Wednesday 31 August 2011

August and the month ahead.

Surely it can't be September already. Feels like it was just January yesterday!. I had another good month despite slowing down at the end.

Once again I managed to read my allocation of books for the 'books I should have read by now challenge'. This time I didn't replace any. I read all the ones I set out at the start.

Mary Tudor by Anna Whitelock
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
The Bachman Books by Stephen King.

I liked all three but my favourite was the Bachman books. It was pleasant to discover that Stephen King has a talent for one of my most loved genres, dystopian. Long Walk is on my top list of books by him. Tess Gerritsen was a new author to me and I think I will read more by her eventually. I did enjoy Mary Tudor but felt that it lacked in information a little. Not as much focus on Mary in her early years.

This month I have decided to read the following for this challenge;

A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold by George R. R. Martin
A is For Alibi by Susan Grafton
Making History by Stephen Fry.

The Stephen Fry one I might change. I admire him a lot but I am not really in the mood to read his fiction. I have started the first one on the list and enjoying it so far (really didn't expect not to).

This month I read;

Mary Tudor by Anna Whitelock
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut (a re-read)
The Bachman Books by Stephen King
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (trying to get through those YA)
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (one classic a month)
The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
Gone by Michael Grant (trying to get through those YA)
A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin
Hunger by Michael Grant (trying to get through those YA).

Like last month I am finding it difficult to chose a favourite. Most of them are up there. I am loving the George R. R. Martin series and it's getting better with each book. Slaughterhouse 5 was a very pleasant rediscovery. It was like reading it for the first time and for that it has a special place. For my classic last month I chose and author I hadn't tried before. I will definitely be reading more by Edith Wharton. I also enjoyed the second Poirot story. I think the only book I didn't like at all was "A Great And Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray. I just didn't take to it at all. Luckily it didn't put me off coming out of my YA ban.

This month I don't have anything special planned. I got back to get my second degree so I am sure I won't have much time for anything else. I am planning to read The Odyssey though as this months classic. I am very much looking forward to that. I have been seeing references to it all over the place and have decided to see that as a sign to pick it up. I also have the fourth book in the George R. R. Martin series to look forward to (picked it up yesterday). We'll see if I can hold off getting the most recent until it's out in paper back.

How has your reading month been? Any exciting plans for the month ahead?

Monday 29 August 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading!

This is a book meme by Sheila of Book Journey. A fun way to share our reading week.

Last week was one of the most stressful weeks I've had in a long time. It resulted in very little sleep and little reading. That all changed by the end of the week but I only got one book read because of it.

Last week I read;
"A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow" by George R. R. Martin. The best book in the series so far. I honestly didn't think it could improve but it has.

Just now I am reading:
"Hunger" by Michael Grant. So far so good. My doubts about this series haven't been realised and I am enjoying it. However, what I really wanted to read was the next George R. R. Martin book.

So this week I plan to read;
"A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold" by George R. R. Martin. Very much looking forward to this. It's also part of my books I should have read by now challenge.

I held a birthday giveaway last week. Falaise won the lovely edition of Jane Eyre. Thanks again to everyone who took part. I loved reading your replies to my question.

Sunday 28 August 2011

A Storm of Shadows 1: Steel and Snow - George R. R. Martin (Book100)

King Joffrey's reign is still not going well. His grandfather arrives in Kings landing to take over as the Kings Hand and get things back in control. His decisions ruffle the feathers of both his children but they can't do anything about it. Both King Stannis and King Stark remain a threat to the throne making Joff's wedding a necessity. In the far north the wildlings are on the move and are likely to cause trouble for the 7 kingdoms. Something else is also on the move, much more deadly and terrifying but few are aware of them for now. Meanwhile the dragons are preparing their own come back.

This is my 100th book this year and what a book. I honestly didn't think that this series couldn't get any better. Reading the second book I felt that events were a little slow moving and was pleasantly surprised when it all pulled together to make for an exciting ending. It made you realise that it had just been building itself up. There was some of that build up here too but so much also happened through out.

Like the second book some new voices appeared. These characters are already established so it doesn't get confusing. Jaime Lannister the Kingslayer is one of them. A character who is much hated by most in the book and you can't help but dislike him either. But then he is given a voice and actually he is only human. He has his reasons behind his actions same as everyone else and whilst we may not condone them we can sort of understand. Like I have said before there is good and bad on both sides. I'm looking forward to seeing more voices and wonder if Jaime's twin, Cersai, will be one of them. I can't imagine liking her at all but maybe hearing from her point of view will make me change my mind.

