Monday, May 19

Book Review: Afterlands

Title: Afterlands

Author: Steven Heighton

Pages: EBook 310

Summary: In 1871, nineteen men, women, and children, voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris found themselves cast adrift on an ice floe as their ship began to founder. Based on one of the most remarkable events in polar history, Afterlands tells the haunting story of this small society of castaways -- a white and a black American, five Germans, a Dane, a Swede, an Englishman, and two Inuit families -- and the harrowing six months they spend marooned in the Arctic, struggling to survive both the harsh elements and one another. As the group splinters into factions along ethnic and national lines, rivalries -- complicated by sexual desire, unrequited love, extreme hunger, and suspicion -- begin to turn violent.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book pulled me in from the start, from its narrative, characters and the story itself, it was a book hard to put down, and book I'd highly recommend, as it's one that's well worth reading. The writing style was wonderful. The author managed to capture a lot of power and emotion with the writing style, which was part of what had me so engrossed in the book. The writing style/narrative especially during kept the book going, even parts that were slower or a little repetitive. The story itself, the characters struggle for survival while trapped on the ice floe, and later survival of life itself, was extraordinary.

The characters were also incredibly well done. Each character was well shaped and developed, and while some characters were just unlikable, they were still enjoyable to read about. Kruger was probably my favourite character, even with the conflicting views of him throughout the narrative, he was the character that stuck out the most for me. Because the book was told partly though journal entries, so there's the biased view of who our narrator concentrated on, which was why some characters didn't get as much focus as others. This aspect worked and didn't work for me. On one hand, there's a very biased view on who was who, and who was good and bad, which helped complaint the rest of the story and the how the story represented some of the characters. On the other hand, some characters were overlooked, and I felt didn't get as much attention as they needed.

I did find the story started to lose me in the latter half of the book. While I enjoyed Kruger's journey in Mexico, I also found it dragged in parts. Although, I do think that part of the books did help shape his character further, I still found myself losing interest in the end.

Overall, it was an excellent read, and one of my favourite books so far this year.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. Incredibly written, and wonderfully told,

What to read next: The Road, while it's a very different book, both have the concentration of survival.

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

Sunday, May 4

April Wrap-Up

Well, a little late, but it's finally up. I'm having a lot of trouble staying on target and getting this done this year. I'm reading, but not as much as I'd like, but maintaining the blog side, is harder for me this year. Things in the life are fine, just busy. At least the weather has finally turned nice, so getting outside is also priority - as I also like to garden and play in the dirt.

The Books

Not a bad haul this month, but not great. I did read a lot of new to me authors this month, and many were well worth it and I look forward to reading more by them. Especially Ian Rankin. Annihilation and The Heart Goes last are my favourites for the month. Miranda's Vines was my least favourite read.

1. Miranda's Vines - Kimberly Kafka - 5/10
3. Cry Wolf - Patricia Briggs - 7.25/10
4. Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer - 8.25/10
4. Chronicle of a Death for Told - Gabriel García Márquez - 7/10
6. The Blue Guitar - Ann Ireland - 7.75/10
7. Black and Blue - Ian Rankin - 7.75/10
7. The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood - 8.5/10
8. Silver Linings Play Book - Matthew Quick - 8/10

The Challenges

Stay Calm. Don't Panic! I'm still okay with the challenges. I'm living in the magic world of this will all work out and everything will be fine and save for on or two challenges, I think everything will be fine. I'm flying through the new author and ebook challenges and The Read Scotland challenge will be completed soon too. Although for that one, I plan on moving up a level. I also see myself actually completing the Mount TBR challenge this year too. So thing may have had a rocky start, but they're looking good now.

1) 100 Books in 2014 - 26/100 Books - 26%
2) 2014 Category Challenge - 26/140 Books - 19%
3) 2014 GoodReads Reading Challenge - 27/140 books - 19%
4) 50 Book Pledge - 27/100 books - 27%
5) 7th Annual Canada Book Challenge - 52/13 books
6) Alphabet Reading Challenge - 12/26 books - 46%
7) Chunkster Reading Challenge - 2/5 books - 40%
8) EBook Reading Challenge - 14/50 books - 28%
9) Finish That Series Challenge - 0/3 Series, 0/9 books
10) Mental Illness Reading Challenge - 3/8 books - 38%
11) Mount TBR Challenge - 16/60 books - 27%
12) New Author Challenge - 16/25 books - 64%
13) Read Scotland Reading Challenge - 3/6 books - 50%
14) War Reading Challenge - With a Twist - 0/6 books

Countries Visited

This month, I visited, Canada, England, Scotland and Columbia on my reading travels.

Create your own travel map - TravBuddy

Books That Followed Me Home

During this month (April), I attended Ad Astra, an annual Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror and all that good stuff convention, mainly directed towards books, fiction and all things literary. There's a few other things to see and do there, but the focus is on authors and books and reading. It's a fantastic convention, and if you're in the Toronto area, well worth coming down. So the majority. The Book seller table, Bakka Phoenix, must just love me when they see me stopping by the table. I always by too many books j) of my books came from the convention (okay all but the ebooks, including Patricia Briggs, who was one of the Guest of Honour this year. So, next year, make sure you check it out. It's an awesome convention, I'm part of the team to run it, and it's great fun!

Sea of Shadows - Kelley Armstrong
Cry Wolf - Patricia Briggs
Hunting Grounds - Patricia Briggs
Fair Game - Patricia Briggs
Frog Music - Emma Donoghue (EBook)
Red Girl Rat Boy - Cynthia Flood (EBook)
Bleeding Hearts - Alyxandra Harvey
Blood Moon - Alyxandra Harvey
The Darwin Elevator - Jason M. Hough
Going Down Swinging - Billie Livingston (EBook)
The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch
Lullabies for Little Criminals - Heather O'Neill (EBook)
Trains and Lovers - Alexander McCall Smith (EBook)
On The Prowl (Anthology)