Tag Archive | The Book of Tomorrow

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!

Advertisements

(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!

Old Book, New Book and Still No Writing

I finished Stephen King’s On Writing last week, and have now started reading another book.

On Writing: what can I say? I loved it, I learnt loads, and it really really made me want to write more. When I say more, I couldn’t really be writing any less at the moment so maybe that should say ‘it really made me want to write.’ Honestly when he was talking about writing, I was getting really excited about it myself.

I just don’t know what my problem is. I really want to, but there’s just something stopping me. To be honest over the last few days it has honestly been time. Tonight is my first night at home since last Thursday (after being ‘stranded’ in hotels earlier in the week because of a power cable problem causing no electricity in the flat, and a very busy social life) so when I got in tonight (an hour early thanks to a site visit finishing early) I had domestic stuff to do. Sigh.

My plan to try to do some writing during my lunch hour is being wrecked at the moment by being so busy at work. Yesterday I stopped just to get a sandwich from the canteen and to write a really quick blog. Maybe 15 mins max. Hopefully I’ve cleared enough stuff to enable me to have a lunch break again, and get into the habit of writing then.

I’m going to try really hard to do some tomorrow night. I’m not going out, so should be able to do some. It’s Fiction Friday the day after, so I can do that piece. Maybe something else.

That went a bit off topic of On Writing didn’t it. I’d love to be able to share half of what he said in it, but I’d much rather suggest you go read it if you haven’t. My step mum loved it and she’s not a writer, so even if you’re not a writer I’d suggest you go read it. If you do want to read about anything in it, I couldn’t help but blogging about a few things a week or so ago, so take a look at this.

As I said earlier, I’m now reading another book. This is really exciting as it’s the first book for my A to Z challenge and for my Mystery and Suspense Challenge. Jeff Abbott’s A Kiss Gone Bad (as you can see from my side bar). A for Abbott because I’m going to read the books in the order of the alphabet. So far (about page 20) I’m enjoying it. Which is good considering I’d never heard of it, and only really picked it up because it was cheap and fitted the model of Thriller & Suspense novels for my 2010  challenge. I’d heard of Fear and Panic (two of his other books), but from the names I thought they were horror so stayed well away. Obviously I can’t say how much I’ll like the rest of the book, but from the bit I’ve read, I’m glad I picked up this book!

I’m looking forward to this 26 book challenge for the A-Z challenge. But, I have a little problem. I’m reading A. Jeff Abbott. But, on my bedside table, I have another book. A book whose author’s surname also begins with A. Damn. It’s Cecelia Ahern’s The Book of Tomorrow. It’s been on my TBR list for ages and I finally got it for Christmas. I don’t want to wait until I’ve read 26 other books before I read it. So, I’ve decided, not all the books I read this year will be for the challenge. I’m hoping to read more than 26 anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much. I do like the fact I’m going to go A-A-B… and so on. I’m almost tempted to do a double A-Z challenge (2 As, 2 Bs, 2 Cs etc), but I’d like to do something other than read this year, and I don’t know if I’d be able to if I was trying to read 52 books. Not when we’re pretty much done with 1/12 of the year!

Right I’m off to watch a film. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking I should be writing not watching a film. But I’m not going to. After all the housework I’ve done, and how busy I’ve been at work the last 2 weeks, I think I deserve a bit of R&R! Tomorrow. I promise.