Saturday, November 30

Book Review: Changing Heaven

Title: Changing Heaven

Author: Jane Urquhart

Pages: EBook 248

Summary: Two worlds are intertwined in this hauntingly beautiful story as it moves from Toronto to the English moors and to Venice, Italy. The time frame shifts between present and past, linking the lives of a young Brontë scholar (a woman in the throes of a troubled love affair), a turn-of-the-century female balloonist, and an elusive explorer with the ghost – or the memory – of Emily Brontë. Urquhart reveals something about the act of artistic creation, the ways in which stories enter our lives, and about the cyclical nature of love throughout time. This is a novel of darkness and light, of intense weather and inner calm.

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed the lovely writing, the rest of the book, particularly the plot just didn't connect to me. I couldn't get into the book, never being able to fully warm up to the story and its characters.

The writing was beautiful and poetic. It was what kept me reading, and at times what had me lost n the book. Unfortunately, the rest of the book didn't work out well for me. It wasn't bad story, it was a unique ghost story, but I never connected to it. Ann's story didn't work at all for me, and I only saw the slightest connections to the Emily and Ariannia/Polly story. The characters themselves were also something I couldn't warm up to. This was another case where I felt very distant from the characters, they weren't ones I could say I enjoyed reading about and I found they lacked something to push the story forward, or to keep me reading. The book was interesting at times, but other times I was lost, I failed to see how everything connected how the two stories were relevant to each other.

There were certainly pieces within the story here and there that I enjoyed a lot, but for the most part, I couldn't get into it. Lovely writing, but otherwise, this one didn't work for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm on the fence for this one, while the writing was lovely, the story didn't connect, so I'm not sure if I'd recommend the book to read.

What to read next: More books by the author, this book doesn't show what she's capable of.

Challenges: 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Book Review: Definitely Dead

Title: Definitely Dead

Author: Charlaine Harris

Pages: EBook 259

Summary: As a person with so few living relatives, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse really hated to lose one. But she never guessed that it would be her cousin Hadley—a consort of the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. After all, technically speaking, Hadley was already dead. And now, as unexpected heir to Hadley’s estate, Sookie discovers the inheritance definitely comes with a risk. Someone doesn’t want Sookie looking too deeply into Hadley’s past—or for that matter, Hadley’s possessions. And they’re prepared to do anything in their power to stop her. But who? The range of suspects runs from the Rogue Weres who reject Sookie as a friend of the Pack to the Vampire Queen herself, who could be working through a particularly vulnerable subject—Sookie’s first love, Bill. Whoever it is, they’re definitely dangerous—and Sookie’s life is definitely on the line…

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I liked this book, I did find it wasn't as appealing as the others, I didn't have that need to read on and finish it, and it didn't leave me wanting to pick up the next book in the series right away. It was a good story,  but it wasn't the best.

I'm glad the issues surrounding Debbie finally seem to be finished (I hope). That story line has been drawn out to long, and I'm beginning to become very bored with it. I did find how the author chose to end the story line to be very dull and, unrealistic, but it's done so I'm not complaining. All in all I found this book to me less exciting than the others. It just didn't have that same thrill to it. The characters are improving personally and development wise, and I'm becoming very attached to some of the individual ones, but as far as the plot went, I wasn't as impressed as I have been in the past.

There were some surprising twists along the way, in particular some things revealed about Bill. I was not expecting that, although it was sort of cliché, it was a good twist. I didn't realize the short stories in between the books would reveal so much, I haven't read them, but with the Hadley storyline, I missed something important. I almost thought I missed a book. Otherwise the storyline was average, I think a lot of what was revealed, explained and a lot of what happens in this book, influence the others, so I don't mind as much that it was less thrilling, but I wanted something more from this one.

Overall an enjoyable read, but not my favourite of the series.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, I didn't like this one as much as the others, but still a good book. And it is a good story for the series as a whole.

