Sunday, October 31

Book Review: Evermore

Title: Evermore

Author: Alyson Noël

Pages: 301

Summary: After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people’s auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone’s entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppresses her abilities she has been branded a freak at her new high school - but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.

Damen is gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy. He’s the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head - wielding a magic so intense, it’s as though he can peer straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she’s left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is - or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she’s falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.

My Rating: 5.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book has potential, it had a different premise then the other YA paranormal fiction books I’ve been reading, and I really liked the idea behind it on the psychic abilities, auras and seeing and talking to ghosts. Unfortunately, the book fell short of my expectations, the idea behind the plot was strong, but everything else, just didn’t work for me.

For starters, this is the kind of YA that makes me cringe, the angst, rebellion, the whole teenage coming of age - it seemed to be a little overboard, to the point I began to lose interest in the story. I get this is a book about young adults, who are still in high school going through all the problems, emotions and what not they go through, but this particular book just went overboard for me - I got bored very fast. I was waiting for the paranormal side of the story to move a long, and the teen angst side of the story have less importance, but that didn’t happen.

I also didn’t like the characters, some of them got on my nerves very quickly, again, this was probably due to the fact, it was high in the teen angst, but there were times when I wanted to smack some of the characters. There was one part with Ever, where I thought I was going to chuck the book across the room because of how she was behaving, really? Did that actually happen? I also didn’t like the way the relationship between Damen and Ever was portrayed, the way Damen acts towards Ever, I think it shows examples of a bad relationship, I get it’s a teen love story, but still the way the relationship is portrayed, Damen’s dominating personality bugs me, I was reminded of Bella and Edward’s relationship from Twilight a lot throughout the book. Although, Damen ge’s a lot of boons points, for not sparkling like diamonds in the sunlight.

What I liked the best was the paranormal side of the story, the author does have a strong ability in creating this paranormal world, I wish she had stuck more to that, and less of the teen angst, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more that way but now I’m not sure whether or not I’ll read the second book. I’m kind of on the fence on this one.

Would I recommend it to read: I’d recommend the book to young adults I can see them enjoying the book. Especially fans of paranormal books, and anyone who wants a paranormal book that isn’t about vampires.

What to read next: The rest of the series would be a start, I was also reminded of Twilight so if you liked the book, then you would likely like Twilight.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 100+ Challenge, Support Your Library Challenge

Book Review: Water for Elephants

Title: Water for Elephants

Author: Sarah Gruen

Pages: 335

Summary: When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I don’t know why it has taken as long to read this book as it did, but I couldn’t put it down. I was pulled into the life of the circus, and of Jacob life - both past and present. The book also touches n a lot of issues, in such a small span, but everything is handled so well and comes together creating a very beautiful story.

I really enjoyed Jacob’s character, the young Jacob was a bit naïve at times, but it worked well with the theme of a coming of age story. Jacob’s growth throughout the book is extremely well done and to see him as an old man, who is alone and a bit senile and recounting his life when he dropped out of school and joined the circus. I know the quick summary, is one that many small children dream of, but it really is a lot better than it sounds. The circus, of course is filled with eccentric characters, but all are not what they seem. Walter was a favourite of mine and so was Roise, the elephant. I can’t believe how much characterization was created in an elephant; she really had her own personality and was always fun to read about. Of course there are the characters you can’t stand, and love to hate, and can’t wait until they get what they deserve, but overall watching Jacob as a young boy and the parallels and contrast of him as an elderly man, were beautifully done.

Issues such as animal abuse, spousal abuse, and the effect s of the depression are present throughout the books, as well as old age. There were some parts as I watched Jacob as an old man that was very touching and sad. The author easily played with my emotions here - and the ending made me cry. A good cry, happy ending of sorts, I won’t say more, but I absolutely loved the ending!

What I didn’t like. I would have liked to learn more about Jacobs life, between the two extremes, the circus and old age. There was so much more to his life, and I kind of wanted more. I also wasn’t a big fan of Marlena, I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t think she was a big deal, or what Jacob saw in here. There were also a few parts that I didn’t like, they weren’t bad, but I was shocked to see what had happened. Other than that, the book was very well done.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes! This book is amazing. I really don’t think I can convey into words about what this book is like. Just bring the tissue, the ending is very touching. It isn’t for everyone, but I think the majority of readers would enjoy the book.

What to read next: The Stone Angel, The Notebook

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, 451 Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge

IMM Halloween Edition and Books that Followed Me Home

So this is my special Halloween edition of IMM and books that followed me home. I've done IMM via a vlog, the books aren't very halloweeny, but the vlog has a halloween twist to it. I hope you enjoy! Oh part of the video and sound are off for a bit in the video, but it eventually goes back to normal.

And don't forget that IMM is hosted by Kristi over at the Story Siren, so be sure to stop by and visit her site.

