Tag Archive | Cecelia Ahern

2014 TBR Pile Challenge

I’m very excited that Roof Beam Reader is hosting the TBR Pile Reading Challenge again – for the 5th year! I’ve started the last two years, but failed both, so I’m hoping to do better this year!

The challenge is, as it suggests to read books from your TBR Pile. I can’t even count how many are on my list, and book shelf. We’re thinking about moving in a couple of months, so last weekend, I took a box – big box – of books to our storage unit to get them out the flat. And I’ve still got 4 shelves fully – with two rows per shelf. So there’s loads.

This year though, I decided to take books, partly off my shelf, but mainly from the list I’ve written over the last few years. Every time I see a book I want to read, in a magazine, shop, on TV, a friend recommends, or wherever, I write it on this list. It’s quite long.

I have to choose 12, and 2 spares (just in case) now, then as I read them, review them, link on here, and on Roof Beem Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge. Here’s my 2014 list:

1 – The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (2012)

2 – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2011) (21/2/14)

3 – The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend (2012)

4 – Lets Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (2012)

5 – Breakfast at Darcy’s Ali McNamara (2011)

6 – How We Met by Katy Regan (2012)

7 – The Man Who Forgot His Wife John O’Farrell (2012)

8 – Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coeho (1998)

9 – China Lake by Meg Gardiner (2002)

10 – The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern (2011)

11 – Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell (2012)

12 – The Greatest love Story of All Time by Lucy Robinson (2012)

And the extras, in case I can’t get through one or two.

13 – Something Missing by Matthew Dicks (2009)

14 – The Other Family by Joanna Trollope (2010)

As I said, I didn’t complete 2012 and 2013, so as the saying goes, I want to make the third time lucky! See Roof Beam Reader’s sign up for the challenge here.

A to Z Reading Challenge 2011

Ok, so I’m a little late doing this, sorry, but better late than never eh!

In late 2010, I heard some people talking about reading novels from A to Z. I thought, what a brilliant idea, and decided to set myself a challenge of doing exactly that in 2011. As I was writing a blog about it, it occurred to me that other people may have the same idea. I googled A to Z Challenge and found this site – A to Z Challenge I didn’t have to start one all by myself!

I started with no plan at all, except to read the A to Z (author surname) in order, and stick pretty much to just those 26 books. In 2010 I’d read about 24 books, so knew I wasn’t going to be able to read many more than the 26.

Of course as time went by and I made my way through the challenge, I found there were other books I really wanted to read that either were a letter way further down the line, or that had a letter I’d already read, or already planned what I was going to read for it. I let myself read a couple of other novels – but only if I REALLY wanted to needed to.

I did cheat a little. Kinna. I didn’t actually finish 26 novels. There were 3 letters that for different reasons I didn’t finish the novel.

Letter L was Girl with a One Track Mind by Abby Lee, I started it and was enjoying it, but it was all about sex, when this girl had it, where she had it and how much she thought about it. Nothing really wrong with that, but I do most of my reading on the tube, I felt embarrassed reading it on the tube, so picked up M, and told myself I’d read L at home. I never got round to it.

Letter O was a really good book – The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell. I got it from the library (a god send, I couldn’t have afforded 26 books in 1 year on top of the ‘really want ones’), and took it to Sweden when I went. I’m not sure if it was on the flight, at the hotel, or our friends’ house, but somewhere I lost it. Typical. I ended up having to pay it in the end anyway. I’d gone on to P while I was away, and just never got the opportunity to go back to it. At some point, I would like to buy it, or borrow it and finish reading it.

Letter Z was a hard one, which I started before a few other letters. I unexpectedly finished the novel I was reading on a Sunday and didn’t have a chance to go and get the next letter. Boyfriend came to the rescue and gave me a Z – Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. It was sci-fi which isn’t my choice, but I’d borrowed a couple off him in the years previously which I quite enjoyed. Lord of Light was not another one though. I just couldn’t get into, or really understand it. I gave it 50 or so pages, but couldn’t go on. When I gave it back to boyfriend, he said he’d had a hard job getting into it. Sigh.

