Reading Challenge 2017

After taking a 6 week break from reading over summer 2017, I still racked up 351 books in my Goodreads Challenge for for the year.

I found myself starting last year very slowly as my interest in reading psychological and crime thrillers seriously dwindled. I changed predominant genre to romance after summer and my reading mojo reinstated itself.

I exceeded my goal of reading 190 books in Autumn and read over 300 books for the first time ever.

My Book Jar #Mondaybookblog #booklove

As an incentive to boost reading many of my fellow readers have been keeping a jar where they deposit a pound for every book they read. I thought this sounded like a good idea as I do read over 200 books a year and that sort of sum of money would open up interesting possibilities to do something book or travel related that I would otherwise dismiss. 

I started the collection jar on 1st November 2016 and so far it has been doing well. To date I have £19 in the jar reflecting the 19 books I have read so far from November to date. However, what I didn’t anticipate was the way my jar would be the source for change as and when required by my husband, but to be fair he does take my pound coins and replace them with pound notes rather than I owe you notes. 

Had I started the jar on 1st January 2016 I would now be coming up to £200, however I remain optimistic about having funds in a year’s time to do something extravagant and book related. I just have no idea what. It could be anything from getting a top of the line new Kindle to going on a writing course. Neither are things I seriously need but would be nice. When I really think about it I don’t really want for anything material, just inspiration to experience life more positively, and that isn’t something that comes with a price tag. 

I Messed Up #Book Tag #Bookbloggers

image

Thank you to Jackie at Fall in Love with the Sounds of Words blog. This tag is challenging and thought provoking.
 

The rules:

No rules per se but the idea of this tag is to note times you did something wrong or messed up when it comes to books and then tag a few people.

 

A Character’s Appearance You Misread or Imagined Differently

I was totally floored by the way Isles of Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen was portrayed by Sasha Alexander and admit it was a total departure from how I pictured Maura Isles and still do when I read the series.

A Character Name You’ve Been Pronouncing Incorrectly

Most Irish names prior to this year, but I have googled and learned how to pronounce Aoife.

An Overused Trope That Is Your Guilty Pleasure 

Strong women who turn out to be the villain. I don’t get to read as many of these as I would like but it’s liberating to see women in the villain role with character flaws.

A Cliched Character Type You Enjoy Viewing On Screen Than Reading About

The FBI men in black suits, circa The X-Files: dull on page but you know they’ll drive the story forward on screen.

A Word/Phrase You Learned Because of Its Use In A Book

I’m coming up totally blank on this one. I should probably highlight and save any of these for future reference.

Have You Ever Not Read or Completed a Required Reading Book For School

No. I have always finished reading books I was given in English lit.

Have You Ever (Or Wanted To) Skipped A Chapter From the POV of a Character You Weren’t Interested In

Yes, I’ve wanted to, but no I didn’t as I was mindful of missing important points.

Have You Ever Cancelled Social Plans To Read A Book

Yes. Unapologetically. And I would do it again when the book I’m reading is too good to put down.

I’d Like To Tag:

meditating mummy

Tpolen

Inked Brownies

Author Lissa Pelzer

Living In A World Of Book Quotes

Real Neat Blog Award

image

I’d like to thank Book Mouse Blog for nominating me for this award. I’m delighted and flattered, I apologise for taking so long to post the award, but I have been easily distracted by other things recently.

The Rules

1. Thank and link the blogger that nominated you.

2. Answer the 7 questions that the nomination has provided you.

3. Create 7 questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

And here are Book Mouse Blog’s questions:

What inspired you to start writing a blog?

I felt like I needed a space to talk about the books I read and how I felt with the hope of reaching kindred spirits.

Do you participate in any reading challenge(s)? Which one(s)?

Yes. I have been taking the Goodreads reading challenge for the last three years.

What is your favorite book format and why? (Paperback, Hardback, Kindle/E-book, Audiobook, Large Print, etc.)

I love reading hardback books as they are easier to keep pristine and cause me less stress when reading.

What is your favorite NON-fiction book?

