Tuesday, January 31

A Long, Long Way

Title: A Long, Long Way

Author: Sebastian Barry

Pages: EBook (250 pages)

Summary: Praised as a "master storyteller" (The Wall Street Journal) and hailed for his "flawless use of language" (Boston Herald), Irish author and playwright Sebastian Barry has created a powerful new novel about divided loyalties and the realities of war. In 1914, Willie Dunne, barely eighteen years old, leaves behind Dublin, his family, and the girl he plans to marry in order to enlist in the Allied forces and face the Germans on the Western Front. Once there, he encounters a horror of violence and gore he could not have imagined and sustains his spirit with only the words on the pages from home and the camaraderie of the mud-covered Irish boys who fight and die by his side. Dimly aware of the political tensions that have grown in Ireland in his absence, Willie returns on leave to find a world split and ravaged by forces closer to home. Despite the comfort he finds with his family, he knows he must rejoin his regiment and fight until the end. With grace and power, Sebastian Barry vividly renders Willie’s personal struggle as well as the overwhelming consequences of war.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall this was a very good read, there were a few times where I didn't enjoy it, but others I was gripped by the story, and in the end it became a very memorable story about the first world war. The wring in the book was excellent - poetic at times, and descriptive passages that showed the horrific realities of the war, the author created a very realistic and stunning story about the soldiers in the trenches. There were a few scenes, that were both stunning, depressing and horrifying all at once, but I appreciate what the author pulled off. One of my favourite scenes, despite the fact it truly shows the ugliness of war, was written so carefully, it brought to life the characters and scene. The characters were well done, although they weren't that memorable. The main character and a few minor stick out slightly, but there wasn't that extra push to bring them beyond other characters in similar stories. The author does do a wonderful job at showing the affects of the war on the characters in the book. All the characters were well written, complex and well developed - similar to other soldiers from other war time books, but the author created a solid cast in his book.

The only other issue I had with the book was the political tensions back home. It was touched on lightly, but I was hoping there would be more about the Irish rebellion. It seemed to affect Willie and his look on the war, but it was only brushed on. It was probably for the best the rebellion was only touched on, as other aspects of the story may have been sacrificed - but I still wanted more detail on it. The ending was a bit predictable, but I actually enjoyed it and had it ended differently, I don't think the book would have had the same feel or meaning to it.

Otherwise it was a fantastic and at times, haunting read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the author did a lovely job at brining the story to life. Great choice for readers who like to read war time novels.

What to read next: The Wars, All Quiet on the Western Front

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, EBook Challenge, Irish Reading Challenge, New Authors Challenge, War Through the Generations - WWI

Book Review: Selected Stories

Title: Selected Short Stories

Author: Virginia Woolf

Pages: EBook (155)

Summary: Virginia Woolf tested the boundaries of fiction in these short stories, developing a new language of sensation, feeling and thought, and recreating in words the 'swarm and confusion of life'. Defying categorization, the stories range from the more traditional narrative style of 'Solid Objects' through the fragile impressionism of 'Kew Gardens' to the abstract exploration of consciousness in 'The Mark on the Wall'.

Contents

A Hauned House
A Society
Monday or Tuesday
An Unwritten Novel
The String Quartet
Blue and Green
Kew Gardens
The Mark on the Wall
A Woman's College from the Outside
The Lady in the Looking-Glass: A Reflection
The Shooting Party
The Dutchess and the Jeweller
Lappin and Lapinova

My Rating: 9.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Virginia Woolf was a wonderful story teller, elegant prose and beautiful descriptions and passages - all of which are shown in this collection. There wasn't a single story I didn't like. Some I enjoyed more than others, some I wanted to devour again afterwards - but I enjoyed them all.

