Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting On Wednesday is a great meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. I love being able to show off some new books coming out in the new year that I'm really excited to read. 

This week my WoW pick is:
Release Date is March 2012

Winter, 1862. A malevolent spirit roams the cold and gloomy streets of Victorian London, the vampiric ghost of John Polidori, the one-time physician of the mad, bad, and dangerous Romantic poet Lord Byron. Polidori is also the supernatural muse to his niece and nephew, poet Christina Rossetti and her artist brother Dante Gabriel.

But Polidori's taste for debauchery has grown excessive. He is determined to possess the life and soul of an innocent young girl, the daughter of a veterinarian and a reformed prostitute he once haunted. And he has resurrected Dante's dead wife, transforming her into a horrifying vampire. The Rossettis know the time has come-Polidori must be stopped. Joining forces with the girl's unlikely parents, they are plunged into a supernatural London underworld whose existence they never suspected.

These wildly mismatched allies-a straitlaced animal doctor, an ex-prostitute, a poet, a painter, and even the Artful-Dodger-like young daughter-must ultimately choose between the banality and constraits of human life and the unholy immortality that Polidori offers. Sweeping from high society to grimy slums, elegant West End salons to pre-Roman catacombs beneath St. Paul's cathedral, Hide Me Among the Graves blends the historical and the supernatural in a dazzling, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride.

I really love the fact that this brings together historical and supernatural in one story. What are you waiting on today?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted over at The Story Siren. This is a great way to show off what things you have received this past week or so.

For me this week was very sparse with what I received. But still some great goodies!

First I got an ebook from a self-published author called Ties to the Blood Moon. You can check out my review and a great giveaway here.

I also received an ARC of Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James that I won from a goodreads contest.

And finally my copy of Half-blood Blues came in the mail this week! I have been waiting for it for weeks! And what makes it even better is that it's signed!!! (Sorry no picture at the moment).

What did you guys get this past week?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Review & Author Interview + Giveaway!!

Publisher: Published on smashwords
Received: eGalley given by author in exchange for honest review
Release Date: November 1, 2011

Purchase from: Smashwords/Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Genevieve is a teenage girl who moves in with her aunt in Alaska after the death of her mother. Soon after her arrival she learns the things she was raised to believe only existed in fairytales are in fact a big part of her history. When it gets to be too much she seeks refuge in the arms of her new boyfriend, William, only to find out he's not who she thought he was either.

Interview With Robin!

A: Firstly, welcome and thank you for doing this interview! It’s great to have you here. I love the Alaskan setting of the story, did you have to do any research for this novel for the ideas of what kind of things they believe in?

R:Thanks Andrea for the opportunity to be a guest on your awesome site.  As an author, I’m sure I am supposed to say I do extensive research, but I do not. I am a “write by the seat of your pants” type of writer, therefore I only research on an as needed basis.
A: All the characters have their own quirks to them, which one was your favourite to write?

R: Genevieve, of course. She is everything I would have loved to have been at her age. But I also must say I enjoyed writing Joseph’s character as well. Even though William is technically her boyfriend, Joseph is funny, sensitive, caring, compassionate, and gorgeous—all the things any girl would hope for in a boyfriend.

A: How many more books are you planning for this series? And do you already have an idea of how everything is going to end?

R: At least two, possibly three. I have no idea where it will end. In my mind these characters are very real, and I’m just not ready to even think about saying good-bye.

A: With all the vampire/werewolves stories out there already, what made you decide to write this story?
R: A while back I had a crazy dream, and for a long time I have envisioned these characters in my head, but never put them to paper. I’ve watched the different shows and movies, but none of them shared my ideas, so I finally decided to write them out. Even if nobody bought the books, I had at least immortalized these characters I fell in love with.

A:What inspired you to become a writer?

R: I was always a great storyteller. If my mom was still alive she could tell you how some of my more colorful stories got me into trouble more than once. I also wrote several short stories while in college, but never took it any farther. What really inspired me to take the plunge was when I picked up a terrible book about a year ago. It was so bad in fact, I couldn’t even get through the first chapter. I decided then that if someone could write that bad and get published…i had nothing to lose.

A: What do you find the most difficult thing about being a self-published author?
R: Door continually being slammed in our faces. Many people think that because we choose to self publish that somehow we are not worthy writers. I’m here to say there are good and bad everywhere—traditionally published as well as self published.

