Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hide and Seek - Ian Rankin

This is the second book in the Inspector Rebus series. I read it in a few sittings and enjoyed it as much as the first one - maybe even more. This book involves Inspector Rebus investigating the overdose of a young homeless man living in a squat. Rebus decides there is something off about the overdoes and that maybe it was murder. This book involves satanism, dog fights, sex and corruption - what more could you ask for in a book! I don't want to say much more because it is never fun to read a mystery book where you already know too much information.

I don't know what it is that I like so much about this series. I know that I do like Inspector Rebus and find his character to be one of the most engaging that I have seen in a long time. I love that he is a reader and a drinker and (tries to be) a lover of woman and won't stop a case until he gets to the bottom of things. As I have said before - the setting of Edinburgh is phenomenal. It is such a great place for a murder mystery. I just wish that I had read one of these books when I was visiting the city. I feel like I would have looked at the city a bit differently - perhaps looking for corruption and murder at every turn!

I have the third in the series (which I got from the library today) and have given it to a friend to read first. I want to give myself a bit of time before I jump into another Inspector Rebus novel. Maybe a week should be enough!

Rating - 4

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Shape of Snakes - Minette Walters

I LOVED this book.
Rarely do I begin a review like that but since finishing it last night it was all I could think about. I had read this British author previously and enjoyed the book but I was not expecting the range of emotions from this novel. The book is about a woman named Mrs. Ranelagh, a woman who was 24 in 1978 and lived on a street that was filled with racists, adulturers and abusers. There was also a woman on the street named Annie Butts - Annie was the only black woman on the street and everyone thought she was crazy. Annie is found dead on the sidewalk one night by Mrs. Ranelagh - and Mrs. Ranelagh suspects she was murdered. Nothing seems to add up in the police reports or with the threats she is recieving for even mentioning that she suspected Annie of being murdered. Her own husband turns away from her and Mrs. Ranelagh makes a choice to give up her crusade to save her marriage and her own sanity. Now it is the year 2000 and Mrs. Ranelagh is going to find out who killed Annie and find justice for Annie and herself.

It sounds a bit far fetched but it was so so so good! Be warned - there are some major scenes of animal cruelty, violence towards woman and children and racism. Some parts were hard to read but the story left me guessing. There was so much more each chapter that you read. The ending gave me goose bumps and made me feel so sad inside. It tied everything up nicely and answered the one question that I had throughout the book - why did Mrs. Ranelagh care so much about a woman she hardly knew.

I love British crime fiction. It might be my new favorite genre - there are so many authors to look for and the ones I have read have been so well written. I can;t wait to head back to the library tomorrow!

Rating - 4

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyer

I waited a while before picking the last book in the Twilight series up. I read the first three books last year when I was living in Turkey. A few friends of mine told me that they really didn't like this last one and told me what had happened in the finale. Usually I hate when people tell me what happens in a book - well actually I never usually let anyone tell me what happens (I cover my ears!). This time though I found myself disinterested in the Twilight series and wasn't sure if I was going to read anymore. But I saw it at the library a few weeks ago and decided I should give it a go.

I won't tell too much about what happened because I don't want to give anything away. Pretty much everything is a surprise in this book. Bella and Edward get married. That is pretty much the only thing I can say without giving away the story. They book was good. I sat down yesterday and almost made it through the whole thing. I really enjoyed it and can say I liked it as much as I liked the second one New Moon. I loved that Jacob Black had his own section (he is my favorite character - actually the only character I like at all really).

I think I like the movies better then I like the books of this series - that rarely happens. I cannot wait until the next movie comes out - I guess I still have a bit of a teenage girl in me looking for that eternal romance!

Rating - 3

Read-A-Thon Over!

I totally fell asleep at Hour 19. Couldn't keep my eyes open for a single moment longer. I am a little sad about this Read-A-Thon. I didn't get as much reading done as I wanted.

Total Pages: 652 pages
Almost finished Breaking Dawn but didn't quite make it. With only about 100 pages left I fought hard to keep my eyes open for the last of them. But then figured if I kept reading I probably wouldn't even remember what I read at all.

Thanks for all the well wishes. I really appreciate it. I love the Read-A-Thon and can't wait until April for the next one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read-A-Thon Hour 14.5

Well I am yet to finish a book but I did sit down and read 515 pages of Breaking Dawn. I have to go out on another work call but I plan to finish this book as soon as I get back (only 250 pages to go!). Then I hope to move on to either the Ian Rankin novel or the Doctor Who book. I think my dreams of 3 books has been dashed. But any is better then none, right?

