Friday, 31 August 2012

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

I love the time of year, the fresh new school supplies and back to school clothes, the books full of possibilities...

Welcome to my stop in the Back to the Books Hop, graciously hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Buried in Books.
 I am giving away a book (or books) of your choice up to $20 CDN from The Book Depository.  This giveaway is international, so long as The Book Depository ships free to you (you can check here).

To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below, then check out all of the other great blogs participating in the hop.
Following is appreciated but not mandatory.

The giveaway runs from September 1-7 and I will announce the winner on September 8th.  The winner will be announced on my blog and I will email them.  They will have 2 days to respond to my email or I will pick a new winner.  I am not responsible for books lost in the mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Tithe by Holly Black

Book:  Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale (The Modern Faerie Tales #1) by Holly Black, 2004 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 331 pages.

Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms - a struggle that could very well mean her death.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book, even though it was not what I was expecting  Black is a great writer who knows how to keep the reader turning the pages. 

I liked the realistic portrayal of the main character, Kaye, her life and how the fantasy played into that.  She is definitely not the middle class girl that we find in many young adult books.  Kaye's reality is much harsher.  In Tithe, this means that there is swearing on nearly every page.  This may be difficult for some readers.

Then there is the dark fantasy and the whole faerie underworld, which was terrific.  Black had this whole world set up so well that it all felt plausible and I would love to read more.

This book will not be for everyone.  There is swearing, drugs, drinking, talk about sex, etc.  However, I also think these are things that teens are thinking about or dealing with and I like how matter of factly the author presents them.  If you are looking for a darker book about faeries in an industrial urban setting, I would recommend this book.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersema

Book:  Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersema, 2010 by Random House Canada, 448 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Following his bestselling debut, Before I Wake, Robert J. Wiersema returns with this exquisitely plotted blend of supernatural thriller and domestic drama.

For novelist Christopher Knox, getting up early every morning to write isn’t bringing him the sense of fulfillment it once did. It’s been ten years since his first novel was published, to some acclaim, and he’s hit a wall in trying to write his next. His marriage to Jacqui isn’t doing much better, and it’s been months since he’s slept anywhere but his office above the detached garage.

The part of Chris’s life that is going well, and brings him easy joy, is his relationship with his eleven-year-old son, David. While Chris may not make it to all of his son’s ball games, their nightly ritual of reading together at bedtime not only helps David overcome his struggles with reading, but is a calm within the storm for them both, when their days are so full of challenges. And what better way for a novelist to connect with his child than through their mutual love of books, and a bedtime story routine as unwavering as Chris’s love for his son.

When Chris comes across a book by one of his favourite childhood authors in a local used bookstore, he knows it will be the perfect gift for David’s birthday. To the Four Directions is not one Chris has read before, but he knows that Lazarus Took’s adventurous, magical stories of young heroes and other realms would be just the thing for David, as they were for him. David is less than thrilled to receive a book he’s never heard of before, however – he’d been hoping for The Lord of the Rings – and Jacqui is quick to see it as yet another sign of Chris’s detachment from David’s life.

But once they start reading the novel together, David is completely enthralled, to the extent that he truly cannot put the book down. The story, of a young peasant boy who is plucked from his home by castle guards and sent on a quest for a mysterious Sunstone, makes David feel like he is right there, in the action. Even after his parents have to take the book away from him, he can’t help but sneak it back to his room. As David is reading alone that night, he suffers an inexplicable seizure and falls into a state of unconsciousness. Doctors perform a barrage of tests, but cannot determine what’s wrong. And as David’s seizure recurs every night, his father learns that only one thing will calm it: being read to from his strange new book.

True to his nature, as someone with an inherent belief in the power of words, Chris becomes convinced that the secret of David’s collapse lies within the pages of To the Four Directions. After failed attempts to find out more about Lazarus Took from his estate, Chris traverses the continent in search of the truth. Meanwhile, David wakes up within the story he has been reading – as the boy he has been reading about – and finds himself facing perils unimaginable, in a world that he soon realizes was created to capture the hearts and souls of children like him. Because he’s not alone as he takes over the hunt for the Sunstone, but accompanied by those boys who have come before him. And as the quests of father and son lead them toward a fateful collision of worlds, David realizes that while he’s not the first to fall victim to the book’s horrific spell, perhaps he can prove himself strong enough to be the last.

My Thoughts:
What a great book!  There was something so different about this one, with its book within a book set up, as well as the mystery and fantasy, that I could hardly put this one down.  The story was cleverly designed and executed.

The relationships in this book are realistic and compelling.   I really felt for Chris, a struggling writer in the middle of a marriage that is breaking down and a tenuous relationship with his son, David.  He finds that he connects with his son by reading to him at night and when he finds a previously unknown book by his favorite childhood author, To the Four Directions, Chris is eager to read it to his reluctant son.

But then David has seizures and goes into a strange unconscious state.  His father figures out that he has actually gone into the book and will stop at nothing to save his son.

Then there is the great fantasy and magic.  I love the imagination of literally drawing people into a book.  I also happen to love young adult fantasy so enjoyed the To the Four Directions book that was told within the overall book.

I recommend this book if you are looking for something different and easy to read.  

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Summer on Hornby

Hello everyone,

I've spent most of the summer away from internet access on Hornby Island, BC.  It is like paradise there.

This is why I haven't blogged much this summer.  However, I did read lots of books and am working on reviews for them.

I've also had a chance to edit my book some more.  Here I am on the deck, working on my novel.
It's been a fantastic summer, but I'm looking forward to getting back to my blogging.  It will also take me a while to catch up on all of the emails I've received, so I apologize and hope you'll bear with me.