A: What is your favourite book of all time, and why?

R: The Bible. It’s only because of my strong beliefs that I have been able to accomplish all the things I have.

See details for giveaway below.

My Review:

I was surprisingly impressed by this novel, what with all the vampire novels already out there. I think this is a great YA novel and I can't wait to read more from Robin. The Alaskan setting was what really caught my attention throughout the story because it is so different, I don't think I've actually read something set in Alaska.

The one thing I really loved about this book was the whole mythological aspect of a story being told for years and everyone waiting for their princess to come and save them. It added in a different theme from many of the vampire books that are already out there. I loved the added fact that she is not just a normal teenager either, and that she has a stake in the paranormal activity that is happening around her.

Robin does a great job of blowing your mind with things that just weren't expected throughout the novel (most of these secrets come out in the second half). But I love a novel that just keeps you guessing throughout! I also enjoyed that Genevieve slowly went through changes and nothing magically came to her. I really enjoy the characters progress throughout the novel and that as a reader I get to understand why Gen decides some of the things she does (at times it does not make sense, but most everything is answered in the end).

The only thing that got me with this book was the instant attraction and love that Gen had for William. I find that in a lot of books and just don't find it believable. Luckily it was only a small thing and didn't take away from the rest of the story.

Can't wait to see what comes next Robin!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine. This lets bloggers talk about what they are most excited for, and give the chance to show off some books that have not been heard about yet.

My WoW pick this week is:

Release date: January 24th, 2012
Harper Collins

Fate has not been kind to Gemma Hardy. Orphaned by the age of ten, neglected by a bitter and cruel aunt, sent to a boarding school where she is both servant and student, young Gemma seems destined for a life of hardship and loneliness. Yet her bright spirit burns strong. Fiercely intelligent, singularly determined, Gemma overcomes each challenge and setback, growing stronger and more certain of her path. Now an independent young woman with dreams of the future, she accepts a position as an au pair on the remote and beautiful Orkney Islands.

But Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin . . . a journey of passion and betrayal, secrets and lies, redemption and discovery that will lead her to a life she's never dreamed.

I love Harper Collins' books and this one sounds really interesting. I also love the fact that it is described as a new telling of Jane Eyre!\

What are you waiting for today??

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: Brick Lane by Monica Ali

Publisher: Scribner
Pages: 432
Received: Given to by friend

Release Date: June 21, 2004

Goodreads Synopsis:

A captivating read from a debut novelist, Brick Lane brings the immigrant milieu of East London to vibrant life. With great poignancy, Ali illuminates a foreign world; her well-developed characters pull readers along on a deeply psychological, almost spiritual journey. Through the eyes of two Bangladeshi sisters -- the plain Nazneen and the prettier Hasina -- we see the divergent paths of the contemporary descendants of an ancient culture. Hasina elopes to a "love marriage," and young Nazneen, in an arranged marriage, is pledged to a much older man living in London.

Ali's skillful narrative focuses on Nazneen's stifling life with her ineffectual husband, who keeps her imprisoned in a city housing project filled with immigrants in varying degrees of assimilation. But Ali reveals a bittersweet tension between the "two kinds of love" Nazneen and her sister experience -- that which begins full and overflowing, only to slowly dissipate, and another which emerges like a surprise, growing unexpectedly over years of faithful commitment. Both of these loves have their own pitfalls: Hasina's passionate romance crumbles into domestic violence, and Nazneen's marriage never quite reaches a state of wedded bliss.

Though comparisons have drawn between Ali and Zadie Smith, a better comparison might be made between this talented newcomer and the work of Amy Tan, who so deftly portrays the immigrant experience with empathy and joy.

My Review:

This book sounded really interesting to me, I had heard a lot about it and it got some great reviews (I even had it on my TBR list for a few years). Sadly, I was disappointed by this book and couldn't even finish it. It's rare that I don't finish a book! I just couldn't find myself getting into this story.

The biggest issue I had with this book was that it was too descriptive, to the point that the descriptions were taking over what was happening in the story. I found that I didn't understand what the main character was going through because she was too busy describing every little thing that she encounters (for example what her friends house looks like, which is described every time she goes there). When I'm reading I like to become engrossed in the story and reading description after description takes away from the main point of the story.