The writing in this collection was wonderful - I was continuously lost in the passages and short stories. I had intended to read a few at a time, but I found myself diving right into the next story - just one more! I kept telling myself. Even the stories that were less interesting to me, like the Duchess and the Jeweller or the Shooting Party, had be captivated by the writing. And I cannot stress enough, just how beautiful the author's writing was. Blue and Green was a short, short story almost a poem, but had a lovely descriptive passage. And I loved the way she set the scene in The String Quartet.

Virginia Woolf was an observant author and at times quite profound, this book is no exception. Lappin and Lapinova is one example of this, the ending was almost haunting, but I enjoyed the message she aimed to send out. I also enjoyed story A Society, where again she aims to send out an important message on how she sees the world around her. Honestly, I could probably spend hours dissecting each story. They were all wonderful, the only thing I didn't like was I wanted more, and some weren't as good as others - I think the Shooting Party was the weakest story in the collection. I also wouldn't call it light reading, she does make you think about what you're reading, her stories usually have a deeper meaning to them, which isn't a bad thing, but I wish I had a literature class to talk to about her books with, just so can fully grasp everything she had hidden in her story. Otherwise, not much to dislike with this book.

Truly a lovely collection, by a wonderful story teller, that has me wanting to devour my next book by the author.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, this was a lovely collection of short stories. Virginia Woolf had a wonderful voice and it shows in the short stories - and this is a good place to start if you haven't experienced her yet.

What to read next: More Virginia Woolf, Charolotte Perkins Gilman, Katherine Mansfield

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Short Stories Challenge

Monday, January 30

Books That Followed Me Home - January Edition

I haven't had the time to do one of these for a while, and I've been meaning to sit down and do one all month, so I decided to wait and post this at the end of the month - so I can share with all of you all the books that followed me home this month - it's a lot. But they all followed me home! Even those EBooks, they jumped off the Internet right into my E-Reader! Honest!

For those of you who don't know, Books That Followed Me Home is an event I host on my blog, to show case all the books that "followed" me home. Okay, so it's my excuse to my self and the world to the amount of books I buy...er allow to follow me home.

Books are listed below that I've bought  allowed to follow me home, over various wanderings.....

Batch One - Canadiana
-where I unintentionally bought a lot of Canadian books or books by Canadian authors



Through the Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden
Light Lifting - Alexander MacLeod
The Last Salt Gift of Blood - Alistair MacLeod
Anil's Ghost - Michael Ondaajte
The Dream World - Alison Pick
Irish Country Village - Patrick Taylor
Storm Glass - Jane Urquhart
Fauna - Alissa York
The Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories - Edited by Jane Urquhart, various authors

Batch Two - Virginia Woolf  (EBooks)
- where I realized we share the same birthday. To celebrate, and to give a gift to myself, I browsed some of her books online. They some how, magically, must have been birthday magic, appeared on my Kobo.


Between the Acts
Night and Day
Selected Short Stories
The Voyage Out
The Years

Batch Three - WWI (Ebooks)
- where I unintentoally bought books with similar titles and themes (beyond the WWI theme ;))



A Long, Long Way - Sebastian Berry
The Soldier's Return - Alan Monaghan
The Return of the Soldier - Rebecca West
Guns of August - Barbara Tuchman

Batch Four - Other Books




The Gate of Angels - Penelope Fitzgerald
Offshore People - Penelope Fitzgerald
WoT 13- Towers of Midnight - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan
The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai - Ruiyan Xu
Harvest Moon - Mercedes Lackey, Michelle Sagara, Cameron Haley


And there you have it! All the books that followed me home during January. I got some great reads, some of them I already devoured. If you want to join in, you are more than welcome to, I know other must have this problem too! Just leave a link in the comments section so I can see what books followed you home.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Transitions

Title: Transitions (SG-1 #18)

Author: Sabine Bauer

Pages: 341

Summary: The journey begins

After her mother’s death, Cassie Fraiser is moving on. So she thinks. But there are dangerous forces at work and she soon finds herself caught up in a situation far beyond her control. It’s a good thing Colonel Carter was keeping an eye on her. But while Carter rallies SG-1 to Cassie’s aid, events on Atlantis are going from bad to worse.

