Tag Archive | Audrey Niffenegger

World Book Night – Book Blog

I thought seeing as it’s World Book Night, it would only be fitting to write a blog about books. I don’t know much about most of the 25 WBN books, so I’ll write about the ones I know, and then just some other books I’m thinking about at the moment.

I nearly applied to be a WBN book-giver-outer. Nearly. I started filling in the application form. And then I thought about it more. WBN is on a Monday. I’d have a full day of work, and then have to give out 24 books? Somehow? I had no idea how I’d go about that, so I forgot about it. Yes, I wimped out.

I did really like the idea of giving out books. I love books, so would love to share that with other people. Especially when one of the books is my all time favourite book. Still, now it’s the actual day, I’m glad I didn’t volunteer (lazy that I am), but it’s great reading about all the people that have been giving out books.

World Book Night Books:

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is my favourite book ever. I just loved the painful romance of it, and the strong love the characters felt for each other. The final scene is the best scene I’ve ever read. Ever. It’s just so heartbreakingly moving. Niffenegger’s follow up Her Fearful Symmetry was really good too, but nothing that I’ve read comes even close. Well, not that close anyway.

The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Oh how I used to love this Shopaholic series. It was great, every year, or few years, there would be another instalment featuring the hapless, ditzy, but lovable Becky. I looked forward to those releases so much. Until I got the latest one, Mini Shopaholic, and I couldn’t read it. I tried, but I couldn’t get any more than a couple of chapeters in. I don’t think it’s the novels that changed, or the writing, I think I’ve just grown up, but Becky hadn’t. I really, really wish I could go back in time about five years and read it then, because I just know I would have loved it then. I hope Kinsella does more stand alone books, because they’ve ALWAYS been brilliant. Speaking of which, I’ve not bought ‘I’ve Got Your Number’ yet, I really should.

Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson. I’ve not actually read this book, but I’ve read quite a few of Bryson’s books, they’ve all been brilliant, and funny, and clever. My favourite is A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is exactly what it says it is. It’s supposed to explain everything in the universe, from it’s creation to, well, now, in simple terms that you and I would understand. I did, I learnt so much, and then I got 2/3 of the way in, and it started going over my head. I want to read it again, and work really hard to get further. I’d also love to read Notes From A Small Island. In fact, I think it’s in the lounge, on my TBR shelf.

Other Books:

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards. A few years ago, I read Edwards’ first novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. It was an amazing, thought provoking novel. I loved it. When I saw this in the shop a few weeks ago, I had to get it a) because I’d loved the previous one so much, and b) because it had an awesome cover. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the sound of it that much. But because of a) and b) I picked it up. I’m on page 35 now, and am enjoying it. I knew I would. I’ll keep you informed how I go on.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I really wanted to hate this book. I read it because the girls at work kept pestering me to read it, telling me I’d love it. Yeah, I thought, I’ll show you, I’ll read it and hate it. Don’t you just know it, I loved it. It’s the novel I talked about above, that comes close to The Time Traveller’s Wife. Again, I think the love story was just really well told, and I totally fell in love with Edward too – team Jacob, what’s wrong with you?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I read about this when it first came out, and was captivated by it. I didn’t really know why, the description isn’t very detailed, that’s maybe why. I suggested it as our next book for our book group, and everyone agreed immediately. I need to buy and read it before 13th May, when we meet. I’ve just discovered it’s only out until the end of May in hardback. Damn. I hate hardback novels. I’d so rather wait and get it in paperback, but I can’t. Damn. Despite this, I’m still really looking forward to reading it!

There you go. Those are the books on my mind at the moment. What’s on your mind now? What are you reading, or just thinking about?

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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…

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger Book Review

I’d been wanting to read this book since… well since I finished The Time Traveller’s Wife. TTTW is probably my favourite EVER book, so having read that, I knew I had to read any other books that Niffeneger wrote. Then towards the end of November I found it in a book market (there’s one every weekend on the South Bank of the River Thames – nice) for a sillyly cheap price – looking almost new. Well, what could I do.

I wasn’t too sure about using it for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge, but someone else had, and if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me – and reading this took me to 11 out of the 12 books I needed for the year, so it totally worked for me!