Another slight issue I had was how the story was told through Hasina's eyes, it was all in letter to Nazneen and I found it difficult to understand some of the things that were happening because of the writing style (I understand that this was Monica's way of showing readers that Hasina was not taught proper grammar, but at times it was too difficult). I also felt that at the times readers were learning about Hasina's life, many things were happening in Nazneen's life that we miss out on. Monica seems to jump ahead of time (at one point a significant amount of time is passed... I think it was 10 years or so), and I feel like major events happened in that space.

I do think this could have been an interesting story, the idea is different and does catch attention. But in my opinion I would not recommend this book, it was just too difficult to get through.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. This gives us a chance to show us what we received in the past week. Since I wasn't able to post last week, this week I'm showing what things I've received over the past two weeks.

I went to the Scotiabank Giller Light Party and they gave out some nice grab bags full of stuff, including treats some magazines and a couple books (one being an advance copy). 

My lovely coworker Christa from Hooked on Books brought me some great goodies from The Ontario Blogger Meet Up. I was so happy to get The Cat's Table (wanted it for awhile). 

I won some great things on Halloween (The Penalty Killing was from the trick-or-tweet game McClelland and Stewart and Random House put on). And I won some signed books from Indigo!

I won this book for taking part in CBC's 75th anniversary. 

Had to buy this when I saw how great a deal Chapters was giving that day (50% off, plus another 10% for iRewards members... yay!)

And lastly some books I borrowed from my boyfriend's cousin. She kept telling me I had to read The Alchemist.

I got a good haul these last couple of weeks. What have you guys received in your mailbox?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Review: The Bastard by Brenda Novak

Publisher: Self-published by Brenda Novak
Received: eGalley from Author/Publisher

Release Date: November 1, 2011

Goodreads Synopsis:

To some men honor is just a word….

Jeannette Boucher, a young French beauty from a family left penniless by the revolution, must marry against her will to save them all from ruin. But almost immediately after the vows are spoken, she learns that her old English husband is impotent—and in his desire for an heir, he plans to compromise her in the worst way.

Determined to escape such a fate, she stows away on one of His Majesty’s frigates. But a woman alone is in constant danger.

To Lieutenant Treynor, honor means everything….

Born a bastard to a wayward marquise, Lieutenant Crawford Treynor was given to a poor farmer to raise and was maltreated until he ran away to join the Royal Navy. Treynor is determined to prove he’s as good as any other man and rise to captain his own frigate. But once he finds Jeannette aboard The Tempest he must decide whether to return her to the man he knows would abuse her—or risk everything, even his life, to keep her safe.


So this is my first romance novel, and the words I have are "Oh My" (continuously). I thought I would try out a romance novel and this one peaked my interest, being classified as a historical romance. I am sorry I did not delve into romance novels earlier. I admit, I could not put this book down! This novel had romance, action, and crime.

Lieutenant Treynor... can I just say yum!! Who wouldn't want a handsome, yet rugged sailor to be their 'knight in shining armour'. I'll take him. And his fiery attitude just draws you in deeper. I can barely come up with words, the book just left me breathless. I just want to keep reading it (but I have a feeling all romances are like this).

The one thing that I thought Brenda Novak did really well was the teasing of the readers. I found myself expecting the romance to come but it was over as soon as it started, and I had to keep coming back. The heat and passion between Jeannette and Treynor is to die for.

I'm definitely glad I started with this book for my first romance novel! I will come back for more from Brenda Novak if they are all along these lines (the historical aspect of it is what really grips me).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: Angels by Marian Keyes

Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 488
Received: Given to by friend

Release Date: June 1, 2002

Goodreads Synopsis:

Maggie has always been the white sheep of the Walsh family. Unlike her comically dysfunctional sisters, Rachel (heroine of Rachel's Holiday)and Claire (heroine of Watermelon), she married a decent man who adored her and found herself a solid career. Where Rachel was reckless and Claire dramatic, Maggie settled early for safety. Or so she believed until she discovers that her husband is having an affair and her boss is going to fire her. Suddenly, her perfectly organized life has become a perfect mess.

Devastated, she decides the only thing to do is to run for the shelter of her best friend, Emily, who lives in Los Angeles. There, with the help of sunshine and long days at the beach, she will lick her wounds and decide where life will take her next.But from the moment she lands in the City of Angels, things are not quite what she expected. Overnight, she's mixing with movie stars, even pitching film scripts to studios. Most unexpectedly of all, she finds that just because her marriage is over, it doesn't mean her life is. In the end neither the City of Angels nor Maggie Walsh will ever be the same again.

