Review: Charlaine Harris – Shakespeare’s Landlord

photo-16As I expected, I read this book very quickly (especially compared to my last book). And also as expected, it was great!

I already knew that I loved Charlaine Harris and this book was awesome just like the others. This one was slightly different to the other two sets that I have read, as it had nothing to do with the supernatural, just a straight-up murder mystery. I think this set is one of her earlier sets, written in the mid 90s.

As with all of the main characters in her books, Harris always gives them an ‘interesting’ back story, and Lily’s was definitely interesting. I won’t go into too much detail here in case you want to read the book, but I was quite shocked when I read that chapter, there was a lot more violence than I had expected.

I think my favourite part of this book was the narrative style, it made it very hard to put down. I picked it up this morning, and before I knew it an hour had passed and I had read over 100 pages.

I’ve never really read murder mystery books before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, and spent most of the book trying to guess the culprit. In the end, I was totally wrong. I kind of liked that though, it’s much better when books aren’t predictable.

The end of the book was left quite wide open with regards to Lily’s personal life and her future in the town, so I’m interested to read the next book and see where it goes.


Now Reading: Charlaine Harris – Shakespeare’s Landlord

photo-16Book number 2 on my 100 book reading challenge is Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris. I’ve read two sets of books by Charlaine Harris – the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series, and the Harper Connelly series. I absolutely loved both sets of books and couldn’t put the books down once I’d started.

I’ve now got two other sets of books from Charlaine Harris, The Aurora Teagarden series and the Lily Bard series. I got the Lily Bard series for Christmas from my parents, so I will be reading that one first. The review on the back of the book sounds pretty impressive:

“Harris writes about Lily with a quiet compassion that is compelling. A fine writer has written her best book yet.”

The books are considerably shorter than the last book I read, and given how much I liked her last books, I think this’ll catch me right up on my reading challenge.

On a totally unrelated note, my replacement iPod came today. Apple issued a recall for some first generation iPods, and mine was included. It had been in a drawer for 3 years, but I dug it out and sent it off, and the replacement arrived 7 weeks later. I was quite surprised that the iPod I got back was an 8GB new model, it’s way better than the one I sent them, and will be perfect for in the gym!

Review: Jonathan Franzen – The Corrections

photo-14So this book was the first of my 100 book challenge, and it took a lot longer than it should to read it, serves me right for picking such a long book to start off with! I need to read one book every 3.5 days on average, but here we are on the 6th January, and I’ve only just finished it.

It took me a long time to get into this book, and I found it really hard to keep up at some points. The book jumped around a lot between the present time and the past, with no indication that the time had changed. I found myself a lot of times having to go back a couple of pages to make sure that I hadn’t missed something obvious.

My favourite books are the ones where I feel connected to the characters, but I just didn’t get any kind of connections to the characters, except Alfred and Enid, who were just such a lovely couple that you couldn’t help but feel sympathy for them and their situation.

As well as jumping forward and backward through time, there was also a lot of switching between characters, so at times it was hard to get a good flow from the story. Most of the book seemed to be about the back story for each of the characters, and about halfway through the book, it suddenly switched to a set of people that hadn’t been mentioned for the last 300 pages. I found it quite strange that it switched so suddenly without an explanation, although it did all became clearer later.

The ending of the book really disappointed me. After the copious amount of detail in the rest of the book, the ending seemed very rushed, and I was left with a feeling like after I read the last Harry Potter book – it felt like the last chapter was added on as an afterthought. The book was already at over 600 pages, so I don’t think it would have harmed to just add a little more detail.

All in all, I would say the book was okay, but definitely not one of my favourites, and probably not one that I will read again for a while.


Now Reading: Jonathan Franzen – The Corrections

photo-14This is another of the books that I got for Christmas – part of a set of two by Jonathan Franzen. The descriptions of them on The Book People looked really good, so I’m really glad my brother bought them for Christmas. The book was the winner of the National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and came with this quote on the back:

“A novel of outstanding sympathy, wit, moral intelligence and pathos, a family saga told with stylistic brio and psychological and political insight. No British novelist is currently writing at this pitch”.

That’s quite a lot to live up to, but it does look very interesting. It’s a long book, at more than 600 pages, so there’s no chance I’ll finish it before the new year, so I guess that this will count as the first book in my 100 book reading challenge. Let’s start as we mean to go on!

Review: Emma Donoghue – Room

Room - Emma Donoghue

This book definitely lived up to all expectations! I started reading it two days ago, and I finished it at lunch time today. It was one of the best books I’ve read for a long time, I couldn’t put it down. The book was written in such a way that you felt like you were connected to the characters, so there were more than a few teary moments.