Books that Followed me Home!

So the second half of this post, is Books that followed me home. My own personal little meme I do, that show cases books I've bought. Anyone is welcome to join in the fun. I use this for books I bought when I'm out and about, because it makes me feel better saying, the books followed me home, to no fault of my own of course, than saying these are all the books I bought. The funny thing is many of these books were purchased at a grocery store. The one I go to is a superstore, so it does have a small book and magazine collection, with a fairly good selection of books. So this is about a month or two worth of books.

Shannon - Frank Delaney
The Kitchen House - Kathleen Grissom
Day After Night - Anita Diamant
The Fallen - Stephen Finucan
Dime Store Magic - Kelly Armstrong
Broklyn - Colm Tobin
Sacred Hearts - Sarah Dunant (Grocery Store Find)
Evening Class - Maeve Binchy (Grocery Store Find)
The Gathering Story - Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson Mass Paperback (Grocery Store Find)
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (Grocery Store Find)
Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontes - Jude Morgan (Grocery Store Find)
An Impartial Witness: A Bess Crawford Mystery - Charles Todd (Grocery Store Find)

Saturday, October 30

Book Review: Night Runner

Title: Night Runner

Author: Max Turner

Pages: 300

Summary: For Zach Thompson, living in the Nicholls Ward wasn’t so bad. After his parents died, he developed the usual and severe allergies, and the mental institution was the only place where he could be properly looked after. As strange as it seemed, it was home. His diet was restricted to strawberry smoothies, and being the only kid at the hospital did get lonely. But it never once crossed Zack’s mind to leave . . . until he was visited by an enigmatic stranger who claimed to be his uncle and to know the reason behind Zack’s parents’ death - an his mysterious sickness.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: For the most part, I did enjoy this book and its different look in to vampires, especially on who they are and how they exist, and what makes them a vampire. It amazes me how authors manage to create their own version of vampires, and still stay fairly true to the vampire’s original form. This book stays true to that. It had some interesting concepts about vampires; I especially like the idea about the insanity that can occur as a consequence of becoming a vampire. I wonder what the author means by insanity, is this insane like they can’t function as a normal creature of the night? Or does it mean they become homicidal killing maniacs? This part was glossed over, so I wonder if it will be examined more in the next book. Either way, I liked this element and most of the elements to Turner’s vampires. They had weaknesses and some special abilities. They weren’t overly powerful, but they weren’t weak either. They were made believable, and fit well with the story as a whole. The overall story, was also well down, I liked the pace, and the climax of the story for the most part.

I also loved having a male narrator for once. Most of the vampire books, especially in YA Fiction, are all female narrators and protagonists, so you get a long of angst and “does the cute boy love me?”, which I can’t stand, this didn’t have that, so it was refreshing to have some originality in how the story was told, and in the main character. This time it’s a teenage boy, who is the usual teenage boy, video games, exercises a lot, allergic to sun, and is a evil creature of the night, who is living in a mental intuition - completely unaware his milkshakes he receives every night, was really blood, it kind of made me chuckle when Zack commented on how he thought it was strawberry flavouring. I think the author captured the teenage mind of a young boy very well.

What I didn’t like was the ending. I think it was wrapped up all too perfectly. I was surprised in how some things came to be in the end, and was hoping that a different out come would be there. I can’t say too much, but I was expecting more deaths than survives. And I hope I didn’t spoil to much for anyone, those who have read the book will know what I mean. I would have also liked to see a little more information on the vampires and what their qualities were, some things were hinted at, so I was hoping to see a little more of the whole vampire background - again, I hope to see this in the next book. Overall, pretty good vampire story, with a different perspective and unique voice from the narrator, it is worth well reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, I enjoyed the overall experience. His version of vampires is yet another unique version, and it is fairly interesting one, with the whole insanity thing that can occur. It had some interesting themes and a bit of suspense in it too. I also think this would be a perfect choice for anyone who has children, especially boys who are reluctant readers, as I think the book can really appeal to them and maybe even get them into reading.

What to read next: End of Days is the sequel to this book, so I’d read that.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review Challenge, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge, Fantasy Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Friday, October 29

Book Review: The Body in the Library

Title: The Body in the Library

Author: Agatha Christie

Pages: 192

Summary: Colonel and Ms. Bantry are shocked when they wake on morning to find the dead body of a young platinum blonde on the floor of their library. Nobody in the village of St. Mary Mead seems to know who she is, but everyone as a theory about the crime. The ensuing investigation follows a twisted trail from this quiet village to an upscale hotel in the nearby town of Danemouth, where the victim worked as a ballroom dancer and bridge hostess. As the local inspectors sift through emerging clues to identify a suspect, Miss Jane Marple, St. Mary Mead’s resident sleuth, always seems to be one step ahead of them.

