What I’ve Been Reading in 2014

As I haven’t been blogging so far this year I wanted to catch up on the books I’ve been reading. So far I have managed to read 28 books and I feel like I am going slow however I am currently on track for Goodreads goal for the year of 60 books. Sadly I’ve not found anything this year that’s really blown me away, I have enjoyed some books, but most of them have just been OK. Currently I am reading The Fellowship of the Ring which isn’t helping me feel like I’m reading fast but I am getting through it and so far liking it so hopefully the second half of the year will be a better one for reading.

Rainbow Rowell   

My very first book of 2014 was Eleanor and Park which I enjoyed it a lot and have since read both her other published books; Fangirl and Attachments. I didn’t realise this former was an adult book till I got into it but it was just as good as her other work telling a really interesting story about three characters who’s lives are coming together. Fangirl is her other YA book and was a very easy read with a really enjoyable contemporary story that would make a perfect summer read.

Patrick Ness  

This year I have also got to sample some more of Patrick Ness’ work. Firstly I picked up A Monster Calls as they had it at a cheap book store. I was expecting it to be a creepy thriller type story but it turned out to be a very beautiful story about a child learning to deal with illness that definitely left me with wet eyes. More Than This on the other hand was more of a sci-fi story looking at the capabilities of the internet and a very different view of life after death.

War Books 

I also wanted to show some respect to the 100th anniversary of WW1 and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in a personal way by reading books set during the war. I’ve managed to read a few thanks to the library but the one that I enjoyed most was All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Unlike a lot of war books I have read it was set during World War 1 but what made it more interesting was it is from the point of view of a German solider and it very much put across the fact that in the end, it was just boys who have done nothing wrong but fight for their country.

Adult  

Another person goal of mine has been to branch out with me reading, particularly to stop being afraid of adult novels. The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs was one of the first books I read this year and I really enjoyed it. It’s a dark romance involving the paranormal and was an intoxicating read. My biggest surprise of the year was a book I picked up in the library purely for the name. The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard turned out to be an exciting adventure with a touch of magic and I think will definitely be making me top reads of 2014.

Classics  

Similarly reading more classics is on my list for the year and I recently read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This was one of those books that stays with you long after you close it. There isn’t a huge plot to the book but the society and the ideals presented in the book give you plenty to think about. Another more modern classic I’ve got through is Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. This was never on my To Read list and I hadn’t seen the film but when I over heard my friends talking about the twist in it I decided to give it a shot. It was certainly an interesting read and having now seen the film I am glad I read the book first.

Series    

There’s been a lot of good and bad series going about the last few years and I’ve not got many on the go at the moment but I did have Shattered by Teri Terry to look forward to. This was the final book in a dystopian series and this last book was quite a change from the first two. I enjoyed the change of setting for this book, however I feel there was maybe a little to much worry about the romance. A better balance of romance to action could be founf in The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey which I only recently finished. This book turned out to be another one that was different from what I was expecting but definitely in a good way. I can’t wait to see where this series will go. I finally also managed to pick up The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was a very quick read with some interesting ideas but it didn’t blow me away like I had expected.  A book I had never planned really on reading but picked this year was The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I have seen the start of the movie adaptation of this several times but never made it to the end so it is good to finally know what happens. I’m not going to carry on with these at the moment but I did find it a worth while read and certainly an entertaining one.

Booksplosion 

Lastly is We Were Liars by E Lockhart. This is being read by a group of booktubers I watch and being so short I figured I would just give it a go. It’s a book you need to go into not knowing anything about it however for me I was expecting a great story from all its hype and sadly it didn’t live up to that.

There have been more books this year but these are the ones I feel are worth noting about. I am looking forward to hopefully getting through so more noteworthy books soon and maybe getting some good review up soon!.

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books With X Setting – Top Ten Books Set During War/Conflict

Usually I don’t like when The Broke and The Bookish  give us topics about genres or settings but this week we have Top Ten Books With X Setting and I managed to think of a good one for a change. I have decided on books set during war or conflict. I have read quite a few books set during real conflicts around the world particularly the Second World War so there was enough to pick out 9 of the best. (I couldn’t decide between the other ones which I would put 10th and I wanted to stick with ones turned to fiction so didn’t include Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank)

WW2

    

Germany – Nazi – Hitler

  • Annexed by Sharon Doger
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Lithuania – Soviets – Stalin

  • Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys

WW1

  • Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Other Conflicts

 

  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Set during conflict in Afghanistan
  • Over A Thousand Hills I walk With You by Hannah Jansen – Set During the conflict in Rwanda

What Are Your Favourite Books Set During War/Conflict?

What Setting Did You Pick?

 

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 Beach Reads

The Broke and The Bookish have asked us this week for our Top Ten Beach Reads.This weeks topic is quite a hard one for me because I don’t really go to the beach that often and when I do reading isn’t something I so there. I’ve not quite managed 10 books but I have come up with a list of some books I think may but what people go for when reading on the beach.

  • Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire 
  • Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire 
  • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen 
  • Vegan Virgin Valentine by Carolyn Mackler 
  • Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell 
  • Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde 
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter 
  • An Abundance of Katherine’s by John Green 
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 

What Are Your Favourite Beach Reads?

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Favourite Covers Of Books I’ve Read

The Broke and The Bookish having given us the topic this week of Top Ten Fourite Covers Of Books I’ve Read. Seen as I did this one last year I’m just going to pick my favourites from the books I have read so far this year. A lot of my reading this year has been re-read so there may be a few the same but there is plenty of new ones too.

    

  • Girl, Defective by Simmone Howell
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • Dead Time by Anne Cassidy
  • Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
  • The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Crossed by Ally Condie
  • Reached by Ally Condie
  • How Girl Guides Won The War by Janie Hampton
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

    

What Are Your Favourite Book Covers?

