Monday, August 31

Book Review: The Hobbit

Title: The Hobbit

Author: J.R.R Tolkien

Pages: 280

Summary: Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out on to the floor when he caught a sudden thin and piercing ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug’s left eye. He was only pretending to be asleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance. . . .

Whisked away from his comfortable hobbit-hole by Gandalf the Wizard and a band of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasurer hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…

My Rating: 10/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: How can you not love the story of the Hobbit? It will always be one of my all time favourite stories, one that I will re-read over and over again, and one day hope to read with my own kids and share the magic of Middle Earth. I do have to say, this book has a very different approach to Middle Earth then other books that take place in Middle Earth. I think this is partly due to the fact the Hobbit was written as a children’s story, so the language and narrative is aimed more to their level. But don’t let that put you off, if you haven’t read the book yet, because it’s such a fun tale, about how a little Hobbit, went on an amazing adventure and ended up helping out more than anyone ever imagined.

First of all, Tolkien’s descriptions of Middle Earth, the dwarves, the elves, the forests, caves and mountains, and well, everything, are fantastic. There are very few fantasy novels I’ve read since I first fell into the words of Tolkien that added up or have come anywhere near the level of Tolkien’s writing. The Hobbit of course is no exception to Tolkien’s brilliance, even if it’s more of a children’s book. Not only does he paint amazing pictures, tells engaging tales about trolls, goblins, evil spiders, and dragons, but the narrative was also done very well. It reminds me a bit of Alexander Dumas, where the narrator addresses the reader directly, almost as if the narrator themselves was sitting beside you telling you the story, giving you a bit of foreshowing and reminders of what happened in previous chapter, but done so in away, that it doesn’t annoy the reader but give a bit of … fun I guess the world would be in the story. Which is why I think it would be a great book for young readers ages 9 - 13 who aren’t into reading, because the Hobbit is fun and engaging in how it is told, and it is part of a story most kids have some familiarity with because a lot have either seen or at least heard of “The Lord of the Rings”.

Wonderful story, full of enchanting tales of action and adventure, beautiful, engaging and elegant style of narration, and some of the best cast of characters you’ll ever meet. For me, as a child, I always felt bad for Gollum, and how he lost his “birthday present” and knowing his back story now, and what happens to him in future stories, I always have a pang, in my heart for the poor guy, no matter how slimily (metaphorically and physically) he is, which shows yet another example of Tolkien’s brilliance and creating such fantastic characters, with very interesting and complex back stories, that’s sure to have readers dig for more.

Would I recommend it to read: Absolutely, Absolutely, Absolutely! This is a classic, a childhood classic! And if you haven’t read the book yet, do. The first time I experienced The Hobbit I was 9 or 10 years old, and my mom read it to me and my sister during the summer evenings. I’ve read it on my own a handful of times, and it never gets old. It’s such a wonderful story that makes you wish you can meet Hobbits and fall into the world of Middle Earth.

What to read next: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings and anything else by Tolkien or anything on Middle Earth.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, August Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge,
The Summer Lovin’ Challenge

Book Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Title: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Author: Lisa See

Pages: 253

Summary: In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bounded and lived in almost total seclusion, the woman in one remote Human country developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). Some girls were paired with laotongs “old sames”, in the emotional matches that lasted through-out their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams and accomplishments.

With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed and they become “old sames” at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, the reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their life long friend ship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

My Rating: 9.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book was pretty much impossible to put down, I only managed to set it down, when I was too exhausted to read anymore. But what a fantastic read! Lisa See did a wonderful job at creating a beautiful friendship between the two characters of the book, filling it with emotional passages and a strong bond between these two girls, who grow together into women. The story is written in an autobiographic sort of way, so we only get to view things through Lily’s eyes, but the author did such a fantastic job in writing in the head of this woman, you almost want to believe she lived years and years ago, and these are her thoughts she left behind. The friendship, and how it was portrayed and written, is probably my favourite aspect of the book, and I was so involved with the characters, it drove me mad to see them hurt, to see them fight, to see them sick etc.

Another aspect of the story I enjoyed was the aspect of Ancient Chinese traditions, the ways woman were treated, the hardships they faced, and how they were perceived in society. Again, the author does a wonderful job at showing this to the readers, the foot-binding process it very, cringe worthy, and grotesque, but handle beautifully, in that it showed a very real out look at what woman had to go through during these times. Lisa See easily is able to paint a very realistic picture in her readers heads, in every scene of what is happening, what our characters is feeling emotionally and what they’re thinking, with words.

One issue I had, was sometimes it moves a little slower then I would have liked it, it moves slow, because it needs to build the relationship up to what it is and how it ends, but at times, I felt like I just wanted to move on with the issue already. Overall, a beautiful read, and another author who I look forward to reading more works by her, this book has quickly become one of my favourite of the year, and the characters in it and their friendship, one that will stick with me (and likely other readers) for a while

Would I recommend it to read: Yes! The book for me was almost impossible to put down, beautiful writing and an amazing story. I was reluctant to read it at first, because it was advertised so much, and everyone talked about it non-stop (in the past I’ve found when this happens, the book doesn’t live up to it’s standards), but this most differently lived up to what I’ve heard about it and more. Give it a try, and you, like me, should find this book hard to set down.

What to read next: Memoirs of a Geisha, I also looked on LibraryThing and it recommend, The Secret Life of Bees

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, August Reading Challenge

Sunday, August 30

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Author: J.K Rowling

Pages: 607

Summary: Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous, and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid for him.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Okay, so this will contain spoilers, I hate to do it, but the things that irked me the most, well it will be a spoiler if you haven’t read the book. So if you haven’t read the book, and don’t wish to be spoiled, you’ve been warned.

Alas, the end of Harry Potter’s tale comes to an end in the final instalment of the series. And, even after the third or fourth read, I still can’t get enough of this book. It’s tied to be the second favourite of the series for me, even though a lot of things in the book really ticked me off; overall I really liked the story. I did find, like many others, it took a long time for it to get going, there was a lot of redundant conversations, theories and walking around foresters etc. So there is on aspect that bugged me. But the story was still that magical one Rowling tells, and so much is answered that you questioned before, and Harry, Hermione and Ron do grow a lot as characters during this journey and with their friendship. And its filled with the same characters you’ve fallen in love with, since the first time they’ve appeared on the pages, to the last time.

I was not at all pleased with who died, Tonks, Lupin, Snape, Fred thanks for killing off almost ALL my favourite characters. And what irked me even more was how Lupin and Tonk’s deaths were handled. It seemed like it was just an after thought, telling the readers their beloved characters were dead. I’m so mad these characters died. I wouldn’t have cared if Harry had died, but not those ones! Sigh!

Okay, so a real issue I had with the book was I found some characters, to be out of their character in this book. Such as Lupin. Some of the stuff he did and said just didn’t add up to what we’ve seen of him before. So there was some plot holes in that department. Also, although I liked the idea of the Deathly Hallows, it seemed to come out of no where, and just didn’t mix well with other information we’ve been given in the Harry Potter world. I think one word to sum this up, is that maybe the book as a whole, felt rushed in how it was written. It was almost like Rowling rushed her way to finish the book to please the fans, then to finish the story to create the ending of it.

With that being said some death scenes were full of powerful emotion, it’s sure to have you near or in tears. Even Dobby, a character who I hated and at one point, hoped Lucius would blast into next year, was so sad. When she wrote the death scenes, they were well done, and she captured the emotions of the family and friends beautifully. In fact all the emotional scenes, funny scenes, happy scenes etc, were usually handled well. The characters, when displaying their emotions and feelings was portrayed so that at times, these characters seemed to come alive off the pages.

The battle and adventure scenes are also sure to have you on the edge of the seat, while reading it and wondering what will happen, who will survive and what will happen next. It’s the darkest of the books, and I loved how Rowling portrayed a community losing hope, and a small group of supporters who were fighting for a cause, no matter the danger. Overall, even with the issues I had with the book (you find them more with multiple reads), it was a fantastic book, and a great way to end a series, that is so easy to fall in love with. There’s so much more I loved, but you’d be here for days. (Molly Weasley vs Bellatrix for one!), so drop me a line if you want to chat more about it!

Would I recommend it to read: I loved the entire series, so of course I’d recommend the book. It does move a little slowly and I know that was one of the biggest problems others had with the book, but it’s still such a fun read, all the amazing characters from the past are here, and it’s a worth while read. Also, bring the tissues, you’ll need them.

What to read next: The Hobbit, His Dark Materials Trilogy, The Giver, Wrinkle in Time.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, August Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge,
Summer Lovin Challenge, YA Challenge

Tuesday, August 25

Book Review: The Stone Diaries

Title: The Stone Diaries

Author: Carol Shields

Pages: 361

Summary: The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman’s life; a truly sensuous novel that reflects and illuminate the unsettled decades of our century.
Born in 1905, Daisy Goodwill drifts through the chapters of childhood, marriage, widowhood, remarriage, motherhood and old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand her own role, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her own story within a novel that is itself about the limitations of an autobiography.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Shields did a fantastic job at capturing the life of Daisy, and although at first I wasn’t sure how much I liked the story in the beginning, I really enjoyed it in the end. The author has a very unique perspective and way to her writing, as she tells the story of Daisy’s life through multiple. Sometimes it’s through a narrator, other times, it’s an entire chapter letters, but you only see letters to Daisy, never from, and sometimes it’s through Daisy herself. And even though all the different narration techniques are a little disjointed, and they often leave big gaps, tell one side of the story, or rarely see what Daisy actually thinks (only in the first chapter), but even in chapters where we have views of multiple people in her life, and all the different narrations throughout the book, it works incredibly well, in retelling a person’s life, and how much of this is left to interpretation, and assumptions of what people think they know. One of the best techniques Shields used is found in the final chapter. I think Shields did an amazing job at portraying this “part” of Daisy’s life, her death, and after it. The chapter is written up of a combination of dialogue between characters (although we never find out who is saying what), lists, recipes and memories of her life, and again presumptions from the rest of the characters of what all the stuff might have meant to Daisy. I think this made Daisy more real for me, rather than just a character in a book.

The story did move a little slowly for me, and there wasn’t a lot of excitement that happened, but I still enjoyed it and I still had a hard time putting it down at times, because you always wanted to find out more information about Daisy, wanted to read between the lines, and wanted to know what parts of the story told from those around Daisy were actual facts, or disjointed memories and assumptions the have made through their perception of the world. Overall, it was a good story, and I look forward to reading some more of the author’s work.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, even if your not a fan of multiple narration styles in a book, you should still try this, because the author makes it work so well. It really is a unique way to tell a story, and it is an interesting story as a whole, slow to start and slow at times throughout the entire story, but as it comes together as a whole, you can really enjoy it and appreciate it.

What to read next: The Stone Angel, A Good House

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, The 999 Challenge, August Reading Challenge,
Book Awards III Challenge

Book Review: Far From the Madding Crowd

Title: Far From a Madding Crowd

Author: Thomas Hardy

Pages: 318

Summary: Far from the Madding Crowd is perhaps the most pastoral of Hardy’s Wessex novels. It tells the story of the young farmer Gabriel Oak and his love for and pursuit of the elusivr Bathesheba Everdene, whose wayward nature leads her to both tragedy and true love.

It tells of the dashing Sergeant Troy whose rakish philosophy of life was ‘…the past was yesterday; the future, tomorrow; never, the day after’. And lastly, of the introverted and reclusive gentleman farmer, Mr. Boldwood, whose love fills him with ‘…a fearful, sense of exposure’, when he first sets eyes on Bathsheba.

The background to this compelling story is the majesty of the Wessex countryside in all its moods, contriving to make it one of the most English of great English novels.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book really didn’t do much for me. I adored the lovely, flowing style of writing Hardy had, the writing it self was almost poetic as the told his story, but the story it self just fell short for me. I didn’t care much for any of the characters, they bored me and I wasn’t ever interested in them at all. Most didn’t have anything catching or striking about them, just a group of people, going on with there day to day lives. The story is about the men who fall in love with a farmer woman, but even the love story it self wasn’t as I thought; it almost lacked emotion and feelings you’d expect. I also found a lot of the story to be predictable and redundant. There are only so many times you can see the same guy beg for a woman’s love and for her to turn him down. It gets boring very quickly, and you want the story to move on and progress faster than it did. Although I guess the slowness of the story can reflect the slowness of the time period, life on the farm and the close-nit community people of the time lived in. And Hardy does an excellent job at that, he is able to portray that, it just had a week cast of characters, that didn’t do much for the story, and in fact probably hindered it.

There isn’t much else I can say, I’m not turned of Hardy yet, I’m going to try and read some of his other work, because his writing style is just beautiful, but this story just wasn’t me.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure. It has recieved a lot of positive reviews, so I think I probably would. I didn't like the story, mainly due to characterization and repetitive themes, but theres so much to take from the story, that I think a lot of different readers, with different tastes could possibly enjoy it. If you like Old English Stories, it might be worth a try, it's a short book, so if you're like me it will be a quick read, so there won't be a big commitment.

What to read next: The "love" story in this sorta reminds me of Wuthering Heights, so I'd say that. But not sure what else to read next. LibraryThing suggested Middlemarch by George Eliot, so maybe give that a try.

Challenges: 1% Well Read Challenge, 100+ Challenge, August Reading Challenge

Wednesday, August 19

Book Review: Xanadu 3

Title: Xanadu 3 (collection of short stories)

Author: Edited by Jane Yole, Multiple Authors

Pages: 309

Summary: Award-winning editor Jane Yolen presents 34 tales of fantasy and delight in this third volume of her original anthology series, Xanadu. The contributors include prize-winning poet Marvin Bell, Ruth Berman, Jo Clayton, Christine Crow, Nancy Etchemendy, Tanith Lee, Susan Palwick, Midori Snyder, Terri Windling and Jane Yolen herself.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a collection of Fantasy stories and poems, and if I had to pinpoint the exact kind of fantasy I’d say it would be mostly in the area of low fantasy, metaphysical fantasy and alternative fantasy, although some stories weren’t in those categories, I’d classify most in one of those. Like you get with most short story collections, some you enjoyed others you didn’t, but I found there were a lot I just didn’t enjoy as much, or hit me as something I’d want to read again, or something by that author I’d want to read again. Some were really weird and out there, and I just didn’t connect to them, and some bored me, and I couldn’t wait until I was finished. Not to others would feel this way, I just didn’t like the type of fantasy showed here. (I’m more of a high fantasy, epic fantasy etc). Some of the short stories/poems I did like:
  • The Night Journey by Terri Windling
  • A Report Concerning the Predator Population in the Northren Part of the Forest - Jerry Beckett
  • The Asgard Philharmonic Plays Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture - Lawerence Schimel
  • Gord and Fnord Go to the Zoo - By Charles Von Rospach
There were a few others I enjoyed as well, but these stuck out the most for me. Overall not what I expected, but good exposure to different types of fantasy that are out there in the genre, and an interesting collection of stories and authors that have been assembled, and for those of you who need to fill in that pesky X Title for the A - Z Challenge, you have a possible candidate for, (there is also Xanadu and Xanadu 2, to choose from!!).

Would I recommend it to read: If your a fan of all sorts of fantasy, especially some of the more obscure stories, then yes, I would recommend it to read. But if your a fan of fantasy and are looking for fantasy like you would find in Wheel of Time, Hobbit/LOTR, Harry Potter, Twilight and any books in that clump of books or similar to those, then you may not like the stories as much. Fantasy here is something completely different, which is a good thing, it just wasn't the kind of fantasy I generally like.

What to read next: If you like some of the authors you found in here, I'd say try them out. Same with if you like the types of fantasy in here, you should try them out. It will open your eyes to a whole new world of fantasy, some which you may not have thought to be "fantasy" before.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, August Reading Challenge

Sunday, August 16

Book Review: Little Earthquakes

Title: Little Earthquakes

Author: Jennifer Weiner

Pages: 554

Summary: Becky is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderful husband and baby girl, a restaurant that’s received citywide acclaim-and the mother-in-law from hell. Kelly is an event planner who’s struggling to balance work and motherhood while dealing with an unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day. And Ayinde’s basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at her most vulnerable moment, putting their new family even more in the public eye. The there’s Lia, a Philadelphia native who has left her Hollywood career behind, along with a tragic secret, to start her life over again.

From prenatal yoga to postbirth sex, Little Earthquakes is a frank, funny, fiercely perspective take on the comedies and tragedies of love and marriage.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a nice read, although I wouldn’t call it a light read, compared to most other chick lit that’s out there, it was still an enjoyable book that I would read again. Instead of the usually fluff I’ve read in some recent chick lit books, it was full of heart, humour and the misadventures first time mothers have with themselves, their new born babies, in-laws and their husbands. Although there wasn’t as much laugh-out-loud humour as I’ve found in some other books in chick-lit genre I’ve enjoyed, this book had an overall great story and collection characters you were able to care about and follow along with their journey through motherhood and watching as these women came together and formed a powerful and bonding friendship.

I liked some characters and their stories better then others, my least favourite was Kelly’s. I didn’t care for her character or her story line, she had my least favourite personality type and I didn’t connect to her at all. Ayindee was a character I felt to be on middle ground with, but Becky and Lia were my favourite characters and who’s parts of the story I enjoyed the most. Lia’s will make you tear up, and Becky has a dazzling personality and spirit, I wish she was real, because she is one of those people who have a warming heart and kindness towards those she loves, and her giving labour is a little amusing, because before she experienced her contractions she was one of those “natural birth” girls, but that part is sure to make you laugh, and her husband is the envy of all women (I want my future husband to be him, sans the mother-in-law and added a bit of book nerdiness into him).

My only real criticism of the book is that I had a hard time connecting with the characters, and I’m not sure if it was because there was because of the book itself, or because I lack experience in motherhood, because I myself am not a mother. The book does a good job at giving a more realistic look at motherhood, rather than a glorified look, which I thought was well done, but there is still a level of the book I think that just didn’t connect to me, like the author intended to do with readers. But over all, was a very well done book, a quick read, I practically read it in one sitting, and an enjoyable story, and I think I’ll check out more writing by Weiner, because she seems to have a knack for they style of chick lit I like (similar to what I like with Marian Keyes).

Would I recommend it to read: I would reccommend the book to anyone, it's an enjoyable read, funny and heart warming. Any chick-lit reader would likely enjoy this book, and I'm sure a lot of those with children would also enjoy the book. Although, if you don't like chick-lit, then it might not be the best book for you, I found it to be a little better then some chick-lit novels out there, and less cliché, it still has that element in it. But worth a try if you're on the fence about chick lit, and a good beach read.

What to read next: Watermelon by Marian Keyes

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, August Reading Challenge, Chick Lit Challenge

Thursday, August 13

Book Review: Blackberry Wine

Title: Blackberry Wine

Author: Joanne Harris

Pages: 334

Summary: As a boy, writer Jay Mackintosh spent three golden summers in the ramshakle home of Joseph "Jackapple Joe" Cox in the tiny English town of Kirby Mockton. Jay found solace in old Joe's simple wisdom and folk charms, in his stories of far travel and wild adventure, and in his astonishing ability to make anything grow lush and luxurious. And then there were Joe's "Specials," his homebrewed wines, each bottle containing the sparkle of something truly magical. The magic was lost, though, when Joe disappeared without warning one fall.

