Saturday, March 30, 2013


This is all going to be a bit spoilery, but I'll try to keep it vague.

Sever is Lauren DeStefano's final installment of the Chemical Garden Trilogy. I have been wanting to know what will happen to Rhine for what feels like ages. I definitely expected what happened to Vaughn, thought didn't expect how it happened. I pretty much figured out what the "Chemical Garden" was after I read Fever. I can't believe what happened to Linden. What happened to Gabriel was a big surprise.  I expected Rhine to spend half the book looking for him and the other half looking for her brother.  I have to say, I did not at all expect the twist with Rowan and Vaughn.  Everything was Vaughn!  Ahh!

I really enjoyed how the characters grew over the three books.  Rhine matured, wanting more than just to find her brother, but that remained her main motivation.  Linden learned so much. Gabriel did too.  Cecily was wonderful.  We really get a feeling of closure by the end, we know what happens to all the crazy people we encounter.  I also really liked that the "love triangle" wasn't really a triangle.. it was more like a hexagon!  I did like that it was never about Linden versus Gabriel.  I also liked that each had their own time to really get to know Rhine and Rhine to know them.  It was a wonderfully satisfying conclusion.  I'm looking forward to more work by Lauren DeStefano, now that The Chemical Garden has been harvested.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Deception Of Livvy Higgs

The Deception of Livvy Higgs was simply fantastic.  It might be the best book I've read so far this year*.  Donna Morrissey's prose was haunting and lyrical.  I didn't know that a story about an old lady could have me so captivated.  I was lucky to win it from Penguin Canada.  The characters are what really make this story, but if you're interested in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia during World War II, this is a great book to read.  I really enjoyed the "franglais" of the Newfoundlanders.  I wonder, is this what happens when someone is fully bilingual?  Is this common of people on the East Coast?  Was Halifax really like that when the war ended?  The novel, especially the end, had me wondering about Canadian history.

I might have been a little in love with Henri.  He's such a rogue, but he's honest and he loves Livvy.  I also enjoyed the contrast of the present (2009) with the story set in the past.  Gen's problems seem real and modern, as if this single mother could possibly be in your social work classes.  I love how she defends her brother from an old lady's preconceptions.  It seems that Livvy had been so angry for so long, finally at the end, I think she is letting it go.

Minor Spoilers

There are a lot of "deceptions" in this story.  There are Livvy's father's and mother's, her grandmothers' lies upon lies, her beloved Missus Louis, even Henri.  Eventually she learns all their truths.  She was hardened as a child, by the death of her mother and by her father's perceptions of her.  I think in the beginning, Durwin Higgs wanted his daughter to love him, but he was too prejudiced against the people and things she cared about.  To me, that's so sad, but what else could be expected from a man that married a woman for the most awful of reasons.  

With all the deceptions that surrounded her, what was Livvy's?  The way Grandmother Creed died?  She lived in her house, with all the people who knew her and her Grandmother thinking bad things.  The older residents passed the story down to the young ones.  I wonder why she stayed in Halifax.  Why not move to a town where no one knew who you were?  I understand not going back to Newfoundland.  Did she stay because of Henri's job?  There are other coastal towns and cities, couldn't they find a new one?  (Though I love that Livvy rocked babies, volunteering in the nursery.)  Though there we secrets, I think in the end, LIvvy had a good life.  In the end, this was an excellent book.

*It at least ties with Legend, though I loved both books for completely different reason.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

You Must Read These!

