Saturday, March 31

Book Review: Shannon

Title: Shannon

Author: Frank Delaney

Pages: 398

Summary:  In the summer of 1922, Robert Shannon, a Marine chaplain and a young American hero of the Great War, lands in Ireland. He still suffers from shell shock, and his mentor hopes that a journey Robert has always wanted to make - to find his family’s roots along the banks of the River Shannon - will restore his equilibrium and is vocation. But there is more to the story: On the return from the war, Robert witnesses startling corruption in the Archdiocese of Boston. He has been sent to Ireland to secure his silence = permanently. As Robert faces the dangers of a strife-torn Ireland roiling in a civil war, the nation’s myth and people, its beliefs and traditions, unfurl healingly before him. And the River Shannon gives comfort to the young man who is inspired by the words of his mentor “Find your soul and you’ll live.”

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The writing quality and storytelling were wonderful. As was the characters and characterization, but I found some aspects of the plot to not mesh into the story as well as I would have liked.

As with previous works I've read by the author, the quality in the writing and telling the story were top notch. The author takes care in writing the story, writing a very detailed and is able to bring the reader to the heart of the story. He has a wonderful ability to paint a picture of the lands of Ireland and it's people beautifully, it's almost like being there in the flesh.

He also had a cast of incredible characters, some eccentric, others tying to live their lives, but a lot of them leave an impression on the reader, even after they leave the pages. One of the things I like best about the author is how much he puts into his characters, which creates some very interesting and fleshed out characters.

I also found that details of the plot and all of its strings were written and  handle very well. I may not have like some aspects of the plot, I would have preferred the corruption with the Archbishop wasn't part of the book - I enjoyed the other aspects, the journey, recovering, finding one's self again, but that part just didn't seem to fit in to the story as well as I would have liked.

In the end I enjoyed the book, but I do prefer his other works over this one.

Would I recommend it to read: Although the actual story wasn't something that gripped me, everything else about it makes it well worth reading.

What to read next:  Other works by Delaney (Ireland, Tipperary), Paco's Story

Friday, March 30

Book Review: Galveston

Title: Galveston

Author: Paul Quarrington

Pages: Ebook - 157

Summary: Few people seek out the tiny Caribbean island of Dampier Cay. Visitors usually wash up there by accident, rather than by design. But this weekend, three people will fly to the island deliberately. They are not coming for a tan or fun in the sun. They are coming because Dampier Cay is where it is, and they have reason to believe that they might encounter something there that most people take great measures to avoid -- a hurricane.

A lottery windfall and a few hours of selfishness have robbed Caldwell of all that was precious to him, while Beverly, haunted by tragedy and screwed by fate since birth, has given up on life. Also on the flight is Jimmy Newton, a professional storm chaser and videographer who will do anything for the perfect shot. Waiting for them at Dampier is the manager of the Water’s Edge Hotel, “Bonefish” Maywell Hope, who arrived at Dampier by the purest accident of all -- the accident of birth. A descendent of the pirates who sailed the Caribbean hundreds of years ago, Hope believes if he works hard enough, he can prevent the inevitable. Until, that is, the seas begin to rise . . .

My Rating: 3.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book just wasn't my cup of tea. Although the concept of the book interested me originally, how it was executed and what the book turned out to be, didn't work for me at all.

The writing quality was average, wasn't bad, but wasn't something that made me want to find more of the authors books. But the story itself is where the book failed for me. There didn't seem to be substance to it, it went from past to present a lot. Instead of letting the secrets of the past come out into the story naturally, it felt forced. The characterization and how they interacted with each other was also random and felt forced.  
Overall this wasn't the book for me.

Would I recommend it to read: No, I don't think I would. The book ended up being a letdown, and not at all what I'd expected especially considering it was a Giller nominee
What to read next: I'd read the other books from the 2005 Giller Long/Short Lists

Challenges:  12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, EBook Challenge, Global Reading Challenge New Authors Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge V

Tuesday, March 27


Quick update to all of you to say I'm still around, but work is been busy and in the middle of a move! I'll be back soon I swear! Missing the reading world, but haven't had the time!

Sunday, March 4

February 2012 - Wrap-Up

This month was a good month, it wasn't anywhere near as great as last month, but I did get quite a few books read and I'm still ahead of what I wanted to be my reading goals. But I didn't read as many books as I wanted to. I was aiming for 12 but only read 3. Partly this was due to me getting a sinus infection, which now has either turned in a horrible cold, or the cold has bad timing - which made it hard to read. Work has been stressful, and I have fallen in love with the sow Grey's Anatomy, and have bought all the box sets of the show and cannot stop watching it. The hot doctors don't help. So all those factored into my reading this month, but I'm still happy with it, and since last month rocked, this month that didn't rock doesn't matter too much.

The Books

Like I said above I read 9 books this month. 5 Ebooks and 4 Print. I'm surprised on how many EBooks I'm actually reading. I was originally so against the thought of an ebook. But I love them - they are great for work. They will never replace my print, but they have come in handy - especially to read those questionable books you don't know if you'll like or not. This month I re-read a favourite book from my childhood, read two great short stories by one of my favourite author and read my first Dickens. My favourite books of the month was The Girl Who Lived on The Moon by Frank Delaney. My least favourite was a three-way-tie between The Sense of Ending (Barnes), Living With the Dead (Armstrong) and The Paris Wife (McClain).

