Saturday, October 31

Book Reviews: T4: A Novel

Title: T4: A Novel

Author: Ann Clare LeZotte

Pages: 105

Summary: It is 1939. Paula Becker, thirteen years old and deaf, lives with her family in a rural German town. As rumors swirl of disabled children quietly disappearing, a priest comes to her family's door with an offer to shield Paula from an uncertain fate. When the sanctuary he offers is fleeting, Paula needs to call upon all her strength to stay one step ahead of the Nazis.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Oddly, what I liked about the novel, is also what I disliked. For starters, the story is told through poetry of a young adult, and her experience during WWII when T4 was in effect and persons with disabilities were targeted. The story is about her journey to avoid capture, and the story told through poetry is powerful and captivating. Some of the passages were very powerful and emotional. At the same time, I wish this was used in combination with an actual story, sometimes I felt that I needed more information, in what was going on, I wanted to dig deeper into the mind of the girl and others around here and in the story, and the poetry just didn’t reach that point for me. Still worth reading, but I wanted more than what I got. Although this could also be the intention of the author, maybe she intended to give ups just enough to want to learn more about this horrid aspect during the war, that she’d hope readers would do their own research. Hmmm.

Would I recommend it to read: For sure. It’s a great book, powerful and emotional. The author is talented and brings up a haunting past most wish to forget or have never learned or known about before.

What to read next: I'm not sure on this one, I'd say the Diary of Anne Frank would be a good start, maybe read some non-fiction books on the events during T4, to learn more about it. But other than that, I'm unsure what would be a good companion read to this book.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, WWII Challenge, YA Challenge,

Book Reviews: The Good Doctor

Title: The Good Doctor

Author: Damon Galgut

Pages: 215

Summary: A taut, intense tale of the dashed hopes of the post-apartheid era and the small betrayals that doom a friendship, The Good Doctor is an extraordinary parable of the corruption of the flesh and spirit. It assures Damon Galgut's place as a major international talent. When Laurence Waters arrives at his new post at a deserted rural hospital, staff physician Frank Eloff is instantly suspicious. Laurence is everything Frank is not - young, optimistic, and full of big ideas. The whole town is beset with new arrivals and the return of old faces. Frank reestablishes a liaison with a woman, one which will have unexpected consequences. A self-made dictator from apartheid days is rumored to be active in cross-border smuggling and a group of soldiers has moved in to track him, led by a man from Frank's own dark past. Laurence sees only possibilities - but in a world where the past is demanding restitution from the present, his ill-starred idealism cannot last

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book had an interesting premise, so when I accidentally came across it in the library I thought I’d give it a try. I started it and gave up for a while, before restarting it and then reading it during the read-a-thon. And I ended up really disliking it. First of all not what I’d expected, I thought it would be more of an out look on doctors helping in an African community after a tyrant down fall. Instead I got a self loathing Doctor in an empty hospital full of people who don’t care about anything or anyone and especially don’t care that they’re aren’t actually helping anyone.

The a new doctor appears and he actually wants to help people, and people look at him as if he’s insane. He wants to make a difference, and people look at him if he’s insane, doubt him and tell him to give up and not bother, because hey who cares if you help immunize one community, or help a small group of people, it won’t save the world, so lets not bother, instead lets sit on our ass and complain about how no one is a good person, no one can make a different, and bitch about a cheating wife who years ago left the one doctor for his friend.

That sums up about three quarters of the story. The other quarter contains a love affair between self loathing doctor and a local native with abusive husband who’s part of a rebel group who dislike the government, a town slowly filling up with soldiers who got word about rebel group but do little to do anything about it, instead they all just hang out in a bar. Score one for them! The there’s the thief in the hospital who works there and is part of the rebel group (gee didn’t see that coming) but he has had a hard life, so it’s okat according to the head of the almost empty hospital who is limited on resources to start with and any patient in need of actual care has to be transported hours in a make shift ambulance just to receive care, but because the ass hat who is stealing has had a hard life in the past, it’s okay for him to take advantage of the hospital meant for those who can’t get to the real hospital. Have I lost you yet?

Good doctor finally is able to convince the idiots at the hospital who rather sit on their asses all day and drown in self pity, hatred and loathing (and complain all the supplies keep going missing, yet they know who is doing it, but won’t actually do anything to prevent it because what does it matter, no one cares! SIGH!) Okay so the good doctors starts with community visits to talk about health related stuff, offers some medical check ups and he actually does something, but that lasts for maybe three pages, because instead we need to hear the narrator whine and bitch about why in the world would any one (referring to the good doctor) would want to do that. The ending also sucked because it basically went in full circle back to the beginning. Nothing was accomplished, nothing happened, no lessons learned. Nothing. AGH!

