August Book Haul 2017

You may note that after buying 12 books in July that I was not supposed to buy any books during August. Surprise! I bought 11 books. PLEASE STOP ME.

Before I left for PEI I went to Chapters to pick up a few books for camping. Unfortunately they didn’t really have any of the books that I had been looking for. I only ended up getting Audubon: on the Wings of the World by Fabein Grolleau on that day.

Because Chapters didn’t have what I wanted and I wanted to Preorder Paper Girls Vol. 3 I also Placed an Amazon Order where I bought

To be Honest I was doing pretty good during August until the end of the month. I had a really bad night at work and to sooth myself I decided to buy several books at Chapters. So I bought

  • Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett because I had just finished the Reaper Man
  • A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston as Hailey had suggested it as a cool Canadian YA
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton; this book was super on sale and I had heard good things about it so I couldn’t pass it up.
  • The History of Bees by Maja Lunde; I was really looking forward to this book after looking at Touchstones PR and it was really what I was going to Chapters for.
  • Lumberjanes Vol. 2 by Noelle Stevenson because I was going camping again soon and wanted to bring another Lumberjanes with me

So, yeah, I bought a lot of books again. I did read quite a few of them during the month of  August, though, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Hopefully September will see more of these books read and less books bought!

 

 

Yes, my cover image has nothing to do with books but my dog is cute and I didn’t have a picture of my haul -shrugs-

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Book 60 of 2017: If you Wish

32172413Like most books this one has a story behind it. I probably would have never picked it up or have heard of it if I wasn’t a mutual follow with Cassandra Sage Briskman on instagram. I highly recommend you check her out because her style is 10/10 and she is an amazing human being. Unlike a lot of the other aspiring authors I follow she didn’t really talk about her book that much which I respected, but I grew more curious about it over time.

If You Wish is a contemporary retelling of Cinderella set in LA. I wasn’t really that sure about it at first. The style was a bit juvenile, not surprisingly so as Ms. Briskman wrote the story when she was still a teenager and it used many of the tried and true tropes often found in YA contemporary novels. However, the ending knocked my socks off and that alone makes it worth the read.

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This book was a most pleasant surprise. A nice quick read that rounded out my month of September. I rated it a 3 out of 5. I cannot resist a good retelling.

Book 59 of 2017: Sabriel

I feel like I’ve overdone it a bit this month giving so many books 5 star ratings, but here we are again.

220px-Sabriel_Book_CoverI was given Sabriel by my parents probably close to a decade ago for Christmas. It has been mocking me from my shelf since then and I hadn’t really had any urges to pick it up until I needed a book that started with an S to build a TBR based on my old school’s initials. After finishing the book I don’t understand why it took me so long.

This is the second series that I have started by Garth Nix. When I was younger, around the time that this would have been given to me, I was reading The Keys to the Kingdom series. As such, I felt that I would probably enjoy this book. I only own Mister Monday but had always planned on getting the other 6 books.

Much like that series, the Abhorsen series is set in a world that is not too dissimilar to ours, only with some great Victorian vibes, that has magic and trouble. The world itself has a rich history that is slowly revealed throughout the course of the novel, but in such a way that there are still many questions about its origin and problems that I hope will be revealed in forth coming books.

The story follows a girl Sabriel who is thrown into this world of trouble after the death of her father and all the things that come with his death. She has a trusty sidekick Moggot, a sassy cat who, although it was stated several times that he was pure white I pictured as a tuxedo cat because his personality so resembled that of Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the Cat from Little Bear, who offers comic relief to the plot which is often much needed.

Sabriel and her father are a special type of necromancer that hold the title of Abhorsen. Their job is to send the restless dead to their final resting place which is, more often than not, easier said than done. Although this is the main struggle through the novel, there is also a lot of coming to age stories scattered throughout the plot as Sabriel is only 18 and coming into this magical worlds that she grew up outside of.

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This was originally a trilogy, but recently Nix has added a fourth book to the series. I don’t know much about it but it makes this even more of an opportune time to read this book. Although I will wait until the fourth book comes out in paper back before I purchase it, I sure it won’t be far off.

I finished Sabriel just before I started writing this review, a novelty I know, but I am currently very tempted to marathon the next two books as soon as I finish writing this because I am so enthralled with the story that I want to keep going. I have one other reading obligation to get through before I post my hall but maybe I’ll postpone it for a bit. It’s not like I don’t frequently post them late anyways.

I rated this book, as you might have guess from my opening line, 5 out of 5. I loved reading it. It was a quick read, but also rich. I look forward to exploring more of this world soon.

