Tuesday, July 31

Book Review: This Cake is for the Party

Title: This Cake is for the Party

Author: Sarah Selecky

Pages: 229

Summary: Sarah Selecky''s first book takes dead aim at a young generation of men and women who often set out with the best of intentions, only to have plans thwarted or hopes betrayed.

These are stories about friendships and relationships confused by unsettling tensions bubbling beneath the surface. A woman who plans to conceive ends up in the arms of her husband''s best friend; a man who baby-sits a neglected four-year-old ends up questioning his own dysfunctional relationship; a chance encounter at a gala event causes a woman to remember when she volunteered for a nightmarish drug-testing clinic; another woman discovers that her best friend who is about to get married has just had an affair; a young teenager tries to escape from her controlling father and finds an unexpected lover on a bus ride home; a wife tries to overcome her dying mother-in-law''s resistance to her marriage by revealing to her own strange aural stigmata; a friend tries to talk another friend out of dating her cheating ex-boyfriend; and a superstitious candle-maker confesses to a tempestuous relationship that implodes spectacularly.

Contents: 


Throwing Cotton 
Watching Atlas 
How Healthy Are You? 
Go-Manchura 
Standing Up for Janey 
Where Are You Coming From, Sweetheart? 
Prognosis 
Paul Farenbacher's Yard Sale 
This is How We Grow as Humans 
One Thousand Wax Buddhas

My Rating: 8.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A great collection of short stories, which ranged from a variety events or issues that have a profound effect on the characters and their lives, or in some cases the lives of those around them. In fact the more I think back about the collection and what I got out of the short stories, the more I find myself enjoying them.

Standing Up for Janey and Paul Farenbacher's Yard Sale are three short stories that have stuck with me, even after I've finished them and moved on to the next short stories. They are probably some of my favourites too. Standing Up For Janey in particular has an almost haunting ending, and I would have liked to learn what happened next. Where Are You Coming From, Sweetheart?, is also worth noting, as while it seemed to move slowly, I found the ending to be a bit bittersweet.

This was also a collection where you can start to appreciate the individual characters. As they tend to stick with you after you've finished the story. I found that the author did an excellent job at creating complex, well rounded characters on top of some well done plot lines.

Overall, it was a great collection of short stories, well deserving of being a Giller finalist.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. It's a good collection to read if you enjoy short story collections. It's also perfect collection if you enjoy Alice Munro's work, and want to read something similar to her style. It may not be the best collection to read if you want to test out short story collections, but for the most part it's well worth reading.

What to read next: Runaway by Alice Munro, Light Lifting

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, New Author Challenge, Short Story Challenge

Book Review: The Sentimentalists

Title: The Sentimentalists

Author: Johanna Skibsrud

Pages: 218

Summary: Haunted by the vivid horrors of the Vietnam War, exhausted from years spent battling memories, Napoleon Haskell leaves his North Dakota trailer and moves to Canada.

He retreats to a small Ontario town where Henry, the father of his fallen Vietnam comrade, has a home on ashore of a manmade lake. Under the water is the wreckage of what was once the town - and the home where Henry was raised.

When Napoleon’s daughter arrives, fleeing troubles of her own, she finds her father in the twilight of his life, and rapidly slipping into senility. With love and insatiable curiosity, she devotes herself to learning the truth about his life; and through the fog, Napoleon’s past begins to emerge.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Parts of the book I enjoyed and other aspects were a little off putting, but overall the book was a fairly good book.

One of the best aspects of the book was the writing. Something about the writing was what initially grabbed my attention, and what kept me reading. The quality of the writing and style very well done. The author easily creates a strong voice for the narrative which sets the tone throughout the entire book.

I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second half. Mostly because the time lime jumped around less in the first half, than in the second last and the narrative switched around less. While I did enjoy the look into what may have happened in Vietnam, by the point it gets to the climax the story is being pulled by multiple different timelines and viewpoints it became hard to piece it all together to one plot line. There was some good stuff within all of this, but it took a while to get there and it became almost a struggle to read through.

In the end I liked the overall story, but I did have a few issues with it as well.

Would I recommend it to read: I probably would. Overall a good story it does jump around a bit. But I think there are readers who would enjoy the story.