Would I recommend it to read: No, no I wouldn’t, I kept reading the book in hopes it would get better it didn’t. This is one of the books where you hope some freak hurricane takes them all out and ends the story. All the story is, is this doctor who hates him self so much, he doesn’t understand why others around him aren’t the same way, or why someone might want to help out in a community. (Why a doctor, who doesn’t give a rats ass about helping, ends up in an African village hospital is part of his “deep character” as he does it to escape a “Dark” past. But the dark past isn’t anything worth while for him to need to escape.)

What to read next: I'm not sure I really didn't like the book much, so it's hard to pinpoint what would be good to read next. There's a book on my shelf that may be a good choice to read after this, The Piano Turner but I'm not sure how close the two would be related, but haven't read it yet.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge

Book Review: Good Bones

Title: Good Bones

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 117

Summary: In GOOD BONES, first published in 1992, Margaret Atwood has fashioned an enthralling collection of parable, monologue, mini-romance and mini-biography, speculative fiction, prose lyric, outrageous recipie and reconfigured fairy tale, demonstrating yet again the play of unerring wit overseen by a panoramic intelligence.
Short Stories included with the collection:

Bad News
The Little Red Hen Tells All
Gertrude Talks Back
There Was Once
Unpopular Gals
Let Us Now Praise Stupid Women
The Female Body
In Love With Raymond Chandler
Stump Hunting
Making a Man
Men at Sea
Alien Territory
Adventure Story
Hard Ball
My Life as a Bat
An Angel
Poppies: Three Variations
Third Handed
Death Scenes
Four Small Paragraphs
We Want it All
Dance of the Lepers
Good Bones

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Another read-a-thon read, this was a wonderful collection of short stories, and essays, a lot of which examines the feminine psyche as well as some social commentary and observations in the world but done so in an energetic and humours way. Atwood is able to get her point out, but she uses wit and humour and her awesome story telling ability to engage the reader into her stories, and ensures you’ll never be bored.

This was one of the first short story collections where I’ve enjoyed almost all of the short stories in the book. There were a few I didn’t like as much, but most of them were great reads, which were humours, but also made some excellent observations on how society perceives things and thinks. Some of my favourites were: The Little Red Hen Tells All, There Once Was, Unpopular Girls, The Female Body, Stump Hunting (which is sure to make me laugh), Making a Man, My Life as a Bat.

Overall a wonderful collection, well worth reading and makes you want to investigate more short story collections by Atwood.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes I would, it was such an enjoyable collection, and Margaret Atwood is a very talented author, this book really shows how talented she is, because it’s able to show a wide spectrum of her work, but done so in very short pieces, so there’s a lot of variety and if there is a story you don’t enjoy, it’s short and you can ove on to the next quickly. Definitely worth checking out.

What to read next: More by Margaret Atwood, and you may want to check out Alice Munro, who also is a good short story teller (and both are Canadian :))

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 3rd Canadian Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Book Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe

Author: C.S. Lewis

Pages: 206

Summary: When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are sent to stay with a kind professor who lives in the country, they can hardly imagine the extraordinary adventure that awaits them. It all begins one rainy summer day when the children explore the professor's rambling old house. When they come across a room with an old wardrobe in the corner, Lucy immediately opens the door and gets inside. To her amazement, she suddenly finds herself standing in the clearing of a wood on a winter after-noon, with snowflakes falling through the air. Lucy has found Narnia, a magical land of fauns and centaurs, nymphs and talking animals -- and the beautiful but evil White Witch, who has held the country in eternal winter for a hundred years.

My Rating: 6.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This is one of the cases where the movie is far better then the book. Although it’s my favourite book of the series so far (including some of the ones after it), it’s still not that great. First of all the battle scene is very anti-climatic and dull. I don’t need to have a detailed description of blood guts, and slaughter, but I’d have liked a better idea of what was happening then what the reader gets.
Also, again with the lack of detailed descriptions of this magical world, I get the idea of leaving it up to the reader’s imagination, but at least give us something to work with! The only real descriptions are of the crowns.
One major thing I dislike about the book, and it’s a constant theme in the series is the anti-women elements. Mainly implying women are weak, and shouldn’t be fighting. It’s even stated at one point when Susan gets her bow, it shouldn’t be used for war/fighting unless it’s a last resort because women shouldn’t be there. WTF? Throughout the book there are a lot of things that symbolize women are weak, sinful, etc. And it really bugged me.
What I did like about the book, it’s a better story of the Narnia series where the reader is able to get a better idea what Narnia is, what it’s about, sort of how the magic works, and a very different fantasy world is shown then what we see nowadays. But it’s still missing a lot of elements and it’s a very different book then what I thought it was. I prefer the movie. The newer movies by Disney have done a fantastic job at making Narnia come alive.