I love this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and The Bookish.  I want to encourage reading and I'm always ready to recommend books.  I think my list is pretty diverse.  I try to recommend books based on the person because I like for everyone to have good reading experiences.  These are a selection of books that aren't just favourites, but one's I think other people will like.  In no particular order the Top Ten  Books I Recommend The Most:

1. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood - One of the best books ever.  It's so eerily possible.
2. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini - Another best book ever.  Good if you are interesting in the problems in the Middle-East from the perspective of someone who lived there.  Also good if you're interested in women's rights (and who isn't?).
3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins - I've described this book as Extreme Survivor.  That still holds true.
4. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King - King's epic.  It's also good for those who don't necessarily like horror, because this lends itself towards fantasy.
5. 1984, by George Orwell - You want to know where "Big Brother" comes from?  Here it is.  It is so scary.
6. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells - Classic Science-Fiction: Wells' commentary on the British class structure, with our cannibalistic descendants.  I plan or re-reading this one soon.
7. The Shopaholic Series, by Sophie Kinsella - So fun!  Good for the beach, to relax, to forget about the world.
8. Flush, by Virginia Woolf - It is short and clever.  It's a great way to test out Woolf if you're not sure about diving in, probably the least like her other books.
9. Kindred, by Octavia Butler - It's been over a decade since I read it, but the story has stayed with me and I don't think it will ever leave.  To me, that's pretty powerful writing.
10. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley - Easily my favourite of the classic horrors.

So, read these books.  I highly recommend them.  What do you think I should read?  Recommendations?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Did I Forget To Read You?

I put a similar list together for The Broke and The Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday a while ago.  So I'm going to only list books that weren't on my first list.  It sounds like it will be difficult, but it actually won't be.  In no particular order, the Top Ten books I HAD To Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread:

1. Brown Girl In The Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson - When I first saw this book, I knew I had to read it, but it sits untouched on my shelf.
2. The Wolves Of Mercy Falls, by Maggie Steifvater - I saw the box set at a discounted price and I'd heard such great things about the author and the series, but it's still sealed in shrink wrap.
3. Carrie, by Stephen King - I saw the new paperbacks looking pretty on display and there was Carrie.  I've read a fair amount of King's work, but not his first novel.  Why is it still waiting for me to read it?
3. His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman - I saw the paperback box set on sale (of course).  The price was right and I really want to read the books, but they just sit on my shelf.
4. Twenties Girl, by Sophie Kinsella - I love Kinsella's books, I've read a lot of them, so of course I picked this one up too... and then didn't read it.
5. The View From Castle Rock, by Alice Munro - I picked this up at a charity book sale after reading so many wonderful stories by Munro.
6. What the Dickens: The Story Of A Rogue Tooth Fairy, by Gregory Maguire - I enjoyed Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister and Wicked, I couldn't resist adding to my Maguire books when I saw this one on sale.
7.  The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson - I heard brilliant things about The Gargoyle.  Readers I respect immensely recommend this book, so I picked it up... and put it on the shelf.
8. Girl In Translation, by Jean Kwok - It sounded so much like I book I would enjoy.  I picked it up at the same charity book sale that I bought The View From Castle Rock.
9. Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveler's Wife was great and I wanted to read Niffenegger's follow up and I still want to read it.
10. Girls of Riyadh, by Rajaa Alsanea - I just had to have it.  I wanted to read it so much.  I'm going to read it.  Soon (ish).  Bah!

Has anyone realized I'm a sucker for books with reduced prices?  I'm saving money by buying it, right?  Not really.

What books did you have to have and then didn't read?  Which one of these should I make a priority?

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I think I could have easily read Marie Lu's Legend in one sitting if I had more time. (This post is gong to be mostly a smattering of thoughts...) Legend was intense. The character development was great, it's always something I look for; I loved how June and Day learn and grow. They are wonderfully created individuals and an excellent pair of lead characters. I enjoyed the alternating between their points of view. I thought the font change was a good idea, but I don't know why the font colour needed to change too. I thought that was weird, but it didn't do anything to alter my utter enjoyment of the novel. I thought the militaristic angle was interesting and one I hadn't read before. The world building was woven so easily into the story, you understood every step June and Day were taking and why. The story has left me wondering about the Republic's secrets and what happened to the world. The Republic was vivid and frighteningly real. Marie Lu wrote a fantastically entertaining and engaging novel. I'm excited to read Prodigy.  It was just the kind of book I needed right now.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader

I'm sure most people have heard by now that Google Reader will be no more come July 1, 2013.  I'm not sure what I'll do yet.  I like getting feeds in Google Reader.  It's so easy to use.  I've been using it for years.  YEARS!