My Review:

I have to say this book was beautiful! I love Marian Keyes’ writing style. She makes me feel like I’ve met up with my best friend after 5 years and we spend all weekend catching up on each other’s lives. I go to Marian’s books when things are difficult in my life. This book is one in a series of books about the Walsh family, each of the books being about a different child in the family and her problems. So far this one is my favourite of the series.

All her characters are very quirky and interesting. But the one thing I really love about her books are that they are great books to go to when you think your family is embarrassing and you can’t stand to be around them, you realize there are worse families out there. Keyes always has the same way of writing her novels, there is always more to the story then what it seems in the beginning. I enjoy how as a reader we work with the character through her problems but we don’t know the entire truth to her. I find it’s like reacquainting yourself with a friend, slowly the entire truth of her life comes out and that’s when you finally understand why she feels the way she does.  

In this story, Maggie needs to get away from everything so she goes to Los Angeles. I love that everyone in LA are the stereotypical LA people. Everyone is so engrossed in becoming famous, either by being an actor or being a writer (for the movies) that it takes over their lives. I find myself laughing at the ridiculousness of most of the people that you meet along with Maggie. Of course like in real life, you can’t run away from your problems and everything follows Maggie on her vacation to a point that this is a laugh-out-loud (wherever you are) kind of story.

Also by Marian Keyes:
Sushi for Beginners
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married
This Charming Man

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge

This is definitely a challenge I have to take part in! I have so many books that I have bought over the years (most of the them classics) that I have still not had the time to read. This will definitely help me go through that pile. I'm going to stick with the first level (A Firm Handshake) for now but try to work my way up. 

Welcome to 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge!!!

We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us.. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up..

Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you've been telling yourself you'll read next time you'll get a chance.. This is your chance! And we've got PRIZES!!! :D

Challenge guidelines: 

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it'sunique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this monthFor each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL. 
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children


Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions

Review: iBoy by Kevin Brooks

Publisher: The Chicken House
Page Count: 304 pages
Received: From Ontario Blog Squad

Release Date: November 1, 2011

Goodreads Synopsis:

What can he do with his new powers -- and what are they doing to him?

Before the attack, Tom Harvey was just an average teen. But a head-on collision with high technology has turned him into an actualized App. Fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain. And they're having an extraordinary effect on his every thought. 

Because now Tom knows, sees, and can do more than any normal boy ever could. But with his new powers comes a choice: To avenge Lucy, the girl he loves, will he hunt down the vicious gangsters who hurt her? Will he take the law into his own electric hands and exterminate them from the South London housing projects where, by fear and violence, they rule?

Not even his mental search engine can predict the shocking outcome of iBoy's actions. 

My Review *Possible spoilers*

When I looked at this book I thought that it was a really interesting storyline, definitely something I have never heard of before! I mean really, a book about a boy who is basically an iPhone! where do people come up with these ideas?

I found this to be a really quick read, I couldn't get myself to put it down (really who needs sleep anyway). The storyline progressed really quick and I found myself engrossed in what was happening to Tom and how he dealt with it. There are a lot of great action scenes throughout the novel where Tom really gets to be an action hero (it's great the small geek getting to be the guy people are scared of).

I was a little disappointed by the ending, I found that with everything that happened, the ending kind of fizzled out a little (though there was a nice big bang right before, which would be hard to follow). I just found that there were still a few things left unexplained at the end of the book (like what exactly happened with "iBoy").

More from Kevin Brooks
Black Rabbit Summer
Kissing the Rain
Martyn Pig

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. This lets us talk about new books that are coming out that we are anxiously waiting for.

My pick this week is...

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind
by Meg Medina

Release Date: March 13th, 2012 

What the book is about

Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds mercifully stopped, an unshakable belief in the girl's protective powers began. All her life, Sonia has been asked to pray for sick mothers or missing sons, as worried parents and friends press silver milagros in her hands. Sonia knows she has no special powers, but how can she disappoint those who look to her for solace? Still, her conscience is heavy, so when she gets a chance to travel to the city and work in the home of a wealthy woman, she seizes it. At first, Sonia feels freedom in being treated like all the other girls. But when news arrives that her beloved brother has disappeared while looking for work, she learns to her sorrow that she can never truly leave the past or her family behind. With deeply realized characters, a keen sense of place, a hint of magical realism, and a flush of young romance, Meg Medina tells the tale of a strongwilled, warmhearted girl who dares to face life's harsh truths as she finds her real power.

