Wednesday, December 31

Book Review: Deadlocked

Title: Deadloacked

Author: Charlaine Harris

Pages: EBook

Summary: It’s vampire politics as usual around the town of Bon Temps, but never before have they hit so close to Sookie’s heart… Growing up with telepathic abilities, Sookie Stackhouse realized early on there were things she’d rather not know. And now that she’s an adult, she also realizes that some things she knows about, she’d rather not see—like Eric Northman feeding off another woman. A younger one. There’s a thing or two she’d like to say about that, but she has to keep quiet—Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It’s the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric’s front yard—especially the body of the woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s set out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This is probably one of my favourites of the series, as I found it went back to its original roots, and while Sookie and Eric's relationship looks to be ending, I think the character development, and how their relationship ending will create a very interesting end and some great character development.

So the ending happened, then it didn't, but wow! It's hard to talk about that without spoiling it, and because I've came into the series late I had a vague idea what would happened, but it was still shocking. I have to say, I disliked Eric in this book, a lot. He's becoming less dark mysterious, to more emo like Bill. While it works with the development of his character and plot, I did find him less likeable.

I enjoyed how this one had the mystery aspect as the main focus again. It reminded me of some of the earlier books, and I think this one worked out well. There were some surprising twists in it, and I was surprised by some of the developments in the supernatural world, especially with the fae. I wasn't expecting that, but it should have some interesting affects on the final book.

Overall, a great second last novel in the series, which has me looking forward to seeing how the final book plays out.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's the second last book in the series, and it has a lot of important little plot pieces.

What to read next: Dead Ever After

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Finish That Series Challenge

Book Review: Dead Reckoning

Title: Dead Reckoning

Author: Charlaine Harris

Pages: EBook 247

Summary: With her knack for being in trouble's way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover, Eric Northman, and his "child" Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows...

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed this one a lot, as the plot moved quicker, the story felt fuller and more information, that I've been waiting for finally comes to light. There was still a lot of unanswered questions, but for the most part, I was happy with this book.

Pam is becoming a favourite character of mine, it's sad the series is almost finished, as I'm finding the characters are really coming into their own. While some of the plots in the individual books are becoming stale, the characters make the books what they are.

I'm not sure what about this book made me like it more than others, I just enjoyed it more, the plot was good, although the ending predictable, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was one of the better books in the series.

What to read next: Deadlocked

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Finish That Series Challenge

Book Review: A Song of Stone

Title: A Song of Stone

Author: Iain M. Banks

Pages: 280

Summary: The war is ending, perhaps ended. For the castle and its occupants the troubles are just beginning. Armed gangs roam a lawless land where each farm and house supports a column of dark smoke. Taking to the roads with the other refugees, anonymous in their raggedness, seems safer than remaining in the ancient keep. However, the lieutenant of an outlaw band

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I liked the book, the writing was wonderful, although the style of the writing threw me, it did add something to the book. But, while I enjoyed the book, I didn't exactly love it, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

One of the things that through me was that the castle and setting has this old gothic feel to it, but technologies including cars, trucks and modern guns have a big presence in the book. Even with conflicting pieces of the setting, the author made it work, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

The war torn themes were also well done, as were the characters. The lieutenant was well written, and I think fit the feel to the story. It's a brutal read, which wasn't exactly what I was expecting, although it does fit with the themes of war and desperation. This book was slow paced, and I'm not sure if I liked that aspect or not.

It did take me a while to get used to the writing style. It being written partially in first person and in second person was a very different reading experience, and it took a while for me to get used to that. I'm not sure how I feel about the writing ploy, it worked and didn't work for me all at the same time. Had I liked the characters more, I think it would have helped how I reacted to them, and I definitely think it would have made me feel more part of the story, but it was still an interesting writing ploy.

Would I recommend it to read: I probably would. It was a good read, it just wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

What to read next: More books by the author

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Read Scotland Challenge

Book Review: Docherty

Title: Docherty

Author: William McIlvanney

Pages: EBook 255

Summary: Tam Docherty's youngest son, Conn, is born at the end of 1903 in a small working-class town in the west of Scotland. Tam will stop at nothing to make sure that life and the pits don't swallow up his boy, the way it did him. Courageous and questioning, Docherty emerges as a leader of almost unshakable strength, but in a close-knit community tradition is a powerful opponent.

My Rating: 9.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a fantastic read, it had a nice pace to it, although slower than what I've been reading lately, it worked wonderfully for the book. The book focused on the Docherty family, although Conn and Tam had most of the focus, all of the characters we well written, developed and very realistic. Angus and Kathleen seemed to have the least amount of development and progress in the story, but they were still incredibly well rounded characters. This is one of those books were you become very fond of the characters, which help create an emotional read.