Would I recommend it to read: This is the best book of the four I’ve read in the series so far. It gives you a lot more information on how Narnia works and the magic behind it. So I’d say yes. You could even read this book as a stand alone novel if you wish to. You don’t need to read the first to understand this. Although you need to read this one to understand Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the last two books (I think The Horse and His Boy could also be read as a stand alone or skipped all together).

What to read next: The Horse and his Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Last Battle (the other five books listed in Chronological order).

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, YA Challenge

Book Review: The Magician's Nephew

Title: The Magician's Nephew

Author: C.S. Lewis

Pages: 202

Summary: When Polly vanishes after Uncle Andrew's horrid trick, Digory has no choice but to follow her. Touching the magic rings takes the children into a wood where mysterious pools lead to countless other worlds. Their adventure opens up the doorway to Narnia -- a new and magical land where animals learn to speak and where trees are able to walk. But Narnia is under threat from the evil Queen, and Digory and Polly have to find the magical fruit that alone can save it.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I’ve read or have had some of the Narnia books to me as a child, but I don’t remember which ones, or much of the story. The only thing I have to base any Narnia knowledge on is the movies. So during the Read-a-thon, I decided to jump into the Narnia books, and started where Narnia started. And I was very disappointed. The books don’t have that magic to them I thought they did or remembered them to have. The characters were bland and boring, there was little description of Narnia and for a fantasy novel. I understand it’s for a younger audience, so the author didn’t go to in-depth in describing the setting or certain scenes, but this goes beyond the point in trying to keep the attention span of children.
Overall, boring and not a very strong introduction to keep a reader’s attention in the series I enjoy the idea behind the story and series, but not a fan of how it’s executed.

Would I recommend it to read: For children yes, I’d say some of this would be good for the 7 - 9 range reading with family kind of thing, because it’s a good book that might help get reluctant children to read (I mean what child doesn’t like an all powerful - talking lion. (Although in later books, he seems to be slightly cruel).

What to read next: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Horse and his Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Last Battle (the other six books listed in Chronological order).

Challenges: 1st in Series Challenge, 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge,
YA Challenge

Book Review: Under This Unbroken Sky

Title: Under This Unbroken Sky

Author: Shandi Mitchell

Pages: 352

Summary: Spring 1938. After nearly two years in prison for the crime of stealing his own grain, Ukrainian immigrant Teodor Mykolayenko is a free man. While he was gone, his wife, Maria; their five children; and his sister, Anna, struggled to survive on the harsh northern Canadian prairie, but now Teodor—a man who has overcome drought, starvation, and Stalin's purges—is determined to make a better life for them. As he tirelessly clears the untamed land, Teodor begins to heal himself and his children. But the family's hopes and newfound happiness are short-lived. Anna's rogue husband, the arrogant and scheming Stefan, unexpectedly returns, stirring up rancor and discord that will end in violence and tragedy.
My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The writing style of Shandi Mitchell is lovely, a elegant poetic style, that slides off the pages. The descriptions were written like passages of poetry reminding me a lot of Fugitive Pieces. Although I can definitely see some being turned off by this style of writing.
The story it’s self was good, but not great. It hit the nail on immigrant families trying to survive in Canada, the life of poverty and living day to day, as well as a family dynamic when tragedy hits, but at times I found it to be boring and repetitive and very depressing. I liked the “depressing” themes, because what this family goes through is hardship after hardship, but I wish it was executed in a different way, to prevent some of the respective aspects of it, still a good read, but different then what I was expecting, but I see a lot of talent from this author, and hope more novels by her.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book, but to select readers, because of the depressing tone, I think some may be turned off the story, it’s good to read about the struggles the family went through, but it’s not a very uplifting book, and I think there would be a few who would find the writing style choppy.

What to read next: Fugitive Pieces by Ann Michaels, because at times the poetic writing style reminds me of it.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, 2010 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge,
Fall Into Reading Challenge

Sunday, October 25

Read-a-thon Wrap Up!

