Monday, 31 December 2012

100 Books in 2012 Challenge

If you're wondering why this entry is post dated it is because I have no idea how to make a sticky post. I have been attempting this challenge for the last few years. I really don't think I'll manage to reach 100 but I'm going to try beat last years total of 58. :P Reached on 26/09/12! :D

Rules and Guidelines:
1. Read 100 books or more in 2012.
2. Keep track of how many I read.
3. First time reads only.
4. Leave the entry public. If you want to recommend any of your favourites to me, please do so in the comments.

1. Slaughterhouse Five || Kurt Vonnegut [01/01/12 - 03/01/12]
2. This Boy's Life || Tobias Wolff [03/01/12 - 05/01/12]
3. The Bridges of Madison County || Robert James Waller [05/01/12 - 06/01/12]
4. The Sisters Brothers || Patrick DeWitt [06/01/12 - 08/01/12]
5. A Place Called Here || Cecelia Ahern [09/01/12 - 11/01/12]
6. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children || Ransom Riggs [11/01/12 - 13/01/12]
7. East of Eden || John Steinbeck [13/01/12 - 20/01/12]
8. My Name Is Mary Sutter || Robin Oliveira [20/01/12 - 24/01/12]
9. One For The Money || Janet Evanovich [24/01/12 - 26/01/12]
10. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn || Betty Smith [27/01/12 - 02/02/12]
11. The Weight of Silence || Heather Gudenkauf [03/02/12 - 05/02/12]
12. Two For The Dough || Janet Evanovich [06/02/12 - 08/02/12]
13. The Shakespeare Secret || J.L. Carrell [09/02/12 - 13/02/12]
14. Grimms' Fairy Tales || Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm [14/02/12 - 14/02/12]
15. Three To Get Deadly || Janet Evanovich [15/02/12 - 17/02/12]
16. Songs of the Humpback Whale || Jodi Picoult [18/02/12 - 22/02/12]
17. All We Know of Heaven || Jacquelyn Mitchard [23/02/12 - 25/02/12]
18. 11/22/63 || Stephen King [25/02/12 - 07/03/12]
19. Four to Score || Janet Evanovich [07/03/12 - 12/03/12]
20. The Joy Luck Club || Amy Tan [12/03/12 - 18/03/12]
21. Second Glance || Jodi Picoult [18/03/12 - 26/03/12]
22. Blue Sky Days || Marie Landry [27/03/12 - 29/03/12]
23. Wuthering Heights || Emily Bronte [30/03/12 - 04/04/12]
24. High Five || Janet Evanovich [04/04/12 - 06/04/12]
25. The Pearl || John Steinbeck [07/04/12 - 09/04/12]
26. Flash and Bones || Kathy Reichs [10/04/12 - 12/04/12]
27. Lone Wolf || Jodi Picoult [13/04/12 - 18/04/12]
28. Forbidden || Tabitha Suzuma [19/04/12 - 21/04/12]
29. Hot Six || Janet Evanovich [22/04/12 - 26/04/12]
30. Gone With the Wind || Margaret Mitchell [26/04/12 - 13/05/12]
31. A Stolen Life || Jaycee Dugard [14/05/12 - 17/05/12]
32. Deadlocked || Charlaine Harris [17/05/12 - 23/05/12]
33. White Oleander || Janet Fitch [23/05/12 - 01/06/12]
34. The Lucky One || Nicholas Sparks [01/06/12 - 04/06/12]
35. Seven Up || Janet Evanovich [04/06/12 - 08/06/12]
36. The Client || John Grisham [09/06/12 - 14/06/12]
37. Island of Lost Girls || Jennifer McMahon [15/06/12 - 18/06/12]
38. Fifty Shades of Grey || E.L. James [19/06/12 - 25/06/12]
39. The Scarlet Letter || Nathaniel Hawthorne [25/06/12 - 30/06/12]
40. Certain Girls || Jennifer Weiner [30/06/12 - 03/07/12]
41. Hard Eight || Janet Evanovich [03/07/12 - 08/07/12]
42. The Lost Daughter || Diane Chamberlain [09/07/12 - 17/07/12]
43. Stolen: A Letter to my Captor || Lucy Christopher [17/07/12 - 21/07/12]
44. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter || Seth Grahame-Smith [21/07/12 - 26/07/12]
45. The Last of the Mohicians || James Fenimore Cooper [26/07/12 - 03/08/12]
46. Visions of Sugar Plums || Janet Evanovich [04/08/12 - 04/08/12]
47. The Girl Who Chased the Moon || Sarah Addison Allen [05/08/12 - 11/08/12]
48. I Capture The Castle || Dodie Smith [11/08/12 - 18/08/12]
49. The Last Girl || Jane Casey [18/08/12 - 21/08/12]
50. One Breath Away || Heather Gudenkauf [18/08/12 - 25/08/12]
51. To The Nines || Janet Evanovich [26/08/12 - 31/08/12]
52. Rhett Butler's People || Donald McCaig [01/09/12 - 09/09/12]
53. The Midwife's Confession || Diane Chamberlain [09/09/12 - 12/09/12]
54. Of Mice and Men || John Steinbeck [12/09/12 - 15/09/12]
55. The Future of Us || Jay Asher [16/09/12 - 20/09/12]
56. Ten Big Ones || Janet Evanovich [20/09/12 - 22/09/12]
57. The Silver Sword || Ian Serraillier [23/09/12 - 24/09/12]
58. The Best of Me || Nicholas Sparks [24/09/12 - 26/09/12]
59. Ford County || John Grisham [26/09/12 - 30/09/12]
60. The Birthing House || Christopher Ransom [01/10/12 - 05/10/12]
61. The Green Mile || Stephen King [05/10/12 - 09/10/12]
62. The Haunting of Hill House || Shirley Jackson [09/10/12 - 12/10/12]
63. The Witching Hour || Anne Rice [12/10/12 - 23/10/12]
64. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow || Washington Irving [23/10/12 - 24/10/12]
65. Frankenstein || Mary Shelley [24/10/12 - 31/10/12]
66. Eleven on Top || Janet Evanovich [01/11/12 - 05/11/12]
67. The Secret Keeper || Kate Morton [05/11/12 - 13/11/12]
68. Like Dandelion Dust || Karen Kingsbury [13/11/12 - 17/11/12]
69. The Tenderness of Wolves || Stef Penney [18/11/12 - 28/11/12]
70. The Outsiders || S.E. Hinton [29/11/12 - 02/12/12]
71. The Lifeboat || Charlotte Rogan [03/12/12 - 08/12/12]
72. I've Got Your Number || Sophie Kinsella [03/12/12 - 08/12/12]
73. The Stupidest Angel || Christoper Moore [12/12/12 - 17/12/12]
74. The Good Father || Diane Chamberlain [17/12/12 - 26/12/12]
75. Monday Mornings || Sanjay Gupta M.D. [27/12/12 - 30/12/12]