One aspect I enjoyed, although it was a small piece of the story was Mick's time during the war and recovery afterwards. The author did such a wonderful job at bring the horrors of war and how to recover it, without overpowering the heart of the story. It flowed nicely with the story as a whole and I enjoyed Mick's development around it.

There's so much to the story, that made it such a fantastic reading, especially the ending! It was shocking, emotional and wonderful all at the same time. Jaw dropping is another word for it, I wasn't expecting it, although perhaps I should have, but I was shocked nonetheless. And because of the connection I had with the characters, it made for a very emotional read for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. This is a gem of a read, and so well done, I would highly recommend this one. Excellent writing, incredible characterization make it one I'd put at the top of my recommended reads.

What to read next: More books by the author, Kiln appears to be a related book to this one.

Challenges: 100+ Book Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Read Scotland Challenge

Tuesday, December 30

Book Review: Stone Mattress

Title: Stone Mattress

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 273

Summary: In these nine dazzlingly inventive and rewarding stories, Margaret Atwood's signature dark humour, playfulness, and deadly seriousness are in abundance. In "Freeze-Dried Bridegroom," a man who bids on a storage locker has a surprise. In "Lusus Naturae," a woman with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In "I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth," we remeet Tony, Charis, and Roz from The Robber Bride, but, years later, as their nemesis is seen in an unexpected form. In "Torching the Dusties," an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet's syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. In "Stone Mattress," a long-ago crime is revenged in the Arctic.

Contents:

Alphinland
Revenant
Dark Lady
Lusus Nature
The Freeze-Dried Groom
I Dream of Zenia with the Bright Red Teeth
Stone Mattress
The Dead Hand Loves You
Torching Dusties
My Rating: 9.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I loved this short story collection. It had excellent writing and wonderful dark and twisted stories. The dark and twisted side of the stories just made them that more enjoyable, as they were all incredibly well done. Atwood's wit, storytelling and dark humour shine in this collection, and I loved every minute of it.

There were so many enjoyable aspects of the collection, one of which was you never really knew what little twist Atwood had in store. All of the stories had some sort of dark twist to them, while some were predictable, all were ones I enjoyed getting to the end. Some of the characters were also as dark and twisted as the plot, like the one we meet in Stone Mattress. It's hard to pick out which one of these short stories was my favourite, as all had something appealing to them. My least favourites probably had to be Lusus Nature, but even that one was still a fairly enjoyable read. I also enjoyed how the first three of the stories connected together as one, it was well done, and I enjoyed them on their own as well as together. And The Dead Hand Loves You, was also one that was wonderfully dark and twisted. I loved it!

Overall, this was an excellent collection of stories, full of dark and twisted plots and characters, and I enjoyed it from the start to the final page.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, although I don't think this particular collection would be for everyone, it's an excellent read, and if you enjoy the dark and twisted, than this is the book for you.

What to read next: I'd suggest some of the author's novels, Alice Munro is also a great choice if you enjoy short story collections

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge



Monday, December 29

Book Review: Dead in the Family

Title: Dead in the Family

Author: Charlaine Harris

Pages: EBook 238

Summary: After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Fae War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she's mad. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he's under scrutiny by the new vampire king. And as the political implications of the shifters' coming-out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to one particular Were draws her into the dangerous debate. Also, though the doors to Faery have been closed, there are still some fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie...very, very angry...

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was another book from this series, that had a lot of important aspects to it, and the character development with Sookie was excellent, but the book is just missing something that the earlier books had. It feels like the series is losing its initial appeal. While I am still enjoy the series, it feels like the series is starting to hit a wall.

However, the beginning of the book with Sookie and her recovery from the previous book was well done, and the resulting character development was also incredibly well done. I am enjoying seeing how much Sookie has grown since I first meet her in the first book. She still has some of the classic Sookie, but she has also grown into a very interesting character.

The ending was a bit of a letdown, there was a build up and it looked like there would be something there, but the ending, while good, just didn't fit with the rest of the flow of the book. It was just an ending. While the lead into the rest of the series was well done, I was rather disappointed in how the ending went with this one. It wasn't bad, but I was expecting more from it.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, despite the let down at the end, this was a good piece of the series, it may be getting a bit repetitive this far into the series, but if you're reading the series, this is worth reading.

What to read next: Dead Reckoning

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Finish That Series Challenge

Note: This is part of my November Reviews

Book Review: The Betrayers

Title: The Betrayers

Author: David Bezmozgis

Pages: EBook 168

Summary: A disgraced Israeli politician comes face to face with the man who denounced him to the KGB and sent him to the Gulag These incandescent pages give us one momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the West Bank settlements, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior. He and the fierce young Leora flee the scandal for Yalta, where he comes face to face with the former friend who denounced him to the KGB almost forty years earlier.

