Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Books I've Read in 2009 - December

Here's the list so far, thought I would add it now rather than forgetting half of it at the end of the month.

76. Wolf on the Fold by Judith Clarke

Kenny is 14 and his father has just died. He now has to get a job so that he can keep his family together. Something happens that will change the way Kenny looks at the world. This fantastic story is told with six different tales interwoven together. Told through the generations of Kenny’s family, it shows what happens when youth and adulthood collide. I thought it was very well written.

77. 48 Shades of Brown by Nick Earls

Quite a good Australian story about Dan, who is spending a year living with his cousin Jacq and her roommate Naomi. Dan is finishing his last year of high school

78. Little Fur: A Fox Called Sorrow by Isobelle Carmody

I remember reading Isobelle Carmody when I was little, I’ve always enjoyed entering her fantasy world, Little Fur is no different, and I’m reading the third in the series now. Although Carmody has still been quite heavy handed with the ‘humans are the ruin of the earth’, I have really enjoyed this junior series. I think that despite me not liking that aspect of the books, it still sends a positive message about what we’re doing wrong. The series, with its secret wilderness full of creatures, reminds me of animals of farthing wood. For this adventure Little Fur and friend Ginger, two ferrets, a rat and Sorrow, a fox that wants to die have to journey to the Underth, to discover an evil troll kings plans.

79. Little Fur: A Mystery of Wolves by Isobelle Carmody

Little Fur rescues a wolf Greyson, as payment he agrees to take Little Fur deep into the mountains to look for Ginger and the ferrets from the last story. Along the way, Little Fur learns the story of her parents, and elf prince and troll princess. She got a green pendant from her mother and a grey cloak from her father.

80. Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, she Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouse by Paul Carter.

This was hilarious – I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. Carter has a fantastic way of telling his story. He makes even the scariest situation seem funny.

81. Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

This was a well written, if rather chilling story. It’s scary to think there are actual children out in the world like JJ. But it raises a very interesting topic – can people really change?

When JJ was 10, she killed her best friend. The story is told in flashbacks by ‘Alice’. Although I knew what was going to happen, it didn’t lessen the impact, Cassidy has taken a very real subject and rather than sensationalizing it, she has written an honest yet unflinching novel.

82. Spy High, Episode 1: The Frankenstein Factory by A. J Butcher

I’ve been listening to this on Playaway and so far, I’m not terrible impressed. The series is set in the US, but this edition is from Bolinda, an Australian company – so its bad American accents all round. But while the narrator is reading the story he has a skippy accent.

83. Spy High, Episode 2: The Chaos Connection by A. J. Butcher.

Against my better judgement I listened to the second Spy High book, the narrator and his crap American accents don’t improve, which is kinda distracting. Who says Van-ness-sirrr? I mean really, even I can do a better accent that this guy. The actual story isn’t too bad as long as you suspend all belief that somehow, fully trained spy/army adults can’t take care of themselves. But 6 teenagers with limited experience in everything but being annoying teenagers, can manage to pull through and not get dead. There are the general grievances between Bond Team members and other students that add a slightly more realistic edge to the series. Overall, it’s not a bad series, just put your suspend reality pants on and go along for the ride.

84. The Song of an Innocent Bystander by Ian Bone

The story is told in alternating sections, Freda, at different ages, the hostage taker, John Wayne Grady and Napkin, which is another hostage. I like how the story unfolds, although it is quite slow in places, a slow build one could say.

85. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The first love triangle with only two people. I quite liked this, although in some places the writing is annoying, particularly when she is talking in the ‘WE’ (Wanda and Melanie together). Overall, I enjoyed the book, it’s no masterpiece, but then neither are her previous books. It has of course been left open for a sequel, and considering the popularity of Meyer at the moment I wouldn’t be surprised if this is made into a movie.

86. Serving Love by Annmarie McKenna, K. A Mitchell and Mary Winter

This is an anthology of gay M/M novellas. I liked McKennas the most, along with the sexy bit, she has good writing and an actual plot, which some romance novels lack.

87. Surrender by Kimberley Zant

This is the first of Zant's I've read. I was buying some other books on Amazon and saw this in my reccommended reading, I enjoyed it, it was hawt, good story, although rather unbelievable (at least in my world it is!).

88. This is not a drill by Paul Carter

This is the second book by Carter and is just as funny and well written as his first. He has the talent of making even the most mundane story interesting.

89. Dreamwalker by Isabelle Carmody

This graphic novel was beautifully illustrated and the story was great, Carmody def has a way with words. I love how Ken's notes are written throught the book, it's a nice touch.