My Rating: 5.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I wasn’t very interested in the story or the whole mystery behind the body that was found in the library, and I didn’t really try to put all the pieces together, although I did figure out who did it in the first place. I much would have preferred if someone else were the murderer, I had this wild crazy second theory, because the story began to bore me. It just wasn’t a story that impressed me much. No character sparked my interest, the story and crime solving process just passed by me, and I wasn’t interested or excited as the “secrets” and clues were revealed. The story just passed by for me, I read it, and then I as finished it. It didn’t leave any impressions on me, or convince me I should read more by the author. Or the crime solving detective, I was hoping I would like her, but now I’m not sure if I like Miss Marple as a mystery solver. She wasn’t what I expected, I think I was expecting more from her, but perhaps she was just having an off day. Whatever it was, my first impressions of her weren’t that great.

This being my second Agatha Christie novel, I have to say I’m glad it wasn’t my first, as it would have likely turned me off the author. The story isn’t horrible, nor is the writing style, but it isn’t that good. I much prefer the other book I’ve read by her, and hope that this one was just a fluke.

Would I recommend it to read: I wouldn’t recommend this particular book, but I think I’m still interested in the author enough to recommend other books by her.

What to read next: I’d try other mysteries by the author. This one didn’t do it for me, but she is one of the master detective-mystery novelist out there (by reputation, I’ve only read two books by the author), so I’d give them a try.
Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge,
Marple-Poirot-Holmes Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge

Thursday, October 28

Book Review: The Hour Before Dawn

Title: The Hour Before Dawn

Author: Sarah MacDonald

Pages: 344

Summary: When David, a handsome army officer falls in love with Fleur, the young daughter of his captain, she abandons her career aspirations to become an army wife and mother in Singapore. After their first blissfully happy years together, tragedy strikes and Fleur is left widowed and with her young twin daughters, Nikki and Saffie. Grief-stricken, she prepares to take her daughters back to England - and then one of them mysteriously vanishes, without a trace.

Nikki, now pregnant and living in New Zealand, is still tormented by the disappearance of her twin sister. Unable to reconcile with her mother, the ghosts of the past haunt her dreams.

Then Fluer goes missing en route to New Zealand, Nikki must journey to Singapore to find her mother and attempt of a reconciliation. But then the long-hidden ghosts make a dramatic reappearance, sending shockwaves through the entire family.

My Rating: 4.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I just couldn’t get into this book. The writing style was great. I really liked how the author told the story, described the setting, and set everything up, but the story it self just didn’t do it for me.

For one, I felt like I’ve read the story, seen the movie many times over. Family haunted by tragic loss of child/sister, who never knew what really happen, torn apart and estranged (or close to it) because of this loss, come together when secrets resurface and body is found. I was hoping for something less formula and something a little more unique. I also found a lot of the “secrets” and reveals to just not work with the story, to me it seemed they were there to add a twist or be controversial, I can’t get into it because it would really spoil the book, but I just didn’t see any of it link together the way it should have. The investigation part of the book also bugged me, again it just didn’t come together very well. It felt the book was written in chunks, with a certain end goal, but it wasn’t written in a way that brought it all together to a good story. Which brings me to the ending, I hated it. It was cliché as cliché could get. I kept asking myself, “Seriously? That was the ending?”

What I liked, well the writing style was great, as I said above. It’s what kept me reading. I enjoyed the story being told, the author writes some very lovely descriptions, and details about life and the world around her characters. I’m not turned off the author yet, her writing style is what kept me reading the book, and I will likely give her another chance. But overall, this book wasn’t a good one for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I don’t think I would. There is a possibility of a good story there, but I found too many things to be cliché. The surprises of the book were not that surprising. The author is a good story teller, so I’d probably recommend her, but just not this particular book.

What to read next: I haven’t got a clue. If you enjoyed the book, I’m sure there are many out there that are similar. At times I was reminded of the Thirteenth Tale and the Lace Reader, with the themes of twins, family and such. But not sure what would be good to read next.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 100+ Challenge, Fall into Reading, Global Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge

Wednesday, October 27

Book Review: The Hours

Title: The Hours

Author: Michael Cunningham

Pages: 228

Summary: Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, The Hours is the story of three women: Clarissa Vaughna, who one New York Morning goes about planning a party in honor of a beloved friend; Laura Brown, who in a 1950's Los Angeles suburb slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family home; and Virginia Woolf, recuperating with her husband in a London suburb, and beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway. Bu the end of the novel, the stories have intertwined, and finally come together in an act of subtle and haunting grace, demonstrating Michael Cunningham’s deep empathy for his characters as well as the extraordinary resonance of his prose.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I found my self to be wrapped up in this book, it was hard to put down, and over all I enjoyed it.
The book is not a light read, in fact it can be a bit depressing at times, but it deals with a very important topic, and I think Cunningham portrayed that beautifully in his novel. The book deals with three middle aged women, all who are suffering from loneliness, depression and feeling trapped in their lives; all of whom live in different time periods. The novel is broken down into chapters, with each chapter focusing on a different woman, but they manage to come together very well. Which surprised me because when I found it was written this way I though it would read more like individual stories, but once I got to reading it I found that all three stories came together nicely.

