“Planet of Exile” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Planet of ExilePlanet of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin

This novel is about a colony of people that have been stranded on a foreign planet for many years. They came to this planet to study its in habitants. However, they have become stranded and have been so for 10 years of this foreign planets cycle—equalling 600 regular years. This group is regarded by the natives as a group of witches they refer to as farborns. The natives themselves are a nomadic people, only settling down for the winter to withstand the cold and the savages know as the gaal. This year, the gaal have become a large pillaging army rather than small, trickling groups of families migrating south. They now pose a great threat to the natives and the farborns. Although these two groups have many differences, they must now decide whether to come together and work toward a common goal: survival.

So far, I have read four of Ursula Le Guin’s novel’s and I think this one was my favourite. I really liked this book. I thought it was really interesting how Le Guin explores so many different sides of humanity. What I like most about this book was that there was a lot of character development and relationship-building. I have found that in some of her other books, such as the City of Illusions, the main character is more on a solitary pilgrimage. However, in this novel, many interesting (and not necessarily romantic) relationships develop adding deeper meaning (for me, anyway) and making it a more compelling read. Now that I have read some of her other books from the Hainish cycle, I understand more details about this book. For example, that this planet is Werel, that the Farborns are Terrans, and that these Terrans were a part of the League of All Worlds. However, having not known this while I was reading it, I found it interesting no being sure which group were really the humans! Le Guin seems to make a mystery of that a times! Over all, I really liked it! Thumbs up.

“The Word for World is Forest” by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Word for World Is ForestThe Word for World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

“The Word for World is Forest” is about a group of hominoids called Terrans that have completely tapped all the resources on their own planet. To remedy their situation, they are colonizing other planets in their solar system. The planet they go to in this story is already inhabited by small intelligent primates called Athsheans. The Athsheans live in harmony with each other and nature, and have a long standing tradition of non-violence. However, the Terrans are taking them as slaves, abusing them, taking advantage of their obliging nature, and destroying the forests that are their home. In order to survive, they must rise up and fight the Terrans. But once they have tasted violence, how do they get it out of their system?

I have just recently began reading science fiction. I am a huge fan of fantasy so this sort of seemed like another step in the same direction. Ursula Le Guin is a fantastic writer. She makes the scenes very vivid in your imagination while still leaving many aspects of the the story mysterious. Not only so, but in her novels there are always philosophical elements that probe deep and important questions about humanity.Out of the five books of hers that I have read, this one is not my favourite, but it was still pretty good.

Over all, it was a good read. I would recommend it.

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Mystery, Thriller

Nick and Amy Dunne are married five years. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears. From the look of their home there was a struggle. The story that follows reveals a marriage that had been slowly disintegrating over the years.

Now the question that is on everyone’s mind is: what happened to Amy?

As the police investigations begins, eyes turn to Nick. Did he kill her? The evidence certainly seem to say that he did. But what if he didn’t? Then where is Amy?

Intense, and incredibly gripping, this psychological thriller was hard to put down. The story is told from both the perspective of Nick as well as Amy. As the story unfolds, you find yourself searching their words and thoughts for any hints of discord, or incongruity, or even psychosis. Who are these people really? What do their thoughts say about them? What on earth happened to Amy?

This story easily had the potential to be an A. Unfortunately, for me it missed the mark a bit. This original and powerful plot was great and thoroughly enjoyable. However, I found the execution often questionable. Overrun with all kinds of vulgarity and obscenity, the story’s plot and writing were often overshadowed. The crudity was distracting, ineffective, and didn’t add anything to the story. In fact, it took away from the story. And for that, I was incredibly disappointed. To me, that takes what would otherwise be a great writer, and shows him or her in an unfavourable light. It shows a lack of creativity and imagination, as well as a small vocabulary. To me, a good writer can get their point across and demonstrate the mindset of their characters without stooping to this dirty and disgusting level.

That being said, the story itself is awesome. I loved it. If you don’t mind heaps of vulgarity (or can at least overlook them), then you will undoubtedly enjoy this book. If you’re not interested in copious amounts of foul language and sexual innuendos, I suggest you look elsewhere.

“Bag of Bones” by Stephen King

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Horror, Supernatural
Mass Market Paperback, 736 pages
Published June 1999 by Pocket Books

Mike Noonan is a best-selling New England novelist. Or, he was until his wife died four years ago. A seeming symptom of his grief, he has been unable to write since Jo’s death. Not only so, but he has also become the victim of vicious nightmares involving his wife and their summer home, Sara Laughs. In an attempt to confront his fear and grief, he returns there.

While there, he is thrust into the life of young widow and mother, Mattie, and her three year old daughter Kyra. They are caught in a struggle with Max Devore, Mattie’s father-in-law, who has become hell bent on taking Kyra away. Compelled by compassion and spiritual (demonic?) forces, Mike will do anything he can to help Mattie.

While helping Mattie and Kyra, Mike is also drawn deeper into the mystery of his summer home, Sara Laughs. There is something, or someone, there with him, and he knows it.

