Tag Archive | Asimov

Really Good Books

I was thinking earlier it would be really good to do a blog today. Then I started wondering what I could write – it’s not like I’m actually writing is it. So that would leave… reading. I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading now Jeff Abbott’s A Kiss Gone Bad, and the thought of that led me to… I’m reading a lot of really good books at the moment.

In 2009 I only read 17 or something books, and only a handful of them really stood out. I think I tried to do a top ten books I read that year, but didn’t have a top ten. There just weren’t enough good ones there.

Last year was the opposite. I read 45 books, and enjoyed a huge number of them. So, what better way to spend a blog, than with my top books of last year. I was thinking top ten, but going through my list, I’ve actually made a top twenty. Hope it’s not too boring:

YA:

  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (I only read this to prove to people I wouldn’t like it. I loved it. I think it’s my favourite book of the year)
  • Avalon High by Meg Cabot (When I was researching YA novels before writing mine, I knew I had to read one of Ms Cabot’s books – the queen of teen and all that)
  • Summer Dreams Winter Love by Mary Francis Shura (this was my favourite book growing up, and I wanted to read it again. It still had that magic)
  • Della Says… OMG by Keris Stainton (I loved the sound of this when I started following Keris’ blog, and was lucky enough to get invited to her launch party where she signed the book. After all that I was so glad I loved it)

Chick Lit:

  • Love Lies by Adele Parks (I got given a small booklet on the street. It was the first two chapters. I couldn’t read just that, I had to get the whole book and read it.  But then I love Adele Parks so would have had to get it at some point anyway)
  • Foursome by Jane Fallon (This is the best book I read in this category. I loved everything about it, and will definitely be on the lookout for more books by her)
  • Husbands by Adele Parks (what can I say? I love the lady, I had to read more than one)
  • The Happy Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman (I got a copy of this from the publisher to review. I was pretty scared I wouldn’t like it then there would be loads of pressure on me to say something nice about it. Luckily it was great – it was Rowan Coleman, of course it was great)
  • The Baby Group by Rowan Coleman (ditto the great comment above)
  • What My Best Friend Did by Lucy Dawson (another that is in my top three of the year I imagine. Great. Not sure if it’s really chick lit, but I think it belongs here)
  • Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell (I read this when it came out ten years ago,  but after winning a ticket to an evening with Lisa, I thought I should re-read it before I went. So glad I did, I’d forgotten how good it was. And Lisa Jewell – she’s awesome and funny, and has a great story of how she got published. I like the idea that mine could go the same way…)

Thrillers:

  • Until It’s Over by Nicci French (my step mum gave me this, saying she loved it. Well, so did her step daughter)
  • The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner (Although this is only the second book of hers I’ve read, I am a huge Meg Gardiner fan, and this is my favourite book. Can’t wait to start on her other series of books)
  • Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay (Again second book of his I’ve read. Again this is my favourite)
  • Random by Craig Robertson (I got this free from the publisher because of doing the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. It’s his debut book, and it’s brilliant)
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played with Fire both by Stieg Larsson (I only picked the first up because of the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. I was so glad I did. I watched the movie too – it sucked)

 Sci-Fi:

  • The Caves of Steel by Asimov (I read this on recommendation from the other half. He thought I should read something DIFFERENT, so I did. I didn’t want to enjoy it, but I did. I want to read the rest in the Robot series)
  • 1984 by George Orwell (It’s a classic – I had to read it at some time. This was the year. It totally deserves the hype it gets)

I really hope 2011 is as good for books as last year was. I’m on book three, and so far it’s certainly shaping up that way!

What were your favourite books from last year?

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Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 Round-Up

Around Christmas I wrote a blog and in it had a big long moan about how badly I thought I’d done in this challenge. After that I sat down and worked out what thriller or suspense books I’d read throughout the year and was shocked to realise I’d actually read 11. Wow! I then thought about all the other books I’d read over the year, and went over to the host of the challenge Book Chick City to see what other people had read. shockingly someone had reviewed Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I wasn’t too sure if it was a thriller or suspense, but as someone else had used it, guess what? I’m really happy to use it.

So that means… I completed the challenge. WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO! The thing I haven’t done is review all the books yet, but I will get there. Here’s the list of them – the highlighted ones are linked to the review. The unhighlighted ones will have a review as soon as I can add it.