What to read next: Paco's Story, Annabel and other Giller Winners and Finalists

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge VI, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Sunday, July 29

Book Review: Light Lifting

Title: Light Lifting

Author: Alexander MacLeod

Pages: 219

Summary: Alexander MacLeod's along-awaited first collection of his fiction offers a suite of darkly urban and unflinching elegies. These are elemental stories of work and is bonds, tragedy and tragedy barely averted but also of beauty, love and fragile understanding.

Contents:
Miracle Mile
Wonder About Parents
Light Lifting
Adult Beginner I
The Loop
Good Kids
The Number Three

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A very enjoyable collection of short stories, which were darker than some of the other short story collections I've read, but the author does an excellent job at examining the human psyche, and creating stories of people at their best and worst moments in life.

There were a few times, the writing and ending of the story was almost haunting. In both Miracle Mile and Adult Beginner I, Miracle Mile. Both interesting stories, but the ending is both unexpected and gives you chills. Especially Adult Beginner I. The Loop was another story that will leave an impact on you. Although the majority of the stories in the collection will leave some kind of impression on the reader, these are some of the ones worth mentioning.

Superb writing style, I will seek out more from this author, as he's very talented at short story writing. Well developed plot and characterization makes a nearly perfect short story collection. Fantastic read overall!

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was an excellent collection of short stories, darker than some of the other collections I read, but extremely well done and worth reading.

What to read next: This Cake is For the Party (also a 2010 Giller Finalist, and collection of short stories), Also try out Alistair MacLeod

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge VI, New Author Challenge, Short Story Challenge

Saturday, July 28

Book Review: The Colour

Title: The Colour

Author: Rose Tremain

Pages: EBook - 320

Summary: Newlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone emigrate from England to New Zealand, along with Joseph's mother Lilian, in search of new beginnings and prosperity. But the harsh land near Christchurch where they settle threatens to destroy them almost before they begin. When Joseph finds gold in a creek bed, he hides the discovery from both his wife and mother, and becomes obsessed with the riches awaiting him deep in the earth. Abandoning his farm and family, he sets off alone for the new goldfields over the Southern Alps, a moral wilderness where many others, under the seductive dreams of the "colour," rush to their destinies and doom.

My Rating: 3.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I could not to get into the book, which is a shame, because the premise was interesting to me. But between long periods where the plot stood still, lack of development of characters and some descriptions that were well, questionable and not needed in the book at all. And I mean it - There was one description in the book of a characters inner thoughts that almost made me give up completely. If I hadn't paid money for the book, I would have. In the end, this wasn't a good book.

The book didn't come together as it should have, there were too many plot threads and they didn't come together at all, there were multiple stories here, and I think it would have been better to create it as a collection of inter connected stories, than try to make it as one novel. That was one of the major issues I had. Another issue, as I stated above was inclusion of things that weren't necessary and absolutely disgusting. It did nothing for the story or the character. In fact a lot of the things a certain character did, did nothing for that character, except show he is a complete wacko. But it could have been handled far differently. The main plot itself was choppy, and it took a while to finally show what the author had intended to do, but because of the other plot threads, I felt it to be jumbled and hard to keep everything straight.

Parts of the book caught my interest, there was a touch of magical realism in the book, but this didn't tie into the story very well. But I did enjoy those parts. Also the descriptions and small glances of life in New Zealand was interesting. But these were small, and they took a backseat to the main story line.

In the end it was not an enjoyable book.

Would I recommend it to read: I wouldn't. I just didn't feel this book - and because of all the issues I had with it, I wouldn't recommend this one.

What to read next: Hmm I'm not too sure on this one. A lot of readers seem to enjoy the author, so I'd suggest one of her other works, but not this one.

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, 1001 Books, Global Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge



Book Review: Chocolat

Title: Chocolat

Author: Joanne Harris

Pages: 306

Summary: When beautiful, unmarried Vianne Rocker sweeps into the pinched little French town of Lansquenet on the heels of the carnival and opens a gem of a chocolate shop across the square from the church, she begins to wreck havoc with the town's Lenten vows. Her uncanny ability to perceive her customers' private discontents and alleviate them with just the right confection coaxes the villagers to abandon themselves to temptation and happiness, but enrages Pere Reynaud, the local priest. Certain only a witch could stir such sinful indulgence and device such clever cures, Reynaud pits himself against Vianne and vows to block the chocolate festival she plans for Easter Sunday, and to run her out of town forever. Witch or not (she'll never tell), Vianne soon sparks a dramatic confrontation between those who prefer the cold comforts of the church and those who revel in their newly discovered taste for pleasure.