Going through my Google Reader this morning, as I do most mornings, I found that Kelly from Radiant Shadows has already done some research about what she'd like to use to replace Google Reader: 

I also found a similar post from Parajunkee:

Thanks bloggers for doing all that research for me :P

Seriously, they list a number of alternatives I plan on exploring.  I'll see which one fits me best.  Even if I have to import each blog/website individually.  That will give me an opportunity to go through my lengthy Google Reader reading list and maybe I'll cull the blogs I don't actually read or haven't updated in months/years and maybe I haven't noticed because of the number of sites in my Reader.  This could be a good thing...  I'm still a little sad though.  At least there are alternatives out there.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Way Station

The Battle of Tull left me really wanting to read the next Dark Tower graphic novel installment, The Gunslinger - The Way Station. What struck me first about this volume was the art.  The drawings of the demon in the circle of stones were amazing. The use of light and colour were different from the rest of the graphic novel and most of the series.  The series tends toward being dark, which is appropriate to where the characters are going and what has happened.  There tends to be a lot of dark reds and oranges.  The cover of The Way Station is very blue, which I really liked.

Also, I was excited to finally see Jake.  Jake plays such an important role in Roland's story.  It's so interesting to see a boy from 1977 New York interacting with Gilead's last gunslinger.  The readers understand his references, but Roland tells Jake that he speaks strangely.  Jake is one of my favourite characters in the novels and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Flowers and Birds! (Top Ten Books for Spring 2013)

The sun is brighter, the days are warmer and growing long. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming.  What are you reading?  This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and The Bookish is: what books are on your spring to-be-read list.  In no particular order:

1. The Wind Through The Keyhole, by Stephen King
2. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
3. The Deception of Livvy Higgs, by Deborah Morrissey
4. Prodigy, by Marie Lu
5. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
6. Sever, by Lauren DeStefano
7. The Thousand Orcs, by R.A. Salvatore
8. Bodily Harm, by Margaret Atwood
9. The Raven Boys, by Maggie Steifvater
10. Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes.

This seems like a pretty good order in which to read these books this spring.  Though I might switch 1, 2, 3, and 4 depending on how I feel after my current read... Or maybe I'll read 6 next.  Who knows?!  If I buy another book (highly probable), it could change everything.

What are you going to be reading this spring?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kew Gardens, by Virginia Woolf

Kew Gardens was originally published with illustrations by Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf's sister.  I'd love to read that edition (or a reproduction, something that doesn't cost a hundred dollars).  I imagine it would add another layer to this interesting slice-of-life story.  Kew Gardens is very fluid, but I suppose that is just part of the Stream of Consciousness style.  I think you have to be in the mood to read Stream of Consciousness/Virginia Woolf.  She is not a writer you can casually pick up, I think.  Her work requires a certain amount of focus.

Kew Gardens feels like an escape from the city.  Four different sets of people move in and out of the narration as they pass an oval flower bed in Kew Gardens.  It's an observational story.  The reader gets to watch these people (and the snail) and hear little snippets of their conversations.  I enjoyed it and it's left me wanting to read more Woolf.  Maybe next week I'll take on Solid Objects.  If you want to sample Woolf, get a taste of her style, Kew Gardens is a great place to start.  It's a wonderful and very short story.  However, if you can't handle the style of Kew Gardens, I'd steer clear of To The Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway.  For me, Kew Gardens was a reminder of how much I enjoy Woolf.

Short Story Monday is hosted by John Mutford at the Book Mine Set.

Classics Club title 3/60. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

Undead Reckoning

I really wanted to love Undead Reckoning.  The cover attracted me (designed by the author's wife.)  The synopsis sounded really interesting.  I've been getting more and more interested in Zombie books in the last few years.  I also like supporting local talent and independent/self-published authors.  I entered the Goodreads giveaway and lost.  Then the author, Mike Slabon, contacted me and wanted to send me a copy (for an honest review).  I was excited.  Of course I said, yes.  So, I really wanted to love Undead Reckoning.

