Monday, October 31

Book Review: Bluebeard's Egg

Title: Bluebeard's Egg

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 260

Summary: In this acclaimed collection of twelve stories, Margaret Atwood probes th territory of childhood memories and the casual cruelty men and women inflict upon eh other and themselves. She looks behind the familiar world of family summers at remote lakes, ordinary lives, and unexpected loves, and she unearths profound truths. A melancholy, teenage love is swept away by a Canadian hurricane, while a tired, middle-aged affection is rekindled by the spectacle of rare Jamaican birds; a potter tries to come to terms with the group of poets who so smother her that she is driven into the arms of her accountant; and, in the title story, the Bluebeard legend is retold as an ironic tale of marital deception. Stark and scathing at times, humorous and compassionate at others, Bluebeard's Egg confirms once again Atwood's reputation as the pre-eminent chronicler of our times.

Significant Moments in the Life of My Mother
Hurricane Hazel
Loulou; or, The Domestic Life of Language
Bluebeard's Egg
Spring Song of Frogs
Scarlet Ibis
The Salt Garden
The Sin Eater
The Sunrise
Unearthing Suite

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: As always, I enjoy Atwood's writing, and this short story is no exception. There were stories I didn't like at all, some I found to be boring, but overall a well done collection of short fiction. And a good choice read from some of her earlier work. With short stories, you like some, you dislike others and this is no exception. Some of the stories didn't engage me, especially compared to some of the other works I've read by here, but she never fails at digging deep under the psyche and most inner emotions, characteristics and thoughts of her characters. Which is part of why I love Atwood's work so much, she digs deep and dirty into her characters, they are very flawed people, most of the time are morally grey as well. Uglypuss was a well written story, but I wanted to throttle the one character at the end. Poor Uglypuss!

The quality of writing is wonderful, Atwood is truly a master short story writer, who easily creates an entire story, in a short amount of time, giving the reader enough to get the whole story. I particularly enjoyed Bluebeard's Egg and Sunrise. Salt garden was also a good story to read.

Overall, a good collection of short stories, from one of my favourite authors.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, especially for fans of short stories of Canadian fiction.

What to read next: If you like short fiction and Canadian fiction, Alice Munro is a good choice

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge V

Book Review: Exogenesis

Title: Exogenesis (SGA #5)

Author: Sonny Whitelaw and Elizabeth Christensen

Pages: Ebook (Approx 336)

Summary: The eye of the beholder...

When Dr. Carson Beckett disturbs the rest of two long dead Ancients, he unleashes devastating consequences of global proportions.

With the very existence of Lantea at risk, Colonel John Sheppard leads his team on a desperate search for the long lost Ancient device that could save Atlantis. While Teyla Emmagan and Dr. Elizabeth Weir battle the ecological meltdown consuming their world, Colonel Sheppard, Dr. Rodney McKay and Dr. Zelenka travel to a world created by the Ancients themselves. There they discover a human experiment that could mean their salvation...

But the truth is never as simple as it seems, and the team’s prejudices lead them to make a fatal error — an error that could slaughter thousands, including their own Dr. McKay

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Wow! That is pretty much a my feelings of the book after I finished read it. First of all the book is out of print, now only available in ebook format (Kindle only), so I downloaded the PC version. Hours later and a horrible backache I finished the book. Not realizing how much time had actually passed - I was so involved with the book I lost track of time, great addition to the Stargate series. The authors took the reader and the characters on a quite the rollercoaster ride; a combination of action, surprising twists and emotional elements the book is one of my favourites I've read in the series so far. If this was an actual episode, I think it may have been one of the best episodes in the series.

They authors dug deep into some characters emotional side, showing a whole new side to some, especially Rodney, wow! The show sometimes showed he had a, nicer side to him, that could actually feel something for another human being, other than himself (or is creepy feeling for Sam) but this was awesome. I'm not sure I would have dug as deep as the authors did on his emotional side, as it came borderline out of character, but that was written superbly. I also loved seeing some of the minor characters get their time to shine. Zelenka particularly was an underused character on the show, but they authors used him very well in the story line. And of course Beckett's role in the book was a nice addition - he's one of my favourite characters, but he doesn't have as much face time in the books (those I've read so far) as I would like. So to see him have an important role in the book was wonderful - the emotional aftermath of it was also well written.

