Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Bit of a change...

Having a bit of a change around here, ready for the new year!
As 2009 has been about how many books I've read and a brief overview of what I've thought about them...and it only has been my rather limited opinion!!  I've decided in 2010 to try and spend a little longer (and more thought!) to the reviews as I seem to have read some books sooo quickly this year, when I look back I can hardly remember them at all.  Now, some book have been instantly forgettable...but I will try to do better this coming year!

Just as a quick summary of this year...
Total books read in 2009 - 162
How did I manage that?!  Well I've spent huge parts of my holidays laid of the sofa reading, rather than doing any housework, gardening, shopping...I've also spent a fortune on Amazon and also saved a bit by ReaditSwapit.
Books I most enjoyed...
Okay, they might not be classics, but here's what I loved this year.
Bridgerton Series
A Spring Affair
A Vintage Affair
The Love of my Life
The Villa in Italy
The French Gardener
The Italian  Matchmaker
It's the Little Things
Last Christmas
Don't bother with...
The Gift - depressing
The Luminous Life of Lily Aphrodite - sorry, I just didn't get the point of it!
Hard to Choos
English as a Second Language
Could it be Magic?
The Ballroom on Magnolia Street
Members Only
Heaven knows I'm miserable now

Not bad, but slightly disappointed by...
The Return
The Alchemist
Madonna of the Almonds

Anyway, that's the summary of 2009.
So - if anyone's out there - I hope you like the refurb and stick with me!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Last books for 2009...

A Load of Old Tripe by Gervase Phinn
A Christmas present and a quick read - will definately use it at work, paricularly with the older kids.  No surprises and some of the stories (as sometimes happens with Phinn) I've heard from other people just in slightly different circumstances!

Very Nice ways to Say Very Bad Things by Linda Berdoll
Yuk!  Thought it'd be a witty book of quotes of put downs from well known authors...however it's a trawl through rude words (non of which were new or particularly shocking) and showed a major lack of understanding of how cetain words are used in the UK.  Don't bother.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
Had this for 12 months and it's sat at the bottom of the pile...don't know why!  It's sweet and links well with the final Harry Potter book.
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiana
4.5 stars really...I've loved some of her previous books, particularly Lucia, Lucia.  This is good and obviously the start of a series, but it does overindulge in description which really slows it down.  I also though Valentine was a bit of a sad case - she's desparate for a fella, so lets him treat her like dirt at certain points and then keeps him at arms length - make up your mind, girl!  The sections about shoe making were fasinating, but it needs to move on faster.
A Single to Rome by Sarah Duncan
Okay...for me it dwelled too much on still loving Michael...but loved the deatil about Rome and the supporting characters were very well written and interesting. Just a bit too miserable for the first half to be my kind of chick-lit.

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
An old favourite that I fancied re-reading!  Love Pratchett and was introduced to him years ago at Uni by a friend with a very warped sense of reality...but she was spot on with this!  Not my favourite, but features Esme Weatherwax, who is one of my favourite characters (and as I get older, I admire her sooo much more! Worrying...eh?!) and the amazing Greebo!
Based on the Phantom of the Opera - lots of snipes at the operatic world but less focus on the discworld.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Last Christmas by Julia Williams
A gorgeous Christmas read!  Gently romantic which weaves the stories of Marianne, Gabriel, Cat and Noel.  Sweet ending, but not too sacharine in how it gets there...didn't actually need the character of Ralph as far as I was concerned, but it all worked well into the overall theme.

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
Yes it's YA again and it's very gossip girl - but the actual story is a good idea, just the characters aren't terribly sympathetic.  Morgan is a petty nasty pece of selfish work - especially the way she thinks about her best friend...can't understand why anyone would be so desparate to stay with such a whiner and was it necessary for Pip to turn out to be such a hunk?  wouldn't she have been better to learn that beauty is more than skin deep?!! Or let's face it I'm far too old and cynical to be reading this really...

