the 2nd and 3rd book back to back, so I was use to the funny plot holes, lines and explanations. Still go out and read it (or save the whole series for the next readers marathon, its sure to help keep you awake during the wee hours in the mornings.)

What to read next: So Long, and Thanks for the Fish, Mostly Harmless, Princess Bride (because the satire story genre reminds me of it)

Challenges 100+ Challenge

Tuesday, June 9

Book Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Title: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Author: Douglas Adams

Pages: 200

Summary: Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle through space powered by pure improbabilityand desperately in search of a place to eat. Among Arthur's motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a long-time friend and contributor to The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMilan, a fellow Earth refuge who's gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, who suffers nothing and no one gladly.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I finally got my hands on the second book of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy of Five parts and I have to say, I enjoyed it almost as much as the first. The book is full of the same witty humour and sci-fi nonsense as the first, as we follow the characters from the same characters on another epic journey, which is at the end of the universe. Marvin is one of my favourite characters, even if he is overly depressed. Whenever he pops up, I burst out laughing. But, my favourite part of the book has to be Arthur Dent’s attempt to get a good cup of tea.

The book can be hard to follow, but what you have to realize that it is a satire, sarcastic and is meant to ramble on and make little sense. It’s a sci-fi story that is meant to be a bit odd, out there, and not make sense, but still be enjoyable. It also helps give us some answers to a few of life’s questions (like the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (42)), and coming across new alien races (the Azgards (but not the ones from Stargate….. or are they?)) or journeying to a pre-historic Earth. It kind of reminds me of a old sci-fi film, or an old Star Trek episode from the original series, where all of the technology, all of what happens, no matter how out there it seems, has a really simple, logical and oblivious answer to it. Usually this is because of some special probability matter, field etc. (Clearly that’s what it is people, didn’t you know that?)

I did find I was lost in the plot a few times, because of some of how the narrative rambles on and veers, far off from the main plot line, but overall, it was a very enjoyable and funny read (and great choice for those reading marathons ;)).

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book, along with the entire series. Adams had a talent to make an enjoyable, light read, where you can sit and enjoy a fun sci-fi novel, but not wrap your self around about can this actually happen, how does this happen etc. because he makes it so out there, that you can’t help but laugh. Not to mention, some of the characters, are ones you need to get to know, like Marvin. He’s one you just can’t help but think about.

What to read next: Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thank You for the Fish, Mostly Harmless (the finally three books in the Trilogy (of Five Parts)).

Challenges: 100+ Challenge

Friday, June 5

48 Hour Challenge Update 1

Okay so I read from 12 - 1 then 2:00 - 5:30 so far today. The other things got in the way of me reading more. DOH! This was suppose to be the day to read.

I did manage to finish my book. (Although I would have finished it earlier hadn't there been a lot of disruptions. Oh well.

If it weren't for me going away, and having to organize/pack for that (and family issues, which... are getting very hard to deal with.) I'd be doing better. Oh well, still enjoying my books.


Hours Read: 4.5
Hours Spent Looking at other blogs: .5
Pages Read: 200
Books Finished: 1

Off I go to Book 2

Happy Reading Everyone!

Unoffically Beginning 48 Hour Challenge

Just posting my start time (12 pm) for the 48 hour challenge. Unfortonatly I won't be able to participate for the whole challenge. But I'm unofficially going to participate for as much of it as I can, and use this as an excuse to read books all day.

My goals are to finish the second and third book in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. And get another 100 - 150 pages into "The Moonstone." By 1:30 - 2:00 am ish Todday (although technically it would be Saturday).

I also plan on reading chapter summeries for the Lords of Chaos so I can get back to reading the Crown of Swords for the Wheel of Time Series. Which is what I'll be reaing tomorrow, especially on the trian.

I'll update.... soon.

Thursday, June 4

BTT - Stick

I (Deb from BTT) saw this over at Shelley’s, and thought it sounded like a great question for all of you:

“This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”

Okay here are my books!

1) Time Traveller's Wife
2) Fahrenheit 451
3) Handmaids Tale
4) Suite Francaise
5) P.S ... I Love You
6) My Sister's Keeper
7) Oryx and Crake
8) The Black Tulip
9) Phantom of the Opera
10) Wide Sargasso Sea
11) Sushi For Beginners
12) Lord of the Rings
13) Three Musketeers
14) Dracula
15) Cereus Blooms at Night

There's more, but it's just a glimpse - only took 4 minutes! Nice!

Tuesday, June 2

Book Review: The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings

Title: The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings

Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Pages: 240

Summary: Known primarily for her classic and haunting story "The Yellow Wallpaper," Charlotte Perkins Gilman was an enormously influential American feminist and sociologist. Her early-twentieth-century writings continue to inspire writers and activists today. This collection includes selections from both her fiction and nonfiction work.

In addition to the title story, there are seven short stories collected here that combine humour, anger, and startling vision to suggest how women's "place" in society should be changed to benefit all. The nonfiction selections are from Gilman's The Man-Made World: Our Androcentric Culture and her masterpiece, Women And Economics, which was translated into seven languages and established her international reputation as a theorist.

Also included in a delightful excerpt from Gilman's utopian novel, Herland, an acidly funny tale about three American male explorers who stumble into an all-female society and begin their odyssey by insisting, "This is a civilized country . . . there must be men."