I think the author did a great job at showcasing that these problem women faced which have continued on through the decades, and that even those women who have the “perfect” life, feel trapped, scared and alone. The author portrayed all of these messages and their emotions very well. Not a lot happens during the book, instead a very important message come across, how women face these emotions and problems, and have been facing them for years, but rarely do they have a voice. I remember studying literature by women in a class a few years ago, and this was on of the reoccurring themes I learned about during the 1900s-1960s (or thereabouts) so I think they author did a very good job at recreating this in the book. I was also surprised about the connection between some of the characters, especially at the end. I was not expecting that at all, nor did I ever make the connection. But I still enjoyed it.

What I didn’t like. The novel, can be a bit of a downer, and I would have rather had each woman’s story told, then brought together, instead of having scrambled up chapters. I think it would have made it easier to keep track of the characters this way. I would have also liked some of the back story and relationships between the various characters better mapped out and explained, especially Clarissa’s. I found that there were times, I was trying to figure out how everyone in her life came to be there, and was also confused on who was who. Other than that, the book was well done, and pushes out a very important message.

I'm also not a fan of the movie-tie-in cover, but it was a dollar at a used bookstore, so what can you do?

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book, but I think I’d only recommend to a select audience. I can definitely see people who would not enjoy the book, and being frustrated with it. Although, the claim of “a woman who has everything, so therefore she must be happy,” as to why people don’t like the characters and the books bug me. But that is a whole can of worms I won’t get into here.

What to read next: Mrs. Dalloway, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, 451 Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Saturday, October 23


As you may have guessed from the title, some changes are going on around here. First of all, I've purchased a domain name for my blog (finally!) I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but have been trying to figure out if I wanted to do self-hosting, switch hosts etc. I'm staying with blogger for now and bought my self my own domain name.

So, update your feedreaders, feeds, addresses etc. (it should do it automatically, but just in case it doesn't) is the new address. So make sure you check everything is working. My email address is still the same (, in fact everything will still be the same, except the web-address.

Part two of the changes, so I lied a bit above, I'm going to be fixing up my side bars a bit. Now that blogger has pages, I can take some things and added them as pages instead of having the side bar. I will still have some of the thigns I have up there, especially the quotes, but some things feel make it look a little cluttered. I'll be updating this over the next few weeks.

Part Three: I'm adding my Facebook account to my "how to find me" you are all of course welcome to add me. Just let me know who you are, so I know who everyone is when I accept.

Part Four: Business cards! I'm buying business card. Yay! I've been going to so many author events, and networking about how I'm a blogger, I thought I should get my self some business cards.

So those are the changes for the site and book related me. I have two more reviews and then I'm finally caught up, and hopefully a IMM post and books that followed me home post!

Thursday, October 21

Book Review Stolen

Title: Stolen

Author: Kelly Armstrong

Pages: 461

Summary: : Elena Michaels may be the world’s only female werewolf, but she’s just a regular girl at heart - and she certainly doesn’t believe in witches. At least not until a forceful encounter with two small, ridiculously feminine women who lure her into a carefully laid trap. . . .

Vampires, demons, shamans, witches - in Stolen they all exist, and they’re all under attack. An obsessed tycoon with a sick curiosity is well on his way to amassing a private collection of supernaturals, and plans to harness their powers for himself- even if it means killing them. For Elena, kidnapped and imprisoned deep underground, separated from her Pack unable to tell her friends from her enemies, choosing the right allies is a matter of life and death.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I have to say, I really enjoyed the second book in Kelly Armstrong’s “Women of the Otherworlds” series, which has got me addicted to the storyline and characters - and it has me itching to find out what happens next . I actually ran out and bought the next book in the series, so I can read it sooner rather than later, and will likely try to get my hands on book four and five soon too.

One of the noticeable things, which I enjoyed a lot was Elena’s character development. A lot of the issues I had with her from the first book, weren’t there in the second, or at least not as much, so she became a much more enjoyable character, with a very hilarious sense of humour. I found a lot of the characters seemed to be more formed and developed, which makes for a good read.

I enjoyed the storyline for this and found it interesting to read about Armstrong’s version of the various paranormal creatures out there. I especially enjoyed all the paranormal “creatures” debunking some myths about themselves. I was also very happy to see this book concentrate more on the paranormal history, Armstrong’s version of the individual paranormal creatures/spieces and developing the characters, and less romance, although it was still there, I found it to be toned down, and aspects of the story I liked shone through, with the romance stuff, left in the background -which is a very fine balance in my books.