There you have it, my 12 books. I’m really happy I did it. I think the challenge pushed me to read more thrillers than I would have normally done, because I tend to favour chick lit and romance. I don’t know why I do that, I really love thrillers.

One of my aims of doing this challenge was to introduce myself to new authors. I certainly did that. The first book I read, a Sandra Brown book, I only picked up because of the challenge. I was so glad I did – I totally love both of her books I read during the challenge. I can’t wait to read more of hers.

Nicci French was introduced to me by my Step Mum. Again because I told her about the challenge so she gave me that book. I totally loved it, and will be looking out for more Nicci French books this year, and in the future.

Simon & Schuster sent all the people in this challenge an ARC of one of two novels. I was so happy I got Random by Craig Robertson. I hated the goreiness of it, but loved that at the same time. Last time I saw his update on Twitter, he was writing a new book. When it gets published I’ll be first in line to read it.

I honestly wouldn’t have read Asimov if it wasn’t for this challenge and my boyfriend convincing me it would work really well for the challenge. Sci-fi? Me? Nah! But, yeah. I actually enjoyed it. So much so, I’m going to read the other books in the Robot series. I don’t think I’ll read any others of his though, Sci-fi does still… I was going to say scare me, but I think it just doesn’t interest me that much. Hopefully he’ll (the boyfriend) will bully (!!) me into reading more of Asimov, or maybe another sci-fi writer – and he’ll find something easy-reading that I’ll ‘get’.

I’ve had the Judith Cutler book (and another) for years and didn’t pick it up in all that time. This challenge made me pick it up. I’ll definitely be reading the other one I’ve got of her’s (Dying to Fall) and probably the rest of that series.

That’s it. All the others I think I would have read anyway. But that’s pretty impressive – five authors that now I’ll be looking out for, that would have pasted right by me without the challenge.

I’m really impressed with how much I enjoyed the books I chose for this challenge. Looking at this list, I can genuinely say I loved each and every one of them. How good is that?!

I only have one small regret to come from this challenge. At the beginning of 2010 I looked around the internet and got recommendations of authors from people/places (including other people taking the challenge) and got a list of authors I wanted to read. But, I didn’t read any of them. That upsets me. But I’ll get over it. Just because the challenge is over… doesn’t mean I have to stop reading thrillers & suspense novels.

Plus… You never know what other challenges will be round the corner in 2011…

So now I’m back, From outerspace… eh no, from Italy

It may as well be a different planet though – when we left Rome it was HOT and SUNNY and now in London it’s COLD and RAINING. So cold I’ve had the heater on today. How depressing (if being back from holiday wasn’t depressing enough in itself!)

While I was away I finished reading Love Lies by Adele Parks. It was great – so good I had to stay up late the last night I read it to finish it. Do you ever wish you coud read through closed eyes? I totally did. But was pleased I made the effort. Total chick lit bliss. I just need to keep in mind it’s fiction not real life. The beginning sort of echoed mine and so I don’t want to be thinking now that it could happen. 

I read a book once, a chick lit book, that actually changed my life. I think had I not have read it at that time I wouldn’t have made a decision that totally changed my life. Weird eh. It was Straight Talking by Jane Green – no wonder she’s one of my favourite authors of all time!

Once I’d finished that book, I started on another. A few months ago I decided I need to read some classic books as pretty much all I read is chick lit, romance and crime/thrillers and want to expand my reading. Plus there’s always those things that tell you the 100 or 1000 books you should read before you die – I’m always lacking in them. So, when I was in a book shop with my mum she offered to buy me a book (yes, I have the best mum in the world!) and next to where we were standing was 1984 by George Orwell. Decision made. But obviously I’d not picked it up – until now.

I am loving it, when you consider how long ago it was written (I think 1949 ish) it doesn’t seem dated at all. Even though it was written so long ago and set in the future, which is now the past it doesn’t seem dated. In fact, I keep thinking that you could change the name to 2084 and it could seem like it’s a novel set in the future.

It reminds me a lot of a sci-fi book I read recently – The Caves of Steel by Asimov. His was also set in the future and although his future wasn’t as strict, I keep thinking they’re very similar. Regardless, I’m really enjoying it. I should’ve picked it up months/years ago.