This is only the third or fourth Stephen King novel I have read, and, like the others, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve read Carrie the classic horror story, as well as Joyland, his newer coming of age tale. In a way, this novel falls somewhere in the middle. It contains many frightening and suspenseful elements while digging deeper and probing the depths of love and relationships. It was gripping, scary, moving, and, ultimately, very enjoyable.

However, there was a fair amount of foul language and other vulgarity that I found distracting, distasteful, unnecessary, and ineffective. It took far more away from the novel than it could possibly have added.

If you like reading about the things that go bump in the night, definitely give this book a go!

“The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Fiction, Modern Gothic

Margaret Lea is a biographer who does her work from above her father’s bookshop. She writes about people who are long dead, and is therefore surprised when she receives a letter from the very famous, and very alive, author Vida Winter. Ms. Winter is ill and wants to make sure her life story is told in full.

Ultimately Margaret agrees to take on the project, and makes her way to the home of Ms. Winter in Yorkshire. Ms. Winters is an elderly, eccentric, and witty woman that surprises Margaret at every turn. As Ms. Winters reveals the strange and dark story of her life, she and Margaret must both confront their past and the family secrets that have shaped their lives.

I’ve got to say, when I read the synopsis for this book, I wasn’t really interested; it didn’t appeal to me. However, after multiple recommendations, I thought, what the heck. After I began reading, I could almost immediately see why the book came so highly recommended.

This book is amazing. Utterly amazing. It is definitely the best book I have read in a while, and that is saying something because I’ve read a lot of books recently, including The Help and The Secret Life of Bees.

This gothic tale is incredibly captivating. I barely left my hands until I was finished, and when it did, the story was all I could think about. Marvellous storytelling, powerful characters, and original and compelling plot.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to all fiction lovers!

“Deadly Decisions” by Kathy Reichs

Deadly Decisions (Temperance Brennan, #3)Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs
Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Forensic

The third book in the Temperance Brennan series, Dr. Brennan is compelled to join Caracjou, a task force dedicated to stopping the crime of notorious motorcycle gangs, after the death of an innocent child. While working as part of the task force and doing her day job, Dr. Brennan finds parts of the skeleton of a girl from North Carolina. The location of the burial leads Dr. Brennan to think there is a link between the girl’s death and the biker gangs. As she travels back and forth between Montréal and the south, Dr. Brennan presses herself deeper and deeper into the world of bikers and their culture. As usual, her dedication to finding he truth places her and her family in danger.

Although I did enjoy this book, I did not enjoy it quite as much as the previous Temperance Brennan novel. I was not as enthralled in the story as with Death Du Jour. Perhaps it’s because I read this one right after reading the other. Maybe I was a little burnt out on mystery! However, it’s still a good read. I would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy mystery novels!

“Death Du Jour” by Kathy Reichs

Death Du JourDeath Du Jour by Kathy Reichs
Mystery, Suspense, Forensic, Crime

Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist with a fairly specific skill set that makes her an incredible asset to the Montreal police department. This skill set often also has the tendency of putting her and her loved ones in danger.

It’s winter, and the biting cold of Montreal is not what Dr. Brennan’s southern body is used to. In the ice and snow, she is helping find the body of a century-dead nun who is now up for sainthood. However, the bones of this nun, Elisabeth Nicolet, tell a story that differs from the one that Dr. Brennan has heard.

As this mystery unravels, Dr. Brennan is pulled into another investigation. Two burned bodies are discovered in a chalet near the mountains. One of the first questions asked is, was it an accident? Or was it murder? When it is discovered that it was arson, homicide investigator Andrew Ryan is on the scene. He and Dr. Brennan team up to solve the case. As they follow the leads, they find connections between the murders and Dr. Brennan’s home state of North Carolina. They also find links between a professor at McGill, a furtive commune in North Carolina, and an island full of monkeys.

I really liked this book! I liked it even more than the first one. It was thrilling and fast-paced. Once I started I couldn’t put it down. I especially appreciated how there was less vulgarity in this novel than the first. The subject matter really touched an interest of mine and I was immediately drawn in. Reichs’ writing keeps you guessing the whole time.

Some may argue that it is too formulaic. I would have to counter by saying that that is not always a bad thing. Sometimes people want to know what they are getting themselves into. Some read that kind of thing because they liked it before and know they will like it again! Furthermore, although yes, there is a certain amount of predictability in the way the novel is laid out, Reichs has the talent to keep you guessing and surprise you at every turn.

Some may also argue that there is too much discussion of the specifics of forensics. And yes, there is a lot of that. However, I think it’s pretty interesting and shows you that the author really does know what she’s talking about! I wonder how much she had to dumb that down for us average Joes… He he.

If you enjoy intense mystery novels, or police drama TV shows, this just might be your cup of tea! However, if mystery novels aren’t your thing, or you scare easily, you might want to look elsewhere!

Long time no post…

Hey guys,

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I have been pretty busy lately, new job and all that! I have been reading though (of course) but I haven’t been on my computer to write the reviews. When I get a day off I will!

Pending reviews:
Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs
Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs
The Thirteenth Tale By Diane Setterfield

Have patience 🙂

If you’re reading this,
Thank you! Have a great day!