Thursday, February 28

Book Review: Heat Wave

Title: Heat Wave

Author: Richard Castle

Pages: EBook 196

Summary: A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.

Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's Finest. PulitzerPrize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I have to say, I was surprised on how much I enjoyed the book. I think it's partly due to the fact I went in with lower expectations, but it was a pleasant surprise. I had my issues with the book of course, but it was a fun read.

It was what I'd expect from this type of book. But I did enjoy the characterization, as corny as they were, they were fun to read about. The mystery was interesting to read along with and the action scenes were fairly good as well. It's by no stretch a book that was overly thrilling, but it was one I enjoyed reading. It was refreshing at times - and I did find myself loosing myself in the story. I'm not a big mystery/thriller fan - especially for books like this one, but I did enjoy reading the book. My biggest issue with the book was it was very predictable, from the mystery, to the love interests, it was easy to see what would happen next. It was what I was expecting, so it didn't seem to bother me as much as it normally would, but it is one of the factors in the book that was a bit of a turn off. I also found at times the writing style changed throughout the books - I think it's likely due to the ghost writer or writers of the book - which would easily explain the slight changes in writing style in the book - as Richard Castle is fictional. But, it was something I noticed throughout.

Otherwise, it was a nice, light fun read. Corny at times, but it was enjoyable and well worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the book surprised me on how much I enjoyed it. I think mystery/thriller fans would enjoy it and anyone who enjoys the show castle.

What to read next: The other Nikki Heat Books (oh and I'd say watch Castle as well).

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Mystery/Crime Challenge, New Author Challenge

Book Review: Lady Oracle

Title: Lady Oracle

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 346

Summary: Joan Foster is a secret writer of Gothic Romances. When her outrageously feminist book, Lady Oracle, becomes a bestseller, everything in her life changes.

To escape her deteriorating marriage, her affair with an artist, and the criminal urges of a fan, Joan embarks on an act that at once her most daring and creative: she fakes her own death and begins a new life.

With a much-needed respite from her life, Joan Foster begins to examine it - in this compelling, ironic, and touching novel by Margaret Atwood, one of today’s most acclaimed authors.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I found myself to be completely fascinated this novel, particularly they main character Joan, who made the novel one that I could sit and read for hours - and it is up there with some of my favourite works by the author.

The plot was well done, and although I did like aspects of the story within the story, I found that was the one aspect of the novel that bothered me the most - although there were parallels to both plot threads, I found it to be slightly disruptive. I do think Atwood did a good job at creating and connecting the story within a story and the main plot together. It was done well - it's just not my cup of tea.

What I did enjoy was Joan. She was a very intriguing character, and being able to be inside her head, made for a fantastic read. I could never figure her out, whether she was eccentric, a little bit crazy or a combination of the two. But, she's up there with some of my more memorable character. I can't say she's a character a reader can love or connect to, but she does stick with you. Which is what Atwood does best, write these incredibly memorable characters. They're all well rounded, developed and quite complex characters, and I almost always seem to enjoy reading about them. I found I liked learning about Joan's past, more than what was happening in the present - how she got to where she is and why. Although you're never entirely certain of the why, I found it fascinating.

The writing was also top notch. I generally prefer Atwood's later works, but this seems to be an exception. She did a fantastic job at writing an engaging narrative and at writing Joan's voice.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's up there with some of my favourite works by the author. It's not for everyone I admit, but this may be a good book to look at for those who haven't experienced the author.

What to read next: Alias Grace

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, Mount TBR Challenge

Wednesday, February 27

Book Review: The Broken Kingdoms

Title: The Broken Kingdoms

Author: N.K. Jemisin

Pages: EBook 313

Summary: In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. However, this act of kindness is to engulf Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. Oree's peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger - but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?

My Rating: 3.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I didn't find this book nearly as appealing or interesting as the first book in the series and while it did start off okay for me, ended up spiraling down to a book, I was just happy to be finished with.

This isn't like the traditional books from a series I usually read - the book doesn't connect very well with the first one. It takes place in the same world, some similar characters and history and that's where it ends. Which was something I both liked and disliked. It differently threw me a bit when I first started reading, but it also added something interesting to the story. Unfortunately the plot of this one never grabbed my attention. There was very little that held my attention and made me to want to keep reading the book. I didn't find it to be an engaging plot, and felt it didn't come together as a whole.

