Tuesday, 31 January 2012

TBR Pile Challenge 2012!

Like every other book blogger and reading fanatic I have come across I have a pretty hefty To Be Read list, both hard copies sitting unread on my bookshelf, and EBooks on my lovely little Kindle. So, I thought it might be fun if I joined in on the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Bookish and nine other bloggers. Hopefully, having the list physically written in front of me, and crossing off and reviewing books everytime I read them will help me get through them all! Or at least most of them ;)

The different levels from which you can choose in this challenge are...
1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children
Now, I have a lot of reading and secondary reading to do for my English Literature course at university, so to allow myself a bit of leaway I'm going with the "11-20 - A Friendly Hug" simply because I'm pretty much 100% sure I can cope with that amount, in fact I reckon I'll swap it up to "A Sweet Kiss" within the next couple of months, but since you can't switch down a level I'm playing it safe for now ;)

Here is my list of books - including the two that I'm reading at the moment!... (click on any of the titles to view the Goodreads synopsis)

2. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
3. Room - Emma Donoghue
4. Night Road - Kristin Hannah
5. Dark Matter - Michelle Paver
6. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
8. I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
9. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
10. Random Acts of Heroic Love - Danny Scheinmann
11. The Fault in our Stars - John Green
12. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
13. Before I Die - Jenny Downham
14. Across the Universe - Beth Revis
15. When God was a Rabbit - Sarah Winman
16. War Horse - Michael Morpurgo
17. The Book of Fires - Jane Borodale
18. The Host - Stephanie Meyer
19. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
20. The Blasphemer - Nigel Farndale

So there is my list so far... I'm not going to lie, there were quite a few left over I didn't include ;) so I am pretty convinced that it will increase! Not necessarily a bad thing!

I am going to make a designated page on my blog for my TBR Pile challenge, where I will steadily cross the titles off my list and link my reviews as I go through them, I can't promise to read them in this order though! :D

Here is a list of the ten hosts of this challenge and their links...

Nicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/
Donna from Book Passion For Life - http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - http://whatchyareading.net
Rie from Mission To Read - http://missiontoread.com/
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/
Christa from Hooked On Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/
Angel from Mermaids Vision - http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com
If you are also a book blogger and want to join in on this challenge, then visit Bookish for the ORIGINAL POST about the challenge and the full set of guidelines, post your linky there and get stuck in! :D

Happy Reading everyone! :D

Abi.. x

Teaser Tuesday #1

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should be Reading, where we take our current read, let the book open to a random page and share two (2) teaser sentences from that page... without spoiling the book for other readers!

My teaser is from Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, page 265...

"One day in June he was in Hedestad, thinking about something altogether different when his bus turned on to Jarnvagsgatan and it suddenly came to him what had been germinating in the back of his mind. The insight struck him like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky."

This is not by any means the easiest book I've ever read, it is complex and challenging, BUT, it's so full of suspense and mystery I can't help myself!

Leave a link, or post your own Teaser Tuesday in the comments :)

Abi.. x

Top Ten Tuesday #1

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, each week we choose our top ten books in answer to the question..

This week the list is... Top Ten Books that would make good Book Club Reads!

For my top ten I have chosen five books which I have hard copies of and five books off my Kindle...

Here are my five hard copies...

#1: Angela Carter - Wise Children, I think this book would be fantastic in a book club, I first read it when I was about 17, and immediately fell in love. It's one of those books that divides people down the middle, about half of the people I knew who had read it absolutely despised it! But the other half were obsessed. It's structurally challenging, and the characters are amazing and complex, I think this would generate some brilliant discussions in a book club!
#2: J.G Ballard - Empire of the Sun has to be one of the most emotional books I have ever read. I really had to put this into this top ten, it's one of those books that I believe puts forward and includes such important yet tragic events that I think it's a must read for pretty much everyone!

#3: Malorie Blackman - Noughts and Crosses similarly to #2, I think this book is a must read. The role reversal Blackman uses is sure to inspire some amazing discussions on this novel, despite the fact that it's targeted at young adult readers I really do feel that you could read this book at any age and it would always have a huge emotional impact. The issues it deals with are so sensitive that I think it'd be perfect for bookish discussions!