What to read next: All Together Dead

Challenges: 2013 Category Challenge, Sookie Stackhouse Challenge

Book Review: The Female Quixote

Title: The Female Quixote; or The Adventures of Arabella

Author: Charlotte Lennox

Pages: 428

Summary: Brought up by her widowed father in a remote English castle, Arabella resorts to reading the French novels popular in her mother's youth, an in the solitude of this Arcadia paints a picture of her life as adventurous and deeply romantic. When her father dies, however, she inherits a barbed legacy: if she is not to lose part of the estate it appears she must marry her cousin Glanville. But Arabella has developed a different, private code of conduct which does not allow her to take any role but centre stage in the drama of her own life; her literary heroines are always in control.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book was a struggle to get through. While I loved the writing, pretty much everything else about the book I disliked, a lot. I get it was a satire, but the book never clicked right with me. Arabella is a very disagreeable character, and because she's the main book, it made me dislike the book even more.

I found it to be very repetitive, after a while even the small amount of humour I got from Arabella's antics got boring, not to mention gave me the urge to give her a smack upside the head. I didn't like the way it ended either, for a book that took it's time to give the story, the ending felt rushed and it didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story.

Like with many books from this time, I do like the intimate feeling the book has with the reader. The author addresses the reader, so it has a different feel to it, when it's written this way. I can't explain it, but I just love when the book is written like this. The writing was lovely, it was a bit off putting having random capitalized letters in the middle of sentences, but it was kept close to its original form, and although it took some time to get use to, I eventually forgot about it.

Overall, it wasn't the best read, while I loved the writing, the rest of the book was just a bit of a dud.

Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would recommend this one, as far as classics go, this one just didn't work out, not one I would say would be a good choice to read, when there are a lot of other classics that are far better than this one.

What to read next: More classics from the time period, the individual stories may not always interest me, but the writing is just lovely.

Challenges: Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Book Review: Erase Me - Positron Episode 3

Title: Erase Me: Positron, Episode 3

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: EBook 47

Summary: Stan and Charmaine should have known better when they signed up for Consilience, a social experiment in which it's the lawful who are locked up, while, beyond the gates, criminals wander the wasted streets of America.

The couple understand that to break the rules in so strictly regimented a place is dangerous; but, driven by boredom and lust, they do it anyway and betray each other and the system. As comeuppance, Stan finds himself the sexual plaything of a subversive member of the Consilience security team and in no time is made a pawn in a shadowy scheme to bring Consilience crashing down. Meanwhile, his wife, Charmaine, is being held indefinitely at Positron Prison for her own sins. How far she'll go to regain her good name and position is anyone's guess, especially Stan's. When he winds up paralyzed and tied to a gurney in the prison wing where Charmaine works, injecting toxic cocktails of drugs into troublesome Consilience citizens, will she save his neck or her own? Will she "erase" him permanently?

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This edition of the Positron Serial, picked up where the second one ended. And this one was just as good. Like with both the first and second, it's a bit dark and twisted - which I do love. Margaret Atwood has a very unique and creative mind, and the setting of these books is no exception to that.

In this volume, I started to like the characters a little more. They are starting to become more fleshed out and I did like the psychological trails the author put them through. I felt I raced though this volume, just so I could find out what happens next. Only little pieces about the truth are being revealed, if that is the truth, about what happened in the past and the reasons behind Consilience. I both love and hate how only small pieces are given out. I'm also both dreading and looking forward to the reading the next installment. I want to find out what happens next, but I don't want to be left waiting for the one after that. So far, it's been a very good serial - highly recommend to any dystopian or Atwood fan.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the whole series is turning out to be very interesting, and for those who aren't sure about dystopian yet, the short stories are a good place to start.

What to read next: I'd say more Positron episodes, and more dystopian stories, this series sort of reminds me of Brave New World and The Unit

Challenges: 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Book Review: Choke Collar - Positron Episode 2

Title: Choke Collar: Positron Episode 2

Author: Margret Atwood

Pages: EBook 51

Summary: In this new episode, the stocking comes off, with husband and wife Stan and Charmaine facing more troubles in safe but carefully controlled Consilience, a social experiment in which the lawful are locked up and, beyond the gates, criminals roam the wasteland that is the America of Margaret Atwood's creepily plausible near future.

