Blood Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

3/5 stars.
ebook, 409 pages.
Read from November 9, 2019 to November 25, 2019.

I tried to do the responsible thing and wait to get this book from the library but after reading The Last Wish and the Sword of Destiny and loving them I decided I couldn’t wait to continue into this series and bought a copy for myself. 

After finally accepting his fate, Geralt has found himself protecting and caring for Ciri, the orphaned princess and the only remaining royal bloodline of Cintra. Ciri is quickly becoming skilled with a sword under the Witcher’s guidance but an old friend and lover of Geralt, Triss, points out Ciri’s serious magical potential. Ciri then begins to learn the skills of a sorceress to ensure she can control her powers and hopeful stop the horrible nightmares that have been keeping her awake at night.  However, Ciri is still being hunted. Rience, a powerful mage, tortures Geralt’s friend, Dandelion, to find the whereabouts of Ciri and ends up being saved by Yennifer. Geralt then pursues Rience while Ciri falls into Yennifer’s care in order to protect her.

The storyline in this book is not what I hoped it would be for the first official novel on Geralt. The short story style in the last two books seemed more concise and engaging whereas this book felt convoluted. Perhaps this novel is just laying a lot of detailed groundwork so that the next novel is seamless? I hope so. I still enjoyed the book, especially the character-building with Yennifer and Ciri and their bond, but the plot itself was lacklustre compared to the last two books. The focus of the previous books was more linear whereas this book the focus changes a few too many times between characters as well as on some uninteresting politics. 

Here’s hoping that the focus in the next book is narrower and more concise as I am looking forward to seeing how Ciri and Geralt’s fate unfolds. Overall, this book is likely still a necessary book in the series and I’m hoping to see the rest of the books continue on the same track as the previous two. 

Canada Reads 2020 Longlist

What book should bring Canada into focus?

The CBC Canada Reads 2020 longlist has arrived and this year the list has diversified to include poetry, speculative fiction, as well as a graphic novel. Out of these 15 books which ones will make the shortlist? And which one will best meet the theme this year, one book to bring Canada into focus?

I would personally like to see Son of a Trickster on the shortlist as well as the graphic novel, Dear Scarlett. Which ones are you excited for?

The final five books and their champions will be revealed on Jan. 22, 2020.

The debates will take place March 16-19, 2020 and will be hosted by Ali Hassan. The debates will be broadcast on CBC Radio OneCBC TVCBC Gem and on CBC Books

Favourite Reads of 2019

2019 proved to be a difficult year for me. Thank goodness for books!


2019 proved to be a difficult year for me. Thank goodness for books! I almost didn’t make my reading goal this year but a few long flights allowed me to power through and reach 50 for the year. So without further ado, here are the five fiction and the five non-fiction books that I read in 2019 that I left the lasting impression.

Fiction:

The Nightingale
Well, well, well, isn’ it wonderful when the hype about a book turns out to be true? This novel had the perfect combination of things that I love in a good book. A historical-fiction plot based in WWII (one of my favourite settings), strong and dynamic female characters, great writing, and a few surprises in store at the end. If this book has been on your TBR pile, it’s time to go and pick it up!

The Last Wish
I am ecstatic to have found another fantasy series that I’m in love with and I will definitely be devouring every book in this series. After playing some of the Witcher games it was a nice surprise to find out that there was also a book series. This novel really stuck with me and is a quality fantasy read. Needless to say, I don’t plan on leaving the Witcher world anytime soon.

Confederacy of Dunces
One of most hilarious and clever books I’ve ever read. The writing and character work in this novel is nothing short of brilliant and it pains me to think of the talent with lost with the author’s early passing. This book would appeal to anyway the read and loved Don Quixote or who is interested in misadventure stories with unique protagonists.

A Chorus of Mushrooms
I received this poetic and Murakami-esqe book as a gift this year and it was the most beautiful story I read this year. It details 3 generations of Japanese-Canadians and the importance of family and personal identity. Stay tuned for the full review of this book soon.

The Monsters We Deserve
If you have ever read Frankenstein, then you need to read this little known book. This short novel leaves the reader wondering what actually happens to the narrator and how much of this tense story is real or metaphorical. The writing is smart, highly creative and very well-paced making for an engaging read.

Non-Fiction:

Educated
There are many memoirs out there that are written by pretentious and self-important people that make for dull reads, which is generally why I don’t read too many. Then there are memoirs that detail the life of a seemingly ordinary person that has led the most remarkable life and has overcome challenges that many of us can’t even envision. This is one of those memoirs. Well-written and very engaging, this book is worth the hype.

Know My Name
I hope Chanel Miller makes millions with this book. Chanel is the young woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner. This is her story and what a story it is. It’s phenomenally written and ridiculously engaging. 

The Way Through The Woods
Since my family and I experienced our own intense personal grief this year, I picked up this in hopes it might be an interesting read and be able to recommend it. This book snuck up on me. It’s half about the author’s personal mourning with the other half detailing facts about mushrooms and how learning about them helped the author deal with her grief. It’s both interesting and educational and provided me with insights on grief that stuck with me long after finishing it.

Stiff
Keeping on the theme of grief and death this was another book that appealed to me in 2019. Mary Roach approaches cadavers in a very entertaining, informative and tactful manner. She observes and interviews the intricate lives of those doing the less-than-glamorous work with corpses while also exploring the strategies they use in order to cope and maintain their humanity with the surreal nature of their jobs.

Perfectly Hidden Depression
The author of this book is shedding light on an area of depression that requires some serious attention. Her writing is personable, concise, insightful, informative, resourceful and clinical.  Perfectly hidden depression presents differently than your standard depression and after years of experience with patients, this author felt the need to draw attention to the behaviour she was seeing. Read my review to see if you fit this subset of depression.