If you go to Goodreads or any other source that can give you this novels description and then read A City Dreaming you will find that much of what the description describes doesn’t actually happen until the end of the novel. The protagonist is M, a sorcerer with untold power but who is also a drifter, hipster, and slacker living in Brooklyn. After five years abroad he returns to New York where he catches up with old friends, gets in and out of magic based trouble multiple times, and maybe even saves the world.
The first thing you will notice when reading this book is that each chapter is less like a chapter but more like a series of short stories that share the same characters and timeline but little other than that. There is an obvious beginning and end to the main story, but if you are looking at each chapter individually you will find that very little of what happens in these chapters in the middle of the novel connects to the conclusion at all. To some people this can be offputting, but personally I find this way of storytelling pretty interesting especially since this story structure allows people who don’t have much time to read books to read a chapter at a time without worrying much about connecting details. This is definitely not a book to be read all at once.
When I first met M within the first couple of chapters in A City Dreaming I instantly thought that he was going to be a boring character who thought about little else than sex, money, and drugs (all of which show up a lot in the novel). As I continued reading however I discovered that though he was forced into many of the adventures he went on in these chapters.
This is a good book to read if you don’t have much time to read books. You can read it over a few days or a few years because of the way the story is formatted. All in all I liked this book. Just a quick warning it can get very adult so don’t give it to your kids to read.
Final Rating – 44/50
This is a memoir written by J.R. Ackerley about his dog named Tulip. The german shepherd had a personality and was known by many, but she helped Ackerley with his problems of loneliness through her unyielding devotion. This memoir was written because apparently at the time all the famous dogs in books were perfect, but Tulip was far from perfect.
This is going to be a short review for one reason and one reason only, a lot of strange things are described in this memoir, things that most writers won’t touch with a 10 foot pole. At first it is relatable. Tulip actually reminds me of one of my dogs because of her personality. Anyone who has a dog who isn’t absolutely perfect in terms of behaviour will find something they can relate to within about a quarter of the book.
But then after you have read 20% of the book you may think to yourself WTF. This is because all of a sudden the book is all about Ackerley trying to get Tulip laid because he wanted her to enjoy the joys of motherhood. The descriptions are complete with how this happened. I got to this part while waiting for a bus and I had to put it away because dog intercourse is an awkward topic to read when anyone can look over your shoulder.
If you want to read this book, so be it. Just if you want to read the book but don’t want to read the weird bits stop reading as soon as Ackerley mentions breeding Tulip. Everything before that is actually pretty good which is the only reason why my final rating is so high. However if you want to read a book about dogs I would recommend A Dog’s Life, A Dog’s Purpose, Marley and Me, and literally any other book with a dog as a major character.
Final Rating – 22/50
Ru by Kim Thúy follows the life story of a young Vietnamese girl as she escapes with her family from a dangerous land into a Malaysian refugee camp and then moves onto a new life in Quebec. As an adult she has new problems as she has two children, one of which was born with autism. The novel is written as a series of vignettes which cover different aspects of her life, jumping from the past back to the present to the more distant past. Each vignette flows into the next creating a cohesive story out of a series of fragments.
Ru was originally written in French but was translated into English by Sheila Fischman. I don’t know French that well so I don’t know how good the translation is, but from reading this book I know that the meaning behind Thúy’s words did not change much if at all between languages. As a fictionalized memoir/reflection it helped to shed some light on a period of history I did not know much about because it wasn’t covered in any of my Canadian history classes, as well as the impact cultural differences have on people when they are suddenly introduced to immigrants.
If you want to learn more about what happened in Vietnam read this book. This is an incredible novel that is heartbreaking at times but heartwarming at other times, though there is a chance that you may not like it because of the way its structured.