What was the point of meeting up with the different groups of characters during the beginning quarter/third of the book?  The spider guy was disturbing and unnecessary. What was the point of the teenagers? Just to make Eddie mad?  Eddie Griffin, the main character, had enough childhood trauma to show character growth and development.  I couldn't see a reason to introduce characters just to have them die twenty pages later.  It also took me a long time to care about Eddie and you need to care about what happens to the main characters of a story pretty much immediately, in my opinion.  I still don't know if I care about Jim Shrike (Eddie's companion through most of the book).  I don't know if I like him, either, though I don't think it's required to "like" the main characters.  Eventually, I did want to know what happened to them, but I think all those additional characters coming and going were delaying the connection.  There were so many extraneous sub-plots and characters, I think they took the focus off Eddie Griffin and Jim Shrike's journey.

I'm also afraid I have an issue with the women are portrayed in the story.  They're all hot; athletic, big boobs and irresistibly attractive.  They are either overly sexual/sexualized or they're a victim.  In the first quarter of the book, the Afro-Saxon that Eddie meets says something like, "Even our women are to be feared." Was that just thrown that in to appease the women readers of his book?  I know that Major McAllister, Jim's "love-interest" is a strong military officer and supposedly has the respect of the men under her command, but why aren't there any woman under her command?  Also, how many military women would run up to a man they're happy to see and throw their arms around them?  It seemed unrealistic.  People in the military learn discipline, right?  They have self-control.  I can't imagine a woman (or man for that matter), who has to maintain the respect of all the other people at their base, run up to someone they were involved with and have no inhibitions.

I may have listed a few dislikes, but I did not hate this book.  The flow was good.  It didn't stall and their was always something happenening, even if it was riduculous.  (Seriously, a giant ass?  Was that just so the author could say "ass" and "shit" repeatedly for fifty pages?) The fight scenes were well written.  You could definitely picture the blood and guts flying, the swords, missiles, hammers and guns.  I think the fight scenes were the highlight of the novel for me.  There were a lot of them, so it kept me reading.  I think there was a lot of potential; the plot was unique and diverse.  The characters had interesting qualities, but most lacked depth.  I really wanted to love Undead Reckoning, instead I think it was just okay.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Do I Have a Problem?: First Books

Making the list for yesterday's Top Ten Tuesday brought something to my attention.  I own the beginnings to A LOT of series.  This doesn't count series I've already started (as of Tuesday, March 5th, 2013) for some of these series, started and unstarted, I own multiple books.  Am I ever going to catch up?

Here is my list from yesterday's Top Ten Tuesday.

1. The Raven Cycle (Book 1: The Raven Boys), by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Falling Kingdoms (Book 1: Falling Kingdoms), by Morgan Rhodes
3. All The Wrong Questions (Book 1: Who Could It Be At This Hour), Lemony Snicket
4. His Dark Materials (Book 1: The Golden Compass), by Philip Pullman
5. Forever Girl (Book 1: The Forever Girl), by Rebecca Hamilton
6. The Strain Trilogy (Book 1: The Strain), by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
7. Cadence Jones (Book 1: Me, Myself & Why?), by MaryJanice Davidson
8. Legend (Book 1: Legend), by Marie Lu
9. Fallen (Book 1: Fallen), by Lauren Kate
10. The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Book 1: Shiver), by Maggie Stiefvater

Here are the books/series I didn't put on the list.

11. Infernal Devices (Book 1: Clockwork Angel), by Cassandra Clare
12. Delirium (Book 1: Delirium), by Lauren Oliver
13. Eve (Book 1: Eve), by Anna Carey
14. Sword of Truth (Book 1: Wizard's First Rule), by Terry Goodkind **
15. Abandon Trilogy (Book 1: Abandon), Meg Cabot
16. All Souls Trilogy (Book 1: A Discovery of Witches), by Deborah Harkness
17. A Love Story (Book 1: Bloodsucking Fiends), by Christopher Moore *
18. The DemonWars Saga (Book 1: The Demon Awakens), by R.A. Salvatore **
19. The Frey Saga (Book 1: Frey), Melissa Wright
20. Darkness Falls (Book 1: Darkness Falls), by Jessica Sorensen
21. Fallen Star (Book 1: The Fallen Star), by Jessica Sorensen

21!  How do I have books belonging to 21 different series that I haven't even started yet.  I'm already reading books in other series that I haven't finished yet.  Though, part of this is because I'm waiting for the next book to come out or I'm budgeting and waiting for a sale to buy the next books.  Seriously, I need to consider not buying the first book in a series, only to have it sitting on my shelves for years (YEARS!).  Any advice on where to start with this list?