Facing a deadly plague and a computer virus that’s shutting down the city, it looks like Colonel Sheppard’s team will provide rich pickings for the incoming Wraith hive ship.

But sometimes events galaxies apart are connected in unexpected

My Rating: 6.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I have to say, this is my least favourite Stargate book I've read so far. Which was a shame because I was looking forward to the book, and after printing delays, waiting for the book to be delivered, finally getting it after months of waiting, I was hoping it would be as amazing as it was said to be. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations.

The biggest issue, and what made it such a disappointment was the continuity issues. Now, I understand some minor issues, they bother me, but I can accept them, but the continuity issues in this book were major issues, horrifically major continunity. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get past that everything was wrong. Timelines were messed up things were mentioned that had happened yet, and because it was a cross over book - the long awaited cross over - both Stargate series were included, they were tied to the same storyline, and even had characters appear together as one group, but the storylines which happened at the same time were from two completely different times. They knew things and didn't know things they shouldn't have known, and things were mentioned or hinted at that were contrary to what was on the show - which was infuriating to me. Again a few minor in consistencies are acceptable in my books, but this wasn't and it ruined the reading experience for me. I didn't like the SG-1 storyline - mainly because it centered around a minor character who I never cared for, and it was to similar to a young adult book whenever the author entered her thought process. But I loved the SGA story line and felt it deserved its own book, because wow. They author created a great plot there. Kudos to her for that. The Atlantis characters were well written and true to what they were on the show. The author creates a very interesting and horrific plot and takes her characters through an emotional roll coaster, and it had just the right balance of action mixed in - it's just a shame it was sacrificed to make room for the crossover. Which is another reason why the book didn't work for me, both had complex plots that needed their own book - even though I didn't like the SG-1 side of the story, it needed its own book. And the SGA storyline definitely needed its own book.

Overall wasn't impressed by the book, it received such praise by fellow fans, but I couldn't get past the continuity issues to enjoy it.

Would I recommend it to read: Not sure I would. I seem to be in the minority, but as far as Stargate storylines goes, this wasn't the greatest.

What to read next: More Stargate of course!

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, New Authors Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge

Sunday, January 29

Book Review: Anil's Ghost

Title: Anil's Ghost

Author: Michael Ondaatje

Pages: 307

Summary: Anil's Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now ravaged in the late twentieth century by civil war. Into this maelstrom steps Anil Tissera, educated in England and America, who returns to Sri Lanka as a forensic anthropologist sent by humans rights organization to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island. What follows is a story about love, family, identity, the unknown enemy and a quest to unlock the hidden past - a story propelled by a riveting mystery. Unfolding against the evocative background of Sri Lanka's landscape and ancient civilization, Anil's Ghost is a spellbinder.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book was wonderful written with an intriguing story that as me wanting to hunt down more o the authors works.

The book had wonderful prose and I was easily lost in the passages of the book. The author was able bring to life the beauty, scenery, culture, smells combined with horrors of the civil war in Sri Lanka wonderfully. He was easily able bring to life all the horrors of the civil war, creating an excellent fictional account of the time period but tied in historical accounts nicely. The book was both beautiful and haunting at the same time, making it a very profound and enjoyable read. The story is told in an unusual way, and I'm not sure if I like it or not. It's almost disjointed in how it's told, giving pieces of information from the past, present, memories of characters, and other events all happening around the same time has the main story line. What you get in the end is a very powerful story, but I did find it to be confusing at times trying to link everything together, and to keep track all the strings in the storyline and how they linked together. In the end it works out wonderfully, but getting there was difficult.

The only other issue I had was the characters, while I loved the stories, I didn't find I cared for the characters as much as I would have liked. They were all complex characters, with difficult pasts, and had depth to them, but I didn't find them to be enjoyable as the story itself. I didn't dislike them, but compared to the story, I didn't love them - I guess they didn't balance each other.