As with the first two books certain characters have quickly become my favourites and I look forward to their chapters. Tyrion and Arya are still up there. I quite enjoy reading about Jon Snow and Dany's. I think Dany's is a wild card and can't wait to see the part she will play by the end of the series. For the moment she has little to do with the actual events in the 7 Kingdoms. A character I have come to feel for is Sansa and I am now curious about her future. Wasn't so bothered before as she was one of the few who irritated me.

I don't want to say too much as I don't want to spoil things for anyone who wants to read the series. All I will say is that I am loving the series and still not any further in guessing where it's going. A good think I think.

Birthday Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Falaise who won the copy of Jane Eyre I was giving away on my birthday giveaway. I have no doubts that this beautiful edition will be going to a good home. If you aren't aware Falaise has a wonderful blog over at 2606 Books and Counting. Well worth having a look.

I am so sorry that not everyone could win but thank you for taking part. I very much enjoyed reading all the responses to my question.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

What's Next!

Last week was non-fiction releases I was looking forward to. This time I thought I would show some paperbacks I can't wait to be released.

"Smokin' Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich. Published 15/11/11. The 17th Stephanie Plum book. I was getting a little bored with these. Back in the beginning they were fun and filled with humour. A little bit different and a great way to ease someone into a genre they didn't particularly appreciate in the first place. At least that's what it was like for me. The later ones haven't been that great but I suppose that's to be expected after so many books. Book 16 restored my faith however. It had the humour that felt a little forced in the last few. 16 was to be my last if nothing had changed. What I found was that I enjoyed it and I am now looking forward to this one. Hope it wasn't a one off and the series has actually picked up again.

"Moriarty: The Hounds of the D'Ubervilles" by Kim Newman. Released 23/09.11. I love to try anything that seems to be a little bit quirky and I think Newman can certainly come under that. This isn't in his Dracula series but once again Newman is playing on famous characters and authors in literature. It was one of the things I loved about "Ano Dracula" so I am sure I will like this one too. In this Moriarty investigates crime but he does it for his own evil purposes. I will be interested to see if any more famous Victorian characters make an appearance.

"Snowdrops" by A. D. Miller. Released 1/9/11. This is one of the books on this years Man Booker long list. I've enjoyed quite a few of the winners over the last few years and so always like to see what has been picked out. I can't say I was all that enamoured with this years list but I think that probably had something to do with the fact that I had heard of very few of the authors. Since then though I have taken the time to pay more attention to the books and there actually a few I wouldn't mind reading. This is one of them and it's about to come out in paper back. A British lawyer gets involved with the wrong woman in Russia. It actually sounds more interesting than that and I've heard good things about it. Worth checking out.

What about you? Any new releases you are looking forward to? Or, have you read and enjoyed any of the books on this years Man Booker list?

Remember that I am giving a lovely copy of one of my favourite books to celebrate my birthday. No rules behind signing up for it and I will announce the winner on Sunday.

Monday 22 August 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading!

It's Monday is a book meme by Sheila over at Book Journey. It's a great way of sharing our reading week.

Last week was a good one although that first book I was just finishing it last week. I had read most of it the previous week.

Last week I read;
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. This is the second book in the series and I am still loving it.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. This was for my one classic a month. Loved every page of this book. Will definitely be reading more Wharton in the future.

Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie. The second novel starring Poirot. Granted not his best but Hastings comedy value more than made up for it. Still a great read. Love Christie!

Gone by Michael Grant. Part of my battle with my YA tbr pile. I enjoyed this one although I'm wary about how the rest of the series will go.

Just now I am reading;
A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin. This is the third book in the series which has been split in two. I have only just started it but I'm expecting to love it just as much as the others.

Next I plan to read;
Hunger by Michael Grant. Since I have it there and I did enjoy the first one I am going to read it next. Hopefully this will help me with my tbr pile.

I had lots of good news last week. The main one being that I have been offered a place on the nursing degree. It means I don't have to do the access course which I signed up for. I'm so excited about it but am aware that it will have an impact on my reading. I am more than sure it will be worth it though.

