Thursday, 6 March 2014

TBR: March 2014

And here I am ably assisted by my daughter in choosing the books I'll read in March!  Excuse the giggling and silliness ... I have no idea about any of the books I'll be reading this month!

Wrap Up: February 2014

And here's what I thought of them!

February 2014 TBR

Just to get this blog up to date, here's a video in which I talk awkwardly about the books on my February TBR pile!

Friday, 31 January 2014

January Wrap-Up

11 books and 2 novellas happened in January.  That's a lot of reading!  No more TV for me!

So first let's have a look at how I got on with the TBR Jar choices .... My kids had great pleasure in picking out these seven books and seeing my face fall, and they were very good at making me read the chosen books, even when I wasn't keen.  I did try to read all of them ... here's how I got on.

The Aunt Sally Team by Flick Merauld: I'm afraid I gave up on this one.  I just wasn't interested in any of the characters or the plot and I couldn't force myself to continue!

Stitch by Samantha Durante:  This was a Young Adult/supernatural/ghost story that I just couldn't get into at all.  Another one I gave up on I'm afraid!

The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid:  Nope, couldn't get on with this one either.  The plot held no interest for me whatsoever.  One for the charity shop!

Don't worry, things get better from now on in!

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch:  This is a young adult novel.  It follows the story of two girls whose mother basically kidnaps them and abandons them in the woods while she goes off for days or weeks at a time to feed her drug habit.  It is a sad, touching tale, and I really enjoyed it.  A rare 5 stars!

Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi:  This is a novella that tells a different side of the story to Shatter Me.  It was interesting to read Warner's point of view, though I wasn't as taken with him as most others seem to be!  4 stars

The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman: (TBR Jar choice) This was a beautifully written, moving tale about a lighthouse keeper, his wife and a baby.  I absolutely loved this book and didn't want it to end!  5 stars, and one of my favourite reads ever!

House Rules by Jodi Picoult:  (TBR Jar choice) This was a book that has been on my shelf for a long time - since May 2010 according to my Goodreads!  I've read a few of Jodi Picoult's books; some I love and so I couldn't finish.  House Rules belongs to the former group, I'm pleased to say.  This tells the story of a teenager with Aspergers Syndrome, a murder and family loyalty.  At some points this book made me so angry and at other points I wanted to cry.  A solid 4 stars.

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin:  I was given this book for Christmas, as part of the Man Booker Prize shortlist collection.  It is a really short book, a novella really, and gives Mary's viewpoint of the death of her son, Jesus.  As a non-religious person who went to a Catholic primary school, I found this book interesting and beautifully written.  3 stars.

Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert: (TBR Jar choice)  Another one from my dusty shelves!  This one has been gathering dust since November 2008!  I originally bought this book because the author is South African - I love reading books by South African authors or set in South Africa.  I was slightly concerned by the length of this, but once I was into the story I couldn't put it down and raced through it.  A very interesting concept, and a different view of witches.  4 stars.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell:  I bought this for my daughter for Christmas, and she read and really enjoyed it, so I thought I'd give it a go.  I was a little shocked at the language (not for myself, but for my daughter! :D).  It is quite a sad story but told in a really cute way.  I loved all the references to music and the '80s.  Really enjoyed this and will definitely read some more of Ms Rowell's books!  4 stars.

This Is A Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl by Paul Brannigan:  (TBR Jar Choice) According to Goodreads, I bought this book in April 2013, so I was quite pleased to finally pick it up.   I am a huge Nirvana fan, a huge Foo Fighters fan, and a huge Dave Grohl fan, so I was really looking forward to learning more about him.  Unfortunately this book contained a lot of waffle about the general punk music/grunge music scene and not very much new about Dave.  There were some interesting snippets, but it seemed like it was mainly a summary of lots of different interviews that I'd already read elsewhere.  A disappointing 2 stars.

A musical interlude!  Behold the gorgeousness that is Dave Grohl!

The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver:  I picked this book up in Tescos January sale - I think it was £1.  I'd never read anything by this author before.  This book is the first in the Lincoln Rhyme series, and follows Lincoln through the investigation of a murder case ... the slight hitch being that Lincoln is paralysed from the neck down and hasn't left his bed for a very long time.  This is a really interesting premise, and I have found myself a new crime series to work through.  4 stars.

The Evolution of Inanimate Objects by Harry Karlinsky:  Here's an odd little book!  This is a novel about the fictitious youngest son of Charles Darwin, who becomes obsessed with cutlery.  It is odd because it is written like a non-fiction book, and I had to keep reminding myself that it was a work of fiction.  3 stars.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion:  Whenever I see a book proclaimed as 'laugh out loud funny' I shudder.  I don't think I have ever read a book that has had me laughing out loud.  I think I relate more to 'spoken' humour.  This book, however, did have me laughing out loud within the first few pages ... the rest of the book was amusing, enjoyable and readable, but I didn't 'laugh out loud' again.  Another story about Asperger Syndrome, I really enjoyed this.  4 stars.

