Saturday, 26 July 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 17 - Geek Girl

Geek Girl (Geek Girl, #1)Geek Girl by Holly Smale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! I loved all of the characters and the development of them. I also loved that it wasn't the typical geek girl turned mean girl story.

The chapters in this book are quite small and this made it a very easy book to pick up if you only have 10 mins to spare if you are the type who likes to put a book down at the end of the chapter, although, once you have picked it up, you will find that you don't want to put it down, end of chapter or not!

I was well and truly hooked on this book. I found myself literally laughing out loud at times, to the point that my hubby was even commenting on it! I really can't wait to read the next book in the series.

View all my reviews

Jackie. x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 16 - The Judas Scar

The Judas ScarThe Judas Scar by Amanda Jennings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It was sent to me as part of the Britmums book club and from the cover, I wasn't quite sure what type of book it would be.

I really liked the characters Will and Harmony and although I did like Lukes character, I would have liked to of known more about his adult life, although I'm thinking that keeping him a mystery is part of the suspense of the book.

The theme of bullying running through the book is something that most people can relate to, and as someone who was bullied at school, I think it was done well, especially in how it highlights the effect on your adult life.

I found this to be a well written book, which kept the mystery for most of the book. Quite often with these types of books, it is pretty transparent, but this one had plenty of surprises along the way.

A fantastic read and great for book clubs as there is plenty of discussions that could be had from it.

Jackie. x

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 15 - Watermelon

Watermelon (Walsh Family, #1)Watermelon by Marian Keyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. I have read Marian Keyes books before a long while ago and I had forgotten the subtle humor that she has.

I loved how honest Claire's narrative is and even that she seemed to go off on a tangent. I really liked how the story started and the pace of it was ok, but at times it felt a bit waffley. I felt like I really knew the characters and at times, I felt like shaking Claire and telling her to get a grip.

I was glad that she got a happy ever after, although I thought this was a bit rushed compared to the rest of the book.
All in all though, a thoroughly enjoyable book and I will most certainly pick out another 'Walsh family' book again.

Jackie. x

Sunday, 15 June 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 14 - Sweet Tempation

Sweet TemptationSweet Temptation by Lucy Diamond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a heartwarming story about three women, Maddies, Jess & Lauren who meet each other through their common goal to loose weight. Meeting at the local 'fatbusters' class, the three women form a close bond and end up supporting each other throughout life's ups and downs.

As a larger lady myself, and one who attends a weekly 'fat club', I love how truthful this is. My first thought when Maddie, Lauren or Jess described themselves was that these girls (or more so the author) haven't got a clue what being really big is, but as I continued to read, I realised that it doesn't matter if your a size 14 or a size 24, your insecurities about your weight and body are the same.

As I mainly read during my commute on the bus, I have had to stop reading a couple of times as I was getting emotional, especially through Maddie's story. I loved Jess's story as well and how confident she became as a person, not just through the weight loss, but from the support of the others.

I would recommend this to any women, whether they are dieting or not, as it's such a lovely story. Having lost 2 stone over the last 6 months, I am also going to take the advise of Alison, the fatbusters instructor and go out and get myself that charm bracelet (or rather necklace in my case)! ;-)

View all my reviews

Jackie. x

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 13 - Dracula

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It took me a while to read it, but I think that added to the beauty of it. Like most, I had obviously heard of Dracula, but had never read the story. The fact that it was written and based in I would guess the late 19th/early 20th century really adds to the drama of what the characters were going through.
I think this is a huge must read for anyone who loves vampire stories.

View all my reviews

Jackie. x

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 12 - Notes from an Exhibition

Notes from an Exhibition
Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this story and found it interesting in the way it was laid out by the author. Telling the story of the life of Rachel, the book starts the chapter with a description of an object or painting from Rachel's life, followed by the story from that period of time. The story is narrated from a number of different characters, including Rachel, her husband and her children.

