Quick read, romantic at times, mostly just sad…

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If you’re looking for a cheerful book, I definitely would not suggest this one. Yes, there are some sweet, romantic bits, but mostly it just made me want to cry. A lot.

For a book with the title, ‘How to Fall in Love’, it deals with some pretty heavy subject matter and I’m not sure the ending left me entirely satisfied,  or convinced that there was a real ‘resolution’ to events, but it was certainly a page-turner.

If you like weepies give it a go; if not, steer clear.

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‘Marina’: beautifully-written Young Adult novel

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They say never judge a book by its cover, but that’s what first drew me to this one. Also, I have read a few of Zafon’s other books and love the dream-like quality of his writing (although credit for this should also go to Lucia Graves who has translated all of his novels into English).

‘Marina’  didn’t disappoint: I’d probably describe it as Frankenstein meets Edward Scissorhands meets Phantom of the Opera…. basically bloody brilliant! From the opening line to the ending (which made me cry) I was drawn into Oscar’s tale completely.

To say much more would run the risk of spoiling the plot twists and turns for anyone wanting to read it. This book made me smile, cry, and left me terrified at times… I would heartily recommend it to anyone.

Death Comes To Pemberley (but I also promise they won’t all be Austen-based!)

Now, I do have to admit straight away that yes, I did watch the TV dramatisation of this first, but I enjoyed that so much that I just knew that the book would be better.

This didn’t disappoint, although at times I would perhaps argue that the TV version did build up the drama more effectively.  The characterisaton was this book’s real strong point and the best part of it was that not only was it a good crime book but also a highly believable sequel to ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Reading this, I saw the Darcy and Elizabeth (and Lydia) that I always see in my mind’s eye. I also liked the way James had changed and developed some of the characters to create a new sense of personality to them (Colonel Fitzwilliam’s change is unexpected but enjoyable).

Probably my least favourite element of the novel would be the solution to the crime, which seemed to appear almost out of nowhere,  with very few tantalising clues or red herrings to draw the reader in. That, or the slightly cheesy references to characers from other Austen novels, which felt unnecessary at best. However,  overall, they don’t detract from the novel’s appeal.

I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – as a sequel it is absolutely satisfying.20140108_222611

My first book of 2014 (sort of)…

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I say my first book of 2014, but technically I did start it in 2013, finishing it on the 1st of January. I suppose I can count this as my first read of the year.

The Austen Project is something that I have a lot of interest in right now – getting 6 different contemporary authors to update Austen’s 6 novels.  I’m certainly not a ‘Jane-ite’ and don’t object to her works being rewritten or updated and thought that they would be, at the very least,  interesting to read and compare to the original.

I’ve never read anything by Joanna Trollope before and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ is my least favourite ofAusten’s novels so I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this novel. The end result was actually a quick-read which was enjoyable but also at times irritating in equal measure.

The romance elements rang true and the story told held together

well in the modern setting. What was less believable perhaps was the absolute inability of any of the female characters (with the exception

 

 of Elinor) to face up to the fact that they might have to actually work. I know it must be difficult to translate the plot to modern times, but surely it’s not that shocking to expect women to work in the 21st Century!

 

Did I enjoy reading it at the time? Yes. Will I read it again? Probably not. Don’t think I’ll be looking for Trollope’s other books either, I’m afraid.

2013: the year I returned to reading.

I’ve always loved reading. There’s not been a year that I can remember where books haven’t featured on my Christmas and birthday lists. Adventure, thrillers, romance, literary fiction, young adult books, crime, classics, sci-fi… my taste in books has always covered a wide range and when I find a book I really love I often sit reading well into the early hours of the morning.

Naturally, I studied English at University and sadly, this period of my life probably marked the point where I fell a little bit out of love with books and reading. Much of the course content consisted of Very Important Books about Very Important Things by Very Important People. Very good books, well written , most of them enjoyble even… but the enforced pressure on my reading left me tired of it.

In the post-University years I still read, but mostly quick, easy thrillers and chick-lit. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this but I suppose it’s always true that if you limit your diet to one or two things you soon grow tired of them.

In late 2012, in the midst of my hectic life (mother to 2 children under 3 years old, working full time) a seemingly insignificant change in my working day changed my reading habits. A tiny amount of time set aside every day meant I now carried a book with  me every day and sparked that love of reading that I had always felt in the past. 2013 became the year that I returned to reading and experienced an incredibly wide range of authors and genres.

Looking back now I regret not keeping some sort of record of the highs and lows of my reading journey (although if anyone has not yet read Mantel’s ‘Bring Up The Bodies’ that was definitely my high point).

So the plan for 2014? Blog my reading journey as it happens – the good, the bad and the downright embarrassing!