Read-A-Thon Hour (Almost) 11

SO I got home from my call out for work and put on some supper and have read the first part of Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer. I am about 150 pages in and I am really really interested in it! I heard that this book was pretty bad but I thought since I read all the other Twilight books that I needed to read this one as well. I am glad I didn't listen to everyone else. I am checking out a few blogs now while my chili is heating up and then back to the books!!

Read-A-Thon Hour 7.5

So I am pretty much sucking at this Read-A-Thon. A woman from work just came over for an hour to talk about a problem and I couldn't really turn her away and say "Can you come back tomorrow? I have this Read-A-Thon that I need to keep up with". But there was an hour wasted. Plus I am out on a call for work soon. Hopefully I will be back in an hour. Then I can really sit down and focus. I am reading Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer right now. I am only a few chapters in by I am excited to finish it up tonight.

Everyone cross their fingers for me that I have no more work stuff come up today!!!!!

Read-A-Thon October 2009

So I am totally late starting this Read-A-Thon. In my time zone we were supposed to start at 6am but I am on call for work all weekend so I won't be able to do the whole 24 hours. But I will read as much as I can an try my best to get through the books I picked out. I hope to get 3 books read. That is how many I got read during the last Read-A-Thon.

In my TBR pile for the next 20 hours is:
Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyer
The Ask and The Answer - Patrick Ness

Hide and Seek - Ian Rankin
Ghosts of India (Doctor Who) - Mary Morris
Travelling With Che Guevera - Alberto Granado
The Shape of Snakes - Minette Walters

I would also like to try and finish The Savage Detectives - Roberto Bolano but I have been finding a pretty hard read to get through so I don't know how far I will get into it today.

For everyone out there reading Good Luck!!!!!

I will check in every few hours to blog and to read how others are doing!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Never Say Die - Tess Gerritsen

Another suspense thriller to add to the ever growing pile. This is an older Tess Gerritsen novel. I have read most of the new books and really enjoyed them. The older ones (written in the early 1990's) are shorter and I have read some not very good review about them I saw this at the Yellowknife Library and decided to pick it up for the 24 Hour-Read-A-Thon (tomorrow!!!!!). I decided to give it a read before the Read-A-Thon. says "Twenty years after her father's plane crashed in the jungles of Southeast Asia, Willy Jane Maitland was finally tracking his last moves. She recognised the dangers, but her search for the truth about that fateful flight was the only thing that mattered. Closing in on the events of that night, Willy realises that she is investigating secrets that people would kill to protect. And without knowing who to trust, the truth can be far from clear cut... "

This book was pretty cheesy. It was an easy read and I always enjoy thrillers set in Asia. I am a sucker for them - no matter how bad they are I will always finish them and always find more . I was surprised at the ending - that is always a plus. I don't know if I would ever read any more of her early novels because I liked the newer ones so much more.

Rating - 3

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Love Book Sales!!!!!

Today was a pretty exciting day for me. The library book sale took place at my local library (well local meaning the closest one to me is 1 hour away and it took quite a bit longer because there was a snow storm). I went with 2 of my friends and I have been really really excited all week. Especially with the Read-A-Thon this weekend. It was awesome to find so many new books to read.

When we got there my arms filled up with books in literally 2 minutes. Paperbacks were 1$ and hardcovers were 2$. I picked through all the tables and ended up with these:

Bones To Ashes - Kathy Reichs
Dead In Dixie - Charlaine Harris (the first 3 Sookie Stackhouse books in a hardcover version)
Seduced By The Moonlight - Laurell K. Hamilton (I seem to have bought 2 copies of this same book...silly me!)
Peony In Love - Lisa See
Notes From The Hyena's Belly - Nega Mezlekia
Travelling With Che Guevara - Alberto Granado
The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
The Flanders Panel - Arturo Perez Reverte
A Confederacy Of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
A Question Of Blood - Ian Rankin
Doors Open - Ian Rankin
Dead Souls - Ian Rankin
Fire Study - Maria V. Snyder
Uther - Jack Whyte
My Name Is Red - Orhan Pamuk
The Hunted - L.A. Banks
Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
The Loch - Steve Alten
Blackwood Farm - Anne Rice
Exit Music - Ian Rankin

I got 20 books for 27$. Not too bad I think! I am so excited for all of these new books! I have so many new Ian Rankin novels to read I don't even know where to start!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Stupidest Angel - Christopher Moore

I love Christopher Moore books. I remember getting my first one (Practical Demonkeeping) when I was in high school in Halifax at the used bookstore. I remember thinking "Damn, I have found myself a killer author". And I was right, his books have only gotten better from there. The Stupidest Angel brings back a ton of old characters from his other novels. Which makes it awesome. You don't need to have read tho other books to get this one - but it does make it a bit funnier.