I liked that the story tackles the subject of mental health, in that Rachel suffers from bi-polar disorder, both from modern times and also from the 70's when it was a very taboo subject.

I enjoyed seeing the story from the different sides. It was interesting to 'see' into the mind of someone with this condition, as well as hearing from those close to her and how it impacted on their lives.

Whilst I wouldn't put this down as a favourite, it was an enjoyable and interesting read.

Jackie. x

Thursday, 10 April 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 11 - Above All Things

Above All ThingsAbove All Things by Tanis Rideout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was sent this book to read as part of the Britmums book club. I wasn't sure what to expect from the book, as it's not something I would normally pick up, but I do like a love story and the 1920's, so I decided to give it a go. I'm so glad that I did! It wasn't until I was about 1/2 way into the book that I realised that it is a fictional book based on real historical events. I made the mistake of googleing George Mallory and of course, in doing so, I did spoil the ending a little for myself.

I loved the way the book focuses not just on George's side of the story, but also from Ruth's side as well. I did find Ruth's narration a little confusing in that she flits from telling a story to 'talking' to George, but I thought this also added to the emotional side of it. I also enjoyed reading Sandy's point of view as well.

I have never read or watched anything about mountaineering before, so I don't know how factual the technical side of the story is, but it felt realistic as to how they would have been feeling physically and emotionally.

In summary, this is a well written story with drama and romance added in. Whether you are interested in the story of George Mallory or just after a good book to read, this is a fantastic read.

Jackie. x

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 10 - Three Girls and a Baby

Three Girls and a Baby (Three Girls, #1)Three Girls and a Baby by Rachel Schurig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a lovely story about Ginny as she puts her life back together after splitting up with the love of her life. Finding herself pregnant, she has to come to terms with bringing up a baby on her own.
The story wasn't perfect and at times I found it a bit too descriptive, however, on the whole it was a nice easy read. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

View all my reviews

Jackie. x

Sunday, 23 March 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Books 6-9

As I haven't posted in a while, I thought it was probably a good idea to post the last few books I have read in one go!

Book 6

The Oyster CatcherThe Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It was a cheapie Kindle book, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised.
The story follows Fi after she is jilted at the alter and she takes the rented honeymoon camper van and ends up crashing in a small Irish seaside village. In order to earn a little cash and have a place to stay, Fi ends up taking on an assistant role with the local oyster farmer. A job she would never have dreamt of doing in her normal life and we read as she overcomes some of her greatest fears and adapts to village life.
It's a lovely, heartwarming tale that is a quick and easy read for any chick lit lovers.

Book 7

Rage Against the DyingRage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book club read for me and not the type of book I would normally choose.
The story follows Brigid, an ex FBI officer who comes of retirement after an old case of hers is re-opened.
The prologue of this book almost put me off completely, however, the book does get much better. It is well written and is very good at keeping you guessing as to who the killer is.

Book 8

Got You BackGot You Back by Jane Fallon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a freebie book that I got quite a while ago, that I never got around to reading.
It tells the story of Stephanie and Katie. Stephanie finds out that her husband James has been having an affair with Katie for the last year. Stephanie and Katie join forces to teach James a lesson.
I found this to be a nice, quick read. There are some funny bits in it, but I wouldn't class it as a comedy.

Book 9

Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have wanted to read a classic for a long time and chose this book as it's the ultimate love story. It has taken me nearly a year to read! I did love the story, but I found it very hard to read. I found that I was only able to read small parts at a time, so it was often used as my 'back up book' for times such as a bus journey or when waiting to be seen on an appointment. I did think it was quite slow going and resorted to watching the 6 part tv show to see if it was worth continuing with the book.
I am glad that I did so now, and from about 65% of the way in, I was hooked in a way that I didn't want to put it down. Today I read the last 30% or so in one go. Had the rest of the book read that easily, I think I could have completed it in a matter of a week or so, rather than a year!
As much as I enjoyed this book, I think I am going to stick to the movie versions of these period classics.