I also started a birthday giveaway since my blog turned one year last week and it's my birthday at the end of this week. There are no rules to the giveaway. Just sign up if you fancy winning a lovely copy of Jane Eyre. I'll announce the winner on Sunday.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Gone - Michael Grant

Sam is sitting in class trying his hardest not to gaze out the window when his teacher suddenly disappears. It is soon discovered that everyone aged 15 years or over has gone. Not only that there is now a barrier surrounding the area preventing the kids left behind from leaving. Panic ensues and everyone looks to Sam to lead them. It's a responsibility he doesn't want but soon those who want the power are taking over including the psychopathic kids from the Coates school. Sam must now step in to stop kids from getting hurt. Plus he is one of the kids who has discovered he has a power and possibly the only one strong enough to stop Caine.

Yes, my second attempt at reading YA to get through some of my tbr pile. This time success. I actually enjoyed it. I held my breath for those first few chapters (well, almost). I'm not sure if it's because I have been talking about Stephen King a lot but at the start I was reminded of him. It felt like it should say on the cover - If King wrote YA. Indeed my enjoyment plummeted a little when the barrier was discovered but that was the only real resemblance to Under the Dome (one of the few King books I haven't enjoyed). The book is described as dystopian but to me dystopia should always be set in the future or an alternative world. This isn't the case. It's set in present day time but the kids have been displaced or enclosed by something. Obviously thanks to the super powers and talking animals it has an element of fantasy to it.

Yep, that's right, talking animals. I have to say that this could have bordered on the ridiculous. Talking coyotes and flying snakes and a malignant force (and I believe there are razor toothed worms in the next book) and yet it sort of worked. Animals, along with the kids, have mutated and it seems to be not in a good way. The jury is still out on that one. It was fine in this book but I have a feeling that it could go either way.

There were aspects of the book that reminded me a little of "Lord of the Flies" what with the whole power corrupts and kids running around causing mayhem. The few mature kids seem to manage to keep things together by taking control. Even the kids on the side of the bad prevent the kids turning into little savages (for the most part). It will be interesting to see how that plays out too. Clearly food and power will become a problem and I wonder how they will behave once most of their comforts are gone. I think that will happen in the next one since it is titled "Hunger".

I have book 2 there already as I am sure I bought both at the same time. Whilst book 1 was good and I enjoyed it I am still wary of some aspects of it. We'll see what happens when I get round to reading it. I am hoping that I will be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Book Blogger Hop - Longest Book

This is a book meme over at Crazy for books. The idea is to answer a question and then go round seeing how others answered it.

“What’s the LONGEST book you’ve ever read?”
(Note: I’m putting one caveat on this question. You aren’t allowed to say the Bible, Torah, Qur’an, or other religious/spiritual text.)

In all honesty I don't really keep note how long books are so I couldn't tell you which one is the longest. This year I read "Shantaram" by Gegory David Roberts, "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy and "A Game of Thrones" by George R. R. Martin. All very different books and all fairly long. I have read longer than those though. Any Stephen King fan will know that he has written some Tomes in his time some of which breach the 1000 page mark. I think the longest was "The Stand" and my edition had over 1300 pages. I can't say that I noticed the length as I loved every page of it. I think the length would only bother me if I was intimidated by the book in the first place. I have to say that I much prefer the book to be longer than to have tiny print as happened with "A Clash of Kings" by George R. R. Martin.

Edited - according to goodreads the longest book I read was Lord of the Rings at 1500 pages but since it was split in three I don't think it counts. Next was It by Stephen King at 1376 pages.

Remember to enter my Birthday Giveaway!

Murder On The Links - Agatha Christie

Poirot receives a letter from a rich Englishman living in France (but has made his money in South America). He asks for Poirot to head over to France immediately as his life is in danger. Poirot of course agrees and drags Hastings along with him. Upon arrival they discover that Mr Renauld is already dead and had been murdered early that morning whilst Mrs Renauld had been bound and gagged in her room. The French police are delighted that Poirot has arrived and they immediately ask for his help along with the young detective Giraud. Poirot agrees to help although he isn't convinced that everything is as it appears.

This is the second book starring Hercule Poirot and I have been excited about reading it ever since I read the first one. I love the character Poirot and as soon as I read "Murder on the Styles" I decided I would read them in order (despite having read one or two in the past). As I have been trying to be good with book buying this is only me getting round to the second and it was worth the wait.