The only non-fiction book I regularly go to is my Oxford Thesaurus.

What is your go to book store when you are looking for something?

Almost always Amazon, as they are most likely to have whatever I’m searching for. I was immensely disappointed when I took a list of books to Waterstones last October and they didn’t have any of them.

What hobbies do you have aside from reading?

I love movies, particularly horror and sci-fi films. I love crochet and knitting and am not put off by how basic my skills are at both.I’m rediscovering my love of heavy metal.

What are your five favorite fictional places?

Asgard, Narnia, Oz, Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, Hogwarts

My nominees are:

garabrandtreviews
On Turning Pages
Royalttie
An Aussie Bookworm
Book Adventures
The Book Review Cafe
It’s all about books

My Questions:

1. What’s your favourite read so far this year?
2. Name a film you’ve watched based on a book in the last twelve months.
3. What book release are you most looking forward to this year?
4. What’s your favourite series of books?
5. Which author would you most like to have lunch with?
6. What is the scariest book you’ve ever read?
7. If you could go anywhere in the world where would be the best place to read?

Choosing Books To Review

The life blood of this blog are the wonderful books that come my way for review. At any one given time I usually have over fifty books for review on Kindle. However, as of this week I am down to twenty-three, not because I have a lack of review requests, my email box still has 9527 emails left to open despite me going through May, April and most of March’s review requests.

For months (sorry) I have been by and large dodging review request emails. The majority are still in my inbox and I am going through them now. The reason for my reluctance is not so much choosing books that appeal, but dealing with authors/publicists who send me review requests without ever having visited my blog. These authors/publicists have no interest in whether their book is a fit for my tastes and have even less regard for my supposed grandiose guidelines to submit a book for review, but I cannot just disregard the request and feel every book should be given a chance, which invariably leads to time spent emailing etc, rather than reading.

However, my heart is lifted my the number of authors who do read the blog and attach the correct file making my life infinitely easier and allowing me to get on with the reading, which is what I love to do the most. I am very excited about books that will be coming up for review in the following weeks and look forward to sharing my pick of the crop with you.

image

Book Review: The Whispers: A Whispers Story (The Whispers Book 1) by Lisa Unger

The first in a series of three short novellas, The Whispers introduces us to Eloise and Amanda Montgomery who have survived Emily and Alfie after the family was involved in a horrific accident.

Unger describes their family life and ghastly loss with great affect, which helped me get my head around the visions Eloise experiences once she is home from the hospital. Reading about paranormal phenomena is not something I actively seek out, although I am a fan of Susan Hill and the horror genre, I think writing convincing paranormal stories is very challenging and this book has certainly piqued my interest.

The Whispers is a promising introduction to this paranormal crime thriller trilogy, I am adequately chilled and intrigued with Eloise’s story, even though this is a relatively short read, and I am launching straight into The Burning Girl, which is the second in the series.

Links To Book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

image

Book Review: Pictures of You by TJ Alexian

Ashes is sixteen, she lives with her mum and dresses like the brother she lost two years ago. One day she notices a video she has not made uploaded to her YouTube account. This mysterious video is of her, taken by her late brother at a time when everything in her life was different. As more videos appear Ashes goes on the trail to figure out who is posting these videos and why now?

I loved the way suspense was built up in this thriller, even though Ashes is a teenager and struggling with being a teenager and the major life event of losing her brother and the fall out from this catastrophe, she is compellingly readable and the narrative, written from her point of view, puts you right there in her shoes. From the teenage angst to the real issues of dealing with death and loss, this book portrays the kaleidoscope of emotions this poor girl experiences whilst caught between being a child and adult.

A very skilfully written suspense thriller that haunts you. this book is available to read for free to Kindle Unlimited Subscribers.