#4: David Nicholls - One Day is not a book I immediately thought of, mainly because I felt a bit let down by it! I thought the premise of the book sounded perfect, and had heard mainly good things about it; but, when I myself finally got round to reading it I wasn't as into it as I thought I would be. I found it a challenging read, but the final parts of the book were worth the effort. It was by no stretch of the imagination the worst book I have ever read, but the challenge I found reading it I think would make it ideal for a group of other readers to tackle together and discuss!

#5: Sara Gruen - Water for Elephants I cannot say a single bad word about this book. In short, I adored it. That is the only justification I can give for putting it on this list! I think it is a book that everyone (and I mean everyone!) should have the pleasure of reading! It's magical, escapist, and romantic... a massive favourite and I want to share it with everyone who has not yet got round to reading it!

On to my Kindle books...

#6: Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the two books I'm reading at the moment - or trying to read! - but I have to say, it's not an easy read! It is really interesting, and definately full of suspense and intrigue, BUT, it is hard going at times. This is why I think it'd be great in a book club!
#7: Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games I would put all three of this trilogy in if I could, but I've just chosen the first one because it made more sense to! I loved this series, I literally could not put it down, even at work! It is technically YA I think, but still, it's so enthralling that I think it makes a fantastic read at any age, and I'm yet to meet someone who says they didn't like it!

#8: Ian McEwan - Atonement is one I read for university and loved! One of those little gems you get told to read and then end up really enjoying. I think the story is amazing, and the era it's set in is as you can tell one which I really enjoy reading about!

#9: Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Travellers Wife is one we have all heard lots about, romantic, captivating and above all an incredible love story! I sobbed pretty much throughout this novel, and the film adaptation as well! I just think this is a book that a lot of people would really enjoy, quite an easy read but at the same time tragic!                                                                         

#10: Stephen E. Ambrose - Band of Brothers I have a feeling this would be quite a random one in this list, but I promise there is a reason! As you can probably tell from some of my other choices, as well as reading, I have a huge passion for history, particularly the periods of the first and second world wars. I think they are such a vital time period to recognise and learn about, and I love to read about them! Stephen E. Ambrose is in my opinion a fantastic writer, and this book is one of my all time favourites. I have visited Normandy, and visited the museum in which much of the information about Easy Company is housed, and it is a story which has forever touched my soul! I just think it's such an important topic, that it would be a shame not to include a book like this on a book club list!

What would your top ten be?

Abi.. x

Monday, 30 January 2012

Musing Mondays #1

Musing Monday's is a post hosted by Should be Reading which each week asks us a question every loving reader should be able to answer!

This week the question is...

How far along are you in your current read before you start thinking about what you’ll read next?

I have to admit that I'm pretty bad in terms of this question! I usually have a line of books in my head so I tend to be thinking about the book I am going to read next immediatly as I begin a book! But, I end up with so many books on my ever growing TBR list that I just end up swamped sometimes! I'm not very good at reading more than one book at a time so most of my reads tend to lead on from one another, like at the moment for example I'm reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks - a well known war novel - and the book I'm going to move onto next is Warhorse by Michael Morpurgo because my current read has put me in the right frame of mind to go for another war novel. So basically, I tend to already have a novel lined up to read next when I begin a book, but the majority of the time, my 'to read next book' tends to be influenced by my current read!

What would your response to this be?

Abi.. x

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan.. REVIEW

Five Hearts...
Goodreads Synopsis:

Every night, 12-year-old Gwenni Morgan flies in her sleep. She leaves the bed she shares with her sister and soars into the night sky, listening to the nighttime sounds of her small Welsh village below. Irrepressible Gwenni -- a dreamer full of unanswerable questions and unbounded curiosity -- is childlike yet touchingly adult. Reluctantly facing a modern world, she prefers her nightly flights to school and her chores. Blessed with the uncommon insight of a young girl, Gwenni's view of the world is unparalleled.
I am going to start this review by saying simply that I thought this book was fantastic. In all the books I have read I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever read one quite like this. I knew that I would like it straight away from reading the synopsis! Wales is perhaps my favourite place in the world, and a very special place to me, so when I realised this book was set in rural Wales I immediately knew that the environment of the plot would be perfect for me. I was right. The twisty lanes, and scenic countryside and fields that Gwenni explores during the novel were - for me - captivating. Not only this, but they made the twists of the plot itself immediately more mysterious in such a remote setting.