I didn’t do any writing while I was away. I did think about it, but the thought didn’t go as far as getting up and finding some paper. For once I actually don’t care that I didn’t do anything – I was on holiday and why should holiday mean holiday from one type of work to be doing something else. Not that I consider writing work, but you know what I mean.

Just before I left I did take one HUGE step. I got my printer synced with my computer (well… it did it itself – LOVE that computer) and printed out the first draft of Italian Infatuation. I didn’t read it or anything, but at least I now have a hard copy of it that I can start editing. It’s a small step, but at least it’s a step in the right direction!

I’m going to try to edit my writing course assignment this week. I wrote the four sections before I went away so in theory all I need to do is edit them (all I need to do!), BUT, for the second section you had to choose 2 out of 6 prompts to take. I wanted to have a go at 4, then choose the 2 I thought were the best to send off. I don’t know if I’ll do that now, or just stick to the 2 I’ve done. I’ll think about it tonight and get started on it one way or another tomorrow.

As it’s June now, I’m going to come up with a plan for myself to get my motivation going again after holiday. I’m not sure what yet, but it will probably involve writing 250 words a day at least 6 days a week, and writing at least 5 blogs a week. If I’ve got a written plan I should be able to stick to it. Should.

Totally unrelated – I’m going to see Sex and the City tonight at a private showing with cocktails and canapes. It’s so true it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

Exciting Stuff

Actually quite a few exciting (to me anyway) things to write about today.  Yay.

Most importantly – I’ve finished reading the modules I needed to for my writing course.  That means I can get on with the assignment now.  Yay.  This morning I read through the first section and have made notes.  Can’t wait to get started, except I have a few ideas and don’t know which one to go with.  It’s only 750 words, so I might try more than one and use the best.  Something I’ve done with every assignment I’ve handed in so far.

Also at the end of last week I finished reading Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl.  Ah, it was great.  I actually laughed out loud at one part.  I think I was on the tube at the time.  Laughing I don’t mind on the tube, it’s crying that I don’t like doing.   

I only wanted to read it because it was by Sophie Kinsella and I love her books.  The idea didn’t interest me all that much.  But, I’m really glad I did.  I actually think it would make a very funny movie.  I can just picture her talking to the ghost, but everyone else seeing her talk to thin air.

So, I finished the novel I was reading; I finished the modules I was reading for my course; I had nothing to read.  Until… I went to my boyfriend’s and he convinced me to take one of his Sci-fi novels.  Somthing he’d been trying to do for a while as I don’t read Sci-fi, and he thinks I should.  He’d only just finished reading it, and the week prior had told me all about it – it actually sounded really good.  I’m a few chapters in, and am really enjoying it. 

BUT, in my mind I don’t classify it as Sci-fi.  It was written in I think the 1960s (correction – 1953) and is about a world in the future.  Which I guess yeah IS sci-fi, but hey.  I’ve just discovered it’s the first in a series… this could be bad.  I-Robot is part of the series too – the book that was turned into a Will Smith film.  From what I remember I really enjoyed the film – it will be interesting to see what I think when I read that book.  (I’m not looking forward to seeing my boyfriend after he reads this – he’ll be so triumphant that I’m not only enjoying this book, but that I want to read more!).

It’s kind of made me realise a few books I’ve read in the past probably go in the Sci-fi bracket.  Well, at least one.  Can’t remember the name, but it was a Ben Elton book set in the future.  Yeah, I guess Sci-fi.  And maybe The Time Traveller’s Wife.  Although I’d class it as romance, I guess the whole time travelling thing is.

Oh oh, something else exciting.  I subscribe to a newsletter from the Creative Competitor website.  because I’m subscribed I can get a free copy of a 20 page booklet called Quick and Easy Creative Writing Prompts.  I’ve just received it.  Woop!

I’m sure there was more exciting stuff going on.  But I can’t remember. 

I’m going to the gym this evening for the first time in about 3 months.  I think I went a couple of times in January.  It’s so much easier to think about doing that when it’s light when I leave work! 

Final exciting thing – Flash Forward is back tonight.  I’m so excited! A Double episode too. Oh yay!