In the first one I found Hastings to be a little irritating. If you aren't aware Hastings is the one telling the story. I could put up with him for the sake of Poirot. In this one however, I fell in love with Hastings. I actually found him to be an extremely funny character who adds a little comedy to the murder mysteries. He is one for a pretty face and seems to fall in love at the drop of a hat. In book 1 he proposed to a beautiful lady. In this he can see himself falling for one beautiful girl only to fall for another. It made for some hilarious moments which included my favourite. Poirot enters a room and Hastings quickly holds onto his arms so that the girl he loves can get away. I got some funny looks on the bus when I started laughing read that part. I really hope Hastings continues to be the light comedy through out these books.

As to the plot itself I only guessed one part of it and even then not for the reasons that were given. So once again Christie has managed to surprise me. I think the only downside to the book was that there was such a small cast of suspect. The family is small with little interaction with those around them. I think I prefer it with more people and therefore more intrigue. I did find it funny that the French police were more than happy for Poirot to interfere (as they should be of course).

Giraud was added as Poirot's possible nemesis. A young and arrogant detective who believes that Poirot has had his day and that he of course can't be wrong. This could have turned the book into a parody rather than a mystery and I'm glad/relieved that it didn't turn that way. Poirot allowed Giraud to get on with it whilst carrying on with his own investigations. In short, he was the bigger person.

I remember someone saying (Ryan maybe?) that this wasn't the best Christie although still good. I can see why he would think that and I am inclined to agree. Mainly because I prefer the bigger cast as I already said plus Poirot spent little time questioning the family. It just felt like there was something missing but not enough for me not to love the book. I think Hastings comedy moments more than made up for it.

Remember to join in my Birthday Giveaway!

Thursday 18 August 2011

The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton

Newland Archer is part of a small circle of New York aristocracy. As a member of this small set it is up to him to help carry on the traditions of instilled into him. Newland doesn't have a problem with this and in fact sees it as his duty beginning with his engagement with May Welland. His life is planned out before him and he is happy. That is until May's cousin, Countess Olenska, makes an appearance after leaving her husband. Her reputation is slightly tarnished by the means of her escape and Newland is just as shocked as the rest of his circle. More so because it involves the family of his future wife. Quickly he becomes infatuated with Olenska and soon changes his mind. He rallies round the privileged in order for them to welcome her. He begins to doubt that life should be set out for him as it has and finds himself rebelling against it.

Before I begin the actual review, this image I have posted isn't the edition I have. Sadly I couldn't get a good picture of it. Mine is by the Everyman's Library. It's a lovely hardback with a simple cover. If any of you have the chance I recommend you go to your local bookshop and seek these books out. Just feel those pages inside and I bet you will end up at the till with one of them. I have never felt pages like it. So soft and smooth that it made reading from this book an absolute pleasure. I would have been happy reading almost anything.

Fortunately this book was just as good as it's binding. It won Wharton the Pulitzer prize for fiction in 1921 and she was the first woman to win it. Proud at first until she found out it was because her book was the less riskier choice. She quickly went from proud to irate. Either the judges didn't get the humour in the book or they chose to ignore it. Wharton was born into the society she portrays in the book and sets out to show everything she detests about it. Newland is the epitome of that. He is pretentious and a snob. He sees his future wife as a pretty little thing who will make his life comfortable and will share his opinions. May of course goes along with this belief as she was brought up to feel the same way. He spends maybe a couple of hours putting in time at the office but it's really just for show. A well bred man would never lower himself to be seen to be taken part in something as low as business. He in fact scoffs at a friends suggestion that he should go into politics. One character who is in the habit of business is reviled for it.

Only Olenska seems to play outside the rules. She wants her time filled with art, music and literature and all the people who can provide it. She was used to these things in Europe and is a little taken a back that such things are not socially accepted in New York. They only go further to tarnish her reputation. If Olenska had been anyone else Newland would have been just as disgusted as his fellow peers. In the end it's the people she chooses to associate with, new money and the reviled businessman, that irritate him. I wonder if Olenska mirrors some of Wharton's life as she too was in an unhappy marriage and liked to fill her hours with the same pursuits as Olenska.