Overall, wonderfully written, intriguing story that has me wanting me to seek out more books by the author.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a wonderful read - I can see people who would have issus with how the story is told in a disjointed way, I guess you could call it, but it's so beautifully written, it's worth it.

What to read next: I've read the Cat's Table also by the author, and it was a very well done book. The English Patient is what he is known for so there's a start

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Award Winners Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge V, Global Reading Challenge

Saturday, January 28

Book Review: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

Title: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

Author: Wayne Johnston

Pages: 562

Summary: A mystery and love spanning five decades, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams is an epic portrait of relentless ambition. Two of the most irresistible characters ever encountered in fiction grace its pages: Joe Smallwood, who claws his way from obscurity to become Newfoundland’s first premier; and Sheilagh Fielding, a popular newspaper columnist who casts a haunting shadow over Smallwood’s life and career.

My Rating: 8.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Wonderfully written, with a great exploration of the history of Newfoundland, the book was exceptionally well done.

The writing style was what initially pulled me in, has the prose and flow of the book come together nicely, and help create the atmosphere of the book and Newfoundland, what kept m reading was learning about the vast history of the province and the history behind the main character. I love learning all the background history from the initial discovery of it, to modern times. It was in-depth and tied into the story well. I never found the historical fiction accounts of Newfound lad overtook the rest of the story, but instead added an interesting element to it, and helped move it along. At times, the province (which for most of the book, was its own country) almost is a character on its own. But I thought the author created a wonderful picture of Newfoundland and its history.

I also enjoyed the story of Smallwood and his climb from the bottom to the top, it may be a bit of a cliché, of a young man with a poor family who beats the odds and succeeds in politics - but I didn't find that to be the case in the book. I enjoyed following Smallwood and his fight to make something for himself. The author did a fantastic job at creating a very in-depth character.

The way the book was written was well done and interesting, as it was broken into sections and at the beginning of the chapters, so to speak, was small passages on the history of Newfoundland - which I really enjoyed and found them to be very interesting. I also enjoyed the passages of Fielding's history of Newfoundland between the sections of the book.

What I didn't like was Fielding's big mystery. It was revealed to be one thing part way through the book, which I excepted, but then near the end of the book, it was revealed to be something else - which I didn't like. One, I thought the final revelation came out of left field, characters were mentioned and talked about that didn't have much effect of the rest of the book and it really felt like it was thrown in there, and it didn't flow well with the rest of the book. I also felt that it was properly wrapped up in the end of the book or with the characters involved - it was mentioned, it seemed to have a big impact on the characters, then it was forgotten. I think it would have been better if the "conclusion" the mystery used midway through the book was used, it seemed to fit better with the book. I also found some of the development of the characters, mainly the minor ones, forced as well as some of their character attributes - which isn't a big deal, because you won't ever like all the characters in the book, but I found some were used to much, and they got boring quickly. Otherwise, a fantastic book, and a wonderful historical account on Newfoundland.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a very enjoyable read. A bit of a chunkster, but don't let that shy you away from the book.

What to read next: I'd read more from the author for starters. The Underpainter would also be a good choice to read.

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Award Winners Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge V, Global Reading Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge



Tuesday, January 24

Book Review: Messenger

Title: Messenger

Author: Lois Lowry

Pages: EBook (109)

Summary: For the past six years, Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man, known for his special sight. Village was a place that welcomed newcomers, but something sinister has seeped into Village and the people have voted to close it to outsiders. Matty has been invaluable as a messenger. Now he must make one last journey through the treacherous forest with his only weapon, a power he unexpectedly discovers within himself.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While The Giver remains to be my favourite book, this was a well written and overall good wrap up to the trilogy. It answered a few questions left up in the air from the previous two book, and was a fairly good story.