In a mere twenty-four hours, Kotler must face the ultimate reckoning, both with those who have betrayed him and with those whom he has betrayed, including a teenage daughter, a son facing his own ethical dilemmas in the Israeli army, and the wife who stood by his side through so much.

My Rating: 6.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was an okay read, but not one I'd say I really enjoyed.

I enjoyed the first part of the book, it was well done, the story moved along nicely, but I found that the further I got into the story, the less interested in it I got. I felt the story was stretched longer than it should have been, and that the character development started well enough then it just declined part way through the book.

The writing was well done, although it does take a while to get used to the author's writing style, I can't say I'm a fan of the absence of punctuation when characters are speaking, the quality of writing was well done. I also think the author did a good job at weaving the political aspects of the book into the story. While I didn't find the book to lag part way through, the political history of the book did have some interesting tidbits. Unfortunately, I think a lot of that got muddled during the story, as it had a lot of information, but packed into a short book.

Overall it was an okay read.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm on the fence with this one.

What to read next: I'd try some of the other shortlisted books from the 2014 Giller Prize.

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge

Note: This is part of my November Reads

Book Review: Tell

Title: Tell

Author: France Itani

Pages: EBook 234

Summary: In 1919, only months after the end of World War One, the men and women of Deseronto struggle to recover from wounds of the past, both visible and hidden. Kenan, a young soldier who has returned from the war damaged and disfigured, confines himself to his small house on the Bay of Quinte, wandering outside only under the cover of night. His wife, Tress, attempting to adjust to the trauma that overwhelms her husband and which has changed their marriage, seeks advice from her Aunt Maggie. Maggie, along with her husband, Am, who cares for the town clock tower, have their own sorrows, which lie unacknowledged between them. Maggie finds joy in her friendship with a local widow and in the Choral Society started by Lukas, a Music Director who has moved to the town from an unknown place in war-torn Europe. While rehearsing and performing, Maggie rediscovers a part of herself that she had long set aside.

As the decade draws to a close and the lives of these beautifully-drawn characters become more entwined, each of them must decide what to share and what to hide, and how their actions will lead them into the future.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed some aspects of the book, especially the focus on those returning from the war. While I like some aspects of the book, I disliked others. The writing was also well done, and pulled me in from the start, even in the parts of the book I didn't exactly like, or when I didn't like the direction the story went in, I still loved the style of writing. It had great flow and was the kind of writing that pulls you in from the first page.

I think the author captured that aspect beautifully. The psychological and inner turmoil she showed her characters was wonderfully well done, and helped set a good tone for the book. I also liked how she examined the other characters through their reactions and struggles of having loved ones return from the war. Most of the characters were also well done, I liked Kenan the best, but I found that one of my biggest issues with the book was also the characters, especially Maggie. For the most part, I didn't like Maggie's part in the story, while pieces of it worked, I found her story and her development took away from other aspects of the book I found stood out more.

I also didn't like the ending much at all. In fact, I found it ruined the rest of the book for me. Maggie's character bothered me throughout the book, but by the end I despised her. I also felt that the ending of the book, along with Maggie's journey, didn't mesh well with the rest of the story.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, while I didn't like how it ended, the rest of the story was well done, and well worth reading.

What to read next: More books by the author, other Giller 2014 Shortlisted books.

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge


Note: This is part of my October Reviews

Book Review: Omens

Title: Omens

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Pages: 486

Summary: Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions. But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancĂ©, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home, and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The series shows some excellent promise, while different than the Otherworld series, it still has the same classic Kelly Armstrong spark. I like the subtle aspects of speculative, and how these will influence the story in future books. It gives me an excellent thriller book, with a touch of speculative/supernatural, making for a fun read.

The characters were well done, not as fleshed out yet, but this being the first book it isn't as big of a deal. Gabriel Walsh was an interesting character, and I'm interested in seeing what the author has in store for him. Olivia was also well done, and had some decent development throughout the book, but not sure how much I like her yet.

Overall it was a good read and reminded me of the earlier books from the Otherword series by the author, which were well done and some of my favourites.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's a good start to a series, it's different from the Women of the Otherworld series, but in a good way, but still has the author's style and wit. Any fan of hers would like this and if you haven't read anything by the author yet, this might be a good book to start with.

What to read next: Visions, Bitten

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

Note: This is part of my October Reviews

Book Review: Waiting for the Man

Title: Waiting for the Man

Author: Arjun Basu

Pages: EBook 247

Summary: Joe, a 36-year-old advertising copywriter for a slick New York agency, feels disillusioned with his life. He starts dreaming of a mysterious man, seeing him on the street, and hearing his voice. Joe decides to listen to the Man and so he waits on his stoop, day and night, for instructions. A local reporter takes notice, and soon Joe has become a story, a media sensation, the centre of a storm. When the Man tells Joe to “go west,” he does, in search of meaning.

