Tag Archives: Bookclub

Recent Reads – November 2015 Edition

I read most of this month’s books int he last week of the month! For some reason I got stuck in the middle of the month and it took having a few days off to be able to get really stuck into a book to get me back into the flow of reading.

First up was the latest Robert Galbraith book called a Career of Evil. I really enjoyed this book and it kept me gripped throughout. I also like how the characters have developed through the three books so far, but can see there is so much more to uncover about them we don’t know yet. The story was good and I didn’t guess the ending until close to the reveal, which was great. I’m glad my friend caved and bought the hardcover version as I was waiting for the paperback, so this meant I could read it much earlier than planned.

Next up in the month was Mindy Kaling’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I wanted to like this more than I did. I wonder if I should have bought this as an audiobook, rather than a paperback. I have previously enjoyed non fiction books read by their authors and have found them extra funny as you get the exact tone they intended to use. I found the parts about her childhood great, but I think as I was not a fan of the Office and did not grow up with American late night comedy shows I missed some of the context of the second half of the book. I have loved some of her essay’s I have read in magazines, so I am going to try her second book, but as an audio book.

The last book of the month was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. I loved the Throne of Glass series and so thought I would give this a go. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but once the main characters met I found it much more interesting. I felt I was learning about the world they are living in and it was fascinating. I love the details of the world and the history of the Fae as it draws me in and makes me feel like I am there as well. This has the same easy reading of the other series, but is a different enough world to avoid too many comparisons, but that could just be me not drawing them. Overall I loved this book so much so I stayed up until 2am to finish it on a work night, which hasn’t happened in forever! I can’t wait for the second book to come out next year.

I’m working my way through my to-read pile of new paperbacks I bought in the last couple of months and am loving it. I realised how much I love buying, reading and finding places for them on my bookshelf. I’m going to make sure I budget in books into my 2016 as they are something I fully enjoy and cherish seeing everyday.

Recent Reads – September

I seem to be rubbish at book posts recently, but then again I seem to be rubbish at reading much as well! I thought rather than try to do a whole post on each book I’ll do a brief summary on the last few I’ve read to keep you up to date on my Goodreads challenge (which I am way behind on!).

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I just finished the 5th book in the Tory Brennen series. I admit I struggled through this one. I kept putting it down for too long and then losing interest and having to recap to start reading again. I love the Kathy Reich style of writing, but found the story is just getting a bit too out there for me. I’m also not sure where this is heading as the ending has been left open for another story, but I’m not convinced it needs it. I definitely rushed reading this in order to get it back in time to avoid overdue fees at the library and that could have influenced my enjoyment.

The Trust about the Harry Quebert Affair

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This was the last bookclub book I read and I really enjoyed it. I got really engrossed and found it easy to read, while thrilling at the same time. I didn’t guess the ending, which I tend to do with crime books most of the time. My bookclub had mixed reactions, but I like it and would recommend it as an easy, but longish read.

The Blood of Olympusblood of olympus This was the 5th book in the Heroes of Olympus series. I struggled through this one as well – what is it with me and the 5th books of series? I do love the Percy Jackson universe, but found that as there were many more characters in the series it was not as readable as the previous ones. I am also not a fan of chapters dedicated to specific characters, but I also wouldn’t know a better way to do it. I just don’t like having to wait to find out what happens to different people and the constantly changing narrator interrupts the flow for me. I did enjoy the series and the overarching storyline though so overall it was a good read.

Adventures in Books… The Book of You

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“Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.

Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.

Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.”

This was a bookclub read from January and I can’t say I enjoyed reading it. It is pure and simple stalker story that takes place a little too close to home – in Bath and Bristol. I like TV and films that have this premise, but in a book and reading from the main characters point of view is not a nice feeling.

I also guessed the ending early on so was reading it just waiting for it to come about and because we were going to be talking about it in bookclub. It wasn’t all bad as the concept of keeping a journal and everything a stalker gives you and says is quite important and I didn’t realize this.

I can’t say I would recommend this to anyone to read and we didn’t rate it as a bookclub either, purely because of the subject matter, but maybe that means it did what it set out to do – make the reader uncomfortable,

Adventures in Books… The Martian

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“I’m stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth.

I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I’m screwed.”

This is another bookclub choice and I can definitely say I would not have picked it up if it hadn’t been chosen by the group. I stay away from space travel or science fiction books as I do not like anything too technical.

However I quite enjoyed this book.

I think this was mainly to do with the tone in which it was written. It was a tone as though you were listening to someone talk and that made it very easy to read. The science was kept simple because of this I think. It definitely felt like being in someone’s head.

I’m still not sure whether I liked the main character and actually think I preferred the chapters based back on Earth, rather than Mark’s exploration of Mars and trying to survive. I kept thinking all the way through – this can only end one of two ways: they rescue him or they don’t. I felt like that dampened the reading experience for me. I just wanted to get to the end and will admit I skimmed quite bit in the middle of the book, just to make progress.

It is an interesting concept for a book. Humans aren’t good with pure isolation and in today’s world it is hard to find absolute isolation like there would be if you would stranded on another planet.  I think the psychological nature of the concept was played very well and subtly as the log entries progressed through time. I didn’t feel a huge sense of urgency throughout the book, which took away the thriller nature I was expecting. It didn’t feel like a race against time as made out in the summary.

I don’t want to give away anything that happened or how it ended so I will leave my musings there. I would recommend this book to my friends and family as I think it was an easy-ish read and sometimes could be quite funny.

Adventures in Books… The Fifteen Lives of Harry August

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“Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next – and what he did before – and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.”

This was a bookclub choice and I don’t think I would have chosen it otherwise, but I did enjoy it. I never know with bookclub choices whether I am going to like them and I do tend to struggle through them more often and not. I want to widen the genres of books I read and this is the best way for me to do this. I also want to improve the way I think about and then review books and talking with the fellow members of bookclub helps with this.

This book has a strange concept – a man lives and dies and then lives the same life again and again, but can change what he does, as he remembers previous lives. I was not sure how this was going to work, but somehow it did. I’m not one to pick holes in the whole time travel (sort of) concept, but I felt it didn’t leave huge gaping gaps or jump to different scenarios without thought. It felt overall like it tied together.

I ended up liking the concept and also the main character of Harry August. I think it helped he remembered everything about previous lives and always seemed to try and do something different or better with each next life he had.  I felt he learnt from his mistakes and that helped him when someone wanted to change the world and destroy it.

I felt the middle of the book dragged slightly. However after talking with bookclub a few people said this may have been deliberate as this part was all about the Harry 5th to around 10th life and you could sense he was bored with the repetitive nature of his situation. Meeting the Cronus Club kept the story flowing for me to a degree, but I felt it did not pick up momentum again until that last fifth of the book, which was when I felt it finally knew it’s direction and was building up to the finale.

Overall this was an enjoyable and different read. It can come across as more science fiction than it actually is, but when reading it stays very much in the real world, which makes it more accessible to the reader I think. I don’t think I would read this book again, but I would recommend it to other people as a good read with an interesting concept to follow.

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