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
YA retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the Beast's pov.  However, the bulk of the book is about how he becomes the beast and the lead up to meeting Beauty...
Orasmyn is a Persian prince who falls for a fairy's trick and becomes a lion.  His love of roses and books helps him to maintain an aspect of his humanity to be able to entice Belle into his life.  An interesting take and maintained interest despite 2/3 of the book being about him travelling between Persia, India and France with only his eating and sleep patterns to tlak about!  No I'm noy kidding...Belle is a slightly "damaged" woman, but again due to the pov you don't find out about her motivations.  Well written and interesting but not amazing.
Tempted by PC and Kirsten Cast
More of the same...although Neferet is pretty much out of the picture.  Still having trauma about boyfriends...although the amazing Eric's attractions are wearing thin...still have to save the world although the poor humans don't seem to be aware what's happening...not sure I'll carry on with this series - it's very same-y and the characters don't seem to be developing or maturing.  I know all the books have happens in a short timescale of about 3 months but they don't seem to going anywhere.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

More for December...

Hurray!! On holiday at last...this term has lasted FOREVER!! And the amount of work I've had to plough through this past few weeks has had an adverse impact on the amount of reading I've been able to do...shame! Hoping once I've sorted myself for Christmas (no tree or decorations up yet!) I can have a few days of serious serial reading!! have a couple of Christmas themed books lined up and I want to indulge in the whole Twilight and Beauty and the Beast thing again...I know I'm a secret romantic at heart!! But here's what I've read this week!

The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
Don't bother!  Cover is gorgeous and it's blurb is very clever...however, if you want Christmas cheer, don't read!!
The only saving grace is that I didn't pay for it...it was a present (from someone I think likes me, too!)  It's a depressing, moralising ramble with characters that don't deserve any redemption.  I've been disappointed in all Ahern's books since PS I love you, but this is the worst.  Doubt I'll bother with any again.

Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye by MC Beaton
Got to say that the last few Aggie's have gone off the boil and it's been a bit tiresome to honest, but once I've committed to a series I do try to stick with it.  However, this is much better and Aggie is back on form.  It's better for the lack of James, less Chrales and the focus on the actual investigation.  The wonderfully understanding Mrs Bloxby also stands up to Alf the vicar too.

Summer at the Villa Rosa by Nicky Pellegrino
Enjoyed this...very similar to many others I read this year, particularly as the Italian setting has been a popular theme in many of my reads. Again,it's very gentle and slightly "oldy worldy" with the strong moralistic and religious beliefs of the villagers. Not so much of a romance, but more of response to the characters previous actions and behaviours...not a lot actually happens. Like it but prefered "The Italian Wedding" from the same author.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

December books...

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
Elena is the world's only female werewolf and although she tries to lead a normal life she gets drawn back to the pack when the mutts start to cause trouble. It took a while for me to get into it, but i did enjoy it...okay, so all the pack werewolves are a bit too good looking and smart and the heroine is a bit of a smart ass type, but it romps along at a good pace. Will probably read others at some point.

Beastly by Alex Flinn
Modern take on Beauty and the Beast (see, I'm on a theme here!) set in NYC and told from the Beast's pov. It has it's good points and as YA fiction I've read far more self indulgent, self concious stuff...but, what spoilt it for me was that in being YA the characters were 16! Just jars with me...particularly since its my favourite fairy tale and I thought the whole point was that the Beast had to learn both to not judge on appearances and the true meaning of love. Er, at sixteen?! Not going to happen no matter how much they play in the snow and visit the greenhouse to look at roses! Okay - but missed the point for me!

Beauty by Robin McKinley
Retelling of Beauty and the Beast which follows most of the traditional lines...Beauty is bookish and plain (which is slightly over emphasised) and the Beast is less brutish and more self-aware than in some versions. Slow to get going, but once she gets to the castle is beautifully written with sensitivity and real care of the characters. Shame the end is a bit rushed, but 5 stars simply for being so thoughtfully written.

A Compromising Position by Carole Matthews
Didn't realise this was a reprint and the book was originally written about 7 years ago...the development of facebook et al have aged the story a little, as there's no shock factor in naughty pictures appearing on the internet any more. However, once it gets going it's a jolly chick-lit romp with a predictable ending. The characters are suitably likable and frustrating, the situations beyond ridiculous but well done by a consistently good author.