90. How to be bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle

This was a fun book, three girls driving through Florida, seeing the sights and learning about life and each other (corny much!), as the blurb says: "Sometimes it doesn't matter where you're going, since getting there is half the fun."

91. Atalanta by Justine & Ron Fontes

Graphic novel about the Greek myth. I liked it and it's a way to learn about myths and legends.

92. Demeter and Persephone by Justine and Ron Fontes

I liked this myth better, (storywise), both were quick reads, but they still seemed like you got the whole story. Hoping that work has the other four in the series.

93. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden.

Not sure why I haven't read this series until now, enjoyed the first book a lot. I remember having to read So much to tell you for school & I love his other books. I'll be interested to see what they do with the movies.

94. Spy High 3: The Serpent Scenario

Surprisingly, this was better than the last two. The writing was better and I enjoyed the story more than the previous books.

Books I've Read in 2009 - November

64.Night of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy.

This is the third of hers I’ve read and this didn’t annoy me nearly as much as the first. Just going on what I’ve read and the movie I’ve seen (Circle of Friends), she has a formula and sticks to it – basically, there are is group of people or girls, fleeing something. Bad stuff happens to A. show them it’s really not that bad at home or B. they need to move on, perhaps with one of the new characters they’ve met). As with the first book I read there was the VERY annoying girl who couldn’t see that the man she had chosen was a complete prat – either because in true family saga style, they are already married, thus cheating, have done something to hurt those they love, they like to beat their wife/girlfriend. Although it sounds like I don’t enjoy Binchy, I actually think her books are well written, it’s just her characters and the plot lines that tend to make me cranky.

65. Persuasion by Jane Austen

I’ve seen the mini series, I’ve watched the movie and now...drum roll please… I’ve read the book! This is my second favorite Austen book, I love Anne and Frederick together, all the angsty stolen glances, and it’s fully of Austen’s wit.

66. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

This was quite good, another teen verse novel, I’m about to read the follow up to this title. This is all about first love, second love and the sometimes rocky relationship that you have with your parents. I found it insightful, funny, it was easy and fun to read.

67. Free Fall by Robert Crais

This is 8th? in the Elvis Cole series, I’m really enjoying Crais’ books, I find them hilarious, the writing is strong and I’m liking the character development of EC and JP (although I’m not sure if we’ll every learn too much from JP, he keeps it all hidden with those glasses). This adventure sees the boys getting themselves in trouble with the LAPD and the 8 deuces gang.

68. Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka

I actually started listening to this on a Playaway, but it stuffed up so I hade to read the end. This was a little weird, I didn’t mind it, pretty much the same I felt when I read the Tractor book for BC, the dog section on the Playaway was weird also, as his POV is all loudly whispered and very fast, in the book it’s written in capitals. However, it is effective in getting across the excitement a dog feels going about its doggy bid’ness.

69. Emma by Jane Austen

This could possibly be one of my least favorite of the Austen novels. I don’t particularly like Emma, which makes it hard I guess to fully appreciate or like the character.

70. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

If you haven’t guessed I’m on an Austen kick, I’ve never read any of the other books, apart from Pride and Prejudice, so I though I’d give them a go. It’s also part of my plan to read the 1001 books to read before you die. I’ll have to get reading if I’m ever going to finish – I’ve only read about 10 on the list so far.

71. What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

This was a follow up to What my mother doesn't know, it's a verse novel as well and told from Robin's POV, the male character from the first book. Great writing, captures being a teen well.

72. Betrayed by P.C. + Kristen Cast

This is the 2nd in the House of Night series. This is part of the explosion of teenage vampire novels that have cropped up since Twilight. While I have enjoyed the first two books and the writing is improved from the first one (Marked), it’s still no masterpiece. I’ve not read any of P.C Cast’ other books, but I think her daughter is putting her stamp on the series and that’s where the annoying part comes in. I quite like the main character of Zoey Redbird, she’s now become the head of the Dark Daughters after her showdown with Aphrodite. She’s learning about her new powers and trying to accept all the changes. From my distant memories, the interaction between different groups at the school is pretty spot on, but really, that stuff doesn’t change too much, it doesn’t matter what school you go to There are six books in the series so far and while they do annoy on occasion, they also make me giggle and I like the general storyline, characters, so I’m going to finish the series.

73. Undine by Penni Russon

I enjoyed this beautiful tale and have always been fascinated by magic and the pull of the ocean, which is what Undine feels. I remember wishing I was a mermaid when I was little and on occasion I still think it would be awesome to be able to swim for as long as I wanted underwater. Russon weaves a delightful tale of first love, magic, family and coming of age. Her writing is almost lyrical in places and I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy.

74. That Was Then, This Is Now by S. E. Hinton

I was putting books away last week and saw this. I’ve not read it for ages, so decided to take it home on the weekend. I still love Hinton’s writing, I remember reading her books a number of times growing up and I was so glad that they still read the same for me. I know that isn’t always the case with childhood memories, (I remember when they released Kimba the White Lion on DVD – such a disappointment!) I love the way she really seems to capture the feeling of the small town where it’s set, the discontent that the characters feel. The ending between Bryon and Mark is so sad. I’ll now have to hunt down her other books, I read The Outsiders for Uni last year, but haven’t read her others since school.

No doubt I’ll be reading a few of my old favorites, we’ve just had a huge withdrawing bee at work and a whole heap of books I read eons ago were taken off, so I grabbed them all in the near future.

75. Shadows in the Twilight by Henning Mankell

This is the sequel to A Bridge to the Stars, Joel will soon be twelve. After he is struck by a bus, but is unharmed he believes that a miracle has happened. He now has to find a way to repay the miracle. Again, Mankell has written a brilliant story. I love Joel’s view of the world, how his imagination works.


Books I've Read in 2009 - October

Sigh, back to Australia and reality.

58. Prey by Rachel Vincent – Book four werecats.

I had to wait until we got to London to get this! And it didn't disappoint me. This continues Faythe and Matt's story, with

59. The Quickie by James Patterson

Quite predicatble, although I still enjoyed it. I do like Patterson, although I’ve not read a lot of Patterson’s books. I do prefer his Cross series more.

60. Not a Star by Nick Hornby

61. Daniel X by James Patterson

Fantastic graphic novel, liked the illustrations.

62. My Soul to take by Rachel Vincent

Good teen book, with Banshees and first love - what a combo. I quite liked Vincent turn at YA.

63. Heroes Vol. 1

I think I actually like reading this more than watching the TV show, lest repetition and lots of other characters and stories that are not on the show. I also like the back story that I’ve gotten from reading them. This is the first graphic novels in the series, I’m waiting for volume two now.


Books I've Read 2009 - September

Here's my holiday reading list, finished mostly in Spain, it was lovely and I would like to go again. One day.

45. Reinventing Julia by Muriel Jensen

This was meh really, not fantastic, but since I didn't have much else to read I kept reading. Julia was quite unbelievble, I didn't really like the character, the plot was also choppy and all over the place.
Book one in the Forrester Square series

46. Elusive Dawn by Kay Hooper

47. On Her Doorstep by Kay Hooper

48. Return Engagement by Kay Hooper

49. Stroke of Fortune by Christine Rimmer - Lone Star Country Club

50. Staying at Daisy's by Jill Mansell

51. Kiss Me Quick by Margaret Moore

52. Between Duty and Desire by Leanne Banks

53. The Marriage Medallion by Christine Rimmer

54. Driven to Distraction by Dixie Browning

55. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

This book was fantastic, enjoyed it a lot, which I’m not really surprised about as I love Pan’s Labyrinth and Del Toro’s take on Hell Boy. I also like that it pays homage to the original vampire myths (coffin full of dirt), and that all vampires come from the ‘Old Ones’. I had goose bumps a couple of times, I read this on the way to Bilbao and made it cover to almost cover (if only my bus trip was 20min longer!), I didn’t want to put it down. The suspense was fantastic, it was scary and I’m really looking forward to the next two instalments. I think what makes this work so well is the realism – who isn’t worried about a virus spreading and not being able to do anything.

56. Truth or Dare by Jane Ann Krentz – Book 2 Whispering Springs

I liked this, good action and the story was fun.

57. Touch of Darkness by Christina Dodd

Book two of the Darkness Chosen series.

This is the second book by Carter and is just as funny and well written as his first. He has the talent of making even the most mundane story interesting.

Books I've Read in 2009 - August

And roll on August...

39. The Hunter’s Prey by Diane Whiteside

This is part of the Texas Vampires series and was quite good, I’m looking forward to reading more from the series.

40. Rogue by Rachel Vincent

Book 2 in the Werecats series

41. Pride by Rachel Vincent

This is number three in the Werecats series

42. The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The first love triangle with only two people. I quite liked this, although in some places the writing is annoying, particularly when she is talking in the ‘WE’ (Wanda and Melanie together). Overall, I enjoyed the book, it’s no masterpiece, but then neither are her previous books. It has of course been left open for a sequel, and considering the popularity of Meyer at the moment I wouldn’t be surprised if this is made into a movie.

43. The Woman in Black (BC)

This was quite good, it focuses on a group of women that work at a department story in Melbourne.