View all my reviews

Sunday, 26 January 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 5 - Necessary Lies

Necessary LiesNecessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a touching story about newbie social worker Jane and two of the families that she works with. The story is set in the 1950's-60's in rural America. The story alternates between Jane and one of her young clients Ivy. I really enjoyed reading this from both sides of the story.

I thought that the book was well written and it was a heartwrenching story. I wasn't aware of the eugenics programme before reading this book and it is heartbreaking to know that this story was based on thousands of real life stories like this.

I would recommend this book to anyone to read, but be warned, I read the last three/four chapters in tears!

Jackie. x

Saturday, 11 January 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 4 - Not Dreaming of You

Not Dreaming of You (Dreaming #1)Not Dreaming of You by Nina Cordoba
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a sweet story about Argentinean Kiki, who is looking for her perfect man, who was described to her in a dream when she was a teenager.

I found the story followed the typical chick-lit pattern, so was a little predictable. However, I found the book an amusing and enjoyable read. This is a great read for any rom-com lovers.

Jackie. x

Monday, 6 January 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 3 - Release Me

Release Me (Stark Trilogy, #1)Release Me by J. Kenner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a recommendation as I a fan of FSoG and Bared to You. I did enjoy the story, but was also quite disappointed in it. I don't know if it's just overkill, but I wanted something different to the typical 'damaged billionaire with major control issues'. If these books are anything to go by, I would be thinking that any super rich young, sexy billionaire has is a hugely damaged, controlling stalker when he finds a women he is interested in (who is also messed up in her own way). I'm going to be honest, I'm getting bored of this stereotype.

What I do like in this book is that Damien does show his softer side a bit more than the leading man in the other 2 books mentioned above. In fact, I would love to read a story of a nice, super sexy millionaire who is 'normal' and hot in bed, but hey ho, you can't always get what you want! I also like that on the whole, Nikki knows her own mind and isn't afraid (for the most part) to stand up for it. There were times when I felt that it was stupidly unrealistic, but then most of these types of books are.

The ending was pretty transparent and obvious. In fact, I would say the whole book is to be honest. On the whole though, it was a quick and easy read and there were enough good bits for me to like it, but I certainly don't love it.

Would I read the other 2 books of the trilogy? Probably. Will I go out and buy them straight away because I can't wait to carry it on? No.

Jackie. x

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 2 - The Chrysalids

The ChrysalidsThe Chrysalids by John Wyndham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a book club read for me, so not something I would normally pick up. After reading the description, I didn't think that I would like this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. I really enjoyed reading this and found it easy to read.

The story was really interesting and a unique picture of how the world might be in the future. It was only after it was pointed out at book club the probable reason for why the country is the way it is in the book that I really understood and appreciated it.

I did find the ending a little disappointing. I'm not quite sure what I want for the ending, but I wasn't expecting it to end the way it did.

All in all though, it was an enjoyable read and if you enjoy books of this genre, then I would recommend it.

Jackie. x

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book 1 - The Great Gatsby

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After all of the hype around the film of this book, I eventually gave in and watched it. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the film, so I thought I would give the book a chance to see if it changed my opinion.

Firstly, I have to point out that it took me about a fortnight to read, which for a relevantly small book is quite a while. I found that I could only read the book in small doses at a time. I didn't hate the story, but I found it difficult to keep up with and unrealistic.

Jackie. x

New Year, New Challenge!

Good afternoon everyone and a big HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!

Last year I challenged myself to read 50 books throughout 2013.  Unfortunately, I failed epically in this and only managed to read a total of 21 books.

With this in mind, I have set myself a slightly more realistic challenge of reading 25 books throughout 2014.  You can see my progress on this in the little widget there to the left.  I am hoping that with three different book clubs and my love of book series, I will smash my target this year!

Firstly I must finish The Great Gatsby.  For a pretty small book, it is taking me quite a while to finish.

So, here's to our reading challenges for 2014, however big or small yours might be.  Let's have a great reading year!

Jackie. x