Six recent reads

As another month has ended *insert customary astonished comment here* it’s time for my usual reading round-up. I rather like this post each month, even if it’s not often the most reliable set of posts, as it holds me accountable for how my reading challenge is going which at the moment seems to be going rather well, hooray! I’m currently on book 38 of 52, which puts me only one book behind schedule, not too bad really is it? So what have I been reading recently and what did I think of each book? Well read on!

recent reads

The Silver Linings Playbook – I loved this book! I really enjoyed reading Pat’s story and his attempts to be kind, rather than always right. His relationships with each of the other characters were wonderfully written and seemed realistic. I also liked that it wasn’t a perfect ending and that everything wasn’t wonderful at the end of it, somehow I think that would have gone against the realistic portrayal of mental illness that the book is all about.

Apple Tree Yard – This was a book that I purchased randomly (I think it was on offer at Amazon) and I’m so pleased that I did as it was brilliant! It reminded me a bit of Gone Girl as I didn’t like any of the characters but was totally gripped by the story, which was pacey and intriguing with some interesting plot twists and characters. There were shocking things that happened in the books and not everyone was deserving of this things but that made the book all the better, especially as things weren’t perfectly tied together at the end.

The Sea Sisters – I loved this book so much and would recommend it to anyone that likes easy and enjoyable reads. It follows a woman as she retraces her dead sisters trip around the world to the place where she died and tries to convince others that her sister wouldn’t have killed herself. It’s a journey of personal discovery as well as showing how little we know one another and exploring the relationship between two sisters who are very different. Really, really enjoyable and a great page turner.

Born Wicked – This has been on my bookshelf for ages and when I finally got round to reading it when I was away I read it in half a day. It was that good. It’s about a trio of sisters who also happen to be witches and it’s superbly written. I loved the secrets and twists and above all else the story. I can’t wait for the next book, it’s just going to get better and better after what happened at the end of the book. EEK!

City of Bones (Book 1 in Mortal Instruments) – This is a another book I’ve been meaning to read for ages and I finally did as I wanted to before the film came out. Sadly I still haven’t watched the film but I definitely will be as the book’s brilliant! The characters are well written and intriguing enough that you can’t see everything that’s going to happen straightaway. Also the twist near the end (yes obvious) but brilliant none the less. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

The Casual Vacancy – I preordered this book when it was first announced but I’ve not felt like reading it until recently thanks to the less than favourable reviews of it. Once I finally did read it I was surprised by how much I did enjoy it, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t page turning and I would be careful who I recommended it to, but it was classic J. K . Rowling in the sense that it had characters that were 100% formed rather than 2D and the world was all-encompassing. Although having said that, not a lot happened in a book that was so massive but over all I’m glad I read the book it was very interesting!

So what about you, what have you been reading lately and any suggestions on what I should read next? Even if I do have a bookcase full of books still to read…


Augusts reads – five brilliant books

A good book is very magical

The wisest of woods from the queen of writing – J. K. Rowling. (source)

Before I sat down to write this post I thought I’d read barely anything in August, hence why this post is arriving a week into September. As really what’s the point of updating you on my reading challenge when I haven’t got anything to update on? However, I then realised the point of this blog and in particular this challenge was to up date you on my reading habits on a monthly basis, it was a way of being held accountable for my reading. If I want to start a challenge – then surely I have to finish it. So I got over myself and got writing, only to realise I’d been wrong. I actually had a good reading month! After all five books is really quite a good amount for just one month. Although really if I think about it I’ve not read anything for most of the month, as the first three books were read in just one week. Thank goodness Wales happened as since then I’ve been finding it really hard to get into any book I pick up. I’m hoping that with my upcoming week in Portugal things will improve after all I’ll have lots of time and not a lot else to focus on (apart from food!), here’s hoping that plan works anyway! So what did I think about the five books that I did read, well…