We aren't meant to like any of these characters apart from maybe Olenska. I didn't dislike them either. Right or wrong they were a product of their time and upbringing. The end of the book jumps 26 years and Newland's son is poking fun at his father's way of life. In fact the last chapter makes a point of showing how much things have changed in that time and you are left thinking what might have been had Olenska arrived then rather than 30 years earlier.

A fantastic book. I think Wharton reminded me a little of Austen (although I am not sure Wharton would be pleased by that) her humour is subtler however. It's in the plot and the characteristics of the characters rather than their sharp wit. I think Newland could easily have irritated me but instead I found him rather funny thanks to Wharton's talent. I can't wait to read more by her.

One thing I do recommend is that you don't do what I did. If you pick up a copy of this book and it has an introduction read it at the end. I read it first (and I rarely read introductions) and whilst it was definitely interesting it also told me the entire plot of the book.

At the end of each post I am going to link my birthday giveaway. I don't know how to make it sticky and I would hate for anyone to miss out on the chance of signing up. So apologies if this gets repetitive. Birthday Giveaway!

Wednesday 17 August 2011


It's my blog birthday this week and my actual birthday next week so I thought I would celebrate by having a giveaway. There are no rules. Just sign up in the comments if you want to win with your email address. I do have a question which I will reveal in a second but it's up to you if you want to answer it or not. I just thought adding the question would be fun. I am giving away a Penguin Deluxe Edition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. My first and last giveaway was a classic too and since it proved so popular I though I would give away one that I actually liked. This is one of my favourite books and I picked up this lovely edition especially so it's completely unread. The cover was design by Ruben Toledo in watercolour. The pages are made to look unevenly cut. It really is a lovely book and I was almost tempted to keep it myself. I'll announce the winner on the 28th of August so you have until then to sign up.

So since it's a birthday giveaway my question is were you ever given a book as a gift that you loved in the end? If so what was it? You can answer the question under comments or leave a link. I'm looking forward to reading your answers.

My family were limited when it came to gift buying so they always put lots of thought into it. My aunt would always find out what we were into and we would receive something related to that. For my sister it was art supplies for me it was books. She gave me many fantastic books over the years and quite a few of them I class as my favourites. The one that always springs to mind though is "Emily of New Moon" by L. M. Montgomery. The author is more well known for the Anne of Green Gables books and I certainly had only heard of these at that point. It's similar to the Anne books in that Emily is an orphan but she is taken in by a reluctant Aunt who then grows to love her. I think I read somewhere that Emily was more like the author than Anne and mirrored some of her life (I could be wrong). Anyway it wasn't just the story that I loved but the atmosphere. It seemed a little darker than the Anne books and I loved the setting of it too. I honestly don't know how many times I read that book. Thankfully my mum realised how much I loved it and I received the rest of the trilogy one Christmas. Again I devoured those and they were reread constantly along with the first one. Sadly my mum gave most of my childhood books away, including these. The books are out of print now although I am sure they are available second hand. I honestly don't know why they are out of print as I think they were far superior to the Anne books. Anyway, that was my most memorable book gift.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

What's Next!

I'm not sure if I will do What's Next every week now as I am struggling to find titles. I thought though I would go for some non-fiction this time. I do like non-fiction for a change and this year I think I have read more than I usually do. One of the books I have picked out is already out. I had this book in mind before it was released and since it's a book that I am genuinely looking forward to I thought I would keep it on my list anyway.

"The Doctor Will See You Now" by Max Pemberton. Out 4th August. This is the third book in the junior doctor series. In each Max Pemberton has written about his experiences as a first time Doctor. In the second book he decided to work in the community. This time he is back on the wards and he is classed as an experienced Doctor. These books are extremely funny. When I read the first one I honestly compared it to Scrubs although scarily this was real life. Definitely worth a read.

"Matilda" by Tracy Borman. Out 1/9/11. When it comes to non-fiction history will always appeal to me more. I love reading about it and I don't think I read enough of it. This book appealed to me not just because it's from an era I know little about. It also has the appeal of nostalgia. I remember being taught all about William the Conqueror back in primary school. Even then I enjoyed history. Another reason I like the idea of this book is that it's about Williams wife, Matilda. I think it would make for an interesting perspective. Plus how great is this cover?

"Winter King" by Thomas Penn. Out 29/9/11. Another fantastic cover (in my mind anyway) and another history book. I have a fascination for Tudor history just now (I'm sure I'll get over it). This one is about Henry VII, father to Henry VIII. His life even after death dominated his sons. Henry VII fought battles to keep his throne and he was King who was not loved by his people. It would be interesting to learn about the first Tudor King who took the throne.

Are there any books you are looking forward to?

Monday 15 August 2011

A Clash Of Kings - George R. R. Martin

King Joffrey's reign has not got off to a good start. His cruelty and the war are making him unpopular with his own people in Kings Landing. Tyrion is doing what he can to help but even he can only do so much. Meanwhile Robb Stark has taken back the titles of his ancestors as King of the North. He swears fealty to no King and is refusing to remove his army from the neck until his demands are met (including the release of his sisters). The dead King's brothers have made their own claims to Joff's throne. The elder, King Stannis, has a score to settle with his dead brother. He claims the throne as the rightful heir saying Joff is the spawn of the Queen and her brother (who is currently a prisoner of the Stark's). His younger brother Renly believes that he will be a better King and better loved and so claims the throne for himself. Meanwhile, in the North the men of the Black Watch head beyond the wall to discover what the Wildlings are up to.

This is the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I loved this one just as much as I loved the first. More so actually since I knew most of the characters by the time I picked it up. The story itself felt that it moved a lot slower. Not much seemed to be happening but this feeling was actually inaccurate. When things do heat up it comes as a surprise until I begin to realise that the book had been building up to these events all along. I think part of it was that I was just so caught up in the individual stories in the book rather than seeing them all together.

As with "The Game of Thrones" Each chapter is told by a different point of view so that we get to see both sides of the war. In the case of this book it would be all sides. We get to hear some new voices such as the Iron men and the men of Stannis. By the end of the book we know them pretty well and once again we are left feeling that we might actually like these characters even if we don't necessarily want them to win.

By this point I have my favourites. Actually, I think by the half way point of the first book I have my favourites. I always look forward to reading about the characters Tyrion (the imp and brother to Queen Cersai and the Kingslayer) and Arya (daughter of the starks). I like Tyrion because he is actually a Lannister you can sympathise with. He has been dealt a harsh hand and treated badly by almost everyone. At the end of the day it feels that he is just trying to do right by everyone and keep the peace. Arya I like for her fierceness. She is only 8 years old (possibly 10 by now) and yet she is just as fierce as her brothers. On the sidelines (also claiming the throne but unknown to any of the other claimants) we have Dany and her three dragons. I think it will be interesting to see what she brings to the mix.

Magic is also starting to come into play in the book. Despite unnatural occurrences in the North I had still forgotten that magic was once a part of this realm. Magic died with the dragons and so it was easy to forget despite some of the tales told by the characters. The magic coming to light has nothing good in it though. It could be that so far it's just the people who use it but I am beginning to think that the magic in this world is all dark magic. Again this will be interesting should it have a bigger part to play in future books.

I can only say just one negative thing about this book and it has nothing to do with the author (so can't take marks off him for it). It's the text of the book. It's significantly smaller than all the other books. It meant that it felt as though my reading had slowed right down and it did feel like I took longer to read this book than the last despite that it has fewer pages. It was a little irritating but thankfully it didn't effect my eyesight too much. In fact the story was so good that I forgot all about the size of the text within the first paragraph of picking the book up again.

In case any of you wondered, this is not a series that can be read out of order. If you fancy trying it I would start with A Game of Thrones. Despite the mention of magic I still think that people who enjoy historical fiction and don't usually read fantasy will enjoy this.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading!

It's Monday is a book meme by Sheila over at Book Journey. This 100th time Sheila has posted this meme and she's having a giveaway to celebrate. Worth going over and having a look. Plus it's always fun to see how others have planned out their reading week.

Last week I read;
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Have to admit that I hated this book. Will not be reading more by this author.

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen. This was for my Books I Should Have Read By Now challenge. Am pleased to say my tbr pile is going down. I quite enjoyed this one.

Just now I am reading;
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. The size of the text in this one is slowing me down. I am enjoying it but the tiny text is irritating me. Mainly because book 1 didn't have text this small and neither does book 3. I would much rather there were more pages.

Next I plan to read;
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. This was one of my purchases this month. Sadly I couldn't get a decent image of the Everyman edition.