Gwenni was a brilliant character, constructed in what I thought was a really interesting way. Her innocence was always apparent, but as a reader I never felt that she was in any way 'silly' or excessively naive. In certain situations, the reader is fully aware of more sinister occurings, but Gwenni is constantly polite and lovably ignorant of the issue - particularly with Mrs. Evans early on in the novel. I think it was Gwenni's conviction and determination to be nothing but herself despite the dominating nature of characters like her Mother, Bethan and Alwenna that made me feel such a connection to her, not necessarily a pathetic connection - I did feel sorry for her but I didn't feel pity if you understand what I mean? - but more of an admiration for her sense of self.

Ultimately, underneath the magical nature of Gwenni's character and the enchanting setting, the plot and the mystery involved in it was incredibly gripping. The overlapping mysteries that Strachan has weaved together were constantly keeping me on my toes, from the situation with Mr. Evans, to Gwenni's Mother's condition, to the fox and it's life giving eyes.. I just found myself completely enveloped in this novel and literally couldn't put it down! I finished it in two short sittings in the space of 48 hours! The only downside I can say is that the Welsh names are sometimes difficult to get used to, however, I am extremely fond of everything Welsh! So for me it was all part of the fun of the book, all part of the experience!

I would definately reccomend this book to anyone who wants an enthralling and magical read!

Abi.. x

It's been too long... and Christmas book haul!

I havn't posted on here in absolutely ages! So much has been going on I just have had so little time and so much to do as the old cliche goes..

However, I thought I might as well start the new year (or the end of January!) off with a Christmas book haul post. I had asked for a couple of books, but all the others were very welcome surprises!

Gemma from Passion for Novels actually bought me a book I have gone on and on about for so long that I ended up with two copies! It was Dark Matter by Michelle Paver , I adore horror and thriller movies yet have never read a scary book! I thought it was about time, but I havn't got round to starting this yet! Gemma has however done a review on this book so if you want to know more go have a look!

Secondly, again from Gemma, I was lucky enough to recieve one of the most beautiful books I have ever owned - the second is below! - a Barnes and Noble edition of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I am sure any young girl obsessed with fantasy and imagination like I was will have read this, and it is definately one of my favourite children's books of all time!

I have to insert a picture of this beauty, if for nothing else, simply because it's so pretty!

Next is my other pride and joy.. my gift off Dani at Pen to Paper yet another Barnes and Noble beauty. This time the 7 novels of one of my all time loves, Jane Austen. Despite being an enormous Austen fan, I have never owned my own copies of anything other than Pride and Prejudice and Emma.. now I have them all in all their gold leafed glory! Again, I think we need to appreciate how beautiful this collection actually is...

The following books were all gifts off my family, some which I asked for weeks in advance, and some which I had a lovely little surprise opening on Christmas morning...

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore was a book I had been wanting for a while. Some how I have ended up with The Power of Six on my Kindle, why I had that one without ever having read or downloaded the first one I have no idea.. but thankfully my younger sister helped me out and gave me the first book.. which I am so so looking forward to throwing myself into after having heard so much brilliant stuff about it! And having held off on watching the film for so long!

Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann is another that I had asked for, I can't remember where I heard about this book, but it sounds like it has all the makings of one of my future favourites. Plus, every review I have looked up has been exceptional, always a positive!

Finally The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan was a bit of a surprise, I had mentioned it to my mom a couple of times, but never officially asked for it! This is the only one of my Christmas books that I have read, and I did so in just two days! I loved this book but am about to write a review on it, so have a look above this post for that for more of my thoughts!

That was it for my Christmas book gifts! Not a drastic amount, but enough to have difficulty finding places for them on my already rather full bookshelf!

Abi.. x