Although I had a few issues with it, including how the ending felt rushed to get there, and there seemed to be a few inconsistencies with what I learned in previous books, although my memory is foggy on the exact details behind Jonas' abilities, but I remember them being slightly different than what was shown in this book. Overall, it was a good book, and the author managed to tie all the stories together quiet well. I couldn't help but grin when I read about the sled.

I like how there was a big time gap between the previous book, but I also disliked it. Because there were a few things that weren't properly explained, while others were tied up an brought into the story to finally answer questions. I think the main issue here is that it is a book for children, so the in-depth answers I want, just won't be there. I was confused by "forest" although I liked that element of magical realism in the book, I was also looking for a better explanation in how it tied into the story as a whole - I think this is also an issue that it's meant for a younger audience, so a in-depth explanation and analysis is just not going to be covered in the book. But it was still a very enjoyable read, and a great book to end the trilogy.

Would I recommend it to read:  I would, the first book in the series was a childhood favourite, and this book answered some of the questions that were left up in the air from both the first and second books in the trilogy. Like with the other books in the trilogy, it's good choice for young readers - especially if they are interested in fantasy, magical realism or dystopian/utopian.

What to read next: If you haven't read the Giver or Gathering Blue yet those. Although I think you would need to read Gathering Blue before this one. The Chrysalids by John Wyadham would be a good book if you're looking for similar children's/YA books in the genre.

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Ebook Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge



Monday, January 23

Book Review: Gathering Blue

Title: Gathering Blue

Author: Lois Lowry

Pages: EBook (139)

Summary: Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. When she is given a task that no other community member can carry out, Kira soon realizes that she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world—and to find out what exists beyond it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: It's been a while since I read the first book in the trilogy, but it was a childhood favourite and I've been wanting to find out what happens next for years. While I didn't get the answers I was looking for, I still found the book to be enjoyable.

This story takes place in a different village than the one we saw in the Giver, but it has similarities. The book follows Kira a young girl, with a gimp leg in a society were imperfections causes you to be an outcast and usually put to death. Kira has a talent in needle work, that has some sort of magical realism element to it, although it's never really explained what that is or how it works, you do find out, it's more than just a talent, but something bigger - which is why the guardians want her.

Because it's a dystopian story, you quickly learn, the downside to Kira's new life and she quickly learns the dark secrets her village has been keeping. There's a small twist to the story, involving Matt. Although it was a bit cliché and I was expecting it, it did work for the story, and it help set things in motion for the next book. Despite the quick and sudden ending, I thought it ended well and worked for the book, especially considering many of those questions are answered in the next book.

Characterization was well done. It's hard to compare development and depth of characters to what I am used to, as this is a children's book, but the author does do a good job at creating her characters for a young audience. Writing is also well done for the audience level the book is aimed at. I did find a lot of explanations and revelations to be very vague, although I can see why the author chose to gloss over some things due to the age of the intended audience, I wish things were better explained. But overall it was a good companion book to the first.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the first book in the series was a childhood favourite, and this was a fairly good fallow-up to it. It's also a good choice for young readers - especially if they are interested in fantasy, magical realism or dystopian/utopian.

What to read next: The Giver and Messenger Books 1 and 3 in the trilogy, The Chrysalids.

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge

Saturday, January 21

Book Review: Alone in the Classroom

Title: Alone in the Classroom

Author: Elizabeth Hay

Pages: EBook (209 pages)

Summary: In a small prairie school in 1929, Connie Flood helps a backward student, Michael Graves, learn how to read. Observing them and darkening their lives is the principal, Parley Burns, whose strange behaviour culminates in an attack so disturbing its repercussions continue to the present day.