So, I didn’t make 26 novels, but I started them all. In my book I finished it – yay!

Also, I didn’t review all, or add any of my review to the site, but to be honest, I didn’t find the website too easy to navigate, and lets face it, all I need is a little excuse and I won’t do something. I guess technically if I didn’t check-in, I didn’t really do it. In my mind I did though!

I’m really glad I did the challenge, I read a lot of authors that I’d never had done otherwise, and you know me, I love a challenge. But, I’d never do it again. I found it WAY too constrictive, and because I knew I couldn’t really read many other books, I felt guilty when reading one that wouldn’t go towards the challenge. There were times when I just HAD to read other books – like The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon and Faking It by Lotte Daley – and there were many, many more times when I wanted to read another book, but just couldn’t. There were also quite a few letters where I was so torn over which novel to read. M was a good example, I had about 3 books with the letter M on my TBR shelf at home. So what did I do? I went out and bought another. Typical! It was New Moon (Twilight) by Stephanie Meyer.

I discovered some brilliant authors because of the challenge though – Jeff Abbott, Allison Brennan, Ilana Fox Rob Ryan, Nancy Taylor Rosenburg and Minette Walters. Weird – most of the new good authors write thrillers… what does that tell me? I say I prefer women’s lit (chick-lit), but it’s a close call. I did discover new chick-lit authors, but when I discovered them, I read them out of sequence and out of the challenge because I just HAD to read them there and then (Ali McNamara and Lotte Daley)

I know all the books are listed on my ‘Books’ page, but here’s a list of them – from A to Z. Just for fun, I’m putting a comment and rating out of 5 after each one – not something I usually do. The ones which I have reviewed have the links to the actual review.

A Kiss Gone Bad by Jeff Abbott – brilliant. Can’t wait to read the other ones in the series – 4.5/5

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern – Prefered her earlier stuff, but still pretty good – 4/5 (I couldn’t choose between the As, so read them both)

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay – Loved it, love his work – 5/5

Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan – So happy I discovered her. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series 4.5/5 (ditto the comment re A for B)

The Famous Writer’s School by Stephen Carter – Not what I imagined. 2.5/5

Ex-Girlfiends United by Matt Dunn – Little slow 2.5/5

Past Mortem by Ben Elton – Good, he’s done better, but still good – 4/5

Spotlight by Ilana Fox – Didn’t expect to, but loved it 4.5/5

The Love Verb by Jane Green – As usual loved it – 4.5/5

This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes – Slow 2/5

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro – Couldn’t get over the cultural difference – 2/5

The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell – Once got into it, really enjoyed – 4/5

The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson – Loved every second – 4.5/5

Girl with a One Track Mind by Abby Lee – what I read was good. I will finish it at some point 3/5

Twilight: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer – Not as great as Twilight, but still good. 4/5

One Day by David Nicholls – Took a long time to get into it. Had me crying like a baby at the end though. 3.5/5

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell* – I need to finish this – 3/5

Still Thinking of You by Adele Parks – as always a brilliant read from Ms Parks  4.5/5

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen – took ages to get into the story – 2.5/5

Trans Am by Rob Ryan – fast paced, gripping – 4.5/5

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton – loved. Better than her first (and, you know –New York) – 4.5/5

Mitigating Circumstances by Nancy Taylor Rosenburg – Brilliant 4.5/5

Die for You by Lisa Unger – Not what I expected in a really good way. 4/5

The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine – slow, slightly boring. 2.5/5

The Sculptress by Minette Walters – Excellent – 4.5/5

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu – Really enjoyed it 4/5

Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto* – again, couldn’t get over the cultural differences 2/5

Lord of light by Roger Zelazny – just couldn’t get into it – sci-fi really isn’t my thing – 1/5

All in all, it was a good year, but I’m glad it’s over and I can read what I want to read, not what’s next on the list!