When Elspeth Noblin dies she leaves her beautiful flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina Poole, on the condition that their mother is never allowed to cross the threshhold. But until the solicitors’ letter falls through the door of their suburban American home, neither Julia nor Valentina knew their aunt existed. The twins feel that in London their own lives can finally begin but have no idea that they have been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt’s mysterious and elusive lover, who lives below them and works in the cemetery itself.

As the twins unravel the secrets of their aunt, who doesn’t seem quite ready to leave her flat, even after death, Niffenegger weaves a delicious and deadly ghost story about love, loss and identity.

Honestly, the book doesn’t compare to The Time Traveller’s Wife – but that’s not to say it’s not good – it’s just not awesome. I did really enjoy it, but what I found was I didn’t like some characters – in fact I disliked more characters than I liked. But, I really liked some characters.

The story grabbed me almost from the beginning with the mystery behind Elspeth and her sister’s estrangement, then carried dragging me in with the tangled lives of the other characters.

I guess you’d have to say this is a ghost story, and there’s definitely a little fantasy mixed in there, but there’s also love, romance, friendship, family and more. Enough to have me glued to it. I was disappointed in the ending, it’s hard to say why without giving too much away, but the positions people finished in felt wrong, especially when the one I didn’t like did well and the one I loved didn’t do.

Regardless, it was a great book, and I’d recommend it to anyone that likes a little mystery, a little romance, some family stuff… anything like that. I really can’t wait for her next book…

How December is Going

I’ve just done something kind of crazy. Good crazy though. Very unexpected crazy. But I’m glad crazy. Am I driving YOU crazy yet?

I’ve just written 250 words of The Dating Project! How good is that? It’s only the 8th too. That means I only left it for a week after NaNo before I wrote more – so much better than I thought I would do.

Not that I think this is it. This isn’t the start of me writing all the time away from NaNo or NovelPI, but it’s a start. And that makes me happy. The scene is also one where the MC is drunk, and I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, so it probably worked pretty well, haha.

So, how’s December going for me then? Well, I’m reading. I’m about ¼ of the way into my second novel this month. It’s so nice letting myself read. During NaNo, I don’t let myself read, as that takes up time and that’s time where I should be writing. But now we’re over it, I’m well back on the reading train.

The first novel I read was Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger. Having read The Time Traveller’s Wife a few years ago, I have been eagerly awaiting reading this one, and on the whole it didn’t disappoint. I did really enjoy it. I loved some of the charachers, didn’t so much others, sympathised and stuff. In fact I’d say I really enjoyed it until the end, when  I was left slightly disappointed. SEMI SPOILER ALERT: I just felt like it was left wrong. Yeah Valentina was happy, but she shouldn’t have been where she was and Elsbeth, she shouldn’t have been where she was. I was just a bit disappointed it ended there. But then I also felt that about Sliding Doors (the movie) and I still loved it, so maybe the ending isn’t that important. I just almost feel a little cheated. It’s like it ended, but it shouldn’t have gone that way. Maybe if you’ve read it you feel the same? Let me know if you do – I’ve not read any reviews of spoken to anyone that has read it, so I have no idea if I’m all alone in this judgement, or people think the same.

I’m now reading Dying to Write by Judith Cutler. Judith Cutler, as far as I’m aware isn’t that big a name in writing, but she’s from around Birmingham (where I grew up) and she once visited my Mum’s writing group (back in the day when Mum was part of a writing group – guess where I got my passion for writing from?). Mum bought that book and Dying on Principle by her and got them signed by her – one to me and one to my brother. Now, I’m sure it was the luck of the draw who go t which one signed to who, but I can’t help feeling a little bitter that the one signed to him is Dying to Write, but I’m the writer. Not fair eh?

But I am (for the most part) over it. And the book, well it’s pretty good. I only picked it up originally because it’s a thriller (see the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge mention coming up?), and it’s got writing in the title. Perfect eh! But it’s really good. The main character, Sophie, is pretty cool and I feel like I can identify with her (especially her writer’s block!). But, this is the third Dying… novel in the series, and I really feel like I should have read the other two first. I think you don’t need to, but every now and then I feel like I’m missing out on something. But it’s good enough that I know I’ll be going back and reading the other two at some point. And definitely seeing if she’s written any more.