Book 58 of 2017: Call the Midwife

21288872I have loved this show for a long time. Several years ago I had the intention of reading this memoir and went out and bought it only for it to sit on my shelf for too long which is why I made it my goal book for August.

This was a delightful read. Its narration and stories are very similar to that of the shows. I didn’t like how for first few chapters jumped around in time because it made it a bit harder to follow, but otherwise is was great.

The memoir follows the author, a midwife, through her first year of practicing by herself in the poverty stricken west end of London serving under a group of nuns. Through the progression of the book she grows a lot, learning not to judge patients because of their poverty and condition, and learns how navigate more delicate social situations that she would have never had encountered during her middle class life. In the book she starts to find herself and faith, which was really interesting.

Unlike most memoirs this is a trilogy and I was not ready for it to be over when it ended. In fact, because I had not yet flipped to the back of the book at all, I though I had another 20 pages for things to wrap up more tidily in only to run into some really great appendices.

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I rated this book a 5 out of 5. The story it tells is a great one. I’m not sure if I appreciate it more because of where I’m working, but it really hit a cord with me. I can’t wait to read the next chapter of this delightful women’s life.

Book 57 of 2017: All Quiet on the Western Front

355697This book is a very special book and one that I think is quite underrated. The cover does not lie when it boast that this is the best war novel ever written.

I have read several other biographies that cover the First World War. This book reads like many of them only instead of an allied perspective its from a German. It follows the life of an 18 year old man who joins the army and is sent to the front and the trials that him and his friend group face during the war. Because of this I don’t really think that it matters that much that they were German because many of their thoughts and feelings are the same as those that I have read from the allied perspective.

The book spends most of its time talking about how all the people in it are just barely out of childhood and what it means to have them at the front lines of a war. It is no secret that the First World War ruined a generation of people, both men and women, and that’s really what this novel explores.

At many times the novel is quite graphic, but this adds to its power. It is easy to put yourself into the position of the young men in the trenches. Their fear is your fear. You can feel their hunger and anxiety; the fact that they are numb to all feelings and have no further hope.

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I think the thing that this novel does better than any of the biographies that I have read that are often either scientific, merely talking about the mechanical bits of the war and their inventors like Fritz Haber, or like a Testament of Youth talk about the struggles of those who were left behind, or still better like The Lord of the Rings which deals, in many ways, with the lasting effects of the war on the community and the fears of evils rising again. It talks a lot about how both sides of the trenches are really the same in many respects and how there is this reluctance to kill because everyone knows the same fears. There is also a lot of resentment for the people who started the war and trained them because they only talked in abstracts about the enemy but never told them that the enemy was exactly the same as them, young with families at home and now dead.

This may be the best book that I have read this year and so I do not hesitate to give it a 5 out of 5. I would highly recommend that everyone reads this book and also recommend that you read it in one sitting if possible. It won’t be hard. It’s a short novel and it grabs you.

Book 56 of 2017: Reaper Man

61YmmKCa+FL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I was really excited to read this book. It is the 11th Discworld novel and the NUMBER in the subseries devoted to DEATH who is one of my favourite characters. This book had everything you would expect from a great Pratchett novel.

The novel opens with a conversation about how the internal workings of the universe shouldn’t have personality. Soon after this, DEATH finds a new timer in his timer library; a timer for him. Before this DEATH had always existed outside of time but now that he has time he intends to spend it and travels off to the human world. Needless to say chaos ensues because no one is dying, which is where the other half of our timeline happens at the Unseen University where a wizard doesn’t die.

As always with the DEATH series there are a lot of important questions raised about what it means to live and how we die which are deeply philosophical. There is also some fun Marxist jokes in this one around the dead.

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I found this novel highly enjoyable. It was really funny and highly nuanced. I rated it a 4 out of 5. I can’t wait to read the next Discworld novel.

Book 55 of 2017: Paper Girls vol. 3

512hRLlgTHL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_It seems like every volume of Paper Girls is better than the last. As this is the third volume, in order to properly talk about it I will be talking about the last two volumes as well so if you haven’t read those yet and don’t want to be spoiled stop talking. Their reviews can be found here: Vol. 1 Vol.2

In Vol. 1 we were introduced to four girls KJ, Erin, Mac, and Tiffany, who all run paper routs. Their morning was interrupted by a band of time traveling beings from the future,  some more friendly than others, and a host of monster. The girls were then flung from their home time in the 80’s into 2016 in Vol. 2 and are separated. There were more Monsters and they run into one of their future selves who helps them try to get back to their own time. Despite their efforts they end up in the deep past which is where we pick them up.