Links to Book:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Goodreads

image

Book Review: Windigo Soul by Robert Brumm JR

Description

A Death Sentence on Your 60th Birthday is Just the Beginning…

It’s Hank Reed’s birthday. As a citizen of the United Federation of Nations that means a mandatory death sentence simply because he turned sixty years old. Referred to as “retirement,” it’s one of the desperate steps the government has taken to curb overpopulation. Retirement is a widely accepted fact of life on a dying planet ruled by a tyrannical government. Hank’s execution goes ahead as planned but state sponsored euthanasia isn’t what it seems. The Reed family learns what really happens to retirees when secrets the UFN keep from the public start to unravel.

This book is intended to be read by adults and may be unsuitable for children under 17. Contains indecent language and descriptions of graphic violence.

Approximately 35,000 Words.

Review

I enjoyed reading this dark thriller based on a premise of what our future brave new world would be like. This book embraced the thriller and sci-fi/horror genre very well indeed. Although the book is relatively short you do feel empathy with Hank, our main protagonist and are quickly involved and immersed in his world.

I would love to read about what happens to Hank and his family as I became to care and was interested in how this plays out in subsequent books.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

20130923-134731.jpg

Reading Mojo

Recently my reading mojo has flagged a little. I don’t think anyone else would find it unusual to have a few days off from reading, but for me not being able to dive into the next literary vortex has been frustrating. I have what my bookish friends call a book hangover. A book hangover occurs when you read a book which you have enjoyed immensely or conversely found difficult to immerse yourself in, the result at the end of both is a preoccupation with the book and the passages within.

The preoccupation is distracting enough to stop you from immersing yourself in your next book. If the book was exceptionally good, you miss and grieve reading the characters and you don’t think anything else could possibly match up to the deep and meaningful experience you’ve just had. If the book was difficult you feel despondent and can find yourself swearing off books altogether if you don’t find something engaging soon.

20130327-093625.jpg

I have the additional hurdle of not being able to concentrate as I’m on implant 6 of my 6 month course of Zoladex for endometriosis and so bluntly put I feel a bit pissy. My moods are on the somber side of the spectrum and I am easily whipped into an enraged frenzy by things that are mildly inconvenient. In such a mood I am easily annoyed. I am taking measures to counteract this but there’s no denying my threshold for intolerable stupidity is much, much lower than this time last year.

So, what do you do when reading mojo flags? Well in my experience what works best is to find a notoriously good story teller and dive into one of their books. In my case Jeffery Archer’s Clifton Chronicles have been on hold since Christmas, as I was concentrating on my duties to review for the book tweeting service.

The other option is to wait a few days, well a week really, collect your thoughts and carry on your reading list. Of course, if you take this route you have to honestly reflect on whether you are in a good place to receive the next book, so much of what we think of a book rests on how we feel when we started it and what is going on in our lives at the time. I remember reading Stephen King’s 4 Past Midnight on Holiday in Darjeeling in India and it brings back fond memories and also enhances no doubt how much I enjoyed the book. I read a number of books on luxurious holidays in Dubai and loved them but oddly can’t remember their titles!

20130327-093837.jpg

20130327-094143.jpg

When reading a book with the purpose to feedback I think I have the responsibility to find a neutral mood so I can give that book the same consideration I give others I feedback on. Which is where I find the conflict between keeping up with my reading to reduce my growing list and gathering myself to reset my thoughts, is the greatest. I have too much insight into my OCD to not recognise the motivations to get numbers down and keep to a schedule which would completely wreck my mindset whilst reflecting on the books I’m reading. It is the ultimate battle of quality vs quantity. Giving quality thoughts to the books rather than cramming in as many books as possible in a given week.

I think most authors who ask me to review would rather I took my time and gave the books they have asked me to review a fair feedback not coloured by my irritation of whatever is getting up my nose at the time.

On this occasion I found my voracity for books returned on its own at 8:30 am this morning when my mind became once again willing to accept an imaginary scenario with imaginary people doing imaginary things. It’s very pleasurable to find myself absorbed once again in a book and able to lock irritation out for the hours it takes for me to complete it. Unfortunately recovery of this nature only happens when we have plans to be elsewhere and no time at that moment to read. However, the anticipation to dive back into a waiting alternate world only heightens the experience.

20130327-094453.jpg