Totally, totally off the writing subject, but hey it’s my blog, I can go off subject if I want – especially if it’s to brag. I joined slimming world three weeks ago. The first week I lost 3 ½ lb. The next week 2lb. This week, I don’t think I’m going to have lost any because I’ve eaten like a pig today, but still – 5 1/5 lb in three weeks – how good is that!!!!!

Finally, please keep an eye out for more blogs and Tweets – very shortly I’ll be telling you about my FIRST PUBLISHED STORY!!!!

December Plan Making

My Mum asked my yesterday if I felt relieved that NaNo was over. My answer? No! No because I know the story isn’t finished yet. And no because now I don’t have NaNo to kick my butt, I have no idea if I’m going to finish the novel or not. Sucky eh?

No, I need to be more positive. I will finish the novel. The fact that I have done no writing in December means nothing. It’s not even the end of the second day yet!

I’m just about to go to the TGIOP. Any guesses what that is?? It’s the NaNoWriMo Thank God It’s Over Party. Woop! I’m actually really tired so half don’t want to go, but I’ve had such a blast meeting new people over the last month, that I’m going to force myself. And I know I’ll be happy I went once I get there. I just hope I’ll still be happy about it tomorrow when I’m suffering from a hangover!!!

As this blog is titled, Plan Making, I really should make some plans for December. Ok, how about this:

  • Finish reading 12 books for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge
  • Finish Reviewing 12 books for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge
  • Finish reading Her Fearful Symmetry
  • Participate in Fiction Friday 4 times
  • Participate in Rowan Coleman’s Status Short Story Competition
  • Write another 5,000 words for The Dating Project.

I think I can happily focus mainly on reading this month. I really want to complete the T&SRC, and I’m already really into HFS. I hardly read anything in October and nothing in November, so I’m happy with that to even the months out. The Dating Project can stay in my life, but just take a little step back for a while.

I’ve got a day off tomorrow – yay. I’ve not decided what I’ll do, but I imagine reading, reading, reading maybe with a little writing sprinkled in too!

My Month of NaNoing

50,000 words done. Writing at home, the boyfriend’s and the office all done. Writing on the tube and in an airport are done. Writing in a holiday flat in Bournemouth is done. Writing at in cinema foyer, in theatres, on a bench on the South Bank of the river Thames, in a park and in a pub are all done.  NaNoWriMo for me, is done.

I’m currently at the last ever 2010 NaNoWriMo London write in. I should be writing my novel, but seeing as I’ve finished, I thought I’d write out a blog instead. Naughty.

I debated whether or not to come to the write in, after all, I’ve finished, I don’t need to write any more, so why should I? Then I thought about it a little more, and I realised I NEED to come along. The Dating Project currently sits at 50,011 words. That’s NaNo finished, but not the novel. I think the novel is going to need another 15-20 thousand to be finished. I’m here to write, because without the pressure of NaNo, I’m not sure of my motivation to carry on writing.

Look at last year, I finished the novel in 30 days, I did the right thing and left it alone for a month or six weeks, then read it. Then did nothing until September maybe when I edited ONE chapter for a competition. So… Does this novel have any better hopes?

I don’t know. A lot about it annoys me. I think maybe the characters are a little shallow. I’m not even sure if the main story line is good enough, especially as it didn’t get going until about 35k.

I was reading a novel on the tube journey over here. It made me worry about my novel. Well, my novel and my writing in general. There is just so much more detail. Even two characters sitting next to each other on the sofa takes a paragraph to describe. In my writing it would just be ‘X and Y sat next to each other on the sofa.’ I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing… Or do I? I don’t know.

I guess right now I need to concentrate on finishing it, not worrying about the editing. That will come later. I hope.

Ok, lets  move away from NaNo.