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed the plot, it was a good choice for a fun summer read. It's a quick and easy read, but very enjoyable.

Book has two narratives, Vianne and Pere Reynaud. Which I enjoyed, it created a very well rounded view of what was happening around them and helped create a very good image of the small community. Especially because the two characters were the polar opposite of each other. I also enjoyed the overall story of the small French community and the impact of the chocolate shop and what it represented and how it affected and helped some of those in the community. It may have been predictable, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. It had a touch of magical realism to it, which added an extra flare to the book, but it wasn't over the top.

Some of the characters were a bit stereotypical. For this particular book it didn't bother me too much, but it was there. The priest for example, the elderly spinster was another. I can definitely see some people being turned off by this, but I chose to ignore it in this book, as I found the overall premise to be quirky and fun to read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a fun read, a little predictable, but fun nonetheless. Warning! Book may make you crave chocolate. No seriously, it will!

What to read next: Blackberry Wine

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Speculative Reading Challenge

Thursday, July 26

Book Review: A Complicated Kindness

Title: A Complicated Kindness

Author: Miriam Toews

Pages: 246

Summary: "Half of our family, the better-looking half, is missing," Nomi tells us at the beginning of A Complicated Kindness. Left alone with her sad, peculiar father, her days are spent piecing together why her mother and sister have disappeared and contemplating her inevitable career at Happy Family Farms, a chicken slaughterhouse on the outskirts of East Village-not the East Village in New York City where Nomi would prefer to live, but a dull, oppressive town founded by Mennonites on the cold, flat plains of Manitoba, Canada.

This moving, darkly funny novel is the world according to Nomi Nickel, a bewildered and wry sixteen-year-old trapped in a town governed by fundamentalist religion. In Nomi's droll, refreshing voice, we're told the story of her eccentric, touching family as it falls apart, each member on a collision course with the only community they have ever known. A work of fierce humor and tragedy by a writer poised to take the American market by storm, this searing, tender, comic testament to family love will break your heart.

My Rating: 5.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I couldn't get into this book and it quickly lost my interest. I didn't find the story to be interesting and I couldn't bring myself to like the narrator enough to truly understand her or feel for her. This is a book where you need to feel a connection with the narrator/protagonist to appreciate the story and that didn't happen for me. I didn't find her to be a likeable character. It was a good example of coming of age and a slow progression of finding one's self and their place within their community, but I couldn't get into the book. I felt the book stood still for most of the time, and it took me a long time to see the characters progression.

I think the setting also affected how I felt about the book. I have never been very interested in the lives of the Mennonites, and since this book focuses so heavily on that, it also deterred me from liking it. Because the way they live their lives according to the narrator, I felt the book to be somewhat repetitive having the day to day details and what the future may hold take away from other aspects of the book.

Near the end I began to see a different side of things and I did like the ending. Unfortunately by that point the turnaround was a little too late. In the end not the book for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure. It seems to be a popular and well liked book by other reviewers. I just found it didn't reach me. Up in the air for this one.

What to read next: I'd try other Governor General Award Winners or Canada Reads winners, as this book has won both.

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, New Author Challenge

Sunday, July 22

TSS - Books That Followed Me Home - July Edition

It's been a while since I've done one of these, book have been following me home still of course, but I haven't had the time to sit down and write a post. At the moment I'm avoiding a backlog of book reviews and a whole lot of household chores. So I thought I'd show the books that have followed me home so far this month. Some books even managed to jump into my ereaders all by them selves.


EBooks

Quite a few Ebooks have followed me home lately. One even managed to jump into my Kobo while sitting in a Starbucks, attached to a Chapters. But I do have some great looking reads that came to me. I'll say it again, I love the print book, but having an ereader and ebooks have been wonderful!