Even the writing seemed to have improved here, from the thoughts and voices of the characters, to the main narrative, I found everything came together well. It seems the author really has a strong grasp on her characters and plot, and this is only the second book. It’s rare to see everything so firmly developed so early in a series, which I’m very happy to see. I also love her sarcastic sense of humour in the books, and her humour in general. I was laughing out loud at times.

What I didn’t like. I don’t remember one main thing I disliked, mostly a bunch of things here and there. I would have liked to see more on how the other werewolves, especially Clay where reacting to Elena’s disappearance, it would have been nice to see the other side of it, although then it wouldn’t be the “Women of the Otherworlds,” and I felt that held in captivity part of the story was a dragged out a little longer than I would have liked. I was hoping for a breakout sooner, rather than later, but there weren’t any major issues I had with the book. The damage to the bank account and bookshelves because I’ll have to buy the rest of the series, does that count as a negative?

Overall, it was a great book, I’m really enjoying my dip into paranormal books, and glad I found a series I can really enjoy.

Would I recommend it to read: Definitely! If you liked the first book, the you will liked this one, maybe even a little more than the first. This book really moved the series forward for me, and it looks like readers will see some great things to come. If your not a fan of paranormal books, then it may not be the book for you but the series, so far, has got me into paranormal/paranormal romance, even if it is just a little, and I never thought I’d enjoy it as much as I am.

What to read next: Dime Store Magic is the next book in the series, which I’ve already ran out and grabbed. Industrial Magic comes after that, and debating grabbing it soon as well.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 2nds Challenge, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, Countdown Challenge, Fantasy Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Monday, October 18

Book Review: Ireland

Title: Ireland

Author: Frank Delaney

Pages: 651

Summary: In the winter of 1951, a storyteller arrives at the home of nine-year-old Ronan O'Mara in the Irish countryside. The last practitioner of an honoured, centuries-old tradition, the Seanchai enthrals his assembled audience for three evenings running with narratives of foolish kings and fabled saints, of enduring accomplishments and selfless acts- until he is banished from the household for blasphemy and moves on. But these three incomparable nights have changed young Ronan forever, setting him on the course he will follow for years to come - as her pursues the elusive, itinerant storyteller . . . and the magical tales that are no less than the glorious saga of his tenacious, troubled, and extraordinary isle.

My Rating: 9.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I absolutely loved this book, in fact it was next to impossible to put down, I can safely say that this book will be on my top ten favourite books of the year, and I’m asking myself, why I allowed this book set on my TBR shelf for as long as it did.

The whole premise of the story and how it was brought together was brilliant. Delaney did a fantastic job with weaving various stories of folklore, myths, legends and tidbits of Irish history into his story, and still managed to create a very intriguing story around it - about how a small boy’s life was forever changed by a storyteller and the stories he told. It could have easily gone the other way, having the main story interrupted by these small shorter stories throughout the book, but it didn’t, it all came together so well it really drew me into the story, more than I ever thought it could. The book is a long book, but it doesn’t feel that way, I think this is partly due to the fact; you get these stories within the story itself, to help keep the reader interested in the main story but also gives them a break from it at times, and changes the pace. Either way, I was very impressed with the author’s ability, to weave these stories, into the novel as a whole, but how he managed to create the voice of the storyteller, for them. At times, you really felt like the storyteller was there with you, telling you about some of the great tales of Ireland.

The main story line was also very captivating; I was gripped by the book at times, as I followed Roman on his adventure and as he came of age. The book follows a long span of time, following the characters throughout their lives, meeting new ones long the way, but the book doesn’t ever drag, it stays consistent, and flows well throughout the entire story. I was hooked until the end. And, there was a very interesting twist that threw me; I didn’t see it coming at all. I’d love to say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything. It was good I’ll leave it at that.

How the story was narrated was also, done extremely well. Delaney is a fantastic author, who can really write a very good story. There is just something about the author’s writing style that pulled me into the book until the end. At times, the book felt almost lyrical in how it was told, which is yet another reason to why the book was hard to put down - not only was there an interesting story, but the writing was superb.

The characters were also down incredibly well, they were believable and some of the characters I really fell in love with. Another reason why the book was so hard to put down - the characters and how much you cared about them, I always love a book where the author puts so much thought into their characters, who you hate to see anything bad happen to them, this is one of those books. The storyteller and Roman, despite some of his less likeable characteristics, really became some favourites of mine.

What I didn’t like. Nothing overly noticeable really, there were a few characters I didn’t like; one or two were over eccentric. Not that it was a bad thing, but sometimes, having to many over eccentric characters can be a bit redundant. But there wasn’t really anything to huge I disliked about the book, the only other problem is I want to devour the authors other works - is that a negative or a positive?

Overall, it was a wonderful book, having a lot of the elements in a great book I really value - memorable characters, lyrical and quality writing, Irish folklore and history, and an overall well told, well done story. Highly recommend you read this book.

