Monday, 28 March 2011

Dewey's 24hr read-a-thon

I was browsing the internet the other day and I came across the Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon. It is scheduled for April 9th. I have never participated in something like this before although I have done a scrapping cyber crop which I guess is similar. Since I will be childless that weekend I have decided to sign up. I doubt I will manage to go without sleeping, but I will give it my best! Why don't you pop along and check it out?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Bodyguard by Suzanne Brockman

Harry O'Dell is a loose cannon FBI agent whose son and ex-wife were killed in a hit by a mob boss. He has virtually divorced himself from what remains of his family. Allessandra Lamonts soon to be exhusband is killed and then she is threatened by a mob-boss that if she does not find the money he stole she will be killed. She finds the money, but the nightmare doesn't end.
What follows is an adventure and a journey to healing for both of them.
What I liked:
  • I loved the hero, Harry. He was normal and not the typical stuck up FBI agent that you see usually
  • I loved that both Harry and Allesandra were not what they seemed to be and that you saw little changes in both of them throughout the book.
  • I enjoyed the secondary story lines as well, and that there were strong characters who all had their own story line going
  • There were quite a few twists in this book, which kept me guessing right the way through
What I didn't like
  • that George (one of the secondary characters) story line wasnt really tied up. This may be the start of another book?
  • the ending was a little too neat and cheesy for me
  • It wasn't quite as fast paced as I would have liked it to be
Would I read it again: Probably not
Will I try other books by this author: Yes

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Five favourite series

I was recently asked what my favourite book is and I realised  that I would find it very difficult to actually choose a book or even an author. So, after much deliberation I have come up with a few lists of favourites, which I will share occasionally with you.
My favourite series are
1. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon - this was a hard choice between no 1 and no 2, but eventually Jamie Fraser won over Lan from the next series. I read the first on a recommendation from a friend about 8 years ago and absolutely fell in love with the hero. He is really the perfect men and sadly, most men I have met have paled in comparison, lol. He is just the right measure of strong, stern, loving, funny etc. I love the early books most but have enjoyed every single one in the series, and have favourite scenes from all of them. I have also read a couple of the spin off Lord John Grey books and thoroughly enjoyed those too.
2. Robert Jordans Wheel of time series.  I first saw this series in my uncle's library. He used to have bookshelves built into the wall throughout his house. Going down the stairs he had these books on the shelf and of course I saw them regularly when I stayed there. I eventually bought the first book and have been hooked ever since. I absolutely love the world and the series that he created. I have since read the series at least 3 times and am currently reading the latest book in the series which I won from a bookclub hosted by TJ at Dreams and speculations. My favourite character has to be Lan, who is the strong, silent type, the heir to a lost throne. Very similar to Strider from The Lord of the Rings
3. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. I absolutely love his descriptions of the world which he has created which is close enough to our world for me to relate to it, but different enough to make it interesting. I am currently   re-reading this series as part of a read-a-long here
4. The Duncton Series by William Horwood. I was given one of these books by my sister and thought she had gone mad. I mean, who writes a book about moles of all things? I started reading it because my mother said I couldnt hurt her feelings I was open minded and didn't stop until I had finished all 6. I have subsequently re-read this series, and this year have started again, although I have only got to number 2. I was sad to see that it appears they are out of print.
5. The earth child series by Jean M.Auel - I first read The clan of the cave bear when I was at school, and have read all the books. Funny story is that the latest one is called The painted caves or something like that. My work internet would not allow me to search it since it said it was pornography!

There were a couple of other series that I considered including the one on Henry III and Eleanor of Aquataine by Sharon Penman, but these I think are my top-five.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser is:
"He was surrounded by beasts that looked like wolves, but too large. They had dark fr, and their teeth flashed as they lunged towards Lan. Darkhounds, an entire pack."
pg 307, Towers of Midnight by Brandon Sanderson/Robert Jordan

Pop over to Should be reading for more inspiring teasers.

