31 July, 2012

The Complete Peanuts 1967 - 1968

Title: The Compete Peanuts 1967 - 1968
Author: Charles Schulz
Genre: Comic
Series: Peanuts
Audience: Everyone!
Format: Book - Library

Synopsis: Volume 9 in this series takes us through 1967 and 1968.

What I thought: Oh it has been awhile! I haven't read a Peanuts since February! When I went to borrow this from the library, they didn't have it so I had to request it to be bought! The process can take awhile but finally I got it! Now I need to check out if they have 69 - 70! This series is a must read for any peanuts fan!

30 July, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Is a meme hosted by Shelia over at Book Journey. A weekly check in to see what you are currently reading and what is coming up. Head over to Shelia's blog to see what others are reading this week.




Goodness! A Monday post two weeks in a row?? What is going on!

What am I reading now.

Disrupting Grace - Kristen Richburg

I read about this on a blog over a year ago and was really interested. I have only started and I'm sure it's going to be heart wrenching.

What am I listening to.

Tommo & Hawk - Bryce Courtenay

Finally made some headway with this! Really enjoying it!

 What I Read Last Week.

Pretty pathetic week really - only one finished. I went into a bit of a slump and couldn't decide what to read, so spent time listening to my audio and flicking through magazines.

The Kings of Clonmel - John Flanagan



What's next?

I have a rather impressive pile of TBR's at the moment, so I am thinking of dedicating August to them, much like I did with my library book challenge. I mean I've had some of these books since before we moved into this house, so that is over 4 years! Time to read or abandon I feel!

So what are you reading? Leave me a link, I'd love to know!

24 July, 2012

The Kings of Clonmel

Title: The Kings of Clonmel
Author: John Flanagan
Genre: Fiction
Series: Ranger's Apprentice
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Book - Library

From Goodreads: Will is at the annual Ranger Gathering but Halt is investigating mysterious happenings in the west. When he does finally return, it's with bad news. Hibernia is in turmoil. A religious cult calling themselves the Outsiders are sowing confusion and sedition, and five of the six Hibernian kingdoms have been undermined. Now the sixth, Clonmel, is in danger. Halt, Will and Horace set out to restore order. Can the secrets of Halt's past help them in their mission?

What I thought: Really?? December since I last read one of these books?? Hmmm, not sure I am happy about that!
This series goes from strength to strength. Will, I feel, really comes into his own in the book, making his own decisions, following his own path. Horace too is starting to flesh out as a character rather than playing a supporting role. As I have mentioned before, I think this is one of the best fantasy fiction series for younger readers. My ten year old boy has started reading them and is rocketing through them! I need to read the last 3 before he catches up to me!

23 July, 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Is a meme hosted by Shelia over at Book Journey. A weekly check in to see what you are currently reading and what is coming up. Head over to Shelia's blog to see what others are reading this week.





Keeping with current trends, it's been two weeks since I've done a Monday post, and even then I haven't linked the last two on Sheila's blog - will make sure I do so today!

What am I reading now.


The Kings of Clonmel - John Flanagan
Book 8 in the Ranger's Apprentice series. My 10 year old son is now reading this series and I better get a move on or he will catch up to me!
What am I listening to.

Tommo & Hawk - Bryce Courtenay

Unfortunately this seems to be heading the same way as The Potato Factory  - not much going on! My mum is visiting and I lent her my Kindle to read The Light Between Oceans so haven't been able to listen to much of this - soon, I hope!

 What I Read Since I Last Posted a Monday Post!

Well, I may not be posting, but I am reading. Both Fifty Shades and Light Between Oceans made it into the last list, but I hadn't reviewed them yet, so I've included the reviews this week. 

 Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L James
 The Light Between Oceans - M.L Stedman
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
Between The Lines - Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

What's next?

Who knows! Have a stack of stuff I need to sort through. My contract at work has ended so I am currently waiting to see if anything else pops up - in the meantime I need to catch up on some house stuff, committee stuff and just enjoy some time with my mum while she is here!

So what are you reading? Leave me a link, I'd love to know!

21 July, 2012

Between The Lines

Author: Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Book - Library

From Goodreads:
What happens when happily ever after... isn't?
Delilah hates school as much as she loves books. In fact, there's one book in particular she can't get enough of. If anyone knew how many times she has read and re-read the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially the popular kids, she'd be sent to social Siberia... forever.
To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there's a handsome (well, okay, hot) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there's something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they're from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

What I thought:
 
Any one who reads this blog knows my love/ hate relationship with Jodi Picoult - love her stuff, but find her mother characters incredibly annoying! So when I heard she had written a book with her daughter, I must admit I was interested.