The Hunter and the Hunted - Kelley Armstrong
The Sea-Folk - Frank Delaney
Heart's Desire (SG-1 20) - Amy Griswold
Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris







Deafening - Frances Itani
The Hundred Thousand Kindoms - N. K. Jemisin 
The Broken Kingdoms - N. K. Jemisin
The Kingdom of the Gods - N.K. Jemisin







The Killing Moon - N. K. Jemisin
The Shadow Sun - N. K. Jemisin
Daughters Who Walk the Path - Yejide Kilanko
Firebird - Mercedes Lackey 



The Soldiers Song - Alan Monaghan
Elantris - Brandon Sanderson


Books


I almost bought a collection of modern British short stories, er sorry it almost followed me home.... but I couldn't decide between the two Elizabeth Hay books. I also need to hunt down an Irish Country Christmas, as I have books 1,2,4,5 in the series.



Small Change - Elizabeth Hay
A Student of Weather - Elizabeth Hay
Irish Country Girl - Patrick Taylor


If you want to join me you can, this is my own personal meme, but always nice to see what others have as well. Click here for all the info. Be sure to leave a comment on the most recent post, so I can see what you did!


Monday, July 16

Book Review: The In-Between World of Vikram Lall

Title: The In-Between World of Vikram Lall

Author: M.G. Vassanji

Pages: 400

Summary: Vikram Lall comes of age in 1950 Kenya, at the same time that the colonists struggling towards independence. Against the unsettling backdrop of Mau violence, Vic and his sister Deepa, the grandchildren of an Indian railroad worker, search for their place in a world sharply divided between Kenyans and the British. We follow a changing Africa in the fifties, to the hope of the sixties, and through the corruption and fear that came in the decades after. Hauntingly told in the voice of the now exiled Vic, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall is an acute and bittersweet novel of identity and family, of lost love and abiding friendship, and of the insidious legacy of the British Empire.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The story started off very strong, but by the middle I began to get bored with it. It didn't have the same flare that it began with. The ending made it all worth sticking with it until the end. So all in all, a good read.

I enjoyed the look at the lives off the characters and how they lived and tried to survive in Kenya. The author gave some glimpses of the country and what life was like for those who lived there during the time period. The author also did a good job at exploring some of the political issues without making the book too political of a read. Although I would have liked more detail on the different cultural aspects and history behind all of this turmoil, the way the author presented to the reader worked well, especially considering the narrator and his bias.

I'm unsure how much I liked the story jumping around from the past to the present. It didn't quite work for me. I found it disrupted the flow of the past events and sometimes the impact on them to the reader. In fact until the ending, I think most of the "present day" parts of the story could have been left out. But then the ending may not have had the wow factor if it did. I did love the ending, it may be a bit predictable to some, but I wouldn't have liked the book as much if it hadn't ended the way it did.

Overall it was a good story. It didn't have the wow factor I was looking for, but it was something new and I will definitely read the author again.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. I wasn't gripped by it, but it was a good story worth reading.

What to read next: The Book of Secrets, A Final Balance, The Sentimentalists (all fellow Giller winners)

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, Global Reading Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Book Review: The Years

Title: The Years

Author: Virginia Woolf

Pages: EBook 442

Summary: The most popular of Woolf's novels during her lifetime, "The Years" is at once the story of three generations of a family, the Pargiters, and a savage indictment of British society at the turn of the century. A work of fluid and dazzling lucidity, the novel does not follow a simple line of development but is varied and constantly changing, emphasizing its narrative discontinuity. As the characters follow their daily rituals they struggle to understand the significance of their own lives and experiences in relation to each other and to the historical events going on around them. There is often failure yet there is also hope in the recognition that the future can be different from the past.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A lovely book, one of my favourites by the author. This book was one that you could easily lose yourself in, and is well worth reading.

One of my favourite aspects of the book were some of the descriptive passages the author had. Long, flowing and elegant passages throughout the book which not only helped paint a beautiful picture but were often symbolising something occurring with the characters and plot. These were stunning, Woolf's writing and observations shine in this book, especially with these descriptive passages.

I can't say I have a favourite character, but I did enjoy following the generations of characters throughout the timeline. As the title suggests, the book does follow the same group of characters throughout the years. I think the author did a wonderful job at portraying this as the characters are developed and the full story is told when using a large stretch of time.