Characterization was also a major issue for me. I didn't feel the characters developed at all. There weren't a lot of likeable qualities to them and I was never able to warm up to them, let alone connect to them. Near the end, the story started to perk up for me along with some interesting possibilities for some good character development, but at that point it was too late for me - I was just happy to see the story progress a bit.

I will read the final book in this series but, this particular book didn't work for me.

Would I recommend it to read: Eh? The first in the trilogy was good, this one wasn't. It just didn't hold its own. But if you want to read the series, than I think this one needs to be read. Also, judging by all the other readers out there, I'm in the minority of those who didn't like the book.

What to read next: Kingdom of Gods - the final book in the trilogy

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Finish that Series Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Sunday, February 24

Book Review: Time and Again

Title: Time and Again

Author: Jack Finney

Pages: 398

Summary: When advertising artist Si Morely is recruited to join a covert government operation exploring the possibility of time travel, he jumps at the chance to leave his twentieth-century and step ino New York in January 1882. He has a good reason to return to the past - his friend Kat has a curious, half-burned letter dated from that year, and he wants to trace the mystery. But when Si falls in love with a women he meets in the past he is forced to choose between two worlds - forever.

My Rating: 2/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: There was very little I liked about this book. It has a very intriguing premise which showed it had some promise, but even that fell short with novel. In the end I was glad to be finally done with the book.

The writing made the book hard to slog through. Every little action and observation was over explained, it took paragraphs to explain the simple act of being handed a piece of paper and pen. The writing also felt monotonous - even in action scenes I felt like a robot was retelling me the story, rather than the protagonist tell a story of his adventure. The story itself doesn't fit together either, I get it's speculative, but the whole theory of time travel in this book doesn't make sense, it's never properly explained and an event near the end of the book is so unrealistic, it destroyed what little redeeming qualities the book had. Characterization was also bad. They were cookie cutter characters at best, no development, their reactions to certain events didn't add up to the time, or the events at hand. The character Julia, in the even near the end is an example of this. I get a time travel book, being speculative has the ability to take a lot of liberties, but this was utterly ridiculous.

In the end, the book was not one for me, it was one I had high hopes for and they fell way under my expectations

Would I recommend it to read: No. I wouldn't recommend to read this book at all.

What to read next: Time-Travel themed books, I'm not sure all of what is out there, but I'm sure there are some gone ones.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Book Review: Divergent

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Pages: EBook 311

Summary: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Rating: 8.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I was surprised on how much I enjoyed the book as it did start off a bit slow. Also, there's the fact that YA fiction usually isn't my cup of tea, but by the end, the book became a bit of a page turner. The story was the books strongest aspect. It was a interesting look into dystopian society and I enjoyed how the author explored it throughout the book. There's still a lot of information and secrets about the society that the reader is missing, which I think will be explored more in the next books, but I think the author did do a good job at building the society and exploring its characteristics. Wanting to know what was going to happen and what will be revealed next, had me wanting to read more and it was what made the hard to put down. The term "Divergent" and the taboo/mystery behind it was also what kept me reading. The ending was also well done and while I found some plot twists to be predictable, there were others that surprised me.

The characters were good, but they're not great. I had a lot of trouble connecting to them - although I usually have this problem with most YA novels. Trish does have a strong voice at times, but I did find that some of her development was forced - especially her relationships. Her relationship with Four is one of the example of this. I felt it was forced to further the plot along, rather to help further the characters growth and development - there relationship just didn't seem like it came naturally to me.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, a good balance between plot, action and character development, and well worth continuing the series.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, this was a very impressive book. I enjoyed it a lot more than I ever thought I would. The beginning of the book was slow - but it is well worth giving it a chance. And those who enjoy YA fiction will enjoy the book as well.

What to read next: Insurgent, Hunger Games

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, New Author Challenge,

Monday, February 18

Canada Reads 2013 - Part Deux!