January Books Clubs

Last month, having gone from none, I got myself involved in two book clubs, and it seems I’ve done the same again this month.

A friend of mine, her sister and work colleague decided in November to start a book club, so December was month one. We read Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto, which unfortunately none of us enjoyed. I chose that book (I needed a Y for the A to Z Challenge), this time it was B’s turn to choose. Like me she gave the rest of us a choice, and we decided on The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht. It sounds slightly depressing, but hey, I’ll give anything a go. I’ll read that after the next one, our next meeting isn’t until 25th, so loads of time!

The second book club is at NovelKicks, a website that my ROW80 buddy Laura runs. A year, or maybe 18 months ago, I tried to get involved in the NK book club, but at the time they were reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters. I got the book, I tried, but it just bored me. I promised myself I’d get involved the following month, but you know me, life got in the way.

Last month I saw Laura had chosen The Gift by Cecelia Ahern for the book. As it happened that was on my TBR pile, and I wanted to read it around Christmas. I joined in. Well, I commented that I’d started it, and I read the book. No more comments. How rubbish am I?!

I promised myself if I got involved again, I’d do better. This month the chosen book is When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman – a book that I’ve wanted to read since it came out last year (I’m not sure if it’s because it’s got a wicked title, or the actual story). Of course I’m joining in again. This time, I promise I’m going to join in with NK and comment! That’s the next book on my list. If you’re interested in joining, please do, everyone is welcome, Laura would love to see you HERE.

I’ve nearly finished Petit Anglaise. Yesterday I arranged to meet my other half in the library before we went shopping (gym clothes, not all that exciting). There were no computers free, so I sat in one of the chairs (that isn’t as comfy as it looks) and read for half an hour. It was great. I can’t wait until summer, so there’s a nice view of the water from the library (Canada Water water – the water the whole area was named after – small, but cute with swans and ducks and stuff!).

A Little Bit of Monday Rambling

Way back, earlier this year, in the days before NaNoWriMo and ROW80, I used to just have random blogs where I just rambled on about this and that. ROW80 may still be going strong, but seeing as 1 of my goals for the month is to blog everyday, I guess I’m going back to the rambling blogs!

I guess my old blogs were the same as my ROW80 and NaNo check in blogs are/were – a general catch up on what’s going on, and chat about anything else going on. I can’t really remember. They must have been.

Well. 1,000 words a day is still so manageable. I can’t believe I keep saying that after I sulked my way through 250 words a day back in the summer. It’s amazing how a couple of 3,000/4,000 word days put things into perspective.

What the problem with this writing thing, is that I keep leaving it until last thing at night. Not so much of a problem, as I think I write better, and am more alert at night (I believe that thing about if you were born at night you’re a night person vs being a morning person if born during the day – I was born 11.35 at night), but it means I’m going to bed late, which in turn is making me tired – all the time.

Today hasn’t been too bad, but last week was HARD! I’m going to try to write as soon as I get home tonight, or, if not straight away after dinner. I’m not going to let myself get sucked into the normal watching a movie then chatting, then suddenly remembering I need to write when I should be going to bed trap again. Nope. Not tonight.

On the subject of movies, I watched Up last night. Boyfriend told me I was going to cry in the first 10 minutes, so I was so on edge. Then the sad thing happened, and oh my god, did I cry. Like so much. uncontrollable sobs! Other than that (or maybe because of that?) I thought it was an amazing film. If you’ve not seen it, go see it.

There’s just 16 days of the month left. That means 26 days (thanks Em for noticing my terrible mathematics attempt) to finish my 2 reading challenges for this year. I have no idea how far away from that goal I am for the Mystery & Suspense Challenge, but know I need to read the one I’m on and another for the A-Z Challenge. I also want to read The Gift for the Novelkicks reading group this month. I had wanted to read my new Adele Parks one before Wed, but that’s totally not happening.

Why Wednesday? Have you not heard? Adele Parks, Carmen Reid and others are talking at the Canada Water library. How excited am I!? Adele said on Twitter I should go and introduce myself to her – MEGA EXCITED! And I’ve got my new book for her to sign.