44. The Given Day by Dennis Lehane (BC)

I enjoyed this book, but gads it took a long time to read, mainly because I had lots of other stuff I really wanted to read.

The book club bizzo isn't in the right month but meh.

Books I've Read in 2009 - July

Here's the next lot of books I've read, I'll have to fill in the blurbs etc later.

36. Token by Alisa Kwitney & Joelle Jones.

Fantastic! Great GN about not fitting in, first love, and even though it wasn’t in colour I put my snobbery aside and read it anyway – in one sitting. Fantastic illustration by Jones and Kwitneys story was fantastic, I’m hoping there’s more where this came from.

37. Last Light by Andy McNab.

This is the second book of his I’ve read and again really enjoyed it. From a military standpoint, I’m assuming it’s fairly correct (he was in British Army), but his stories are also really funny. I’ve read this out of sequence, which wasn’t a big deal, small changes in characters, but as its part of the back story it doesn’t interfere with enjoying the book.

38. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.

Heartbreaking, this was filled with such anger and love, beautiful writing and I just loved the realness, I sound cornier than a field but just fantastic! It’s the first GG that I’ve read, would love to try more.

I'm being all lazy with this now as it's nearly the end of the year. I'll have to make it a resolution to keep my lists up to date next year. (Cause yes, I'm that kinda cool).

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Books I've read in 2009 - June

I've taken off the widget off my side bar also, as you now have to pay to use the content. Which I don't have a problem with, but I'm not terribly fussed about either, hence...the removal. But onward and upward peeps, here's the june book list.

27. Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, but Gentlemen Marry Brunettes Anita Loos - This was fun, the main character, doesn't really have any talent, she just pretty and uses her looks to get what she wants, with amusing results. As a feminist, some might be offended, but if you're dumb enough to fall for it too bad I say.

28. Wicked Pleasure by Lora Leigh - This is part of the Bound Hearts series, so needless to's hawt! Jaci Wright has been running from the Falladay twins, Chase and Cam, for seven years now. So this book is all about what happens when they finally catch her. Despite what many think about romance/erotica, the story is good, I like the characters, they're developed well, which serves the series well, as they often pop up in other titles.

29. Only Pleasure by Lora Leigh - The other Falladay brother gets a chance at his lady now. This rather steamy romp also has a few apperances by Khalid, who I think will be the next guy to get a book in the Bound Hearts series. His character was a welcome relief in this book as for the most part this is quite disappointing. The character of Chase didn't resemble the character that was seen in 'Wicked Pleasure'.

Previously, Falladay was a man who was comfortable in his own skin, he was happy, whereas his brother was the moody tempremental one who couldn't deal. This time around, it's Chase that has issues, which is annoying to say the least. This definately was poorer quality than what we usually see with Leigh. I can't help but think personal issues got in the way of her writing (the author was going through a separation), as Mavrick, from another series was also less than stellar.

30. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroder.

I really enjoyed this. The basic plot is girl meets boy, they fall in love, boy dies, then comes back to haunt girl. Because she’s still in love with him she continues the relationship, weird yes. Not only does she have issues with facing the fact that he’s dead, she also blames herself for his death (they had a dare thingy going and the last dare was cliff diving, from which – obviously he didn’t survive).

I gotta admit, I love the verse novel, it’s a fresh way of telling a story, not often seen with adult novels, it’s mainly in teenage section that I’ve come across them. Check out Breaktime by Aiden Chambers, another fantastic verse novel and Love Ghosts and nose hairs is another great Australian? one.

This is Lisa Schroder’s first book –

31. The King of Torts by John Grisham.

I don’t mind JG, but he can get repetitive and there’s only so much law talk I can take, so it’s actually the first one of his I’ve read in a long time five dolla. Basically, Clay, who works for the Public Defenders Office, gets approached with the deal of a lifetime, become a tort lawyer – make lots of money in an unsavory manner, generally by stiffing your client. Clay says yes, makes millions of dollars, spends millions of dollars then loses millions of dollars. Grisham is generally a good storyteller, I do sometimes get bored, this wasn’t as thrillery as some of his earlier novels, I loved The Client and The Pelican Brief. I haven’t read any of his non lawyer ones, I did start A painted house, but haven’t finished it yet. Not so much because I don’t like it, more that I have other stuff I would rather read.

32. A Bridge to the Stars by Henning Mankell.

Joel lives with his Father Samuel in Sweden. His mother has abandon him and at night he sneaks out of the house to look for a dog that he has seen from his window. One night he discovers that his father’s bed is empty, he has found a girlfriend in Sarah, the local barmaid. Which Joel resents, he and another boy for a secret society and wreak havoc on the towns no nosed lady. As Winter moves to Spring Joel discovers more about life, culminating in an event on the bridge

I thought it was beautifully well written, I’ve not read one of his adult novels (this is his first young adult effort).