Since I have a difficult time summing up Christopher Moore novels, I will let have the honors! "'Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas and little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a Christmas miracle. Josh is sure he saw Santa take a shovel to the head and now the seven year old has only one prayer: Please Santa, come back from the dead! But coming to Earth, seeking a small child whose wish needs granting, is none other than Archangel Raziel. Unfortunately, he's not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch and before you can say 'Kris Kringle,' he's botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen."

It is a great Christmas novel with just enough holiday spirit and profanity to make it a hilarious read. My favorite character is a tie between Molly (the ex B-movie star nut case) and Tuck Case (who we saw before in Island of the Sequined Love Nun). Both characters are strange and funny and I hope there are real people out in the world just like them!

Reading this book makes me want to go back and reread all the Christopher Moore books again. Maybe you should too!

Rating - 4

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's - John Elder Robison

I found this book on the wall of the library promoting Mental Health Day. I thought it looked pretty interesting and I always need a good non-fiction book to read on my lunch break at work. When I got the book I was unaware that the author was the brother of Augusten Burroughs (the author of Running With Scissors). For anyone who has read Running With Scissors, you must realize how insane the family was and I knew that this book was going to be interesting.

This was a really amazing look into the life of someone with Asperger's Syndrome. According to Wikipedia, Asperger's Syndrome is "an autism spectrum disorder, and people with it therefore show significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests". This book was so interesting because the author didn't realize he had Aspergers until he was quite old - in his late 30's. He had been taken to a number of mental health specialists when he was younger and they all said he was just bad and deviant - no one knew he actually had a medical condition. Learning about his childhood and am surprised that John Elder Robison turned out as well as he did. It must have been so difficult to have everyone telling you that you are pretty much a sociopath when you actually have a medical condition.

I loved how John Elder Robison wrote the book explaining why he does and says the things the way that he does them. He takes us through his thinking process and that gave me a lot of insight into Asperger's. This book had some really funny parts to it and some great stories that made me laugh out loud. A good read!

Rating - 3

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Knots and Crosses - Ian Rankin

I was at a new friends house on the weekend and I noticed they had a few Ian Rankin novels on the shelf. Ian Rankin has been on my TBR list now for a number of years. I just always had a hard time finding the first novel in the John Rebus series. My good luck was that they had it!! I took it home, finished the book I was currently reading and then dived right into Knots and Crosses.

The book is about Detective Sergeant John Rebus, a seemingly broken man who lives in Edinburgh and sees a side to the city that the tourists do not. Rebus is divorced, with a thirteen year old daughter Samantha he hardly sees. When Rebus is put on a murder/kidnapping case that involves young girls - Rebus finds out that something from his past has come back to haunt him. The book is short and we get an introduction to many characters that will be in the rest of the series (like Rebus's hypnotist brother Michael and the newspaper man Jim Stevens). I liked the novel because it was fast paced and had a lot of different voices in it.

Edinburgh is also a main character in the novel. Hopefully this will continue throughout the series because I love when an author uses a city to its full potential. I was in Edinburgh a few months back and I can picture some of the places that Ian Rankin describes in Knots and Crosses. Actually being to a city where a novel takes place brings the novel to life for me because I am putting myself in the novel. Edinburgh is a wonderful city to experience first hand as well as in literature.

I have the next on the series, Hide and Seek, sitting on my shelf. I will give it some time before I jump into this. I may save it for the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. I always need something to keep my attention during those things!

Rating - 4

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Certain Girls - Jennifer Weiner

I had read the prequel to this book, Good In Bed a number of years ago and remember really loving it! Since then I have read a lot of Jennifer Weiner's books and when I heard about this book I was really excited to read it.

The novel is about Cannie and her thirteen year old daughter Joy. Cannie is a very overprotective mother (Joy was born premature and had a lot of difficulties including speech problems and hearing loss) and Joy is just trying to be a normal teenage girl. Cannie wrote a book 10 years previous that was somewhat based on her life and her experience getting pregnant with Joy, having a baby with medical issues and marrying a man who was not her baby's father. When Joy reads this she is shocked at her mothers life and the secrets she seems to have.

The book is about a mother and a daughter and the fact that it is sometimes hard to communicate. These two females were the center of the book - Peter, Cannie's husband was in it, as was Bruce, Joy's father but to me they seemed to have smaller roles. This was a book about a mother and daughter relationship. I liked this book because the way the acted and spoke to each other seemed real. My own experience with my mother is usually wonderful but sometimes she just says something the wrong way (or as I see it as the wrong way) and it makes me snappy and cranky. Cannie and Joy had that kind of relationship. I also loved that the family was Jewish. I haven't read very much fiction that involves Jewish tradition. Joy is going for her bat mitzvah and I really learned a lot about it by reading this book.

All in all it was a fun, easy, girly read. Sometimes thats just what a girl needs!

Rating - 3

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sylvanus Now - Donna Morrissey

Sylvanus Now is a wonderful book set in a small fishing village in Newfoundland in the 1950's - 60's. Sylvanus Now is a young man who has only one true calling in life - and that is to fish the way his father and his grandfather fished. He also is in love with and marries a woman named Adelaide. Adelaide is a woman who had great dreams of educating her self and getting away from the world of fish and the sea. This story chronicles Sylvanus and Adelaide's life together and how the emergence of international boats trawling in Newfoundland waters effected the their lives.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was really powerful and moving. Coming from an area of Canada myself where fishing has been one of the main industries, I could relate with some of the characters points of view and perspectives. Also it being set in the 1950's allowed to already know the outcome of the difficulties faced by Newfoundlanders when international boats started fishing their waters. All of the fears in the book about how sustainable fishing could not be practiced when huge boats were hauling everything in with no regard for how it was affected the ecosystem of the sea turned out to be very true and really heartbreaking.

I loved all the characters in the book. I loved how quite Sylvanus is and how much he loved Adelaide - no matter what. She is a difficult woman but a good woman. In my eyes they were absolutely perfect for each other. They both had strengths and issues and needed each other.

I have read other books by Donna Morrissey and loved those as well. Everyone should check her out!

Rating - 4

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Handle With Care - Jodi Picoult

If you have read any of my previous postings about Jodi Picoult books you will know I have a love/hate relationship with her novels. This one was no exception really. The only thing that was different was that I didn't really go "what?!?!?!" until the very end of the book. In her others this usually happened about the middle,

Handle With Care is another controversial novel. It is about a young girl named Willow who has osteogenesis imperfecta - a very severe form of brittle bone disease. Her mother Charlotte decides to sue the obstetrician (her best friend) in a wrongful birth suit because she thinks she could have noticed the disease earlier on in Charlotte's pregnancy. And then Charlotte would have had had the choice to terminate the pregnancy. Charlotte believes she is doing this for her daughter to have a better life - Willow's disease has cost the family a lot of money and Charlotte believes the money they will get from the lawsuit will give Willow a chance to have all the things she needs. But Charlotte must be willing to say that she might never have had WIllow if she could have chose. And it also could destroy her other daughter and her marriage.

This book to me is not about abortion or a woman' right to choose. To me it was about the sacrifices people make for the ones they love and the lengths they will go to create oppurtunities for them. Charlotte was willing to ruin her own life to helm make Willow's more comfortable. Its amazing to me how Charlotte's character was able to cope so well with her community and family against her thinking she was an unfit mother and just money hungry. I really loved the relationship between Charlotte and Sean. They both had such strong convictions and really had to look at their marriage and whether or not they were worth saving after all they had been through.

I actually really enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written and it was a book that I didn't want to put down. It was horrifying reading about all the breaks that Willow had went through - especially the ones she had when she was a baby. Maybe because I am getting to the age where I am thinking about children but this book made me realize how lucky I was to be born healthy and how hard it must be for parents of children who were born with disabilities. It scares me to think of all the complications are possible when having baby. I have been lucky that almost all of my friends and family have been born healthy.

I am reading this book for my Facebook Book Club Babes In Toyland and am really excited to discuss this with the other women in the group. It is a great book for discussion - but it has the potential to get really heated!

Rating - 4

Monday, October 5, 2009

Been Away For A While has been over a month since I wrote. I have been in the process of moving and then didn't have the internet for a while. I finally got my apartment sorted out this weekend and am back and ready to blog! I actually haven't even read a lot this month because the only furniture I had on my apartment was an air mattress - and that isn't conducive to reading. But now I am settled and have a wonderful new reclining chair to sit in while I am reading.

I moved to the Northwest Territories a few weeks ago. I am about an hour away from Yellowknife - far enough to be in the woods but close enough that I can get to the library on the weekend. The Yellowknife Library is wonderful!!! It has so many great books and a huge collection of audiobooks and DVD's. I got some great titles to read in the upcoming weeks -The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano, Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner, Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey, Don't Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison and the book I am reading now for my online book club, Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult. I really enjoy going to this library - there are a lot of seats to sit and read magazines and a great section of recommendation by the staff. There is a library book sale on a few weeks that I can't wait to attend! I am so happy to have a library again!

So now I need to focus on my reading. I am at 105 books so far this year. I only read 5 since the last week of August. I was hoping to get to 150 by the New Year but the lull in September may have messed up my goal. But I guess it will start getting cold soon and I will be spending more time inside with a good book!