Connie’s niece, Anne, tells the story. Impelled by curiosity about her dynamic, adventurous aunt and her more conventional mother, she revisits Connie’s past and her mother’s broken childhood. In the process, she unravels the enigma of Parley Burns and the mysterious (and unrelated) deaths of two young girls. As the novel moves deeper into their lives, the triangle of principal, teacher, student opens out into other emotional triangles – aunt, niece, lover; mother, daughter, granddaughter – until a sudden, capsizing love thrusts Anne herself into a newly independent life.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was one of those books that just didn't work for me, I enjoyed a previous novel by the author, so I was looking forward to reading another book her, but this book was a bit of a letdown.

I found the way the story was told was one of the biggest issues I had with the book, because the book was told through someone who wasn't actually present during the most of the events, but was re-telling what was told to her, was one of the issues I had with the book. It felt more like the story was being told to me in passing, it felt like things were messing and that I never got the whole story. The first half of the book actually interested me, and had that been the main focus of the book and had been told by one of the characters who was actually present during the time of the story or a third party narrator, I think I would have enjoyed the book more. I found the part of the story about Anne was boring and a big turn off for the book. I didn't like her as a character and didn't care for her part in the second story, which caused me to push through the second half of the book.

The writing quality in this book was just as good as the previous book I read, while the plot itself wasn't as well done the writing was still excellent but the plot of this particular book didn't appeal to me - I'll definitely read another book by the author, but this book wasn't for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would recommend this book to read. I'd recommend the author, but not the book.

What to read next: One of the author's other books, I enjoyed Late Nights on the Air

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge, EBook Challenge

A Brief Update

As some of you may have already noticed, my blog has taken a drastic face lift. My beautiful template is no more!

It was a pre-made template you can find on the internet, so other bloggers are likely to have the same, but I fell in love with it and have used it for the majority of the time I've been bogging. From the start I've had issues with it, as originally it was intended for wordpress, not blogger - but I managed to deal with those issues, although they bothered me save for one, no one actually saw/or dealt with it. But I'm sure anyone who has visited here would have noticed the first post on the main page was never click-able. On Friday I posted my morning post and found that the bandwidth allocation for the hostsite of the template had exceeded, and I gave up on the template altogether. I'm not sure if it was quickly fixed by the host or not, but I made a quick decision and gave up. I didn't think about it I just did.

Personally it's been a long week, so having to deal with something like the blog template was something I didn't want to deal with nor, did I want to wait to see if/when it would be fixed, and I didn't like the idea of my blog being covered in broken images. So I changed it. I'm actually happy with the new look. It's all blogger related templates, and I've been able to play around with it to make it a little more "me". The gadgets are working like they should so now I don't have to do extra steps and what not to make them work. But there's still a few things I'm working on fixings, so please bear with me if things disappear or reappear. I'm going to poke away at it over the next little while. Change seemed fitting with the week it's been, adding to the good and bad changes in the life.

But don't worry new look, same Jules!

Book Review: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood

Title: The Last Salt Gift of Blood

Author: Alistair MacLeod

Pages: 256

Summary: The Stories of the Lost Salt Gift of Blood are remarkably simple - a family is drawn together by shared and separate losses, a child's reality conflicts with his parents' memories, a young man struggles to come to terms with the loss of his father.

Yet each piece of writing in this critically acclaimed collection is infused with a powerful life of its own, a precision of language and a scrupulous fidelity to the reality of time and place, of sea and Maritime Farm. Focusing on the complexities and abiding mysteries of the heart of human relationships, the seven Stories of The Lost Salt Gift of Blood map the close bonds and impassable chasms that lie between man and woman, parent and child.

Contents
In the Fall
The Vastness of the Dark
The Lost Salt Gift of Blood
The Return
The Golden Gift of Grey
The Boat
The Road to Rankin's Point

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was an enjoyable collection of short stories, a small collection, but it still gave me a good glimpse on the writing style of the author, and I enjoyed the short stories overall. Some I enjoyed more than others, but all were well written. Some I enjoyed more than others, but I didn't find that the any of the short stories dragged on or were poorly written, just that there were some that I enjoyed more than others.

