Tag Archive | Trans AM

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!

Trans AM by Rob Ryan – review

Jim Barry is a family man and proud of it. He’s already begun educating his five-year-old son Tommy on the finer points of ball games. But when a tragic accident at a kids’ practice session leaves another boy dead, the bereaved father decides to seek his own special brand of restitution. Unless Jim and his wife Belle hand over Tommy as a replacement, Stefan Sebastyen swears he will kill them all. And pretty soon they realise that this is a guy who’s more than capable of keeping his word. With their backs to the wall, it’s Belle who comes up with a desperate plan to save her family…

I bought this book years and years ago from somewhere because I thought it sounded great. The problem  (pretty normal one for me) was that I bought newer ones before I got a chance to read it. This challenge gave me an excuse to pick it up.

Like some others I’m reviewing this week, I read it months ago, so I can’t give a detailed review of it (I promise I’ll get better at that next year!), but what I can tell you is that I loved it!

There are 2 main storylines in the book, and I had an idea of how they were going to come together, and I was right. While you should hate some people because of what they did, you can sympathise with why and so you don’t hate them – which is weird.

The story was great and kept me gripped from almost the beginning. The only problem I had with it was me skipping ahead at the very end and missing something very important. It happened in just one paragraph and I’d skipped it, so I had to go back and read it. Then I couldn’t believe it happened so had to re read it. Shocked is not strong enough a word!

All in all – brilliant. If I see another Rob Ryan book in the future I’ll definitely be picking it up!

Another Weekend Away?

Yep, I’m away again this weekend. This time up at the ”in-laws” (not really cause we’re not married, but you know what I mean) for a family wedding. A family wedding tonight, but a shopping spree this afternoon. Woop!

We’re up here for the whole of the long bank holiday weekend, but as it’s a family house, I should be able to find some time to write, I hope. I guess I should be doing it now, but blogging and uploading photos to Facebook are much more appealing 😉 God it’s good to have the internet up here.

I can’t believe how much I’m struggling NOT having internet. I feel totally cut off from the world, even though I can get it on my phone, it’s just not the same, and I really hate typing on my phone, so don’t do all that much. I should do, but I don’t.

We’re hopefully going to sort out getting the internet at home soon. It’s easy to say that, but then we forget and then it gets to the end of the month and we don’t have money to spare on connection etc (this is what I’m told, I didn’t think it cost that much, if anything to set up – but I think he thinks he wants to get Sky too, so it’s not a basic thing. I think? I dunno!).

So anyway. My goal is to write at least 1000 words this weekend. That’s really quite doable. Maybe not today cause we’re just about  to go out and then when we get back I’ll have to get ready (it takes about 2 hours to make my silly wavy hair curly, and I’ve got it in my head I’m curling today!).

I’m reading Trans AM by Rob Ryan (R on the A to Z Challenge). I’ve not really had the chance to get into it too much, but hope I’ll also be able to do that. Of course we need to catch up with the Mr’s family and friends, so maybe I’m setting myself too many goals, but I guess it’s good to aim high!

Happy Weekend everyone!

Sunday 14th ROW80 Check-In

Another check in day, and another check in (again writing up on Sunday, and I’ll post when I get internet tomorrow). Awesome. Just a shame about the writing.

I’ve done nothing. Nowt, nada, nothing.

I don’t know why, but I just can’t seem to get into it since I’ve been back. I was ill last week, so not feeling that up to it, but it was more than that – I didn’t even think about writing. Yesterday I should’ve done some, but again, I didn’t really think about it until it was too late and I headed out to a wedding. Today I’ve been hungover, then since I started feeling better I’ve done a full roast dinner, and baked a cake.

I was also going to go on a diet this week. My boyfriend said I had to have no excuses on eating bad things – I always make excuses to be able to let myself have a chocolate bar here, muffin or something there etc etc. I’m just the same with writing. I find a reason and go with it. I need to have NO EXCUSES this week with writing and the diet. NO EXCUSES.

I think I’ll start tonight by typing up what I wrote in Sweden last week, that should work by reigniting my interest in the story. I hope.

Although I’m not writing, I’m reading! I’m still going with the A-Z Challenge, and have just finished P. Of course, I’ve not finished L or O and have had to miss Q. L is a book that I’m a little embarrassed to read on the tube – Girl with a One Track Mind by Abby Lee. It’s chockablock full of sex, and I don’t want people reading that over my shoulder, I’d be so embarrassed. I’m reading it at home, but it’s taking a while.

O is the book I left on the airplane. I need to go to the library to get it replaced, then re-borrow it, but until I get paid, I can’t afford it (rubbish eh!). That’s on my list for next week, then I’ll get back to O sometime.

I’ve missed Q completely cause I finished P last night and really want to start another one on the way to work tomorrow. I’m a little torn on my R though.

I’ve got a choice of Trans AM by Rob Ryan, or Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger by Heidi Rice. I’ve had Trans AM for years and not read it, it sounds really good, and I’ve not read a thriller for ages and really fancy it. But then I went to a Mills & Boon workshop with Heidi Rice a few months ago, so kind of really want to read that too.

Writing this I’ve just realised which one.

It has to be Trans AM. SSSS is a book I should read just before I edit Italian Infatuation, to get my mind into the Mills & Boon place. Trans AM then. Can’t wait.

P was brilliant. It was Still Thinking of You by Adele Parks. Of course it was going to be great, I’ve enjoyed every single thing I’ve read of hers. I want to read another of hers – now! In some ways I’d love this A-Z challenge thing to be over!