Thursday, November 05, 2009

3rd Canadian Reading Challenge: Mini Reviews

In the last few months I have read a lot Canadian book for the 3rd Canadian Reading Challenge. The problem is I apparently still need to review 5 books in order to count it as finished. So, I am going to do some mini-reviews. I think that you will see more of this in the next two months because it seems to be the only way I am ever going to review even a large part of the books I have read this year.

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (The Darkest Powers Series, Book 2)
I received a review copy of the first book in this series last year, and while I enjoyed it I didn't love it. This time around I decided to get the book from the library. What happened is I actually really enjoyed it! It really is hard for Kelley Armstrong to write a bad book. She is the author of the Women of the Otherworld series which I love! This series is a young adult one. It is a paranormal novel. My biggest problem with this book and with the book that came before it is the main character. She kind of annoys me, but she grew on me a bit more in this book. The other characters are compelling and I am looking forward to seeing what happens with them in the further books. I think there are some surprises in store as the characters grow into themselves and into their paranormal abilities. A recommended read!

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised As a Girl by John Colapinto
I spoke about this book a bit in one of my Sunday posts. To go into a bit more detail, I don't think this is what I was expecting. I just wanted to read what it was like for a boy to be raised as a girl. I was interested in that story, but I found all the other stuff that was mixed in got a bit unnecessary. There was one chapter I got annoyed and ended up skimming my way through. I think that the author was trying to accomplish too much in such a short book and it got a bit boggled down. I found parts of it really interesting, but overall I found this rather dull.

War Brides: The stories of the women who left everything behind to follow the men they loved by Melynda Jarratt
This book was actually really interesting! It is the personal story of the women and their family involved in the war bride movement during the second world war. The stories are told in their own words and do not just tell the success stories. Obviously when you only know a man for a short time and marry him you don't necessarily know him at all. It was shocking what these women came to Canada to live in. Many of them were from middle-class homes and they went to places where in some cases there was not even indoor plumbing, so it was a bit overwhelming. I think this is the best way to tell this story and I am glad that I read it. I recommend it!

The Iambics of Newfoundland: Notes from an Unknown Shore by Robert Finch
I totally read this book because of the title! It was just fun, so I had to see what it was all about. What happened was I read a really interesting book about Newfoundland. I should mention that while Nfld is near to me, I have never actually been there, so whether or not this is an entirely believable portrait is something that people that actually live there would have to tell you. What did happen, though, is I learned a lot without even stepping outside my living room. Plus, I could see a lot of Nova Scotia in it... Did it live up to the title? Maybe not as much as I hoped, but I still really enjoyed it. I recommend it.

The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys
I read Coventry last year and I really liked it. This book was good, but I think it is a bit lost on me... I read a book for the story and am not a huge fan of fancy writing that sort of takes away from the story. This book was a bit flowery and it was not something that worked for me all the time. I entirely acknowledge that it is just me, though. At its core I really liked the story and the characters. I still plan to read more from Humphreys in the future. For whatever bothers me about her books, there is always wonderful things that keep me reading her. So, I guess I recommend this, but then on the other hand I don't. If that makes any sense...


  1. What an interesting and diverse lot of books! I've put a copy of War Brides on hold at my library as that one in particular sounds like it's right up my alley. I've read a few books about war brides but they were all U.S. focused, so I'm looking forward to getting a Canadian view.

  2. I loved these mini-reviews. You really did a fantastic job on them and told me what I wanted to know. The Awakening I want to read. I'm going to pass on As Nature Made Him. I think War Brides sounds really fascinating. I would love to visit Newfoundland one day! And I do understand what you mean about the Lost Garden!!

  3. I read The Lost Garden a few years ago after reading some rave reviews. I liked it but didn't love it. I have heard that Coventry is better.

  4. I enjoy your mini reviews! I haven't read any of the books you mentioned here.

  5. :) When I read the title The Iambics of Newfoundland: Notes from an Unknown Shore, my first thought was that I'd read it for the title alone. Which echoed your statement completely!

    War Brides is on my list. Glad to see the positive recommendation! May have to add Coventry as well and then see about The Lost Garden.

  6. Kate: If you like that one, she actually has a couple others. One is about N.B. specifically. I will hopefully get to them eventually.

    Staci: Thanks! I am glad you get what I am trying to say. lol The Awakening was really good. I hope you enjoy it!

    Teddy: That's like me for The Lost Garden. I liked it, but I didn't love it... Coventry was really good.

    Alice: Thanks!

    Jen: That's exactly it. I was a total snob and read the book without even knowing what it was about! Hope you enjoy War Brides and Coventry. I liked them both!


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