Would I recommend it to read: In case you haven’t noticed, I would recommend this book to read. I still can’t convey to you how great this book is, until you experience for your self. So, yes, highly recommend.

What to read next: I have both Tipperary and Shannon (which I just bough, because I enjoyed the first book by him so much), so I’d start there. Not sure where else to go after that. The story reminds me of another book I have on my shelf, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, so that may also be a good book to try.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Chunkster Challenge, Countdown Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Monday, October 11

Book Review: The Sixth Surrender

Title: The Sixth Surrender

Author: Hana Samek Norton

Pages: 470

Summary: Sister Eustace, born Lady Juliana, the last of the de Charnais line, is about to pledge body and soul to the cause of the queen of duchess, Aliénor of Aquitaine. Learned yet humble, passionate yet wholly innocent, Juliana has a singular determination - to possess her rightful home, the viscounty of Tilliéres.

Aliénor’s young scribe must choose: husband or the cloister. Juliana prays for a man who is honourable, kind and literate. Instead she is promised to Guérin de Lasalle, a wordly though landless mercenary with a blackened soul. The couple enters the union with just one shared desire: to put an end to the marriage.

As the queens prophecy, “Honor, like love, come sin many guises,” echoes through Juliana’s first days as a wife, the race intensifies to safeguard the crowns of Normandy and England for John Plantagenet, Aliénor’s last surviving son. Schemes by traitorous lords and the mystery of Lasalle’s past could cost John his thrones - and Juliana her life.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: What can I say about this book? I feel very indifferent to it for one. The plot seemed interesting enough, but something just fell through for me.

What I liked about the book was that it was well told and well written. The author is able to write a great historical fiction, with a good balance between having some historical accurateness to the time it was written, but also allowing her imagination come in and take over. The author didn’t sacrifice one for the other, which I appreciated. But for the most part, I just couldn’t get into the book, yes it was well written, but the plot bored me it took to long to build up to the big reveal, and even that fell short of my expectations. I was expecting something more, and something a little less predictable.

I was also not a fan of the characters. I didn’t like a single one, and they could have all died of the plague at the end, and I still wouldn’t have cared. They just seemed, static to me, and could use something, to make them stand out more. They also had multiple titles and names, used throughout the book, it got very confusing and annoying after while. Especially when all those names were used for the same character on the same page, I would have liked a little more consistency here.

My final issue was the ending. Especially how things tied up between two characters, because it seemed to come out of nowhere, I would have been fine with how these two characters’ journey ended, if there was a little more explanation as to how the one character came to this complete turn about and made this realization. I wasn’t a fan of either character, or their story, relationship, but I would have been fine with the ending, had it been better explained. The book moved slow, building up for the big end, and then it just didn’t work out. The entire ending was rushed, after a book that was fairly slow paced; it didn’t mesh well with me. I wish the author had spent more time with the ending, because I would rather it have been slow paced, so it flowed with the rest, and got more of an explanation out of it, than it been rushed to make it more exciting.

I think the author has great potential to write some good historical fiction, as I said above, she finds the perfect balance between imagination and historical accurateness, but this book just didn’t work for me.

Would I recommend it to read: Fans of Romantic-Historical-Fiction I would. And for those who love anything that has to do with historical fiction would likely like the book. But other than that, I’m not sure I’d recommend it.

What to read next: Hmm. Now I don’t know about this one, wasn’t a fan of this book. I’m not big on the romantic-historical fiction books and I have little experience with this type of historical fiction.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge, Chunkster Challenge, Countdown Challenge, RYOB Challenge, A Tournament of Reading Challenge

Please note: I got this book to review from the publisher.

Book Review: Hearts at Stake

Title: Hearts at Stake

Author: Alyxandra Harvey

Pages: 248

Summary: Nicholas smirked at me, easing languidly out of the shadows, totally invading my personal space. I hated that he was so handsome, with his tousled dark hair and serious expression. There was something else in his expression suddenly, something slightly wicked. I took a step back, wondering why my stomach felt funny. He advanced and I backed away, until I bumped into the log wall of the hose. I remembered, too late. Solange’s simplest warning about vampires: if you ran, the chased. It was just in their nature.
Solange has always known she will become a vampire on her sixteenth birthday. And as the only female vampire ever born, not made, she is surrounded by danger. When she is kidnapped, it’s up to her older brother Nicholas and her human best friend Lucy, to save her. But can Lucy first save herself from Nicholas, who tempts her with every look? And what will Solange’s own fate be if she surrenders her heart to the vampire hunter who has become her surprising ally against the bloodthirsty ruling class at the royal court?

