Monday, June 16, 2014

Book I've read lately

When I was in Africa (yes I promise I'll write a proper post of my adventures at some point) I spent a LOT of time on a truck driving cross country. In the last three weeks when we headed into East Africa we'd often spend up to 14 hours on the truck each day. It was kind of awful. It was SO hot and sticky, any bathroom breaks were squatting on the side of the road, and our lunches were usually a piece of plastic cheese slapped between two slices of cornbread. (Needless to say we all lost weight). Anyway, more on that another time. It was an amazing experience and I had the chance to read so many books. I'm not going to review them all but thought I'd give a quick run down here.....

  1. Before I Fall - It got a little repetitive but overall I really enjoyed it. I love seeing a huge character transformation, especially when it's based so solidly in reality
  2. If You Find Me - A heartbreaking yet beautiful story. I really enjoyed it and it's stuck with me too which is always a good sign
  3. Gone Girl - Oh my GOSH yes. Such an intricate, complicated and incredibly clever story. Interested to see what they do with the movie. The ending infuriated me something wicked, another reason I love it. They didn't give me the ending I wanted. 
  4. Calling Me Home - A stunning novel. I love split historical novels like this - half in the past, half today, and with a dash of the civil rights movement... it's a brilliant story and very well told. 
  5. The Time Keeper - I think if I hadn't read this in a day it would've taken me a long time to read it. It didn't pull me in. It was kind of weirdly told... but I kept reading and I still, four months on, think about the story a lot. It has a lot of power in it, and I really loved that.
  6. The Kindrily Series - I adored this series. I've only linked to the first book here, but all three were great. I really got immersed in the story of the characters and truly loved the plot and the mysteries. It's a shame it's not more widely known.
  7. Ruby Red Trilogy - I've actually only just finished series this as I only had the first one on my kindle in Africa but I loved it. A great mix of teen drama, romantic frustrations and time travelling 'someone is going to kill us' type of drama. The story moves easily and hooks you in straight away. I love it. I want more! (I still REALLY hate the covers though)
  8. A Bit Mental - Not fiction, not at all. But a really interesting memoir about a guy from New Zealand suffering from depression and what he did to help himself overcome it. Quite inspiring actually. 
  9. Between Shades of Grey - Beautiful, stunning, heartbreaking story. I had no idea about the Soviet genocide and this really opened my eyes. So well written but it really does break your heart into tiny little pieces and only sellotapes a few fragments back together. 
  10. Orphan Train - One of my favourite books this year. Reminded me a lot of my all time favourite book The Tea Rose. A really lovely story and the true meaning of 'started from the bottom now we here'. It really touched me. I seriously recommend this book
  11. I'd Know You Anywhere - I'm still not entirely sure or convinced about this book. Great premise... it just didn't sit right with me
  12. Where the Stars Still Shine - Oooh this book was nice. It wasn't as deep as many of the others I've put on here but I did really enjoy it. And I learned about sea sponges from it, which is kind of cool. It was a much better story than I was expecting
  13. Pretty Little Things - Haunting, scary and sad. It's a good book but very disturbing. For the first time ever I did guess who the killer was though. I usually don't read crime books because I never know who did it until it's revealed even though everyone figured it out on page 9.... I figured this one out, I was pretty proud of myself. It was really well done though :)
  14. If I Stay - I loved this book. Such a great concept and so well written. I'm really looking forward to the movie
  15. Where She Went - A follow up to If I Stay told several years after Mia's accident and told from Adam's point of view. Really sad the state of things when the book opens but over the course of one evening things change a lot and it's really cool to read and see why things happened the way they did. Not as good as If I Stay, but I still really enjoyed it.
  16. Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children - I don't think I would have read this book if I hadn't been on a truck for so many hours, but I really enjoyed it once I got into it. It did take me a while to get into it though.... Great concept, very well told. Reading the sequel currently!
  17. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - This book has had praise heaped upon it. I tried three separate times to get into it and it just didn't draw me in. I wish I could've loved it. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?
