Friday, November 27, 2009

Fifth Business (Penguin Modern Classics) Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this first book in the Deptford Trilogy. This story follows the life of Dunstable Ramsay from his life in provincial Deptford to the trenches in WWI to his career as a schoolmaster and most importantly his interest in saints and writings about them and where that leads him. Another key part of the story is when he ducks a snowball and it hits a pregnant woman resulting in a premature birth of her baby. This experience and his resulting guilt and responsibility for Mary Demptster shapes much of his future decisions. The book is written as a letter to his headmaster on his retirement from teaching. Ramsay was offended at the write-up of his life as a dull schoolmaster and seeks to clarify what his life was really like and who he really is.

The book is beautifully written, much of it is introspective but doesn't become boring or whiny as some largely introspective books do. I could read this several more times and get more out of it. The prose is fun to read and I enjoyed his interactions with others, especially the hideous but intriguing Liesl. I was wondering the whole book what in the world Fifth Business is and when I found out, it was well worth the wait and the part Fifth Business played in the end of the book is really great.

Definitely excited to read the next books, it is hard to imagine what else could happen to Dunny, but I will love reading about it.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The TwentyTen Challenge

The idea is to read 20 books in 2010 from 10 different categories - 2 in each category. The categories range from YA to Older Than You to books you bought in a charity shop. Have no idea what I am reading, but so excited to participate! Actually, I guess I do have to list my reading choices for the Up to You category in this post. So I choose:

1. The Curse of the Spider King by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper. My first jump into the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Genre.

2. Neverwhere: A Novel by Neil Gaiman. I haven't read much of Gaiman but people love him and this looked like a great one to try.

Thanks so much to Bart's Bookshelf for another great challenge!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

June Bug June Bug by Chris Fabry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nine-year-old June Bug has been traveling around the nation in an RV with her Dad for as long as she can remember. Her world is turned upside-down when she sees her face on a missing children poster at Walmart. June Bug's perspective on her life completely changes as she learns who she really is, where she really came from and whether or not this man she has trusted and loved her whole life is really her father.

When I first read the premise of this book I was intrigued. I think my expectations were way too high because I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. June Bug sees the missing children poster in the first chapter of the book but it is not until quite a bit later that she actually confronts her father with the information. This really bugged me, I don't know how she could hold this inside for even one second, though on the other hand, her whole world is being rocked and she may not want to know the truth.

I did really like June Bug's father, he was the most complex and interesting character in the book who had been through tough situations in his life and acted in a way he felt best. The rest of the characters were pretty cliche' and the situations were tired and used a million times.

The story is fine, it definitely kept my interest and there is a decent ending, I just don't think I got the bang I was hoping for when I first heard about this book and I kept feeling angry that it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gathering Blue (The Giver, #2) Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Book 3 for the Dystopian Reading Challenge

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kira, a girl born with a twisted leg, has only managed to survive in a community that discards imperfect children at birth with the watchful care of her loving mother. When her mother dies from a serious illness, Kira finds that the community has a new position for her using her talent at "threading" or embroidery. In her new role she starts to find out more than she ever knew about her community and her past and the important part she can play to make it better.

A sweet, little story with solid characters that can provoke love or hate. I enjoyed it but just wanted a little more oomph to the plot and ending. I think I might just be a little dystopianed out right now too.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Book 2 for the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! I'm still trying to catch my breath from reading this book. The last 50 pages passed in a blur. Wow! Patrick Ness has pulled me into his story like no one in a long time. This dystopian novel is the story of Todd Hewitt, a boy born into a world where men and animals can hear each others' thoughts. A constant noise and chaos every second of the day and night. As he comes within a month of his twelfth birthday - the Prentisstown definition of the age of a man - strange things start to happen that leave him questioning his whole life and everything he believes about the world he lives in. What follows in a story of fleeing in the face of constant mortal danger. Terror, desperation, hunger, violence are a part of every day until Todd can reach safety in a new settlement.

The characters in this book are very real to me; Aaron is pure evil and terror, just a hint of his Noise coming is enough to know that something really bad is going to happen. I also really liked Manchee, Todd's dog. His exuberant "Todd! Todd!" and "Ow Todd?" were funny to read. he was loyal through and through.

As Todd goes through the transformation from a boy to a man, he learns that though things are bad, there is still hope. I really liked this quote in the book from Todd's father (for all intents and purposes), Ben.

"There's always hope, you always have to hope. . . you've overcome obstacles and dangers that should've killed you . . . How do you think you could have come this far if you didn't have hope?"

Ness says that our world is so filled with information these days - texts, emails, messaging, etc - and he wanted to see what would happen in a town where you really couldn't get away from the noise. He has done this masterfully. It's "chaos walking" as he says in the novel. I enjoyed thinking about this as I read this book.

With an ending that will startle the reader and leave them desperate for the next book, I give The Knife of Never Letting Go five solid stars. Not a book for those in search of a light and happy story, but one that makes you think about our world today and what all the information is doing to us.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1) Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating:
4 of 5 stars

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human ... until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
(from the Goodreads description)

I REALLY liked this book. It's really more like a 4.5 stars for me. The chemistry and sexual tension between Grace and Sam is palpable and I found myself with a knot in my stomach wondering what would happen next. I love the beautiful imagery that the author creates complete with sounds, smells and sights. The romance is this book is fantastic without being too graphic. Though it reminds me a bit of Twilight there were enough differences that it didn't bother me much.

A great chilly read for the fall when you feel like bundling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

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