Years later, Jay's life is stalled with regret and emnui. His novel Jackapple Joe was his artistic zenith, but it had been published ten years earlier and he has not been able to write a serious work since. When an unsolicited real estate brochure arrives in the afternoon mail, he impulsivley abandons every urban thing he knows. sight unseen, he purchases a farmhouse in the remote French village of Lansquenet, in an attempt to recapture the magic that vanished twenty years ago.

Now Jay is packing up a few belongings-and the last remaining bottles og Joe's "Specials"-and relocating to the sleepy village rich in stories of its own is calling to him. There, in the strange yet strangely familiar place-and in the dark, guarded secrets of a reclusive woman and her young child-Jay Mackintosh hopes to find himself again. for he feels that somehow, as impossible as it seems, "Jackapple Joe" is waiting for him there.

A lovely and lyrical novel of myriad enchantments, Blackberry Wire is a rare treat for the mind, the heart and the senses from an extraordinary literary talent.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Harris did a beautiful job at describing all of the sensations, and experiences one has while drinking a glass of wine, and brings those emotions into her characters combined with the divulging into the world of wine making and life in a small town, the bonds a person can have with in close-knit communities, and how those bonds affect a person’s life, Blackberry Wine was a well written, beautifully told story, that pulled me in from page one.

In the story, Jay flees England buying a farm house in a outside a small town, that brought back memories of a childhood mentor, he brings a few possessions, including the six bottles of “specials” (wine) and a typewriter, that he uses to write his next big hit, gaining inspiration from the towns people and a “scandal” that happened years before he arrived. But instead, the “specials” invoke something different for Jay, as he reminisces his childhood years, times spent with his mentor, and him reconnecting to his mentor, as he find himself again, and his place in life. All of the emotions and memories are brought out with each bottle of wine from the “specials” collection which brings out memories, senses and emotions from all people, when they join him. The wine, as it seems has a bit of magical ability, allowing people to explore themselves in their pasts.

As you can see there’s a bit of an interesting underbelly of magic here with the wine. Often the wine is described as talking, or laughing as it sits in the duffel bag, or in the wine cellar, and often the narrator states when the each bottle is open, the “wine’s” voice is exposed. What makes the book even more interesting is that the narrator is a bottle of wine. The whole story is told from the eyes, of an unopened bottle of wine, which truly is one of the most unique methods of narration I’ve ever seen. And if you already have guessed, the story ends, when the bottle is opened and drunk.

Other parts of the story contained farming life, small town life and gossip of the scandal that happened in the town, involving Jay’s neighbour, I won’t go to far into that, for fear of ruining it, but I liked that side plot of the story, although parts were predictable, I still enjoyed that part of the story. The book also bounces around time periods a bit, going from present time, to years in Jay’s childhood, although each chapter labels which time you’re in so you shouldn’t be confused what time period you’re in.

One criticism is that some of the characters seem to be one sided, and a little stereotypical, it’s not a big issue for me, because there’s only a few I really found to be like this, but there were just a few characters, that didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story, they just were. Also there was this one part, I can’t say what, but the one part near the end was a little weird, and also didn’t seem to fit with the story.

Overall a wonderful book full of magic, and the quiet life of small town living, and the emotions and deliciousness of wine drinking and the powers it can has over ones emotions, self and friendship.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, especially with a glass of good wine. It's a perfect book club book, or a book to share with friends, and it makes you thirst for wine and French Culture.

What to read next: Choclat also by Joanne Harris, I haven't read it myself, but have heard great things about it and it takes place in the same small town.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, August Reading Challenge, Chick-Lit Challenge

An Award, a zombie award!

Amanda from The Zen Leaf has passed on this cute and funny award to me called The Zombie Chicken Award. I've seen this award around the blogverse the last year, and always brings me a smile, now I have one for my own blog.