  1. First up was the work manuscript, which I obviously can’t tell you about as it’s not out till next year, but it was honestly such a brilliant read! It’s the third book in a brilliant series, and I’m so pleased that this book doesn’t disappoint, it’s really very good.
  2. Book number two was Heroes of Olympus: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. I’ve mentioned in the past how much I enjoy these books and this still stands. It was really good to learn more about the characters and see how the story is developing. I can’t wait to read book three as I think it’s going to be brilliant when the two groups of characters start working together – I think we’re in for some trials and tribulations, and of course humour. Oh I love these books.
  3. Harlan Coben is one of my favourite crime writers, and Six Years is another excellent book. It really does keep you guessing until the end and he creates a really interesting character who is faced with some really interesting situations and decisions. I can’t even fathom how you would react when finding out some of the things he does. I highly recommend it!
  4. The Enemy by Charlie Higson – This book was truly amazing, I loved it! It’s a books with such brilliant writing and a great story, coupled with hideously gory parts (so gory that I almost felt sick!). It’s also a wonderfully interesting concept, which has you second guessing what you would do in a similar situation – I still don’t know. I also couldn’t help but loving all the characters. My final thought on this book is how it reminds me so much with Lord of the Flies, in the way that it gives children responsibility and questions how they would react.
  5. Last weekend I finished Private Down Under, which is by James Patterson. I’m a big fan of the Private series and you’ll be pleased to know that this book is just as good as the rest of the books in the series. The best thing about this book – apart from the fast pace, interesting characters and intriguing cases – is that it’s reminded me how much I want to go back to Sydney. I love that city so much and it’s great to read about areas that I know, even if only a little.

So that’s what I’ve been reading – what about you, what did you read in August and what did you think about each book? I’d love to know!

Six Month Booky Update

So yes my book updating posts haven’t been that frequent have they – in fact I haven’t discussed what I’ve read since March, where just one book was mentioned. Oops, sorry about that. What can I say I’ve certainly struggled a lot with getting in to books over the past few months/ Thankfully though this issue has been rectified and I’m now back on a book reading train, although I’m still three books behind where I should be if I want to meet my 52 books in a year goal. But I’ve not given up hope. After all I’ve got two one week holidays to come in the second half of the year, so I should be fine. *crosses fingers hopefully* So back to what I’ve been reading over the last three months, this glorious array of brilliant books. For thoughts on each book, check out the mini book reviews below. But if you really don’t care what I think about just have a gander at the pretty pictures below – let’s be honest I can get a smidge carried away with the waffle in reviews!

Safe House, Chris Ewan – This book took me a while to get into if I’m honest and I’m not really sure why. It was a good story, I liked the characters and it was great that it wasn’t immediately obvious where the story was going, yet something stopped me from giving it 3/5 stars on the Good Reads site. I’m damned if I know what that is but I’ll just have to deal with that – although I do hate when I can’t put my finger on something!

After the Fall, Charity Norman – I LOVED this book! I was given it for my birthday as it was mentioned over on this post, but it’s taken me a while to get round to it. It was really enjoyable. It follows the story of a family who move out to New Zealand for new opportunities and a (supposedly) better life. They get a lot more than they expect and we follow their story from a series of flashbacks after a terrible accident. What makes it really interesting is that you don’t know if certain characters are good or bad, if there was an accident or if it was on purpose and there are some brilliant twists. The story is really well written and the characters are not altogether that likeable which sometimes books stay too focused on. I’d definitely recommend this book to everyone I know.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl – I had a bit of a Dahl moment over the last few months, as you’ll spot two of his tales on this list. To be honest sometimes you need to read something that reminds you of your childhood and that’s comforting. that’s what this book is all about – I absolutely love it and think it’s a deserved classic.

Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, Jill Mansell – I mentioned in a past post that I love Jill Mansell’s books and even mentioned I wanted to get my hands on this book. Thankfully I did and I’ve read it and I (as per usual) loved it. I love a good story, with a happy ending, nice characters and also a book that does what it should – thoroughly entertains you. This is the book that got me back on my reading pathway. It’s brilliant.

The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown – Around all the hype of Dan Brown’s newest book, Inferno, I realised that I still hadn’t read his last one. Considering the books are all part of the Robert Langdon story I knew that needed to be rectified immediately. 600+ pages later and I’d read it. tO say I was disappointed wouldn’t be right but it definitely didn’t consume me as his other books have in the past. I’m not sure why I’d not noticed it before, but Dan Brown does like to waffle on a lot doesn’t he? And it’s not often entirely necessary – I have to admit I did skip a fair few paragraphs where he was droning on and on, but I still understood everything that was happening. Maybe next time he could do with being edited a smidge more!

Esio Trot, Roald Dahl- I can’t believe I’ve never read this book before – I loved it. It was an absolute joy, not that I’m  surprised. Dahl is a storytelling genius after all.