Gilman's analyses of economic and women's issues are as incisive and relevant today as they were upon their original publication. This volume is an unprecedented opportunity to rediscover a powerful American writer.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I first read “The Yellow Wallpaper” in my women’s writers’ class in college, but that’s all we read of Gilman’s work and I wanted more. Her story was so powerful and thought provoking the first time I read it, I promised myself I’d come back to her to her writing some time. So I finally sat down and read this book which included other works by the author including two experts from her non-fiction collection.

The Yellow Wallpaper doesn’t lose its touch the second time around. It still has the same powerful message and showing how Gilman was ahead of her time in her aim to promote feminism and discuss issues surrounding what we now know as post-partum depression. One aspect of the story I found was how the wallpaper and its design represented the women before Gilman, who fought for feminist rights, the oppressed women before they ha voices, and how the tearing down of the wallpaper represents breaking barriers for women of today.

One of the other stories I really enjoyed was Herland. It was only a small glimpse of it, but it was enough for me to want to pick up the entire novel and check it out. Gilman has a talent for being able to promote feminist thought and theories, but still provide an entertain story for its readers. And Herland looks to be an exceptional piece of writing, with humour tied into it.

I also enjoyed the non-fictional side of the collection. Although I found that at times, I had a hard time following it, based on the fact, I haven’t been in the mood for non-fiction. I generally like reading non-fictional works, such as this and being able to discuss it with others. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought, but still enjoyed reading her thoughts on issues surrounding women in society of her time. She definitely seemed to be beyond her time (late 1800’s early 1900’s).

Would I recommend it to read: Yes I would recommend the book to read. At the very least read the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” it is a very powerful piece of writing, full of imagery and a woman who slowly goes mad after oppression from her husband and society. It’s worth reading the 20 some odd pages, and looking at a Gilman’s writing, who was above her time. This story will definitely pull you in and want you to look at her other works. Even if you’re not a big fan of feminist writing, I think the Yellow Wallpaper is still a worth while read.

What to read next: Herland. This just provides a tiny glimpse. It made me want to run out and get it, I' start there. Also, the Awakening by Choplin. I Saw that on LT's recommendations.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Classics Challenge, RYOB Challenge

May Wrap-Up

May was not a good month for me between the move, getting sick, and lack of some quite time to pick up a book and read. I only manage to read 5 books this month! DOH! My goal was 10 - 12. So I'm behind my reading then what I would have preferred. May did have a few ups for me. I got my first copy of an ARC Book mailed to me. It was wonderful to have a free book waiting for you in the mail. Also managed to find a few great used bookstores, to replace the ones I lost moving away from Toronto. So that all worked out, I bought a lot of new books this month too. Clearly I needed more. :D

Okay so here are the books I read this past May

1) David Golder - Irène Némirovsky - 8.5/10
2) The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman - 4.5/10
3) Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - 8.5/10
4) The Wars - Timothy Findley - 8.5/10
5) The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead - 8.5/10

My Favourite Book of the Month was The Wars my least favourite, The Amberspyglass. Infact I think so far it's been my least favourite of the year. (I'd read Twilight again, before the Amberspy Glass) it was such a let down after such a great start in the previous books. Can't win them all.

Also this month I won two awards! Again thank you to Tutu and DeSeRt RoSe for awarding me them. Thanks!

I'm also participating in a Harry Potter Re-Read and Triva Challenge. I don't care much for the prizes (although I would be happy to win them) I'm just useing it as an excsue to read the books (again) and talk about them. Clearly I need an excuse to read them again, right?

I also met a lot of new bloggers through Twitter and found some great new blogs. And grew very jelous of those at BEA. If I could transport your free books from your place to mind with only my mind... I probably would. I mean..... nice to meet you all!

My Progress in challenges, nothing much has happened, as I only read 5 books this month. I was hoping to be around 45 - 50 books read by now. Guess I'll have to read extra books this month! (Oh what a shame.... :))

Challenge Progress (I joined 2 more today. Total Challenge Count 25. Opps!)

1 (Another) 1% Well Read (My list)
My Progress- 6/13

1st in a Series (My List)
My Progress 2/12

18th and 19th Century Women Writers (My List)
My Progress - 0/8

100+ Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 39/100

2nd Canadian (My List)
My Progress 5/13 (Something tells me I might not finish this. It's partly an 2008 Challenge, so I'm thinking about stopping and saving my Canadian authors for this years, if there is one)

999 Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 21/81

A - Z Challenge (My List)
My Progress 31/52

The Classics Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 3/6

Chunckster Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 0/3

Decades Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 4/9

Deweys Reading Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 2/6

New Authors Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 23/25 (So close. Although, I believe in April I though I was closer than I was. This month for sure. 100% sure. I will finisih it.)

Numbers Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 0/5 (it ends very soon. I need to get a move on it!)

RYOB Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 12/25

Spring Read Thing (My List)
My Progress - 8/14 ( Ends very soon as well! Well June 21.... 19 days. AHHH!)

TBR Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 2/12

Themed Reading Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 0/4 (This I'm debating dropping out. I believe it ends July 31. And I know I could read Book 7,8,9 and 10 of the Wheel of Time, I also don't want to rush my self through them. My goal is to have the final 5 books of the series read by the time the first installment of Book 12 is out (Nov. 2009). So we'll see how things go. Most likley books 7 and 8 will be read by then. 9 and 10 are maybes.)

Victorian Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 2/5 (Ends June 30. But I know the books will be read by then)

WWII Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 1/5

What's in a Name Challenge (My List)
My Progress - 0/6

New Challenges I joined this month - Zero (but today I signed up for 2 and debating a third. I need help).

Also, I'm debating creating my own challenge for the summer. Where you can re-read your favourite reads. The Summer Lovin' Reading Challenge. Let me know if your interested.