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: To be honest, when I first started the book, I wasn’t liking it to much. I just couldn’t get into the mindset, and understand the characters, or like them. Part of it I think has to do with the fact I’m a good decade older than the characters and the intended audience of the book. I view the world differently then both the characters and audience, so some of the concerns and pains the characters go through, just blow past me. In fact, I find many young adult books irritating because of this, so I tried to change my mindset, and approach to what I was reading and expecting from the book, and because of this, I did end up enjoying the book.

I focused on the plot, and the author’s version of vampires. Which I have to say, is a very interesting one. And the fact that they don’t sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight is always an extra bonus. I like how her vampires are still very human, but have all the issues all the other vampires deal, with the need to feed, and the issues of turning into some sort of “evil” creature. The dilemma Solange goes through is written very well, it made it for more believable character, with how she dealt with the process, and how she grew throughout the story. I may not be able to connect to the characters, and find them to be a bit annoying with their angst and teenage issues and emotions, but I did find it to be well done. I think a lot of young adults can really enjoy the book on this level. They may not be changing into vampires, but they do have significant changes going on in their lives at this time, so I think they could easily relate to the characters in here.

As I’ve said before, plot is what kept me going through the book, and it was interesting, I could predict what was happening next at times and it was a very a very light read for me, but I will continue with the series, I am interested in seeing more of this vampire world, and how the next part in the story pans out. It was very well done vampire book, I really like the author’s interpretation of them here, so overall not bad, it’s a well written book, and I found that once I shifted my focus, it’s worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: The author’s look on vampires is an interesting one, and I did enjoy that aspect of the book. The main plot in this regard was strong. The YA side of things was what bugged me. But, as I said above, I’m a good ten years older than the target audience, so if you are able to get yourself into the right mindset, it can be a good book to read. The author’s version of vampires, contrasted and compared to others, really makes it worth reading.

What to read next: Blood Feud, which is the second book in the series. And I think there is a third book but I’m not a hundred percent sure if it is out yet or not. I think it comes out late this year.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge, Countdown Challenge, Fantasy Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Book Review: The Road

Title: The Road

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Pages: 287

Summary: A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is grey. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food - and each other.

The Road is profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, The Road is an unflinching meditation in the worst and best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

My Rating: 9.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: It’s hard to put into words, how I feel about this book. It was an incredible read, very depressing, but still and incredible read. It had this tragic beauty to it, which kept me reading and almost impossible to put down. The story of the father and son, their love for another as they struggle for survival, while trying to keep their morals and humanity in tact was, well almost breathtaking at times. How the two managed to keep up their journey down the road, grasping the faint hope something might be left out in the vast emptiness of the land is beyond me. But that is what makes the book so beautiful and sad at the same time - the characters strength in continuing on in what appears to be a hopeless case for there own (and humanity’s) survival.

The images the author paints creates the perfect mood for the book, the emotions pretty much pour off the page. Unfortunately, most of these emotions are depressing, dank and dark - which is a good thing, in that the author has created a perfect setup to get the reader into the right mindset, but did so without long descriptions or giving to much history on what had happen to the world. He managed to create a very believable post-apocalyptic and its aftermath affect on the world, and most importantly the characters, without the reader knowing what had happened. It is such a bleak book, and heart breaking watching the characters continue on with life, but knowing there is little that can be done to save them, yet some how they don’t lose hope and don’t lose hope in each other. It was such a beautiful relationship here, it really left an impression on me. They may not have been the most exciting characters, but they are both two very memorable characters.

The only issue I had was the ending. I both loved and hated it. I loved it in that it fit with the rest of the book; the reader doesn’t really know what happened, what will happen, or what might happen. It just ends. I like it, because it fits with the mood with the book. But I hated it because I want to know what happens; I wanted some hint of what may happen. Not just, the end.

I found the writing style to be well done as well, although the lack of punctuation took a while to get used to, I found it didn’t bother me as much as this style normally would. Part of me wonders if this was done to fit into the theme of having no names for the characters and the world. It worked for me here, and the plot and story, really captivated me from start to finish. Amazing book, but fair warning, it does make one very depressed. I suggest having a very up lifting book to read afterwards.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, this book was fantastic! And fantastic, really doesn’t sum it up. There is so much to get from the book, and so much that can be left to the reader’s imagination. I can see how some people wouldn’t like the book, it is depressing, and the prose can be something I cab see a lot of readers would take issue with, but it is worth at least trying. It shows such a beautiful example of love and never giving up hope that it is worth at least an attempt to read.

What to read next: Life of Pi. I’d also suggest reading other books by the author. Similar post apocalyptic books would be a good idea too.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Countdown Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Book Review: The Sun Also Rises

Title: The Sun Also Rises

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Pages: 251
Summary: The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation. The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises, helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall, I enjoyed the book, it was slow paced, but that was both a good and bad thing for me. Again, Hemingway is a great story teller even with a slow paced book the reader can easily get themselves lost in how he tells the story. This one of course is no exception, as it follows a cast of characters, in the post-world-war-I era and their travels to Spain. He also brings his favourite past times into this story, I wonder if some of the issues the characters went through in this book, are a bit of an imprint of how he felt after the war? Does this book have some similarities to his own personal experiences?