Waiting for the Man is a compelling and visceral story about the struggle to find something more in life, told in two interwoven threads — Joe at the beginning of his journey in Manhattan, and at the end of it as he finds new purpose on a ranch in Montana under the endless sky.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I found this book to be enchanting at times. It was a fascinating read, and incredibly well written.

There were many aspects to this book that made it such a great read. Observations on how society reacts to fads and how the media influences those fads was one, how the author examined sensationalism. The over the top reactions of the media, and the public on how they react and interact to certain events and situations. I also found it to be fairly philosophical at the times, which include the observations the main character made during his journey.

I enjoyed the jumps between past and present, although I found it to be disruptive at times, overall I think it helped shaped the plot and its characters. I wouldn't say there was a character that stood out for me, but I didn't dislike any of the characters. All were well written and developed, and each added something important, even if it was subtle, to the story.

As I said above, the writing was incredible. It was another book that pulled you in from the first page and kept you reading until the end. Overall, an excellent read. I was shocked to see that the book didn't make the Giller shortlist this year (2014). As it was one of my favourite books from the longlist, and is one of my favourite reads of the year.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. The writing was well done, the story was extraordinary and all around a good read, this is a book that should be read.

What to read next: I can't think of an exact book, but be sure to check out the books on the Giller longlist/shortlist and check out, if any, other books by the author.

Challenges: 100+ Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Ebook Challenge

Note: This is part of my October Reviews

Book Review: Frog Music

Title: Frog Music

Author: Emma Donoghue

Pages: Ebook 311

Summary: It is 1876, and San Francisco, the freewheeling “Paris of the West,” is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.

The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, Blanche will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice-if he doesn’t track her down first.

The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was well written and well told. The story was interesting at times, complex and even interesting at times, but I just didn't get into the book as much as others. It was good, but it didn't live up to the hype I've heard about it.

One of the best aspects of the book was the characters, they were very well written, complex, and showed a bit of growth by the end. I don't have a favourite, but I think the detailed characterization and how the author shaped them really helped create a good atmosphere in the book.

The writing was also well done. I think the description of the city and the entire setting really created a very detailed and believable atmosphere. It was very well done, and the setting almost took on it's on character.

The story itself was good , but I felt the ending to be a bit rushed, and that the book lost steam part way through, causing me to have to push to the ending. There were pieces I liked and found interesting, like the small pox epidemic, but by the ending, I was lost that initial interest I had when I started with the book.

The story was good, but it didn't have the same appeal for me as it had with others. Overall, a fairly good read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it wasn't my exact cup of tea, but still a good read and I think a lot of readers would enjoy the characters and story.

What to read next: The Painted Girls

Challenges: 100+ Books, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Ebook Challenge

Note: This is part of my September Reviews

Thursday, December 18

Book Review: Baggage

Title: Baggage

Author: Jill Sooley

Pages: EBook 305

Summary: Baggage, examines the step family. Drawing on humour and heart¬break, as she did in Widows of Paradise Bay, this story unfolds from the perspectives of three women – Marie, mother and stepmother; Floss, Marie’s daughter who grew up in a broken home and must deal with her mother’s second marriage; and Lolly, the rebellious step-daughter and young single mother who has never felt comfortable in her place within the stepfamily. Baggage highlights the ties that bind the stepfamily in all its awkward, complex, and optimistic tension.

My Rating: 3.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I had a hard time connecting to the characters, which I thought I'd be able to especially with Marie, but she was hard to connect to and hard to like as a character. I found her selfish, and to be a very flat character, which is disappointing, because I would have thought I'd be able to connect to her more, than the others.

The only character I could say I liked, was Floss. I found her story line to be the one that was well told, her character was well written and had a lot of growth throughout the book and overall, I just enjoyed her as a character and her story more than anyone else in the book.

The writing was fine, and the story had potential, but as this was a very character driven book, and I didn't particularly like the characters, the book didn't work for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I didn't like this book, but I'm sure there are others who would find it up their ally.

What to read next: I'm not sure on this one, I didn't like the book, so not sure what to recommend

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Note: This is part of my August Reviews

Tuesday, December 16

Book Review: Matadora

Title: Matadora

Author: Elizabeth Ruth

Pages: EBook 273

Summary: Set in Spain and Mexico during the 1930s, Matadora tells the story of Luna Caballero Garcia, an impoverished and intrepid servant attempting to make her name in the bullring at a time when it was illegal for a girl to do so. Matadora carries readers from bohemian artistic circles in Mexico City and Andalusia to Norman Bethune's mobile blood transfusions on the Madrid front. Against a backdrop of rising fascism and the Spanish Civil War, Elizabeth Ruth has created a powerful and compelling exploration of love, art, and politics, and an intelligent mirror for our times. Boldly sensual, with a cast of unforgettable characters and a plot that will keep readers on the edge of their seats, Matadora is easily one of the most original books of the year.