What are you waiting on today?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje

Publisher: McClelland and Stewart
Page Count: 265
Received: From Ontario Blog Squad

Release Date: August 30, 2011

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly "Cat's Table" with an eccentric and unforgettable group of grownups and two other boys. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys find themselves immersed in the worlds and stories of the adults around them. At night they spy on a shackled prisoner -- his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever.

Looking back from deep within adulthood, and gradually moving back and forth from the decks and holds of the ship to the years that follow the narrator unfolds a spellbinding and layered tale about the magical, often forbidden discoveries of childhood and the burdens of earned understanding, about a life-long journey that began unexpectedly with a sea voyage.

My Review:

Ever wonder what  it would be like to be a child with no parents around watching over your every move. This is a dream to every child (it is still my dream and I am 22). I enjoyed imagining myself on the ship taking part in all the different adventures, feeling free knowing that it's easier to get away with things.

I am not usually a fan of books that do not focus on a plot throughout the story and jump around all over the place, but I was pleasantly surprised with this book! I really enjoyed how Michael takes his readers on an adventure meeting all these different characters with so many little quirks to them.

I found this book was a little like short stories being put together but all connecting with one another, and it was really interesting to read and connect the different narrators (the young one on the ship, and the character in the present... years after). I love that Ondaatje doesn't overtake the book with descriptions of everything, he really lets the reader think for themselves... I hate when everything is described so that you don't get to have your own picture in your mind!

Michael did a great job taking his readers on this adventure with his character (also named Michael). This is definitely not a typical coming-of-age story that a reader would normally get that takes you through his life and the past describes his future, this story just brings two different versions of a character together, but the reader does not get a big explanation as to the adventures of the younger version being an influence on the older versions life. Everything just slowly comes together on it's own. A definite literary novel! This book was beautifully written and I can't wait for Michael to take me on a new adventure in the future.

Other Books By Michael Ondaatje:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Publisher: Pocket Books
Page Count: 465
Source: Given to by friend

Publication Date: August 4, 1992

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. Meet Dolores Price. She's 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi that her anxious mother supplies. When she finally orbits into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she's determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before she really goes under.

My Review:

I surprisingly enjoyed this book. I was really nervous to read a male's perspective on a woman's life but I think Wally Lamb did a great job! I will admit there were a few sections where you could tell it was a male writing this, knowing that he couldn't understand some things that Dolores would be thinking and had some misconceptions about a woman's thinking (but it wasn't predominant).

What I loved most about this book was that as a reader I got to grow up with Dolores through all her trials and tribulations. Most books I find are not so in depth about the character's entire life, usually they take place over a few years. I think Wally did a great job telling this story through the eyes of Dolores, showing how hard life can be for people with weight problems (but other problems as well).

The one thing about the book that I was not a fan of was the whole substory of Dolores identifying with a whale (just because she was overweight). It just seems like a bit of a cliche to add that in. Wally definitely has an amazing writing style that draws the reader in from the first page. I didn't want to stop, I always wanted to see what Dolores would do next and when and how all her actions would finally catch up with her.

I would definitely recommend this to a young woman. It is a great coming-of-age story and really shows that life is hard on everyone and that you make your life what it is in a way. This book goes on my to reread in the future shelf!

Other books by Wally Lamb:
I Know This Much Is True
The Hour I First Believed
Couldn't Keep It to Myself

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Giller Light Party Recap

So I went off to the 10th anniversary party for the Giller Light last night and I have to say it was a blast! There were so many people to chat with, and some great music and of course lots  of dancing! They got a live band this year! There were also great appetizers being served throughout the night. The venue was absolutely gorgeous, it was at The Burroughes downtown Toronto, and you could go out on the roof (which had a spectacular view, sorry no pictures since my camera battery died before the party).

First off I have to say congratulations to the winner, Esi Edugyan for Half Blood Blues (though I haven't read it yet I've heard amazing things about it!) And a congratulations to the publisher as well, Thomas Allen! Can't wait to pick this book up.

There were some great prizes being given away, including a Kobo ereader every half hour and some great raffle prizes! They also had some volunteers selling all the short-listed books there (wish I had brought cash with me to pick up some of those...). 