The book did slow down in the second half of the book. There were a few times I was not as interested in the plot and characters in the second half as well. It seemed to be a little repetitive by this point and the story just didn't have the same spark as the first half. But by the end, I was happy. It was a very fitting ending, and helped make up for the lull in the second half of the book.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. Anything by the author is worth reading. Even with the slowdown in the middle, the book is worth reading.

What to read next: Anything by Virginia Woolf

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, 1001 Books Challenge



Sunday, July 15

Book Review: Street of Riches

Title: Street of Riches

Author: Gabrielle Roy

Pages: 158

Summary: This book is a collection of charming stories which depict a young girl growing up on a quiet street in St. Boniface, Manitoba. With their warmth and insight, these stories reflect every childhood: the disappointments, the excitement and elation, the gradual progress from innocence to experience. Yet they are truly distinctive, for they portray a uniquely French Canadian family - Papa, Maman, and their eight children - settled in the Canadian west and very much part of two cultures.

When street of Riches was first published in 1957, Gabrielle Roy had already firmly established herself as a star in a literary firmament with such books as The Tin Flute, Where Nests the Water Hen, and The Cashier. Roy's semi-autobiographical anecdotes of her childhood and her large colourful family were greeted by the unanimous acclaim of critics across the country, and the book was subsequently named winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall a good read and an excellent story. First time with the author, and the book, especially the writing and storytelling me has me craving for more - I will defiantly be reading the other books by the author sooner rather than later.

The story isn't much different than others in its genre. The story jumps around in time, as the reader is told snippets of the main characters life or what she has observed. The author managed to create the memories of the main character wonderfully, and believable. It takes into consideration how the memory really works, and looks at each of the events as she saw them, so even as she retells them, she still doesn't fully understand them. I'm not sure how the author managed it, but while reading the book, it did feel like the narrator recalling random memories of her life to the reader, yet it all came together as one interconnected story.

The writing was spectacular. The author captured the narrator's voice perfectly and the style kept my attention and at times made me not want to put the book down. It wasn't a gripping novel, but it was an enjoyable read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would the style may not be for everyone as it doesn't give a complete timeline of events, with the short stories but it's still a good read and they all come together as one complete story told in smaller snippets.

What to read next: The Road Past Altamont, Tin Flute, A Bird in the House, Agassiz Stories

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge Short Story Challenge


Saturday, July 14

Book Review: The Sea-Folk

Title: The Sea Folk

Author: Frank Delaney

Pages: EBook

Summary: What follows is a tale that might have come from a wandering storyteller who knew his Irish western coastline. The names of those seaboard counties throb with atmosphere - Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, and down and around to Cork and Waterford. Who knows what creatures came ashore from there in days so dark that their shadows had shadows? Or observed humans from out in the tide? And who knows how they interacted with the people on the land?

The seanchai knew; that was his profession - to know the unknowable and tell it to the rest of us sitting around the fire. In some farmhouse, deep in the middle of a fertile county, where they never hear the surf, and never even glimpse a wandering sea-gull, they can only imagine the rampaging white horses of the waves as they gallop toward the shore, and the sad high notes of the mermaid's fatal song.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The fourth short story in the series and it's just as good as the previous three. I am loving these short stories and wish they would come out faster. This story has the same pace as the other three and the narrator's voice shines through the story. In fact I think how the story is narrated it's one of my favourite aspects while reading it. I'm not a big audio book fan, but I think this story and the others would be fantastic on audio. Because of the way the author writes it, you already have the feel that someone is sitting there with you, reading the book.

I also loved the story this one, the folklore behind the mermaids and other sea creatures. It was a fun and quick read. The author gives the reader an excellent grasp on the folklore and "magic" behind the story and makes you want more. I am anxiously awaiting for the next installment of his storyteller series!

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, read all the short stories in the series, then read the authors novels!