Stan understands the Faustian deal he and his wife have made. What he doesn't anticipate is the stupefying boredom. What wakes him? An illicit lover's note written by a mysterious woman who also lives in Consilience. Breaking the rules, he stalks her and is delivered not into the arms of the nympho of his dreams but into a nightmare of mind games and some very kinky forced labour.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This one took me a while to jump into, mainly because it's been so long since I've read the first book in the series. But so I was drawn in, and avidly reading to see what would happen next.

This particular volume was weird and slightly twisted at times. Eventually, this twisted side of the plot comes through to something different, and somewhat unexpected but, still the best work to describe this particular volume, twisted. Not in a bad way though, I still enjoyed the overall story, and the more I read on, the more background information is revealed about the setting and history behind Consilience and the story in general. Which looks to be something pretty awesome.

My biggest issue of the book is the characters, I haven't really been able to connect to them yet, and I still feel I'm at a bit of a distance from them. Otherwise, this episode was a fairly good one, and it leaves the reader hanging in the end.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, especially if you enjoy dystopian stories and it's an excellent choice for any Margaret Atwood fan.

What to read next: More from the Positron Serial

Challenges: 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Book Review: Fair Exchange

Title: Fair Exchange

Author: Michèle Roberts

Pages: 246

Summary: In the early 1800s in a small village in rural France, a peasant woman named Louise summons her priest. Fearing she is about to die, Louise begins her final confession to the bored cleric and reveals a lifelong secret involving a famous woman writer, a young English poet, and a wicked and unusual crime. Inspired by the lives and loves of the eighteenth-century pioneer of women's rights, Mary Wollstonecraft, and her contemporary, William Wordsworth.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was a bit of a slow start for me and it wasn't exactly a story I'd usually pick up and read, but I ended up enjoying the book more than I thought in the end.

Although it was set in the 19th century, it was written very modernly. Which was one of the things I disliked the most about the book. While there were definitely people during the 1800's who were very progressive thinking, I did find that the characters and narratives went too far in how they thought and held themselves. The narrative especially threw me off, and while I loved the writing and narrative itself, it felt off for the time period the book was suppose to be set it. The mood of the book felt more like the early 1900s, rather than the early 1800s.

The characters also lacked something to keep me invested in the book. The characters were very bland, one dimensional characters. There was nothing to the really. I think part of this was the actual setting of the book versus how the book read, again the setting didn't fit properly and I think it influenced the characters.

Despite the above issues I had with the book, I did like the basic idea behind the story. I was becoming invested into it, waiting for the big reveal, and the quality of writing was excellent. Had I not had some of the issues with the setting and time period, I think I would have enjoyed the book a lot more.

It may not have been book I loved, but I can say that was well worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it wasn't what I expected and but it did end up being a good read. It wouldn't be high on my list, but I think there would be a few readers who would enjoy the book.

What to read next: I'm not sure about this one.

Challenges: Mount TBR Challenge

Sunday, November 24

Book Review: In the Land of the Birdfishes

Title: In the Land of the Birdfishes

Author: Rebecca Silver Slayter

Pages: EBook 261

Summary: This remarkable novel about mythmaking and survival opens in rural Nova Scotia, where two sisters witness the suicide of their wild, beautiful mother. Their father, sick with grief, blindfolds the children to shield them from the misery of the world. Left that way for years, they are each scarred in their own way: Mara is rendered fully blind, and Aileen partly so. When a neighbour discovers their condition, they are immediately separated for treatment, and it isn’t until decades later, after Aileen’s marriage has fallen apart, that she decides to seek out her lost sister. She heads to Dawson City, Yukon, where Mara is said to be living, but instead finds Mara’s angry young son, Jason.

Soon Aileen has insinuated her way into the hard-drinking, hard-living existence of Dawson City’s residents, from whom she hears various conflicting stories about her sister. When the novel shifts to Jason’s perspective, the reader starts to understand the nature of these stories and the underlying secrets that compel their creation.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The first couple of chapter captured me completely, I had no knowledge of what was going on around me, it was just the book. Those first two chapters were haunting, intriguing and were a great way to start off a story. Unfortunately while the rest of the book was a great read, I did feel the book lot some of its initial appeal, mainly due to some awkward narrative and plot developments.

