Search

Reading my Collection

2017 – WHOLE year without buying books

2017 Challenge

75993_10151987668049386_2141296872_n-2974

So here it is, the 6th day of January of the year 2017 and so far it’s going ok. Today I started my fourth book and at a friend’s suggestion I tell you all about it but first, every story, no matter how unusual needs a beginning. This is mine.

Call me Nella, most people do and I feel that if I write this as if I am writing to someone, hopefully I wont ramble too much. This is how I ended writing book reviews. Most people make spur of the moment New Year’s resolutions, ‘I want to lose this much weight in 3 days’, ‘ I’m going only eat green vegetables’, ‘I’m never drinking again’ etc, whereas I have made the same resolution for years…’This year I will travel more’, and generally I have managed to go new places, see new things and take lots of pictures of beautiful (and not so beautiful) places. This year I wanted to do something different.

So In November 2016, I decided in 2017 that I wasn’t going to buy any books. I have shelves and shelves of them and so many unread. I love books, I love reading but have managed to make more time for buying, than reading them. Despite this initially being  a money saving idea, I might have had a sudden worry on NYE that I didn’t have enough and bought 8 more books ready for the year. This was equally about making more time to read and then very quickly it became a challenge. By 10am on the 2nd of Jan I had read 2 full books, cover to cover and I realised that with work and dedication I could read all my unread books by the end of the year (well at least all of the fiction).

So to clarify I set myself some  rules:

  • I will attempt to read the books I already own.
  • I can borrow books (from friends, family and even the odd library).
  • I can accept and read books as gifts.
  • I can buy other people books as gifts but not for self gain.

I have also set up a ‘Wishlist’ so every time I see a book I would normally purchase (both spur of the moment and on Amazon ) I will now add it to the list. This way when my birthday comes around people have an idea what to get me but also I feel like the ‘book-buying’  itch is appeased for a short period of time. Currently my list is over 20. I’m sure by the time this year is finished it will be in triple figures.  I have lots of non-fiction books and although I am not ruling them out of the reading list, I doubt i will read as many of them.

That is the background, but I ended up sitting here, writing this because a friend suggested that not only  should I blog about how I am doing but maybe review my reading list in a ‘non-pretentious’  way.  Just a 30-something, reading a range of books and telling you all about it. The plan is to give you an idea of how I am coping without book-shopping, an oversight of plot (without too many spoilers) and an idea of similar books or series links.

So dear reader, I am going to start by asking for your help. Any hints, tips and reminders of this task will be appreciated and obviously the loan of any book would be lovely. Wish me luck as I’m aware this is insanity!!

Featured post

Battle of the ‘Beauty Queens’…

images

Firstly an apology… I called her Ida May, she is actually Ida Belle. I was obviously and appropriately excited about the first book and may have gotten this wrong in my haste. So just in case Jana DeLeon ever reads this (I appreciate that is highly unlikely) and for reasons of accuracy, she is in fact, Ida Belle.

Moving swiftly on, I know that you know that I finished this book a while ago, but I feel I had to break up the cheese with something a little bit more intellectual. The time has come though, to tell you all about ‘Lethal Bayou Beauty’ by Jana DeLeon, the second ‘Miss Fortune Mystery’ and it’s just as funny, ridiculous and enjoyable as the first one.

For anyone that knows me or has a vague impression of what I am like in real life, they will understand that the idea of a beauty pageant is horrific. I don’t like make-up or being the centre of attention and Fortune is very similar. Due to her cover as Sandy Sue, former beauty queen turned librarian, she has been roped in to helping arrange a junior pageant.  As if this wasn’t enough to contend with, she has to cooperate with Pansy, Celia’s prodigal daughter.

518WsadC+oL._SY346_

That is until someone kills her.

Just Fortune’s luck, in her second week in the Bayou when she is trying to lay low, she is being framed for murder.  Can the Sinful Ladies get her out of this one? Can she keep her director in the dark or will her cover be blown? How many times will Carter see her in a state of undress this time?

More Ida Belle and Gertie hilarity, there’s more of Ali’s cakes and despite the mournful tone of the subject matter it is funny! Marie is back and as panicky as ever. The character development of Walter is wonderful and again I just lapped it up. It easy to listen to; fun to be part of and just a bit of silly escapism in a world for of really serious stuff. Somehow during this investigation Fortune finds time to educate herself on some ‘cultural’ references… i mean who knew Lady Gaga wasn’t royalty?!