Picture Me Gone, Meg Rosoff- This is the first Meg Rosoff book I’ve ever read, much to the outrage of many of my work colleagues. But having read this book I can now see why they are so annoyed. Meg Rosoff is a brilliant writer – the voice she writes is beautiful. The characters are interesting, the story lovely and just generally brilliant. Definitely a must read when it’s available later in the year.

Vampire Academy and Vampire Academy: Frostbite, Richelle Mead – I’m a big Richelle Mead having fallen madly in love with her Bloodlines books a couple of years back, but I’ve never really tried her first series, Vampire Academy. With the film adaptation of book one coming out soon I thought I should give it a whirl and I’m so pleased I did as it’s such a good read. I love the world she’s created and the characters are brilliant. She’s got such a great range of characters in her book and I am enjoying finding out more about the characters I know so well from Bloodlines and how they ended up where they are at the start of Bloodlines. So just another few books to get through in the series (not that I’m complaining)!

NYPD Red, James Patterson – I haven’t read a JP book for an age, and I’m definitely glad to be back on this particular train. I love the page turning ability that JP has and I like that has introduced us to a new set of characters, even if some of the situations aren’t all together believable! We’ll let him off though!

How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff – I loved Picture Me Gone so much that I had to give another Meg Rosoff a try. I chose this one as the film’s out soon and I’m a firm believer of reading the book before watching the film. Also my friend at work is such a fan of this book that she rereads it each year and is flabbergasted I’ve never read it. She loves it so much that she doesn’t want to know if I don’t like it as she won’t be able to bear it. Uh oh the pressure! So far I’m really enjoying it. Again Meg Rosoff has written a brilliant character in daisy and is exploring some truly massive subjects. It’s really good and not what I was expecting plot wise. I can’t wait to find out what happens to Piper, Daisy, et al!

February’s Books

February’s book reading has been VERY successful as I’ve finished six books and I’m on my seventh. That puts me a fifth of the way through my challenge for the year – hooray! This makes me think that it could be possible for me to complete it, well as long as I don’t suddenly have a week or two of bad reading, fingers crossed! So what have I been reading and what did I think of the books….

Black Beauty, Anna Sewell – I’m actually fairly ashamed to say I’ve never read this book as it’s such a classic. How I’ve managed to get through the past 20-something years without reading it, considering I’ve always been such a book-worm, I’m not sure but now that I have I’m not sure I understand the massive amount of love for this book. I just wasn’t really a fan of any of it – sorry to all the Black Beauty fans out there.

The Twits, Roald Dahl – I loved Roald Dahl’s stories as a child. I must have read George’s Marvellous Medicine about 30 times and Matilda is one of my all-time favourite books – up there with Charlotte’s Web in my opinion. But somehow I never read The Twits and now that I have I LOVED it! It’s so brilliantly imaginative and funny, although wildly dark at the same time, like all good Dahl stories.

The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey – I read a sneaky proof of this book as it’s not out until May and it was really, really good! I’ve not read any Rick Yancey books in the past, but I’m tempted to now I’ve read this one. It’s a brilliant postapocalyptic/dystopian novel on a par with The Hunger Games with well-written characters and suspense on every page.

Insurgent, Veronica Roth – It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t read book two of the Divergent series even though I was a huge fan of the first book. I’m not sure how I let this slip through my fingers, but I’m very glad I remembered and have now read it. It’s brilliant and it’s as good as book one – the characters keep you guessing what their going to do next and it’s definitely left me intrigued about book three. How’s it all going to end?!

Private: No. 1 Suspect, James Patterson – I love James Patterson’s novels as they are so easy to read and all about the suspense. I find them the perfect beach read or read when you need something that doesn’t involve much effort or thought. And this book was no different. Plus I’m fairly new to the Private series so it was good to find out more about these recurring characters.

Kane Chronicles: The Throne of Fire, Rick Riordan – This is one of about five Rick Riordan book on my book list and as per usual the book didn’t disappoint. The reason I love these books is that you learn so much! It’s been years since I did any Egyptian history, in fact it was about 18 years ago, so it was good to be reminded about some of the myths and legends and to see how Rick Riordan weaves it all in to a brilliant story that always keeps you gripped. Definitely one to be added to your list if you’ve not read it before!

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