Wednesday, November 30

Book Review: Half-Blood Blues

Title: Half- Blood Blues

Author: Esi Edugyan

Pages: Ebook (Appox 253)

Summary: Chip told them not to go out. Said don't you boys tempt the devil, but the cheap beer in his gut made Hieronymus think a glass of milk would be worth the risk. Of course Chip was right, and the star musician on the European scene was taken away that night by the Boots. An easy target, being a mixed-race German. Fifty years later, Sidney, the only witness that day, is going back. He swore he wouldn't, but Chip always was persuasive. Full of surprises too, like the mysterious letter he kept a secret that begins Sid's slow journey towards redemption. Esi Edugyan's novel weaves the horror of betrayal, the burden of loyalty and the possibility that, if you don't tell your story, someone else might tell it for you. And they just might tell it wrong...

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Although the book had a bit of a slow start, I found myself really enjoying the narrative, characters and overall story.

The author did an incredible job at bring the reader back to the Jazz era during the brink of the war, the historical tidbits and atmosphere were wonderfully done. As a reader it added to the book, on how the author was able to bring in aspects of the time period without having to go in long descriptions of the period. It read like a book that takes place during the WWII era, which showed the reader how the war affected the characters, without making it feel like a history lesson, which I appreciated. It focused on the characters, but it still had a historical fiction feel to it.

The characters for the most part were enjoyable, I don't know if I have a favourite, but they were well written and complex and as a group they really added something extra to the overall atmosphere of the book and time period and they made the story seem more realistic. I enjoyed the moral issues the characters face, that you can't trust them, even the narrator, and you don't get a lot of closure on them, parts of their life are skipped out on, there was a lot of missing information, but I still felt like I got to know them and I enjoyed reading about them.

The book does bounce from the present to the past, which took a bit of getting used to, but I did enjoy that aspect of the book. I also found myself enjoying the dialect it was written, usually I have difficulty when book are written like this, but this time I think it added to the reading experience. The only major issue I had with it, is that I felt that some parts dragged on to much - I think it's part of the narrator's skewed view point on what he saw and remembered, but there were a couple of times, I wish the story would move forward a little faster. Otherwise a fantastic book, well deserved for the Giller prize or 2011.

 Would I recommend it to read: I would, well written, well told, has a fairly good cast of characters - very well done book I think a lot of readers would enjoy.

What to read next: The other Giller short list nominees of 2011.

Challenges: 11 in 11, Canadian Reading Challenge

Book Review: Little Women

Title: Little Women

Author: Louisa May Alcott

Pages: 527

Summary: Little women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy, and the reader experience the hard lessons of poverty and the growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through the dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, of the March sisters, women and men of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married in Part I. Part II chronicles Meg’s joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo’s struggle to become a writing, Beth’s tragedy, and Amy’s artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a sweet coming of age story, during the civil war era, and a lovely written classic, well worth reading and rereading again.

I enjoyed the writing of the book and how the author told the story, I always enjoy when the author addresses the reader, I find it makes the book more intimate - and it helps get a bigger idea as to what goes through the individual characters minds, because of the liberties the author is able to take. I found it worked very well for this book, as you were able to follow all the sisters throughout the book with ease and get a well rounded grasp on their character and development.

I did feel the reader didn't get a chance to get to know Beth, all the other sisters had significant time devoted to them, but Beth was pushed aside, her tragedy later in the book didn't have a big effect on me, because I barely knew her compared to the rest of the sisters, it was like the author knew the characters fate, so she didn't bother to develop her fully, like the others. I think if Beth had been more developed, her tragedy would have been a lot more emotional and hit you harder - so you wouldn't have expected it coming. Another issue I had was I felt some aspects of the books, courtships, indecisions were becoming a bit redundant, after a while some things just didn't move on as well as they should, it was like the author kept recycling certain aspects of the plot - Amy and Laurie for example, I felt that issues surrounding them could have been tied up earlier, rather than the continuous dance around it.

Overall, the book was a great read, with a fun cast of characters and it's a great read for young adults ad the young at heart.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, well written and sweet coming of age book.

