Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Worlds/Topics That Will Make Me NOT Pick Up A Book

This week our topic from The Broke and The Bookish is Top Ten Worlds/Topics That Will Make Me NOT Pick Up A Book. I think this is a really interesting topic as I can be very fussy about the books I read although there are only a few key things I always avoid. I’m looking forward to seeing what other people are saying their bookish turnoff are too though so I no longer have to feel alone in my choosiness.

  • Vampires
  • Kingdoms
  • Witchcraft
  • Demons
  • Mythical Creatures
  • Fantasy Lands
  • Romance 

What Makes You Put Down A Book Without Opening It?

 

 

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Holiday Reading Reviews

This year for this first time every I went for a purely relaxing holiday on a campsite in France. Of course I always takes books on holiday with me but this time reading was the planned activity for the fortnight. As I was away I didn’t want internet access so I couldn’t blog reviews as I went along  and now I’ve been back a bit too long so instead of individual reviews I’m going to do a group one.

I took 6 books with me and I really wanted to read the adult fiction ones as I often struggle to concentrate on them when I’m in my home surroundings. I was pleased that I did manage to get through 5 of them and to start the last one, although I’ve not read any more of it since, but more importantly that is a tiny dent in my massive to read pile.

 The Handmaid’s Tale was given to me just days before I left for my holiday and I will admit that I did start it before I left. My friend had really liked it and I was interested in the idea of the story as it appears almost dystopian, but it didn’t really live up to my expectations. The book is about the future when woman no longer have the same rights as men and are now split into rolls to be of service to the society as a whole. The main character is a Handmaid, who’s purpose is to bare children to couples who are unable to have their own. The handmaid’s aren’t looked upon favourably by the other women in society, although I have to admit I didn’t quite understand why, I think they are given this role because of some previous indescresions but I didn’t find it was very clearly explained. Throughout the book the main character talks about her life now and her past in which she had a husband and daughter. This drives her to take part in illegal behaviour for her status but could help change her life for the better. I did appreciate the idea behind this book but  for me it just wasn’t an enjoyable read. I struggled with the way it was written and the lack of punctuation making it hard to build a picture up of the society. Lots of people have praised this books and I am sure for many people it would be a great read but it a book that wants patience and thought and for a summer read it wasn’t quite light enough for me.

Chocolat in contrast to my first books of the holiday was a lot more what I would want from a summer read. The plot wasn’t challenging and the writing was flowing. The book hasn’t been on my to read pile to long as I only recently found out that it was a book. Of course this means that I have seen the film first but that didn’t effect my enjoyment of the book at all. As you might expect the story line in the book does play out differently from that of the film and for me the main difference was the character of the mayor. In the books he is a the Father of the church and he gets his say through chapters int he book from his point of view. For me his character is a lot more vurlnrable from the beginning in the book because we are seeing part of his history from his point of view and we get to experience his struggle with the desires around him. I also found that the book allowed me to appreciate a lot more of the issues that are addressed than the movie did. All of the characters are dealing with different struggles from learning to to let go and move on to dealing with abuse and death but the story also shows us the power of a community in dealing with these issues to help everyone with a little help from good old chocolate. This for me was the perfect summer read. It had a balance of being light and easy to read but still with an interesting plot and having seen the movie first who doesn’t enjoy picturing Johnny Depp while sun bathing.

 Looking For Alaska was the last John Green’s novel I needed to read. I was a bit nervous about it if I am honest as it is considered by so many to be so good but  thankfully I was not disappointed. I’m not sure why but I had it in my head that his book was about something totally different than it turned out to be. I think I was expecting it to be like Paper Towns but I’m pleased it wasn’t. Instead it tells the story of a clever high school boy who moves to a boarding school where his world is turned upside down. His new room mate nicknames him Pudge on the first day and introduces him to Alaska Young and from then on the excitement begins. He becomes part of a group of friends for the first time in his life and he can’t help but fall for the whirlwind that is Alaska. The problem of course with being part of something so great though is that the pain when it falls apart. A lot of people talk about this being a sad book and I agree that it was but for me that’s not what made it so good. Instead it was the friendships that Pudge got to build because, I think for the first time every, I felt a little hopefully that we do all have a people out there who are going to accept us for who we are. More powerful though was the fact that that place wasn’t with the people Pudge had expected but with people who were different from him and that made the friendship better because they all had something to unique to love about the others and help them through when they needed it.