So Canada Reads is over, and I'm not sure I'm ready for it to be over. It was something to look forward to watching the debates each night, discussing my favourite reads with other readers, and watching the twitter feeds and other people's reactions to what happened. Apparently something about a meteor, asteroid and the end of the world happened this week too, but I was still involved with Canada Reads. I have my predictions, reactions and all that in one post, it was my intention to do it in individual posts, but time has not been my friend these past few weeks.

I was very impressed with all the panellists  As they all believed in their book, but they also didn't kick the other people's books into the dirt - honest critiques yes, but they all seemed to generally respect each other, the other books, authors and reading in general. In 2011 Canada Reads, I didn't get that. There was the fight if a book should be there because of its format, a panellist not finishing a book, and it got heated, but in a nasty way. This year was awesome - and all the panellists did their books justice. Somewhere better than others, some lost steam in the end. Some spoke up even if it would be controversial, but all were great. I hope future panellists have the same love of reading and vote what they truly believe in.

My Predictions - Pre -Debates

I think Two Solitudes will go early, and as much as I hate the idea of it, Away will also likely be voted off early. I'm fairly certain the arguments of "they are to literary/academic" will be used for one or both (which is an argument I hate seeing used against a book - as I find it kind of insulting to both those who read and don't read a book - but that is not something I want to get into)

Final two: Will more than likely be Age of Hope and February. I don't think Indian Horse will win, despite it being a fan favourite, I don't see it winning Canada Reads, but I could see it making it to the final two. And there's a quick little prediction for Canada Reads 2013. I'd intended to have a nice, elaborate write up, but real life got in the way.

Day One:

So I told myself to avoid twitter, social media and the like all day (which for the most part was easy, as I was at work) and do not spoil myself on who was voted off each day. I wanted to wait until I got home and they aired the debates on TV - which I recorded so I could watch and re-watch the debates, analyze it and make a prediction before they revealed who won - but I couldn't wait and seconds of sitting down for my lunch break, despite my rumbling stomach, I was looking up on my up who was voted off each day. Yeah, I have no patience. I still watched the event on TV and feverishly took notes - many of which are far to illegible to read now. But I was excited to watch how the outcome happened.

I have to say, I didn't really like the book trailers - although the majority of the time I don't like book trailers, I felt some of these just didn't do the books justice. If I had only watched the book trailers, I would have never have read February, Away or The Age of Hope. Indian Horse and Two Solitudes were maybes after watching the trailers. Jay did one of the best jobs on day one with his opening statement (love letter to tolerance), but I found during the rest of day ones' debate, that he wasn't as articulate in his arguments. Carol's opening statement was also well done, and she really did her book justice on day one. Although, hand down Trent was one of the best panelists on day one and throughout the week.

I didn't think The Age of Hope, would be voted off first, although I didn't think it would win either, it was interesting that it went first. It wasn't my favourite book of the five, and clearly most of the panel felt the same way. I wouldn't say it surprised me that it went first, but it wasn't the one I thought would have been axed off first. I was surprised on how the votes went and who voted for who. Carol's vote against Away surprised me the most.

Ron MacLean did a good job at defending The Age of Hope, especially pulling on the themes of depression, I wish he'd left some of the puns and jokes out, he was funny and entertaining, but I think it also affected the effectiveness of some of the points he was trying to make. Still, despite it being voted of first, and the fact it wasn't my favourite book. The Age of Hope is still well worth reading. (All of them are. I may not have liked Indian Horse as much as the others, but every book on this year's Canada Reads is a book I'd recommend to someone, unlike previous years.)

And now here's where my notes become harder to read So I'll just do a quick little summery, because, my poor notes look like the cat wrote them - no seriously, I was writing so fast, my normally borderline legible writing looks like I gave the pen to the cat and let her go crazy! I guess I was immersed in what I watched!

Day Two and Day Three

Away is gone!? Darn it! Well, I wanted it to go to the end, but I never expected it to win. And I wasn't at all surprised it was voted off early. I loved the book, Jane Urquhart is a spectacular author. But the book just isn't one everyone will read or want to read. People see it poetically/lyrically written, they hear it's a literary book and they run for the hills. The magical realism doesn't help the book much either. Charlotte Gray made an excellent point regarding the writing of Away versus some of the others, literary versus rapid fire writing, and she was right. Not to say some of the "rapid fire" written books are bad, some are fantastic reads - but people, including the panel seem to be avoid books that are written like Away these days.