My biggest issue with the book was that I found the narrative to be a bit awkward and disconnected at times. As I said above, the first few chapters captured me, to the point I was completely lost in the book, other times the was just something about the narrative that didn't work right. It was like pieces and thought process were thrown into the story, but not properly connected to the story as a whole. It did become a bit confusing at times because of this and for me, it's the reason between being this book from being great read to an extraordinary one. It was odd how the narrative worked out in parts, which of course affected the plot itself.

I loved the idea behind the plot, it had some fantastic bits to it, twists and turns as well, but there was just that one thing, hanging in the back, that stopped it from being even better. There was an awkwardness to it, but not in a good way to make it a unique plot. I often had to re-read parts because of this. The author did do a good job at bringing the characters together. They were a group of very, realistic, raw characters, who I didn't exactly like, they were a fairly miserable lot, but I loved reading about them. They were awkward like the plot, unusual, but it worked for the story, so I didn't care I couldn't connect to them, I just wanted to get lost in their story.

In the end it was a fantastic read, but it could have been better if the narrative and plot were less awkward. It is still a book I'd highly recommend.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, there are some awkward moments to how it's told, but the story was fascinating, I think it's a book that a lot of reader would enjoy.

What to read next: Clara Callen, Bone and Bread,  Late Nights on the Air

Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

Book Review: How to Get Along With Women

Title: How to Get Along With Women

Author: Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Pages: EBook 138

Summary: A sharply original debut collection, How To Get Along With Women showcases Elisabeth de Mariaffi''s keen eye and inventive voice. Infused with a close and present danger, these stories tighten the knot around power, identity, and sexuality, and draw the reader into the pivotal moments where - for better or for worse - we see ourselves for what we truly are.

Dancing on the Tether
Kiss Me Like I'm the Last Man on Earth
Accidental Ponds
Field Work
He Ate His French Fries in a Light-Hearted Way
Ajaccio Belonged to the Genoese
Everything Under Your Feet
Super Carniceria
Jim and Nadiene, Nadiene and Jim
The Astonishing Ambercrombiel
How to Get Along With Women
You Know How I Feel

My Rating: 6.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While a couple of the short stories stood out for me, I found that for the most part I was underwhelmed by the collection, it wasn't bad, but it didn't give me the feeling to keep reading either.

The writing was excellent. I may not have liked the content of the stories, or how the narrative was told, but the writing itself was what kept me reading, even during the stories I just couldn't get into. One story that stood out the most for me was Field Work it was very odd, but it was also one I found fascinating. It was definitely the one that I remember the most, and it was the most original of the collection. Another story I enjoyed a lot was Everything Under Your Feet, which was one I devoured, there was something about it that had me wanting to inhale that individual story, and I think that one was the one that had the characters fleshed out the best.

Most of the other stories in the collection didn't connect to me, some did have merits to them, but they weren't exactly ones I could say I liked but they weren't exactly ones I could say I liked or enjoyed. Many of them didn't stick with me after I finished them and I found that they weren't very distinctive. Dancing on the Tether for example, wasn't a bad story, but it was one I felt I've read before. Overall, not a bad collection of short stories, the quality of writing was good, so I'll likely check out he author again, but the content of the stories didn't work out for me in the end.

Would I recommend it to read: It wouldn't be high on my list, but I do think some readers would enjoy the collection.

What to read next: HellGoing, Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility.

Challenges: 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

Saturday, November 23

Book Review: The Lion Seeker

Title: The Lion Seeker

Author: Kenneth Bonert

Pages: 561

Summary: Brawny, brilliant debut novel about the epic struggles of an immigrant son in a darkening world.

Johannesburg, South Africa. The Great Depression. In this harsh new country, young Isaac Helger burns with fiery determination— to break out of the inner city, to buy his scarred mother the home she longs for, to find a way to realize her dream of reuniting a family torn apart. But there are terrible, unspoken secrets of the past that will haunt him as he makes his way through a society brutalized by racism, as he loses his heart to an unattainable girl from the city’s wealthiest heights and his every exit route from poverty dead-ends. When the threat of the Second World War insinuates itself with brutal force into Isaac’s reality, he will face the most important choice of his life . . . and will have to learn to live with the consequences.