Total Time Spent Reading: 18.5 - 19 hours
Total Time Spent Blogging/Other:  2.5 hours

There's about 30 minutes I'm unsure of, near the end began to get very sleepy and fuzzy. 

Total Pages Read: 1476

Total Books Read:

6 Books Completed

  • The Magicians Nephew - C.S. Lewis
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
  • Good Bones (collection of Short Stories) - Margaret Atwood
  • The Good Doctor (I had started this before the readathon, but read the last 159 pages of it)
  • T4
  • The Horse and His Boy
 Four Short Stories
  • Soulmates - Marian Keyes
  • De-Stressors - Joan O'Neill
  • The Twenty-Eighth Day - Catherine Barry
  • Thelma, Louise and the Lurve Gods - Cathy Kelly
Parts of the Following
  • Crown of Swords (Wheel of Time Book 7) - Robert Jordan (Aprox 190 pages)
  • The Prince of Caspian -C.S. Lewis (Aprox 66 Pages)
  • Jacobs Room - Virgina Woolf (Aprox 28 pages)

Total Blogs Visited: 7 which I commented on, but I stopped by and visited a few others too, but I forgot to write everything down near the end. So I plan on stopping by today.

Jenn's Bookshelves
Peeking Between the Pages
The Zen Leaf
Books, Movies and Chinese Food
A Stripped Arm Chair
S. Krishna's Books

Blogs I found While Doing it:
 Ticket to Anywhere
My Books, My Life
She Reads
Book Lists Life

I didn't do much socializing, so I'm going to lurk around today for some new blogs, to read.

Cups of Coffee Consumed:
5 (although in theory each "cup" actually holds two cups of coffee, so yeah)

And finally Wrap-Up Questions

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

The last hour I was awake 4 - 5. It's the reason why I didn't stay up for the for 24 hours, because I was so tired I kept reading the same page over and over.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Irish Girls About Town  is a collection of short stories, I didn't get far into it, but they are light, and funny so it's a good choice to read later at night. Easy to follow, chick-litish related. (Although some are more "Women's Lit"

The Chornicles of Narnia Books are also good choice. Although I'm finding I'm just not a big fan of them, they're very easy to follow, big font in most editions and you can read a bunch of them in a short period of time.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Provide us caffine IV Hooks-Ups, or cattle prods to make me stay awake the full 24 hours? Haha.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

The Cheerleaders were great! I was busy reading, so I never did see what the mini-challenges were like this year, but I saw glimpses of them and they look interesting and creative. 

5. How many books did you read?
See wrap-up above

6. What were the names of the books you read?

See Wrap Up Above

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Good Bones - Margaret Atwood

8. Which did you enjoy least?
The Good Doctor, The Horse and His Boy

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Wasn't a cheerleader, but again, you guys rocked!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

100% Likely! It gives me an exscuse to read all day! And of course, a reader! Just Keep Reading, Just Keep Reading!

Book Reviews Should be up shortly - within the week. I have one from before the read-a-thon to catch up on.

Update Four: 24 Hour Read-a-thon

Getting soo sleepy, I can't concentrate on one book for two long, and reading is slowing down. I want to make it to 8 am, I really do. Whether or not I actually will remains the question, stay tuned. Back to reading. Read bit from Jacob's room two short stories, going to try and finish a narnia book. Font is big. So less straning my poor eyes. 4.5 hours to go.... I can do it.... right?
Just keep reading, just keep reading!

Time Spent Reading Since Last Update: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading: 17 hours 30 min

Time Spent Blogging/Other Since Last Update: 0
Total Time Spent Blogging/Other: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Pages Read Since Last Update: 302
Total Pages Read So far:1314

Books Read Since Last Updated: 1

Total Books Read So Far: 6

* The Magicians Nephew - C.S. Lewis
* The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
* Good Bones (collection of Short Stories)
* The Good Doctor (I had started this before the readathon, but read the last 159 pages of it)
* T4
* The Horse and His Boy

Blogs Visited Since Last Updated:0

Total Blogs Visited So Far: 7

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 5

Saturday, October 24

Update Three: 24 Hour Read-a-thon

Time Spent Reading Since Last Update: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading: 12 hours 45 min

Time Spent Blogging/Other Since Last Update: 1.5 hours (dinner)
Total Time Spent Blogging/Other: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Pages Read Since Last Update: 186 (reading itty bitty font this time of night = poor planning)
Total Pages Read So far:1012

Books Read Since Last Updated:

Total Books Read So Far: 5

* The Magicians Nephew - C.S. Lewis
* The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
* Good Bones (collection of Short Stories)
* The Good Doctor (I had started this before the readathon, but read the last 159 pages of it)
* T4

Blogs Visited Since Last Updated: 3

Total Blogs Visited So Far: 7

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 3 (Pot is currently being made as we speak!)