What to read next: Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice

Challenges: 11 in 11, 1001 Books, Book Blogger's Bucket List, War Through the Generations

Book Review: We

Title: We

Author: Yevgeny Zamyatin (sometimes translated as Eugene Zamiatin)

Pages: 218

Summary: WE tells the story of the minutely organized United State, where all citizens are not individuals but only he-Numbers and she-Numbers existing in identical glass apartments with every action regulated by the "Table of Hours." It is a community dedicated to the proposition that freedom and happiness are incompatible; that most men believe their freedom to be more than a fair exchange for a high level of materialistic happiness.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a very interesting and complex book, one of those books you will read again and again and take something different from it each time you do.

The voice of the main character was well written, as the reader you can clearly see the conflict he is going though as his "normal" thought process is unravelled and he is experiencing something, new and different for him as he explores himself thinking away from the collective. It comes off as jumbled thoughts on the page at first, which made the book difficult to read at times, but eventually you can see this character thought process they way the author intended and it becomes a fascinating read.

The dystopian society is also an interesting one, I wish the author explored how it worked, a everyone was part of this collective thought (or for the most part), I wish we could have seen how this worked, what caused people to break away - and I'd also wanted more detail on things the character referred to. I understand why it wasn't explained, as it was the journal of the main character, so these aspects of everyday life are natural to him (he even talks about this in the book), but I still would have liked more details.

Overall it was an interesting and enjoyable dystopian book. One that is well worth reading again.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, especially to people who enjoy dystopian literature

What to read next: 1984, Brave New World, Anthem

Challenges: 11 in 11, 1001 Books, A - Z Challenge, Fall into Reading

Tuesday, November 29

Book Review: Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man

Title: Portrait of an Artists as a Young Man

Author: James Joyce

Pages: 318

Summary: In his first and still most widely read novel, James Joyce makes a strange peace with the traditional narrative of a young man's self-discovery by respecting its substance while exploding its form, thereby inaugurating a literary revolution. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was published in 1916, when Joyce was already at work on Ulysses, and is exactly what its title says and much more. In an exuberantly inventive masterpiece of subjectivity, Joyce portrays his alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, growing up in Dublin and struggling through religious and sexual guilt toward an aesthetic awakening. In part a vivid picture of Joyce's own youthful evolution into one of the twentieth century's greatest writers, it is also a moment in the intellectual history of an age.

My Rating: 6.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While the book is well written and is a good example of a coming of age story - but it just wasn't the book for me, as I couldn't connect to the characters to truly appreciate the book.

The author did do a great job at going deep into the thought process of the character goes through, it did a great job at showing the reader the emotions and thought process a person goes through as they grow up. The author managed to show the reader the characters spiritual growth and trials throughout his life with ease, but I couldn't connect to the characters. While I could appreciate the time the author took so the reader could get to know the characters, but there was something missing for the book that kept me from liking or connecting with the characters.

The writing was also very well done, Joyce was an excellent storyteller, but something - in both writing and characterization - fell short to help give his book that extra push from being average to extraordinary.

Would I recommend it to read: I still would, it's a classic book and one where the author takes time to develop his characters on many different levels. I think there are readers out there who would have no trouble connecting to the characters.

What to read next: Dubliners, Ulysses.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 1001 Books, Fall into Reading, Irish Reading Challenge

Book Review: The Seamstress

Title: The Seamstress

Author: Frances De Pontes Peebles

Pages: 641

Summary: As seamstresses, the young sisters Emilia and Luzia dos Santos know how to cut, mend, an conceal - useful skills in the lawless backcountry of Brazil, where ruthless land barons feud with bands of outlaw cangaceiros, trapping innocent residents in the crossfire. Emilia, a native romantic, dreams at falling in love with a gentleman and escaping to a big city. Quick-tempered Luzia also longs for escape, finding it in her craft and secret prayers to the saints she believes once saved her life. But when Luzia is abducted by cangaceiros led by the infamous Hawk and Emilia stumbles into a marriage with the son of a wealthy and politically powerful doctor, the sisters' quiet lives diverge in ways they never would have imagined.

My Rating: 9.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This will likely be on one of the many books on my favourite books of the year, it was a fantastic book, filled with complex characters and cultural taste of Brazil. it was a book well worth reading.

The book has a slow plot, that takes care with the characters and the influences that shaped them. Which I really enjoyed, sometimes a slower moving plot causes me to lose interest, in this case it worked fantastically, as I felt I really knew all the characters by the end of the book. All the characters, even some of the more minor ones, were complex and had interesting stories, and I loved how the author compared the two sisters, who lead two different lives - and how they changed over time. Both had some fantastic growth from the first page to the last - they really made the book. It's hard to say which sister I enjoyed more, both had interesting stories, both had some interesting development, both overcame unexpected odds - but if I had to choose, Luzia was my favourite sister, and her story was more interesting than Emilia.

I also enjoyed the cultural dive into Brazil during the early 1900's. It was interesting to read about the cultural differences between the small communities versus the developed cities. The look at fashion trends and how they've changed, the look on family and relationships, the author managed to wrap all this into the story, without having to force anything into the book, as the reader you're able to get the feel of the Brazilian culture, without having to sacrifice characterization or plot to do so. I also loved how it was written - the author focused on each sister in sections, written in third person, but separated the book in to chapters and subchapters having them devoted to each sisters, so the reader is able to get a good grasp on their storyline.

I did find a few scenes a little violent, or uncomfortable, it's not excessive, but there aware a few violent acts in there that I'd rather not have read, but those are few - which is expected in a book about bandits wandering around in the unknown. But even this worked in a way, because as the reader, you were able to experience the true grit of the characters lives - both the good and the bad.

Overall it was a fantastic book, which I highly recommend.

Would I recommend it to read: As I've said above and as you probably already guessed, yes.

What to read next: Shanghai Girls (both are good books on sisterly relationships).

Challenges: 11 in 11, Book Bloggers Bucket List, Chunkster Reading ChallengeFall into Reading, Global Reading Challenge

Sunday, November 27

Book Review: Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

Title: Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

Author: Zsuzsi Gartner

Pages: EBook (Approx 181)

Summary: From an emerging master of short fiction and one of Canada's most distinctive voices, a collection of stories as heartbreaking as those of Lorrie Moore and as hilariously off-kilter as something out of McSweeney's.

In Better Living through Plastic Explosives, Zsuzsi Gartner delivers a powerful second dose of the lacerating satire that marked her acclaimed debut, All the Anxious Girls on Earth, but with even greater depth and darker humour. Whether she casts her eye on evolution and modern manhood when an upscale cul-de-sac is thrown into chaos after a redneck moves into the neighbourhood, international adoption, war photography, real estate, the movie industry, motivational speakers, or terrorism, Gartner filets the righteous and the ridiculous with dexterity in equal, glorious measure. These stories ruthlessly expose our most secret desires, and allow us to snort with laughter at the grotesque world we'd live in if we all got what we wanted.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Incredibly well written, intelligent and witty writer the has a lot of talent when it comes to writing, it's what I enjoyed most about the book, was the quality of writing that was in it. Unfortunately, that's where the good parts of the book ended, as I didn't enjoy the plots of tje short stories - there's great writing, but you need more than that to tell a good story and I found the story telling wasn't up to par with the writing.

I didn't find the stories left much of an impression on me, I read them, but none of them stuck with me. They didn't have much of a plot to them, and the characters were written in a way that you couldn't connect to them, they were just words on the page. I can't say I have a favourite short story from the collection. While I enjoyed the author's writing, the actual storytelling fell flat.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure, I didn't find the collection to be a good read. Excellent wiring yes, but I need a little more in a book, especially in a collection of short stories.

What to read next: This is from the Giller shortlist, so I'd say the other books from the shortlist.

Challenges: Canadian Reading Challenge 5

Book Review: The Free World

Title: The Free World

Author: David Bezmozgis

Pages: Ebook (Approx 302)

Summary: Summer, 1978. Brezhnev sits like a stone in the Kremlin, Israel and Egypt are inching towards peace, and in the bustling, polyglot streets of Rome, strange new creatures have appeared: Soviet Jews who have escaped to freedom through a crack in the Iron Curtain. Among the thousands who have landed in Italy to secure visas for new lives in the West are the members of the Krasnansky family -- three generations of Russian Jews.

There is Samuil, an old Communist and Red Army veteran, who reluctantly leaves the country to which he has dedicated himself body and soul; Karl, his elder son, a man eager to embrace the opportunities emigration affords; Alec, his younger son, a carefree playboy for whom life has always been a game; and Polina, Alec's new wife, who has risked the most by breaking with her old family to join this new one. Together, they will spend six months in Rome -- their way station and purgatory. They will immerse themselves in the carnival of emigration, in an Italy rife with love affairs and ruthless hustles, with dislocation and nostalgia, with the promise and peril of a better life. Through the unforgettable Krasnansky family, David Bezmozgis has created an intimate portrait of a tumultuous era.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I started off enjoying the book, it was well written and had a good plot, but I felt in the second half of the book dragged on, and the story seemed to veer off too far into the personal affairs, rather than an outlook on immigrant life.

The first part of the book was very well done, slow moving yes, but it worked so well for this book as it examined the struggles and sacrifices made by the immigrants and how they try to make a new life for themselves in a temporary home before moving on to some place permanent. The author did a fantastic job at describing the struggles within their own culture and social groups, families and those groups and families around them. It gave the reader a very strong sense of what life was like then.

Unfortunately, I found that the book began to drag on by the second half, the plot began to stand still, and there wasn't a lot of development for the character. I began to dislike a lot of the characters, wsn't impressed with their actions, and felt the author spent a lot of time focusing on certain actions (affairs) instead of pushing the plot forward. I felt that some of the characters development was sacrificed, in an attempt to create a bit of drama in the book. By the end of the book it was hard for me to feel sympathetic for the characters.

The book was well written, and the first half had a lot of strength to it, but by the end I felt it began t unravel. I would have liked it much better if it had continued to focus on the social-economic and cultural struggles, rather than the individual characters personal affairs.

Would I recommend it to read: I think I still would, I'm sure a lot of readers would enjoy the book more than I did.

What to read next: The other books from the Giller shortlist, I've been enjoying reading them all. Even if I don't enjoy every single one, it's interesting to see the variety the shortlist had.

Challenges: Canadian Reading Challenge 5

Book Review: Halcyon

Title: Halcyon (SGA: 4)

Author: James Swallow

Pages: Ebook (Approx 304)

Summary: Might makes right

In their ongoing quest for new allies, Atlantis's flagship team travels to Halcyon, a grim industrial world where the Wraith are no longer feared—they are hunted. Horrified by the brutality of Halcyon's warlike people, Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard soon becomes caught in the political machinations of Halcyon's aristocracy. In a feudal society where strength means power, he realizes the nobles will stop at nothing to ensure victory over their rivals.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rodney McKay enlists the aid of the ruler's daughter to investigate a powerful Ancient structure, but McKay's scientific brilliance has aroused the interest of the planet's most powerful man—a man with a problem he desperately needs McKay to solve.

As Halcyon plunges into a catastrophe of its own making the team must join forces with the warlords—or die at the hands of their bitterest enemy...

My Rating: 8.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Another great Stargate book read, this one may have moved the plot on a little slower, but it was still a fantastic story.

I enjoyed the description of the society, it was very steampunk and I think the author did a good job at showing the reader all the different elements of the society, you were able to get a very well rounded grasp at the social, political and culture aspects of the society as the story progresses, realizing the society is quite dark in its treatment of those below them. This book moved a little more slowly than some of the others I've read, but I thought it worked really well. It focused a lot on interactions between the characters and some of the moral dilemmas between the two cultures.

Characterization was also well done. I don't remember the characters being written too out of character, although I seem to remember I had a few issues with how Teyla was handled. I do find Ronan's impulsiveness annoying, especially in this book. I'm always surprised he doesn't face more consequences for interfering with things he shouldn't, more, I've always question that, I get it's who he is, but when you're part of a team, you kind of need to think of your decisions and how thud to think of your decisions and how the reflect the team as a whole - even if his intentions were good ones. A good addition to the Stargate book collection.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend it to any Stargate fan, well worth reading.

What to read next: More Stargate of course!

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge

Saturday, November 26

Book Review: Year of Wonders

Title: Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plauge

Author: Geraldine Brooks

Pages: 304

Summary: When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated mountain village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the plague year 1666, as her fellow villagers make an extraordinary choice: convinced by a visionary young minister they elect to quarantine themselves within the village boundaries to arrest the spread of the disease. But as death reaches into every household, faith frays. When villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch hunting, Anna must confront the deaths of family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive, a year of plague becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I didn't dislike the book, I didn't enjoy it either. There wasn't much to the book, the characters, writing and story were all just average for me. There wasn't anything that pulled me in to keep my attention, just a group of characters going through the motions to survive.

I figured the book would be a slow moving book, that would help develop the characters and how the situation impacted them. Which it did, the author managed to pull that off nicely, but the characters were to one sides, it was hard to connect to them and their situation emotionally, which is what is needed in a book like this. The focus on characters was there, but it wasn't enough. They came off as average characters, without the emotional strength to carry the book.