1. Offshore - Penelope Fitzgerald - 7.25/10
2. The Sense of Ending - Julian Barnes (Ebook)  - 6.75/10
3. The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner - (Ebook) - 8.25/10
4. The Druid - Frank Delaney (Ebook) - 8.75/10
5. The Girl Who Lived on the Moon - Frank Delaney (Ebook) - 9/10
6. Living With the Dead - Kelley Armstrong  - 6.75/10
7. The Dogs and the Wolves - Irène Némirovsky - 7.25/10
8. The Paris Wife - Paula McClain - (Ebook) - 6.75/10
9. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens7.75/10

The Challenges

I didn't finish any challenges this month, but I did't start any new ones either, so that's a win for me! I'm still going strong on the challenges and I think I have a good balance in completing them.

12 in 12 - 25/144 - 17% Complete 
100+ Challenge 2012 - 23/100 - 23% Complete
1001 Books to Read Before Challenge 2012 - 2/15 - 13% Complete
Alphabet Challenge 2012 - 14/26 - 54% Complete
Ebook Reading Challenge 2012 - 14/25 - 56% Complete
Finish That Series Challenge 2012 - 0/3 - 0% Complete (1 book read from series one)
Global Reading Challenge 2012 - 4/14 - 29% Complete
Ireland Reading Challenge 2012 - 2/6 - 33% Complete
Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012 - 4/50 - 14% Complete
New Authors Reading Challenge 2012 - 10/50 - 20% Complete 
Short Stories Reading Challenge 2012 - 2/12 - 16% Complete
Speculative Reading Challenge 2012 - 4/24 - 21% Complete 
War Through the Generations - WWI Reading Challenge 2012 - 1/3 - 33% Complete

Countries Visited

This month I travelled to a few places including Canada, USA, France, Ukraine and Ireland. I think in March I'm going to try to be more of a "world traveller" through my reading.

Books That Followed Me Home

A good month for books that followed me home, even if two of those books are at a friends place. I ordered some, er was looking at Barnes and Nobles and the order themselves, and had them sent to a friends place who is holding them hostage! *glares*. Anyways I added four leathrbound books to my collection - so pretty! Among other books. Pretty soon I'm going to need a second house devoted to all my books - I better win that lottery!

Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show - Frank Delaney
The Matchmaker of Kenmare - Frank Delaney
The Druid - Frank Delaney (EBook)
The Girl Who Lived on the Moon - Frank Delaney (EBook)
The Yellow House - Patrica Falvey (EBook)
Time and Again - Jack Finney
Fall On Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - A Novel - Haruki Murakami (EBook)
This Cake is for the Party - Sarah Selecky
An Irish Country Courtship - A Novel - Patrick Taylor
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (Leatherbound)
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (Leatherbound)
Grimms Complete Fairy Tales - Brothers Grimm (Leatherbound)
Complete Fairy Tales and Stories: Hans Christian Andersen (Leatherbound)

And February comes to a close! Happy reading!


Saturday, March 3

Books That Followed Me Home - February Edition

I had planned on doing a vlog this month, because four of the books I got this month are pretty awesome, but between having to of those books at a friends place where I had them delivered and being sick, and I doubt anyone wants too see the watery-eyes, running-nose, coughing up a lung edition of books that followed me home, I thought the vlog can wait until another day.

I ordered a couple of books from Barnes and Nobles - their leatherbound classics and found out some of the those are fining their way to my local books store Chapters-Indigo! Yay! They are more expensive on this side of the border, but once you factor in delivery fees and waiting, it's worth it. I already have the complete Jane Austen and  Sherlock Holmes from the collection and this month I added four more. The two I ordered from Barnes and Noble are the Hans Christen Anderson - Complete Fairy Tales and Grims' Fairy Tales. (My boy friend and I have been watching Grim and Once Upon a Time a lot, so I finally decided to read up on all the fairy tales). From Chapters-Indigo I bought Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte an Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I hope to get more from the leatherbound collection soon. They are lovely books! (And fake according to random guy at book store who barked at his friend when she looked at them. I was tempted to ask how in the heck a book can be fake, but refrained from it. Also, what is his problem! Did he not notice how shiny and pretty they look? Even if it's fake leather they look so pretty!)

Other books also followed me home - it always seems to happen when I'm at a book store, although one book followed me home from the grocery store. I wonder why that is? These books include: Venetia Kelly's Travelling Show and The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney. Time and Again by Jack Finney. Fall on Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald. This Cake is for the Party: Stories by  Sarah Selecky. An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor and The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. This month I seemed to have a very Irish and Canadian Award Winners (or runner ups) theme going on.

The last batch of books that followed me home were a nice group of E-Books. Although, I'm finding it hard to claim ebooks followed me home, but oh well. These books were The Druid and The Girl Who Lived on the Moon by Frank Delaney (I also seemed to have a Frank Delaney themed month.) The Yellow House by Patrica Favley (I hope to participate in a read-a-long with this book) and finally The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.

And those are the books for February. I would be more enthusiastic, but the cold is kind of kicking my butt, it's even affecting my reading. But I got the post done. Go me! If you want to participate, then leave a link to what books followed you home in the comments section. Happy March!