Update Two: 24 Hour Read-a-thon

 Okay so update time! It's been 10 hours since the challenge started and I have read for almost that entire time. Only having 45 minutes of non reading time. Now its time for the big break. Dinner will be soon, so will have to eat and then I want to drop by more blogs and see what everyone is up to, see what mini challenges are going on etc. I'm very hapy with my progress, although one book I finished slowed me down a lot "The Good Doctor" was a very boring book. Glad I decided to finish it early on. Still feeling pretty good, although have a back ahce so need to stretch that out. Hope all is well for the rest of you!

Time Spent Reading Since Last Update: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading: 9 hours 15 min

Time Spent Blogging/Other Since Last Update: 0
Total Time Spent Blogging/Other: 0

Pages Read Since Last Update: 418
Total Pages Read So far:826

Books Read Since Last Updated:

Total Books Read So Far: 5
  • The Magicians Nephew - C.S. Lewis
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
  • Good Bones (collection of Short Stories)
  • The Good Doctor (I had started this before the readathon, but read the last 159 pages of it)
  • T4
Blogs Visited Since Last Updated: 4

Total Blogs Visited So Far: 4

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 3

Update One: 24 Hour Read-a-thon

It's been five hours since the readathon has started, and I'm taking my first break. I've been reading since I started, although once in a while I'd glance through my tweets to check up on thigns and comment, but so far, this is my first offical break. I would have been having my first break an hour ago, but wanted to finish the book I was reading, and slowed down on that because I'm sleepy (tip, reading on a soft bed with warm blankets makes you sleepy!)

Here's my read-a-thon progress so far:

Time Spent Reading Since Last Update: 4.45 hours
Total Time Spent Reading: 4.45 hours

Time Spent Blogging/Other Since Last Update: 15 Minutes
Total Time Spent Blogging/Other: 15 Minutes

Pages Read Since Last Update: 408
Total Pages Read So far: 408

Books Read Since Last Updated: 2

Total Books Read So Far: 2
  • The Magicians Nephew - C.S. Lewis
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Blogs Visited Since Last Updated: 0

Total Blogs Visited So Far: 0

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 3

Read-a-thon Zero Hour!

According to my clock the Readathon starts in two minutes! I have my first book, and a steaming mug of coffee by my side and I'm reading to go!

 My Twitter is bookwormjules, in case you wish to add me, I'll likely be able to update there more frequently then on the blog. Good luck to all.

And I can start soon! Starting off light and reading the Magicians Nephew. Good luck all and happy reading

Friday, October 23

What's in my read-a-thon pile?

I did the 24 hour read-a-thon last fall, and learned a bit from my self what to read and not to read, and have allowed a lot of options. Will I finish all of these books, oh I know I won't but I wanted to make sure I have enough books and options, so if I get bored with a book then I have other books to read and when it comes to those wee hours in the morning, I have something easy to read that doesn't take a lot of concentration to read.

So I went to my library shelves and my local library and nabbed my self a bunch of books so here's my list (sadly no picture, as my camera is not availavble)

1) The Magician's Nephew
2) The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
3) The Horse and His Boy
4) The Prince of Caspian
5) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6) The Silver Chair
7) The Last Battle
(All of the above are by C.S. Lewis)

8) Good Bones by Margaret Atwood
9) Irish Girls About Town - Multiple Authors
10) Further Under the Duvet - Marian Keyes
11) The Secrets of the Fire King - Kim Edwards
(Short Story Collections)

12 ) T4 by Ann Clare LeZotte
13) Jacob's Room - Virginia Woolf

14) The Good Doctor
15) Cold Mountain
16) Crown of Swords
(All Books I am currently reading)

My aim is to stay up for the full 24 hours. And I hope to read at least 4 of the Narnia Books and one of the short story collections. We'll find out if I'm right.

Updates and Awards

First of all, let me say I am alive and am in good health, and but wanted to drop a quick update to let you all know I'm here, but took a bit of a break from blogging. For a while I had a bad chest cold, so reading while having head and chest cold and hacking up half a lung, was difficult. And lately been dealing with the everlasting family drama, which has also been making reading and blogging difficult.