The book is written from the perspective of 5 year old Jack, who has lived in ‘Room’ all his life. His mother was kidnapped by ‘Old Nick’ when she was 19, and rather than tell Jack, she let him believe that Room was the world, and everything else was just TV. The way that Emma Donoghue described the relationship between Jack and his Mum was simply wonderful, I could almost feel the love coming off the pages.

About half way through the book, they hatch a plan to escape. I started reading this part while I was on my lunch break at work, and I was so annoyed when my  hour was up. During the escape and after, I couldn’t stop turning the pages, I just had to know what was going to happen next. I had my heart in my mouth more than a few times!

Once they had escaped, I was unsure about how the story would go, but the book was so well written that it felt like you were on the journey with them. All the new experiences that they have to go through are so well voiced through Jack, all the new people he has to meet, and getting to know ‘Outside’.

When it got to about 30 pages away from the end, I was really intrigued to see how the book would end, as this is where I am usually most disappointed by books, but I loved the way that Donoghue chose to end the book. The trip back to the room and Jack saying goodbye to everything totally made me cry like a little girl, but for me, that’s the sign of a great book!


100 Books Reading Challenge 2012

This year, I’ve decided to sign up to Book Chick City’s reading challenge to read 100+ books in a year. I love reading, and I read A LOT, so it’ll be good to see if I can manage 100 books in a year. I’ll be trying to review every book I read (in a bit more detail than I have done in the past), and I’ll be making a list on my 100 book challenge page. If you have any suggestions for books I should read, let me know in the comments – I’m always looking for new ideas.

Now Reading: Emma Donoghue – Room

photo-12The Auschwitz Violin was a really good book, too short for my liking though – one of those books that you just don’t want to end. The story is about a man who has been taken to Auschwitz and is pretending to be a carpenter. When they find out that he is a Luthier, he is set the task of creating a replica of a Stradivarius violin. If he doesn’t do it fast enough, he will be sent to be used for all manner of horrific things that happened in Auschwitz. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading books about World War Two.

My next book is one that my cousin Hannah gave me at Christmas – Room by Emma Donoghue. I’m already 55 pages into it and I love it. The story is a bit strange at the moment, but I’m intrigued to see where it’s going to go.

Now Reading: Maria Àngels Anglada – The Auschwitz Violin

I got a few books for Christmas this year:

  • The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada
  • Room by Emma Donaghue
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Lily Bard series by Charlaine Harris

photo-11It was a tough choice to decide which to read first, so I’ve decided to read them in the order I opened them. First up is The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada, which Cameron bought for me. I love reading books about the war; two of my favourite books are World War Two (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Diary of Anne Frank). I’ve got two days off, then it’s back to work for 3 days and then a 3 day weekend, so I’ve got plenty of time to get through a couple of books.

Now it’s time to take a look at the January Sale email from The Book People. I had the catalogue through the door a couple of days ago, and there were some really good deals in there.

I think someone needs to confiscate my credit card…

Now Reading: Alexandra Potter – Be Careful What You Wish For

photo-9The last book I read was typical chick lit – totally predictable with a little twist in the middle, but great all the same – just what I would expect from Belinda Jones. I’ve read a lot of books recently that are a bit different from my normal style, so it was nice to get back to something a little bit easier to read for a change.

And I’m carrying that on with the next book I’m reading – Be Careful What You Wish For by Alexandra Potter. I actually started it yesterday and I recognised the first 10 or so pages, so I think it must  be one of the books I’ve started in the past that I just didn’t get into and left for later. I’ve got a bit further now though and it seems quite good so far. After this I think I’m going to give Anna Karenina a try, so this will be a nice laid-back book beforehand. Although saying that, I had a lot of books on my Christmas list, so if Santa is nice to me, I may have a lot of books jumping to the top of my reading list!

Now Reading: Belinda Jones – The Paradise Room

photo-8I really loved the last book I read (Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck), I can’t believe that I’ve never read it until now! I loved the relationship between George and Lennie, so the ending of the book really shocked me. I don’t want to say too much in case you want to read it yourself, but I had pictured a few ways which this book could end, and I was way off with all of them! It was a short book which I just couldn’t put down once I started – if you’ve not read it, you really should!

My next book is The Paradise Room by Belinda Jones. It’s a book I’ve had for a while, but definitely a trashy book compared to my last few books. It probably won’t take me too long to read, especially if it’s anything like the other Belinda Jones books I’ve read. I really like her style of writing and always find it hard to put her books down once I’ve started. Perfect reading for after I’ve been dragged around the shops by my sister on my day off work tomorrow 🙂