What’s that? You think I should also talk to Carmen Reid? And get her to sign my book? Oh, but I don’t have any of her books! Oh, maybe I should buy one there? What a great idea! Oh, and while I’m there maybe I should buy Adele’s new one – About Last Night (I really really, really want to read it, so that’s not going to be a chore) too? He he! 

Fingers crossed boyfriend’s work sort their wages mistake by Wednesday then eh!

Book Groups Galore

Because November was NaNo month, for the whole month I think I pretty much missed out on writing about anything other than NaNo (quite frankly I’m surprised that I DID anything other than write for the month, but I did)! Now we’re into December I should probably start blogging about other things going on in my life.

Like my new book club.

Well, two book clubs really.

My dear ROW80 buddy Laura runs a site called NovelKicks which every month hosts a book club. I’ve joined in a couple of times when they were readings novels I really wanted to read, and December is another of those books! This month they’ve chosen The Gift by Cecelia Ahern.

Somehow this book coming out completely passed me by. I heard about it by accident one day (maybe on her website, I can’t remember) and knew I had to read it (seeing as it was Cecelia Ahern – I love her novels!). The problem was it looked like a Christmas book, which is fine, unless it’s summer. Which it was.

So I added it to my ‘wish list,’ which I promptly forgot, until the following summer, which was this summer. I was at a friend’s house when I found her book shelf. Hmmmm. Book shelf + me = more books on MY bookshelf. She told me to help myself to anything. I was SO good, I only took 3. One of which was… you guessed it The Gift. Like a good girl, I put it on my shelf, to read in December.

Of course I forgot. Until Laura asked on Facebook the other day what people’s favourite Christmas book is. I don’t have one, but I mentioned this and that I wanted to read it. She was thinking the same (great minds think alike eh!). So now it’s their book club December book. And when I’ve finished my current book, I’m going to jump in. I cannot wait. If you’d like to join in, anyone’s welcome, go here.

What’s the book I’m reading at the moment you ask? Well, it’s the one for my other book club.

Mid way through November, I went for a cheeky drink or two with a friend and her work colleagues and sister. Four of us were talking about how cool it would be to be part of a book club (I think it came from them all wanting to read my novel when I finish it), but in a really relaxed atmosphere (yeah, pub). We decided to start our own mini book club.

1 book per month. One pub meet up per month. No looking for hidden meanings – just if we enjoyed it or not.

We then had to decide on a book. I’m still finishing my A to Z Challenge so I suggested a novel who’s author’s surname begins with Y – the letter I had left to find. Everyone agreed, but decided I had to find the novel.

Hmmmm. Author whose surname begins with Y. Not that many. The library wasn’t that helpful, but Waterstones was. Especially when I found an author called Banana Yoshimoto. Now, I’m not saying I chose it for the name Banana, but it helped. Amrita the book we chose sounded good too.

So, currently reading Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto. Then The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. Then I have to read an X for the A – Z Challenge, then I think we’ll get to 2012, and the reading starts again, with new challenges too 😉

(Untitled Blog)

I need to stay away from Facebook. It’s bad for me. Well, it’s bad for my writing. I’ve been saying for weeks that it is my life at the moment that’s conspiring against me from writing and blogging, and for a while it was. But this week, it’s definitely been Facebook. Or more specifically the games on there. I am obsessed with Bubble Spinner. It’s like a game I was obsessed with a uni – which I’ve totally forgotten the name of. I think I’ve got an obsessive personality (apparently it runs in families, and my dad totally has – I had no hope!)

I finished Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan yesterday. I loved it. During the first half, I spent most of the time questioning why I was enjoying it and reading it, when the topic was so nasty and was pretty gory. But the way it’s written just draws you in, and I loved the characters. This book is the final in a trilogy – I’ve not read the first two, but I really want to go back and read them (when I’m not doing an A to Z challenge).  The MCs in the first and second are siblings of one of the MCs in Fear No Evil so I kind of know them, althoug I’m not as keen to read them as I would be if it was the same MC  (Dillon the MC in this one is awesome – you know if it was a film you’d totally fancy him).