 

 

 Undone had to be the most depressing book in my summer collection and not just because it was exploring suicide. Like many books for young adults the story was about acceptance among your peers. It was the lack of acceptance about his sexuality that lead Kai to kill himself and Jem knows that it’s all she needs to get her foot in the door to discover who outed Kai and get her revenge. Then she plans on killing herself. It turns out to be not that difficult for Jem to get involved the popular crowed when she is given 12 letters that had been left to her by Kai, one for every month for the next year. In these he sets her wee challenges to help her move on that include changing her hair and how she dresses and it almost that simple to get her noticed but the popular crowd. Once they accept her as one of them she just has to play along with their expectations and make her moves when the time is right. The problem for me however was that she did start to like being accepted. She got a boyfriend within the group that had real feelings for her and she found it hard to admit herself but who she had real feelings for too. She was also really liked by one of the girls, who wanted her to be her best friend but Gem’s revenge got in the way. The people around her did care about her and wanted to help her move on and she could have if she her plans hadn’t got in the way and driven things to and ending that I didn’t think would actually happen.

 The Kite Runer was also admittedly quite a depressing book. Amir loved his life in Afghanistan with his best friend, and servant’s son Hassan. His father was a wealthy man and he had everything he could wish for but his father approval. Amir liked to read and didn’t like up to his fathers reputation and a strong man known for fighting a bear so when he fails to stand up for Hassan when he is bullied he begins to fear the truth of being found out. His fierce desire to be loved by his father leads to Hassan and his father leaving and from then on life doesn’t get easier for Amir. When the communist regieme finally take over his father takes him to America in search of a better life. There Amir gets an education and even marries an Afghan women he loves but a letter from a close friend of his fathers takes him back to him old home many years later in search of redemption. Although this book is set in a difficult political time for Afghanistan it provides an perfect background for Amir’s story, which is one about redemption. For most of his life he is unable to forgive himself for running away when his most loyal friend needed him most however the situation in society at the time made the actions of all the people what they were. They also provide justification of strong actions later within the plot that would seem there just to drag the story out within other societies however for Amir’s story they allow him the closure he needs and in the end you are left feeling hopeful.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

Our topic this week from The Broke and The Bookish is the Top Ten Most Intimidating Books. I found this quite a hard list to write, I wasn’t sure what makes a book intimidating but I guess that it’s different for everyone. I couldn’t think of 10 books exactly but I do have a small list of the types of writing that I struggle with.

Jane AustenI have only read one of her novels and I did enjoy it and want to read them all but I find the way she writes less accessible than a lot of modern writing. 

ClassicsLike Jane Austen it is the way most classic are written that I find difficult. The often have a lot of words instead of just a few and that make is more of a drag to read.

Philosophy –  I have a book in my shelf that I have had for quite a long time about philosophy and although I really want to read it and have started it once but the in depth topic makes it more of a drag than a pleasure to read.   

FrenchReading was one of the parts of French at school that I was quite good at but when my Auntie gave me a whole book written in French was more scared to read it than excited and it’s still sitting unread on my shelf. 

Adult FictionI don’t find these books so much intimidating more inaccessible. I don’t relate to them very well and often find the topics lacking in imagination. 

What Books Do You Find Intimidating?

The Book Thief

Book Blurb

HERE IS A SMALL FACT – YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH.

It’s a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.

ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES

My Synopsis

This is Liesel’s story, but it is told by death. Throughout her life death has seen Liesel three times and her story is one that death hasn’t forgotten. In 1939 she lost her brother and her mother and ended up on Himmel street. Here she learns about life. She learns about loving parents and true friendship as well as how to steal to feed herself when she is hungry and book for feed her love for reading. Unfortunately she also learns about the harsh reality of this time when an unexpected guest comes to stay with them and her freinds and family suffer under the rule of the Nazi’s

Review

I read this book a couple of weeks ago but I finished it the night before I went on holiday so I have only just got round to reviewing it. The book gets a really good review online and I tend to enjoy books about the war so I was expecting to enjoy this book right from the beginning. It did live up to my expectations however it isn’t a fast paced books to read in a day. It is split in to parts and I found that reading it a part at a time worked really well. In each part something significant happened and because it wasn’t always the happiest of stories it allowed you to take it in and appreciate it. 

What I liked about this book was that it was truthful. Liesel was at an age that allowed her to understand what was going on around her but still see some beauty in the world when it occurred. She was dettermind to do her best and she just wanted to be normal. The other characters in the book were also easy to see and it was easy to imagine people truly acting that way in those situations. They all had their faults but they also brought something important to Leisel’s story and taught her something about being a good person, particularly her foster father. 

This is a book I would recommend particularly to anyone who reads WW2 novels. It is a beautiful story with a unique narration that will make you think about life and death and whop or what has power.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

This week The Broke and The Bookish‘s topic is the Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List. I tend not to really plan so many books for a summer I like to read what I feel but there are a few I would like to get through over the summer and need to keep up with my Dystopian Challenge.

  • Chocolat by Joanne Harris 
  • Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie 
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossenni 
  • Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter 
  • The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs 
  • The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson 
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 
  • The Maze Runner by James Dasher 
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dasher 
  • The Death Cure by James Dasher 

What Books Are At The Top Of Your Summer TBR List?

Black Heart Blue

Book Blurb

‘They tried to make me go to my sister’s funeral today. In the end I had to give in … I’d been walking in her shadow for sixteen years and I liked its cool darkness. It was a good place to hide.’

Rebecca’s twin sister Hephzibah was beautiful and daring. She was the one who always wanted more. The one who wouldn’t listen. Now she’s gone, Rebecca is alone.

While there were two of them, they stayed silent about their home life. But Rebecca, who knows the truth about how her twin died, suddenly finds herself keeping too many secrets. Hephzibah dreamt of escape, but failed. Could Rebecca be the one to find freedom?

Original and unforgettable, Black Heart Blue is not just Rebecca and Hephzibah’s story. It’s a story about all of us: a story about the lies we want to believe, the truth we sometimes can’t, and having the courage to discover the difference.

My Synopsis

Rebecca has just lost her sister and in a world where no-one even wants to talk to her she is now more alone than ever. Somewhere in her subconscious though Hephzibah is trying to convince her she has to get free but it turns out that these twins don’t everything about one another. 

Hephzibah had always just wanted to be normal and when her parents are finally convinced into letting them go to college she takes the chance without a second thought. She finally has a plan to get free and for just a little bit each day can feel like everyone else. Ignoring her sisters warnings she begins to dream of a normal life but she is unaware that her actions will cost her her life. 

Rebecca has a secret too though and when she looses Hephzibah she might just find it within her to save her sisters dreams.

Review

The first two-thirds of this book give you Hephzibah’s story till her death and how Rebecca is coping with it, the last third is just about Rebecca. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book but it turned out to be a lot darker than I’d imagined. Nothing in Rebecca’s life is easy and although I could sympathise with Heph wanting to feel normal there were often times I was just annoyed at her and how selfish she could be.

Ultimately this a story about secrets. How right from the beginning of their lives there were secrets and they had to cover up the truth form the outside world. Even at home however as the sisters grew older they began having secrets from one another that in some ways lead to the tragedy that starts off this story. However it is also important to see the hope that Heph brings to the story. She never gave up on freedom and in the end it is this power that brings peace to them both. 