I think the inner demons of some of the characters were portrayed well; the all had complex problems, pasts and histories, almost too complex for a book that is so short. I understand where Hemignway was coming from, and what he was trying to accomplish, but it was almost too much at times for such a short book. One of my main issues with the book, the second was, I didn’t really like any of the characters, they weren’t bad people, but for me they were just there, and happen to be a group of people with a lot of history and issues.

The rest of the book was well done; Hemingway brings to life pleasures like fishing, and bullfighting to life. He really makes the reader engaged in these aspects of the story. I’m not a fan of bull fighting, nor agree with it, but Hemingway did do a fantastic job at brining the event to life, as well as the love and passion those who attend the event have for it. Even fishing, something almost trivial is described in an interesting matter. I wouldn’t normally enjoy a book, focusing on paragraph after paragraph of fishing, but Hemingway seems to be able to bring some magic to it.

Overall, it was well done. Slow paced book, but a good choice for a casual read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, I’d prefer some of his other books to this one, but it is still a good book to read.

What to read next: More Hemingway, I’m not sure of any other authors that might come close to his style of writing. At least at the moment.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 100+ Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Sunday, October 10

Read-a-thon Update: Final

Throwing in the towel, exhausted. I've been up since 5:45 am yesterday. So its been 22 hours of being awake. Happy with my progress. I'll do a more official update/finished report tomorrow when Im more awake. Good luck to the rest of you!

Currently Reading:

Pages Read: 1068

Books Finished -
1) Hearts at Stake (248 pages)
2) Sixth Surrender (last 162 pages)
3) Ireland (finished the last 198 pages)
4) Stolen (461 Pages)

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 3

Hours of Reading - 17 hours.

Books Marks Tonks the kitten has stolen and hidden away: 2
Books Marks Tonks has attacked: 5

Read-a-thon Update 3

16.5 hours done, 7.5 to go. And I've only had 3 cups of coffee, all day, impressive no? I'm still here, just not updating as much. I've read almost the entire time, save for a lunch break and errands, a short walk and dinner. It adds up to about 2.5 hours of non reading. I will definitely finish Stolen, but not sure what to read next, or f I will be able to finish another book. Although I will try. Hope all you other read-a-thoners are still up, as we get to the wee hours of the morning. Drink that coffee, tea, hot chocolate or eat chocolate. Good luck to you all!

Currently Reading:
Stolen by Kelly Armstrong

Pages Read: 916

Books Finished -
1) Hearts at Stake (248 pages)
2) Sixth Surrender (last 162 pages)
3) Ireland (finished the last 198 pages)

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 3

Hours of Reading - 13.5 - 14

Books Marks Tonks the kitten has stolen and hidden away: 3
Books Marks Tonks has attacked: 6

Saturday, October 9

Read-a-thon Update 2

1o hours into the readathon. I have been reading for 8 of them. Spent about 20 minutes blogging etc. And I had to eat lunch and run an errand. The rest of the time has been spent reading. So far feeling good. Although I'm sure I'll start to feel the effects soon enough. Dinner soon, but making my friend cook it, since I made lunch, which gives me more time to read. :) I haven't done nay mini-challenges yet, never remember to do them. Ah well, gonna try to swing by some blogs though.

Currently Reading: Trying to decided what book to read next. Not sure what book, either Night Runner, Stolen or Blade of Grass are looking tempting.

Pages Read: 608

Books Finished -
1) Hearts at Stake (248 pages)
2) Sixth Surrender (last 162 pages)
3) Ireland (finished the last 198 pages)

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 2

Hours of Reading - 8

Books Marks Tonks the kitten has stolen and hidden away: 2
Books Marks Tonks has attacked: 5

Edit: Completing my first mini-challenge. PET PICS!

Tonks the Kitten. (Named after Tonks from Harry Potter)

Part two of the challenge is to name my favourite pet books and create a sentence. The only one I can think of is Marley and Me.
So here it goes "Marvellous Marleys Magical Misadventures.

Read-a-thon Update 1

So five hours done, 19 to go. And I have read for the first five hours! I finished one book start to finish, and also finished a book I started prior to the reading challenge. I read the last 162 pages of that book.

Currently Reading: None - Break time for lunch

Pages Read: 419

Books Finished -
1) Hearts at Stake (248 pages)
2) Sixth Surrender (last 162 pages)

Cups of Coffee Consumed: 2

Hours of Reading - 5

Books Marks Tonks the kitten has stolen and hidden away: 2
Books Marks Tonks has attacked: 4

So taking a break for lunch and to run a quick errand. Shall be back in an hour.