The ending was good, but I would have liked them to use something a little different, the ending had pieces of endings and methods to solve problems from other Stargate episodes - which is cannon, the show constantly used similar methods to solve catastrophic problems, but I would have liked something different. Otherwise an awesome read. I'm itching to read more.

Would I recommend it to read: If you're a Stargate fan, this is a must read.

What to read next: More Stargate books. I've heard great things about Halcyon.

Challenges: 100+, 2011 Countdown Challenge,

Book Review: Castle of Otranto

Title: The Castle of Otranto 

Author: Horace Walpole 

Pages: EBook (Approx 148) 

Summary: The bizarre accident that claims the life of Manfred's only son on the day of that young man's wedding, makes Manfred search for a connection with the ancient prophecy about the castle and its family. 

My Rating: 7.25/10 

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't what I was expecting, especially compared to other books in the genre. 

I loved the writing and how the author set up the atmosphere of the story - I think it's safe to say it was my favourite aspect of the book. The author did a great job at creating the gothic backdrop for the story. It grabbed my attention right away and I was able to engross myself in the writing and flow of the story. But as the story progressed I began to lose interest, the first half of the book went great, but by the end I began to lose interest with the story. 

The characters weren't that spectacular and they didn't have that extra push to keep me interested in their well being. There didn't seem to be a climax to the story, and no big reveal to keep the reader interested. Yes the way the story was told was lovely, but for a gothic tale, a popular one at that, I expected more from it. 

It's worth reading, but it isn't the best of the genre. 

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it isn't the best, but it was an okay story to read. 

What to read next: I try some of Ann Randcliffes books. 

Challenges: 11 in 11100+ Challenge1001 Books Challenge

This is a repost as the original was accidentally deleted

Book Review: Good to a Fault

Title: Good to a Fault

Author: Marina Endicott

Pages: 394

Summary: In a moment of self-absorption, Clara Purdy's life takes a sharp left turn when she crashes into a beat-up car carrying an itinerant family of six. The Gage family had been traveling to a new life in Fort McMurry, but bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer rather than remnants of the accident. Recognizing their need as her responsibility, Clara tries to do the right thing and moves the children, husband and horrible grandmother into her house - than has to cope with the consequences of practical goodness.

What, exactly, does it mean to be good? When is sacrifice merely selfisness? What do we owe in this life and what do we deserve? Marina Endicott looks at life and death through the compassionate lens of a born novelist: being good, being at fault, and fining some balance on the precipice.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed the story and it's message, but I have to say for the first half of the story I was a little bored and I felt the ending was a bit forced to make it a "picture perfect one."

The beginning had an interesting premises, but I found it was dragged out longer than it needed to be .Most of the book described the day-to-day task the characters were going through, lovely writing and setting up the scene, but after awhile it became redundant and I grew bored with the story. Not a lot was happening, and I didn't feel the characters were being developed enough (near the end you see some great development, but the first half of the book, they seem to be standing still.) I also didn't enjoy how the POV was shifting as much as it did. There wasn't much flow into a new POV, it just switched from one to the other. I also didn't like all of the side plots, I felt like they distracted from the main story line and some of them didn't help develop the characters nor, did they help me understand them. Dolly's side story for example you saw her actions, but never really saw her learn from them, understood the background of it. Near the end the book does have a good twist, and I enjoyed the emotional affect it had on the character, the author did do a good job at showing the emotional turmoil the character faced.

I did enjoy the writing of the book - the author is a lovely writer and she can tell a story. I didn't like her style of narrative, but I know many readers would really enjoy it. The idea of the story was also good, although I can't fathom doing what the main character did and I question a lot of her decisions or lack thereof, the story was still good. It has a very powerful message to it and the author did do a good job at showing the reader the message.

Overall not a bad book, not what I was expecting, but a good read.