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

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Pick Up/Buy A Book

This weeks topic from The Broke and The Bookish is Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Pick Up/Buy A Book. I thought this was a really interesting topic and made me think about the books I like. It is much easier to think about the things that make me not read a book rather than what I like, however I do now have a list.

  • World War 2
  • Dystopian
  • Teenage Pregnancy
  • Depression
  • Self Harm
  • Suicide
  • Drugs
  • Prostitution
  • Girl Spies/ Criminals
  • Action/ Mystery – something with a blurb that talks about suspense or being an action thriller

What Topics Would Make You Pick Up A Book?

Malka

Book Blurb

When the roundups start, Malka’s mother knows she must get her daughters-seven- year-old Malka and sixteen-year-old Minna-across the Hungarian border to safety, a place where they hope Jews can live in peace. But escape proves harder than they could have imagined, with bleeding feet, bad weather, and homesickness, and little Malka falls ill. Left behind to be brought across when the threat has passed, Malka finds herself in a terrifying world full of strangers, starvation, and constant fear of Nazi roundups. As time passes, it becomes more and more apparent that the threat is far from over. Completely alone, Malka struggles to stay hidden, unaware that miles away, a brokenhearted mother is searching frantically for her lost little girl.

My Synopsis

Hannah thinks that because she is a doctor she wont be harmed when the Germans come for the Jews and she has lulled herself into a false sense of security. So when the Germans do come for her she is forced to run away with her children with almost nothing on them. Malka is only 7 and she doesn’t understand what is going and when she becomes ill Hannah is forced to make a decision about what is best to do for everyone. 

Alone and back in Poland Malka can only think about the hunger she feels. She tries not to think of her mother and instead thinks about the few kind people who have helped her out during her journey. Barely surviving she hides from the Germans and steals whatever food she can not even thinking about her future. However her mother is frantically looking for her.

Review

This book is based loosely on a true story, Malka Mai was taken from Poland by her mother during the war however being so young at the time she doesn’t remember and has suppressed a lot of her memories. 

The story alternates between Malka’s point of view and her mothers. Malka doesn’t understand what is going on around her but because she is young and pretty she does when the affections of some who take her in briefly. In the end however she is still left hungry and alone. Hannah on the other hand doesn’t know what is the right thing to do. She has to make the right decisions to keep both her daughters safe but how can you do that when they have been separated. I really felt for her throughout the book, she was continually judged for her work with the Germans and then her decision to leave her youngest daughter behind however she was trying to also keep her eldest daughter safe. The elder daughter frustrated me a little as she didn’t seem at all grateful for what her mother had done and it was to keep her safe that she had given up everything. 

It is really hard to rate books like this because you can’t say you enjoy a story about suffering especially something so true. This wasn’t a book I enjoyed but I did find it worth reading.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Rewind – Top Ten Movie Adaptations

This week I have picked from The Broke and The Bookish rewind list Top Ten Movie Adaptations. However I am not going to write the normal top ten layout I am going to share me favourite and worst adaptations and the couple that sit on the fence.

Favourite Adaptations – For me these are the adaptations that I think kepp well to the books of in the case of the last two are even better than the books.

  • Now is Good 
  • The Chronicles of  Narnia 
  • The Hunger Games 
  • The Hobbit 
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 

Worst Adaptation – For different reasons these are bad adaptations. The first is mostly due to bad actors, the second is because they put too much of the rest of the series in and the last because the completely changed the ending. Although I did still cry the first time I saw it.

  • Twilight 
  • Cirque Du Freak – The Vampires Assistant 
  • My Sister’s Keeper 

Adaptations on the Fence – These films are ones that I do actually really enjoy however they do waver from the book so I can’t say they are my favourite.

  • Harry Potter Series 
  • The Wizard of Oz 

What Are Your Favourite And Worst Movie Adaptations?

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Book Blurb

Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences

My Synopsis

When Bruno returns home to find the family maid packing his things he worried that he has done something wrong but can’t thing what it could be. However when he goes to ask his mother about she is also packing her things and is told that the whole family are moving away for his fathers new job. Bruno is not in the least bit happy about this and makes it known. Even once they are moved he somehow finds the courage to tell his father exactly how he feels. Just like his mother though he told that he has to accept it.

The worse bit for Bruno is that here there is no-one else to play with. From his window he can see what he thinks is a camp full of boys, fathers, uncles and grandfathers all wearing stripped pajamas and he wants to go and play with them. After he classes one day Bruno goes out exploring and finds a boy sitting at the fence at the edge of the camp. Excited that he has discovered something he goes to talk to the boy and they soon become friends who visit the spot almost everyday to talk. 

This goes on for about a year however his mother soon grows to hate the new home as much as Bruno once has and it is decided that they will move back to Berlin. Now having a friend Bruno no longer want to leaves but he goes back to see his friend and plans ones last adventure where he will finally crawl under the fence.

Review

I expected this book to be a lot more emotional than it was. I went to visit Auschwitz last year and when I watched the movie after I was back home at the end I couldn’t help crying. The book however I think has a different feel to it. It is more about Bruno’s feelings. He learns some important lessons throughout the book. He started to see that the people who worked for them had their own lives and that just as he was learning to think for himself they deserved to have opinions too. He also developed a very true friendship by only being able to talk through a fence and when he let his friend down discovered that that wasn’t the type of person he wanted to be. 

There have been quite a few reviews online that have complained that this book isn’t very realistic as he is 9 and should have a better understanding of what is going around him but I don’t think this is fair. 9 year olds aren’t that mature, particularly boys and I think his mother would have protected him from the horrors of what was going on around them. I think what is important to take away from this book is that there were a lot of innocent children in Germany also effected by the war and that friendship is a very powerful thing.