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books With Tough Subjects

This week our topic from The Broke and The Bookish is perfect for me. Top Ten Books With Tough Subjects. I could’t pick just 10 however so I’ve picked 11 topics and shared some worthwhile reads about them as books about tough subjects are ones that I tend to go for. It’s not so much that I like them, in some cases the topic isn’t something you can enjoy reading about, it’s more that I find them interesting. That might sound odd and maybe even horrible to some people but for me I guess it’s partly about knowing that things could always be worse but more allowing myself not to be desensitized by issue that are always in the news and really understand the pain that people are feeling right now and hoping they can get help.

Self-Harm

  • Red Teas by Joanna Kenrick

Incest

  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
  • Flowers in the Attic by Virgina Andrews

Death/Suicide

  • The Pact by Jodi Picoult
  • If I stay by Gayle Formam

Illness

  • Before I Die by Jenny Downham
  • My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • The puzzle Master be Heather Spiva

Teenage Pregnancy

  • Roxy’s Baby by Catherine MacPhail

Racism

  • Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Drugs

  • Junk by Melvin Burgees

War/Genocide

  • Malka by Mirjam Pressler
  • Before We Say Goodbye by Gabrielle Ambrossio
  • Between Shade of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
  • Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
  • Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hannah Jansen

Loosing a family member

  • Many Stones by Carolyn Coman
  • The Shack by Wm Paul Young

Bullying

  • Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman

Criminal Past

  • Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

Dirty Work

Book Blurb

Hope’s mum doesn’t get her. In fact, Hope knows that as far as her preoccupied parents are concerned, she’s hope”less.” She may be spoilt – but money doesn’t buy happiness.

Oksana doesn’t even have a mum. And her dad and brother are miles away, left behind in Russia. She thought Europe would offer a better life – instead, bought and sold into prostitution, she feels dirty and used.

Then Oksana and Hope are thrown together in the most terrifying circumstances imaginable. Their only real chance of escape lies with each other, but how do two teenagers with so little in common find the way . . . ?

A tense, shocking novel – with a hint of hope.

My Synopsis

Oksana is stuck looking after her brother now her mother has gone and she can’t wait to get out of Russia. When her best friend gets a job with the mysterious rich Tommy she thinks he can get her out too. It takes a long time for him to agree and when he does things don’t turn out how she expected. The very night she leaves she is met with the horrible truth about Tommy’s buisness and as time has gone on he hope of finding her best friend again is fading.

She about to find hope again in unexpected way however. She meets her own the ferry to England. Hope is English and the daughter of a rich man. Sent to trap her Oksana chickens out when she discovers how innocent Hope is but it seems their fates are connected. When   the pair get caught it seems Hope has ended up in trouble anyway and Oksana can’t help feeling guilty but Hope still got the will to get free and she although she is angry at Oksana she also can’t bare to leave he in that world. 

Review

This book caught my attention because of it’s cover and it’s name. I tend to go for books that are a bit controversial and on often uncomfortable topics and the blurb of this one (slightly different from that above) was why I read it. 

The books tells us the story of two girls and how the end up being sold as sex slaves. It is set right now and shows just how easy it is for girls often from Eastern Europe get themselves caught up in this horrible world hoping for a better life. For me this is would stands out from the book. There isn’t countless scenes of abuse and action as they try to escape it’s about being in a constant state of fear, trapped in a situation that makes you hopeless when all you wanted was a better life. 

I think there was maybe something missing from the book. I’m not sure exactly what it was but it don’t have that power I thought it would. That’s not to say it isn’t worth reading as I think it is important to be aware how these thing can happen and are happening and I’m sure it reflects someones story somewhere. This is something going on that we have to stop and reading books like this can open our eyes to the situation. 

The House of Silk

Book Blurb

THE GAME’S AFOOT…
It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221b Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help, telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks.
Intrigued, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the teeming criminal underworld of Boston and the mysterious ‘House of Silk’..