Last weekend I was away, for a friends birthday party and was stressed out, because the party was out of town (two hours out of town) and my ride down bailed on me at 5 pm the night before (and in order to be at the party in time, as it was a surprise party, in box seats a Toronto Marlies Game), we had to leave no later than 11 am the saturday morning. Needless to say I was not pleased, and left to scramble to get a way down there, as my friends boyfriend planned the entire thing, and was nice enough to buy everyone tickets, at no cost to us. I did manage to get a train down, arranged to crash at a friends over night, and take a train back the next day. But, still a lot of hassle. The party was great, so was the game, but didn't get much sleep the night before I left, got up early to get to where I needed to be and then the next night slept on a lumpy pull out. Is there such a thing as a non lumpy pull out bed? Hmmm

Other news, I chopped my hair off to a cute little short cut. It was past my sholders, and finally decided enough was enough. If any of you watch Stargate think Samantha Carter short and style (although I don't have blonde hair, and since the first day at the hair dresser can't style it the way it should be, but.... it still looks good).

Hmm and I think thats it for updates, sick and family drama and reading funk had me far away from blogging. And today I finally decided to clear out my feed reader. I missed a lot of posts, and some of the ones I've been saving disappeared. It exploded three times I think.... I had so many, so unfortunately I did a quick skim of the feeds and saved only the reviews that caught my eye. So if you have any great books you recently read, just leave it in the comments, because I had to delete so many posts (The horror of what would have happened if I didn't clean up the feeds today, and had to clean up after the read-a-thon and two weeks of negelecting my feeds is rather scary).

So, although I did save all the posts of those who've handed out awards to me and my blog in the past, gosh must be over a month, I lost a lot of posts. I searched through as best as I can and I'm sorry I didn't come in and thank you all earlier. There is just a lot of issues with my personal life right now, it's hard to get to anything fun for me at the moment. So thank you to not only those who've passed awards on to me, but all my readers and commentators.

Rebecca of Lost in Books has Awarded me the  

 Who Loves You Baby Award!
This award is designed with one purpose in mind. Pass this on to other bloggers who have awarded you in the past.

And I'm passing this award onto:

Michelle of the True Book Addict has Awarded me the

Zombie Chicken 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.”

I'd like to pass this award on to all those who have been working hard on the October 2009, Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon. I think this award is very fitting for all of those who are working on promoting, mini challenges, and providing us all with the opportunity to do this event! So this is for you!

Finally, Amanda from the Zen Leaf has awarded me with the

Honesty Scrap Award is, This is the Honest Scrap award. It is for those bloggers who write from the heart. The rules are to pass it along to seven bloggers and then list 10 honest things about myself. Here are those deserving of this honour, bloggers who write from the heart and touch me because of it:

Okay, I dont think I have 10 honest things to say about my self that I haven't mentioned on this blog (my reading addiction, my coffee adduction, my ever lasting-nonstopping signing up for challenges, my anal organization process of my books, (but oddly enough only my books and dvds), hmm I like stargate and...uhh thats it for now)

And here are those I'm passing this on too:

Zibilee of Raging Bbliomania
Thomas of My Porch 
Sharazad of The Dangerous Pages Reviews
Becky from Becky's Book Reviews

And again thanks to all of you for these awards, make sure you check out Michelle's, Amanda and Rebecca's Book Blogs!

And finally I am doing the 24 hour read-a-thon this fall. What better of a way to get out of a reading funk/slump then to enter into the 24 hour read a thon, hope to see you all there! (PS getting up at 8 am, will NOT be fun, but books will be!)

Sunday, October 11

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

Title: The Lovely Bones

Author: Alice Sebold

Pages: EBook (about 346 pages)

Summary: When we first meet Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. As she looks down from this strange new place, she tells us, in the fresh and spirited voice of a fourteen-year-old girl, a tale that is both haunting and full of hope. In the weeks following her death, Susie watches life on Earth continuing without her-her school friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her family holding out hope that she'll be found, her killer trying to cover his tracks. As months pass without leads, Susie sees her parents' marriage being contorted by loss, her sister hardening herself in an effort to stay strong, and her little brother trying to grasp the meaning of the word gone. And she explores the place called heaven. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. There are counselors to help newcomers adjust and friends to room with. Everything she ever wanted appears as soon as she thinks of it-except the thing she most wants: to be back with the people she loved on Earth. With compassion, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie sees her loved ones pass through grief and begin to mend. Her father embarks on a risky quest to ensnare her killer. Her sister undertakes a feat of remarkable daring. And the boy Susie cared for moves on, only to find himself at the center of a miraculous event. The Lovely Bones is luminous and astonishing, a novel that builds out of grief the most hopeful of stories. In the hands of a brilliant new writer, this story of the worst thing a family can face is transformed into a suspenseful and even funny novel about love, memory, joy, heaven, and healing.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The beginning of this book is powerful, creepy and horrifying, setting it up for a very emotional journey for both the reader and the characters. One of the best aspects of the book is how well the author was able to portray the anguish of losing a loved, especially in such a horrific way. Although it was sad to read, it was very well done, especially at being able to experience each individual characters emotions and reactions to the loss.