*Christopher Moore's series is the only one where I own books 2 and 3, but not book 1.  How did that happen?  I wanted to read Moore, because there are bloggers and people I know in real life who love his work.  I saw You Suck (book 2), liked the title and synopsis, plus it was a hardcover on sale for $5.99, I think (I remember it being really cheap), so I bought it.  After I did some more research, I found out it was book 2.  Ugh.  This past summer, I was in a used bookstore and saw Bite Me (book 3).  Since I already had book 2and the price was right, I bought it.
**The Terry Goodkind and R.A. Salvatore books are technically my husbands, but there's still there, sitting on the shelf, with all the other books I want to read, but I could have left them out if I wanted to seem less crazy.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Top Ten Series I'd Like To Start But Haven't Yet

When I read the topic from The Broke and The Bookish for this week's Top Ten Tuesday, I knew I'd have a few Series I'd Like To Start But Haven't Yet, but I really didn't think I'd actually make it to ten!  My first list went beyond ten.  I actually had to narrow it down.  The crazy part is that these are all books that are not only the beginning of a series, but I also own! For whatever reason haven't read them yet.  Here are my top ten in no particular order:

  1. The Raven Cycle (Book 1: The Raven Boys), by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. Falling Kingdoms (Book 1: Falling Kingdoms), by Morgan Rhodes
  3. All The Wrong Questions (Book 1: Who Could It Be At This Hour), Lemony Snicket
  4. His Dark Materials (Book 1: The Golden Compass), by Philip Pullman
  5. Forever Girl (Book 1: The Forever Girl), by Rebecca Hamilton
  6. The Strain Trilogy (Book 1: The Strain), by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
  7. Cadence Jones (Book 1: Me, Myself & Why?), by MaryJanice Davidson
  8. Legend (Book 1: Legend), by Marie Lu
  9. Fallen (Book 1: Fallen), by Lauren Kate
  10. The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Book 1: Shiver), by Maggie Stiefvater

What??? How did this happen?  I can't believe I own all these books, beginnings of series and I haven't read them.  This doesn't even count the series I want to start, but don't own yet.  I might have a problem...

What series would you like to start but haven't yet?

*Addition:  Top Ten Tuesday has been nominated for best meme.  Click here if you're interested in voting for The Broke and The Bookish (and check out the other nominees).

Saturday, March 02, 2013


I know it's been a while, but I have words that I want to share!

Stately Argosy
*I started Word(s) of the Week ages ago so that I could share all the new, brilliant, crazy words I kept coming across in my readings of fiction, articles, blogs, etc.*

From Sonnets From The Portuguese, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

Sonnet II:
Amerce: To impose a fine on.

Sonnet III:
Athwart: From side to side; Across the path (of something); In opposition of.

An Argosy
Sonnet XIX:
Argosies: Plural of argosy
Argosy: A large merchant ship.

Sonnet XIX:
Purpureal: Of a purple colour.
Via Wikimedia Commons

Sonnet XXVII:
Asphodel: Eurasian plant of the lily family, typically having long slender leaves and flowers borne on a spike.

Sonnet XLIV:
Eglantine: A Eurasian rose, Rosa eglanteria, having prickly stems, fragrant leaves, pink flowers and red hips. Another word for Sweet Briar.

via Wikimedia Commons

From Undead Reckoning, by Mike Slabon

(pg 337) Wattle and Daub: "Wattle and daub is a composite building material used for making walls, in which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle is daubed with a sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw."