Tag Archive | books

2013 Reading Challenges Results

In 2013 I signed up to do two reading challenges – Roof Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge and The Crafty Book Nerd’s Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge. Did I succeed? Lets see.

TBR Pile Challenge:

This was the second year I signed up for this. Year one I failed, and unfortunately year two I failed too. I think the problem was that I carried some books over from the first year, and with the competition of other newer books, and them being sat on my list for over a year, I didn’t have the want to read them. That, and I tried some, and couldn’t get there with them. At the beginning of 2013, I had to chose 12 books, and 2 alternatives. This is the list, and how I got on:

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell (on 2012 list). Fail. It’s so long. It would have taken up so much time. I want to read it, I really do, but it’s so long…

A French Affair by Susan Lewis (on 2012 list). Fail. I think I picked it up at some point to read it, but never got there. It’s not even back on the shelf now. No idea what happened to it.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. Fail. I tried this though. I tried and tried, but I just didn’t get it. It bored me. I want to try it again – people rave about it, it’s a classic. Maybe I missed something. I’ll try again.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Fail. I didn’t even look at it.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver. READ. Finally, a pass. I loved it. Can’t wait to read the final in the series.

One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner. READ. Yes, that’s two. Good book. Enjoyed it.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. READ – three. It was ok, I enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I’ll read any others in the series though.

Build A Man by Talli Roland. READ (I’m on a roll here – four). Read it, enjoyed it.

Animal Farm by George Orwell. Fail. Didn’t even look at it.

The Liar’s Lullaby by Meg Gardiner. READ (five). Brilliant. Love everything she writes. Brilliant.

and the 2 alternatives

Flash Forward by Robert J Sawyer. Fail. I thought about it a couple of times. It’s not near enough the top of the pile.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games trilogy, book 2) by Suzanne Collins. READ. (six). Absolutely loved it. Can’t enough good things about it.

So there we go. 6 out of 12. That’s terrible. I think I read more in 2012. I’m disappointed in myself when I read so many books. If I do it again in 2014, none of the books listed here will be carried forward!

Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge:

I’ve done several versions of this over the years, and can’t for the life of me remember how I usually do on them, I feel like I ‘win’ them. This year I read:

1 – The Headhunters by Jo Nesbo (Brilliant, my new fav thriller author)

2 – Sister by Rosamund Lupton (A little werid, but very enjoyable, with a great twist).

3 – Stalkers by Paul Finch (Fantastic. Another fav author discovered).

4 – Safe House by Paul Finch (Great)

5 – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Brilliant, still can’t get over the ending).

6 – Say You’re Sorry by Michael Robotham (Brilliant, absolutely brilliant)

7 – Liar’s Lulaby by Meg Gardiner (for TBR challenge too – as I said, fantastic)

8 – The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke (Great, really good, with brilliant ending)

9 – The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner (see, I told you I loved her, Liar’s Lulaby was so good, I had to read another in the series almost straight after).

10 – The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriaty (really good, a little predictable, but great).

11 – Game by Anders de la Mott (Unexpectedly ace. Can’t wait for the next in the series).

12 – The Last Time I Saw You by Eleanor Moran (I’m not 100% sure it should be classed in this, but there was a mystery over the crash, so I’m using it) (Fab).

I did it. Yeah! Go me! However, I didn’t review any. Does that mean I fail? Hmmm…

As you can see from my comments, I chose some really good books this year (some were book club books, so not just my choices, and Game was sent by to me by the publisher, so not entirely chosen either). I really enjoyed this challenge again.

One out of two isn’t bad I guess. Now, for 2014 challenge(s)…

My First ROW80 Check In of 2013

This first check in feels way too early. Usually the weekly gap is Sunday to Wednesday, but goals were written on Monday, so it’s been a day less. I wrote my goals Monday night, so only 48 hours. I haven’t done anything tonight either, so really only 1 day. He he.

Here are my goals and how I’m doing with them:

7 hours working on TMOMD: I worked on it last night, for maybe an hour. It’s not a lot, but it’s probably the most important – the first one. I’ve started on it. WOO HOO. OK, so I’m only reading and making notes, but it’s a start. A START!

7 hours working on my writing course: Nothing, yet.

1 book review on here, and one for Novel Kicks: Neither, yet.

2 Check in blogs: This is one, second will be Sunday.

Decide on reading challenges for the year and blog about them: Complete. I’ve decided to do The Crafty Book Nerd’s Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge and Roof Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge. I’m really excited about them.

Burn 1500 Kcals through exercise (above normal walking to/from work): So far I’ve burnt about 400, walking between my office buildings. I was planning on being much higher by today, but I had a migraine on Monday, which stopped me going to the gym, then I still wasn’t feeling great yesterday. Tomorrow I hope will be the day, maybe Friday because  it will be quieter.

2 fasting days: Today is the first. I’ve just craved in and had a chocolate bar, which means iI’ve had 600 cals today. I’m a little annoyed with myself, I really was trying for 500, but I’m still proud of myself.