My Rating: 9.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While it took a while for me to get into the book, eventually it became a book next to impossible to put down and it will likely end up being one of my favourite reads of the year.

The characters weren't exactly likeable ones, although certain parts of the book, when they were going through particular traumas and events, struck some emotional reactions for me. There were a few shocking moments, gut wrenching - I was surprised how the well the author managed to pull the reader into the story and emotionally involved with the characters, even if they were ones you couldn't say you liked. They were deeply flawed, broken characters, all of who were well written. But, they weren't ones you could say you liked. That's also what made the story as good as it was, was a cast of very realistic characters.

The writing and overall plot were also amazing. Often I was pulled in and couldn't put the book down, it was unexpected because initially I wasn't very into the book, but eventually it became a book that I read straight through and didn't want to put down. The story was very interesting and the author explored a lot of topics and issues throughout. There's a lot of issues explored in the book, but it didn't overpower it, instead it complimented the story nicely.

In the end, this was a fantastic read - it's a book well worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I definitely would. It reminds me of a few other books I've recently read, and it's a book that sticks with you after you've finished it. It was also a book I wasn't sure about reading in the first place but ended up being very enjoyable, and I think other readers would feel the same way.

What to read next: A Fine Balance

Challenges: 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

Book Review: Emancipation Day

Title: Emancipation Day

Author: Wayne Grady

Pages: 326

Summary: How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him?

With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It's World War II, and while stationed in St. John's, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled, romantic Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and is desperate to see the world. They marry against Vivian's family's wishes--hard to say what it is, but there's something about Jack that they just don't like--and as the war draws to a close, the new couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack's family.

But when Vivian meets Jack's mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her new husband gets called into question. They don't live in the dream home that Jack depicted, they all look different from one another--and different from anyone Vivian has ever seen--and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack's father, William Henry, he never materializes.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: A fairly good read and while there were some issues I had with the book, it ended up being a very good and memorable book for me.

There were a lot of elements to the book I enjoyed, the overall story was interesting. I think the author did a good job at showing issues of race and brought a very realistic outlook on the setting and time the book was set in. Having some familiarity with the city of Windsor, I enjoyed reading about some of the familiar spots.

The writing was excellent and it was what initially drew me into the book and kept me reading until the end - and the last few page of the book, were extraordinary and chilling - it worked great for the story as a whole, and I have to say, it was a bit of surprise in how the author ended the book, but I think it worked well. It definitely is a memorable ending, the last few word stick with you long after you've finished.

The characters were well written for who they were, but this was another case where I felt somewhat disconnected from them. I also found some of them to be a bit foolish, perhaps it was just blatant denial to the point they believed it was reality, but I struggled with understanding how certain characters thought process worked and how they seemed surprised at certain discoveries throughout the book.

Overall it was a book I enjoyed, and is among my favourites off of this years Giller Longlist.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, there were some issues I had with the book, but I found it to be an engaging read, one well worth reading.

What to read next: The other Giller Longlisted books, Half Blood Blues

Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

Book Review: The Crooked Maid

Title: The Crooked Maid

Author: Dan Vyleta

Pages: EBook 366

Summary: Mid-summer, 1948. Two strangers, Anna Beer and young Robert Seidel, meet on a train as they return to Vienna, where life is just resuming after the upheavals of war. Men who were conscripted into the German army are filtering back home, including Anna’s estranged husband, Dr. Anton Beer, who was held prisoner in a brutal Russian camp. But when Anna returns to their old apartment, she finds another man living there and her husband missing.

At his own house, Robert is greeted by a young maid with a deformed spine. The household is in disarray, with his mother addicted to narcotics and his stepfather, an industrialist and former Party member, hospitalized after a mysterious attack. Determined to rebuild their lives, Anna and Robert each begin a dogged search for answers in a world where repression is the order of the day. Before long, they are reunited as spectators at a criminal trial set to deliver judgment on Austria’s Nazi crimes.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a very enjoyable read, which at times I had a hard time putting down, while sometimes I felt disconnected from the characters, most of the time I was reading through the dark and at times, mysterious read, making it hard to put down.

There was the mysterious element to the book that was a reoccurring theme, that wasn't revealed to the end. I was waiting for certain answers to be revealed to find out what had happen to certain characters, what their true motives where etc. And I think the author set that aspect of the book up wonderfully. There were times I didn't want to put the book down, just so I could find out more information about certain characters - even the ones only mentioned, or rarely seen.

I also think the atmosphere of the book was also beautifully done. Vyleta gave a very raw and realistic setting, it had all the elements to make the reader feel they were being pulled into the book. I think the author did a fantastic job at recreating the aftermath of the war in Austria, and at times I felt to be almost haunting in how he showed the reader how it had affected the people. It was a very gloomy book, but it's one of the aspects of it I enjoyed the most - it's realistic and it really pulled me into the story.

The main issue I had with the book was the characters, while there was a mysterious intrigue but I always felt disconnected from them. I also found some to be underdeveloped and that their own personal stories, Robert's mother for example, didn't mesh well with the story as a whole. As an individual his mother had some interesting aspects to her, but how she was written in this story didn't work well, to me it felt of place.

Overall, even with some of my issues with the characters, I found this to be an excellent read, that has ,e eyeing up the authors other books.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, not having read The Quiet Twin, it casued me to pick up a copy right away.

What to read next: The Quiet Twin, The other Giller shortlisted books.

Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Alphabet Challenge

Tuesday, November 12

Book Review: Under Budapest

Title: Under Budapest

Author: Ailsa Kay

Pages: 256

Summary: There’s Agnes and Tibor, mother and son, travelling to Hungary for reasons they keep to themselves, he to recover from a disastrous love affair, she to search for a sister gone missing during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. There’s Janos, a self-styled player and petty thug, who schemes to make it rich in post-communist Hungary. And there’s Gyula and Zsofi, caught up in a revolution that will change the face of Hungary forever. Their lives are all connected by a conflagration of events: the legacy of wartime violence, past allegiances, long-buried rivalries, and secrets from the past.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While there were pieces of the book I did enjoy, there were too many aspects of the book that didn't connect with me. Due to a mixture of characterization and a shaky start to the book, it just wasn't a book I could get into.

The historical side of the book was well done. It focused on the Hungarian Revolution, which I found t be was very interesting and well written. The author did a fantastic job at bring those aspects to life, and creating a story around it. Especially concerning Agnes' hunt for her sister, there were even a few twists there that had re-grabbed my attention in the end. The rest of the book failed to capture me. From the first paragraph I had lost a lot of my initial interest with the book, how it began just didn't connect with me, so for the rest of the book I was already only partially invested in the book.

The characters were lacking in a lot of the necessary features to keep me reading, most of them were very one-dimensional, they felt almost cardboard in how they were written. They lacked emotion and variation in their thoughts and characteristics. When the author finally tried to make them more realistic it was too late in the story for it to be effective. They weren't very likeable but that worked for the story, I was fine with not wanting to like the characters, they were supposed to be a cast of characters that were difficult to like because of the actions and decisions they made, but they also needed to be characters that weren't one dimensional, ones that would make me want to keep reading, even if a lot of them were horrible people.

I did enjoy the ending, while most of the story was mediocre for me, the ending was well done. I wish the rest of the story had that same power and emotion to it as the ending did. The last few passages were amazing and somewhat haunting, had the rest of the book had that same feel to it, it would have been an entirely different reading experience.

Overall, it had some interesting parts to it, but not a book that worked for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm on the fence on whether it's a book I'd recommend.

What to read next: The Sound of Blue, The Crooked Maid

Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

Sunday, November 3

October Wrap-Up!

And October is over. There's about 59 days left and the year is over. Yikes! Anyone else in disbelief like myself? At least October has been a fantastic reading month. It's been library book month, my poor books on my own shelves probably feel neglected. But, I've been concentrating on to reading projects, and I decided that both my wallet and shelves would be grateful if I relied more on the library this month.