As I just said, I’ve started reading again. In November I didn’t let myself read. I thought that if I read something really good, I might get caught up in that and spend NaNoing time reading. I couldn’t let that happen, so I just didn’t pick up a book. Tube journeys were boring as hell. Last weekend I walked along South Bank (after NaNoRilla – Gurilla writing in London  – I may do a whole blog dedicated to this) and stumbled upon the second hand book market there. I say stumbled upon… I purposely walked past it. I told myself I’d only buy something if I saw something I was really interested in reading. And then I saw… Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Woop! Second hand, but it looked as if I’d read it – no creases in the pages, or… on the spine. Double woop. And, only £4.

On the way home that night, I read the first chapter. I even nearly cried on the second page. And then I hid it from myself. And didn’t pick it back up until this morning, when I realised I was finally allowed to read on the tube again.

So far, guess what? I’m liking it. It’s intreging me and I want to read more. NOW. I don’t want to be doing a blog or writing more novel, I want to be reading. But I’m not going to.

Really what I need to focus on in December is the Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge. Uh… Yeah… I’m supposed to read 12 novels in the year from the genres Thriller or Suspense or anything like that. I did really well to start with, but then I kind of lost my way a little. Without checking (I’ve got no internet connection at the moment) I don’t know exactly how I’ve done so far, but I have a horrible feeling I’ve got about four books to read and six to review. Uh, oops. Still, December is a good month for reading. It had better be anyway!

Ok, I really should crack on with writing my novel. I can’t wait to have time to start blogging regularly again, I almost felt like something was missing not doing it much in November.

I also can’t wait for Fiction Friday on Friday. Yay.

Did you do Nano? If so how did you get on? If not, what did you do in November instead? I’m looking forward to reading through people’s blogs to find out… although it may take forever!!!

Mostly About Books

I had a plan today. I planned to read the next chapters of my writing course. However I stupidly left the book in the back office and I’m sat on reception. Doh! I’ll work on it this afternoon. I will, I will, I will.

I got a book in the post today. It’s only another prize from a competition I entered! This book’s really exciting for me, as it’s a) not available in England and b) an author I’ve never heard of – this could be a whole new discovery for me!

The competition was one of those ‘be the first to comment…’ over on The Lady Loves Books. The book is ‘At Home with the Templetons’ by Monica McInerney. Can’t wait to get started on it.

This may sound a little stupid, but I had a realisation this morning. I’m currently reading Husbands by Adele Parks. I bought the book a few months ago in one of those library sales I love. This morning though, as I walked between tubes (hurried should I say, not cause I was late, but cause I wanted to read more) I realised that before I started reading the novel I didn’t know what it was about.

‘Why’s that?’ you ask? It’s because I bought it without looking at the back. I knew it was Adele Parks, and I knew I hadn’t read it, so I had to buy it. It didn’t matter what it was about.

I developed the thought further and realised I’m the same with quite a few authors – if I love them, it doesn’t matter what their new book is about, I want it.

I thought I’d make a list of authors that this is true for, so here goes:

  • Sophie Kinsella
  • Adele Parks
  • Jane Green
  • Marian Keyes
  • Cecelia Ahern
  • Rowan Coleman
  • Audrey Niffenegger
  • Lisa Jewell
  • Dorothy Koomson

I’m sure they’re some I’ve missed out, but that’s pretty much my favourite author list!

I think I want a Kindle. There’s an advert at the tube station I go to in the mornings, and I keep looking at it… Anyone would think they put it there on purpose as Christmas is coming up…

I’d always been put off them, because I like books. I like holding them, reading them, turning pages etc.

But, I’ve just found a huge reason for wanting one – its size. I’ve got a few books on my TBR list that I’m desperate to read, but I’m put off because they’re so big and heavy to carry round (and I always have the book I’m reading in my bag). Although, if I did have a Kindle, I’d have to re-buy those books. I’d have more chance of reading them though.

Does anyone else have one? What do you think of them?

I’ve just had a quick look on Amazon and stumbled upon Jane Green’s Straight Talking. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite book ever, but it moved me, and actually changed my life – improved my life. I loved it. BUT Amazon reviewers didn’t as much. Out of 55 comments, 13 gave it one star, 3 gave it two stars and 5 three. What is wrong with these people??? I’m going to have to add a review of my own! *giggles to self* Well, actually, I’m going to have to re-read it, then add a review. Woo hoo – I’ve got an excuse to re-read a novel I love. Love it!