At the end of the night, the organizers of the party were giving out some great swag bags for everyone who came to the party! I love the bag, on the other side is a nice little pocket (fits a book perfectly!)

I had to start digging through my bag immediately to see what goodies were in there!

Some nice new books, a couple of magazines (Walrus and Chatelaine... I LOVE Chatelaine magazine), and some nice treats... including a Ring Pop :). It was a great night to catch up with old friends and meet some new people.

Can't wait for next year!!

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives all bloggers a chance to talk about the books that they are most excited for to come on sale.

This weeks WoW pick is...

Micro by Michael Crichton

Goodreads Synopsis
Three men are found dead in the locked second-floor office of a Honolulu building, with no sign of struggle except for the ultrafine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye.

In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier.

But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

I absolutely love anything by Michael Crichton. He was a great science fiction writer and could really capture a reader's attention. All the interesting science information he writes about, and add in the mystery. His books are amazing! Plus I would love to read his last book that he wrote (though it's sad).

What are you waiting for today?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Review - The Salt Road by Jane Johnson

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Page Count: 390
Source: Given to by a friend

Publication Date: November 1, 2011

Goodreads Synopsis

Isabelle's estranged archeologist father dies, leaving her a puzzle. In a box she finds some papers and a mysterious African amulet — but their connection to her remains unclear until she embarks on a trip to Morocco to discover how the amulet came into her father's possession. When the amulet is damaged and Isabelle almost killed in an accident, she fears her curiosity has got the better of her. But Taib, her rescuer, knows the dunes and their peoples, and offers to help uncover the amulet's extraordinary history, involving Tin Hinan — She of the Tents — who made a legendary crossing of the desert, and her beautiful descendant Mariata.

Across years and over hot, shifting sands, tracking the Salt Road, the stories of Isabelle and Taib, Mariata and her lover, become entangled with that of the lost amulet. It is a tale of souls wounded by history and of love blossoming on barren ground.

My Review

This was one book that I did not like at all, it came close to being a DNF (but I hate spending time reading something to not finish it). The first chapter intrigued me a little, and I thought there would be a good mystery and maybe some action to the story, but as I read on I felt that the story dragged on with information that I did not think pertained to the story as a whole. I found I could not connect with any of the characters, and felt myself pushing to finish the story, hoping that maybe the ending would make up for it (which it didn't). 

The characters seemed a little one dimensional to me and I just couldn't find myself liking anything about them. And then the storyline of the book kept jumping back between Isabelle's story and Mariata's, but at times the one section was so long that I found myself forgetting what last happened in the other person's story. There was one part of the story where Isabelle talks about her childhood, and the information came out of nowhere (nothing led up to that scene). She then talks about a big event in her life, it is mentioned in two pages and never talked about again (and something like this would have a bigger impact on a story). 

I found Mariata's story interesting and would have liked to have a little more of that throughout the novel. I found the ending to be disappointing though, kind of like the author just needed to finish the story and that she needed to connect all the characters together. This book just could not keep my attention, I kept drifting away (I think that's the reason I could barely remember what was happening with the two different stories). 

Maybe I'll think differently a few years from now....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren that lets bloggers show off what books they have gotten over the past week.

This week I got an awesome haul of books because my boyfriend's aunt was cleaning out her house and let me take all the books I wanted (the piles in the back). They are all older books, but so many of them are on my list of books that I want to read in the future. I'm glad to know I won't have to go shopping for awhile :)

Frank McCourt - Angela's Ashes
Marian Keyes - Angels, Sushi for Beginners, Rachel's Holiday, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Marries, and Watermelon
Ian Rankin - The Flood, Exit Music, and The Naming of the Dead
John Grisham - The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Associate, The Broker and The Testament
Rebecca Wells - The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
Chuck Palahniuk - Haunted
Mark Haddon - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Kate Jacobs - The Friday Night Knitting Club
Jennifer Weiner - Good in Bed, and Little Earthquakes
Phillipa Gregory - The Virgin's Lover, and The Constant Princess
Monica Ali - Brick Lane
Wally Lamb - She's Come Undone
Miriam Towes - A Complicated Kindness
Khaled Hosseni - A Thousand Splendid Suns
Penny Vincenzi - The Best of Times

I also received The Salt Road by Jane Johnson as a housewarming gift from a friend. And Red Means Run by Brad Smith (Simon and Schuster) I received from a Goodreads contest I participated in.