Final Rating – 48/50
On the day of Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary preparations are being made to celebrate. However Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Under overwhelming pressure from both the police and the media he does several inappropriate things and his behaviour is extremely suspicious. To make matters worse all clues seem to point towards him being the killer. Even Amy’s diary paints him as an abusive, murderous husband. But did Nick really kill Amy, and is she really dead at all?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was an enjoyable book to read despite the fact that almost all the characters are bad people. The use of an unreliable narrator was fantastic and the plot is very suspenseful at every twist and turn, and there are a lot of those. I enjoyed this book most of all because of the mystery surrounding the most important event in the plot, Amy’s disappearance. It is possible to piece together what happened before the big reveal because there is quite a bit of foreshadowing as well as many clues as to what really happened scattered throughout all the scenes and inner monologues, but that is highly unlikely because most of the clues are things that you would normally overlook.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, but not to anyone who reads books to like the characters. I also don’t recommend this book for anyone who is super young or disgusted by the idea of sex because there are many references to sex with Gone Girl. This really was an enjoyable book, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Final Rating – 43/50
Business has been slow for Harry Dresden, professional wizard, buy when he is in desperate need of a paycheck a murder comes along that requires his supernatural expertise. The corpse is strangely mutilated, there are large bloody pawprints, and it all happened on a full moon. This case will bring Harry face to face with something even he didn’t know existed.
This is the second book in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I found both the beginning and end of this novel to be very weak, but when it is a part of a series it makes sense to not have a strong beginning because an earlier book is the beginning. When I read the first few pages I was confused because it didn’t feel like it was a direct continuation of Storm Front. I actually googled it to make sure I was actually reading the second book in the series and didn’t skip a novel. This seems to be a common trend for me and this series.
There are many characters who I find very interesting including some who carried over from Storm Front. The interesting thing about Fool Moon is that no one (but the main character because he has plot armour which is fine because if he dies the series ends prematurely) is safe. Harry will find himself surrounded by enemies in both those he thinks of as friends and those who just want to rip his face off. Another thing I found interesting about Fool Moon was that it demonstrated how imperfect Harry is. He didn’t know about werewolves and he doesn’t trust many people. These imperfections make him a well rounded, well developed character. In fact several of the characters in Fool Moon are well developed characters with their own motives unrelated to the main villain.
Out of the novels in the Dresden Files I have read so far (the first four) this is my favourite. I found myself becoming attached to certain characters. I noticed how things are done differently in regards to death in Fool Moon. There are no annoying romantic subplots. This is a good book, though I will still recommend you start the series with Storm Front because starting a series with the second book is not a good idea ever.
Final Rating – 46/50
Mark Watney is the only human on Mars after his crewmates are forced to evacuate the planet during a dust storm which nearly takes his life. Now that everyone either on Earth or going to Earth believes him to be dead, he must survive for as long as he can. He is sure that no one is coming to save him. Meanwhile NASA satellites notice something strange at the evacuated base.
This is one of those books which is very difficult to put down once you start reading it. It is filled with well written suspense, accurate (or at least I think their accurate) descriptions of scientific processes and phenomenon, and one well written yet simple and intelligent main character who also happens to be highly knowledgeable in the science needed to survive alone on Mars. The one complaint I have about this book isn’t even much of a complaint. I finished an early chapter and moved on, but when I did this it felt as though I was reading a different book because Andy Weir has written both the events on Mars and on Earth. I understand why the perspective change had to happen when it did, but to me it felt random when I was reading through the book.
I recommend you read this book if you’re interested in space travel and science. This is an excellent example of science fiction. I will also be watching the movie in the future and reviewing it.
Final Rating – 48/50
Lexicon is a book written by Max Barry about an organization which trains people to become Poets. Poets are people who can make people do anything they want just by using their words. Wil Parke is kidnapped by a man who calls himself Tom and suddenly he is thrust into a world that he didn’t realize he had been a part of all along.
The first thing you should know about this book is that there are some things that happen which will make you stare at the page you’re on and question if that was really a part of the book. At first it appears as though these events are only there for shock value, but really they help to make the reader understand the power of the Poets and what is going on with certain characters. Don’t read this book if you can take neither weird sexual moments or freaky things done to extremities.
The second thing you should know is the fact that it jumps from the present to the past quite often. This happens so that you can see how some of the characters have changes since their pasts and how the past influences the present in the story. It is interesting to read though it is definitely confusing at first.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys language because that is what this story is about. It is filled with great characters with realistic motivations and the idea of language literally being used as a weapon is very interesting. If I have any complaints it is the fact that the ending seems so rushed.
Final Rating – 38/50