I also enjoyed Sebold’s version of heaven. Although I’m not religious and usually don’t connect to stories that are heavy on spiritual journey’s or religious elements, I did enjoy this side of the story. It was a very different picture of heaven she wrote about, almost mythical, so kudos for the author for this.

On the other hand, there were a few things in the story and about her writing style I really didn’t like. I found some of her descriptions to be very, well awkward. Sometimes the way she described things, such as a person’s eyes or laugh just didn’t seem to fit with the story it’s self, so it made for some very unusual passages in the book. And their was one part in the book, within the last few chapters that really, really bugged me, and in my opinion should have been left out of the book, because it turned me off the whole story. I won’t explain what it is, to ensure not to spoil it, but I’m sure those who’ve read it would probably know what I mean. I think it was in chapter 22 actually, but I’m not sure. And finally, the ending just seemed to - “and we all lived happily ever”/everything is tied up into a perfect little bow. Not that happy endings are a bad thing but, everything just fit too perfectly in the end, and I wish the author took a different approach to how it all played out. Overall it is a good story, a shocking and creepy beginning but, a good story of how those who are left behind deal with the grief of losing a loved one.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book to read, but perhaps to select people. I think it's a book where some people would get fed up with the writing style quickly (particularly the descriptions), and the book does deal with some ... unpleasant content, that I know a lot of people want to avoid (and I can't blame them), but the book is well written in how it portrays what happens to those left behind, and how to move on in life, so I think a lot of readers can appreciate that side of it.

What to read next: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, My Sister's Keeper

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2010 Count Down Challenge, Dewey's Reading Challenge,
Fall into Reading Challenge, YA Reading Challenge

Book Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's

Title: Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Other Stories

Author: Truman Capote

Pages: 178

Summary: The version of the book I read had Breakfast at Tiffany's plus three other novellas/short stories. These were; House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar,
A Christmas Memory.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I wasn’t that impressed with Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The story didn’t reach me, the characters were dull and boring and I didn’t really see the appeal all these men had to Holly. Even the story it self just didn’t seem to be that all interesting or impressive as I thought it must be (since it’s a book a lot of people seem to enjoy). Maybe because this story has been done so many times, it’s the bases for a lot of Hollywood films (The beautiful, glamour woman everyone loves, wants, wants to be part of her life, find her inner depth etc.) For me, it just wasn’t that enjoyable of a read, and a bit of a disappointment after hearting such great things about it.

The other stories, in the book were well done. Capote has a great talent for writing short stories and novellas. He’s able to do some great things, have some in depth meaning to his stories, that I find lack in many short stories and can usually bring his characters through some development, without the feeling of it being forced. I really liked “A Diamond Guitar” and “A Christmas Memory.” I felt the characters were portrayed the best in these two stories; they were the two that interested me the most, and really showcased the author’s story telling ability. Overall I think he’s a great at telling the story, but the content of the stories just don’t appeal directly to me. But will look into some of his other works to see how I feel.

Would I recommend it to read: I think a lot would enjoy the story a lot more than I did. So I would recommend it for others to read. It's a short story, and like I've said above Capote is a good story teller in general, so even if you're like me and you don't like the story itself, the way he tells it is something a book lover can enjoy.

What to read next: Hmm, I'm a bit stumped on this one. I'd say more of Capote's novellas short stories.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Fall in to Reading Challenge

Thursday, October 1

September Wrap-Up

September is finished. And now there is only 3 months left to the end of the year. So I REALLY need to get cracking on my reading. Why can't I have more reading months like April? Not to mention, this last few days I haven't gotten much reading done, because at the moment curling up with a book is a little difficult. I bruised (or cracked? most likely bruised) my ribs earlier in the week. (I was choking, and mom well, saved me). I'm okay, just left side is a bit painful if I twist my body, slouch, sleep, laugh, sneeze etc. So curling up in my favourite chair with my books isn't happening as much. Lucky for me my computer chair makes me sit up pretty straits, so I'm good for sitting here. It's not the best reading chair, but it will make do until I heal.