My Rating: 9.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book has become one of my favourite books of the year. It was such a beautifully written story, it captured me from the beginning and held on to the end. The ending, oh I both love and hate it. I think it was fitting for the book, but it was also one of those wow moments. I want to say more, but I don't want to spoil it, but the ending was well done. The ending is shocking, emotional and it's a book you have to read, to find out just how spectacular it was.

The writing was also beautifully well done, this is an author that had gone under my radar, but now I am looking forward to reading more. The book pulled me in, both because of the story and the author's writing. She took such care with the characters and the plot, that it created a very engaging and lovely novel.

Overall, a fantastic read and one I'd highly recommend to reading.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes! This is a must read, and it's probably one of my favourites of the year!

What to read next: More books by the author, I am looking forward to my next read by her.

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, EBook Challenge,

Note: This is part of my August Reviews

Sunday, December 7

Book Review: Dead and Gone

Title: Dead and Gone

Author: Charlaine Harris

Pages: EBook 205

Summary: When the weres and shifters finally come out, the residents of Bon Temps, Louisiana, must deal with the violent aftermath. But a far greater danger threatens. A race of unhuman beings-older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves-is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too human pawn in their battle...

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I've been waiting for more details and more focus on the weres and shape sifters, and I finally got what I wanted. Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed in this one.

While there were some interesting plot developments and the ending was a very intense, the story as a whole bored me. It's almost like the author had run out of steam on this one. It just didn't seem to have the same magic as the others. I still enjoyed it, but not as much as the others.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, this one was a lot better than some of the others in the series.

What to read next: Dead in the Family, which is the next book in the series

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Finish That Series Challenge

Book Review: Secrets of a Fire King

Title: Secrets of a Fire King

Author: Kim Edwards

Pages: 255

Summary: Showcasing the intensity and perception of a truly gifted writer, this collection of short stories by the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Memory Keeper’s Daughter transports us to exotic locations as it follows the lives of those on the fringes of society - a fire eater, an American and his Korean war bride, a juggler and a trapeze artist, a cleaning woman whose life is interwoven with Marie Curie’s. Each must confront, in dramatically different ways, the barriers of time, place, and circumstance in that most universal of human experiences: the quest to discover, and understand, the elusive the mysteries of love.

Contents:

The Great Chain of Being
Spring, Mountain, Sea
A Gleaming in the Darkness
Balance
The Way it Felt to be Falling
The Invitation
Aristotle's Lantern
The Secrets of a Fire King
Thirst
Sky Juice
Gold
In the Garden
Rat Stories
The Story of My Life

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was an excellent collection of short stories. The writing alone, was lovely, engaging and incredibly well done. At times, it reminded of the same style and flare of another short story author I enjoy. This was a case where I can't believe I had the book sitting on myself as long as it was, because I really missed out on something.

As with most short stories, I liked some more than others, but the writing alone made all of them well worth reading. I'm looking forward to reading the novel I have by the author, which has also been sitting on my book shelf for far too long.

This collection is well worth reading, and one I would highly recommend.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the writing alone, makes it well worth reading.

What to read next: More by the Author

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

Book Review: Going After Cacciato

Title: Going After Cacciato

Author: Tim O'Brien

Pages: EBook 289

Summary: In a blend of reality and fantasy, this novel tells the story of a young soldier who one day lays down his rifle and sets off on a quixotic journey from the jungles of Indochina to the streets of Paris. In its memorable evocation of men both fleeing from and meeting the demands of battle, Going After Cacciato stands as much more than just a great war novel. Ultimately it's about the forces of fear and heroism that do battle in the hearts of us all.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was very well written, detailed and did a wonderful job at exploring the characters mindset during their time in the war. The pace of the story was slow, but in a good way, as it allowed so the author could go into depth of the characters and I thought that the complexity and the deep look into the minds and emotions of the soldiers was incredibly well done.

The story was also very engaging but it doesn't exactly have its full effect until the end, which I thought was a very fitting and fantastic ending. I wish I could say more about the book, but I don't want to spoil it. It's well worth reading, the journey the soldiers go on, was well written and the characters were incredible. So, it's well worth reading and experiencing.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's was such an engaging read, and the ending makes it a book I'd highly recommended - why the ending makes it worth, I can't say as it would spoil the book, but as war time fiction goes, this one, is a must read.