Jay Baruchel stepped it up on day two. Day one he wasn't very articulate, with his arguments on his books but day two (and onwards) he kind of kicked butt, and ended up being one of the best panellists there, in the end he really did his book justice. I seem to be the one of only the only people not surprised or upset (besides the panel members who voted it off) that Indian Horse was voted off. It was a good book, but not the best of the batch. It was my least favourite book of the group. A lot of what Charlotte Gray said I agreed with. She was making excellent points against Indian Horse, and I'm glad she had the guts to give an honest critique against the book - because very few people seem to want to take it up. She was giving her opinion not insulting the book. She did one of the best jobs at critiquing all the books, throughout the debates, perhaps having her book voted off so early fuelled her.

I felt Carol lost steam on Day Three. Day one and two she was a very good defender of her book, (up there with one of the best) by the end, it just wasn't filled with as much fire as she was in the beginning and she seemed to have lost her steam. The voting surprised me here the most I think. I wasn't expecting a tie on day three, and I wasn't expecting Carol to vote against February when she was more vocal against Two Solitudes throughout the debates.

Day Four

Well one of my predictions were right. February Won! I felt it was the hardest debate to follow, it was hard to get the comments from the panellists  as they were all talking over each other, it was very hard to figure out who was saying what at times. It was definitely a heated debate. And surprisingly a close vote as well. In the end I was happy February won and I was very happy overall how the debates played out.

After watching this, I'm very tempted to start a "Canadian Blogger Reads" with some fellow bloggers out there. Just because I don't want it to end.

Sunday, February 17

Book Review: The Color of Tea

Title: The Color of Tea

Author: Hannah Tunnicliffe

Pages: EBook 273

Summary: Macau: the bulbous nose of China, a peninsula and two islands strung together like a three-bead necklace. It was time to find a life for myself. To make something out of nothing. The end of hope and the beginning of it too.

After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling island of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land—a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets. As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of family have been shattered. She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea. Grace opens a café where she serves tea, coffee, and macaroons—the delectable, delicate French cookies colored like precious stones—to the women of Macau. There, among fellow expatriates and locals alike, Grace carves out a new definition of home and family. But when her marriage reaches a crisis, secrets Grace thought she had buried long ago rise to the surface. Grace realizes it’s now or never to lay old ghosts to rest and to begin to trust herself. With each mug of coffee brewed, each cup of tea steeped and macaroon baked, Grace comes to learn that strength can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places.

A delicious, melt-in-your-mouth novel featuring the sweet pleasures of French pastries and the exotic scents and sights of China, The Colour of Tea is a scrumptious story of love, friendship and renewal.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book had its ups and downs for me, but overall I found it to be an enjoyable read. The book started off slow for me, although I did like the look at Macau, and the author's examination of the culture. I would have loved to see this in more detail, but the important part of the story was how Grace tries to find herself in the community - which was incredibly well down. I think the author, for the most part wrote that aspect of Grace incredibly well. For the most part I found it to be natural and realistic as she slowly builds her cafe and works with the members from the community, despite language and culture barriers and forms friendships with them. My favourite parts of the book was usually when she was in the cafe trying to connect to those around her. I felt there were a few times that it was a little far-fetched on how it all played out but, for the most part, I think it was well done. I also really enjoyed the recurring themes if identity and friendship throughout the book.

The characterization was my biggest issue with the book. I found them hard to connect to, especially Grace. I found her development (and many of the other characters) to be a little forced at times. The story was very strong, but I think the characters in it needed more shaping, to bring the stories strength out more. I also didn't like Grace's personal turmoil with her mother - it does help shape Grace and who her character was, but I began to get bored with it and felt it was repetitive.

I did enjoy the ending, some may find it a little too picture perfect, but for the most part, I think it added to the themes of friendships and identity throughout the book and the strength of those friendships no matter where a person lives. It wasn't the perfect book for me, but it was a nice, light and enjoyable read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. But be warned, the book will make you hungry for macaroons! (Seriously, it will. I already love them, now I want them even more - the cover of the book doesn't help that need either!)