So on to the books. This month I managed to read 9 (nine) books. Not a bad month.

1) Fifth Life of the Cat Woman - Kathleen Dexter - 9.5/10
2) The Thirteenth Tale - Dianne Setterfield - 4.5/10
3) The Notebook - Nicolas Sparks - 7/10
4) Anthem - Ayn Rand - 7.75/10
5) One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez - 7.5/10
6) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins - 9.5/10
7) Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell - 7.5/10
8) Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe - 4/10
9) The Patriot (adapted screenplay) - Stephen Molstad - 6.5/10

My favourite book(s) of the month were; The Fifth Life of the Cat Woman and The Hunger Games. My least favourite book(s) of the month were; The Thirteenth Tale and Robinson Crusoe.

As for my challenges, I didn't manage to finish any again this month. But I do have a bunch of books checked out from the Library that will ensure I finished the Decades Challenge. And I'm getting close to finishing the 100+ I know by December I'll have that finished (the 24 hour read-a-thon will help with that too).
I joined one challenge, this month, and dropped out of another. I've decided to drop out of the EBook Challenge, because with all the books I have to read, I don't think I have time to read Ebooks. I know one or two books for challenges I'm still in are going to be in EBook form, but I know I wont be able to finish it, so sadly I bow out. I do plan on joining a challenge, because this challenge is also in 2010 and I plan to read most of the books then, but there's a few I have on my shelf right now, that will fit in (2010 Countdown Challenge). I failed one challenge. Which was the one I created, ouch! Ah well it was fun. And thanks to those who joined in the challenge. Sorry if I wasn't the best host, my first attempt at a challenge. I think I will host another challenge again, but do some better planning pre-challenge.

So with out further procrastinating here's my challenge progress.

Currently In Progress Challenges

(Another) 1% Well Read Challenge (My List)
Progress: 9/13

1st in a Sereis Challenge (My List)
Progress: 4/12

100+ Challenge (My List)
Progress: 74/100

18th and 19th Century Women Writers (My List)
Progress: 1/8

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

999 Challenge (My List)
Progress: 32/81

A - Z Challenge (My List)
Progress: 45/52

Book Awards Challenge III (My List)
Progress: 2/5

Chick Lit Challenge (My List)
Progress: 3/10

Chunkster Challenge (My List)
Progress: 0/3

Decades Challenge (My List)
Progress: 5/9

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

Fall into Reading 2009 Challenge (My List)
Progress: 3/21

Random Reading Challenge (My List)
Profress: 0/9

RYOB Challenge (My List)
Progress: 22/25

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: 7/12

I'm also planing for next years challenges, although I wont post the lists until late december, unless they're challenges that take place in 2009 and 2010. But, for this time around I plan on making a list of possible books to use for a challenge, instead of pre-making a list (unless of course the challenge calls to have a pre-made list). That way if a book is unavailable at the library, or unavailable for me, I won't be scrambling and it gives me a lot more books to choose from depending on my mood. So I'm starting to get some ideas down. And for the 10.10 Challenge (10 books, 10 categories in  2010 (this challenges ensures I finish the 100+ challenge!)

So if anyone has suggestions for my categories let me know (I'm also using this to branch out a bit in my reading bubble)so here are my categories I need recommendations for

17th - 19th Century Lit
(Author must have lived or book wrote during (if it was published after there death its okay, but originally has to be written during those times)

Historical Fiction

Around the World - Africa and Asia
(Author lives or Book takes place there)

2 Years Old or Less (Book Published 2008 - 2010)


I Like Fat Books
(Books that are 550 or more pages)

R - Z Authors
(Author's Last Name Starts with One of the letters.)

I Rescued That Book in ‘10
(Books I "rescue" from the used bookstore)

Before I was a Movie
(Books that have had movies made about them)

Hodgepodge O’ Books
(Anything that interests me, spill overs from other categories etc).

So if anyone has suggestions, just leave a comment. (Even if you don't leave a comment, may not always reply, but I always read them :) )

Oh and I forgot to mention, I added my contact info and where else to find me on my side bar. Feel free to added me! I'm debating listing Facebook or not. But if/when I do, just tell me your a book blogger so I know. And happy fall everyone! I have suddenly become addicted to Ginger Spice Tea!