Dear Reader I have already finished book 3 but I am keeping that in my back pocket for another day. These books make me laugh out loud on my commute which I am not sure is appreciated by all but I think they are classic ‘beach books’. I should really be reading as its lunch time and I have borrowed something completely different (so far S&M, kidnapping and assassins) so until next time… Happy Reading.

Max, Matthew and maps…

So I can’t help but think it’s all over. That this is it, this is the last St Mary’s book.  The last chance we have to see Max watch the world go white.

The blurb of this book says ‘She’s no safer at St. Mary’s. Tragedy strikes not once but several times, and with no Leon, no Markham, and no Peterson at her side, Max’s personal life slowly begins to unravel. From the Egyptian desert to the Battle of Hastings, and from Bayeux Cathedral to the Sack of Constantinople, Max must race through time to save the ones she loves’. 

Whats brilliant Dear Reader, is that although I have listened to 7 of these full stories and several, erm…let’s call them novellas, I honestly thought his name was Malcolm, not Markham… the disadvantages to listening to a book rather than reading it I suppose. I have to say that all those years ago I might have had deliberations of how to pronounce Hermione Grangers name, so the written word isn’t always clearer.

51p66-fVkLL.SX316

It was fantastic… Ronan, Max and Peterson where in fact amazing. I missed certain dynamics that had changed and I like this new side of Max. We’ve seen her as a student, adjust to responsibility and grow in strength, we seen her love and survive loss and we’ve seen her as a wife. Now we see her as a Mother… a hopeless, lost, confused but wonderful mother. A strong, faithful and dedicated mother and it was brilliant.

The history was still there, the humour was still there and Jodi Taylor captured the magic of the earlier books. I was reminded of adventures with Kal, it had some of the early carefree jumping but equally the ‘new’ historians kept things interesting. Matthew seemed to fit right in and it was bizarre that i forgot he was a child sometimes.

Did I miss Leon? Kind of. but I love, LOVE LOVED!!! that this was focussed on Max. Everything from the jumps, to pods antics and worry to the tears, joy and anger throughout. It was amazing.

I should say that as much as this is probably FULL of spoilers, it is book 8 in the Chronicles of St Mary’s series and if you haven’t read them, (or listened) you should.
I have 2 more reviews to write so I’m off. Happy Reading!

Black magic in the strangest of places…

1560312 It feels like an age that I have been reading this. It was an adventure and a talking point.

I have really enjoyed this series so far, ‘The Rogue’ by Trudi Canavan picks up a matter of weeks after the last one finished. Sonea is working with Cery to find the Rogue magician known as Skellin, Lorkin is living with the Traitors and Dannyl is off on another adventure.

This is about magic stones, jealousy and family. It was easy to read, the story flowed and I couldn’t help rotting for the characters all over again. The Naki subplot was not enough to keep Sonea busy. Lorkin was always on her mind, plus the arrival Dorrien and his family might have confused her a bit. The Guild are adapting to Black Magic, rebellions within and the what to do with a murderous teenager?

I liked the development of Anyi in this story and how her relationship with Cery is developing. The stone making and history elements of Lorkin and Dannyl were possibly my favourites.

As I was looking for my pictures for this I came across this alt cover and loved it. I just wanted to share it with you Dear Reader. I hope they make more of them for all countries.

10117050

Happy Reading!

Absences snd guilty pleasures…

BOOK-FEELINGS: Hello Dear Reader, I appreciate it has been a while. I have just completed week 4 of my new job and finally have a rhythm to my day and naturally to my reading opportunities.  I am still making the most of my 2 hours on a bus everyday with an audiobook or two but am yet to master the art of actual reading… to be honest with you I try my best to sleep when I can. This leads to many missed chapters and subsequent the confusion but the ability to do my job and make attempts at conversation when i get home!

3457388129_a95c97b513

THIS WILL BE ACHIEVED!!

REVIEW: So its review time, and as the title might give away I have been listening to some easy listening “trash”. I mean its not a rubbish story and for the most part the characters are well rounded and show signs of growth and development. I simply mean it would be a beach book, that’s right Dear Reader, I have indulged in a guilty pleasure. I’m not only talking about the book(s) but also the fact the sun is out and I’m sitting typing this in the garden with a chilled diet coke!