The author did do a good job at creating a historically accurate book. It appeared to be well researched, but the book didn't seem to move beyond that - it was just an average historical fiction.

Would I recommend it to read: If you enjoy historical fiction yes. Otherwise, I'm not sure I would.

What to read next: I've heard a lot of people rave about the author, so I'd suggest more by the author.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge

Book Review: The Antagonist

Title: The Antagonist

Author: Lynn Coady

Pages: EBook (Approx 257)

Summary: Against his will and his nature, the hulking Gordon Rankin ("Rank") is cast as an enforcer, a goon -- by his classmates, his hockey coaches, and especially his own "tiny, angry" father, Gordon Senior. Rank gamely lives up to his role -- until tragedy strikes, using Rank as its blunt instrument. Escaping the only way he can, Rank disappears. But almost twenty years later he discovers that an old, trusted friend -- the only person to whom he has ever confessed his sins -- has published a novel mirroring Rank's life. The betrayal cuts to the deepest heart of him, and Rank will finally have to confront the tragic true story from which he's spent his whole life running away.

With the deep compassion, deft touch, and irreverent humour that have made her one of Canada's best-loved novelists, Lynn Coady delves deeply into the ways we sanction and stoke male violence, giving us a large-hearted, often hilarious portrait of a man tearing himself apart in order to put himself back together.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I started off not enjoying the book, as the protagonist came off as bitter and angry, which I grew tired o quickly, but eventually I began to see a different side of the story, while I never truely enjoyed the main character, I eventually enjoyed the story and how well the author carried it through.

The character, Rank, is one I found hard to like. He had a troubled past, and a lot of hardships growing up, but he is also such an bitter and angry person, it seeps off the pages. Originally I found it off-putting, but once I read further into the book, I found it worked for the character, the author did a great job at shaping out this character into someone very believable and at times complex.

The writing was also well done, the author did a fantastic job at pulling off how the story was told, a series of Emails ( and at time rants) as the character attempts to write a book about himself to an old friend. This was something that may not have worked, but the author pulled it off wonderfully. I also enjoyed some of the witty comments and interactions between the characters, once I got past my initial issues with Rank, I was able to see the author's style of writing more clearly. Overall a good read, I had issues with it, especially connecting to the character, but I can appreciate what the author did, and she executed her story quite nicely.

Would I recommend it to read: I think I would. Like I said above, I did have some issues, but I think there are a lot of readers out there would really connect to Rank.

What to read next: This is off the Giller short list, so the other Giller shortlisted books of 2011 (The Cat's Table, Free World, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, Half-Blood Blues, The Sisters Brother)

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge 5

Book Review: Personal Demon

Title: Personal Demon

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Pages: 418

Summary: Hope Adams looks like a Bollywood princess, but in reality she is a powerful half-demon with a nose for chaos and an insatiable lust for danger. She can’t help it, it’s in her blood. But Hope is determined to use her powers for good. So when the head of the powerful Cortex Cabal calls in a debt and asks her to infiltrate a gang of bored, rich supernaturals, who have been stirring up trouble, she can’t resist. But then she ends up immersed far deeper than she expected, she has no choice but to turn to her crooked werewolf ex-boyfriend, and heir to the Cortex Cabal for help.

In typical Kelley Armstrong fashion, Personal Demon takes the reader on an energetic ride into a realm where the supernatural and the human coexist on the edge of darkness, romance, and eternity, and collide in devilish adventure.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed the eighth book in the series, I was also a bit let down with the book, compared to some of the others, it wasn't up to par.

The overall plot and story was interesting and the author tied in Hope nicely, especially from her appearances in the other novels, the character flowed into her own story nicely. She's not my favourite character from the series, but her supernatural powers and her character development were well done and interesting. Although, I did find the author reinforced some her characteristics more than needed, the character was well rounded.

The plot was good, it moved a little slower in the first half of the book, a lot slower than some of the other books, but it was interesting at times, a few things surprised me, while a few other "twists" were obvious fakeouts - especially knowing what and who are in later books, but one twist would have been great if I had read the books before later ones were published. Would have been great if something was never revealed to a later book. One big issue with the plot was that, it switched from Hope to Lucas' point of views, which I liked, because it gave different perspectives on what was happening, but I felt the Lucas sub-plot overshadowed Hope's story line. Yes it was setting up for a future storyline, but this was a book about Hope as the main focus and Lucas as a secondary factor.

A good book within the series, but certainly not the best.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it wasn't the strongest book in the series, but wasn't the worst either.