Saturday, 25 August 2012

All We Know of Heaven by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Title: All We Know of Heaven
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2008
Rating: Four out of Five

Two best friends

A horrific accident

One survives

But which one?

Based on a true story of mistaken identity, "All We Know of Heaven" is a universal story of ordinary people caught up in an unimaginable tragedy and of the healing power of hope and love.

This novel was inspired by a true story. It is about two girls, Bridget and Maureen, who are so alike and yet so different at the same time. They look quite similar, they have the same colour hair and eyes, and they are the same height. The two have been best friends since they were small children.

One night while travelling home from a cheerleading practice, there is an accident, an extremely serious one, and the lives of these two girls are changed forever. One girl dies while the other one survives. One family buries their child, while the other sits over their child's hospital bed as their injured and broken daughter lies in a coma. When the girl, who is believed to be Bridget, finally wakes from her coma, it is soon realised that the wrong child has been buried.

This is really a fantastic novel. The book is unputdownable! It's a tale of tragedy and hope, renewal and death, romance, growth and forgiveness. The characters are portrayed so clearly and vividly. It is a thrilling read and nearly impossible not to become completely absorbed into the situation.

Four stars!

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2010
Rating: Four out of Five

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen- year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book at first due to the extremely sensitive subject – incest – but I actually enjoyed it and by the time I was half way through the novel, I found myself rooting for the couple and desperately hoping for a happy ending for them which I knew would never happen.

This novel makes you re-think everything you've thought about consensual incest and realize that it does happen and what terrible pain and heartache it causes to those that themselves involved in it. I was impressed at how Tabitha Suzama tackled such a taboo subject and made the story believable at the same time.

No matter how wrong, sick and disgusting you may think consensual incest is, I challenge you to read this novel and not find yourself painstakingly wishing that Maya and Lochan could somehow find a way to be together.

Four stars!