The Golden Gift of Grey is one of the stories that stands out I wouldn't say it was a favourite of mine but it did stand out. It told an interesting "life lesson", and the protagonist of the book is one of the very few characters that stand out from all the others. I kind of felt bad for him in the end, as the author did a good job at showing the consequences of the young man's actions. I also enjoyed The Return, as a young boy journey's with his family back to his father's childhood home. I enjoyed reading about how the young boy explored the hometown, a place that was foreign to him compared to where he has grown up and meeting his grandparents. Again, I don't think it was a favourite of mine, but it is a story that stood out.

The title short story has a beautiful opening description, which is one of the best things I liked about the collection was how the author described certain things, beauty versus greyness, is probably the best way to describe it, but it was a well written opening passage.

Overall, a good short story collection, that does a good job at highlighting the author's talent of a writer.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, well written and overall enjoyable collection of short stories.

What to read next: I'd recommend his son's, Alexander MacLeod, short story collection, would be interesting to see how the two compare.

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge 5, Short Stories Challenge

Friday, January 20

Book Review Allegiance

Title: Allegiance (SGA - 18)

Author: Amy Griswold and Melissa Scott

Pages:  Ebook (302)

Summary: Enemies and friends

Reeling from the shocking discovery of Rodney McKay's fate, Colonel Sheppard and his team retreat to Atlantis to regroup. With Rodney not only in the hands of the Wraith, but apparently working for them, Atlantis faces a new danger - their own man, turned against them.

While Zelenka and Colonel Carter work frantically to crack the security protocols McKay embedded in Atlantis's computer system, Ronan revisits his past and finds much is changing on Sateda. Meanwhile, Queen Death prepares to make use of her most valuable prisoner; with Rodney still unaware of his true identity, the fate of Atlantis hangs in the balance…

Set after the TV series' exciting finale, STARGATE ATLANTIS: Allegiance is book three of the gripping new Legacy series

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed the book, and have enjoyed the Legacy series overall, I still find I'm disappointed in some of the aspects of the book and what the authors are choosing to focus on. Because at times this felt more like fanfiction than a companion book the TV series.

My biggest peeve is how characters and their relationships are portrayed, Teyla and John are one example of this and the hint at the book of "something more" than just teammates. While I think its essential to explore the relationships between the characters, the "shipping" of the characters doesn't fit in the story or the story arcs taken from the show. Which is beginning to bother me, it is feeling forced on me, because for years that's what fans of the show have hoped for, rather than the natural flow of things. I'm also finding certain characters are either overused or underused Samantha Carter is a one example of this, as she was horribly downplayed and dumbed down some of her thoughts and actions just weren't the Sam I've grown to know. And finally some of the new characters were overshadowing the old ones. It felt very forced that they were included, and not a natural flow to introduce and include new characters - new characters can be a great asset, but it didn't work for me here. Perhaps my expectations were high for this part of the series, (I don't seem nearly as critical on the other books) but I am finding I have more issues with how characters are portrayed and utilized than in other books. It's not something I necessarily hate, but it's becoming more frustrating as I read the series

I am enjoying the overall plot with the Wraith and Rodney. They need to keep the main focus on that, and stop throwing in side stories of New Athos, because wow! I'm absolutely loving what they're doing with the Wraith, and especially what they've done with Rodney's characters. I egaerly await to read what happens next in those parts of the plot, and the authors have done a great job at creating a new side to the wraith we've never seen in the show - and I think it's an excellent plot line they've created. It ties in with the series well, but has added something new to go a long with it. (Not opposed to new ideas, just as long as they flow into the story and not come out of left field, because the fans want it.)

Overall I did enjoy the book, I'm awaiting the next one to be published, but I do wish they liberties the authors are taking with the characters were toned down a bit and the plot of the story was more focused on - because they have something great there.

Would I recommend it to read: Only to fans of stargate - because others wouldn't know what's happening in the story line. Although I would recommend the TV series, so you could read the book series.