The idea is interesting - falling in love with a story book character, having them fall in love with you and needing to find a way to get him out. And lets face it, haven't we all wondered what happens when we close the book?
Unfortunately, I don't think Picoult and her daughter, van Leer, pulled it off. Plot holes, inconsistencies and writing that just wasn't up to what I expect from a book with Picoult's name on it. I'd be interested to see something van Leer has written herself, just to see if it was the collaboration thing that didn't work. 

A Suitable Boy


Author: Vikram Seth
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format:
Personal copy

From Goodreads: Vikram Seth's novel is at its core a love story, the tale of Lata - and her mother's attempts to find her a suitable husband, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. Set in post-Independence India and involving the lives of four large families and those who orbit them, it is also a vast panoramic exploration of a whole continent at a crucial hour as a sixth of the world's population faces its first great General Election and the chance to map its own destiny. 'A SUITABLE BOY may prove to be the most fecund as well as the most prodigious work of the latter half of this century - perhaps even the book to restore the serious reading public's faith in the contemporary novel ... You should make time for it. It will keep you company for the rest of your life' Daniel Johnson, The Times

What I thought:
So this is our book group book for July. Given it is close to 1500 pages long, and the type is small, we set it at the beginning of the year so everyone had plenty of time. By the time I started to read it, I worked out I needed to read around 50 – 60 pages a day! Thankfully by the time I started it I was on holidays!
The book is stunning. The lives of the characters interweave in ways that are not always clear, but suddenly come into focus when it's needed. It a cast of many, but I found it surprisingly easy to keep track of – something I usually struggle with when they are so many characters. Seth’s characters are so clearly their own people, with their own personality traits and struggles in life. I must admit the family trees at the beginning also helped keep track.
There were many clever things in this book. Seth has also published poetry and he uses rhyming couplets in this story to great effect. There is the Chatterji's, a family whose younger members often rattle of couplets to describe or make fun of a situation.

What is Krishnan in the end?
Just a mushroom, just a friend.

Always eating dosa-iddly,
Drinking beer and going piddly!

The book has 19 chapters, with each chapter having a rhyming couplet which describe events in that chapter. While it couldn't replace the book, it was very useful for reminding me of what had happened previously, especially after a break from the book.
While it’s not difficult to read, it is dense. Interactions between people are described in detail, with many nuances to keep in mind, along with previous events and meetings. I found this meant that after awhile, I had to put it down, even if it was only for a short amount of time. While reading A Suitable Boy, I read three other books, but found it easy to pick up the thread again when I went back to it.
Set at a time when India was a new democracy, A Suitable Boy provides a rich insight into a country starting new, finding it’s feet and struggling with issues. In truth, it has not only made me want to read more on the history of India and the role of the British Empire within it’s history, but to also visit the country.
If I had one criticism of the book, its that it is not available on Kindle! And lets face it, it’s size makes it a perfect candidate! A times I had to put it down not through strain of the brain, but strain of the wrist! This is a fact the author acknowledges in a poem titled A Word of Thanks at the beginning, in which he thanks those who have helped him in writing the book and finishes with this:

And, gentle reader, you as well,
The Fountainhead of all remittance.
Buy me before good sense insists
You'll strain your purse and sprain your wrists.

A Suitable Boy is not a book you can approach lightly. You need to have time and commitment to see it through, but I promise you, the effort is well worth it.

Guards! Guards!


Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

FromGoodreads: Here there be dragons...and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of "draco nobilis" ("noble dragon" for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a "noble" dragon, after all...).

What I thought:
One should not mess with dragons, it leads to no good! Guards! Guards! Is the first of Pratchett’s books to introduce The Night Watch, including Vimes, Carrot and Nobby. And once again it’s a wonderful light heart read, perfect for the break I needed from A SuitableBoy. As always Pratchett lightens my soul, cleanses my reading palette and gives a bloody good belly laugh. Perfect!

Challenges: eBook Challenge,

The Light Between Oceans


Title: The Light Between Oceans
Author: M.L Stedman
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

FromGoodreads: In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Three years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel is tending the grave of her newly lost infant when she hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up on shore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the dead man and the infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim the child as their own and name her Lucy, but a rift begins to grow between them. When Lucy is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world…and one of them is desperate to find her lost baby.

What I thought: Wow! What a wonderful book! Whether it was because I read it after a truly awful book or something else, I truly enjoyed this book. In fact, I found myself slowing down to read it because I didn’t want it over too quickly. The writing was gorgeous, flowing and so easy to lose yourself in. I could feel the salt spray, see the storm clouds, taste the sea air – totally stunning.
And I felt for all of Stedman’s characters, the woman desperate for a child of her own, the man torn between doing what he knows is right and keeping the woman he loves happy, the woman who wonders what happened to her baby, the grandparents who see the child as a way to mend past hurts and the innocent child who will lose, no matter what happens. Stedman treats all of them with the greatest respect, making sure that all of their stories are told with care and compassion. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I found myself not just with a tear running down my cheek at the end, but sobbing, needing tissues crying. This is a book I know I will revisit, reread and lose myself in again and again. I will be highly surprised if it doesn’t win awards of some kind.

20 July, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey


Author: E.L James
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

FromGoodreads: When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.
The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.
Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

What I thought:
So there was just too much hype about this book to not read it, especially when I was hearing so many mixed reports about it – another one of those love it or hate it type books – and I will admit the “sexy content” had me interested. So what did I think – not good, not good at all.
I have several issues with the book – the first being simply how badly it was written. I can see the bare bones of an ok book in this, but it needed a damn good editor willing to insist on some major changes. In fact much of the book reads like a first draft to me. Characters, especially Ana’s friends Kate and they guy who has a crush on her (can't remember his name!) are incredibly two dimensional where they could have added so much to the story line. Their concern for Ana and her confusion, bouts of tears and sadness seem incredibly superficial and not in line with the type of friendship Ana claims to have with them.
As for Ana....I am truly at a loss as to how she goes from sweet innocent, never done a thing virgin to a full on multiple orgasming creature. I know there is a high level of fantasy in this book, but seriously, at least try to maintain some sense of reality. Her repeated catch phrases of things like Oh my...My inner godess...my subconscious...Lord knows I can’t blame Christian Grey for wanting to slap her, I sure as hell wanted to! And while I have no problem with her willingness to try new things, I do have an issue with her doing things she is obviously uncomfortable with.
It should come as no surprise that I’m not enamoured of Christian either. Another two dimensional character with a fetish. Yes, yes, it’s lovely that he has a contract drawn up and is willing to negotiate it, but the handsome, ridiculously wealthy, self made man who has a dangerous side – please, can you get any more clich├ęd!
Apart from the bad writing and the flat characters, I have a huge issue with yet another portrayal of an unrealistic relationship where the girl is seemingly unable to think for herself and allows her life to become controlled by a man. I just think it is such the wrong message to be sending to women of any age, but especially young women. I know how this ends, and how it could be perceived as Ana growing a backbone and standing up for herself, but from what I understand from conversations with others who have read all three of the books, it doesn’t stay that way. I may be wrong, but I’m not going to read the other two to find out. In the end this is one of those books where I am going to end up disagreeing with many people about it. It's trash, through and through. It's popularity is completely due to the controversial nature of the story line. Anyone looking for a recommendation from me would be told to stay right away and not to waste their time.
 

Challenges: eBook Challenge

09 July, 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Is a meme hosted by Shelia over at Book Journey. A weekly check in to see what you are currently reading and what is coming up. Head over to Shelia's blog to see what others are reading this week.




What am I reading now.

A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

This is our read for book group this month -it's huge! 1474 pages long and the type is small. Despite it's size, it's not too hard to read, but it is dense and a bit intimidating! Unfortunately it's not available on Kindle so it's a bit hard on the wrists as well! I actually worked out how many pages a day I had to read to finish it in time and I am currently 3-4 days ahead, so I am reading this as well for a bit of light relief!.

Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett


What am I listening to.

Tommo & Hawk - Bryce Courtenay

Finally finished The Potato Factory and have moved onto the second in the series. The kids have been on holidays and are therefore in the car with me, meaning I have not listened to much of this yet. They are back today so hopefully I'll start making inroads into this.

 What I Read Since I Last Posted a Monday Post!

It's been four weeks since I did a Monday post, so here are my reads for those weeks!

48 Shades of Brown - Nick Earls
The Potato Factory - Bryce Courtenay
The Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson
All My Dangerous Friends - Sonya Hartnett
Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L James - review to come
The Light Between Oceans - M.L Stedman - review to come

What's next?

More of A Suitable Boy! I also have a stack of books on Kindle and a stack of paper books to read, so am thinking of another couple of mini challenges to clear the backlog!

So what are you reading? Leave me a link, I'd love to know!