What to read next: The Druid, Pig Song, The Girl Who Lived on the Moon

Challenges: 12 in 12, Speculative Challenge


Saturday, July 7

Book Review: Living Dead in Dallas

Title: Living Dead in Dallas

Author: Charlaine Harris

Pages: EBook - 192

Summary: Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of bad luck. First, her coworker is murdered and no one seems to care. Then she's face-to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it). Point is, they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favor, she complies. And soon, Sookie's in Dallas using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She's supposed to interview certain humans involved, but there's just one condition - the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I read the first book in the series last year, and was surprised on how much I enjoyed it, the second installment was also a pleasant surprise. While I'm not in love with the series, I will continue on with it. I find them to be good books to read for a more casual, mindless read. And they are generally good paranormal books. I'm not a huge fan on the romance side of things, but it's not what I expected it to be either, which for me is a good thing and it's nothing like the television series, of what I've seen. Which in the small clips I've watched, made me want to have nothing to do with the series. I'm glad I took the chance.

Now one big issue I have with the series is the characters. I hope Sookie branches out on to her own self, and less hanging on to her vampire boyfriend. She seems to have a lot of strength to her, and I'd like that to shine more. I'm not a fan of Bill at all, but he is tolerable. He just rubs me the wrong way. So far, there isn't a character I love. Some I like, but there isn't that one character yet who you want to read about. I do like the paranormal, world tied in with the real world. I'm enjoying the different species, or creatures that are appearing, and want to see more of them. Especially the shape shifters, I'm very intrigued by them, and would like to see more.

This story was interesting, I do enjoy the mysteryesque story line tied into the main plot line that is continued throughout the series. This one was fast paced, and kept my interest. I pretty much read the book in a sitting. It did leave a few questions unanswered but I think these will be answered later on in the series. Overall it was a good book, and will be reading the next book in the series sooner rather than later.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. The books are well done, and nothing like the television series (at least from the few glimpses I've seen). The books content is similar to what you find in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series.

What to read next: More books from the series, women of the other world series

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


Friday, July 6

Book Review: Reliquary

Title: Reliquary (SGA 2)

 Author: Martha Wells

 Pages: EBook - 240

Summary: Knowledge is power…

 While exploring the unused sections of the Ancient city of Atlantis, Major John Sheppard and Dr. Rodney McKay stumble on a recording device that reveals a mysterious new Stargate address. Believing that the address may lead them to a vast repository of Ancient knowledge, the team embarks on a mission to this uncharted world.

There they discover a ruined city, full of whispered secrets and dark shadows. As tempers fray and trust breaks down, the team uncovers the truth at the heart of the city. A truth that spells their destruction.

With half their people compromised, it falls to Major John Sheppard and Dr. Rodney McKay to risk everything in a deadly game of bluff with the enemy. To fail would mean the fall of Atlantis itself – and, for Sheppard, the annihilation of his very humanity…

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Another fantastic story line, this was a book I really enjoyed, and pretty much read in a sitting and was one of my favourite story lines from the novelizations so far. The author did a good job at tying the story into the Atlantis timeline, in past books there have been minor to major issue with continuity, but this book was well done.

The author also did a good job with characterization. I didn't see really any major issues where a character was out of character. I did find certain characters had more face time than others, but most of the characters that were toned down, were ones I didn't like as much. I do think it would have been interesting to focus away from certain characters and jump around to others. Because you are able to do this better in a book, I think it would have really added something to the story. Although it would have taken some of the tension and build-up away from the plot line, I still would have liked to take some focus away on John's inner thoughts and focus on some of the other characters. 


 The story line was also interesting, I like the idea behind it and although certain plot devices were similar to ones that have happened on the show, it was still a great story, that kept me reading almost non-stop. It had great team dynamics, and a plot that kept moving. It didn't stop or slow down, and it revealed the answers naturally. I wish there was a little more time to explain everything behind the big reveal, and the secrets surrounding it, but that is less of an issue this particular story, and more of an issue about the mystery of the Ancients and why they did what they did. Overall a great read.  


Would I recommend it to read: Again as with other books in the series, only to Stargate fans. This particular book had a little more background information than some other books, so a few references are explained, but there is so much that isn't explained well enough to full grasp what is happening. 


What to read next: More Stargate Books of course!


Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge, Speculative Challenge





Sunday, July 1

The Sunday Salon - June Wrap-Up!

So some how, it is now July, the year is half way done. Is it just me, or is the year flying by? At least it's been a great reading year so far. And a pretty good year in general for me. But, it's been fast. Anyone else having this problem?

This month was another good reading month. I didn't read as many books as I wanted. Yesterday I thought I'd be able to finish two more books, but I got busy running errands, and fixing up my library. Which left less time for reading. The library is getting closer and closer to being finished. All my books are on the shelves, I even have some free space now. But that won't last. I hope to work on it a little more today and the weekend. So soon I'll have some pictures up.

The Books


This month I read 12 books and reviewed 11 of them. One was a re-read which has already been reviewed on the blog. I plan on re-reading the entire Harry Potter Series this year, and I may do a post at the end about thoughts etc. I haven't decided yet. This month I read a few books I normally would't have read. I really stretched my normal comfort zones and tried a lot of new to me authors. My favourite book is Alice Munro's short story collection, Who Do You Think You Are? Followed by The Prestige. My least favourite book was Beatrice and Virgil.



1.       The Historian -Elizabeth Kostova - 7.75/10
2.       Casino Royale - IanFleming (Ebook) - 5/10
4.       Beatrice and Virgil -Yann Martel - 4.5/10
5.       The Prestige -Christopher Priest (Ebook) - 9/10
6.       The Next Episode -Hubert Aquin - 7/10
9.       The Ship of Brides -Jojo Moyes - 7.25/10
10.   Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone - JK Rowling -(Ebook) (Re-Read and previously reviewed)


The Challenges


I finished one challenge this month. I was hoping to finish a couple of them this month, but my reading moods decided other wise. I thought about moving up to the next level for the challenge I did finish, I have no doubt I could have finished it, but I want to finish all my challenges this year, so I want to be able to focus on them. By the end of July I should have a few finished or at least a book a way from being finished. I also joined into another Challenge. The Canadian Book Challenge VI. Since I never stopped for the Canadian Book Challenge V even after I finished, so it isn't much like a new challenge at all. Except my tally is currently zero.

Completed Challenges


The EBook Challenge - 25/25 Books Read - Completed on June 13, 2012


Current Challenges
.

12 in 12 - 62/144 - 43% Complete
100+ Challenge 2012 - 59/100 - 59% Complete
1001 Books to Read Before Challenge 2012 - 9/15 - 60% Complete
Alphabet Challenge 2012 - 22/26 - 85% Complete
Canadian Book Challenge VI - 0/13 (Starts July 1, 2012)
Finish That Series Challenge 2012 - 0/3 - 0% Complete (2 books read from series one)
Global Reading Challenge 2012 - 9/14 -64% Complete
Ireland Reading Challenge 2012 - 4/6 - 67% Complete
Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012 - 19/50 - 38% Complete
New Authors Reading Challenge 2012 - 33/50 - 66% Complete
Short Stories Reading Challenge 2012 - 9/12 - 75% Complete
Speculative Reading Challenge 2012 - 10/24 - 42% Complete

Countries Visited

This month I managed to "visit" a lot of different countries in my reading. Some of my books took place in multiple countries, so I was able to visit quite a few! Now if I only could visit some of these places in real life!
This month I visited: Canada, USA, Australia, France, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Hong Kong, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Netherlands, Switzerland.


Books That Followed Me Home

Well this month I was fairly but not really good. I only allowed 11 books to follow me home.

Spell Bound - Kelley Armstrong
Fanny Hill - John Cleland
The Blithedale Romance - Nathaniel Hawthrone
The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham
All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
The Colour - Rose Tremain
The Book of Secrets - M. G. Vassanji
Cool Water - Dianne Warren
Skeleton Women - Mingmei Yip
The Furies - Book Four of the Legacy Series - Jo Graham
Oceans of Dust - Peter J. Evans

Other Sorta but not really Bookish Related Stuff

Two years ago, I got my first cat, Tonks. And I recently moved into a house with an older cat (Mouse). Since Tonks is young, we adopted another cat. He is a rescue cat, but seems to be fitting in perfecting. His name is Lupin. So, now I have Lupin and Tonks. Who are getting along fine. They aren't best friends yet, but things are looking great. I thought I'd share, since they're both named after Harry Potter Characters.

Tonks is the Calico, and Lupin is the Grey one!


Finally, HAPPY CANADA DAY!!! To my fellow Canadians!