The Books

This has probably been my best month in the amount I read - as I read 16 books this month. I' read a few fantastic books this month and a lot of books that didn't work for me at all - so I seemed to read a lot, but didn't like a lot of what I read. I did read a handful of books I'd never have read, hadn't it been for the Giller List, which was what I mainly concentrated on this month and my own Jules Book Review Prize list. And so far this year's Giller list just isn't doing much for me. I haven't really found the book I love yet. I've enjoyed a few, but there hasn't been "that must read" book for me yet. This month was also both heavy with CanLit and Library Books. My library card was heavily used this month, all but three books came from the library. 

My favourite book of the month was Beauty Beneath the Banyan - and it's a book I'd highly recommend you read. And Then There Were None came to a close second. My least favourite book was The Son of a Certain Woman followed by Going Home Again.

1. Surprise Island - Gertrude Chandler Warner - 7/10
2. And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie - 9.75/10
3. Minister Without Portfolio - Michael Winter - 6.5/10
4. The Woman Upstairs - Claire Messud - 5.5/10
5. Extraordinary - David Gilmour - 8/10
6. Anne of Avonlea - L. M. Montgomery - 6/10
7. The Son of a Certain Women - Wayne Johnston - 3/10
8. Caught - Lisa Moore - 7.5/10
9. HellGoing - Lynn Coady - 7.25/10
10. A Beautiful Truth - Colin McAdam - 4.5/10
11. Going Home Again - Dennis Bock - 3.25/10
12. Beauty Beneath the Banyan - Crystal Fletcher - 10/10
13. Loteria - Mario Alberto Zambrano - 7.75/10
14. Allegiant - Veronica Roth - 7.25/10
15. Bone and Bread - Saleema Nawaz - 7/10
16. Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility - Theodora Armstrong - 7.5/10

The Challenges

This month I completed three challenges, 100 Books Challenge, E-Book Challenge and the 50 book pledge, where I pledged to read 100 books. Although I'm sort of still participating in the 50 book pledge, I have officially completed it.

My on-going challenges are going fairly well, although there are some that are looking like I won't finish them. I know that I won't finish the wheel of time category in my 2013 Category Challenge. I haven't even touched that category yet, and reading 13 books that are at least 650 pages a piece just doesn't seem like it will happen, when I have other books to read. My Finish that series challenge is looking iffy too. I think that is one I might be able to pull off. I think it will be one where I'm reading down to zero hour, but I think I can pull it off. The Mount TBR Challenge is also one that is looking like I may not be able to finish. I got busy on two mini reading projects during the fall, that are still ongoing. Which has me reading either library books or books that don't fall under the challenge rules. I have about 30 books left. It's doable if I work at it, maybe give up a night or two of sleep, but it's looking not like I'll finish this one. Maybe next year will be the year?. Otherwise, I'm happy with my progress with the challenges.

Completed Challenges
- 100 Books in 2013 Challenge - 100/100 - Completed October 6, 2013
- E-Book Challenge 2013 - 50/10 - Completed October 23, 2013
- 50 Book Pledge - Read my goal of 100 books - Completed October 6, 2013

Previously Completed but Still Participating
- 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge - 26/13

Ongoing Challenges
2013 Category Challenge - 91/131 - 69%
Alphabet Challenge 2013 - 43/52 - 83%
Finish That Series Challenge 2013 - 1/4 (Series), 2/7 (Books) - 25%
Ireland Reading Challenge 2013 - 6/10 - 60%
Mental Illness Advocacy Challenge - 8/12 - 66%
Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2013 - 44/75 - 59%
Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge 2013 - 3/5 - 60%

Countries Visited
This month I visited the following countries during my reading adventures; Canada, USA, England, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand

Create your own travel map - TravBuddy

Books That Followed Me Home
The Orenda - Joseph Boyden

The Lilac Bus - Maeve Binchy
In Falling Snow - Mary-Rose MacColl
The Beam - Episode One - Sean Platt; Johnny B. Truant
The Unfinished Child - Theresa Shea
The Crooked Maid - Dan Vyleta

From the Publisher
Paris Requiem - Lisa Appignanesi
Revolt - Qaisra Shahraz
Cold Hearts - Gunner Staalesen
The Midnight Swimmer - Edward Wilson

And that was it for the month of October. I can't believe how fast it went by. I hope everyone had an enjoyable October and Halloween - the mini chocolates make nice snack foods for reading!