I am still amazed at how much can happen in 150 pages as, like the last two volumes, the story is so full in vol. 3. This time instead of fighting real monsters they end up fighting men along with learning lessons about what it is to be a female.

There are some sassy bits in the far future about our current political state and another cliffhanger, so it’s going to be a very long wait until vol. 4. I rated this graphic novel a 5 out of 5. The world being is fantastic and the story is fast paced. I can’t wait to get to read more of it.

 

Book 54 of 2017: Audubon: On The Wings of the World

61nKhJpcHVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I debated buying this book for soooo long. Although I love ornithology I stink at it but love looking at pictures of birds and learning more about them. I was enthralled by the idea of an adventuring graphic novel about a pioneering ornithologist that I knew very little about.

Audubon, On the Wings of the World is a biography of the great ornithologist John James Audubon. He was of French decent, originally names John-Jaque but changed it to better fit into America, and was extremely artistic. He was also the creator of Birds of America, the top birding book today in North America.

Although this book was not what I expected I still really enjoyed reading it. It shows a lot of his obsessive nature and his struggles with mental illness. It also has a lot of pretty pictures of birds in it and a brief appearance of Darwin.

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I rated this book a 5 out of 5. The artwork in it has made a large impression on me. Audubon is definitely a figure that I would like to learn more about, so if you have any good biography recommendations let me know!

Book 53 of 2017: The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World USI have been meaning to read this book for a very long time. Back in junior high my dad would read passages of other books in the Wheel of Time to me while we were away at soccer tourdemenets. In high school when I started reading Terry Goodkind I really wanted to start the Wheel of Time as well, alas they were all somewhere in the basement in boxes.

Fast forward to this year: we’re renovating our basement and installing shelving, soon the books will be reveled. I make The Eye of the World my goal book for June. I’m finally going to read it. Unfortunately my grandmother is moving out of her house so shelving dreams will have to wait because we’re getting another piano and it has to go where the shelves would. No books appeared.

Then the two nights before we left for camping my dad calls me down stairs. He is hidden behind the entire Wheel of Time, mostly in hardbacks, hands them to me and walks away. Luckily my brother was downstairs at the time helping me look for our lost tripod and opened my room’s door for me otherwise I would have dropped them all on the floor. It took all my arms have to hold them.

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I started (and finished) this book while we were camping at Stanhope National Park in PEI. It was a really fun way to read this book. There were minimal interruptions and my dad was with me most of them time which was really nice because I had someone to talk to about the books. We had times where we also read out-loud to each other form the books that we were reading, he was reading Brendon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings and found some great out-of-context quotes to share with me. Even mum joined in the fun and read parts of Temple Grandin’s memoir outloud that she found particularly interesting.

Needless to say, this is a very special book it me. It is another in a long line of books that my father has given to me that include books like Harry Potter and The Hobbit, among others. He read The Eye of the World 4 or 5 times, so I was expecting great things.

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Now, I have often heard other series *coughcoughGoTcough* compared to The Wheel of Time and now I have some very strong feels about comparisons. This is the singular best high fantasy book I have ever read (perhaps excluding LotR, though I would say that the actual reading experience was better). All other books I have read paled in comparison to the first page of The Eye of the World and this point occupied many hours of discussion between my father and I.

Robert Jordan builds a complete world in one novel. He has a diverse group of cast members and all that you would expect from a band of misfits. The magic in his world is as diverse as his characters and its system is well thought out. His monsters are superb.

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I  have very little criticism for this book. There were some points that don’t make 100% sense yet and some characters who have disappeared for the moment. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, a what will they do next, so I really want to read the next book soon. I rated this book a 5 out of 5. Hopefully the rest of the series can fill its boots, though I’m sure it can.

 

Book 52 of 2017: Saga vol. 1

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I had heard a lot about this graphic novel before picking it up. Nothing particularly specific, just that it was good and that it was something that I should read. Believe the hype.

This book, which is surprisingly nsfw, is narrated by a child and is her up-bringing story. It opens with her birth and ends with her and her parents hurtling through space and the introduction of some new important characters.

The story is exactly what one would expect from Vaughan if they have been reading any of his other series. The story and complex, have great character development, and are very morally grey. He puts the characters in near impossible situations to see how they will handle them and, somehow, it all turns out alright in the end.

The artwork in the book just adds to its brilliance. Fiona Staples has done a wonderful job at bringing these strange sights to life.

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I really enjoyed this book and I’m really looking forward to reading the other volumes in the series. I rate it a 4 out of 5.