What's in your mailbox this week?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Review - The Art of Fielding by David Harbach

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Page Count: 512
Source: Won from HBG Canada

Publication Date: September 7, 2011

Goodreads Synopsis

At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners' team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert's daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. 

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. It is a lot like Moby Dick, in the fact that it's a story about baseball yet at the same time it's so much more than that, just like Moby Dick is so much more than just a story about a fish. There are so many great aspects about this book including the characters. I've read a lot of books but have never really found a book with such eccentric characters who are still so real (some of the characters reminded me of people I know in my life). I found this book heartwarming and it is definitely on my list of books to re-read in the future. It shows that one incident can change so many lives at once and that people are connected in more ways than they believe.

This book brought up the questions in my mind, how much ambition is too much, and how hard should you work before it's too much? I like that a book can me think about things in my own life and it teaches me to take things one day at a time and not to put too much stock in anything. I loved that this book brought together sports and literature in such an inspiring story, and the way that Chad uses literature in a romantic way at times. The story is so full of literary allusions that it made it that much better for me (I love when books reference other literary stories). I found that at times I was not expecting what would come next. I like being surprised and not being able to predict everything that happens (not saying that I didn't see a few things coming here and there).

Chad Harbach has done a great job in entertaining his readers with this story. For being a first novel, I think this book really does well and I hope to see more stories from Chad in the future. This story is funny, and sad at times, yet completely heartwarming in the end. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives people a chance to talk about the books that we are anxiously awaiting to come out.

My pick this week is Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi!

Release Date: November 15
Publisher: Harper Collins

What this book is about:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

So many people have been talking about how great this book is. I have already started reading a lot of reviews and everyone is raving about it. I loved that Harper Collins did a day a couple weeks ago devoted to this book to promote it more. So many people took part in it, and after taking part in Shatter Day myself I am even more excited for it (especially after getting to read so much of it online that day, I need to know what happens next!)

What are you all waiting on? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review - The Lost Highway by David Adams Richards

Publisher: Anchor Canada
Page Count: 400
Source: Won through a contest

Publication Date: November 20, 2007

Goodreads Synopsis:
For twenty years, Alex Chapman has been at war with his great-uncle James, popularly known as “The Tyrant.” Disillusioned and ill-tempered, Alex believes James has destroyed his chances in life when things do not “turn out” for him. He especially resents his great-uncle for ruining his chance at happiness with his one true love, Minnie, who married another. Alex seems destined never to amount to anything more than an embittered dreamer, until the night he runs into the simple mechanic Burton Tucker. When Burton says he has just sold James Chapman a winning lottery ticket worth thirteen million dollars, Alex immediately knows that his uncle must never see the money.

My Review:

I found this book a little slow in the beginning but I am glad I pushed through the first 20 or so pages. I found the story to be very intriguing. I enjoy that the book opens up describing the characters and then you get the background story on Alex to understand why he is such an unlikeable character. In the beginning I found myself sympathizing with Alex until I got to know him better.

At times I felt that I wanted to yell at the characters in the book, just because of how their line of thought worked. I found myself thinking that if I was having a conversation with the characters while they were trying to justify their actions I would be yelling at them and telling them how stupid they were. (I actually found myself talking out loud at one specific part while I was on the subway on my way home from work...) Usually I don't find myself getting into a book with so many characters that just do not have  some likeable characteristics, but this book kept me interested. I kept wanting to know what the characters would get themselves into next. I found myself thinking that if I was having a conversation with the characters while they were trying to justify their actions I would be yelling at them and telling them how stupid they were.

The one drawback I found with this book was the I found information being repeated a few times over throughout the book. For instance one character decides he wants to be called Bourquey, I found it continually being mentioned. I feel that after the first instance a writer does not need to keep reminding a reader about that. But it is not prominent in the book and only happens a few times.

I fund this story really showed ethical dilemmas at their height and how the morals of people can determine life or death. David Adams Richards writing keeps readers entertained and questioning until the end. I read that there was mystery involved and couldn't understand where the mystery came in, until the end when he keeps you wondering what happened to the characters.

I would give this book a 4/5 stars.

Other books by David Adams Richards:
Mercy Among the Children
Nights Below Station Streets
The Friends of Meager Fortune 


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