What to read next: The Things they Carried

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, War Through the Generations Challenge

Note: This is part of my August reviews


Book Review: Riders of the Storm

Title: Riders of the Storm

Author: Julie Czerneda

Pages: 450

Summary: Then Om'ray Aryl Sarc – gifted with a forbidden Talent – upsets the long maintained balance between the three species, and she and her supporters are exiled from Yena Clan, taking with them Enris Mendolar, a young man who has left Tuana Clan on the ritual journey to find a mate. When they finally find a new home in the mountains, it is the ruined, deserted village of Sona, a forgotten Clan. And the seeming haven soon becomes the focus of conflict.

First Aryl discovers that the Oud who destroyed Sona haven't left. Instead, they are hunting for relics of a long-vanished, legendary race with the aid of Trade Pact agents. Then the Tiktik deny the Oud claims that Aryl's people are the Sona Clan, insisting the territory now belongs to them. When blood is spilled, Aryl must become Clan Speaker to try negotiate for peace.

Other Om'ray arrive, including some determined to learn the secret of Aryl's Talent. And even as she struggles with the perilous situation in Sona, Enris must take desperate measures to try to save his own clan from the destructive power games of the Oud and the Tikkit. But will the price of Sona's survival prove too high. . . ?

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was a great read, while I didn't love it as much as the first, it was still an incredible read and I can't wait to find out how the trilogy ends and how it impacts the next three stories in the Clan Chronicles.

The book picks up soon after the other left off, and there was some interesting developments and surprises along the way. The author takes a lot of care with her characters and I'm really becoming attached to some of them. I'm itching to find out what happens to them in the final book. They're also showing some great development along the way.

This story didn't grab be as fast as the first book did, but there were a lot of details throughout the story that I think will be important in the final book and helped push the story along to the final stage. The writing is, engaging and fun and the voice of the characters really shine.

Overall, it was a great read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. Especially if you're a fan of science fiction. This is one of the must reads in the genre.

What to read next: Rift in the Sky

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Chunkster Challenge, Finish That Series Challenge

Note: This book is part of my August Reviews

Sunday, October 19

Book Review: Two Roads

Title: Two Roads

Author: Geonn Cannon

Pages: EBook 235

Summary: The spoils of war The Goa’uld have been defeated, and the Jaffa are free. In the power vacuum left behind, the dark underbelly of the galaxy is fighting over the spoils.

Among these thieves and rogues is Vala Mal Doran, on the trail of the fabulous treasure left behind by the System Lord Kali. But Vala is not the only one seeking the hoard. Back at Stargate Command, Dr Daniel Jackson has made a horrifying discovery — a doomsday device designed to exterminate the Jaffa who have dared to defy their gods.

Kali’s treasure might provide SG-1 with the means to disarm the device, but only if they can steal it back from one of the galaxy’s most ruthless criminals. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Vala Mal Doran will get there first...

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Parts of this were enjoyable, while other parts I didn't like as much. I was happy to see a Vala story in the Stargate books, she and Mitchell have been absent from them, and I'm one of the few who really enjoy them as characters, so finally a book with at least one of them, and to top it off, her character was well written into the story.

Having her a story in her pre-SG-1 days was interesting and I think the author did get a good grip on the character, and definitely dug deeper into Vala's character and who she really is. Which was nice to see, in the few glimpses I've seen her in other books in the series, she's written the same way her character was portrayed in the TV series on day one. Most of the time, she has been written with no character development and very, not like who she became. So, all in all, it was nice to see someone else, notice and write about the character with her potential, who is hidden under all the other traits the character has.

The storyline for this book was interesting too, I think for the most part, it fits with the rest of the Stargate universe fairly well. Although I love the SG-1 team and for the most part, the stories these novels take them, I found the team aspects of the story just didn't have the same magic as they usually do, and found myself enjoying the aspects with Vala more. Perhaps, I'm just starved for more Vala story lines. But, the SG-1 aspects, still had the classic moments and character interactions I enjoy, it just felt something was missing.

In the end, it was an enjoyable read.

Would I recommend it to read: Hmm, probably only to Stargate Fans

What to read next: More Stargate novels

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, New Author Challenge

Note: This book is part of my July Reviews

Book Reviews: The Rosie Project

Title: The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion

Pages: 324

Summary: Narrator Don Tillman 39, Melbourne genetics prof and Gregory Peck lookalike, sets a 16-page questionnaire The Wife Project to find a non-smoker, non-drinker ideal match. But Rosie and her Father Project supersede. The spontaneous always-late smoker-drinker wants to find her biological father. She resets his clock, throws off his schedule, and turns his life topsy-turvy.

My Rating: 7.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed this book quite a lot, it definitely was well written and well told, but I found I didn't love it as much as others have and I found it didn't live up to all the hype the book has received. While it was a good read, it wasn't the fantastic read I had hoped for.