33. Beast by Ally Kennen.

Stephen has a secret pet he keeps in a reservoir near where he lives, it’s one of the last things his father gave him. He’s been in and out of foster homes most his life. His mother is in a mental institution, his father lives in the forest and his brother is gone. About to be kicked out of the latest home, he decides he needs to kill the ‘beast’, he asks his father for help. He forms an attachment to Eric, who has his own welding/metal business and is a father figure to Stephen. The beast is both animal and a euphemism for all that’s gone wrong in Stephens life. By getting rid of the beast, he’s finally free to begin again, without the past coming back to haunt him.

I thought this was well written, engaging and I wanted to find out what happened. The mix of danger and excitement and the psychological aspects all tie the story together.

34. Little Fur: The Legend of Little Fur by Isobel Carmody.

This was a beautiful junior novel, really cute (not really the word I’m thinking of) characters. The story isn’t original, LOTR to name one, but Carmody is such a fantastic writer, that it doesn’t matter. I’ve been a fan of her novel since I was a kid and read Obertwynth. I did find some of it a bit hinky and it may well go over some kids heads, but there’s a strong moral woven into the story – basically we’re killing the earth and a. we’re doing nothing to stop it and b. we don’t care. I found that aspect a bit patronizing.

35. Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristen Cast. - This is the first in the House of Night series. I didn't mind it although, and I think it's the daughters influence, but the writing is annoying sometimes. The characters say/do immature things and while I know it's a teen series, it doesn't mean the readers should be treated like idgets. I did like it enought to keep reading, there are 6 in the series so far.

K, leaving it here today, will have to add the next few months of books tomorrow. Coming up review of New Moon and Where The Wild Things Are :) Awesome.


Books I've Read in 2009 - May

Well I've very neglectful of the blog since I've been back, so I though I would at least try and add the books that I've been reading throughout the year. So here goes. Ranther than do a review of each one I'll keep it simple and do a couple of lies for each.

19. The Divide by Nicholas Evans - Fantastic, this is Evans' latest. His books always make me want to pick up and move to Montana, his writing is just so descriptive. This is a family/mystery, with just a splash of eco terrorism. Loved it!

20. The Watchmen by Robert Crais - First in the Joe Pike series, this also has a cameo from Elvis Cole, who Joe works with in his books (around 10 in the EC series). I did start at the wrong end, but it doesn't have a huge impact of the story. I found Crais' writing very funny and as this was a playaway, the guy who read it, really added to the story. It could just be me and my very black humour - but this was hilarious.

21. Rural Bliss by Lou Wakefield - Not a favourite of mine, a few of the characters grated a little. I did contemplate not finishing, but pursevered as there were elements that I did enjoy. Typical chick lit really.

22. Nauti Intentions by Lora Leigh - Yay! The next Nauti installment. I enjoy Leigh's series a lot, she has action - of both kinds :), humour and alpha males, which are ever so genrously displayed on the cover! I love the characters from this series, larger than life and not willing to stand by and let someone get hurt, even if it means they're going to pay for it.

23. Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Bream - This was another playaway and I'll admit, if I'd had to read this in print, I don't think I would've picked it up. Glad i did though, this is what the movie Gladiator is based on, which I didn't mind. I thought Bream's writing was strong and I did enjoy the story more, it seemed imo, to be slightly more historically correct.

24. The Travel Writer by Simone Lazoo (Book Club) - I didn't particulary like the title for this months book club. The female characters all seem rather vapid, don't really stand up for them selves and the male characters are portrayed as 'bad/unsavory'. Rather disappointing.

25. The Life and Times of Michael K by J. M. Coetzee - This is the first I've read of this author, I was being all 'Coetzee's one of those brilliant authors I really should read'. I agree - he is brilliant, but the going was tough, his style is very dry. And while I did enjoy the book, I didn't enjoy reading it...if that makes sense.

26. Frantic by Katherine Howell - This was quite good, set in Melbourne (or maybe Sydney), the main character is a paramedic, she comes off shift to find her husband shot in the head (he survives), and their son is taken by someone, who may or may not be involved in shady dealings with the husband - who's investigating a bank robbery, which is supposed to be pulled off by a group of police officers. That explanation maked it sound terribly difficult to understand, it's not, it a rather enjoyable light thriller/mystery.

Well that was May, stay tuned for the next exciting adventures in the land of books.


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