  18. Auschwitz: A Doctors Eyewitness Account - words cannot even begin to describe how disgusted I am with what the human race is capable of. And what we do in desperate situations can be almost as bad. This is a book that is ... very hard to read. For obvious reasons. 
  19. The Luminaries - An author with my own nationality, oh how proud we are of Eleanor Catton. Unfortunately, hard as I tried, I just couldn't get past the first chapter. I tend to stick to YA novels and this is certainly not YA. Despite having been to the places written about in the book and being able to picture them with perfect clarity, for me the book is too complex! She's a genius, and I, am afraid, am not (so much so I can't even read the writing of said genius). I've heard from many it's a brilliant book. Obviously it is, but for me I found it too wordy, too descriptive and very slow. Like I said though, I didn't get past chapter one, things could change greatly in the following chapters! Maybe one day i'll try again.
  20. Ender's Game - Maybe I wasn't in the mood but I just couldn't get past the writing style. I loved the movie and perhaps I was too stuck on that. I wanted to love it, but I just was so clueless as to what was going on for too much of the book that I got frustrated and stopped. Then I sat about wondering why I couldn't seem to get through one of the YA classics! Failure.
  21. A Stolen Life - What Jaycee went through is awful, and reading about it in such detail is so uncomfortable yet I guess that human curiosity propels you further, wanting to know what other horrors lay in store. 
  22. Flowers for Algernon - A classic, of course. Very powerful and an interesting story. A case, I believe, of science being pushed too far.
  23. Out of the Easy - Oh wow. I adored this book. So brilliantly written. I wanted more. I still want more. I love love love this book. Such a great story, so much action and I loved Josie, the main character. Waiting in anticipation for Ruta Sepetys next book.
  24. Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want To Know About Fast Food. - I never want to eat fast food again. Really interesting to learn about the origins of the insane food industry, but seriously. I've gone paleo and partially vegetarian and I don't even want to go near a McDonalds. Ew.
  25. Just Listen - This feels like a much younger book and has less depth than many of the other books I've read but I still really enjoyed it. One thing I did feel though was that it was almost exactly (save for a few details) like that book Speak... the one that was made into a movie with K-Stew... seriously, it's like exactly the same. But I still enjoyed it.
  26. Forgiving Ararat - Why can I just not get into some of these books that have good sounding plots?! I just got so confused in the first few chapters that I gave up. I'm sorry
  27. Chosen - This book really appealed to me being a child of adoption and I was excited to read it. It was told in multiple voices and none of them sounded any different from the other... sentences were confused and the story was so slow moving I gave up before I reached half way. Such a great premise though.
  28. Friends Forever - What happened? Isn't Danielle Steel supposed to be a writing super star? This book drags on and on. I managed to get to the end, but I don't know how. It was like watching someone mow the lawn. It moved slowly and big events (like main characters dying) seemed to only get a mention on one page, the next page the characters mourn and the next page they're partying at the local football game. I couldn't get past the writing either. Did DS really write it? A quick look on Goodreads shows I'm not alone in my opinion. Such a shame :(
  29. This is What Happy Looks Like - This is a perfect rainy Sunday afternoon light hearted teen book. I likened it to the equivalent of People Magazine or Hollywood Life. We're not talking high quality and suspense, we're talking what you really need to give your mind a rest and take yourself away from the pressures of life for a while. and I really enjoyed it!
  30. The Distance Between Us - Aww I liked this book. Another light hearted one, but throws in quite a few interesting twists along the way. I should read more books like this, they give me the warm fuzzies.
  31. Steve Jobs - This guy was such a genius, yet such an asshole. The book was long. I started it the day I left Turkey to move to London and it took me a month to finish it (I wasn't doing a lot of reading but it did take a long time to read.) A really interesting and incredible story. What a life he led. I love his lack of fear and his brilliant mind. He may have pissed a lot of people off but my gosh he changed the face of our world. 

So that's all I've read for now. I'm working on the second Miss Peregrine book at the moment and next up is 1984 (I'm going to see the show in August so want to read it before then), Elizabeth is Missing, While We Run, Sugar Salt Fat and Wheat Belly. So many great books! So little time! I need to go back to Africa so I can get through my book collection!!

What have you been reading lately?

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