Y by Marjorie Celona:  Now here is a bleak and depressing book.  This follows the story of a newborn baby abandoned on the steps of the YMCA.  It is told from two different viewpoints - the abandoned baby and the young mother who abandoned her.  A sad story that held my attention, I was hoping for a happy ending.  If you're after an uplifting tale, this is not it!  3 stars.

And finally ...

Wake by Anna Hope:  I received a copy of this from NetGalley for review ... which will be up in a separate post very soon!

Phew! That was a long post!  Next month I think I will do a mid-month wrap-up post to cut down on the length, and to get more regular posts going.  The TBR jars worked well this month and I will continue with that with a little change - as I have set my Goodreads Challenge to 72 books, I want to choose 6 books each month from the jars, but I have 7 jars.  So I have decided to smoosh two together into one, so have amalgamated the 'non-fiction' jar with the 'big 'uns/classics' to make 6 jars instead of 7.  I love the fact that this is making me read some books I've had on my shelf for years!  That makes me happy! :)

So what have you been reading in January?!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Bout of Books: Update Post

Current book: House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Pages read: 207
Blogs commented on: 3

Current book: House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Pages read: 289 (finished)
Blogs commented on: 0 - bad me! (rectifying that right now!)

Book read: The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
Pages read: 104 (finished)
Currently reading: Stitch by Samantha Durante
Pages read:
Total pages read today:
Blogs commented on: 3 (making up for yesterdays lack of commentage) and will do more later ... :)

Number of books read so far:  2! (yay me!)

Monday, 6 January 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 ... Goals!

This is my first time participating in Bout of Books.  As it happens, I have just started a humungous book - House Rules by Jodi Picoult - so I think my goal will be just to finish it!  IF I do manage to finish House Rules, my aim is to then read the much shorter The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin.  Sadly I go back to work tomorrow, so my reading time will be cut down.  I don't want to be too ambitious in my goals!  I think I would also like to participate in at least one of the challenges, and the twitter chat.

So my goals are:

1. Finish reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult (currently on page 80 of 556)
2. Participate in at least one challenge and one twitter chat
3. Comment on at least 3 blogs per day

I'll create a new post at the end of each day for my updates! :)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2014 Goals/January TBR

In 2014, I hope to do more of the things I enjoy - namely cooking, reading, and messing about with arty things.  I hate that I get into slumps so regularly and would really like to keep something up for the whole year!

I will be attempting to take part in Journal 52, a year long art journalling workshop with weekly prompts (and it's free!).  I may or may not record some videos for YouTube.

I will once again be attempting to keep up with Fatmumslim's photo a day challenge.

I will be attempting to cook more recipes from the hundreds (well, dozens) of cookbooks I have instead of just random scrabbled together dinners.

(This is all sounding very similar to last year's "resolutions"!)

I have set my Goodreads challenge to 72 books.  I read 42 this year, so this target may be a bit ambitious, but the last two months of 2013 have shown me what is possible! (I read 8 books in November and 10 in December, so 6 a month should be achievable ...).  In order to get through books that have been sitting gathering dust on my shelf for ages, I have devised a system for choosing books each month.  I have 7 tbr jars (I know that's one more than I plan to read a month but I couldn't condense them any more than this!) each containing all the books I own split into (very loose) genres.  I have a jar for each of the following:

  • General (the biggest selection!)
  • Other Worldly (sci-fi, dystopian, paranormal, etc)
  • Classics/Big 'Uns (those that might take a bit longer to get through!)
  • Young Adult (pilfered from my daughter's bookshelf!)
  • Thriller/Mystery
  • Non-Fiction
  • New Books (anything I buy and want to read as soon as possible!)
Each month I will choose a book from each jar.  If I get through all those books, I can treat myself to choose another from the 'new books' jar.  Of course, we all know what will happen.  I won't fancy any of the books chosen and will read other books entirely, or end up not reading anything!  In the case of the latter, if I find myself in a reading slump, I will force myself to pick up a Harry Potter book to re-read - that usually gets me back into the mood for reading!

So, here are the chosen books for January:

General: The Aunt Sally Team by Flick Merauld - I think I bought this one when I first got my Kindle (it might have been free, definitely not more than 99p).  Really not sure about reading this one, but I will give it a go!

Other Worldly:  Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert - quite looking forward to this one ... I think I might have started it a while back, but will start again.

Classics/Big 'Uns:  House Rules by Jodie Picoult - a hit and miss author for me, so hopefully I will get on with this one!

Young Adult:  Stitch by Samantha Durante - on my Kindle, a free or under 99p purchase.  I've heard good things about this one.

Thriller/Mystery:  The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid - been on my shelf forever!

New Books:  The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman - this one sounds very interesting, but I've heard it is a slow read, so we shall see ...

What will you be reading in January?