It’s not all good, but it’s certainly not all bad, so I’m happy. Here’s to the rest of the week.

2013 Reading Challenge – Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge

I’ve decided to do 2 reading challenges this year. This is the first, the other I blogged about last night – TBR Pile Challenge (although it seems I added my link to the site too late, so I’m not sure I’m going to be in the competition, if not, I’ll just do it for myself!). 

I’m sure I don’t need to say anything more, so I’ll just jump in to the details:

2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge.

For the last three years, I’ve done variants of this on Book Chick City, but they don’t seem to be doing it this year, so time to find another one (I can’t even contemplate not doing it, I love it so much). Luckily The Crafty Book Nerd is here to save the day with the 2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge – woop!

This is slightly different to the previous ones I’ve done, in that you don’t have to specify how many books you’re going to read, but the more you read, the higher level you get. Levels go from Detective (5 books) to Sherlock Holmes (30+ books). I’m going to aim for Lieutenant (15 books) or maybe even Captain (20 books – may be pushing it a little).

This is such a successful challenge idea. So far 62 people have signed up. I’ve kind of cheated a little, in that I’ve already read one novel this year. Figure it’s not really cheating, I always knew I was going to do this, I just hadn’t written the blog yet!

Good luck anyone joining in.

2013 Reading Challenge – TBR Pile Challenge

Here’s my second reading challenge for 2013.

TBR Pile Challenge.

I failed this last year, and you know how I hate to fail. This year, I’m determined to complete it.

For this challenge you have to read 12 novels in 2013 from your TBR Pile (physical pile, or just on your list). The great thing is that they have to have been on your list for more than a year (so have a published date of 2011 or before).

You also have to list the books NOW that you’re going to read (plus you can have 2 alternatives, if you really can’t get through any). Last year I went through my shelf and chose books that I physically had. This year, I want to add books that I’ve been meaning to read, I just haven’t bought yet (or borrowed from the library of course).

I didn’t read 4 of the 14 last year (including the alternatives). I’m not going to add all of them back on – 1 I realised was a sequel, and I’ve not read the first, and the other I’m not really interested in any more. I’ll add the other two though.

Here’s my list then. As I read and review, I’ll come back to this page and link to the review. In December I’ll (hopefully) do a review blog where I link them all again, and successfully complete the challenge for the year. My 14 books for this year are:

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell (was on the 2012 list, but I never got to it)

A French Affair by Susan Lewis (ditto)

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Build A Man by Talli Roland

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Liar’s Lullaby by Meg Gardiner

and the 2 alternatives

Flash Forward by Robert J Sawyer

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games trilogy, book 2) by Suzanne Collins.

To be honest, I really want to read all of them, so you never know. I’m also doing the Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge, so a couple of these will work for both, which will be good.

Now, I really want to start on the list. My problem is… which first. Good luck to everyone else doing this challenge this year. I can’t wait to see what you’re reading.

Looking Back At 2012

I actually can’t believe it’s 2013. Where did 2012 go?

I’ve just been discussing how 2012 went from a writing point of view. I have to admit, not well. Every year after NaNo it takes me MONTHS to get back into writing – I’m talking until the summer. In 2012, I never really got back into it, until NaNo hit again in November.

I can make lots of excuses up (I started a new job that was a lot more work, and I actually cared about and had responsibility in February), but really I just don’t know the reason. I still want to write, but it’s just something missing between the want and the actual doing. I’ve tried loads of things to get me out of the funk, and loads have worked, but only short term.

Maybe I’m being a little hard on myself here (but maybe I need it?). I think I wrote 80,000 words in 2012. 50,000 in NaNo (yep, I won again – 4th year in a row!), and 30,000 on The Man of My Dreams. That’s not actually all that bad. Obviously though, it could be better.

I’ve nearly finished TMOMD, I’ve got a couple of scenes to finish and add, but I think my next step is printing and editing and I’ll add those scenes in as I go. I’m not 100% sure I took the story down the right route, so I may have to rewrite about 20,000 of those. Depressing, but it may be necessary. Maybe that’s why I’m taking so long to get on with it.

In 2012 I read 34 books. You know what’s funny? In 2011, I also read 34 books. Without planning to read the same number each year. (I’m wrong, I’ve actually read 35 this year. Not so weird). I’ve read some really good books. I’d like to talk about them more though, so I’ll so a separate blog sometime on them!

I took part in 3 reading challenges – Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge (12 Mystery/Suspense novels), the Chick Lit Challenge (12 Chick lit novels – 2 debut novels in 2012) and the TBR Pile Challenge. I read all the books I needed to for the Mystery and Chick Lit ones, but didn’t get all the reviews done – in fact I need to write 10 to complete them. I’m going with I finished though. Yay. For the TBR Challenge, I only read 10 novels. Gutted. I should have succeeded on this. One I realised I was never going to read – The Lollipop Shoes (as it’s a sequel and I’ve not read the first), but I have no excuse on the others.

