2013 What's in a Name Challenge

This quirky li'l challenge is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Here's How It Works

Between January 1 and December 31, 2013, participants must read one book in each of the following categories:

A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title
A book with something you'd find in your kitchen in the title
A book with a party or celebration in the title
A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title
A book with an emotion in the title
A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title

My Challenge Reads and Reviews

A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title
To Be Read...

A book with something you'd find in your kitchen in the title
To Be Read...

A book with a party or celebration in the title
To Be Read...

A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title
To Be Read...

A book with an emotion in the title
To Be Read...

A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title
To Be Read...

2013 TBR Challenge!

Welcome to 2013 TBR PILE Reading Challenge!

I'm confronted by two problems this new year. 1) I have a HUGE TBR pile. 2) I have an even bigger list of TBR eBooks! 

Those seem like damn good reasons to participate in this great challenge! 

Challenge guidelines can be found by clicking on the challenge logo above! Basically, it prohibits buying new books and there are monthly wrap-ups, mini challenges and giveaways to make things extra fabulous!

Now, I'm joining up in June as I've decided that it's time to get back to work on Scattered Figments. I wasn't blogging, but I was still adding to my TBR piles like a book-loving loon!

    1-10 - A Firm Handshake
    11-20 - A Friendly Hug
    21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
    31-40 - Love At First Sight
    41-50 - Married With Children

    ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 

    I'd be happy to just give this one a firm handshake while I dip my toes back into the blogging waters! Cross your fingers for me!

    2013 Audio Book Challenge!

    How could I possibly not take part in this! I'm completely in love with Audio Books so the excuse to listen to a few more suits me just fine! 

    There are four levels to this challenge:

    Listen to 6 Audio Books - FLIRTING
    Listen to 12 Audio Books - GOING STEADY
    Listen to 25 Audio Books - LOVER
    Listen to +++ Audio Books - MARRIED

    I'm joining this challenge more than half way through the year so I think I'll just "flirt" with it!


    Remembrance Day Review: "Heroes", by Robert Cormier

    Title: Heroes
    Author: Robert Cormier
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 144
    Publisher: Laurel Leaf
    Published: February 2000 (First Published 1998)

    Taken from Goodreads

    Francis Joseph Cassavant is eighteen. He has just returned home from the Second World War, and he has no face. He does have a gun and a mission: to murder his childhood hero.

    Francis lost most of his face when he fell on a grenade in France. He received the Silver Star for bravery, but was it really an act of heroism? Now, having survived, he is looking for a man he once admired and respected, a man adored by many people, a man who also received a Silver Star for bravery. A man who destroyed Francis's life.


    As it's Remembrance Day, I thought I'd do a (very short) post about a truly amazing book. Once upon a time, in my former life as a teacher, I had the pleasure of teaching this book as a GCSE text, and I loved the experience. The book follows Francis, a young man whose endeavours in WWII left him with a Silver Star and a dreadfully deformed face. The book begins:

    "My name is Francis Joseph Cassavant and I have just returned to Frenchtown in Monument and the war is over and I have no face."

    How's that for an opening line? In just one sentence, Cormier establishes setting, introduces character and creates a sense of intrigue. The lack of punctuation indicates Cassavant's loss of control and his somewhat desperate state of mind. It's in this style that Cormier packs so much into this fairly slim tome. 

    This is one of those books which demonstrates just how powerful writing for young adults can be. This book deals with love, war, betrayal, abuse, identity, heroism, community, youth... and so much more. 

    Like I said, this is a short post. I'm just dipping my toe in the blogging waters as I've been awayfor a while. Instead of a lengthy write up. I made this as an intro to the book, back in my teaching days. I hope you enjoy, for the song if nothing else!

    REVIEW: "The Name of the Wind", by Patrick Rothfuss.

    Title: The Name of the Wind
    Author: Patrick Rothfuss
    Publisher: Orion
    Narrated By: Rupert Degas
    Audible Release Date: 6th March 2012
    Runtime: 28 hrs and 9 mins  
    [Dead-Tree book release date: 2007, by DAW Hardcover]

    Taken from Audible
    'I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me'
    So begins the tale of Kvothe - now an unassuming innkeepter - from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In part one you will come to know Kvothe the notorious magician, the accomplished thief, the masterful musician, the dragon-slayer, the legend-hunter, the lover, the thief and the infamous assassin.


    It is a rare thing to encounter a perfect book, but when you do it's a double edged sword. On the one hand, you've discovered a story which consumes you and characters who seem so real that you half expect them to walk into your living room, pour themselves some tea and muddy your carpets with the dirt from their adventurous boot-heels. On the other hand, when the story ends, you miss these perfectly-drawn characters as much as you would a friend. The perfect writing is so delicate and so clear that all other prose seems clunky and unrefined. Therein lies the rusty edge of the sword. 

    I suppose a perfect book is much like finding a perfect lover. While they may ... ahem... rock your world while you have the means to enjoy them; while they may inspire you, fill you with joy and show you what perfection means, once the torrid affair ends, all other lovers seem rather lacking by comparison. As far as this metaphor goes, listening to the audiobook recording of
     The Name of the Wind is like spending a long, languorous evening with Apollo. However, since finishing this book, I've read several others and, now that I've enjoyed perfection, I've found that other books seem awkward, elbowy, brief and... unsatisfying.

    The narrative of the book is largely in the retrospective first person, from the point of view of Kvothe, the protagonist of the tale. There are also interjections of third-person narrative which focus on the events of Kvothe's immediate life. Both perspectives have much to offer. In the first person, Kvothe's story is a
    bildungsroman which details his humble beginnings and fellows his life through to his fame and notoriety as a hero of legend. In the third person, we see Kvothe as a man who is still young in years (he is described as being in his twenties), but who also seems aged and worn. He hides behind an alias and has assumed the life of a small-town inn-keeper. But there are still hints of strangeness and otherworldly goings on in his new, quieter life of obscurity. 

    The plot is dense and brilliantly crafted. The world is believable and its magic (known as "sympathy") is so excellently imagined that I'm almost surprised that it isn't a reality! The wealth of characters are all intimately drawn and unique. Even the more subordinate characters come to life in Rothfuss' pages. 

    As well as praising Patrick Rothfuss' superlative writing, I just have to give a shout-out to the narrative skills of Rupert Degas. He takes the vibrancy of Rothfuss' characters and gives them the final breath of life. He makes their hearts beat and gives each their own unique personality and voice. Even great books can be ruined by bad narration. Thankfully, Degas takes an already great book and manages to make it even better. 

    The Name of The Wind
    is book one in the Kingkiller Chronicles and its narrative details the first of a three day discussion of Kvothe's life to Chronicler, a historian sent to find out about the hero of legend. Book Two (detailing the second day) is also available and my review is coming soon! Unfortunately, there's no publication date available for the final part of the trilogy and I have no idea how I'm going to cope with the agony of waiting for news and for the book itself!

    There are just some books in this world which must be read and I can't believe how long this one eluded me. While the fantasy genre comes with some stigma attached, please do
    not let preconceptions put you off. This isn't just a great book "for it's genre", but a great book full stop. If I could give it a million stars then I would. As that would leave my rating system otherwise meaningless, however, I'll settle on five stars!