Don was a very likeable character, despite his less savoury eccentric characteristics, I still found him to be an enjoyable narrator and character in the book. I think he was well written for who he was, and overall fun to read about. I didn't like some of the other characters as much, Greg in particular was a character I didn't like. I think it was supposed to be who Greg was, and I think it was important to the book, but he as a character just rubbed me the wrong way.

I found the story to be fun and quirky, the end was a bit predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. It's the perfect to book to read when you just want to sit and relax.

Overall, it just wasn't what I expected. Worth reading, but it didn't have that appeal to me, as it seemed to have with others.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the book wasn't as great as I was led to believe, but still a fun read

What to read next: I'd say the sequel, or The Silver Linings Playbook

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Note: This book is part of my July Reviews

Book Review: Reap the Wild Wind

Title: Reap the Wild Wind

Author: Julie Czerneda

Pages: 456

Summary: Reap the Wild Wind turns to an earlier period in the Clan's history, before they left Cersi. At this time they are known as the Om'ray, and are divided into widely scattered tribal Clans, each of which must remain in its own allotted portion of Cersi, constrained from advancing beyond a certain point by two powerful races-the Oud and the Tikitik-that have technological and scientific advantages over them. The three races coexist based on three inviolate principles: 1) the world has always been divided this way and must remain so; 2) Passage-a once in a lifetime event when individual Om'ray are permitted to cross all territorial boundaries in search of a mate-must be honoured by all; 3) nothing on Cersi can be allowed to change.

Reap the Wild Wind opens at a pivotal moment when beings from the Trade Pact have begun to explore Cersi, upsetting the balance between the three races. It is a time, too, when young Aryl Sarc of the Yena Clan is on the verge of mastering the forbidden secret of the M'hir-a secret that could prove the salvation or ruin of her entire species . . .

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was an excellent introduction to the series, it pulled me in from the start and kept me reading frantically until the end. In fact i enjoyed the story so much, that I started read the second book almost immediately after I finished this one.

The characters were solid, especially considering this was the first book in the series, they were well fleshed out and well written, and had a steady growth throughout the story. I found there was enough revealed about them to move the story along, but a there was still a lot left out to keep me reading on and wanting more. I can't say I have a favourite character yet, but pretty much all of them make me want to keep reading, to find out more about them.

The story was rather engrossing, especially coming to the end. I love the world the author has created, the parallels and differences between the races, and their homes. The setting is written so vividly, I was able to picture the bizarre world clearly in my mind. The author has done a fantastic job at creating a very realistic alien world and I'm looking forward to seeing how these stories, connect and wrap into another series, written by the author. I'm also looking forward to some answers to the history behind these races and how everything came to how it is now. I have ideas, there have been hints, but I want more, and it looks like the next two books should give me those answers.

Overall, it was an amazing read and I'm looking forward to finishing the series.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, a great book for science fiction fans, and a good choice for those who want to dip into Sci-Fi.

What to read next: Riders of the Storm, Rift in the Sky

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Chunkster Challenge, Finish That Series Challenge 

 Note: This book is part of my July Reviews



Book Review: The River

Title: The River

Author: Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Pages: EBook 252

Summary: Stem cell research, cloning, and world domination--with a twist...

Seven years ago, Del Hawthorne’s father and three of his friends disappeared near the Nahanni River and were presumed dead. When one of the missing men stumbles onto the University grounds, alive but barely recognizable and aging before her eyes, Del is shocked. Especially when the man tells her that her father is alive.

My Rating: 3.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I liked the premise of the book and the idea behind the story. The author had some interesting plot ideas and there were a few spots I was interested in the book but overall, the book just didn't work for me. One of the biggest issues was the characters, they were underdeveloped, flat and had very predictable actions. I also found them to be somewhat stereotypical and the main character to be a Mary-Sue. I think if the characters had stronger development in the book, I may have enjoyed it more. The plot itself had interesting elements, but it too fell short, it was built up, then became a letdown. I couldn't get into it, and eventually the book became a struggle to finish.

In the end, it just wasn't the book for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I wouldn't, I found a lot of things didn't work in this book.

What to read next: I'm not sure, I picked this book out mainly because it took place in the Canadian North.

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, EBook Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Note: This book is part of my July Reviews

Sunday, July 27

Book Review: From Dead to Worse

Title: From Dead to Worse

Author: Charlaine Harris

Pages: EBook 243

Summary: After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the manmade explosion at the vampire summit, everyone—human and otherwise—is stressed, including Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who is trying to cope with the fact that her boyfriend, Quinn, has gone missing.

It’s clear that things are changing—whether the weres and vamps of her corner of Louisiana like it or not. And Sookie—Friend to the Pack and blood-bonded to Eric Northman, leader of the local vampire community—is caught up in the changes.