This book involves no thinking, long southern accents and the feistiest pensioners you are every likely to meet. ‘Louisiana Longshot’ by Jana Deleon is the first of the ‘Miss Fortune Mystery’ series and it really sets the scene. Fortune is in trouble, she is in the CIA and has just killed the brother of an International Drug Lord. Her boss has sent her to the bayou to pretend to be his niece, an ex beauty queen turned librarian. For those of you that have seen Miss Congeniality (this blog is full of guilty pleasures) you can imagine the picture of her I built up in my head. She has long blonde extensions glued to her shaved head and is under strict instructions to keep a long profile in the sleepy town of Sinful.

images

It turns out the town is anything but sleepy, Sinful by name and sinful by nature. On her first night of being ‘Sunny Sue’ her lacklustre dog Bones digs up a human shin bone in her back garden bank of the bayou. She is roped in to competing for Banana pudding and she is befriended for better or worse by the ‘Sinful Ladies’ founders, Ida May and Gurdy.  She has a ropey start with town deputy Carter and soon realises that keeping a low profile in this town just isn’t going to happen.

Can they work out who framed Marie for the murder of her husband? Will Fortune keep her true identity safe? and who will win the banana pudding next Sunday? This is a silly story, I can quite happily put my hands up and say it, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. Vietnam vets, Alligators and hidden identity, what more could you want? I loved the narration, the silliness and the characters.

In fact I loved them so much as soon as I finished this I downloaded the second one! Review coming shortly but until then Happy Reading!

 

Dilemma Time…

angel-and-devil-on-shoulder

That’s right! 

BOOK-FEELINGS: I have an issue and I need your help. Last time I posted something like this… I might have to buy books for work. If I buy one is it against the rules? Should I ask work to buy them… for anyone that only reads occasionally I started a new job about 2 weeks ago.

There are several books I could get most of which is online, but some of it would be useful to have for reference. HELP ME READERS!!

Maps, Magic and Marriage prospects…

So I started this as soon as I finished book 1. I couldn’t help it… I needed more. India Steele and Mr Matthew Glass…. what trouble are they up to now? As it happens Dear Reader, they have been recruited by Commissioner Munroe to find his illegitimate son, Daniel.

download (1)

So Daniel is arrogant, the Mapmaker Guildmaster’s apprentice and his is missing. Kidnapped, killed or has he just run away to make his fortune? The magic is back in various forms, as is Aunt Letitia. She has Matthew’s future in her sights… how many of London’s finest (and their daughters) will come visiting?  Matthew seems less than impressed by all of this as does India. Is Letty missing something? are we?

This story revolves around the missing apprentice but shades of the Watchmakers Daughter is there. The Guild are still after India, Matthew is still after Chronos and India wants to know all Matt’s secrets. I liked this story for the influence of magic, the strong-willed India getting her way and getting into far too much trouble. Apparently she wants to prove herself, which indeed is wonderful! In so many way this reminds me of Gail Carriger and the Parasol Protectorate.

The Guild don’t want Daniel to keep showing off his map-making talents, mainly because his magic can be used against him. There is a treasure hunter, a Roman coin horde and a missing map maker. Strangely, or not as the case may be they are in fact linked…

This is fast paced, over lapping and full of steam punk references.  I need the next instalment, which obviously isn’t out on audiobook yet. Luckily I have a few to keep me going!

Happy Reading.

Bus journeys, watches and Americans…

img_20160801_145636

Dear Reader, I know I am useless.

I am sorry. I started a new job this week and in reality finished this book on Thursday morning but I got home from work and went to type but actually just slept. I have been getting up at 5am and getting home at 8pm. I think once I’m in a routine I might blog at lunchtime from work and you WILL GET MORE REVIEWS!!

So here it is. I started listening to ‘The Watchmakers Daughter’ by C.J Archer. Meeting Miss India Steele, was different. She isn’t the weak, feeble, lady of leisure we are used to. She’s a shop keepers daughter in the late 1800’s. She wants to run her father’s shop, she is glad that her former fiancee Eddie Hardacre doesn’t want her. She is out spoken, adventurous and far too curious!

The story is that of India and Mr Matthew Glass on the hunt for Chronos, an old watchmaker who helped saved Matt’s life. He is over from the States with his cousin Willie, a fierce hustler who smokes a pipe and kills at poker, who doesn’t want to conform by wearing aTheWatchmakersDaughter_ebook_Final_small1 skirt. Duke, his butler/cook/best friend and Cyclops the one-eyed coachman. Miss Letitia Glass, Matt’s spinster aunt is very excited about his return to the Uk and is trying her best to set him up with an intelligent lady of social standing.

This is wonderfully narrated (more on that later), fast paced and full of the unexpected. The purple glow will fill you with joy and so many questions. I enjoyed the pace, the turns in the story and the strong characters.

This was easy to listen to, the narrator was amazing and really understood the differences in tone and pace of each.

I have started the next one in the series and although the story is wonderful, the narrator has change and this makes me a little sad. This book and series in magical. Happy Reading!

109 Days, Magicians and Audiobooks…

 

BOOK FEELINGS FIRST: Big news Dear Reader, I have a job so I have few more hours of my day commuting so plenty of reading and time to review! I have downloaded a few ready for the 2 hours each way on the bus. I struggle to read on the bus so I am going for audiobooks until I can train myself to do that. I have really enjoyed the past few months of getting friends recommendations and taking the time to relax and reset before starting a new job.

I am 109 days clean! I haven’t bought myself a book, I’m strangely get more picky about the books I’m reading. I have realised I have a lot of books in similar genres so as I’m starting to slow down with the reading a bit. Until this one… I started reading the Trudi Canavan books the year before last. The first 2 of the Magicians Guild trilogy, I got through super fast but the final one took me ages to get into, because of that I was a little reluctant to start this trilogy ‘Traitor Spy’.

ambassador-cover-small

REVIEW TIME:  I got into this super quick because I know most of the characters. It was easy to follow the story, I enjoyed the grown-up Sonea, she is feisty and still has the charm she had a child. Now the most feared Black Magician she is trying to do the best for her son.

Lorkin, on the other hand wants to get out from her grasp and heads off to be Ambassador Dannyl’s assistant. His companion Tayend is particularly shocked that  Dannyl doesn’t want him there, but Lorkin jumps on the opportunity to look into lost magic. They head off despite Sonea trying to stop him. Although missing him, Sonea is kept busy in the hospices, realising that the Roet addiction is getting out of control. Are the Theives involved? Is Cery?

Cery’s family both blood and Thief are in danger and he’s going to find out why. Lorkin is thinking about trading the secret of magic healing for secrets of Magic past. Sonea is finding her voice.

With kidnap, murder and missing artefacts, this book flows easily, the Traitors are running and the magic is subtle. I like this trilogy so much more so far. I’m going to get back to it. Happy Reading.

She wont bite, or will she?…

The_Girl_with_All_the_GiftsJust WOW.

If I could leave a review there I would but I feel I would be short changing you, Dear Reader.

Melanie is eight, super intelligent and will eat you given half the chance. This book is HER story, the journey from school to captive to freedom. Finding herself, realising the truth and changing the future.

Her companions are Sergeant Eddie Parks, a grumpy scarred and seasoned soldier, Miss Helen Justineau, the teacher that cares too much, Private Gallagher, a young man that has no memory of how the world used to be and finally Dr Caroline Caldwell, who constantly clicks her pen and wants to dissect…everyone.

The story starts at Hotel Echo, a military base where Melanie is the most intelligent in her class and wishes she was called Pandora. Sgt Parks doesn’t like that  Helen is willing to treat them like ‘real’ children and Dr Caldwell doesn’t want anything to happen to specimen number 1. Shortly after we meet out protagonists the camp is attacked and they realise they are dead unless they move out. Follow their adventures of dangers of canned food, the trials of being hunted and the personal cost to each and every one of them.

The writing is fantastic, the story is dauntingly possible and the voice of Melanie could so easily be any of us. Will they do enough to survive? Is Melanie the only one that can learn? Will this be our dystopian future? I was emotionally attached to all these characters and naturally I am now filled with scepticism about the upcoming adaptation. M R Carey has written the screenplay so hopefully the fun, suspense and character driven plot won’t be lost. Oh and Glenn Close as Dr Caldwell, that I will pay to see.1390464124_The-Girl-With-All-The-Gif

I loved this book, it was recommended to me by a friend in publishing as was in fact a Christmas present from my girlfriend, turns out I should listen to her more often.

So the sun is still out and I’m feeling literate so let the next book commence, Happy Reading!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