Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Tales of Beedle The Bard - J.K. Rowling

My mother picked this book up for me for Christmas and I absolutely loved it. It is a tiny book by the author of Harry Potter. There are five bedtime stories written for young wizards and witches. They are like our "Muggle" fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty and The Three Little Pigs except with magical morals and messages!

The one thing I absolutely loved about this book was the commentary about each story at the end by Albus Dumbledore. It made me laugh and made me remember how much I loved being immersed in the world of Harry Potter. I wish I had never read any of the Harry Potter novels so that I could read them for the first time all over again!

There is not too much to say about this book - I don't want to give anything away from these short stories. I just recommend this quick read if you love Harry Potter and need something to lift your spirits!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Spanish Bow - Andromeda Romano Lax

I had this book on my list now for a couple of months now and had heard some great things about it from reading other bloggers reviews. This book is historical fiction that revolves around music and the world wars. says “Feliu Delargo, an underprivileged child prodigy whose musical ability brings him into contact with world leaders, first-class artists and a life filled with loss and triumph. Their father killed in Cuba just before the Spanish-American War, Feliu, his three brothers and one sister manage a meager life in Campo Seco, a small Catalan town, while their strong-willed mother fends off suitors. At 14, Feliu and his mother travel to Barcelona, where a cello tutor agrees to take on Feliu as a student. Over the years, as Feliu establishes himself, he crosses path with Justo Al-Cerra, an egotistical, manipulative pianist, and their touring leads to an intertwining of lives that becomes more complicated when they encounter Aviva, a violinist with her own emotional damage. As the trio tour and Europe careens toward WWII, Romano-Lax weaves into the narrative historical figures from Spanish royalty to Franco and Hitler, giving Feliu the opportunity to ponder the roles of morality in art and art in politics.”

I found this book a bit hard to get into. Perhaps it was the music aspect of it that I found a bit tedious or it could have been that I did not relate to any of the characters in the novel. Usually I really enjoy reading books set in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s and I was surprised that I found this book a struggle. I did love the beginning of the novel that describes Feliu’s birth and how his name was changed from Feliz (as his mother had wanted). The book seemed to fall a bit flat for me after that and I found myself often looking at the pages I had left, wishing I was closer to the end. I hate when I have this feeling around books that I am initially excited for. I think that if I was a lover of classical music I would have found this book more appealing as it is based on somewhat true events. The description of Feliu’s love of music is wonderful and made me wish I had a passion that intense. Well maybe I do – books!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pretty Dead Things - Barbara Nadel

Another exciting murder-mystery/crime fiction set in Istanbul by British author Barbara Nadel. I had found her books when I was living in Turkey and was really happy to find one of her books in the library in Yellowknife. This book is a newer novel in the Inspector Ikmen series. Inspector Ikmen is one of the best policeman Istanbul has to offer - but he seems to always be involved in solving bizarre crimes and relying on the intuition that his mother (a local self proclaimed witch) has given him.

According to "When Emine Aksu, the flamboyant wife of an Istanbul style guru, suddenly goes missing, Inspector Cetin Ikmen's investigation leads him deep into her strange and colourful past. Emine was a hippie when she was younger, who wholeheartedly enjoyed the liberated lifestyle that swept across Istanbul in the sixties. Her husband suspects that she was visiting an old friend at the time of her disappearance. Meanwhile, Inspector Mehmet Suleyman is called to a terrifying scene at the art deco Kamondo Stairs in the old banking district of Karakoy. The skeleton of a woman has been discovered in one of the large plant containers. Could these two bizarre incidents be linked?"

The first thing I noticed about this book was the cover. There is a beautiful shot of a mosque in Istanbul and it reminded me of my trip to the Blue Mosque with my mother last summer. Living in the North now (where -40 is a normal winter temperature) has made me miss the warmth and the ancient beauty of Turkey. I love the characters in these books and they get more and more interesting after every new novel. The mysteries of Turkey are so different then ones that could happen in North America; maybe thats why I am so interested in them - like the underground tunnels and cisterns. This was a good and easy read and I am looking forward to the next Barbara Nadel book to come my way!

Rating - 3

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tooth and Nail - Ian Rankin

This is the third Ian Rankin novel I have read in the Inspector Rebus series....but I feel like I have read so many more then that. I feel like that is a sign of a great series. In this novel Rebus is called down to London to help on the Wolfman case - a case where women are being viciously murdered and there stomachs being bitten open. Rebus has a tough time down in London - some cops are not happy to have an outsider, while others just seem not to be able to understand a word he says! This novel has a great chase scene as well as some graphic autopsy depictions. There is an interesting Canadian character in this book - I always love when there are some Canadians in my favorite novels.

I love Rebus more and more with each novel. I am kicking myself for not reading these books when I was in Edinburgh this summer. Especially because he did a reading at the book festival I was at and I didn't attend it because I didn't know who he was! My downstairs neighbour read this just before i did so we had a nice chat about it afterwards. I love when people have read the same books as I have recently and want to talk about them. I think I may have to start a bookclub here - it would was soooo much fun in Seoul and I made some amazing friends.

I don't have anymore Rebus books to read for the next little while - I guess I will be ordering from soon. I still have so many books on my shelf to read - over 65 to get to. I know I should stop buying (and stop going to the library) but its really harder then it seems. CHristmas is coming as well - who knows what nice presents I will receive in book form!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Skylight Confessions - Alice Hoffman

This book made me sad. I don’t believe it was a good choice for me to read at this time, especially going through some of the personal stuff I am going through. I started reading it Saturday morning for the Read-A-Thon I was participating in and got through the first part (about 100 pages) and started feeling pretty down. Books affect me sometimes like that. My mood can be altered by what I am reading and this one sure did bring me down. I actually didn’t read anything else for a few days afterwards until I got up the nerve to finish it. gives this description of Skylight Confessions, “On the day of her father's funeral, 17-year-old Arlyn Singer decides the first man who walks down the street will be her one love. That night, Yale senior John Moody stops to ask directions, and Arlyn and John take the first passionate steps toward what will become a marriage of heartache and mutual betrayal.”

I absolutely hated John Moody. I hated how he took his wife and children for granted…or maybe that is not even the right word because he did not pay attention to anyone of them enough to even notice they were there. Books about one person loving another more and marriages that are filled with one sided love always get to me. They make me feel like there is no hope and how does a person find someone else who will love them as much as they do.

This was a well written book and I found some of the other characters really interesting. I just wish the book had turned out differently and that there wasn’t so much heartbreak in it. I guess if I am looking for a feel good book I have to go back to some chick-lit novels!

Rating - 3

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another Read A Thon!

Today I am going to try and participate in the Read A Thon that Dreadlock girl is hosting ( I have quite a few books to finish up before this year is through and today is a perfect opportunity to to that. I have some things I need to do this afternoon but I should be able to get a good morning of reading in and finish a book or two!

So good luck to everyone participating!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dead To The World - CHarlaine Harris

It took a few good nights to finish the fourth installment of the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series. It didn't take me that long because it was hard to get through or because I didn't enjoy it - it took me so long because I wanted it to last. After watching the first season of True Blood, I find reading the books so amazing because it is like watching the movie in my head! I know what the characters look like (and have made up the ones I don't) so sometimes reading a chapter is like watching an episode!

The fourth installment has Sookie watching over Eric, the head vampire for the district because he has lost his memory and there are some bad witches on the lookout for him. Sookie's brother Jason also goes missing and we know that there probably is some supernatural reasoning for it! This book is a bit different from the others because Bill isn't a major player in them. There are new characters - including a sexy fairy - that come into pay and we start to see how many supernatural beings are really out there besides vampires and warewolves. There is lots of humor, blood and in this book quite a bit more sex then the others.

I am going on a trip to New Orleans in the new year so I am super excited to eat some of Louisiana's finest food that they are always speaking about in these books. I wonder if I will see any vampires lurking around through the streets? After Interview With A Vampire (and other Anne Rice books) and now True Blood - I bet I m not the first to go to Louisiana with that question on my mind!

Rating - 5