Would I recommend it to read: I'd probably would, I think a lot of readers would get a lot out of the message the book sends.

What to read next: I want to read more from the author, see what her other works are like, writing was good, the POV shifting wasn't. So I want to see what her other novels are like.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge V, Fall into Reading Challenge

Book Review: The Cloud Messenger

Title: The Cloud Messenger

Author: Aamer Hussein

Pages: 194

Summary: London, that distant rainy place his father lived in once, is where Mehran finds himself after leaving Karachi. And it is there that his adult life unfolds: he discovers the joys of poetry, faces the trials of love and work, and spend his days dream hours 'sending cloud messages to other places.'

A feeling of restlessness pursues Mehran as he travels to Italy, India and Pakistan. But the relationships he forms - with wounded, passionate Marvi, volatile Marc and enigmatic Riccarda - and his power of recollection finally bring him some sense of belonging in this beautifully poignant paean to lost and love.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The opening paragraphs made the book look as if it had promise, sadly the rest of the book just fell apart I guess is the best way to put it. It was boring, most of the book is the narrator reminiscing on his life and past events, there isn't any conflict or anything to be resolved, just a short novel with short passages on events and people who the main character has meet in his life and travels and how they affected him. Then the book is done.

I wonder if this was originally a short story that was re-written to be a novel - if that's the case than maybe there is something there but the "story" is lost in a lot of irrelevant nothingness. Not the best book to read out there of a person coming to age and exploring themselves through adult years. Boring and not very memorable. Which is a shame, as I was looking forward to the book when I requested to review it.

Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would - there isn't anything there to read.

What to read next: The author has been up for awards for his other books, perhaps try that. Maybe this book is just a fluke.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge

I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchanged for my review.

Book Review: Dead Until Dark

Title: Dead Until Dark

Author: Charlaine Harris

Pages: EBook (Approx 218)

Summary: Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana, but she keeps to herself and doesn't date much because of her "disability" to read minds. When she meets Bill, Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's the type of guy she's waited for all of her life, but he has a disability, too--he's a vampire with a bad reputation. When one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book surprised me. I didn't love it, and I'm not about to run out and grab the whole series, but will likely read the next couple books, perhaps slowly crawl my way through the rest of the series, as I did enjoy the book and its overall plot.

I never realized it was more murder mystery with a paranormal and paranormal romance twist. From what I've seen from the show and experience from other books in the genre, I kind of assumed it was the grandmother to the Twilight series - and there were some interesting similarities to the books - but it was nothing like I originally thought, which made for a really good read. I enjoyed the murder mystery aspect of the book, the author did a great job at setting up the scene and kept you guessing at who the murder was. I also enjoyed her paranormal side of the book, I wish more was explained about it though. Vampires seemed to be accepted that they exist and walk amount the world - I'd like to see more about the why and the how this all happens and what other paranormal critters are accepted as part of everyday life.

What I didn't like - the characters weren't ones that are very memorable, so far they are similar to all the other characters in similar books - I was waiting for that extra push to make them jump out, I'm hoping in later books this happens. I also didn't like the romance between Billy and Sookie. Well, more one aspect and that was the feeding-drinking blood while - being romantic with each other. I just find that - disturbing on so many levels. And I'm not thrilled with the prospects of a love triangle in future books.

Otherwise, I did enjoy the book - the author is a talented writer and her novel has surprised me in how much I enjoyed it.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, after reading it and realizing the book was different than what I thought I would recommend the book to fans of paranormal/mystery books.

What to read next: The next book in the series, The Women of the Otherworld Serie.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, Fantasy Reading Challenge,

Book Review: Roswell

Title: Roswell (SG-1 #9)

Author: Sonny Whitelaw and Jennifer Fallon

Pages: 348

Summary: A stitch in time…

When a Stargate malfunction throws Colonel Cameron Mitchell, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Colonel Sam Carter and Teal’c back in time, they only have minutes to live. But their rescue, by an unlikely duo — General Jack O’Neill and Vala Mal Doran — is only the beginning of their problems. Ordered to rescue an Asgard also marooned in 1947, SG-1 find themselves at the mercy of history. While Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal’c become embroiled in the Roswell aliens conspiracy, Cam and Vala are stranded in another timeline, desperately searching for a way home. As the effects of their interference ripple through time, the consequences for the future are catastrophic.