I’ve just realised I’m totally behind with my reviews for books for both the A to Z challenge and the Mystery & Suspense challenge. Hmmm. Will have to rectify that sometime. Maybe I’ll wait until I have the week off and catch up then. So far I’ve read 2 for the Mystery & Suspense and A and B for the alphabet one. Or more technically A and A and B. I’m just about to start another B… oops… But… it’s also another for the M&S challenge, so all good. I guess. Kind of.

That paragraph I wrote about Fear No Evil was almost a book review. Hmmmm. Might have to use that!

The next book I’m going to read is Linwood Barclay’s Fear the Worst. I bought it last weekend, but don’t have a clue what it’s about. I bought it totally on the author’s reputation. I’ve read two of his books and loved them, so when I saw another I had to have it.

Imagine… being an author whose books people buy on the knowledge of your writing. Cecelia Ahern, whose book The Book of Tomorrow I read earlier in the month, is the same – I picked that up because I knew I had to read more of her writing if it was available. It didn’t matter what it was about. Marian Keyes, Jane Green, Lisa Jewell and Dan Brown are some of those people. There are more, I know there are more, but I can’t think of them now. 

Ok, I’m off to bed – I have another full day of packing and moving stuff across London (literally all the way across – from North West to South East – we must be nuts!)

Not Writing, but Moving

Well nearly moving. I’m currently looking for somewhere to move to. Do you know how much effort it takes? I really didn’t remember. I was so lucky with my last place as my best mate’s flatmate moved out, so I moved straight in. It’s three and a half years since I last looked for somewhere, and the market certainly wasn’t like this back then! I wasn’t expecting this!

I took a day off yesterday, initially it was for a hangover, but when that didn’t materialise I thought I’d use it for flat hunting. It was 17.00 just as I was leaving the house for some evening viewings that I realised I should have done some writing. 5 PM! Shocking.

I see writing the same as dieting at the moment – I’ve too much on my plate with the move (well trying to find somewhere to move to) I’m not going to beat myself up about not doing any. Tonight is the first night I’ve been in and had a chance to blog for about a week, so I should look positively that when I get a chance to do it I am. Not sure about the actual writing of fiction though. Uh…

One thing I’m really good at the moment is reading. For some reason I seem to be doing lots of travelling (I guess house hunting round London does that), and reading is what I do on the tube. I’ve done my first novel for the Mystery & Suspense Reading challenge and the first for the A-Z Challenge.

At some point, I’ll update the pages for the challenges with the books I’ve read, and the ones that are on my list to read.

For the A-Z Challenge I’ve decided I’m going to read the 26 books in alphabetical order (author’s last name) but then on the side I’ll read other books. I guess the Mystery books can be part of the A-Z Challenge or not. Either way is good.
The book I’m reading at the moment is Cecelia Ahern’s The Book of Tomorrow. I’ve wanted to read it because it’s by her since I heard about it. But, although I’ve been excited about reading it, I’ve also not been. Her first couple of books (PS I Love You and Where Rainbows End) were amazing. I truly loved them and think they are among the best chick lit novels ever written. I’m pretty sure I’d go as far as to say PS I Love You is THE BEST chick lit novel I’ve ever read. But, then her books started getting a little… fantasy-ish. They’re still really good, but I’m not a fantasy person. I don’t want to read about a place lost things go, or imaginary friend that an adult has. Having said that though, I have enjoyed these books when I read them. Hence me wanting to read this.

I’m just under half way through now. In the beginning I found it quite hard to get into. The MC is quite spoilt and I didn’t really like her. But now I’m getting to like her, and the book is getting really good. See, I’m not a big fantasy person, but I like this kind of thing.

Right, off to bed. Another fun filled day of flat hunting and viewing is ahead of me tomorrow – yay!