I have however been part of a book group. We’ve read 8 (I think) books this year. I’ve really enjoyed that, and am looking forward to next year. Once we decide the next novel.

2012 was a good year. Here’s to 2013 being even better!

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson Review

Cambridge is sweltering, during an unusually hot summer. To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world consists of one accounting sheet – Lost on the left, Found on the right – and the two never seem to balance.

Jackson has never felt at home in Cambridge, and has a failed marriage to prove it. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life haunted by a family tragedy, he attempts to unravel three disparate case histories and begins to realise that in spite of apparent diversity, everything is connected…

I read my first Kate Atkinson novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, when I was 16 when I chose it for my A-Level coursework. I loved it before I started, but unfortunately, by the end of the course I’d read it so many times, and dissected it so much that I got sick of it, and it put me off any more of her books. My step mum gave me this years ago, telling me I’d love it. I put it on a shelf and forgot about it.

Then the To Be Read Pile Challenge came along, and I thought it was time to add it. It took me another 9 months to pick it up to read.

I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed it a lot. I looked forward to picking it up, and thought about it when I wasn’t reading it.

Jackson is investigating several things, which I found interesting because there were lots of little mysteries in the one novel, plus Jackson’s story.

Case Histories is the first in a series of Jackson Brody novels by Atkinson, I’m definitely going to check out the next ones. It was also turned into a BBC series, which I’ll be really interested to watch if I can get hold of it.

2012 Reading Challenges Catch Up

I’m just going through the lists of novels I’ve read for my 3 reading challenges this year. On some I’m doing well, others not so well.

I’m doing three reading challenges this year – Book Chick City’s Mystery and Suspense Challenge, Roof Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge, and Chick Lit Plus’ Chick Lit Reading Challenge.

I’ve been doing the Mystery and Suspense Challenge for years now, I believe this is the third year in a row. I love it. And you know what? I’ve finished it this year already*. Well, I’ve finished the reading, I just need to write a couple of reviews now. When I say a couple… I mean 6. Yes, I’ve read 12* books, and reviewed 6. Shocking. I’m going to try to write a book review every week going forward, so I should catch up before the end of the year – I hope. Maybe for the next couple of weeks I’ll post two reviews a week. Sigh, next year I’ll get better at reviews!

*Just found out I’ve actually read 13 – well over! Awesome. Only that means I’ve got another to review. Oh dear.

When I heard about The TBR Pile Challenge (To Be Read) I KNEW I had to do it – had to. With over 50 unread books on my shelf, it would be a massive push to get through them, even if it would only be 12 of them (14 max, because there are two alternatives). My plan was to read one a month (as is always my plan with challenges with 12 books in 12 months). It started well, better than well. By the end of January I’d read two.

I didn’t read any in February, one in March and so it went. We’re now halfway through the 9th month, so I should have read at least 8. I haven’t. I’ve read 6. And reviewed 4. That’s actually not too bad. I’ve just finished my last book, so I’ll start one for this challenge today. That means by the end of the 9th month, I will have read 7. Not great, but not a bad position. Leaves me three months to read five books. Two months actually, because I don’t read in November (NaNo!). Ok, not great at all, but not terrible.

My final challenge was the one I thought I’d do the best in – the Chick Lit Challenge. Usually that’s what I read the most of. Or that’s what I think I read the most of. Actually in 2011 I read 10 chick lit books, but 11 thrillers. Pretty even. Considering I’ve now completed the Mystery and Suspense Challenge, you’d think I’d almost be done with this one, wouldn’t you?

I’m not. I’m exactly where I should be at this time of year – I’ve read 9 (I won’t mention that 2 were read this month!). Reviewing isn’t going too well on this – I’ve only done 5. Ah. Ok, so 9 to catch up on, 3 to read and review. Not bad. I’m quite happy with this.

Some of the TBR books I have left to read, are also chick lit books (woop, nicely chosen there Helen!). Two of them. That means that I have 7 books left to read this year. I can definitely read one more, possibly two this month. I’ve got lots of train journeys coming up and a few free weekends, so it should be fine. I’m not worried. Not yet anyway.

I was going to just finish this now, but I think it’s probably good to have a list of the books I’ve read, and the challenges they relate to. So here goes:

Mystery & Suspense Challenge:

Snapshot by Craig Robertson
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larrson
After The Snow by SD Crockett
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green
The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall
The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
About Last Night by Adele Parks
Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay
SaleFalls by Jodi Piccoult
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
The Last Juror by John Grisham

The Chick Lit Challenge:

Bewteen A Mother and Her Child by Elizabeth Noble
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
About Last Night by Adele Parks
The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green
After the Party by Lisa Jewell
The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
The Single Girl’s To Do List by Lindsey Kelk
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
All That Glitters by Ilana Fox

The TBR Challenge:

Petit Anglais by Catherine Sanderson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larrson
Salem Falls by Jodi Piccoult
After The Party by Lisa Jewell
The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
The Last Juror by John Grisham