I am also hoping to read The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie. Another purchase from this month. It's the second Poirot book and I'm very much looking forward to it.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday 14 August 2011

The Surgeon - Tess Gerritson

Someone is stalking women and killing them in a horrific manner. Whilst awake he cuts them open and removes their Uterus. Only after that does he put them out there misery. Detective Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli are on the case but there are things about the case which don't add up. Like the killers fascination with surgeon Dr Catherine Cordell. It's all somehow linked to her and her survival of an attack in another city two years earlier.

I like to think I have read enough horror and some crime to not be phased by the more unpleasant descriptions. I wouldn't say I was completely acclimatised to them but even when I am shocked or a little revolted it doesn't bother me too much. So well done to Tess Gerritsen who managed to make me want to put the book down for sheer description alone. There is a chapter near the start of the book which describes in great detail what some of the victims went through at the hands of this killer. I could almost feel just how traumatised these fictional victims must have felt. It was not pleasant and yet I had to read on.

This book played more on what the women went through and how Cordell was reacting to the situation rather than on the investigation by the detectives. In fact the detectives had only a small part in the book (or at least smaller than I would have expected) other than their relation to Cordell. Moore is getting over the death of his wife and feels protective of Cordell. Rizzoli distrusts most of her male colleagues and feels the need to constantly prove herself. She feels that Cordell has tainted the one male detective she respected and trusted. Actually we see Moore doing most of the detecting but it still felt to me that it was mostly from Cordell's point of view.

There is a reason why this surprises me. This book is the first in a series starring Rizzoli and another character, Myra Isles. If Myra was mentioned at all in the book it was so fleetingly that I missed it. Rizzoli was of course there and some of the clues was found by her but she still didn't have that big a part in it. In fact she came across as quite a bitter character. With good reason mind you but this bitterness doesn't really endear her to the reader. Thank goodness for Moore who comes across as both warm and professional. There is more from his point of view than Rizzoli's yet I get the impression this book is the last we will see of him.

That's not to say that I didn't like the book because I did. Maybe the author hadn't intended it to become a series in the first place. I liked the fact that Cordell was portrayed as a women who recovered from a horrendous crime and came out stronger in the end. Not that she didn't suffer but she got on with life and fought to keep that life. I also liked the thriller aspect too. It was different from the few crime books that I have read. Although we saw inside the killers mind a few times we still got very few hints and tips as to who he is or was until we were approaching the end. It made working out who he was difficult and even then I only ever figured out how he may have had access to Cordell. At the point I am pretty sure I was supposed to. There were parts of the ending that I found a little frustrating. Such as how the killer came to be this way but again we were supposed to feel that was as that's the way the detectives and Cordell would have felt.

I bought this a few years ago which is why I chose it for the "Books I Should Have Read By Now Challenge". I actually bought it on a whim as none of my crime reading friends or family had read Gerritsen. Glad I did as I did enjoy it. I can see myself reading more. Not just because I liked this one but because I am interested in seeing how the author introduces the second main character and turns Rizzoli into a character worthy of a series.

Saturday 13 August 2011

In Which I Admit I Lied!

In yesterdays blog hop post I said that I didn't pay much attention to titles and that it didn't determine whether I picked up a book or not. I chose some tongue in cheek titles for my post. Having looked round what others posted I realised I lied. I have picked up many a book based on it's title and have done so ever since I was a child. I think only a few of them fit into the crazy category mind you and I think it's easy to see which.

One of the first books I am sure I would have picked for it's title (although I have no memory of it) is one of my childhood favourites "The Tiger Who Came To Tea". I don't think I need to explain why this is such a great title. I am sure I have talked at length about this book before and why I loved it. The second book that rang to mind was "When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit". I do remember looking at it because of the title and I am sure I loaned it from the school library. For those of you who don't know this is a fictional biography of Judith Kerr and her family running from Hitler. It's wonderfully written and actually celebrates it's 50 years this year. The fact that it was the same author of my favourite picture book growing up was a pleasant surprise at the time. I think there are three books in total in this series.

"The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde is another I picked up for it's title. Having read the back I discovered that Eyre was meant to be a reference to Jane Eyre. As you all have heard to death this is now one of my favourite book series. Another author you all know I love is Haruki Murakami. I am sure I have mentioned over and over again that I have read all his books and I am impatiently awaiting the next one. I forgot that it was the titles that attracted me to them as well as the covers. When I decided on which one to try first I went for the most bizarre, "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World". I think that would fall under the category of crazy title.