What to read next: Living With the Dead is the next book in the series.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge 5, Fall into Reading Challenge, Fantasy Challenge

Friday, November 11

October Wrap-Up!

Well, October has come and gone and now there are about 40 days left in the year! Can you believe it? This month was another great reading month, I read a lot of books, finished a challenge, well on my way to finishing a handful more and I participated in the 24 hour read-a-thon, and had a blast doing it - all in all a great reading month for me.

The Books

This month I read a whooping 15 books! I'm so happy with that number. Read some good books too, including the ones I finished during the read-a-thon, which was a big help for me reading as many books as I did this month. I read 8 Ebooks and 7 print books - I'm using my ereader a lot more than I thought I would, I love using it for library books - no more library fees for me! My favourite book this month by far was The Night Circus - this book is a must read! Beautiful Assassin is a very, very close second. My least favourite book is a tie between The Finkler Question and The Cloud Messenger. I would also like to give honourable mention to I Am Number Four and Dead Until Dark - both books are books I wasn't sure I'd enjoy, especially in my experience of books in the genre that are similar to them - but both I enjoyed far more than I thought - goes to show, should always at least try to give a book a chance. My words of wisdom for the day

1) I am Number Four - Pittacus Lore (Ebook) 7.5/10
2) Beautiful Assassin - Michael White  (Ebook) 10/10
3) The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern  10/10
4) The Garden Party and Other Stories (EBook) - 7.5/10
5) The Sleeping Beauty - Mecedes Lackey (EBook) 7.5/10
6) Valmiki's Daughter - Shani Mootoo  - 7.25/10
7) The Finkler Question - Howard Jacobson (EBook)  4/10
8) Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones - 7/10
9) Roswell - Sonny Whitelaw and Jennifer Fallon 8.75/10
10) Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris (EBook) - 7.5/10
11) The Castle of Otranto - Horace Walpole -(EBook) - 7.25/10
12) The Cloud Messenger - Aamer Hussein - 4/10
13) Good to a Fault - Maria Endicott 7.25/10
14) Exogenesis (SGA-5) - Sonny Whitelaw and Elizabeth Christiansen (Ebook) - 8.75/10
15) Bluebeard's Egg - Margaret Atwood - 7.75/10

The Challenges

I know I may not finish all the challenges, but I don't care. Most of them I'll finish, and I had fun (and will continue to) with them. Some of the challenges are helping me expand my interest and some are fun trying to find that one book to fill in the gaps titles that start with X anyone? I finished one challenge this month - The Canadian Reading Challenge V. But I plan on reading and adding to the list, but I'm officially done that challenge. As it stands, I'm close to finishing a lot of my challenges. (One was finished already earlier in the month!) So with the exception of one or two, I should have most challenges finished, and I'm doing some pre-2012 challenge prepwork, trying to find some ones I may be interested in.

Completed Challenges
Canadian Reading Challenge V - 13/13 Books Read - Completed October 31, 2011

Ongoing Challenges

11 in 11 - 88/121
100+ Challenge - 96/100
1001 Books Challenge - 13/16
2011 Count Down Challenge - 57/66
A - Z Challenge - 50/52
Book Blogger Bucket List - 14/26
Chunkster Reading Challenge - 4/8
Fall into Reading Challenge - 6/14
Fantasy Reading Challenge - 10/12
Global Reading Challenge - 17/21
Ireland Reading Challenge - 5/6
Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge - 4/16
Take a Chance III Challenge - 7/10
War Through the Generations - Civil War - 3/5

Countries Visited

I was a bit of a globe hopper this month! I managed to visit; Russia, New Zealand, Trinidad, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, India, Italy, Canada, USA, England, and more random plants in outer space.

Bookish Events

This month I participated in the 24 Hour Read-a-thon. I read for 18 - 18.5 hours, finished 3 books. For more details you can read about it here.

Books That Followed Me Home

The Cloud Messenger - Aamer Hussian (Review Book)
Halcyon - James Swallow - EBook*
Exogenesis - Sonny Whitelaw and Elizabeth Christensen*

* These books were out of print but have been released in Ebook. I couldn't resist. Its only in kindle format, and I don't own one, but I can still read them on the computer. :)

In other news, I'm participating in The Holiday Swap - for the second year in a row. It's a great event, check it out here.  I'm also participating in the Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange you can find more details here. 'Tis the season!