Info about the award:

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...

So a big shout out and THANKS to Amanda for passing this award on, the Zombie chickens are pleased! (lol). Now it's my turn to pass on this award to worth zombie like blogges, so here we go.

1) Rebecca from Lost in Books
2) Becky from Becky's Book Reviews
3) Jeane from DogEar Diary
4) Anna from Diary of an Exxentric
5) Zibilee from Raging Bibliomania
6) Jill from Fizzy Thoughts

BBAW Meme!

The BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Week) is almost here! So I've finally got myself to do this little meme.

1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?
Reviewing books, and sharing my love of reading with others, talking to other book bloggers, book lovers and wondering around on other bloggers blogs and expanding on my reading tastes.

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?

I don't think I have had any one inspire me, but I have met a lot of great people who always stop by, and who I always like talking to about reviews, books and that. But there isn't one person or a few people. It's all of you who have stopped by and comment on my blog, or who I comment on yours, that I enjoy and have expanded my knowledge of the blogging world.

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?
Why only a week?

Saturday, August 1

July Wrap Up!

This month started off a little slow for me, but picked up in the end, I had to back down from a challenge, meaning I failed my third this year, but I knew I'd have to read the four books for the challenge fast, and since they were all 600 pages or more, I didn't want to jepordize the story, so I stepped down and went to working on some of the other challenges. I've also been a bit of a bad blogger this month, partly because I let my self get behind on reviews, and because I keep forgetting to post my links on the challenge pages. Opps!

This month I read 9 books again. (Just like June), I still wish I had read more, but still not a bad month. Here's what I read for July;

1) Fishbowl by Sarah Mlynowski - 5.5/10
2) Caenus and the Quiver of Artemis by Christopher S. Ledbetter - 7.5/10
3) The Queen in Winter by Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Sharon Shinn and Sarah Monette (collection of short stories) -7.5/10
4) All Our Wordly Goods by Irène Némirovksy - 8.5/10
5) Amsterdam - Ian McEwan - 4.5/10
6) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling - 8.75/10
7) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling - 10/10
8) The Legend of Sleepy Hallow by Washington Irving - 7/10
9) A Good House by Bonnie Burnard - 8.5/10

My favourite book of the month (that is, that is not a re-read) was All Our Wordly Goods and A Good House. My least favourite book of the month was Amsterdam and Fishbowl.

I didn't finish any challenges this month, but as I said before I stepped down from one, which is code for failed, and signed up onto a new challenge, and will be signing up for another challenge after this post. Well I'm thinking about it, we'll see.

Here's my progress on the challenges so far:

Failed Challenge

The Themed Reading Challening - 0/4 Books Read

Currently in Progress

(Another) 1% Well Read Challenge (My List)
Progress: 7/13

1st in a Sereis Challenge (My List)
Progress: 3/12

100+ Challenge (My List)
Progress: 57/100

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

3rd Canadian Challenge (My List)
Progress: 0/13

999 Challenge (My List)
Progress: 24/81

A - Z Challenge (My List)
Progress: 38/52

Book Awards Challenge III (My List)
Progress: 1/5

Chick Lit Challenge (My List)
Progress: 1/10

Chunkster Challenge (My List)
Progress: 0/3

Decades Challenge (My List)
Progress: 5/9

Dewey's Challenge (My List)
Progress: 2/6

EBook Challenge (My List)
Progress: 1/10

Number Challenge (My List)
Progress 0/5

RYOB Challenge (My List)
Progress: 19/25

Summer Lovin' Challenge (My List)
Progress: 2/14

TBR Challenge (My List)
Progress: 2/12

War Through the Generations (WWII) (My List)
Progress: 2/5

Whats in a Name Challenge (My List)
Progress: 0/6

Young Adult Challenge (My List)
Progress: 4/12

Okay, so that was my month, I need to get working one some of these challenges, because I'm behind on some, and December will be here before I know it.