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Title: The Last of the Mohicans
Author: James Fenimore Cooper
Pages: 448
Genre: Classics
Published: 1826
Rating: 3.5 out of Five

The wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story has made The Last of the Mohicans the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. Deep in the forests of upper New York State, the brave woodsman Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and his loyal Mohican friends Chingachgook and Uncas become embroiled in the bloody battles of the French and Indian War. The abduction of the beautiful Munro sisters by hostile savages, the treachery of the renegade brave Magua, the ambush of innocent settlers, and the thrilling events that lead to the final tragic confrontation between rival war parties create an unforgettable, spine-tingling picture of life on the frontier. And as the idyllic wilderness gives way to the forces of civilization, the novel presents a moving portrayal of a vanishing race and the end of its way of life in the great American forests.

The novel was entertaining and enjoyable but I found it took real patience to get though, especially at the beginning. I found the amount of descriptions of the setting and scenery was over-done, it was extremely infuriating after a while but I managed to stick with it. The second half of the book was a lot better than the first - the pace of the novel speeds up, there's a lot more action. I really enjoyed the novel once I got passed the halfway mark. This novel may be hard-going, but it's worth reading. You will need to take some time over it and persevere with the first half, but when you finish the novel you'll feel it was worth it.

Note: You'll need a dictionary or the internet to hand to translate the French dialogue, but this doesn't occur much.

3.5 stars!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs

Title: Flash and Bones
Author: Kathy Reichs
Pages: 304
Genre: Crime
Published: 2011
Rating: Two out of Five

Kathy Reichs--#1 "New York Times "bestselling author and producer of the FOX television hit "Bones"--returns with a riveting new novel set in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring America's favorite forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance Brennan.

Just as 200,000 fans are pouring into town for Race Week, a body is found in a barrel of asphalt next to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next day, a NASCAR crew member comes to Temperance Brennan's office at the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner to share a devastating story. Twelve years earlier, Wayne Gamble's sister, Cindi, then a high school senior and aspiring racer, disappeared along with her boyfriend, Cale Lovette. Lovette kept company with a group of right-wing extremists known as the Patriot Posse. Could the body be Cindi's? Or Cale's?

At the time of their disappearance, the FBI joined the investigation, only to terminate it weeks later. Was there a cover-up? As Tempe juggles multiple theories, the discovery of a strange, deadly substance in the barrel alongside the body throws everything into question. Then an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention goes missing during Race Week. Tempe can't overlook the coincidence. Was this man using his lab chemicals for murder? Or is the explanation even more sinister? What other secrets lurk behind the festive veneer of Race Week?

A turbocharged story of secrets and murder unfolds in this, the fourteenth thrilling novel in Reichs's "cleverly plotted and expertly maintained series" ("The New York Times Book Review"). With the smash hit "Bones "about to enter its seventh season and in full syndication--and her most recent novel, "Spider Bones, "an instant "New York Times "bestseller--Kathy Reichs is at the top of her game.

I've been a fan of the Temperance Brennan series for about six or seven years now. I've read all fourteen novels in the series and this book was the worst one yet. I loved most of the books that Kathy Reichs has written. They are usually well written but this one was something of a letdown. The author only writes one book per year. Every year I wait in anticipation for the new novel but for the first time it really wasn't worth the wait!

Flash and Bones is contrived, repetitious and extremely dull. I was left feeling frustrated and disenchanted by this novel. The plot was slow, flat and predictable and the characters were one-dimensional and boring. I guessed correctly who the killer was 30% into the novel which is something I'm not normally able to do with this authors other books but this one lacks the twists and turns the other books have.

It seems like the author had writer's block while writing this novel and just wrote any old crap down just for the sake of having something to give to her publisher at the end of her deadline. I have a feeling that the author was also getting paid to advertise stuff in her novel. There are countless adverts for Youtube, iPhones, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Poptarts, Pringles, Pampers and other products throughout the novel.

I like the personal relationship between Andrew Ryan and Temperance Brennan, which was missing from this book. Ryan only appears once or twice in the form of phone calls and emails. This novel was also lacking the forensic science which is what makes this series more unique than all the other crime series out there.

What hurts the most about this novel, is how Kathy Reichs has turned the character of Temperance Brennan from a brave, strong, capable, intelligent woman into a incompetent, indecisive, weak, horny nymphomaniac. The character really deserves much better than that! I mean, what was the deal with Galimore? Really Kathy? What the hell where you thinking girl?

Two stars!