Trapped in the past, SG-1 can only watch as their world is overrun by a terrible invader…

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book started off a little slow, but it wasn't long before I was caught up in the nonstop action and surprising twists along the way.

The plot was great, the idea of time travel on the show has been done on the show, but a new idea of time travel made for a fun read, especially how they authors tied in certain elements on the show, some of which I've noticed and questioned was awesome! The elements of the books and show were not stretched but woven in, and I was really happy with how the authors handled it all. By the time I reached the climax of the book, I was at the edge of my seat.

The authors also did a fantastic job with the characters. They were very close, to the real deal, with all of their quarks and charm, and it was fun to see Vala and Jack work together - I wish they had more time together, they make quite the interesting duo.

What I didn't like, I had some issues with how time travel is handled, particularly some technical issues in the book that weren't looked at as closely. One other issue I have is something was addressed and mentioned in the book, that disregards an important event in the show, and I wish the reader had more time with the Vala- Cam timeline, instead of a second-hand account - but it was a fantastic read.

Would I recommend it to read: As with all the stargate books, only the fans of show. The character development and plots history are carried on from the show and previous books, so you would be lost. You really do need to have seen the entire series of SG1 and SGA to read the books.

What to read next: More Stargate SG-1 and SGA novels

Challenges: 100+ Challenge

Book Review: Mister Pip

Title: Mister Pip

Author: Lloyd Jones

Pages: 256

Summary: After the trouble starts and the soldiers arrive on Matilda’s island, only one white person stays behind. Mr. Watts, whom the kids call Pop Eye, wears a red nose and pulls his wife around on a trolley, and he steps in to teach the children when there is no one else. His only lessons consist of reading from his battered copy of Great Expectations, a book by his friend Mr. Dickens. For Matilda, Dickens’s hero Pip becomes as real to her as her own mother, and the greatest friendship of her life has begun. Soon Mr. Watts’s book begins to inflame the children’s imaginations with dreams about Dickens’s London and the larger world. But how will they answer when the soldiers demand to know: where is this man named Pip? Set against the stunning beauty of Bougainville in the South Pacific during the civil war in the early 1990s, Lloyd Jones’s breathtaking novel shows what magic a child’s imagination makes possible even in the face of terrible violence and what power stories have to fuel the imagination.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall the book wasn't entirely what I expected, but I did enjoy the novel.

The story itself was slow moving, but the author did do a good job at showing how a war stricken community attempts to survive. Issues of moral responsibility, sacrifice, and heroism are all a factors in the book. I also enjoyed how the author tied the novel, Great Expectations, and how it became a symbol of hope and comfort to the characters in the book. But also found that some of the characterization needed work, it was hard to connect, especially on an emotional level with most of the characters. There were times were their actions really surprised me and where the author began to examine them further but the story quickly veered away from that and for the most part, characters weren't very memorable.

The author did do a fantastic job at bring the everyday life and survival of the islander's lives home. I enjoyed the close look, but the there was a bit of graphic violence, that threw me. This was a little beyond my comfort zone, it made the story realistic, but it was something I wasn't thrilled about reading. I also thought the ending fell a little flat, there was a big reveal and I was expecting something a lot different than what was given.

Although it may not have been entirely what I was expecting, it was a good book, with some interesting observations on a person's actions during times of war.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, I did have my issues with the book, but I know a lot of readers out there will really enjoy the book.

 What to read next: Great Expectations (since it was such symbolic aspect to the book)

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, Global Reading Challenge

Book Review: The Finkler Question

Title: The Finkler Question

Author: Howard Jacobson

Pages: EBook (Approx 287)

Summary: Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other—or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik, a Czech always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.

Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central London apartment.

It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you have less to mourn? Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends' losses.