What to read next: A Cup of Friendship

Challenges: 100 Book Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, 777 Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Sunday, February 10

Book Review: The Age of Hope

Title: The Age of Hope

Author: David Bergen

Pages: EBook 184

Summary: Born in 1930 in a small town outside Winnipeg, beautiful Hope Koop appears destined to have a conventional life. Church, marriage to a steady young man, children- her fortunes are already laid out for her, as are the shiny modern appliances in her new home. All she has to do is stay with Roy, who loves her. But as the decades unfold, what seems to be a safe, predictable existence overwhelms Hope. Where- among the demands of her children, the expectations of her husband and the challenges of her best friend, Emily, who has just read The Feminine Mystique- is there room for her? And just who is she anyway? A wife, a mother, a woman whose life is somehow unrealized?

This beautifully crafted and perceptive work of fiction spans some fifty years of Hope Koop’ s life in the second half of the 20th century, from traditionalism to feminism and beyond. David Bergen has created an indelible portrait of a seemingly ordinary woman who struggles to accept herself as she is, and in so doing becomes unique.

My Rating: 6.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: There were times I enjoyed the book, but for the most part, I found it a hard book to get through. As I found it almost impossible to connect to Hope, and enjoy her story.

Because this was a character driven story, liking the main character, Hope, is pretty much a must to enjoy the book. And I didn't care for her at all. There were times the author examined some important issues, such as depression/post-partum depression and he did do a good job at showing how it affected Hope, but I felt Hope's character was missing something, and even felt wooden at times. Despite the fact she goes on an emotional journey and a bit of an examination of the self, but I never got that feel from her. A lot of issues of womanhood, motherhood, and being a wife, and the emotional and psychological effects of identifying with those were also addressed, and they were an important part of the story and an important part of who Hope's character was. In the beginning I enjoyed that the story was focusing on this, which was what kept me reading, but I felt that it just missed the mark on what the book was trying to show.

In the end, it was worth reading, but it was also a bit of a letdown.

Would I recommend it to read: Another book I'm on the fence about. It had some good qualities, but some not so good, and out all the Canada Reads books, not sure if it would be high on my recommendation list.

What to read next: The other 2013 Canada Reads Contenders, Away, February, Two Solitudes, Indian Horse.

Challenges: 100 Book Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI, EBook Challenge, Mental Health Awareness Challenge, New Author Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Book Review: Lolita

Title: Lolita

Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Pages: 317

Summary: Awe and exhilaration - along with heartbreak and mordant wit - abound in Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert. Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet, Dolores Haze. Most of all, it is a mediation on love - love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The beginning of the book captured be almost immediately especially because of Nabokov's writing style. Unfortunately, the book as a whole was a slight let down for me and it quickly went from an engaging read, to just another average book.

The way Nabokov wrote the narrative and created the voice of Humbert was incredible. Humbert lures the reader into his world and thought process and attempts to manipulate them into liking him. Which, was an aspect of the book I enjoyed, despite Humbert being a dirt bag, I thought how his character was created and how he was portrayed was wonderful. For an author to manage to create a character like Humbert, but manage to make him, almost likeable at times, marks a very talented author in my books.

What I didn't like was that the plot of the story didn't move quickly, and slowed down to a crawl. It became repetitive, and boring with the travelling across the country. I would have liked something different, instead we get Humbert's repetitive rambles, eventually we see him further descend into madness, and I wish more time had been spent on that, because by the time the story got to that point, I had lost my interest in the book and its characters - even the appeal around Humbert was gone. And the other characters weren't that likeable, although we only see them through Humbert's eyes, and he is a quite bias character - which I'm sure was the authors intention - who knows what the characters are really like, they were all still unlikeable and I never cared much for any of them.

Overall, it wasn't a bad read - but not my favourite.

Would I recommend it to read: I would definitely recommend the author. But not sure about the book. Controversial content set aside, the first half was well done, but the last bit was boring and dragged on, and I think a lot of other readers would also be put off by this. Still, how Nabokov manages to capture the reader's attention my Humbert's narrative does make the book worth looking into.

What to read next: I'd read more by the author, as the writing was superb. And I'd say read more of those "banned books".

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2013 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge, Read-a-latte Challenge

Saturday, February 9

January 2013 Wrap-Up!

January is over already? Really? Where did it go? It's been a fast month, with a lot going on, but I still managed to get a lot of books read, more books followed me home, and I started to get geared up for Canada Reads, which is just around the corner. Which I'm looking forward to. I'll have to avoid twitter during my breaks during the week it's on, so I'm not spoiled about who is cut and who wins during the debates.

The Books 

This was a pretty good month for me for reading, and it started out great with the first book I read of the year. I did read a lot of books that just hit the mark for me, but the books that I enjoyed the most made up for that. My favourite books were The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and February. But both Away and Whitehorn Woods deserve a mention too. My least favourite books were On Chesil Beach and The City & the City.

1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon - 10/10
2. Whitethorn Woods - Maeve Binchy - 8/10
3. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe - 7.25/10
5. The Beginning of Spring - Penelope Fitzgerald - 7.25/10
6. The Sometimes Lake - Sandy Bonny - 6/10
6. Away - Jane Urquhart - 9/10
7. February - Lisa Moore - 9.75/10
8. The Purchase - Linda Spalding - 6/10
9. Indian Horse - Richard Wagamese - 6/10
11. The City & the city - China Miéville - 5/10
12. On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan - 3/10
12. Between the Acts - Virginia Woolf - 7.25/10
13. Out for Blood - Alyxandra Harvey - 6/10
14. Two Solitudes - Hugh MacLennan - 7.25/10

The Challenges

One month down, 11 to go and I'm doing quite nicely on my challenges. So far I don't see any problems with them either. I'm also participating in the 50 Book Pledge, Reading Book Bingo Challenges. The Book Reading Bingo is something I've jumped on with some of the people I've been chatting to on LibraryThing from other challenges, and it's more of an unofficial challenge for me, but it's been fun. Check it out Here - Book Bingo Challenge for the official challenge page, and click here if you want some support from some fellow book readers. For the 50 book pledge click here!

1. 100 Books in 2013 Challenge - 14/100 - 14%
2. 2013 Category Challenge - 14/131 - 11%
3. 777 Challenge - 1/7 - 14%
4. Alphabet Challenge 2013 - 12/52 - 23%
5. E-Book Challenge 2013 - 6/50 - 12%
6. Finish That Series Challenge 2013 - 0/4 (Series), 0/7 (Books) - 0%
7. Ireland Reading Challenge 2013 - 2/10 - 20%
8. Mental Illness Advocacy Challenge - 1/12 - 8%
9. Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2013 - 9/75 - 12%
10. Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge 2013 - 1/5 - 20%
11. New Author Challenge 2013 - 8/50 - 16%
12. Read-A-Latte Challenge 2013 - 13/75 - 17%
13. Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge 2013 - 0/5 - 0%
14. War Through the Generations Challenge 2013 (American Revolutionary War) - 0/3 - 0%
15. 50 Book Pledge - 14/100 - 14%

Countries Visited

This month through my reading journeys, I managed to visit: Canada, England, Ireland, Nigeria, Russia, USA

Create your own travel map - TravBuddy

Books That Followed Me Home
To be fair, it was my birthday this month!

Erase Me - Positron: Episode 3 - Margaret Atwood (EBook)
In Other Worlds - SF and the Human Imagination - Margaret Atwood
The Age of Hope - David Bergen (EBook)
True History of the Kelly Gang - Peter Carey
The Fort - Bernard Cornwell (EBook)
Sweetness in the Belly - Camilla Gibb
The Clockmaker - Or, The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick, of Slickville - Thomas Chandler Haliburton (EBook)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
Sophia's Secret - Susanna Kearsley (EBook)
Two Solitudes - Hugh M(EBook)acLennan (EBook)
February - Lisa Moore (EBook)
Friend of My Youth - Alice Munro
Wild Geese - Martha Ostenso (EBook)
Moebius Squared (SG-1 22) Melissa Scott (EBook)
Larry's Party - Carol Shields
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (Leatherbound)
Indian Horse - Richard Wagamese (EBook)