What to read next: The next books in the Legacy sub-series. Other Stargate Books

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, EBook Challenge, Global Reading Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge

Tuesday, January 17

Book Review: For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down

Title: For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down

Author: David Adams Richards

Pages: 231

Summary: First published in 1993, For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down completed the trilogy of novels about the working classes that began with Night Below Station Street (1988) and continued with Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace (1990). In a small northern New Brunswick mill town, Jerry Bines, acquitted of murder returns home to his estranged wife and young son. But when he learns that Gary Percy Rils has escaped from prison, he fears for his own safety and that of others. Bine's attempt to protect his family from Rils leads inevitably to the novel's harrowing climax.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: After reading the final book in the Miramichi trilogy, I found this book to be the most enjoyable of the three. Something about the story grabbed my attention more than the others, while this book followed the same format, and some of the same characters seen in the previous two books, there was something more to this story.

The writing style is the same, which I enjoy, I do like the way the author writes, he slowly builds up his story, but it's done in a way where as a reader you benefit from it. The author is also able to write misery of his characters quiet well, and unlike his previous books, I wasn't overwhelmed by it and this time I didn't find it took away from the book - or perhaps I'm just used to it.

 Like the previous books, it's a book with very flawed characters, there isn't a big divide good or bad, but mostly morally grey in all of its shades, which I enjoyed, because despite Bine's past, I was still very invested in his characters growth and outcome. I even enjoyed his character at times, despite some of his life choices. Which is what I liked best about this book, is the author allowed you to connect and even enjoy a character who's made some horrible mistakes, but is trying to fix them. It wasn't a riveting story and many of the same issues I had with the authors previous works were still in this one, but well told and I appreciated what the author has done with the characters and the finally chapter in the trilogy.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the author is good author and the message behind the story was well told. It's worth reading the other two books first, but not necessary.

What to read next: Mercy Among the Children, the other books of the Miramichi trilogy

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Canadian Award Winners, Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge V, Mount TBR Challenge

Saturday, January 14

Book Review: Childhood

Title: Childhood

Author: André Alexis

Pages: 265

Summary: Uniquely imagined and vividly evoked, André Alexis’ prize-winning novel chronicles the childhood - or perhaps the loss of childhood - of Thomas MacMillan, who sets out to piece together the early years of his life. Raised in Southern Ontario town in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Thomas is abandoned to the car of his eccentric Trinidadian grandmother. Then, at ten, his mother, Katarina, reclaims him, taking him to Ottawa and to her once-splendid Victorian home of Henry Wing, a gentle conjurer whose love of science and the imagination becomes an important legacy. But is he Thomas’ father? Moving and wryly humorous , Childhood tells the story of a man’s quest for what is lost, bringing him closer to the truth about himself.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed aspects of the book, and thought it was a great coming of age story, in the end I felt that there was something missing from the book to set it aside from others of its kind.

The author was original in a sense in how he told the story, separating it into sections that reflect school subjects, which in a sense, reflected that section of the protagonist's childhood and experiences. Which I found to be clever. I also enjoyed the connection between the Thomas and Henry, the role-model/father-son relationship they had was extremely well done and I thought the author wrote these parts wonderfully.

But the book just didn't keep my interest, the characters were hard to connect to, while the author caught the time period and setting, I didn't find any of them to be very memorable I was also waiting to see something more come from the story, something extra to give it that extra push to set it aside from the other coming of age books. How the author wrote the book and chose to set it up was different, but the overall story was the same. But it was still a fairly good read nonetheless.

Would I recommend it to read: I probably would, the story was a good coming of age/reflection of childhood. I think readers who enjoy those types of stories would really likely enjoy the book.

What to read next: The author has written another book he's known for, Asylum, I'd recommend that book. I wouldn't run out to read him again, but I would definitely read him again in the future.

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Canadian Award Winners Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge V, Mount TBR Challenge, New Authors Challenge