Quite a few people listed some fantastic paranormal titles. I admit that I have read quite a few books in this range. I do quite like Kelley Armstrong and I went through a phase where I read this, YA and little else. One series I liked was by Kim Harrison and I have to admit that it was the titles that intrigued me. The first one is called "Dead Witch Walking" but I think my favourite was a play on a Clint Eastwood film "The Good, The Bad and the Undead". I haven't read any from this series for quite a while.

More recently I have picked up "When God Was A Rabbit" by Sarah Winman which is one of my favourite books this year. Such a lovely story. Again it was the title that attracted me although the pretty cover and others reviews clinched it for me. I also read "Ilium" by Dan Sims for the same reason I read "The Eyre Affair". It's a play on another book. In fact most of the book is set around a reconstruction of the Iliad. It actually got me to read the Iliad (as well as a readalong) which was a book that I found daunting and in the end very much enjoyed. For that reason I have "Penelopiad" by Margaret Atwood (another favourite author) on my TR list although I want to read "The Odyssey" first.

Lastly I have read a couple of books simply because of their crazy titles and no other reason at all. A good few years ago I read "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse" by Robert Rankin. It was funny although it had a similar theme to Jasper Fforde. Actually all of Rankin's novels have crazy titles although this is the only one I have read. Most of them are a play on cult films. They are worth checking out. I think probably the last book I read just for it's crazy titles was "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". It was quite funny and I thought the whole book was as quirky as it's title. Sadly the market has been flooded with similar books. I think it takes the quirkiness and originality away.

So, have you ever picked up a book based on it's title alone?

Thursday 11 August 2011

Book Blogger Hop - Book Titles

This is a book meme over at Crazy For Books. This wee
ks question is;

“Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!”

I think I pay less attention to the book title than mostpeople. I very rarely have an opinion on them one way or the other. They only actually annoy me when the link between the title and the book is extremely tenacious. I do like funny book titles though and some humour titles have stood out for me in the past. They have encouraged me to look at the book. However, my favourite titles actually come from books that I would never read. I love those Mills & Boon titles. I think they are hilarious. I used to deal with those books and my friends and I would get a kick out of reading out that months favourites. I've picked out a few so you can see for yourself. Of course I understand that not everyone will find them funny.

These are just a few and there are funnier ones out there. I tend to find the best ones have 'rake' somewhere in the title.

What's your favourite titles?

Tuesday 9 August 2011

What's Next!

Lots more book releases to look forward to so I thought I would share some more. I'm not really intending to turn this into a weekly meme but certainly feel free to join in if you have new releases to share. Next week I have some non fiction titles to share.

Player One by Douglas Coupland released on 1.9.11. I must have missed the boat on this one because it's the paperback that's coming out. The hardback was apparently out last year. Waterstones doesn't even have it listed anymore. A little surprised at this as Coupland is normally an author I try to keep up on. I've read everything else and I usually can't wait for the paperback of his latest. In this case I don't actually have long to wait.

Skulduggery Pleasant:Death Bringer by Derek Landy. This is also out on 1/9/11. I love these books and can't wait for the next installment. Again it's got to the stage I buy the hardback as I can't wait for the paperback. I love them for their humour as well as the story. Plus it shows girls can fight the bad guys too. Was left on a bit of a cliffhanger last time. So I'm really looking forward to this.

11/22/63 by Stephen King out on 8/11/11. All this talk of King here on my blog it seemed only apt that he should be listed here. This one is a bit different from his more recent books as the main character is taken back in time. Okay confession time! I was so excited when Stephen King began to release books on a regular basis again after the Dark Tower series. However, I have been a little disappointed in them. They just aren't as good as his older books and I just didn't enjoy "The Dome" (still makes me think of the Simpsons film). It's put me off a little and I've still to pick up never mind read his most recent. This one sounds a little different but I think I can now wait for the paperback release.

I normally don't mention any goings on in the outside world here on my blog. It's not what it's for. However, the events over the weekend feel a little too close to home. Watching the news it feels a little hard to believe that it's happening in my own country. There have even been threats that it will spread to Scotland. Anyway, I'm happy to say all my friends in the effected areas have checked in and are safe and I hope they along with everyone else continues to be safe.