My Synopsis

Watson has one more story to tell about his adventures with the well-known Mr Sherlock Holmes. In fact they are two stories that became inseparable. The results of their investigations and in fact the incidents themselves however were just to dark and horrible to be written down at the time but now the world might be read to hear about The Man in The Flat Cap and The House of Silk.

When Sherlock and Watson are approached regarding a man being stalked they are unaware of quite how much danger they are getting themselves into. Events soon build from a burglary to envelope the pair into the criminal world putting not just  Sherlock’s reputation on the line but the lives of some unlikely people who surround him. 

Review

It took my a while to sit down and give this book a good shot but once I did I enjoyed it. It’s quite hard to review it though because I’m sure for a lot of people they want to know how it compares to the original. Unfortunately I haven’t read any of them yet so I can only comment on how they book worked for me, and maybe a little about how I imagined bit’s like the film. 

As the book is set in 1890 I did use some of my imagery from the recent films to help get me into the spirit of the book. They way it was written also helped though as it was clear from how Watson spoke and the things he described reflected London at that time. I think it is easy to forget when you watch the films and TV series that the books are from Watson’s point of view and as this is my first time reading the books I enjoyed getting to experience that. Although it could be quite frustrating at points when you really wanted to understand how Sherlock was thinking or what he was doing this added to the pleasure of the book and as it progressed I enjoyed it more and more. 

The story line it’s self was full of the expected mystery. Watson and Sherlock find themselves caught up in some dark crimes that although seem totally independent will of course soon prove otherwise. They story came together really well from me and although I did attempt to try to make a guess at what might be going on I never really managed. 

There was of course familiar characters in the story, Watson’s wife, Lestrade, Mycroft and a brief encounter with the famous  mathematician. All were as easy to imagine as they are in many of the other Sherlock works and the additional characters for this particular case were just as interesting. Sherlock himself proved to be as brilliant a character as he always is and for the first time a bit of humanity was even brought out in him that I can’t say I have really experienced before. Not that it hasn’t been done before I’m sure but for me the ending brought about some emotion for me surrounding Sherlock’s feelings and his relationships. 

I would encourage anyone who enjoys Sherlock to give this book a try, it is a great read and bring Sherlock and Watson and their adventures alive brilliantly. 

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Book I Thought I’d Like More/Less Than I Did

This weeks topic from The Broke and The Bookish is Top Ten Books I thought I’d like more or less than I did. I don’t think before I started blogging I would have had any on the thought I like less list but now I have more on that list. I think we could have just picked on but I have gone for a bit of both.

Thought I’d Like More

  • Warm Bodies by Issac Marion I was really excited about this book becuase it seemed like a really original idea but for me there wasn’t enought excitement in it. 
  • The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Angels Anglada Books about the war tend to grab my attention and because I like music I thought this sounded really interesting but I found it lacked the emotional connection. 
  • Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld Dystopian is another thing that makes me pick up a book and I liked the idea of a world obsessed with beauty because it is becoming true but the main character was just totally unlikeable. 
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver This was another dystopian that I thought had merit in its idea but just didn’t have the drive for me. 
  • The Medusa Project by Sophie McKenzie I love how Sophie Mckenzie writes action books that still feel realistic and I was looking forward to this series but it didn’t like up to her Blood series. 
  • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green This one might be a bit contreversial as I know how much people love John Green but for me this story wasn’t what everyone made it out to be I think just because I have read a lot of similar stuff. 
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis My disappointment from this book may be because of my age but I felt this book missed a bit of action. 

Though I’d Like Less

  • Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but everyone kept recommending it to me so I gave it a try and it blew me away. Totally original idea and racing plot. 
  • The Black Pear by Alan Porter This was a kindle freebie that I thought I would try as I don’t usually read a lot of scary mystery and it was free so worth it but it turned out to be really interesting. 
  • Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver After not enjoying the first book in the series as much as I expected I was just reading this to see what happened but the different lay out of the book and more action going on made it really enjoyable. 

What Books Did You Find Better Or Worse Than You Expected?