Monday, 21 March 2011

It's Monday, what are you reading?

I have been really busy and not had a chance to take part in this the last few weeks. I do enjoy it though as it does give you lots of ideas for books to read.
Books I have finished within the last week or so:
  • The Horse and his boy by C.S Lewis. I read this for a read a long and loved it. Review  is here
  • The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. Also for a read along, I am actually finished ahead of time, miracles will never cease. Review here
  • An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon. May or may not get reviewed since it is not for a challenge. This is the latest one in the Jamie Fraser series and once again I absolutely loved it. Even though these are not really action novels there is something going on on every page and she keeps you hooked right to the end. The ending of this one was a real cliffhanger, and of course now I have to wait for the next one.
  • Bodyguard by Suzanne Brockman - review to follow. I thought this was just another love story but it is really more like a mystery with some action and romance thrown in. I loved the hero who is a real diamond in the rough. This was a nice light read

Reading this week:
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - also for a read-along
  • Lessons in Heartbreak by Cathy Kelly
  • Towers of midnight by Robert Jordan
  • Ancestral Vices by Tom Sharpe (I have actually mislaid this book although it has to be at home or work, but it will therefore stay half read until I find it, lol. Is that reason enough to get a Kindle?)
For more reading inspiration pop over to Sheila's blog

Sunday, 20 March 2011


After deliberating about what to do with my blog for quite a while, I have finally come to a decision. I have decided to have this blog mainly as a book blog and move my general blog over to my craft blog. Since I have discovered the world of online reading challenges this has become basically a book blog. I could have set up a new blog for that, but didn't think of it in time. It would be too time-consuming now to go and rejoin all those challenges on a new blog, so this seemed the easiest way. My craft blog has also been sadly neglected since I don't seem to have much time to craft lately and when I do I never seem to get around to taking pictures. Tomorrow, Blogging for Scrapbookers is starting on a second live run, so this seemed a good time to sort out all my blogs into a more manageable setup.

The Felloship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring
My first review is here
Last time I reviewed this book the Hobbits had just left Tom Bombardil behind. After leaving him they set off for Bree where we met my favourite character - Strider/Aragon. I absolutely love him, the strong silent type, lol. (For those of you who may read Robert Jordan - Lan is my favourite character there and reminds me so much of Aragorn.)
Despite not trusting him they set off in the direction of Rivendell. They are looking for Gandalf, but not sure whether he is alive. Rivendell is beautiful and some of my favourite parts are there. I also love the time in Lothlorien later on in the book.
Once again, I love all the descriptions and "world - building" that Tolkien does. He really has the power to transport you into the book, you can actually "see" Middle Earrth as the adventure unfolds.
Favourite parts in this section
  • Frodos performance at the inn in Bree - despite the fact that it is one of those times when you want to stop him since you know it is going to be trouble, I just love his disappearing act
  • The meeting of Strider
  • Finding the tombs in the Mountains of Moria
  • All the scenes at Rivendell and Lothlorien
  • The ending of this part although it is quite a cliffhanger.
  • Actually that is pretty much the whole book :-)
What I picked up immediately this time which I dont remember picking up in previous reads is Gollum following them, and it is fairly obvious so I am not sure how I missed it before!

The Horse and His boy

The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia)

A young boy is bought up by a man who found him in a boat. Although he is treated badly, he really knows no other life, and seems to accept this as normal. When he hears his "father" scheming to sell him to a passing nobleman he runs away on the noblemans horse. This is no ordinary horse, but actually, Bree, a talking horse from Narnia. They decide to run away to Narnia and so their adventure begins. On the way they meet Aravis and her talking horse, Hwin, also runaways. They eventually make it to Narnia via Tashbaan the capital city of Calormen. Calormen is across the desert from Archenland and Narnia.
This was the first book in the series that I was given as a child but I did not really remember much of it at all. I think in my head I had mixed it up a bit with Prince Caspian. I think that some people may feel that this book is a bit racist since the "bad guys" are darker than the good guys. However, once again it is a childs book and I think we shouldnt really look into it too deeply. In reading it I never really picked it up, but thought about it afterwards. There was also less of the Christian emphasis in this book, but there is a bit there.
Favourite parts: The first scene where Shasta meets Bree. I thought this was very funny.
The scene where they meet the lions and then Aravis
The scenes in Tashbaan, I just loved the descriptions. I also loved where Aravis was hiding behind the couch and her "Fiancee" (who she was running away from) was being beaten by the kings son.
The scene where Shasta is in the desert and protected by the cat.
The scene where Shasta is running through the mountains and the "breathing" is on his left. He later finds that this is Aslan who has been protecting him.
I just loved the outcome with Rabadash being turned into a donkey, thought it was very fitting.
I also loved the descriptions as well as the very beautiful, humourous pictures in the copy I read.

All in all, I think this has been my favourite in the series so far. Maybe because I knew much less of the story, also there was so much action, it kept me on my toes.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Jane Eyre Read-a-long

I have only read this book once before, at school. It was one of my set books, and I remember thinking it quite hard work. I picked it up last weekend with the intention of reading the first chapter and had to stop myself after Chapter 9.
Jane, an orphan girl is basically chucked out from her aunts house and sent off to boarding school. Her aunt was absolutely horrible to her and so she quite looks forward to this school. However, the reality is somewhat different to what Jane expected. The school turns out to be little more than an orphanage since it seems to be mainly for poor or orphaned children. Conditions at the school are very basic and the children (and teachers for that matter) are kept starved and poorly clad. However, this seems to be mainly at the instigation of the administrator of the school since the teachers appear to be by and large loving.
What I am enjoying so far:
I have really found the book easy to read and could have gone on to finish it immediately. I enjoyed meeting Jane, but couldnt quite work out why nobody liked her at home. Unless it was just that she was the poor relation. I did enjoy the scene where she was leaving home only to find that the nanny actually liked her more than the others even though she had been horrible to her. Jane seems to wander around in her own world almost cocooned from everything else in a way. I am definitely enjoying the book and looking forward to the story unfolding.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Lion, the withch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Narnia Read a long continues. I only finished this one yesterday, so actually timed it better.
I think this is the most famous book of the series, and definitely the one that I remember the most from childhood. Before I start I will just say that I am finding it a little hard to review this book. I have read it twice at least and watched the movie twice. However, we also have the Playstation game, which my daughter plays continuously. So, I think that all the impressions are a bit jumbled up in my brain, lol and proving hard to seperate.
The story starts with four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy being evacuated from war torn London and sent to live with an old professor in the country. While there they discover a whole another land which they enter through a wardrobe in the spare room. Every childs dream, lol. Of course, their is evil lurking in this world and they discover that it is actually their job to attempt to drive this evil out and save the world. Of course they do this with the assistance of a whole heap of characters including Father Christmas, Mr & Mrs Beaver and of course Aslan, the God-like Lion.
I really enjoyed reading this book and just find the whole concept so magical. It got some quite withering reports on  Goodreads and a few other places which surprised me. There were some things which I agreed with but all in all I enjoyed the book. After thinking about it though I think that it depends on how you look at it. This is a book written for youngish children and therefore perhaps we shouldnt look too deeply into the writing faults. These would not be so obvious to a young child, and perhaps it is necessary to have them understand it. If you compare it to "great literature" it probably will fall short. The story itself is lovely, but the characters are not really developed and there is not too much "fleshing out" of the plot if that makes sense. It is quick, it is easy to read and the story is simple, and I guess that is what appeals to kids. I think it is hard to compare it to books like Harry Potter because those were written for a slightly older audience. I would say this was geared more for the under 10s.
Some people also criticised it saying it was racist and how the original inhabitants couldnt solve their own problems they had to be sorted out by a bunch of British schoolchildren. Once again you have to look at who it was probably written for - British schoolchildren. And I dont necessarily think a child would pick up on this aspect either.
Lastly, the whole Christianity thing, which has got quite scathing remarks all around, and seems to have really offended some people. As I said with The Magicians Nephew, I really picked this up a lot more now than I did as a child. Yes, there are signs of Christianity, with Aslan coming to save the world etc. However, the way I saw it was more of the fight of good against evil. Once again, it is written for children and I personally dont think that a young child who is not Christian would recognise any of the obvious similarities. Having said that C.S Lewis was a very devout Christian and why shouldn't he be able to write Christian "themed" books. If you dont like it, dont read them. I just don't see why we critisize Christian writers for saying Christian things if we don't critisize Hindus/Muslims/Buddhists for writing books about their religion. I hope I haven't offended anybody with that it certainly was not my intention.
Anyway, off my soapbox and back to the book:
Favourite scenes:
Lucy first entering Narnia and meeting Mr. Tumnus
The scene where Edmund meets the Witch, I love the whole Turkish Delight bit
The scene where Mrs Beaver keeps making them pack things for their journey and asks if she should bring the sewing machine
Aslan bringing the statues to life
The last scene in Narnia where they discuss the lamp-post.

Now I have to go and find my copy of The Prince and his boy.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Bronte Sisters

Over on She is too fond of books Whitney is running a Bronte sisters reading challenge. Basically the challenge is to read/listen to three Bronte books between March and August. I have signed up for the Jane Eyre read-a-long and the Wuthering Heights Read a long. I will decide later which other book I read.

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Genesis Code by John Case

The Genesis Code
I picked up this book ages ago at a book sale and have only just got around to reading it. The book starts with a confession by a doctor in a small town in Europe. The priest hearing his confession rushes off to Rome where he eventually is able to tell his story.
Jump to America where Joe Lassiter, a private detective, discovers that his daughter and small nephew have been murdered. While investigating the murders he discovers that this is just 1 in a string of similar murders all around the world. He looks a bit more and discovers that all the women attended the same fertility clinic in Italy, and goes in search of the surviving women.
I really enjoyed this book, it was fast paced, active and full of intrigue. Enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. I dont think Joe was a very good investigator though because quite a few things I guessed before he did. I would definitely like to try other books by this author. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The fellowship of the Rings

I am taking part in the Lord of the Rings Read a long over at The story girl. I have read this series at least once and of course have seen all 3 movies. However, I have not read the series since the movies came out and have not watched the movies again since they came out so there was quite a lot that I had forgotten although the storyline is familiar.
Although each book is being run over 3 months I never got around to starting last month and so I only started this month. The plan was to read 4 chapters a week, but I am a little behind, although I will definitely be able to finish in time. What struck me most as I started reading was all the descriptions. Tolkien really builds his world up beautifully. I love that even the scary parts are so beautifully described that it is like reading a fairy tale. Even though I guess it could make the book a bit slower, the descriptions are just so beautiful that you dont mind.
 I have got to the part where they have just left Tom Bombadill and are entering Bree. Tom Bombadill was left out of the movie, which made me very sad because I absolutely love him and Goldfinger. I really love the scenes inside the forest, it seems so eerie and mysterious. It always reminds me of the ending of one of the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. (cant remember which one right now)
What I also remembered while reading the book was how in the movie it almost seems like a chance meet ups between all 4 hobbits, whereas in fact it was more planned than that and they all set out together.
After having read The Hobbit last month I was actually a bit miffed that Frodo had sold the house to the Sackville Bagginses since they tried to steal from Bilbo in The Hobbit.
I also like how their are always kind, wise people around to help the hobbits and how they all seem to know about them and be looking out for them!. This book has some of my favourite scenes in it and I am looking forward to Rivendell. I also know that my favourite character should be around soon and am waiting for that.
Sorry this is a bit all over the place, just had a hectic day at work.