And it's that very evening, at exactly 11:30 pm, as Treslove, walking home, hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country, that he is attacked. And after this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book has received such high praise I feel I must be missing something but I didn't find anything funny about the book nor did I find the plot to be interesting or even a good read. I was bored with the book for the majority of the time, although it started to pick up in the end, the author threw some twists in it was too little too late.

I didn't like the characters at all, which was probably my biggest issue of the book. While they were dealing with issues of loss and identity, they weren't written in a way I could connect with them, all I got from them was that they were bitter and angry old men, two who were Jewish and one who wanted to be Jewish, which was what most of the plot seemed to surround, what it means to be Jewish and not to be. The book also covered a lot of social and political issues surrounding the religion - which wasn't something I was looking for in a novel, I was often bored and disconnected with the plot and characters. Again, it wasn't to the end the book started to have any redeeming qualities, but as I said above it was too little too late.

Overall it wasn't the best book I've read, especially one that has received such high praise and literary awards.

Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would the book was just - boring and not at all what I'd expect from a literary award winner.

What to read next: I'd suggest some of the other man book award winners and nominees.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge

Book Review: Valmiki's Daughter

Title: Valmiki's Daugher

Author: Shani Mootoo

Pages: 395

Summary: In Valmiki's Daughter, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist and bestselling novelist Shani Mootoo offers a hugely entertaining and hypnotically beautiful family saga about the corrosive power of secrets and the competing pulls of race, class, and sexuality. The story centers on a wealthy Trinidaian family - in particular, Valmiki, a renowned doctor and loving, if confused, father, and his eldest daughter, Viveka, lively, intelligent, and intent on escaping the gilded cage that protects but also smothers her. With this masterful novel, Mootoo gives us a vibrant, sexy, gorgeous book, full of the vigorous stuff of life.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The plot of the book was very strong, the author did a wonderful job at exploring and showing the struggles of person who is exploring and trying to come to terms with their sexuality. There were also some beautiful descriptions of the island, which brought the culture of Trinidad to life off the pages, but the book in the end fell short for me.

Although the book had a good plot, I found it hard to concentrate on it, as there were a lot of side plots and secondary characters who's stories became too complex, that it took away from the main story line. I think the author would have had a stronger story if some of the side plots and characters were left out, some of them were mentioned, but never concluded and they way they were described and had such an impact on other characters lives, I was hoping for a big revelation. I also found it hard to connect to the characters, the story showed their struggles, but I couldn't get emotionally invested in their struggles.

I did like, for the most part the writing style, especially the descriptions of Trinidad. The book was broken down into parts and each part was introduced by a short description usually a few pages, written in second person, which brought the reader into the smells and noise of Trinidad, the author handled this wonderfully.

Overall it is a good book and good writing, but it just fell short of my expectations.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, especially if you enjoy GLBT literature

What to read next: Cereus Blooms at Night

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge 5, Global Reading Challenge

Book Review: The Sleeping Beauty

Title: The Sleeping Beauty

Author: Mercedes Lackey

Pages: EBook (Approx 283)

Summary: The Sleeping Beauty is the fifth book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series.

Godmother Lily serves the Kingdom of Eltaria, which may be the most imperiled of all the Five Hundred Kingdoms. It has the misfortune of being small, rich, and surrounded with enemies. Governing it has been a constant juggling trick.

But now The Tradition has decided to land the blow of making the King a widower, and his daughter the Fairest In The Land. This can only mean bad things for the King, the Princess Rosa, and above all, the Kingdom itself.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall I enjoyed the book Lackey has an incredible whit to her writing, that helps create her fantasy words - and this is no exception. It was funny, witty and a very creative spin on the fairy tales - but as of now, I prefer the short story based in the same realm than this one.

I enjoyed the authors creative spin on the fairy tales - enough that I'd likely read some of the other books in the series - this one in particular made for a fun satire on a few fairy tales grouped together, but I did find this story to be a little to drawn out with the end result somewhat predictable, although it was part of what "the Tradidion" dictated - it still seemed a little to convenient  in some cases the author managed to make it work and avoid making too cliché, but still stick with the original ideas behind the fairy tales.

The author is an excellent storyteller and writer, which is why I plan on reading more of her work, I wasn't a fan of the particular characterizations, again issues with them being predictable and issues that made them cookie cutter characters - again all do to the tradition of the story, this both worked and didn't for me. But as a whole, the book was a good read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a fun read, entertaining read, a good choice for fantasy fans.

What to read next: I'd suggest more tales from the Thousand Kingdoms series, The Princess Bride, and more books by the author

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, Fantasy Reading Challenge

Saturday, October 29

Book Reviews: The Garden Party and Other Stories

Title: The Garden Party and Other Stories

Author: Katherine Mansfield

Pages: Ebook (Approx 132 pages)

Summary: Born in New Zealand, Mansfield set many of her stories there, even though she emigrated to England in 1908 at age 19, never to return. Her characters are almost invariably middle-class, the daughters, sweethearts, wives, and widows of office clerks, military men, businessmen. In "At the Bay," for example, Mansfield focuses on the Burnell family as they take their summer vacation at the beach. Not content to follow just one character through the story, she drifts in and out of the consciousness of half a dozen, from the family cat to Stanley and Linda Burnell, their children, Linda's sister, Beryl and their in-laws, the Trouts. Dipping into Linda's thoughts, for example, we learn that she loves her husband--"not the Stanley whom everyone saw, not the everyday one; but a timid, sensitive, innocent Stanley who knelt down every night to say his prayers and who longed to be good." Unfortunately for Linda, "she saw her Stanley so seldom." Mansfield then swoops into the mind of Stanley's brother-in-law, Jonathan Trout, who is discontented with his life but knows he hasn't the will to change it, and then on to Beryl, whose longing for "someone who will find the Beryl they none of them know" leads her into a rash action. In the title story, Mansfield concentrates on young Laura Sheridan on the afternoon of her family's garden party. The story follows the family through the preparations--flags to identify the different sandwiches, the delivery of cream puffs, the setting up of a marquee on the lawn. This perfect idyll is broken, however, by news of a fatal accident down the lane. A young workman has been killed, leaving a wife and five children. Into Laura's perfect Eden, death comes whispering and her reaction to it is both subtle and surprising. In fact, many of Mansfield's stories feature young women on the brink of adulthood--facing, for the first time, the realities of their constricted lives. Love is a trap; childbearing is another; death can be "simply marvellous." Mansfield died in 1923 of tuberculosis, leaving behind a body of work that is as bold, unconventional, and modern as she was. The Garden Party and Other Stories is a fitting epitaph

- At the Bay
- The Garden Party
- The Daughter of the Late Colonel
- Mr. and Mrs. Dove
- The Young Girl
- Life of Mia Parker
- Marriage a La Mode
- The Voyage
- Miss Brill
- Her First Ball
- The Singing Lesson
- The Stranger
- Bank Holiday
- An Ideal Family
- The Lady's Maid

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The prose of the collection was wonderful, the author was a very talented author, elegant writing, beautiful descriptions, and well told stories, the author was a very talented short story writer. I may not have enjoyed all the short stories, and they aren't the most engaging, but the author is a wonderful writer, who can create a full sketched out short story - even in just a few pages. \

The stories cover a wide variety of things, such as coming of age, love and loss to name a few. I appreciate what the covered, but some of them just didn't interest me. What kept me reading was her writing style. I had trouble putting down the book just based on her writing. Similar to Virgina Woolf's, it was simply beautiful. Some of my favourite short stories was At the Bay - the descriptions were lovely and The Garden Party.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, especially for those who enjoy early 20th century writing and fans of Virginia Woolf.

What to read next: Anything by Virginia Woolf

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, 1001 Books, A - Z Challenge, Global Reading Challenge

Book Review: The Night Circus

Title: The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Pages: 387

Summary: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white-striped tents awaits an utterly unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, mender through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way - a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As he circus travels around the world, the fats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and lives of all those involved - the eccentric circus owner the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them - are swept up in a wake of spells and charms. But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene - with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in te balance.

My Rating: 10/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book was full of mystery, intrigued and overall a spectacular book to read - it's a book that I will definitely re-read again. The author grabbed my attention from page one and held onto it until the end. I loved how she used second person narrative at the beginning of the chapters you could almost hear the noise of the circus and taste the food and smells.

The characters were well written and so many of them had this air of mystery to them, with a little more explained with each chapter, they really helped create the atmosphere of the entire book. I enjoyed the twins and how they interacted, especially with their friend from the outside world, and of course the two competitors - they were well written and complex and really made the story extraordinary. For a first time novel, the author has done a fantastic job, at fleshing out her characters.

I loved the plot of the book - the glimpses of the magicians and illusionists and their creations were wonderful and vivid - I'd love to see something like this in the flesh. The author did a fantastic job at describing the tents one of my favourites was the ice garden - she was easily able to bring everything to life off the pages. The book kept me engaged and intrigued from the moment I picked it up, and lingered with me long after I set it down. Wonderful read!

Would I recommend it to read: Yes! This was an excellent book to read! It is the kind of book you go out and buy now! Right now!

What to read next: Water for Elephants

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Fall into Reading, Fantasy Reading Challenge, Take a Chance 3 Challenge

Sunday, October 23

Read-a-thon update -FINAL

Update: 4

Current Book: -

Hours Read: 18 - 18.5 hours

Pages read: 1023

Book read: 3

  • Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones - 256 pages
  • Roswell - Sonny White Law & Jennifer Fallon - 349 pages
  • Dead Until Dark Charlane Harris (Ebook @ 218 pgs)
  • DNF - Four Short Stories from Bluebeards Egg by Margaret Atwood - 93 Pages
    • Significant Moments in the Life of my Mother
    • Hurricane Hazel
    • Loulou; or The Domestic Life of Language
    • Uglypuss
  • DNF - Castle Otranto - H. W. (Ebook Approx 108 Pages) Cups of Coffee drank: 4

Personal Cheerleader Update: So far she has:
napped in the laundry hamper
napped in my lap
played catch
raced around the living room
stared off into space as if deep in thought
tried to steal my mid-morning snack and drink from my water glass.
Slept in my lap again
Commandeered my favourite reading spot
Had a nap in my favourite reading spot
Laid on the book shelf
Sat in my lap to have her ears scratched, which resulted in a brief cat nap
Had her pre-dinner snack (and a break from all that napping!) Still going strong! Taking a break to visit more blogs, than back to reading.
Slept on her pillow bed
Sprawled on her favourite spot on the couch
Slept on the back of the couch
Played fetch and ran around the house
Played Fetch While Bouncing off the walls (sure, now she has energy after sleeping all day!)|
Asleep in bed.

And to answer many questions, my personal cheerleader is a cat, her name is Tonks. Although she did more sleeping than cheering, she was a great help.

The manyfaces

of tonks

Had a blast, got some good books read, didn't make it to the full 24 hours and I was about 60 pages shy from reaching my goal of four book, but enjoyed it all nonetheless.

End of Event Meme:

Which hour was most daunting for you? Probably between 2:30 - 3:30 so the the last 6 hours, right before I called it a night. I was doing the headbob with ereader in hand.
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I can't really give an actual list, it depends on the reader and their tastes. I would recommend books that have a faced pace plot, or quick to read. Reading slow moving literary books, that cause you to think deeply about this topic or that not the best choice. But whatever you enjoy the most.
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not sure.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Everything seemed good to me.
How many books did you read? 3 Books, 4 short stories, and one partial boo
What were the names of the books you read? See Above 
Which book did you enjoy most? Rosewell
Which did you enjoy least?  The Short Story Uglypuss. Writing wise good, content wise, well I was hoping Karma came in and exacted vengeance on a character.
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I was a reader.
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Very likely. Not sure if I'll do the spring one, usually a lot of events for me then, but I always try to do the fall.
What role would you be likely to take next time? Reader of course.


Read-a-thon Update 4

Update: 4 

Current Book: Bluebeards Egg Short Story Collection 

Hours Read: 16 hours 

Pages read: 925 

Book read: 3
 Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones 
Roswell - Sonny White Law & Jennifer Fallon
Dead Until Dark Charlane Harris (Ebook @ 218 pgs)

Cups of Coffee drank:

Personal Cheerleader Update: So far she has: 
  • napped in the laundry hamper 
  •  napped in my lap 
  • played catch 
  • raced around the living room 
  •  stared off into space as if deep in thought 
  •  tried to steal my mid-morning snack and drink from my water glass.
  •  Slept in my lap again 
  • Commandeered my favourite reading spot
  •  Had a nap in my favourite reading spot 
  • Laid on the book shelf 
  • Sat in my lap to have her ears scratched, which resulted in a brief cat nap 
  • Had her pre-dinner snack (and a break from all that napping!) Still going strong! Taking a break to visit more blogs, than back to reading.
  • Slept on her pillow bed
  • Sprawled on her favourite spot on the couch
  • Slept on the back of the couch
  • Played fetch and ran around the house

Saturday, October 22

Read-a-thon Update - Half Way!

Update: 3 - Half Way Point

Current Book: Bluebeards Egg Short Story Collection

Hours Read: 11 hours

Pages read: 707

Book read: 2 Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones
Roswell - Sonny White Law & Jennifer Fallon

Cups of Coffee drank: 2 - the third one is brewing as we speak

Personal Cheerleader Update: So far she has:

  • napped in the laundry hamper 
  •  napped in my lap 
  • played catch 
  • raced around the living room 
  •  stared off into space as if deep in thought 
  •  tried to steal my mid-morning snack and drink from my water glass.
  •  Slept in my lap again 
  • Commandeered my favourite reading spot
  •  Had a nap in my favourite reading spot 
  • Laid on the book shelf 
  • Sat in my lap to have her ears scratched, which resulted in a brief cat nap 
  • Had her pre-dinner snack (and a break from all that napping!) Still going strong! Taking a break to visit more blogs, than back to reading.
  • Slept on her pillow bed
  • Sprawled on her favourite spot on the couch

Still going strong! But going to have a cup of coffee, since Im at the half-way point and could use a pick me up. Think I may also switch to my ereader and read something from there.

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? 
Bluebeards Egg, I may start Dead untill Dark though
2. How many books have you read so far? 2 books and 4 short stories
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I hope to finish at least 2 more books and make it until 3 am.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Nope, this was a nice relax day for me
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Just dinner eatting, and snuggling the cat, and who cat resit cuddling her?
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Nothing. Just enjoying the fun, 
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I'd just do what I am now, read and enjoy what I'm doing. Just relax.
9. Are you getting tired yet? I'm a little sleepy, but coffee will help.
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Just enjoy the read-a-thon do you own goals, don't worry what everyone else is doing, feel free to take breaks, and sleep. It's all about the fun, not a competition

Read-thon-update 2

Update: 2

Current Book: In Between Books at the moment

Hours Read: 9 hours

Pages read: 614

Book read: 2
  • Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones
  • Roswell - Sonny White Law & Jennifer Fallon

Cups of Coffee drank: 2

Personal Cheerleader Update: So far she has:

  • napped in the laundry hamper 
  • napped in my lap
  • played catch
  • raced around the living room 
  • stared off into space as if deep in thought 
  • tried to steal my mid-morning snack and drink from my water glass. 
  • Slept in my lap again
  • Commandeered my favourite reading spot
  • Had a nap in my favourite reading spot
  • Laid on the book shelf
  • Sat in my lap to have her ears scratched, which resulted in a brief cat nap
  • Currently having her pre-dinner snack (and a break from all that napping!)
Still going strong! Taking a break to visit more blogs, than back to reading.

Read-a-thon Update 1

Update: 1

Current Book: In Between Books at the moment

Hours Read: 3 hours and 40 minutes

Pages read: 256
Book read:

  • Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones

Cups of Coffee drank: 2

Personal Cheerleader Update: So far she has:

  •  napped in the laundry hamper
  • napped in my lap, played catch
  • raced around the living room
  • stared off into space as if deep in thought
  •  and as right this is trying to steal my mid-morning snack and drink from my water glass. Busy cat!