In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death, and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood finished flowing, her world will be forever altered.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I enjoyed the book, it wasn't my favourite of the series, in fact compared to some of the others it was a little bland. Still an enjoyable book, not as good as the others.

I did find the characters are becoming very fleshed out. Sookie is becoming a more likeable character as time goes on and there are a few supporting characters I've come to enjoy, I just wish they would have more time in the books, like Sam. I want to learn more about him and find out more about who he is. Although, perhaps that's why I like him so much, the unknown.

There were some parts of the book I found to drag a bit and as I said above, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the others. I think it's setting up for future plots, but this one just didn't have the same thrill as others.

In the end, a good read but not my favourite of the series.

Would I recommend it to read: If you plan on reading the rest of the series, then yes. This one wasn't my favourite of the series, although it does set up a lot of future plot lines, that look like some interesting events are coming.

What to read next: Books 9 - 13 of the series, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, Finish That Series Challenge

Book Review: The Enchanted

Title: The Enchanted

Author: Rene Denfeld

Pages: EBook 144

Summary: The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life. Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners' pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a quick, but very engrossing read, which I enjoyed a lot. 

There are so many elements to this book, that drew me in, it's hard to find a place to start. First of all, having almost all of the characters nameless also added something to the book, which ended up being a great thing, because despite only knowing pieces of information about a character, I still felt connected to them, and it had a lot of character driven parts.

The story itself is harsh, focusing on the horrible crimes of the prisoners, and some focus on their lives, which in some cases, was just as horrific as the crimes the prisoners committed, but the author balances that out, with some extraordinary and beautiful writing - the writing alone made me want to race through the book, but having the characters created they way they were and an incredible story, it made for an excellent reading experience.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was an incredible story and I think a lot of readers would enjoy the book, no matter their reading tastes.

What to read next: I've been thinking about this for some time, and I'm still clueless on what to read next.

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, EBook Challenge, New Author Challenge



Book Review: Cold Hearts

Title: Cold Hearts

Author: Gunner Staalesen

Pages: 300

Summary: On a frosty January day in Bergen, Private Detective Varg Veum is visited by a prostitute. Her friend Margrethe has disappeared and hasn't been seen for days. Before her disappearance, something had unsettled her: she'd turned away a customer and returned to the neighbourhood in terror. Shortly after taking the case, Veum is confronted with a brutal, uneasy reality. He soon finds the first body - and it won't be the last either. His investigation leads him into a dark subculture where corrupted idealism has had deadly consequences.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I enjoyed this one a lot more than I thought I would, and the book had a lot more substance to it than I thought it would be.

The author did a good job at creating the characters in the book, this was another book where I didn't have a favourite character, but I did find they were characters that were developed. The story itself was also well told and had a lot more depth to it than I thought it would. It's not at all what I'd expected from a crime thriller, and at times it was rather gripping. Although I did find the book to drag in some parts and I think that this being part of a series, it's yet another cases where I'm missing pieces of information on characters backgrounds along with pieces from the plot. It's likely I'd have enjoyed the book more if I've read some of the earlier books.

Although I liked this book, I'm not sure I'd go back from to the start of the series. While it was a good summer read, the characters didn't snag me enough to want to read more about them.

Would I recommend it to read: If you enjoy crime fiction, than this would be an excellent choice. Although, I suggest starting at the beginning of the series.

What to read next: Ian Rankin would be a good place to start.

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Review: Fifth Business

Title: Fifth Business

Author: Robertson Davies

Pages: 257

Summary: Ramsay is a man who has returned from the battle-grave at Passchendaele in World War I.As he tells his story, it begins to seem that from boyhood, he has exerted a perhaps mystical, perhaps pernicious, influence on those around him. His apparently innocent involvement in events as the throwing of a snowball or the teaching of card tricks to a small boy in the end prove neither innocent nor innocuous.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book grabbed my interest from the start, mainly due to the writing, and while the story didn't always engage me, the book has me wanting more from the author, and it's very likely I will read the rest of this series in the near future.

What I liked best about the book was the writing, it hooked me in from the start and kept me reading to the end. I will definitely read the rest of the books in the trilogy and probably everything else by the author, as the writing and storytelling was just that good.

The only snag was this particular book lost me part of the way through. While I enjoyed the story, I did feel that there were parts that dragged on and I was hoping the story would move faster. I also found there wasn't a character I really enjoyed, I didn't dislike any of them, but there wasn't a character that stuck with me. With that being said, the characters were very complex and full of depth, they just didn't jump out at me, which usually happens when the author has similar style to Davies. Overall, it was a good book, and one that is well worth reading, I will definitely be adding the author to the top of my CanLit reading list.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, the writing alone makes me want to shove the books into every canlit fans hands.

What to read next: The rest of Deptford Trilogy

Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, 2014 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge